*REVIEW* – The Isle of Sin and Shadows – by Keri Lake

#Gothic #Romance #SouthernGothic #Mystery #Suspense

Blurb

This island alone boasts more ghost stories than all of Louisiana combined.
And I’m one of them.

In the Louisiana swamplands, ghost stories are as much a part of childhood as chasing fireflies and crawfishing. They never much scared me, though, nor the possibility of evil out to do me harm. Until the night I watched shadows come to life and butcher everything I loved.

With a stranger’s help, I managed to escape to an isolated place miles north, and, in time, became my own ghost story. A cautionary tale for the locals.

Nearly a decade passed, before I returned to my birthplace, in hopes of unearthing long-awaited answers. Instead, I found something I wasn’t looking for. Someone. A remedy for my loneliness.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, Thierry Bergeron is no elixir. He’s a deadly poison, cursed by the demons of his past, and feared by those who call him the elusive Rougarou of the bayou. A devious rogue, whose seductive whispers and rough hands haunt my dreams. The big bad wolf that defiles me without apology, or remorse.

I should resist him, but I can’t.

And when the shadows return to stake their claim on me, his darkness is the only safe place to hide.

The Isle of Sin & Shadows is a southern gothic mystery & romance standalone

My Review

Southern Gothic par excellence – 5 dark and sexy stars!

If you fancy a walk on the dark side, The Isle of Sin and Shadows by Keri Lake, a standalone Southern Gothic Romance fits the bill perfectly. This suspenseful and atmospheric read features ghostly goings on, voodoo, crime lords and a slow burn/tension filled romance which set alight my Kindle when the couple finally get it together. I loved it!

The read is a haunting one, being set in and around the Louisiana swamps with its close-knit community and its many secrets and local legends. The stakes are high when Céleste returns to her childhood home in an attempt to face the demons of her past and find out answers, so far denied. She soon finds her path crossing with the notorious Thierry, the owner of a strip club, who is a powerful force in the local community and feared by many. I enjoyed how Thierry is intrigued from the off by Celeste, a young woman who refuses to fear and respect him, and wants to know her secrets. I just loved the battle of words and deeds between them and their relationship is passionate and intense, each scene that takes place between them just crackles with sexual tension.

Both central characters are flawed and we learn about their respective backstories as the plot develops. Thierry is the type of dark anti-hero I adore and on the face of it he is just so wrong for Celeste, on so many levels. He is not looking for any type of relationship other than a quick hook-up. Céleste herself is traumatised by her past and sometimes she is confused by her reality. She is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of her past and I admired her inner strength which tempers her vulnerability. She hides her pain under a tough exterior but has a heart of gold.

Somehow the couple are just perfect together, their relationship developing over the course of the book as they find their paths becoming ever more entwinned. There is such a lot going on in this read as the past and present collide, and I admired how the author pulled it all together whilst creating a powerful romance amidst the hauntingly beautiful and dangerous atmosphere of the swamps. I was gripped from the first page to the very last.

Perfect for fans of Gothic romances.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Website

*BLOG TOUR & REVIEW* ~ The Danger You Know, by Lily White

Title: The Danger You Know
Author: Lily White
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: April 22, 2020

Ari is going to maul your heart and stalk your senses. ~ Shabby, BookBistroBlog

This is how a dark stalker book should be written!! This was top notch!! In a league of its own!! ~ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books

Probably the best stalker romance I have ever read! ~ I like Books Best

You’ll judge me.
Hate me and tell me I’m wrong.
Refuse to see how my darkness is what she needs.
While I don’t particularly care about your feelings in the matter, and while I pursue her despite the wedding bells that rang for another, only I can see how she is drowning beneath mediocrity.
How many times must I remind her?
It can’t matter that I am the person who ruined her life.
The man who killed her father.
The constant shadow that watches her sleep.
The lover who prefers dirty alleyways to freshly laundered sheets
She’s mine. Always has been. 
I’m the worst thing for her, yet I’m the only salvation she knows.
He had his chance to make her happy.
He failed.
He didn’t see how she was dying inside because he couldn’t know her.
Not like I know her.
I am her stalker.
Her protector.
And the only man that can bring her back to life.

My Review – 5 stars!

Intoxicating dark & twisted read

I was blown away by this intoxicating dark and twisted read – a stalker novel par excellence. Indeed, my dark heart did a happy dance whilst reading this novel! Once again Lily White has shown herself to be up with the very best of the authors of the genre.Ari, an assassin is alpha to the core, with no moral compass – he is paid handsomely to carry out his hits and moves on without regret to the next kill. Except the time he hid in the shadows, catching sight of Adeline mourning the death of her father. Since then he has stalked her, protecting her from harm, his obsession and need to own her intensifying to fever pitch as the years pass.

