Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto


The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto
Publisher: Level Best Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Movie star Nicky Tallon selects architect Wren Fontaine to renovate Turnbull House, where he’ll be filming his next movie. Even to Wren, used to old homes, this one is special: a 200-year-old federal-style home on a private island in New York harbor, designed by the most celebrated architect of the day. But Turnbull House hides many secrets, such as the disappearance of the sea captain who built it. That’s just a historical curiosity, until a studio executive no one likes is killed.

Wren just wants to keep her worksite safe, but then another murder occurs, and she starts noting eerie connections between the mysteries surrounding the Turnbull family and Nicky and his entourage. The handsome star seems to have two girlfriends, a childlike folk singer and a cynical fashion model. Meanwhile, renowned actress Veronica Selwyn renews a friendship with Wren’s father, which Wren finds more disturbing than she wants to admit. She concludes it’s time she and her girlfriend Hadley take the next step and find a place together, an exciting but stressful change.

As the attacks continue, Wren realizes she will have to solve the mysteries surrounding Captain Turnbull and Nicky Tallon. Turnbull House speaks of order and harmony, and Wren must dig deep to see how the house has affected its owners, old and new. Fortunately for her, the eminently practical Hadley is by her side, pepper spray at the ready—because a frighteningly clever killer is about to find that Wren is getting too close to the horrific truth.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten

The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten
Publisher: Tellwell Publishing
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Juliette and George Morgan know all about Living the Good Life. As the town’s newest ‘it’ couple, they succeed in transforming the otherwise sleepy farming community of Rickshaw into a hotbed for musical talent and social enterprise. A poignant and beautifully layered tale, the Day Before Tomorrow is a portrayal of an era once removed, yet not forgotten – from the early to late seventies – with much of the story taking place within the Morgan family’s domestic locus and the community in which they live. Relationships become so intricately woven, adult and adolescent lines become blurred and an illicit connection between teacher and student builds into hidden, often disturbing scenes of love, secrets and human experience. When the Morgan’s future essentially falls down in mid-flight, the family is forced to cope with not only trauma, but coming of age and ultimately moving away from their safe haven of Rickshaw. An indictment of survival, shattered innocence, death, love and optimism, this tale is one that will transport your mind, speak to your heart and stay in both long after you have closed the cover.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Winter Blogfest: Laura Moseley

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment and be entered to win a $25 Amazon GC!

Navigating Holiday Anxiety as a Trauma Survivor: Your Guide to a Relaxed and Joyful Season

The holiday season is often portrayed as a time of joy, love, and togetherness. However, for trauma survivors, it can bring forth a unique set of challenges and triggers that can intensify anxiety. But fear not! In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies and self-care tips to help you navigate and survive holiday anxiety, allowing you to embrace a relaxed and joyful season.

1. Acknowledge and Validate Your Feelings:

As a trauma survivor, it’s essential to recognize that your anxiety during the holidays is valid. Give yourself permission to feel the emotions that arise and understand that it’s okay to prioritize your well-being. Take time to acknowledge and validate your feelings, allowing yourself the space to heal.

2. Plan Ahead and Set Boundaries:

One effective way to manage holiday anxiety is through planning. Create a structured schedule that includes rest periods, self-care activities, and time for relaxation. Setting boundaries with others is equally important. Communicate your needs and limits to your loved ones, ensuring you have the space and support you require.

3. Practice Self-Care:

Self-care is crucial for trauma survivors, especially during the holiday season. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and peace, whether it’s taking a warm bath, practicing mindfulness, journaling, or engaging in creative outlets. Prioritize self-care and listen to your body’s needs to maintain a sense of calm and well-being. Books were always a source of self-care during the active-abuse still afterward. Escaping into a great book can be the needed reset!

4. Seek Support:

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support from trusted friends, family, or mental health professionals. Connecting with others who understand your experiences can provide a sense of validation and comfort. Consider joining support groups or seeking therapy to navigate holiday anxiety more effectively.

