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A Deadly Game

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A Deadly Game by Joanna Griffiths

Kate Palmer, an undergraduate student, discovers that she is pregnant and makes the decision to drop out of university. However, on the evening before she returns home, her body is discovered in Aston park. She is the first victim of several murders that will rock the city of Birmingham.

Detective Sergeant James “Jim” Wardell, who has his own issues to contend with, is given the case.

When Eddie Carter, a popular talk show host on Birmingham’s Radio Station, is contacted by someone claiming to be the killer, it is the start of a cat and mouse game between a deranged killer and the police.

After a second body is discovered the pressure mounts on the police to capture the man responsible.

Who is killing these women and why?

Can Jim capture the twisted killer before more innocent women are murdered?

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Author’s Bio

I was hooked on crime fiction after reading an Agatha Christie novel when I was a teenager. I loved the way the story unfolded, trying to work out the plot before the reveal.

Since reading that first book, my dream of becoming a writer would often take centre stage over the years and I would spend some time working on my manuscript before the idea was shelved again.

Time was often a factor. As a single parent with two young children, I returned to studying, completing a BSc (Hons) with the Open University. After graduating, I worked with SEN children who were at risk of exclusion from main stream school due to behavioural problems. I then spent several years with children outside of the school system, which kept me busy.

Following a serious health issue in 2014 though, I began to focus on what I still wanted to achieve and the desire to become a writer featured highly again. Dusting off my manuscript, I finally finished A Deadly Game and I am currently working on my second novel.

If I’m not writing, I enjoy reading and always have a book on the go. I also enjoy watching many of the police / detective / thriller series on television, still trying to work out the plot before the story’s conclusion.

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My Review

4 stars

Kate Palmer is a college kid that becomes pregnant. She decides to drop out and return home to her parents but never makes it. Instead her body is discovered in a park. She is to become the first of several victims to a serial killer that enjoys his game of cat and mouse with Detective Jim Wardell and the police.

This story grabs you from the start and sucks you in. This story is told from several perspectives. You have the killer that is horribly abusive to his wife. He has a new game and loves playing it with the girls. He really enjoys taunting the police too. He is someone that you will wait breathlessly for his demise.

You see the heartbreak the families go through with the deaths of the girls. There were several parts that I was in tears for them. I don’t wish the loss of a loved one like this on any family. But then you have Jim Wardell. He is a great detective and wants to stop the killer. He truly cares for the families and hates having to be the one to bring this darkness upon them.

This is an edge of your seat thriller that will have you cheering for the police and wanting the serial killers to get his own. This is the first book of Joanna Griffiths that I have read and I was completely blown away. She is an amazing author and I can’t wait to see what she is going to come up with next.

I received A Deadly Game from Bloodhound Books for free. This has had no influence on my review.

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Theodore and the Enchanted Bookstore by K. Kibbee

Living life as a bumbling breadbox with fur, was hardship enough for Theodore the Corgi, but when the young dog finds himself cold and alone in a frightening animal shelter, it’s clear that his struggles have only just begun.
Labeled “unadoptable,” by shelter staff, Theodore mires in the gloom until a kind-eyed stranger with a pocket full of handcrafted jerky and a quirky smile, rescues him with the intent of making Theodore the newest addition to his curious Bookstore. Though overwhelmed at first, Theodore soon finds both his new friend and the odd bookstore are welcoming hosts, despite the Corgi’s run of clumsy mishaps. And while Theodore’s formerly dull and lonely life fades to memory, a new, adventurous one blooms before him—for hidden amongst the dusty stacks of books and things at the Enchanted Bookstore, waits a peculiar little man with a set of the most magical, Spectacular Spectacles imaginable.

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Author’s Bio

(Kristine) Kibbee is a Pacific Northwest writer with a fascination for all things literary. Kristine’s passion for creative writing began in her early youth and led her to the doors of Washington State University, where she earned a degree in Humanities, with a focus in Professional Writing. Kristine followed her scholarly pursuit of writing with published works in The Vancougar, The Salal Review Literary Review, Just Frenchies magazine, and S/Tick Literary Review. She is presently a regular columnist for Terrier Group magazine.

