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Archive for the ‘4 Star Books’ Category

Today is the release day for D.F. Bailey’s Box Set First Four. From now to May 4, 2017 you can get your copy for $.99.

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“Four thrillers that go straight to your heart.
So dark. Yet so full of light.”
First Four is a boxset of D. F. Bailey’s first four psychological thrillers. The collection includes his first novel — a W. H. Smith First Novel Award finalist — Fire Eyes, plus Healing The Dead, The Good Lie, and Exit From America. BONUS: his short story, “Suitcase,” the perfect epilogue to Healing the Dead.

IN PRAISE OF….

Fire Eyes
“Fire Eyes is a taut psychological thriller with literary overtones, a very contemporary terrorist romance.”
—Globe and Mail

“A dynamite read. Combines a remarkable literary finesse with the tightly wound mainspring of a psychological thriller. A new writer of the very best.”
— Andreas Schroeder, author of “Renovating Heaven”

Healing The Dead
“You start reading Healing the Dead with a gasp and never get a proper chance to exhale.”
—Globe and Mail

“The author is not afraid to take a hard look at the darker side of human nature, at the source of fear and violence, and to explore their repercussions with unflinching honesty.”
—Monday Magazine

The Good Lie
“Bailey’s masterstroke is in creating a situation for his protagonist that is so believable the reader cannot help but feel complicit in the guilt and anguish of it all. With compelling, measured prose, he stakes out precious territory in a genre – located somewhere between thriller and psychodrama – that he makes completely his own.”
—Quill & Quire Magazine

“Bailey has crafted a tale that not only looks at a universal theme but places it in a very West Coast context, making this one story that local readers are going to love.”
—Boulevard Magazine

Exit From America
“Another great story of moral revelation, despair and redemption by a contemporary master.”
— Lawrence Russell, author of “Outlaw Academic”

“The writing is extremely good … an exquisitely crafted novel. Reminiscent of The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”
— Aaron C. Brown, Amazon Top 500 Reviewer

I have been lucky and D.F. Bailey offered me his first book Bone Maker to review along with sharing the sale of The First Four.

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Bone Maker (Will Finch Mystery – 1) by D.F. Bailey

A death in the wilderness. A woman mourns alone. A reporter works a single lead.

If you have an appetite for organized crime series, you’ll love this new crime trilogy. Add a slice of noir novels, the juice of steamy PI mysteries, the zest of a financial thriller series. Soon you’ll be stewing in this new technothriller trilogy — and begging for more.

Following a family tragedy that has broken his spirit, crime reporter Will Finch returns to his news desk in San Francisco eager to reboot his career and renew his lease on life. When he’s assigned to cover the grisly death of a witness to a multi-million dollar bitcoin fraud, Finch discovers some troubling complications: A Mercedes-Benz abandoned in the wilderness. A wounded bear. A cop who rules a remote town with an iron fist. And the witness’s fiancée — a US senator’s daughter — knows there’s something mysterious about her lover’s death. But what?

Inspired by true events, Bone Maker is the first thriller in this series of noir crime new releases — a new crime trilogy that races from coastal Oregon to San Francisco, Moscow, Honolulu and Washington DC. It intersects the worlds of international finance, cryptocurrency software algorithms, and corruption that reaches from the US Senate to Turk Street in the Tenderloin District.

Fans of contemporary noir novels will love this technothriller trilogy. Be sure to read this gripping financial thriller series in order: Bone Maker, Stone Eater, Lone Hunter. All three books are available now.

Amazon    Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

 D.F.  Bailey

Author’s Bio

D.F. Bailey is a W.H. Smith First Novel Award and a Whistler Independent Book Award finalist.

His first novel, Fire Eyes was optioned for film. His second novel, Healing the Dead, was translated into German as Todliche Ahnungen. The Good Lie, another psychological thriller, was recorded as a talking book. A fourth novel, Exit from America, made its debut as an e-book in 2013.

In 2015 D.F. Bailey published The Finch Trilogy — Bone Maker, Stone Eater, and Lone Hunter — novels narrated from the point-of-view of a crime reporter in San Francisco. He is now extending the trilogy in a series of stand-alone novels.

