Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Girl With the Hazel Eyes


Alright y'all, this is one of my Indie author sent books, and it is a Caribbean award winner. Callie Browning was born and raised in Barbados, but the majority of this book is set in the US as well as Barbados. This book has two parts to it, one part tells the story of Lia meeting Susan Taylor, and the other is the biography of Susan. I liked the parts about Lia and Susan, but I honestly could not get into the biography part. However, I don't usually like biographies in general. However, the writing was wonderful and the pieces of the biography I did read were so detailed that I had to remind myself that this was a contemporary fiction. So with that being said, I am going to focus on the part of Lia and Susan since that is the part that I liked the most. So here we go...

Cordelia aka Lia is a 25 year old woman that was born and raised in Barbados. She currently lives in the vicious cycle of poverty with her mom, Salvation Army clothes and all. However, Lia has always had dreams of breaking into the literary world, but has always been too afraid to be on her own thanks to her mom reminding her of how life is different off the island.

Lia is feeling fed up with the way her life is going when she gets a call from a lady named Ancil. Ancil is the personal assistant to a best selling author named Susan Taylor. Susan is also a Barbados native, but she left the island almost four decades ago when her book exposed a conspiracy on the island that made her move to the States. Now she wants Lia to come to the States and write her biography. All expenses covered by Susan.

Lia says yes almost immediately despite her mom's protests, because this could be her big break as a writer. Lia leaves Barbados for the first time in her life a week later. She arrives in Florida at Susan's house where she is first greeted by Ancil who also lives there. Ancil gives her a quick tour before taking her to Susan's favorite room in the house that she likes to call the Barbados room. Lia walks in at first not knowing what to think or do.

After a rough introduction that included Susan asking some very personal questions, Lia and Susan are able to come to an agreement on Susan's terms. Once the main introduction is done, Lia is able to go to her room and get settled in. The next day starts the first writing session, and it entails Lia just listening to Susan tell her life story. Susan doesn't allow Lia to ask questions, and seems very bitter.

A few days later, Lia is able to call her mom who still tries to convince her to come home. Her mom reminds her once again about Susan's reputation around the island thanks to her book. She also reminds Lia that things are difficult without her there to help her mom. After hanging up, she goes to start her writing session with Susan who is still being a little difficult. Lia just keeps reminding herself that this is a great opportunity each time she thinks about stopping.

Lia's second phone call home is still tiring. She tries to talk about how things are going and what she is doing, but her mom just keeps going on about things at home. She tries to convince Lia to come home again, but Lia says no because this is just like the time that her mother talked her out of taking a full scholarship to a college in Kansas all those years ago. Lia's mom hangs up before Lia can say much else to her, and Lia just feels anger instead of regret.

It's been a little over a week when Susan decides to give Lia a copy of Shakespeare's King Lear during one of their writing sessions. Susan says that it is no big deal, but Lia knows that this is her way of saying that she is warming up to Lia. Lia appreciates it greatly despite Susan's downplay of the gesture. They continue that day's writing session without another mention of what just happened.

Almost two weeks have gone by when Ancil convinces Susan to take Lia out to eat instead of just staying locked up in the house. Ancil drives them to the restaurant which gives Lia a chance to look around, especially at the fact that there are only cars and motorcycles on the highways. They arrive at the restaurant where Susan insists on a table close to the kitchen, and complains about the menu. When the waitress arrives, Lia orders her food just like it is on the menu while Susan basically creates her own meal. The waitress walks away annoyed, but polite.

While waiting for their food, Lia tries to ask Susan as many questions as possible to avoid being asked some herself. Instead of getting a gruff response, Susan smiles slightly and tells her that she has no intention on asking any personal questions. Relieved, Lia and Susan have a polite conversation while Lia observes that the lighting really softens Susan's appearance which makes her look more human. Lia and Susan have their meal and then go back home.

Three weeks have gone by and Lia thinks about her ex-boyfriend for the first time since she left the island. Part of her hastily agreement was due to the fact that he just started dating someone else. She thinks about him during one of the many Barbadian breakfasts that Ancil has made. While eating, Lia asks Ancil how long she has been with Susan. Ancil replies since 1967, but that she has only lived in the States for the past 20 years. Without getting a chance to ask for clarification, Lia goes to start the day's writing session with Susan that has already started a little late.

A month has gone by now, and Lia realizes that the house has no internet. She aks Ancil about it, and Ancil simply replies that there is no need for it. Susan has someone that handles the bills for her, and they always go to the store.for anything else that they need. Since there is no internet Lia starts having a small breakdown about not having internet despite that she hasn't noticed it this whole time. Once that is done, she starts to help Ancil clean the house since Susan wanted to spend the day relaxing. While doing the dishes, Lia releases that the neighborhood is a retirement community which is confirmed by Ancil.

The next day resumes the writing sessions. Lia listens intently to Susan's life story that has already filled 100 pages in Lia's notebook. Lia musters the courage to ask why Susan never wrote another book, despite the fact that her book is still being printed and sold after four decades. Susan replies with "Have you ever had a boyfriend that was your whole world and then suddenly you cannot stand to look at him?" Lia understands, and Susan confirms that is how she feels about writing.

During the usual Tuesday grocery run for Ancil and Susan, Lia scrubs her personal bathroom for tow hours to pass Ancil's inspection. Once done, she takes a shower and goes downstairs to grab some lunch. Before she can reach the kitchen, the phone rings. It's Lia's mother, and she is practically begging for money as she describes being behind on a couple bills. Lia eventually tells her about some money that is stashed in a book under her mattress. Once her mom hears where it is, she hangs up without asking about how Lia is doing. Lia is surprised, and looses her appetite as she hangs up the phone.

During the nest writing session, Lia listens to Susan tell her about almost being raped by a strange man, and how her friend Kenneth saved her. It is hard to listen to especially when Susan tells her about how during that time no one discussed rape or how to be a survivor of one. Lucky for Susan, she didn't have to try to figure it out thanks to Kenneth. Lia is stunned, but expresses her empathy for Susan during this vulnerable moment.

A few days later, Lia wakes up sleep deprived but happy. She spent the night getting the outline done for the biography as well as the first chapter. She tries to show Susan, but Susan wants to finish telling her story first before anything else is done. Lia doesn't argue and just gets ready to write. She is still happy that she has an idea of how she wants to write the book.

The next Tuesday Lia asks about where to go for internet, and Ancil tells her about the community centre. Once Ancil and Susan leave for the store, Lia goes to the centre where she is happy to find some computers with internet access. Once at the computer, she checks her four emails before going on her social media pages and her ex's which reveals that he is now married. Lia goes back home and tries not to think about it.

At home, Ancil and Susan have returned and both notice that there is something bothering Lia. Susan surprises Lia by listening to her cry about her ex. Susan comforts her until Lia is able to pull herself together and start that day's writing session. This is another defining moment for Lia and her relationship with Susan.

There is a lot more detail inside the book, but like I said in the beginning, I wanted to share the parts I liked. So this book has two parts, a relationship between Lia and Susan and the biography of Susan that Lia is writing. I just could not get into the biography part, but that is due to the fact that I don't really like to read actual biographies. This is a contemporary fiction, but the wonderful way that it is written will make you forget the biography is not real. I have to say thank you to Callie Browning for reaching out and sending me a copy. I may not have enjoyed the whole story, but I know that someone reading this will. If you feel that this may be in your wheelhouse, you can always find links to purchase this beautifully covered book on my page:
https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/p/where-to-buy.html

Friday, November 8, 2019

Anything For You


Alright y'all, this was my second ARC from St. Martin's Press and I am so glad that they sent it to me! This thriller by Saul Black was written to be book three in his series, but I think it can be a standalone. This book has two main point of views, the killer and the lead homicide detective on the case. Which will have you trying to guess who did what to who and why they did it! I tried to guess what happened but I was never on track at all lol. This thriller is definitely not any that I have read before, and that is probably why I loved it so much. Since this is an ARC and it has not celebrated it's pub day just yet, I will give as much detail as I can. So here we go...

Vincent Lyle is reading in his favorite late hour spot in his son's house when he sees an intruder in the backyard after the security lights were activated. He watches the intruder look right at him through his ski mask and run off to the alley behind the house. Vincent goes and wakes his son and daughter in law before they call the police and check on the kids.

SFPD officers Dean Gershon and Maria Lopez arrive at the Lyle household 20 minutes later. Gershon and Lopez take a look around the property and take Vincent's initial statement. Just as they are about to leave, Lopez steps away to take a call over the walkie as Gershon starts to say there is nothing they can do at the moment. Lopez steps back into the room to tell Gershon they have to go.

