Review: Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

Title: Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

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.

Review:

Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin is a gritty, suspense-laden mystery.

In the ten years since her pedophile kidnapper inexplicably freed her, Laine Moreno has never fully recovered from her three year ordeal. Now twenty-three, she holds down two jobs to support herself and she relies on alcohol and drugs to keep her dark memories at bay. Laine comes face to face with her past when ten year old Olivia Shaw goes missing and Detective Sean Ortiz suspects there is a connection between Laine’s still unsolved case and Olivia’s kidnapping. Laine wants nothing more than to help find the young girl, but will she help or hinder the investigation?

Laine’s ordeal at the hands of abductor was horrendous but little was done to find her captor after her release. The daughter of a junkie, Laine was quickly forgotten as she became a ward of the state and soon turned to unhealthy methods of coping with what happened to her. Now on probation and still undergoing counseling, Laine is her own worst enemy as she numbs her pain with a plethora of prescription drug addictions and alcohol. She wants to help rescue Olivia, but Laine is impulsive and unable to cope with the traumatic memories from her time in captivity.

Since Olivia is from a wealthy family, her disappearance is a high profile case with intense media scrutiny. There is also a great deal of pressure on the police to locate the missing girl and Sean’s reason for reaching out to Laine is two-fold: rule her out as a suspect and check to see if she has recalled any new details about her own case.  Laine implicitly trusts Sean due to their history but is her faith in him misplaced? Laine soon discovers she can rely on no one but herself as she continues trying to find Olivia on her own while she becomes progressively more paranoid as her downward spiral continues.

With plenty of unexpected twists and turns and an increasingly unreliable narrator, Girl Last Seen is a somewhat dark mystery that delves into some difficult subject matter. Although Laine is initially a sympathetic protagonist, it is easy to become frustrated with her erratic behavior and poor choices.  Sean is not exactly impartial when it comes to Laine and he, too, makes some very ill-advised decisions. Nina Laurin brings the investigation to an adrenaline-fueled (but slightly improbably) conclusion and the novel ends on a surprisingly upbeat note.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Girl Last Seen, Grand Central Publishing, Mystery, Nina Laurin, Rated B, Review, Suspense

Spotlight: The Secrets of Married Women by Carol Mason

Title: The Secrets of Married Women by Carol Mason
Available June 22, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 229 pages

Summary:

When Jill’s husband discovers he can never have children, it tears a hole in their marriage that Jill doesn’t know how to repair. Frustrated, she seeks comfort in her friends: fierce Leigh, with her high-powered career and doting family, and sweet, uncomplicated Wendy, who has a rock-solid marriage any woman would envy.

Leigh and Wendy’s lives seem perfect. But beneath the surface are secrets that could tear their friendship apart.

Leigh has grown tired of her stay-at-home husband and is looking for excitement—outside of the marriage bed. And after seventeen years of marriage, Wendy can’t shake the sense that there is something missing in her life.

As Jill is drawn deeper into her friends’ relationships, she is confronted by a temptation of her own: an intriguing stranger whose good looks and charm spark an instant connection.

Full of the realities of modern-day marriage, The Secrets of Married Women asks the question: how well can we ever know our husbands, our friends, or even ourselves?

Revised edition: This edition of Secrets Of Married Women includes editorial revisions.

Add to Goodreads.

Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

1 Comment

Filed under Spotlight

Review: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Title: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
Wildstone Series Book One
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins.

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

Review:

The first installment in Jill Shalvis’s new Wildstone series, Lost and Found Sisters is a spectacular story that is part women’s fiction, part romance and 100% heartwarming.

Quinn Weller has a fabulous relationship with her parents and a wonderful job she loves as a sous chef.  However, in the two years since her beloved sister Beth’s death, she has been emotionally shut down as she tries to navigate through life without her best friend by her side.  She has not been interested in anyone romantically since she stopped dating her longtime friend Brock Holbrook.  Quinn’s world is turned upside down a second time when lawyer Cliff Porter gives her stunning news that leaves her questioning everything about her life. Quinn makes a snap decision to go to Wildstone, CA in an effort to sort through her confusion.

Mick Hennessey worked hard to leave Wildstone and his controlling father behind once he graduated from high school.  With a successful career and life in San Francisco, he has only returned to his small hometown sporadically over the years. However, after his father’s unexpected death, Mick finds himself traveling back and forth between Wildstone and San Francisco as tries to help his mom deal with her loss.  He is not looking for another complication in his life when he meets Quinn, but there is an incredible amount of chemistry between them that is impossible to resist.

The surprises keep coming once Quinn visits Wildstone but she is extremely conflicted about what to do with the unexpected changes that are occurring in her life. She is understandably upset about a shocking revelation and she is extremely hurt by a lie of omission. Quinn is charmed by Wildstone but she is quite happy with her life in LA. However, she is torn by a decision she needs to make that will have far reaching implications for many other people. Her unanticpated feelings for Mick add to her confusion, but can Quinn bring herself to give up the man who is responsible for bringing her long dormant emotions (and libido) back to life?