Following his birth in Montreal, D.F. Bailey’s family moved around North America from rural Ontario to New York City to McComb, Mississippi to Cape May, New Jersey. He finally “landed on his feet” on Vancouver Island — where he lives next to the Salish Sea in the city of Victoria.

For twenty-two years D.F. Bailey worked at the University of Victoria where he taught creative writing and journalism and coordinated the Professional Writing Cooperative Education Program — which he co-founded. From time to time he also freelanced as a business writer and journalist. In the fall of 2010 he left the university so that he could turn “his pre-occupation with writing into a full-blown obsession.”

Website

My Review

4 stars

Will Finch is an investigative journalist that is sent to Oregon to report on the upcoming hearing on a US Senator. But when he looks into the death of someone mauled by a bear, Will learns that the victim was dating the Senator’s daughter and going to provide evidence against him. The more Will digs into this story the more barriers he runs into namely a sheriff that wants him gone. But the more he finds the harder Will digs to get to the truth.

Will has had a rough go and his first story when he returns to work is the death of a man via bear. He has his own issues and I hoped this story will help him out. Although the beginning is a touch slow, I found myself easily slipping into the story and caught up trying to figure out what was going on.

This is a great story that had me guessing the whole time. Although the ending resolves the mystery it is a great lead into the next book. If you like thrillers and mysteries you need to check this book out. It’s a quick read that will leave you wanting more.

I received Bone Maker from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Secrets of Death

Secrets of Death

by Stephen Booth

on Tour April 3 – 30, 2017

Synopsis:

Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth

Residents of the Peak District are used to tourists descending on its soaring hills and brooding valleys. However, this summer brings a different kind of visitor to the idyllic landscape, leaving behind bodies and secrets.

A series of suicides throughout the Peaks throws Detective Inspector Ben Cooper and his team in Derbyshire’s E Division into a race against time to find a connection to these seemingly random acts — with no way of predicting where the next body will turn up. Meanwhile, in Nottingham Detective Sergeant Diane Fry finds a key witness has vanished…

But what are the mysterious Secrets of Death?

And is there one victim whose fate wasn’t suicide at all?

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Fiction
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062690353 (ISBN13: 9780062690357)
Series: Cooper & Fry #16 (Each is a Stand Alone Novel)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

And this is the first secret of death. There’s always a right time and place to die.

It was important to remember. So important that Roger Farrell was repeating it to himself over and over in his head by the time he drew into the car park. When he pulled up and switched off the engine, he found he was moving his lips to the words and even saying it out loud – though only someone in the car with him would have heard it.

And he was alone, of course. Just him, and the package on the back seat.

There’s always a right time and place to die.

As instructed, Farrell had come properly equipped. He’d practised at home to make sure he got everything just right. It was vital to do this thing precisely. A mistake meant disaster. So getting it wrong was inconceivable. Who knew what would come afterwards? It didn’t bear thinking about.
Last night, he’d experienced a horrible dream, a nightmare about weeds growing from his own body. He’d been pulling clumps of ragwort and thistles out of his chest, ripping roots from his crumbling skin as if he’d turned to earth in the night. He could still feel the tendrils scraping against his ribs as they dragged through his flesh.

He knew what it meant. He was already in the ground. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Wasn’t that what they said at your graveside as they shovelled soil on to your coffin? The dream meant his body was recycling back into the earth. In his soul, he’d already died.

Farrell looked around the car park. There were plenty of vehicles here. Although it was the middle of the week, a burst of sunny weather had brought people out into the Peak District in their droves. They’d come to enjoy the special peace and beauty of Heeley Bank, just as he had.

Of course, in many other ways, they weren’t like him at all.

He let out a sigh of contentment. That was the feeling this scenery gave him. The green of the foliage down by the river was startling in its brightness. The farmland he could see stretching up the sides of the hills was a glowing patchwork between a tracery of dry-stone walls. Cattle munched on the new grass in the fields. Further up, a scattering of white blobs covered the rougher grazing where the moors began.

The sight of those sheep made Farrell smile. He’d always associated them with the Peaks. This landscape wouldn’t be the same without sheep. They’d been here for centuries, helping to shape the countryside. And they’d still be here long after he’d gone.

It really was so green out there. So very green.

But there’s always a right time and place.