They get outside to their car before Lopez tells Gershon their call is right next door to the Lyles'. It turns out that just as Vincent's daughter in law was calling in the intruder, the woman next door was calling 9-1-1 as well. They go into the house, and Lopez immediately goes upstairs to try to get to the woman before she bleeds out. Lopez checks all the rooms to find all empty except for the master bedroom where the woman is laying in a pool of her blood and her husband is in the bathroom dead.

Homicide Detectives Valerie Hart and Will Frasier arrive on scene to find that CSI almost done processing the master bedroom. Valerie and Will realize that the husband is DA Prosecutor Adam Grant who has made a lot of enemies during his career through convictions. After instructing CSI to check outside on the balcony, drain pipe, and yard for more prints or a murder weapon, Valerie leaves to check on the wife.

Valerie arrives at the hospital in time to talk to the doctor about the full extent of the wife's injuries and whether or not she could talk to her. Valerie gets into the wife's room and introduces herself. The wife's name is Rachel, and she tells Valerie what happened the best that she could. Once she gets through most of the statement, Rachel asks about her daughter Elspeth. It turns out that Elspeth was staying at a friend's house for the night. Valerie tries to help Rachel remember the phone number of the friend Elspeth stayed. Once Valerie is finally able to get a number and address, she arranges for a counselor and a plain dressed officer to pick up Elspeth. Valerie finishes up taking Rachel's statement, the officer arrives with Elspeth.

The next day Valerie gets handed a file by a fellow officer for a Dwight Jenner because his fingerprints were found all over the Grant bedroom. Jenner is one of the men that Adam put away over 6 years ago. Jenner was released on parole 18 months ago, and has heterochromia that gives him one blue eye and one green eye making it easier to identify him. Valerie decides to try to track down Jenner since this was her best lead right now since his fingerprints were found in multiple places at the crime scene.

First stop was Jenner's parole officer who says that Jenner has basically been the model ex-con. He has kept his nose clean and has held down his job almost the whole time he's been out. After getting the work and home address, Valerie and Will go to his work where they are told by the boss that he has been a great employee. The boss informs them that Jenner is currently on his last day of his six day vacation and that she heard from the grapevine that he was with some girlfriend. Valerie and Will ask the other employees about the supposed girlfriend, and they all say the same thing. "Yeah we heard about her but have never seen her. Hopefully he is getting laid."

Next stop is Jenner's home where they find out that he lives with his halfbrother Kyle Cornell. Kyle says that Jenner told him a week ago that he was going to his girlfriend's house for a few days. Since Jenner is still on parole, Valerie is able to search his room without a warrant while Will stayed in the living room with Kyle. She doesn't see anything at first, but still has it taped off and orders a CSI team to go through it.

Back in the car, Valerie orders an APB for Jenner, Reno cops to question the sister, and a trace on Jenner's phone. Her and Will head over to Jenner's mom's place before heading over to Jenner's former cellmate Salvador Jimenez to question them both. His mom says that she hasn't seen Jenner since he got released from prison, but agrees to call if she sees him. Jimenez admits to seeing Jenner a couple weeks ago for drinks and that he talked about a girl named Sophia but that was it.

Valerie decides to go visit Rachel again in the hospital to get permission to go through Adam's phone, computer, and bank records. Will goes through Jenner's bank records and discovers that a lot of hotels come up on the statements. That leads to Will going through the hotels' CCTV for any footage of Jenner that could lead to where he is. Once he spots Jenner a couple times, he goes back and starts to look at Sophia, and it is then that he notices that a blond woman appears shortly after Jenner gets checked in at all the hotels.

Meanwhile, Valerie heads over to Adam's office after getting Rachel's permission for the personal phone and computer. She wants to try to secure Adam's office before anyone can go in and mess with anything on the computer or case files. Adam's assistant says that she will do her best, but another lawyer has already picked up all of Adam's cases, but Valerie had already filed for the warrant before coming into the office. From there Valerie meets the techs at the Grant household to gather up Adam's computers to be processed.

Once the techs leave with everything, Valerie starts to go through the whole house to see if she can find any idea why someone would kill Adam. She goes through the whole house until she ends up at Adam's desk. It looks just like any other home desk until she finds that the bottom two drawers are locked. She uses her lockpick kit and finds photos of a blond woman nude in the drawers. Just as she is processing the photos mentally, Will calls her and says that he may have found Sophia to which she replies that she may have as well.

Valerie goes back to the station to compare the blondes they both found and it looks like it could be the same woman. From there she checks in with the techs about the bank records and phone logs for both Adam and Jenner while Will starts to see if he can track the blond woman down through the escort services. The techs show Valerie that Adam had two phones registered to him, one that was used for every day while the other was used to call only one number that belongs to Jenner.

Valerie gets a call from a motorcycle cop in Orland who says that he spotted Jenner four days before Adam's murder. The cop tells Valerie that it was at a minimart that does have CCTV and gives her the phone number with the caution that they aren't the best at answering. Valerie calls numerous times before she decides to just drive down to the minimart and talk to the manager in person. On the way there, she finally gets someone to answer the phone, and explains the general situation to the manager. The manager has everything ready for Valerie when she arrives including a copy of the CCTV on the date that she asked for.

Valerie watches all the footage and confirms that Jenner does in fact make an appearance at the minimart on the day the motorcycle cop gave. She also sees that he doesn't get into a vehicle on camera, so she starts to wonder how he got there and where he was going. She finishes watching all the CCTV, takes the copy with her, and heads back to SFPD to check in with Will. Once she updates him on what she found at the minimart and he tells her that he hasn't had any luck with the escort services, she goes and takes over the surveillance on Kyle.

Valerie is sitting outside Kyle and Jenner's place after telling the other officer to go home early thinking about how she should have gotten food first when she sees Kyle come out with a woman. The officer let her know that he had a supposed girlfriend over before she took over. Valerie follows Kyle take his girlfriend home before going to some woods off a couple interstates. Valerie finds where Kyle parked his car and got out, instead of calling in for backup she follows him through the woods. Kyle leads her to an farm with rusted trough and a field that looked like it was meant for grazing. He keeps walking through the field through some more woods until he leads her to a trailer.

Valerie tries to wait patiently for Kyle to come out of the trailer, but after five minutes she decides to go up to the trailer. About three paces in, she realizes that Kyle is actually standing behind a tree waiting to attack her. Kyle doesn't realize that it is Valerie, and she thinks that Kyle lead her out here on purpose to get her off his halfbrother's case. They struggle for a little bit before Valerie's training kicks in to give her the upper hand. She gets Kyle under control once he realizes who it is, and asks him if Jenner is in the trailer.

Kyle of course denies it, so Valerie goes in herself and sees that it truly is empty. She goes back outside and listens as he tells her that this farm belongs to their mom's sister and that it used to be their favorite place as kids when it was a functioning llama farm. She asks again if he has heard from Jenner at all, and he states again that he hasn't heard from him in over a week. They both leave the farm in their own cars.

The following day, Valerie goes to visit Rachel at home since she singed herself out against medical advice and hired a nurse to be there. After making sure that she is settled, Valerie shows Rachel the photos found in Adam's desk with hesitation. When Rachel does not react like Valerie expected, she explains that they believe that this woman is possibly Jenner's girlfriend. Valerie leaves shortly afterwards with still no clear connection between Adam and Jenner.

Valerie and Will compare Adam's and Jenner's calendars to find no real overlap. While Adam was at a conference at UCLA, Jenner was near a house in Campbellville that the Grants own that was just 40 minutes  from UCLA. Valerie realizes that she needs to get permission from Rachel to go to the Campbellville house which means another home visit. Rachel admits that she knew about Sophia when she hands over the house keys.

Valerie goes to the Campbellville house and finds a man's watch in the grass. She bags the watch in an evidence bag and keeps looking around the house. She sees that it looks like any other typical summer home and goes back outside. After making sure that everything is locked up, she goes back to the SFPD. She takes the watch with her to compare it to the CCTV of Jenner. Before handing it over to the lab to be tested for blood and DNA, she takes a picture of it on her phone. Next she goes over to Kyle's to show him the watch, and he says that it could be Jenner's but he couldn't be sure.

