A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, September 30, 2016

All Fall Down by Tom Bale- Feature and Review

You tried to save a life. Now you’re fighting to save your own. 
It should have been an idyllic day for the Turner family – until a dying man, beaten beyond all recognition, arrives at their home, uttering the words, HELP ME. 

Rob and Wendy Turner and their children try to explain away the horrific scene as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine. 

The family is unaware that they are being watched by someone with their own terrifying agenda, who will stop at nothing to fulfil their own twisted desires. 

But when hidden secrets come rushing to the surface, it’s clear not everything is as it seems in this happy family. Are the Turners a victim of circumstance – or does the key to their fate lie closer to home? 

Forced to fight for everything they hold dear, can they save themselves before time runs out – or will their act of compassion see them paying the ultimate price…? 



  All Fall DownAll Fall Down by Tom Bale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All Fall Down by Tom Bale is a 2016 Bookouture publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was trending for a while a few weeks ago, so I thought I should probably check it out and I’d say it was worth all the attention.

‘All Fall Down’ is a taut, edgy, psychological thriller, coiled up tighter than wound spring.

Rob and Wendy are having a nice evening, cooking outdoors, when a badly injured man stumbles onto their lawn. Later they find out the man has died. At first, it seemed like a very bizarre incident, but Rob begins receiving disturbing notes, and a series of odd occurrences has the family on edge.

Rob’s business was involved in some questionable dealings which he is just now recovering from, and his marriage has reached a turning point, with Wendy expressing dissatisfaction, and their children, Josh, Evan, and Georgia are each deeply entrenched in their own lives. But, when they all go away together for a family holiday, things go horribly awry, when they are placed in a terrifying predicament, putting them in survival mode, for better or worse.

Whew! This story really put me through the wringer! My heart rate spiked a few times and I felt nervous and uncomfortable from start to finish. The psychological terror comes from not knowing who to trust, not knowing what the motive could be, and from inner turmoil within the Turner household. Rob and Wendy’s paranoia is catching as they question event from their past, wondering if it is all somehow connected.

I like stories that expose the fragility of human nature, that implies we are all vulnerable to suggestion, are all capable of almost anything when it comes to survival or protecting our family. This story winds around those loops with precision, exposing the darkest corner of the human psyche, proving we may all have a trigger that turns us into someone we wouldn’t be under normal circumstances, and also proves the power of familial ties, and even the power of love, despite the turbulent and unorthodox way it presents itself.

The characters are certainly unique, rousing me to pull for them, but still left me feeling unsure about trusting them explicitly.

What secrets are you harboring? How far would you go to save your family? How much are you will to hide? What sacrifices are you willing to make and can you live with those choices?

Thought provoking, dark and chilling, and utterly terrifying at times, this novel is one you must read if like suspense thrillers of any kind.




Tom Bale has had a variety of jobs including retail assistant, claims negotiator and project manager, but none was as exhausting as the several years he spent as a househusband with two pre-school children. Tom has been writing since the age of seven, and completed his first novel at fifteen. After twenty years and hundreds of rejection slips, his first novel SINS OF THE FATHER was published under his real name, David Harrison. With his next book, SKIN AND BONES, he acquired an agent, a pseudonym and a book deal that enabled him to write full time. He lives in Brighton, England, with his family. Visit his website at www.tombale.net, follow him on Facebook, or on Twitter: @t0mbale (zero instead of "o").

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh- Feature and Review


In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .



I Let You GoI Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is a 2016 Berkley publication.

I heard so many good things about this book, by the time I got my hands on a copy I was frothing at the mouth with excitement. Did the book live up to all the hype?

Oh yeah, it’s very clever! The one downside is that it is hard to say much of anything at all about the plot, so I will refer you back to the book synopsis/blurb to get the setup.