A silver SUV had pulled into a parking space nearby. Farrell watched a young couple get out and unload two bikes from a rack attached to their vehicle. One of the bikes had a carrier on the back for the small girl sitting in a child seat in the car. She was pre-school, about two years old, wearing a bright yellow dress and an orange sun hat. Her father lifted her out, her toes wiggling with pleasure as she felt the warm air on her skin. The family all laughed together, for no apparent reason.

Farrell had observed people doing that before, laughing at nothing in particular. He’d never understood it. He often didn’t get jokes that others found hilarious. And laughing when there wasn’t even a joke, when no one had actually said anything? That seemed very strange. It was as if they were laughing simply because they were, well . . . happy.

For Roger Farrell, happy was just a word, the appearance of happiness an illusion. He was convinced people put on a façade and acted that way because it was expected of them. It was all just an artificial front. Deep down, no one could be happy in this world. It just wasn’t possible. Happiness was a sham – and a cruel one at that, since no one could attain it. All these people would realise it in the end.

With a surge of pity, Farrell looked away. He’d watched the family too long. Across the car park, an elderly man hobbled on two sticks, accompanied by a woman with a small pug dog on a lead. She had to walk deliberately slowly, so that she didn’t leave the man behind. The pug tugged half-heartedly at its lead, but the woman yanked it back.

These two had probably been married for years and were no doubt suffering from various illnesses that came with age. Did they look happy? Farrell looked more closely at their faces. Definitely not. Not even the dog.

He nodded to himself and closed his eyes as he leaned back in his seat. His breathing settled down to a steady rhythm as he listened to the birds singing in the woods, the tinkle of a stream nearby, the quiet whispering of a gentle breeze through the trees.

As the afternoon drew to a close, he watched the vehicles leave one by one. People were taking off their boots, climbing into cars and heading for home. All of them were complete strangers, absorbed in their own lives. They could see him, of course. An overweight middle-aged man with a receding hairline and a distant stare. But they would never remember him.

A few minutes later, a young man jogged past on to the woodland path, checking his watch as he ran, as if he knew the time was approaching. A black Land Rover eased into a spot opposite Farrell’s BMW, but no one emerged.

And finally, the lights went off in the information centre. A woman came out and locked the front doors. She took a glance round the car park, seemed to see nothing of any interest to her, and climbed into a Ford Focus parked in a bay reserved for staff. Farrell watched as she drove away.

When it was quiet and there were only a few cars left, he leaned over into the back seat and unzipped the holdall. Carefully, Farrell lifted out the gas canisters, uncoiling the plastic tubing as it writhed on to the seat. He placed the canisters in the footwell. They looked incongruous sitting there, painted in fluorescent orange with their pictures of party balloons on the side.

It had taken him a while to find the right brand of gas. Some manufacturers had started putting a percentage of air into the canisters, which made them quite useless for his purpose. That was when things went wrong, if you didn’t check and double-check, and make sure you got exactly the right equipment.

Still, you could find anything on the internet, as he well knew. Information, advice, someone to talk to who actually understood how you were feeling. And the inspiration. He would be nothing without that. He wouldn’t be here at Heeley Bank right now.

And this is the first secret of death. There’s always a right time and place to die.

Farrell said it again. You could never say it too often. It was so important. The most important thing in the world. Or in his world, at least.

He reached back into the holdall and lifted out the bag itself. He held it almost reverently, like a delicate surgical instrument. And it was, in a way. It could achieve every bit as much as any complicated heart operation or brain surgery. It could change someone’s life for the better. And instead of hours and hours of complicated medical procedures on the operating table, it took just a few minutes. It was so simple.

With black tape from a roll, he attached the tubing to the place he’d marked on the edge of the bag, tugging at it to make sure it was perfectly secure. Everything fine so far.

Farrell had spent days choosing a piece of music to play. The CD was waiting now in its case and he slid it out, catching a glimpse of his own reflection in the gleaming surface. He wondered what expression would be in his eyes in the last seconds.

Despite his reluctance to see himself now, he couldn’t resist a glance in his rearview mirror. Only his eyes were visible, pale grey irises and a spider’s web of red lines. His pupils appeared tiny, as if he were on drugs or staring into a bright light. And maybe he was looking at the light. Perhaps it had already started.

