Social Media Icons

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Review: Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Park Row Books
Publishing May 30, 2017

Fans of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Scottoline, get your hands on this book ASAP!  Pre-order it now! A suspenseful thriller with characters you will love - it's a win win situation... just do it!

Amelia loses her hearing in a fluke accident spiraling into alcoholism as a coping mechanism; she loses her husband, stepdaughter and her job. Finally pulling herself together with the help of her service dog, Stitch, she has a job interview lined up and things are looking up. Then she finds a body of a friend and ex-coworker while kayaking and her life threatens to explode all over again.

How is this my first Heather Gudenkauf book?! I need more of her books ASAP! I fell immediately in love with Amelia and Stitch (let's face it, I'm a sucker for a loyal animal). She did an amazing job of having us live through Amelia's deaf world. Told present day, with some tiny flashbacks here and there, we learn of Amelia's relationships with her husband, stepdaughter, old friends and how huge trauma can change the course of your world with a single, unexpected bang. Her finding her friend's body, a friend she ignored after her accident, she feels obligated to figure out who killed her and why. Starting a course that could worsen her already fragile relationships, she delves into a mystery that could very well cost her life.

I was already in love with this book when I turned the last page.. reading the Author's Note at the end further made me fall. I highly suggest you take the time to read these if you don't already.

Those who like their thrillers on a lighter side will love this one. While I usually like my thrillers more twisty and crazed, on the lighter side of thrillers this is at the top of my list. Sometimes it's about the characters themselves rather than the outcome, don't you think?

View all my reviews

Amsterdam: Kings Day Festival - Part 3 - The End

Amsterdam: Final Day

Can we just talk for a moment about how BEAUTIFUL Amsterdam is? I mean, just LOOK at this view! Day 3, last a final day to run around and do what we want.  We kept getting "stuck" in places as we were just having too much fun catching up.  Our only goal for the day was to go to the Flower Market and then to the Torture Museum.  I'm not quite sure what I was expecting from both but neither was what I pictured in my head!

For some reason, I didn't think about the words Flower MARKET and expected to be in a field of flowers, frolicking my little heart out... sadly there was no frolicking involved and instead, I was surprised with an actual flower market that is famous for being partly on the canal and so is considered "floating":

It was extremely crowded, full of bulbs and seeds for flowers, plants, etc with mechanized butterflies and lots of cheese and waffles.  :D  My friend kept yelling out, "Those are some big bulbs!"  And yes, they most certainly were.

Next up!  The torture museum:

Sadly, extremely disappointing.  I don't know what we were expecting but for $10 we got to walk through, read about the various devices and that was that.  Nothing exciting - even the writing on the walls re what they were used for fell flat and didn't keep any of our interests.  πŸ–“  I 100% do NOT recommend this place.  Save your money - the most torturous thing about this was having to go through it - luckily it only lasted for about 2 minutes.  But hey - here's some pictures anyway!

From there we decided to walk around through the red light district and then find dinner.  Red light district - WHY SO DISAPPOINTING?   I guess I expected a more Total Recall kind of experience 🀣 - instead we just saw girls (most of them gorgeous, I gotta say), standing in windows like a pet shop, looking bored as hell and on their cell phones.  We moseyed by the Prostitution Information center but it was closed and having had enough disappointment, off to dinner we go! 

We tried to go to a few places that had been suggested to us, but alas, we did it wrong and didn't make reservations - but everything happens for a reason and we ended up at Fou Fow Ramen and we all highly recommend it! So good! And exactly what we needed as it was the coldest night yet.

We set off for one more drink before heading back to our apartment as we were all traveling the next day.  Here are some more beautiful views:

Amsterdam pigeons are just as unafraid as New York pigeons - though they actually do look cleaner.

Found The American Book Center - didn't go in but it was nice to know it was an option :)

There are bikes EVERYWHERE - it reminded me of Burning Man except that there were no real distinct features on any of them - HOW do they find their bikes when they need them?  Still a mystery to me!  And they are aggressive - between the cars, trams, buses and bikes I was surprised I didn't get run over.

I think this dude protected me most of the time - nothing like a stoner alien with a hemp hat to move things right along.

And so ends this year's Girls Weekend in Amsterdam.  A picture from our final day - still smiles on our face (may have been the liquor or gas, but I think it's just good old fun)..  And then there were two......

