Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

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What’s it about?

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

amazon uk amazon com

Review

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I’ve eagerly anticipated the next installment in the Erika Foster series – the 4th novel already if you can believe it – and the author’s outdone himself with this one! It really is very strong competition for my favorite one which was, to this day, The Girl In The Ice, his first novel and the one that immediately turned me into one of Erika’s biggest fans. Only now I’m just not all that sure anymore, this one’s got so much going for it and could very well take first place!

Social media is a dangerous place, anybody can pose as another person and this plotline is effectively and thoroughly proving this point. It’s a very actual theme with people being more and more online and on social media platforms so it was an amazing idea to make this a plotline and Mr. Bryndza spins it in such a harrowing way that it really made my blood run cold when thinking of the possibility of this really happening. It’s easier to acquire info on someone than you think apparently. I’m certainly making sure I’m protecting my profile and identity to those I don’t know after finishing this novel!

I felt there was a lot of change in this novel for Erika, both on a personal level and professionally, and I’m pretty sure this adds to the recipe of success that’s making this one another exceptionally good read. Erika’s still the same person as before of course, efficiently bulldozing her way into an investigation that isn’t hers but she’s more the likeable Erika from the first novel again, having shaken off a bit of that previous harshness. Everything is shaping up for her in this novel and I think she’s starting to really feel better with where she is in life. I am pretty sure it’s against police procedure to make certain promises to the parents of victims, but there’s not a single hair on her head that isn’t convinced she won’t succeed in catching this killer. Of course I knew she would succeed but how was unclear and made me scratch my head more than once.

At the beginning I had some doubts about the killer’s identity, it could be either of two characters brought to my attention, but soon enough the killer’s POV took away any doubt. The police are doing great work but the killer stays out of their scope and reach. He’s like a ghost on the internet and he avoids all CCTV cameras so how are they going to find him? Your guess was as good as mine, all I could hope for was that he would slip up and Erika would see this mistake and pound on him.

And then there’s a tension that’s creeping in when you see that someone in his vicinity is developing an infatuation for this person. I wanted to warn her, to shoo her away from him but the heart doesn’t always see what it must. She’s getting in some very dangerous territory there. It was like I was watching a trainwreck waiting to happen. It didn’t help exactly that I could hear what he was thinking, it was very frightening :-).

Last Breath was full of suspense and drama with very well-developed characters, an enjoyable revisiting of my favorite characters and an outstanding plotline with an ending that would definitely have showed a spike in my heartrate if it were measured. Catching a killer is definitely not without danger!

You can read this as a standalone but I recommend starting with the first novel for the introductions to these people, they’ll grow on you even more. Needless to say I think but I look forward to number 5!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown #CoverReveal

Book Cover reveal

Title: Little Gray Dress
Author: Aimee Brown
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017
Pre-Orders Available: Early July

Blurb

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?

Pre-Order the Book in early July

*for a notification when the books pre-order is up, sign-up for her author newsletter.

About Aimee Brown

Aimee Brown is a writer and avid reader, often blogging her thoughts on chick lit books. Little Gray Dress is her first novel published. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing her next book, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to use far too many swear words.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and many, many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress! If you want to chat with her she’s very active on social media.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest |
Sign-Up for her Newsletter

So here is… THE LOVELY COVER of Little Gray Dress:

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Participate in the Book Tour:

Aimee would love to have you as a part of this upcoming release day book tour!

If you’d like to sign-up to review the book during the tour or post a feature, author q&a, author guest post, excerpt, or giveaway, click the image below to sign-up.

Or — sign-up here —> http://authoraimeebrown.com/little-gray-dress/

WWW Wednesday (24-05-2017)

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and I’m happy to participate today.

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Three W’s:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading:

This novel was already a bit hyped and I heard it was an amazing read.. so in case you’re wondering… yes it’s definitely living up to it so far. It’s about being raised in the middle of nowhere as the daughter of someone who kidnapped your mother when she was 13 and she got pregnant at 16. Even from the early age of 5 she learns to hunt and snare, like other kids learn how to kick a ball..  Intrigued yet?

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

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What I (recently) finished:

Another brilliant novel (nr. 4) in the Erika Foster Detective Series. This is one of my favorites! I’ll explain the reasons why later this week in my review.

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

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What I’ll probably read soon:

I love the promise of this one. It’s got everything on the cover and in the blurb that I want to hear!

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Blood Sisters

Two women. Two versions of the truth.

Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak properly, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here. At least that’s the story she’s sticking to.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that sunny morning in May.
And only another life will do…

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So that’s it, what are you reading this week? Share your link in the comments below so that I can come and take a look !

Deceived by Heena Rathore P. #Guestpost

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What’s it about?

How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, unwittingly to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

About the author

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Heena Rathore Pardeshi is a novelist, novel critic, as well as a book reviewer. She is also the Editor In Chief at a publishing house and an acclaimed YouTube Podcaster. An award-winning writer, she has won several NaNoWriMos and JuNoWriMos since 2014.

A fan of crime-thrillers, apocalyptic fiction and slasher movies and series, she draws inspiration from the works of legendary writers such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Sidney Sheldon. She’s also a fan of Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan.

An introvert and freethinker, Heena prefers neatness to chaos – in her fictional themes as well as in her real life. She has a special place for German Shepherds and books in her heart.

Heena is twenty-six years old and lives in Pune, India with her beloved husband, Vishal – a successful entrepreneur, in a house full of books, music, and love. Heena passionately creates vivid fictional worlds; some to read and cherish, and some to live in.

Connect with Heena

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Guestpost

How Reviewing Books Helped Me Write My Own Novel

In the words of Stephen King, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I’ve been reading books all my life. I read fairytales as a child, a lot of romance novels in my teenage years and then gradually moved on to more mature genres like mystery, thrillers, dark fiction, science-fiction, etc.

In the summer of 2014 I decided to create a blog and start reviewing the books that I read, mostly because I kept forgetting certain things about the books I read ages ago. After a few months of reviewing, I was given the opportunity to read books and review them on my blog.

I was beyond myself when the first author who asked me to review their book approached me. I felt so happy and unreal that someone wanted my opinion about his or her book. That someone cared about what I have to say.

That was when I started reviewing books in the real sense. I felt very responsible and humbled while reading that particular book. I paid a lot of attention to each and every single sentence because this book was special. And then I wrote the review, making sure to include all the points I noted while reading the book.

So what was the difference when I read books before and when I read them now for reviewing?

I was extra attentive to not let any important stuff go past my eyes, to not miss any plot holes, or any mistakes, or a brilliant quote or a lovely paragraph that sang the wisdom of life.

So all in all, I paid a LOT of attention to the text in front of me, and so I’ve been doing, with each and every single book, I’ve read since 2014.

It’s been three years and I have read and reviewed more than 200 books, but nothing has really changed. I’m still as attentive today as I was on that first day (or for that first book). I still feel responsible and it is this feeling of responsibility that made me a decent reviewer.

Being attentive is what helped me pick up on and absorb those tiny technicalities, those subtle strokes of ingenuity that made the books so engrossing. As I discovered later, I had unknowingly picked up on those very things, which are taught in Creative Writing workshops.

I learned all the main writing techniques like plot progression, breaks, tension build up, chapter breaks and splits, character arcs, suspense building, etc, etc, etc. I learned all these things from reading the books attentively, from reading the books for reviewing.

Reviewing taught me how the opening of a book should be, how dipping the middle can be and how brilliant an ending could be. Reviewing taught me how to keep the tension flowing from one chapter to another, how to keep the reader engaged in those dreaded middle parts of the book and how to present false hope and engage red-herrings. Reviewing taught me how to make or break an ending by either revealing too much or saying too little.

Reviewing taught me how to write a book. Period.

That makes books better.

I’ve never officially learned writing, yet when I started writing my own book it was like I already knew whatever there was to know, to begin with. Then I learned the rest of the things as I went along. I was able to complete my book (a task in itself) because I knew the most important thing: what works and what doesn’t.

So if I have to give credit to just one thing or circumstance in my life that made me a writer, or rather a strong writer, then reviewing books will be it.

I’m feeling really excited after this guestpost because she is so right! I think it really helps if you start out as a blogger/book reviewer. That blurb also really got my attention and that cover with the little trail of blood dripping down her leg, my god, I totally love that cover! So I’ll be reviewing this one in June, I can’t wait to read it! So what do you think about all of this? Yay or nay?

The Fact of A Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich #BlogTour #Bookreview

12) The Fact of A Body blog tour social media V1

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It’s my turn on the blog tour today to tell you all about the fabulous debut novel  The Fact of A Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, which was published on 18 May! Huge thanks to PanMacmillan for inviting me on the tour and I hope you enjoy my review!

What’s it about?

