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The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance.

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Siobhan Fallon 

Author’s Bio

Siobhan Fallon is the author of the 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction winner You Know When the Men Are Gone. Her first novel, The Confusion of Languages, debuts in June, 2017 . Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Military Spouse, The Huffington Post, and NPR’s Morning Edition, among others. She was raised in Highland Falls, New York, just outside the gates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. She graduated from Providence College and spent a year at Cambridge University in England. After teaching English in Japan, she earned an MFA at the New School in New York City. She and her family moved to Jordan in 2011, and they currently live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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My Review

5 stars

Cassie Hugo has been at the US Embassy in Jordan for two years. She knows all the rules and is the welcome committee to Margaret Brickshaw when she arrives. But being on the base is all they really have in common. Cassie is unable to conceive and is becoming spiteful. Margaret is more of a naïve soul and is excited to explore. A minor car accident leads to unexpected results when Margaret has to leave her son, Mather with Cassie to straighten everything out. But something goes wrong and Margaret doesn’t come back. Cassie then finds her diary and it seems there is more to this situation than first discovered.

This is a great suspenseful story. Cassie and Margaret are polar opposites in everything from their looks to their personalities. But being opposites seems to make them closer as we follow along with the give and take of this friendship. As Cassie reads Margarets diary we start learning more about both women and how they are not really as alone as they may feel.

This is a great story that shows how our differences might actually be the things that bring us closer together. There was enough suspense to keep me turning pages to find out what happened next. I think this is a great contemporary story that will appeal to most people.

I received The Confusion of Languages from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Done Rubbed Out (Reighman & Bailey – 1) by Jeffery Craig

In this first book of the Reightman & Bailey Series, deceit, corruption and murder tangle together with vivid, unconventional characters in a story of unlikely friendships and their power to change us.

Things are going well at the Time Out Spa, but the night young proprietor Toby Bailey discovers his former lover naked and dead on a massage table, more things are spoiled than just his white leather shoes. Detective Melba Reightman and partner, Sam Jackson are called in to investigate and soon become embroiled in the most perplexing homicide case seen in years.

After a hunting knife engraved with Toby’s name is found in a load of wet, bloody laundry, he’s arrested for the murder of Geraldo Guzman. He enlists the help of Madame Zhou Li, practicing attorney and owner of Green Dragon Chinese Herbs and Teas. The peculiar octogenarian seems an unlikely choice to defend him, but has a few tricks up her sleeve. Toby joins forces with Reightman and Jackson, and a shocking string of clues leads them closer to the killer. The bad news? Successfully solving the crime might unleash a firestorm on this southern city and come at a price none of them are prepared to pay.

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My Review

5 stars

Toby Bailey and Geraldo Guzman own a high class spa called Time Out Spa. One night Toby walks into one of the rooms and finds his business partner and former lover dead on the table. After looking around a hunting knife is found with Tody’s name carved on it. He is quickly arrested and accused of the murder. But he calls in Madam Zhou to help defend him. Detective Reightman and Toby are going to have their hands full solving this murder, especially since the box by Geri’s body has a whole bunch of dirt on some very powerful people and it’s up to then to find it.

Toby is a great character and well developed. You can’t help feeling for him losing his best friend. Then you have a full cast of characters that add at little to the story with their little perks and quirks. You don’t realize how they all fit together but they all help this story shine.

This is a great mystery that will draw you in with the first couple pages and leave you guessing at who the real killer is. Just when you think you might know who did it something will pop up that will throw you off kilter. There is a wide case to keep everything rolling and a cliff hanger that will leave you wanting more.

If you are looking for a really good mystery, look no further. I was completely surprised by this book and I can’t wait to start reading book 2.

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Hard Job (Reightman & Bailey – 2) by Jeffery Craig

In this second Reightman & Bailey thriller, Detective Melba Reightman is distraught over the murder of her friend and partner, Sam Jackson. The Guzman murder case has been closed, but she knows the real killer is still out there somewhere. Toby Bailey’s discovery of a set of incriminating photos proved there were more people involved in Geri Guzman’s death than just Dr. Lieberman, but getting anyone to listen is more of a challenge than she’d ever imagined. She’s going to need help convincing the powers that be that the case needs to be reopened, but she’ll find a way to do it. It’s the only choice she has if she wants to discover who’s behind it all.