The next morning was Valerie's day off which starts as a lazy day until she gets a phone call that Elspeth tried to commit suicide. Valerie goes to the hospital and tries to talk to Elspeth, but Rachel refuses to let anyone near her daughter. Valerie asks Rachel as many questions as she can to get a better understanding as to why this happened, but Rachel just wants to keep it private. With no chance of talking to Elspeth directly, Valerie heads to the station to go back through the CCTV again.

Valerie realizes that she should be at home relaxing, but her desire to close this case has her double checking behind her co-workers. It ends up paying off when she finds that Rachel actually pulled into the parking lot of the same minimart Jenner was seen at. She asks Rachel about it, and finds out that she was headed to the Campbellville house alone since it was Summer. Elspeth was at camp and Adam was at the conference. She had no idea that Jenner followed her out to the house.

Valerie finds out from the lab that the watch was indeed Jenner's thanks to a DNA match from skin cells in the watch band. So she has proof that Jenner was outside the Grant summer home around the same time that Rachel was there. So who was Jenner really stalking? And how did he get out there?

The next day is Will's day off so he calls Valerie and tells her that she needs to go a strip club called X-quisite where a dancer named GiGi needs to talk to her. GiGi thinks that she worked with Sophia a little over three months ago. Valerie goes to the club before it opens and talks to the bouncer and owner about getting the CCTV for the place. She talks to GiGi who says that the blond in the photos looks like the woman she worked with in May or June. Before leaving Valerie tells the owner that she needs the CCTV for May and June within 48 hours or she will get a warrant. She leaves without much more information on where Jenner or Sophia is.

Will Valerie ever find out what links Adam and Jenner? Will Sophia ever be found? What could have possibly made Jenner want to attack the Grants in the first place? Where has Jenner disappeared to?

I know I am so bad at stopping right when you are probably fully hooked in, but I hope that makes you want to read the book yourself. Like I said before I have an ARC copy and it has not celebrated its pub day just yet. Tuesday November 12th it will be hitting the shelves. I know this probably seems like a lot of detail, but there is still the POV of the killer that I did not put in here. I have to say thank you again to ST. Martin's Press for sending me a copy of Anything for You by Saul Black, because this was an amazing thriller that had me hooked almost instantly! I hope that my die hard thrillers readers will look this book up, because it really needs to be on your TBR. As always you can find links to preorder this beauty or order this beauty if you are reading this after Tuesday on my page:
https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/p/where-to-buy.html

Friday, November 1, 2019

Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets Cover Reveal

NutmegStreet-EgyptianSecretes_cover2(1).jpg



A fantastic cover for an exciting upcoming debut novel by author, Sherrill Joseph! Read more about Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets below!

Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)

Expected Publication Date: February 1st, 2020

Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46306620-nutmeg-street?ac=1&from_search=true

Sneak Peek

“Here we go again. An aftershock! I’ve been afraid this would happen,” said Dr. Kurtz. She rapidly surveyed the room full of terrariums. “And one of my assistants just called to say he’s found a somewhat hidden but large crack from this morning’s tremor on one of our venomous snake enclosure’s glass panes. It’s a major emergency. Come out with me quickly boys—now! I have to attend to this immediately,” she shouted behind her, as she grabbed her tool bag, yanked open the heavy door, and fled outside and down the breezeway to the enclosure.

Unfortunately, Moki and Lanny weren’t as fast as Dr. Kurtz. The door banged shut in their surprised faces and locked. They were trapped in a windowless room.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the power failed simultaneously, and the room went pitch black. Both boys froze, helplessly surrounded by three walls of venomous snakes they could still hear but no longer see.

Egyptian Secrets, in paperback and eBook, will be available for purchase on Amazon, February 1, 2020!

About the Author

Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph: http://sherrilljoseph.com/

Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/d194b6687f2b/sherrilljoseph

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MysteryAuthor7

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BHDMysteriesAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sherrilljosephauthor/

Twitter Tags
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@RRBookTours1
 #Mystery
 #MG
 #MiddleGrade

Cover Reveal Organized By:

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A Whisper From Beyond



Alright y'all this ebook was sent to me by the author herself. Margo Ervand reached out to me on bookstagram and I am so glad that she did! This book talks about grief, death, depression, toxic relationships, and reminds you to not judge people you don't know. I will warn that some moments in this book may be hard for some people, but overall it is an amazing book! So here we go!

Kate goes to visit her pastor at church after waking up from a dream involving her dead boyfriend, Denis, after 12 years. She tells the pastor about the dream and how she is struggling with her faith. She even admits that she is tired and doesn't want to live sometimes. He tells her to turn to God for He knows all the answers. She leaves the church and takes her normal walking route.

On the way to the bookstore, Kate can swear that she hears someone walking behind her. However, when she turns out to look for the person there is no one there. She has the sensation that someone is watching her, but she doesn't anyone near her. So she decides to go into the bookstore to at least be surrounded by other people in a public place. Once inside she starts browsing the nonfiction and self help books and completely zones out.

She picks up a self help book that catches her eye, and is looking at the blurb when she gets startled by a hello from beside her. She looks to see where the voice came from to see a man that she does not recognize but says he knows her. He says his name is Vadim and that he was friends with Denis. Kate has a small breakdown and asks him to just leave her alone. Instead he gets her to agree to join him for coffee, but that just leads to awkward conversations about Denis. Then when Vadim asks her about her painting and drawing, Kate decides that it is time she left.

She goes back to her parents house, which at the age of 30 she knows is not a good thing. However after Denis's death she just couldn't stay in their old neighborhood. When she walks through the front door and is pleased to find that her parents are not back from visiting her sister. She went back and bought the book she was looking at, and gets settled to read it. She quickly becomes bored so she gets up to put it on her bookshelf, and thinks that she sees someone outside the house. She ducks and peeks through the window to find that it was just the tree's shadow.

Monday comes and Kate goes to work her volunteer shift on the First Aid Van for the homeless shelter. She is sketching the people that she sees when an older woman comes up to the van screaming about her husband. The woman is claiming that the van came yesterday and took her husband away. Kate tries to calm the woman down while her partner is checking out a homeless man, but the woman keeps screaming that they took her husband. When Kate finally gets her calm enough to listen for five seconds, she tells the woman that she can come with them to the shelter and check for herself.

On the way to the shelter, the woman complains about the homeless man's odor, and then snatches Kate's sketch book without permission. The woman flips through the sketches until she finds the one of Denis, and gets very angry again. Kate asks her what is the matter, and the woman says that the man is a murderer and is responsible for her daughter's death. The rest of the ride to the shelter is in silence and anger.

Once at the shelter, Kate gets out and walks away from the van as soon as possible. She goes into the shelter's courtyard to have a moment to cool down. She is sitting on the bench when her friend and oldest volunteer, Nadia, comes and asks how Kate is doing before telling her that the woman did find her husband in the shelter after all. Kate feels bad because she kept saying that her husband wasn't at the shelter, but Nadia assures her that she couldn't have known.

Once Kate is calm, she goes inside the shelter where she comes across a pregnant woman in the dorms. This is odd, because they don't usually allow pregnant woman to stay in the shelter since there is another one that is better equipped to handle anything that comes up with a pregnancy. Kate tries talking to her, but the woman is rude. Finally Kate is able to get her to follow her to the dining area to get her some food. Just as Kate is able to convince the volunteer cook to get food after lunch is over, Nadia comes up and tells Kate that the woman will be staying in the shelter under Nadia's watch.

Kate finishes her shift and goes home to find her parents are back home. She has her usual spat with her mom about moving on with her life since it has been 12 years, and her dad tells her mom to stop. She decides to ask her parents if she recognizes the woman from Kate's sketch. Her mom criticizes the sketch itself before saying that it looks like a lady from their old neighborhood whose daughter died around the same time as Denis. Her dad takes a look, makes a supportive comment, and then agrees that it is probably the woman that her mom is talking about.

Kate goes to see her psychoanalyst the next day to talk about the last couple days. She talks about the woman accusing Denis of being a murderer to feeling like someone has been following her. Her psychoanalyst decides to focus on the feeling of being watched. Kate ends up admitting that she just wants to die and be with Denis again, but the need to prove that woman wrong is more important to her at the moment.

Kate goes to the homeless shelter for her shift in the laundry room and thinks about her first day. She thinks about how she can't believe that ten years ago she almost didn't come back. She hears footsteps out the hall and walks over to the door to see if she imagined it. She hears someone talking, and it is the pregnant woman on the phone with someone. When she hears the end of the phone call,  Kate hurries back over to her seat just in time for the woman to walk through the door. It turns out that she has some laundry that needs to be done which means Kate has to put her name on it.

