A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, August 31, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle- Feature and Review

                                                       ABOUT THE BOOK:

Daphne Dale never could have imagined that when she answered an advertisement in the newspaper that she would find true love. Now she has the opportunity to meet her unknown suitor, but it means traveling to Tabitha’s wedding, and into the heart of her family’s sworn enemies. Everyone knows the Seldons are terrible rakes and bounders, but Daphne will risk anything to gain the happiness she is certain is right around the corner.

Lord Henry Seldon is aghast at the latest addition to the house party guest list—one would think after the unforgettable scandal Daphne Dale caused at the duke’s engagement ball, she wouldn’t dare show her face at the duke’s wedding. But here she is, poking her nose where she shouldn’t and driving Henry mad . . . with an unforgettable passion that will turn enemies into lovers.


And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake (Rhymes With Love, #2)And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And Miss Ran Away With the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle is an April 2013 Avon publication.

Henry Seldon and Daphne Dale have become pen pals- nothing extraordinary about that, really, except perhaps for the fact that the Seldon's and the Dale's have been feuding for centuries.

When Daphne arrives at her best friend's engagement party, she is in enemy territory. But, she will endure for Tabitha's sake. Besides, the main thing on her mind is that she is finally going to meet her pen pal face to face. Instead she finds herself dancing with her sworn enemy, Henry Seldon.

Henry and Daphne agree to keep their distance from one another, but keep finding themselves thrown together somehow, and trying to fight off their increasing and forbidden attraction to one another. In the meantime, each of them continues to attempt a face to face meeting their elusive pen pal.

What a delightful story! Screwball comedy, mistaken identity, feuding families, passion, romance and true love!

The first half of the story is laugh out loud out loud funny. The middle of the story did lag just a bit, but rights itself as the pace becomes almost frantic as Henry and Daphne become desperate to find their pen pals.

When a book can take you away from your immediate day to day troubles, and give you a few laughs and a wonderful love story, what more can you ask for?

I chuckled all the way through this book and found it delightfully entertaining from beginning to end. Highly recommend, especially to fans of this author, but also to anyone who loves a romantic comedy or historical romance with a lighter tone.



Elizabeth Boyle's passions include her husband and two sons (or as she calls them, "her heroes in training"). In between the kids's activities, camping and gardening and trying to keep up on her ever-growing knitting pattern collection, she continues to write new and exciting romances.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Liar by Stephanie St. Klaire - Feature and Review

Today we are celebrating the release of LIAR by Stephanie St. Klaire! This is a Faux-mance novel you will not want to put down! You can purchase it now for only $2.99 or read it for FREE in KindleUnlimited!

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LIAR by Stephanie St. Klaire



Fake it until you make it. That was the mantra Cori Dash chanted as she chased a big city dream. The more you tell people you’re on top of the world, the more they believe it – just like they believed the embellished image she sold them with her knock off designer facade. It wasn’t lying if the truth stood somewhere in the middle – and she didn’t get caught.

Dominic Blackthorne owned half of that big city…and a reputation. Rather than dispel rumors or show the world the real Nick, he let his own fake image run free. Until Cori Dash – the only person who told him exactly how it was, even if it stung.

When Cori is faced with her ex-fiance, now engaged to her ex-best friend, it’s game on. In her boldest move yet, she concocts her biggest lie to date by introducing the first handsome stranger that walks by as her new fiancé. Happy to play the part, Nick is already planning the fake wedding of her dreams.

You know what they say about lying – the truth always comes out – and it hurts. Especially when Cori finds out she isn’t the biggest Liar in this game, and she’s been out played.



Amazon (KindleUnlimited)


Liar (A Faux-Mance Novel, #1)Liar by Stephanie St. Klaire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Liar by Stephanie St. Klaire is a 2018 SSK Group publication.

Whimsical, cute, funny, and utterly charming!!

Cori Dash is a dynamo! She’s been through quite a lot in her life, but she’ determined to pursue her dreams and achieve her goals.

But, when she spots her ex-fiance with her ex- best friend at a planned event, she can’t stand the thought of enduring their gloating, pompousness. So, she grabs the first guy who happens by and introduces him as her fiancé. She made the right choice, it would seem, as this stranger quickly caught on, making the bizarre exchange quite believable. To thank him for being such a good sport, Cori buys him a drink, and then proceeds to talk WAY too much about her boss whom has yet to lay eyes on, and his horrible reputation.

