Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Lost and Found by Jennifer Carr Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Book: The Lost and Found

Author: Jennifer Carr

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: June 1, 2023

In the small quiet town of Owenston, Kentucky, former FBI agent Mark Collins has found a new purpose as the county Sheriff. Married and enjoying the prospect of becoming a father for a second time, Mark’s life seems picture-perfect. But when a series of petty thefts turns into a murder investigation, Mark’s peaceful life takes an unexpected turn.

With his steadfast resolve and unwavering faith, Mark embarks on a race against time to catch a killer, but as he digs deeper, he realizes that the case is more complex than he ever imagined, and danger hits closer to home than he could have anticipated.

The Lost and Found is a Christian suspense novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, blending thrilling intrigue with heartwarming moments. Mark’s unwavering commitment to justice, his ever-expanding family, and his unwavering faith in God make for a gripping tale of redemption, hope, and love. Can Mark untangle the web of secrets and find a way to heal the wounds of the past? Discover the truth in this captivating story of courage, compassion, and the power of love.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is another touching novel by Carr. She knows how to tug at our heart strings and here she does so through exploring what family means. We readers find ourselves in a very supportive community where people are quick to help each other and consider newcomers as part of an extended family. An exploration of the foster system is part of the strong message of the meaning of family, that it is not necessarily blood relation.

The focus of the novel centers on the characters while the mystery takes a back seat. Jess is an interesting person in that she is very sensitive and can detect information from a person's subconscious micro-expressions and body language. My favorite characters were the young boys, especially the nonstop talking Colton.

The novel is written in alternating first person narratives, from Jess' and Mark's viewpoints. The chapters are clearly identified but one can be temporarily confused if reading is interrupted mid-chapter. It is not my favorite writing style.

I liked this touching novel of relationships and family. It is the second in a series but reads well on its own. I would recommend reading the first book, No Matter What, to fully enjoy this one. (You can read my review of it here.) We are definitely set up at the end of this book for a sequel and I will be watching for it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

A wife, mom, author, marriage and family counselor, a former AP Psychology teacher, and a podcaster, Jennifer draws from her life experiences and imagination to connect with her readers and listeners through the written and spoken word.

Married to her childhood best friend and the mom of a creative daughter, Jennifer enjoys a quiet life on their farm in Alabama.
When she’s not wearing one of her many hats, you’ll find her tucked away with a book and what’s likely her third coffee of the day.


More from Jennifer

The Lost and Found is the second book of the No Matter What series but can be read as a standalone. I needed to make sure my characters were happy and healthy after their adventures in the book one so the day I sent No Matter What to my editor, I started writing The Lost and Found.

I love to bake and when I was pregnant with our daughter, I craved all things sweet. One of the characters in the book has a similar craving so I created a recipe for her to enjoy. I’d love to share it with you.


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 18 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, April 18

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

Lakesidelivingsite, April 20

Artistic Nobody, April 21 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 23

Cover Lover Book Review, April 24

Beauty in the Binding, April 25 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 26

Blogging With Carol, April 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 28 (Author Interview)

Exploring the Written Word, April 28

For Him and My Family, April 29


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a Six Month Subscription to Kindle Unlimited ($60 value) and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, April 15, 2024

Leave No Trace by A J Landau Book Review

About the Book:

In a daring, brutal act of terrorism, an explosion rocks and topples the Statue of Liberty. Special Agent Michael Walker of the National Park Service is awakened by his boss with that news and sent to New York as the agent-in-charge. Not long after he lands, he learns two things - one that Gina Delgado of the FBI has been placed in charge of the investigation as the lead of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and two, that threats of a second terrorism attack are already being called into the media. While barred from the meetings of the Joint Task Force for his lack of security clearance, Walker finds a young boy among the survivors with a critical piece of information - a video linking the attackers to the assault.

As a radical domestic terrorist group, led by a shadowy figure known only as Jeremiah, threatens further attacks against America's cultural symbols, powerful forces within the government are misleading the investigation to further their own radical agenda.

