Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Free Book Alert: The Disappearing Girl Plus Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

The Disappearing Girl is very rarely on sale so don't miss out on picking it up as a freebie! This standalone novel is one of my most beloved by readers and the book I get the most emails about! I won't lie, it's a tough read, especially for anyone has struggled not only with an eating disorder, but any type of body image issue. I've included an excerpt below and I'm hosting a giveaway for a $30 Amazon Gift Card.



Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.

New Adult Contemporary-Ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.


Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Disappearing-Girl-Heather-Topham-Wood-ebook/dp/B00CMR7GFQ
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Disappearing-Girl-Heather-Topham-Wood-ebook/dp/B00CMR7GFQ

Excerpt:
Cameron’s temper was building. I could feel the tension in the air. He was showing restraint when all he probably wanted to do was to scream at me for my irrational behavior. His voice was strained. “Kayla, you’ve been here all day and you haven’t eaten a thing …”
My expression was deadly as we locked gazes. “When the hell did it become everyone’s business whether or not I eat? Last time I checked, it was my body.”
I could tell what he was thinking by the way his features twisted. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t the quiet and meek girl he’d been dating. This girl was bitter and wanted to unleash her rage on those around her.
“Lila called me, Kayla,” Cameron said in a resigned tone. I hadn’t successfully incited his anger. He refused to be pushed away. I could play chicken with him endlessly—he’d still never be the first one to yield.
“Why would my sister call you?”
“She told me she heard you throwing up in the bathroom. She found a stockpile of snacks and thinks you’ve been forcing yourself to get sick for a while now to lose weight…”
“Lila is sixteen years old. She’s a child and has no right to make accusations and go behind my back and call my boyfriend.”
“Kayla, she’s scared. And so am I,” he admitted. “You never want to do anything because you’re tired all the time. You’re constantly canceling our plans because you claim you’re not feeling well …”
“I don’t want to hear this. You and Lila had no right to talk about me behind my back.” I jumped up from the table, knocking over my chair in the process.
“Kayla, you have to start eating better. These habits aren’t healthy,” he insisted. Getting out of his chair, he took careful, measured steps across the room.
“You said Scarlett does crazy diets all the time. It’s not that big of a deal to try different things to lose weight,” I countered.
“That’s not what you’re doing. Your diet has turned into something else entirely,” he said softly.
“Fine! You want me to eat, then I’ll eat.” I shoved past him roughly and headed to his cupboards. Opening one of the cabinets, I blindly grabbed at packages of food. After ripping into a box of cookies, I shoved a handful in my mouth. Crumbs tumbled out of my mouth as I demanded, “Is this what you want? Does it make you happy? Because I’m sure I won’t be hearing from you once I become fat again.”
“Cut it out.”
I removed a box of cereal from his cabinet. I shoveled fistful after fistful of the sugary flakes into my mouth. Rummaging through his other cabinets, I found a half-empty box of doughnuts. I devoured them in quick bites, powder caking over my lips.
“This is fucking crazy, Kayla.” Cameron was planted in the center of the kitchen. I saw the suffering on his face after I polished off a third donut. He appeared unsure if he should stop me since I was actually eating or if he should protest my binging in his presence.
“What, Cameron?” I taunted. “You don’t like to see the fat girl inside of me eat? Or you don’t like the realization that this disgusts you and deep down you’re actually a hypocrite?”
“That’s not it and you know me better than that.” I could hear a quiet rage in his voice. “You need help and you refuse to do anything about it. You’re better than this, Kayla. Your dad would hate to know his death was doing this to you.”
I stopped guzzling down a can of soda at his words. “Don’t you dare bring my father into this.” I darted away from him, heading toward the bathroom. Three feet from the door, Cameron’s strong arms encircled me from behind. “What are you doing?” I cried.
“You’re not going into the bathroom and throwing that food up,” he said fiercely to my back.
I tried to squirm out of his hold, but he only tightened his grip. “You’re the one with the problem,” I said. “Does it make you feel like a big strong man to be able to hold down your one-hundred-and-five-pound girlfriend?”
“I know you probably hate me right now, but I can’t watch you hurt yourself anymore. We’re going to get you help,” he said, clearly agonized.
“Cameron, let me go!” I screamed.
My thoughts were irrational. I couldn’t think of anything else except getting the food out of me. The more seconds that passed, the more time the food would have to digest and be stuck inside me forever.
I swung around and pelted his chests with my fists. “Why are you doing this to me? Can’t you see what kind of pain I’m in? Just let me go to the bathroom. Please!”
“Kayla, please, we can get through this together. Why can’t you see that you’re so fucking beautiful? It wouldn’t matter to me if you were three hundred pounds …” he choked out. His eyes flooded, and I turned my face away in horror. I bucked wildly against him and his hold slipped enough to permit me to free myself from his arms and sprint into the bathroom.
Slamming the door shut and locking it, I desired nothing more than to collapse onto the floor and disappear into oblivion. Instead, I shoved my finger down my throat and vomited. By the time I was finished, my cheeks were soaked with tears. With a sob, I clutched at the edge of the porcelain sink.
How could I leave the sanctity of the bathroom? Once my body had been purged of every last morsel of food, lucidity returned. I’d just screamed at and assaulted the kindest, most honest person in my life. What kind of sane person could deal with my baggage? It was over. I suspected I’d finally pushed Cameron to the point where he’d no longer want anything to do with me.
Cameron’s eyes were red-rimmed when I slunk out of the bathroom ten minutes later. My plan was to leave; to grab my things and disappear wordlessly, an attempt to give him an easy out.
“I’ll just leave …” Docile Kayla was back. My enraged other half fled the scene of the crime, leaving behind tears and recriminations in her wake.  