As for Adeline, she is the archetypal wild child, living her life on the edge. She senses a dark shadow in her life but brushes it off as she has her own personal demons to contend with. Marriage to a respectable businessman promises to give her the chance to put her youthful follies to bed and finally embrace adulthood. All the time unbeknownst to her Ari continues to watch over her…

I loved that Ari could not dismiss his obsession with Adeline, her personal demons calling to him like no other. Her marriage and its aftermath compelling him to take a more hands on role in her life – I just loved how their story played out. Neither can resist the attraction they have for one another and Adeline is not only ignorant of who and what Ari is, but is oblivious to the role that he has played in her past and the devastating impact he threatens to have on her present… As Ari seeks to set Adeline free once more will he replace one prison for another and what happens when the truth is out?

The novel is one of dark obsession, which quickly spirals into one ****ed up read in a way that only Lily knows how to write! Ari and Adeline are explosive together: their relationship is one screwed up hot mess. It’s a morally questionable tale, full of secrets and lies, suspense and sizzling passion, a truly addictive dark read. I was quickly rooting for a HEA for Adeline and the assassin Ari, the bad guy, the ultimate anti-hero. What should be so wrong just felt so damn right!

All in all a superb sizzling and suspenseful read. Recommended for fellow addicts of the dark side.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Clearing my throat, I whisper, “I’m a married woman.”
“You keep saying that, but I’m not sure I care.” A pause. “I’m not sure you care either.”
He runs a fingertip along the curve of my hip, and I jump, my throat slamming closed as I attempt to hide the reaction.
“Are you planning on having any fun tonight, Adeline? Or has your life become so boring, you’ve forgotten what it is?”
I don’t answer him, but it doesn’t stop Ari from having his fun.
Another soft slide of a fingertip, this time down the center of my nape, the secret touch hidden by the fall of my hair.
“I hope you know I plan to wrap my fist in this hair the first time I sink inside you.”
My entire body shivers, my lungs struggling to breathe as he pulls his hand away.
Voice a low croon, he asks, “Will you dance with me?”
Swallowing several times before I can answer, I lie to him. “I don’t dance.”
But it makes me remember when I used to lose myself to the beat of music, the hours I would spend happily working myself into a full body sweat, my hair wild, my heart pounding. I’d felt so free then. So unencumbered by the weight of responsibility that came with being the wife of Grant Cabot.
“I think you do,” he whispers.
“My husband doesn’t dance,” I say, my voice firmer because it makes me angry to admit it.
A soft chuckle. “Then it’s a good thing I’m not your husband.”
Lily White is a romance writer who likes to dabble on the taboo side of eroticism. She is most known for her Masters Series, Target This, Wishing Well, and Asylum. In addition to dark romance Lily writes contemporary romance, taboo romance, and psychological thrillers. Lily enjoys stretching her writing muscles by continuing to challenge herself with each book she publishes.

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ The White Scorpion: A James Ryker Thriller #5, by Rob Sinclair

#spies #spythrilller #thriller

Book Blurb

Rule number one for an agent of the secretive JIA is to follow orders, no matter what.
But James Ryker has never cared much for rules. He only wants to do what is right.

Assigned to join of crew of elite security personnel in Chabon, Africa, Ryker’s mission objective is clouded by politics and obfuscation, and he knows only that to protect British interests in the region, he is to infiltrate the close protection team of the government of Chabon, a country with a dark and violent past.

Arriving in Chabon’s crumbling capital, Kilpassa, Ryker finds a country on the brink of civil war. A growing civilian rebellion threatens peace, with claims of atrocities committed by both sides, including the frail government run by enigmatic President Benyu – a former military general who took control of the country in a violent coup.
Drawn into Benyu’s inner circle, it soon becomes clear to Ryker that in Chabon, the lines between good and bad, and right and wrong, are nearly impossible to identify.

With a crisis of epic proportions unfolding before his eyes, Ryker knows one thing for sure: with or without the backing of his superiors, he must take drastic action, and quickly, or risk putting millions of innocent lives in danger.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Rip-roaring spy thriller 

The White Scorpion, the 5th book in the James Ryker series, is another rip-roaring spy thriller from the imagination of Rob Sinclair. I was glued to my Kindle from the first page until the last, fully immersed in the read, which combines politics, espionage and at times some unapologetically bloody and brutal scenes.

