Before the Fall

Before the Fall
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Devil Sent the Rain

Devil Sent the Rain
Devil Sent the Rain by Lisa Turner

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne- Feature and Review


Can the fiercest master of battle conquer a woman’s heart?

They call him the Demon Highlander. The fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known for his superhuman strength, towering presence, and fiery passion in the heat of battle. As Laird to the MacKenzie clan, the undefeated Marquess has vanquished his foes with all rage and wrath of his barbaric Highland ancestors. But when an English governess arrives to care for his children, the master of war finds himself up against his greatest opponent... in the game of love.

Defying all expectations, Miss Philomena is no plain-faced spinster but a ravishing beauty with voluptuous curves and haughty full lips that rattle the Laird to his core. Unintimidated by her master’s raw masculinity and savage ways, the headstrong lass manages to tame not only his wild children but the beast in his soul. With each passing day, Liam grows fonder of Miss Mena—and more suspicious. What secret is she hiding behind those emerald eyes? What darkness brought her to his keep? And how can he conquer this magnificent woman’s heart... without surrendering his own?



The Highlander (Victorian Rebels, #3)The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Highlander by Kerrigan Bryne is a 2016 St. Martin’s Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This third installment in the Victorian Rebels series snapped me to attention with the prologue and it never lost momentum.

Mena escapes a fate worse than death, is provided with a new name, and sent to Scotland with a position as a governess for the ‘Demon Highlander’, Laird Liam MacKenzie.

Did she trade one bad place for another?

This author has quickly climbed to the top of my list of favorite historical romance writers. I have become so picky about my historical romances, burned out on Regency, sick of weak, tepid story lines, that lacked any kind of backbone. It was all so sugary sweet, filled with historical discrepancies, and mostly just disappointing.

Then along came Kerrigan Byrnre…

Now here is a story I could sink my teeth into, giving me something to chew on, and a plot I won’t forget five minutes after I finished reading it.

Liam’s life has been very hard and it is not just the horror and ravishes of war that haunts him. He’s committed real atrocities in his life and lives with the guilt of his crimes every day. He’s brash, ill tempered, jealous, quick to draw assumptions, and may breathe fire. He is a huge brute of a man, and ignites fear in everyone but his children, who are in need of a little polishing before they embark on their duties as adults.

Mena and Liam get off to a comical, but rocky start, but things get even more complicated when Liam finds himself fighting long buried emotions, throwing a temper tantrum one minute ,then turning to mush the next, while Mena finds her voice, standing firm against the formidable Marquess, all while falling hopelessly in love with him.

This story delves into the abuse women were prey to by their husbands, who could do with them whatever they pleased. Hit them, send them to an asylum, and lock them away for as long as them pleased, subjecting them to atrocities we can not even begin to fathom.

If the wife of a Viscount could find herself in such a position, think how poorly a prostitute might fare, which is something Liam knows first hand, as he is subjected to mental, emotional, and psychological abuse by his father.

While these are dark themes, the best part is seeing two very troubled souls overcome great adversity, gain peace, experience redemption, and know the healing power of love. This type of journey is so much more rewarding cause the characters must overcome so many obstacles, tackle meaty issues, but walk out of the darkest places of their minds, hearts and souls, and into the light, to a place where life has a different meaning for them now, each knowing how fortunate they are to have each other, and a life they can cherish together. This is what makes a love story epic.
Don’t get me wrong, the story is not overly heavy, it is a very sweet story, and has twists, suspense, and adventure, and sexy time, too, but at the heart of it all, is the progress the characters make, which is uplifting and will leave you smiling from ear to ear!!


Kerrigan has done many things to pay the bills, from law enforcement to belly dance instructor. Now she's finally able to have the career she'd decided upon at thirteen when she announced to her very skeptical family that she was going to "grow up to be a romance novelist." Whether she's writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in almost every story. 

She's the author of THE HIGHWAYMAN, THE HUNTER, THE HIGHLANDER, and THE DUKE, coming soon from St. Martin's Press.

