2018 Book 61: SUNBURN by Laura Lippman

Sunburn by Laura Lippman
ISBN: 9780062389923 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062389992 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062390110 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0727T88KQ (Kindle edition)
Publication date: February 20, 2018 
Publisher: William Morrow

One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.

Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

Which one will it be?

Add to Goodreads badge

Pauline “Polly” Hansen just turns up in the tiny town of Belleville, Delaware one day during the summer. No one knows that she served time for murdering her first husband or has recently abandoned her second husband and young child. She needed to get away to put her “plan” into motion. Adam Bosk is a Culinary Institute of America trained chef and sometime private investigator, hired by a former colleague of Polly’s murdered husband. He follows Polly to Belleville, ends up working as a cook where she works as a waitress before the two of them begin a relationship. The only thing Adam is sure of after a few months is that Polly is definitely keeping her background a secret, but then so is he, and that she isn’t hiding millions of dollars from his client. But then Polly begins to take mysterious trips, her apartment burns down with Adam’s previous sex partner and Polly’s rival inside, and more. Adam is pretty sure Polly didn’t have anything to do with the fire because she was with him but is it possible she simply used him as a convenient excuse? After a while, he doesn’t even care because he’s in love and willing to relocate or even run away if it means spending more time with Polly. When her “secret” background becomes public and she isn’t spurned by her boss, it seems as if the decision is made to stay in this small town and try to build their relationship. Just when it seems as if they have everything going for them and no obstacles, they both seem to begin pulling away, emotionally if not physically, all the while professing love for one another. Are there perhaps more secrets to be revealed? If so, will these secrets tear them apart or bring them closer?

I’ve read quite a few books by Laura Lippman and she is one author that never disappoints me as a reader. Sunburn is a taut psychological suspense thriller that kept this reader turning the pages (okay, I took a brief break to take my mother to see Black Panther…you try to deny an 84-y.o. when she says you’re taking her to the movies and she hasn’t been to a movie theatre in four years). I found this to be a fast-paced and enthralling read, the more that was revealed about both Polly and Adam the more I wanted to find out what would happen next. I enjoyed the suspense build-up, the cat-and-mouse playoff between Polly and Adam, as well as between Polly and almost all of the male characters. She doesn’t exactly come across as a femme fatale, but more of a little girl lost that needs a helping hand and most men seem oh-so-willing to proffer that hand to her. I enjoyed the characters, the interplay between the characters, the action, the settings… I could rant and rave about Sunburn for awhile, but it boils down to this, I really enjoyed reading this book and can see myself rereading this book over the next few months. If you’re a psychological suspense reader like me, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Sunburn to read. If you’ve ever read Ms. Lippman’s fiction, then I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to grab a copy of the book to read because it’s probably on your TBR list. If it isn’t, add it ASAP. For those of you that perhaps haven’t read anything by Ms. Lippman, you’ve been missing out, and I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of Sunburn to read as soon as possible. 

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This review and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

Buy the Book

Available at               BookDepository     |     Alibris

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org













Book Showcase: THE SHEPHERD’S CALCULUS by C.S. Farrelly

The Shepherd’s Calculus

by C.S. Farrelly

on Tour February 1 – March 31, 2018


The Shepherd's Calculus by C.S. Farrelly

When journalist Peter Merrick is asked to write a eulogy for his mentor, Jesuit priest James Ingram, his biggest concern is doing right by the man. But when his routine research reveals disturbing ties to sexual abuse and clues to a shadowy deal trading justice for power, everything he believed about his friend is called into question. With the US presidential election looming, incumbent Arthur Wyncott is quickly losing ground among religious voters. Meanwhile, Owen Feeney, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, is facing nearly a billion dollars in payments to victims of sex abuse. When Feeney hits on a solution to both men’s problems, it seems the stars have aligned. That is until Ally Larkin—Wyncott’s brilliant campaign aide—starts to piece together the shocking details. As the election draws closer and the stakes get higher, each choice becomes a calculation: Your faith, or your church? Your principles, or your candidate? The person you most respect, or the truth that could destroy their legacy?

