Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Orphan Collector, a review by Di

The Orphan Collector
Ellen Marie Wiseman

Historical Fiction
413 pages
Published July 28, 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corp

Such a timely book, it's hard to believe that it was written well over a year ago. The first chapter felt like I was transported from 2020 and Covid 19 back to 1918 and Spanish Influenza. That chapter, that set the stage, had so many similarities to what is happening today it was eerie.

The main character is Pia Lange, a 13 year old girl, daughter of German immigrants. Her father was off to war and her mother succumbed to the flu. She was left with her twin brothers who were infants. I'm not going to summarize any more of the plot, that has already been done by the publishers and many other reviews.

Hats off to the author for all the research that was necessary to make this book what it is. 

The strength of character that Pia exhibited was amazing. She endured more at her young age than many of us do in a lifetime. Yet, through all her hardships she did not give up hope. Pia carried a lot of guilt but still kept looking forward, she did not give up. I cheered for her from beginning to end. And I booed the wicked character that Pia was up against. 

Some of it was hard to read, it broke my heart. This book was both plot driven and very much character driven. I have been a fan of Ellen Marie Wiseman's since I read her first book. I truly think that her writing and her stories improve with each book. I cannot wait to see what comes next!

Call Me Princess, a review by Sara


Call Me Princess
Sara Blaedel

303 Pages
Published on August 15th 2011 by Pegasus Crime

This is apparently book #2 in a series dedicated to Detective Louise Rick, however, it was the first to be translated and published in the USA. Sara Blaedel is not just another author, she has my name as well as my love for “Who Done It” mysteries. I have read a couple of her books and I can say that this is one that I have enjoyed most. I feel it was written a bit before its time as, back in 2011, there was not as much of a cult following for true crime as there is today (shout out to Ash and Brit and all my other Crime Junkies). 

So as not to give away too many details, this will be a short review. 

Basic Summary: Homicide detective Louise Rick chases a disturbing serial rapist in this in-your-face thriller, showing the reader that an online flirtation can have horrific consequences. A suburban woman, bound and gagged after a gruesome assault, has Detective Rick chasing a faceless perpetrator. Hiding behind many masks and smoke screens, the assailant has otherwise been able to stay one step ahead of his pursuers. The internet is his playground, and he will certainly strike again if Louise can not find his true identity before it's too late.

While the story itself is a little slow-moving to begin with, it wasn’t too long before it was difficult to put down. I found it a bit hard to connect with the character of Louise Rick, however the author does a great job portraying her as the no nonsense, by the book detective, that the story needs. A true workaholic battling the pressures of the job and struggling to maintain work/life balance  The shining star for me was the attention to detail and the overall description of police procedure and protocols. As a bit of a cautionary tale for online dating, I believe this sort of thing rarely happens. But that’s the thing, isn’t it?Rarely isn’t never... And one in a million, means there is still a chance. 

Horrid, a Review by Cat


Katrina Leno

Horror, Young Adult
336 Pages
Published September 15th, 2020 by Little Brown Books

Add to Goodreads.

It's that time of the year where you can't peek inside a bookshop without seeing dozens of horror and spooky novels covering the displays. One of the novels most talked about this season is Horrid. Personally, this book came across my plate thanks to its inclusion in September's OwlCrate box.

Jane North-Robinson had a happy life in the sunny state of California. That is, right up until her father died, and both she and her mother were forced to move to New England (in fall, at that) with little notice.

From there, Jane's life quickly becomes a foreboding mystery, as the secret the entire town knows is about her family, and Jane seems to be the only one left in the dark. No matter where she looks, it always comes back to the roses.

Horrid is certainly one of the creepier novels I've read this year, and with good reason! Jane's adventure is dark and twisted, and while some parts of the conclusion were predictable – plenty of other elements remained a surprise.

For me, this novel really excelled in the aesthetic. It was just as much about setting up just how cold her new home was, how creepy and in disrepair it truly is. The secrets established, and the scents alluded to. All of this worked together to make for a captivating yet surprisingly quick read.