Ryker is enticed out of his semi-retirement by his former boss Peter Winters in the Joint Intelligence Agency, and tasked with protecting President Benyu, the leader of an unstable African state to maintain the country’s stability and protect British interests. He is not operating alone, the team he is assigned to comprising others from a military and special services background, all hitherto unknown to each other.

Ryker and his team on the ground find that their very lives are on the line as they are at the mercy of diplomatic power play involving their paymasters in the intelligence services and HM government. They find they have to navigate the internal politics of an African state whose charismatic but volatile leader has his own agenda and whose country is teetering on the brink of rebellion. Who can Ryker and his colleagues trust in this murky world of politics and personal ambition?

Ryker’s character arc has developed over the course of the series and although he is very much a  highly skilled spy, assassin and killing machine when needs be, he is now a man with a conscience. He needs to know that his orders are there for a good reason and will not hesitate to seek revenge against those who deserve his wrath. We witness the shift in his moral compass throughout in his dealings with colleagues and those he encounters throughout his mission. I thoroughly enjoyed the relationships Ryker has with the other characters in the novel, particularly Moreno, a member of his team and Peter Winters his boss.

This engaging and well researched read is fast paced, gritty and oftentimes bloody in content and leaves the reader guessing until its denouement. It is recommended to fans of action packed but thoughtful spy thrillers and anyone who relishes a diverting read whatever the genre.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC pf this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Connect with the Author

https://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

 

 

 

 

*REVIEW* ~ After the Interview, by AA Abbott

#revenge #thriller #corporatelife

Book Blurb

We’ve all made mistakes in job interviews, but what happens when the tables are turned? Andrew, rejected for his dream job, finally takes his revenge. Jed’s passions are computers, music and trains. He tries to understand the world around him, but his inability to deal with people means he risks losing everything he loves. Boris admires a beautiful American girl. He can’t predict their meeting will have fatal consequences… AA Abbott writes about life at the office – with added thrills. In this stunning thriller, the action moves between IT companies in Birmingham and London, with a little R&R in Amsterdam. This is what readers are saying: “A cracking read…very cleverly plotted” “a real page turner” “an intelligently written, engaging novel”

My Review

Superb character driven thriller – 5 stars

I loved this fast paced and character driven thriller by AA Abbott. It’s a tale of corporate greed, revenge and romance, with a couple of murders thrown in for good measure! The book lifts the lid on a group of business high flyers and their associates in London and Birmingham, contrasting their lifestyles and their personal ambitions in an addictive read. Essentially a tale of personal revenge, the read swiftly gathers pace before reaching its climax.

I really enjoyed the contrast between the character of Andrew, who seeks revenge on the unsuspecting Jed. Andrew is the archetypal corporate player, who dedicates his life to his career and for whom losing is not an option. By contrast Jed, the IT genius, is completely lacking in people skills. He does not even remember the personal slight he inflicted on Andrew many years ago – that of rejecting him for a position in his firm and has no idea the threat Andrew poses to his professional and personal life. Add the actions of one of Jed’s employees, the madcap, selfish and self-destructive tax expert ‘Boris,’ and the plot very soon takes some very interesting and unforeseen twists and turns….

It was Jed, who clearly falls within the autistic spectrum, whom I was rooting for throughout. The author does an excellent job of developing his character and contrasting it with the urbane and accomplished Andrew. Just how far will Andrew go with his revenge and just how personal will he get?

Recommended to all lovers of a quality read who enjoy a twisted plot and memorable characters.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Links

https://aaabbott.co.uk/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7339437.A_A_Abbott

*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Green Viper, A James Ryker Thriller #4, by Rob Sinclair

#thriller #espionage

Book Blurb

I need your help. Call me.
Ex-intelligence agent James Ryker receives a coded message through a secret drop point, a means of communication known only to him and one other person. The problem is, that other person is his ex-boss, Mackie… and he’s already dead.
But the cry for help is real, and it’s a request Ryker can’t refuse.
Travelling to New York alone and without official sanction, Ryker has a single goal in mind, yet even he couldn’t have bargained for the violent world he’s soon embroiled in. Caught in the middle of a spiralling chaos with the FBI on one side, and two warring underworld bosses on the other, Ryker must put all of his skills to the test in order to come out on top, and keep his word.
In a world full of lies and deceit, loyalty is everything, and it’s time for James Ryker to pay his dues.

