Saddled Hearts #BookReview @NNP_W_Light @wildrosepress #wrpbks

I have something a little different to share today that isn’t a regular blog tour stop. N.N. Light’s Book Heaven has posted a review for Saddled Hearts that I want to share. I am over the moon from the kind words. I’d love it if you’d take a minute to go over and share. I know her site isn’t always easy to leave a comment on, but any and all shares are appreciated. Here is the link: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/saddled-hearts-br

Our regular tour will resume tomorrow with not only one but two stops!

And don’t forget to participate in the scavenger hunt. Things You’d Find On A Ranch is the theme, and there are clues included in each blog post. So send in your entries to SaddledHearts{at}gmail{dot}com!

Hidden within the blog posts are clues you will need to look for. The theme is “Things You’d Find On A Ranch.” When you find these clues, email your answers to me at SaddledHearts@gmail.com With CONTEST In the subject line. The person with the most correct entries will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! The runner-up will receive an eBook of Saddled Hearts! It Pays To Play!

The link to each blog post will be listed here with comments closed. I’d be thrilled and honored if you’d saddle up and ride along with me as we traverse the blogging world!

DAY 1 – Staci Troilo

DAY 2 – Beem Weeks

DAY 3 – Yvette Calliero

DAY 4 – Harmony Kent

DAY 5 – Mary Morgan AND Gwen Plano

DAY 6 – Mark Bierman

DAY 7 – Mae Clair

DAY 8 – John Howell

DAY 9 – C.S. Boyack

DAY 10 – Jacqui Murray

DAY 11 – Teri Polen

DAY 12 – Dan Antion

DAY 13 – D.L. Finn

DAY 14 – Joan Hall

DAY 15 – Linnea Tanner

DAY 16 – Stephen Geez

DAY 17 – Annette Rochelle Aben

DAY 18 – Darlene Fredette AND Marlena Burris

Day 19 – Erika Kind

Me And Paul – #Nonfiction @WillieNelson #NetGalley

Anyone who knows me knows how much love I have for Willie Nelson. I’ve read every book he’s written, so when I had a chance to read his upcoming release via NetGalley I jumped at the chance.

PURCHASE LINK

Paul English was Willie’s long-time friend and drummer. For sixty-five years they shared a friendship that went beyond the bounds of friends and crossed over into brotherhood.
I loved every facet of this story, from their first meeting until Paul drew his last breath.
He was a steady force behind Willie Nelson and a fearless supporter of his talent as a songwriter and performer. He believed in Willie when Willie lost faith in himself. He understood Willie’s off-sync timing and had no trouble following him. That alone was enough to endear Paul to Willie, but as their lives intertwined and the story unfolded, it was only the beginning.
The stories shared between the pages of this book took me on a journey from Fort Worth’s rough and rowdy side to New York Times Square and all points in between. Paul had a history of, and habit of, walking just a little outside the law. But despite his shady background, he proved to be a driving force. He loved numbers and was the accountant for the band. He never hesitated to take whatever action necessary when a shifty promoter tried to stiff them.
“Paul knew everyone and everyone knew Paul,” said Willie.
Paul took on the persona of the devil, dressing in all black, wearing a black cape lined with red silk, black Stetson, and red cowboy boots. But in Willie’s words, “that persona couldn’t have been farther from the truth.’
With a heart of gold, Paul never hesitated to step in and intercede for the underdog.
So many stories are told in this book that I’d love to relate to you, but I won’t. I will simply tell you that behind every successful man, there is a true supporter. In the case of Willie Nelson, that was Paul English. Willie said they fit perfectly together like a pistol and a holster. Paul was steady while Willie could be unsteady. Paul was a genius with numbers and a sure shot with a .45. Everyone who knew him respected and admired him.
He passed away on February 11, 2020, at the age of 87. He had been Willie’s closest confidant for over sixty-five years. This book is a fitting tribute to the man, sharing the highs and lows of his life. If you follow Willie Nelson’s music, this book is a must-read for you. I highly recommend it. It is told in Willie’s easy style of communicating, simple with no frills, but filled with heart and soul.

