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The Weight of Lies

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The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

Beachgoers who tuck a copy of Carpenter’s new book into their bags this summer can expect the thriller—packed with riddles, a novel-within-a-novel, and characters who take the definition of Southern Gothic to sinister new levels—to keep them on their chaises long past sundown. It’s what Carpenter considers her idea of the perfect beach read. One with a twist.

Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel, Kitten, her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first, island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

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Early Praise

“Twists aplenty in this searing murder mystery should leave readers dizzy, in the best way possible.”

KIRKUS (Starred Review)

“An unputdownable read.”

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY (Starred Review)

“Don’t let this nail-biter of a good read pass you by!”

ROMANCE TIMES

“The Weight of Lies might just be my perfect summer crime book.

CRIME BY THE BOOK

“Overall, this is a well-crafted, must-read thriller with bits of romance, horror and intrigue used strategically by Carpenter to keep pace and amp up tension.

VILMA’s BOOK BLOG

Emily Carpenter

Author’s Bio

Emily Carpenter, author of Amazon bestselling debut, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls, which sold over 100,000 copies in just under six months, grew up in Alabama and lives in Georgia. Southern Gothic is in her blood, and she’s vacationed on islands like the fictitious Bonny for many years.

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My Review

4 stars

Frances Ashley wrote a horror story called Kitten and has become famous with a cult following. Meg Ashley is her daughter and has never had to work a day in her life living off the riches of the book. Meg is estranged from her mother and not spoken to her in three years. She gets offered the chance to write a tell-all story about her troubled home life and the story behind Kitten and jumps at the chance to make lots of money and get away from her mother.

Meg finds herself at Bonny Island to add more realism to the story. As she is there she finally feels like she is home and makes a connection with Doro Kitchens, the inspiration for Kitten. But as she starts digging she starts to realize that there is more to the real life story when she is first warned then she finds her life in danger. But she can’t quit now, Meg has to learn the truth.

Meg is a spoiled little brat that can’t get along with her mother but is sure fast to stick out her hand for money. She decides to write the tell-all to make a break for herself and to get her own money. But as she starts digging into the murders at Bonny Island that the book Kitten is based on things start taking a turn for the worst. As we follow Meg we also get snippets of the book Kitten that entices you to keep reading to see what is truth and what is lies. And how does Doro play into the murders.

This is a great thriller that gave me goose bumps. Although Meg annoyed me and you jump around in the story, I did really enjoy it. I think this is one of those that many will like.

I received The Weight of Lies from Sabrina Dax Publicity for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Pipeliner

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Pipeliner by Shawn Hartje

For seventeen-year-old Jason Krabb, high school life in 1990s Idaho is a world of cargo shorts, cassette tapes, and junk food. Plagued equally by algebra and puberty, Jason sets out to find a girlfriend and become a rock guitarist. His quest is irreversibly jolted when he attends a bonfire and meets an alluring girl from the other side of town and a rag tag crew who are bringing gas lines through the desert in order to keep the lights on in Portland and Seattle, places where Jason hopes to find his nirvana as a guitarist.

Meanwhile, things deteriorate at home. Jason’s pediatrician mom, Leah, sadly faces the twilight of her parenting years while his father, Curtis, contends with the enormity of running a big ticket research laboratory and coming to terms with his son’s wayward path.

Pipeliner is at once a coming of age love story and a comical timestamp of early 90s family life. Set in the fictional Idaho town of Helen Springs, pop. 58,000, its characters are as vibrant as the lofty peaks and purple sunsets of the high desert. Here we find rich farmers, poor ranchers, dutiful Mormons, government honchos, disgruntled vets, drug-dealing bruisers, irksome teachers, and spirited students, all doing their best to keep the lights on.

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 Shawn Hartje

Author’s Bio

Shawn Hartje was raised in Sioux City, Iowa and has lived in Idaho, Colorado and West Virginia. He has lived in Northern California since 2002. He enjoys high desert scenery, paddling rivers, and skateboarding with his kids.

Website

My Review

4 stars

Jason Krabb is trying to find his place in the world in a small Idaho town in the 90’s. His family has some money with a successful pediatrician for a mother and a less successful father that constantly has to hear it from his wife. Jason was the star of the swim team but now that it is disbanded he doesn’t know what to do. He hears about some pipeliners that are laying pipe for gas and is kicking around the idea to drop out of high school to work with them then head to Portland or Seattle to be a rock star.

