Win the August ’18 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

August 1, 2018

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Welcome to the August bookshelf of signed thrillers! Lots of terrific books to win this month from bestsellers to debuts. More books may be added throughout the month, so check back often.

To enter, go to the Win Books page.

Best of luck!

PIECES OF HER by Karin Slaughter:  The daughter of a woman who has wanted nothing more than a quiet life in her small beachside home embarks on a desperate search for answers when she discovers the explosive truth about her mother’s true identity.

SPYMASTER by Brad Thor: When a secret organization begins attacking diplomats throughout Europe at the same time a foreign ally demands the identity of a highly placed covert asset, counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath works without his mentor to prevent an all-out war.

TAILSPIN by Sandra Brown: Hired to deliver a mysterious box to a fogbound Georgia town, daredevil pilot Rye Mallett is targeted by saboteurs and law enforcement before teaming up with an attractive but suspicious doctor to determine the box’s significance.

SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER by David Bell: When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep, saying her ten-year-old daughter is missing–and he is the father–Michael, despite his skepticism about being the father, follows the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted.

AN UNWANTED GUEST by Shari Lapena: Weathering a storm that has cut them off from the outside world, the guests at a Catskills skiing lodge panic as an unknown assailant starts killing them off one by one.

OUR HOUSE by Louise Candlish:  Arriving home to find strangers moving into the prized family home she agreed to share with her ex, Fiona endures a domino effect of horrors as she discovers that her children have gone missing amid terrible revelations.

SEE ALL THE STARS by Kit Frick:  We Were Liars meets Goodbye Days in this debut YA—part love story, part suspenseful thriller— that asks: What happened thento make Ellory so broken now?

SUFFER THE CHILDREN by Lisa Black:  Cleveland forensics expert Maggie Gardiner and her partner, Jack Renner, investigate after two young people turn up dead at a secure facility for juvenile offenders.

A DARK PATH by Robert E. Dunn:  Sheriff’s detective Katrina “Hurricane” Williams confronts deep-rooted hate and greed in the Missouri Ozarks in this riveting police procedural.

HOLLYWOOD ENDING by Kellye Garrett:  When publicist Lyla Davis is killed in what appears to be botched ATM robbery, actress-turned-private-investigator Dayna Anderson infiltrates Hollywood celebrity circles to ferret out the truth

WITHOUT FEAR by Col. David Hunt and R. J. Pineiro:  A team of CIA contractors chase down a tactical nuclear weapon discovered by the Taliban in Kandahar while Russian Spetsnaz and Israeli Mossad agents trigger chaos and confusion, in the second installment of the series following Without Mercy.

A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS by Linwood Barclay: Battling PTSD and depression after an accidental stumble into a murder scene, a college professor begins writing his novel on a vintage typewriter that he comes to believe is possessed and somehow linked to the crime he survived.

THE MOSCOW OFFENSIVE by Dale Brown: When the President of Russia secretly buys an air freight company to transport dangerous cargo to the United States, Brad McLanahan and the heroes of the Iron Wolf Squadron join forces with the new Alliance of Free Nations in Eastern Europe to stop the imminent attack.

You can win autographed copies of these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Penguin Random House books for giveaway were provided by the publisher. #PRHpartner

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and how to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

ALL DRESSED IN WHITE by Charis Michaels

August 21, 2018

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The Brides of Belgravia, Book 2

Tessa St. Croix and two of her friends post an advertisement for husbands, offering a large dowry. They are hoping to find husbands who will take the money and basically run, leaving them to live their lives as they want, as respectable married women who happen to live by themselves.

Joseph Chance and two of his friends respond to the ad. Chance is a self made man, quite wealthy but he has an idea for a business venture that needs an infusion of cash. His friends are all in, so they marry the women, and plan to leave on their adventure. But for the couple of weeks they court, Joseph finds himself falling for Tessa, and she seems to be falling for him as well.

Then on their wedding night, Tessa reveals an ugly secret, and Joseph is heartbroken and furious. He leaves, their marriage unconsummated, and is gone for months. Tessa is also heartbroken but feels she had no choice. She would like to make amends, if possible, so when he returns they slowly, cautiously try and find their way back towards one another.

Love heals all wounds, of course, at least in romance novels and this is no exception. I enjoyed spending time with these characters, although Tessa was often maddening. I suppose that just added to the tension though. An enjoyable romance. I imagine the two friends will each get their own story in the next couple of books – or maybe they already did? Once again I didn’t read the first book in the series so I’m at a loss, sorry.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ALL DRESSED IN WHITE by Charis Michaels. Avon Impulse (August 21, 2018). ASIN: B07238XNZG. 384p. eBook only.