The woman says her name is Tanya and leaves. Kate separates everything to be washed and starts the load before taking the freshly washed clothing up to the line in the courtyard. Once all the laundry is hung up to dry, Kate sits down on the bench under a tree where Nadia catches up with Kate. Nadia tells Kate about how she is going to help Tanya as much as possible instead of sending her to a pregnancy shelter which surprises Kate, but she doesn't argue.

Kate wakes the following morning and goes to visit Denis's grave where she is once again surprised by Vadim. Kate cleans up the grave and they both set down flowers on top. It starts pouring rain so Vadim offers to take her to breakfast. They arrive at a restaurant that is usually out of Kate's budget. Vadim orders food for them both. Kate tells Vadim about the woman's murderer claim on Denis and asks for him to help her since he does has a law degree. He asks her if she believes the woman which of course she says no, but he says there must be some doubt if she is asking for help. Kate storms out of the restaurant and takes a cab home.

Later at the shelter, Kate tells Nadia about the accusation against Denis by the woman on Monday, and Nadia tells her not to worry about it and starts looking for baby goods in the newspaper. The following day Kate is walking to the shelter from the bus stop when she sees a man standing outside the gate protecting the court yard. Kate hides behind a nearby tree when she sees that the man is talking to Tanya. She can't hear much of the conversation except Tanya  practically screaming "I don't need your help!" The man walks right past Kate without noticing her.

Kate goes inside the gate and catches up with Tanya who is once again cold and rude. Kate decides to not tell Nadia about the incident. She goes home for the night where she goes through the same harsh conversation with her mom while her dad tells her mom to knock it off. Monday comes back around along with Kate's shift in the First Aid Van.where the woman who gave them a hard time last week comes into view. Kate decides to confront the woman.

The woman starts to tell her to go away until she finally decides to talk to Kate. She tells Kate how a car that looks just like Denis's car hit her daughter and fled the scene. The five days her daughter was in the hospital, Denis visited every single day. The woman was convinced at first that Denis loved her daughter, but then came to the conclusion that he was just trying to cover up his crime. Her daughter died in the hospital, and then she says that Denis killed himself like a coward. Kate can't believe this woman, especially since Kate was told it was natural causes.

Kate decides to pay a visit to her pastor again and asks about the woman's daughter. The pastor tellsh her what happened and the rumors that flew around the neighborhood. Once again, Kate leaves the church to go on her usual route and winds up at the bookstore again. While browsing the books, she is startled by Vadim again who is holding a file containing the police report about the girl's accident.

Kate takes it from him but refuses to go anywhere with Vadim this time. Kate takes the file home and reads all the paperwork. It shows that Denis was a suspect but the description of the car that hit the girl looked like Denis's car but did not sound anything like it. It even shows how the police talked to Denis's auto shop and were told that there was no sign of Denis hitting anything but he still had the headlights replaced and car repainted. Kate decides that she needs to go back to the old neighborhood and ask some questions.

Kate goes to the shelter for her morning shift to find Tanya making out with a man just inside the gate. This man she assumes is the father gives Kate a hard time before Tanya slips an envelope into his pocket. Kate keeps telling him to leave or she will call the cops. He finally leaves once Tanya tells him to with the envelope secure in his pocket. Kate decides to not bother Nadia with this since Tanya stays in the shelter instead of going with the man.

Kate goes to the playground that sits outside the apartment building they used to live in. Just as she is about to change her mind and leave, Denis's mom comes out of the building. Kate greets her and gets invited inside. Kate goes through the usual quick catch up, and then asks about the day Denis died. His mom tells Kate about how the neighbor known as Aunt Sveta was the one that found Denis since the rest of the family was out of town. Kate stays for an hour before leaving.

Instead of going straight to the shelter for her shift, Kate stops by Aunt Sveta's apartment. She is met with the usual gruffness the woman had, but gets invited inside for a few minutes away. Kate asks Aunt Sveta about the day she found Denis. Sveta tells her about hearing Denis argue with a man with a scar on his chin a few hours before she found him in the kitchen. Sveta walked out of her apartment and seen Denis's front door wide open. She decided to walk in since she knew the family was out of town, and found Denis on the kitchen floor with two plates set out on the table. Sveta called the police and that was that.

Kate thanks Aunt Sveta and leaves. Kate arrives at the shelter and tells Nadia about what she has found out the past couple days. Nadia listens and then tells Kate about all the baby stuff that she found for Tanya. Kate gets a little jealous, but still says nothing. Friday comes and once again Kate is out in the First Aid Van. This time she is out checking people's temps and how they are feeling while her partner is with a homeless man in the back of the van. Suddenly she hears what sounds like a fight break out in the van. Kate rushes over to find that her partner was defending himself again the homeless man.

Her partner says that the man was trying to steal what few meds are on the van when the same woman who has been calling Denis a murderer comes running out. She is screaming "First my husband and now my son" over and over. Kate tries to talk to her while her partner restrains the man until the police come. They give the police the initial report and as they are walking the man to the car Kate sees that he has a scar on his chin in the same spot that Aunt Sveta described. Kate also realizes that it is the same man she saw with Tanya.

The next day Kate watches in horror as other volunteers are forced to break up a fight between two of the homeless women staying in the shelter. Just as they get things under control, Nadia comes walking down the hallway with a cleaned up Tanya. Nadia leaves Tanya with Kate while she goes to get the money needed to pay for the baby goods about to be delivered. Tanya is still rude to Kate.

Nadia comes back shouting that her money had been stolen out of her office. Kate remembers the envelope and finally tells Nadia about Tanya and the man. Tanya denies that it is the same money and runs off when she realizes that no one believes her. Just as Nadia is explaining that she knew about Tanya's male visitor because it involved money the man's father gave Tanya. Just then one of the volunteers walked up holding one of the women fighting and says that the fight was about some money one of them found. It turns out that it is Nadia's missing money.

Realizing her mistake, Kate runs after Tanya and sees her at the bus stop. When Tanya sees Kate coming towards her, she starts walking even further down the road and across the street. Kate keeps shouting for Tanya to stop, but just as she is crossing the street she gets hit by a car...

Will Kate survive? Will the truth about Denis come out? Will anyone ever figure out who ran over that poor girl all those years ago? Will Nadia and Tanya be able to mend their relationship?

I warned y'all that this book was a little intense. This book is about grief, emotions, and mystery. I could not believe everything that happened. I have to once again say thank you to Margo Ervand for reaching out to me. This book was a little hard to finish in one sitting, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to review this book. I hope that you guys will read this and truly think about your own lives a little. This book does have some intense moments, but it is also a reminder to not judge someone without knowing their story. If you simply must read this beauty for yourself, then you already know that links are waiting on my page:
https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/p/where-to-buy.html

A Fool's Circle Giveaway!

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Welcome to the super huge, A Fool's Circle MEGA giveaway!!! Check out this amazing Domestic Thriller by Suzanne Seddon, and enter to win this fantastic haul! unnamedA Fool’s Circle Publication Date: March 17th, 2019 Genre: Thriller/ Domestic Thriller/ Suspense Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago. As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune. For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money. Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan. But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder?