The CD player whirred quietly and the music began to play. He’d selected a piece of Bach. It wasn’t his normal choice of music, but nothing was normal now. It hadn’t been for quite a while. The sounds of the Bach just seemed to suit the mood he was trying to achieve. Peace, certainly. And a sort of quiet, steady progression towards the inevitable conclusion.

As the sun set in the west over Bradwell Moor, a shaft of orange light burst over the landscape, transforming the colours into a kaleidoscope of unfamiliar shades, as if the Peak District had just become a tropical island.

Farrell held his breath, awed by the magic of the light. It was one of the amazing things he loved about this area, the way it changed from one minute to the next, from one month to another. Those hillsides he was looking at now would be ablaze with purple heather later in the summer. It was always a glorious sight.

For a moment, Farrell hesitated, wondering whether he should have left it until August or the beginning of September.

And then it hit him. That momentary twinge of doubt exploded inside him, filling his lungs and stopping the breath in his throat until he gathered all his strength to battle against it. His hands trembled with the effort as he forced the doubt back down into the darkness. As the tension collapsed, his shoulders sagged and his forehead prickled with a sheen of sweat.

Farrell felt as though he’d just experienced the pain and shock of a heart attack without the fatal consequences. His lips twitched in an ironic smile. That meant he was still in control. He remained capable of making his own mind up, deciding where and when to end his life. He was able to choose his own moment, his own perfect location.

There’s always a right time and place to die.

Roger Farrell took one last glance out of the window as the light began to fade over the Peak District hills.

The place was here.

And the time was now.

***

Excerpt from Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth. Copyright © 2017 by Stephen Booth. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Stephen BoothA newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine mill town of Burnley. He was brought up on the Lancashire coast at Blackpool, where he attended Arnold School. He began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine, and wrote his first novel at the age of 12. The Cooper & Fry series is now published by Little, Brown in the UK and by the Witness Impulse imprint of HarperCollins in the USA. In addition to publication in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, translation rights in the series have so far been sold in sixteen languages – French, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian, Japanese and Hebrew.Stephen left journalism in 2001 to write novels full time. He and his wife Lesley live in a village in rural Nottinghamshire, England (home of Robin Hood and the Pilgrim Fathers). They have three cats.

In recent years, Stephen Booth has become a Library Champion in support of the UK’s ‘Love Libraries’ campaign, and a Reading Champion to support the National Year of Reading. He has also represented British literature at the Helsinki Book Fair in Finland, filmed a documentary for 20th Century Fox on the French detective Vidocq, taken part in online chats for World Book Day, and given talks at many conferences, conventions, libraries, bookshops and festivals around the world.

Catch Up With Stephen Booth On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

My Review

4 stars

Recently in the Peak District several suicides have been discovered and it is starting to look like Suicide Tourists are in the area. But things change when a card with Secrets of Death on it is discovered by Inspector Ben Cooper, it seems that there is much more happening than simple suicides. Meanwhile, Sargent Diane Fry is on the case investigating multiple murders when her main suspect disappears. He is rediscovered as a Suicide Tourist.

This story is set in the picturesque Peak District. This alone drew me into the story, I just wanted to see it for myself. And knowing that I could see it becoming a destination for vacationers and those that might want a beautiful view before death. Creepy as that might sound, it also sounds like a semi-rational thought. And what better way to disguise a murder than to make it look like a suicide.

This is my first Cooper and Fry story so I have all of the background between these two characters. Overall I enjoyed the story. Since the mystery revolves around suicide there is a lot of discussion of this. I liked the mystery and thought the ending was good. I didn’t expect who the killer was.

As for Cooper and Fry, clearly there is some bad blood here and I am curious to find out what I have missed in the prior books. But I have to say that when your characters are split as far as these two and one of the main characters doesn’t really make an appearance until the halfway point of the book it makes the story seem forced. I’m curious to see if these two will reconcile since this is a series about them but I also got the feeling that they are done. I liked Secrets of Death and will definitely be checking out the previous books in this series.

I received Secrets of Death from Partners in Crime Virtual Books Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tour Participants:

Stop by these blogs to follow the tour and learn more about this awesome thriller!

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Stephen Booth and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth. The giveaway begins on March 30 and runs through May 1, 2017.

