Tag: Brenda Novak

Review and Giveaway: Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Posted November 13, 2017 by Casee in Giveaways, Reviews | 3 Comments

Review and Giveaway: Hello Again by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
Hello Again by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Her Darkest Nightmare
Published by Headline
Publication Date: November 2nd 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .

It took me a bit to get into the book, but not because it wasn’t good. Once I was into it, I was glad I was on a road trip and it wasn’t my turn to drive because I couldn’t stop reading. Novack really has a way of drawing you in and keeping you on the edge of your seat. The suspense is thrilling in this book, breathtaking even, when you consider the danger that Evelyn finds herself in when the book comes to an end. Evelyn studies psychopaths so she can put away the one that got away. Jasper. The one who tortured and almost killed Evelyn and murdered two of Evelyn’s friends when she was sixteen. Evelyn finds the minds of these criminals fascinating and just wants to find Jaspar so she can stop living in fear; so her parents can stop worrying about her.

It doesn’t help that she doesn’t feel like she can start a life with Amarok who she loves desperately but can’t let herself go completely with. When he leaves to go investigate what he thinks are murders committed by Jaspar, Evelyn gets a taste of what life might be like without him and it’s something that she isn’t happy with. As for Amarok, he’s all in with Evelyn and if it means hunting Jaspar down himself, he is willing to do that. He will even go to the parents who helped him escape.

Meanwhile back home, Evelyn is dealing with the killer dubbed the “Zombie Maker”. Dr. Lyman Bishop was the last person anyone ever expected to be the Zombie Maker but they found the panties of the victims in his house. Evelyn isn’t sure of his guilt. At first. Then she sees the killer behind that facade he presents to the world and she knows he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. Too bad it comes to light that the police planted evidence in the case and Lyman Bishop is about to be released. Evelyn is in a race against the clock to get Bishop’s sister out of his care, something that he has sworn he will retaliate against her for if she’s successful at. Evelyn isn’t someone that will give up and leaving someone to be victimized is unheard of for her.

I really enjoyed this book. Even enjoyed it more than Her Darkest Nightmare. It was more than just a criminal getting even with Evelyn because she was his doctor. It was matching wits against wits. Evelyn doesn’t apologize to anyone for who she is. When Amarok’s old flame comes into town and they come face to face, Evelyn holds her ground and it is divine. I didn’t care for the woman and how she came onto Amarok at all. I actually lost a bit of respect for Amarok during the exchange. Evelyn is a kick ass heroine, a survivor. And she will have plenty to survive during the next book because Jaspar is back.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Posted November 12, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I am in love with this book and with Brenda Novak. She got me out of my slump. Honestly, I’ve always loved Brenda Novak. I’ve read her romantic suspense and her romance. She just knows how to weave a story together. This series blends romance and suspense perfectly. There is a lot of suspense, but the romance doesn’t make it as overwhelming as it could be.

Hello Again by Brenda Novak
Series: Evenlyn Talbot Chronicles #2
Also in this Series: Her Darkest Nightmare
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: November 2nd, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.

Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world’s worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?

When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except…Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

If she could just get the cords that bound her hands to loosen a tiny bit more, she could get free.

Christina Piper felt the slight give, knew her captor hadn’t tightened the knot as carefully and securely as he usually did. He’d been in such a foul mood when he appeared earlier, had been angry before he even saw her.

Mercifully, he hadn’t had much time. After torturing her for half an hour, he’d mumbled something about his wife (whom he referred to as “that bitch”) and tied her up as quickly as possible before stomping out of the old camper and slamming the door behind him.

Hands numb and swelling from pulling against her bindings, Christina paused to gather her breath and her strength. Thank God it wasn’t summer. She’d been in the camper for four days. Without air-conditioning, anyone imprisoned in the barren desert near Phoenix, Arizona—where temperatures often skyrocketed to 120 degrees—would’ve been dead by now.

Still, it was hard to breathe, what with the stench of who-knew-what (she couldn’t even allow her mind to supply a possible answer for the terror it would elicit). And the pain from her injuries made her nauseous. She couldn’t see out of one eye, had terrible burns on the insides of her thighs, which had blistered and were oozing puss, and several broken toes. She hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, either, except for the vile substances he’d forced down her throat. She’d thrown up when he made her eat a spider, and he’d slugged her so hard she didn’t know how long she was out, just that when she came to, he was gone.

She couldn’t last like this much longer. If she didn’t escape, she’d die.

Unless he decided to keep her alive. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to end the torment. He was enjoying it too much.

