Monday, November 18, 2019

Twelve Days by Paul Williams

                                      A Bloodhound Book Review



About the Book: 

Ten people. Twelve days. One killer. 

Ten people meet for a reunion at a remote castle, organised by a preacher who once held them in a Christian cult. One by one, the old friends are brutally murdered, and yet their killer remains hidden in their very midst.

Rafe attends the reunion at the castle for one reason only: to settle once and for all how he really feels about his childhood obsession, Suzanne. Rivalry reignites at the outset as the men who all loved and fought over Suzanne are brought together once more. 

Is Suzanne the reason for these serial killings? 

Is the murderer a jealous unrequited lover? 

Or is she the femme fatale with a bloody agenda?

To save his life, Rafe becomes the unwitting sleuth when A winter storm traps the ten guests in the castle that contains a museum of medieval torture devices. As the members of the group fall victim to bizarre deaths involving the torture instruments, the murderer leaves messages for the remaining survivors. As tension mounts Rafe must play this deadly game in order to identify and neutralise the hidden serial killer before he himself becomes the next victim…
My Review:

Ah, this mimics a famous book with a renowned plot. Rafe was once in a cult. This cult was based on Christianity, but of course, as cults do, it was very twisted. The Twelve was their group, led by a man who decided he is a Reverend. As a child this group was so bad that Rafe grew up to hate God and everything to do with any church what-so-ever. He's bitter and it shows. I felt for him, not seeing the Truth through the lies. 

Now, there is an invitation by Rev. James to come to a castle and have a "family" reunion. All ten of them who are left alive at this time. While we all scream no, don't go, it's not going to be worth it; Rafe has to. He wants closure for the lose ends with the girl he left behind. So there it is, a familiar set up. A castle, a cult, a murderer and this new take on the twelve days of Christmas isn't going well either! So they are stuck there, dying, trapped, and who is the killer? Can I have some twists, please? (Yeah!) 

The murders were a bit overdone in the gross category, but they were a bit more unique. I still like the sinister castle backdrop, even as well used as it is. It could almost be one of the old films or books it was modeled after. It's well written, a must for a book of this nature with this theme. 

I still really enjoy a good Clue/Who-Done-It and this book fits that category very well. I do still wish more healing for Rafe, because having all this happen didn't help him in that respect. 

4 Stars 


About the Author:

Paul Williams was born in the UK but grew up in Africa where he spent two years in a civil war as a frontline medic. Surviving that, he has been a radio DJ in Zimbabwe, a surfer in Durban, South Africa, and a lead guitarist in a rock band in the Middle East. He has a PhD from the USA and is currently the Programme Leader of Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. 

His memoir about the war, Soldier Blue (New Africa Books 2007), won Book of the Year in South Africa in 2008, and since then he has published internationally across several genres. 

He lives near the beach with his family.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

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About the Book

Book: Smoke Screen
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre:  Christian Suspense
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Smoke ScreenOne father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.
Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.
Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.
Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.
As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

Click here to get your copy.
My Review:
Blackstock wrote a very interesting story in this book, potentially one of her best ones. Brenna was a pastors daughter and then her father was killed. Nate, her boyfriend was convicted of his murder, because Nate and her father were fighting and then, boom; he's dead. Difficult, but not compared to what Breena was going to face next. She married Jack. He was an abusive man and left her for a younger woman. That left Breena locked in a custody battle for her children, who she loves, but she can't cope. The past is catching up to her, all those un-dealt-with and unresolved issues. Like many people do, Breena took to drinking to numb the pain. My heart really went out to her, as she struggled and coped in all the wrong ways for so long! Lots of the book is from her POV. 
However, Nate, we have his POV too. He was in prison for a crime he didn't commit. He is now a smoke jumper. What a job! I was fascinated by that. Nate has lots of pain as well, but he isn't handling it like Breena handles her. He's strong because his foundation is strong. 
A great deal of pain, loss, grief, abuse and addiction are covered in this story. However, it also has healing, hope, strength, courage, and forgiveness. I haven't had the issues in this book, but I know many who have. It's a very emotional read with the crimes and their solutions take a bit of backseat to the characters and relationship-driven issues. It's less suspense than her other books but has more drama and a very strong story to tell. I think this book would be hard for people in a custody fight for their children, and those who have alcoholic tendencies, but I also think that it could be good for them to see how this story resolved with God's help in the book. 
5 Stars
About the Author
Terri BlackstockTerri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: tblackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock

Excerpt from Smoke Screen

I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.
An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”
T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”
“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”
“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”
I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”
“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”
It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.
“The family. Were they injured?”
“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”
“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”
“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”
I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.
“I won’t need a month,” I said.
“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”
I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”
“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”
Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.