August 20, 2018

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Presented by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; Forward by Jon Meacham

From the publisher:

As seen on The Daily Show, an illustrated portrait of the Donald J. Trump Twitter account, with analysis and “scholarly” commentary from the writers of The Daily Show and an introduction by Trevor Noah

In June 2017, just steps from Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah opened The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, a 4,000-square-foot museum space that gave the 45th president and his amazing Twitter legacy the respect they deserve. In the single weekend it was open to the public, the Library pop-up drew 7,500 visitors and had to turn away countless others.

But the Presidential Twitter Library experience should not be limited to the elite coastal few. Not fair! All citizens, even the Mexican ones, should have the chance to see Donald Trump’s tweets in their rightful context—organized and commented on in the fearless, hilarious, insightful voice of The Daily Show.

This one-of-a-kind exhibition catalog presents the Library’s complete contents, including:

• The Masterpieces: In-depth critical appreciations of history’s most important Trump tweets, from “Very Stable Genius” to “Covfefe” to “Trump Tower Taco Bowl/I Love Hispanics!”
• The Greatest Battles: @realDonaldTrump’s brutal Twitter campaigns against fellow Republicans, Diet Coke, women generally, and Kristen Stewart specifically
• Sad! A Retrospective: a compendium of the many people, events, and twists of fate that apparently made Donald Trump feel this human emotion
• Trumpstradamus: DJT’s amazing 140-character predictions—none of which came true!
• The Hall of Nicknames: the greatest of Trump’s monikers, from “Lyin’ Ted” to “Low I.Q. Crazy Mika,” accompanied by original caricature artwork
• Trump vs. Trump: You’re going to want to sit for this one. Donald Trump has sometimes been known to contradict himself.
• Always the Best: the greatest boasts of the greatest boaster of all time, ever!

Comprising hundreds of Trump tweets, and featuring a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham, and even a place for readers to add their own future Trump tweet highlights—because he is making new Twitter history literally every day—The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library is a unique portrait of an artist whose masterworks will be studied by historians, grammarians, and mental health professionals for years to come.

Regular readers of this blog (and my Twitter feed) know which way my political leanings go. The only way I am surviving this presidency is by reading romance (I need the happy endings,) listening to podcasts (bless you, Crooked Media) and laughing (it beats crying.) Books like this help.

Noah introduces the book thusly:

When Donald J. Trump launched his campaign for president in 2015, I laughed at the idea. If there’s one thing I knew about Americans, it’s that they wanted their presidents to be dignified, intelligent, and black. Trump had none of these qualities. Even worse, Trump had tweets!

That made me sad, but it also made me laugh. So if you don’t find it funny, then this book probably isn’t for you.

Meacham takes his forward seriously, compares Trump to previous presidents like FDR and Woodrow Wilson, and simply nails it: “As president, he has raised narcissism to Homeric heights – a difficult thing to do when one recalls that politicians, as a species, consider public notice to be slightly more essential than oxygen.”

The illustrations are terrific, the graphs and charts intriguing and it all made me feel a little less lost in America. The old saying “misery loves company” is a proven theorem here. Thanks to Trevor Noah and the team at the Daily Show.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TWITTER LIBRARY by The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. Spiegel & Grau (July 31, 2018). ISBN 978-1984801883. 144p.


BRAVE NEW EARL by Jane Ashford

August 19, 2018

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The Way to a Lord’s Heart, Book 1

The Earl of Furness, Benjamin Romilly, was heartbroken when his wife died. Left behind was his son who looks so much like his lost wife, the Earl can barely stand to look at him. Left in the care of servants and an orphan boy slightly older than the child, he is a child run wild, to say the least. Then the countess’s cousin, Miss Jean Saunders arrives to determine whether or not to take the boy away, which seems to awaken the Earl to his surroundings.

Jean’s circumstances are not exactly what she purports them to be, and the Earl finds himself both intrigued and alarmed by the woman. Theirs is a tempestuous relationship, which lightens this read that deals primarily with grief.

The romance is on the sweet, sentimental side for sure with a bit of humor thrown in now and then, which it desperately needs as otherwise it would be a tad maudlin. I liked it and will read more of this series as it becomes available. Yes, I actually started a series with the first book (don’t get used to it, heaven knows I won’t!)

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BRAVE NEW EARL by Jane Ashford. Sourcebooks Casablanca (July 31, 2018).  ISBN 978-1492663355. 352p.