Jason’s parents don’t think he can live up to his older, smarter brother’s standards. He is an average student and focuses on his guitar. Jason is trying to figure out where he fits into the world when he meets new girl Betsy and is drawn to her and the pipeliners. Of course he is going to experiment with sex, drugs, rock and roll to find himself.

When I first read the summary to Pipeliners I had to laugh. I could think of the stupid stuff that I did as a teenager. When I read about Jason thinking he could just be a rock star or simply dropping out of school to lay pipeline I had to chuckle. I remember those half-baked ideas that sound award winning when you are young.

Although you have an idea of where this story is going, it’s about the journey. I was laughing and remembering the 90’s for myself. I grew up in a small farming/ranching area so I understand a lot of what Jason is going through. It’s a good read of one kid trying to figure out himself and his place in the world.

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

Pay the Penance

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Pay the Penance (Mechanic Trilogy -3) by Rob Ashman

A stunning serial killer thriller from The Mechanic Trilogy

Murder. Corruption. Revenge. 

Lucas has been tracking a killer, known as Mechanic, when his world is shattered. Unable to continue his hunt for the murderer he is forced to rely on his friend and colleague Dick Harper. But Harper has a knack for not playing by the rules. And he doesn’t disappoint.

Meanwhile Detective Moran is trying to piece her life back together. The police stumble upon new evidence without grasping its significance and she must divert the investigation if she is to survive.

The police are closer to Mechanic than they realise which puts Moran right in the firing line.

Mechanic, as usual, has other plans and the consequences for Lucas and Harper are terrifying…

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Author’s Bio

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Rob will be publishing all three books in the Mechanic Trilogy with Bloodhound Books – the second novel is titled In Your Name and the third is called Pay The Penance.

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My Review

5 stars

Lucas’ world came to an end in In Your Name. He is broken, shattered, and although he still wants to stop the Mechanic he can’t. He sends Harper to do the work, but Harper has a bad habit of not following instructions. Lucas also calls in Moran who has trying to put the last year behind her and move on. Moran has cut Lucas and Harper out of her life and tried to sweep her connection to them under the rug so her supervisors don’t find out. But Lucas draws her in again to fight to stop the Mechanic.

I have not gotten the chance to read book two but I had no problem hopping into Pay the Penance, I’m sure this is from having some background with Those That Remain. I felt horrible for Lucas, especially when you learn what happened just before the main event. I can understand how everything has gone to hell in the last year. I also understand why Moran doesn’t want to have anything to do with this. But they are the ones who have to stop the Mechanic, willing or not.

This is a great story and an amazing end to the series. Lots of action, blood, and death but that’s what I come to expect. I will definitely be getting In Your Name to find out what I missed. But if you like high octane thrillers I strongly recommend checking out the Mechanic series.

I received Pay the Penance from Bloodhound Books for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Five Ways to Kill A Man

by Alex Gray

on Tour
​​
July ​30 – August 30, 2017

Synopsis:

Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray

An unpredictable killer is loose on the streets of Glasgow, experimenting with death. Beginning with brute force, the murderer moves on to poison and drowning, greedy for new and better ways to kill.

Faced with a string of unconnected victims, DCI Lorimer turns to psychologist and friend Solomon Brightman for his insights. Lorimer is also assigned to review the case of a fatal house fire. His suspicions are raised by shocking omissions in the original investigation. Some uncomfortable questions have been buried but Lorimer is the man to ask them.

As the serial killer gets closer to Lorimer’s family, can the DCI unmask the volatile murderer before the next victim is found too close to home?

Book Details:

Genre: Procedural
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659189 (ISBN13: 9780062659187)
Series: DCI Lorimer #7, All are Stand Alone
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

When Mary heard the back door being knocked, a smile lit up her wizened features: it was him! Danny hadn’t let her down after all, she thought. Shuffling through the hall, the old lady placed one hand on the papered walls for support, breathing hard at the effort. She switched on the kitchen light, an expression of delighted anticipation on her face at the shadow beyond the half-glazed door. The tea tray was still prepared for them; Danny’s favourite biscuits on a plate beneath the embroidered cloth, two china cups and saucers all ready beside them. Mary smoothed down her skirt and patted her tightly permed white curls, just as if she were about to welcome a young suitor to her parlour.

Eager fingers turned the key and then the cold air rushed in, sweeping Mary’s skirt above her knees, making her tremble at the empty darkness. Where was he? The trees outside swayed in the gathering storm. Had she really seen his shadow there on her doorstep? Or was it a trick of the light?