Taken from “Smoke Screen” by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Blog Stops

As He Leads is Joy, November 9
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 9
CarpeDiem, November 9
Fiction Aficionado, November 10
KarenSueHadley, November 10
Quiet quilter, November 10
Among the Reads, November 11
Genesis 5020, November 11
A Reader’s Brain, November 11
Robin’s Nest, November 12
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 12
Bigreadersite , November 12
Blogging With Carol , November 12
Betti Mace, November 13
Spoken from the Heart, November 13
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 13
Emily Yager, November 13
By The Book, November 14
For Him and My Family, November 14
Splashes of Joy , November 14
Andrea Christenson, November 15
Just the Write Escape, November 16
Mary Hake, November 16
Remembrancy, November 17
Simple Harvest Reads, November 17 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
EmpowerMoms, November 17
Blessed & Bookish, November 18
Older & Smarter, November 18
Inklings and notions, November 18
amandainpa , November 19
Pause for Tales, November 19
Hallie Reads, November 20
Cathe Swanson, November 21
All 4 and About Books, November 21
Batya’s Bits, November 22
Livin’ Lit, November 22
Texas Book-aholic, November 22
janicesbookreviews, November 22
*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts


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About the Book

Book: The Bright Unknown
Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts
Genre:  Historical Romance
Release Date: October 22, 2019
cover Bright UnkownTwo young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.
The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.
However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.
This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

Click here to grab your copy!
My Review:

This book is quite an experience. The Riverside Home for the insane, Brighton has grown up there. Born in Riverside, Brighton/Nell has started realizing this isn't the life other people have. Angel is her best and only friend, he's an albino and has poor vision physically, but not poor at all in some other ways.

Nurse Joann has kept her from having a "real" life for far too long, but yet is the only one who has raised and taught her. Her father nor any other relatives are in her life, except her mom, who's illness never seems to get cured. Brighton and Angel are alone in the huge wild world, the world beyond the inside of the asylum. So after 18 years of living with truly crazy people, Brighton and Angel are out on their own. 

Who is she? What is she to become? What about Angel? There's so, so, so much to answer and learn! Add to this that this book is told in a "flashback" or "then and now" format it covers things from the 30's to the 90's. We know that Nell is free, but what still chains her to the past and why? 

This book is dramatic, gripping, gritty, with well written characters. It will stay with you for a while after the end, and it has a great many twists. The light still shines in the darkness and that theme shines in this book along with such great hope, redemption and friendship. 

5 Stars

About the Author

Elizabeth YountsElizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.

More from Elizabeth

The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.
That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, November 2
A Reader’s Brain, November 2
Inspired by fiction, November 3
Fiction Aficionado, November 4
Genesis 5020, November 4
janicesbookreviews, November 5
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 5
The Becca Files, November 7
Bigreadersite, November 7
Connect in Fiction, November 8
Moments, November 9
Simple Harvest Reads, November 10
Betti Mace, November 10
Pause for Tales, November 11
Inklings and notions, November 11
Mary Hake, November 11
Texas Book-aholic, November 12
Hallie Reads, November 12
For Him and My Family, November 13
Remembrancy, November 14
mpbooks, November 14
Godly Book Reviews, November 15

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Deadly Christmas Pretense by Dana Mentink


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About the Book

Book: Deadly Christmas Pretense
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre:  Christian Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Release Date: November 4, 2019
Deadly Christmas Pretense CoverA cowboy to her rescue…but she’s not who he thinks she is.
Posing as her sister for Christmas is the only way to save her, but Maggie Lofton needs help—even if it means working with her twin’s cowboy ex-boyfriend, Liam Pike. But between the bull’s-eye on her back and the dangerous connection she’s forming with Liam, Maggie’s mission is harder than expected. Will their tenuous partnership be enough to shield her when the killer closes in
Book #2 in the Roughwater Ranch Cowboys series

Click here to get your copy.

My Review:
This is a very satisfying read. Liam thinks that Maggie is her twin sister. So what, exactly, has her twin gotten into that could get Maggie killed? 
Liam is a hero in every way, and I loved Maggie. While this is the second book in the series, it held up on its own just fine. I like the suspense, the twists, faith, fast pace and amazing ending to this book. Holding onto your faith is a strong theme and one we all need to be reminded of time to time. This was an excellent read. 
5 Stars

About the Author

Dana-MentinkDana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the  nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I just love Christmas, don’t you? In our area we have a lovely holiday train. It’s an old steam type train which is decked out in lights for festive holiday tours. I was so thrilled that this cover features just such a train. Of course, in the novel the train is the scene of hair raising danger! Maggie, our heroine in this novel, is a cook. She serves up some mouth watering dishes (when she’s not dodging a killer.) I thought perhaps you might enjoy a Mentink holiday family recipe! God bless you as we enter this holiday season!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, November 1
Emily Yager, November 1
KarenSueHadley , November 2
Blogging With Carol, November 2
Batya’s Bits, November 2
Bigreadersite, November 3
She Lives to Read, November 3
Genesis 5020, November 4
mpbooks, November 4
Betti Mace, November 5
Quiet Workings, November 5
Older & Smarter?, November 7
Maureen’s Musings, November 7
Splashes of Joy , November  8
Moments, November 8
EmpowerMoms, November 9
Remembrancy, November 10
Pause for Tales, November 10
For the Love of Books, November 11
Hallie Reads, November 11
Daysong Reflections, November 12
Texas Book-aholic, November 13
janicesbookreviews, November 14
Inklings and notions, November 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of a  a book necklace, Amazon gift card, and a paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.