The Year of the Witching by by Alexis Henderson is now available and it left me saying you guessed it Hot Diggity Dang that was good after reading it!!

Year of the Witching is a dark feminist fantasy and not one I would have picked up on my own. I decided to download this one after it was mentioned in the sister group, and I read it with my reading sister Debra. I am so glad I read this one and had Debra to discuss this one with.

I often get lost when reading stories with fantasy or supernatural elements to the story, so it took a while to get into this one, and I had to go back and reread some parts. Once I got into the flow of it, I couldn’t put down my kindle until I was done reading it. After reading and thinking about this one, I began to realize the depth to the story.

Alexis Henderson brilliantly blends horror, a paranormal dark, twisty witchy tale set the dystopian world of Bethel where the Prophet makes the rules everyone must follow. She weaves in real-world themes like racism, oppression, power and religion. The Prophet uses fear, cruelty and religion to gain power and control over the people.

Our main character Immanuelle is a strong realistic character here with her traits and development. She starts off vulnerable and flawed by her Mother’s choices and lives in the shadows. She grows into a multi-layered strong character with conflicts of her own and ones she must overcome to save her family, community and home. Not only is Immanuelle a complex, fascinating character, the dynamics between her and the other characters are also.

The setting is haunting beautiful and creepy that adds a deliciously bleak and eerie feel to the story with the danger that lurks in the Darkwoods.

With every page, the tension rises to that exciting climate of a showdown between the characters, and I was gripping my kindle hoping no one would bother me till I was done. This is an impressive story, and like no other, I have read. I highly recommend it.

I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley

It’s here!!! Get it today!!! I think this is one not to missed and I hope it’s one you will join me in my saying “Hot Diggity Dang that was good!”

Giddy up my friends, fasten your seat belts and join this delicious wacky and entertaining road trip from hell with this family!! If a family road doesn’t already sound like fun or maybe a nightmare, involve money and a bunch of twisted, unlikable, greedy and unreliable characters with secrets, and it takes it to a whole new level of madness.

When Beth, Porta & Eddie’s wealthy grandfather dies, he sends them on a cross country road trip to their inheritance with a few conditions for them to fulfill. Samantha Downing adds some high tension by creating a setting that added dynamics to the characters and story. She cleverly adds some fun and entertainment to the story that we all can relate to by adding one of the conditions the sibling must stop at every tourist trap. I cringed with every stop but couldn’t help but chuckle to myself with every scene. Perfectly paced throughout the story, Beth reveals secrets from a past road trip, adding more depth to the present road trip.

I loved Beth and her snarky voice, and I wanted to high five her with that snarkiness and Samantha. Even though the family drama is high here, it’s kept fresh and exciting and creates some great suspense throughout the story. The characters are interesting unlikable, and I found myself rooting for different characters at different times and going back and forth with my thoughts on them.

The title is clever, interesting and I was intrigued by it right from the start and had to think about it and then realized just how cleverly fitting it is to the story. And of course, that cover, how great is that cover. I love it!!

While I found this one to be a slow build-up to that exciting showdown between these siblings, it was a thrilling and entertaining page-turner for me. The short chapters keep the pace fast and engaging to keep me reading just one more chapter.

I enjoyed the twists and turns along this road trip right up to the final ones that left me saying “Hot Diggity Dang” I highly recommend!!

Thank you to Elisha from Berkley Pub for sending me my copy!!

Brenda’s review

Amy seems like she functions on the outside, but she is good at hiding the daily struggles going on in her head. I instantly connected with our main character Amy and was completely drawn into her life. In some ways, many of us can relate to some of Amy’s life and thoughts; however, Amy battles with most of the things she does every day and her brain prevents her from doing the things she needs and wants to do.

Lana Grace Riva keeps the plot simple here and it’s all about Amy’s daily struggles with her brain that disrupts her daily life. She does a fantastic job of putting us in Amy’s shoes allowing us to experience Amy’s thoughts with her. Some of her thoughts are louder and more intrusive than others and we can see which thoughts she can manage and others that she can’t. I could relate to some of Amy’s quieter thoughts and sadden by the thoughts that disrupt her life.

As heartbreaking as Amy’s journey is at times, it is also heartwarming and hopeful. It’s an important story that shows us we are not alone and Lana Grace Riva quietly shows us through the actions of the characters just how important is for people to be seen and not suffer alone. The story wraps up hopeful with the actions of the characters and a message shines through that left me with peaceful thoughts. I highly recommend this book to everyone!!