When the line between right and wrong is blurred, how do you act, and whom do you save?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Cavan Bridge Press
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 272
ISBN: 0998749303 (ISBN13: 9780998749303)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

When Peter Merrick’s cell phone rang around ten on a Monday morning, his first instinct was to ignore it. Anyone who knew him well enough to call that number would know he had a deadline for the last of a three-part series he was working on for the Economist. It was his first foray into magazine writing in some time, and he’d made it clear to his wife, his editors, and even the family dog that he wasn’t to be disturbed until after the last piece was done and delivered.

Several months had passed since his return from an extended and harrowing assignment tracking UN peacekeeping operations on the Kashmiri border with Pakistan, where violent protests had erupted following the death of a local Hizbul Mujahideen military commander. The assignment had left him with what his wife, Emma, solemnly declared to be post-traumatic stress disorder. It was, in his opinion, a dubious diagnosis she’d made based on nothing more than an Internet search, and he felt those covering the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan deserved greater sympathy. He’d been a bystander to tragedy, he told anyone who asked, not a victim.

One morning as he’d stood drinking strong Turkish coffee on the terrace of his apartment in Jammu, he watched as a car bomb detonated in front of the school across the road. No children were killed. It was a Saturday, and teachers had gathered there to meet with members of a French NGO dedicated to training staff at schools in developing nations. The arm landed on his terrace with a loud thud before Peter realized what it was. Pinned to the shoulder of what remained of its shirt was a name tag identifying Sheeraza Akhtar, presumably one of the teachers. At the time, he marveled at his complete lack of reaction to the torn limb, at the way his response was to read the letters on the tag, grab a pen, and start writing down details of the event—a description of jewelry on the woman’s hand, the streak of half-cauterized flesh running from where it tore from the arm socket to the bottom of her palm, the way smoke curled from the remains of the school’s front entrance, and the pitiful two-ambulance response that limped its way to the scene nearly twenty minutes after the explosion.

Even now as he recalled the moment, he wouldn’t describe what he felt as horror or disgust, just a complete separation from everything around him, an encompassing numbness. His wife kept telling him he needed to talk to someone about what he was feeling. But that was just the point, he thought, even if he couldn’t say it to her. He couldn’t quite articulate what he was feeling, beyond paralysis. Making the most rudimentary decisions had been excruciating since his return. It required shaking off the dull fog he’d come to prefer, the one that rescued him from having to connect to anything. The pangs of anxiety constricting his chest as he glanced from the screen of the laptop to his jangling cell phone were the most palpable emotional response he’d had in recent memory. The  interruption required a decision of some kind. He wasn’t certain he could comply.

But in keeping with the career he had chosen, curiosity got the better of him. He looked at the incoming number. The area code matched that of his hometown in central Connecticut, less than an hour from where he and Emma now lived in Tarrytown, but his parents had long since retired to South Carolina. He made his decision to answer just as the call went to voice mail, which infuriated him even more than the interruption. For Peter, missing something by mere minutes or seconds was the sign of a journalist who didn’t do his job, who failed to act in time. Worse, he’d allowed a good number of calls to go to voice mail while under his deadline, and the thought of having to sift through them all made him weary. The phone buzzed to announce a new message. He looked again from his screen to the phone, paralyzed by the uncertainty and all-consuming indecision he’d begun exhibiting upon his return from Kashmir. After several minutes of failed progress on his article, the right words refusing to come to him, he committed to the message.

He grabbed the phone and dialed, browsing online news sites as inconsequential voices droned on. His editor. His sister. His roommate from college asking if he’d heard the news and to call him back. Finally, a message from Patricia Roedlin in the Office of Public Affairs at his alma mater, Ignatius University in Greenwich, Connecticut. Father Ingram, the president of the university, had passed away unexpectedly, and the university would be delighted if one of their most successful graduates would be willing to write a piece celebrating his life for the Hartford Courant.