Nick Blackthorne is richer than God. He knows he has a reputation, but after Cori Dash described it to him, it woke him up a little. Now he is determined to help her have the last laugh about being dumped by her fiancé for her best friend. To that end, Cori and Nick continue to pretend they are engaged. It’s fun, and glamorous, and quite heady for Cori. But, Nick takes Cori by surprise as she discovers he is nothing at all like his notorious reputation- but what happens when the ruse ends, and they must stage a ‘break-up’?

This trope has been done many times, in countless ways, but this may be one of the most romantic ‘fake engagement’ stories I’ve read in years. I am not familiar with this author, but after reading this short story/novella I’m feeling very motivated about trying out her other books.

The story is very light, despite Cori’s background, which is sad and infuriating. She’s a real pistol and I just loved her spunk. Nick… OMG. He’s a bit understated at times, but boy is he thoughtful, and sweet. He may be just a tiny bit stodgy on occasion, but he did crawl under Cori’s skin and mine too. The secondary characters add angst and charm to the story, especially those who help Cori in both good and bad times.

Novellas are hit and miss with me, as I have stated many times, but this one is fleshed out quite nicely and a true delight to read. It was a real mood enhancer and would be the perfect lunch break escape!!


  Stephanie St. Klaire is a Pacific Northwest native currently living in Portland, Oregon with her husband, five children, and two ferocious lap dogs that are used to the finer things in life like sleeping all day. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found with a plate full of taco’s, a side of bean dip, and probably some gummy bears while being a little bit hippy and a lot bit busy mom’ing and wife’ing. When she’s not tossing around gritty crime show inspired serial killers and diabolical bad guys, she likes to make people pee their pants a little with a good romcom. Sometimes, her worlds collide, and she writes really funny stuff right before she kills people off on the pages! She loves murder and mayhem as much as a good laugh and HEA! That’s why she’s a die-hard Hallmark junky but loves her gritty crime shows – balance! Stephanie has always been a story teller, with the gift of “gab”, and a life-long goal to be a writer. Unfortunate circumstances with her health, finally afforded her the time to do so. Irony at its best, she began writing her first novel at an adverse time, to escape her circumstance and explore the stories in her imagination for relief. She is happy to share those stories with her readers, and bring a little fun, entertainment, and of course smexy characters to the pages. Follow Stephanie St. Klaire on Social media to learn more about her, how often she really eats taco’s, and to keep up with her work.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hard to Kill by Christina Dodd- Feature and Review


When Captain Kellen Adams receives a job offer that sounds too good to be true, she finds herself balanced between fascination and fear. All she has to do is break a code and find a long-lost fortune…or die trying.

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd kicks off her Cape Charade suspense series with Hard to Kill, a short story of treasure, treachery…and murder.



Hard to Kill (Cape Charade #0.5)Hard to Kill by Christina Dodd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hard to Kill by Christina Dodd is a 2018 HQN publication.

This novella is a prequel to ‘Dead Girl Running’ and gives readers a few more in depth details about Kellen Adams before she takes the job at Yearning Sands Resort.

In this story we learn why and how Kellen’s career military plans were thwarted and chronicles her next mission in which she searches for treasure hidden in German caves.

Code-breaking and art forgeries are always fascinating, but there are some very dangerous aspects in Kellen’s mission. Will she outsmart her enemies and complete her mission in one piece?

I enjoyed learning more about Kellen’s background, her strong character, and the experiences she had while serving her country. This is a suspenseful short story, with a very clever twist that truly surprised me!!

I’m very excited about his series and was glad to have this short story to tide me over until the next full -length installment.





— WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER: Cape Charade Full-length Suspense  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER…had better start running.


One secret, one nightmare, one lie. You guess which is which.
— I have the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
— I have willfully misrepresented my identity to the U. S. military.
— I’m the new mother of a seven-year-old girl.

Kellen Adams suffers from a year-long gap in her memory. A bullet to the brain will cause that. But she’s discovering the truth, and what she learns changes her life, her confidence, her very self. She finds herself in the wilderness, on the run, unprepared, her enemies unknown—and she is carrying a priceless burden she must protect at all costs. The consequences of failure would break her. And Kellen Adams does not break.





— WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER: Cape Charade Full-length Suspense #2 Jan. 29, 2019 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER…had better start running.

New and now! 
— HARD TO KILL: Cape Charade Short Story https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
— DEAD GIRL RUNNING: Cape Charade Full-length Suspense #1 ( Virtue Falls spin-off). "Dodd is at her most wildly entertaining, wickedly witty best.”— DEAD GIRL RUNNING Booklist starred revew

Want to know what Christina will be publishing next? Join her mailing list for updates! https://www.christinadodd.com/newslet...

Readers become writers, and Christina Dodd has always been a reader. She reads everything, but because she loves humor, she likes romance best.

A woman wants things like world peace, a clean house, and a deep and meaningful relationship based on mutual understanding and love. A man wants things like a Craftsman router with attachments, undisputed control of the TV remote, and a red Corvette which will miraculously make his bald spot disappear. So when Christina's first daughter was born, she told her husband she was going to quit work and write a book. It was a good time to start a new career, because how much trouble could one little infant be?

Ha! It took ten years, two children and three completed manuscripts before her first novel, CANDLE IN THE WINDOW, was published. In the twenty-six years since, her novels have been translated into 25 languages, won Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards and been called the year's best by Library Journal. Christina Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle (11/18/05, # 13 Down: Romance Novelist named Christina — her mother was very impressed.) With more than 15 million of her books in print, Publishers Weekly praises her style that 'showcases Dodd's easy, addictive charm and steamy storytelling.'

Christina Dodd is married to a man with all his hair and no Corvette, but many Craftsman tools.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz- Feature and Review


"I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead." Jane Hawk knows she may be living on borrowed time. But as long as she's breathing, she'll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom--and free will--of millions. Battling the strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane's husband, and is escalating across the country, has made the rogue FBI agent a wanted fugitive, relentlessly hunted not only by the government but by the secret cabal behind the plot. Deploying every resource their malign nexus of power and technology commands, Jane's enemies are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Jane's ruthless pursuers can't stop her from drawing a bead on her prey: a cunning man with connections in high places, a twisted soul of unspeakable depths with an army of professional killers on call. Propelled by her righteous fury and implacable insistence on justice, Jane will make her way from southern California to the snow-swept slopes of Lake Tahoe to confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.



The Crooked Staircase (Jane Hawk, #3)The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz is a 2018 Bantam publication.

Our vigilante superhero Jane Hawk is back. With each chapter of the series, Jane’s adversaries become more difficult to conquer, more diabolical, and evil.

This is one of the biggest challenges to date. The Techno-Arcadians- and the mastermind- Booth Hendrickson are whom Jane has zeroed in on. On this stop she must deal with Booth’s brother, Simon- a truly charming chap, who picks a female target, romances them, then proceeds to rip their world apart, just for kicks and giggles.

Jane is out to prove her husband did not commit suicide, to restore his good name, and to keep her son safe, but the deeper she dives into these murky waters, she realizes that the mind control program threatens the entire world as we know it.

With the government on her tail as well as the Arcadians, Jane must always be one step ahead- and she manages to do so with aplomb.

This is one of the most chilling installments in the series. The Crooked Staircase, once it is broken down and explained is horrifying!!

There are a few sub-plots at play here as well, and Jane’s son is in more vulnerable than he’s been since this adventure started, adding even more tension to the atmosphere.

With thrillers like this one several things must be explored. First, is it plausible? Well, truthfully, I’m not a conspiracy nut- but I like them in fictional books. But, what drew me to this series in the first place was that I honestly don’t doubt the possibility that mind control is something that governments have attempted, and with the climate we are in currently, I don’t know if I could discount the theory that rich, powerful, tech savvy men who seek to control the world would really try something like this. Do I have to suspend belief? Of course. It’s fiction, and there are plenty of aspects to the story that could only happen in books, could only come from the imagination of an author whose made a career out of dreaming up fantastical tales. Still, there is enough truth here to plant a few uneasy thoughts in my mind.

This book has the best storyline to date, but the book has some issues- all of them are purely personal pet peeves. Short chapters tend to create the illusion of reading a lengthy book, such as this one, at a faster clip. However, I loathe them and find them distracting and annoying.