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Friday, May 13, 2016

The Ex Trials on Netgalley


Any Netgalley users out there? You can now request The Ex Trials, my final standalone book in the Falling for Autumn series on the site. For anyone who has read any of the other books in the series, this is Casey's story. Here's the request link: https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/89814




Friday, March 25, 2016

Huge Book Sale and Giveaway Event


Happy Spring All! I don't know about you, but the warmer weather always puts me in the mood for a great romance novel. This is why I'm putting five of my books on sale for the entire weekend of March 25 to March 27. Pick up your copy of the following novels on sale for just $0.99:

Falling for Autumn: http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Autumn-Heather-Topham-Wood-ebook/dp/B00JMHTHV0

The Disappearing Girl: http://www.amazon.com/Disappearing-Girl-Heather-Topham-Wood-ebook/dp/B00CMR7GFQ

The Memory Witch: http://www.amazon.com/Memory-Witch-Heather-Topham-Wood-ebook/dp/B00XNKLLPM

The Dark Dreamer: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Dreamer-Heather-Topham-Wood-ebook/dp/B00W1R6GYO/


Also, First Visions, the first book in my Second Sight series will be free all weekend long. Grab your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/First-Visions-Second-Sight-Book-ebook/dp/B007YUP4D2

To celebrate the event, I am hosting a giveaway for a $50 Gift Card to Amazon. Enter below and keep in mind that you'll only have three days to take part. I'll announce the winner next week, so good luck!

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Summary:

For fans of Lianne Moriarty, Paula Hawkins, and Tana French, an arresting debut novel of psychological suspense: a young journalist struggles to keep the demons of her alcoholism at bay as she finds her purpose again in tackling the mystery of a shocking headline-making crime, still unsolved after fifteen years.

Amy Stevenson was the biggest news story of 1995. Only fifteen years old, Amy disappeared walking home from school one day and was found in a coma three days later. Her attacker was never identified and her angelic face was plastered across every paper and nightly news segment.

Fifteen years later, Amy lies in the hospital, surrounded by 90’s Britpop posters, forgotten by the world until reporter Alex Dale stumbles across her while researching a routine story on vegetative patients.

Remembering Amy’s story like it was yesterday, she feels compelled to solve the long-cold case.

The only problem is, Alex is just as lost as Amy—her alcoholism has cost her everything including her marriage and her professional reputation.

In the hopes that finding Amy’s attacker will be her own salvation as well, Alex embarks on a dangerous investigation, suspecting someone close to Amy.

Told in the present by an increasingly fragile Alex and in dream-like flashbacks by Amy as she floats in a fog of memories, dreams, and music from 1995, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer to a breathtaking conclusion

Publication Date: February 23, 2016


Wow, this book was totally different than anything I read before! Talk about two unreliable narrators: an alcoholic reporter and a coma patient. The story is told in two different timelines: fifteen years earlier leading up to Amy’s attack and the present as Alex tries to give Amy a voice while coping with her own major issues.

