All posts by Jo-Anna W

#Review #AudioBook – Mother Knows Best: A Novel of Suspense by Kira Peikoff

One of POPSUGAR’s Top 15 Medical Thrillers
One of REAL SIMPLE’s 35 Chilling Psychological Thrillers

A mother’s worst nightmare, a chance at redemption, and a deadly secret that haunts a family across the generations—“the psychological thriller everyone will be talking about” (Lisa Scottaline)


There’s only room for one mother in this family.

Claire Abrams’s dreams became a nightmare when she passed on a genetic mutation that killed her little boy. Now she wants a second chance to be a mother, and finds it in Robert Nash, a maverick fertility doctor who works under the radar with Jillian Hendricks, a cunning young scientist bent on making her mark–and seducing her boss.

Claire, Robert, and Jillian work together to create the world’s first baby with three genetic parents–an unprecedented feat that could eliminate inherited disease. But when word of their illegal experiment leaks to the wrong person, Robert escapes into hiding with the now-pregnant Claire, leaving Jillian to serve out a prison sentence that destroys her future.

Ten years later, a spunky girl named Abigail begins to understand that all is not right with the reclusive man and woman she knows as her parents. But the family’s problems are only beginning. Jillian, hardened by a decade of jealousy and loss, has returned–and nothing will stop her from reuniting with the man and daughter who should have been hers.

Past, present, and future converge in this mesmerizing psychological thriller from critically acclaimed author Kira Peikoff.

Um…this book. Wow. What the heck did I just listen to??

So I went in completely blind, which I highly reccomend doing if you can and what a ride it was. I had absolutely NO idea what was going on. I was left feeling confused at times, frustrated and stressed out but man, those were amazing feelings to have while listening to this book.

So Kira Peikoff is a brand new to me author and this will definitely not be my last book of hers that I read/listen to. I enjoyed how detailed this book was. There are things in it that I’m left wondering if they can actually happen or not but I’m no doctor or scientist, so I’ll leave that up to the professionals.

Claire and Ethan have been trying for a baby for a while. They had a son, who unfortunately had a medical condition that ended up taking his life. They decided to try for a second baby but that hadn’t happened yet and they weren’t getting any younger. So a woman desperate to have that baby, would almost do anything to have one. Trust me, from someone who knows how that feels, I’ve been tempted to do some crazy things to have a kid of my own. But that’s a story for another day over lots of alcohol.

Claire ends up going to this fertility doctor and it all becomes crazy from there.

A woman desperate to have another baby.

A scientist desperate to make her way in a world that for the most part, is run by men.

A man who thinks this fertility doctor’s ways are unethical.

And more.

Wow. Just wow. I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this book. I was left yelling at my phone, demanding to know what was going on and I was trying to urge the narrators on to talk faster. I needed to know!

The book is written in 3 different POVs (point of views) and I enjoyed them all but the one, actually got on my nerves part way through the book. If you listen to the audio book of this, you’ll understand why.

Thank you, Kira, for an amazing story and for making me feel things as a reader that doesn’t normally happen.

Oh and if you like a little romance with your suspense, this book has that too.

#Review #AudioBook – One Little Mistake: A Novella by Lucinda Berry (An Audible Original)

From the best-selling author of The Secrets of Us and The Best of Friends comes a novella of deceit, desperation, and how one little mistake can unravel a life.
When overwhelmed stay-at-home mom Alexis finds herself at odds with her husband after she’s charged with a DUI, she is given one chance to get her family back: complete AA and admit her faults. The problem is, she’s never had a drinking problem and has no idea what caused the blackout that led to her arrest. Still, she’s committed to working through the program, if that’s what it takes to be reunited with her two young children. But when she connects with a new friend, Farrah – a confident, successful powerhouse of a woman Alexis can’t help but idolize – she’s empowered to take a closer look at her husband’s role in her downfall. What she finds shocks her to her core, quickly spiraling into something more sinister than she ever imagined. 

I really liked this novella. I don’t usually listen to audio books but my reading has been limited lately, so thought I’d give it a shot. And what better way to do that then by listening to one of my favourite authors? AND it’s an audible original too, which is even cooler.

