Category: Misc

#Review| Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Murder Thrillers
Published by Forge Books
Publication Date: September 14th
ASIN: ‎ B08QGKXFQ2
Pages: 336
Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR)

Everyone knows Lily Atwood–and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all–fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: PerfectLily. To keep it all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.

Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips–but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he–or she–know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world–and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?

My Thoughts

YES!! YES!! YES!!! Another ingenious read by the brilliant author of psychological thrillers!! Ms. Ryan is definitely in the top 5 on my “authors to read “list.

In my review of her previous book, The FIrst To Lie, I recommended that the reader try not to figure the story out but just enjoy the ride. I went into reading Her Perfect Life thinking that’s what I would do, well maybe I might try to figure it out just a little bit. That changed as soon as I was pulled in and became so engrossed that I was soon on a breakneck ride!!! Totally transported into the story!!!

The suspense was nonstop and palpable. At times I was breathless and other times holding on for dear life. Matter of fact, I was lucky that I had a waterproof Kindle case because I almost dropped it in the pool when the truth came out.

Talking about the pool, it seems that I have started a tradition. Every summer, I get on my pool float, grab my Hank Phillippi Ryan newest book, and get swept away. No pressure Ms. Ryan, but please allow me to keep the tradition going in 2022!!

Did I mention that she is one of my top 5 authors??!!

This book was an exceptional and thrilling read!!! Hated to see it end!!

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
  •  

    Mailbox Monday

    Have a Safe and Happy Labor Day

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    Mailbox Monday

    According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

    Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

    Wednesday: (09/01/21)

    The Keeper Of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis~ Kindle from Amazon Prime First Reads
    My Husband’s Secret by Kiersten Modglin ~ Kindle personal purchase
    Our Little Secret by Kiersten Modglin~ Kindle personal purchase

    Thursday: (09/02/21)

    Somebody’s Home by Kaira Rouda ~ Kindle from Thomas Mercer via NetGalley

    Kill For You by Lisa Regan~ Kindle from Thrillfix

    Saturday: (09/04/21)

    Dream Stalker by Nancy Gardner ~ Signed TPB from Author

     

    Mailbox Monday

    Mailbox Monday

    According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

    Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

    Tuesday: (08/24/21)

    The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth ~ Kindle from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley

    Friday: (08/27/21)

    You Can’t Catch Me by Catherine McKenzie ~ TPB from Darcia at Quiet Fury Books

    Saturday: (08/28/21)

    Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn ~ Kindle from Amazon Unlimited

     

    Mailbox Monday

    Mailbox Monday

    According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

    Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

    Monday: (08/09/21)

    We Are The Brennans by Tracey Lange~ TPB from Margaret Yelton via Novels N Latte Christmas In July swap
    The Trapped Wife by Samantha Hayes ~ Kindle from Bookouture via NetGalley

    Wednesday: (08/11/21)

    Silent Island by Dana Perry~ Kindle from Bookouture via NetGalley

     

    Mailbox Monday

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    Mailbox Monday

    According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

    Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

    Monday: (07/26/21)

    The Last House On The Street by Diane Chamberlain~ Kindle from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
    Woman In Shadow by Carrie Stuart Parks ~ ARC swap from Margaret Yelton

    Tuesday: (07/27/21)

    The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen ~ Kindle from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
    Black Label by James L’Etoile ~ ARC from book swap from Quiet Fury Books
    An Ambush Of Windows by Jeff Abbott ~ ARC from book swap from Quiet Fury Books

    Friday: (07/30/21)

    The Unheard by Nicci French ~ ARC from Harper Collins
    The Lying Club by Annie Ward~ eBook from Harlequin Books

     

    The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen | #Showcase #Giveaway

    The Question Is Murder

    by Mark Willen

    July 5-16, 2021 Tour

    Synopsis:

    The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen

    Washington D.C. newspaper columnist Sam Turner, known to his readers as Mr. Ethics, faces his toughest moral dilemma yet: Can murder ever be justified?

    That’s the question posed to him by a mysterious young woman who says she is being stalked and harassed by an ex-lover too powerful to be stopped any other way. Sam knows that journalists should never get personally involved in a story, but he finds he is being drawn deeper and deeper into this one whether he wants it or not.

    So when Senator Wade Morgan turns up murdered, Sam fears the worst. Worried about his own involvement, the man who normally has all the answers is now the one making questionable decisions.