5. Modify Traditions to Suit Your Needs:

Traditions can be comforting, but they can also trigger anxiety for trauma survivors. Modify or create new traditions that align with your healing journey. Give yourself permission to say no to certain activities or events that may be overwhelming. Focus on activities that promote your well-being and bring you joy.

6. Practice Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques:

During moments of heightened anxiety, practicing mindfulness and grounding techniques can be immensely helpful. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or focusing on your senses can help you stay present and grounded. Incorporate these techniques into your daily routine to manage anxiety effectively.

Surviving holiday anxiety as a trauma survivor requires self-compassion, planning, and self-care. By acknowledging your feelings, setting boundaries, seeking support, modifying traditions, and practicing mindfulness, you can navigate the holiday season with a sense of relaxation and joy. Remember, you deserve a peaceful and fulfilling holiday experience, tailored to your unique needs.

“Battle-Scars: Hated. Isolated. Wronged. Disregarded.

Those WERE some of the challenges faced by the authors of GOD Says I am Battle-Scar Free.

PRIZED! ESTEEMED! CHOSEN! POLISHED!

With a personal relationship with God, that is how those same people feel today.

In this seventh and final installment of the Battle-Scar Free series, testimonies are shared from women and men who have “”been there, done that.”” They come from various walks of life but share one common story: They are SURVIVORS.

Amid a global pandemic (COVID-19), these contributors sought and found healing of their hearts, minds, and souls. Through the expression of their truths, you will be inspired to fight another day. Despite the obstacles they faced, the power of their words and belief in an Almighty God attributed to their very survival.

READ…for understanding.

READ…to be empowered.

READ…for freedom.

READ TO BE BATTLE-SCAR FREE!”

I am a single mother of 3 (and Nana to one) who survived 23+ years of sexual and domestic abuse, in ALL forms. I work for a federal social services organization, and also am a DV advocate, and activist, speaker, author, writer, and blogger. My blog (http://www.dvwalkingwounded.me/) is a mental health blog for victims and survivors of DV. I am on a journey of rediscovery, after DV, and I hope to help others to do the same.

http://www.dvwalkingwounded.me/
https://www.Facebook.com/dvwalkingwounded
https://www.Twitter.com/Lmgoodwin1203
https://a.co/d/2R03dvA

November Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Death Tango by Lachi

Death Tango by Lachi
Publisher: RIZE Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

In a Utopian twenty-third-century New York City, where corporations have replaced governments, AI dictates culture, and citizens are free to people-watch any other citizen they choose through an app, this horror-laden Sci-Fi Thriller follows four mis-matched coeds as they attempt to solve the murder of an eccentric parascientist. Only someone or something able to navigate outside the highest levels of croud-sourced surveillance could get away with murder in this town. If the team can’t work quickly to solve the case, New York City will be devoured by a dark plague the eccentric had been working on prior to his death, a plague which, overtime, appears to be developing sentience.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!!

Walk The Wire by David Baldacci


Walk The Wire by David Baldacci
Publisher: Pan Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, they instantly sense that the thriving fracking town is ripe for trouble. The promise of a second gold rush has attracted an onslaught of newcomers all hoping for a windfall, and the community is growing faster than houses can be built. The sudden boom has also brought a slew of problems with it, including drugs, property crimes, prostitution—and now murder.

Decker and Jamison are ordered to investigate the death of a young woman named Irene Cramer, whose body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open—which is only the beginning of the oddities surrounding the case. As Decker and Jamison dig into Irene’s life, they are shocked to discover that the woman who walked the streets by night as a prostitute was a teacher for a local religious sect by day—a sect operating on land once owned by a mysterious government facility that looms over the entire community.

London is a town replete with ruthless business owners, shady government officials, and religious outsiders, all determined to keep their secrets from coming out. When other murders occur, Decker will need all of his extraordinary memory and detective skills, and the assistance of a surprising ally, to root out a killer and the forces behind Cramer’s death . . . before the boom town explodes.

