Review: Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #2
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.


Killman Creek was one of my most anticipated releases of the winter. The end of Stillhouse Lake promised the mystery and suspense would go on. I couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Gwen, her children, Sam and Melvin.

Tension ran high in Killman Creek. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, and slightly uncomfortable the entire time waiting for something horrible to happen. I feared for all of the characters. My fears didn’t stop me from reading this gem of a thriller, though. I couldn’t put Killman Creek down. It was just as fast paced as Stillhouse Lake, but the stakes were higher. Rachel Caine kept the twists and turns coming right up until the very end.

One of my favorite things about Killman Creek was how the relationships between the characters were constantly changing. No one was ever one hundred percent sure about anyone. The relationships really helped drive the story, especially the slightly awkward relationship between Sam and Gwen.

Killman Creek was the perfect follow-up, and a stand out thriller all on its own. I absolutely loved it. If you loved Stillhouse Lake, this book will exceed your expectations. Be ready for some surprises!

Mini Reviews: The Law of Moses and The Song of David by Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses
Series: The Law of Moses, #1
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: November 27, 2014
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.


The only way to describe Amy Harmon’s writing is the word beautiful. Everything about it is beautiful. The way she puts words together is so dang gorgeous. The stories she crafts with those words are just as beautiful. I’m always amazed at how brilliant and touching her words and stories are.

That’s exactly how I felt when reading The Law of Moses. I was constantly amazed. The book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I could see some of the plot coming, but there were also moments when I was shocked.

Moses was definitely “a law unto himself”. I wasn’t always happy with him, but he amazed me. Same with Georgia. She was a fire that couldn’t be put out. She had spunk and grit. Their love for each other was raw and unconditional. Their story wasn’t easy, but it was magical.

I loved every moment of reading this book. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it.



The Song of David
Series: The Law of Moses, #2
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: June 13, 2015
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating:★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.


Once again, Amy Harmon has surprised me. The Song of David wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It’s narrated partly by Moses with David telling some of his own story from afar. At first, I wasn’t so sure about this set up. Once I got into the story, I found I really loved it. In fact, I loved the entire story. The way David tells about falling in love with Millie and everything they went through was so special.

I loved the way Moses added to the story. He brought a completely different aspect to it. His was a connection to David by friendship. Their relationship was tight and special. His emotions made the story even more special.

Everything about this book was just so good…until the end. At the end, I felt like I had missed something big. I needed one more piece of information that I didn’t get. That’s okay, though. I still loved The Song of David. Anyone who has read The Law of Moses will love getting to know David better.

Review: Worth the Wait by Lori Foster

Worth the Wait
Series: Guthrie Brothers, #2
Author: Lori Foster
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ready or not…love will find a way

Single dad Hogan Guthrie is getting his life back on track, and working as the “barbecue master” at a local diner is just a temporary detour. He and restaurant owner Violet Shaw constantly butt heads…until one night they end up mingling other parts instead. Hogan thought he had the recipe for happiness all figured out. But loyal, carefree Violet is daring him to trust his impulses…and see just how sweet small-town living—and loving—can be.

Nathan Hawley traded his SWAT team credentials for a sheriff’s badge, but a gorgeous new neighbor is shaking up his orderly life. Nathan has a hunch there’s more to Brooklin Sweet than meets the eye—but given her caution about getting involved, he has his work cut out for him. Still, there’s something about the elusive beauty Nathan can’t walk away from—and helping her come to terms with her past might pave the way to the future they both secretly long for.


Earlier this year I read the first book in the Guthrie Brothers series, Don’t Tempt Me. It was my first time reading a book by Lori Foster, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I needed to read the next book in the series, which leads to this review. I finally got my copy of Worth the Wait from the library.

Hogan and Violet were fiercely attracted to each other, but neither was willing to make a move. They liked what they had going on. Violet was Hogan’s part-time boss. Plus, Hogan was a bit of a womanizer and had no plans of settling down. Violet might have been considering happily ever after. When Hogan starts working full-time for Violet, all bets are off. Their attraction to each other is too much to contain.