I did have a few issues with a couple of lead characters, but since no one is mentioning that part of the story, I won’t either. Other than that, I was impressed with this debut thriller, which lures you in with a heart wrenching situation, quietly and slowly, but despite the low key pacing, the mystery deepens as you go along, becoming more curious and puzzling, and the last quarter of the book was absolutely riveting with one huge, shocking gut punch you will not see coming, which also comes with a few aftershocks.

So despite the understated quality the book begins with, by the time you finish the book you might experience a little mental exhaustion.

Although I hate writing such a vague review when I feel the need to discuss the characters and my personal opinion of them, and would like to have the opportunity to drop a few clues that would compel someone to give the book a try, I can tell you that if you like psychological thrillers and mysteries you will most likely appreciate this one and the cunning technique of the author employs.

Overall, this one gets kudos for originality, for tossing the formula writing out the window and for giving me a story that challenged me, which is just what I am always on the lookout for.




Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the UK police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant, and now writes full time. 

Clare's debut novel, I Let You Go, is a Sunday Times Bestseller and was 2015's fastest selling title by a new crime writer. It was the winner of the Richard and Judy Book Club readers' vote, and was selected for ITV's Loose Women's 'Loose Books'. 

Clare is the founder of Chipping Norton Literary Festival, and lives in the Cotswolds, UK, with her husband and their three children. 

For more information visit Clare's website www.claremackintosh.com or find her at www.facebook.com/ClareMackWrites or on Twitter @ClareMackint0sh #ILetYouGo

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda- Feature and Review

Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.


  All the Missing GirlsAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is a 2016 Simon & Schuster publication.

“It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle: that it must be lived forwards. – Soren Kierkegaard

‘All the Missing Girls’, is a crafty, twisty/bending mystery told in a very innovative way, backwards, like a countdown, leading up to the big climax.

When Nicolette Farrell gets a phone call from her brother, Daniel, regarding the health of their father and the need to sell the family home, Nic, reluctantly agrees to come home to Cooley Ridge.

A decade ago, Nic’s best friend disappeared, upending everyone’s lives forever. Nic is the only one of her friends to leave home, and forge a new life. But, now that she has returned, her past comes to roost in the present, when another young girl disappears, opening up old wounds, revealing stunning secrets, and churning up old memories, lost loves, jealousies, and hidden crimes.

Before Nic can move forward with her life, she must discover the truth about what happened ten years ago, and find out what happened to her young neighbor, Annaleise. In the meantime, she floats between the past and present, struggling with memory, nostalgia, angst, but most of all she’s afraid of how the past may affect her future, as her father, ex-boyfriend, Tyler, and her brother, are all under suspicion and every step she takes is being watched closely…

I loved the stylish presentation the author employed, which really challenged me and certainly staved off any hint of boredom. The story is told from Nicolette’s POV, who takes us on a moody, atmospheric journey into her past, which will throw turn her carefully planned future into complete disarray.

Nic was deeply affected by her friend’s disappearance for many reasons, stirring up feelings of guilt and remorse, while her feelings for Tyler remains unsettled. To top things off, she must cope with the drain of her father’s dementia, getting the house ready to sell, and the complicated relationship she has with her brother.

The new missing persons case, puts them all back on the old rumor mill, creating a renewed interest in the cold case.

All of this creates an aura of edgy suspense, and produces a creepy, heavy feeling of foreboding, that had me sitting on pins and needles. The characters are all secretive, complex, and even a little dangerous, which made me wonder what they knew, what lies they had told, and why. No one is above suspicion!
I can’t say I felt a ginormous sense of peace once all was said and done, nor do I know exactly how to feel about how everything turned out in the end, but I did find the story absorbing, and immensely satisfying in a dark and twisty sort of way.

I definitely get why this book is so popular and am thankful I finally got a copy, after months of waiting. However, it was definitely worth the long wait.




