#BookReview: Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: August 28, 2018

Summary:

An accused killer insists she’s innocent of a heinous murder.

A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.

Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.

Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself?

Trust Me is the chilling standalone novel of psychological suspense and manipulation that award-winning author and renowned investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan was born to write.

Review:

Hank Phillippi Ryan did it again with “Trust Me”! She had me completely spinning, and questioning everything and everyone! It was Fabulous!

Ryan has definitely cornered the market on twists and turns with these court room dramas. She is a genius!

I was so attached to Mercer Hennessey, who was just counting time since losing her husband and young daughter. So, her boss offers her the opportunity to write a true crime novel based on the Ashlyn Bryant Murder case.

This case involves the murder of a baby girl, so it hits a little too close too home for Mercer. Regardless, she still takes the job. You knew this was going to be extraordinary!!

This is a huge case in Boston and everyone is watching! The day the verdict is announced Mercer’s life is in an uproar!! and that is just the beginning….

This is where you truly start to read the book with your Eyes Wide Open!!

I could not believe the trip that Ryan has taken us on! Total Roller Coaster! Belly flipping!

Thinking about what is Trust? What is truth? This novel can leave you and your friends talking for days! Book Club going into overtime! Or your mind racing with thoughts!

Bravo!

Also! This cover! Turn it sideways! Brilliant!

I waited to write this review so it could be my last review of this decade. That is how much I admired this story and Hank Ryan Phillipi’s work! I look forward to more!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Layover by David Bell

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Reviewer:  Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: July 2nd, 2019

Summary:

In this high concept psychological suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter, a chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a
pulse-pounding quest for the truth…

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work. His life is a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, Joshua meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their flights, Morgan gets up to leave, leans over and passionately kisses Joshua, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As Morgan slips away, Joshua is left feeling confused by what just happened between them. That’s when he looks up and is shocked to see Morgan’s face flashing on a nearby TV screen. He’s even more shocked when he learns the reason why–Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets to discover the truth about why Morgan is on the run. But when he finally thinks every mystery is solved, another rears its head, and Joshua’s worst enemy may be his own assumptions about those around him…

Review:

David Bell takes a chance meeting during a layover at the Atlanta Airport in his newest novel “Layover” and turns it into an epic cat-and-mouse game that has you on the edge of your seat. You feel as though you’ve just jumped off the bungee rope into the abyss named Morgan Reynolds.

Be prepared to not put this book down, because I was unable to. You will need to know the outcome! It it truly riveting, mind blowing, and exhilarating.

David Bell truly is a master at building suspense and keeping you there!

It’s unimaginable how fast you can read this book….I believe it’s because you get a bit frenzied…Like the characters maybe? In an amazing way of course, because he draws you into his story that much!!!

Maybe he realizes his readers are yet another character!?!?

I’ve decided to make this the last book of my Decade….And, leave on an absolute High Note!

5 Stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReviews & #HolidayReads: A Season for Hope & The Magic of the Season (Christmas in Silver Falls #2) by Tammy L. Grace

E77591AD-7280-43CD-903F-1EE45682F47AReviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

A Season For Hope Date of Release: October 26, 2018

Summary:

From the award-winning author of the Hometown Harborseries, comes a heart-warming and inspirational story for the holidays readers describe as the perfect Christmas story.

When their car breaks down, Hope and her young son, Jake, are stranded in Silver Falls as the holidays approach. A woman who runs a guesthouse offers them a place to stay while the car is repaired.

Frightened and broke, Hope finds a part-time job, thanks to the family who owns the guesthouse. Hidden beneath her strong work ethic and cheerful demeanor, Hope conceals a private mystery. A secret she can’t reveal.

As the Christmas season nears, the small town nestled beneath the snowy mountains and its annual holiday festival captivate Hope, while the family at the guesthouse suspects there’s something she’s hiding. In a moment of weakness, she divulges her secret.

Will an offer of help destroy her life and all she cherishes, or will it be the gift she needs to triumph over her past?

A Season for Hope is a charming story about the kindness of strangers and finding hope where you never expected it. Cozy up with the first in the Christmas in Silver Falls novellas for a holiday read sure to warm your heart.

