#NewRelease – Shattered Lives @sasspip

I am excited to turn my blog over to Sarah Stuart today and let her tell you about her new thriller, Shattered Lives!

Thank you for hosting me today, Jan. There’s a lot to be said for crossing the pond “on a magic carpet” in these difficult times. I’m here to launch my first crime thriller, Shattered Lives, and the first thing I want to say is it is true escapism. I’ve ignored Covid19 – in the book! I am double-jabbed, and crossing my fingers, in reality.

Escapism with a serial killer? Maybe. This is a five-star Amazon review.

Callianne: A Very Different “Killer-Thriller”!

I loved the way the first murder happened right at the start, though it’s scary being inside the mind of a psychopath. Shattered Lives has a complex plot, and knowing who the killer was, and his real target made it truly enthralling.

Blurb

Ralph Thyme, an addicted gambler, and his wealthy grandmother’s only acknowledged heir, discovers he has an elder sister, Olivia, who was sold at birth. Suppose Olivia discovers her true identity and claims half the inheritance he craves? How far will he go to eliminate the threat?

Olivia escaped childhood sexual abuse. Despite horrific memories, nightmares, and fear, she is determined to save a stranger’s little girl from the same fate, and the solution she offers takes all her courage… and then some.

DCI Croft investigates a heinous case of rape, murder, and mutilation. Next to die, are a private detective and his pretty daughter… and then another woman… and another. Can DCI Croft identify and capture a psychopathic killer hell-bent on eliminating anyone who stands in his way before he murders his sister… or is it already too late for Olivia?

Excerpt featuring the serial killer.

Ralph was bored and frustrated; Sykes Gambling Club was closed for the installation of new machines, and he had problems to solve before he killed again. He wandered out into the garden. It would all be his soon, and when it was, he’d have a fully-glazed shelter built at the highest point – what the fuck were two of the gardeners doing?

‘Hold it higher than that, Lofty.’

‘Sod yer, I kent ’elp bein’ short. What’s this ’ere trellis for anyroad? This ’ere fence ’ides the rubbish bins from the windas.’

‘It’s a new support to train Sweet Pea plants. Dame Edith likes the flowers for the house.’

‘In autumn? Pull t’other one.’

‘Lift up, blast it, and keep it still while I tie it in place.’

He stopped listening. If Ralph Thyme wanted to keep a girl’s wrists together, those ties would do the trick. He approached quietly and grabbed a handful. If the men ran out, so what? Grandmother wasn’t coming home to stink the place out with flowers.

Back indoors, smugness faded. He’d seen how the ties were used, but he hadn’t expected them to be so stiff. No woman would hold her wrists together and wait! Then there was the hooker who’d screamed. Suppose one of the slags in the flat below had taken a night off and heard her? Would a scarf make a good gag? November had arrived with cold winds, so a woman wouldn’t be spooked by him wearing one. He pulled a selection out of his drawer. How much sound would penetrate cashmere? Was wool the best material? He opened drawers where some of Grandmother’s clothes were still stored. Useless female colours… except one.

Kicking his bedroom door closed, he scowled. He still didn’t know which to choose. He could try it on himself and bellow loudly – and have Mrs. Sharnbrook overhear if it didn’t work and send men to disable a mythical attacker? He could wait until she went out…

Mrs. Sharnbrook shopped personally sometimes, but the house was never empty and choosing an innocent item that worked as a gag was urgent. His cock gave him no peace and his hands itched to kill. He was holding scarves against the light to assess their density when Candice walked in with coffee.

‘Shall I ask Auntie to turn up the radiator thingy, sir?’

Trust Candice not to remember it was called a thermostat. The half-wit would forget him experimenting on her with scarves; if she did and said anything, nobody would believe her. It was risky, putting his hands near that long slender neck.

‘Sir, I could light the fire.’

Drivel, drivel! It was her life on the line unless he got satisfaction elsewhere. ‘I’m not cold now, Candice. I’m trying to decide which scarf is the warmest for when I go out.’

‘They all look warm, sir. I haven’t got a scarf, but I only go to the bins with rubbish.’

‘You shall choose one of mine if you help me with an experiment, Candice.’

‘Ooh, yes, sir. What’s an experiment?’

‘A way of –’ she wouldn’t understand “establishing facts” – ‘finding out something. If I tie a scarf over your mouth, and you shout, I’ll know which one is the thickest.’

Candice still looked baffled. ‘Yes, sir.’