The news failed to register. Again, a somewhat common experience since his return. He tapped his fingers on the desk and spotted the newspaper on the floor where Emma had slipped it under the door. In the course of their ten-year marriage, Peter had almost never closed his office door. “If I can write an article with mortar shells falling around me, I think I can handle the sound of a food processor,” he had joked. But lately that had changed, and Emma had responded without comment, politely leaving him alone when the door was shut and sliding pieces of the outside world in to him with silent cooperation. He picked up the newspaper, scanned the front page, and moved on to the local news. There it was, in a small blurb on page three. “Pedestrian Killed in Aftermath of Ice Storm.” The aging president of a local university was the victim of an accident after leaving a diner in Bronxville. His body was found near the car he’d parked on a side street. Wounds to the back of his head were consistent with a fall on the ice, and hypothermia was believed to be the cause of death.

To Peter’s eye the name of the victim, James Ingram, stuck out in bold print. An optical illusion, he knew, but it felt real. He reached for the second drawer on the right side of his desk and opened it. A pile of envelopes rested within. He rooted around and grasped one. The stamp was American but the destination was Peter’s address in Jammu. The script was at once shaky and assured, flourishes on the ending consonants with trembling hesitation in the middle. Folded linen paper fell from the opened envelope with little prompting. He scanned the contents of the letter, front and back, until his eyes landed on the closing lines.

“Well, Peter my boy, it’s time for me to close this missive. You may well be on your way to Kabul or Beirut by the time this reaches you, but I have no small belief that the comfort it is meant to bring will find its way to you regardless of borders.
You do God’s work, Peter. Remember, the point of faith isn’t to explain away all the evil in this world. It’smeant to help you live here in spite of it.
Benedictum Nomen Iesu,
Ingram, SJ

Peter dialed Patricia Roedlin’s number. She was so happy to hear from him it made him uncomfortable. “I’d be honored to write a piece,” he spoke into the phone. “He talked about you to anyone who would listen, you know,” she said. “I think he would be pleased. Really proud.” He heard her breath catch in her throat, the stifled sobs that had likely stricken her since she’d heard the news.

“It’s okay,” he found himself saying to this complete stranger, an effort to head off her tears. “I can’t imagine what I’d be doing now if it weren’t for him.” He hoped it would give her time to recover. “He was an extraordinary man and an outstanding teacher.”

Patricia’s breathing slowed as she regained control. “I hope to do him justice,” Peter finished. It was only when he hung up the phone that he noticed them, the drops of liquid that had accumulated on the desk where he’d been leaning forward as he talked. He lifted a hand to his face and felt the moisture line from his eye to his chin. After several long months at home, the tears had finally come.


Excerpt from The Shepherd’s Calculus by C.S. Farrelly.  
Copyright © 2017 by C.S. Farrelly. 
Reproduced with permission from C.S. Farrelly. 
All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

C.S. Farrelly

C.S. Farrelly was raised in Wyoming and Pennsylvania. A graduate of Fordham University (BA, English), her eclectic career has spanned a Manhattan investment bank, the NYC Department of Education and, most recently, the British Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She was a 2015 Presidential Leadership Scholar and obtained a Master’s degree from Trinity College Dublin, where she was a George J. Mitchell scholar.

She has lived in New York City, Washington, D.C., Ireland, and England. An avid hiker, she camped her way through East Africa, from Victoria Falls to Nairobi. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

The Shepherd’s Calculus is her first novel.

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Join In:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for C.S. Farrelly. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Giftcard. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2018, and runs through April 2, 2018. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Showcase: LOOK FOR HER by Emily Winslow

Look for Her

by Emily Winslow

on Tour February 12 – March 16, 2018


Look for Her by Emily Winslow

Lilling might seem like an idyllic English village, but it’s home to a dark history. In 1976, a teenage girl named Annalise Wood disappeared, and though her body was later discovered, the culprit was never found. Decades later, Annalise maintains a perverse kind of celebrity, and is still the focus of grief, speculation, and for one young woman, a disturbing, escalating jealousy.