Megan Miranda is the author of the young adult novels FRACTURE, HYSTERIA, VENGEANCE, and SOULPRINT. Her next young adult novel, THE SAFEST LIES, will be published by Crown BFYR/Random House on May 24th, 2016. Her first novel for adults, ALL THE MISSING GIRLS, will be published by Simon & Schuster on June 28th, 2016. Megan has a degree in Biology from MIT and currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two children.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMeganM...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley- Feature and Review


On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs—the painter—and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. 

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members—including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot—the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.



Before the FallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is a 2016 Grand Central publication.

This is a very original novel, atmospheric and mysterious, multi-layered and suspenseful, but is also a scathing look at the media, which is clever, but caustically, woven into the story.

When a passenger plane, carrying nine adults and two children, crashes in the ocean, the only survivors are Scott, an artist, and a last minute addition to the flight, and J.J. the son of a prominent media mogul. Scott saves the child, miraculously swimming to shore, thus becoming a media sensation and labeled a hero.

The author introduces us to each passenger on the plane via flashbacks, while we watch the FBI try to determine the cause of the crash. On a more poignant note, we look on as poor, orphaned, J.J. is sent to live with his aunt and the adjustments she must make, and how Scott suddenly finds himself a media darling, and also the object of much scrutiny by the FBI and others who are chomping at the bit to make him a scapegoat, examining every tiny inch of his life, hoping to dig up any dirt they can find.

Determining the cause of a plane crash is always tedious, and leaves us all feeling disquieted and concerned. Was it mechanical? Pilot error? Was there an altercation during the flight? An act of terrorism? The search for remains and wreckage is harrowing and very tense, as well as emotional.

I enjoyed this story, and all the various insights into human nature, the various walks of life each person involved came from, their way of dealing with the cards they were dealt. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, which makes this novel more than just a mystery or crime drama, but perhaps it falls more into a literary position, as well.

I can’t say too much more, but I can say I really loved the last bit, even if the story ended too abruptly.

Overall, this is a very compelling mystery, is sad, emotional, but also has it’s uplifting moments, which, despite the horrible expose’ on the dark side of humanity, gives one hope, knowing there are good people out there, and hopefully those characters will inspire a little something in all of us.





Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, Critics' Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced, and served as showrunner for ABC's My Generation and The Unusuals and was a writer and producer on the hit series Bones. Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner on FX's award-winning series, Fargo.

A Fool For You by Katee Robert- Excerpt Reveal

It’s just a belated goodbye, right? No harm, no foul.

Foolproof Love #3
Katee Robert
Releasing Oct 3rd, 2016
Entangled: Brazen

It’s been thirteen years since Hope Moore left Devil’s Falls, land of sexy cowboys and bad memories. Back for the weekend, she has no intention of seeing the man she never got over…or the two of them getting down and dirty. It’s just a belated goodbye, right? No harm, no foul.

Until six weeks later, when her pregnancy test comes back positive…

Daniel Rodriguez hasn’t forgiven himself for how things went down with Hope all those years ago. He knows she’s better off without him, but when she shows up on his doorstep, panicking because she’s pregnant with his baby, he can’t help seeing it as a chance to make up for the past.

Too bad Hope has no intention of going along with his plans.