Thanks for following along so far - I see you out there - I don't know who you are since this account still doesn't let me know who is following me (haha) but I see the hits so THANK YOU.  Stay tuned as here comes 7 days in England - tonight is just take away Chinese, wine and relaxing. 

See you in a couple of days! <3



Saturday, April 29, 2017

Amsterdam: Kings Day Festival - Part 2

Amsterdam: Day 2

It's always nice to have a plan for what to do on a certain day... and then not do any of them!  One friend got up early to meet another for brunch while the other two (including me) took advantage of vacation time to sleep in.  Waking up upon first friend's return, we left her behind to go get some eats and coffee.  Ending up at a Tex Mex restaurant, we were vastly disappointed in the food.  First sign: empty restaurant.  Whatever, we were starving.  The enchilada she had looked like a burrito, no sauce, and extremely dry.  My "fajitas" were lacking in any kind of taste whatsoever and their version of spicy is non-existent.  But the coffee .... you just can't go wrong here! And by coffee, I really mean coffee!

Coming back from this, we all decided to take naps.  Maybe this is a sign of our older age, but what do you do? Food coma, bring it.  I'm not much of a napper so I grabbed my current read (Not A Sound) and laid on the couch.  After about 3 chapters, I woke myself up (lightly) snoring.  (It's cute, shut up. πŸ™‚)  This is in no correlation to the book, the book is fantastic, my body, not so much...  Originally we were going to go to the flower market but that closed at 5:30 and we woke up just in time to miss it completely.  The torture museum didn't close until 11 so we figured we had PLENTY of time to get moving, grab some dinner and hit it up.  Yeah, that didn't happen either.  We went to a fancy French restaurant and ended up at a 4 hour dinner.  Two bottles of wine, a three course dinner and an espresso martini later, we finished in just enough time to miss the torture museum too.  Whoops! But look at all the good food we had!

 I started with this marinated raw salmon... now, I'm not much into raw fish to be honest but this was pretty good!  Absolutely have no idea what the other stuff was that was on top of it but it was crunchy and delicious and the horseradish cream complimented it perfectly.  My main course was this steak au something or another.  It was extremely raw - I don't like my steak mooing most of the time - but the char and spices on the outside made for a delectable eat.  Potato ham side was a nice addition.

My friend opted for the frog legs and mushroom risotto pictured above.  It basically was delicious frog legs (tastes like chicken!) in green foam.  There was no rice to be found.  Maybe risotto means something different here?  Still delicious (despite the mushrooms - ew).

And then you must end with dessert, right? RIGHT!  I opted for two, an espresso martini (holy hell this was delicious) and some crΓ¨me brulee.  The fluffiest and creamiest I've ever had, with the ratio of crunchy top that's best I've seen - a shallower dish is definitely the way to go for this dessert.

My bestie ended up with a chocolate mousse that was the perfect sweetness and had a vanilla cream to add to it - look how happy she is with her dessert!

After dinner we headed back to the apartment to freshen up and to decide where our next destination was going to be.  We definitely did NOT want to embark on another bar hopping venture where the guys were handsy - our tolerance level for this behavior has dropped immensely and it's only day 2.  So where's the best place to go?  The gay district! 

Now, keep in mind that the first day, we literally only traveled within a block radius to do everything we wanted.  We were laughing that we basically got NOWHERE our first day.  Hahaha, but we're in the best area!  The gay district was about a 10 minute walk - EEK. Hahaha - yay - we made it out of a block from the apartment!  When we first get there both my friends got accosted by two assholes and I played bodyguard, which was quite hilarious after the fact.  Then we went to our first bar.  Ahhhhhhhhhh.... no hands, good music, cheap drinks. Thank you, Amsterdam!  Had a few drinks there and decided to venture off to the next establishment.  We ended up at SOHO, more room to dance and have fun.  Stayed there for a bit with no issues or creepy people.  SCORE!  Then it was time to head home. 

Everybody has been telling me, when in Amsterdam, get a street waffle! A STREET WAFFLE?!  Don't mind if I do.  And then bestie tried to steal it.....

They are DELICIOUS!  I opted out of the Nutella option... why? I DON'T KNOW!  Totally worth it though.  Thank you and good night!