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

A blonde head bounced on the floor in time to the yelling. Rays of the early morning sun caught her golden hair, and motes of dust hung in the air. Sophie Saunders was eight years old. Kneeling down on the floor, she played with her dolls, drumming Ken and Barbie against the carpet, her body bent forward, almost as if she were praying in her immaculately clean and pressed school uniform. But today her school uniform was the last thing on her mind. She bashed the dolls’ heads off the pink floor in unison. ‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie,’ she sang aloud to herself as she tried to drown out the voices that rose up through the floorboards. The noises from downstairs were a regular occurrence, and fast becoming the norm. Sophie felt her dad’s anger, ever-present in his voice as it vibrated through her bedroom, positioned over the kitchen. Scared, she dropped her dolls, raising her arms and clasping her small hands over her ears. Sophie closed her eyes. Blinded, she felt for Barbie and Ken and gripped the toys by the legs. With one in each hand, she remained still for a moment, and as the voices intensified beneath her, she sensed them possessing the dolls. ‘You’re an old bag. I hate you!’ Sophie’s voice was deep and rough, as she rammed Ken’s head into Barbie’s chest. ‘Why are you always so nasty to me?’ She raised the pitch of her voice as she shook the dolls hard. ‘Because you make me want to vomit when I look at your fat ugly face,’ she growled. ‘Please stop being so cruel to me,’ she enunciated. ‘Who do you think you are? Don't you dare tell me what to do, bitch!’ With each word, she struck Ken against Barbie, again and again, until finally Barbie’s head popped off and rolled across the carpet. That hadn’t been her intention. She didn’t mean to decapitate the poor doll. Shocked, she stood up as she searched for the missing head. She found it under the bedside cabinet at the back, by the wall. She crouched down, stretched out her arm and grabbed it. Sophie sat up on her knees, struggling to reattach the plastic head to its body. ‘Bloody shit! Why won’t it go on?’ The racket from below grew ever louder. ‘Bloody shit.’ Frustrated, she gave up, and flung the dolls across the room. Downstairs, her father, Alan, almost lost his head. He shouted louder as his wife, Kate, persisted as the peacemaker. ‘As useless as a one-legged woman in an arse- kicking contest.’ His voice echoed around the large stark white room, drowning out the soothing music from the old radio sitting on the window ledge. ‘You’re one useless bastard!’ The barrage of abuse had just hit average level. ‘Fucking useless.’ The kitchen had seen better days, as had their marriage, but Kate worked hard to keep both spotless and functional. ‘Can you hear me?’ She strived hard at everything, as she had for a lifetime. ‘Hello? Is there anyone home?’ However, her efforts now went unnoticed or drew heavy criticism for no reason. ‘I’m fucking talking to you, whore.’ She knew only too well what was about to come her way, as she moved the blonde strand of hair out of her blue eyes and concentrated. She placed the boiled egg safely into its cup. ‘Where’s this fucking breakfast, for fuck's sake?’ She reached out her arm, picked up the knife and, clenching it tight in her hand, she decapitated the top of the egg. ‘I can hear you, Alan.’ The toast was the light side of brown, just as he liked it, but who knew these days? ‘There’s no point keeping on at me, shouting. I can’t go any faster.’ She set the breakfast plate before Alan. His face was dark and menacing—the antithesis of the light sense of fun that had been knocked out of her. ‘About fucking time. Talk about slow. You’re like a human fucking sloth.’ After ten years together, she found it more of a challenge to stay positive. Alan had turned negativity into a vocation. ‘What the flying fuck is this?’ She stared at the top of his head, bristling with the military-style haircut he’d had since he was a child, raised by an army commander who gave no quarter. ‘Do you seriously expect me to eat this fucking lot of shite?’ Alan had adopted the same rank in the family, but hadn’t served a moment in the services. ‘All these years, and you still can't boil a fucking egg? I mean, it's not fucking rocket science.’ She watched him as he snarled at her. ‘You’ve got to be having some sort of a laugh.’ He pushed the plate away with such force, it shot forward and hit the condiment pots. Kate flinched as the sharp noise pierced her ears. ‘Why, what’s wrong with it now?’ She clenched her fists as her body shook. Her nerves were all on the surface, as he mocked her and revelled in her fear. ‘What's bloody wrong with it? It’s the wrong colour, undercooked and looks like my fucking snot. You really are a fucking retard!’ She watched as his sneer took what used to be a pleasantly rugged face – a lifetime ago – and warped it monstrously. ‘Well, I can do another for you, if you like. It won’t take me a minute!’ She tried her hardest to stay calm, fearful of what might come next. ‘That’s how long I think you boiled that one for, a fucking minute, so what's the bloody point? You'll only mess it up again, you thick tart.’ Kate, petrified, noticed the pure evil as it manifested once again across his face. ‘You’re miles away these days. Maybe you should go see a doctor and get some happy pills from him. For fuck's sake, you can’t even time an egg.’ Once again defeated, she bit her lip and her voice broke. ‘Well, I did boil it for three minutes.’ She watched his face as it reddened. She knew the inevitable was about to happen, and wished it over and done with. ‘Yeah, yeah. Let’s face it, darling, you’re no good at cooking, no good in bed—in fact, you’re no good at fucking anything really. I bloody dread mealtimes in this house.’ The victorious grin that had taken residence across his smug face frightened her. ‘I try my best, Alan, I really do.’ Kate’s voice sounded weak. Alan fed off her vulnerability as he chipped away at her. He cranked up the volume another notch. ‘You really are a fucking retard. You’re trying to poison me with salmonella.’ Alan stretched out his arm, picking up the boiled egg. Terrified, she eyed him as he gripped it tightly in his hand. ‘Trying to do me in with food poisoning, are you?’ Kate jerked as he lobbed the egg towards her, raising her arm, shielding it from her face as it side-swiped her head. She tried to pick fragments of sticky shell out of her hair. ‘That’s what I think about your boiled eggs. Now go and fucking clean it up!’ She decided the best defence was to stay silent. Terrified, she turned her back on him, and tried to disappear into the background. ‘Don’t turn your back on me, I’m fucking talking to you! You’re one ignorant bitch. Don't you dare fucking ignore me!’ She closed her eyes tight and gritted her teeth, trying hard to remain calm. ‘I'm not ignoring you. I'm trying to get Sophie's breakfast ready or she’ll be late for school.’ Her smooth tone stoked his fury more. ‘I don't even know why I fucking married you. I could’ve done so much better. My parents were right on the money when they said I married down. An army bigwig and a doctor they were, and what are you? A washed-up failed actress, a shit teacher, and a poor excuse for a fucking wife.’ She ignored him as the vile comments became more and more aggressive. ‘I mean, have you taken a fucking good look at yourself lately?’ He rotated his chair towards her. She watched him in terror as he looked her up and down like he’d just stepped in a massive turd. ‘Please don’t, Alan. Please don’t start again today.’ She arranged the plate of food as fast as she could. Jumpy and exasperated, she picked up the tea towel from the draining board and wiped the edges clean, as he continued to mock her. ‘“Please don’t, Alan – please don’t, Alan.” Can you hear yourself, Kate?’ The onslaught continued towards danger point. ‘You've really let yourself go over the years. You need to get yourself to the fucking gym and start exercising. I married a woman, not a lard arse. Just look at you!’ She was tall and well-proportioned. If Alan wanted an anorexic model, he was living in cloud cuckoo land – and the wrong neighbourhood. ‘Oh, for crying out loud, Alan.’ Her adrenalin kicked in, and she snapped out of her former resignation. She threw down the tea towel on the worktop. ‘I do exercise, Alan, when I have the time!’ ‘Ha! Are you having a fucking bubble? You keep telling yourself that. You’re a silly stupid fat tart. You should take a leaf out of your friend Jill's book. Now she looks great. Perfect little figure, and a great pair of tits!’ He did nothing to hide the wicked grin that was plastered across his face, or his semi- erection. Watching him, repulsed, she tried logic. ‘Well, Jill hasn't got any children to worry about, or a husband for that matter, so she has more time on her hands than I bloody well do.’ She continued to busy herself, reaching into the cupboard next to her and removing a plate. ‘Excuses, Kate, always bloody excuses with you! Don’t you know the truth always comes out? Mind you, you wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and took a bite-sized chunk out of your big fat fucking arse, you thick bitch.’ Her stomach churned. She didn’t want another fight. Against her better judgement, she apologised. ‘I’m sorry about the egg, Alan, I really am, but do you have to do this now? Sophie will be down for her breakfast any minute.’ She showed him Sophie’s plate. Desperate, she reminded him of their daughter's existence. Kate was taken aback as she heard the almighty roar that bellowed out of his mouth. ‘Who the fuck do you think you are? You think you can tell me what I can and cannot do in my own house!’ The house belonged to both of them, a wedding gift from his parents, but she wasn’t about to argue the toss about that now. ‘Please, Alan, Sophie will hear you. It's not fair she has to listen to this day in, day out. Do you not think about what this is doing to her? She's your daughter, for heaven’s sake.’ She hated the sound of her weak voice. ‘Well, that’s fucking debatable.’ Sickened, Kate watched him as he swayed in his chair like a hypnotised cobra. A dreary Coldplay song rang out on the radio. ‘I don’t give a toss about you or your fucking daughter.’ The saliva flew in all directions across the kitchen, as he continued to spit more venom in her direction. ‘It’s my fucking house, my rules. Anyway, look at you. And what’s that on your face? Is that make-up and lipstick you’re wearing? Where do you think you're going today with all that crap on your face? You look like a washed- up old whore!’ She was frozen to the spot, and the colour drained fast from her face. ‘It's just pink lip gloss, for goodness sake. What the hell’s wrong with you?’ His eyes bulged from their sockets like a bullfrog’s, his tongue sharp like a flickering whip, as he leapt from his chair and grabbed her firmly by the hair. ‘Lip gloss, my arse.’ She fought hard to hold on to Sophie’s plate as he ground his thumb into her mouth and smeared the tacky pink gloss across her cheek. ‘Ha! That’s more like it! As if lipstick or lip gloss is going to help you.’ She felt the sting as the palm of his hand connected hard against her cheek. He picked up the dirty tea towel. ‘Please, Alan, stop this.’ He rubbed it hard across her flushed skin. Kate, struggling to breathe, heard the crash as the plate fell to the floor. ‘Look at the tea towel, cunt. It’s fucking make-up. Stop fucking lying to me!’ She could smell the remnants of the stale booze on his breath, which made her heave. ‘I’m not lying.’ She struggled hard to pull away from him, her eyes drawn towards the doorway. She noticed Sophie standing there, her perfect angelic face pale and in shock. ‘Go away!’ Kate mouthed to her terrified daughter. ‘What was that, bitch? Are you talking back to me again?’ She felt the sharp pain hit, as he punched her hard in the stomach. As Kate fell to her knees, she heard Sophie’s voice. ‘Leave my mummy alone!’ Kate looked up at him, and at the same time his expressive dark eyes narrowed. Alan turned around and faced his daughter. ‘Oh, it’s you! Have you seen your mother? Doesn’t she look like a cheap whore? This is what you’ll look like one day if you let yourself turn into a sack of shit like her!’ He hoisted Kate up from the floor by her hair, on to her feet, and slapped her viciously again across her cheek. She screamed. ‘Get out, Sophie! Get out!’ Kate watched Sophie as she turned around and raced from the kitchen in floods of tears. She pleaded with him: ‘Alan, please stop this! Please!’ She stumbled as he pushed her hard into the side of the Formica worktop. Unsteady on her feet, she reached out with both hands and gripped on to it. ‘You’re lucky I’ve got things to do today and that I don’t have to spend another minute looking at your gormless fucking mug!’ She watched as he grabbed his jacket off the back of the kitchen chair and threw it across his right shoulder. ‘What have I told you about lying, Kate?’ She saw the triumphant expression on his face as he left the kitchen and whistled down the hallway. Kate listened out as he opened the front door, and jumped as she heard his voice again. ‘Make sure you clean up all the mess and scrape all that raw egg off those bloody tiles.’ She closed her eyes for a split second and there came another almighty loud bang as the front door slammed shut behind him. Kate’s whole body trembled with this aftershock. ‘God help me,’ she said to herself. She crawled across the kitchen floor, picked up the newspaper off the chair and gathered the food and shards of broken plate onto it as she chanted to herself.

