The Whisper Man

The Whisper Man
The Whisper Man by Alex North

The Awakening of Miss Henley

The Awakening of Miss Henley
The Awakening of Miss Henley

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Whisper Man by Alex North- Feature and Review


In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window...



The Whisper ManThe Whisper Man by Alex North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Whisper Man by Alex North is a 2019 Celadon Books publication.

Unsettling, spine-tingling, and emotionally charged thriller!

After the untimely death of his wife, Tom Kennedy feels like a fresh start in a new location, might help him and his young son, Jake, move forward from their grief and begin the healing process. But almost immediately after moving to Featherbank, a new set of problems presents themselves. Jake has trouble adjusting to his new school, just as another boy Jake’s age goes missing. The child’s disappearance prompts concerns that another serial killer is on the loose in Featherbank- one with the same MO as the dreaded ‘Whisper Man’ who murdered five people twenty years ago. The case becomes personal for Tom and Jake when Jake begins having nightmares, claiming he can hear someone whispering to him at his window….

Meanwhile, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis are working overtime to find this missing boy before another child disappears…

I’ve been avoiding hyped up thrillers, books that everyone is reading, and mostly gushing over, because my experience with these situations has taught me a few hard lessons- mainly, don’t buy into the hype, because I’m only setting myself up for a big disappointment. But, earlier this year, another book by this same publisher became a huge sleeper hit, and although I was highly skeptical, I caved and checked the book out the library. Well, much to my surprise, the book was very good. So, when ‘The Whisper Man’ started to generate a little buzz, I decided to jump on board the already crowded train, just see if lightning might strike twice… And lo and behold, it did!!

But, to be honest, when one gets right down to the nitty and the gritty, this book is basically another thriller with a serial killer trope. However, what sets it apart from so many other cookie-cutter novels in this category, is the characterizations, and the author’s ability to explore the real psychology behind the character’s actions, without compromising the intensity of the real terror one feels while reading this book. The story is packed with strange, creepy, atmospheric vibes, promising Tom and Jake are being threatened by true evil.

While the mystery is compelling, and the atmosphere is thick and heavy, the author takes a story of horror and dread, and adds in a deeper, more complex angle- a topic that isn’t explored often enough in general fiction, much less in a thriller- the dynamics of the father-son relationship.

The story is very masculine, with the few female characters being suspect, bland, or not very nice-like Jake’s teacher, for example. I never bristled though, because the male leads are portrayed as flawed, burdened, troubled, and vulnerable, and the book never once veered off into an alpha male, testosterone driven story.

From start to finish this is a well written, intense, highly suspenseful thriller- but it is also smart and profound, ending not only with extreme, exhilarating relief, as I released a breath I didn't realize I was holding- 😉, but also on a note of redemptive satisfaction.

Overall, this is another winner for Celadon Books, but as a reader, I’m super excited about Alex North! If this is his debut novel, I wonder how much his talent will develop over time.



Alex North was born in Leeds, England, where he now lives with his wife and son. The Whisper Man was inspired by North's own little boy, who mentioned one day that he was playing with "the boy in the floor." Alex North is a British crime writer who has previously published under another name.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Awakening of MIss Henley by Julia Justiss- Feature and Review

After five seasons…

She was still on the shelf!

Part of The Cinderella Spinsters. Miss Emma Henley knows she’s neither pretty nor rich enough to land a husband. Instead she’s thrown her passion into good causes. But this season she’s tempted by a flirtation with Lord Theo. The dashing rake is just as determined to stay unwed as she is. It’s scandalousbut if she’s never to marry, perhaps he can show her the pleasures of the marriage bed!

The Cinderella Spinsters miniseries
Book 1 – The Awakening of Miss Henley
Book 2 – coming soon!

"The strongly-written heroine and excellent hero – and their very genuine feelings for one another – buoy The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife to a high recommendation." — All About Romance on The Earl's Inconvenient Wife

"A lovely and tender friends to lovers story." — Goodreads on The Earl's Inconvenient Wife



The Awakening of Miss HenleyThe Awakening of Miss Henley by Julia Justiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Awakening of Miss Henley by Julia Justiss is a 2019 Harlequin Historical publication.


Emma had resigned herself to spinsterhood- quite deliberately. She plans to sabotage her fifth and final ‘season’ so that she may find a place of her own and proceed to do the work she feels passionate about. There is only one hitch in her plans- Lord Theo.

