Review: Tell Me a Secret

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**5 Goodreads Stars**

“…the worst kind of secrets are always the ones we keep from ourselves.”

“Even therapists have secrets.”

Lorna has a deep, dark secret that threatens to destroy her family and her career. Her secret is so thorny that she will do everything in her power to keep it from the people she loves.

What is this secret? 

Lorna has been hiding an affair from her coworkers, friends, and family for nearly a year. It’s an intensely passionate relationship, one that caused her to violate her professional code of ethics as a practicing clinical psychologist. This is because the affair involved one of her patients, Andrew. Lorna tries to end the smoldering affair by up and leaving her psychology practice for a new one, but Andrew hunts her down at her new practice. And despite Lorna’s best intentions, they rekindle old flames.

But there’s someone watching from afar, taking note of Andrew and Lorna. They want revenge. They want to settle the score. They are stalking Lorna like prey. And Lorna and Andrew have no clue.

Samantha Hayes’ Tell Me a Secret could be used in a master class on writing a suspenseful psychological thriller, one that shocks at every turn. I can’t reveal much without revealing significant plot twists and turns, but I can promise you that this book will keep you on your toes. This would be the perfect book for a women’s book club; when I finished it, I wanted to talk about the ending to anyone who would listen. I did not see the ending coming, which is all the more reason I enjoyed it!

Another thing that I enjoyed about the book was the different ways Hayes’ told Lorna’s story. She gives readers insight into Lorna’s deep thoughts by providing snippets of Lorna’s journals (take note, readers!). She also incorporates illicit conversations via text and a dating website into the narrative, giving us hints of what is to come with Lorna and Andrew. This writing style kept the book current and fresh for me.

Thank you to the author, Samantha Hayes, the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy of Tell Me a Secret!

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Description

Tell her all your secrets and she’ll tell you all her lies…

Everything in Lorna’s life runs like clockwork, from her 6 a.m. morning run to the strict 60-minute counselling sessions she gives. It’s the only way she can deal with the terrible secret she carries.

When a new client arrives for his first appointment, Lorna feels her perfect life unravel in a matter of seconds. It’s Andrew, the man she’s spent the last year desperately trying to forget. It seems he can’t forget her either…

Against her better judgement she anonymously contacts him on a dating site. Messaging him could mean the end of her marriage and her career, but she needs to know if his motives are genuine.

When Andrew is found dead in his home, grief quickly turns to fear when messages from him continue to arrive on Lorna’s phone. Somebody knows her secret and wants to use it to destroy everything she has.

Will she risk her family and her sanity to keep her secret? Will she risk her life…?

If you love twisty psychological thrillers that get under your skin, like The Girl on the TrainI Let You Go or anything by Louise Jensen, you’ll be utterly blown away by the jaw-dropping lies in Tell Me a Secret.

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Author Bio

Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003 and her ninth novel, THE REUNION, was published in February 2018. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’

Tell Me A Secret is out now!

To find out more, visit her website www.samanthahayes.co.uk
Or connect with Samantha on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor
And she’s on Twitter @samhayes

Review: Last Goodbye

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**5 Goodreads Stars**

“Today I reclaim my biological right. Today I stamp my will on the world. Today I will reclaim the Imperative.”

Arlene Hunt’s Last Goodbye is a heart-pounding thriller that follows two rookie officers in the Irish Garda, Roxy and Cora, in their quest to find a serial killer. The pace of this book is intense in a good way; you can almost feel the clock ticking as detectives race to stop the killer before he or she kills again.

There is a serial killer on the loose in Dublin, one who is targeting seemingly happy couples. He or she leaves a distinct calling card: yellow flowers and champagne. Because of this, the killer gets nicknamed “the sweetheart killer” by the press. Roxy and Cora are initially assigned the case, but then kicked off of it by a more senior detective, Eli Quinn. Roxy, eager to make her mark as a newly commissioned sergeant, pleads to be put back on the case under Quinn. Roxy can be gruff and blunt, but her rough edges are smoothed out by her empathetic to a fault and sometimes blundering partner, Cora.

Roxy has a nose for crime, perhaps due to the fact that her father is a criminal and in prison. Though forced to work under Quinn and therefore limited to the information he provides to her about the case, Roxy sniffs out suspicious aspects of the case immediately. Roxy argues that some of the serial killer’s cases seem different from one another, leading her to believe that there is a copycat killer. Quinn shrugs off Roxy’s suggestion. Headstrong, Roxy follows her intuition only to discover that the killings are much more complex than the police wish to admit. Is Quinn hiding something? Are the police involved in a coverup?