 Chapter One
Hope Moore held her breath as she passed the sign declaring Welcome to Devil’s Falls. She hadn’t crossed the town boundary in thirteen years, not since she sat next to an open grave as they lowered her brother into the ground. Not since she turned her back on her entire life here, whisked away by her parents to the best medical facilities Texas had to offer.
She touched her knee. She’d never cheered again, never run track, never done any of the things she’d had planned when she was eighteen and had graduated high school with stars in her eyes.
Stars in her eyes, and love in her heart.
Neither had lasted past that car crash.
Oh, it had taken the love a lot longer to die than it had her knee, but Daniel Rodriguez made sure she knew where she stood with him.
She caught herself taking her foot off the gas and picked up speed again. There was no telling if she’d see him while she was here, but it couldn’t matter. She’d moved past what happened that night, moved past the disappointment that she’d almost let sour everything else about her life. It might not have happened like she planned, but she’d made the best of her college experience, and she’d gone on to create a successful little niche for herself, helping people and institutions with too much money on their hands create trusts and scholarships for those in need.
And now Hope was back in town to finally do that in her brother’s memory.
She pulled onto Main Street, heading for the only lodgings someone out of town with no relatives to stay with would consider—Sara Jane’s B&B. It was a nice little place, but Sara Jane was nosy to a criminal degree and gossiped more than anyone Hope had ever come across. The second she checked in and went up to her room, everyone with a phone would be getting a call letting them know that she was back in town.
It wasn’t that it was a secret, but she couldn’t help but feel that she’d always be John Moore’s little sister, the one who survived when her older brother—her better in a lot of ways—didn’t. She knew that was her own insecurity. She’d had too many years of therapy to believe anything else, except in her darkest heart of hearts, the place she didn’t let see the light any more than strictly necessary.
But it was hard to ignore that little voice when driving through Devil’s Falls. No, not through. To. This was her destination.
Her parents hadn’t been too thrilled about her coming back, even for a limited time, but even they couldn’t deny that this scholarship she was here to set up was a good thing—the right way to honor John. He’d been in the middle of a full ride at the University of Texas when he was killed, and it made sense to set it up to allow other kids the opportunity he’d never be able to realize.
She pressed a hand to her chest and pulled into the nearest parking spot against the curb. God, even after all this time, it still hurts. Most days it didn’t. He’d been gone long enough that she’d processed her grief as much as one person could process grief, and she was able to focus on the good memories.
Most days.
Her eyes focused on the sign she’d been staring blindly at, and she frowned. Cups and Kittens. That was new. In a town as mired in the past as Devil’s Falls, change was something of a novelty. Or maybe she was biased in a negative way, because the only thing this town held for her was memories. Some bad, mostly good, all dust now.
Pathetically grateful for something external to focus on, she climbed out of her car and looked at the cheery window painting depicting kittens frolicking in between flowers.
The B&B could wait a little while longer. Her meeting with the town board wasn’t until tomorrow, so there was no reason she couldn’t do a little poking around in the meantime. Thirteen years was a long time. If anyone had asked her, she would have joked that she hadn’t expected anything about Devil’s Falls to change while she was gone.
Apparently she’d been wrong.
She pushed through the door and froze in the face of a pair of cats staring at her from their perch on a table overlooking the big window in the front. The sight surprised a laugh out of her. “Cups and Kittens, indeed.”
“In the most literal sense.”
She glanced over at the woman behind the counter, a third cat lounging near the register. Familiarity rolled over Hope. “Jules Rodriguez.” Daniel’s little cousin. Not so little anymore. Last time she’d seen Jules, the girl had been lanky to an almost awkward degree and had braces with bright green bands. She’d grown up pretty, and there was more of Daniel about her now than there had been when she was a kid.
Or maybe I’m just back in Devil’s Falls and seeing Daniel wherever I look.
Jules’s dark eyes cleared. “Hope? What are you doing back in town?” She hesitated. “I don’t suppose you’re here to sweep my brooding cousin off his feet and shove him back into real life?”
Her mind tripped over itself trying to keep up with the other woman’s verbal gymnastics. Jules had always been like that, now that she thought about it—a bright and bubbly steamroller. She tried to weed her way through what the woman had just said, but there was only one thing she could focus on. Daniel. Always Daniel. “What do you mean, back into real life?”
