Thursday, March 30, 2023

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Soulmate

Sally Hepworth's latest twisty domestic suspense novel, The Soulmate, will be available next week. We are excited to feature it today and, judging by Melissa's review, you're in for quite the ride! Thanks to St. Martin's Press, we have one copy to give away!

There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.

When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral...Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?

And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate...lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

"The Lovely Bones meets domestic suspense in this latest twisty page turner from the brilliant Sally Hepworth. Masterfully designed to keep readers on the edge of their seats and wanting more, The Soulmate examines love and loyalty, and how far we're willing to go for the sake of family. I devoured this book!" 
~ Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Local Woman Missing 

© Mrs. Smart Photography

Sally Hepworth is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels. Her novel, The Mother-In-Law (2019), has been optioned for a TV series by Hollywood actress and producer, Amy Poehler. 

Drawing on the good, the bad and the downright odd of human behaviour, Sally writes incisively about family, relationships and identity. Her domestic thriller novels are laced with quirky humour, sass and a darkly charming tone.

Sally's novels are available around the globe in English and have been translated into 20 languages. She has sold more than one million books worldwide.

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. (Bio courtesy of Sally's website.)

Visit Sally online:

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends April 4th at midnight EST.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Book Review: The House Sitter

By Becky Gulc

Every so often I crave a good thriller and I’d heard great things about The House Sitter on Twitter so got hold of a copy. Here is the synopsis:

A scheming traveller

Across Europe, a young woman with no name and no fixed appearance hops from empty villa to vacated apartment to dormant summer house under the guise of house sitter. Her agenda? Steal from the rich, and kill anyone who gets in her way...

A grieving wife

On a stormy night in England, travelling home down narrow country lanes, a fatal car crash leaves Kat's husband Oliver dead. But as Kat begins to mourn his loss, she discovers something that suggests she never knew her husband at all...

A plot to kill

As the people in Oliver's life try to reconcile what they've found with the man they thought they knew, a very different picture begins to emerge. But is it Oliver they shouldn't have trusted, or is someone even closer to home harboring a secret they'd kill to keep hidden...?’ (Synopsis from the book cover.)

The novel starts full-on with Katherine (the ‘grieving wife’) finding out her husband Oliver has died in a car accident in the first chapter. We soon meet Jude, Oliver’s mum to get her reaction and meet his other close family, his dad and his brother.

As we get to know the characters a little and how they respond and cope with the loss of Oliver, the narrative swiftly takes us back in time to 2010, to meet the unnamed ‘scheming traveller’. This is a separate story and was so chilling. ‘Gemma’ as she soon calls herself, at least for the interim, is sick of life in the UK and registers to become a house sitter abroad. Gemma doesn’t have any intention of keeping it to just house sitting though; this is a woman who wants to get rich and will do anything to make that happen. We soon learn she is willing to kill anyone who gets in her way, but every time she does, she has to move on and start again or risk being caught.

The narrative was clever, I was engrossed in each story. With Katherine, her relationship with Oliver is clearly not everything some people thought it was, and as it soon emerges Oliver’s accident may have been down to someone messing with the brakes. As readers, we’re soon very suspicious of everyone. Whilst I wouldn’t say I liked any of the characters related to Oliver, I don’t think I was meant to! They are all self-indulgent and yet it was captivating to read this with a detective hat on and try and figure out who may have been involved. Debbie cleverly makes us suspicious of several people and she kept me guessing!

The best thing about the novel for me was the intrigue about how ‘Gemma’s’ story from a decade ago would be linked with the present story around Oliver, as it inevitably would be somehow. There was no one clear route to guessing this; multiple options were possible right until the very end of the novel! Again Debbie kept the suspense up superbly throughout the novel and there were even more twists than I anticipated in the closing chapters that didn’t disappoint! A great thriller!

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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Spotlight and Giveaway: Gigi, Listening

Today we're celebrating the publication of Chantel Guertin's latest novel, Gigi, Listening. (Two for the Road in Canada.) Melissa only has good things to say about this novel. Check out her review. Thanks to Kensington, we have FIVE copies to give away!

Gigi Rutherford loves love stories. She reads them, she sells them at her romance bookstore, and she could spend hours imagining the meet-cutes of every couple she encounters. But when it comes to her own love interests, Gigi is out of stock. Instead of enduring bad date after bad date, these days she’d rather curl up with her favorite audiobook and the only man who makes her heart skip a beat: Zane Wilkenson, the smooth-voiced narrator Gigi is convinced is her soulmate.

