Friday, July 29, 2022

The Little Grave by Carolyn Arnold – Book Review

I was excited to get my hands – and eyes – on Carolyn Arnold's newest book and newest series when it was first published. However, due to a writer’s – or rather a book blogger’s block (I didn’t know that was a thing till I experienced it!) I’m over a year late in posting my review.

I was unable to post reviews for over 6 months, due to what I’m calling bookblogger’s block. I had received an advanced reader’s copy (ARC) of The Little Grave but only managed to sit down and write the review a year-and-a-half later.

So without further ado, I’d like you to meet Carolyn Arnold's The Little Grave, the first book in The Amanda Steele Series.


Text saying book review along with the book cover of The Little Grave by Carolyn Arnold


Detective Amanda Steele stops just inside the doorway, recognizing the victim’s face instantly. He seems so vulnerable in death; soft, human, even harmless. But she can never forget the evil he has inflicted. Her heart is hammering as she remembers her precious daughter, with her red curls and infectious laugh, and how she was lowered into that little grave…

It’s been five years since Detective Amanda Steele’s life was derailed in the path of an oncoming drunk driver. The small community of Dumfries, Virginia, may have moved on from the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter, but Amanda cannot. When the driver who killed her family is found murdered in a motel room, she can’t keep away from the case.

Fighting her sergeant to be allowed to work an investigation with such a personal connection to her, Amanda is in a race to prove that she can uncover the truth. But the more she digs into the past of the man who destroyed her future, the more shocking discoveries she makes. And when Amanda finds the link between a silver bracelet in his possession and the brutal unsolved murder of a young exotic dancer, she realizes she’s caught up in something darker than she ever imagined and suspects that more girls could be in danger.

But as Amanda edges toward the truth, she gets closer to a secret as personal as it is deadly. Amanda has stumbled upon a dangerous killer, and she must face some terrible truths in order to catch this killer – and save his next victim as she couldn’t save her own daughter…

A gripping, page-turning thriller full of mystery and suspense. Perfect for fans of Rachel Caine, Lisa Regan and Robert Dugoni.

Book Review of The Little Grave

The Little Grave by Carolyn Arnold is the first book in a new mystery thriller series published by Bookouture. And it's amazing!

If there was ever a thrilling opening worth remembering, it’s Arnold’s opening lines for The Little Grave. The story opens with:

“Five and a half year ago, January

Her past didn’t sit and stay like an obedient dog. It was more a wolf that stalked her every move, breathed down her neck, and inched closer with every passing second.”

The Little Grave is a multi-layered thriller. Amanda Steele is an FBI agent who investigates murders. But her life has been a mess for the past five-and-a-half years after she lost her daughter in a tragic accident.

Then a call arrives for a murdered victim. An lo! And behold! It’s the man who had been drunk behind a wheel and claimed her family’s lives!

Amanda shouldn’t be investigating this crime. It’s too personal. And because it’s too personal, Amanda joins the investigation for as long as she can.

“She didn’t see Palmer as human–he was the monster, the boogieman who had taken her family.”

While it’s a good riddance that Chad Palmer, the man who had killed her daughter, was dead. The investigation leads to a ton of questions and many suspects, some even hitting closer to home.

book quote from The Little Grave by Carolyn Arnold. The quote reads “Could the only thing that had kept Palmer alive been the fact he was behind bars?”

Like most mysteries, we don’t see a lot of character development in The Little Grave. But we do get to see Amanda from all sides, not just her police-side. We see the darker side, where Amanda isn’t the law-abiding citizen she should be.

“Tendrils of anger twisted through her, squeezing, gripping, like vines to brick, working to pry the stone loose and destroy the structure.”

There many things I enjoy about Carolyn Arnold’s mystery thrillers:

-     They read like a CSI TV show but they go deeper into the characters’ lives and motivations

-        The characters are deep, flawed, and realistic

-        Carolyn’s word choice and imagery is vivid

-        The author plays on the reader’s senses and emotions

And The Little Grave ticks each of those boxes.

“Amanda’s head pounded like a tiny man with no sense of rhythm was playing steel drums in her skull.”

Another reason why The Little Grave is such a beautiful but painful story is that hits really close to home for the main character Amanda Steele. 

Overall rating for The Little Grave by Carolyn Arnold: 5 stars.

For more book quotes from Carolyn Arnold’s The Little Grave and other books, follow me on Instagram. 

Other books by Carolyn Arnold reviewed on the Nadaness In Motion blog:

Book reviews of psychological thrillers by Carolyn Arnold
FBI series, psychological thrillers:

On the Count of Three

Past Deeds

What We Bury


Historical fiction and adventure:

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh, Book 2 in The Matthew Connor Series

The Legend of Gasparilla & His Treasure, Book 3 in The Matthew Connor Series

Cozy mysteries:

Coffee Is Murder

Halloween Is Murder

Exercise Is Murder 

Money Is Murder

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Aches and Epiphanies by Aries - Poetry Book Review

Today, I'm featuring a belated book review for Aches and Epiphanies by Aries (pen name).

Cover image showing book cover for Aches and Epiphanies by Aries along with text saying the same

About the book:

Aches and Epiphanies is a collection of poetry, prose and thoughts from poet and songwriter, Aries. From love lost to happiness found; from pain to joy and vice versa. The words of the unspoken and raw human emotions come to the fore.