There were so many things I enjoyed about this book. First off, the author is great at creating believable characters with intriguing but not preposterous backstories and histories. Despite some of the characters’ serious flaws, I still wanted to know what their motivations were and what was going to happen to them. Second, there are scenes in this book where you absolutely cannot put this book down. The scenes are vividly described and paced in such a manner that the reader is kept on the edge of their seat wanting to know what is going to happen. I read a lot of suspense and this type of intense pacing is really difficult to pull off for most authors.

Because of the way it is artfully written and organized, this book will be of interest to readers who aren’t merely into police procedurals. Readers who enjoy suspense, psychological thrillers, suspense, and murder mysteries will definitely want to pick up this book.

Thank you to the author, Arlene Hunt, the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Last Goodbye.

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UNIVERSAL Buy  Link:     myBook.to/TSKSocial

Description

You’re young. You’re in love. You’re in terrible danger …

A completely unputdownable thriller from Amazon chart bestseller Arlene Hunt.

‘The woman’s body lay on the bed, hair fanned out in a golden halo, blue eyes open. On the table stood an unmistakable sign: a bouquet of bright yellow roses…’

On a freezing January morning, a young couple is found dead in their cottage in the quiet Dublin suburbs. When Detective Eli Quinn arrives at the scene his stomach drops. It’s the second double homicide in as many months where the killer has left a bunch of yellow roses.

Tucked between the thorns is a little card, with an image of a broken heart. There’s no doubt the killer is trying to send a message, but what do the flowers mean? And can Eli figure out the killer’s motive, before they strike again?

Utterly gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will keep you up reading all night. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Patricia Gibney, you won’t be able to put this down.

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Author Bio

Arlene spent her childhood with ‘my nose buried in a book’.  She was a fierce debate-captain in school and her love of language was bound to lead her to writing. Alongside being an author, she writes, edits and reviews briefs for radio.

Arlene is married with one daughter and lives with a crotchety one-eyed cat named Binkley and a German Shepherd named Archer, who is not at all crotchety.

Author Social Media Links:

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/arlenehunt

Website: http://arlenehunt.com/

Review: A Noise Downstairs

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**4 Goodreads Stars**

“Monsters can be very good at disguising themselves.”

“There are some things even tenure can’t protect you from.”

Paul Davis is a professor in a sleepy university town who finds his life turned upside down while driving home one night from work. He spots a car in front of him driving erratically. As he gets closer to the car, he sees that the driver is an aloof but well-known professor and colleague. He backs away from the car and keeps his distance from it out of sheer curiosity. The old saying “curiosity killed the cat” applies here. Paul’s curiosity gets the best of him when he sees his colleague pull over and start digging a hole in the pitch black night.

For most rational people, this would be a huge red flag to back away and call the police. But no, Paul is headstrong and confronts his colleague, only to discover that his colleague is responsible for the deaths of two women with whom he was having an affair. Paul’s colleague knocks Paul unconscious, leaving Paul emotionally and physically scarred from the encounter. Paul’s colleague gets life in prison, but that doesn’t mean that Paul has moved on from that fateful night.

Paul takes a leave of absence from his university to recover. He spends his days at home with his second wife, Charlotte, and visiting his psychologist for assistance with PTSD. Paul believes he is becoming increasingly forgetful and confused due to a head injury he incurred when he confronted by his murderous colleague.

Charlotte gifts Paul an antique typewriter in the hope that Paul’s writing will distract him from his anxiety and PTSD. But suddenly the typewriter comes to life. Paul hears a tapping in the middle of the night like someone is typing on the typewriter. He discovers that the typewriter may have been used as part of his colleague’s killing spree, making Paul question his sanity and mental health.

Is Paul truly losing his mind or is something else more sinister taking place?

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I really loved this book’s pacing; each chapter took you in a different though totally plausible direction. This book is definitely going to be a favorite with people who love Agatha Christie whodunits. There is a wide cast of characters who could be responsible for taunting Paul, including his ex-wife, who wants full custody of their son; Paul’s psychologist’s father, who has a history of dementia and doing odd things; Paul’s psychologist’s demented client, who has been stalking some of his psychologist’s clients; and Paul’s colleague’s (the killer) wife and son, both of whom blame Paul for turning their husband/father in for the murders. I would love to see this book turned into a film!

Thank you to the author, Linwood Barclay, publisher, William Morrow (Harper Collins), and Edelweiss+ for an advanced reader copy of the thrilling A Noise Downstairs.

