Holiday Shorts: Flash Fiction by Barbara Venkataraman / #Review @BarbaraVenkat

Holiday Flash Fiction, what could be more fun? Capture a mood, a memory, a wonderful experience, using exactly 100 words. Stories like Secret Santa, Brag and Gag, In the Nick of Time, The Roar of the Crowd, and Opposites Attract will give you a chuckle. Other stories like Everyone’s a Critic, Spread Joy and Holiday Magic will make your holidays even more enjoyable.

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Review

This is the third and last flash fiction book I have and this time we find ourselves in December. Yes, it’s that time of the year again : Christmas.

Holiday shorts… Santa took it quite literally and put his on. The cover already made me smile and so did a lot of the stories too. It really brings you in the mood. You see yourself as a child, counting the hours until it’s time to open those presents and find out what’s hidden inside. Or you see your older self making a list (or not), trying to find the prefect presents for your loved ones. We even get to peek in Santa’s home and workplace.

It must have been a wonderful challenge for the authors to create a story in so little words. I can imagine them having great fun doing it. I definitely had fun reading them.  5 stars

Thank you, Barbara Venkataraman

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About the authors

Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. Her works include: “The Fight for Magicallus”, a children’s fantasy; “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”, a humorous short story; and three books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” and “A Smidge of Crazy”, from her series, “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo”, “The Case of the Killer Divorce”, “Peril in the Park”, “Engaged in Danger” and “Jeopardy in July”.
Her newest book has just been released: “Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four”, a memoir she co-authored with her son about lessons he learned while working to exonerate four men falsely convicted of a terrible crime in the Jim Crow South. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.

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Author Link

Blog : www.barbaravenkataraman.blogspot.com 

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Book Link

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PVWQY55/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B08PVWQY55&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Scary Shorts: Halloween Flash Fiction by Barbara Venkataraman / #Review @BarbaraVenkat

Halloween Flash Fiction, what could be more fun? Capture a mood, a phobia, a scary experience, using exactly 100 words. Stories like A Drive in the Country, Halloween Stew, Skeleton Crew, Something About Her Shadow, and Candy Corn will give you the creeps, keep you up at night as you stare at the ceiling. Other stories like Careful What You Wish For and Paying the Piper will make you think twice about your bad decisions.

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Review

This is my second flash fiction book. I have to admit I did not know what it was before, but I can honestly say that I  like the genre. 

After having read the sweet and cute Valentine stories, it was time get immersed in the Halloween spirit. Not my favorite time of the year, because horror is not my cup of tea, but I do like a good mystery so I was looking forward to it.

I was not disappointed. Some stories were really creepy, others had a great punch line and some even made me smile. 

Got you interested? You know what to do. 🙂

I enjoyed reading it a lot. I hope you will too. 5 stars

Thank you, Barbara Venkataraman

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About the authors

Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. Her works include: “The Fight for Magicallus”, a children’s fantasy; “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”, a humorous short story; and three books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” and “A Smidge of Crazy”, from her series, “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo”, “The Case of the Killer Divorce”, “Peril in the Park”, “Engaged in Danger” and “Jeopardy in July”.
Her newest book has just been released: “Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four”, a memoir she co-authored with her son about lessons he learned while working to exonerate four men falsely convicted of a terrible crime in the Jim Crow South. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.

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Author Link

Blog : www.barbaravenkataraman.blogspot.com 

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Book Link

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08M2MFYY7/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B08M2MFYY7&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Save My Daughter by Sam Vickery / #Review #BooksOnTour @bookouture

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As soon as we sat on the ride I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t hear the theme park music, the giggles of my two other children. I’d left my baby in someone else’s care. And I knew I’d made a mistake…

With her two beautiful children and newborn baby Ella, Lily’s life is full of love and laughter. She gave up her job to be a stay-at-home mother, and though she sometimes envies the freedom of best friend Hannah, Lily wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But Lily’s world implodes when Hannah disappears with Ella one day, and Lily fears from the text message she receives that Hannah doesn’t intend to come back:

You don’t deserve her.

It’s true that Lily has been keeping secrets about her marriage from Hannah, ones she thought only she and her husband knew. Suddenly Lily realises that there are things she doesn’t know about Hannah too – and that by keeping her husband’s secrets, she might pay the ultimate sacrifice.