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Redder Than Blood

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Redder Than Blood by Tanith Lee

A vampiric Snow White whose pious stepmother is her only salvation….
A supernatural Cinderella who strikes at midnight, leaving behind a prince mad with desire….
A sleeping beauty never meant to be woken…
In her World Fantasy Award-nominated short story collection, Red as Blood, Tanith Lee deconstructed familiar fairy tales, recapturing their original darkness and horror in haunting new interpretations. Behind gilded words and poised princesses, she exposed a sinister world of violence, madness, and dangerous enchantments.
With Redder than Blood, Lee resumes the tradition of twisting tales. Among its nineteen tales, this volume explores unnerving variations of Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince, Snow White, and other classics, including three never-before-published stories.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

 Tanith Lee

Author’s Bio

Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series “Blake’s 7.”
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a waitress.

Her first short story, “Eustace,” was published in 1968, and her first novel (for children) The Dragon Hoard was published in 1971.

Her career took off in 1975 with the acceptance by Daw Books USA of her adult fantasy epic The Birthgrave for publication as a mass-market paperback, and Lee has since maintained a prolific output in popular genre writing.

Lee twice won the World Fantasy Award: once in 1983 for best short fiction for “The Gorgon” and again in 1984 for best short fiction for “Elle Est Trois (La Mort).” She has been a Guest of Honour at numerous science fiction and fantasy conventions including the Boskone XVIII in Boston, USA in 1981, the 1984 World Fantasy Convention in Ottawa, Canada, and Orbital 2008 the British National Science Fiction convention (Eastercon) held in London, England in March 2008. In 2009 she was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master of Horror.

Lee was the daughter of two ballroom dancers, Bernard and Hylda Lee. Despite a persistent rumour, she was not the daughter of the actor Bernard Lee who played “M” in the James Bond series of films of the 1960s.

Tanith Lee married author and artist John Kaiine in 1992.

Website

My Review

4 stars

Tanith Lee has taken nineteen fairytales and twisted them into something closer to their real story and her own twist. This is one of my weaknesses. I am not much of a Disney princess girl and I love when they are revamped into something dark and twisted. Yes, there are some touchy moments that will cause some readers to be hesitant, but I loved most of the stories. Sorry, but I have never found a collection of short stories that I have loved everyone.

You will read about a beastly man that like to collect things. A wolf that meets a woman in a red cloak and gets more than he expected. Cinderella’s mother is not as bad as we first think. And so many more.

Most of these stories have been published before but there are three new ones. I have never read any of Tanith Lee’s work before but this was a great introduction. The stories were well written, dark, and many erotic.

I really enjoyed this book and will be looking for other books by Tanith Lee.

I received Redder Than Blood from Penguin Random House for free. This has in no way influenced by opinion of this book.

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The Night Mark

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The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there’s something worth dying for in the past…

From Tiffany Reisz, the international bestselling storyteller behind The Bourbon Thief and The Original Sinners series, comes an enthralling new novel about a woman swept away by the tides who awakens to find herself in 1921, reunited with the husband she’s been mourning for four years. Fans of Kate Morton and Diana Gabaldon will fall in love with the mystery, romance and beauty of an isolated South Carolina lighthouse, where a power greater than love works its magic.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Tiffany Reisz 

Author’s Bio

Tiffany Reisz is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Original Sinners series for Mira Books (Harlequin/Mills & Boon). Tiffany’s books inhabit a sexy shadowy world where romance, erotica and literature meet and do immoral and possibly illegal things to each other. She describes her genre as “literary friction,” a term she stole from her main character, who gets in trouble almost as often as the author herself. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer, and two cats. If she couldn’t write, she would die.

Website     Facebook     Twitter

My Review

4 stars

Faye Barlow lost her soul mate, Will four years earlier. Then her marriage to his best friend has not been that great. So she turns to something that she loves, photography. While in Beaufort she meets Father Pat, the man that painted a mysterious woman. After sharing her past with him, he tells her about the painting, the lighthouse, and Carrick Morgan. When she is swept away by a wave, Faye finds herself saved by Carrick. She slowly learns that she is actually Faith Morgan, Carrick’s daughter. Faith died of a mysterious drowning and we are along for the ride for the truth.

I was heartbroken about Faye. She lost the love of her life, was stuck in a non to happy marriage, had two miscarriages, and just feels like nothing is ever going to look up again. She was basically existing and the divorce left her with almost nothing. Carrick is a true gentleman and you can’t help but be swept off your feet like Faye was. But where does Faye’s live need to be? In 1921 with Carrick or in present day?