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Now the giveaway!!! 20190908_122024 First Prize A signed copy of A Fool’s Circle $10 amazon gift card A Fool’s Circle – fridge magnet A Fool’s Circle- Keyring A Fool’s Circle – makeup bag A Fool’s Circle – 6 pack of red pencils A Fool’s Circle – Pen A Fool’s Circle – wooden book mark 3 Note books 1 sequin pencil case 7 piece makeup brush set Rituals…50ml Zensational foaming shower gel Rituals…#HOLIAWESOME gift set containing Playable foaming shower gel 50ml Crackling body mousee 50ml 1 shower Pom Pom 5 assorted 7th heaven face masks 3 assorted 38g Lindt Lindor chocolate bars Second Prize Digital Copies of A Fool’s Circle Incredible right? AND this giveaway is open to EVERYONE!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway About the Author 18702441

Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers.

Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel. Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work. Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public’s consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

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Book Blitz Organized By: R&RButto200x200 R&R Book Tours

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Murder in Montague Falls



Alright y'all! This is my first book review for Reads and Reels Blog Tours run my @shannigans_of_readsandreels on bookstagram. This book is composed of three novellas written by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, and Patrick Thomas with the common location of Montague Falls. Each novella is different in characters, plot, and murders. I loved the novellas individually and as a whole. It is like you are reading about this small town that just keeps having bad luck happen. Since it is technically three different stories I will be writing this review with the mindset that each story is it's own review. I will have them all in this one review, but I will format them individually. I know that probably sounds confusing, but I promise you will understand what I am saying halfway through. LOL. So with that being said, here we go!

Red Ink by Russ Colchamiro

Fourteen year old Isaac is in his sniper position just waiting for the go ahead to take out his target. Once he gets the go, the wind picks up ruining his shot, which means that he will simply have to get up close and personal. For Isaac, that is is easy enough since he has been "undercover" in this neighborhood for years. Isaac uses the ruse that he is the paperboy in order to blend in. Isaac goes to his target's house, knocks on the door, says collections, and gets his target to open the door. Isaac goes in and waits for the woman to turn her back to him, and just as he is about to "pull the trigger" he gets told to stand down. He takes the money, smiles, and walks out the door.

Isaac continues on his paper route and the spy game in his head breaks. He finishes collecting from most of his customers and heads home for the night. Isaac is counting up his money when his best friend and crush Dani calls him. She asks him how collections went and who was his target in his spy game today. Then she brings up the fact that a retired teacher named Ms. Gagne owes him two weeks worth of collections, which is unlike her. While walking to each house, Isaac checks out the newspaper from the headlines to the movie theater times. During his next round of deliveries, Isaac decides to try to collect from Ms. Gagne just one day early.

He knocks on her door and gets no answer, so he decides to look into the windows to see if he can see her. When he looks in through the living room window, he sees Ms. Gagne on the floor in a pool of blood. He does a double take and when he does he sees a pair of brown loafers stepping over the body. Isaac high tails it out of there to his bike, and does not stop peddling until he is almost close to his house. Once he is about to turn onto his street, he decides to keep riding his bike away from his house out of fear that the possible murderer is following him. 

Isaac rides his bike all the way past the Montague Falls reservoir, across the busy road of Silver Peak, and into a gas station parking lot. When he finally stops for a rest, the gas station attendant comes out and offers to clean his hand which he apparently scrapped in his attempt to get onto the bike. Once he is sure that no one is following him, Isaac finally heads home where he decides that he would sleep on telling anyone or the cops.

The next school day passes in a complete blur for Isaac. At the end of the day, Dani asks if she can join him on his route so she could talk to him. Normally Isaac would have said okay, but today he cruelly tells her no. He leaves and does the paper route backwards to make sure that he finishes yesterday's deliveries before going to Ms. Gagne's. When he arrives at her house, he looks into the window again. Before he can get a good look into the living room, the front door opens. There is a man standing there with a cast on his foot saying that his name is Mr. Rotchford. Mr. Rotchford says that he is Ms. Gagne's brother and lives next door. Ms. Gagne is on vacation with a friend in an RV but she left behind the money she owes Isaac.

Isaac takes the money, but he is still not sure if he believes the man's story. He goes over to Dani's house after he finishes the route and apologizes for his behavior earlier. She invites him to stay for dinner, and when they are done eating he tells her about what happened yesterday. She believes him enough to get the phone book for the white pages after she gives him a kiss for the first time. Once they looked to see if there was a Rotchford on the same road as Ms. Gagne, Isaac kisses Dani back.

Detective Jonathan Butler is about to go to the courthouse to testify in a court case against a man who beat his wife to death. He is about to leave when his partner and friend Detective Les Narapoli tells him he needs to talk to this kid. The kid turns out to be Isaac with Dani at his side for emotional support. Isaac tells both Butler and Narapoli about what he saw the past two days at Ms. Gagne's house. Before they tell Isaac the next step, the two detectives go into the locker. Narapoli shows the file on Isaac's family from when his 18 month old sister, Frankie, died from choking on a stray nail and falling down the front stairs. It turns out that Isaac's dad was doing some work in the yard with his back to Isaac and Frankie who were playing by the front door. Isaac went inside to use the restroom when disaster struck. Frankie died a month later.

They go back out to where Dani and Isaac were still waiting, and tell them that without more evidence they can't open an investigation but they would still send a patrol car over to Ms. Gagne's house. Narapoli wonders if Isaac is just carrying around the guilt of what happened to his sister, and is trying to make this so called crime right. It also raises the question of if the crime really happened. He brings up what happened with Frankie to gauge both of their reactions to get a better idea.

Dani tries to comfort Isaac on the way back to his house, but he ends up trying to shut down his feelings and leaves her to walk alone. Isaac decides he needs to go into spy mode and try to find out what happened himself. He gets home, and finds a message from Butler on it which he deletes before anyone else can hear it. He goes to bed with a plan in his head for the weekend.

Isaac spends the whole weekend staking out Rotchford's house. Monday comes and he does the same thing, but this time he gets to follow Rotchford drive out to a house on the other side of the Montague Falls reservoir. Rotchford parks his car, gets into another one in the driveway, and drives away again. Isaac decides to check out the house, and doesn't really see anything. So he jots down the address and leaves with a plan for another night.

Butler decides to go check out Isaac's story himself and Narapoli after the court case against the wife beater does not go the way he was hoping. They go to Rotchford's place and ask him questions about where Ms. Gagne is and how his foot got in the cast. He seems nervous, but that is what they are hoping for. They have Rotchford call the phone service that Ms. Gagne supposedly set up before they go over to her house to see if anything seems out of place. While they are there, a woman claiming to be Ms. Gagne calls and speaks to the detectives. They leave not finding any proof that anything vicious happened, but Butler still wonders what did Isaac see then?

It is Halloween, which gives Isaac the chance to disguise his face before heading back over to the house he followed Rotchford to. Isaac goes up to the door claiming to be looking for an old friend. He speaks to the owner of the house who tells him that his tenant Dougie is the owner of the cars. The owner also says that Dougie has been living in the back half of the house for the past eight years, but just put in his moving notice not too long ago. Isaac tells him thank you and leaves even more determined to find out what happened.

Will Isaac find any proof that something really did happen to Ms. Gagne? Will the detectives continue to look into Isaac's story? Who is Rotchford/Dougie really?

Y'all this novella will have you playing who done it right along with this teenager. I think this one was a little too short, but I could be wrong. It is written with an easy flow and had me hooked from the very first chapter.

The Devil's Delinquets by Sawney Hatton

Cal and Derry are two teenagers that go to Van Buren High School in Montague Falls. They are currently sitting on the far side of the school's parking lot with a chalk pentagram trying to summon some kind of demon, but it doesn't work. An hour later they are driving around town in Derry's car hitting trash cans. The next morning they wake up in the car to find a dead squirrel had landed on the car. They realize that it is 8:15 a.m. and rush to school.

When they get parked and head into the building, they are stopped by Vice Principal Mr. Richards who gives them detention. They head off to class knowing they will be seeing Mr. Richards again after school. At lunch, the jocks and cheerleaders are giving them a hard time, but they ignore it. They arrive at the detention hall after school to see that one of the jocks and hippie dudes are also in the room. Sitting in the middle is a hot goth chick named Natalie, and she is sketching some crazy looking demon in her notebook. 

After the hour was up, Derry and Cal go out to the car to try to light a cigarette when Natalie comes up to them asking for one. Natalie tells the guys that she transferred from a different school just a week or so ago. She also tells them that she can summon demons and shows off her pentagram scar on her stomach. Just as she is about to put her shirt down, cheerleader Amanda that Natalie cut some hair from, and her boyfriend Kyle pull up next to Derry's car.

Amanda tries to get Kyle to beat Natalie up for her, but Cal and Derry tell him to leave her alone. Kyle lets Natalie off with a warning, and gets back in the car with Amanda. Derry offers to take Natalie home along with Cal. Instead of just letting her out, Derry and Cal go in with her. Inside they basically watch a small fight occur between Natalie and her super religious mom. They go down a hall full of family photos before heading into Natalie's locked room. Once inside the room, the guys see that it is completely decked out in burgundy and black velvet.

Natalie refuses to let the guys touch anything, but she does show them a jar. Inside the jar is a fetus that is floating in some kind of liquid that she says it was she gave birth to after sleeping with an incubus. An incubus is a male demon that sleeps with women in their sleep. She says that it is not dead, just in a deep sleep until the start of Armageddon. A couple hours later Cal and Derry leave and go to their separate homes.

Cal goes into his house to find both of his parents in the kitchen. They simply ask where he was, he has a beer with his dad, and then goes to his room to wait for the dinner that his mom is cooking. Inside his room, his turns on Metallica and a horror movie. Derry goes home to find his stepdad hunched over a bunch of wires while his mom and little brother are watching TV. He goes out to the garage to play guitar to drown out the fight between his stepdad and mom. 

Natalie performs a spell on Amanda using her hair, and has a dream like vision of Amanda. Amanda is sleeping in her bed when she wakes up to sun shining. She jumps out of bed when her hand comes off the bed covered in blood. Once standing, she sees that her crotch is just gushing blood and it fills her room until she drowns. Natalie's dream is interrupted by her mom knocking on the door telling her to go to bed.

The next day kind of flies by again, and Natalie doesn't really notice until Derry and Cal get her attention in the detention hall. It is almost the end of the hour when they realize that Mr. Richards hasn't returned from the bathroom so they just all leave. The trio goes out to Derry's car and instead of going home, they just kind of drive around for a bit. After driving around for a bit, they decide to try to scrape money together for some weed. Natalie offers up to go to her house to get some money.

Back at Natalie's, the guys decide to stay in the car while she sneaks in. Natalie goes in, sneaks into her parents' room, takes money out of the cabinet. She manages to sneak back out before anyone realizes that she is home. They go to Greeley Park to meet up with Marco the weed guy who hits on Natalie and invites the three of them to his party later that weekend.

Derry drives the three of them to the reservoir where they smoke the weed, talk music, movies, and the guys wanting to form a band. Natalie tells them that Satan can give them anything they want if they give themselves over to him. They leave the reservoir to get some food from 7-Eleven. When they are about to get in the car, Amanda and Kyle pull up into the parking lot. Natalie goes to the car and pretends to be looking for her bra when they come out. Amanda attacks Natalie, and the guys throw a fake severed arm at Kyle to break the fight up enough to let Natalie get into the car. Natalie reveals that she actually stole Kyle's comb so she can perform a spell on him too.

Kyle catches up to Derry and chases them to the Montague Falls train station where Natalie pretends to have a seizure so Kyle and Amanda would leave. Once they are able to safely drive off, they go to Natalie's house so she can grab her ritual bag. Once she has everything, they go to a forested area behind a grocery store. Once everything is set up, Natalie tells them to strip naked so she can try to contact Satan himself. After a few minutes, she makes a few noises and movements before telling the guys that they need to make a blood sacrifice in order to be accepted by Satan.

The next day they drive a couple towns over to kidnap a dog to use as the sacrifice. Later that night, they set up with the intention to kill the dog, but eventually none of them are able to do so because it is just too cute. They take the dog back to its home and drive around for a bit. After a short time, they decide to go to Marco's party after all.

They arrive to find it in full swing with people drinking and smoking weed. Marco tells them where the booze is and leaves them to it. Marco introduces Natalie to a guy claiming to be pagan while Cal goes to grab drinks, and Derry sits alone on a couch until a drunk girl approaches him because of the band on his shirt. After a while, Natalie gets tired of debating with the pagan and decides that it is time to go. While she is trying to convince Derry that they need to leave, Cal is so drunk that he smashes a bottle over pagan guy's head. They leave and come across Kyle and Amanda being attended to by first responders after Kyle wrapped his car around a pole. Natalie takes the accident as an omen from Satan himself, and they need to find a sacrifice worth of Satan. 

Will Cal and Derry really help Natalie before a blood sacrifice ritual? Is she really able to summon demons and talk to Satan? Will Satan actually grant them anything their hearts desire? What or who will they sacrifice the following day?

Y'all this book was definitely so twisted that I had to ask myself WTF a few times. I think it is still a great spooky read, but I had to stop a couple times just to process what was happening,

A Many Splendid Thing by Patrick Thomas

Jethro is a Senior at Van Buren High School in Montague Falls who has not had an easy life here lately. His mom left his dad which lead to his dad become a secret alcoholic while his mom acts like Jethro does not exist. To make matters worse, Jethro is currently talking to Officer Meyers about a dead body that Jethro discovered on the way over to a friend's house. Meyers doesn't believe him and is about to take him to the station, but Sgt. Hansen steps in just in time. Why? Because Sgt. Hansen is an old time friend of Jethro's dad. 

After doing a small version of catching up with Hansen, Jethro goes home to find his dad already drinking and waiting for his TV dinner. Jethro makes them each one and then heads to bed. Jethro thinks about how much his dad has changed since his mom walked out. It used to be that his dad would do anything for him. Jethro thinks back on the time his dad made sure his bullies never beat him up again.