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Review

Isn’t it wonderful to have someone you are so close to that it feels like they are family? You can share everything with them: the good things and the bad ones, the happy and the sad ones. They will always be there for you, like you will be for them. No matter what…

This sounds so good you would like it to happen in real life too, but unfortunately it’s not always like that. You keep in touch, you see each other often, but there is not only just school to worry about anymore. What you call venting might be seen as complaining by the other party. You drift apart a little because you made a promise. They start putting two and two together and come up with five, the already rather fragile relationship might be on the verge to breaking beyond repair on the worst possible moment …

When you are struggling to keep all the balls in the air, you might be envious of someone with a less hectic life. You might long for some peace and quiet, but honestly would you ever really want to trade places? Of course not, but some might see it as being ungrateful for everything you have got. They feel you don’t deserve it and take the matter in their own hands…

A lot of heartbreak in this very emotional story but also a lot of very beautiful moments that kept the tears flowing. The book kept me up till 2.30 because I wanted to finish it. I could not put it away and leave the rest for the next day. Once you are in the flow, you just have to go with it. 5 stars

Thank you, Sam Vickery and Bookouture

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About the author

Sam Vickery is an English author who loves gritty, emotional stories that can make you sob. As a child, she was forever getting in trouble for being caught with her nose in a book, and these days are no different. She lives on the south coast of England with her husband, two children and a cat that thinks it’s a dog.

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Author Link

https://www.facebook.com/SamVickeryWrites/

Website: http://samvickery.com/

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Book Links

Valentine Shorts: Flash Fiction by Barbara Venkataraman / #Review @BarbaraVenkat

Valentine Flash Fiction, what could be more fun? The challenge: capture a mood, a memory, a romantic encounter, using exactly 100 words. Stories like Unmasked and Never Stop Asking will touch your heart while others like Glory Days, Puppy Love and Swipe Right will make you smile. Enjoy stories by: James J. Cudney, Jeff Homberger, Julie Morrall, Didi Oviatt, Kaitlyn Sutey and Barbara Venkataraman. This short book will lift your spirits and brighten your day, any day of the year.

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Review

It’s not easy writing a book, but it’s not easy writing a short story either when you have a limited word count. I have never tried to write a book and I never will. I leave that to the experts, but a few years ago I took part in a kind of contest where you could win no prizes but eternal glory during one week if you were chosen as the winner by the other contestants. 😉 Each week you received one word and the challenge was to write a little story with exactly 120 words and I can assure you that it was sometimes more difficult than making a jigsaw puzzle. It was great fun though and I stopped due to lack of time, but talking about it here makes me want to participate again. If only there were 25 hours in a day. 🙂

I felt like the authors here had a lot of fun with this project too and when they have fun you feel it through the pages of their book. The stories were sweet, fun and of course filled with love, hearts and flowers.

I enjoyed reading it a lot. 5 stars

Thank you, Barbara Venkataraman

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About the authors

Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. Her works include: “The Fight for Magicallus”, a children’s fantasy; “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”, a humorous short story; and three books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” and “A Smidge of Crazy”, from her series, “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo”, “The Case of the Killer Divorce”, “Peril in the Park”, “Engaged in Danger” and “Jeopardy in July”.
Her newest book has just been released: “Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four”, a memoir she co-authored with her son about lessons he learned while working to exonerate four men falsely convicted of a terrible crime in the Jim Crow South. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.

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Author Link

Blog : www.barbaravenkataraman.blogspot.com 

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Book Link

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08W9WDR3R/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B08W9WDR3R&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Backstories by Simon Van der Velde / #Review @SimonVdVwriter

Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them.Peel back the mask and see.

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This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

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Review

This book reminded me a bit of the game ‘Charades’. The author is the single person who would normally act out the syllables, words or phrases but instead uses his book to give us the clues. The readers are the group of people who have to guess and find the correct answer. In this case it’s about famous or infamous people. 