Blog Tour: Resurrection by Wendy Million


Wendy Million

269 pages
Published August 3rd 2020 by Champagne Book Group

Review Tour October 27th to 29th 

Finn Donaghey is on the run. Rescued by Carys Van de Berg, his old flame, Finn is searching for a way to start over after losing everything in a bloody shootout. The one person he knows he can't be around? Carys. He's too rough, too dangerous, too lethal.

Carys saved Finn on instinct, unable to consider a world without him in it. Now, she must decide what to do with him. His quick temper almost got her killed once, and she has no desire to repeat that mistake.

While Carys has been helping Finn, someone has been helping themselves to Carys’s business. When the danger lands on her doorstep, Finn won’t rest until she’s safe again. As their feelings from the past and present mingle and danger lurks around every corner, their fiery chemistry threatens to consume them both.

Resurrection is the second book in the Donaghey Brothers Series. Carys and Finn's story concludes in the final book, Redemption

First off let me just say I really enjoyed this book! The romance between the main characters was hot, hot , HOT. I could physically feel the sexual tension between them from the first chapter. In the beginning I really didn't care for Carys or Finn much as they are both deeply flawed characters. As I continued to read my opinion slowly started to change. This book also kept me guessing, every time I closed the book I had multiple questions I couldn't wait to find the answers to. I loved that the twist and turns just kept coming. The writing was also superb! The dialogue felt very real. 

The only reason I gave this book a 3 star review is because I don't feel like the story and character will really stick with me. Maybe if I read the first book in the series I would have more back story and therefore care more about the characters. This was an quick and fun read and I definitely am interested in reading more from Wendy Million. 



Wendy Million writes primarily contemporary romance and YA novels. The first and second books in her romantic suspense series The Donaghey Brothers are now available.

Her YA Fantasy series was shortlisted for the 2017 Watty Awards. She was also shortlisted for the CBC GEM x Wattpad TV pitch collaboration. Her story When Stars Fall is in the Wattpad Paid Stories program. Wendy became a Wattpad Star in 2019.

A high school teacher for the last sixteen years, Wendy resides in Ontario, Canada with her two children, two dogs, and one husband (for which he is grateful). She loves to hear from her readers.

Get Social with Wendy: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

American Royals, a review by Melanie

American Royals
Katharine McGee

YA fiction
446 pages

Published September 3, 2019, by Random House Books for Young Readers

What if America had a royal family? What if instead President, George Washington became King? In American Royals, Katharine McGee presents an alternative take on American history and imagines the royal family as Princess Beatrice is set to become the first queen of America in her own right. Told from 4 different perspectives of young ladies in and around the royal family:

Beatrice, Princess of America, firstborn daughter of the King, will become queen in her own right, after a change in the laws of succession which allow the firstborn of either sex to inherit the throne. Born into this role, she puts her duty to America before anything else, including her heart.

Samantha, Princess of America, second born daughter of the King, is not the heir, only the spare. Twin sister to Prince Jefferson and also known as the “Party Princess,” Samantha lives up to her nickname, while living in the shadow of her sister, the future queen. What happens when her heart contradicts her sister’s duty?

Nina Gonzalez, daughter of a palace staff member and Princess Samantha’s best friend since childhood. Having grown up with Samantha, not quite in the royal spotlight, Nina is careful to keep her friendship with Samantha separate from the rest of her circle. When Samantha’s twin brother Prince Jefferson turns his attention toward her, she must decide just how much Samantha needs to know.

Daphne Deighton, social climber and ex-girlfriend of Prince Jefferson, was born to be royalty. The only thing missing is a royal husband. She has set her sights on marrying the Prince, but he is looking in a different direction now. Undeterred, Daphne continues to relentlessly pursue him, but a dark secret threatens her self-proclaimed status as the future Mrs. Prince Jefferson.