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact Of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe―and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

About Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria-Marzano-Lesnevich_MACD-15-201_414A 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, she has received a Rona Jaffe Award and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Her essays appear in the New York Times, Oxford American, and the anthologies TRUE CRIME and WAVEFORM: Twenty-first Century Essays by Women, as well as many other publications. She received her JD from Harvard, her MFA at Emerson College, and her BA from Columbia University. She now lives in Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Connect with the author on Twitter : @alexandriaml

If you want to learn more about the case, here’s a link to the evidence pack, which includes footage of Ricky Langley.

Review

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Where to even start discussing this novel? How to explain what a special novel The Fact Of A Body is and give honor to the unique and extraordinary nature of this story? I have read a few courtroom cases but none where the court case is really put together by a narration outside of the courtroom in such a striking way.

My first favourite point of course already goes to the fact that this is true crime, reason enough for me that I really wanted to read it and what drew me to this novel in the first place. This is not just some fictious story, this is a legal case about real people (you can even look Ricky Langley up on youtube) and this makes it even a more interesting and valuable read to me. Sometimes in life the realism is just as horrendous as what some authors are imagining and writing down as fiction, and taking the life of an innocent 6-year old boy for no reason at all is so horrific to me that I wanted to know more: who was this person, how could this happen? Could I somehow understand this human better and see him for more than the crime? After reading this novel I have found the answers for myself because yes this one makes you self-reflect about your own beliefs and it will certainly make you ‘live’ Ricky’s life story. This novel is more than satisfying because it gives a face and creates a real character of someone you would only know by name in the media’s headlines. There is no question about guilt here, but it’s his background and past, going back so far as his parents getting together and his conception, and the lead up to this hideous crime that will come forward in the story. The history of Ricky Langley was very thoroughly penned down and the image painted is vivid and an outright tragic and rocky account of his life. The author did it all without any contact with him so this must have taken a painstakenly amount of work and time. The question that rises though is if he could really have escaped this path with everything that’s happened to him? Personally, I still think so. It’s not because you were treated badly (which is debatable too) and you struggle in life with who you are that you can’t change the hand dealt to you, that you have no choice. I know that he was looking for help but does that serve as an excuse? It’s all about the choices someone makes and there’s only that one pivotal moment of wrongful action. It might have started before he was born but there is only one moment that matters to me. Still, there’s plenty food for discussion to be found in here and this novel is all about forming your own opinions and thoughts and trust me that they were bubbling up and there was no keeping them down this time. I love it when a novel makes you think and occupies your thoughts like this.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich grew up in a household with two lawyers as parents and she chose to go to law school too (if this is something inspired by the desire for justice for those who aren’t heard in life or her encouraging environment is something I definitely wondered about as well) and she’s opposed to the death penalty. She begins her internship in a law office watching a video tape of Ricky Langley and has to wonder if she can still hold on to her beliefs. Little did she know that it would change her forever because the deeper she gets into his case, the more she’s also relating to her own past. While she’s researching she’s bravely revealing what happened to her as a child and she’s being so devastatingly honest. Entangled is a very raw and painful family history. She really weaves her own history into Ricky Langley’s story in a subtle and magnificent way.

I have a sense that this novel was kind of cathartic for the author. Something that was silenced and ignored for so many years and now there’s no ignoring anymore, now everybody will know. I got the idea that she needed to let it out and to change that feeling inside her of people not acknowledging what happened for so long. Now every reader is part of it and I can understand that gives her some relief. It can’t change the past but it changes the future.

This was a very well researched novel about a crime and a brave memoir of abuse which made it an unforgettable novel to me. I can highly recommend.

Many many thanks to the author for sending me a free copy of this novel through her publisher. It was my pleasure to provide my honest opinion.

You can read an extract of the first chapter here. Go ahead and read it, but know that you’ll probably want to read more!

Here’s the full list of blogs of this book tour, check out the other tour stops too :

Grab This Book
Keeper of Pages
Crime Worm
Liz Loves Books
Breathing Through Pages

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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What’s it about?

On Thursday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investi­gators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Thursday, he died. But on Friday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

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One of Us Is Lying is a fabulous debut YA thriller which starts with five students ending up in detention after having been found with phones in class. They hardly know each other but that’ll change drastically and they’ll know ALL about one another after one of them ends up dead in detention class.