The first two scarves allowed him to hear “is that right, sir”. He said nothing, so she was sure to have shouted louder, and the third scarf smothered her words. ‘Well done, Candice. Now, which scarf would you like?’

She pointed at the purple one that belonged to Grandmother. ‘That one, please, sir.’

It wouldn’t be missed by its owner, but it might be noticed. ‘Tell Auntie that Dame Edith said I could give it to you, or you’ll be in trouble.’

Candice shivered. ‘Yes, sir, I will.’

The half-wit feared Auntie, but silence from a victim was assured. Using the ties must be done quickly, and he had a girl here to practise on, but he’d already rewarded her. ‘Candice, do you have nice warm gloves?’

‘No, sir. My hands get sore every winter.’

‘I could buy you a pair, but I’d need to know the right size and… and not everyone’s wrists are a pair.’

‘A pair, sir?’

God, this was difficult. ‘Hold out both hands close together.’

‘Like this, sir?’

‘Perfect, Candice. Now, keep very still while I use my special measuring gadget.’ It took him far too long to wrap it around her wrists and slip the pointed end into the hole. ‘Ah! I need to practise, or the gloves might not fit.’

‘It’s a queer looking thing, sir. Will it hurt if it gets tighter?’

‘I suppose it might, but I won’t let it.’ At his sixth attempt, he applied one in a few seconds, and it locked. ‘Got it!’

‘Got what, sir?’

He pressed the tab and released her. ‘The correct size for your gloves.’

It was dark when he strolled down the steep hill to Garton North underground station debating whether to get off a train at a stop in Garton Central or travel on to Garton South. The second was where he’d found hookers, but he wanted a woman the Garton Gazette would write articles about, and half their readers probably thought hookers deserved anything they got, so another murdered would only get mentioned to up the victim count.

Amongst the crowd emerging from the station was a girl wearing a fur coat with a matching hat and gloves, and high-heeled shoes. Blonde hair flowed from beneath the hat and over her collar. She was perfect, and she was alone. Any second, a husband or father would arrive to pick her up; she was hovering almost on the kerb looking to her left.

He pretended to light a cigarette. She waited, tapping now and then at a mobile she produced from her handbag.

Another crowd of passengers swarmed from the station and took the waiting taxies. The girl stamped a foot, thrust the mobile into her pocket, and set off at a brisk walk. He followed, keeping to the opposite side of the road and watching for a darkened shop doorway deep enough to hide them both.

Five-Star Readers’ Favorite Review by Anne-Marie Reynolds

Shattered Lives by Sarah Stuart is a fascinating thriller that delves deep into two storylines: the mind of a psychopath and that of a sexual abuse survivor who must save another from the same fate to heal herself. It isn’t a story for younger readers or the faint-hearted: child sexual abuse, necrophilia, and graphic violence are just part of the substantial subject matter. This story delves into how a psychopath functions and what makes them tick, leading you down some dark paths through a truly twisted mind. It also guides you on a journey of discovery through the eyes of a child sex abuse survivor, more dark paths that eventually lead to the light. Shattered Lives is a gripping tale that will hold your heart in a vise while you read it, and it will have you turning the pages deep into the night.

Links


Shattered Lives is available as an eBook or in print. http://getbook.at/ShatteredLives

Website http://authorsarahstuart.com/

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Stuart/e/B00MA9XLHI

And for other books from this author, take a look at her previous series!

January #BookReviews – Only 4 and 5 Star #Bridgerton @OverbeckRandy @ParrisAfton @WendyJayneScott @sasspip

I read eight books in the month of January, but I am only listing the ones that I gave either a four or five star review. These are all GREAT books and I highly recommend them!

I’m going to start with the Five-Star Reviews first.

The Brigands (The Texicans Book 1) by Parris Afton Bonds

MY THOUGHTS:

This story is an amazingly accurate historical portrayal of the events that lead to Texas (Tejas) winning independence from Mexico, and includes two sizzling yet seemingly impossible love affairs. Two women arriving at the port of Matamoros, each unaware of the other and each with different motives wind up with their lives thrust into an intricately woven web of power, struggle, and deceit. Ms. Bonds did an outstanding job of layering this story with intense conflict and emotion as each woman fought against the power of all-consuming love. Fiona and Rafaela are two characters I won’t soon forget, not to mention the handsome, yet deadly Baron who possesses a black heart and deadly will. Add in the Irish Gypsy Traveler and you have four people tied together by unpredictable circumstances and eventually undeniable love.

