#BookReview – Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell


Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell is an unusual crime/thriller novel. It is told in two voices – Jill’s and Alex’s. Jill is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by her stepfather. Alex is a detective in Seattle PD. Although they are a married couple of five years, the two have been living separate lives as their jobs keep them both busy. While Jill has an affair with her boss, Alex works to find the killer of his ex-girlfriend’s sister and who has also threatened everyone Alex loves. Jill’s life begins to spiral out of control when her boss abruptly ends their affair and threatens to end Jill’s career. This leads Jill down a road of unfortunate and deadly events which further threatens her marriage to Alex and her personal freedom. Alex successfully tracks down the killer only to have the killer slip through his fingers a couple of times. Once Alex finally gets the killer in custody, he learns the dangerous, deadly game Jill has been playing. Then the killer is released and everyone’s lives are again in danger. Meanwhile, Alex has to decide what to do about Jill and as the two are in the middle of that confrontation, the killer shows up in an exciting, yet sad conclusion.

Patchell creates intriguing, solid characters. Jill is vulnerable, yet hardened from hatred of her stepfather. Alex is steady, loyal and honorable. Although I was shocked by some of Jill’s actions, I could understand why she did some of the things she did. Jill’s character, while not completely likable, actually became my favorite. Alex’s character seemed a bit naive at times, but Patchell set him up as such a good detective, I wasn’t at all surprised at how easily he discovered what Jill had been up to. The scene building was also well done, as were the characterizations, descriptions and settings. All in all, this was a complete package. If you want a great thriller that gives you some shocking, exciting moments, this is definitely the novel for you.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Crime Fiction/Thriller

To Purchase: Amazon Kindle | Audible


Book Review – I Can Kill by Angela Kay

I Can Kill cover

I Can Kill by Angela Kay is an exciting FBI Thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat to the final scene. Kay weaves a chilling tale of a serial killer known as the Carnations Killer who delights in taunting FBI Special Agent Aidan O’Reilly, who has been chasing this psychopath for ten years and across numerous states. With over fifty known kills under his belt and back from a hiatus, the killer has moved his hunting grounds close to Aidan’s home turf and this time, Aidan has sworn to finally catch him. The killer’s MO is sadistic and cruel. He kidnaps blonde women, brutally beats them over a period of a week and then strangles them. He leaves them in easy to find locations, posed and dressed in a black dress with white carnations placed upon their bodies. Aidan is haunted by the women who’ve been murdered. His job is affecting his sleep and his relationship with his girlfriend. The killer is meticulous and clever. He never leaves clues, no fingerprints or fibers. As Aidan and his partner Shaun Henderson work the case, the killer continues to taunt Aidan with messages left at crime scenes. They finally get a big break in the case, but only because the killer has upped the ante – he’s kidnapped Aidan’s girlfriend and left a big clue behind. Can Aidan discover who the killer is and find Cheyenne before she becomes the Carnations Killer’s latest victim?

This is the third Kay novel I’ve read and she continues to delight me with her intricate characters, clever twists and surprise endings. I’ve yet to guess who the killer is until all the clues are in and she has revealed the killer. I am a huge fan of serial killer novels and this one does not disappoint. I love that Kay allows us into the mind of the killer and we get to witness his interactions with his victims as well as with his family. Oh yes, he has a wife, a daughter and holds down a job. Kay also does a wonderful job of character building with Aidan O’Reilly and those who interact with him – his girlfriend, his partner, and his bosses. Her scenes are well-written and described, sometimes almost too graphic and chilling (not for me, but for those who may be squeamish though). You can tell that Kay definitely did her homework on this novel. Although this is a quick read (306 pages), do not be fooled by it’s shortness in length. This novel is jammed packed with twists and turns and lots of surprises. I highly recommend this novel.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Crime Fiction/FBI Thriller

Publisher: Stained Glass Publishing

Publish Date: March 30, 2018

To Pre-Order:

Amazon Kindle/Kindle Unlimited ($4.99/0.00) or Paperback($14.95)

Barnes and Noble – Paperback Only ($9.42)

Book Review – The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay


The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay is much more than a murder mystery. It is a story about love, hope and redemption with a paranormal and Christian slant. When three young boys enter the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department to report a murder at the Columbia County Elementary School, Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life and those around him will be forever changed. A fifteen-year mystery, the death of Manny Grimes, and a suspected murder/suicide are all tangled together in this thrilling novel.

Manny Grimes had information that linked the murder/suicide and the mystery from fifteen years ago together, and he paid for it with his life. As DeLong, his mentor Russ Calhoun, and the CSI team of Newman and Elliot set out to solve this murder, life becomes complicated for all of them. DeLong is driven by the voice of Manny Grimes to help him and he cannot let him down.He also discovers that his wife and Calhoun had an affair and it drags him down a spiraling dark hole of alcoholism and rage. His personal life is as twisted and mixed-up as the case before him is. The team soon discover that the murder/suicide might have been staged and that one of the victims’ spouses could be involved in the cover-up, but the case is much deeper than that. It involves a murder fifteen years in the past that was also covered-up. Somehow through this tangled mystery, Kay ties all of the ends together in a shocking conclusion.