I also hated the ending. I know there is another installment coming, but it’s not just the cliffhanger aspect- which I really, really, really despise, but the way the book just stopped. There really isn’t an ‘ending’ to it at all. This is annoying to the extreme, but because this series has more positives than negatives I will let it pass, but I hope it doesn't become a habit.

Overall, despite a few personal misgivings, this is a stellar installment in the series and I’m waiting with bated breath for the next book in the series!!





“We’re rewriting the play, and the play is this country, the world, the future. We break Jane’s heart, we’ll also break her will.”
She was one of the FBI’s top agents until she became the nation’s most-wanted fugitive. Now Jane Hawk may be all that stands between a free nation and its enslavement by a powerful secret society’s terrifying mind-control technology. She couldn’t save her husband, or the others whose lives have been destroyed, but equipped with superior tactical and survival skills—and the fury born of a broken heart and a hunger for justice—Jane has struck major blows against the insidious cabal.
But Jane’s enemies are about to hit back hard. If their best operatives can’t outrun her, they mean to bring her running to them, using her five-year-old son as bait. Jane knows there’s no underestimating their capabilities, but she must battle her way back across the country to the remote shelter where her boy is safely hidden . . . for now.
As she moves resolutely forward, new threats begin to emerge: a growing number of brain-altered victims driven hopelessly, violently insane. With the madness spreading like a virus, the war between Jane and her enemies will become a fight for all their lives—against the lethal terror unleashed from behind the forbidden door.




Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Art of Love: The Golden City- Book One- by A.B. Michaels- Book Blast

                                                               ABOUT THE BOOK:

Money. Art. Passion. Despair. Welcome to the Golden City 

At the end of the Gilded Age, the “Golden City” of San Francisco offers everything a man could want—except the answers August Wolff desperately needs to find. After digging a fortune in gold from the frozen fields of the Klondike, Gus heads south, hoping to start over and put the baffling disappearance of his wife and daughter behind him. The turn of the century brings him even more success, but the distractions of a city some call the new Sodom and Gomorrah can’t fill the gaping hole in his life. 

Amelia Starling is a wildly talented artist caught in the straightjacket of Old New York society. Making a heart-breaking decision, she moves to San Francisco to further her career, all the while living with the pain of a sacrifice no woman should ever have to make. 

Brought together by the city’s flourishing art scene, Gus and Lia forge a rare connection. But the past, shrouded in mystery, prevents the two of them from moving forward as one. Unwilling to face society’s scorn, Lia leaves the city and vows to begin again in Europe. Gus can’t bear to let her go, but unless he can set his ghosts to rest, he and Lia have no chance at all. 

The Art of Love, book one of The Golden City series, has earned the following awards: A Notable Indie Book of 2014 Silver Ippy Award New Apple Medalist Editor’s Choice – Idaho Book Awards.

Leaving the woman he loves, he embarks on a quest to regain his sanity and self-worth. Yet just when he finds some answers, he’s arrested for murder—a crime he may very well be guilty of. The facts of the case are troubling; they’ll have you asking the question: “Is he guilty?” Or even worse…”What would I have done?”

                           Free in the Kindle store-

                                              or with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription 

                                   CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE GOLDEN CITY SERIES!

About the Author:

A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned masters' degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she's an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. Her historical series, "The Golden City," follows characters who make their way in turn of the twentieth century San Francisco. "I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for happiness like the rest of us. So much was happening in the early 1900's that help shape my novels. Once I tear myself away from the underlying research, they are fascinating stories to write." Currently Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league. Her latest stand-alone novel, "The Price of Compassion," is Book Four of the "Golden City" series. It's scheduled for release this summer and will be followed by Book Five, "Josephine's Daughter."