“Well, you know.”
No, she really didn’t. She studied Jules’s face, the way she wouldn’t quite meet her eyes. “Is he okay?” She hadn’t missed the way Quinn Baldwyn had frozen up when she’d asked that same question a few weeks ago at his sister’s wedding, and worry had been simmering in the back of her mind ever since, no matter how many times she told herself it wasn’t any of her business. Daniel was a grown man, and he had always been more than capable of taking care of himself—and everyone else around him. Things changed, but she couldn’t see that changing.
Jules shifted, her hand darting out to pet the calico on the counter and then darting away when the cat swiped at her. “Define okay.”
It was none of her business. It stopped being her business a very long time ago.
But that didn’t stop her from clearing her throat and asking, “Is he…is he married?” Did he build the house we always talked about and have those two wild boys and one sweet girl? Does he bring his wife waffles for breakfast in bed on the weekends?
Oh my God, stop.
But Jules was already shaking her head, her mouth turning down. “Nope. No wife, no kids, no serious relationship in, well, thirteen years.”
Hope blinked. “You’re joking.”
“I wish I was.” A calculating look came into her eyes, but then she shook herself and it was all guileless enthusiasm. “What are you doing for dinner?” She rushed on without waiting for a response. “We’re having a little thing with Quinn and my friend Aubry, and, well, I kind of went and married Adam Meyers.”
Some things really do change. She remembered Adam, the wild-eyed boy who’d grown into a wild-eyed man, better than she remembered Jules. No one had expected him to come back to Devil’s Falls after he blew out of town that last time, let alone to settle here and…get married. “Wow. What’s Daniel have to say about that?”
“He was best man at our wedding.” Jules laughed. “Though he was pretty furious at the beginning. Here, sit down. You look like you could use a coffee, and I’ll tell you the story since we’re generally pretty dead Thursday nights. Then I’ll close up and we can go to dinner. The boys will love to see you. Quinn was just talking about you the other day.”
Hope wasn’t sure she actually agreed to any of it, but the next thing she knew, she was drinking coffee while a cat curled up in her lap and listening to Jules’s wild tale about a fake relationship that turned into a real relationship. Somehow in the middle of that, she was bundled up into Jules’s truck, and by then it was too late to change her mind.
She settled into her seat, consoling herself with the fact that Jules had very specifically not mentioned Daniel’s name. There was no reason to think he’d be there, but it would be nice to reconnect with some of her old friends. As much as it had hurt when things went south with Daniel, knowing that she’d lost Quinn and Adam, too, had just been salt in the wound. She’d chased them around since she could toddle after her big brother and his friends, and they’d turned into true friends over the years. She understood why they hadn’t reached out, but she wasn’t going to turn down a chance to catch up with them.
It would probably be the only nice thing about being back in Devil’s Falls.
“Not interested.”
“You haven’t even heard what I’m asking.”
“Don’t need to.” Daniel Rodriguez leaned down and unbuckled Rita’s saddle and hefted it off the horse’s back. They’d had a good run today, the hot sun making it impossible to think too hard about anything other than whether a human being could roast alive in Texas in August. He hadn’t yet, so that put the odds ever so slightly in his favor.
All he wanted was to finish here and head back to his place for a cold shower and an even colder beer.
It would just fucking figure that the universe had other ideas. He glanced up, but Aubry Kaiser hadn’t moved. In fact, with her arms crossed over her chest and her chin up, all signs pointed to this adding up to an argument he couldn’t possibly win.
Damn it.
She frowned harder. “It’s your birthday. You can’t just sit at home by yourself.”
“Since it’s my birthday, this is the one day a year I should be able to do exactly that with no one bitching at me.” He regretted the harsh words almost as soon as they were out of his mouth, but Aubry wasn’t like his little cousin. She was meaner than a rattler and twice as likely to bite.
She narrowed her amber eyes at him. “Your cousin misses you.”
That explained why she was out here when he knew for a fact she thought horses were akin to goats—as in, the devil’s own creatures. Hell, she was giving poor Rita a suspicious look even while guilt-tripping him using the one person in his life he couldn’t say no to.
Which doesn’t explain why Jules herself isn’t here.
“She sees me on a regular basis.”
“This is your birthday.” Aubry sighed and rolled her eyes, looking put-upon. “Look, it goes like this—Jules has worked really hard to put together a surprise birthday party for you, and if you don’t show up to be surprised, she’s going to be crushed.”