Amos Decker and Alex Jamison are in a remote fracking mining town in North Dakota for reasons they’re not quite certain of. A highly unusual murder of a school teacher set off alarms within the FBI hierarchy and Decker and Jamison were sent to investigate – without the request of the local police force nor a reasonable explanation for them being sent out for a singular murder. Decker and Jamison quickly realise all is not as it seems in the small community and they both will need to keep their wits about them if they are to survive.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was particularly pleased that there were a number of plots interweaving together with a strong enough complexity it took me quite a while to separate out what was linked together and what was not related. Baldacci did an excellent job to my mind of interlacing a number of plotlines together and it was complicated enough that I could gauge that a number of things were happening simultaneously and it wasn’t a simple matter unraveling everything.

I was also thrilled that a few characters from a different series written by Baldacci were very strong secondary characters (and not just cameos but quite integral to the plotline as well) and it was utterly wonderful for me to read about these much loved characters and see how they were going. I also quite enjoyed the cross over – seeing how Decker and Jamison interacted with them and it was a true joy for me to read this.

While I absolutely feel readers can pick this book up as a stand alone and enjoy the intricate plot and well written FBI mystery/suspense story I think fans who have read previous books in this series and in particular who are at least passingly knowledgeable about a few other series written by Mr. Baldacci should find this an excellent book with a few deeper layers that non-fans might not fully appreciate.

I feel readers who enjoy a well woven, complicated and interesting murder/mystery/suspense style FBI book should thoroughly enjoy this book and characters and I can strongly recommend it and the others in this series.

A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz


A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past.

Arriving on Alderney, Hawthorne and Horowitz soon meet the festival’s other guests—an eccentric gathering that includes a bestselling children’s author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian—along with a group of ornery locals embroiled in an escalating feud over a disruptive power line.

When a local grandee is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Hawthorne and Horowitz become embroiled in the case. The island is locked down, no one is allowed on or off, and it soon becomes horribly clear that a murderer lurks in their midst. But who?

Both a brilliant satire on the world of books and writers and an immensely enjoyable locked-room mystery, A Line to Kill is a triumph—a riddle of a story full of brilliant misdirection, beautifully set-out clues, and diabolically clever denouements.

Anthony Horowitz and Daniel Hawthorne have agreed to go to a literary festival on the Island of Alderney to talk about and start the PR for Horowitz’s first book featuring Hawthorne and one of his cases. Horowitz knows Hawthorne appears to have an ulterior motive for this unusual agreeableness but in many ways both men are still a mystery to each other. Horowitz figures nothing to drastic can happen on the small island, but he’s quickly proved wrong. One of the wealthy festival sponsors is found brutally murdered – the first murder ever to occur on the island. And with only a certain number of people on the island, it’s clear Hawthorne has a limited number of suspects to search amongst. When a second death occurs, only then to Horowitz and Hawthorne really begin to understand the level of danger there is.

This is the third book in this series and while with the plot and characters I strongly feel it can be read by itself I have to admit the writer’s style is a little unusual and I’m still getting used to it. The author actually is Anthony Horowitz, so having him write a story about himself as one of the main protagonists always feels quite jarring for me to read as he doesn’t really write in the first person in a manner I’m used to. I thoroughly enjoy the characters – though do admit Hawthorne can easily appear both arrogant and somewhat odd at times, which I’m sure in on purpose – and the plot is excellent with a number of twists and convoluted enough to keep most readers guessing. I think it’s just the tone and writing style that takes me, personally, a bit to get used to and I find it hard sometimes to really sink into the story because of how the author is so deeply immersed in the story. It just reads a little odd to me.

I have to admit the plotline itself was very well handled – believable and logical with a strong element of realism to it. While I might question or find jarring the two main characters and the way the tone/voice of the book is handled the plot and murder mystery and the set up around that part of the book is very believable to my mind and I feel readers who enjoy a different kind of murder mystery might find this book – and the two prior to this as well – highly enjoyable.

Readers who like a slightly different plot or characters who are a little outside of the box should find this an enjoyable and strong read.