Today we are off to try and do the things we didn't do yesterday.... let's see if we can't actually make it this time? Stay tuned..... (and things for coming along with me on this journey!)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Amsterdam: Kings Day Festival - Part 1

Amsterdam: Day One

Every year, my best friends from college and I try to do a trip of some kind.  A girls weekend of fun and catching up since we all live in different areas now (NYC, DC and England).  We've been everywhere from Munich for Oktoberfest, Atlantis in the Bahamas, to stateside affairs such as Providence, Rhode Island for seafood and cliff walks and Philadelphia for cheesesteaks and speak easy hopping.  This year, we decided to hit up Amsterdam for Kings Day festivities.

We all came in yesterday at different times, me being the last one to get here.  Jet lagged but pumped on reunion vibes and the happy, enthralling festivities happening right outside our window kept me moving into the wee hours of the next morning.  I wish the video I took would work on this post but it's failing me now... however, if you saw it on my Bookstagram stories, you would see that it depicts the crowds of fun with mash-up music and confetti EVERYWHERE.  Taken straight from our living room window, we ended up in the heart of orange love.  Here's a still shot to give you an idea:

I don't know about you guys, but we love getting dressed up, wigged out and all in all really owning the party atmosphere as much as possible.  As we were told orange is the color of the Dutch and what we should try to wear, I walked into my reunion, welcomed by my girls and their orange wigs.  They didn't even realize they had gotten the same wig so I was odd (wo)man out without one of my own.  So putting on an orange fedora (not pictured) and throwing some gems on my face, we took a quick snap and headed out to see what everything was all about.

We started at a pizza restaurant with a liter of wine, some water and our individual eats.  Bellies full of food and laughter, we ended up stuck there for over two hours just catching up on all things life.  From there we dropped leftovers off and hit the streets.  We started a local coffee shop where not only coffee is sold πŸ˜‰  Talked to some of the locals (which means one old man from Ireland who was on a two week holiday), imbibed on sparkling water and lattes and then we decided it was time to dance!  Just follow the music!

The first "club" we went to was tiny and full of drunktards - mostly happy - who immediately wanted to dance with everyone.  Being accosted immediately, we decided to travel further in and away from all the hands.  That didn't work out too well and after many chest pushes to get away from these extremely handsy idiots, we traveled to another spot.  Less handsy but still very "friendly", we managed to have fun - dancing to 90s music that went all over the place and changed at the drop of a dime.  Also, the only place I had to pay to pee. (What is THAT about!)  After about an hour or so there, we ended up at a local bar where we drank some more (when in Amsterdam....) and continued our laughing spree until jetlag won the battle and we decided we still had 2 full days so why not get some proper rest.

Waking up starving and needing some coffee to get our juices flowing again, we were impressed at how clean the streets were considering how disgusting they became last night.  The most impressive garbage pile I saw was right outside the Burger King - BK bags EVERYWHERE.  But then this morning, voila!:

Today we are off to a particular type of museum and some local, beautiful scenery.  Stay tuned for Day 2's summation tomorrow.  I know, you just can't wait, can you?

πŸ’• from Amsterdam,


Thursday, April 27, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Jessica's Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars

The Outliers was my introduction to Kimberly McCreight, and I was not disappointed! I really enjoy her writing style and the development of the characters. You felt connected to Wylie and her struggle to find Cassie. 
We start the story in Wylie's home with her father. We learn there was an accident and it is now just her father, her brother, and her at home now. After her mother's death, Wylie has progressively been avoiding leaving the house. Going on almost two weeks at home, Cassie's mother comes over. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But she's in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.
This time something's different, instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him. Trying to find Cassie is proving to be difficult, and even becoming dangerous for Wylie and Jasper. With a growing sense of doom, Wylie reluctantly heads into the dense woods of Maine in hopes of locating Cassie. Is finding her just the beginning of something?
I really enjoyed the adventure and trying to figure out Cassie's cryptic clues. Where is she? What's happening? Can we trust Jasper? I'm so excited for book two coming out soon, The Scattering!

