My Mistress’ Eyes Are Raven Black by Terry Roberts

“[An] impressive historical thriller.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Ellis Island, 1920.

New York Harbor’s immigration and public health authorities are slowly recovering from the war years when a young, pregnant Irish woman disappears from the Isolation Hospital on Ellis Island.

Stephen Robbins, a specialist in finding missing persons, is assigned the case. Yet when he arrives at the isolation hospital, he discovers an inexplicable string of deaths and disappearances among immigrant patients…and a staff that seems to be hiding a chilling secret. Stephen finds an ally in Lucy Paul, an undercover nurse who is also investigating the mysterious incidents. Together, they begin to unearth a horrifying conspiracy masked beneath the hospital’s charitable exterior. As Stephen and Lucy get closer to the truth and each other, they are swept directly into the danger haunting Ellis Island and become the next targets.

Amidst growing racial tensions in the wake of World War I, My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black explores the disturbing lengths to which people will go to protect racial purity and condemn those they fear.

I received a digital copy of this novel this summer and really enjoyed it. While the historical mystery was well-plotted, I was captivated by the portrayal of Ellis Island of the early 20th century and what the experience of immigrating was like. When the protagonist uncovers a horrific plot, I was reminded of how, even though it is 100 years later in time, we have many people who share the same beliefs today.

While this is a historical mystery, it is not “cozy” and it does have violence and sex in it (just an FYI).

Here’s a bit on the author, who was new to me:

Terry Roberts is the author of three celebrated novels: A Short Time to Stay Here (winner of the Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction); That Bright Land (winner of the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award, the James Still Award for Writing About the Appalachian South and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction); and most recently, The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival (a finalist for the 2019 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction).

Roberts is a lifelong teacher and educational reformer as well as an award-winning novelist. He is a native of the mountains of Western North Carolina—born and bred. His ancestors include six generations of mountain farmers, as well as the bootleggers and preachers who appear in his novels. He was raised close by his grandmother, Belva Anderson Roberts, who was born in 1888 and passed down to him the magic of the past along with the grit and humor of mountain storytelling. Currently, Roberts is the Director of the National Paideia Center and lives in Asheville, North Carolina  with his wife, Lynn.

My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black

Terry Roberts | July 27, 2021 | Turner Publishing

Hardcover ISBN: 9781684426959

Paperback ISBN: 9781684426942

Ebook ISBN: 9781684426966

FICTION / Historical

FICTION / Mystery

Well-written and an engaging read! Thanks for my copy!

HTP Summer Reads Blog Tour for WHERE I LEFT HER by Amber Garza

I’m happy to take part in the blog tour for this thriller about a mom dropping off her daughter, but when she returns there the next day, her daughter is only not there, but the people in the house don’t know what she is talking about!

Here’s the scoop:

Author: Amber Garza
ISBN: 9780778332060
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: MIRA Books

Buy Links: (not affiliated with BBNB)

Find this novel at:
Barnes & Noble

Social Links:
Author Website:
Twitter: @ambermg1
Instagram: @AmberGarzaAuthor
Facebook: @AmberGarzaAuthor

Author Bio:

Amber Garza has had a passion for the written word since she was a child making books out of
notebook paper and staples. Her hobbies include reading and singing. Coffee and wine are her
drinks of choice (not necessarily in that order). She writes while blaring music, and talks about
her characters like they’re real people. She lives with her husband and two kids in Folsom,

Book Summary:

From the author of WHEN I WAS YOU comes a spine-tingling new thriller about a
mother’s worst nightmare come true, when she goes to pick up her daughter from a
sleepover, and she’s nowhere to be found.

Whitney had some misgivings when she dropped her increasingly moody teenage daughter off
for a sleepover last night. She’s never met the friend’s parents, and usually she’d go in, but
Amelia clearly wasn’t going to let something so humiliating happen, so instead she waved to her
daughter before pulling away from the cute little house with the rosebushes in front.

But when she goes back to get her, an elderly couple answers the door–Amelia and her friend
are nowhere to be found, and this couple swears she’s at the wrong house. As Whitney
searches for Amelia, she uncovers a trail of secrets and lies her daughter has told her–from
Finsta accounts to rumors of a secret relationship. Does she really even know this girl she’s
raised, and can she find her before it’s too late?

If you like a suspenseful read, don’t miss it!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my galley!

The Necklace by Matt Witten

Matt Witten recently sent me a copy of his upcoming (Sept. 2021) novel, The Necklace. This was a super fast-paced and thrilling story.

Here’s the overview:

The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice

Susan Lentigo’s daughter was murdered twenty years ago—and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way from Upstate New York to North Dakota to witness the killer’s execution.

On her journey she discovers shocking new evidence that leads her to suspect the condemned man is innocent—and the real killer is still free. Even worse, her prime suspect has a young daughter who’s at terrible risk. With no money and no time to spare, Susan sets out to uncover the truth before an innocent man gets executed and another little girl is killed.

But the FBI refuses to reopen the case. They—and Susan’s own mother—believe she’s just having an emotional breakdown. Reaching deep, Susan finds an inner strength she never knew she had. With the help of two unlikely allies—a cynical, defiant teenage girl and the retired cop who made the original arrest—Susan battles the FBI to put the real killer behind bars. Will she win justice for the condemned man—and her daughter—at last?

Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben

Optioned for film—with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer

What’s funny is that while I was reading it, I kept thinking it would make a great movie and — voila! — it’s been optioned for film with Leonardo DiCaprio as producer! Can’t wait to catch it on the big screen!