I loved both Violet and Hogan. Violet was a gutsy chick. She was strong-willed and determined to make her business successful. She knew what kind of man she wanted, and wasn’t willing to be a one-night stand. Hogan wasn’t truly the womanizer he was playing. He was sewing the oats he thought he needed to. What Hogan really needed was the right woman. Violet was the gal to make him believe in love again. I also really loved the way Colt was involved in Violet and Hogan’s story.

Nathan and Brooklin are thrown together when she moves in nextdoor. Nathan knows there’s something going on in Brooklin’s life, and he’s determined to find out what it is. Practically stalking her, Nathan starts to get to know Brooklin and likes what he learns. Brooklin isn’t so sure about getting into a relationship with him when she’s running from her past. The two start a love affair that becomes complicated when it’s apparent someone is looking to cause problems for Brooklin.

It kills me to say this, but I was not a fan of Nathan and Brooklin’s story line. I’m sorry. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them or want them together. The whole suspense aspect of it bored me a bit. When it started to intertwine with Hogan and Violet’s story, it really lost me. Violet took just way too much abuse for my liking. I’m blaming my dislike for all of this on my disinterest in romantic suspense.

Anyways. I did like Worth the Wait overall. It was a fun read filled with interesting characters and a cute romance (Hogan and Violet). It wasn’t quite what I was expecting in some parts, but it was still a really good read.

Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.


Genuine Fraud was an interesting tale. E. Lockhart continued to give the reader the unexpected with it. Genuine Fraud began in the present and each chapter went back in time. The effect was that I felt like I was reading the story backward. The story continued that way all the way until almost the end. It made for a great guessing game. Each chapter divulged just enough to make me keep reading.

I have to admit that I got a bit bored in the middle of the book. I think it’s because I was frustrated. I just wanted to know what the deal was with Jule and Imogen! Once I got to that part, the story flew again for me. I loved the ending, and thought it was very clever.

Overall, Genuine Fraud was a fun read. It was a darker read, but light at the same time. It had great foreshadowing and a cool set up. It was the perfect book to read on my vacation.

Blog Tour Review: Forever With You by Beverley Kendall

Forever With You

An Unforgettable You Novel
by Beverley Kendall
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

I’d never fallen harder for anyone than I did for Graham Prescott. The British hottie was like no other guy I’d ever met. And the attraction between us was mutual and red-hot.

I would have done and said almost anything to be with him. So I’d told him one harmless, little lie…

But it hadn’t been.

Harmless or little.

That lie nearly destroyed his life.

Seeing him again after four years stirs up feelings I have no right to feel. So I tell myself the only thing I want from him is his forgiveness. But first I have to earn his trust—something easier said than done. Especially when he makes it clear there’s only one thing he wants from me.

To stay the hell out of his life.

My Review

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

When I first started reading new adult novels, I was constantly looking for new authors to try. I would happily purchase books Amazon recommended to me that sounded good. One of the novels that was recommended to me was Trapped by Beverley Kendall. After finishing it and loving it, I found her Unforgettable You series. I loved the college setting and the emotional relationships found in each book. I also loved how all of the books spotlighted friends from the previous books.

Forever With You is Emily’s story. She’s been around in past books as April’s old modeling BFF. I didn’t remember much about her, but I didn’t need to. Her story was nicely laid out in this book. There was so much behind this young woman’s beautiful appearance. She was smart and caring. Emily had no problem admitting her faults and trying to be a better person.

Emily’s relationship with Graham was a second chance love story filled with forgiveness. Both were hurt by their past and decisions Emily made. I completely understood both of their feelings, and loved the way they resolved their past.

My only complaint about Forever With You is how long I had to wait for it to be released. Two years since the release of Always Been You felt so long! I had completely forgotten about the series. I understand that it takes a while to write and release a good book, so I’m not really complaining. I just hate waiting. 😉

If you’re a new adult fan, you need to give Beverley Kendall’s books a try. They’re so much fun to read. You can start at the beginning of the series, or jump right in at Forever With You.

Other books in the Series

Get Book One for FREE!

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About Beverley Kendall

Beverley left her IT career in 2012 to write sexy historical, new adult and contemporary romances full-time.

As the mother of one too-bright and mischievous young boy, she pulls full-time duty on all fronts. When she’s not writing, running Smitten by Books Reviews website or mothering, she’s either reading or dreaming of a time when she’ll have time for my favorite hobbies: knitting, crocheting and sewing.