My Review:

I like this thriller set in the context of attacks on national parks. It involves militia type groups coming together under a leader determined to take over the country. The January 2021 Capitol overrun was perhaps just a dress rehearsal. Identifying and stopping the domestic terrorists is difficult because high levels of government have been infiltrated.

There is nearly continuous action in this thriller. The action comes at a good pace, balanced with information about national parks. I liked the park settings and prolific background information and description. I also liked the unique bomb techniques, many I have never heard of before.

This is a good thriller with likable characters and lots of action. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed novels like the series featuring Anna Pigeon by Nevada Barr.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

A. J. LANDAU is the pseudonym for two authors, Jon Land, the award-winning, bestselling author and co-author of more than fifty books, and Jeff Ayers, reviewer, former-librarian, and author. Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and Jeff Ayers lives in Seattle, Washington.

Minotaur Books, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the Publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Rumor Game by Thomas Mullen Book Review

About the Book:

A determined reporter and a reluctant FBI agent face off against fascist elements in this gripping historical thriller set in World War II-era Boston.

Reporter Anne Lemire writes the Rumor Clinic, a newspaper column that disproves the many harmful rumors floating around town, some of them spread by Axis spies and others just gossip mixed with fear and ignorance. Tired of chasing silly rumors about Rosie Riveters' safety on the job, she wants to write about something bigger.

Special Agent Devon Mulvey, one of the few Catholics at the FBI, spends his weekdays preventing industrial sabotage and his Sundays spying on clerics with suspect loyalties—and he spends his evenings wooing the many lonely women whose husbands are off at war.

When Anne’s story about Nazi propaganda intersects with Devon’s investigation into the death of a factory worker, the two are led down a dangerous trail of espionage, organized crime, and domestic fascism—one that implicates their own tangled pasts and threatens to engulf the city in violence.

My Review:

I had a hard time getting into this novel. It started off very slowly as the two characters are introduced in seemingly unrelated activities. I didn't like Devon from the beginning. He is not the kind of man I appreciate as a hero. Anne was more attractive to me, tracing rumors to their source and disproving them. Some were just rather silly but some had roots in anti-war feelings. That aspect of the novel is similar to the disinformation promoted today.

This is the first book I had read by Mullen. The atmosphere of the era was presented well, especially the prejudice towards Jews. I can tell a great deal of research went into the book and I appreciate the Author's Note and the end identifying aspects of the novel based on historical fact. I thought the novel rather uninspiring, however, and not compelling. The plot moved slowly and I found myself skimming after a while.

This novel would be of interest to readers who enjoy books centered on WW II.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

About the Author:

THOMAS MULLEN is the internationally bestselling author of eight novels, including Darktown, an NPR Best Book, which was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Southern Book Prize, the Indies Choice Book Award, and was nominated for or won prizes in France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The follow-up, Lightning Men, was named one of the Top Ten Crime Novels of 2017 by The New York Times and was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger AwardHis debut, The Last Town on Earth, was named Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today and was awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction.

Macmillan, 368 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Disrupted by B. Lynn Goodwin Blog Tour Book Review

 About the Book:

The San Ramos High students are busy rehearsing their performance of Our Town when the school and the surrounding towns are rocked by a 7.1 earthquake. As a series of unusual aftershocks disrupt the town further, their school is deemed unsafe, and the show is postponed indefinitely unless they can find a way to turn that bad luck around. Dealing with their own personal difficulties and led by the stage manager, Sandee, who is working her way through the loss of her brother, they attempt to bring the community together, make the performance a success, and do their share to raise funds to rebuild. Both the show and life must go on!

Publisher: Olympia Publishers

ISBN-10: 1804393487

ISBN-13: 978-1804393482


Print Length: 238 pages

Purchase a copy of Disrupted on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add it to your GoodReads reading list.

You can enter for a chance to win a copy and see a list of all of the stops on the blog tour here.