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers and shelved most often as YA fiction, I found it to be an easy and fun read, without being juvenile. Appropriate for teens, there is some mild sexual content but it is generally fade to black before things go too far. Underage drinking is common, and in this alternate America, it is presented as “acceptable” in social situations among the royals. Full of heartache and heartbreak, American Royals asks where you draw the line between service and self, when the future of America is resting on your shoulders.  

4.5 crowns! I breezed through this one and can't wait to dive into book 2, Majesty, published September 1, 2020.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Betrayal In Death, a review by Tanya



Betrayal In Death
JD Robb / Nora Roberts

Futuristic Suspense
355 pages
Published March 1st, 2001 by Berkley Books

Why has the In Death series not been turned into a Movie yet? A TV series? #Netflix? I’m shocked! 

This futuristic police detective series is the best!  Eve Dallas is such a great character.  A female, kick-butt homicide detective who marries an uber-wealthy bad boy turned good, is surrounded by a cast of charming, funny characters and interesting murder mysteries.  Even more interesting is her dark, disturbing childhood memories which slowly begin to resurface, a little more with every book. It’s clear that her drive to solve cases stems more from her need to serve justice for her victims than to add another closed case to her stats.

Eve Dallas is an amazing and complex character. Book 12, Betrayal In Death, is just as good as it’s predecessors.  Time for me to pick up Book 13.  If you haven’t read an Eve Dallas story yet, with over 50 books in the In Death series, you have a lot of catching up to do!

- Tanya

Teaser Tuesday // In Praise of Difficult Women

Its Tuesday! Time for... 

First chapter, first paragraph intros, now hosted by Yvonne at Socrates' Booknreviews, where bloggers share excerpts from a book they have read, are currently reading, or are planning to read.

My current read is In Praise of Difficult Women, Life Lessons from 29 heroine's who dared to break the rules by Karen Karbo. 


The book you hold in your hands is about woman who insisted on being difficult. A difficult woman, as I define her, is a person who believers her needs, passions, and goals are at least as important as those of everyone around her. In many cases, she doesn't even believe they're more important - many woman in this book were devoted, loving wives and mothers - but simply as important. A difficult woman is also a woman who doesn't believe the expectations of the culture in which she lives are more important than what she knows to be true of herself. She is a woman who accepts that sometimes the cost of being fully human is upsetting people. 


Ruth;s radicalism flies under the flag of 1950s-era good manners; it;s hard to believe a woman so genteel and soft-spoken is such a mighty litigator. Her mother-in-law once advised her that they key to a happy marriage was sometimes pretending to be a little deaf; Ruth has said the same applies to being a female Supreme Court justice. "When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best to tune it out,"she observed. "Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade."

This features 29 fearless females, some you may have heard of others you'll want to learn more about.

What do you think, would you keep reading? 

Blog Tour: What If? by Fran Lewis

What if?

by Fran Lewis

on Tour October 1-31, 2020

What if? by Fran Lewis


With the pandemic that never seems to be leaving us anytime soon I’ve created worlds that might make you pause for thought. Dark stories told by the characters as they experienced their journeys into worlds that you might not want to live in a hopefully be happy in the one you’re in.

Book Details:

Genre: Time Travel/ Sci Fi
Published by: Fidelli
Publication Date: July 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 78

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Our Review:

This short story compilation is for readers who love conversational Philosophy.  These 7 stories all pose scenarios that may be set in future timelines but they represent current, real-world events and issues.

In One Race: One World the reader is posed with a possible future where all people are the same ‘mixed-race’. Hatred and bigotry are eliminated.  But so is individualism and uniqueness.  Everyone talks and acts the same, which should lead to harmony. But does it?

Confined! could be a story about 2020!  Fern has confined herself to her home during a time of virus.  In times like this, what is the proper balance between confinement, loneliness, safety and assistance?

In Journey to Nowhere a stable, responsible father and husband loses his family because he has become too boring and stagnant. While he is mired in indecision about his future, he receives a new pair of glasses from his doctor.  Will they help him see more clearly what options he has for his future? Or will the glasses determine his future for him?

All of these 7 stories have a variety of ideas being offered to the reader. Depending on personal interest and your environment the focus or take-away of each story may vary.