Review:

”A Season For Hope” By Tammy L. Grace truly is one of my favorite Christmas Tales; alongside her next story. She brings you to a place you want to call home, to people you want to meet because of their genuine kindness. You will definitely want to move there…I absolutely loved Silver Falls. I know this is a book I can cuddle up with again year after year under the Christmas Tree, knowing I will be taken away to a place of joy and comfort!

The Magic of the Season

Release Date: October 24, 2019

Summary:

Will a city girl forced to spend the holidays in her small hometown recapture the magic of the season?

Madison hasn’t visited Silver Falls since she left the snowy mountain winters behind for the beaches of California twenty years ago. In the midst of the annual Christmas festival, an accident forces her to return and manage her mom’s candy business at the Sugar Shop.

Grant hasn’t seen her since she left for college, but remembers spending summers at the lake with the skinny, plain girl he and everyone used to know as Sugar. The contemporary advertising executive he encounters now is anything but plain.

Will Grant’s kindness, the charm of Silver Falls, and the caring community open Sugar’s heart to all she’s been missing?

The best-selling author of A Season for Hope, the tale readers describe as the perfect Christmas story, delivers a touching sequel with the second in her Christmas in Silver Falls series in this new festive novella that pairs perfectly with a cup of cocoa in front of a blazing fire.

Review:

Absolutely love these types of Christmas Stories where the City Mouse lands back home in her old hometown after becoming all prettied up! Tammy L. Grace had me at Hello with “The Magic of The Season”! Full of  joy, love, smiles, happiness and all that makes Christmas Bright! This is absolutely one of my favorite Holiday Reads this year!!

Both Receive 5 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Killer Secrets by Sherrie Orvik

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 5, 2019

Summary:

Small towns can have big secrets; this one’s a killer.

Ten years after Elyse Benson’s father and younger sister are brutally murdered and her mother institutionalized for the crime, a disturbing phone call compels Elyse to return home. She expects closure. Instead, she becomes a target.

Ten years ago, Sheriff James Warrick’s father made a deadly mistake during a murder investigation, the truth of which James has vowed to bury. However, when Elyse comes crashing into James’ life in need of protection, in order to help, he might be forced to confront the ghosts he’s been trying so hard to put to rest.

As they work to unravel Elyse’s past, together they discover that they have much more in common than either could have imagined—and that the secret they share could be a killer.

Review:

From the moment this story began, my heart started racing. Sherrie Orvik gave us a total visceral experience from beginning to end in “Killer Secrets”.

Elyse and James entered my life like no other characters in a very long time. There was a sense of urgency that was so palpable it was literally jumping off the pages, almost needing me to stand up as I read the first chapter!

This book does need to come with a warning for those that have suffered any serious trauma, because Sherrie Orvik writes every ounce so very well. I have complex-PTSD and have suffered serious personal trauma, and came out the other end of this book feeling wonderfully vindicated, because an author finally got our voice exactly right!! That is a beautiful thing, my friends!! 

I was in love with Elyse and more in love with James.

I found myself both scared and comforted often at the same time…

This is a must read for any suspense or thriller readers out there. With a twist of romance.

It would be a shame if you missed it!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Flip-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts on Aging I Remembered to Write Down by Cindy Eastman

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date Of Release: April 8, 2014

Summary:

Flip-flops After 50 will amuse, enlighten, and provoke readers to think about the topics that affect all of us. Who hasn’t dealt with the emotions from family events, stress from lousy jobs, or the bittersweet feelings when the kids leave home? Not to mention body image, high school reunions, and parenting. Eastman’s conversational style and easy humor tackle the sublime and the ridiculous, the sacred and the profane. After a certain age—and it’s no secret that it’s 50—Eastman argues that attitudes change for the better. Making decisions gets easier, although there’s no guarantee that life does. Even so, her writing allows us to take a look at our own issues with the reassuring handholding of a confidante.

Review:

This is a super, want to dive into book, once you open it! Each chapter leads you to the next vignette that Cindy Eastman shares with us to enlighten us to our own path in “Flip-Flips after 50”…and it is stunning! It’s wild how much I connected to her story. I learned so much along the way, and will definitely take some lessons to travel further along my journey.