My Review:

This is an entertaining novel for high school age readers. Goodwin uses the background of recurring earthquakes to explore a number of issues of interest to youth. There is a runaway, fleeing an unhappy home situation. There are young people who face great loss and must deal with grief. There is even a bit about being over weight and quite a bit about climate change. There are some good lessons about relationships and restoring them too.

Perhaps the best part of the book is how the young people rise up to help the community in the throes of disaster. Some exercise leadership skills while others show compassion for those in need. Even adults get in the act, inspired by the passion of the young people.

Goodwin has added good discussion questions and even some project ideas so this would be a good choice for a teen book group. It would also be of interest to high school students active in drama and the arts.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com

Talent was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award and won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award. A second edition cane out on November 1, 2020 from  Koehler Books. She also wrote You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers.

Her memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 won a National Indie Excellence Award, a Human Relations Indie Book Awards Winner, a Dragonfly Book Award, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Book Awards Finalist & NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winner.

Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun, Good Housekeeping.com, Purple Clover.com, and elsewhere. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is a manuscript coach at Writer Advice. She always has time to write guest blog posts and answer questions. She loves working one on one, trouble-shooting, and helping writers find what works. Contact her to see how she can help you.

Her website: https://www.writeradvice.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lgood67334

Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blynn.goodwin

Website Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writeradvice/

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

Her Books: https://writeradvice.com/books-by-lynn/

Olympia Publisher, 238 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through WOW Women on Writing. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by WOW Women on Writing.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Friday, April 12, 2024

The Last Word by Gerri Lewis Book Review

About the Book:

Obituary writer Winter Snow is no stranger to grief, and writing obituaries for the citizens of Ridgefield, Connecticut, is her way of providing comfort to those who have been in her shoes. But funerals and eulogies are meant for the dead, so when the very much alive Leocadia Arlington requests her own obituary by the end of the week, Winter’s curiosity is piqued. Even more so when she finds Mrs. Arlington dead soon after. Officer Kip Michaels and his relentless partner Tom Bellini make it clear that Winter is under suspicion for the death.

Drafting an obituary for someone who hadn’t died yet certainly looks bad, but Winter knows that it wasn’t her, and she becomes obsessed with trying to figure out the real killer. She dives headfirst into the investigation to give Mrs. Arlington and herself some peace. When Winter realizes Mrs. Arlington was working on a revealing memoir that has now gone missing, Winter begins to wonder if the death wasn’t exactly random–accident or otherwise.

With the help of her foodie Uncle Richard, her wise octogenarian neighbor Horace, her best friend Scoop, and Diva, the Great Pyrenees puppy she inherited from Mrs. Arlington, Winter must uncover the killer before the next obituary written is her own.

My Review:

I was pleasantly surprised with this debut effort from Lewis. I had no idea making a living by writing obituaries was even a thing. Winter is an amateur sleuth who feels compelled to solve the death of a client. She is a bit too bold in that she often breaks the law, such as hiding evidence. There are a number of good support characters, including some quirky ones.

Lewis' writing style is clear and a pleasure to read. The murder plot was a little complex and took lots of explaining at the end. There was a little suspense near the end too.

I generally liked this cozy mystery and will be watching for more from Lewis.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Gerri Lewis
started her writing career as a newspaper columnist, feature writer, reporter and obituary writer. If she were to write her own obit, it would go something like this with a little wishful thinking thrown in: Author of the popular Obituary Writer Series, The Last Word, A Deadly Deadlines Mystery, Gerri Lewis died at the age of 100, at the Ridgefield home she loved and the setting for many of her books. Gerri started her career as a freelance writer, reporter and newspaper columnist for seven syndicated weeklies and won numerous awards for her writing including from the Society of Professional Journalists, the New England Press Association and Writer’s Digest. Throughout her career she remained a go-to person in the community for obituaries, especially sensitive ones, because she said, “Capturing a loved one’s personality in an obituary is one of the greatest gifts you can give to the grieving.”