Beverley discovered her love of books while growing up in a small city in Ontario Canada. She’s lived on two continents, in three countries, two provinces, and four states. She’s stopped her nomadic existence and settled in the southeast. All things artistic feed her creative passion, but none more than writing.

She’s currently being represented by Kevan Lyon at Marsal & Lyon Literary Agency.

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GRIP REMIX Tour Reviews: Flow and Grip by Kennedy Ryan

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“…one of the most engaging and well-written romance books I have read…It’s like nothing you’ve read before. It touches the issues no one talks about in our community. And it’s a MUST-READ.”

LJ Shen, Amazon Bestselling Author

GRIP, Kennedy Ryan’s sexy, emotional Amazon Bestseller,

is available now for only 99¢!

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Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out. I know. I’ve been doing it for years.

I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary. And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key. All that’s left is friendship and work.

He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true. I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.

It’s wild, reckless, disobedient. And it remembers all the things I want to forget.

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MY REVIEWS

Before I start my review, I must thank Ari @ The New Romantics for encouraging me to read the Grip series. It was her encouragement and love of the series that lead me to sign up for this blog tour. Ari knew I would love Grip, and she was totally right. Okay, now for my reviews…

Please Note: I received Flow and Grip from Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

FLOW (Grip, #0.5)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Kennedy Ryan is a phenomenal writer. I’ve never read a novella packed with such depth and emotion as FlowFlow didn’t just feel like an introduction to the characters love story. It felt like a window into Grip and Bristol’s souls. It was really beautiful, and I loved every minute of it.

I do have to warn readers that there is a MAJOR cliffhanger at the end of Flow. It changes everything and would be a killer to be left with if Grip wasn’t yet written. Luckily for us, it has been written and released. Thank goodness because I had to start Grip the moment I finished Flow.

GRIP (Grip, #1)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

If I thought Flow was full of depth and emotion, I had NO IDEA what I was getting into with Grip. Grip was a masterpiece. It was Grip and Bristol’s amazing love story, but it was so much more than that. It was a commentary on today’s social and political atmosphere. It beautifully encompassed so many important issues like racial profiling, interracial relationships, family and forgiveness. It taught me so much while making me feel so much. I can’t begin to explain how much Grip touched me personally.

Grip is not just one of the best romance novels I’ve read in 2017, but one of the best books I’ve ever read. I cannot give it enough praise. I absolutely loved it, and think everyone should read it. I now understand why so many readers are impatiently waiting for its sequel, Still.

STILL, the sexy and emotional final installment of The Grip Series,

releases September 24th!

Preorder STILL Today!

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Excerpt

“Neither of us has been in a serious relationship in years.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.” I stand and slide my feet into the Jimmy Choos. “You haven’t exactly been waiting around, have you?”

“Damn right I haven’t been waiting around.” He doesn’t get up, but his firm hold on my wrist stops me from walking away. “I’m not Rhyson.”

I look down at him, frowning my confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“Remember when Kai put Rhyson in the friend zone?”
Of course I do. For a long time, my sister-in-law Kai denied the attraction between her and Rhyson.

“Yeah, so?”

“When Kai wasn’t checking for Rhys, I assumed he had to be sleeping with other girls.” Grip shrugs. “I mean, he and Kai were just friends. But, nope. He said he only wanted Kai and didn’t sleep with anyone else.”

“Then you’re right.” I tug at my wrist, but he holds on tight. “You’re definitely not Rhyson.”

“It was months, Bristol. She shut him out for months. Not years.”

“I’m not shutting you out.” I release a tired breath. “I’m living my life, and you’re living yours.”

“Right.” He nods and turns his mouth down at the corners. “So, if you won’t be with me, then I’ll fuck whoever the hell I want. If you have a problem with that, you know what to do about it.”

For a moment, our eyes tangle in the dimness. His words sink into my flesh like briars. Every word out of his mouth only proves that I’m right to get out of here. That I’m right not to give in. If I ever gave him a chance and he fucked around on me . . . I’ve seen what that looks like. It looks like a woman as strong as my mother reduced to pathetic, teary drunkenness.