THE HUNTER, has been named the one of Amazon's best books of the Month for 2016!

She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast.

Kerrigan loves to hear from her readers! To contact her or learn more about her books, please visit her sites:!/kerrigan.byrne.9

The Laws of Seduction Series by Ava Hayworth- Book Blast + Giveaway

If you are a fan of Fifty Shades, this scorching workplace drama is a must-read.

Laws of Seduction #1
Ava Hayworth

The Laws of Seduction series featuring Lainey and James, two people who have to put their pasts behind them and learn to take risks. 

Readers should be warned that this story is intensely romantic, deeply seductive, and beyond addictive. If you are a fan of Fifty Shades, this scorching workplace drama is a must-read.

I am not the type of girl to sleep around, so it is a shock when I come face to face with my one and only one-night stand on my first day at my new job as a junior associate at one of Manhattan’s biggest law firms. It turns out that my one-night stand has a reputation as a player and is one of the biggest commitment-phobes on the island. Not to mention the fact that he only has to snap his fingers and women fall at his feet. Can I forget about the sexiest night of my life and keep my professional mask in place? This is just the start of my problems in dealing with the complex office politics and my exploding passion for James.


Laws of Seduction #2
Ava Hayworth

The story of Lainey and James continues in the second book in the Laws of Seduction series. Will the secrets from their pasts and forces beyond their control continue to drive them apart? Hold on to your seats, readers, as this scorching workplace drama unfolds

My job as a junior associate at one of Manhattan’s largest law firms couldn’t be going better. It’s my personal life that keeps me off balance. I thought James and I were off to a fresh start, but he continues to blow hot one moment and cold the next. James works closely with a beautiful senior associate from our firm. Seeing them together every day makes my doubts grow. What is really going on between them? Is he worth it? Maybe I should give my summer fling Davis another chance, or were things really that bad with my ex-boyfriend Mark? He says he wants me back. Can I resist the seductive allure of James McAllister, or am I just kidding myself?


Laws of Seduction #3
Ava Hayworth

Lainey opens up to James about her past. Is keeping their relationship a secret ultimately going to tear them apart? Can they learn to trust before it is too late?

James comes from wealth, a lot of wealth. I don’t know if I can fit into his world. His family hates me because I am not one of them. It is not only his family. My brother still blames James for his girlfriend’s death. The arson in my office remains unsolved, and I am beginning to receive other threats. Are they from one of the women obsessed with James or could it be someone else?


Laws of Seduction #4
Ava Hayworth

Read the exciting conclusion to the story of James and Lainey.

Contemporary romance writer, Ava Hayworth, pulls out all the stops in this breathtaking saga.
I understand that James wants to protect me and keep me safe, but he goes about it the wrong way. I can’t live a life where the man I love shuts me out. I long for James to share his problems with me so that we can work together as a team. Will he ever learn that he can trust me?


Ava Hayworth is grateful to be doing what she loves best – writing full time! She has been a voracious romance reader for as long as she can remember, and nothing makes her happier than plotting the love lives of the characters she creates. After living and working in New York City, Ava moved with her family, which includes a husband, two kids and a cat, to Berlin, Germany. When she is not writing, she tries to soak up as much German language and culture as she can.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell- Feature and Review

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.



The Girls in the GardenThe Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell is a 2016 Atria publication.

This is my first novel by this author, but now that she is on my radar I plan to check out her other books, as well.

When Clare’s husband, Chris, has a psychotic episode, and winds up institutionalized, she and her daughters, Grace and Pip, move into a new apartment surrounded by a delightful communal garden. Grace begins to worm her way into the group of kids who hang out in the park, while Pip hangs back, writing her father letters, telling all about their new life, and observing things from a distance. When Grace makes new friends, Clare finds herself getting a little friendly with her neighbors, Adele and Leo. Leo makes the biggest impression on her with his easy going, slightly flirtatious manner, prompting her to open up about her problems, which seems to lighten her burden considerably.

