Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review and GIVEAWAY - The Devil's Whispers: A Gothic Horror Novel, by Lucas Hault {ends 5/2}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

I’m agitated and numb. My body shivers in horror.

As I was lingering on the verge of sleep, I sensed the presence of a shadow trailing across my window. It looked so real, as if I was standing there to watch it pass along the mist. Suddenly, I bolted awake and sat up with a horrible sense of fear and emptiness inside me. I remained motionless and vigilant, and then I heard a harrowing whisper pass through my room. What made the noise I know not, but the idle talks of the womenfolk echoed inside my head.

Quickly, I rose to my feet and opened the door.

It was a beautiful night. Stars twinkled in the sky, surrounding the moon like the subjects of an empire assembling before their queen. A cool breeze swept the land. I inhaled a long breath to ignite the fire of courage in my heart, and without wasting a moment further, snuck away towards the south, where I again heard the whisper.

What is haunting Gerard Woodward and his love Raelyn? Whatever it is, it follows them around the countryside and lurks closer all the time, destroying those they love and threatening to destroy them too.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY - The Devil's Whispers: A Gothic Horror Novel, by Lucas Hault {ends 5/2}
Famed British lawyer Gerard Woodward is summoned to an ancient Welsh castle to assist a dying lord in his final affairs. But as his host slips closer to death, Gerard begins to feel less like a guest and more like a prisoner. When he finds himself locked inside his room, he realizes he must escape.

After finding his way out of his room, Gerard begins to wonder if he was safer locked inside. The labyrinthine halls echo secrets. A terrible wail and the rattling of chains sets his nerves on end. Something sinister is happening within the walls of Mathers Castle, and when he descends into the dungeons, he discovers a horrible secret…

In nearby London, children vanish into the night, animals are horribly mutilated, and a savage creature stalks the shadows. When Gerard’s wife, Raelyn, becomes the creature’s next target, his need to escape reaches a fever pitch. He must get out alive so he can dispel the evil that threatens to destroy his beloved Raelyn… and the rest of us.

The story starts out as Gerard Woodward leaves for a brief assignment to sort out the final affairs of Lord Mathers at his secluded castle far from the home he plans to share with his fiance Raelyn. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself locked in his room, and Lord Mathers possibly not as near death as he was led to believe.

Meanwhile back in London, Raelyn is dealing with her own creepy occurrences. Her cousin has come to stay in her guest house, and he is less and less how she remembers him every day. Could all the horrors be linked?

The terrors and suspense build in this story slowly and steadily. An ancient curse is branching out from the Mathers Castle and haunting them all. I gave this chilling story 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy traditional dark gothic stories. 

{click here to purchase—currently FREE for Kindle Unlimited users!}
 
Becki Bayley is a woman without a secret life, who lives vicariously through the books she reads. Read more of her book reviews and other observations at her blog, SweetlyBSquared.com.
 
GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Devil's Whispers!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, May 2nd, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be contacted via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck! 

The Devil's Whispers: A Gothic Horror Novel, by Lucas Hault

Monday, April 4, 2022

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Teach Me Tonight, by Susan Coventry {ends 4/12}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Lily managed to pull herself together while eating dinner and dessert with Trey’s family. They were a likable bunch and didn’t pay her too much attention other than asking a few basic questions about her job and where she lived. Morgan, however, kept a close eye on her and Trey, smiling and looking like she had a secret, which, of course, she did.

Finally, shortly after dessert, Trey announced that they were leaving. The goodbyes took a while, and then Morgan and Denise walked them to the door.

“We really enjoyed having you, Lily. I hope we’ll see you again sometime,” Denise said.

If his mom thought something fishy was going on, she did a good job of hiding it.

While this was a fun fake-romance to true-love story, it was neat to recognize the places the characters mentioned too.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Teach Me Tonight, by Susan Coventry {ends 4/12}
Two teachers embark on a pretend romance, but there is no accounting for real love!

Friends and coworkers…

Lily Caldwell loves her job as a junior high school language arts teacher. It doesn’t hurt that her classroom is right across the hall from her handsome, charming coworker Trey. While she enjoys his friendship, she hides her attraction to him for a variety of reasons, and she’s determined to keep it that way.

A mutual attraction…

Trey Garrison enjoys his job as a math teacher even if it makes him sound nerdy. He also likes his pretty coworker across the hall and interacts with her every chance he gets. Lily is sweet and friendly, but she keeps her distance, and he’s dying to know why.

One conversation changes everything…

Lily tells Trey about her friend’s upcoming wedding at a popular ski resort. It should be fun, but she’s standing up in the wedding with Collin, her controlling ex-boyfriend, and wishes she had a date. She never expected Trey to volunteer or to play her “fake boyfriend” to prove to Collin that she’s moved on.