Crooked Lane Book, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Lines of Deception by Steve Anderson Blog Tour Book Review


Lines of Deception

by Steve Anderson

March 18 - April 12, 2024 Virtual Book Tour


The Kaspar Brothers Series

A West German nightclub owner goes behind the Iron Curtain on a desperate mission to save his brother, in this Cold War thriller by the author of Lost Kin.

West Germany, 1949. Former actor Max Kaspar suffered greatly in the Second World War. Now he owns a nightclub in Munich—and occasionally lends a hand to the newly formed CIA. Meanwhile, his brother Harry has ventured beyond the Iron Curtain to rescue an American scientist. When Harry is also taken captive, Max resolves to locate his brother at all costs. The last thing he expects is for Harry to go rogue.

Max’s treacherous quest takes him to Vienna and Prague to Soviet East Germany and Communist Poland. Along the way, dangerous operators from Harry’s past join the pursuit: his former lover Katarina, who’s working for the Israelis, and former Nazi Hartmut Dietz, now an agent of East German intelligence. But can anyone be trusted? Even the American scientist Stanley Samaras may not be the hero Harry had believed him to be . . .

Praise for Lines of Deception:

"In this convincing and atmospheric spy tale set on the haunted landscape of postwar Europe, the engaging Max Kaspar leads us into deepening shadows in which the certainties of loyalty and morality grow dimmer at every turn. An intriguing and satisfying read."
~ Dan Fesperman, author of Winter Work

"Steve Anderson brings the past to life… As close as you'll get to a historical guide to the vagaries and treacheries and to the hidden byways and ratlines of post-war Europe."
~ Luke McCallin, author of the Gregor Reinhardt series

"If you like international intrigue on a grand and gritty scale written in language that moves like the wind, this is your read."
~ Mary Glickman, National Jewish Book Award Finalist for One More River

"Kept me on the edge of my seat, and the unexpected twists left me guessing until the final pages."
~ Roccie Hill, author of The Blood of My Mother and other novels

"Readers who know the Kaspar brothers from Anderson’s other tales will not be disappointed, and those who are new to the brothers’ exploits will be faithful hereon."
~ NCR Davis, author of For the Boys: The War Story of a Combat Nurse in Patton’s Third Army

My Review:

While this is a novel, as Anderson says in his Afterward, it is set in the time when the CIA had just been formed. It was a fledgling entity still finding its way. Communists were intently trying to gain power after WW II and the CIA was trying to establish intelligence networks behind the Iron Curtain but was not doing well. Hence, in this novel, operative Harry goes rogue to complete the mission of gathering a scientist to bring him back to the U.S.

There are aspects of the novel I like. One is Anderson's descriptions. One character is introduced with eyes hard marbles, his weak chin and soft cheeks all angles and iron. The descriptions of all the locations in the novel are well crafted too. I liked learning about the Jewish group hunting and assassinating Nazi war criminals and the possibility of countries developing something like germ warfare. There was also an interesting discussion about how immigrants were received by various countries.

I can tell Anderson has done a great deal of research to write this novel, resulting in a plot with good accuracy concerning the clandestine government agencies and their associated activities. This is the fourth novel in this series and there are several references to events in previous novels. I would suggest reading the series from the beginning to fully enjoy this one. Anderson's writing style required more concentration on my part than I am used to in novels of this kind. The methodical pace is consistent.

This is a good novel for readers looking for one about the activities of people and agencies at the beginning of the Cold War.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Espionage, Historical Thriller, Cold War Thriller
Published by: Open Road Media
Publication Date: March 2024
Number of Pages: 200
ISBN: 9781504086134 (ISBN10: 1504086139)
Series: Kaspar Brothers (#4)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | Open Road Media

Read an excerpt:


Tuesday, May 17, 1949
12:01 a.m.

Max Kaspar learned about his brother, Harry, from the little man who brought him the severed ear. The nasty fellow even had the gall to bring it to the Kuckoo Nightclub, keeping it in a small purple box on his table along the wall.