Blood on the Chesapeake” by Randy Overbeck

MY THOUGHTS:

This story grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let go until the last. Overbeck touches on so many different facets in this book from the civil rights unrest in the 60s to a murder cover-up as a suicide set in a high school. Throw in a ghost that will not leave the new coach, Darrell Henshaw, alone and you’ve got a great combination for a story. Coach Henshaw can communicate with the ghost, but it is not something he welcomes or wants. The author took me on a riveting journey through the process of solving the murder/suicide and exacting revenge. And, there is a blossoming love story thrown in the midst of it all. I love how the author accurately depicts attitudes and beliefs and how he brings the beautiful setting of the bay to life in vivid color. I highly recommend it for any reader who likes a well-paced, well-written murder/mystery with twists!

Sleighed – A Christmas Tale” by WJ Scott

MY THOUGHTS:

In this Christmas children’s story, a new elf in Santa’s workshop learns a valuable lesson. Always remember to clean the fairy dust off before leaving the workshop. Tinsel, the elf, has quite the adventure when he forgets that bit of advice. It is a short read that young and old alike will enjoy! I highly recommend it!

“Sizzling Sunset – Book 5 of the Royal Command Series” by Sarah Stuart

MY REVIEW:

If you have read the other four books in the Royal Command Family Saga, you are going to appreciate the way Ms. Stuart wraps up this saga. This segment of the series focuses on Greta Marsh, the teenaged daughter of the Diamond Superstar, Michael Marsh. When Michael and Greta’s stepmother go on an extensive concert tour in the U.S., little do they know the young boy and his sister whom they rescue will be Greta’s true love. What I like most about this story is the way it comes in a full circle. What I mean by that is in book one, Michael is poor and has a dream of making it big on stage. Elspeth, born of money and heritage, falls hopelessly in love with Michael and helps make his dreams come true. In this book, Greta falls in love with an impoverished boy, just as her mother had done. Another thing I loved about this story segment is that the royal jewels from the diary of Margaret Tudor which was passed down through generations were woven into Greta’s wedding bouquet. A perfect ending to a high drama saga. Ms. Stuart has a talent for pulling out all the stops in her storytelling.

“The Duke and I (Book 2 of the Bridgerton series” by Julia Quinn

MY THOUGHTS:

I seldom read a mainstream book anymore. My go-to are Indie Authors. But my daughters became obsessed with the Netflix series and insisted I watch it, then we wanted to read the books. Almost always the book is better than the show, but in this case, I found the show to be better than the book. While the story premise was the same, the characters were not and the situations were not. It would probably be better to read the book before watching the series. It is a well-written multi-dimensional story about the ultimate game of pretense.

Jan’s TOP TEN Books 2017

JAN'S TOP TENBOOK LIST20171 (1)

#1

For_You_To_See_The_Stars   PURCHASE LINK

Hands down, this book easily takes the #1 spot this year. This is Foster’s first print publication. It is classic storytelling at its best. Foster writes with an uncommon depth of emotion, humor, empathy, and clarity.  Adding another dimension to this collection of short stories, Foster, a seasoned songwriter/musician, recorded a music CD which accompanies the book. Together, they make an unforgettable read/listen!

#2 

Heart_Of_A_Texas_CowboyMarryTexasOutlaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PURCHASE LINK Heart of a Texas Cowboy

PURCHASE LINK To Marry a Texas Outlaw

Yes, I know there are two books sitting in this spot, but I couldn’t find a way to separate them. This “Men of Legend” series was amazing from beginning to end, and it just happens that parts two and three were both released this year. “Some Legends are born and some are made” describes this series perfectly about a father, Stoker Legend and three sons, Sam, Houston, and Luke. Houston struggles to deal with the death of his bride-to-be in “The Heart of a Texas Cowboy.” I won’t tell you what happens, but a woman and baby girl manage to melt the ice that froze his heart. In “To Marry a Texas Outlaw,” Luke Weston is determined to clear the murder pinned on him and finally be able to step up and claim his birthright, the Legend name. But, he didn’t bargain for the spirited woman who would set his plans awry. In each book of this series, you’ll find lots of old west action, honor, and romance.

#3

Empty Chairs    PURCHASE LINK

This true story from Stacey Danson (aka Suzanne Burke) touched me on such a deep level. It is a tale of horrific child abuse and how one young girl took matters into her own hands and hit the streets of Sydney, Austrailia. The dangers that lurked on the streets were less frightening than what she faced at home, or as she referred to it in the book, “hell central.” This book has 390 reviews on Amazon. That alone is a testimony to the power of this deeply personal story.