Theo is a notorious rake under pressure to finally settle down. He plans to skirt matrimony for as long a humanly possible. But he never toys with virginal young ladies- yet Miss Emma Henley is a temptation he’s finding hard to resist.

As the couple continues to engage in witty verbal exchanges, they slowly relax into friendship territory. But the chemistry between them in undeniable. Because neither party is willing to marry, Emma believes there is no harm in enjoying a dalliance with Theo. She doesn’t have much to lose and is sure she can survive a scandal. But how will Theo react if he knew her true feelings for him?

I loved Emma and Theo’s story! The banter between the couple is wildly entertaining and I loved the way Emma kept catching Theo off guard. The relationships develop perfectly, and it was a joy to see love blossom between two people who thought true love wasn't in the cards for them. Each gave the other a piece of themselves that had been missing, a desire they had buried, and completed one another perfectly.

This a such a wonderful love story. It’s mature, but sexy, smart, emotional, with well-drawn characters, and I truly enjoyed the artistic backdrop. The beautiful happily ever after for a well deserving couple, is the cherry on top

I enjoyed every single minute of it!!



Julia inhabits an English Georgian-style house she and her husband built in the East Texas countryside where, if she closes her eyes and ignores the summer thermometer, she can almost imagine she inhabits the landscape of "Pride and Prejudice." In between travelling to visit her three children (a naval officer son stationed in Washington, DC, a textiles and design major daughter who cheers for University of Texas at Austin, and a mechanical engineering major son also at UT Austin) keeping up with her science teacher husband and juggling a part-time day job as a high school French teacher, she pursues her first and dearest love--crafting stories.

To relax, she enjoys watching movies, reading (historical fiction, mystery, suspense) and puttering about in the garden trying to kill off more weeds than flowers.

Friday, October 18, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James- Feature and Review


Sarah Piper's lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis—rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts—has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide.
Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah's task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a deperate struggle. For Maddy's ghost is real, she's angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair's assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance—before she destroys them all?



The Haunting of Maddy ClareThe Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Haunting of Maddy Clare is a 2012 Berkley publication.

Now, THIS is my kind of ghost story!!

Sarah Piper agrees to step in as a temporary assistant for Alistair Gellis, an independently wealthy war veteran, who spends his time hunting ghosts. He already has an assistant named Matthew Ryder, but the case they are called in to investigate requires a feminine touch. Why? Because the ghost in question, is Maddy Clare, a nineteen -year- old girl who committed suicide in a barn, and she really, really doesn’t like men.

As Sarah, Matt, and Alistair embark on their investigation, the mystery of Maddy’s haunting, and why she is so angry, only deepens, as Maddy’s power grows stronger. To vanquish her spirit, the ghost hunting trio must determine what is behind Maddy’s quest for vengeance so that her spirit can finally rest in peace.

This is the ghost story I’ve been looking for- for ages! I was beginning to think I'd never find one this good ever again.

The mystery is riveting, the characters troubled, flawed, and sympathetic. The story has all the elements a good, traditional ghost story should, with the themes I feel make a ghost story work- and is why I love reading them.

The twists and supernatural jolts are hardly subtle, but there a few surprises that snuck up on me, and really did send a chill down my spine. Good stuff!

The story is rounded out with a romantic element, and gives the main characters room to develop, while encouraging a connection between them and the reader. The shadows of world war one still hang heavily over England, which also gives the story a bit of poignancy and more depth that one might expect from a chiller.

The atmosphere is eerie and extremely intense, and the story is dark, and super scary. Naturally, this book is the perfect story for Halloween, but it could have the same optimum effect on any dark, cold winter night….

5 creepy, ghoulish stars!!



Simone St. James is the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two prestigious RITA® awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She writes gothic historical ghost stories set in 1920s England, books that are known for their mystery, gripping suspense, and romance.

Simone wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school. She worked behind the scenes in the television business for twenty years before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Passengers by John Marrs- Feature and Review


You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die”.

Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.

From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, "Which of these people should we save?...And who should we kill first?"



The Passengers by John Marrs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Passengers by John Marrs is a 2019 Berkley Books publication.

An unrelenting techno-thriller!!

Set in the not so distant future, Britain has made driverless cars mandatory. Not only that there are no longer manual overrides, placing the passenger at the total mercy of technology. When there is an accident a jury is called in to judge who was at fault. Let’s just say they had better not rule against the car.