Follow Jessica on Goodreads or Instagram

Sam's Thoughts:
2 / 5 Stars

Wylie is a good friend.  She has come to the rescue time and time again for her best friend, Cassie.  So, when Cassie’s mom arrives at her doorstep asking her if she has heard from Cassie, Wylie knows this time feels different.  Not long after, Wylie receives a text.  “Please Wylie, I need your help”.  This starts a whirlwind of events that takes Wylie across state lines with Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, and as they get further from home and closer to the truth, Wylie’s instinct is telling her something is wrong.  Seriously wrong.  

So this one started out all fine and dandy.  I have wanted to read Kimberly McCreight’s work forever but haven’t gotten around to them.  I had heard awesome things about Reconstructing Amelia, but hadn’t heard anything about The Outliers.    So I dove into this book without any research or reading its synopsis.

After I started reading, I realized right away that this was Y.A.  If you are a regular reader at Clues and Reviews, you know this is a struggle for me.   Aside from some minor annoyances with the characters and some general annoyance with the plot, I actually didn’t mind the first bits of this book.  I was intrigued enough to continue reading and the plot was fast paced enough that I wasn’t feeling bored.

However, then I hit about ¾ of the way through and the plot completely flipped.  I mean randomly, completely opposite direction flipped.   This one went from a teenage mystery thriller to some sort of Divergent-esque supernatural/sci-fi novel without a dystopian setting. 

Even with the cliffhanger ending, I’m not sure I will read any of the other books.  I feel like if you are a reader of Y.A and you loved the Divergent series, this one will appeal to you.  But if you are looking for a mystery/thriller, this one will leave you disappointed. 

Follow Sam on InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and her Blog!

My Thoughts:
3.5 / 5 Stars

I have such mixed feelings about this book!  You take a girl who is somewhat of an outcast at school, has a falling out with her best friend, who disappears with a cryptic note and then teams up with said friend's hot boyfriend to go looking for her without telling her Dad or any authorities.  Sound familiar? Sure does - and then it takes a HUGE left turn at Albuquerque and I'm left scratching my head wondering what the hell is going on.  All people are suspect - ALL.  I fear saying too much will spoil any plot twists and turns (and there are MANY) so I'm going to leave any type of synopsis as the above.  Why do I have mixed feelings, you ask?  Because I feel that 90% of
the book is absolutely and completely implausible - one huge example being that the main character is agoraphobic since her mother's death.  But as soon as her best friend needs her help, she manages to pack the world to feel safe, hold onto an elbow and walk about the door... and then it disappears - never comes back to haunt her.  Um... what?  And that's just the beginning. 

Now for fear that you think I didn't like this book, that's not true.  I actually quite enjoyed it - once I could dispense myself of all reality.  It's action packed - and I mean PACKED - something is going on ALL the time, which makes for a quick read.  Each chapter leaves you hanging with something new that went awry.  I couldn't stop myself.  I needed to know what was going to happen even though I had no idea what was really happening to begin with.  So bring on the Scattering so I know what happens next because that ending... could you leave me hanging any more?!

Kimberly McCreight reeled me in with Reconstructing Amelia, a book I thoroughly enjoyed.  This is nothing like it.  And let me tell you, I kinda like that she's all over the place with her genres.  I really want to get inside her head.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Lisa Unger has a beautiful way with seamlessly drawing her characters and plot together.  She completely pulls the reader into her world via a one way ticket, which works well because you are certain to not want to leave.  A #CJSReads final April pick and we ended with a BANG!

We strongly suggest you get out and get a copy of this now - it released yesterday, 4/25/17, and is waiting for your eyes!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What is the difference between justice and revenge? In this buzzworthy new standalone thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark place…

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house—one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past—and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

Jessica's Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger was my introduction to this author, and now I need to read her other books! I loved this. We follow the lives of two women who both have experienced a trauma in their lives. While they lead very different lives, they are on a collision course that start and end in the same house. 
Claudia Bishop’s seemingly perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Needing and looking for a fresh start, Claudia decides she will take on a home restoration project and start a blog. Claudia takes on a crumbling old house. One that has an awful history and hides deep buried secrets that Claudia knows nothing about. For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the home invasion turned murder of her parents. Years later, she has learned to embrace the rage inside her and allow it to fuel her. She began training in martial arts, which has made her strong physically and mentally so that she is ready to face the demons from the past—and within. Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.
It always amazes me when authors can successfully weave together the lives and events of two characters. I've always loved bouncing between perspectives of characters, because as I've always stated, it helps answer some questions as you go and begin to piece together what the end could possibly be (or try to).