Toby’s still struggling with Geri’s death and the shock at having been the target of a hitman. Detective Jackson took the bullet meant for him and saved his life, and he doesn’t understand how things could have gone so very wrong. No one should have known about the evidence Geri left behind, but it’s the only explanation that makes any sense. He has a hunch things are going to get worse, so he’ll just have to pull up his pants and get on with whatever needs to be done to help Detective Reightman figure things out.

And as for John Brown? He’s just worried he won’t get paid after botching the hit on Toby, and can’t help wondering what will happen next. It wasn’t really his fault. Mistakes were bound to happen when things got complicated, but who knew this would be such a hard job?

Things are heating up in this southern city.

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My Review

5 stars

Hard Job starts right up at the end of Done Rubbed Out. Detective Reightman’s partner, Jackson, has taken the bullet meant for Toby and has died. She is having a hard time dealing with this. Toby is still trying to deal with the death of Geri, still looking for Geri’s killer, along with being the target for an assassin.  It is clear that the information in the box Geri had is hotter than they knew. But how can someone know what is on the photos that have been discovered. Something doesn’t feel right about the whole thing.

I loved how this book started right after the end of Done Rubbed Out. Toby and Reightman are in shock from the death of Jackson. But they can’t stay their long since someone is bound and determined to stop the information from getting out. But they are going to have to get their game faces on because the hitman was not the real killer and someone has too much knowledge about the information Geri had.

This is a fast paced thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat turning pages until the early hours. If you thought Done Rubbed Out was great, prepare yourself for an amazing sequel. This is one series you need to check out.

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Skin Puppet (Reightman & Bailey – 3) by Jeffery Craig

In Skin Puppet: Reightman & Bailey Book Three, the whole gang from Capital Street is back and almost ready for business. It’s just two weeks until The Reightman & Bailey Agency officially opens, but Melba Reightman and Toby Bailey have things pretty much under control. After the horrific events of the last six months, things are starting to feel normal again.

An inconvenient lisp from a busted lip isn’t slowing Toby down, but it makes him sound embarrassing like a cartoon character. And there’s the whole awkward situation with Jon Chiang. One minute Zhou Li’s nephew is cold and distant, and the next minute…well, Toby could swear the guy might be interested in something more. It’s all very confusing.

Melba’s got her hands full completing last minute paperwork so they can open for business. There’s the huge stack of invitations Madame Zhou dropped off, all needing to be hand-addressed. Melba doesn’t see the need for a huge grand opening party, but there’s no point in arguing with the bossy owner of Green Dragon. To top things off, Zhou Li is strongly hinting that Melba needs a new dress.

With so much going on, the reports of children missing from the local area haven’t really registered on anyone’s radar. The single flyer posted by a desperate mother looking for her daughter was disturbing, but it’s really a matter for the local police, not the Reightman & Bailey Agency. Right?

Wrong. Things are never that easy.

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My Review

5 stars

On the heels of Hard Job, Toby Bailey and Melba Reightman have opened their detective agency. They are wrapped up in all of the opening and party and don’t really notice the disappearances in their area. That is until someone close to them loses their kid. Together, Toby and Melba start investigating the disappearances and find a child sex ring. Although the Feds have tried to solve this case, Toby and Melba will be the real heroes in the end.

I love these two, they work so well together solving the case and dealing with some eccentric friends. But they are going to have their hands full trying to track down those involved in the child sex trafficking ring. They might get lucky and solve the case in time for the grand opening.

This is a great story that had me guessing until the end. This is a very tough topic and I think Jeffrey Craig did a fantastic job of discussing some of the evens but in a way that it’s not shoved in your face. This is an amazing series that I strongly recommend for everyone to read.

I received Done Rubbed Out, Hard Job, and Skin Puppet from Silver Dagger Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Author’s Bio

Jeffery Craig is the writing pseudonym of the author, used for fictional works. Jeffery resides in the southeastern United States and shares his life with his husband and partner, and a menagerie of much-loved pets. For several years, he worked as a executive providing technology and consulting services to help clients meet business needs. He’s an avid supporter of the arts and co-owns a local art gallery/gift store that provides an outlet for area artists to showcase and sell their works.