This book is set to release on September 20, 2022. And even though I’ve read it, I will have a hardcover copy on my bookshelf. It is priceless!

I had the opportunity to meet Paul and to spend time listening to him and my late husband talk on several occasions. His sense of humor and love for Willie Nelson came through in the stories he shared.

Left to Right (Rick Sikes, Paul English, Bee Spears, and Joe Dee Hicks) Abilene, Texas 2006

The Friendship Pact – Jill Shalvis #BookReview #Netgalley @JillShalvis

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and Avon Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

PURCHASE LINK

The Friendship Pact is a story about family, friendship, and forgiveness. The characters in this story are deeply flawed and fighting to rise above their limitations, both physical and mental.

I enjoyed many of the tertiary characters in the story, but the story focuses mainly on Tae Holmes and Riggs Copeland, as well as Tae’s relationship with her mother, April, and Riggs’ relationship with his brother, Jake.

Mistakes were made when April discovered she was pregnant after a one-night stand at a party. Lies were told. But can those lies stay buried?

Tae and Riggs essentially grew up together, both coming from hardships and struggles. Riggs’ father was an abusive alcoholic. He and his brother Jake caught the brunt force of his fists too many times. Joining the military was their way out.

Tae’s entire world revolves around her mother. They are all each other has. They’ve always struggled to make ends meet. April sought security and a better way of life for her and her daughter through a continuous flow of men through her door. As a result, Tae has become independent and tough, her heart closed to the idea of any deep relationship with a man. After all, she had no father and none of the men April chose came close to her idea of a father.

So, at age 28, Tae is a successful businesswoman, dedicated to her mother, and consumed by her work. She’s good at her job and good at protecting her heart. But now Riggs is back in town for the summer to help his disabled brother provide summer activities for wounded veterans and other disabled adults and children.

Sparks fly between Tae and Riggs. She’d lost her virginity to him in high school. But then he’d gone into the military and disappeared from her life. And she isn’t ready to let him back in. They have to find a way to work together for the summer, so a friendship pact is formed.

It doesn’t take long for that to grow into something bigger. But both are better at running away than staying. Add in the complication of a father Tae thought to be dead, showing up very much alive and this story takes lots of heart-stopping twists and turns.

The author did a fabulous job at weaving all the characters together. They are complex, multi-dimensional, and believable with relatable struggles. Tae was my favorite character. She fought hard for independence. She needed no one. Riggs’ brother, Jake, is a character I admired. Despite the paralyzed legs, he dared to live life, fall in love, and help others struggling with disabilities. While this is a romance, it is also much more, diving into dysfunctional family struggles and the attempt to forgive and heal. I highly recommend it and give it a solid four stars!

The Bones of Amoret – #NewRelease @HerbertWriter @LoneStarLit

I am super excited to introduce this new book to my followers. Arthur Herbert is a new author to me and this is the first book of his I’ve read, but it won’t be my last!

THE BONES OF AMORET
by
ARTHUR HERBERT
Genre: Mystery /Suspense
Publisher: Stitched Smile Publications
Date of Publication: April 1, 2022
Number of Pages: 323 pages 
Scroll down for Giveaway!
In this enigmatic follow up to his critically acclaimed debut novel The Cuts that Cure, Arthur Herbert returns to the Texas-Mexico border with this saga of a small town’s bloody loss of innocence.
Amoret, Texas, 1982. Life along the border is harsh, but in a world where cultures work together to carve a living from the desert landscape, Blaine Beckett lives a life of isolation. A transplanted Boston intellectual, for twenty years locals have viewed him as a snob, a misanthrope, an outsider. He seems content to stand apart until one night when he vanishes into thin air amid signs of foul play.
Noah Grady, the town doctor, is a charming and popular good ol’ boy. He’s also a keeper of secrets, both the town’s and his own. He watches from afar as the mystery of Blaine’s disappearance unravels and rumors fly. Were the incipient cartels responsible? Was it a local with a grudge? Or did Blaine himself orchestrate his own disappearance? Then the unthinkable happens, and Noah begins to realize he’s considered a suspect.
Paced like a lit fuse and full of dizzying plot twists, The Bones of Amoret is a riveting whodunit that will keep you guessing all the way to its shocking conclusion.
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Amazon
Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a social worker before going to medical school. For the last eighteen years, he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice.
He’s won multiple awards for his scientific writing, and his first novel, The Cuts that Cure, spent ten days as an Amazon #1 Best Seller. His second novel, The Bones of Amoret, will be released on April 1, 2022 through Stitched Smile Publishers. Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs.
Arthur loves hearing from readers, so don’t hesitate to email him at arthur@arthurherbertwriter.com.
◆  WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER
◆  AMAZON  ◆  GOODREADSBOOKBUB
This book grabbed me from the first line and didn’t let go until the last. I read it in two sittings and way past my bedtime.