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Book Blast Schedule

Monday, August 13 Passages to the Past Tuesday, August 14 Naomi Finley's Blog Wednesday, August 15 What Is That Book About Thursday, August 16 To Read, Or Not to Read Friday, August 17 CelticLady's Reviews Just One More Chapter Saturday, August 18 Broken Teepee Sunday, August 19 Maiden of the Pages Monday, August 20 Pursuing Stacie Clarissa Reads It All Tuesday, August 21 A Book Geek Wednesday, August 22 Creating Herstory The Book Junkie Reads Thursday, August 23 Katie's Book Cave Friday, August 24 The Book Review Donna's Book Blog

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Glamour, Gigets, and the Girl Next Door by Herbie J. Pilato- Feature and Review


Glamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door is the latest creation from entertainment biographer and pop culture consultant Herbie J Pilato. Based on exclusive celebrity interviews, this book runs the gamut of female television legends, from the iconic Mary Tyler Moore to the stars of the original Charlie's Angels. According to Pilato, "There are so many charismatic women who have made their 'beauty-mark' in television. I wanted to celebrate their contributions, not only with regard to aesthetic appeal but to honor the intelligence, individual wit, and unique talent and style that each of them have contributed to television--and how that great medium in particular was utilized to introduce and showcase so many amazing and wonderful women to the world." Suffice it to say, for exclusive and key information on TV's top leading ladies who shattered expectations and paved the way for successive generations, this book is the number one resource and go-to guide.



Glamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door: Television's Iconic Women from the 50s, 60s, and 70sGlamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door: Television's Iconic Women from the 50s, 60s, and 70s by Herbie J. Pilato
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Glamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door: Television's Iconic Women from the 50's, 60's, and 70's by Herbie J. Pilato is a 2014 Taylor Trade Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you are a pop culture enthusiast or someone you know is, then you will not want to pass up this wonderful, fully illustrated book. I love pop culture so this one appealed to me instantly. This hardcover edition is not as large as many “coffee table” books in length and width, but it's fairly hefty. I have already spent hours thumbing through this book, and my family has also passed it around, completely absorbed in the trivia and other interesting facts about television in this era and the many roles women played.

Broken into segments this book features women who could do a little of everything like Cher or Marie Osmond, who could sing, dance, act, and worked in both television and movies.

Teen angels, such as Patty Duke and Valerie Bertinelli- Country girls, like Donna Douglas ( Beverly Hillbillies) and the ladies from Petticoat Junction, all the way through to the women who played roles as spies, ( The Avengers, Mission Impossible) to the glamor girls like the trio from Charlie's Angel's, to super heroes like Wonder Woman ,to the ladies who brought the women's liberation movement to prime time television.

Each featured actress is profiled with a brief biography, their best known roles, iconic facts and best known quotes, plus beautiful photographs of the ladies, mostly in color but a few black and white pictures too.

The book is chock full of little bits of trivia and information about household names we still remember vividly to those who may have flown under our radar. There are a few “honorable mentions” in the back as well as an appendix, Bibliography and sources section, notes with added websites so the reader can check out the webpages for some the stars featured.

This is a wonderful idea to feature the ladies who paved the way for all the television actresses in the future. Many of the roles were traditional, some were incredibly groundbreaking and even controversial, some of these actresses would go on to massive fame and become movie stars, while others chose to work on the stage or in numerous guest starring roles. Either way, this is a very well organized, informative, and highly entertaining book. It would also be a very nice gift as well.





Herbie J Pilato is a writer, producer, actor, songwriter, and entertainment executive. The author of several media tie-in books (including NBC & Me, The Bionic Book, Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery, and many more), Pilato has also produced for the A&E, Bravo, TLC, Syfy, and TV Guide channels, as well as Sony, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, and other television networks and film studios. He now has several TV shows, books, and films in development, and resides in Burbank, California, where he established Television, Ink. (a production company geared toward family entertainment) and The Classic TV Preservation Society (a nonprofit organization that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education).

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal- Feature and Review


American-born spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope must solve a baffling series of murders among a group of captive agents on an isolated Scottish island as the acclaimed World War II mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal continues.Maggie Hope is being held prisoner on a remote Scottish island with other SOE agents who know too much for the enemy's comfort. All the spies on the island are trained to kill--and when they start dropping off one-by-one, Maggie needs to find the murderer... before she becomes the next victim.


MY REVIEW: The Prisoner in the Castle (Maggie Hope Mystery #8)The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal is a 2018 Bantam publication.

A classic ‘locked room’ mystery in a house full of spies!!

I will confess this installment in the Maggie Hope series was not at all what I was expecting. However, I found it was a nice change of pace after enduring some gut-wrenching emotional punches in the last few chapters of the series.