Alex was a hard character to like at first, but the author wrote her in such a way that I couldn’t help, but feel sympathy for her. As more of her tragic back-story is revealed, I did find myself rooting for her to get help and start to rebuild her life. When she starts to visit Amy in the hospital, the comatose woman has a profound effect on her.

The book was more than just a mystery of who attacked Amy. I also found the topic of what type of awareness coma patients may have and how brain scans could be used to measure their responses. The author admits to taking artistic license regarding Amy’s condition, but I still found the possibilities intriguing.

My one major qualm is that I wasn’t totally thrilled with the big reveal regarding Amy’s attacker. It’s hard to explain why without posting spoilers, but the revelations just didn’t pack enough emotional punch.

The pace was spot on and the writing crisp. This is definitely one of the strongest debuts I’ve read thus far this year. Can’t wait to check out more from this amazing author!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars


Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

Publication Date: February 16, 2016
I liked The Widow although it had a much slower pace than other psychological suspense novels I’ve recently read. I thought the dynamic between Jean and Glen was interesting and I found the novel interesting as a character study and how complex marriages can be when one of the partners is accused of a heinous crime.

Jean was an unreliable narrator, but I found her chapters to be a little boring. The author seemed to purposefully make her flat in order to give nothing about the plot away. The chapters from the point of view of the reporter and the detective working the case was much more engaging. However, I did like the flashbacks to Glen and Jean’s courtship and subsequent marriage to get a better understanding of why she stood by him as she saw the signs of the seemingly double life he was living.

There are some disturbing parts of The Widow that were really hard to stomach. As Jean and the police find out more about Glen’s porn addiction and how it relates to a missing child investigation, I felt truly revolted. Jean became increasingly frustrating as a character and I really couldn’t find any sympathy for the situation she finds herself in after Glen’s death.

There were a few twists that I didn’t see coming, but a few reveals were pretty obvious early on. I guess I was waiting for a big shocker to blow me away, but that never really happened. But despite my few issues, I did overall enjoy the book and finished reading the entire book within a couple days.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Summary: 

Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

Publication Date: June 28, 2016

Wow! This book has left me speechless. I was blown away by how much I absolutely adored All the Missing Girls. Megan Miranda is slowly, but surely working her way up to being one of my favorite contemporary authors.

All the Missing Girls is unique in the way that most of the novel is told backwards. The first chapter introduces us to the characters and sets up the plot nicely before jumping into the backwards narrative. The epilogue takes place three months after the events of the book and ties up any loose ends. I was afraid the narrative structure would be confusing, but it actually worked exceptionally well for the plot.

It’s really hard to post much about the characters or the plot without spoiling the suspense. But pretty on, it was easy to see that none of the characters are trustworthy. They all seem to have secret agendas and complicated pasts that have never been resolved. Readers have to unravel their pasts to find out not only what happened to the missing Annaleise, but also what took place ten years ago when Nic’s best friend Corinne disappeared as well.

This book is impossible to put down, so I recommend readers clear their schedules for the next several hours before picking it up. There were so many twists, most of which I couldn’t guess. If you liked The Girl on the Train, then you will love All the Missing Girls.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Summary:

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

Publication Date: February 2, 2016


I’ve had such great luck lately with finding utterly fantastic YA novels. Unhooked was amazing and although this is a standalone, I would love to see the author spin it off into more books in the same world. This was one book I definitely didn’t want to end!

Gwendolyn was a terrific narrator for the fantasy tale: she’s stubborn, logical, and brave. She risks life and limb to travel through the dangerous Neverland to retrieve her best friend Olivia. Things become even more perilous for her when she’s taken aboard pirate Rowan’s ship. Rowan was such a swoon-worthy pirate. He definitely reminded me of the version of Captain Hook from the TV show “Once Upon a Time.” The romance was very gradual and sweet and I loved how Gwen and Rowan brought out different sides of each other’s personalities. 

Although Gwendolyn has a hard time deciding who is good and who is evil on Neverland, the author’s version of Peter Pan had my skin crawling from the very first minute he’s introduced. The shadowy creatures that roam the island also upped the creep factor in the novel.

There was plenty of action in Unhooked without any parts when I grew bored or wanted to skim pages. From the very start, the novel kept me on the edge of my seat. The climax was so exciting and I really had no idea who would survive the final showdown. I was happy with the conclusion and how the author decided to wrap everything up. Highly recommend to fans of retellings or those looking for a fun, romantic YA fantasy.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!