But, when Grace is found unconscious, and hospitalized, remaining in a coma, leaving everyone unsure of what happened to her, a dark side of the idealistic garden community is exposed, with long buried secrets coming to light, prompting some to take drastic measures to protect one of their own.

In some ways, this story is a little quirky, told from various POV’s, but also does a pretty good job of creating a feeling of unease, and building suspense at a steady pace, with a few very surprising twists thrown in along the way.

Despite the odd presentation and the strange way these characters developed, leaving me unsure of how I felt about them, I enjoyed the book, and found it weirdly absorbing, and kind of unique, which is a good thing!

So, overall, I enjoyed the book, although it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, and think fans of psychological suspense will like this one too.



Lisa Jewell (born 19th July 1968, Middlesex, London) is a popular British author of chick lit fiction. Her books include Ralph's Party, Thirtynothing and most recently 31 Dream Street. She lives in Swiss Cottage, London with her husband Jascha and daughters Amelie Mae (born 2003) and Evie Scarlett (born 2007).

Lisa's Facebook page:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with "exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl," (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.



You Will Know MeYou Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott is a 2016 Little Brown publication.

I put this book on hold way back at the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics, and quickly discovered I had a very long wait ahead of me. FINALLY, I got a copy and immediately blew through the book at record speed.

I knew I was about to witness a train wreck, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. This book disturbed me for days after I finished it, and I still get a queasy feeling when I think about it.

The story, as you know, is centered around Devon Knox, a promising gymnast who has the potential to become an Olympian. But, while Devon is at the center of the story, the spotlight is on her parents and the tight-lipped, exclusive enclave belonging to the world of the elite gymnast.

If you need a book that has a likeable character, (not counting poor little Drew), a person you root for, or who rises up to redeem themselves, or need a mystery/crime story to wrap everything up in a nice little knot, I warn you, this novel does not do that, but instead will leave you feeling disquieted and chilled right down to the bone. It's good stuff!

While we all watch the dwarfed little darlings who perform at Olympic levels and cheer our hearts out for them, hold our collective breaths while they perform death defying aerial feats on a four inch wide beam, four feet off the ground, buying into the heartwarming marketing ploys that guarantee endorsement contracts, we never see what happens behind the scenes. The falls, bruises, sprains, breaks, blisters, and the hours and hours of training, the money involved, and the toll it takes on a family.

This book gives the reader a little inside peek into that world, and exposes an ugly and dark underbelly that includes cover-ups, manipulations, scheming, little fiefdoms, abuse of power, intense pressure, and perhaps something far more sinister, like murder.

Katie and Eric live a middle class existence, but they are in deep debt, paying for all of Devon’s training, and gymnastic needs, while their son Drew lives in his sister’s dark, lonely, and cold shadow, practically ignored by his family, but seeing far more than the adults give him credit for.

Because the Knox family has no friends outside the world of elite gymnast, their parents, and coaches, and because their life is all about Devon, they spend every waking hour they aren’t working or sleeping, at meets and raising money for Devon’s needs. Devon is isolated and sheltered, ridiculed in high school for her stature and muscles, and for her underdeveloped female attributes, but at the gym, she is the object of awe, is looked up to, but she is also the target of jealousy and resentment. There are no boys, parties, or dating for Devon, who must work hard to achieve every goal her parents and those depending on her are expecting of her.

So, when a set-back causes Eric to take steps to get Devon back on track, a young, good looking guy enters this elite world and turns everything upside down and inside out. But, when a shocking crime is committed, this community, so solid and connected to each other will slowly implode, but will also close ranks to protect the only life they know… no matter what the cost.

This story almost held me in a trance like state while I watched the events unfolding before me, as Katie begins to find herself shut out of the life she thought she was so connected to, trying desperately to hold on to her daughter, and her marriage, but is ultimately left shell shocked by the irony of it all.