This is a great romance that crosses the ages. There is hardship and happiness and beautiful settings. This is a great story that will tug at your heart strings. This is one worth checking out.

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

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Bone White

Bone White

by Wendy Corsi Staub

on Tour April 1-30, 2017

Synopsis:

Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub

In Mundy’s Landing, bygone bloodshed has become a big business. During the rigorous winter of 1666, all but five colonists in the small Hudson Valley settlement died of starvation. Accused of unimaginable crimes, James and Elizabeth Mundy and their three children survived, but the couple were later accused of murder and executed. Left to fend for themselves in a hostile community, their offspring lived out exemplary lives in a town that would bear the family name. They never reveal the secret that died with their parents on the gallows… or did they?

“We Shall Never Tell.” Spurred by the cryptic phrase in a centuries-old letter, Emerson Mundy has flown cross-country to her ancestral hometown in hopes of tracing her ancestral past—and perhaps building a future. In Mundy’s Landing, she discovers long lost relatives, a welcoming ancestral home… and a closet full of skeletons.

A year has passed since former NYPD Detective Sullivan Leary solved the historic Sleeping Beauty Murders, apprehended a copycat killer, and made a fresh start in the Hudson Valley. Banking on an uneventful future in a village that’s seen more than its share of bloodshed, Sully is in for an unpleasant surprise when a historic skull reveals a notorious truth. Now she’s on the trail of a murky predator determined to destroy the Mundy family tree, branch by branch.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Published by: William Morrow Mass Market
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062349775 (ISBN13: 9780062349774)
Series: Mundy’s Landing #3 (Stand Alone)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

July 20, 2016
Los Angeles, CA

We shall never tell.

Strange, the thoughts that go through your head when you’re standing at an open grave.

Not that Emerson Mundy knew anything about open graves before today. Her father’s funeral is the first she’s ever attended, and she’s the sole mourner.

Ah, at last, a perk to living a life without many—any—loved ones; you don’t spend much time grieving, unless you count the pervasive ache for the things you never had.

The minister, who came with the cemetery package and never even met Jerry Mundy, is rambling on about souls and salvation. Emerson hears only We shall never tell—the closing line in an old letter she found yesterday in the crawl space of her childhood home. It had been written in 1676 by a young woman named Priscilla Mundy, addressed to her brother, Jeremiah.

The Mundys were among the seventeenth-century English colonists who settled on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about a hundred miles north of New York City. Their first winter was so harsh the river froze, stranding their supply ship and additional colonists in the New York harbor. When the ship arrived after the thaw, all but five settlers had starved to death.

Jeremiah; Priscilla; their sister, Charity; and their parents had eaten human flesh to stay alive. James and Elizabeth Mundy swore they’d only cannibalized those who’d already died, but the God-fearing, well-fed newcomers couldn’t fathom such wretched butchery. A Puritan justice committee tortured the couple until they confessed to murder, then swiftly tried, convicted, and hanged them.

“Do you think we’re related?” Emerson asked her father after learning about the Mundys back in elementary school.

“Nope.” Curt answers were typical when she brought up anything Jerry Mundy didn’t want to discuss. The past was high on the list.

“That’s it? Just nope?”

“What else do you want me to say?”

“How about yes?”

“That wouldn’t be the truth,” he said with a shrug.

“Sometimes the truth isn’t very interesting.”

She had no one else to ask about her family history. Dad was an only child, and his parents, Donald and Inez Mundy, had passed away before she was born. Their headstone is adjacent to the gaping rectangle about to swallow her father’s casket. Staring that the inscription, she notices her grandfather’s unusual middle initial.

Donald X. Mundy, Born 1900, Died 1972.
X marks the spot.

Thanks to her passion for history and Robert Louis Stevenson, Emerson’s bookworm childhood included a phase when she searched obsessively for buried treasure. Money was short in their household after two heart attacks left Jerry Mundy on permanent disability.

X marks the spot…

No gold doubloon treasure chest buried here. Just dusty old bones of people she never knew.

And now, her father.

The service concludes with a prayer as the coffin is lowered into the ground. The minister clasps her hand and tells her how sorry he is for her loss, then leaves her to sit on a bench and stare at the hillside as the undertakers finish the job.