When he isn’t writing, he might be found working on a painting or enjoying the covered front porch of his historic southern home with a good book in hand.

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The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame by Liv Hadden

Li Nguyen, aka Juice Box, has never really had a friend. That is, until he meets the ultra cool, super mysterious Shame. Though Juice Box feels certain this is his new BFF, Shame’s dark past and nefarious entanglements get them both into serious, life-threatening trouble. It doesn’t help that Shame inadvertently pissed off one of the baddest crime bosses in Baltimore, Anna Nguyen (aka Laoban), who also happens to be Juice Box’s cousin. Shame stirred up trouble with a rival game, putting Anna and her crew in a precarious situation. Torn between his love for Anna and his new, exciting friendship with Shame, Juice Box must choose where his loyalties lie.

Will he choose family and leave Shame out to dry, or will he choose the only friend he’s ever had, despite the danger?

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Author Liv Hadden

Liv Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont  and currently resides in Georgetown, TX with her partner and two dogs, Madison and Samuel, where she is an active member of Writer’s League of Texas. Her 2016 release In the Mind of Revenge received high praise from Blue Ink Reviews, Writer’s Digest, Kirkus ReviewsindieBRAG and five stars from Foreword Clarion Review.

Incredibly inspired by artistic expression, Hadden immerses herself in creative endeavors on a daily basis. She finds great joy in getting lost in writing and seeing others fully express themselves through their greatest artistic passions. It’s no wonder she teamed up talented tattoo artist Mo Malone (who scribed a majority of Hadden’s body work) to create her latest release The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame.

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Illustrator Mo Malone

Malone has been making art since she was a kid. Offered a tattoo apprenticeship while obtaining a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. Malone briefly diverted from tattooing to be an elementary and middle school teacher,  an experience she greatly enjoyed, but ultimately came back to her artistic roots. She has tattooed at Rick’s Tattoo in Arlington, Virginia (where she got her start), Iron Age Studio in St. Louis, Missouri and Triple Crown Tattoo in Austin, Texas where she met Hadden.

A lover of travel, her craft has taken her all over the world, to include a dozens of tattoo conferences spanning from New York to Moscow. You can now find Malone back in St. Louis at Ragtime Tattoo. She has recently joined Evil Prints to expand into screen-printing, and when she’s not working her magic in the art world, you can find her feeding her adventurous spirit BMXing at her local skate park or wandering the Missouri Botanical Garden.

My Review

5 stars

Juice Box, otherwise known as Li Nguyen, has found a friend in Shame although Shame sees it differently. And when Shame ends up in trouble with some bad gang leaders, Juice Box is there to help him with his cousin Anna. Thankfully Anna has a great, tough crew that is trying to keep Juice Box alive. We see how Juice Box is trying to help his friend but ends up in trouble everywhere he turns. But in the end he is always there for Shame and using his stellar personality to help or usually make things worse.

I loved Shame and couldn’t wait to see what happens next, especially with Juice Box. He can be annoying but he does have heart. Of course we are going to have a big show down between two huge gang leaders and you will never guess who Mr. D really is. This one threw me for a loop. And then ending, Loved It.

This is a great continuation of In the Mind of Revenge. This is a great story about Shame. I love this series and can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s a dark story of revenge but one that is a great read and a surprising ending.

I received The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame from Sami at Roger Charlie for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Dark Designs

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Dark Designs by Stefanie Spangler

Twins Ivy and Violet Grant are opposites. Ivy, a hot-tempered redhead, couldn’t wait to get off the farm and see the world. Violet, a quiet brunette, was content to stay home and help their grandmother with the family business. The one thing they have in common is their magic.

Charlie Logan’s sinister obsession with Ivy Grant has ruled his life. When he discovers a book of dark magic during a burglary, he decides to return to Oak Hill and use his newfound power to gain control over Ivy.

Ivy and Violet, with help from their grandmother, need to practice their magic to overcome the evil seeping into their lives. A battle is coming, and Ivy’s life is not the only one at stake.

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 Stefanie Spangler

Author’s Bio

Stefanie Spangler has always loved books and reading, and one day, she decided to write a book of her own.