Up on the club’s small stage, Max had just finished belting out a recent jump blues hit from the States, “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” everybody clapping along. He flubbed a couple lines but his few fellow Germans had no idea and the Americans were too drunk to care.

The little man never clapped along. He’d just stared at Max. Max used to be fairly certain that a man watching like that was either a talent agent or a producer. But that was before Total War, before fire bombings, and concentration camps, stranded orphans, souls scarred for life. Before his own rehabilitation.

As the applause died, Max kept the man in a corner of his eye. Small head on narrow shoulders, an outdated curly greased mustache, and a frenzied glare like Peter Lorre, his eyes bulging, never blinking.

Max forced out a grin. “Thank you, folks, meine Damen und Herren,” he said in that mix of English and German everyone used to please both occupier and occupied.

Then he pulled their young waitress Eva onto the stage.

Eva gasped. “Now, Herr Kaspar?” Between them, they embraced speaking their native German.

“You said you want a chance, my dear, so now’s your shot,” Max told her.

Eva beamed at him. Their four-piece band made anyone sound good since they had a hepcat GI playing drums and another on piano, a former Swing Kid from Cologne on the horn, and a steady old Kabarett veteran on bass. Eva’s dimples and curves and sweet voice did the rest. She launched into a rousing version of “Slow Boat to China” festooned by her thick accent and the crowd cheered her on.

Not bad for a Tuesday. But Max was creating diversions. He’d needed to surveil the man, which meant throwing him off. He made for the bar. Then he disappeared into the kitchen and went down into the cellar, passing under the dance floor and tables above.

What could the little man want? He threatened to throw Max’s shaky world spinning out of kilter. The day had started like any other here in Schwabing, that Munich quarter once home to pioneering artists, then to a small-handed, fatheaded blowhard named Adolf, and now to free-spending American occupiers. Max had peacetime, normalcy, a cozy routine. Fresh white bread from his American friends, toasted, with real butter and orange marmalade. Real coffee. He was finally forgetting what ersatz coffee tasted like, thank god or whoever was responsible. He’d arrived early at the club like usual, before noon, before anyone. Drank another real coffee. He went through the ledgers and checked the earnings stacked in the cellar safe, if only to confirm all truly was well and normal. Then he wandered the Kuckoo, his Kuckoo, wincing at the few dirty ashtrays and beer glasses left out from the previous night. He rolled up his sleeves, emptied the ashes and cleared the glasses, and wiped things down. His staff could do this, but a little chore always gave him something like peace of mind. A part of him was even hoping that Eva would arrive early and see him doing it. He went through his mail, finding the usual inquiries from bands and singers, and bills he had no problem paying now, at last. The occasional letter came from Mutti und Vati in America. But, still nothing from his brother, Harry, here in Europe. The void of letters, postcards, or even a surprise visit had been growing, swelling, prickling at him low in his gut. Just this morning, Max had gotten that creeping feeling he knew from combat: Things were all too quiet.

Down in the Kuckoo cellar, Max now felt a shudder, deep in his chest, and the normalcy dwindled as only a memory, a fog. An opened bottle of American rye stood atop the safe and he thought about taking a shot for courage, then decided he didn’t need it. He needed to move.

He came back upstairs on the other side, behind their red curtain at the back of the stage. He eyed the little man closer from the shadows while Eva gave it all she had. The man was now watching the bar, craning his compact noodle for any sight of Max. That purple box stood in equal proportion to his short neat glass of Fernet, to his fresh pack of Chesterfields, to his sterling jeweled lighter, his gnarled knuckles revealing him to be older than his shiny face let on.

Why show off, Max thought, when any secure communication would do? This peacock was certainly not CIA. The Munich desk was more likely to send some new kid with a crew cut.

Eva was bowing now, the crowd whooping and stomping. As if sensing Max, the man slowly swiveled Max’s way, still not blinking.

Max rushed out along the wall and sat down next to the man. They waited for the crowd to quiet, silent like two passengers aboard an airliner off to a rocky start.

“Good evening, Herr Kaspar,” the man said in German, his accent as inscrutable as Max expected. “I enjoyed your routine.”