When DNA linked to the Annalise murder unexpectedly surfaces, cold case detective Morris Keene and his former partner, Chloe Frohmann, hope to finally bring closure to this traumatized community. But the new evidence instead undoes the case’s only certainty: the buried body that had long ago been confidently identified as Annalise may be someone else entirely, and instead of answers, the investigators face only new puzzles.

Whose body was unearthed all those years ago, and what happened to the real Annalise? Is someone interfering with the investigation? And is there a link to a present-day drowning with eerie connections? With piercing insight and shocking twists, Emily Winslow explores the dark side of sensationalized crime in this haunting psychological thriller.

Trade Reviews:

“An intriguing, suspenseful, and briskly paced story with complex characters, evocative descriptions of England’s Cambridgeshire, plenty of clever misdirection, and a satisfying ending.”

—Kirkus Reviews


“Using multiple narrators, as she did in The Start of Everything (2013), Winslow spins the plot to a satisfying and humane conclusion, with Keene and Frohmann again proving to be a winning pair.”



“Winslow’s kaleidoscopic narrative technique, employing first-person accounts from multiple characters, makes for engaging reading.”

—Publishers Weekly


Look For Her is a nuanced, thought-provoking portrait of a crime and its aftermath. Beautifully written with an expertly twisty, surprising story, this is a must-read!”

—Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of Never Let You Go


“Surprising and satisfying, you won’t be able to stop turning the pages of Look For Her.”

—Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 13th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 006257258X (ISBN13: 9780062572585)
Series: Keene and Frohmann #4 | Each is a stand alone novel
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

From Chapter One

Annalise Williams (Wolfson College),
University Counselling Service,
recorded and transcribed by Dr. Laurie Ambrose

My mother picked the name Annalise for me because of a girl who was killed. Her name was Annalise Wood, and she went missing when she was sixteen. My mother was the same age when it happened. Annalise was lovely, much prettier than my sister and I ever became. She was the kind of girl you look at and think, “Of course someone would want to take her.”

Don’t look at me like that. I know that what happened to her was awful. It just seems a very fine line between being the kind of person that others want to be with and be like and treat well, and being the kind of person that some others, just a few, sick others, want to take for themselves. That’s the same kind of person, isn’t it? The loved and lovely. Isn’t that from a poem somewhere? That’s what she was like. That’s the risk when you’re the kind of person who’s wanted. Good people want to be close to you, but the bad people want you too.

There were two photos of her that the media used most: her most recent school portrait, and a snapshot of her laughing, with the friends on either side cropped out. Taken together, they presented the two sides of a beautiful and perfect person: poised and thoughtful, and spontaneous and bubbly. The kind of person who deserves help and attention.

Realistically, if they wanted these pictures to help strangers identify her if they saw her out and about with the bad man, they should have used photos of her frowning or looking frightened. Either there weren’t any (which may well be the case; who would take a photo of that?), or they couldn’t bring themselves to advertise a version of her that was less than appealing. The narrative is important. If you want the “general public” to get worked up, you have to persuade. Attractiveness and innocence must be communicated, even if emphasising those traits makes the real person harder to recognise.

In the end, she was already dead, so it’s a good thing, I suppose, that they used the nice photos. They’re the images that everyone remembers. My mum was a teenager when those pictures were in the paper every day for weeks, then weekly for months. Annalise Wood was the most beautiful girl in the world. Everyone cared about her. It’s what any mother would wish for her child, to be the kind of person that everyone would care about and miss if she disappeared.

It wasn’t until Mum was over thirty that what really happened to Annalise Wood was discovered.


Excerpt from Look for Her by Emily Winslow. Copyright © 2018 by Emily Winslow. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, 
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Emily Winslow

Emily Winslow is an American living in Cambridge, England. She trained as an actor at Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious drama conservatory and earned a Master’s degree in Museum Studies from Seton Hall University. For six years she wrote for Games magazine, creating increasingly elaborate and lavishly illustrated logic puzzles. She lives with her husband and two sons. She is the author of four novels and a memoir.