What I enjoyed most about this novel is that Kay does an excellent job of weaving so many story angles together to form a cohesive, well-written mystery. She also does an excellent job with the personal angles of the story – between DeLong and his wife, the affair his wife had with Calhoun, the interwoven angle of all the families involved in Manny Grimes’ murder and the budding romance between Calhoun and Elliot. These characters are rich, and humanly flawed, making them believable. The police procedural is also well done in this novel.

The only angle of the story that would have normally warded me off is the Christian slant. As a rule, I do not read Christian novels. Not because they are Christian, but because they are normally preachy and not my thing. However, in this novel, it made sense. DeLong’s life was spiraling out of control and a few nuances of scripture gave him the hope and determination to get his life back under control. It was well done in this novel and not at all preachy.

The only flaw I discovered was a minor one – DeLong was checked into a motel when he left his wife Samantha, but in once instance, it became a hotel. With such a minor flaw, there is no way I am allowing it to detract points from my review. This is a solid novel and deserves to be read and praised.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Mystery, Police Procedural, Christian, Paranormal

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Who Watcheth by Helene Tursten


Who Watcheth is a mystery/thriller by the Swedish author, Helene Tursten. A serial killer is on the loose in and around Goteborg, Sweden. He watches his prey, building up a fantasy in his mind that he is in a relationship with the women, and then when they commit what he considers a sin, he kills them. He also leaves photos he’s taken of them committing the sin, a white chrysanthemum, and a note with a Bible verse on it days before he kills them. His M.O. is specific, he always uses a cord with knots in them to strangle his victims and leaves behind some telling clues. The one victim who got away recalled that he had an abhorrent odor about him. Irene Huss is a detective on the Goteborg police department and along with her colleagues, she sets out to find the killer. During the course of the story, Irene has some problems of her own with a woman who wants vengeance for the deaths of her children. She directly blames the police department and Irene in particular, adding an additional round of suspense to the story.

What I enjoyed most about the novel is the interactions that Irene has with both her husband and her colleagues. Her character is well-rounded and well-developed. The other characters are well-developed too. The story unfolds at a nice pace – not too slow or quick, just right. I also enjoyed the police procedural. The suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and the attack scenes are well-written.

Unfortunately, I guessed who the killer would be long before it unfolded in the story because it was just so blatantly stereotypical, and he didn’t appear to be as sophisticated as I had assumed he would be. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for other readers. I will let them make their own determination.

All in all, this is a well-written novel with a good plot, great characters and a suspenseful conclusion. I just wish the killer had lived up to my expectations so I could have given it a higher rating.

Note: I won a copy of this novel on Goodreads Giveaway for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedrual

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Wind Catcher (Chosen #1) by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef


Wind Catcher (Chosen #1) is a Young Adult novel by the father/daughter duo, Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. The reader is introduced to teenager Juliet Wildfire Stone whose life balances between two worlds, that of the rich and wealthy who attend an elite high school called Bartens and that of her Native American heritage. While Juliet tries to fit in at her new school, she is also taught the wisdom of her heritage by her grandfather, Sicheii. Along the way, you meet Juliet’s friends – Katie who also attends Bartens and has a father who will soon go to jail, Troy who is Native American and lives near the reservation and attends a normal high school, and Ella and Marton who are friends of Juliet’s from her former school. Juliet has a special gift. She hears voices and when she dreams, she has visions of her Native American heritage. All of this confuses Juliet, but soon becomes clear as a series of murders occur and are tied to her grandfather. Juliet and Troy embark on a journey to discover what the strange tattoos mean, why her grandfather is involved in a secret society and what all of it has to do with Juliet.

Wind Catcher takes the reader on a wild ride of fantasy, science fiction and Native American lore. As the story unfolds, the reader will learn about the Great Wind Spirit, Coyote, a demon, and the Seeker. The plot is complicated, but unfolds in a well-written series of events. Juliet is the Chosen and she must stop the Seeker, an alien, from destroying all she holds dear as well as Earth itself. The characters are all well-developed and even a bit complicated through their woven relationships. The Altabefs do an excellent job with settings, from Juliet’s school, to Slippery River, the town, and all of the vision worlds Juliet visits. The battle scenes near the end are exciting and well described.

What I loved most about this novel is the Native American lore sprinkled throughout the story. You can tell that the Altabefs spent an enormous amount of time researching it to make it believable, even though they do not link any one particular tribe or nation to it. I also loved the science fiction elements to this story, which the read will discover near the end.

Wind Catcher is one of the most original stories I have read. It has mystery, adventure and aliens. Who could want for more? I highly recommend this first novel in the Chosen trilogy for anyone who enjoys fantasy and science fiction. Although it is categorized as Young Adult, I believe even adults will enjoy it. I know I did.