One of the things I loved about The Bones of Amoret is the setting. If you have never seen the incredible beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert in far southwest Texas, you are missing a treat. But this author did a fabulous job of describing the scenery, so that even if you’ve never been there, you could visualize it.

The main character, a medical doctor in the small town of Amoret, wore many different hats. Noah Grady had a big heart and helping immigrants cross the river safely for a chance at a better life showed that explicitly. Add in his love for a mentally handicapped adopted son and you get the picture of a wonderful man filled with compassion.

But Noah Grady has a secret. And the author kept it under wraps until the very end. While I thought I had figured out the direction the story was heading several different times while reading, none of them were correct.

Blaine Beckett disappears at the beginning of the story. The whodunit and what happened unfolds in layers, much like peeling back an onion. And I couldn’t wait to peel back another layer and get deeper.

The author doesn’t shy away from giving his character huge obstacles, both mental and physical, to try and overcome. At times, I chewed my fingernails, wondering which one would be his demise.

If you love a riveting tale of mystery, action, suspense, sensitive social issues, and deep-abiding love, The Bones of Amoret is for you. The bonus is the gorgeous setting in the Big Bend area where the Chisos Mountains rise tall and the ravines run deep.

Magpie – Psychological Thriller #NewRelease @elizabday #NetGalley

Elizabeth Day is a new author to me and I picked this book up courtesy of NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Publisher.

PURCHASE LINK

All opinions expressed are strictly my own.

The story basically consists of three characters, Marisa, Jake, and Kate. A side character, Jake’s mother, Annabelle, also plays a critical part in the story.
It opens with Marisa in a scene where she is looking at a house for her and Jake to move in together after a short three-month romance. A Magpie flies in through an open door and basically has little to do with the story or plot. It almost felt as if the author added it so it could be the book title. Although it does come back into the story toward the end…One for Sorrow, Two for Joy.
As a psychological thriller, this story took me on quite a ride. The backstory became tedious at times, but I can also see where it is necessary to explain some actions later. However, I wanted to get on with the story instead of going backward every other chapter.

The entirety of the plot is focused on the difficulties of getting pregnant and struggling with fertility treatments. Jake wants a baby. Will it be Jake and Marisa’s baby, or will it be Jake and Kate’s baby? It was at least halfway through the story before I figured that part out.

As the real story unfolds, it becomes obvious there are serious mental issues with more than one character, but especially with Marisa. Schizophrenia is portrayed in a realistic and believable way.
Kate is the most solid character in the story. I got more than a little annoyed with Jake for allowing his mother to dominate and manipulate him. It became obvious early on, that Annabelle is narcissistic. There are so many different psychological issues at play in this story.

This one excerpt explains a lot: “Risperidone is licensed to treat the following conditions: schizophrenia, psychosis, mania…”
I don’t want to leave any spoilers, by giving anything away, so I will just say it is quite a tale, giving the reader a rollercoaster ride. Other than too much backstory told in large info dumps, it is well-written. If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, you will most likely enjoy this one.

I gave it three stars.

The Local – Joey Hartstone @Netgalley #LegalThriller #SmallTown

I received an ARC of The Local through NetGalley courtesy of Doubleday Books.