Then, she’s presented with the chance of a lifetime: a ten-day bus tour through the English countryside, an ocean away from her bookstore—all in the presence of Zane, in person, as he leads the tour.

But when Gigi arrives at the bus terminal in London, Zane is nowhere to be found. Until he shows up, she’s stuck with an eclectic group of fellow travelers: recently widowed and chatty Charlotte; trivia-obsessed Francis; Jenny, a true-crime-makeup YouTuber documenting every detail for her subscribers; and Sindhi and Roshi, a long-married couple who can’t stop bickering. Then there’s the brooding bus driver, Taj, who Gigi finds infuriating yet also incredibly alluring . . .

With heart and charm, warmth and humor, Chantel Guertin explores the meaning of love and family—and how, sometimes, the journey to yourself is where you’ll find everything you’ve been searching for. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

"In Gigi, Listening by Chantel Guertin, one woman’s misguided quest for love takes us on an adventure through the English countryside. With delightful characters and gorgeous scenery, it’s a sweet romance you’ll want to cozy up with. Completely charming!" 
— Carley Fortune, New York Times bestselling author of Every Summer After

Gigi, Listening by Chantel Guertin is for the hopeless romantics in all of us. Endearing, uplifting, and with a vivid cast, it serves as a beautiful reminder to embrace the unexpected. I didn’t want this ride to end!” 
— Amy Lea, author of Set On You

“Curl up with the heartfelt and funny Gigi, Listening and prepare to be charmed by its unforgettable cast of characters. Chantel Guertin’s utterly delightful love story will make you want to book the next flight to London!" 
— Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, authors of Forever Hold Your Peace

Credit: Christopher Shulgan
Chantel Guertin is a bestselling author, brand ambassador, and Toronto-based beauty expert whose own life story reflects elements of Instamom. She, too, lived a glamorous, well-documented social-media lifestyle before she fell for a single dad and her world turned upside down. She has been the first-ever beauty editor at ELLE CANADA, the editorial director at, and a founding editor at THE KIT. Currently, she is the beauty expert on Canada's number-one daytime talk show, the Marilyn Denis Show, as well as the founder and coordinator of the Lifestyle Media post-graduate program at Centennial College in Toronto. She has contributed to more than fifty publications, including USA Today, ELLE, National Post, Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, Food Network Magazine, Flare, Maclean's, Reader's Digest and more. She gives beauty tips, book reviews and career advice at her website.

Visit Chantel online:

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends April 2nd at midnight EST.

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Monday, March 27, 2023

Book Review: Murder in Postscript

By Jami Denison

If you’re missing Bridgerton – or if you wish the series had more of a mystery than just “how are these two people who seem to hate each other going to end up together” – the first book in Mary Winters’s new Lady of Letters mystery series may help fill the hole. Murder in Postscript stars Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, a respectable young widow who is raising her late husband’s ten-year-old niece. But, like Penelope Danbury, Amelia also has a publishing secret: she’s answering letters in a London penny newspaper as Lady Agony, the 19th century version of Dear Abby. When she gets a letter from a housemaid claiming that she knows a secret about her mistress’s seemingly accidental death, Amelia goes to meet the woman—and finds her body. Feeling responsible for the girl’s murder—she wouldn’t have died if Amelia hadn’t been late!—Amelia vows to find the killer.

Murder in Postscript is almost flawlessly executed, with all the supporting characters a reader expects in mystery and Regency romance. There’s the dashing-but-heartbroken marquis who insists on investigating the case with Amelia and trading quips and long looks with her. There’s the fashionable best friend, good for throwing balls and planning capers. There’s the charming, talented child. And then there’s all the mystery of the victim’s family. Each chapter begins with a letter to Lady Agony that neatly matches the dilemma of the current plot twist. The murder mystery ties up neatly, with an appropriate villain who has a very Victorian reason for their crimes. The romance, however, is on such a slow burn, it may take several books for it to boil over.

My only quibble is that Winters chose to end the book on an abrupt cliffhanger. For a novel with nearly flawless pacing up to that point, it felt jarring and a bit manipulative. Most series authors find a way to wrap up the current book while still leaving a few threads to be picked up on the next one. However, Winters may have been trying to imitate actual Victorian authors, who were more likely to use tricks like these to keep readers interested.