Kristine’s novella, “The Mischievous Misadventures of Dewey the Daring,” was her first and only self-published release, and is still currently available on Amazon.com. Her middle-grade fantasy novel, “Whole in the Clouds,” was released in November 2014 and is being re-released by Incorgnito Publishing Press, with additional material, in October of 2016. The first installment in her YA fantasy series, “Forest of the Fae-Devlin’s Door,” was released in early 2016 with Incorgnito.

Kristine anticipates following the release of book two in the “Forests of the Fae” series (“The Raven Queen”) with a third and final installment, which will tentatively come to print in early 2018.

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My Review

5 stars

Theodore is a cute little corgi that had a cruel mistress that left him at the pound after he bumped into the baby too many times. He is heartbroken and giving up on life when he meets Sam, an older gentleman that owns a bookstore. Sam finds a way to Theodore and adopts him as a reading dog. Theodore is still clumsy and bumping into things when it is discovered that he needs glasses. After getting a special pair of glasses both Theodore and Sam start having a magical adventure.

This is a cutest story about a bumbling corgi that had a horrible mistress but found himself a magical world. Theodore is so cute and when he put his glasses on, it was a new world for him. I loved how he found a home in a bookstore, I am so jealous of him.

This is a wonderful story and I recommend it to anyone with a kids or that just loves stories about dogs. I really hope that this becomes a series. I would love to follow along with Theodore and Sam’s adventures.

I received Theodore and the Enchanted Bookstore from Sage’s Blog Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Dream a Little Death

Dream A Little Death

by Susan Kandel

on Tour May 23 – June 23, 2017

Synopsis:

Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel

From critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

Meet Dreama Black. A 28 year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, “Dreama, Little Dreama” made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a “L.A. noir” tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062674994 (ISBN13: 9780062674999)
Series: A Dreama Black Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly bear, with long silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.

Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.

Like racing up to his penthouse in Balenciaga gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.

Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is another thing I should know better about. Because if I’ve learned anything at all from my study of film noir (which got me into the whole sordid Miles McCoy mess to begin with), it is to tell the story in the precise order in which it happened.

The trouble started the day before, which was Valentine’s Day, a pagan holiday named after the Roman priest who defied Claudius II by marrying Christian couples. After being hauled off in shackles, the soft-hearted cleric was beaten with clubs, stoned, and when that didn’t finish him off, publicly beheaded. Makes you think.

It had poured rain for eight days running, which isn’t what you sign on for when you live in Los Angeles. But that morning, as I stepped outside for a run, the sun was blinding—so blinding, in fact, that I didn’t see the fragrant valentine my neighbor’s dog, Engelbart, had left on the stoop for me. Not that I minded spending the next twenty minutes cleaning the grooves of my running shoe with a chopstick. It was a beautiful day. The rollerbladers were cruising the Venice boardwalk. The scent of medical marijuana was wafting through the air. Engelbart’s gastrointestinal tract was sound.

An hour later, I hopped into my mint green 1975 Mercedes convertible, and made my way up Lincoln to the freeway. I was headed to Larchmont, an incongruous stretch of Main Street, USA, sandwiched between Hollywood and Koreatown. This was where studio executives’ wives and their private school daughters came for green juice, yoga pants, and the occasional wrench from the general store that had served Hancock Park since the 1930s. It was also where my mother and grandmother ran Cellar Door, known for its chia seed porridge and life-positive service. I helped out whenever my coffers were running low. Which was most of the time.

You are probably frowning right about now. Surely a young woman who owns a classic convertible—as well as Balenciaga gladiators—should not be perennially low on funds. But it’s true.

The car came from my grandmother, who received it as part of her third (fourth?) divorce settlement and gave it to me as a gift when I strong-armed my mother into rehab for the fourth (fifth?) time. The sandals I purchased online in a frenzy of self-loathing shortly after watching my ex-boyfriend the rock god serenading his current girlfriend the supermodel on an otherwise uneventful episode of Ellen. I’d tried to return the sandals, but one of the studs had fallen off, making them damaged goods. Like their owner. Not that I’m hard on myself. It’s just that my career—I take clients on custom-designed, private tours of my hometown of L.A.—wasn’t exactly thriving, which is why I was easy prey for the likes of Miles McCoy. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the good part. The part where I’m driving like the wind and almost don’t notice the flashing lights in my mirror. I knew I should have fixed that taillight.