If you like golden age or ‘locked room’ mysteries, Ala Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’, you will love this one.

The story begins with Maggie being exiled to Scotland because SOE believes she is a liability, due to the bombshell military secrets she discovered. She is secluded away in an old Scottish castle along with other agents, who find themselves exiled as well, for various reasons. But, one by one, her fellow ‘guests’ are being murdered and Maggie is stumped, unsure who to trust, because, of course, they are all suspects.

The traumas and consequences of the war are not forgotten, but Maggie is not on an official assignment in this installment. But trouble followed her anyway. She's barely arrived when the first murder occurs. Meanwhile, Maggie’s friends and allies back home are beginning to suspect she may be in trouble. But, will they arrive in time and can they convince the SOE to release her?

Once it became clear that this book would be a bit of a departure from what I’ve come to expect, I was a little puzzled. I had expected some diabolical plot, but never imagined anything like this!!

But, it is hard not to be drawn in by the new spin on Christie’s classic. Before long, I caught myself playing along with the guessing game. Who would be the next victim? Who was the killer and what was the motive? A good old -fashioned mystery is always fun, but what about Maggie’s role as a spy? What does this story have to do with the war or Maggie’s mission? Well… let’s just say there is
A LOT going on at Scarra Isle.

MacNeal did a magnificent job of creating taut, edge of your seat suspense, starting with the location, and adding in a spectacular storm, and of course keeping the residents trapped, without any means of escape, with a deranged killer. Suspicion and paranoia reach the appropriate level of hysteria, building and building to the ultimate crescendo. This is not an exact copy of Christie’s novel, just to be clear. It has a fresh twist and is unique to this series, and not just some random intermission.

Yet, this installment is a bit unconventional, and unless you just want to enjoy a fresh twist on a classic golden age mystery, I wouldn’t recommend this one as a stand-alone. However, if you are a fan of this series, be ready to see Maggie’s detecting skills put the test in a way she never imaged.

Maggie will have more trials to face in the upcoming installment, if nothing else, but I think perhaps her dangerous knowledge that everyone thought would endanger war strategies, was blown out of proportion, and isn’t so dangerous anymore. A new assignment will most likely await her- and I’ll be there cheering her on!!





Susan graduated from Nardin Academy in Buffalo New York, and also cum laude and with honors in English from Wellesley College. She cross-registered for courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University. Her first job was as the assistant to novelist John Irving in Vermont. She then worked as an editorial assistant at Random House, assistant editor at Viking Penguin, and associate editor and staff writer at Dance Magazine in New York City. As a freelance writer, she wrote two non-fiction books and for the publications of New York City Ballet.

Susan is married and lives with her husband, Noel MacNeal, a television performer, writer and director, and their son in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Follow on Twitter -- @susanmacneal
Follow on Facebook -- www.facebook.com/susaneliamacneal

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Don't Believe it by Charlie Donlea- Feature and Review


From acclaimed author Charlie Donlea comes a twisting, impossible-to-put-down novel of suspense in which a filmmaker helps clear a woman convicted of murder—only to find she may be a pawn in a sinister game.The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.

As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.

Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life.



Don't Believe ItDon't Believe It by Charlie Donlea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don’t Believe it by Charlie Donlea is a 2018 Kensington publication.

St. Lucia-

The perfect place for a spring break excursion, weddings, or marriage proposals. Grace is positive her boyfriend, Julian, is about to pop the question, but their vacation quickly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes before Julian has a chance to propose, and his death is ruled a homicide. Grace is swiftly arrested and convicted of his murder. The case was an open and shut slam dunk. But, in her letters to Sidney Ryan, Grace swears she is innocent.

True Crime, ‘wrongfully convicted’, documentaries are all the craze. Capitalizing on this, Sidney Ryan, a freelance filmmaker, thinks the 'Sugar Beach' case will make a compelling story. Despite some doubts, the network gives her the green light. But, when Sidney arrives in St. Lucia, she uncovers evidence that Grace had never mentioned- evidence that points to her guilt- not her innocence. But, Sydney also sees the dubious way the investigation was handled. Was Grace guilty or innocent? Will Sydney’s documentary raise more questions than it answers? The ratings are through the roof, but has justice finally be done?