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Emily Winslow and William Morrow. There will be 1 winner of one (1) physical copy of each of the 1st three books in the Keene and Frohmann Series: The Whole World, The Start of Everything, and The Red House AND there will be 5 Winners of one (1) physical copy of their choice of ONE of the 1st three books in the Keene and Frohmann Series: The Whole World, The Start of Everything, and The Red House. The giveaway begins on February 12 and runs through March 18, 2018. This giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Excerpt: THE LONGEST SILENCE by Debra Webb

The Longest Silence (Shades of Death #4) by Debra Webb 
ISBN: 9780778330752 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488023545 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488204159 (audiobook)
ASIN: B072582J4F (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: March 6, 2018

“The twists and turns in this dark, taut drama make it both creepy and compelling.” —New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

A killer stole her voice. Now she’s ready to take it back. Don’t miss the chilling Shades of Death series from USA TODAY bestselling author Debra Webb.

Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years–or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by a dangerous serial killer, wasn’t something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive.

But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She’s finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can’t deny he finds Jo compelling–he’s just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer…

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

Read an excerpt
(follow the excerpt tour to read more):

Chapter Two

Copperas Cove, Texas
Sunday, March 25, 10:00 p.m.

The phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

The annoying sound echoed off the dingy walls of the tiny one-room apartment.

Joanna Guthrie chewed her thumbnail as she stared at the damned cell phone. Three people had this number: her boss, a research analyst she occasionally worked with and Ellen. If it was work, the caller would simply leave a message, but it wasn’t work—it was Ellen.

Jo’s foot started to tap so she stood and paced the floor. “Not answering.”

Why should she answer? The calls came about three or four times a year and they were always the same. Ellen would complain about her life and her husband and her kids. She would bemoan the hand fate had dealt her. She would never be whole. Nothing she attempted fixed her. Not the shrinks or the meditation or the yoga or any of the other crazier shit she’d tried, like cocaine, and certainly not the alcohol.

The ringing stopped.

Jo stared at the phone. Two minutes tops and it would start that fucking ringing again. She closed her eyes and exhaled a measure of the frustration always generated by calls from Ellen. Guilt immediately took its place. No matter the reason, whenever Ellen called Jo always wound up feeling guilty whether she answered the damned phone or not. A voice mail carried the same guilt-generating effect.

“Not my fault.” She paced the room like a freshly incarcerated criminal on the front end of a life sentence.

Ellen had chosen her own path. She’d made the decision to pretend to be normal. Dared to marry and to have children. Jo shook her head. How the hell could she do that after what they went through—what they did? Now the woman spent every minute of every day terrified that she would somehow disappoint her family or that something bad would happen to them because of her. Or, worse, that someone would discover her secret—their secret.

Deep breath. “Not my problem.”

Jo had made the smarter choice. She’d cut ties with her family and friends. No boyfriends much less husbands. No kids for damned sure. If she wanted sexual release she either took care of it herself or she picked up a soldier from one of the clubs in Killeen. She didn’t go to church; she didn’t live in the same town for more than a year. She never shared her history with anyone. Not that there was anything in her past that would give anyone reason to suspect the truth, but she hated the looks of sympathy, the questions.

The past was over and done. Dragging it into the present would not change what was done.

She had boundaries. Boundaries to protect herself. She never wasted time making small talk much less friends. Besides, she wasn’t in one place long enough for anyone to notice or to care. Since her employer was an online newspaper, she rarely had to interact face-to-face with anyone. In fact, she and the boss had never met in person and he was the closest thing to a friend she had.

Whatever that made her, Jo didn’t care.

Hysterical laughter bubbled into her throat. Even the IRS didn’t have her address. She used the newspaper’s address for anything permanent. Her boss faxed her whatever official-looking mail she received, and then shredded it. He never asked why. Jo supposed he understood somehow.