What if? is a quick read and perfect for those readers that like to have new thoughts and ideas to ponder and contemplate on. 

Thank you to Fran Lewis and Partners In Crime Tours for providing What If? for review!


Read an excerpt:

One Race: One World: The Year 2050

It was now 2050 and the world had really changed. There were no more planes or trains. All you needed to do was think about being somewhere and you were there. The government, in order to save money on gas and fuel, had banned cars, buses, and any means of transportation, and implanted chips in everyone’s arms that helped transport them to wherever they wanted to go, including the past.

A huge explosion had occurred, and all that was left in the world were twenty countries, with only twelve hundred people in each country. Most people had not survived the explosion, which had caused most of the countries to just disappear into space forever. No one really knew if anyone was out there or if these people survived somewhere, and no one really cared enough to find out.

One man called The Ruler headed all the countries, and assigned one person as the Chief of Law and Enforcement in each country. Under this person, five people helped to enforce the rules and the laws.

Then, one miserable day, someone decided there were too many wars, too many hate crimes, too many people being killed on the streets, and too much traffic and congestion on the highways. The government hired several scientists to find a solution to the problem, and that was how everyone in the entire world wound up multicolored.

Because of all the wars and fighting and hate that took place in the past, the government created a way to eliminate the many different races in the world and opted for only one. Everyone looked the same. Our faces might have looked a little different, but our skin colors were the same—multicolored. They did this so that no one would insult, mock, or hurt anyone because of their skin color. They eliminated houses of worship so that everyone was nonsectarian, and no one would be discriminated against. However, what they could not eliminate were our thoughts and desires to make changes in our lives, even though they tried.

Everyone that lived here had a job that paid the same amount. No one, no matter what they did or what career they chose, was paid more than anyone else. We never had to worry about being laid off. Unless we decided to move somewhere else our job stayed the same, and there was no room for advancement—ever. Everyone did the same thing every day. Nothing changed. Life was supposed to be anger free, insult free, and most of all, calm and tranquil. HOW DULL AND BORING! (OH! I am not supposed to say that. Opinions are not allowed here.)

One morning I got up and got dressed to go to my boring job as an accountant with the only accounting firm in this city. I went over the books daily, entered my accounts in their daily ledgers, and did taxes for some of the companies in this city. It was grunt work, and nothing exciting ever happened at work or anywhere else.

Walking to work as usual, I began remembering how it was only twenty years ago when there were cars, trains, and people running and yelling for cabs and trains to wait for them at the station. I missed the newspaper people on the street and the vendors selling hot coffee and bagels from their pushcarts. Those were the days. I loved the way people had looked and the different races and nationalities that lived here. Learning from other people was what made life exciting.

Then the unexpected happened. A new family with two children moved in down the street from me. These two kids were not going to conform to our way of thinking, and decided it was time to shake things up—and they did. One morning when going to school they each wore something other than the school’s drab gray uniform. The girl wore a pink and green dress with flowers, and the boy wore something blue, and a shirt that said, “I hate being the same. Different Rules.”

This did not go over well, and they were taken into custody by the guards in their school and promptly suspended. This did not stop them. They started screaming and yelling all sorts of words we had not heard before. “One race is not what we are supposed to be. I hate this planet. I hate all of you.”

I could not believe my ears. This was grounds for banishment into the Devoid Zone. These two children had painted stars all over their faces. Their younger sister decided to paint her face one color. Who in today’s world had a face that was one color? Everyone here looked and dressed the same. It prevented jealousy, arguments, and fashion wars. How dare they go against the laws of this state?


Excerpt from What if? by Fran Lewis. Copyright 2020 by Fran Lewis. Reproduced with permission from Fran Lewis. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Fran Lewis

Fran Lewis is a reviewer, talk show host, mj network, reading and writing staff developer. She was the administrative assistant to the Principal and created original programs for students after school. She was the music director and created musical festivals along with other staff members. She’s a member of Marquis Who’s Who, Continental Who’s who and who’s who of America’s professionals and educators.