They start out as the biggest high school clichés, Bronwyn is little miss know-it-all, the straight A-student going for a Yale scholarship, Cooper is the hot hunk and star of the baseball team, Addy is the blonde with ‘perfect hair’, and Nate is the rogue guy with the motorcycle, the one everybody whispers about because he was (or is) dealing drugs, but people don’t really know him at all because he allways keeps to himself.

All stereotypes are there but they all change and grow so much througout the story that they outgrow their cliché, or maybe it just becomes clear they weren’t that cliché after all and it took this unfortunate event to make their true selves come out.

The story is set out to be a whodunnit but as I read on and on, I actually became more and more invested in each and every one of these characters and who they really are and their voices – the story is told by 4 POV respectively – and interactions with each other even got on the forefront. I found it unlikely one of them to be a killer, they were so diverse but very easy to love, so this didn’t make it any easier because I couldn’t suspect anyone more than the others.

They all have their secrets which Simon was going to publish if he weren’t killed. Unfortunately they turn up in tumblr posts for the whole school to see. These make up the many twists and turns in the story and they gave me tiny little jolts each time something new came to light. It was an interesting and exciting journey for all of them with very different consequences depending on the person involved and a big difference in how they were treated after the truth came out. Some are forgiven more easily than others, some have the right looks and status, some can afford fancy lawyers who give them advice on what to say and how to act and some don’t. Throughout the story friendships and love interests are formed, the kids’ families react very differently to the truth, some truths are also easier to hear than others.

Even when they all did something they shouldn’t have done, I still emphatised with each of them. I did guess Cooper’s lie quite early on even though it was just a hunch but some other lies were fessed up by themselves and were a nice surprise. The question is which one of them had the biggest to lose? Which mishap was worse than the others? The story is told in alternating voices by all four of them and really keeps you on your toes. The police even think some of them are in it together. I finally kind of guessed the real killer but it did not make it any less fun to read so this shouldn’t put anyone off for picking this one up.

The plot development is outstanding, there’s depth to the characters and they all come out better in the end. I’ve tremendously enjoyed this mystery.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Goodreads Monday (May 2017)

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I saw this meme on Books, Vertigo and Tea and I thought this one seemed fun to join and feature on my blog from time to time as well! The original post of Goodreads Monday was posted by Lauren’s Page Turners. Thank you Lauren for this great idea. This really is a great way to help me take another look at all the books added to the wishlist so long ago and at the same time I can share some interesting titles.

There’s only one rule: Simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page turners and add your own links!

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Added in May 2015 : The Memory Closet by Ninie Hammon

It’s got a 4.15 star rating on Goodreads and over all the categories most are 5* !

The Memory Closet

 

What really happened to Laughs in the Wind?

When Anne Mitchell was 11 years old, something happened to her that erased the whole first decade of her life. Twenty-five years later, she has come home to re-claim her past.

Oh, she gets it. She understands that something profoundly evil lurks in the swirling purple haze of her amnesia. Fear of facing that secret held her hostage. Like a schoolyard bully, it twisted her arm behind her back and forced her to accept that her life began in the dirt beside the ditch where the family station wagon burned like hell had opened up a crack in the world right there in the back seat.

For 25 years, she was enslaved by what she called the “Boogie Man”– images from her lost childhood that appeared in the shadows behind her reflection in mirrors and wine glasses, haunted her dreams and attacked her in screaming night terrors.

Then the monster shattered her career.

And Anne saw him in her dying mother’s eyes.

With her last breath, Susan Mitchell begged for her daughter’s forgiveness. She didn’t mean for it to happen, she gasped, but she’ll burn in hell for what she did all the same.

What did her mother do? Anne has to know.

So she has come home to a small Texas prairie town to live with her crazy grandmother in the rambling old house where she grew up to take her stand against the Boogie Man. But Anne isn’t really prepared for how expensive remembering might be. The cost of her memories could very well be her sanity.

Each new revelation loosens Anne’s grip on reality.

Surely her crazy grandmother didn’t do THAT to Anne’s beloved parakeet! Yes, the old woman DID! No … actually, she didn’t.

The horror that attacks her in the garage–it can’t possibly be real…can it?

And most important: what happened to the little girl with a face like a china doll whose name was Laughs in the Wind?

The Boogie Man knows.

He also knows Anne’s here. He knows it’s showtime. And he knows what she doesn’t–that Anne might very well have to pay for her past with her future, that the cost of remembering could be her life.

What do you think? Sound good or doesn’t make you tick? After re-reading the blurb, I’m still convinced, yes I’m still keeping it on my wishlist!