Stefanie lives in central Illinois with her husband and daughters. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s usually editing someone else’s book. But she also enjoys gardening, knitting, and forcing others to read her favorite books.

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My Review

4 stars

Ivy and Violet are twin with opposite views on life. Ivy couldn’t wait to get out of town and leaves to go to college. Violet is quiet and is happy to stay at home with their grandmother. But Charlie Logan has not forgotten about Ivy and has found a book of dark magic and is planning on using it against Ivy. Thankfully the girls have their own magic and their grandmother to help them fight back.

I really enjoyed this story. It was a quick read and very easy to get into. You are instantly drawn in as Ivy has a bad experience with Charlie who is s farm hand at the time. But years go by and things may fade, but his desire for Ivy has just gotten stronger. This is a going to be a battle of wills and power. Where there is light magic there will also be dark.

This is a great story with a little bit of everything. There is a thriller, a little romance, and some magic added in. I think this book would appeal to many and think it’s a good one to check out.

I received Dark Designs from the author and Red Adept Publishing for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Excerpt

Slowly, Ivy became aware of another presence in the barn. Her eyes roamed away from the kitten cradled in her arms to the boots standing just beyond the stall door, next to her discarded sandals. Eyes wide, she sprang to her bare feet as fast as she could without trampling the kittens.

Charlie Logan was blocking the way out of the stall. The sunlight that slipped in through the gaps in the barn’s wooden planks cast his face in mottled stripes. She knew him because Grandpa Jack had always let his granddaughters roam the farm freely, and Charlie had spoken to her many times. Never alone, though. She stood awkwardly, her eyes darting around the dimly lit solitude of the barn.

“Nice kittens you got there.” He nodded cheerfully toward the kittens then smiled. His hand twitched as if he might reach out and touch her.

“Yeah,” she said quietly, looking back and forth between Charlie and the kittens. “None of them are sick or anything. Sometimes there are sick ones…” Ivy rambled nervously until her eyes settled on Charlie’s face, and then she stilled, wishing she could disappear.

Charlie moved in closer, trapping her in the corner of the stall. “They’ll all be good mousers, I bet.”

His tone was friendly, but Ivy’s guts tensed up. She desperately wanted to be away from the stall that had, without warning, become too dark and far too secluded. If she shouted, someone would likely hear her and come, but Charlie had always seemed nice enough. Maybe he did just want to talk about kittens, and she didn’t want him to get in trouble for not being busy at work.

When she made a move toward the door, his tall frame shifted. She jerked back, away from his body, pushing herself tighter into the corner of the stall. He was close enough that his scent of stale cigarette smoke and sweat forced its way into her nostrils and stomach. When he exhaled, his breath smelled of strong coffee. In slow motion, Charlie reached out and touched her hair just over her ear. Heart in her throat, she froze. Charlie Logan had not come to discuss anything good. He smiled at her affectionately as he stroked her hair.

Appointment with ISIL

A while ago I was honored to review Appointment with ISIL by Joe Giordano. I just learned that it is available for purchase. Make sure to get your copy of the amazing story.

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Appointment with ISIL by Joe Giordano

On Sale May 18, 20174

Appointment with ISIL is a literary thriller. This time, Anthony’s libido threatens his life. Anthony Provati flirts with Russian mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov’s mistress. The Russian deals in death. ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant wants the product. Russian Intelligence supplies the means, and an art theft funds the scheme. ISIL’s targets are chilling. The chase across the Mediterranean is on. Can Anthony thwart ISIL? Will he survive?

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Author’s Bio

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. His father and grandparents immigrated to New York from Naples. Joe and his wife, Jane, have lived in Brazil, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu Sophia.

Joe’s stories have appeared in more than eighty magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Monarch Review, decomP, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions October 2015.

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My Review

5 stars

Anthony Provati is an art dealer with family connections in the mob. Through a series of events, Anthony is ordered by Russion mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov to break into The Fisk and steal three Vermeer paintings worth billions of dollars. But there is more to the story than Gorgon’s sexy mistress and a simple theft of artwork. There is a substantial amount of money that is going to fund the ISIL. Anthony is in a race against time to stop ISIL.