Catch Up With Fran Lewis On:
Website, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!



Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours



Blog Tour Showcase + Giveaway: On the Run

On the Run

by Traci Hunter Abramson

October 27, 2020 Book Blast


On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson

As one of the top investigative journalists in the nation, Elle Jameson has a knack for uncovering the truth. So when a promising lead points to corruption on a German military base, Elle anticipates a straightforward assignment. But then she stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy beyond anything she’s faced before, and her scrutiny does not go unnoticed. She knows too much, and she can’t be allowed to live. With no idea where to turn for help, she does the only thing she can: she runs.

The guardians, an elite team of undercover agents, have one job: safeguard those under their protection. As a new guardian, Nolan has just received his first solo assignment to help a young woman who just survived an assassination attempt. Within minutes of making contact with the beautiful journalist, however, their location is discovered. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse spanning the globe as the two work to stay ahead of a determined assassin. Nolan fights to buy Elle time to complete her investigation, and what she discovers is a plot that threatens the very fabric of America. In a desperate race against evil, Nolan and Elle are the only ones who can prevent global catastrophe.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Covenant Communications
Publication Date: October 12 2020
Number of Pages: 296
ISBN: 9781524412487
Series:Guardian #4
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Elle weaved her way through the Saturday crowd at the street market, listening to the various conversations flowing around her. Since arriving in Germany three weeks ago, she had looked forward to exploring the local scenery and visiting the cities near her new assignment. If only today she had time to enjoy the environment . . . and the shops.

A brisk wind whipped through Elle’s long, blonde hair. A few autumn leaves drifted onto the sidewalk. She tugged her overcoat tighter around her, then stuffed her hands in her pockets to protect them against the chill, not bothering to put her gloves on.

She passed various customers, picking up on snippets of their conversations.

Two women discussed what kind of fish to buy for dinner, and an older couple looked over a variety of apples at the fruit stand. At the neighboring booth, a handful of tourists chatted in English as they debated whether some glassware would make it safely home to Canada.

Elle wished she could worry about such trivialities, but she doubted that would happen anytime soon.

Something was wrong with the latest reports on the new drone project. She was sure of it.

When her uncle had sent her undercover as an army lieutenant, she had expected to find some evidence of misappropriation of funds or missing supplies, but uncovering a possible unauthorized access to highly sensitive material lifted her investigative senses to a new level. This wasn’t a story to be written. If her suspicions were right, this was espionage.

For three weeks now, she had set aside her true identity of investigative journalist and had acted under her alias of Lieutenant Elaina Martin to send her suspicions up the chain of command. Unfortunately, no one wanted to listen to a lowly lieutenant in a sea of colonels, especially when that lieutenant was a bean counter. She really needed to talk to her uncle about promoting her the next time he sent her undercover as an officer. Of course, no one would believe she was a colonel at twenty-seven, so she supposed her age was going to handicap her for a while longer.

Her assignment to Germany was supposed to be her opportunity to take a break from high-profile cases for a while, a chance to rest and recover from nearly six months of undercover work in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, her first day on the job, she had stumbled across an anomaly that, despite weeks of research, she still couldn’t explain.

When she tried to discuss the problem with her commanding officer, she had been told the program supervisor had everything under control. Colonel Doyle’s assurances didn’t change the facts. Someone without clearance had accessed the developmental software for the new unmanned aircraft prototype, a prototype that could fly undetected by radar. She didn’t need to be an aeronautical engineer to know that the software in the wrong hands could be deadly.

With no one in her unit taking her concerns seriously, she had reached out to the only person she’d known outside her unit whom she could trust with classified information: her sister Abby.

If Abby couldn’t figure out what was going on, Elle didn’t know who could.

The woman had a knack for seeing what other people missed. Elle should know.

Had it not been for Abby, the theft of weapons at Edwards Air Force Base would have put Elle before a court martial instead of the corporal who had tried to frame her.