The tragedy shakes everyone up, exposes cracks in the Knox family, the world of gymnastics, and shines a light on the mental and emotional strain the family is under, the true feelings they have, deep down, and how horribly sad these abuses, neglect, and their obsession really is, but the sadness is far outweighed by how cold and terrifying this book is. It definitely left me feeling shaken, and I admit, I may never watch the Olympic gymnastics events the same way again!!

Overall, you have to read this book to really 'get' the intensity of it, and I hope you will check it out for yourself.



Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, and her latest, The Fever, which was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University. In 2013-14, she served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at Ole Miss.

She is also the author of a nonfiction book, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir, and the editor of A Hell of a Woman, an anthology of female crime fiction. She has been nominated for many awards, including three Edgar® Awards, Hammett Prize, the Shirley Jackson Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Folio Prize

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Survivors will be Shot Again by Bill Crider- Feature and Review


Life is never easy for Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes. When he is called in the middle of the night to investigate gunshots at a haunted house, Rhodes finds the body of meth dealer Neil Foshee. Recently released from jail, Foshee has his fair share of potential murderers, including former girlfriend Vicki, her new boyfriend, the nephew of Clearview's mayor, and Foshee's criminal cousins Earl and Louie.

Complicating matters is Seepy Benton, the community college math professor who has a new summer job. He's founded Clearview Paranormal Investigations and wants to solve the murder by communing with Foshee's ghost. But when he connects with something else instead and a second body is found, Rhodes is left with more questions than ever. Who's the dead person? How long has the body been hidden? Is Benton really able to communicate with ghosts? And most importantly: What, if anything, does the body have to do with Neil Foshee's death?

Between the Living and the Dead, Bill Crider's latest installment in the critically-acclaimed Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series, finds Rhodes dealing with ghost hunters, runaway bulls, and assorted low-level crimes, including prosecuting people who don't use their turn signals. It's all in a day's work in Clearview, Texas.


Survivors Will Be Shot Again: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes, #23)Survivors Will Be Shot Again: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Survivors will be Shot Again: A Dan Rhodes Mystery is a 2016 Minotaur publication.

This particular installment was outstanding, a real head scratcher, and held my attention from the first page to the last.

Here’s hoping Dan will soon relinquish his boycott on his beloved Dr. Pepper, and will finally get a much deserved day off without incident!

For those who follow this series, you are going to love this new installment! For those just joining us.. feel free to jump right in! This book will appeal to all mystery lovers, but especially to cozy mystery fans.

This review is dedicated to Bill Crider and his VBK’s! Take care my friend.

This review is the copyrighted property of Night Owl Reviews

To read the full review, click on this link:



I was born and brought up in Mexia (that's pronounced Muh-HAY-uh by the natives), Texas, went to college at The University of Texas and North Texas State University, and taught high school and college classes for many years. In 2002 I retired as Chair of the Division of English and Fine Arts at Alvin Community College, in Alvin, Texas. I'm married to the lovely Judy, and we have two grown children, Angela, who's an attorney in San Francisco, and Allen, who's in the music business in Austin. Other than that, I'm a pretty boring guy.

Devil Sent the Rain by Lisa Turner- Feature and Review


Edgar Award nominee and bestselling author Lisa Turner’s hard-boiled Detective Billy Able returns in this dark Southern mystery about the murder of a dazzling Memphis socialite—and the scandals revealed in the wake of her death

The heart can be an assassin. Detective Billy Able knows that from experience.

Fresh from solving Memphis’ most sensational murder case, Homicide Detective Billy Able and his ambitious new partner Frankie Malone are called to a bizarre crime scene on the outskirts of town. A high society attorney has been murdered while dressed in a wedding gown. Billy is shocked to discover he has a very personal connection to the victim. When the attorney’s death exposes illegal practices at her family’s prestigious law firm, the scandal is enough to rock the southern city’s social world.