‘Danny? Danny! Are you out there? Come in, lad, it’s too cold for me to leave the door open.’ Mary’s smile faded as she heard the branches of the old apple tree creak in the wind. Had she imagined the door being knocked? Had her heightened anticipation tricked her into imagining that familiar sound? Was it the wind?

Disappointed, Mary was about to shut the door once again when she heard it: a pitiful cry just out there in the garden, some small animal in distress. Was it a cat? She’d had cats for years, but after Tiggle had been put down Malcolm had persuaded her not to have another one. It’s too much for you, Mother, he’d scolded. But Mary still missed the companionable creature and on a night like this a furry body curled on her lap would have been very welcome. So, was it a stray cat, perhaps?

Peering into the darkness, Mary heard it again, a bit closer this time.

‘Puss?’ she queried. ‘Here, pussy,’ she said, her words drawn away by a gust of wind. Venturing forwards, Mary took one step down, her fingers gripping the rail that the nice man from social services had put in for her, and called again. ‘Puss, puss . . .’

The figure seemed to come from nowhere, the hood concealing his face.

‘Danny?’ Mary stood still, wondering, doubting as he mounted the steps towards her.

But in that moment of hesitation she felt her fingers being pried from the railing, then the figure was suddenly behind her.

One blow to her spine and she was falling down and down, a thin wail of pain coming from her mouth as the sharp edges of the stone steps grazed her face, cut into her flailing arms.

Mary closed her eyes before the final thud, her skull smashing against the concrete slab below.

‘Miaow!’ the hooded figure cried, then laughed softly at the inert body splayed at the foot of the steps. Bending down, it lifted one of the woman’s thin wrists, feeling for a pulse. A moment passed then the hood nodded its satisfaction, letting the dead woman’s arm fall back on to the cold, hard ground.

Excerpt from Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website 🔗 & Twitter 🔗.

My Review

4 Stars

DCI Lorimer has a new serial killer on his hands. There have been three bodies discovered, killed in different ways, and it is not becoming apparent this killer is finding their preferred targets and methods. Trying to find the connection between the victims, Lorimer asks his psychologist for some insight. Then he finds that his own family is being targeted.

This is the first DIC Lorimar story that I have read and think that it could easily be a standalone story. Lorimer is an inspector but he is also a family man with troubles of his own. It doesn’t register right away that they have a serial killer on their hands when the victims are discovered because they have no connection and have died under different means.

This story started of really fast with three murders right in a row. But then we slow down and seemed to flounder. I had an idea of who the killer was quickly after I started the story and will admit that I would like to have had more closure at the end.

This is not a bad story. It’s a fairly decent mystery. At this point I’m on the fence about if I want to go back to the beginning and read the books or leave it lay.

I received Five Ways to Kill a Man from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
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Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray & Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s Glasgow Kiss. The giveaway begins on July 30 and runs through August 30, 2017.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Aphra Behn: A Secret Life

The Secret Life of Aphra Behn by Janet Todd

Aphra Behn (1640-1689), poet, playwright, novelist, traveller and spy, was the first woman to earn her living as a writer. This biography uses recently-discovered documents in England and the Netherlands to unmask this elusive author whose works include The Rover, The Fair Jilt, Love Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister, and The Forc’d Marriage.

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 Janet Todd

Author’s Bio

Janet Margaret Todd is a Welsh-born academic and a well-respected author of many books on women in literature. Todd was educated at Cambridge University and the University of Florida, where she undertook a doctorate on the poet John Clare.

She is currently the Herbert JC Grierson Professor of English Literature at the University of Aberdeen. On 1 September 2008, Professor Todd took up the post of President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She is the seventh President of the college.

Janet Todd’s research concerns literature and culture of the Restoration and eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Over a long career, primarily in the US and the UK at Cambridge University, University of East Anglia, Glasgow University and University of Aberdeen, she has published and contributed to more than 38 books, mainly on women’s writing, cultural history and the development of fiction. She also edited full scale editions of Mary Wollstonecraft (with Marilyn Butler) and Aphra Behn, as well as individual works of women such as Helen Maria Williams, Mary Shelley, Mary Carleton and Eliza Fenwick.

She is the General Editor of the nine-volume The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen, editing the volume Jane Austen in Context and co-editing Persuasion and Later Manuscripts.

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My Review

3 Stars

Aphra Behn is the first woman to make her living as a writer of plays during the Restoration period. But the knowledge of her is very limited because over her years she had many versions of herself that she told from her parents, her name, and such. Janet Todd has done a great job of filling in the possibilities of Aphra’s life from what is known. But with intense review of her work, Janet Todd has done a great job of putting together a story about Aphra.