The incident had opened Elle’s eyes to what she really wanted to do with her life. Abby had spent her years since college protecting their country by keeping secrets, and Elle wanted to protect their freedoms by revealing the secrets that, when kept, could create their own kind of danger, so she’d been working as an investigative journalist ever since.

Elle reached the designated cafΓ© and stepped inside. Most of the round tables were occupied, the seats positioned so the customers could look out the wide window and watch the world go by. Deeper inside the restaurant, Abby waited for her at a table in the far corner.

Elle weaved her way past several waiters until she reached her sister. When Abby stood, Elle gave her a hug. “Abby, thanks for meeting me.”

“You said it was important. From what you sent me, I think it is.”

Elle sat beside Abby, then reached into her oversized purse to retrieve a file folder. “I brought you documentation.”

Abby took the folder and opened it in front of her. “What am I looking at?”

“The download logs for the new drone software.”


Elle scooted her chair closer and pointed at the area of concern. “According to command, this software is still in the final testing stage. The only people who should be accessing the files are the programmers.”

She tapped on a list of the approved personnel. “Kamile Frost, Dennis Cleveland, and Lance Finney are all listed over here.”

“Then who is this?” Abby asked, pointing to the three access codes used during the night shift.

“That’s what I want to know. Whoever it is only downloads the updates after everyone else is gone for the day.”

“Talk about suspicious.”

“I thought so too.”

A waiter approached with a carafe of water, slices of lemon floating inside.

He filled both of their glasses. “Have you had time to look over the menu?”

Elle opened hers, quickly narrowing the options to what she could eat without triggering her allergies to citrus, tomatoes, and pork. After they both gave their orders and the waiter left, Elle pulled a water bottle from her purse and took a sip.

“I see you still come prepared.”

“Yeah. It’s such a pain that so many restaurants serve their water with lemon.”

Elle didn’t know how Abby had escaped all the food allergies in the family, while Elle appeared to have received a double dose.

Abby sipped her water and tapped her finger on the file folder. “I assume you brought your concerns to the attention of your CO.”

“Colonel Doyle didn’t seem the least bit interested in my concerns.”

“Did he have an explanation?”

“No. He just said the program manager would have said something if there were a problem. Apparently, everyone up the chain of command agrees with Colonel Doyle because no one seems concerned that a top-secret program might have been jeopardized,” Elle said.

“And no one told you who else is accessing it?”

“No. I thought with your resources, you could figure it out.”

“That’s easy enough. When I get back to the office, I’ll look up the access code and see who it belongs to.” Abby lifted her glass and took another long swallow. “I can’t guarantee I can tell you the name.”

“I realize you can’t share classified information, but you would at least be able to tell if this person is cleared on the project.”

“I can do that,” Abby said. “I’m not sure I’ll find anything beyond what the project supervisor would have noticed.”

“Maybe not, but after what happened at Edwards, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

“The theft of those weapons wasn’t your fault. Adams created such a good paper trail, no one could have been expected to know it wasn’t real.”

“The auditor did.”

“An auditor who has thirty years of experience and was specifically looking for potential thefts,” Abby countered. “Besides, if it was something you should have caught in your ordinary course of business, he wouldn’t have made a point of clearing you.”

“But I sensed something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.”

“Which is why we’re sitting here now.”

Elle shrugged. “I’m sorry if I seem paranoid.”

“Not paranoid. Cautious,” Abby corrected. “There’s a difference.”

“Whatever you call it, I appreciate your help.” Elle took another sip from her water bottle.

Abby cleared her throat. “How have you liked being stationed here in Germany?”

“It’s been good. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to practice speaking German much since so many people here speak English, but the language has come back faster than I’d expected.”

“I figured it would. You were speaking like a native when we lived here as kids.” Abby cleared her throat again and tugged at her scarf.

“So were you. I never realized how much we learned while Dad was stationed in Stuttgart.”

Abby opened her mouth to respond but, instead, coughed several times.

She reached for her water glass and took a swallow.

Elle leaned forward in her seat. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Sorry, I have this tickle in my throat,” Abby said, promptly coughing again. “Must be the change in the weather. I got a cold last fall too.”