Mick also finds himself standing at an unexpected crossroad.  He is extremely satisfied with his life in San Francisco but he is also quite dismayed to discover his hometown is slowly dying.  As he sorts through the detritus of his dad’s life, Mick is surprised by his new perspective on his childhood and a new understanding of his father.  Despite the fact he was not looking for love, Mick is comfortable with his new relationship with Quinn and he is willing to give her the time and space she needs to figure out her life. However, his patience has limits and their future together is far from certain.

Lost and Found Sisters is a breathtaking journey of healing, new beginnings and love. Jill Shalvis brings the town and its inhabitants vibrantly to life. The characters are incredibly appealing as they navigate their way through the unexpected twists and turns.  I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this charming first installment in the Wildwood series to fans of the genre.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Jill Shalvis, Lost and Found Sisters, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Wildstone Series, William Morrow Paperbacks, Women's Fiction

Review: Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

Title: Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham
Tom Thorne Series Book Fourteen
Publisher: Atlantic Press Monthly
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Internationally bestselling author Mark Billingham’s riveting new novel Love Like Blood marks the return of series character Tom Thorne, “the next superstar detective” (Lee Child), as he pairs up with perfectionist detective inspector Nicola Tanner of Die of Shame on an investigation that ventures into politically sensitive territory.

DI Nicola Tanner needs Tom Thorne’s help. Her partner, Susan, has been brutally murdered and Tanner is convinced that it was a case of mistaken identity—that she was the real target. The murderer’s motive might have something to do with Tanner’s recent work on a string of cold-case honor killings she believes to be related. Tanner is now on compassionate leave but insists on pursuing the case off the books and knows Thorne is just the man to jump into the fire with her. He agrees but quickly finds that working in such controversial territory is dangerous in more ways than one. And when a young couple goes missing, they have a chance to investigate a case that is anything but cold. Racing towards a twist-filled ending, Love Like Blood is another feat of masterful plotting from one of Britain’s top crime novelists.

Review:

In Love Like Blood, DI Nicola Marsh turns to Tom Thorne for help following the murder of her girlfriend Susan Best.  The investigation focuses on honour killings in this fourteenth installment of Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne series.

Having ruffled quite a few feathers while working for the Honour Crimes Unit, Nicola is certain she, not Susan, was killer’s intended target.  Currently on compassionate leave following Susan’s death, she enlists Tom’s help in an off the books investigation that might be linked to the four year old unsolved murder of Meena Athwal. Nicola’s theory that parents in the Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities are hiring hitmen to kill their daughters whose behavior brings shame to their families is plausible but it has made her some powerful enemies. Eager to solve his cold case, Thorne agrees to investigate Susan’s death but will they uncover the truth before it is too late?

Tom is never afraid to step on toes, but he is uncharacteristically diplomatic as he tries to convince his boss DCI Brigstocke to let him investigate the current case of a missing young couple, Amaya Shah and Kamal Azim.  He is also surprisingly honest about the fact that he is looking into Susan’s murder but he is careful to downplay Nicola’s involvement in the investigation. Now he has Brigstocke’s blessing to look into the disappearance of Shah and Azim, Tom is deeply troubled after his interviews with the victims’ families. Fortunately CCTV footage gives Thorne and Marsh a strong lead that supports the hitman theory.  When Amaya’s body is discovered, Tom is frustrated when his boss insists he concentrate on locating her boyfriend Kamal after strong evidence leads everyone to believe he is most likely her killer.

The various investigations unfold at a rather slow pace but Tom and Nicola have many intriguing leads to pursue. Nicola has uncovered a possible link to three leaders in the Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities who are working together to combat the hate crimes directed toward them. Arman Bannerjee is the most charismatic of the three leaders and at the urging of his son, Ravi, he previously lodged a complaint against Nicola. Needless to say, Bannerjee is less than enthused to see her and Thorne at their meetings. Tom and Nicola cannot help but wonder if Arman’s animosity is an indication he is involved in the honour killings.  When an attempt is made on Nicola’s life, Tom is certain they are the right track, but will he locate the suspected hitmen before they strike again?

Love Like Blood is a leisurely paced mystery with an refreshingly unique storyline.  Nicola and Tom are a formidable team as they tenaciously pursue numerous leads in the investigation into the honour killings and Susan’s murder.  Mark Billingham brings the novel to a jaw-dropping conclusion with a shocking plot twist that is impossible to predict.  This latest release is another brilliant addition to the Tom Thorne series that old and new fans are going to love.

1 Comment

Filed under Atlantic Monthly Press, Contemporary, Love Like Blood, Mark Billingham, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, Tom Thorne Series

The Week Ahead June 19-24

Here’s a look at what’s happening this week at Book Reviews & More by Kathy:

This week’s book reviews:

June 19: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis (New Release)
June 19: Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham (New Release)
June 20: The Light in Summer by Mary McNear (New Release)
June 20: Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin (New Release)
June 22: The Child by Fiona Barton (Upcoming Release June 27)

Blog Tours:

June 19: Carol Mason
June 20: Deanna Sletten
June 21: L.A. Witt
June 22: Kadie Scott

Winning Wednesday (June 21) eBooks up for grabs:

Please Note: I am currently on vacation so the winner will not be selected until later in the evening. Thank you for your understanding.