Despite the claim the autonomous car is the safest choice for all concerned, one morning a hacker takes control of eight cars holding passengers from all walks of life. Each person is informed their destination has been changed and within a few hours they will be dead.

Within moments of the takeover social media explodes with the news. The hackers take full advantage of their moment in the spotlight by turning the situation into a reality TV like contest, asking the public to vote for who will live or die.

Meanwhile, a panel of jurors is gathered to determine who to blame for the situation they are in and are also tasked with deciding the fate of the eight passengers. Only one of the jurors seems to have a real conscience, but can she single handedly, and without prejudice, uncover the truth?

Marrs taps into our darkest fears regarding technology and AI by imagining some of the many ways it could backfire on us. But to make the scenario mean something, we must feel some empathy for the characters caught in the hacker’s clever trap. Some of them are more sympathetic than others, but they all carry some sort of explosive secret that could change the opinion of the voting audience.

In many ways Marrs nails the desensitized, judgmental attitudes of social media users and the numb reality show mentality that is already the norm. The twists are plentiful and always a huge surprise as the reader is seldom able to fully digest one event or revelation before another takes place. The pacing is frenetic, but it complements the story and keeps readers turning pages at lightning speed.

The story is dark, but sometimes it has a satirical tone which also suggests the book isn’t meant to sound alarmist… just a bit cautionary.

The execution is a little rocky, as is the structuring, but I’m thinking that may have been by design, since it enhances the dark humor and the real-time layout of the story.

Overall, I’m not sure how well the book will hold up over time, but for the here and now, this is a highly imaginative, addictive thrill ride that kept me thoroughly entertained and on the edge of my seat from start to finish.


John Marrs is the author of #1 Best Sellers The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Welcome to Wherever You Are and Her Last Move. The One has been translated into 23 different languages and is to be turned into a a ten-part Netflix series in 2019.
After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. His sixth book, The Passengers, is set for release in August 2019.
Follow him on Twitter @johnmarrs1 Facebook: @johnmarrsauthor Instagram: website:

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger- Feature and Review


From the celebrated and bestselling author of The Banker's Wife, worlds collide when an FBI agent investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raises the impossible question: What happens when the primary suspect is your father?

FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn't been home in ten years. Nell and her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, have never had much of a relationship. And Suffolk County will always be awash in memories of her mother, Marisol, who was brutally murdered when Nell was just seven.

When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up in so that she can spread her father's ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father's partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect--and that his friends on the police force are covering his tracks. Plagued by doubts about her mother's murder--and her own role in exonerating her father in that case--Nell can't help but ask questions about who killed Ria Ruiz and Adriana Marques and why. But she may not like the answers she finds--not just about those she loves, but about herself.



Girls Like UsGirls Like Us by Cristina Alger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger is a G.P. Putnam's Sons publication.

Another winner for Christina Alger!!

FBI agent, Nell Flynn is having a hard go of it, lately. Her career is teetering on the edge because she is avoiding the necessary therapy required to return to work after killing a man and taking a bullet in the line of duty. Then her father, from whom she is estranged, dies in a motorcycle accident, forcing her to return home to plan his funeral and get his estate in order.

But, when an old friend, who happens to be a homicide detective, asks Nell to quietly advise him with the investigation of two murdered women, she agrees to help. However, the case takes a twisted, horrifying turn when the evidence points to her own father as the prime suspect.

Wow. This book is a real mind-bender. The atmosphere is thick enough to slice with a knife, creating a palpable sense of dread. The murder investigation delves into topics that feel like an eerie premonition of current headlines. The author did an amazing job bringing key issues to the forefront in a realistic, eye-opening manner. Nell’s character is extremely well-drawn and her first -person narrative is haunting and quite effective.

I was sucked into the story immediately and sat on pins and needles from beginning to end. Although one can see where the story is probably headed, there are some truly shocking twists and big reveals that took me completely by surprise. The suspense builds to a near fever pitch, then hits you with a gut-wrenching sucker punch to the emotions. I love it when a book holds me firmly in its grip the way this one did.

Overall, this is a solid page-turning thriller!!