The short stories are in fact riddles and with each sentence the author reveals a bit more about the identity of the person. Sometimes it was rather easy to understand who he was talking about. Sometimes I did not have any idea and it was Google to the rescue. 🙂

On the one hand, I wanted to read only one story a day to make the fun last. On the other hand, I wanted to keep on going and discover them all. Two guesses what I did…. Right, I took option 2 😉

Some of the stories were a bit shocking, others were sad. You just don’t realize what those people went through before they were either loved or hated by thousands or even millions of people.

A great book in my opinion. 5 stars. 

Thank you, Simon Van der Velde 

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About the Author

Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Shortstory Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open Competition – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.
Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, Nicola, their labradoodle, Barney and two tyrannical children.

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Author Link

simonvandervelde.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simonvdvelde/

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Book Links

http://bit.ly/Goodreads-Backstories

http://bit.ly/Amazon-Backstories

http://bit.ly/BookBub-Backstories

 https://adbl.co/3rw4boT

www.simonvandervelde.com

Watch Her Sleep by L.T. Vargus, Tim McBain / #Review #BooksOnTour @bookouture @ltvargus 

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Charlotte Winters #3

Nestled in the autumn leaves, her hair tangled in thick brambles, the girl looks like she could be sleeping amongst the wild roses. But the trail of red across her delicate throat means this is a slumber she will never wake from…

When a search party trawling Salem Island find a girl’s body curled on the damp earth, the hunt for missing waitress Emma Jacobis grinds to a devastating halt. The day before, Emma had come to Detective Charlie Winters convinced someone was watching her. In her trembling hand she held a sketch of herself sleeping peacefully with the stuffed rabbit she’d had since she was a child. On the back, scrawled in black ink: You will be mine…

A box containing handwritten letters found under Emma’s bed is Charlie’s first lead. But the handwriting isn’t a match to the note left for Emma. With the help of her new assistant, a troubled girl eager to learn the ropes, Charlie’s only hope is to canvas the bar where Emma worked. There, she finds a woman with fear in her eyes and a terrifying story to tell about an encounter with a dangerous stranger. Is someone in this small town targeting vulnerable girls as prey?

Certain she’s found a twisted killer’s hunting ground, and with time running out before he strikes again, Charlie has no choice but to use her new assistant as bait to lure him out into the open. But when a scream pierces through the night, will Charlie survive the consequences? She has to, or there’s no knowing how many more innocent girls will die …

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Review

There is nothing wrong with someone watching you sleep IF they are someone you love. In that case it even is cute and heart warming, but if it’s someone you don’t know and they do it whilst hiding it a totally different story. It’s scaring and creepy and often it’s not they only thing they want to do. They want more, so much more whether you like it or not.

This is a very good story. I had the impression the authors opened a big new bottle of creepiness and suspense and deliberately poured it over the book and I loved it.

Charlie Winters is once again shining as the leading lady, but her uncle Frank, assistant Paige and best friend Zoe are major players too. What about Will? Well, that a bit of a game of ‘I want him’, ‘I want him not’, ‘I want him’,  and repeat. 😉 Of will she make up her mind…? Deep down she knows what she wants, but will she say it out loud?

And than there is Allie…  Not one to sugar coat her opinions. She is so funny. Her jokes give you time to take a breathe before you are plunged into the suspense again.

Part 4? Yes, please! 5 stars

Thank you, L.T. Vargus, Tim McBain and Bookouture

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About the authors

L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain are the authors of the Violet Darger series and The Scattered and the Dead series among others, which have collectively tallied over a million downloads. Their book, Dead End Girl, peaked at #3 in the US Kindle charts and has remained in the top 10 in multiple sub-categories since it was published in 2017.  

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Author Links

https://ltvargus.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ltvargusbooks/  

https://twitter.com/ltvargus  

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Book Links

Malice in Miami by Barbara Venkataraman / #Review @BarbaraVenkat

Jamie Quinn Mystery #6

Reluctant family law attorney Jamie Quinn is loving life–and why wouldn’t she? Her boyfriend Kip is back from Australia, her long-lost dad finally has his visa and she’s about to start her dream job at an art foundation. But it all falls apart when Jamie is accused of stealing priceless art from a rare book collection. If she can’t find out who framed her, she can kiss her dream job good-bye–and her law license too. Meanwhile, Kip has problems of his own. Now an environmental activist, he uncovers a deadly secret–one that just might get him killed. Jamie’s in trouble, Kip’s in danger, and Duke Broussard has gone AWOL. How could Jamie’s favorite P.I. abandon her at a time like this? 