This brisk, and timely thriller, cleverly takes advantage of the current true crime documentary trend. Only in this case, there are a few hidden dangers our documentary filmmaker never counted on. Not only that, the secondary characters are all intertwined with Grace in surprising ways, exposing motives and resentments that never came out at the trial. But, niggling doubts linger about Grace’s innocence, while Sydney grapples with the magnitude of the documentary’s success against the personal risks she must take to find the truth.

The atmosphere is authentic and tense, nailing the true crime formula of these mega popular documentaries and crime shows with a realistic look at what goes on behind closed doors at the network studios. It also has the feel of a cold case, which is one of my very favorite mystery tropes. There are plenty of jaw dropping revelations, and a huge last minute twist, that left me breathless. I do hope this author writes fast, and is right this minute working on a follow up to this book!!

I’ve heard some great things about this author, but this is my first impression of his work. Needless, to say, it will not be the last. I will be looking up his other books, and impatiently awaiting his next release.





Charlie Donlea is the USA TODAY bestselling author of SUMMIT LAKE, THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN and DON'T BELIEVE IT. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two young children, where he is busy writing his next novel.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Trouble in Glamour Town by S. R. Mallery- Feature and Review


Hollywood, 1926. Where actors’ and actresses’ dreams can come true. But do they? While silent screen movie stars reign supreme, a film producer is gunned down in cold blood. Enter Rosie, a pretty bit-player, Eddie, her current beau, and Beatrice, her bitter stage-mother. As real celebrities of the time, such as Clara Bow, Lon Chaney, Gloria Swanson, and Rudolph Valentino float in and out, a chase to find the killer exposes the true underbelly of Los Angeles––with all its corruption. 



Trouble In Glamour TownTrouble In Glamour Town by S.R. Mallery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trouble in Glamour Town by S.R. Mallery is a 2017 publication.

Old Hollywood, romance, and a surprising murder mystery!

Rosie and her boyfriend, Eddie are on a movie set when the producer is killed by a long -range shooter. Eddie becomes a person of interest in the case right away, but it also looks as if the syndicate could be involved.

Meanwhile, Rosie struggles to please her mother, who lives vicariously through Rosie, and truly dislikes Eddie, who is not a part of the ‘Hollywood Elite’.

Meanwhile, Frank, the detective assigned to the case struggles with the corruptness in his department, and is tempted to nail Eddie for murder, even though he may not be guilty, just so he might have a chance with Rosie.

If you follow my reviews, then you already know I’m a sucker for stories centered around Old Hollywood. This story was truly a delight for me because the author cleverly inserted real movie stars into the plot.

Lon Chaney gets a pretty prominent role in the book, as does Clara Bow, and other popular actors in the mid-twenties make an appearance as well.

The author did a fantastic job of capturing the vernacular of the day, the moral codes, and the atmosphere in Hollywood in the 1920s. The authenticity created a realistic atmosphere which instantly transported me into the past and held me captive there until I turned the final page.

There is quite a bit going on in this story, such as Rosie's relationship with her cynical mother, Beatrice, the mob ties to the movie industry, the corruption in the police force, the Hollywood scandals and cover ups, and the Rosie’s romance with Eddie, which is tested on more than one occasion. But, the author, once again, managed to find a perfect balance between each thread, blending them together seamlessly.

The murder mystery was a real head scratcher. I didn’t have a clue who the killer was, not in the least- it never even crossed my mind! The glamour, the romance, and drama kept my mind occupied while the mystery gradually deepens, so that I never saw that twist coming!

I truly enjoyed this wonderful, well rounded story. It has everything you could ask for in a story, enhanced by impeccable pacing, and authentic dialogue, and great characters.

If you like the magic of old Hollywood, historical fiction, romance and a good old -fashioned murder mystery, you can't wrong with this book! I highly recommend it!!





They say I'm as eclectic as my characters. I've been a singer, a composer, a calligrapher, a quilt artist, and an ESL/Reading teacher. But it is the world of writing historical fiction where I feel I've come "home." It's where I've received various awards and in addition, get to do my second love: Research.

When people talk about the news of the day, or when I listen to music, my overactive imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past, which helps me conjure up scenes between characters I've yet to meet.