Cristina Alger is a lifelong New Yorker and bestselling author of  THE DARLINGS, THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN, THE BANKER'S WIFE and GIRLS LIKE US. A graduate of Harvard College and NYU Law School, she worked as a financial analyst and a corporate attorney before becoming a writer. She lives in New York with husband and children and is at work on her fifth novel. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories- Edited by Ellen Datlow- Feature and Review


The essential collection of beloved ghost stories, compiled by the editor who helped define the genre—including stories from award-winning, bestselling authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Seanan McGuire, and Paul Tremblay.

Everyone loves a good ghost story, especially Ellen Datlow—the most lauded editor in short works of supernatural suspense and dark fantasy. The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories is her definitive collection of ghost stories.

These thirty stories, including all new works from New York Times bestselling authors Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Seanan McGuire, and Paul Tremblay, span from the traditional to the eclectic, from the mainstream to the literary, from pure fantasy to the bizarrely supernatural. Whether you’re reading alone under the covers with a flashlight, or around a campfire with a circle of friends, there’s something here to please—and spook—everyone.

Contributors include: Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Vincent J. Masterson, A.C. Wise, M. Rickert, Seanan McGuire, Lee Thomas, Alison Littlewood, M.L. Siemienowicz, Richard Kadrey, Indrapramit Das, Richard Bowes, Nick Mamatas, Terry Dowling, Aliette de Bodard, Carole Johnstone, Dale Bailey, Stephen Graham Jones, Bracken MacLeod, Garth Nix, Brian Evenson, Jeffrey Ford, Gemma Files, Paul Tremblay, Nathan Ballingrud, Pat Cadigan, John Langan, Ford Madox Ford, F. Marion Crawford, Siobhan Carroll.



Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost StoriesEchoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories by Ellen Datlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories by Ellen Datlow is a 2019 a Gallery / Saga Press publication.

Halloween is just around the corner and of course it’s this time of the year when I usually find myself in the mood for a good old- fashioned ghost story. Yet, a good ghost story is hard to find sometimes. So, when I found this anthology in my cloud library, I checked it out on the spot.

I was even more excited by the introduction, in which famed anthology editor, Ellen Datlow, commiserated with those of us who are often disappointed by ‘ghost story’ compilations, which later turn out to be a catchall for anything that might fall into the realm of horror or the paranormal, but aren't exactly what one would call an authentic ghost story.

So, I eagerly dived in, only to find that once again, a fair amount of these short stories, aren’t ghost stories, as I might define them. However, nearly all of them are weird tales or atmospheric mind-benders.

I am not familiar with all the participating authors, but regular readers of horror novels might be.

Paul Trembly gets the ball rolling, but other familiar names like Alice Hoffman and Joyce Carol Oates also contribute solid stories to this collection.

“Must be This Tall to Ride” by Seanan McGuire is one of the shortest stories included but is one of the best. Something about carnivals are always spooky!

The July Girls felt like more of a traditional ghost tale- which are my favorites, if I’m being honest. I also enjoyed “The Other Woman” by Alice Hoffman.

As with many anthologies, especially compilations as large as this one, there are a few stories that left me scratching my head in confusion, or seemed to end too abruptly. However, most are contemporary, imaginative, and several were truly eerie, providing the chills and thrills a good ghost story should.

If you are looking for a few supernatural flavored stories that you haven’t read or heard a thousand times before, this collection of original stories is one you’ll want to add to your Halloween reading list!!



Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Terri Windling).

She is the winner of multiple awards for her editing, including the World Fantasy Award, Locus Award, Hugo Award, International Horror Guild Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Bram Stoker Award. She was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention for "outstanding contribution to the genre." And has been given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Horror Writers Association.

She co-hosts the popular Fantastic Fiction at KGB Bar series of readings in New York City where she lives.

Monday, October 14, 2019

We are all Good People Here- by Susan Rebecca White- Feature and Review


From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.

Eve Whalen, privileged child of an old-money Atlanta family, meets Daniella Gold in the fall of 1962, on their first day at Belmont College. Paired as roommates, the two become fast friends. Daniella, raised in Georgetown by a Jewish father and a Methodist mother, has always felt caught between two worlds. But at Belmont, her bond with Eve allows her to finally experience a sense of belonging. That is, until the girls’ expanding awareness of the South’s systematic injustice forces them to question everything they thought they knew about the world and their places in it.

Eve veers toward radicalism—a choice pragmatic Daniella cannot fathom. After a tragedy, Eve returns to Daniella for help in beginning anew, hoping to shed her past. But the past isn’t so easily buried, as Daniella and Eve discover when their daughters are endangered by secrets meant to stay hidden.

