New York Times Bestselling Author

Posts by Theresa

Book Review: Suspense

Posted by on Jul 15, 2017 | 0 comments

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf


Suspense > Mystery

“It wasn’t just losing my hearing, it was the loneliness that came with the it, the sense of always being separate, apart from everyone I loved. What I wouldn’t do to go back in time and make different choices.”

Once a nurse, Amelia Winn is left deaf after a car plows into her and a domestic violence victim she’s escorting to the car. She turns to alcohol and estranges herself from her husband, her stepdaughter, and her friends, losing her job as well.

Now trying to put her shattered life back together, she’s out paddle boarding with her service dog when she finds the dead body of a nurse she’s once worked with.

I liked reading from a deaf person’s perspective. Also, Amelia is always out jogging or kayaking, but she does it to relieve stress and enjoy nature. We’re not constantly being told how strong and attractive she is, which I appreciated.

Unfortunately, I figured out the killer early on, although not all the specifics, and it didn’t take away from how intense the tension was once Amelia figures it out and realizes she’s in fatal danger.


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Book Review: Legal Thriller

Posted by on Jul 15, 2017 | 0 comments

Undue Influence by Steve Martini


Legal Thriller

I enjoyed this legal suspense novel. It’s the first book I’ve read featuring Defense Attorney Paul Madriani, but I think it stood fine on its own, without having read the first two books in the series.

There were plenty of twists and turns as Madriani attempts to prove that his former sister-in-law did not murder the new wife of her ex-husband. When Madriani’s wife was dying, she made him promise that he would look out for Laurel, but Laurel’s making it difficult for him because she refuses to tell him the whole story. (A plot device for the reader’s benefit.)

As he and his partner chase down witnesses who can exonerate his client, its evident that his life may be at risk as well. A couple things I guessed and a couple things seemed a little convenient, but mostly I thought the plot twists were fun. That feeling of: Uh-oh, how’s he going to recover from that blistering attack from the prosecution?

There were some odd storytelling choices and I hate when an author switches from sometimes calling a person by his/her first name and other times refers to the person by his/her last name, but mostly, the writing was entertaining and well done.


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Book Review: Women’s Fiction

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 | 0 comments

Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trilivas


Women’s Fiction

This is exactly the kind of novel I love and the world needs more of: well-written, funny, poignant.

Twenty-three-year-old Kika spent a year traveling the world and falling in love with an Irish man who loves travel as much as she does. After a year back in New York City working at an unfulfilling job that doesn’t cover all her expenses, she’s itching to get back on the road.

I loved the foul-mouthed Kika and her adventures moving forward in life and in love. The supporting characters of the posh of America and Britain, the Italian waiter, and the Irish scoundrel, all seemed believably fleshed out.

Highly recommend.


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Book Review: Humor

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 | 0 comments

Handcuffs, Truncheons and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham



This is sort of a novel. It’s written episodically, with interconnected chapters. If it were a blog or a series of teleplays for a sitcom, it would work, but its attempts to be a novel, or at least novel-like, don’t.

There are definitely some laughs throughout. The first chapter is strong–hilarious. The story of single mother, thirty-something Mavis Upton has potential. Mavis is likeable in that she doesn’t spend her days fretting about her ex-husband or how she’ll get a man. Her concerns are her mom and seven-year-old daughter, Ella, and being the best police officer she can be.

Unfortunately, there are a LOT of snot/booger/fart jokes. More significantly, this book desperately needed a professional editor. Had the author hired one, the editor would have cut out every single use of the word “rather.” The word is abused horribly. The phrase “rather fetching” comes up dozens of times. On one page, there might be “rather fetching,” “rather plump,” and “rather attractive.”

The editor would have also deleted cliches like “avoided like the plague” and “eyes as big as saucers.” This author can write light humor–she has some fun turns of phrase like “Ella gave him a glacial stare that would have frozen the testicles off a polar bear.”

The other problem is that in most cases, you can figure out the gist of the misunderstanding or dilemma Mavis will find herself in at the beginning of the chapter–you can see the joke coming, which makes it not as funny because part of humor is the unexpected. I think Kirkham would have been better served to focus on the story rather than trying to be hilarious. Then, she’d have a better book that sometimes had some humor in it.

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Book Review: Mystery > Thriller

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 |

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner



This is a lightweight mystery that had potential it didn’t fulfill. It wasn’t bad—it had its moments.  

Sarah Phoenix is in love with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. She has good neighbors—she thinks—until a fire next door leads to tragedy and the unravelling of secrets.

 I liked the twist ending. However, once the scoundrel was revealed, the dialogue between Sarah and the mastermind of villainy reminded me of the literary equivalent of a cartoon villain tugging at his mustache while cackling diabolically after tying the damsel in distress to a railroad track—it just had this inauthentic quality to it. Maybe I just like more literary suspense/mystery/thrillers.


Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker


Mystery > Thriller

This psychological thriller is told from the alternating points of view of Cassandra, who was fifteen years old when she and her then-seventeen-year-old sister Emma disappeared, and Abby, the forensic psychologist who has been tormented by this case in the three years since the girls disappeared.

Now eighteen, the reader knows that Cass has some kind of hidden agenda when she returns home early one morning and tells her story to the FBI, but it’s not clear what until the end.

Abby has done research on narcissistic disorder because she and her own sister had a mother who suffered from it. In her studies, Abby looked at how daughters of narcissistic mothers either repeat the cycle or find ways to deal with it—some less healthy than others. No one wants to hear her theories about Jane, the girls’ mother, but when Cass returns and describes where she and Emma have been and why they couldn’t return earlier, Abby continues to read between the lines and refine her theories.

I thought this was a unique way to tell a story. It was a fast read and I wanted to learn whether the FBI could find Emma and what Cass’s full story was. The ending didn’t disappoint.


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