“I’ve been wondering how anyone survives the winters here.”

“You’re about to find out . . .” Abby’s words trailed off into another fit of coughs, then her face turned red, a panicked expression dominating her features.

“Abby!” Elle pushed out of her chair and circled to pat her sister on the back.

Even though Abby hadn’t eaten anything, her hands went to her throat as though she were choking.

The waiter was at their side in an instant and pulled Abby out of her chair to start the Heimlich maneuver.

“She hasn’t eaten anything. I think she’s having an allergic reaction.” Elle fumbled through her purse for her EpiPen. She flipped off the safety cap, pressed the tip to Abby’s thigh, and pushed the button to trigger the injection.

Almost immediately, Abby took a gasping breath.

“Here.” The waiter thrust a glass of water toward Abby. “Take a sip.”

“No.” Elle pushed the glass away and knelt beside Abby’s chair. “Are you okay?”

Abby opened her mouth to speak only to begin another coughing fit.

Elle turned to the waiter. “Something’s wrong. Call an ambulance.”

A waitress approached, her phone in hand. “I already called. The ambulance will be here any minute.”

The waiter picked up the carafe from the table and refilled Abby’s glass. As soon as there was a break in the coughing, he offered the glass of water again.

“Are you sure you don’t want to give her something to drink?”

“Not until we figure out what caused this.”

Again, Abby tried to take a deep breath, but this time, her body trembled before being taken over by a seizure.

“Help me move her onto the floor.” Elle gripped Abby under her arms while the waiter helped ease her onto the carpet. Elle moved the closest chairs out of the way and knelt beside Abby.

“I’ll check on the ambulance,” the waiter said.

Elle sensed rather than saw the waiter head for the door. Helpless to do anything but wait, Elle fought for calm. “Hang on, Abby. Help is on the way.”

The words were barely out of her mouth before two ambulance attendants rushed through the door. Elle stood to give them room to work.

“What happened?” the paramedic asked in German.

“I don’t know,” Elle said, automatically responding in his language. “She started coughing and acting like she couldn’t breathe. I injected her with my EpiPen, and she got better for a few seconds. Then it started again. She started her seizure about a minute ago.”

Both paramedics knelt beside Abby, evaluating her.

“Does she have any known allergies?”

“No, and she was fine when I got here,” Elle said. “When she couldn’t breathe, the EpiPen was the only thing I could think of.”

Abby’s face paled, and her body stilled.

“I’ve lost her pulse,” one paramedic said.

Elle stepped back and watched the paramedics begin CPR and start Abby on oxygen. Adrenaline still pumping through her, Elle lowered herself into her chair. Minutes stretched out, the paramedics continuing the CPR, trading places every few minutes. They spoke with someone on the phone, the voices blurring with the background noise of the crowd who had been cleared out of the restaurant.

Tears flowed freely down Elle’s cheeks. She stood with her arms tightly folded, unable to do anything but watch and pray. She didn’t know how much time had passed when one paramedic tapped the other on the shoulder and shook his head. The paramedic not working on Abby sat beside Elle to confirm that the unbelievable had become the inevitable.

The one performing CPR gave one more chest compression and leaned back on his heels. His eyes lifted to meet Elle’s. “I’m sorry.”

“No.” The word escaped in a whisper. It couldn’t be. Elle stared at her sister’s lifeless body, waiting for any sign that she had misunderstood. Her heartbeat echoed in her head as though beating inside a deep tunnel.

“I’m so sorry.” The second paramedic put his hand on Elle’s arm.

Grief crashed over her, new tears forming. Her sister was gone. She was really gone.

“Can I get you something to drink? Maybe a glass of water?”

Elle shook her head, and her gaze swept over the table. Her water glass wasn’t there. Why that detail mattered at such a time, Elle didn’t know. A quick scan of the table revealed her glass wasn’t the only thing missing. Abby’s glass, the water carafe, and the file outlining Elle’s suspicions were also missing.

Elle swiped at her tears. “What happened to the waiter who met you at the door?”