My Review

Edge of Seat Thriller – masterfully executed ~5 stars

The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair is a masterfully executed edge of seat thriller, ideal for fans or the genre or those looking to lose themselves in an addictive read.

Although the book is the fourth in the author’s James Ryker series it works perfectly well as a stand-a-lone. Readers who have been following Ryker in this series and in the author’s previous Carl Logan books will however appreciate revisiting the shadowy world Ryker inhabits and witnessing his shifting moral compass.

The book opens with  Ryker taking some extended time out from his on/off life of espionage and violence. Whilst visiting London to carry out some personal business he soon becomes embroiled in a mission: the widow of his former mentor Mackie requests that he prevents her son Scott Campbell from getting in over his head with the very worst of organised crime.

For Scott, after losing his respectable London based accountancy job, relocating to New York with his girlfriend Kate seems like a dream come true, offering him the chance to make it big. Henry Green, Kate’s father, is one of the big fish Scott is out to impress – he knows this man’s business interests are not wholly above board but has seen enough to know that this goes with the territory. When Henry seeks his advice Scott finds himself drawn into Henry’s inner circle, swallowing any misgivings he has. When Ryker appears Scott is already in over his head, tormented by a toxic combination of fear, awe, respect and revulsion for Green.

The scene is set for an exhilarating read involving mob bosses, secret services and violence and twists aplenty as a number of other players join the party. I hugely enjoyed the evolving dynamics between Ryker and Scott and Scott and Green. Indeed, the characterisations of the central plot players – Ryker and Scott (whom Ryker has known since he was a boy) and Green are multi layered and believable. Ryker is once again at the top of his game as he gives his all to save his mentor’s son. Some of the scenes necessary to illustrate the world in which Scott has become a part of were downright ugly to read – Green and his ilk are not ones to cross. It is a hallmark of the author that he recounts these scenes necessary to advance the plot, in in a matter of fact, albeit graphic style.

Is Ryker too late to save Scott? Does he want to be saved? What of Henry’s daughter Kate? What impact will the actions of others who have taken an interest on Green’s activities have? I was glued to he read until the end of its electrifying dénouement.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams
Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Author Links

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8389261.Rob_Sinclair?from_search=true

https://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/robsinclairauthor/

Publisher Bloodhound Books

*REVIEW* ~ Split Decision, by Carmen Capuano

#comingofage #youngadult #romance #thriller

Book Blurb

How was Natalie to know that the decision she was about to make between two potential dates, would forever be a pivotal point in her life? That it would mark the time where childhood innocence ended? How could she even imagine that the wrong decision would send her life spiralling into the stuff of nightmares from where she might not come out alive? Life takes a cruel twist of fate when Natalie, a completely average [almost] 16 year old, is forced to make a split-second decision… a decision that will change her future and forever alter her perception of trust, love and the realities of life.

My Review

Brilliant and Brutal Coming-of-Age Story – 5 stars

Split Decision, essentially a coming-of-age novel, is both brilliant and brutal – brilliant in its execution and brutal in the sensitive subject matter it explores. The decision Natalie makes impacts on many and she is not the same person at the end of the story as she is at the beginning… It is the second book that I have read by the author Carmen Capuano, the first being Ascension, a dystopian thriller (click on the book title for the review). Although the subject matter is completerly different, I found the story just as engaging and thought- provoking.

The plot begins in a shoe shop where best friends, teenagers Natalie and Stacey are shopping. The new pair of shoes which Natalie purchases – in a style which is way out of character for the sensible teenager, can be viewed as a metaphor for both her step into adulthood and what subsequently occurs. Natalie is soon called upon to make a split second choice and her decision heralds a chain of unexpected and shocking events.

The author does an excellent job of depicting the trials and tribulations of the teenage years and how they effect existing and new relationships: a time of burgeoning sexuality, when we strive to forge our own identity, sometimes putting us in conflict with our families who find it difficult to come to terms with their offspring entering adulthood. The balance between protecting their children whilst allowing them the freedom to grow is often a difficult one and I felt that the author touched on this in a sensitive fashion. I certainly identified with Stacey and Natalie from memories of my own teenage years and recognised how easily events could take the path they did.

The characters, the young people and the adults, were all very believable and the author is to be congratulated on using the events to illustrate their personal growth and changing family dynamics.The plot is cleverly and expertly written and certainly had me guessing and questioning my own preconceptions and prejudices.

All in all a super read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6917112.Carmen_Capuano

http://carmencapuano.blogspot.co.uk/