#4

May_Lilacs   PURCHASE LINK

The number four is an Angel number and nothing could be more appropriate for this amazing book. The author worked for many years as a psychic detective, assisting with some of the most gruesome cases you can imagine. But, her “near-death” experience as she relates it in this book is extraordinary. I can promise that this book WILL change the way you view death.

#5 

Love The Beat Goes On  PURCHASE LINK

I have read a lot of new-age books over the years and got something good from each of them, but this book by Lynda Filler is extraordinary. Her honesty about the journey from receiving a death sentence for an incurable disease to healing in a rainstorm while a Shaman beat on his drum is not just compelling, but astounding. I loved every fragment of this story.

#6

Circumstances of Childhood final front  PURCHASE LINK

There seems to be a somewhat common thread running through my book selections this year. This story from John W. Howell incorporates a ghost as one of the main characters, and he weaves it all together perfectly. The ending of the story is done in true Howell fashion with an unpredictable and “thriller” conclusion.

#7

letting_go_into_perfect_love    PURCHASE LINK

 

This was the first book I read in 2017 and the uplifting story never left me. The author shares deep personal accounts of heartbreak, discovery, and inspiration. How she chose to rise above the many years of abuse to find self-love is encouraging as well as empowering.

#8

Slivers_Of_Life  PURCHASE LINK

Slivers of Life could not be a more appropriate title for this compilation of short stories from Author, Beem Weeks. Each is like a slice of pie from the whole or pages ripped from someone’s book. I thought I had found my favorite story with “Medal Detector,” but the next chapter, “Forget Me (Not Fade Away)” had me in tears. Emotion drips from the exquisite way Beem weaves his words together to create the stories, and he is a master at ‘Show Don’t Tell.’ If you are a lover of emotionally driven ‘too-human’ stories, this book is for you. It’s easy to read, but the stories linger long after you’ve turned the last page.

#9

Sweet Temptation  PURCHASE LINK

I have read all the books in Sarah Stuart’s Royal Command Series, and until I read Sweet Temptation, my favorite of the series was the first book, Dangerous Liaisons.
Michael Marsh, the Diamond Superstar has millions of fans across the globe, but he’s lonely. When his wife, Lizzie, was murdered in front of him, his world shattered. He didn’t believe he could ever love again. That is until detective Evie Taylor, walked into his office. The author weaves a tangled web of deceit, powerful illusions, and cyberstalkers. Action from start to finish.

#10

This Second Chance eBook Cover  PURCHASE LINK

Again, this story stays with the paranormal thread from my year’s reading. Rachael finally has a chance at happiness with a man who adores her, but strange phenomena continue to occur. Little does she know there is an Angel, the ghost of her ex-husband and an evildwel that are hard at work in the background. The author takes the reader on quite a journey as it all unfolds.

BONUS STORY:

Tempest In Texas  PURCHASE LINK

You read the title correctly. This is a Screenplay by Larry Landgraf adapted from his novel, Into Autumn, A Story of Survival, and it deserves to be on the big screen! We all hear apocalyptic stories – about what could happen if and when our social and economic infrastructures collapse, but Larry Landgraf takes us inside that “what if” world with real people, in what could be real life circumstances.

Trust me when I say it was difficult choosing from so many great books to create this TOP TEN. A lot of the authors listed here are members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, a place where authors are supported, promoted and lifted up. 

Sweet Temptation – Sarah Stuart #BookReview

5 star

Sweet Temptation

THE BLURB:

Evie Taylor is a career girl with no time for men, but she has a secret passion for Michael Marsh, the unattainable world-famous singer, The Diamond Superstar. Michael has been widowed for two years and the young detective who helped close the case on his wife’s murder still haunts his dreams. He doesn’t expect to find a deadly enemy in Evie’s mother.

Teenage Greta, jealous of her adored father paying attention to Evie, makes a dangerous contact in an Internet chatroom. The Spy, a journalist hell-bent on destroying Michael, sets out to prove he has an incestuous relationship with his eldest daughter, he encourages his adult twins to sleep together, and he is responsible for appalling injuries inflicted on Greta.

Can Evie defeat the virus intent on her death, The Spy, and her mother, to win the heart of the man who’s turned her life upside-down?

MY REVIEW:

I have read all the books in Sarah Stuart’s Royal Command Series, and until I read Sweet Temptation, my favorite of the series was the first book, Dangerous Liaisons.

Michael Marsh, the Diamond Superstar has millions of fans across the globe, but he’s lonely. When his wife, Lizzie, was murdered in front of him, his world shattered. He didn’t believe he could ever love again. That is until detective Evie Taylor, walked into his office. Thirty years his junior, it is a relationship destined to failure from the start. She’s been a fan and star struck by him since she was a teenager. So, when he asks her to move into Mere House with him, she’s ecstatic, but disillusioned when she is never invited to share his bed. She falls gravely ill and lies at death’s door in the hospital for months. That is when Michael realizes he cannot live without her. A hasty marriage in the hospital puts a diamond ring on her finger, but still she is riddled with doubt. How can Michael love her when she is so near death and disgustingly thin? The many skeletons in Michael Marsh’s closet come out and with the help of Evie’s evil and jealous mother, she is convinced the marriage is only a farce and meant to take the heat off Michael when The Spy reports damaging lies about incest and physical abuse in the tabloids. Add Michael’s teenage daughter, Greta, into the mix and the plot thickens. Greta allows herself to become a victim of a sex trafficking ring when she turns to a chat room to ease her own loneliness. She is jealous of Evie and the hours Michal spends at the hospital and convinces herself that her family doesn’t love her. The author did a superb job of getting inside the mind of a typical teenager. But, the danger is real and if not for Greta’s fierce determination, she would have been another statistic.

One of the reasons I loved this story so much is that Michael Marsh redeemed himself. By that I mean, that he had to, for once in his life, think of someone other than himself. The hours he spent with no food and no sleep to sit by Evie’s bedside as she battled to live and fight incessant nightmares put him in a different light. It showed a compassionate caring side of the Diamond Superstar that we had not seen in the other books. 

If you love dysfunctional family drama, suspense, and conflict, you are going to love Sweet Temptation. Sarah Stuart did an amazing job with all the characters, delving deep into their psyche. As a last word, I also have to give her kudos for the detailed way she depicted Evie’s nightmares that haunted her as she lay in a coma. Only someone who had experienced these could write about them in such vivid detail.

About The Author:

Sarah Stuart

Sarah Stuart is an award-winning author whose books are based on her show business experience, her concern for animals, the challenges of her Christian faith, and her passions for history and travel.

Sarah’s hope is that readers will enjoy her novels as an escape from reality, but be left understanding that fame and fortune often comes at a high personal cost. Also, an increased perception of the threat to animals: those shot in the name of sport for trophy heads, endangered species, many poached for their fur and ivory, and tragically discarded pets.

Sarah appreciates reviews very much. Readers have already helped endangered species and discarded pets worldwide; she donates 100% of her royalties to help and reviews encourage others to buy and review for this globally worthwhile cause.

Connect with Sarah:

Twitter        Facebook 

THE ROYAL COMMAND SERIES

RC dynasty and dallas quote

 

Dangerous Liaisons by Sarah Stuart

Dangerous Liaisons Cover

When I picked Dangerous Liaisons to read, I had no idea what I was in for. The story starts with a young girl, an only child, raised on a hunting estate in Scotland. She has flaming red curls and a book that had been passed down to her through generations called the Book of Hours. Lizzie Cameron works diligently at decoding this diary of sorts written by her ancestors who were of royal lineage in the 1500s. The message was always the same, to find love where they may. Love is a gift of God, not of kings.
When Lizzie leaves home and finds her way on her own in London, she meets Michael Marsh, handsome, talented, backstreet boy seeking a career in theater. This story is a rollercoaster ride as we see Michael and Lizzie marry, him rise to international stardom and fame through Lizzie’s determination and connections. They bear two children, a girl first, then a boy. When Lisette, their daughter, turns fourteen years of age, Lizzie passes the Book of Hours on to her. Michael is always gone touring. Lizzie spends too much time alone. She has an affair with another man and conceives his child. Then the unspeakable happens. Lisette is groomed her entire life for theater and is cast in a leading role opposite her father, Michael, who she hardly knows. The storyline involves nudity and love scenes. I won’t write a spoiler and give away the plot, but I will say that Sarah Stuart certainly knows how to weave a web of lies, deceit, heartbreak, forgiveness and healing. If you enjoy a steamy love scene, this book is for you. If you enjoy a plot that takes so many twists and turns that you sometimes aren’t quite sure where you are, this is the book for you. Sarah did an excellent job of bringing all of the loose ends of the story full circle with an ending that leaves you sighing with relief, A well written story by an Indie author!

Find it on Amazon.com