I pulled over, cut the motor, handed the cop my license and registration. He looked down, then did a double take. “Dreama Black?”

That would be me.

“The Dreama Black?” he continued. “As in ‘Dreama, Little Dreama’?”

Perhaps I should explain.

I am a twenty-eight-year-old, third-generation rock ’n’ roll groupie—or “muse,” as the women in my family like to put it.

My grandmother, a fine-boned blonde who never met a gossamer shawl or Victorian boot she didn’t like, spent the sixties sleeping her way through Laurel Canyon, winding up in a house on Rothdell Trail (a.k.a. “Love Street”) purchased for her by a certain lead singer of a certain iconic band whose name is the plural of the thing that hits you on the way out.

My mother, blessed with thick, dark tresses and a way with mousse, was consort to many of the pseudo-androgynous alpha males of American hair metal, her chief claim to fame an MTV video in which she writhed across the hood of a Porsche wearing a white leotard and black, thigh-high boots. She also bought Axl Rose his first kilt.

As for me, well, I was on my way to freshman orientation when this guy I’d been seeing, who’d played a couple of no-name clubs with some friends from summer camp, intercepted me at LAX, put his lips to my ear, and hummed the opening bars of a new song I’d apparently inspired. Instead of boarding the plane for Berkeley, I boarded the tour bus with Luke Cutt and the other skinny, pimply members of Rocket Science. Four world tours, three hit albums, two Grammys, and one breakup later, “Dreama, Little Dreama”—an emo pop anthem that went gold in seven days and has sold eleven million copies to date—had made me almost famous forever.

“Step out of the car, please.”

The cop removed his sunglasses. Peach fuzz. Straight out of the academy. “So.”

He wanted to get a picture with me.

“I’d love to get a picture with you,” he said.

I smoothed down my cut-offs and striped T-shirt, removed my red Ray-Bans, ran my fingers through my long, straight, freshly balayaged auburn hair. The cop put his arm around me, leaned in close, took a couple of snaps on his phone. Let me guess. He’d had a crush on me since tenth grade, when he saw me in a white tank and no bra on the cover of Rocket Science’s debut C.D., and now he was going to post the pictures on Instagram to show all his buddies.

“Awesome.” He gave me a brotherly punch on the arm. “No way is my wife going to believe this. She’s crazy about Luke Cutt. Hey, is he really dating that Victoria’s Secret Angel? She is smoking hot.”

At least I didn’t get the ticket.

 

Excerpt from Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. Copyright © 2017 by Susan Kandel. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

My Review

4 stars

Dreama Black is a third generation rock groupie and trying to find her place in the world. She runs a custom designed themed tours of LA. Raymond Chandler hires her to create a LA Noir themes tour. But Dreama finds herself in trouble when she witnesses a murder and finds herself in the middle of the investigation. But she is not going to let that slow her down. She is determined to figure out what is going on and solve the mystery. But this is LA and everyone has secrets that they are trying to keep and lies they freely tell. This is not going to be an easy investigation.

Dreama is a great character and has some amazing friends. She is determined to solve the murder and bumbles along through the dirty side of LA. She has her work cut out for her trying to figure out the truth behind all of the lies. But mixed in with this is all of the great movie quotes and history. I loved how this added to the story even as I fought with all of the promiscuity. But as much as that annoyed me to felt true with Hollywood.

This is a great introduction to a new mystery series with a great lead. I loved Dreama and can’t wait to find out what trouble she meets with next.