I love how gently everything was shared. I felt like I was in conversation with a friend.

I highly recommend this book to women. Women of any age…at least I am going into my 50th birthday warmed with this 200 page book and a pair of flip-flips. I am very grateful.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Clergyman’s Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Molly Greeley

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: December 3, 2019

Summary:

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice—and legions of historical fiction lovers—an inspired debut novel set in Austen’s world.

Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine..
In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

Review:

“The Clergyman’s Wife” by Molly Greeley really walks in the path alongside Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”. I felt the same tempo, magic and slow passage of time as when I read Jane Austen. There is nothing better than a book that makes you want to stop time!

I loved Charlotte Lucas, so it was wonderful to revisit with her.

Often these Austen retellings feel forced, and definitely not taken in stride; but that does not happen here. I truly felt taken away….Taken away in the beautiful use of language, and and a truly magnificent storyline.

You’ll need some time to spend frolicking with Charlotte and her family and friends through her days, because you won’t want to put the book down.

I hope that Molly Greeley has more stories in the making that are of this classical fraction, because she sure hits the nail on the head. This is certainly her wheelhouse.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Evening in the Yellow Wood by Laura Kemp

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 12, 2018

Summary:

Abandoned by an eccentric father on the eve of her twelfth birthday, Justine Cook has lived with her fair share of unanswered questions. Now, ten years later she leaves her life in southern Michigan and heads north to the mysterious town of Lantern Creek after seeing his picture in a local newspaper. Once there, she discovers her father had been leading a double life and meets the autistic brother she never knew—a young man wis mute but able to read her mind.

When a local girl who looks like Justine is mysteriously murdered, she joins forces with sheriff’s deputy Dylan Locke to capture the killer. But the more they dig for clues to the past, the closer they come to discovering a secret someone will kill to protect. Justine begins to show signs of supernatural power and eventually must stop an immortal enemy that has hunted her family for generation

Review:

I loved “Evening in the Yellow Wood” by Laura Kemp. The Michigan girl wrote a killer book for her debut novel! I’m a Michigan girl, too and I’m so proud of Laura Kemp. Maybe I am partial but, you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself. 

The story is outstanding. There’s a little romance, a little folklore, a little magic and a lot of intrigue. This book will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. I couldn’t put it down. Laura’s ease with the written word shines in this book. She has captured the essence of her characters in a way that will stay with you for a long time. 

I don’t know what I was expecting when I started this book but, my expectations were blown out of the water. This is so much more than a murder mystery or a girl looking for her father. Take my word that you will want to read this book!

5 Stars.

#AuthorInterview #HolidayReads & #GiveAway: Meet Janice Lynn, author of Hallmark’s “Wrapped Up in Christmas”

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What first sparked your interest in writing Wrapped Up in Christmas?

For some time I have been wanting to spread my wings as a writer and push myself outside my comfort zone, to write a story that moved people, and brought my writing to another level. My agent suggested I write a proposal for Hallmark. When I sat down to write the proposal, I asked myself what Hallmark meant to me, and I started writing the proposal for Wrapped Up in Love–which was the original title, as the original version centered around July 4th rather than Christmas. I was asked to revise to a Christmas story and make a few tweaks to the proposal, and Hallmark Publishing bought it. Now, I can’t imagine the book as anything other than a Christmas story.

How long did it take you to write the story?  

I’m honestly not sure of the exact timeframe for the first draft. I’d guess around 3 months. I was on deadline with another publisher, so I had to write.

Who is your favorite character & why?  

There are a lot of characters in the book I love for various reasons. The answer that popped into my head is Harry, who is my hero’s dog. But I adore Bodie and Sarah, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Butterflies. Writing Harry and letting his personality come through without dialogue stretched me as a writer. Stretching outside one’s comfort zone makes one grow and that’s a good thing. I adore Bodie because he is a wounded warrior with a big heart, a real life hero who loves his country and fellowman. He’s the kind of hero you know would come to your rescue no matter what. Sarah is sweet and loves her hometown and community. I love that about her, probably because I feel the same way about the small town in Tennessee where I live. And, those pesky Butterflies….those ladies were so much fun to write because I had to ask myself, now what would they do next that borders on outrageous without going too far over the top. I’d catch myself giggling at times writing the scenes with them on the page because I could so vividly see them in my mind. Hmmm, that was more than a single character, but I honestly love them all equally.

Annie: I am totally excited that you said the hero’s dog first. Each character sounds amazingly special, but I have a special place in my heart for dogs.

0B618662-BB41-4637-B465-CE0105BFD580When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I was in the first grade. No kidding. On my tablet paper, I wrote a story about a witch and was hooked. I’d write every chance I got up until I went away to college. Somehow, I quit writing for pleasure during that time, got my degree, a husband, some beautiful children, and it wasn’t until 9/11 happened that, same as many others, I found myself looking at life differently. For me that meant asking myself why I wasn’t pursuing my dream of writing. It was my dream and yet I was putting zero effort into making it a reality. I started writing again. Writing is such a wonderful outlet for me that, looking back, I can’t believe I allowed myself to stop for so long. Whether or not I ever sold another book, I’d still write. Writing soothes a need in me that nothing else touches. My hope is that my writing soothes a need in my readers that only a good book can accomplish.

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What’s been the most exciting part of Wrapped Up in Christmas’s release?

Everything about writing for Hallmark has been exciting. How my hometown has shared in my joy of this book warms my heart in so many ways. Friends and family have just embraced me with their joy. It’s been amazing, but my answer as to what’s been the most exciting has to be having been a guest on the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family talk show on November 8th and making a snowflake ornament with Cameron Mathison. He was so unbelievably kind. I’d love to write a book that he someday starred in the movie. Did I mention that I’m a dreamer? LOL. Still, this entire experience has been dreamy, so I know dreams come true. I’m just going to keep dreaming.

Annie: WOW! I love that show, and Cameron Mathison! That is so amazing!

What’s your favorite part of being an author?

Getting to write stories that raise awareness of causes I believe in such as the Quilts of Valor Foundation. In Wrapped Up in Christmas, Sarah has donated a quilt to the Quilts of Valor Foundation. That quilt made its way to a wounded warrior named Bodie Lewis.  Quilts of Valor is a real organization that really does wrap up veterans and active servicemen and women in quilts. That my book has brought attention to their mission makes my heart happy because I 100% believe in what they are doing.

Annie: This is an amazing organization! Here is the link for everyone to check out! https://www.qovf.org

6C64D46C-0D2E-4DA2-9D69-861ECC8BEEF4What are your hobbies?

I love to sew and quilt. I won’t say that I have a whole lot of perfectly straight quarter inch seams, but I try. 🙂  I am in the process of making a quilt for each of my children, make quilts for baby shower gifts, and have recently finished my second Quilts of Valor quilt to be donated. I hope to make many more to be donated in the future as well as continuing to write stories that draw attention to the wonderful work this organization does.  


Annie: Thank you so much for this outstanding interview behind the scenes of both you and your book! It’s so wonderful to get to know you better!

 

GIVEAWAY:  eBook COPY OF BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM WEDNESDAY.  THANK YOU.

#BookReview: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: August 20, 2019

Summary:

“An exhilarating thrill ride that keeps you turning pages.. Ryan deftly delivers a denouement as shocking as it is satisfying.”–Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Last Time I Saw You

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoli

and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

Hank Phillipi Ryan’s triangular approach that is used to introduce each character to us in “The Murder List” was a winning combination. It was such a wicked playing field! So ferociously intense you didn’t know who you could trust! Such a beautiful gift in a thriller!

Rachel is a Howard Law Student married to Jack, one of the finest Defense Attorney’s in Boston. Rachel must work with Jack’s nemesis, Assistant District Attorney, Martha to complete her internship for Law School. Deliciously intense!

It is so thrilling..you will not want to stop reading!

Rachel wants to get on the  Murder List. To be part of the team defending the people being accused of murder. But. How do you get on this List? Is there more than one type of Murder List???

This story is nothing short of exhilarating! I was taken away with the courtroom drama, political games, and crimes. Everything had me gripped to the pages….Hank Phillipi Ryan truly has a gift for writing the riveting novel with twists you don’t expect and one that you certainly do not want to put down until you get to the very. last. word.

And, then you have to sit…and absorb everything you just read.

Brilliant!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars