**ARC REVIEW** ~ Mother, by Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne

Psychological Thriller

Mother

Book Blurb

A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse …
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger – and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

My Review (Five stars *****)

Dark and Enthralling

Mother is a superbly crafted and enthralling psychological thriller which has emerged from the writing partnership of Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. For me, the novel has strong echoes of David Lynch and Stephen King: there are a myriad of secrets and dark deeds which go on behind the immediate visual landscape, complemented by a host of quirky yet intense characterisations and a devilishly twisted plot. The read also contains some very dark humour.

The words sociopath, narcissist and even monster fail to adequately describe Prissy Martin, the ‘Mother’ of the title. She is one evil package of destructive, controlling, self-serving and remorseless desires who will let no one get in her way. Indeed, this monster’s tentacles reach far and wide…..

It is into this that Claire, her estranged daughter, pregnant with her first child, reluctantly returns, accompanied by her husband Jason, the couple having fallen on hard times. Surely Mother is not as bad as Claire’s memories indicate? Indeed, at first Prissy appears to do all she can to make them feel welcome, but it is not long before they too become prey to her nefarious designs and her need to control all around her. Their marriage, health and Claire’s sanity is soon under threat as Mother reverts to form.

Mother has her own special plans (exactly what we are not made privy to until the novel reaches its conclusion) and will not be thwarted….. Family secrets, lies and the past intertwine to create a read where, with each turn of the page, my heart beat ever faster as the evil intent reveals itself as we approach the novel’s shocking denouement. Madness threatens to consume Claire and her mother Prissy and it is uncertain who will be the victor.

The novel contains some truly superb characterisations, not just Prissy herself but also the unfortunate Claire, the unsuspecting Jason, Barb, Prissy’s long-suffering neighbour and friend and Fathers Pike and Flanagan, the current and former local priests. The residents of Morning Glory Circle each have their own secrets and there are many surprises in store as they are slowly revealed.

I was open mouthed as the plot unfolded. This deeply psychological novel contains truly appalling revelations, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for an unforgettable and heart stopping read that explores the depths of human depravity then this is the book for you. An unforgettable read by a writing duo that are at he top of their game.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Connect with the Authors

http://www.tamarathorne.com/

http://alistaircross.com/

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29866355-mother

**Double Review** ~ Seeking Nirvana and Eluding Nirvana (Dark Evoke series: #1 and #2), by V.L. Brock

The Dark Evoke Series

Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense/Psychological/Thriller

Step into the Abyss…..

I am overwhelmed after reading the first two instalments of this series, which I would describe as a dark romantic suspense/thriller. After devouring the first instalment, Seeking Nirvana I truly did not know if I was coming or going as I was as confused as the heroine Kady. And what an ending! I could not wait to get my paws on the next book, Eluding Nirvana! Although much is revealed in this second instalment I am itching t0 read the final book in the trilogy, Transcending Nirvana!

Scroll down for my reviews. My review of Eluding Nirvana, the second book in the series, naturally contains some spoilers for the first book (although I have tried my best to keep them at a minimum). If you think this series is one you’d like to read I’d therefore advise you not to read this particular review. Tina 🙂

Please note, both books were given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Seeking Nirvana (Dark Evoke #1)

Seeking Nirvana

Blurb

They say that old habits die hard, and twenty-seven year old, Kady Jenson, is about to discover how true that statement actually is.

Waking up in a hospital room with a complete stranger at her bedside, should have caused panic and confusion, but for a reason unknown to her, Kady finds herself drawn, and calmed by the presence of the rugged, devastatingly handsome man with the pleasant Irish brogue. It’s when she discovers that she has just woken from a four day coma, with a three year void in her memory, which spawns confusion and panic.

Kady soon comes to realize that things change with time, and not only appearances.

Not only is the sexual chemistry she once shared with her long-term boyfriend, now a long-ago memory, but Kady also begins to unconsciously fall back into unremembered habits, and with each day, the increasing sense of foreboding, becomes increasingly harder to ignore.

Left on her own when her boyfriend goes on a business trip, Kady seeks help from the Irish stranger as they go on a quest together, in a race against time, to piece the puzzle together.

My Review

Suspenseful and Addictive *****

Seeking Nirvana, the first instalment in the Dark Evoke series is a dark romantic thriller par excellence. After waking up from a coma following a car accident Kady, the heroine, suffering from amnesia desperately seeks to remember what happened during the last three years of her life and struggles to come to terms with the present. Told in the first person, from Kady’s POV, I thought that the novel was expertly crafted (after reading book 2 (reviewed below), I realized this even more so).

On returning home with Liam, her long term partner, Kady is stunned to see that the reality of her life bears little resemblance to the one she led three years ago. What happened to her? Where is the woman she used to be? Why are her family estranged from her? Who is Mrs Steinbeck, the menacing and nosey neighbour who watches her every move? And more to the point, why does she increasingly feel more at ease with the handsome Walker than her longstanding and beloved Liam? Why do the two men appear to be so much at odds when it comes to Kady?

As the novel unfolds I felt as if I was walking hand in hand with Kady as she tries to remember and uncover the truth of what her life has become. It is Walker who makes Kady feel like a woman and who offers her solace, whereas Liam’s becomes ever more distant. Doubt and confusion become commonplace and Kady feels ever more desperate and conflicted over her feelings towards the two men in  her life, as the novel becomes ever more menacing. I began asking myself who was Kady’s friend and who was her foe as the book progressed and we are given glimpses of the reality of Kady’s situation.

The characterisations of both Walker and Liam are excellent. The two men could not be more different. As I read I was itching to solve the puzzle of Kady’s life and began rooting for her HEA. The novel does end on a major cliffhanger, which sets up book #2 perfectly.

It is a must read for fans of dark romantic suspense and for readers who like psychological thrillers.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Eluding Nirvana,  (Dark Evoke, #2)

***Due to the dark nature and content in this story, Eluding Nirvana is recommended to readers over the age of 18.***

Eluding Nirvana

Blurb

Three years lost; a body marred and a mission complete. Waking after a four day coma, Kady Jenson felt her life was crashing down around her. Three years of her memories were missing, and the compelling man at her side was not her years-long partner, but a stranger – a stranger who promised to help her recover what she had lost.

But how did Kady come to such a place?

What dark, mysterious events stole her past and threatened her future?

How did her lover become a stranger, and a stranger become so terribly important?

What happened to turn Kady’s orderly life into a terrifying nightmare which would leave her permanently marked, body and soul?

**AUTHORS NOTE**

Eluding Nirvana is the second instalment of The Dark Evoke Series, and is therefore not intended as a standalone novel.

My Review

Dark and Psychological Page Turner *****

This is a dark, dark read! Kady’s memory has returned and we find out about events in the last three years and the run up to her car accident. Both friends and foes are confirmed and we bear witness to the extent of control that a sociopath can have over their victim and the physical and emotional abuse that this can entail. It is truly terrifying and the author portrays it brilliantly.

Many of the passages and situations are dark and sometimes the emotions that they invoked made me want to put the book down, only to want to pick it back up immediately. I was just so emotionally invested in the characters.

The light in the darkness for Kady and myself, as reader, was undoubtedly Walker, a man who has his own dark past to come to terms with. Walker seems to understand Kady’s demons and helps her find release from her situation. It is clear that he would never hurt her. The motivations for Walker’s actions in the first book and those of Liam are explained more fully in this novel. We also learn more about the part their characters play in the story: Liv, Laurie and Mrs Steinbeck (a character who I wanted to slap).

The read brings us back full circle and I am eagerly awaiting the next book to find out where Kady goes next in her quest to find herself and secure her HEA.