This is a fast paced thriller that will keep your attention hooked. Anthony has a lusty libido and that gets him up to his neck in trouble. But he is bound and determined to stop more deaths from ISIL. If that doesn’t get you interested in the story, the first chapter will have you in tears.

If you like fast action with a great story, look no further. I strongly recommend reading Appointment with ISIL.

I received Appointment with ISIL from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Guy’s Odyssey

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Guy’s Odyssey by Seth Bleuer

It’s just another day in Iraq for Guy, a young American soldier. But when he suffers a head wound in a car bomb attack in Baghdad his real journey begins.

As the blast sends him on a deadly odyssey through the very fabric of time, he finds the beautiful yet mysterious disappearing sand. But Guy quickly realizes things aren’t what they seem and he may be witnessing his own destruction. With the reality warp tearing him apart, he has only his fading mind and a mysterious journal to help him solve the puzzle before time runs out.

His desperate search for an answer leads him to a single moment where everything hangs in the balance. Does this mysterious journal hold the clues to his salvation, or is it the ramblings of a madman? Can he figure out the mystery and save himself, or is the end of his odyssey written before his journey even begins?

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Editorial Reviews: Two Readers’ Favorite reviewers gave Guy’s Odyssey 5/5 Stars!

“Rich in imagery and the surreal experience of modern war, Guy’s Odyssey is one of the best novels I have read about the experience of American soldiers in Iraq.” – Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite

“Haunting. A chilling and captivating novel.” -Neil A White for Readers’ Favorite

Seth Bleuer

Author Bio

Seth Bleuer is an author and veteran who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently lives near Seattle, Washington with his wife and kids, by way of the Midwest. When he’s not reading or writing he can be found playing in the mud at obstacle races with his wife, Amanda. To see what Seth is up to check out his very originally named website find him on Facebook.

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I would like to thank Toni at Polished Pages Editing and The Book Nymph for the opportunity to share about this book.

The Territory of Lies

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The Territory of Lies by Ciana Stone

A tale that could have been ripped from the pages of current events. It will have you hanging on every word, afraid to find out what happens next yet eager to turn the page.”

– Candid Book Reviews

Falling in love is supposed to be the most wonderful time of your life.

That’s not how it is working for psychiatrist Sydney Forrest. She finds herself smack in the middle of a conspiracy surrounding a terrorist attack.

The FBI are confiscating her patient files, she’s under surveillance, and there’s someone out there who wants to do more than ruin her career.

She’s walking in the territory of lies and unsure what is waiting around the next turn.

Falling in love is taking a back seat…To staying alive.

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 Ciana Stone

Author’s Bio

Ciana Stone has been reading since the age of three, and wrote her first story at age five. Since then she enjoyed writing as a solitary form of entertainment, before coming out of the closet to share her stories with others. She holds several post graduate degrees and has often been referred to as a professional student. Her latest fields of interest are quantum mechanics and Taoism. When she is not writing (or studying) she enjoys painting (canvas, not walls), sculpting, running, hiking and yoga. She lives with her longtime lover in several locations in the United States.

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My Review

5 stars

Sydney Forrest is a psychiatrist and the daughter of Senator Jack Forrest. Sydney has another Senator for a client that is afraid that someone is out to get him. It seems he made a deal with the devil several years earlier when he was up for re-election and the people that helped him need his help in return and want to keep him silent on the whole situation. And to keep him silent, they have to make sure he has not spoken to anyone, including his psychiatrist. Sydney finds her parents and herself in trouble. How is she supposed to find love with all of this happening and how does she feel about another man trying to catcher her eye when it seems she is walking the knife’s edge of trouble.

Sydney has gone through a divorce and not ready for a serious relationship. But it seems her boyfriend wants more from her. She also has a client that is very upset. It seems his past dealings are going to drag Sydney and her parents down with him. It’s hard to trust anyone when it seems everyone is out for themselves.

I really enjoyed this story. Sydney is a great character and I loved following along with her. I’m not really a huge fan of many political stories but I was pleasantly surprised with this story. I really wanted to find out what was happening. This is the first book Ciana Stone’s that I have read and will be looking out for other books. This was a great romantic thriller.

I received The Territory of Lies from Candid Book Reviews for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.