She recognized her behavior for what it was—paranoia. Plain and simple. Six years back she’d noticed one of those health fairs in the town where she’d lived. Probably not the most scientific or advanced technology since it was held in a school cafeteria. Still, she’d been desperate to ensure nothing had been implanted in her body—like some sort of tracking device—so she’d scraped up enough money to pay for a full-body scan. Actually she’d been short fifty bucks but the tech had accepted a quick fuck in exchange. After all that trouble he’d found nothing. Ultimately that was a good thing but it had pissed her off at the time.

A ring vibrated the air in the room.

Enough. Jo snatched up the phone. “What do you want, Ellen?”

The silence on the other end sent a surge of oily black uncertainty snaking around her heart. When she would have ended the call, words tumbled across the dead air.

“This is Ellen’s husband.”

A new level of doubt nudged at Jo. “Art?”

She had no idea how she remembered the man’s name. Personal details were something else she had obliterated from her life. Distance and anonymity were her only real friends now.

Now? She almost laughed out loud at her vast understatement. Eighteen years. She’d left any semblance of a normal life behind eighteen years ago. Jesus Christ, had it only been eighteen?

Felt like forever.

“Yours was the only name in Ellen’s phone I didn’t recognize.” He chuckled but the sound held no humor. “Her mom and dad’s number is there. Her little sister’s. The number for Alton’s school, my mom’s and the pediatrician. Mine, of course. But yours was the only other one.” He made a sound of surprise. “I never realized there was no one else. No friends. Not even any of the other mothers from Alton’s class or from our neighborhood are in her contacts. I just assumed she lunched and shopped with the other mothers. Set up playdates, but Alton said no playdates.” He sighed. “Doesn’t really matter now, I guess.”

Excerpt From The Longest Silence by Debra Webb,
to be released on March 6, 2018, by MIRA Books.
Copyright © 2018 by Debra Webb.

Meet the Author

DEBRA WEBB is the award winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama.

Connect with Debra

This excerpt and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

2018 Book 50: THE LOST CASTLE by Kristy Cambron

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron
ISBN: 9780718095468 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780718095475 (ebook)
ASIN: B072TK73MQ (Kindle edition)
Publication date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing

Launching a brand-new series, Kristy Cambron explores the collision of past and present as she discovers the ruins of a French castle, long lost to history.

A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France’s picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

As Ellie Carver sits by her grandmother’s bedside, she hears stories of a castle . . . of lost love and a hidden chapel that played host to a secret fight in the World War II French resistance. But her grandmother is quickly slipping into the locked-down world of Alzheimer’s, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty–the castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale–and unearth its secrets before they’re finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods–the French Revolution, World War II, and present day–The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind.

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

In 1789 Aveline was all set to marry the Duc et Viyant’s eldest son as arranged by her parents, but her engagement ball was interrupted by the French Revolution and she escaped with a little help. She is now living on the Viyant’s estate and recuperating from severe burns, being attended to by a former maidservant and none other than Robert, the youngest Viyant son. He’s disappointed in his father and brother as they fled from the attack scene, leaving family and guests to fend for themselves. Aveline is unused to hard labor but wants to be of assistance, but Robert is afraid she may be outed and attacked by participants in the Revolution. His goals are to preserve the Viyant’s vineyards, help as many people as possible, and protect Aveline. In 1943/1944, Viola is attempting to escape the Nazis in France. She is a British citizen and had been sent to France to spy on the Nazis. She and several other women were slated for execution but she was able to escape into the French countryside before she is “rescued” by Julian and the French Resistance. Present day France and Viola’s granddaughter Ellie is trying to unravel the mysterious past her grandmother presented to her. She’s not sure what she’ll find at the lost castle, but she’s determined to go there anyway and has a local guide helping her out. Three different women in three different times but only one thing ties them together, the lost castle. Their lives have been changed forever yet all find love in the same place. Is it the castle or something more that ties them all together?