“It’s none of my business.” I shift my eyes away from him and to the glittering city skyline just beyond the rooftop.

“It’s none of your business until you say it is.”

I force myself to look back.

“Don’t hold your breath, Grip.” I say my next words with deliberation. “I mean, it’s not like I’m sitting around saving it, either.”

He pulls me forward, and I press my hand to the hardness of his chest so I don’t fall into him. My knee supports me, pressed against his on the couch.

“Are you poking me?” One strong hand wraps around the back of my thigh, anger marking his expression. “Do you want to know if it bothers me when you fuck other guys?”

I just stare at him unblinkingly. He presses my leg, urging me forward until I’m fully on the couch, fully on him, one knee on either side of his legs, facing him. Straddling him.

“It makes me want to set the world on fire.” His words come softly, but the truth roars in his eyes. “To think of you with them.”

Find the GRIP Series On Audio!

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Join the GRIP Discussion Group:

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Kennedy Ryan

About the Author:

Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes romance about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.

Connect with Kennedy:

Order Signed GRIP Series Paperbacks:

http://kennedyryanwrites.com/signed-paperbacks/

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

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/681604768593989/

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Website: http://kennedyryanwrites.com

Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done
Author: Sarah Schmidt
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, True Crime

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Haunting, gripping and gorgeously written, SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE by Sarah Schmidt is a re-imagining of the unsolved American true crime case of the Lizzie Borden murders, for fans of BURIAL RITES and MAKING A MURDERER.

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty-two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable début makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.


Lizzie Borden was a name I had heard before, but her story wasn’t one I was familiar with. When my friend picked See What I Have Done as our next book club pick, I wasn’t sure what to think. Was this book going to be gory? Was it going to be thriller suspenseful? I didn’t know how to prepare myself for it. Luckily, for my sake, See What I Have Done wasn’t a gory or stressful read.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lizzie Borden like I was, I’ll give you a little history. Lizzie was an adult woman who lived at home with her father, step-mother, older sister and maid, Bridget. While her sister, Emma, was spending time out-of-town at a friend’s, their parents were murdered. The weapon was an ax. Lizzie and the maid were both home at the time of the murders. Lizzie was tried and acquitted of the crime, but many still suspect that she was the murderer. (I had to look all of this up after reading the book to find out what was fact and what was fiction.)

See What I Have Done tells the story of the murder of Andrew and Abby Borden through the eyes of four narrators: Lizzie, Emma, Bridget and Benjamin. The story mostly takes place over the day before the murder and the day of. The events of those days are set up by each character. Together, their point of views craft a look at what might have happened and who might have been the killer.

If this was a true account of the crime, I could understand why Lizzie was charged with murder. Lizzie was a little off and I wasn’t quite sure what to think of her. Listening to her thoughts made her seem like the most likely murderer. I completely understood why Emma felt the way she did about Lizzie. Lizzie was pretty horrid to her. That made me question some of Emma’s later devotion to Lizzie, though. I understood their relationship, but it was really weird.

Another thing that was really weird were the parents. Andrew Borden was made out to be a horrible man. Abby wasn’t made out to be much better. The dynamic in the household between the parents and the daughters was odd. The fact that Lizzie and Emma were grown women made it even weirder. I kept wondering if this is really how people saw the Bordens in real life?

The character I felt most sorry for was Bridget. I’m surprised she wasn’t the killer. (Maybe she was???) The Bordens were horrible to her. She waited on them hand and foot, and they took complete advantage of her. I liked her thoughts on the murder and the suspects. I have to admit that I was happy the murder let her escape the horrible household.

As for Benjamin, I wasn’t sure what to think of the addition of his character. He’s not in any of the official accounts of the murder. I guess he was a “What if?” situation to show what might have happened if someone other than Lizzie was possibly involved.

As you can probably guess, this book had me a little confused! In real life, the case was never solved. In See What I Have Done, there is only speculation. I wish I could find out the truth! Too bad the people who could answer the tough questions are long gone.

Overall, See What I Have Done was a fun read. It took an unsolved crime and gave it new life. I liked the author’s writing and the way she brought the characters to life. I was impressed that this is her début novel. It’s a book a would recommend to those who like true crime or historical fiction. It had me looking up the history behind the story the moment I finished reading it.