Review: Dying Breath

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**4 Goodreads Stars**

This book is definitely a cerebral thriller that will keep you on your toes! I’m happy to be part of the blog tour for Helen Phifer’s Dying Breath, which was released today! Happy release day, Helen!

Helen Phifer’s Dying Breath follows seasoned detective Lucy Harwin, who is on the case to solve what appears to be a spree of possibly related killings. The killings are horrific and, at first, seemingly unrelated. The initial targets are women who are displayed in a lewd manner to be found by members of the public. The murderer (or murderers? I don’t like giving away spoilers in my blog!) then targets family friend’s of a detective in Lucy’s unit, leaving the detectives to document a horrific crime scene involving a child.

The story is told from multiple points of view: from the killer’s vantage point, Lucy’s point of view, and from Toby’s, a new detective in Lucy’s department. Sometimes I struggle to follow a book when there are multiple points in view at play, especially if I feel a certain closeness to a character and don’t want that character’s point of view to end. However, all of the point of views were well fleshed out, allowing me to develop an interest in all of the characters no matter how repugnant they were.

I am a fan of mystery books with strong female leads, which was certainly the case for Dying Breath. Detective Lucy Harwin is a single mother going through a gnarly divorce, yet is still able to keep things together enough to solve the case of a serial murderer. She’s smart, savvy, and knows how to keep her employees working at a fast pace. She has her weaknesses like any human being, but for the most part they don’t make an appearance in the workplace. She treats every victim as if they were a loved one, and works tirelessly to uncover the individual or individuals responsible for their untimely deaths.

I also really enjoyed how the book took the reader in different directions. Just when you assume you know where the book is going and who is responsible for the murders, a wrench is thrown your way!

Thank you to the author, Helen Phifer, the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Dying Breath.

Dying Breath - Blog Tour

Here’s more information on the book, and Helen Phifer!

Amazon Links:

UK http://amzn.to/2kwbxut

🇺🇸 US http://amzn.to/2y7pqEK

Description:

Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.

Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland.

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality – a killer is walking the streets of their quiet coastal town.

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers.

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?

Author Bio:

Helen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children.

Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.

Helen’s debut novel ‘The Ghost House’ was published by Carina UK in October 2013 and went on to become a best seller along with the rest of the Annie Graham series. The Secrets of the Shadows, The Forgotten Cottage, The Lake House, The Girls in the Woods and The Face Behind the Mask.

The Good Sisters is a standalone horror story which will scare the pants off you or so her lovely readers have told her. It scared Helen when she was writing it so she pretty much agrees with them.

March 2017 saw the release of psychological thriller Dark House (previously called The Lost Children), book 1 in the Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin series. Book 2 – Dying Breath is due for release in Nov 2017.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Helenphifer1

Instagram:    https://www.instagram.com/helenphifer

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/helenphifer1

Website:     https://www.helenphifer.com

Review: The Gone World

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**5 Goodreads Stars**

And many sailors who have seen Deep Space return hollowed, overwhelmed by the immensity of the cosmos. The totality of human endeavor is nothing when set against the stars.”

There is no design. The universe isn’t kind or cruel. The universe is vast and indifferent to our desires.”

This semester has been very busy as I’ve been somewhat behind on a couple big writing projects, which all caught up with me this past month! My reading slowed (sad face!), but hopefully after I clear my slate of another writing project I’ll be able to make my Goodreads Challenge of over 50 books.

Tom Sweterlitsch’s The Gone World has been sustaining throughout the past month. It took me about 16 days to finish it, not because it wasn’t a thrilling read but because of my writing. I’m participating in both Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) and National Book Writing Month (#NanoWriMo), which has also been keeping me really busy!

This book had absolutely all the things I love jam-packed into one story: space; time travel; a strong female lead; mystery; suspense; and science fiction! I’ve read several new sci-fi suspense novels with similar themes this year, including Dark Matter and Artemis, but I have to say this book really blew those books out of the water for me.

The book follows Shannon Moss, who works for a mysterious agency within the government known as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). She has been charged with solving a horrific murder involving an agent’s family, one that may make your stomach turn if you aren’t a fan of reading gritty details. We learn that the agent’s murder is linked to an event known as  the Terminus. Terminus refers to a date in the future where humanity is brutally killed by an unknown force, which Moss’ unit (NCIS) is racing to understand. Moss’ unit has mastered the ability to travel through time, also known as Deep Time, in order to investigate how the agent is linked to Terminus, and if the unit can potentially stop Terminus from decimating all of humanity.

Every time Moss travels to the future, she experiences alternate futures. As the author explains, “Which wormhole out of that turbulent foam the Grey Dove penetrated was just a matter of chance, each tunnel to a distinct tine of the future multiverse.” Moss travels on her own ship, also known as Grey Dove. She sees that her lover in one future could be her enemy in another. She discovers that some friends remain true friends in every timeline. Moss’ present is set in the late 1990s, but every time she returns she ages due to the time she spent in the future, confusing the few loved ones around her.

This novel can be a bit complex times, but I never struggled to follow it even when I had been away from it for a few days. I was especially impressed with the author’s character development and world building. Yes, some of the book’s premise and mixture of genres may seem a bit far-fetched (and of course it is, because this is sci-fi!), but the author’s attention to detail and the characters’ motivations helps walk the reader through the nuanced story, and makes the reader care about what happens to the characters. The prose is beautifully composed, with luscious descriptions of the environment and characters. Here’s a snippet of one of my favorite quotes from the book:

Moss remembered her first dreamlike glimpse of sunlight glaring off the hulls of the NSC fleet in space, like a spill of diamonds on black velvet – a sublimity few other people have witnessed.”

Thank you to the author, Tom Sweterlitsch, the publishing company, Penguin Group (USA), and Edelweiss+ for an advanced reader copy of The Gone World. It was such a pleasure to read this exciting, well written novel!

Review: The Wife Between Us

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**4 Goodreads Stars**

“She is everything Richard desires. Everything I used to be.”

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us tells the story of two women who are madly in love the same man, Richard. Richard is attractive, wealthy, charming, and successful. Nellie is young, beautiful, and impressionable. Nellie meets Richard and is immediately swept away by his generosity and charm. Nellie and Richard become engaged, but there’s just one little problem: Vanessa, Richard’s ex-wife.

I should start by noting that the book contains scenes with domestic violence, so if this is a trigger for you, you might want to avoid it.

We hear Vanessa’s side of the story, one that, at times, can be murky and questionable. Vanessa does not want Richard’s new fiance to marry him. Vanessa will see to it that the marriage does not happen no matter the consequences. Is Richard really as bad as Vanessa suggests? Is Vanessa’s memory simply muddled due to her drinking and her mother’s history of mental illness and insanity? Has Richard really committed the crimes Vanessa details? Who can we trust?!

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There are several unreliable narrators in this book. Just when you think you can trust the narrators the book takes unexpected, thrilling twists that throw the entire story line for a loop. I am a fan of psychological thrillers that upend everything you thought you knew about characters, and The Wife Between Us is one of those books. Reviewing the second half of this book and its ending will reveal too many juicy spoilers, but you won’t be disappointed by this book if you like plots with surprises.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of The Wife Between Us. You can get your own copy on January 9, 2018!

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