He stared. “I don’t want a surprise birthday party.” The fact that it was no longer a surprise said a whole lot about Aubry’s priorities, and he couldn’t blame her for that.
“Look at my face. This is the face of a woman who doesn’t give two fucks what you care about. What I care about is Jules, and that means you’re going to go shower off the smell of that animal and show up at their house in an hour, right on time.” She paused, her brows slanting down in an expression that was downright forbidding. “You helped me out not too long ago, so I’m going to do you a solid and give you the lowdown. Ready?”
Fuck, no. “Sure.”
“Jules is worried about you. Really worried. If you don’t show up tonight, she’s going to take that as a sign to go forward with plan B.”
He knew he was going to regret it, but he still asked, “What’s plan B?”
Aubry gave a tight smile. “A full-scale intervention with everyone in your life, including your parents. The kind where they sit you down in a circle and each speak their mind in the most uncomfortable way possible until you’re ready to beg the ground to swallow you whole.” Her smile dimmed. “She’s worried about you, Daniel.”
Everyone seemed worried about him, though they usually did him the courtesy of at least trying to hide the looks exchanged when they thought he wasn’t looking. The whispered conversations with his various cousins and his parents. The never-ending work that was only there because they were throwing him a goddamn bone. It didn’t seem to matter that he hadn’t done anything requiring an intervention. He’d just stopped enjoying the company of people, mostly because he was such shitty company these days. But try telling that to the family, and they acted like he had just confessed to being an ax murderer.
At least Jules had mostly stayed out of it. Up until today.
He grabbed the curry brush and went over Rita’s back. Aubry was right. Showing up to a party he didn’t want on a day he sure as fuck didn’t feel like celebrating was vastly preferable to the alternative. “Explain to me what the plan is.”
She gave a grin that did nothing to reassure him. “Dinner and drinks. It’ll be nice. Adam and Quinn miss you.”
“I see those assholes every day.” Kind of hard not to when they worked the ranch alongside him. It felt right to have Adam back, to have Quinn there, but at the same time it was a constant reminder that they were a man short.
And it was his fault.
“It’s different and you know it,” Aubry continued, obviously enjoying how miserable he was. She’d always been a mean one, which never failed to amuse him because Jules was her polar opposite—as bright and happy as a spring day. Rita shifted in her stall, and Aubry went even paler than she was normally. “Dinner starts at six. Don’t be late.” Then she was gone, moving at a clip fast enough that a less cautious man than Daniel would call it running.
He waited a good five minutes before he followed, hauling the saddle into the tack room and sorting out the bridle. He didn’t begrudge Quinn his happiness—or Adam, for that matter—but sometimes it sure as fuck was hard to be around them and their women. The fact that one of those women was his little cousin barely entered into it.
He headed for his truck and took the pitted dirt road leading around the edge of his parents’ property to the little house he’d built a few years ago. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it got the job done, and it was far enough outside town that most people thought twice before stopping by unannounced.
Most people not including his family.
The shower did nothing to ward off the feeling of pending doom. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Jules or Adam or Quinn or whoever the fuck else was going to be at this damn party, but he wasn’t in the partying sort of mood. Truth be told, he hadn’t been in that mood for over a decade. It was almost enough to make him call the whole thing off, but the knowledge that Jules would have no problem bringing the party to him got him moving again. Not to mention the potential intervention he needed like he needed a hole in the head.
At least if he went there, he could hang out for the appropriate amount of time, make his excuses, and slip out while everyone else was occupied. Two hours, tops.
Feeling significantly better, he pulled on a pair of his favorite old jeans and a T-shirt and grabbed his keys. It struck him as he walked out the door that he was thirty-fucking-four years old. How the hell did that happen? He shook his head. He knew damn well how that happened. One day turned into a week, a month, a year, a decade. All while he kept on keeping, the world changing around him, but never changing enough.
He glanced at his watch. “Two hours starts when I get there.”

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and they changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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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: 

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: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Re...





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.