In any case, Winters can rectify this mistake by publishing the second book in the series as soon as possible. 

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Friday, March 24, 2023

Book Review: Addicted For Now

By Sara Steven

No. More. Sex.

Those are the three words Lily Calloway fears the most. But Loren Hale is determined to be with Lily without enabling her dangerous compulsions. With their new living situation—sleeping in the same bed, for real, together—Lily has new battles. Like not jumping Lo’s bones every night. Not being consumed by sex and his body.

Loren plans to stay sober, to right all of his wrongs. So when someone threatens to expose Lily’s secret to her family and the public, he promises that he’ll do anything to protect her. But with old enemies surfacing, Lo has more at stake than his sobriety.

They will torment Lily until Lo breaks.

And his worst fear isn’t relapsing. He hears the end. He sees it. The one thing that could change everything. Just three words.

No. More. Us. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Having read book #1 in the Addicted series, I was interested in seeing what was next for both Lily and Lo. Somehow, I went from book #1, Addicted to You, right to book #3, Addicted for Now, but I don’t feel as though I couldn’t follow along with the changes that had taken place, which was really nice to discover. When I left off, both characters were dealing with their own personal demons, with Lily and her sex addiction, and Lo and his alcoholism. This time around, they are working on not only keeping those demons at bay, but at trying to create a semblance of a healthy balance when it comes to their relationship.   

It isn’t easy. Not for either of them. I appreciated the turmoil that is represented within the pages. While I might not have the addictions that Lily and Lo deal with, I imagine what they are dealing with is hard, and when we witness Lily having to reign in her appetite while Lo keeps her in check, and when there are moments of tension and chaos, Lo wants nothing more than to drink, but Lily keeps him in check, too–it felt very realistic. It wasn’t glamourized. It felt real. 

Someone knows about Lily’s secret. And if it gets out, it will not only damage all of the work she has put into herself and the relationship she has with Lo, but it can cause a lot of repercussions for her family, too. I tried to figure out the culprit right along with them. There’s a scene where they travel out of the country, and the culprit knows it! How? Why? And for what gain? 

As with the first book in the series, there are a lot of hot, steamy moments between Lily and Lo, but they are more measured and controlled, given the circumstances. I didn’t always agree with their choices–Lily’s sex therapist has a few requirements for Lily’s recovery, like how the couple could only be allowed to engage in intimacy either in the morning or in the evening, but no other time in the day, which seemed a little extreme to me, since I don’t believe the time of day matters when it comes to when a consenting couple wants to engage in that–and I’m not sure there’s really a set standard for what normalcy is when it comes to that, anyway. But, it was interesting to see how the rules play out, not only for Lily, but for Lo, too. Addicted for Now was a nice addition to the Addicted series, and answered a lot of questions I’d had pertaining to this unique couple, and whether their relationship could evolve and work.

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise

We're excited to celebrate the upcoming publication of Colleen Oakley's latest novel, The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise! It will be available on March 28th. Melissa loved this novel and can't wait for you all to read it. Check out her review. Thanks to Berkley, we have one copy for a lucky reader!

Twenty-one-year-old Tanner Quimby needs a place to live. Preferably one where she can continue sitting around in sweatpants and playing video games nineteen hours a day. Since she has no credit or money to speak of, her options are limited, so when an opportunity to work as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman falls into her lap, she takes it.

One slip on the rug. That’s all it took for Louise Wilt’s daughter to demand that Louise have a full-time nanny living with her. Never mind that she can still walk fine, finish her daily crossword puzzle, and pour the two fingers of vodka she drinks every afternoon. Bottom line: Louise wants a caretaker even less than Tanner wants to be one.

The two start off their living arrangement happily ignoring each other until Tanner starts to notice things—weird things. Like, why does Louise keep her garden shed locked up tighter than a prison? And why is the local news fixated on the suspect of one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history who looks eerily like Louise? And why does Louise suddenly appear in her room, with a packed bag at 1 a.m.  insisting that they leave town immediately?