Lindsay’s review

Insightful. Heartbreaking. Informative. Eye-opening. Hopeful.

This novel offers an intimate look into OCD, social anxiety and depression. Amy, the main character who narrates this unforgettable novel, suffers with all of these. Amy holds down a full time job, has a home and maintains friendships. However, those around her don’t know the dark depths of her personal issues. They don’t understand the constant, mentally exhausting thoughts and concerns she struggles with every minute of every day.

This novel is extremely insightful but not heavy. It is written in a very relatable manner making Amy’s struggles vivid for the reader to grasp and understand. Fortunately, I do not have personal experience with these disorders, but I certainly felt the constant tension and stress for Amy while reading this book. I truly felt for Amy. The author does a phenomenal job pulling the reader into Amy’s mind and thought processes. Her constant worry and stress was extremely heartbreaking. Amy was a lovable character. I was deeply invested in her life and hoped she would get the help she needed to learn proper coping skills.

What I found most surprising was that Amy was fully aware of her inner struggles, yet couldn’t overcome them. She battled her own thoughts everyday in her mind. She knew what she was thinking wasn’t right, but didn’t have the coping skills to work past and overcome those thoughts.

Amy’s journey is one I won’t forget. Her story made me realize how extremely important and impactful a good support system is for those who have similar issues.

As sad as this novel is, it left me with a strong sense of hope for Amy and all who suffer like she does. I am thankful to have read and learned from this wonderful book!

Lindsay received a print copy from Lana Grace Riva and I chose to read the book from Kindle unlimited

From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle is a 2020 Canada reads finalist battling in Canada’s “literary Survivor,” for the one book the country should read. The one book to bring focus to Canada. From the Ashes is the first book I read of the 5 finalists chosen this year and I have to say I think it is a book that the world needs to read.

Jesse Thistle shows us through his raw, honest and courageous voice his journey from his early years in Saskatchewan, being abandoned by his parents, living with his grandparents in Toronto, his self-destructive cycle of drugs, alcohol, crime and homelessness, to finding his way. It is an extraordinary, remarkable and inspiring story of survival, an inspiration to others, and a lesson in empathy.

His story is ugly and beautiful at the same time. His voice is quiet and hopeful but powerful with his raw, honest dark realities as he shares his story. At times it was difficult to read his heartbreaking reality not only with his life on the harsh streets but with the stereotyped words said to him. Words that I often heard when growing up that now pierced my heart to see. As painful as it is I feel these are dark realities that can’t be ignored and not seen.

Even though Jesse becomes caught in a vicious cycle for years and it seems the odds are against him, we see his determination to survive and the heartwarming love and support he receives and his courage to find his way. I highly recommend this inspiring memoir.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton. I am excited to share my review for this twisty tale!

THE LAST WIFE Author: Karen Hamilton

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Publisher: Graydon House Books

Book Summary:

In Karen Hamilton’s shocking thriller, THE LAST WIFE (Graydon House, July 7, $17.99) Marie Langham is distraught when her childhood friend, Nina, is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before Nina passes away, she asks Marie to look out for her familyher son, daughter, and husband, Stuart. Marie would do anything for Nina, so of course, she agrees. 

Following Nina’s death, Marie gradually finds herself drawn into her friend’s lifeher family, her large house in the countryside. But when Camilla, a mutual friend from their old art-college days, suddenly reappears, Marie begins to suspect that she has a hidden agenda. Then, Marie discovers that Nina had long suppressed secrets about a holiday in Ibiza the women took ten years previously when Marie’s then-boyfriend went missing after a tragic accident and was later found dead. 

Marie used to envy Nina’s beautiful life, but now the cards are up in the air and she begins to realize that nothing is what it seemed. As long-buried secrets start surfacing, Marie must figure out what’s true and who she can trust before the consequences of Nina’s dark secrets destroy her.

Brenda’s review

The Last Wife takes us into our main character, Marie’s head, after the death of her best friend, Nina, who had what Marie wants most. A tangled, messy, twisty web of obsession, jealousy, possession and secrets start to form. Being in Marie’s head is intense, and her thoughts are a bit much at times. I wasn’t sure how to feel about her, and, at times, I felt empathy for her, and she entertained me and other times I was rolling my eyes at her.