Note: I received a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Native American Lore

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Escape From Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth


Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth is a YA fantasy novel. Elizabeth introduces us to Honoria, a fifteen year old who lost her parents in the 911 attacks. Along with her brother Geoffrey and aunt and uncle, they leave New York City and the tragedy behind to settle in the small upstate community of Arnn. Arnn holds many secrets and legends. Witchwood Hollow is one such legend. It is said that anyone who wanders in never returns because of the witch who lives in the woods. Honoria and her new friend Leon set off to uncover the truth of Witchwood Hollow, finding more than just a legend.

This novel is told in three time periods – the 1600s, the 1800s, and 2001 – and weaves together a story  of family histories, lost loved ones and reunions. The story begins in 2001 with Honoria and her family’s arrival in Arnn. Then switches to the 1600s where Lady Elizabeth Clifford, the witch who, accused of murder, stumbles into the woods and makes it her home. It continues in the 1800s with Albertine who travels from England to live with her father in Arnn, but gets lost and trapped in the woods. Other characters are woven throughout and add richness to the tale. The story then switches back and forth between these time periods as it unfolds to reveal a deranged witch, a vengeful curse of sorts and the need to save all of Arnn from the witch’s control.

I really enjoy the plot of this novel. It is original, entertaining and keeps you guessing until the very end to figure out how everything ties together.  All of the characters are well-developed and distinctive. Elizabeth does a great job of keeping all of their personalities separated and original. The settings, especially Witchwood Hollow, are descriptive and well-written.

The only problems I had with the novel are 1) not being able to like the character Honoria at the beginning of the novel. She is snobbish and a bit glib in her interactions with others and reminded me of people I’ve avoided most of my life. However, during the course of the novel, I grew to understand her and like her more, especially after she begins to interact with Leon. And 2) I wasn’t overly impressed with all of the clothing descriptions in the 2001 parts of the book. I do understand why they are there – a city girl comes to the country and there is the need for distinctions to be made between the previous lifestyle and the current one she is living in. These two issues only barely detract from the great story being told.

If you enjoy paranormal stories with witches, then you will definitely find this novel entertaining. It is not your usual witchy story and that makes it a step above other novels with similar themes.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Nutribullet Soup Recipe Book by Stephanie Shaw


Nutribullet Soup Recipe Book:  Low Carb Nutribullet Soup Recipes for Weight Loss, Detox, Anti-Aging & So Much More! (Recipes for a Healthy Life) (Volume 3) by Stephanie Shaw is an unusual cookbook. It’s not only about soup, or health, or nutrition (although it is about all of those things), but it is specifically about how to create delicious, healthy soups using a Nutribullet blender.

In the first two chapters of Shaw’s unique book, she lays out her case about how nutritious soups can be used for weight loss, detoxing and anti-aging. She also gives details about the health benefits of certain ingredients she uses throughout this cookbook. In the third chapter, she gives details about how to make these soups using a Nutribullet blender. These first three chapters are well researched and documented, as well as easy to understand. In the remaining seven chapters, Shaw breaks down recipes into health-affirming categories: Healthy Heart, Detoxification, Weight Loss, Healthy Skin, Energy Boost, Anti-Aging Effects and the use of Superfoods.

What I like most about Shaw’s recipes are 1) each is only for 2 servings, which means you won’t be wasting ingredients or making large pots of soup that could potentially go bad, but you could easily double or triple the ingredients for a larger family; 2) the ingredient lists are simple, usually everyday ingredients that one would have in their home; 3) there is a nutritional breakdown for each soup (calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein); and lastly, step by step explanation for making and processing the soup.

One needs to keep in mind that since you will be using a Nutribullet blender, these will be blended soups. So nothing chunky here. This is good for two reasons, the soups can be easily drank for their health benefits, and can be used for young children and the elderly whose dental health may not be formed or up to par.

Before completing my review, I wanted to try some of the recipes. I decided to make the Carrot Squash Thyme Soup (page 16) for the Healthy Heart, the Cucumber Mint Soup (page 39) for Detoxification, the Fresh Asparagus Garden Soup (page 61) for Weight Loss, and the Minestrone Soup (page 97) for Energy Boost. All of these soups were easy to make, used easy to purchase ingredients and took little to no time to make. The results were delicious and refreshing.

I did an experiment on my own by freezing the Carrot Squash Thyme Soup and the Fresh Asparagus Garden Soup, just to see what would happen if I did make a larger batch and wanted to save the soups for a later time. I froze each soup for three days, unthawed them, and heated them up on the stovetop. While they still tasted fine, they did not have the same freshness as on the day of first making them. My suggestion is to only make what you will use that day to get the optimal freshness and health benefits of the soups.

For anyone who has or plans to buy a Nutribullet and wants great soup recipes, I highly recommend this book. You will not be disappointed with the quality information given here or the well-researched and presented recipes.

Note: I was given a free copy of this book by the author for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Cook book, Health & Nutrition, Nonfiction

To Purchase: Amazon