Review: Nyxia Unleashed

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**5++ Goodreads Stars**

“The routine goes like this: Arrive. Unpack. Flirt a little. Feel guilty I’m flirting with the fate of multiple worlds on the line. Flirt some more. Drill down into darkness. Gut the planet. Get that money. Pack it in neat boxes. Sleep with one eye open. Rinse and repeat.”

Are you looking for a heart-pounding science fiction adventure that features characters you truly care about? If so, Scott Reintgen’s Nyxia series are for you. Nyxia Unleashed is the second book in the Nyxia series and it was just as action-packed as the first book, Nyxia. You can read my 5++ star review of Nyxia here.

Nyxia ended with a cliffhanger – the teenagers who were recruited and trained to mine a magical but deadly substance called Nyxia were put to the ultimate test: to fight for their lives against their crewmembers. Those who won get to go to Eden to mine Nyxia for the profit-hungry company Babel. This battle was not in their contract, but most of what the teenagers – who were plucked from a poverty-stricken Earth – had been contractually promised were lies. Who would make it to Eden to mine Nyxia and who would be killed?

The second book picks up right where Nyxia left off. I won’t spoil the plot, but as readers of the first book can probably guess, Emmett survives. Emmett, a rough and tumble but morally sound kid from Detroit, is faced with new challenges now that he and the remaining crew are on Eden, home to the alien race Imago. The Imago have been painted as dangerous and conniving by Babel. The Imago are facing imminent disaster; their people are no longer able to conceive children and their moon is dying. Babel believes it has cut a deal with a desperate culture that will soon fade away. Babel, however, is in for a surprise.

Reintgen is a master of words and detail; he has created a world and people who are so vastly different from our own universe. He has a knack for description and for making you feel as though you, too, are on Eden experiencing new landscapes, creatures, and people for the very first time just like Emmett. I cannot wait for the third installment in this series! It was billed as a young adult series, but it is definitely for adults who enjoy science fiction, adventure, and richly drawn characters. I cannot recommend this series enough!

Thank you to Scott Reintgen, Random House Children’s, Crown Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy of Nyxia Unleashed! Looking forward to the third book in this series – and I LOVE the covers of these books!

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Review: The Family at No. 13

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Just when you think you’ve read about every possible messed up family, along comes S.D. Monaghan’s The Family at No. 13 that features one of the most dysfunctional families you’ve ever met in fiction.

At first, I really enjoyed the premise. The book starts with Connor, a psychologist who is in dire need of a new office and place to live because of the constant noise and disruption from a rotating stream of Airbnbers. Connor is presented with an opportunity to move into a fancy cottage in a posh neighborhood, but the opportunity comes at a cost: his former patient and client, Zachary, has made the offer. Normally Connor wouldn’t cross that kind of line, but he’s desperate. So desperate that Connor moves into the cottage despite having a falling out with Zachary.

From the minute Connor signs the contract, he knows he made a poor decision. There are bizarre noises erupting from his neighbor’s house that disrupt the peace of his counseling sessions. A neighbor storms over and threatens Connor for no reason. Zachary shows up and tells Connor he’s going to make his life a living hell. What the heck has Connor gotten himself into?!

I kept turning the pages of this book because I wanted to know what the heck was going on in this neighborhood. I admit I struggled with the dialogue in this book; sometimes it was hard for me to figure out who was talking because the dialogue was strained. I would also categorize this as more of a soap opera than psychological thriller.

Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley, and SD Monaghan for an advanced reader copy of The Family at Number 13.

The Family at No. 13 - Blog Tour

Amazon Universal Link:     myBook.to/TFaN13Social

Description:

The most perfect lives can hide the darkest secrets…

Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

A twist-filled thriller with an ending that will shock you to the core. Perfect for fans of The Couple Next DoorLies and Behind Closed Doors.

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Author Bio:

S. D. Monaghan grew up in Dublin before travelling extensively in Asia, Europe and America. After teaching English in Thailand for two years, he moved back to Ireland and gained an honours degree in psychology. While living in Canada for four years, he studied screenwriting in Toronto. S. D. Monaghan completed the Masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin with the editorial guidance of the Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford and Orange Prize nominee, Deirdre Madden. On the strength of his work there, he was chosen to represent both the university and the Oscar Wilde Writers’Centre to read excerpts at the Dublin Publishers Festival and on Dublin Culture Night.He lives in Dublin with his wife, where he is currently working on his new novel. He is represented by Zoe Ross at United Agents.