Survival by Shirley Bigelow DeKelver


Survival by Shirley Bigelow DeKelver
Climate of Fire Book 1
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc.
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The year is 2045, global warming escalates, and wildfires are rampant. Vancouver has been devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. Those who have survived have moved north or taken up residence at Little Mountain, the highest point in the city. Food and water are scarce, there are more violent storms and rising temperatures. The ashfall from the volcanoes increases daily, making it difficult to breathe. Four young adults, Taylor West, Carlie Fleming, Mai-Li Wong, and Willie Arbuckle, and three children, twin brothers Rusty and Eddie Coleman, and Debbie, who has Downs Syndrome, have gravitated together, forming a motley crew of survivors, living in constant fear of the violent gangs.

Making a life-saving decision, they decide to walk to the Interior, hoping to find a better life. Inexperienced, they face unknown obstacles, daily hardships, and hunger. Traveling across the devastated Wastelands is fraught with danger with unexpected complications making the journey more treacherous than they ever imagined. Reaching a sanctuary and indeed their very survival hangs in the balance. Relationships are tested time and again. What will remain strong and what will shatter?

Nothing is guaranteed in this dangerous, new world.

Compassion can be expressed in many different ways. I enjoyed seeing how the characters wrestled with the thought of what total strangers should do for each other in a crisis and how much someone should be expected to risk their own safety to help others who may be injured, young, or helpless. These aren’t questions that have black and white answers in most cases, but they are good jumping-off points for all sorts of discussions about many of the scenes in this book. Sometimes I found myself wishing I’d read this as a part of a book club so I could discuss my thoughts on what certain characters should or shouldn’t have done in specific situations with other readers!

The main characters made odd and illogical decisions that I struggled to understand. For example, Carlie was given the chance to be rescued by the military in one of the earliest scenes, but she decided to hide instead for reasons that were never clear to me. This was the first of many examples of characters refusing to do simple things that would make their already-difficult lives easier without explaining why they thought those choices were the right ones. I don’t expect teenagers to always think things through the way an adult would, but this pattern of picking the hardest option for no reason happened so often that it did reduce my enjoyment of the plot in general.

I enjoyed the strong, steady pacing. Carlie and her companions regularly had new problems to solve on their journey whether they were minor ones like disagreements between certain characters or major ones like not having enough food or water. There was never a good time for me to stop reading and do something else. That’s the sort of conundrum I always like to have when I’m reading as it means that the author planned everything out evenly and made sure that their audience would have plenty of things to think about when we did eventually need to take a break and do something else.

Survival was adventurous.

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Cottage by Jo A. Hiestand


The Cottage by Jo A. Hiestand
Publisher: Cousins House Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Rated:5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Former police detective Michael McLaren is at the home of his lady friend, Melanie. The house is sold, the removal van is booked. All that is left is to help her pack her belongings for her move to his village. But the laborious task is interrupted when one of Melanie’s neighbors asks McLaren to investigate the circumstances of her parents’ murders. McLaren’s reluctance to take it on and abandon Melanie appears to be solved when his best mate, Jamie, steps in to help with the packing. It’s not the easy investigation McLaren was hoping for, however. Sightings of Mordred and a ghost, and a burglary at the local Tudor Hall complicate the murder inquiries. What had seemed to McLaren a perfect remedy with Jamie close at hand now disintegrates into a horrendous mistake. And McLaren questions if the investigation is really worth it, especially when he puts the people he cares about most in danger.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Uptown Girl by Emma Bray – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Emma Bray who is celebrating today’s release of Uptown Girl, part of the Man of the Month Club.

A rich heiress down on her luck and a brooding mechanic from the wrong side of the tracks make sparks fly. Readers who enjoy small town romance will love Uptown Girl by Emma Bray, a steamy, opposites attract, beach romance.

Are you ready to meet your next Man of the Month?

A rich girl down on her luck and a brooding mechanic make sparks fly in this small-town, opposites attract beach romance about a rich heiress and a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.