Review: Three Secrets

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**4 Goodreads Stars**

Clare Boyd’s Three Secrets started off slowly for me, but it picked up by the 30% mark. I struggled to figure out who was who at the beginning because there are a number of characters, though there are only two people telling the story (John and Francesca). I admit I wasn’t quite sure what the “three secrets” were because there are SO many secrets in this book.

What made me enjoy it, however, was the lead character of Francesca, who makes a life-altering decision to marry Robert, a movie executive from a wealthy family. Francesca makes this decision after being rejected by Robert’s handsome brother, John. John marries Dilys, a piercingly beautiful real estate mogul who is sharp, callous, and shrewd. Robert is an equally difficult partner to love, though Francesca accepts him for who he is in the face of John’s rejection.

What propels the story forward is Robert’s death, which was ruled a suicide. His death is shrouded in suspicion. Why would he kill himself? What would propel him to do such a thing when he has a loving wife and a beautiful young daughter?

The book seeks to understand Robert’s reasons for killing himself, and through this process, we discover he had demons and secrets of his own. The characters will keep you turning the pages wanting to know what happened to Robert the nights leading up to his death.

Thank you to Bookouture, NetGalley, and Clare Boyd for the advanced reader copy of Three Secrets.

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Description

A terrible secret killed your husband… but which one?

Robert kisses his wife on the head before heading out to the shop for more wine; he walks up the hill, takes a left across the footbridge and jumps to his death on the busy motorway below.

Two years later, Francesca and her young daughter are leaving London for a fresh start, money is tight and Robert’s mother has found them a little cottage in her village. Francesca is grateful for the help, but why does Robert’s mother want to keep them so close? Does she know about what Francesca did in the hour before Robert’s death?

Soon Francesca begins to suspect there was more to her husband’s death than she realised, that there might be even darker secrets hiding in his past than her own…

The closer gets to uncovering the truth, the more she asks: is her own life in danger now too?

If you couldn’t put down The Girl on the Train or The Couple Next Door, then you will absolutely love this gripping and twisty new psychological thriller. 

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Author Bio

Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.

Clare’s debut novel, Little Liar , is published by Bookouture and is available to buy now.

Author Social Media Links:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/clareboydclark

Review: The Good Twin

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**4.5 Goodreads Stars**

What if you had spent your entire young life in abject poverty only to find out that you had a twin who was living in luxury? Would you feel a tinge of jealousy? Or would you want something more: would you want revenge?

Marti Green’s The Good Twin follows the character of Mallory, who grew up in poverty after her 17-year-old mother was booted out of her parents’ house while pregnant with twins. Her mother keeps Mallory and puts the other twin up for adoption. Sadly, Mallory’s father dies in the Gulf War, leaving Mallory and her mother alone and financially destitute. Mallory’s mother never tells Mallory about her twin. Mallory experiences yet another tragedy when her mother passes away at a young age, taking the secret of Mallory’s twin to the grave.

Mallory moves to New York to pursue a degree in art. She squeaks by working as a waitress and lives in a communal house that barely qualifies as habitable. Despite all of this, Mallory is living her dream of being an artist in New York. But everything changes when Mallory meets an attractive young man, Ben, while waitressing. Ben tells her she looks exactly like his wife, Charly, who runs an upscale art gallery. Mallory finds the art gallery and discovers that she indeed looks like an exact replica of Charly. She soon discovers that Charly is her biological twin that her mother abandoned.

Ben convinces Mallory that Charly is a “bad twin” of sorts. He claims Charly grew up as a wealthy only child and, as a result, is stuck up and cruel. Ben, who is leading a double life of his own, proposes that he and Mallory take over Charly’s fortunes by having Mallory pose as Charly. Mallory, feeling resentful of Charly’s posh upbringing, hesitantly agrees to Ben’s plot. Little do they know that Charly, too, has a playbook of her own.

If you are a fan of books like Catherine McKenzie’s The Good Liar or Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us, you’ll enjoy this book. There are several unreliable narrators in this book and determining who is telling the truth and who is lying is half the fun of this book. This is one of those books that you will easily devour late at night because it’s so easy to get invested in the characters from the very first page of the book. The book builds tension and suspense slowly and artfully; you find yourself turning the pages because you want to know how the story ends.

Thank you to the author, Marti Green, the publisher, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Marti Green’s The Good Twin. I will definitely be reading more of Marti Green’s books in the future!

Review: The No Asshole Rule

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**5 Goodreads Stars**

Have you ever worked at a place where a person or group of people sucked the life out of you, bullied you, or tormented you? Have you ever had a colleague corner you, explode at a meeting, or yell at other employees? If so, Dr. Robert Sutton’s The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t provides some solid advice on how to manage workplace bullies, or, in his own words, “assholes.”