    As his investigation into the Senator’s death begins to spin out of control, Sam finds he can’t let go—even as the case grows more complicated and the threats against his life become more immediate. With the fate of a young woman at stake and his own life in jeopardy, Sam can’t back down until the killer—whoever that may be—is brought to justice.

    But this is D.C., and justice can be in short supply.

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Amateur Sleuth, Psychological Thriller
    Published by: Pen-L Publishing
    Publication Date: May 14th 2021
    Number of Pages: 304
    ISBN: 1683132246 (ISBN-13: 978-1683132240)
    Series: The Question Is Murder is not included in a series.
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Read an excerpt:

    Dear Mr. Ethics

    Sam reads the email a second time, then a third, not sure whether to dismiss it as a prank or call the police. He prints it out and then reads it again, looking for some clue to the sender’s frame of mind.

    It’s probably a stunt. Sam gets more than his share of cranks and weirdos. There’s something about writing a newspaper column and calling yourself “Mr. Ethics” that attracts them. Some people just take offense at the notion of a guy sitting behind a computer trying to tell them there’s a right way to behave.

    He takes a deep breath and reads the email again, a blue felt-tipped pen in his hand. He studies the words, the grammar, even the sentence structure, looking for oddities or inconsistencies. Nothing jumps out.

    He doesn’t need this. Not now.

    But then maybe he does. Maybe it’s just what he needs. Something to take his mind off of Lisa, not unlike the migraine that makes you forget the sprained ankle, at least for a while.

    He looks up from the sheet of paper in his hand and glances at the poster that hangs in front of him. It’s filled with quotations on writing, and although it’s the kind of thing a college kid would hang in a dorm room, he’s always liked having it near. And he didn’t have much else to stick on the wall two years ago when he was awarded his own office, a privilege he didn’t especially want and still hasn’t adjusted to. He loves the column, both for its intellectual challenge and for the feeling that he may be helping people, albeit in small ways, to make the world a better place.

    He turns back to the email. He needs another opinion and knows it should come from his boss, but he doesn’t want to lose control. Brenda would be cautious and call in the executive editor or a lawyer, maybe both, and that would mean days of delay. He’s not going to use the email in his column, so whatever he does shouldn’t come back to hurt the newspaper. He wants to help if he can, and he doesn’t want anyone to get in his way. He’s too old for bureaucratic games.

    But he does want another opinion.

    He gets up, grabs the printout, and walks down the hall to the newsroom. It’s eerily quiet, nothing like the newsrooms he grew up in. Gone is the chaos of constant motion and loud conversations carried on from opposite ends of the room. Gone too are the ugly metal desks shoved together so close you can smell the whisky on your neighbor’s breath, hear him belch or argue with an official or a source on the phone. Some had hated it, but Sam thrived on the synergy it produced, the bonds it created, the shared excitement of doing something he believed—still believes—is important.

    Now, in its place he sees what the younger reporters view as high-tech paradise, with desks crowded with laptops and other electronic devices. The reporters and editors are stuck in a maze of mini-cubicles with three-foot high, sound-absorbing barriers to create a sense of privacy. They need to stand up to see another person.

    He’s acutely aware of how much journalism has changed in the thirty years he’s been practicing it. Not that it was ever pure and not that all its practitioners had less than selfish motives. But many did. Now it’s nothing more than a business, a fight for internet clicks or a spot appearance on TV, just when facts and truth matter the most because they’re in such short supply. It’s one of the reasons he was ready to give up reporting and editing to take on the ethics column, but that’s not to say he doesn’t miss the thrill of unraveling an important story.

    He walks the maze, heading to Molly’s corner. “Hey,” he says as he comes up behind her.

    Her right hand rises in a silencing gesture, and he realizes she’s on the phone. One of those ear things hidden by her hair. How was he supposed to know?

    While he waits, he glances up at the silent TV monitors on the wall and tries to guess why the weatherman is moving his arms around in a circle. After a minute or so, Molly ends the call and turns to him.

    “What?” she asks, not unfriendly but not friendly either. Busy is the vibe he gets.

    Sam was once Molly’s editor and mentor as she learned her way around Congress, which was Sam’s beat for twelve years. She still comes to him for advice, though not often, and he will seek her out when his ethics column needs the perspective of someone younger, or a woman.