Follow Jessica on Goodreads or Instagram

Sam's Thoughts:
4.5 / 5 Stars

After reading Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger earlier this year, I developed a slight author obsession.   I feverishly purchased all her books, so, when #cjsreads decided to read The Red Hunter as one of April picks? I was thrilled.

Unger does not disappoint in her newest psychological thriller.  I devoured this one in a single sitting.  Exploring revenge, deep seeded secrets, betrayal and the bonds that tie families, Unger does not leave a stone unturned as she effortlessly weaves an intricate story and slams down plot twist after plot twist. 

The novel opens with the introduction of Claudia, who after a divorce is restoring an old, family home with her daughter teenaged daughter, Raven.   As Claudia struggles with her renovations and Raven struggles with her identity, Josh, a local handyman, comes into the picture with his own agenda, bringing along his brother Rhett.  In a liner story, we meet Zoey, a girl who is dealing with her sick uncle and struggling with her own past demons involving the guilt of her parent’s murders.   As past and present collide, and secrets are uncovered, each character begins to intertwine and the house in the common thread in all of their stories. 

As you can see, there are plenty of moving pieces to this story and Unger delivers it with ease.  The characters in this novel are complex and extremely easy to relate to; told through alternating POV, each character has chance to tell their story and I found myself liking each one more than the last!   The novel was extremely fast paced, which I loved!  My eyes were glued to the pages and I was actively trying not to blink so I did not miss a second of the story.

My only complaint, and it is a small, small complaint, was that at times the narration felt a little confusing to me.  As mentioned, there are tons of moving pieces to this plot, which I loved.  However, occasionally, the POV switches without warning from character and time period.  I found myself having to flip back to double check if I missed something.    This all becomes very clear in the end and becomes quite the “ah ha” moment, but while I was smack dab in the middle, I found it to be a minor issue.

I do not want to reveal much more involving the plot or the way this story unfolds, since it truly is a story to be experienced, but I must say, if you are looking for a novel that will entertain and engage you, then look no further.  I’d add The Red Hunter to the top of your TBR list.

Follow Sam on InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and her Blog!

My Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars

Let's follow two women who endure trauma at various stages of their lives, only to find themselves in the same place for very different reasons. Meet Claudia, a blogger who has moved into a house inherited and using the renovation as way of making a fresh start for her and her daughter, who was born after Claudia's brutal assault that tore their family apart. Meet Zoey, a girl who witnesses her parents murder during a home invasion. Finding strength in martial arts, she prepares herself for the impending retribution. Her path leads her to Claudia, who lives in the house that she witnesses her parents murder in. What will it cost each of them when they collide during their respective journeys for peace and justice/revenge?

I've been a fan of Lisa Unger since Ink and Bone. I absolutely love her writing style. She hooks me right from the first chapter and reels me in until I'm laying on the floor, breathless and desperately trying to find some oxygen. She did not disappoint for The Red Hunter. Flashing back we see traces of Claudia and Zoey's pasts, giving you a full feel of where their mind set is and why. The introduction of minor characters only adds to the main story line and she seamlessly stitches their paths together to a final conclusion. And any girl who can take her sorrows and build on it through martial arts, becoming a lethal killing machine/vigilante is a winner in my book. Huge fan of Zoey. I have a feeling you will be too. Get the Hunger for the Unger (yeah, I said it, what.) 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

REVIEW and AUTHOR Q&A: One by Jane Blythe

One by  Jane Blythe

The first in a series, this psychological thriller with a side of romance will keep you guessing as you turn each page.  See below for the synopsis, a Q&A with the lovely Aussie author, Jane Blythe and my full review.  Cheers and happy reading!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep. 

Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead. 

But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game. 

Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.

Q&A with Jane Blythe:

Stats please!
Name: Jane Blythe
Age: 32 when I’m writing this but 33 by the time you read it!
Where from: I was born and still live in Melbourne, Australia
Books written, blurbs.

  • A Secret to the Grave
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Dead or Alive
  • Little Girl Lost
  • Forgotten


Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep.

Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead.

But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game.

Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.


Before the sun rises, another will fall.