Alexis is having a hard time of it. She has a young daughter and just gave birth to a son a few months ago. Her husband is no help at all. Which let me tell you, was highly infuriating to read.

Unfortunately for Alexis, she decides to have a glass of wine one day, a little earlier than normal for her, and the next thing she knows, she’s waking up in the drunk tank. Buuut after only having a couple glasses, maybe only 2, she doesn’t remember anything at all. Even though she’s a light weight when it comes to alcohol, she knows that there is no way that she could have blacked out.

The one twist in this book wasn’t overly surprising but the 2nd one, yeah, I couldn’t predict it at all.

It just shows that there are a lot of people out there who take advantage when someone is down on their luck. And poor Alexis fell victim to it.

The book, although short, was a fun afternoon listen. It was entertaining and I can’t wait for more.

Also, as with most novellas, I do wish this one was longer but that’s just me.

This is my first audiobook review and I really liked the narrator. She did a fantastic job and coming from someone who is only starting to get into audiobooks, she held my interest and I wasn’t bored.

#ReleaseBlitz #BookBlitz – Scouts Anthology (A Dark Romance Anthology)

💚 SCOUTS IS LIVE! 💚

Cover by Pink Elephant Designs

💚 BUY LINK: https://geni.us/Scouts
Available in Kindle Unlimited

💚 BLURB
The troop is all grown up, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped using the badges they earned.

Follow the irresistible men of the River Scouts as they journey through the twisted path that fate has set them on.

Each River Scout has a story to tell.
A truth they can’t hide.
But will they come out unscathed?

There’s only one way to find out…

SCOUTS is a limited time forbidden romance anthology containing new stories from a collection of your favorite authors.

💚 PARTICIPATING AUTHORS
Yolanda Olson
Abigail Davies
Penelope Douglas
Natasha Preston
Jennifer Bene
Vicki James
Samantha Towle
Cole Denton – Author
Ally Vance Author
JM Walker
Measha Stone Author
Kamisa Cole
Claire C Riley
Ellie Meadows
Shane Starrett
Andi Jaxon

#REVIEW – Phantom Limb: A Gripping Psychological Thriller by Lucinda Berry

Emily and Elizabeth spend their childhood locked in a bedroom and terrorized by a mother who drinks too much and disappears for days. The identical twins are rescued by a family determined to be their saviors.

But there’s some horrors love can’t erase…

Elizabeth wakes in a hospital, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak. The last thing she remembers is finding Emily’s body in their bathroom. Days before, she was falling in love and starting college. Now, she’s surrounded by men who talk to themselves and women who pull out their eyebrows.

As she delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Emily’s death, she discovers shocking secrets and holes in her memory that force her to remember what she’s worked so hard to forget—the beatings, the blood, the special friends. Her life spins out of control at a terrifying speed as she desperately tries to unravel the psychological puzzle of her past before it’s too late.


This is a new release of an edition originally published by Rise Press.
Having read a few of Lucinda’s books already, I now go in expecting something amazing, a twist, and a cliffhanger of some sort. This book was no different. Although each book comes with a twist, I can never predict exactly how Lucinda will do it, which makes it even more exciting for me as a reader.
First, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed how this story educated you when it comes to mental health. When Emily and Elizabeth were little, their mom did unspeakable things to them and had “special friends” do even worse stuff. How any mother could do something like this or set something like this up, is beyond me. It’s beyond awful. Emily and Elizabeth are twins and have been through hell together. Literally. They both deal with the outcome and aftermath of the abuse they endured as little girls, in very different ways. We find see Elizabeth snap and end up at a mental health hospital where she befriends Rose. Truths are revealed that lead us to a big twist at the end. I couldn’t predict it but I wasn’t overly surprised either. Especially with what these girls have been through. This is another great read by Lucinda Berry and I can’t wait to read the rest of the her books.
If you like psychological thrillers, I highly recommend this one!