At last, she got the cord to stretch. She almost couldn’t believe it when she managed to free her hands and untie her ankles. Briefly, she rubbed her sore wrists, trying to get the blood flowing, but she didn’t waste another minute as she scrambled to get out of her 1970’s dungeon.

Her poor toes, which he’d taken great pleasure in smashing with a hammer, made it almost impossible for her to walk. Only by using the counter and stove, and then the wood-paneled wall, was she able to remain upright.

As soon as she flung open the front door, saw the sun and felt the chill winter wind on her face, she started to cry. All she could see for miles was bare land and desert scrub, but it was beautiful to behold. She’d thought she’d never see anything again, anything other than the inside of that camper.

She had no idea how far she was from civilization, or in which direction she should travel in order to find help, but she didn’t care. She’d wander in the desert until she died of thirst and exposure before she’d allow the man who’d dragged her into his van when she left the bar near her house abuse her for another second. Each time he arrived, what he put her through grew worse.

“You’re a monster. I hope you die a death far more painful than the one you have in store for me.” Or worse than the pain he’d caused others. She wasn’t his first victim. She couldn’t be. He was too practiced. Too calm. Too unflinching in the face of her suffering.

When she stepped out, she fell and couldn’t get up. She was too weak, too dizzy.

Cursing, screaming and crying, she began to drag herself away from the camper. But she only made it ten or fifteen feet before she heard a car and turned to see her captor bring his van to a skidding stop.

He’d seen her. She had no way to fight him, and there was no help.

That meant there’d be no escape, either.

Evelyn Talbot Chronicles

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About the Author

Brenda Novak

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!


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Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak

Posted November 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
The Perfect Murder (The Last Stand, #6) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Last Stand #6
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: September 29th 2009
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 448
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

For more than a year, Sebastian Costas has been trying to unravel the truth behind the murder of his ex-wife and son. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he's convinced that her second husband—a cop—committed both murders, then faked his own death. Now Sebastian has followed the slimmest of leads to Sacramento…and that's where he finally gets the break he needs. Jane Burke, an investigator with The Last Stand, calls him in connection with a separate crime—a crime that could lead him straight to the man he's been looking for.

Once married to a serial killer, Jane has spent the past five years rebuilding her life. And with Sebastian she finally has a chance at happiness. But the man they're after is after them, too. For him this has become a personal battle, one he's determined to win. Whatever it takes…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: It’s interesting to me that 8-10 years down the road we’re still reading the same authors. I love that we’ve been able to go the distance with them. 

This review was originally posted on November 5, 2009.

This is the first book in this series that I wasn’t really looking forward too. The reason is that I was never really interested in the character of Jane Burke. I understand that I’m supposed to be sympathetic to her since she was married to a serial killer, but that was never the case. I never really felt bad for her. I felt bad for the situation she was in. I felt bad that she lost someone she loved. I just never felt bad for her. She made her bed. So I wasn’t very happy when I saw that she was going to be the heroine.

Jane is trying to make a name for herself at The Last Stand. With the help of Skye and Sheridan, Jane wants to help victims like herself. That’s another thing. While I guess she was technically a victim, I never saw her as such. I guess I’m not very sympathetic. When Skye and Ava go to South America on a paying job and Sheridan is out on maternity leave, Jane is in charge of The Last Stand. Hoping to prove herself, Jane takes a job for two teenage girls that have gone missing.

Sebastian Costas has been following Malcolm Turner for over a year. Since Malcolm killed Sebastian’s ex-wife and son then faked his own death, Sebastian has been on his trail. With his funds running low and time running out, Sebastian follows him to Sacramento. He has never been able to convince anyone that Malcolm is alive, but he has never doubted that. When his investigation puts him in Jane’s path, the two end up working together since their cases seem to be related.

Jane is understandably wary of getting involved with any man, let alone a man that has as much baggage as she does. I just wasn’t really feeling the relationship between Jane and Sebastian. I wanted to. By the time they actually met, I was starting to like Jane as a character. I liked Sebastian as well, even though he was obsessed with revenge.

Brenda Novak writes chilling villains. She has definitely proved herself as far as that goes. She is right behind Karen Rose in that respect, something that is pretty hard to do. At the beginning of the book, Malcolm seems to be the person that you would not want to meet in a dark alley. As the book goes on, he loses his steam. He ends up being rather pathetic. That was disappointing b/c Brenda Novak always comes through when it comes to her villains.

This is my least favorite of the series. Even being my least favorite, it was still a good read.