When Brooke Mariano is found murdered on the grounds of the powerful Everette family’s estate, it looks at first as though she may have been killed in order to keep the paternity of her unborn child a secret.

However, when another member of the Everette family turns up dead each night, it quickly becomes a race against time as Detective Ryan Xander and his partner try to discover which member of the family is the killer before the entire clan wind up dead.

Ryan’s only inroad to the secretive family is Sofia Everette. Shunned by her father for her refusals to obey him, and battling a mysterious illness, Sofia’s childhood dreams may be the key to saving her life and stopping the killer from exterminating the entire Everette family.


He targets couples, attacking them in their bed, killing one and leaving the other alive.

She targets wealthy businessmen, luring them to a hotel and then drowning them.

When the two killers meet up a wild killing spree erupts.

Annabelle Englewood is still struggling to cope with what a vicious psychopath did to her eight months ago. Sofia Everette has spent five months recovering from the physical and psychological trauma inflicted on her by her sister. When the two women and their respective boyfriends, Detective Xavier Montague and Detective Ryan Xander, meet up they will have to deal with the fallout from two killers’ love affair, all under the ever-present eye of an escalating stalker.

All social media links

What does your writing process look like?

I love to plan! Like absolutely LOVE it! So my writing process starts off with a lot of planning. I always start off by writing my story in approximately 50 words, this helps really know exactly what my book is about. Next I expand on that and write my story in about 250 words. After that I plot it out scene by scene, this helps me with timing and revealing of information, and usually I pick up any problems with the story in this stage, which helps when I come to editing because there usually isn’t anything major to rewrite in the story because I’ve already dealt with those problem areas.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?

Hmm, maybe the middle of the book. I enjoy planning and I am always excited to start writing a new book, and the end is also exciting, plus by then I’m usually ready to start the next story, but sometimes I get stuck in the middle and lose some of my motivation.

How many hours a day do you write?

It depends, I work a part time job two days a week, so on those days I may only get in a couple of hours, on days when I’m not working I may get several hours done. Plus there is all the extra stuff to do too, marketing and promoting and networking, so much to keep me busy! I pretty much spend every available second that I have on writing!

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I don’t really have any strange habits, just my obsessive need to plan everything out!

What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process? Favorite part?

My favorite part is the writing itself, and my least favorite part would have to be marketing. I get kind of bashful sometimes talking about my books because it feels weird promoting myself, but I have learned a TON about promoting in the last year so I don’t mind it as much anymore!

Is there one particular subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

There isn’t much I wouldn’t ever write about, probably the only thing would be a woman who kept the fact that she was pregnant from the baby’s father, I usually get pretty annoyed by that storyline in books I read because its so unfair to the baby and the daddy. Otherwise I am up for pretty much anything else, even some sensitive topics like rape and abuse.

Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?

The hardest scenes for me to write are the kind of carefree, fun, happy scenes. Not really sure why that is, maybe because I find them they’re harder to make sound natural and to have them flow easily.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I think you need to be confident in yourself and have a pretty thick skin, its tough to put something you worked so hard on out there where you know some people are going to hate it, and you also want to be opening to advice, because that’s how we grow and improve. So I think you need a bit of an ego but not too much!

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When books first transported me into their magical world. I loved reading different books and living in that world while I read, and I wanted to write books that could transport people outside their regular lives and into a book world for a little while.

How many unpublished/half-finished books do you have?

Book four in my Count to Ten Series is in the final editing stage ready for publication in July 2017, books five and six are in the first draft stage. I have written an unrelated trilogy all in first draft stage, have plans for two spin offs which are next in my writing to do list, plus a series spin off from the trilogy of which I just finished writing the first draft of book one.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?

Usually a couple of months, my shortest ever was five weeks, but I’m not usually that fast! If I stick to my schedule, which is aiming for one scene written each day, then about two months is enough time to get a first draft done.

If you could cast the characters of One for a movie, who would play your characters?

Oh, that’s a tough question! I think I would love to cast unknown actors in the roles, someone who when I met them just encapsulated the characters.

What inspired you to write such a dark book?

When it comes to writing darkness just seems to come out! Usually I love cute things, I collect teddy bears, I love baking and making adorable cake decorations, my favorite colors are pink and yellow, I love Disney. But for writing I just love getting into that dark “criminal” mindset and thinking about what makes the bad guy tick, and I love exploring how victims react to and rebuild their lives after experiencing trauma, so for the writing aspect of my life I’ll always go for dark.