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Review

A while ago I had the pleasure to read the entire series. I did not quite remember when it was so I looked it up. I was amazed to see it was almost three years ago. Was I not a bit afraid that I would have forgotten where it had ended in the previous book? No, not at all, because when you loved a series, you don’t forget about the main characters either. I was very happy to “see” Jamie again and I had no trouble at all to pick up where I left off. 

The author fills each and every book with humor and her background as an attorney reflects in Jamie. She also emphasizes the importance of the environment.which is Kip’s domain. 

Jamie as well as Kip find themselves in hot water, but all is well that ends well.

Are you ready to follow Jamie in a new adventure? You better come prepared, because she will take you to the Everglades, a fancy gala ball, a helicopter flight and the most amazing sunset. Kip is, except for the ball, with her every step the way. Is he about to pop that one question or will he keep us on our toes a bit longer?

Let’s not forget about Duke.He is a great character and in for a big surprise. 🙂

In a nutshell: a wonderful 6th book that I enjoyed very much. Will there be a 7th one in the make? I hope so 😉 5 stars

Thank you, Barbara Venkataraman

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About the authors

Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. Her works include: “The Fight for Magicallus”, a children’s fantasy; “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”, a humorous short story; and three books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” and “A Smidge of Crazy”, from her series, “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo”, “The Case of the Killer Divorce”, “Peril in the Park”, “Engaged in Danger” and “Jeopardy in July”.
Her newest book has just been released: “Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four”, a memoir she co-authored with her son about lessons he learned while working to exonerate four men falsely convicted of a terrible crime in the Jim Crow South. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.

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Author Link

Blog : www.barbaravenkataraman.blogspot.com 

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Book Link

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08P27FRL6/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B08P27FRL6&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Girl Under Water by L.T. Vargus, Tim McBain / #Review #BooksOnTour @bookouture @ltvargus 

 

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Charlotte Winters #2

Her numb fingers scrabble over upholstery, over metal, over glass, searching for a way out. Water stings her eyes as she’s dragged downward, clinging to her last breath as she’s absorbed into the cold dark below…

When Gloria Carmichael’s body is found broken and bleeding on the sidewalk just days after knocking on Detective Charlie Winters’ door begging for help to locate her father’s will, Charlie’s instinct is confirmed: her latest case is about more than just a simple family feud.

The Carmichaels are famous in Salem Island for their large family and charitable work, but, moments before she died, beautiful, trustworthy eldest daughter Gloria called Charlie to say she had uncovered a terrible secret that would break the mystery of her father’s death wide open.

With the voice of her murdered sister ringing in her ears —pushing her to risk everything to bring justice to the innocent —Charlie takes matters into her own hands. She won’t let another family break apart like her own, and she knows the answers she needs are hidden somewhere inside the Carmichael home.

But as Charlie races to confront her main suspect—a file containing evidence that will devastate the Carmichael family on the car seat beside her —she’s rammed off the road and over the edge of a nearby cliff. Fighting for breath in a sinking car, Charlie has to survive or other innocent lives will be taken. Everyone involved is keeping secrets, but only one twisted soul is prepared to kill to keep theirs…

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Review

I have the impression that more and more female main characters are featured in crime stories/thrillers. Of course there was the great Miss Marple many moons ago, but afterwards it seemed to me like men were taking over. I have nothing against men obviously but it feels good to see all those ladies in leading roles.

Those ladies are certainly forces to reckon with. They have a goal and that’s were they are headed, no matter who or what crosses their path.

In this series it’s Charlie (Charlotte), a PI, who is determined to show the perpetrators the fastest way to prison. Men or women, young or old, she makes no exception. Off they go. 😊 If she has to deal with a few attempts on her life fist, so be it. Nothing is going to stop her. I almost feel sorry for the baddies crossing her path. 😉

This time Charlie will find herself in very choppy waters, but even those won’t drag her under.

Sometimes I had the feeling I was reading a cosy mystery book. Sometimes chills were running down my spine because of the way the author built up the suspense. Sometimes I was smiling because of a funny passage. Sometimes I was suspecting A, changing my mind to B or C or back to A again, or …

If you want a array of emotions, this is the book for you. I enjoyed it a lot. 4 stars.