The sun is beginning to burn through the thick marine layer that swaddles most June and July mornings. Having grown up in Southern California, she knows the sky will be bright blue by mid-afternoon. Tomorrow will be more of the same. By then, she’ll be on her way back up the coast, back to her life in Oakland, where the fog rolls in and stays for days, weeks at a time. Funny, but there she welcomes the gray, a soothing shield from real world glare and sharp edges.

Here the seasonal gloom has felt oppressive and depressing.

Emerson watches the undertakers finish the job and load their equipment into a van. After they drive off, she makes her way between neat rows of tombstones to inspect the raked dirt rectangle.

When something is over, you move on, her father told her when she left home nearly two decades ago. She attended Cal State Fullerton with scholarships and maximum financial aid, got her master’s at Berkeley, and landed a teaching job in the Bay Area.

But she didn’t necessarily move on.

Every holiday, many weekends, and for two whole months every summer, she makes the six-hour drive down to stay with her father. She cooks and cleans for him, and at night they sit together and watch Wheel of Fortune reruns.

It used to be because she craved a connection to the only family she had in the world. Lately, though, it was as much because Jerry Mundy needed her.

He pretended that he didn’t, that he was taking care of himself and the house, too proud to admit he was failing. He was a shadow of his former self when he died at seventy-six, leaving Emerson alone in the world.

Throughout her motherless childhood, Emerson was obsessed with novels about orphans. Treasure Island shared coveted space on her bookshelf with Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Witch of Blackbird Pond

She always wondered what would happen to her if her father died. Would she wind up in an orphanage? Would a kindly stranger take her in? Would she live on the streets?

Now that it’s happened he’s down there, in the dirt … moving on?

She’ll never again hear his voice. She’ll never see the face so like her own that she can’t imagine she inherited any physical characteristics from her mother, Didi—though she can’t be certain.

Years ago, she asked her father for a picture—preferably one that showed her mother holding her as a baby, or of her parents together. Maybe she wanted evidence that she and her father had been loved; that the woman who’d abandoned them had once been normal—a proud new mother, a happy bride.

Or was it the opposite? Was she hoping to glimpse a hint that Didi Mundy was never normal? Did she expect to confirm that people—normal people—don’t just wake up one morning and choose to walk out on a husband and child? That there was always something off about her mother: a telltale gleam in the eye, or a faraway expression—some warning sign her father had overlooked. A sign Emerson herself would be able to recognize, should she ever be tempted to marry.

But there were no images of Didi that she could slip into a frame, or deface with angry black ink, or simply commit to memory.

Exhibit A: Untrustworthy.

Sure, there had been plenty of photos, her father admitted unapologetically. He’d gotten rid of everything.

There were plenty of pictures of her and Dad, though.

Exhibit B: Trustworthy.

Dad holding her hand on her first day of kindergarten, Dad leading her in an awkward waltz at a father-daughter middle school dance, Dad posing with her at high school graduation.

“Two peas in a pod,” he liked to say. “If I weren’t me, I’d think you were.”

She has his thick, wavy hair, the same dimple on her right cheek, same angular nose and bristly slashes of brow. Even her wide-set, prominent, upturned eyes are the same as his, with one notable exception.

Jerry Mundy’s eyes were a piercing blue.

Only one of Emerson’s is that shade; the other, a chalky gray.

***

Excerpt from Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub. Copyright © 2017 by Wendy Corsi Staub. Reproduced with permission from William Morrow Mass Market. All rights reserved.

Wendy Corsi Staub

Author Bio:

New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than seventy novels. Wendy now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband and their two children.

Catch Up With Wendy Corsi Staub On Her Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

My Review

4 stars

It is a year after the Sleeping Beauty Murders and everything seems to have calmed down in the little town of Mundy’s Landing. Then Emerson Mundy shows up with some old letters that she has inherited. Emerson is looking into the history of her family. But this is just the beginning. Ora Abrams, the curator of the Mundy’s Landing Historical Society has a girl’s skull that has been passed along through her family. Ora decides that she wants it looked at to learn how the girl died.