3.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

Trust Me Stop Me Watch Me The Perfect Liar The Perfect Murder

four-stars


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Review: Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

Posted September 16, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Hello Again
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

First in an electrifying new series from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak
THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart. BEGINS WITH AN ESCAPE FROM HER PAST Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…

Dr. Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to gain a better understanding of the mind of a psychopath. Hanover House is a place that has opened after years of dedication and hard work. Evelyn runs Hanover House, but she can still be held accountable for her decisions.

Evelyn has been obsessed (that’s the only word to use here) with the psychotic mind since she was sixteen. Abducted by her high school boyfriend and subsequently tortured and raped, Evelyn was left for dead. It was only a stroke of luck that left Evelyn alive and able to get help. No one had a clue what Jasper was capable of, including Evelyn herself. That’s what got her obsession started. Ever since then, it has run her life.

Sergeant Amarok is the only law enforcement in Hilltop, Alaska. When a body turns up shortly after a storm hits and the power goes out, Amarok is sure that his fears about Hanover House have finally come true. Evelyn, of course, isn’t so sure. She is sure that Jasper is back to finish her off. All the signs are right there with how the body is left, how it’s someone close to her, and how the killer leaves clues that mock Evelyn.

Amarok isn’t a detective, but as he digs deeper, he is more inclined to believe Evelyn. He still thinks it has something to do with Hanover House, but now he thinks it is someone on the outside of the bars.

This was a psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. There were so many twists and turns that I felt like a pretzel. What I didn’t like is Evelyn’s obsession. It really seemed to overtake anything else in the book. The romance, the suspense, the mystery. It was just so prevalent that I couldn’t forget it long enough to really get into the book. I understood it, but things she did at the risk of her own life and safety almost made her TSTL.

It doesn’t matter enough that I’m not hooked. I love the idea of Hanover House and already read the chapter for the next book. It seems that Evelyn has a genius psychopath on her hands and I can’t wait to see them go head to head.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.


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Review: The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak

Posted August 2, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Secrets She Kept by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak
Series: Fairham Island #2
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

The rich and powerful Josephine Lazarow, matriarch of Fairham Island, is dead. The police say it's suicide, but Keith, her estranged son, doesn't believe it.

Keith bears scars—both physical and emotional—from his childhood, but he's worked hard to overcome the past. After walking away from his mother and her controlling ways five years ago, he's built a new life in LA. He's also accumulated a fortune of his own. But as soon as he learns of his mother's death, he returns to Fairham. He feels he owes it to his grandfather to put the family empire together again—and he's determined to find his mother's killer.

Problem is…coming home to Fairham puts him back in contact with Nancy Dellinger, the woman he hurt so badly when he left before. And digging that deep into his mother's final days and hours entails a very real risk.

Because the person who killed her could be someone he loves…

Keith was an unspeakable ass in The Secret Sister, which was book one in this series. He was a drug addict and he took advantage of everyone he could, including Nancy Dellinger. On one hand, I want to forgive him because I know that being an addict is a real problem. OTOH, I can’t forgive him for all the people he hurt. I also can’t believe that Nancy fell in love with him. Nor can I believe that she’s been pining after him for five years.

Keith left Fairham Island five years ago and has been estranged with his mother Josephine since he left. He has kept in touch with both his sisters. He’s cleaned himself up and made a success of himself in real estate. A call in the middle of the night changes everything. His mother is dead. An apparent suicide. Keith doesn’t believe for one moment that the mighty Josephine Lazarow would kill herself and he flies to Fairham Island determined to prove it.

Oh the secrets and lies. This book read like a soap opera. A somewhat trashy soap opera. Then enter Nancy back into the picture. At first she wants to stay away from Keith. Then she wants to take what she can get before he leaves and goes back to California. Then she decides she wants to have some semblance of self-respect so she decides she needs to stay away from him. Then she decides she needs to take what she can get before he leaves because he’s the love of her life. Oh boy, girl can’t make up her mind.

In the meantime, Keith is stirring up a hornets nest by asking questions about everything to everyone on the island regarding Josephine. He doesn’t like the answers he’s getting either. In the end, it wasn’t surprising to know who the killer was. It was all tied up in a nice neat little bow. The end was a little to neat for me, especially Keith and Nancy’s relationship. It was just too pat for me. It doesn’t happen that easily, not in books. There was plenty of angst on Nancy’s part, but anytime Keith came calling, he got what he wanted. It was maddening.

I enjoyed The Secret Sister much more.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

three-stars


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