“It’s not a routine,” Max blurted, sounding more annoyed than he’d wanted.

The man smirked, which released a sniffle. “You did not know all the words, yes? Tricky, keeping up with these Americans.”

“What in the devil do you want?”

His waiter came over, Gerd. Max sent poor Gerd away with a snap of fingers.

The little man lost the smirk. He slid the small purple box over to Max.

It was larger than a ring box, smaller than for a necklace. Max pushed the box open with his index finger. He saw one human ear, lying on its side, with a neat cut and cleaned up.

“Harry Kaspar,” the man said. “Perhaps he hears too much.”

“My brother?” Max’s head spun. Everything blurred and he shut his eyes a moment. “Just tell me what you want.”

“Harry Kaspar is your brother, yes?”

The man had said brother like a curse word. Hot pressure filled Max’s chest, and he wiped away the sweat instantly sopping his eyebrows. He grabbed the man by the collar. He could smell the man’s toilet water, and possibly a bad tooth. “Why, you . . .” he roared.

“Now, now. Listen. You will find instructions with the ear, which I leave with you. You deliver the ransom soon? Perhaps the ear can be reattached, yes?”

Max had to assume it was Harry’s ear. He realized he didn’t know what his brother’s ear looked like, not exactly, and the thought made his heart squeeze a little. He let go of the man.

“Why Harry?” he asked.

“I told you: He hears too much. But I suppose it could’ve been an eye—”

“Listen to me. You don’t know who you’re playing with. Harry’s an American.”

The man gave the slightest shrug. “Naturalized American. Unlike you. Still a lowly German . . .” He gave a tsk-tsk sound. “But with means now, I see.”

Max’s jaw clenched from loathing. “Who are you? I thought kidnappers were supposed to be anonymous.”

The man pressed a hand to his chest. “Oh, we’re better than kidnappers. And we’re confident that you will comply. Because Harry told us that you would pay.”

“He did? Why?”

The man smiled. “I don’t think he wanted his embassy involved, and certainly not the Soviets.”

“The Soviets? Hold on. Where did you come from anyway?”

The man gave another slight shrug. He nodded at the box. He scooped up his Chesterfields and lighter, stood, straightened his black crushed velvet blazer, blinked around the room, and left.

Harry smoked Chesterfields, Max recalled, and the thought stiffened his neck with worry. The ear box remained on the table. He pulled it closer, glanced around for privacy, and then opened it again. Tucked up into the lid was a note, typed on a small white square of paper:

Ransom: $1,000 or equivalent.
Come alone. No tricks.
9 Lessinggasse, Vienna


Excerpt from Lines of Deception by Steve Anderson. Copyright 2024 by Steve Anderson. Reproduced with permission from Steve Anderson. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Steve Anderson is the author of numerous novels, mostly historical thrillers about gutsy underdogs. In an earlier life he earned an MA in history and was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. Day jobs have included busy waiter, Associated Press rookie, and language instructor. He’s also written historical nonfiction and translated bestselling German novels. A hopeless soccer addict, he lives in his hometown of Portland, Oregon with his wife RenĂ©.

Catch Up With Steve Anderson:
BookBub - @SteveAnderson
Instagram - @steveawriter
Twitter/X - @SteveAwriter
Facebook - @SteveAndersonAuthor

Check out his Substack Newsletter: @steveawriter


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I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Night Falls on Predicament Avenue by Jaime Jo Wright Book Review

About the Book:

As the walls of the house at Predicament Avenue reveal their hidden truths, two women--generations apart--discover that fear and foreboding are no respecters of time.

In 1910, Effie James is committed to doing anything to save her younger sister, who witnessed a shocking murder, leaving her mute and in danger of the killer's retribution. Effie must prove what her sister saw, but when a British gentleman arrives, he disrupts Effie's quest with his attempts to locate his wife, Isabelle Addington, who was last seen at the supposed crime scene in the abandoned house at 322 Predicament Avenue. Just as Effie discovers what she seeks, she finds that the blood staining the walls will forever link her to a scandal she couldn't imagine, and to a woman whose secrets promise to curse any who would expose them.