Review: Something In The Water


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**3 Goodreads Stars**

Have you ever read a book where you feel like yelling at the main character “what are you doing?!,” “you are sooo going to get caught!!,” or “noooo, don’t do that!!!”? Catherine Steadman’s Something In The Water felt a bit like watching a disaster unfold before my eyes.

The lead character, Erin, is a newlywed who trusts her husband Mark more than she should. There are seriously SO many red flags about him from day one, yet Erin disregards them. This is because she, too, hides many secrets – big and small – from Mark. Their relationship is certainly not built on trust, but rather built on a growing mountain of lies.

Erin is an aspiring filmmaker who is drawn into the world of crime when she begins a documentary on three people getting out of prison after long sentences. First, the project starts out innocently, but then it takes a darker turn when Erin and Mark find a mysterious bag full of riches while honeymooning in Bora Bora. They also discover something grisly near the bag, but I won’t spoil that surprise. What do they do with the bag? Let’s just say they make really poor decisions that lead to a terrifying climax and an epic ending.

So why 3 stars? My frustration with the book certainly wasn’t the writing. What irked me was the unbelievable series of events that unraveled in the book. Erin, for instance, is already under police and homeland security surveillance due to her association with one of the prisoners who has been involved in terrorism. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to knock on her door and arrest her, but it didn’t happen. There were SO many things she and Mark were able to get away with. It just didn’t seem realistic given the intensity of modern surveillance in the digital age. The narrator also grated on me at times, but I think that’s more of a personality issue on my part. I had a hard time putting this book down, however, due to the growing unease and tension present in the plot, hence the 3 stars.

Thank you to the author, Catherine Steadman, the publisher, Random House – Ballantine, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Something In The Water.

Review: White Lies

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**5 Goodreads Stars**

For a mother of two young children, the opportunity to take a short vacation and let loose for a bit in Ibiza sounds tantalizing, right? In Lucy Dawson’s White Lies what initially seemed like a fabulous trip to get a break from working motherhood turns into a living nightmare for Dr. Alexandra (“Alex”) Inglis.

The book starts with Alex waking up with a severe hangover after a wild night in Ibiza. She startles when she discovers she’s not alone in her hotel room and that a handsome young man in naked in her bed. She has little recollection of what happened the night before other than she knows she drank way too much alcohol. The young man stumbles out of the hotel room after she nearly kicks him out. Embarrassed and ashamed that she had a one night stand, Alex goes home and admits her misdeeds to her husband, Rob, hoping they can reconcile.

We soon learn that Alex’s husband, Rob, isn’t a saint, either. He recently had a one night stand with a mutual friend, which absolutely devastated Alex. Alex and Rob agree that they are even given their one and only affairs and commit to working harder on their marriage. Things seem to be looking up for Alex until she discovers the young man she slept with in Ibiza was not only her patient but also only 17 years of age.

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The young man, Jonathon, threatens to reveal the affair to the world if she doesn’t sleep with him again, but Alex refuses. Shocked, she immediately reports this to her supervisor, David, who starts to write a formal report on the situation. His work is interrupted by Jonathon’s parents, who storm into Alex’s practice and demand that she be held accountable for having a sexual relationship with their son.

Soon, word gets out to the public and media about Alex and Jonathon’s affair. Jonathon claims that it wasn’t merely a one night stand but a three-month affair where Alex pursued him incessantly. He claims he was victimized and plans to write a book about his experiences. Alex is persecuted and burned at the stake in social media. She loses weight, loses friends, and nearly loses her practice.

Who is telling the truth? Why would Jonathon lie about the affair? What’s in it for him? Is Alex delusional?

This story dives headfirst into the terrifying consequences of an affair in a social media-saturated world. What once may have been dealt with behind closed doors or between a few families is now a social media event. This has serious consequences for all the parties involved in this rollercoaster ride of a book.

What I especially enjoyed about this book is that it told the story from multiple perspectives. Alex and Rob’s affairs had a ripple effect on the people around them. Would Alex, for instance, engaged in an affair if Rob hadn’t admitted to having one before she left for Ibiza? How does the affair affect the parents, friends, and partners of those involved? I also felt like I really understood every person affected by the affairs – the characters were fleshed out and had very sound reasons for feeling the way they did.

Thank you to the author, Lucy Dawson, the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of White Lies, and for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour! Here is more information on the book and the author.

White Lies - Blog Tour

Alexandra Inglis is a respected family doctor, trusted by her patients to keep their most intimate secrets. And if sometimes the boundaries between duty and desire blur… well, she’s only human.