I originally requested the book because of the setting. Marshall, Texas is a small non-descript East Texas town I am quite familiar with, and I had to find out what someone could write about it. What I learned is that Marshall is the home of a Federal District Court that hears patent cases from all around the country and is famous for the big payouts awarded. Because of that, the town is inundated with patent attorneys. Thus enters the main character in The Local.

Big city law firms need locals to help with jury selection and to put a familiar face to their cases. James Euchre is one of the best.

This book has everything you could want, as a reader. There is court drama, a murder, a high-stakes law firm, a bit of romance, and local color. As I read the book, I was convinced the author must be from the area. Who else would know about Karnack or Uncertain, Texas? It just goes to show the power of detailed research. Mr. Hartstone made me believe he knew every nook and cranny in Harrison County, in and out of the courtroom.

James Euchre is working with a large law firm from New York when the prestigious judge who had presided over the Federal District Court for over twenty years is murdered. Not only was the judge Euchre’s friend, but a father figure and mentor. He is determined to bring the killer to justice.

It doesn’t help when his client, Amir, from Pakistan is arrested and charged with the murder. James Euchre is a patent attorney. He’s never practiced criminal law, although his father did and made quite a name for himself across the state. But Amir is adamant he wants James to represent him and prove his innocence.

There are many shocking discoveries throughout the unfolding of this story, including publicly accusing the esteemed judge’s replacement of the murder. I will say the author did a fantastic job of keeping the true identity of the killer under wraps until the very end and I did not even come close to guessing who it was.

This is a fantastic story that I devoured! If you like fast-paced action, lots of suspense while at the same time seeing the very human side of the characters, you will love this novel.

It is set to release on June 14, 2022. I highly recommend you don’t miss this one!

PRE-ORDER LINK

#BookReview – Reckless Girls – @LadyHawkins @NetGalley

BOOK BLURB:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes Reckless Girls, a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake, and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indications, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary ARC of this book through NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.

I picked this book up after a recommendation from another reader, and I was not disappointed. As the blurb says, Nico and Lux are hired to sail two women, Brittany and Amma, to Meroe, a remote deserted island, for an adventure on Nico’s boat, The Susannah.

But when they arrive in paradise, they find they are not alone. There is a luxury catamaran already anchored with two occupants, Jake and Eliza.

At first, things are wonderful. The six people get along great and are soon best of friends, sharing the beauty of the island, extravagant meals courtesy of Jake and Eliza, and hours of swimming, drinking, sunning, and exploring.

The island, once used as a staging area during World War II, has a dark history. A ship’s crew trapped there had to resort to eating the bodies of the dead in order to survive. When the men were finally rescued, out of 32, there were only 8 still alive.

This is the first hint of foreboding in the story. But that part of the island’s history was so long ago, none of the characters pay much attention to the legend that the island is haunted, even though they discover the abandoned airstrip, along with a human skull.

Each character in the story has baggage, which the author does a great job of revealing in bits and pieces throughout the story. Nico and Jake have one thing in common. They both come from extremely wealthy families. Brittany and Amma appear to have grief in common. And Lux is dealing with her own grief after the death of her mother from cancer. The biggest mystery is Eliza who is the epitome of perfection.

However, the arrival of another man, Robbie, starts the decline of all the relationships. There is something sinister about him and Lux has a confrontation that leaves her rattled and shaken. It isn’t until he disappears that Nico and Jake find their radios smashed and the group now cut off from any communication with the outside world. Boundaries are crossed and trust destroyed.

And that’s just the beginning of the mounting tension.

I like how the author shifts between timelines throughout the story, giving the reader glimpses into each character’s past. These are done in snippets, so there is never info dump and never so much told that the reader has the whole picture.

It isn’t until the end of the story that everything becomes crystal clear with a string of dead bodies left behind. The book comes to a satisfying, if somewhat jaw-dropping conclusion, and is a quick entertaining read.

This is an intricately woven psychological thriller that will be released in January 2022. If you love a story that transports you to a beautiful dream location, standing out in stark contrast to deadly motives, you will devour this story as I did. Thank you, Mae Clair, for recommending it!