“No one met us when we arrived,” the paramedic said.

Suspicions cut through her grief and bloomed with a sense of panic. Her file was coded in a way that it wouldn’t jeopardize national security, but if the people behind the suspicious activity got ahold of it, they would know exactly where the evidence was that could identify them.

Elle swallowed hard and forced herself to push aside her emotions and look at Abby’s lifeless body. The only thing her sister had ingested since her arrival was the water their waiter had served them, water Elle herself would have drunk had it not contained lemon slices. She stood and took a step toward the door.

“I have to go.”

“But we need more information from you.”

“Her name is Abigail Bender, and I think she was poisoned.”


Excerpt from On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson. Copyright 2020 by Traci Hunter Abramson. Reproduced with permission from Traci Hunter Abramson. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Traci Hunter Abramson

Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She has gone on to write more than twenty bestselling novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and seven-time Whitney Award winner. When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, preferably on a nice quiet beach somewhere. She also enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

Catch Up With Traci Hunter Abramson:, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Thank you to Partners in Crime Virtual Tours for including us today!



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Traci Hunter Abramson. There will be TWO winners. ONE winner will receive (1) Gift Card and ONE winner will receive one (1) physical copy of On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on October 27, 2020 and runs through November 5, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Monday, October 26, 2020

A Court of Thorns and Roses, a review by Melanie


A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J. Maas

Fantasy + romance
432 pages
Published May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing

Book 1 of 4 (and counting)

Fantasy is not my preferred genre. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read in my life that fall into that category.  Long story short, I bought ACOTAR back in 2018 when it was on sale and stashed it on my Kindle to read eventually, when the mood struck me. Fast forward to mid-2019 when I was perusing my teenage daughter’s bookshelf for something to break me out of my reading rut and found the hard copy there. I didn’t give it much thought at the time and cozied up for the afternoon, which is where the kids found me at dinnertime, bedtime, and the next day. Many semi-important tasks were abandoned that weekend because I couldn’t get enough of this world that Sarah J. Maas created. With more twists than a bag of pretzels, you never know what is coming next. I raced through the first 3 books in the series and not-so-patiently waited for the 4th. Book 5 is being published February 16, 2021.

Feyre is a poor village girl who lives just outside the border of the Fae lands. While she is out hunting, she kills a Fae male disguised as a wolf. The Fae demand retribution so Feyre is forced to leave her family and make her home with the Fae. As she settles in to their world, her feelings for her captors slowly begin to shift from hatred to acceptance, and eventually to affection. But the Fae and their lands are cursed and Feyre races to save them without losing herself in the process. 

5 stars only because I can’t give it more. Worth abandoning dinner and sleep for. 


My Sister's Grave, a review by Allyson


  My Sister's Grave
  Robert Dungoni

  Mystery/Thriller  416 pages
  Published November 1st 2014 by Thomas & Mercer

  My Sister's Grave seems like a book that I would love with promises of   mystery and thrilling secrets however this book just fell flat to me. When   first picking up this book I expected to read it quickly, though I would be   drawn into the riddle. Unfortunately, that just wasn't the case though this     novel wasn't all bad of course.

After her sister's murder, Tracey Crosswhite becomes obsessed with finding her sister's murderer. The two sisters were extremely close. Tracey never forgave herself for Sarah's murder. Tracey even went as far as leaving her job as a chemistry teacher to become a homicide detective. A convicted rapist Edmund House was charged and convicted of Sarah's murder but Tracey doesn't believe he was the responsible party. Once Sarah's remains are found twenty years later, Tracey sets out on a mission to discover the real killer and solve the case once and for all.

While I did find the story to be entertaining, I expected it to be more thrilling. I would consider this book more of a legal mystery than a thriller. Also, the writing was only average in my opinion. The characters were very one dimensional, I wasn't made to really care or feel anything for them. The worst part of the book was the ending, it was a huge let down. The events were unrealistic in the time frame provided. I would consider reading more books from Robert Dungoni but will not be reading any more of this series.