I received Dream a Little Death 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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Here’s Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Kandel and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. The giveaway begins on May 23rd and runs through June 27th 2017

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia by Tim Scullion

Join ghost photographer and researcher Tim Scullion on a two-year tour of Colonial Williamsburg, America’s haunted historic city of ghosts. Visit 43 creepy locations where Scullion describes his paranormal odyssey to capture and explain each apparition, a bit of historical and paranormal background of the building it appears in or over, and insights about these ghostly beings that he has learned from careful observation. With more eighteenth-century buildings and homes than any other place in America, Scullion has learned the secret to consistently capturing ghostly apparitions of all kinds on camera. Examine 230 paranormal images that are beautiful, ugly (if not horrifying!), bizarre, and defy explanation. He also provides historic accounts, ghost sightings, and narrative, insights, and introspection for each location. Colonial Williamsburg is a hotspot for ghosts!

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 Tim Scullion

Author’s Bio

Tim Scullion specializes in fine art photography as well as the paranormal. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from William and Mary and is a published author/photographer.

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My Review

3 stars

Tim Scullion takes us along on a night visit of 43 different locations in Williamsburg, Virginia. We find ourselves in various churches, houses, and taverns. We learn the history of each location with other sightings. We see many photos of these locations many with orbs. Then Tim uses his editing to separate and sharpen these orbs or flashes found in the pictures which results in faces being seen.

I loved the pictures and the history behind all the locations. That is itself made this book for me. I love the paranormal, especially ghosts, and I enjoyed all the stories behind each location. There are beautiful color photographs and I love the little notes of paranormal activity.

Where I’m torn on reviewing this book is the enhanced photographs. They could very well be real and I’m just too skeptical. But when you see the enhanced photos they look rather over edited. The faces are exaggerated and look off. This took away from the book for me.

If the book stayed with the history, stories, and picture of the locations I would have liked it more. But the edited photos ruined it for me. If you like paranormal that focuses around ghosts I would say check it out, you may have a new vacation destination.

I received Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia from Schiffer Publishing for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Beyond Evidence

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Beyond Evidence (Patrick McLaughlin – 1) by Emma Clapperton

A chilling supernatural thriller

In an alleyway in Glasgow lies a decomposing corpse of a slain female baking in the midday heat. No one has found her yet, but medium Patrick McLaughlin knows she is there. It is not the first time he has dreamt of death… and it will not be the last.

When several bizarre murders take place the local police start to request DNA samples from twenty something year old men.

Through a hunch, and in the belief that the terrifying dreams hold the key to the identity of the murderer, Patrick works alongside the police to track down the predator before they can strike again. But as the nightmares increase they begin to threaten Patrick’s sanity.

What price will Patrick have to pay to stop the killer striking again? His friends? His family? His life?

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Author’s Bio

Began writing in June 2010 and completed her first novel in April 2012. Beyond Evidence was released on Kindle in September 2012 and is selling well with great reviews.
Emma is currently working on her next novel.

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My Review

4 stars

We start with a young lady that has been drugged and is being hunted down and killed. We then meet Patrick McLaughlin. He is a psychic and has been having terrible dreams. After reading the newspaper about several women that have been killed he realizes that his dreams relate to these deaths. Patrick and his girlfriend Jodie (also psychic) head to the police to help them with the investigation. Although skeptical, detectives Preston and Lang take the help since they don’t have any other leads. Patrick and Jodie are going to be dancing on the line between life and death as they hunt down a killer that is not about to stop.

I read Suicide Plan and loved Patrick McLaughlin from the start of that story. I couldn’t wait to see what happened in Beyond Evidence. Patrick is a great person that has had some difficulties from his psychic abilities. And although he knows that people are skeptical he is determined to help the girls that have been killed.

This is a great paranormal thriller and I couldn’t help but cheer Patrick on. Although we know who the killer is following along as he is determined to keep killing added a fresh approach to the story. The psychic ability also was written well without sounding corny. This is a great thriller and one to add to my shelf.