I recommend this read to readers who like psychological suspense alongside their romantic reads and who are able to handle dark themes.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

Purchase links for ebook, Seeking Nirvana: The Dark Evoke Series #1:

U.S: http://amzn.to/1nhZQmd UK: http://amzn.to/1lI3VNr

Seeking Nirvana Paperback:

US: http://amzn.to/1sOYA6d UK: http://amzn.to/108Kaab

Purchase Links for Eluding Nirvana: The Dark Evoke Series #2:

US: http://amzn.to/1tRfEJO UK: http://amzn.to/1n6BVpS

Transcending Nirvana: The Dark Evoke Series #3

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X68GR0A/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00X68GR0A?keywords=Transcending%20Nirvana%20(The%20Dark%20Evoke%20Series%20Book%203)&qid=1437642191&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Author Links

Amazon Author Link: http://www.amazon.com/V.L.-Brock/e/B00IJIB16C/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1408268470&sr=8-1

Facebook author page: https://m.facebook.com/author.V.L.Brock 

You Will Pay – She Left Her Abusive Husband, He Took Revenge, by Eve Rabi

653962d29dd7fccecf0e8d6db178974dfcbfa584-thumb[1]A Dark and Intense Journey

This is not one of those tales where the hero seeks revenge on the heroine, falls in love with her and seeks redemption. Instead, the plot, which is a cracking good read, has elements of a thriller, although it does contain some sweet romance. The main focus of the novel is how a sociopathic man seeks revenge on his wife who leaves him after he subjects her to emotional and physical abuse.

In You Will Pay, Arena, a young South African woman, is married to Tom, a rich Australian. Tom likes to control every aspect of her life and Tom’s needs and desires come first. Arena is vulnerable, her confidence has been eroded, and she is far from her family, with a young baby to cope with and no means to support herself. When this abuse turns more physical and Tom actually hits her, she resolves to leave him. However she is shocked to find out that she is again pregnant and for a time is compelled to remain with him.

Once Arena’s baby girl is born the abuse intensifies and Arena carefully plots to safely escape Tom’s clutches and file for divorce, on grounds of abuse. The plan works and despite Tom’s chilling words that he will hurt her in such a way that she will never recover and she will suffer every day, she finds a modest apartment of her own and gets her life back. She makes friends, socialises and even finds a new man. Tom appears to have backed off and is cooperative over the split. Yet it all appears too easy…….

One day Arena finds herself in a nightmare situation and is again rendered powerless and vulnerable. She is sure that Tom is behind it, yet she has no proof. She suffers greatly for something she suspects that he is responsible for and must remain strong if she is to get her revenge and outwit a man who has all the cards stacked in his favour.

This tale contains violence, domestic and child abuse and I found it to be an intense read, with some really dark moments. However, there are scenes of hope, such as when Arena flees Tom and gets her life back together. There are also some moments of happiness and humour, from her relationship with the new man in her life, Bear, and from her new friend Soong. I liked the way Arena carefully plots and executes her escape, showing that she is a strong woman, despite Tom’s efforts to subjugate her. I was with her all the way through the dark times in the book and was satisfied with the outcome which is told in Eve Rabi’s unique and indomitable style!

Tom is a truly evil man and to elaborate any further on his deeds would ruin the story for those of you who want to read it. With the character of Tom, the author gets into the psyche of many abusers. Tom clearly relishes the control he wields over Arena and enjoys her pain, physical and emotional, a mark of a true sociopath. Bear, Arena’s new man, is an adorable character, who clearly loves her and shows it in some tender and romantic scenes. He has secrets of his own and it is those secrets that come into their own as the plot unravels. Soong, the young mother and Arena’s neighbour, also proves to be a loyal friend. Both Bear and Soong inject some humour and lightness into the plot.

Overall You Will Pay is an engrossing read, which I stayed up until the early hours to finish, holding my breath at the awesome ending. This read was a lot darker than Burn’s World and even Gringa, the other books I have read by the author. It contains what I am beginning to recognise as Eve Rabi’s trademarks: strong heroines who find the resources to cope with what life throws at them; characters and plots which stray into activities that are not always within the law and dark themes and (sometimes) humour. I recommend it to readers who enjoy an intense and unique emotional ride that will stay with you a long time after you have read it.

This book is currently free on Smashwords (click on the link) as it hasn’t been professionally edited as yet. Once it’s edited, the price will be $2.99.

Eve Rabi’s website