Sully Leary is adjusting to life in Mundy’s Landing when she is surprised by her former partner Stockton Barnes. He says he is just looking for a place to crash but he is acting strange and might be dragging both of them into something. Finally, Roy Nowak is coming to Mundy’s Landing. Roy is Emerson’s fiancé and she has no idea that he is coming to town. Shortly after his arrival he is found dead. Is it a suicide or is there a new killer in town?

This is a great mystery. There were three different stories that converge on Mundy’s Landing. I loved reading about the history of this town and it seems that someone is bound and determined to end the Mundy line. And Ora with a skull, CREEPY!!!

I have not read the other books in this series. Bone White could be read as a standalone book but I think the background of the other two books would add to the story. This book had three separate parts that come together at the end and there was a good mystery along with all the drama of Mundy’s Landing. Overall I really liked this book and I would be happy to get the first two books to catch up on what I missed.

I received Bone White from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tour Participants:

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Wendy Corsi Staub and William Morrow. There will be 3 winners of one (1) Print copy of Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub. The giveaway begins on March 30th and runs through May 2nd, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.

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34076764

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One by Christopher Hansen and JR Fehr

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

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Author’s Bios

Christopher Hansen

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday.
“Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.”
Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.

J.R. Fehr

JR Fehr

When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

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My Review

4 stars

In the world of O’Ceea everyone has the magical ability to project anything they can imagine to enhance or create objects. But with any power, there are rules and those that do not have permission can be punished for projecting. But when someone becomes 16, they can take part in the Color Test to find a guild or magician. Kai, Weston, Layauna,Talia, Kaso and Kalaya all have their own abilities and weaknesses. They will learn that what they think is a weakness is not necessarily that bad. Follow along as they learn to use their abilities individually and together all in the hopes that they will have color inside of them.

This is going to be a series of books about these kids and their abilities. In volume one we learn about the kids as they prepare for the Color Test. I loved learning about the kids and their different abilities. I love how they think they are failing yet they just have to find their place in this world.

I admit that I was a little confused with different things in this world but many of my questions were answered if I was patience. There are something that were not so I am hoping they will be answered in Volume 2. But I loved the description of this world and watching the children grow into young adults.

This is a wonderful start to a new series and I cannot wait to get my hands on Volume 2.

I received The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One from eBooks for Review for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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31114539

The Existence of Pity by Jeannie Zokan

Growing up in a lush valley in the Andes mountains, sixteen-year-old Josie Wales is mostly isolated from the turbulence brewing in 1976 Colombia. As the daughter of missionaries, Josie feels torn between their beliefs and the need to choose for herself. She soon begins to hide things from her parents, like her new boyfriend, her trips into the city, and her explorations into different religions.

Josie eventually discovers her parents’ secrets are far more insidious. When she attempts to unravel the web of lies surrounding her family, each thread stretches to its breaking point. Josie tries to save her family, but what happens if they don’t want to be saved?

The Existence of Pity is a story of flawed characters told with heart and depth against the beautiful backdrop of Colombia.

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 Jeannie Zokan

Author’s Bio

Jeannie Zokan grew up in Colombia, South America, where she read almost every book in the American school she attended. Her love of books led her to study Library Science at Baylor University then to attend The George Washington University in DC. When the chance came to head south, she took her motorcycle to Florida’s Gulf Coast to write stories for the local newspaper.

She now lives ten minutes from the beach with her husband, two teenage daughters, and three pets, all of whom keep her inspired and just a little frantic. She enjoys aerial yoga, tennis, and holding NICU babies as a volunteer. But there’s always writing. Writing to relive, writing to understand, writing to remember, writing to renew.

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My Review

4 stars

Josie Wales lives in Cali, Columbia with her missionary parents in the late 1970’s. Josie is 16 and starting to test out the waters to find her own beliefs and thoughts. A lot of this is different from her parents Baptist beliefs. As she start exploring her world she starts keeping secrets from her parents about things like her boyfriend and looking into other religions. But she is not the only one keeping secrets. Her parents are keeping secrets from her and each other. Secrets that could destroy the whole family.

Being a missionary’s kid is tough. You get forced into a box and are supposed to live it. I felt for Josie as she is trying to find her own place in the world. But she is balancing on a knife trying to be the girl her parents want but trying new things that appeal to her. But things are going to explode when secrets come out as Josie start digging into them.

This is a great story. I had moments where I was laughing and others where I was crying. This is a captivating story and one that I think everyone should check out.

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

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