If you follow me, you know I love a suspenseful read that keeps me guessing! Matt was a very gracious and humble person with whom to work and I wish him the best with this new novel and film!

Here’s a bit about Matt himself (via Amazon and also in his own words!):

About the Author

Matt Witten, a graduate of Amherst and Brandeis Universities, is a TV writer, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. His television writing includes such shows as HousePretty Little Liars, and Law & Order. His TV scripts have been nominated for an Emmy and two Edgars, and he has written four mystery novels, winning a Malice Domestic award for best debut novel. He has also written stage plays and for national magazines.

The Necklace has been optioned for film by Appian Way and Cartel Pictures, with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer.

A little about myself: I wrote mystery novels set in upstate New York that were published by Signet. Then I moved to LA and began writing for TV: Law & Order, House, Pretty Little Liars, CSI: Miami, Medium, and other shows. The Necklace is my first novel since I began writing for TV. It’s gotten blurbs from Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, and Meg Gardiner, and it’s been optioned for film by Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Secret Diary by Anna Stuart

If you know me, you know I love books about WWII. I think my fascination stems from the fact that my father fought in the Pacific during it and my parents were married when he was home for a few weeks on leave.

I’m happy to be part of the Bookouture blog tour for this historical fiction novel by Anna Stuart. I love all the particulars: current day and past intertwined, old diaries, deciphering secrets of the past. Highly recommended if you enjoy this genre like I do!

Thank you for including me on the tour and for my e-copy!

Here’s the overview:

Book Description:
Two women. One house. And a wartime secret that spans decades…

Norfolk, 1945: Only a few months ago Nancy Jones was fighting for her country as a gunner girl. Now she’s struggling to adjust to her responsibilities as a gamekeeper’s wife. After a whirlwind romance, Nancy is deeply in love with her handsome husband Joe but there is still so much they don’t know about each other. When a secret from Nancy’s war years threatens to resurface, will the terrible truth about the worst night of her life shatter their new marriage?

Norfolk, 2019: Devastated by the sudden loss of her husband, Lorna Haynes escapes to the beautiful but crumbling Gamekeeper’s Cottage. There, she stumbles upon a locked room. When she enters, it’s like going back in time. A soldier’s uniform hangs on the back of the door, the flowery wallpaper still intact, the spindle of the record player frozen and ready to play. At the back of the room, Lorna discovers a red, leather-bound diary in a hidden compartment of a desk drawer.

As Lorna battles with heartache, she takes comfort in reading the ink-stained words. Turning the pages of the old book, she learns of the incredible bravery of the woman who lived in the house decades before her. And discovers a shocking wartime secret that will change the course of her own life…

Fans of The NightingaleThe Alice Network, and Lilac Girls will love this unforgettable, poignant tale of love, loss and courage during the darkest days of war.

Author Bio:

Anna Stuart lives in Derbyshire with her campervan-mad husband, two hungry teenagers and a slightly loopy dog. She was hooked on books from the moment she first opened one in her cot so is thrilled to now have several of her own to her name. Having studied English literature at Cambridge university, she took an enjoyable temporary trip into the ‘real world’ as a factory planner, before returning to her first love and becoming an author. History has also always fascinated her. Living in an old house with a stone fireplace, she often wonders who sat around it before her and is intrigued by how actively the past is woven into the present, something she likes to explore in her novels. Anna loves the way that writing lets her ‘try on’ so many different lives, but her favourite part of the job is undoubtedly hearing from readers. You can reach her on Facebook @annastuartauthor or Twitter @annastuartbooks.

Buy Links: (Not associated with BBNB)





Death at the Gates by Katie Gayle

I just love the Epiphany “Pip” Bloom series. It’s a cozy series set in England and Pip is always getting herself into tight spots. Do you watch The Modern Miss Fisher on Acorn TV? Pip reminds me of Peregrine (though Peregrine is in Australia) and I picture her like her. Thoroughly enjoyable!

This installment (all are stand alones, too) takes place in a girls’ private school. If you know me, you know I’ve worked in private schools for over 30 years and I love them for book settings! This was a run read. Highly recommended if you enjoy cozies like Her Royal Spyness or Modern Miss Fisher!

Here’s the scoop:

Book Description:
Hurlingham House school is a high-achiever’s heaven, full of happy, hard-working pupils. There’s just the small matter of the dead body on the field… Sounds like a case for Epiphany Bloom!

When Epiphany Bloom’s best friend’s sister Claire is accused of trading exam papers for money, Epiphany agrees to see Ms Peters, the headteacher of Claire’s fiercely competitive school, to provide moral support. Claire has always been a model student and is loudly protesting her innocence: surely it’s all just a misunderstanding.

But when Ms Peters hears about Epiphany’s previous sleuthing exploits, she enlists her help to track down the true culprit!

Taking a job as a PE teacher, Epiphany soon realises she has plenty of suspects for the exam scam mastermind. The broke young teacher with a shady past? The father willing to buy his daughter anything – including grades? The school governor desperate to keep Hurlingham House at the top of the ranks?

Then Epiphany finds one of them dead at the school fair, and it becomes clear someone is taking the cut-throat culture of the school too literally – and when mysterious accidents start happening around her too, it seems the killer knows she’s onto them.

Can Epiphany solve the murder as well as clearing Claire’s name, before she becomes the next victim? This is one test she can’t afford to fail…

A charming and totally addictive cozy mystery with a hilarious and warm-hearted heroine. A must-read for fans of M.C. Beaton, Lee Strauss and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

Author Bio:

Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet.

Buy Link:Not associated with BBNB


Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the blog tour!