August 18, 2018

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A Season for Scandal, Book 3

From the publisher:

2017 RITA award winning author!

Their love was always in the cards.
He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he’s more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty-in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he’ll have to devise a proposition she can’t turn down.

Gossip said he was an assassin. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie’s club offered a surefire way to make quick money-until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible…

This was a terrific historical romance, and a little different than most. The main characters aren’t trying to marry royalty, for starters. Alex has many rumors swirling around him but his main occupation is running a high end gambling establishment. Angelique is a brilliant woman with a gift for numbers, also most unusual, for this time period especially.

The setting is interesting, the characters are skillfully brought to life and believeable, and I loved their struggles. There are some good backstories here and a mystery. A very good read.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE by Kelly Bowen. Forever (January 31, 2017).  ISBN 978-1455563418. 352p.


A LONG TIME COMING by Aaron Elkins

August 17, 2018

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Elkins delivers us a two for one delightful trip into the complex world of fine art buying, selling and exhibiting. The first part of the trip is a well done “who done it” concerning the theft of two priceless paintings. The second part is a primer on the intricacies of dealing with art; its valuations, its insiders that make livings off it and why some paintings are worth fortunes and others almost nothing.

Art curator Val Caruso is an assistant to the head curator at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has reached a triple whammy in his life. He has been passed over for promotion, his divorce from his wife has just been finalized, and he feels in a rut in general. A group of paintings in Italy have been offered for exhibit at museums around the United States and Val is chosen to travel to Milan on behalf of all the prospective exhibitors to coordinate necessary details and requirements to bring the works to the America. The trip might be made to order for him to temporarily get out of Dodge.

Before leaving on the trip he is asked while in Italy if he would attempt to obtain a pair of Renoir paintings from their owner in Milan and restore them to a man whose family had them stolen by Italian Fascists at the end of World War II. The art work is early Renoir and not listed in catalogs delineating the artist’s later paintings. This fact alone makes them extremely valuable. Val understands that the legalities surrounding art stolen and than resold to legitimate buyers is fuzzy in the extreme, but does promise to see if the present owner will consent to lend the two paintings to Sol Bezzecca the last living descendant of the family that originally owned them. Apparently this is an action that might satisfy all concerned with the paintings restored upon the death of Bezzecca to the owner.

Arriving in Milan Val finds himself involved with the present day remnants of a plot beginning decades ago involving forgers, thieves and an unknown someone that wants him out of the way due to his art expertise. Val had lived in Milan years ago to work with and learn the trade of art dealing and still has friends there that he can call upon for help.

The novel is a well done story set within the technical confines of the movement of fine art from sellers to buyers. Elkins gives the reader all the information necessary to understand the intricacies of fine art buying and selling without too much redundancy to spoil the read. I found myself in a welcome learning experience while enjoying a very good novel.

8/18 Paul Lane

A LONG TIME COMING by Aaron Elkins. Thomas & Mercer (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-1503902381. 268p.

IT TAKES TWO by Jenny Holiday

August 16, 2018

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Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, Book 2

From the publisher:
This USA Today bestselling author “charms with an irresistible romantic comedy” (Entertainment Weeklythat proves when best man and maid of honor compete, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas…
Wendy Liu should be delighted to be her best friend’s maid of honor. But after years spent avoiding the bride’s brother – aka the boy who once broke her heart – she’s now trapped with him during an endless amount of wedding festivities. Luckily she’s had time to perfect her poker face, and engaging Noah Denning in a little friendly competition might just prove that she’s over him for good…
Noah Denning is determined to make his little sister’s wedding memorable. But it seems Wendy is trying to outdo him at every turn. Challenging each other was always something he and Wendy did right, so when she proposes they compete to see who can throw the best bachelor or bachelorette party in Sin City, Noah takes the bait – and ups the stakes. Because this time around, he wants Wendy for keeps. And when you’re fighting for love, all bets are off.

This was a really fun read. It’s the romance trope of childhood sweethearts belonging together forever, so if you don’t mind that it is a terrific romance. I didn’t read the first book in the series, but there is enough story given to put it all in perspective so it didn’t matter. Well, other than the fact now I want to read the first one!
The characters were well developed and likeable, even when they are behaving badly. And let’s face it, bad behavior is the most fun in any romance! If you like romantic comedies, and I do, then this is a good read for you.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

IT TAKES TWO by Jenny Holiday. Forever (June 26, 2018).  ISBN 978-1455542420. 384p.