This book is bursting with data on how assholes affect a workplace’s climate and employees’ productivity. As Dr. Sutton puts it, “when people act like assholes, the whole group suffers.” For anyone who has been in a workplace where there are bullies, we already know this. I presume those of us who are reading this book are reading it for solutions, though. The solutions are not straightforward, which is why this book is predominantly directed at people who manage employees.

One of the discussions I found particularly useful is how to facilitate a workplace and team where constructive criticism is welcomed. Based upon other workplace models, Sutton recommends that managers teach their employees how to handle critique without feeling personally insulted. In other words, “model and teach constructive confrontation.” Towards this end, one tip he offers (from another leader in his field of organizational science/psychology) is “fight as though you are right, listen as if you are wrong.” In this model, conflict isn’t seen as assholish behavior. Productive conflict is taught, which can weed out assholes who are simply in it to bully others into their way of doing things. Conflict, rather, is done to make a product or publication better and stronger. As Sutton writes about his own experiences collaborating with a colleague on publications, “the more we fight, the better we write.”

The problem with assholes is that many companies will tolerate them unless they discriminate against someone (such as racial or gender discrimination). Some people stay quiet out of fear of the person. Sometimes the person blackmails colleagues into believing the will lose their job if they say something. Sometimes a colleague whispers into the ears of weaker colleagues about the colleagues he is bullying, attempting to control and manipulate the narrative about good, non-assholish people.

Many people are tempted to remain quiet because assholes are such dangerous people in the workplace. However, staying quiet and not disciplining an asshole can contaminate a workplace, which is why their behavior should not be tolerated or ignored in the workplace. Employees can contract “assholish” behavior, what Sutton calls “asshole poisoning,” simply by witnessing managers and other employees tolerate the asshole’s behavior. As Sutton explains, “a swarm of assholes is like a civility vacuum.” Unless a business just has one “token asshole” who stands an example of bad employee behavior, assholes are dangerous for corporations, for higher education, and for any workplace. Thus, it is absolutely imperative that workplaces “treat acting like an asshole as though it was a communicable disease.”

How can those of us who have to work with assholes (and who aren’t in the position to fire or discipline them) deal with them? One tip Sutton provides is to “manage moments.” This means you confront the behavior, call the person on it, and absolutely positively refuse to tolerate it. That obviously can be difficult if the asshole is in a position above you or superior to you. Sutton also suggests working on controlling your own behavior around the asshole and not giving in to the temptation to act as they act. Many assholes thrive on conflict and arousing the emotions of others; they see it as a way of controlling others, as a way of “winning.”

My takeaway: don’t tolerate assholes if you are a manager, no matter what the cost to you. It isn’t worth allowing assholes to make your employees miserable and make your workplace climate absolutely intolerable. And for people stuck underneath assholes: leave or speak out. Don’t put up with the behavior, and don’t become the asshole.

 

 

Review: The Replacement Wife

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**5 Goodreads Stars**

“The real horrors of this world are other people.”

“It’s not rocket science. To believe that just because they’re good, everyone else is. But that’s not the way the world works. There’s too much history to prove otherwise.”

Britney King’s The Replacement Wife is the follow-up to The Social Affair, which I purchased and absolutely devoured earlier this year. Click here to read my review of The Social Affair. If you like heady psychological thrillers that explore the intricacies of human nature – especially the darkest aspects of human behavior – this series is for you.

The two books explore the inner workings of a cult that attracts people who desire wealth and power. The cult requires men and women to go to the extreme to prove their loyalty. These extremes involve altering one’s appearance, dieting to stay thin, and posting on social media to draw in followers desiring the same lavish lifestyle of the cult’s followers. If cult members deviate from the rules, they are physically and emotionally punished at a “reprogramming center.”

Crazy, you say? Just look at the recent news headlines this past two weeks, which involved famous actresses in a sex cult. These actresses posted attractive pictures of their lifestyles on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in order to lure people, mostly young women, into their cult. The women in the cult were branded with the name of their male guru and forced to perform sexual acts with him. Yes, it can happen, and King provides a compelling narrative that explains the psychology of how it can happen.

 Why would anyone let themselves be subjected to such abject horror and torture just to belong?

The Replacement Wife is told from the perspectives of Melanie and Tom, both of whom seek money, power, and, above all else, control over others. Melanie has a chance encounter with Tom when they bump into each other on the street. Melanie has just been booted out of her wealthy family’s mansion and told to figure out life on her own. Thrust into the world with few skills other than the ability to manipulate others, Melanie immediately sees Tom – an older but attractive businessman – as a target. But there’s one big problem: he’s married. For Melanie, that’s just a minor detail.