But when Alex oversteps a line with Jonathan, one of her patients, she knows she’s gone too far. Jonathan is obsessive, and to get what he wants he will tear Alex’s world apart – threatening not only her career but her marriage and family too.

Soon Alex finds she’s capable of doing almost anything to keep hold of her perfect life, as it begins to spin dangerously out of her control…

A darkly gripping domestic drama of secrets and lies, from the bestselling author of The Daughter. Perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, Louise Jensen and The Couple Next Door.

Lucy Dawson Author photo

White Lies by Lucy Dawson
 
About me by Lucy Dawson: 
 
I’ve been writing psychological suspense novels since 2008, when my first bestseller – His Other Lover – was published. I write full time (mostly on the playroom sofa) from my home in Devon, where I live with my husband and children. Before that, I used to interview the likes of Steps and SClub7 for a living, making absolutely no use whatsoever of my psychology degree from Warwick University, but it was a lot of fun.

I’m addicted to writing about the extraordinary things that can happen to ordinary people – I like stories that jump in at the deep end, with a gasp. When readers take the time out to let me know they’ve stayed up all night because they couldn’t put the book down, it makes my day.

I really enjoy catching up with readers and always reply to emails. You can reach me at lucy@lucydawsonbooks.com. I’m also on Twitter @lucydawsonbooks and have a Facebook page at lucydawsonbooks. Alternatively you can download a free short story of mine atwww.lucydawsonbooks.com or if you want to look at a lot of pictures of the beach and books that I’m reading, find me on Instagram at lucydawsonbooks.

Review: Jar of Hearts

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**5 Goodreads Stars**

“The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. You carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn’t work.”

“Because buried things can, and do, come back.”

Jennifer Hillier’s Jar of Hearts is a twisted, heart-pounding thriller that examines the life-long consequences of a crime a teenage girl, Geo, commits out of fear and misguided love.

The book is written from the perspectives of Geo and Kaiser, a young boy who was Geo’s good friend now turned cop. Geo’s best friend in high school, Angela, went missing after attending a party with Geo and Kaiser. Geo and Kaiser were always the second and third wheels to Angela, who was stunningly beautiful and the envy of her entire high school. Fingers were pointed at numerous suspects, including many of the teenagers at the party, but Angela’s case remained cold until her body surfaces 14 years later.

When Angela’s remains are found, Geo is accused and found guilty of killing and dismembering Angela. Friends, family, and coworkers are shocked at the trial’s accusations and revelations. From all appearances, Geo was a successful, compassionate, and charitable CEO of a high-profile company in Seattle. According to the court, Geo assisted her much older boyfriend, Calvin, in the horrific crime when she was 16 years old. Calvin is accused of additional murders and is painted as a serial killer involved in other gruesome murders. Geo is sent to prison where she is forced to atone for her sins. There, she is the picture of a perfect inmate (if there is such a thing).

How, one wonders, could the seemingly put-together and kind Geo also be a hardened killer who took the life of her very best friend?

The book’s timeline shifts between the past and present, giving a picture of the events leading up to Angela’s death and the motivations behind Geo, Kaiser, and Calvin. The tension builds with each turn of the page, offering clues as to what happened that fateful night Angela was killed and how someone who had been a fastidious friend could be a part of her friend’s untimely death. The book raises some difficult questions. For example, how long must one pay for a terrible crime they committed out of fear? How can someone be both a loyal friend and a killer?

If you enjoy character-driven thrillers with sensible twists and turns, Jar of Hearts is definitely for you. This was such a quick, exciting read for me, and I hope that Jennifer Hillier enjoys much success when the book is published this summer! Thank you to the author, Jennifer Hillier, the publisher, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Jar of Hearts and some candy hearts to go with it 🙂 Jar of Hearts will be available for purchase on June 12, 2018!

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Review: Believe Me

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**5+ Goodreads Stars**

“Sometimes, when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin.”

“Never fall for anyone who prefers to speak someone else’s words.”

JP Delaney’s Believe Me is a tantalizing character-driven thriller that explores the length at which an actress would take her craft. British born orphan Claire Wright has managed to flee England in pursuit of an acting career in New York City. A few months after living in New York and taking acting classes, Claire is beyond broke; she’s behind on her rent and is about to be booted out of her apartment.

Her luck changes when she finds clandestine employment as an undercover agent of sorts. Claire’s job is that of a temptress. She is hired by women to lure their husbands into committing adultery, to prove they are willing to cheat on their partners. This job allows Claire to put her acting skills to the test and helps her pay the mounting bills piling up in her shared apartment.