Spanning more than thirty years of American history, from the twilight of Kennedy’s Camelot to the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, We Are All Good People Here is “a captivatingmeaningful, resonant story” (Emily Giffin, author of All We Ever Wanted) about two flawed but well-meaning women clinging to a lifelong friendship that is tested by the rushing waters of history and their own good intentions.



We Are All Good People HereWe Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White is a 2019 Atria publication.

A familiar theme- but still a compelling thought- provoking story.

The story begins just at the onset of the turbulent sixties where two girls from differing backgrounds meet and bond- not over boys or clothes or parties, but over social injustices they’ve experienced first-hand or were a witness to.

Evelyn Elliot Whalen comes from a wealthy family, while Daniella Gold is from a middle -income family, and whose father happens to be Jewish. The two girls are college roommates and become fast friends. However, their responses to the social injustices they are awakening to are entirely different. While the work with CORE is commendable, there are lines drawn, and sometimes those lines are very blurred. Can change really occur if we color inside those lines? How does well-meaning activism morph into dangerous radicalization?

“We’re all good people here, all trying to muddle through this the best we can."

The ladies take two different paths, each critical of the other’s choices at times. However, their lives converge once again as they raise families of their own. But, when the past comes calling, the decisions they made will affect the next generation and shape them in ways that could solidify their unique familial patterns or break it.

The monumental changes over a thirty- year span of time is highlighted through the two main characters, who cope in different ways, giving the reader plenty of food for thought.

What makes the book even more complex is the southern setting, where certain values and ideals are so deeply embedded it is hard for even the most enlightened progressive thinker to cast them off.

While the author addresses racism and anti- Semitism, she also highlights the polarization of the Vietnam war, and drugs, as well. But we also see the many challenges women faced in the workforce. A woman having a career may be tolerated to a certain extent, but once she had children her career should stop- and forget about advancement or equal pay- just to name a few examples.

The only drawback for me was the disconnect with the characters. It often felt as though I was reading someone’s journal, rather than a fictional drama that plumbs the depths of one’s emotions. The only feelings I could summon were ones of frustration, brought on by some of the choices the characters made.

There is also a rather gruesome scene involving an animal, the imagery of which I could have done without.

This story is one that might not immediately grab you, but as the book progresses, I think the look back on the painful wounds in our country, and various ways people sought to heal those wounds, and bring about change, is what makes the story so compelling.

Certain factions or fringes always spring up in times of turmoil and can often lure in the gentle idealist who has become frustrated by the political climate and the constant cogs in the wheels of change. Because these are the groups that make the headlines, often times, activism of any kind is equated with extremism. This story is most definitely a cautionary tale and I must concur- non-violence and a proper prospective is a must.

But, in truth, the majority of activists, and I consider myself to be one for several important causes, work within the proper guidelines to progress and forge an atmosphere in which we can all play a part, work side by side, and make a difference. It isn’t always perfect, and there have been colossal blunders, but ultimately, great strides have been taken, although they were often very slow in coming. Activism is still important, still powerful and unfortunately, still very necessary.

While this book is primarily the study of the two women who chose different paths, made different choices, and then must cope with the consequences or results of their decisions, it is also a story about friendship, one that endures despite periods of dormancy, and their frustrations and differences.

Although this one failed to push my emotional buttons, and it is a bit slow and uneven at times, I still think that overall, the author reached the goal she set out to accomplish.



Susan Rebecca White is he author of the critically acclaimed novels Bound South, A Soft Place to Land, A Place at the Table, and We are All Good People Here. She lives in her hometown of Atlanta, Ga., with her husband and son. Visit her online at

Friday, October 11, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Summer of Fear- by Lois Duncan- Feature and Review

From the moment Rachel's family takes in her orphaned cousin Julia, strange things start to happen. Rachel grows suspicious, but soon finds herself alienated from her own life. Julia seems to have enchanted everyone to turn against her, leaving Rachel on her own to try and prove that Julia is a witch. One thing about Julia is certain-she is not who she says she is, and Rachel's family is in grave danger.



Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summer of fear by Lois Duncan is a 1977 publication.

This story is geared towards a young adult audience, but it still has some excellent chills and thrills, even now, reading it as an adult.