The Lost Castle is three intertwined stories set in one rural French locale. All three stories are told in flashback mode and that took me awhile to get used to, because we might be in Viola’s story in 1944 in one chapter and then back to 1941 in another. The contemporary storyline is the only one that has a linear presentation. As a result of the constantly changing storyline (three different stories remember) and the changing timelines within those storylines, I found this to be a bit of a slower read than normal for me. Of course, that might also have been the gradually increasing migraine headache… I actually enjoyed reading The Lost Castle once I got used to the shifting storylines and all of the characters. There’s a lot of action going on in this story, the build-up to the French Revolution, the Revolution itself, and then the aftermath in Aveline’s storyline. In Viola’s storyline we have World War II from 1941 through 1944 in both England and France. The contemporary storyline with Ellie presents her storyline and brings all three lines together (no, I’m not going to tell you how, read the book). For those of you that enjoy reading historical fiction blended with contemporary fiction, I recommend you read The Lost Castle. For those of you that simply enjoy reading complex romance stories, then again I recommend you read The Lost Castle.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About Kristy Cambron

Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Book Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists for 2014 & 2015, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy’s first Bible studies, THE VERSE MAPPING SERIES, will release in 2018.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development from a Fortune-100 Corporation. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and could probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

Connect with Kristy

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

This review and blog tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

2018 Book 45: CHECK ME OUT by Becca Wilhite

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite
ISBN: 9781629723273 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629735467 (ebook)

ISBN: 9781538488096 (audiobook)

ASIN: B0787CTHTX (Kindle edition)

Publication date: February 3, 2018 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school civics teacher and debate coach. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a “battle of the bands” book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks; Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

Check Me Out is a contemporary romance–with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac–that reminds us that it is what’s on the inside that matters most.

Add to Goodreads badge

Greta has worked for the Hamilton library since she was fourteen years old. It was the part-time work at the library that helped her to decide upon her career in library science. After obtaining both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she’s happy to be back in Hamilton township and working at the Hamilton library as the assistant librarian. The only thing missing from her life is a boyfriend and then voila, in walks Mac and he appears to be everything she’s everything wanted in a man. After checking her out, and a book, he hands her a card indicating he’s her 24th birthday present (kind of, sort of, almost, maybe) from her best friend Will. Greta wishes she could say her relationship with Mac is perfect, but it isn’t as he never seems to ask her what she wants when going out on dates and just takes her to his favorite places initially (Greta doesn’t do well with the Indian restaurant, but he took her out so points to Mac). Mac never says much when they’re together and he always has his phone out, which Greta finds annoying, but he sends her the best text messages ever. Then she finds out that the library may be closed unless a local bond issue passes and Mac just doesn’t seem to get it. He tries to be there for her, but she’s always turning to her bestie Will for advice, help, etc. Greta does everything she can think of to try and bring the library into the spotlight including a literary-themed battle of the bands, bringing a favorite children’s author, and more but it seems like the bond issue is dead before the election day. Then she finds out the Mac isn’t who he seems to be and that Will may have had a hand in the situation? Cutting off Mac doesn’t seem to be so bad but can she sever ties with her best friend? That seems bad enough but then Greta does something that puts the future of her job on the line. 

Check Me Out is a quick, romance read and the first I’ve read by Ms. Wilhite. I found the subject matter to be quite timely because my local library system was dealing with a local bond issue a few years ago and it was unclear if it would pass or not until the last few hours of election day (thankfully, it did). I enjoyed the meet-cute story with Greta and Mac, as well as the best-friend to lover quandary that she finds herself in with Will in the end. Obviously, this is a romance with an HEA, so all ends well but it how Ms. Wilhite gets there that’s important. I don’t know what it says about me, but one of the most enjoyable parts of the storyline were the somewhat snarky tweets that Greta sent out on behalf of the library with the hashtag SaveTheLibrary (which is the exact same hashtag my library system used when it was fighting to secure funding). There’s a bit more than the meet-cute romance set-up, friends-to-lovers angle, and save the library in this story, there’s also an interesting story about the history of the town and one person in particular that Greta gets a chance to meet and befriend. For all of you romance readers that enjoy library-themed reads, you’ll want to grab a copy of Check Me Out to read. For those of you that enjoy library-themed reads and aren’t quite sure about the romance angle, go ahead and get a copy of Check Me Out to read. You’ll enjoy the library action and history in the story and, hopefully, get a laugh or two from the tweets.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Buy the Book

Available from          BookDepository     |     Alibris

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org



Check Me Out

Check Me Out

Check Me Out






2018 Book 43: THE CLINIC by David Jester

The Clinic by David Jester
ISBN: 9781510704374 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781510704442 (ebook)
ASIN: B0773TYH2C (Kindle edition)
Publication date: February 6, 2018 
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

An isolated rehab clinic. Three lost souls. One big secret. 