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She pursues him at a bar and finds that he is game. An affair comes easy to them, and soon Melanie has weaseled her way into Tom’s life. Tom’s wife, June, fades out of the picture after she passes away due to a botched plastic surgery, paving the way for Melanie to take over Tom’s life (and, more importantly to Melanie, finances).

Little does Melanie know that Tom is also manipulating her. Soon she realizes that she has been played for a fool. She is enmeshed in Tom’s cult, which has sought to reprogram her and force her to comply or else.

This a dark twisty thriller that reveals the lengths at which people will go to belong to a community and to wield power over others. King has crafted some deeply disturbing characters who clearly have counterparts in real life as we have seen in the news headlines. Yet these characters still have likable and relatable traits…or perhaps her characters are just masterful manipulators, drawing the reader into their lair of lies and deceit. King’s prose is masterful; there are so many fantastic quotable parts of the book that truly capture the depths of human nature.

I highly recommend King’s books if you are a fan of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, or psychological thrillers. I really could not put either of her books in this series down – so you are warned that you may spend all night reading them! I really hope there is another book in this series, because you can bet I’m reading it! Thank you to Britney King for a copy of The Replacement Wife!

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Synopsis

From the bestselling author of The Social Affair comes a new riveting, powerful psychological thriller which offers a savage look into a utopian cultish society where beauty and perfection are valued at all costs.

For readers of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, The Replacement Wife offers a peek into the lives of a married couple up against impossible odds and the notion that history has a way of repeating itself.

Statistically speaking, fifty percent of marriages end up in divorce. What are the odds for murder?

Widower Tom Anderson is a savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Problem is, one is a lonely number. Thankfully, he solved for X by finding the perfect woman. It wasn’t easy. Tom is very specific. He has to be.

Having checked ‘find trophy wife’ off his list, life was moving along swimmingly. Until that perfect woman let it slip–she has a past. One she kept hidden, almost perfectly.

Sure, she lied–she fudged the numbers. Most women do.

Now, Tom has buyers’ remorse and according to cult rules only two options: get rid of her–or single-handedly erase her past.

She’s a liar. But she does keep house well. And she makes a mean lasagna.

Decisions, decisions.

Razor-sharp and utterly gripping, this electrifying story explores the lengths one will go in the pursuit of perfection, little white lies that can turn lethal, and the danger lurking behind the smiles of those we trust most.

Buy Now:

✭ Amazon: http://myBook.to/thereplacementwife

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✭ B&N: http://bit.ly/thereplacementwifebn

✭ iBooks: http://bit.ly/thereplacementwifeib

✭ Kobo: http://bit.ly/trwkobo

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Britney King lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children, two dogs, one ridiculous cat, and a partridge in a pear tree.

When she’s not wrangling the things mentioned above, she writes psychological, domestic and romantic thrillers set in suburbia.

Currently, she’s writing three series and several standalone novels.

The Bedrock Series features an unlikely heroine who should have known better. Turns out, she didn’t. Thus she finds herself tangled in a messy, dangerous, forbidden love story and face-to-face with a madman hell-bent on revenge. The series has been compared to Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Basic Instinct.

The Water Series follows the shady love story of an unconventional married couple—he’s an assassin—she kills for fun. It has been compared to a crazier book version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, Dexter.

Around The Bend is a heart-pounding standalone, which traces the journey of a well-to-do suburban housewife, and her life as it unravels, thanks to the secrets she keeps. If she were the only one with things she wanted to keep hidden, then maybe it wouldn’t have turned out so bad. But she wasn’t.

The With You Series at its core is a deep love story about unlikely friends who travel the world; trying to find themselves, together and apart. Packed with drama and adventure along with a heavy dose of suspense, it has been compared to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Love, Rosie.

The Social Affair is an intense standalone about a timeless couple who find themselves with a secret admirer they hadn’t bargained for. For fans of the anti-heroine and stories told in unorthodox ways, the novel explores what can happen when privacy is traded for convenience. It is reminiscent of films such as One Hour Photo and Play Misty For Me.

Without a doubt, connecting with readers is the best part of this gig. You can find Britney online here:

Web• http://BritneyKing.com

Instagram • https://instagram.com/britneyking_

Facebook • https://www.facebook.com/BritneyKingAuthor

Twitter• http://twitter.com/BritneyKing_

Goodreads • http://bit.ly/BritneyKingGoodreads