For fans of trivia or pop culture, there was a made for television movie based on this book starring Linda Blair, which aired in 1978. However, I think the original title of the movie was ‘A Stranger in the House’. (It now shares the same title as the book and can be found easily on YouTube. Check it out, if for no other reason than to see a very young Fran Drescher)

When Rachel’s aunt and uncle were killed in a fiery car crash, their orphaned daughter, Julia, comes to live with them. Soon, this shy, plain girl seems to have charmed every male in her general vicinity, included Rachel’s brother, her boyfriend, and even her father.

Rachel begins to suspect Julia may be involved in the occult, but when she tries to convince her family, her warnings fall on deaf ears. Meanwhile, one by one, anyone who threatens Julia will suffer the consequences.

A review for this book popped up on my Goodreads feed the other day and reminded me that I have a copy of this book stuffed somewhere on my own personal version of ‘the stacks’. Finding it felt like a chore I wasn’t sure I was ready to tackle, but I found it without having to dismantle my bookshelves entirely. It was fun to read this book again, even though the suspense doesn’t pack the same punch it did back in the seventies.

However, it is still effective, especially for fans of psychological thrillers. However, I understand this book was reissued at some point with updates and revisions adding current technology into the story. I have not read the newer version, but I'll provide buy links for it, since those are the only one's available. However, the popular opinion, leads me to think you might want to hop on over to Ebay, or check out your local used bookstore for a copy of the original version.

This is a short, nostalgic read, perfect for fans of YA with paranormal and psychological elements.



Lois was the author of over 50 books, ranging from children's picture books to poetry to adult non-fiction, but is best known for her young adult suspense novels, which have received Young Readers Awards in 16 states and three foreign countries. In 1992, Lois was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award, presented by the School Library Journal and the ALA Young Adult Library Services Association for "a distinguished body of adolescent literature." In 2009, she received the Katharine Drexel Award, awarded by the Catholic Library Association "to recognize an outstanding contribution by an individual to the growth of high school and young adult librarianship and literature." In 2015 she was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas- Feature and Review + Giveaway

Ransom Canyon, #8 
Jodi Thomas
Genre: Contemporary / Western / Holiday Romance Publisher: HQN Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 288 pages Scroll down for the giveaway!

Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family, and a whole lot of Texas.
Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.
Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.
With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.
PRAISE FOR CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY: "This book has everything you would want. Laughter, drama. And tears both happy and sad. I highly recommend this book." -- Patty Champion (5 Stars, Goodreads Review) “I could not put this book down once I started it and longed for more once I was done.” -- Melanie (5 Stars, Goodreads Review) "I got lost in the world that she [Jodi Thomas] has created and enjoyed seeing her characters with their overlapping and interconnected stories find a happiness that none of them expected to ever find." -- B. (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)

Christmas in Winter Valley (Ransom Canyon, #8)Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christmas in Winter Valley is a 2019 HQN Books publication.

It may be cold and snowy in Ransom Canyon, but the holiday spirit is warm, filled with second chances and new beginnings!

Griff Holloway has left his brothers, Elliott and Cooper, in charge of running the family ranch while he and his wife, Sunlan, are away from home. However, Elliott is left holding the bag, when Cooper hears that a group of Sunlan’s cousins are coming for a visit and hightails it out of there to spend some alone time at a remote cabin in Winter Valley.

However, Cooper finds his secluded cabin is occupied by an orphaned boy named, Tatum, while Elliott is unexpectedly forced to face his painful past.

Meanwhile, a new hire at the ranch and a former rodeo star, Tye, is looking to discover something about his heritage, but soon finds himself attracted to Dani, the ranch’s down to earth cook.

This book features a group of heartwarming stories, which bring people together just in time for the Christmas holidays. Each romance is touching and sweet, and of course, Tatum’s story certainly pulls on the old heartstrings.

While I enjoyed getting to know all the couples, I must confess I enjoyed Tye and Dani’s story the most. I really appreciate the mature characters who prove it’s never too late to find true love.

By using alternating chapters, instead of individual vignettes, the author allows the reader more time to connect with the characters and gives each story equal strength. Thankfully, the holiday theme is not overdone, but one can still feel the spirit of the season, which will make this book a nice addition to your holiday reading- or a nice gift for someone on your Christmas list.

Overall, this a lovely, clean holiday themed novel, with a little something for all contemporary romance lovers!



With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.
In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.
Thomas was honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and served sixteen years as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her family, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on two grown sons and four grandchildren.

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October 3-13, 2019

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