#REVIEW – Tainted by Andi Jaxon

It’s a chance that leads me here.
To him.
The grumpy mechanic with a chip on his shoulder and a secret.
I’m drawn to him.
This shell of a man, gripping onto who he is by his fingertips.
If anyone finds out who he really is, who he used to be, he’ll become another statistic.
Luckily I know how to hide my truth in the dark.
I should stay away from him, not get caught up in his family drama, but I crave him.
I need him.
Am I strong enough to fight for the man who needs me?
*Tainted is an mm transgender romance that deals with transphobia, homophobia, and past abuse. There will be parts of the story that contain triggers surrounding these issues. It is for an 18+ audience.
*This book follows Taylor’s journey after Bully King: An MM Bully Romance, it is a stand alone and does not have to be read in order.

When I found out that Andi was writing Taylor’s book, I was super excited. He had been through a lot in Bully King, so it just seemed fitting that he get his chance at his own happiness too. Well, poor guy had to work for that also.

This book…wow. After reading the prologue, I knew that it was going to hurt. I can’t imagine. I just can’t.

Dean is transgender and what he goes through, what he believes about himself, what his parents made him believe…it’s heartbreaking. All of it is heartbreaking. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and keep him safe. He’s grumpy, hates life, is mean and holds people at arm’s length. He believes he’s unworthy of love even though that is so far from the truth. Braxton is his best friend and man, I love this character. I think we all need a Braxton in our lives.

When Taylor meets Dean for the first time, there’s an instant connection but of course Dean wants nothing to do with him. Why would Taylor want him, when no one else had? But I gotta give Taylor it. He’s persistent and patient. I knew I would love his character just from reading Bully King but I actually love him more than I thought I would.

Reading the way Taylor was with Dean, was awe inspiring. I wish more people could be like him. He’s a safe place and more people need that.

Andi did a really good job portraying Dean’s thoughts and feelings. My heart broke for him.

I am also super proud of Mikey, Dean’s brother. I won’t say why as I don’t want to give any spoilers but I ended up liking him near the end of the book.

It was so fun to see Roman and Jonah again. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think Tainted is my favourite of these books thus far.

I loved all of the side characters. Braxton is my favourite but Whitney is on a whole other level. I would love for these two to get books. But I believe Mary’s book is next? And if Andi is still going to do what she told me she’s going to do, I don’t think any of us are ready.

If I’m ever blessed with children, I want to be their safe space. I want them to know that they can come to me and tell me anything at all. I want them to know that whatever they identify as, I will support them. And if having kids isn’t in the cards for my husband and I, then I hope others know that they can come to me. No matter what. I am safe.

Universal: smarturl.it/TaintedAndiJaxon
US: https://amzn.to/3xcdLAz
CA: https://amzn.to/3arf5G4
UK: https://amzn.to/2RInle3
AU: https://amzn.to/3eic0cw

TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56595179-tainted

Candi Kane PR: https://forms.gle/oDwoknSpoFUCkjoD6

#ThrowbackReview – Bully King by Andi Jaxon

I’m the pastor’s son.
He’s the star quarterback for a small Kentucky high school.
While the town worships him, I pray for God to take my life.
He makes my life a living hell by making me his victim.
This perverse game we play could end us both.
How can something that feels so right be so wrong?
The price if the truth is discovered is death, but I can’t stop.
Neither can he.
No one can know.
Can I risk it?
Is Roman King worth dying for?

*This story is a bully romance including dubious consent, assault, talk of suicide and is intended for readers 18+. Please proceed with caution.*
New review:

I decided to re-read this story to get ready for Tainted, which I am reading an early copy now by the way, and I love this story even more now after my 2nd read through!

I don’t usually re-read books but this one I felt I had to. It’s just one of those things, ya know?

So now for my review: Roman King is a jock. He’s a rising football superstar, so of course, he can do no wrong.

Jonah is a preacher’s son and is gay but his father doesn’t know. So when that comes out…it’s heart breaking to say the least.

This book still made me feel all the feels. And this time around, I actually had to skim parts because I knew what was coming.

Kudos again to Andi Jaxon for taking a chance and writing a story like this. I’m in love and will continue to love these characters forever.