The MAN OF THE MONTH CLUB is a steamy small-town collection featuring a new hottie (or two!) every month. In 2023, escape to Candy Kane Key, Florida, and celebrate ALL the holidays with your favorite group of romance authors and their delicious mountain men. Can’t wait to see you there!

Enjoy an Excerpt

The purr of my pink Cadillac’s engine fills the air as I pull into the garage, echoing off the walls and sending a shiver down my spine. I’ve been through hell and back lately, but one look at this place tells me I’m in good hands.

“Hey there,” a deep voice calls out, snapping me from my thoughts. The rugged mechanic approaches me, his hands wiping on a greasy rag. The sight of him makes my heart race, and I find myself struggling to maintain my composure.

The sight of his thick arms pumping up and down as he wipes the oil from his hands to his sleeves has my heart beating out of my chest. I can feel my body flush with desire as I watch him, a nervous smile spreading across my face.
I can see his lips moving, but his words are drowned out by the sound of my heart pounding in my ears.

He’s beautiful, in a rugged sort of way. His chest is huge and muscled, and his arms are thick. His dirty, ripped jeans fit him perfectly, and I wonder if they’re going to burst at the seams. His black work shirt is unbuttoned, revealing a chiseled, ripped torso. His arms are sculpted, leading to a bulge in his jeans. He’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen.

“Welcome to Wolf’s Garage. I’m Billy. What can I do for you?”

“Hi, I’m Claire,” I stammer, my cheeks flushing with heat. “I, uh, think my car needs an oil change.”

As soon as our eyes meet, I feel the connection. My lingering gaze alights on his rugged features – the stubble lining his strong jaw, the gentle curve of his full lips, the intensity in those blue eyes that seem to see straight through me. And when Billy smiles at me – a crooked, teasing grin that makes my heart skip a beat – I know without a doubt that this attraction is mutual.

“Your car’s a real beauty,” he says, nodding towards my pink Cadillac as he leans against the side of it. “You don’t come across many like her these days.”

“Thank you,” I reply, my voice barely above a whisper. The air between us is electric, charged with an energy I can’t quite put my finger on, and I find myself wondering just how much of it is simply a product of my overactive imagination.

“Mind if I have a look under the hood?” he asks, his gaze never leaving mine.

About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Emma Bray writes intense, steamy romances with possessive alpha males who’ll stop at nothing to claim the women they want. Emma’s instalove stories are filled with heat, passion and happily ever afters. Get a free book when you sign up here at her website.

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Buy Now or Read FREE with KindleUnlimited at Amazon.

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ 32 Days – A Memoir of Love and Death by Deborah Sabin


32 Days – A Memoir of Love and Death by Deborah Sabin
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Rating 5 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Mitch and Debbi were beshert. Soulmates. She knew it from the first day of law school. He came to the same conclusion just a few months later. From that day on, they were rarely apart. Debbi made one, five, and ten-year plans for their future. Mitch always replied, “Yeah. Maybe someday.” Someday came too soon.

A terrible freak accident put Mitchell in a hospital remote from home, with a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Alone in the ICU with her husband, away from her children and family, Deborah struggled to manage their days and find a way to keep their love and their marriage alive. Every night, she wrote him a note of news, hope, and love. But, thirty-two days were all they had. Mitch died and Debbi was left with two small children. With the help of family and friends, she struggled to make a life for three seem as good as the life they had when they were a family of four. All traces of her time in the hospital with Mitchell were stored in the “sad” box, stuffed high on a shelf in the back of the closet.

Twenty-five years later, the notes resurfaced in an unlikely space. Deborah knew it was time to share the letters with family, friends, and the world. 32 Days is the story of a wonderful man, taken from this world much too soon. A husband, father, son, brother, friend, lawyer and advocate, and the courageous battle he fought to stay alive. Until someday. Mitchell and Deborah’s story is one of love that transcends time and space. Of faith that grows stronger even in the face of the unimaginable. Of the healing strength given by family and friends. Of hope that life will go on. Of someday.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!