In a tale of the remnants of Old South aristocracy and entitlement, twisted by greed and vengeance, Billy must confront the secrets of his own past to have any chance at solving the murder of the girl he once knew. But as he seeks the truth, he’s drawn closer to an embittered killer bent on revenge—and eliminating the threat Billy poses.


Devil Sent the Rain

Devil Sent the Rain by Lisa Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Devil Sent the Rain by Lisa Turner is a 2016 William Morrow Paperback publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is book two in the Billy Able detective series, but it can read as a stand alone. However, now that I’ve read this one, I am hoping to squeeze the first book into my reading schedule.

When Caroline Lee, an attorney who ditched her fiancé, is found dead in her car, still wearing her wedding dress, it soon becomes apparent she is a homicide victim. Billy Able must determine who would want Caroline dead, and why.

Well, I have to say, I am impressed with this mystery and found I really like Billy Able, the southern atmosphere, and the Gothic tones, which are NOT supernatural, but are pure in the sense that the book features delusional and damaged characters- and that’s putting it mildly.

When Caroline Lee, a lawyer and member of a prominent southern family is found dead in her car after calling off her wedding, the suspects pile up in a hurry, giving detective Billy Able a lot to work on. As the saga unfolds, he discovers a personal connection to the case and the family. But, as he digs deeper he uncovers a world of shady dealings and the closer he comes to unmasking the killer, the closer he comes to putting himself in grave danger.

This story is a twisted family saga and crime story that perfectly captures the tones and overlays of the south, which always appeals to me. I love those deep roots, family secrets and lies, competition, revenge, backstabbing, the melodrama and desperation that usually suck a reader into its lethal steaming pot of poison, but add in a good murder mystery, a complex detective, shocking twists and mind blowing revelations, you the makings of, not only a good detective story, but good literary novel as well.

While the story is certainly dark and pretty heavy, it’s not packed with graphic violence, but instead is character driven, focusing on the scheming, various crimes and motives, and has more of psychological edge, which is another plus in my book.

I can see this series becoming a favorite of mine, so I will catch up with the first book, which will hopefully keep me pacified while I impatiently wait for the third release.




Fascinated by good people who do wicked things, Southern mystery author Lisa Turner examines human nature against the rich backdrop of Memphis and the Mississippi Delta.
Her debut novel, A Little Death in Dixie, raced to the top of Amazon’s Kindle bestsellers list and nudged Mockingjay – the third book in The Hunger Games series – out of first place. That was followed by a two-book contract with the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins. Her second novel—The Gone Dead Train, a 2015 Edgar nominee—explores lost secrets from the Memphis civil rights movement and the mysterious power of Santeria magic.
Turner’s mysteries coil the roots of Southern identity around her characters and then drags them into a world of blues, murder, and heartbreak. “I’m a story archeologist,” she says. “I keep digging into my characters until I strike the bone.”

Her Renegade Rancher by Jennifer Ryan- Release Blast + Giveaway

Colt will do anything to keep Luna safe, including put his life on the line.

Montana Men #5
Jennifer Ryan
Releasing Sept 20th, 2016
Avon Books

Colt Kendrick knows one thing about a small town, you can’t avoid anyone for long-especially a girl he crossed the line with and is best friends with his brother’s fiancĂ©. Luna could have been the one if he hadn’t done her wrong. Colt’s intentions are nothing but honorable, but his thoughts about Luna sure aren’t. How could he ever let a sweet girl like her go? He won’t make that mistake twice.

Luna Hill thought she lost her shot with the sexy cowboy, but sometimes lightning does strike twice. While she wants to see what one scorching kiss leads to, she’s got a job offer out of state. Will she stay stuck in her less than life, or reach for her dream? An unexpected and amazing opportunity will keep her in town and give her what her heart desires most, a chance to be with Colt, but it comes with a price that may cost Colt his life.

Colt will do anything to keep Luna safe, including put his life on the line, because nothing is more important than the woman who showed Colt he has a heart-and it belongs to her.

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Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.

Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

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