OUR HOUSE by Louise Candlish

August 15, 2018

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From the publisher:

From an internationally acclaimed author, a disturbing and addictive novel of domestic suspense where secrets kept hidden from spouses cause shocking surprises that hit home…

There’s nothing unusual about a new family moving in at 91 Trinity Avenue. Except it’s her house. And she didn’t sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

Wowza! This book has been getting all sorts of accolades and it’s easy to see why. It’s a very different kind of story and a timely one. Set in London, it feels like it could be set in any suburban community.

A real page turner of a book, fast paced and interesting with great characters and more twists and turns than a hurricane. Highly recommended.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

OUR HOUSE by Louise Candlish. Berkley (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-0451489111 416p.


FEARED by Lisa Scottoline

August 14, 2018

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A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel, Book 6

From the publisher:

In the new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Mary DiNunzio’s ruthless nemesis Nick Machiavelli is back…with a vengeance.

When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve his end…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline’s trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared…

Feared, the sixth entry in the acclaimed Rosato & DiNunzio series, expertly explores what happens when we are tempted to give in to our own inner darkness.

Before it was Rosato & DiNunzio, there were the Rosato & Associates novels, 11 of them. Same series for the most part but it was rebranded six books ago. It is one of my favorite series and it never disappoints – how often can you say that? Especially with so many books!

Set in Philadelphia, Rosato & DiNunzio were an all female law firm until a couple of books ago when they hired a man. I remember being surprised back then, and now it has come home to roost. DiNunzio and all her crazy, loving big Italian family are here and you can just feel the “gravy” dripping off the pages.

I love the characters, the setting and the mystery, which had a shocking ending – perfection! Don’t miss it.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FEARED by Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s Press (August 14, 2018). ISBN 978-1250099594. 400p.


2020 by Kenneth Steven

August 13, 2018

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A very profound novel that paints a picture of the damage that can be done by the advent of the “True Believer” i.e., the individual following the herd rather than thinking on his or her own. While the book is set in the United Kingdom it can be true of problems found in any country today. Shown in the novel are the many factions vying for the attention of the masses and demanding that they be granted rights beyond what is just and correct. People are forced to bend over backwards to be seen as politically correct in order not to offend the many interest groups.

Consequently, the result is a nation that has become mired in political correctness at the expense of common sense. It is felt that the politicians in office are only serving themselves. Immigration policies have gotten out of hand and it is feared by many that the country is disunited with the distinct possibility of terrorism rife just waiting to explode in violence.

And than it does. A train going from Edinburgh to London is attacked by terrorists with hundreds killed by the bombers. The reaction by the public with many differing opinions about what should be done to forestall future terrorism allows a far right wing group called White Rose to form. An untried leader coming from White Rose indicates that he will be able to fix the problems of the nation. The population splinters even more than before with no firm direction being taken to attack the internal mess that characterizes the country. Opinions and demands for action rush out of the many groups that have formed making up a population that is frozen and unable to act.

It might be that 2020 could lead to a 1984 scenario with an embedded dictatorship but most probably it would lead to the exact opposite; a nation completely splintered with no real direction and unable to solve the real problems facing it. A very provocative opinion piece with a large amount of what is forecasted being the norm today.

8/18 Paul Lane

2020 by Kenneth Steven. Thomas & Mercer (June 14, 2018).  ISBN 978-1477805169. 270p.

THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer

August 11, 2018

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Steinhauer postulates a United States on the brink  of revolution due to the uncaring and selfish policies of our elected leaders. Consequently, in the early summer of 2017, four hundred people just disappear, leaving their worldly possessions behind them.  Where have they gone to and what is the reason for the disappearance? When heard from the group styles itself the Massive Brigade and they believe that necessary change is not coming fast enough to really bring the country to again be prepared to take care of the cultural needs as well as those necessities vital for life such as food and shelter for the population.

FBI Special Agent Rachel Proulx has been following the sprouting of left wing political groups for several years and is very familiar with Martin Bishop who is the charismatic leader of the Massive Brigade. But Rachel has her work cut out for her in getting her peers and supervisors at the FBI to take thedissidents seriously. She digs into the workings and leadership of the Massive Brigade and what she discovers, including murder shocks the country and sends a wake up call to the Administration as well as the leadership of the FBI.

Character development leaves something to be desired and I felt that the emphasis on a lot of conversation does detract somewhat from what is a great idea and worthy of an Olen Steinhauer novel.

8/18 Paul Lane

THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer. Minotaur Books (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250036179. 368p.