Talk British to Me by Robin Bielman
Hidden Hearts by Olivia Dade
Love Wanted by John Inman

Click here for more info on entering the eBook contests.

This week’s Friday Feature: Harlequin Author Summer Hobbies.

This week’s Saturday Series Spotlight is Liora Blake’s Grand Valley and contest for one of the books in the series (winner’s choice).

Have a great week!!

***All the eBooks in this week’s Winning Wednesday & Saturday Series Spotlight giveaways have been purchased by Book Reviews & More by Kathy.***

2 Comments

Filed under The Week Ahead

Saturday Series Spotlight & Giveaway: Jaime Samms’ Off Stage

Title: Right by Jaime Samms
Off Stage Set One
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance, BDSM
Length: 350 pages

Summary:

Off Stage: Set One

Damian Learner and his grunge band, Firefly, are on a meteoric rise to success. If they get the right break, fame awaits. Seeking more professional management, Damian independently strikes a bargain with the best agent in the business, Stanley Krane. Unable to afford the penalty for breaking old contracts, Damian agrees when Stan’s best friend, country and Western megastar Vance Ashcroft, offers to buy him out of his old contract.

Overwhelmed by a crippling loan, secretive guilt, Stanley’s expectations, and a volatile relationship with Lenny, Firefly’s lead guitarist, Damian disintegrates. Bad habits of too much sex, booze, and drugs create a rift in the band. Finally Vance, with his understanding of Dominant/submissive behavior, sees that submissives Damian and Lenny are falling into chaos, clinging to each other to try to avoid the inevitable crash.

When the pressure to perform becomes too much and the unthinkable happens, Damian and Lenny have to decide: accept that they need something they can’t get from each other, or burn out and take Firefly with them. Vance is ready to claim Lenny, but even Stan’s hesitant agreement to give Damian the direction he needs might not be enough for Damian—or the band—if he loses Lenny.


Title: In the Wings by Jaime Samms
Off Stage Set Two
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance, BDSM
Length: 326 pages

Summary:

Off Stage: Set Two

Lenny Stevens was the lead guitarist of the up-and-coming grunge band Firefly until he crossed the line with the band’s lead singer. Now he’s faced with the impossible task of rebuilding his life without the music that had kept him together. Struggling with his fear and rage, he creates the same damaging patterns in his relationship with his lover, Vance Ashcroft.

Vance knows that Lenny is the submissive meant for him. He is convinced he can save Lenny from his demons and puts faith in his ability. But when Len’s temper leads to him physically hurting Vance and destroying property, both men realize Len’s issues are too big for them to work through alone.

Seeking the help of the people who know Len best, Vance invites his former bandmates to the ranch for Len’s belated birthday party. Together, they try to create a safe haven for Len to come apart and, hopefully, rearrange himself into a man who can live with his past and create a future worth having.


Title: Beyond the Footlights by Jaime Samms
Off Stage Set Three
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance, BDSM
Length: 300 pages/Word Count: 105,727

Summary:

Off Stage: Set Three

Kilmer and Jacko’s relationship has been foundering for a long time. With the end in sight and despairing that he might never find a Dom who suits him, Kilmer heads to a local bar to drown his sorrows—and meets country singer Tanner.

Tanner feels oddly protective of the broken man and eventually convinces Kilmer to hire him to help remodel the small, sad house Kilmer once shared with Jacko. As Tanner and Kilmer get to know each other, Kilmer regains his lost independence and Tanner’s dominant streak rises to the surface. But will it be a help or a hindrance to the trust they’re trying to build?

The answer might lie in the music Kilmer gave up not long after he met Jacko. Music always granted him solace, clarity, and an outlet for his emotions, and with Tanner’s encouragement, he picks up where he left off. Playing together eases them into honest communication, and though a happily ever after will still take patience and work, taking a chance on each other sounds sweeter with every note.


Giveaway

I am giving away one eBook from the Off Stage series-WINNER’S CHOICE. Here’s how to enter the Saturday Series Spotlight contest:

You must Do TWO of the Following:

1. Sign up for e-mail updates (upper left corner). One email daily with the day’s posts.

OR:

2. Be or become a fan of Book Reviews & More by Kathy Facebook page

OR:

3. Follow me on Twitter (@BookReviewsMore)

Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:

4. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.

And don’t forget to:

5. Fill out the form below by 5 PM Mountain Time Monday afternoon.

Please Note: I am currently on vacation so the winner will not be selected until later in the evening. Thank you for your understanding.

CONTEST OVER

*I am the only person who will have access to info that is submitted to me UNLESS a publisher or author has donated an eBook for the giveaway. For a prize donated by an author or publisher, I will forward your e-mail and format selection to the person responsible for distributing the eBook. In the event the contest form is not working, please leave your book selection in the comments below.*

It’s that easy! The winner will be selected using random.org. I will e-mail one lucky winner the eBook of their choice in their preferred format. The winner will be posted HERE on Tuesday.

***The eBooks in this giveaway have been purchased by Book Reviews & More by Kathy.***

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

1 Comment

Filed under Contest, Saturday Series Spotlight