Love Lessons…

Trey can’t wait to spend more time with Lily. He excitedly prepares “lesson plans” to pull off their ruse. However, he hasn’t accounted for everything, including falling in love.

Teach Me Tonight is book one in the Love Lessons series, a sweet and sexy contemporary romance.

Lily and Trey are work friends—they teach across the hall from each other at the local junior high, and usually take a few minutes for some small talk as they wrap up each day. When Lily vents about having to be in the bridal party for a wedding where her controlling ex will also be, Trey sees his big chance to be a good friend, and get in a weekend of skiing at a fun resort not too far away. 

Before the wedding, they of course have to get to know each other a bit better outside of work, so their story of being a happy couple can be convincing to the rest of the wedding guests, and Lily’s dreaded ex. It’s no surprise to the reader that their "pretending" gets more real in a hurry.

This book was especially fun as it mentioned several Michigan ski resorts and destinations. Recognizing the familiar settings for the book, as well as the amusing story of Lily and Trey’s growing romance, earned it a 4 out of 5 star rating. I’d recommend it as a fun wintery romance between friends and co-workers. This was the first book in the new Love Lessons series from the author. The hints have already been revealed of which middle school staff couple will be the next to get the opportunity to find true love.

{click here to purchase—currently FREE for Kindle Unlimited!}

Becki Bayley is a wife, mom, and reader in southeast Michigan. While she hates the cold, the rest of her household are downhill skiing fans. Check out their family adventures on Instagram where she posts as PoshBecki.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Teach Me Tonight!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, April 12th, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Teach Me Tonight, by Susan Coventry

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Damage Done, by Michael Landweber {ends 4/11}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The Murderer had been practicing sounding sorry for years. But he had trouble convincing parole board members he wouldn’t do it again. He had the hands and face of a killer – dead eyes and meat-hook fists. He couldn’t help that. All the apologies in the world couldn’t change the fact that he looked like someone you didn’t want to fuck with.

The words in the parole handbook, provided by a do-gooder nonprofit, blurred before his eyes. He had been reading it over and over, trying to identify the way out. The universe had provided the loophole – for him, for everyone in for murder. He was sorry for the past, and now, whether he wanted to or not, he couldn’t repeat his crime. There was no possibility he was a danger to society.

How much would a permanent relief—or escape—from violence change someone’s life? The answer varies so much on the individual’s circumstances.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Damage Done, by Michael Landweber {ends 4/11}
Violence is a thing of the past—but do new horrors lie in wait?
 
Imagine a world devoid of violence—a world where fists can’t hit, guns don’t kill, and bombs can’t destroy. In this tantalizing novel of possibility, this has—suddenly and inexplicably—become our new reality.

The U.S. president must find a new way to wage war. The Pope ponders whether the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is still relevant. A dictator takes his own life after realizing that the violence he used to control his people is no longer an option.

In the first days after the change, seven people who have experienced violence struggle to adapt to this radical new paradigm: Dab, a bullied middle schooler; Marcus, a high school student whose brother is the last victim of gun violence in America; Ann, a social worker stuck in an abusive marriage; Richard, a professor whose past makes him expect the worst inthe present; Gabriela, who is making a dangerous border crossing into the U.S.; the Empty Shell, a dissident writer waiting to be tortured in a notorious prison; and Julian, a white supremacist plotting a horrific massacre. As their fates intertwine, the promise and perils of this new world begin to take shape.
 
Although violence is no longer possible, that doesn’t mean that some among us won’t keep trying. Mindless cruelty is still alive and well—and those bent on destruction will seek the most devious means to achieve it.

This was a fascinating speculative story told from the viewpoints of seven people around the world, who later had some overlap between their characters, usually influenced by the sudden cease of violence that happened all at once. The different perspectives really brought to light that the elimination of violence, while obviously perceived as good at first glance, would affect people and populations in a lot of different ways. 

Several of their stories were haunting in their ability to keep the reader thinking about the possibilities changing around the world. While safety from violence is easy to dream about, what about the social changes and other positions of power that may have been achieved or maintained through violence? The book definitely attempted to look at the situation from many different angles.

Overall, I found this book to be quite thought-provoking in a way that tried hard not to pass judgment on the varied characters. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it as an interesting social commentary on a situation many would imagine as only good.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a middle-aged wife and mom who enjoys using her few spare minutes to herself to read. Find out what else she’s been reading on her blog, SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Damage Done!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, April 11th, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be notified via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond; if not, an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!


The Damage Done, by Michael Landweber

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