Thus begins the story of a not-to-be-underestimated elderly woman and an aimless young woman who—if they can outrun the mistakes of their past—might just have the greatest adventure of their lives. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

“You’ll never be able to see what’s coming in this wildly surprising, entertaining ride of a novel—which is a coming-of-age story, a contending-with-age story, and a surprising exploration of how womanhood is a matter of surprising others…and oneself.”
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here

“Colleen Oakley is in a world of her own when it comes to creating lovable, quirky characters—and those in The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise are her best yet. With an abundance of charm and wit, a dose of adventure, and surprises around each corner, you’ll be rooting for Tanner and Louise with every turn of the page. An absolute blast.”
—Taylor Jenkins Reid, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising

"I adored everything about this book. Sparkling writing, characters you root for, an unlikely partnership who may or may not be on the lam from the authorities and twists you didn’t see coming. Move over Thelma and Louise and make room for Louise and Tanner!”
—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The Rewind

Photo by Sarah Dorio
Colleen Oakley is the USA Today bestselling author of five novels including THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND and YOU WERE THERE TOO. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages around the world, lauded by numerous outlets including People Magazine, Us Weekly, Library Journal, and Real Simple, and won multiple awards including Georgia Author of the Year.  A former magazine editor for Women's Health & Fitness and Marie Claire, Colleen lives in Atlanta with her husband, four children, three chickens, and a mutt named Baxter.

Visit Colleen online:
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How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends March 28th at midnight EST.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Book Review: The Good Patient

By Sara Steven

Appearances can be deceptive...

I was taught that life is pain. That love is pain. It was unavoidable. Acceptable. I never had anything, or anyone I could count on. Not really. Not even myself.

Until I met Dr Menon...

To the outside world Lauren Taylor’s relationship with her boyfriend Josh is perfect. He is supportive and loving and has been there for Lauren during her darkest moments. But behind closed doors, secrets and lies can be hidden…

And when Lauren wakes up in a hospital bed and is told Josh is missing, those secrets come bubbling up to the surface.

Because the police think Lauren knows exactly what’s happened to Josh; that she could even be capable of his murder…

The only person who believes in Lauren's innocence is Dr Menon, who has cared for Lauren as his patient for the last few weeks. He can't believe she's capable of murder. He knows just how good she really is.

Isn’t she? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Good Patient is an incredibly unique story. While I’m aware of what FII (fabricated or induced illness) is, this is the first time I’ve ever seen it represented within a book. Lauren has dealt with a lot in her life pertaining to FII, and what’s even worse is that it wasn’t anything self-inflicted. Layered on top of that is the unhealthy relationship she shares with Josh, who seems to have taken Lauren’s past and exploited it for his own gain. Yet due to the connections she still holds to that past, it’s been hard for her to break ties with Josh, viewing how he treats her as acceptable behavior. 

The twist with Dr. Menon was really interesting, too. Lauren puts a lot of faith and trust in him, yet she’s not sure if it’s real or if she’s doing it because he’s the first person to appear to want the best for her. But is it for appearances? I wondered that myself, as the reader. Particularly during several scenes where his integrity is called into question. And I wondered if Lauren’s feelings towards Menon were rushed, due to her circumstances. I wanted so much for him to be a lifeline for her, but I felt just as cautious as Lauren does.

There is a lot that goes unsaid between characters. Lauren has never been honest about the type of relationship she has with Josh, other than with Menon. Due to this, she has become the number one suspect when Josh goes missing. During an interview with the police, when she is finally brave enough to voice the truth, no one believes her. For several years, despite having several opportunities to be forthright, she hasn’t been, which is quickly cited during the interview. Yet Lauren brings up a good point. Would they have even believed her anyway, with her FII background? It extends out into the other relationships she has–with her supposed best friend. Josh’s family. At one point in time, her mother. No one is honest about what is really going on.

I appreciated the past and present snapshots given by Lauren, so we have a better understanding of the choices she’s made. I do wish those snapshots had been a little longer, because it felt like it switched back and forth from the “then” and “now” a bit too quickly at times within the chapters. Yet I realize it was needed. It wasn’t a surprise to me that things ended the way they did, but I was still engaged and wanted to see what would happen next. The Good Patient really was an intriguing read!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:  
Amazon UK * Amazon US

Alex Stone, originally an accountant from the West Midlands, is now a psychological suspense writer based in Dorset. This beautiful and dramatic coastline is the inspiration and setting for her novels. She was awarded the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2019 and her debut thriller The Perfect Daughter was published by  Boldwood in October 2021.

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