For those who have stood face to face with love and it has been terrifying or have hidden secrets behind closed doors. For those who find comfort in the hands of another, you will learn, page by page. As the universe takes its last breath, it looks at you with glittering eyes and smiles. You were worth the destruction.

Book Review of Aches and Epiphanies

Aches and Epiphanies by Aries is a poetry collection featuring a large number of poems. The book is divided into chapter-like section representing chapters from the poet’s life or focusing on specific themes.

The first section is called “Aches,” and features several poems, each of which seems to be divided into several shorter pieces. I found this to format to be rather confusing because I wasn’t sure if the pieces where standalones or if they were part of a larger piece. But they were quite relatable.

I loved “A Letter to the Ones After Me” and the second part or poem in "Real" which depicted a very flawed and feeble character.

“Grey” and “Salt and Pepper” are two must-read poems in this section, while “Love Decides” is a stunning albeit painful piece.

One of the interesting and beautifully written pieces in Aches and Epiphanies is “14.2.2016” which I gather the author Aries wasn’t sure about how to name the piece so she used the date in which it was written or the date of the event that prompted it.

“A Beautiful Mess” is a cute poem written about people just starting to fall in love.  On page 68, there’s a beautiful entitled piece. One of many untitled pieces. There are also several one-line, two-line, and three-line poems, which though beautiful result in lots of white space.

I’d be particularly annoyed if this book were in print because of the wasted paper. It’s not something I’d normally comment on but it was particularly noticeable in this poetry collection.

Pages 75 & 76 feature thought-like pieces that are written as if the author is talking to someone. The untitled piece on page 78 is a painful poem about two people growing apart.

I also enjoyed the various untitled pieces in Aches and Epiphanies scattered on pages 90 to 92. I also enjoyed “Learning to See the Good in Goodbye,” “Stars,” and “Get Lost,” which I found to be beautifully-written and emotional.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t count the number of poems because many of them are untitled or because of the way they are divided. That’s why I opted to use page numbers as well.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Aches and Epiphanies by Aries. The collection features many deep, raw, and emotional poems. As a poet, I understand how hard it is to title poems. So, I totally relate to the untitled pieces. 😊

Overall rating: 3.5 stars


Note: I received a free copy of Aches and Epiphanies from its author Aries in exchange for an honest review. This did not impact my review in any way.

Note: I got my copy back in 2021 but due to a writer’s block, I’m just posting it now due to a bad case of book blogger's block (That's a thing! At least for me, it is.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Meet An Eyre of Mystery by G. Leeson - Book Release Blitz

Today, I'm excited to feature author Gayle Leeson or Gayle Trent as I got to know her the first time we met – virtually – as part of a blog tour.

I met Gayle when I read her paranormal cozy mystery Designs on Murder. And it's a 5-star read!

I was happy to feature Gayle again in a spotlight for her another of her books. And today, I'm part of a book blitz for the release of her newest book An Eyre of Mystery, which I look forward to reading in August.

An Eyre of Mystery by G. Leeson book blast cover

So let me tell you a bit about the book. 

An Eyre of Mystery book info

Here's the synopsis:

Classic literature is at risk of disappearing from the world…

When Gia accepts a job as a library archivist at a manor house in North Carolina, she has no idea what she’s in for. On day one, she finds herself outside her comfort zone when she accidentally travels through a magical portal to the world of Jane Eyre. She finds Edward Rochester imprisoned as he awaits his death sentence for killing his wife. But Gia has read the book, and she knows Edward is innocent of murder.

Soon, she realizes that there are sinister mystical forces working to rewrite the narrative, hoping to destroy the manuscript altogether. To restore order and reset the book to its original state, Gia must discover who actually killed Bertha Rochester and framed her husband for the crime.

But few of the people she meets are who they claim to be and they all have secrets...including Edward.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Gayle [G. Leeson, for this book] has taken a real leap of faith with An Eyre of Mystery and the world of Literatia. She decided to explore what would happen if a reader--or in this case, an archivist--actually got lost in a great book.

But when she travels through the portal into the world Jane Eyre, she finds it to be a topsy-turvy mess. Edward Rochester is facing a death sentence, and Gia has been tasked with finding out who really killed his wife so that Edward can go free, the book will reset to its original form, and Gia may return home.

If you'd like to get a sample of the book, here's an extended sneak peek of An Eyre of Mystery (first five chapters).

Connect with Gayle Leeson via her Website, Facebook page, Facebook Group Twitter, and Instagram.

Keep up with the rest of the book blast here


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Ellery's Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte; illustrated by Zoe Saunders – Book Review

My newest book review is of children's book Ellery's Magic Bicycle. This one is super short but perfect for children ages 2 and up.

Ellery's Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte and illustrated by Zoe Saunders is a beautiful children's book.

The story is about Ellery who discovers a bicycle. But not just any bicycle. It's a magic bicycle. Ellery begins to play with the bicycle every day. In a way, the bicycle becomes her best friend.

But when she grows old, they drift apart. But will Ellery find and remember the great times she's had with her magic bicycle? Will grown-up Ellery rekindle that friendship?

Check out Ellery's Magic Bicycle to find out.

I must say the artwork is absolutely stunning and colorful. 

Whether you're reading Ellery's Magic Bicycle to family or children at a nursery, I'm sure children will love the beautiful and colorful illustrations by Zoe Saunders. I'm over 30 and I loved them too!

Kudos to author and artist for this lovely and quick read.

Learn more about author Maria Monte via her Website and connect with her via Facebook and Twitter