Old review:

Oh my gosh. Where do I even begin?????? So I’ve known Andi Jaxon for awhile now. She started out as a client (I do designing on the side) and then we became friends AND to top it off, she reads my stuff too!! I’m also an author but I consider her a friend first and foremost! Anyway. So she had me read a novella about Roman and Jonah and I was like, sure! It was short, I had time, so I figured, why not right?? I read it, loved it but needed more. Which usually happens after reading a novella. Am I right? I knew Bully King was about Roman and Jonah and of course I had pre-ordered it. So when Andi offered me an ARC, I was himming and hawing because I wasn’t sure if I would get it read in time for release day. According to Goodreads, I read it in 4 days, which hasn’t happened to me in quite awhile. I’m a super slow reader but GAH, this book!
First, if you love MM (male/male) books, you absolutely HAVE to pre-order this now or one-click this on release day!
This book borders on dark. It deals with some sensitive subjects but it was so well written, it’s easy to see through the darkness to find the light.
Both Roman and Jonah spoke to me.
While Roman had a difficult life at home, Jonah’s home life wasn’t easy either. Being a gay kid with a preacher of a father, especially with where they live, made it even more difficult.
Jonah: Oh my gosh, this sweet sweet boy. His fear over what his father would think if he found out his son is gay. His fear over what the town would think. His fear is real. It’s there. It’s raw.
Roman: This boy stressed me out something fierce. He was mean but nice. Cold but warm. He needed Jonah but pushed him away. His pain was in your face and you saw it even though he hid it.
I absolutely loved Mary! And the rest of the side characters!
Jonah and Roman together was insane. They were passionate and aggressive.
There were parts of this story that even I had a hard time reading and had to put my tablet down for a breath or two. There was also a chapter where I held my breath through it all. A book has not caused these sort of feelings to stir in me in such a long time.
10 stars, Andi! 10 freaking huge bright shiny stars! I am so proud of you! Now give me more words. xx

#REVIEW – The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.
A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.
Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.
But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.
Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.



This book was insane!
I kept messaging a friend, losing my mind over this story. I tried predicting things and for the most part, I was wrong.
This book left me enraged at parts. I have to say that I haven’t had an emotional response to a book like this in such a long time, it was nice and definitely needed.
The story follows Hannah and Christopher who foster-to-adopt a little girl. Janie had been neglected and abused to the point you feel sorry for her right? Yeah, keep telling yourself that.
Without giving too much away, I have to say that this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Yes there were parts that made me mad, I yelled at the characters, had to put the book down at times to collect myself and was ripping my hair out (not literally) trying to figure out what was going to happen next. I couldn’t read fast enough.
This book is one that will stick with me for a while. So much so that it even gave me nightmares, which has only ever happened one other time while reading.
If you have triggers, please please please go into this book with caution. It’s not light and fluffy. It’s not a romance. Things happen and things are mentioned in detail, so please be careful while reading this book.
My only beef is how it ended. But I’ve come to learn that most of Lucinda’s books end in a certain way. I’m still so used to romance books that I find that I’m always looking for an epilogue. So that’s just me and it doesn’t change my love of this book at all.
If you’re looking for an unputdownable read, a book that will have you guessing and unable to turn the pages fast enough, pick up this book.
My mind is still reeling from it.

#Review – The Best Of Friends by Lucinda Berry

An unthinkable tragedy forever changes a group of teens and turns family against family in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that begs to be read in one sitting.
Best friends Lindsey, Kendra, and Dani endure every parent’s nightmare when a tragic accident befalls their teenage boys, leaving one dead, another in a coma, and a third too traumatized to speak.
Reeling from the worst night of their lives, the three mothers plunge into a desperate investigation of the bizarre incident. How could something so horrible happen in their wealthy Southern California suburb?
They soon discover that the accident was just the beginning, and troubling discoveries lead to chilling questions: Do they really know their children? Do they even know each other? As more secrets surface, a fog of doubt and suspicion threatens to poison their families, their friendships, and the whole community.
With the illusion of happiness and safety long gone, these women must now confront the hazards of heartbreak, the consequences of jealousy, and the dangers of living double lives.

I just…wow….I have no words. This is my 3rd book by Lucinda Berry and I’m obsessed. I thought I loved the other books I read by her but this one is my absolute favourite thus far.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare and more.