    He hands her the printout without speaking and watches her read it, biting down on her lower lip, a habit he’s grown used to. He averts his eyes when she looks up and catches him staring at her. He glances around her cubicle while she finishes, then turns back to her, focusing now on her hands, which grip the printout on either side, as if she’s worried he’ll have second thoughts and try to take it back. He’s never noticed how graceful her hands look, with long supple fingers, as though she was born to play the piano. Or type. The thought makes him smile.

    Molly hands back the email and frowns. “So what’s the question?” she asks.

    “Do you think it’s for real?”

    She purses her lips and turns her head slightly. Her blue eyes, accented with eye shadow she doesn’t need, seem to settle on a photograph of her and Kyle, her fiancé. They are wearing hiking gear and standing atop a boulder, Molly’s bleached-blond hair blowing lightly in the wind. Their wedding is set for Memorial Day weekend, less than three months away.

    “Look, Sam,” she says finally, picking up her water bottle and taking a swallow, making him wait for what’s coming. “Every woman has some rat-bastard in her past she’d love to blow to kingdom come, but they never actually do it.”

    “Some do.”

    “Not many. And probably only on the spur of the moment. More passion than planning, and never with advance notice.”

    “This is different. He didn’t dump her. He’s stalking her and she’s scared. She doesn’t see any other way out.”

    Molly tilts her head slightly and he’s not sure what that means. She reaches for the moisturizer she keeps on her desk. He watches her squirt some in her palm and then rub it carefully on the backs of her hands. He feels himself getting annoyed. Since Lisa asked him to move out, he has less patience for everything and everyone. He reminds himself of that and takes a deep breath.

    “I can’t ignore it,” he says.

    “But what can you do? It’s vague and anonymous. You can’t use it in the column. Are you thinking of turning it over to the police?”

    “No. I have to answer her. Reach out in some way.”

    “Tell me why. You always told me not to get involved in the stories I cover.”

    “I can’t just let it go.”

    “What if you find out she’s serious? Or suicidal?” she asks. “Then you’ll have no choice but to go to the authorities.”

    The question annoys him. “Of course. But I don’t have enough to work with now.”

    “I don’t disagree, and if it’s not a hoax, I feel sorry for her. But all you can do is tell her to go to the police.”

    “She says she can’t,” he says. “I want to find out why. This is a cry for help.”

    Molly shrugs, making it clear she doesn’t agree. “If I came to you with this, you’d say reporters shouldn’t get involved. I’d get your lecture on how our job is to shine a light on problems while staying above the fray, not try to make everything okay.”

    He doesn’t know what to say. He can’t argue with the journalistic principle she’s quoting, but it doesn’t apply here because he’s not a reporter planning to write a story about the email. “I have to follow it up,” he tells her. “I just do.”

    “Why’d you ask my advice if you already had your mind made up?”

    He walks away without answering. On the one hand, he sees her point, but he’s disappointed she isn’t more concerned, more helpful. It surprises him that Molly isn’t able to put herself in other people’s shoes more often. Seeing the other side of an issue—any issue—is an important skill for a reporter. Call it empathy.

    But maybe he’s just annoyed because she doesn’t agree with him.

    Back in his office, he forwards the email to the IT department. He deletes the content, but they can analyze the IP address or whatever they look at to try to determine where it came from. He doesn’t have much hope, but it’s worth a try. Then he turns back to the email and rereads it.

    ***

    Dear Mr. Ethics:

    Is murder ever ethical? I hope so because I don’t have a choice. An ex-lover is destroying me. I broke up with him and now he’s ruining my life. He got into my laptop, stole all my data and used it to stalk, embarrass, and almost bankrupt me. Now he’s moved on to even worse stuff. He’s killing my hope for any kind of normal life, so killing him is a form of self-defense. Justifiable homicide, right?

    I can’t go to the police for reasons I can’t explain here. And I can’t give you any more details because I can’t risk you figuring out my name.

    So can I murder him? And no, I’m not kidding.

    Sincerely,

    Truly Desperate

    ***

    Sam jots down several notes. The tone strikes him as strangely calm and rational. She’s making a logical argument, not what you’d expect from someone stressed and frantic. Or crazy. Is it a hoax? Maybe a college kid bored with her ethics class and looking for term paper ideas. Or an author concocting a crazy plot for a thriller. Or maybe someone pissed off at Mr. Ethics and hoping to draw him into a discussion that will embarrass him if made public.

    But maybe not.

    It doesn’t matter. He has to answer her. Keep her talking, try to get more clues so he can stop her on the off chance she really is planning a murder.

    He turns to his keyboard and after several false starts comes up with his reply.