They each had their own demons to face, and none of them had much to live for. Malcolm was alone in the world, Darren might as well have been, and Eddie . . . well, Eddie wished he was. Crime wasn’t a way out for them; it was just a way to survive.

But the clinic was a job too far, a risk that didn’t justify the reward.
The isolated rehab clinic should have been an easy target. But this simple job would turn into a nightmare that none of the young men could have foreseen, unleashing an evil that was sown way before their time.

The Clinic is a twisted, macabre, and chilling tale told from the perspective of three delinquents, young men who never had a chance and are forced to make their own ways in life. They set their sights on an out-of-town rehab clinic, hoping to pilfer the prized possessions of rich alcoholics and addicts. But the clinic is not what they thought it was. Their plan inevitably goes awry and their night of petty crime turns into a fight for survival.

Can the boys make it out alive, and will their lifelong friendship remain intact once the truth is revealed?

Add to Goodreads badge

Eddie, Darren, and Malcolm are all only children and have been friends for as long as they can remember. Darren lives with his mother, an alcoholic and drug-addict, and her latest live-in boyfriend. Malcolm is currently living alone since his mother has disappeared and his father left years earlier. Eddie lives in a much nicer neighborhood than either Darren or Malcolm and resides in a four-bedroom house with his mother and father. These are not your average rambunctious, spirited teenage boys, as they’ve burgled homes and are looking to move up to something more. Eddie tells them about a posh rehab clinic outside of town and suggests they head out and rob the clinic. They venture out to check out the location and decide to give it a go with the thoughts that the place is far outside of town, the security guard is old and seems to be sleeping on the job, and there doesn’t seem to be a good security setup. What could possibly go wrong? Everything can and does go wrong. This isn’t a posh rehab clinic but a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane and the boys have wandered into the midst of a living nightmare. They find tortured and mutilated bodies of staff and “residents.” They have to fight, several times, to get away from the residents wanting them to play their torture games. It was relatively easy getting into the clinic, but it’s not so easy getting out. They get separated and things seem to go from bad to worse. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, they find one another and attempt to leave before it’s too late? Will they be able to escape from this night’s horror?

I’m not a huge fan of horror, by any stretch of the imagination, and although I began reading The Clinic on a Friday afternoon, I had to set it aside for awhile because it was just a bit too creepy. I finished reading it on Saturday morning and it gave my chills chills. I found it a bit difficult to get into the story primarily because I felt all three of the primary characters were pricks and I didn’t like them (sorry, but they had little redeeming qualities). This doesn’t normally turn me off, but there was just something about all three of these teen boys that set me off until I was midway through the story and they began to literally fight for their lives (okay, I still don’t like Eddie and if you read the book you’ll understand why). There’s a lot of murder and mayhem in The Clinic along with twisted characters (again, read the book to fully understand this statement). If you’re into the macabre, horror, or want a twisted read, then I can recommend you read The Clinic. Mr. Jester doesn’t provide overly graphic details, but it does get a bit gory at times. If you’re faint of heart and not quite sure about horror thrillers, then you may want to give this a pass or simply read it during the daylight (and steer clear of seemingly unattended buildings in rural areas). As I’ve previously stated, I’m not a horror fan but I actually enjoyed reading The Clinic and found that Mr. Jester provided just enough thrilling twists to keep me entertained and turning the page, hopefully, you will too.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Buy the Book

Available at             BookDepository     |     Alibris

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org



The Clinic: A Thriller

The Clinic: A Thriller

The Clinic: A Thriller




The Clinic : A Thriller