One day Jethro was walking home from school when the three rich kids jumped him and beat him horribly. Jethro made it home and told his dad about how it was a three on one fight. Jethro is then dragged by his dad to the bar where the boys' fathers normally drink. Once there, his dad proceeded to beat up all three dads as bad as Jethro was. When one of the fathers starts to threaten to call the police, Sgt. Hansen walks up and says if asked he saw nothing happen since Jethro's dad was with him all night. Hansen's family was way more connected which lead to the boys never laying a hand on Jethro ever again.

At school the next day Jethro deals with the same verbal heckling from his bullies, but he has gotten used to it and can fire back some comments. He is going into science class which is taught by the very sexy Mrs. Carmine. While she is setting the class up for an experiment, the bullies make a mess all over Jethro's desk. Jethro stays after class to help clean up the mess.

Once it is clean, Mrs. Carmine asks him to help her with the grocery shopping. He quickly realizes that she didn't really need the help and asks her why. She simply replies that she likes his company,  and tells him to wait while she goes back in the store to get her coupons the cashier forgot. While he is waiting, his mom and her boyfriend come up to him. After it is made clear that Jethro has no respect for either one of them, the boyfriend proceeds to beat the crap out of Jethro.

The one sided fight continues until Mrs. Carmine comes out and threatens to call the cops on them both. She takes Jethro back to her house to clean him up and ends up initiating sexual contact. Her husband is out of town, so they decide to spend the weekend together. She tells him that they can't be together again because of her husband. Jethro leaves thinking about how to change her mind.

At school on Monday Jethro is still on cloud nine as he heads to science class. When he walks in, he sees that Mrs. Carmine is wearing sunglasses to try to cover up a black eye. Jethro stays after class to ask her about it. She tells him what happened until they hear footsteps coming towards the classroom. She tells him to hide under her desk afraid that it is her husband. It turns out to be the principal instead. Jethro stays hidden though.

The principal tries to subtly invite her out to drinks to "discuss" the possibility of tenure for her. She tries to politely turn him down, and it very quickly turns into a battle of wits. He strongly suggests that she will have to sleep with him to get his letter of recommendation. She turns around and rips her clothes to make it look like he attacked her. She tells him that she will walk out of the school screaming that he tried to rape her, which will lead to a police investigation. To ensure that it is not a he said/she said, she will then find all the female teachers who were fired or quit during his time as principal to see if they can repeat her story. Jethro has no choice but to listen to everything from under the desk in anger.

Once the principal leaves, Mrs. Carmine takes Jethro into the storage closet and has sex with him again. Once they are done, she gets dressed and says she can't stand the idea of their relationship ending. She then starts talking about how they need to kill her husband. Jethro immediately starts trying to convince her to change her mind, and she just shuts down. 

He starts to walk her to her car when one of his bullies takes over carrying the books Jethro has in his hands. The three of them make it all the way to her car where she once again tries to get him to change his mind about killing her husband. When he still says no, she takes the bully home while Jethro goes back to his own house.

Will Jethro change his mind? Will Mrs. Carmine just find another student to kill her husband? Will anyone ever find out about the two of them? What about the body Jethro found?

This book was honestly a little cringey for me, but it was still written well. This was just a hard one for me as a mom to two boys. I am sure that someone out there will have a different opinion and I am completely okay with that.

This set of novellas will have you in the spooky season really fast. The three were great by themselves, but the fact that they are all linked by this small town that just cannot catch a break is great! Montague Falls will have you trying to figure out the cases and possibly a little terrified. I personally think this was a rather quick read even though I had to take breaks to process novella two and three. However, I still loved it over all. Thank you so so much to Reads and Reels for allowing me to be part of this blog tour! I hope that you are dying to get this spooky book for yourself. If you are, then you know that you can find links on my page:

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Octopus Curse


Alright y'all, this one was sent to be my the author herself, and it is a beautiful poem book that will have you in your feels a little bit. Since this is a poem book I will be doing the review a little different. I am going to tell you the things that stood out for me in the book, and then I will have a few of the pictures and poems included with the permission of the author. So here we go...

This book not only has poems written by Salma Farook but she also has beautiful pictures that you could just stare at for hours. The other thing that makes this book stand out is the facts about an octopus to start each section. The poems are beautifully written, and had me tearing up a few times to be honest. I am confident that you will reread the whole book a few times, because I know that I did. Now here are a few of my favorite photos and poems that I know will have you wanting more

"Is it possible to crave
What you have never had?
All I want to do
Is be with you,
Anywhere you want, I'll go.
And we just said 
'Hello'

-'I think my soul has met you before'"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"/This foolish heart
Is far more reckless than it should be.
Around you/
I say,
Look at all this proof,
Of how beautifully I heal.
You heal,
But, you're never the same again.
I sigh.
/This foolish heart
Is far more reckless than it should be,
Around you./"




"If only you listened,
To the things I didn't say,
You would notice
That my silences are far louder,
Than my words.
The commas and the full stops,
More weighty with meaning.

But, you don't hear.
To you, the presence,
And the absence
Of my words,
Are of no great
Consequence.

-'Loud'"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"You would leave
If you had even an iota of
Common sense.
I'm too selfish to point it out,
But I try.
Each time I push you away,
I'm secretly hoping you leave now,
Before I start believing you're here
To stay.
Please trust me.
I'm not good for you.
I'm the sweetest toxicity,
Addictive, too.
Even when you know it's your last,
You still ask
For just one more taste,
And Like poison ivy,
I wrap all around you,
And I'm not letting go.

-'Please Go'"


"I usually feed my pain
With vowels and words.
They bloom out from the tips
Of my fingers, unfurl,
To trickle deep into it's throat.
Until it's full, satiated,
Until it shudders and stills.

But the letters fail me today.
They refuse to be parted from me.
My soul has decided to keep
This guest as penance;
Even as it continues to scream,
It's stomach empty.

-'The Guest'"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Today!
I announce,
I can do it!
Although I can barely stand.
I convince the dawn,
That I am strong,
Even as my fingers tremble
With the effort of holding on.

This is a necessary lie,
Not deceit.
I repeat it loud and often,
So Tomorrow overhears it,
Believes it,
Becomes it.

-'Necessary'"


"If I could go back ten years,
I would hug that lost little girl
Tell her that she's the centre
Of the compass,
The directions cardinal.

'Relax, child. All good things
Come out a little golden;
Autumn dressed in it's glory
Coffee, that turns chocolate in the sun,
Your skin.

Breathe.
It's not your job to be fair and lovely.

-'Letters to myself'"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Sometimes two people can be
Perfect for each other,
Like two halves of a yin-yang circle,
But the world is a square hole,
And it's just not meant to be.
I don't care about the world, says he.
I stay quiet. I hear the whisper.
The world doesn't care about that.

-'When Time Lost it's Way'"


"According to the 
National Crime Records Bureau,
In India,
A rape occurs every twenty mintues.
That means
Three times in an hour,
Seventy-two times a day,
And over five hundred times a week,
I should remember to be thankful
That at least at this time,
It wasn't me.

Because when
A daughter of this great nation,
(In which Goddess are revered)
Cries out in pain,
Justice arrives
A little too late,
A lot too cold,

And in 3 out of 4 cases,
It never arrives at all.

-'When will it stop?'"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"What exactly does 'I miss you' mean?
It does not mean I will stay.
It does not mean I cannot live,
Without you.
Only that I realise it is a blessing
To know you,
And if only the world would allow it,
I would always be as near to you,
As you are to my every thought.

-'When I am not there, remember.'"


"I cover my hair
So it doesn't distract you
From my brain.
Amidst beautifulhotprettysexy
My heart only flutters
When you say
Brilliant.
Fierce.
and Fearless.
Because a woman enjoys compliments
You know,
Not statements of fact.

-'Brillant, Fierce and Fearless'"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"'How?' I ask her, perplexed,
'How do you love,
So unconditionally, someone
That bled your bones dry,
Caused pain beyond any other,
Only to demand more and more?'

'Because I am your mother,'
She states quietly.
'You will understand it then,
And never before.'

-'Mystery'"

I really hope that after you read my favorite poems and seen my favorite photos that you are craving more. This book will have you in tears some moments and cheering in others. It felt like each section represented a stage of love for a woman. From her first love to her first heartbreak to finding her own voice and strength so she can love again to becoming a mother. I am so happy that Salma Farook reached out to me and shared her book with me. It truly shows her hard work on each page. I know that I will be cherishing my copy for a long time. If you simply must have a copy yourself, you know that you can find links to buy this beauty on my page:

The Girl With the Hazel Eyes

Alright y'all, this is one of my Indie author sent books, and it is a Caribbean award winner. Callie Browning was born and raised in ...