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes I am addicted to checking for and reading reviews! I do not respond to reviews written from random readers, if I have submitted my book to a blogger for a review then yes I gush all over them with thanks, whether the review was good or bad, for fitting my book into their busy schedules!! When I get a bad review I allow myself to feel bad for a moment, then I remind myself that it is just one person’s opinion, maybe read a good review to remind myself that other people have enjoyed my books, and then I move on and get back to writing!

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I am a teacher, mainly preschool but I have taught up to sixth grade, so if I didn’t write I would go back to that fulltime, but I cannot imagine my life without writing, I have loved storytelling since I was a very little girl and it is just a part of me!

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I would have to say the best results I’ve ever gotten from spending money on my writing have been paid promotions for when I do a book sale.

Have you ever gotten reader's block?  How did you get out of it? (And I do mean reader's, not writer's) :D

Haha! Great question! Yes, I have! So I am one of those awful people who read the end of a book first, and if I really don’t like the ending then I get terrible reader’s block and really have to force myself to finish the book, because I am also one of those people who has to finish a book once I start it! Usually I will procrastinate over the book for ages until I set aside a day to catch up on all the books in my to be read pile, then I just speed read my way through it!

Do you google yourself?

I have!

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Teddy bear or Dalmatian! They have nothing to do with my books, although the odd teddy or Dalmatian does pop up from time to time, but I collect teddies and have two Dalmatians so I would definitely choose those as my mascot!

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I am currently working on a novelette that grew out of some flash fiction scenes, I’m very excited about it because I never thought I could write a short story! When I finish that its editing Four, and then starting one of the books that’s a spinoff from the trilogy I wrote last year, I’m very excited about this book too because I love the theme for my killer!

What literary character is most like you?

Hmm, I really don’t know!

What authors have inspired you?

All the authors who write the same kind of books that I write have inspired me to write as good a stories as they do! Some of my favorite authors are Karen Rose, Allison Brennan, Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton.

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?

Never give up! Writing is hard work but if its what you really to do and you would do it even if no one ever read what you wrote, then do it!

My Review:
Annabelle Englewood wakes up handcuffed to a hospital bed. The last thing she remembers is feeling tired after dinner and going to lay down for a nap. Her entire family has been brutally murdered during this time and she's suspect number one. Detective Xavier Montague is on the case, but there's something about Annabelle's eyes that draws him in and soon his first instinct of her innocence is proven right when more families are murdered in the same fashion and she becomes a pawn in the killer's vicious game. How far will Detective Montague go in order to protect Annabelle?

Let me just say that the killer is one cruel, psychotic and horrifying son of a bitch. And let's face it, I LOVE me a crazy antagonist with no moral boundaries. His killings and actions become more brutal as the book progresses. Solidly my favorite character from the book. Now, while I do like my characters flawed, and Annabelle and Xavier both certainly are, it became a bit overwhelming with Annabelle's continuous self-depreciation and repetitive questioning of herself and everyone around her. At a certain point I almost wish he HAD killed her. (I'm a horrible person, I know.. and I'm fine with it.) If it was the author's point to make the reader really see how much self doubt and anxiety she had, it absolutely worked. I just wish the background on why she was like this was a bit more fleshed out. Xavier is a likable character though - a hot detective with a tad bit of a hero complex after a traumatic experience with his ex wife? GIMME. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of insta-love... I know, I know, traumatic experiences brings forth lots of other emotions, some tending to the co-dependent, instantaneous love of a lifetime. It's plausible. I just don't like it. (I could be a jaded, single woman too but that's a whole other story that has nothing to do with this one.) Also, I did have a hard time believing in the realism of the detective work and their procedures in light of the feelings involved and how certain events came to play out.  With all of the ramblings above said, let me point out this is the first book in a series so I expect that we will learn more about Annabelle and her past, see how the relationship may possibly continue between her and the detective and what more the creepy antagonist can bring forth. I'm certainly intrigued enough to want to know where the story continues. Take TWO!

Big thank you to Jane Blythe for taking the time to answer my Q&A and providing me a copy of her book, ONE, in exchange for my honest review. πŸ’“

View all my reviews