There are a few unlikeable characters here with secrets of their own weaved into the story making this a twisty one. It’s all about those secrets and the story takes on a lighter feel to it then this dark and twisted reader is used to. The drama to the story moves it forward and there’s are a few strings to the storyline. I became tangled up in the strings trying to figure out what direction the story was going and just when I thought I untangled the line, it got tried up in another one. Around the halfway mark, the story goes in a direction I was not expecting, and buried secrets start to come to light. Marie is determined to find the answers, and the tension begins to rise, and I was exhausted from looking for answers to my questions.

Things wrap up well and this one makes for a lighter, suspenseful read with some drama to it!

Author Bio: Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy and, having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing. She is also the author of the international bestseller The Perfect Girlfriend

Social Links:

Author Website Twitter: @KJHAuthor Instagram: @karenhamiltonauthor Facebook: @KarenHamiltonWriter Goodreads

Buy Links: Harlequin  Barnes & Noble Amazon Books-A-Million Powell’s

Thank you to Justine from HarperCollinsPublishers | Harlequin for a copy to read and review.

Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for The Playdate by Alex Dahl. We are excited to share our reviews with you today!

It was meant to be your daughter’s first sleepover. Now it’s an abduction.

About the book

Lucia Blix went home from school for a playdate with her new friend Josie. Later that evening, Lucia’s mother Elisa dropped her overnight things round and kissed her little girl goodnight.

That was the last time she saw her daughter.

The next morning, when Lucia’s dad arrived to pick her up, the house was empty. No furniture, no family, no Lucia.

In Playdate, Alex Dahl puts a microscope on a seemingly average, seemingly happy family plunged into a life-altering situation. Who has taken their daughter, and why?

Brenda’s review

I was hooked right from the start when Elisa let her daughter go on a playdate that turned into a sleepover. Knowing that something terrible is going to happen and feeling that great sense of dread, I found myself yelling at her not to let her sleepover. I was tapping my kindle as fast as I could to find out what happens.

Alex Dahl creates some great suspense here with the different POVs from the characters that kept me guessing and asking myself so many questions. I enjoyed all the narratives; however, I struggled a bit with 7-year-old Lucia, who’s POV felt older to me, and I kept forgetting how old she was. She did add some emotional depth to the story and suspense, so it worked for me.

The story is well-paced with the suspense to it, and I had no idea what was going on in the first half. The tension increased with every page, and the pace picks up even more in the last half. All those questions I had entertained me, and I enjoyed trying to figure things out. The pieces started to come together for me in the last half, and I thought I had it all figured out, then I was disappointed when I didn’t. lol

Things wrapped up well for me, and I enjoyed this thrilling and entertaining yet unsettling page-turner that had me in suspense from start to finish. I highly recommend it.

Lindsay’s review

Edgy. Gripping. Intense.

This book shook me to the core. It revolves around the abduction of a seven-year-old girl. I have a daughter that age which intensified my connection to the storyline. This had me on edge from start to finish – my pulse pounding, my heart hurting, holding my breath as I flipped pages.

The narratives are brilliant! There are several highly intriguing character perspectives that change as the chapters unfold. The characters were real, emotional and authentic. I felt for them and was intensely invested in each of their stories.

The pace was quick, the flow was smooth — each chapter revealing slightly more to the backstory. It kept me hungry for more yet worried about what I would uncover.

I have read and loved every book by this author and this was no exception. This was a well-written, highly suspenseful, atmospheric, tension-filled psychological thriller. Loved every page of it!

About the author

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she studied Russian and German linguistics with international studies, then went on to complete an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University and an MSc in business management at Bath University. A committed Francophile, Alex loves to travel, and has so far lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland, Bath and London. Her first thriller, The Boy at the Door, was a Sunday Times Crime Club star pick and was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger

Follow:

Twitter: @alexdahlauthor

Instagram: @authoralex

Facebook: @ alexdahlauthor

Whoops I forgot to mention we changed our name!

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NyjGdC Kobo: https://bit.ly/2BIHgBy Google Play: https://bit.ly/3iewpjQ Ibooks: https://apple.co/2BEgPwY

Follow Head of Zeus

Website: www.headofzeus.com

Twitter: @HoZ_Books

Facebook: @headofzeus

Instagram: @headofzeus

Thank you to Helen from Head of Zeus for inviting us to join the blog tour and for our copies on NetGalley.

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