This book follows three families. They were all friends since they were kids. Grew up in a small town together. Everyone knows everyone, kind of thing. Their kids played together, grew up together too, went to the same schools, played on the same teams, etc.

One night a horrible accident takes place and it’s a case of “Who did it and why??”

As the story unfolds, we of course find out that these families are harboring secrets outside of the horrible accident that took place.

An abusive husband.

A husband looking for a companion outside of his marriage and kids.

A wife who gave her kid meds without her husband knowing.

So many secrets.

So many lies.

I enjoyed the different perspectives and I also liked seeing the hidden drama outside of that accident. It showed how real they are. As the chapters went on, I found I was glued to the pages near the end, trying to figure out what was going on. I can’t even tell you how many times I gasped. The characters’ raw emotions bled onto the pages.

But when I read that last paragraph, I was like “Whaaaaat????” I did not see that coming. It’s one of the many things I love about Lucinda’s books. I can’t predict them. At all. And I’m not complaining in the least.

#PreOrder – Scouts: A Dark Romance Anthology

💚 SCOUTS: A Dark Romance Anthology 💚

Cover by Pink Elephant Designs

💚 PRE-ORDER LINK: https://geni.us/Scouts

💚 BLURB
The troop is all grown up, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped using the badges they earned.

Follow the irresistible men of the River Scouts as they journey through the twisted path that fate has set them on.

Each River Scout has a story to tell.
A truth they can’t hide.
But will they come out unscathed?

There’s only one way to find out…

SCOUTS is a limited time forbidden romance anthology containing new stories from a collection of your favorite authors.

💚 PARTICIPATING AUTHORS
STORIES INCLUDED:
Yolanda Olson
Abigail Davies
Penelope Douglas
Natasha Preston
Jennifer Bene
Vicki James
Samantha Towle
Cole Denton
Ally Vance
J. M. Walker
Emery LeeAnn
Measha Stone
Kamisa Cole
Claire C. Riley
Ember Michaels
Ellie Meadows
Shane Starrett
Andi Jaxon

#REVIEW – Appetite For Innocence: A Dark Psychological Thriller by Lucinda Berry

Be careful what you post online. Your next check-in might lead him right to you…

A serial rapist is kidnapping teenage girls. But he’s not interested in just any teenage girls—only virgins. He hunts them by following their status updates and check-ins on social media. Once he’s captured them, they’re locked away in his sound-proof basement until they’re groomed and ready. He throws them away like pieces of trash after he’s stolen their innocence. Nobody escapes alive.

Until Ella.

Ella risks it all to escape, setting herself and the other girls free. But only Sarah—the girl whose been captive the longest—gets out with her. The girls are hospitalized and surrounded by FBI agents who will stop at nothing to find the man responsible. Ella and Sarah are the key to their investigation, but Sarah’s hiding something and it isn’t long before Ella discovers her nightmare is far from over.

Fans of The Butterfly Garden and The Girl Before will devour Appetite for Innocence

Warning: Contains sexual violence which may be a trigger for some readers.



This book was insane. I kept trying to guess what was going to happen and how it would end because I knew that there was going to be a twist of some sort.
The book is written in both Ella’s point of view along with Sarah’s. We learn how Ella was taken by “John” and how Sarah was conditioned over the years. Both of their stories are tragic in the same way but also different. Sarah had been with John for four years, ever since she was 12 years old. So of course, it makes sense for him to have control over her in a much different way than he does with the other girls.
Parts of the book were quite frustrating but I also understood as well. I’m not a mom but I know that if it had been my child who was taken and I finally got them home, I would want to do everything I could to help them get through it. I would probably do what Ella’s mom did as well, even though it drove me crazy at times and I felt like she wasn’t listening to her daughter until it was almost too late.
I do like the desperation Ella’s mom faced when trying to make her daughter feel better. And to try and get things back to normal for her. While it was a little much at times, I get it and would probably do the same. You can be the strongest person and something like this could still break you.
This is only my second book by Lucinda Berry but I’m loving this journey into her the worlds she creates and I can’t wait to read more of her words!