I received Beyond Evidence from Bloodhound Books for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Dreadnought

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Dreadnought (Nemesis – 1) by April Daniels

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

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 April  Daniels

Author’s Bio

April Daniels graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in literature, and then promptly lost her job during the 2008 stock crash and recession. After she recovered from homelessness, she completed her first manuscript by scribbling a few sentences at a time between calls while working in the customer support department for a well-known video game console. She has a number of hobbies, most of which are boring and predictable. As nostalgia for the 1990s comes into its full bloom, she has become ever more convinced that she was born two or three years too late and missed all the good stuff the first time around. Early in her writing practice, April set her narrative defaults to “lots of lesbians” and never looked back.

Website

My Review

5 stars

Danny Tozer is a teenager that is transgender and trying to be happy while avoiding arguments and worse from her father who does not accept her for anything but a young, tough male. One day she is hiding and painting her toe nails when there is an epic super battle and the super hero Dreadnought ends up losing and dying at Danny’s feet. Although he had no other choice, Dreadnought transfers his powers to her. This instantly changes Danny into the female form he desires and give him all these super powers.

But this gift has a lot of negatives to it. Because she is underage, there are some tensions about her choosing what side to be on in the fight against good and evil. Then there is coming to terms with both his new body and powers. But if that wasn’t enough, then there is the fight with his father, who is bound and determined to change her back into a boy. It doesn’t help that all the guys are hitting on her, like her best friend that deems she HAS to date him.

Danny has to learn to use her powers, decide if she wants to be a white cape, grey cape, or black cape; how will she protect her family and friends, and so much more. I loved following along as Danny finds her place in the world and stands out at the same time.

I am of the mind to go with what makes you happy. If identifying as the opposite sex makes you happy and you are not hurting anyone, go for it. But there is a lot more to this topic than that simple idea and it is a big deal lately. This book shows a lot of why. Danny is verbally abused and probably worse at home as his father is trying to make him a manly man. She doesn’t fit in anywhere else. Then she seems to have her dreams answered just to find out she is still fighting the norms just from the other side.

This book is wonderful and I recommend everyone check it out. It is an unconventional super hero story but one that I absolutely loved. You may find your new favorite book. I cannot wait to see what happens next in this series.

I received Dreadnought from the Diversion Books for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Girl Last Seen

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Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can’t bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw’s whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact…

I’ve spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn’t been another girl.

And now there is.

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 Girl Last Seen gripped me from start to finish. Lainey Moreno is a riveting heroine, a kidnapping survivor who will only escape her demons if she faces her greatest fears, and Nina Laurin brings her vividly to life. Psychological suspense doesn’t come much grittier or more packed with satisfying twists and turns.”

–       Edgar Award-winning author Meg Gardiner, author of Unsub

 

“GIRL LAST SEEN hooked me so quickly I might have whiplash. This is a sharp, twisting, intense thriller, the heartbreaking and fast-paced story of a woman who bears the scars of a trip to hell and back but who refuses to be defeated. Don’t miss this smashing debut!”

— David Bell, bestselling author of Bring Her Home

 Nina Laurin

Author’s Bio

Nina Laurin is a bilingual (English/French) author of suspenseful stories for both adults and young adults. She got her BA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, in her hometown of Montreal, Canada. Girl Last Seen is her first novel.

Website

My Review

5 stars

When Ella Santos was 10 years old, she was abducted. She was sexually, physically, and mentally abused for three years until she was released. Her kidnapper was very careful, not giving her enough information that could be used to catch him and still had not be caught. Ella has changed her name to Lainey and has been trying to deal with this for the last 10 years. But one day as she is putting up fliers of missing children she sees a little girl that is 10 years old and looked just like Lainey when she was abducted. Although she wants to move on she knows she has to do something and although it’s going to be tough, she is going to have to relive her past to save Olivia Shaw.

This book is heartbreaking. Lainey goes through hell and back yet has no way to identify her kidnapper. Then she is trying to live with the abuse that was done to her and that her kidnapper is still free. You can’t blame her for turning to drugs, alcohol because all the horrible decisions she has made since then. I wanted to cheer for her as she started hunting the kidnapper down yet then there were times I would get so frustrated at her.

This was a great thriller that had me turning the pages and up all night to see what was going to happen next. Lainey may not have been a perfect character but she was willing to fight to save Olivia and herself.

I received Girl Last Seen from Grand Central Publishing for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.