Thank you, L.T. Vargus, Tim McBain and Bookouture

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About the authors

L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain are the authors of the Violet Darger series and The Scattered and the Dead series among others, which have collectively tallied over a million downloads. Their book, Dead End Girl, peaked at #3 in the US Kindle charts and has remained in the top 10 in multiple sub-categories since it was published in 2017.  

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Author Links

https://ltvargus.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ltvargusbooks/  

https://twitter.com/ltvargus  

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Book Links

 
 
 

The Watchful Neighbour by Debbie Viggiano / #Review #PublicationDayPush @rararesources @DebbieViggiano

When Jade Ferguson’s affair with a married man abruptly ends, she’s devastated.

There is no quick fix for a broken heart.  A fresh start is required.

New job. New home. New neighbours.

The residents of Gresham Terrace seem pleasant enough.

Except for one…

Review

I have read and loved the books written by this author. I was used to her publishing funny stories but with this book she made a u turn. I was very curious to find out what she had in store for her readers.

Was I surprised? No, of course not because I already knew she is a talented writer and I think that making people laugh is as difficult as making people’s hairs on the back of their necks stand up.

There are different types of thrillers. I would put this one in the category “softer”, but that does not mean that I did not enjoy the book. There was suspense, there were mind games and there were different candidates for the role of culprit. So, enough to keep one entertained.

Jumping to conclusions is never good. The problem is that you focus on one thing while the danger lurks in a different corner. Karma Is never far away, but some have other opinion about how karma should work. 4 stars

Thank you, Debbie Viggiano and Rachel’s Random Resources

About the author

Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued pooch from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her adult children return home bringing her much joy… apart from when they want to raid the fridge, or eat her secret stash of chocolate.

Author Links 

Twitter: @DebbieViggiano

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.viggiano.5

Instagram: debbieviggiano

Book Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Watchful-Neighbour-absolutely-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B08MDL32X4

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Watchful-Neighbour-absolutely-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B08MDL32X4

My Only Child by Sam Vickery / #Review #BooksOnTour @bookouture

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There he is, my baby boy. His eyes are closed, his tiny rosebud mouth is pursed in sleep. My eyes well up as I catch a whiff of his newborn skin and I swallow back a wave of emotion. I should feel happy, I should feel grateful, but all I can think about is everything I just lost…

It’s a miracle when Katherine’s baby boy is born healthy. But his twin sister doesn’t survive, and when Katherine is told she can’t have any more children the loss is almost too much for her to bear.

Katherine always saw herself having a big family: she remembers how the loneliness of being an only child used to overwhelm her, and she is desperate to adopt a sibling for her son.

But her husband Davis won’t agree. He worries that Katherine will struggle when the new baby arrives. What if growing their family only adds to the grief she feels over losing her little girl? What if this breaks their marriage apart?

And Katherine is forced to make a choice. Give up the second child she has always dreamed of or risk losing the family she already has?

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Review

OH MY GOD! It’s not the first time I start a review with this exclamation and it won’t certainly be the last time either. I had to write it in capital letters and in full because the small abbreviation would not cut it. It would not express my feelings about this book.

I opened it and my heart already started breaking. It broke more and more until I found myself with one million pieces of it. But I was lucky. The author added a very good glue to the story so that finally I could put it together again.

The book made my heart bleed, my eyes well up and my bin fill up with wet tissues, but I ended with my heart full of warmth, my eyes crying happy tears and a big smile on my face.

An amazingly beautiful story that I could not put down. 5 stars

Thank you, Sam Vickery and Bookouture

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About the author

Sam Vickery is an English author who loves gritty, emotional stories that can make you sob. As a child, she was forever getting in trouble for being caught with her nose in a book, and these days are no different. She lives on the south coast of England with her husband, two children and a cat that thinks it’s a dog.

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Author Link

https://www.facebook.com/SamVickeryWrites/

Website: http://samvickery.com/

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Book Links

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2TkXfLS

Apple: https://apple.co/3j6QKrN

Kobo: https://bit.ly/38XTS4i

Google: https://bit.ly/38XVfjv