Aphra was many things over her years and a study in complete opposites seemed to be the main thing. She wrote plays, translated books, was a spy, loved both men and women, and although she was famous she also wanted her privacy. But the thing I liked the best about her was that she didn’t knuckle down to the critics and the men that expected her to write a specific way just because she was a woman.

Janet Todd does break down Alpha’s plays but I’m sorry to admit that I don’t mind reading things but when you start analyzing them like a high school English class my mind shuts off. I did think this was a well written story of Aphra Behn and it introduced me to an author that I had never heard of before.

I received The Secret Life of Aphra Behn from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller

In this story for readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Man Called Ove, when all seems lost, he finds what matters most.

Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.

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 Sophie Chen Keller

Author’s Bio

Sophie Chen Keller is the author of The Luster of Lost Things. She was born in China and raised in Ohio and California. Her short fiction has won several awards and has appeared in publications such as Glimmer Train and Pedestal. After graduating from Harvard, she moved to New York City, where she currently resides with her husband and a not-so-secret cabinet of sweets.

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My Review

5 stars

Walter Lavender Jr. is a special boy that has a motor speech disorder that keeps him from speaking. Because of being bullied for it, Walter doesn’t talk which limits his world. He finds peace in his mother’s store, The Lavenders amount the clients and staff. The Lavenders is an enchanted bakery where the pastries come to life, which is what it did until the special book that powers these creations is stolen and a new landlord decides to close down the shop. Walter decides to brave the world with his Golden Retriever Milton and hunt down the magical book. This is going to be an adventure where Walter finds more than just the book and opens up to the world.

Walter is a great kid that is so special yet bullied to the point of silence. My heart just broke for him but I knew that this little adventure would be the best thing for him. He finds lost and forgotten things and comes across several people that fit into that category. I love how the people he meets adds to this widening world of his.

This is a magical story, quite literally of a boy finding his place in the world as he tries to rescue his mother’s bakery. It’s also so sad when you hear the different stories from the forgotten and abandoned people that he meets. It was a great read and one that I think most people will enjoy.

I received The Luster of Lost Things from Penguin Random House for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

The Policewoman

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The Policewoman by Justin Roberts

Narcoterrorism wreaks havoc on the world as drug cartels operate as dominating, murderous dictatorships. The powerful Irish Drug Cartel has set up drug manufacturing plants around the world and they will kill anyone who gets in their way. Sarah is an ambitious policewoman from an antiterrorist unit. She’s also smart, beautiful, and extremely good at her job, which is why she is assigned to an Interpol Incident Response Team in Manchester, set up to find and stop The Cartel. Alongside colleagues from the United Kingdom’s SAS, she must quickly learn new Close Quarters Battle tactics and apply them to a vengeful and threatening battlefield. Sarah’s investigation appears to be going well until the fight turns personal. She must now struggle to save her friends, family, and even herself. Spanning the globe with a keen knowledge of special forces tactics and some genuinely shocking twists, this book warns of a bloody, drug-addled future we may soon face.

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 Justin W.M. Roberts

Author’s Bio

Justin W.M. Roberts was born in London, son of a British Army General, and grew up in Hong Kong, Germany, and England. After graduating from Hull university with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology, he continued traveling and living Europe, Africa, and Asia.

He currently lives in Indonesia where he is an analyst of political affairs and an active promoter of secular humanism.

Authors of military thrillers are welcome to PM him for book reviews.

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My Review

5 stars

Sarah Michelle Dharmawan works in the special forces in Indonesia. Because of her training and experiences she is asked to help out a special Interpol team that is looking into an Irish drug cartel that is setting up in Ireland, England, and Indonesia. It seems the cartel is filled with former British military that are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the cartel running. Sarah is about to have a crash course training with her new team to be able to fight the cartel people. But at the same time she has found someone that she cares for in Michael. But this is not really an environment to start a relationship in.

I loved all of the training and fighting in this book. You can tell that Justin Roberts has some real life training. I just love books and movies with realistic action. Truth be told, my all-time favorite part of the book was when Sarah meets everyone and they are going to issue her a weapon and she shows that she brought her own. YEAH! A woman after my own heart.

This is a great story that will keep you on your toes. It doesn’t spare details which just makes it so much more believable and realistic. I admit that the first part of the book dragged a little for me as we got to know everyone and got the setting built. After that things start flying and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough or wait to finish at another time.

This is a great story and one that I recommend reading. It’s a great read and an amazing debut. Justin Roberts is an author to keep an eye on.

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