A century later, Norah Richman grapples with social anxiety and grief as she runs her late great-aunt's bed-and-breakfast on Predicament Avenue. But Norah has little affection for the house and is committed only to carrying out her murdered sister's dreams until crime historian and podcaster Sebastian Blaine arrives to investigate the ghostly legacy of the house's claim to fame--the murder of Isabelle Addington. When a guest is found dead, the incident is linked to Isabelle's murder, and Norah and Sebastian must work together to uncover the century-old curse that has wrapped 322 Predicament Avenue in its clutches and threatens far more than death.

You can read an excerpt here.

My Review:

Wright's novel follows her usual concept of combining a murder mystery from a century ago with a current one in the same location. She skillfully reveals the action in each situation as information is uncovered. The plot technique in this novel is a current true crime podcaster investigating the long ago murder.

Wright is a wordsmith. The bedroom is not just dark, it is shrouded in vampire black. She is skilled at creating spooky scenes and scary situations. There is much suspense in this novel and a hint of romance. The faith message is vague but there is an exploration death, grief and what happens in the hereafter.

The resolutions of both mysteries seemed a little forced to me, something I do not remember in previous novels from Wright. The reason the historical murder remained a mystery bordered on unbelief. The answer to the current murder meant some actions had been hidden from those close by for some time, bordering on being unrealistic.

I do like very much Wright's writing style and her characteristic plots and, even though I do not think this is her best effort, will be watching for the next novel from her.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Jaime Jo Wright
 (JaimeWrightBooks.com) is the author of ten novels, including Christy Award and Daphne du Maurier Award-winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also a two-time Christy Award finalist, as well as the ECPA bestselling author of The Vanishing at Castle Moreau and two Publishers Weekly bestselling novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her family and felines.

Bethany House Publishers, 368 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Private Equity by Carrie Sun Book Review

About the Book:

A gripping memoir of one woman’s self-discovery inside a top Wall Street firm, and an urgent indictment of privilege, extreme wealth, and work culture

When we meet Carrie Sun, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s wasting her life. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Carrie excelled in school, graduated early from MIT, and climbed the corporate ladder, all in pursuit of the American dream. But at twenty-nine, she’s left her analyst job, dropped out of an MBA program, and is trapped in an unhappy engagement. So when she gets the rare opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious hedge funds in the world, she knows she can’t say no. Fourteen interviews later, she’s in.

Carrie is the sole assistant to the firm’s billionaire founder. She manages his work life, becoming the right hand to an investor who can move mountains and markets with a single phone call. Eager to impress, she dives headfirst into the firm’s culture, which values return on time above all else. A luxury-laden world opens up for her, and Carrie learns that money can solve nearly everything.

Playing the game at the highest levels, amid the ultimate winners in our winner-take-all economy, Carrie soon finds her identity swallowed whole by work. With her physical and mental health deteriorating, she begins to rethink what it actually means to waste one’s life. A searing examination of our relationship to work, Carrie’s story illuminates the struggle for balance in a world of extremes: efficiency and excess, status and aspiration, power and fortune. 
Private Equity is a universal tale of self-invention from a dazzling new voice, daring to ask what we’re willing to sacrifice to get to the top—and what it might take to break free and leave it all behind.

My Review:

This memoir was a bit hard for me to get into. Sun's writing style seemed disjointed, at times overly specific and at other times lacking detail. I had hoped there would be more insights into the world of hedge funds. Often memoirs like this one would be a balance of information and memories. This book is more of a commentary on her own character and personal experiences in childhood and at MIT. It seems this book is one person's experience in the finance field rather than about the field in general. A decent memoir, it just was not what I expected.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

About the Author:

Carrie Sun
was born in China and raised in Michigan. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. Private Equity is her first book. Photo: © Beowulf Sheehan 

Penguin Press, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)