One fateful encounter, however, changes everything for Claire.

Claire meets the oh-so-charming Professor Patrick Folger when his wife requests for Claire to get him to cheat on her. Professor Folger is not like other men Claire has easily seduced. He doesn’t take her bait despite one of the best performances she puts on for him. The day after Claire’s failed attempt at making Folger hers, Folger’s wife is found dead in her room, killed brutally by what police believe to be a serial killer obsessed with finding beauty in death.

Folger’s academic research on poet Charles Baudelaire’s darker works makes him a prime suspect. Claire is then forced by the police to continue her cat and mouse game with Folger. But as Claire pursues Folger, she finds herself drawn into his deceptively dark sexual fetishes, some that border on the obscene. Folger, however, is the first man intelligent enough to intrigue Claire, leading her to wonder who is seducing (and perhaps blackmailing) whom. Claire finds that the character she was told to inhabit to attract Folger is taking over her sense of sense, claiming her mind and body with each passing minute she spends with Folger.

Is Claire falling into Folger’s trap? Is Folger truly capable of committing such heinous crimes? 

This book is sexy and absolutely lush. There are so many quotable passages and memorable scenes in Believe Me. It’s clever, seductive, and everything a psychological thriller should be. I loved all the twists and turns of this book, and would love to re-read it to see the hints and clues as to where the book was taking me now that I know how it ended!

On a side note, I thought the back story to this book was very interesting. JP Delaney, which is a pen name of the author Tony Strong, rewrote Believe Me after the original version, called The Decoy, was published in 2002. I was interested in reading Believe Me because I absolutely adored JP Delaney’s The Girl Before that was published last year. Both books kept me on the edge of my seat!

Thank you to the author, JP Delaney, the publisher, Penguin Random House, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Believe Me.

Review: The Next Girl

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**4 Goodreads Stars**

I am happy to be a part of today’s blog tour for Carla Kovach’s The Next Girl, a nail-biting thriller that is the first in Kovach’s new female-led detective series.

Deborah Jenkins works late nights at the local pub to make ends meet for her children and husband. Not a fan of driving, Deborah takes the local bus home every evening after her night shift ends.

Someone is taking note of her behavior, observing her every move.

One particularly miserable, blustery night, a man approaches her and offers her a ride home. Though her feet are numb from standing in rain-soaked shoes, she leans into his car window and declines the offer. The man grabs her, knocks her unconsciousness, and takes her back to his family homestead where she is imprisoned.

Detective Gina Harte is on the case, but it goes cold.

Four years after Deborah’s disappearance, a baby appears abandoned on the doorstep of a library. DNA testing links the baby to Deborah. Deborah’s cold case is reopened by Detective Harte, who relates to the abuse Deborah may be experiencing. Her dark past compels her to throw herself into the case, sometimes at the expense of her family.

I like the pacing of this book and how it tacked back and forth between Gina, Deborah, and Deborah’s family’s perspectives. Sometimes multiple points of views are hard to follow, but this was certainly not the case for this book. I especially liked the character of Gina, who struggles to manage her many obligations at work and to her sometimes estranged daughter and granddaughter.

Thank you to the author, Carla Kovach, the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of The Next Girl.

The Next Girl - Blog Tour

Buy  Links:        myBook.to/TNGSocial

Description:
You thought he’d come to save you. You were wrong.

How can someone vanish without a single trace?

Deborah Jenkins pulls her coat around her for the short walk home in the pouring rain. But she never makes it home that night. And she is never seen again…

Four years later, an abandoned baby girl is found wrapped in dirty rags on a doorstep. An anonymous phone call urges the police to run a DNA test on the baby. But nobody is prepared for the results.

The newborn belongs to Deborah. She’s still alive…

Carla Kovach 

Author Bio:

Carla Kovach was born in Birmingham, UK and now resides in Redditch, Worcestershire. Author of supernatural drama ‘Flame,’ psychological thriller ‘To Let,’ crime thriller ‘Whispers Beneath the Pines,’ and holiday comedy, ‘Meet Me at Marmaris Castle.’ Carla also writes stage and screenplays, some of which have been produced in the Worcestershire area. Her feature film ‘Penny for the Guy’ is being made and is set for release in 2019.

Her latest book, The Next Girl, has been published by Bookouture. It is the first in the DI Gina Harte crime series.

 Author Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CKovachAuthor

Website: https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/