    ***

    Dear Truly Desperate,

    I’m going to assume this is a not a prank because I have no way of knowing, and I want to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    From the little you’ve told me, I can assure you that what you propose is not ethical. Justifiable homicide applies only when your life is in imminent danger, and you haven’t convinced me that this is the case. I don’t think you’ve convinced yourself or you wouldn’t be asking me.

    You need to go to the police. If you can’t do it yourself, is there someone who can do it for you? If necessary, I might be willing to do that, depending on the details. And with the newspaper behind me, the police will feel obliged to take it seriously.

    If you don’t want my help, I suggest you talk to a mental health professional or a social worker or someone experienced in cases involving domestic partner abuse (which this obviously is).

    If you’d like to talk about this more (and I will treat any conversations we have confidentially), you may call me at any time (cellphone number below).

    Above all, don’t do anything rash.

    Regards,

    Sam Turner (a.k.a. Mr. Ethics)

    ***

    He sits back and reads the note again. He considers his offer to go to the police on her behalf, mindful of Molly’s warning not to get involved. He wants to help her, but that’s going too far. He eliminates that sentence.

    He also cuts the promise of confidentiality. If she asks for it, he’ll agree, but there’s no need to offer it upfront. And it might tie his hands unnecessarily.

    He reads his response one last time and hits the send button.

    * * *

    ***

    Excerpt from The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen. Copyright 2021 by Mark Willen. Reproduced with permission from Mark Willen. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Author Bio:

    Mark Willen

    Mark Willen was born, raised, and educated in New England, where he developed a special appreciation for the values, humor, and strength of its people, as well as the sense of community that characterizes so many of its small towns. After college, he moved to the Washington, DC area, where he quickly learned how the other half lives.

    As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, blogger, producer, and editor at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. Though based primarily in Washington, he has reported from datelines as varied as New York, Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, Buenos Aires, and Johannesburg. Having retired from journalism in 2010, Mark now divides his time between writing fiction and volunteer work. As a former graduate-level teacher of journalism ethics, he also tries to help people figure out the right thing to do in difficult situations through his blog, TalkingEthics.com Mark has a Masters of Arts in writing from Johns Hopkins University (2010) and a Bachelor of Arts in government from Dartmouth College.

    The Question Is Murder is Mark’s debut mystery, but there is always an element of suspense in his novels. His earlier Jonas Hawke series, three books set in a small but troublesome town in Vermont, were also published by Pen-L. His short stories have appeared in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review.

    Mark lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet.

    Catch Up With Our Author:
    MarkWillen.com
    Goodreads
    BookBub – @MarkWillen
    Instagram – @markwillen7
    Twitter – @MarkWillen
    Facebook – @MarkWillenAuthor

     

     

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and giveaway entries!

     

     

    Join In:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Mark Willen. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs July 5 through July 18, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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    Review | The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

    The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
    Genre: Psychological Fiction, Sister’s Fiction
    Published by St. Martin’s Press
    Publication Date: April 13, 2021
    ASIN: ‎ B08BYCWK6T
    Pages: 313
    Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
    Edition: Kindle
    My Rating: 4

    Synopsis (via GR)

    From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.

    Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.

    My Thoughts

    Twin sisters Rose and Fern have been inseparable since birth. Due to Fern’s disabilities and traumatic home life, Rose has always looked after Fern and became her caretaker. However, Fern doesn’t remember her home life as Rose did but maybe that is because Rose has always protected her. So who had the best recollection?

    This was such a captivating read. Fluid throughout, which is why I just had to keep turning the pages. Even though, I figured it out, I still needed to find out more details and how it all ended.

    I enthusiastically recommend this book especially if you enjoy psychological thrillers and family dynamics.

    Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

    REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
  •  

    June Monthly Wrap Up

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    June Books Read

    WooHoo! Finally, I read more books in one month than I have in a long time. I wish it was more but I will take it!!! It could be that the summer is my favorite time of the year to read. Either I’m on the deck or on my float reading in the pool. I’m hoping my reading mojo is slowly coming back!

    My review for Dream Girl by Laura Lippman was posted on June 25th, which can be seen HERE.
    My review for Her Ocean Grave by Dana Perry was posted on June 15th, which can be seen HERE.

    My review for Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi will be posted on September 9th.

    My review for Just Married by Kiersten Modglin will be posted on July 9th.

    My review for The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth will be posted once I write it.

    MONTHLY BOOKLY GRAPHIC: