[#BookReview] Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker @RaincoastBooks @StMartinsPress

I’d like to thank Raincoast Books for my copy of Emma in the Night.

Genre: Suspense/Thriller, Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: August 8, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Book Blurb:

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

My Thoughts

I have to admit, this isn’t quite the review I thought I would end up writing.  The story started off at full speed:

They found Emma’s car at the beach.  They found her purse inside, on the driver’s seat.  They found the keys in the purse.  They found her shoes in the surf.  Some people believed she had gone there to find a party or meet a friend who never showed.  They believed that she’d gone for a swim.  They believed that she’d drowned.  Maybe by accident.  Maybe a suicide.

Everyone believed Emma was dead.

However, it just wasn’t quite the page turner I anticipated.  I had difficulty getting into it after the second chapter.  There were multiple times I wanted to give up, but I was hooked on wanting to know what happened to Emma: Was she alive? Was she dead? Why did she go missing? Why were Cass and Emma gone for so long?  I had all these questions I couldn’t leave unanswered.

The story was told in alternate points of view between Cass & Dr. Winter.  Now normally I love reading books that are told by different characters, but somewhere throughout this one, the two voices started to sound the same making it hard to remember who was telling the story.

I didn’t particularly like Mrs. Martin and hated that she wanted to be referred to as such.  But on the same note, I applaud the author for creating such a despicable and believable character.  I’m not sure why I didn’t love this more to tell you the truth.  The storyline and ending were brilliant.  Perhaps I wasn’t in the mood to read? Or maybe the were bits of information that really weren’t necessary, making it a slower read.

Despite some of the hurdles, I’m glad I stuck with it cause it was an ending worth reading..one that I didn’t quite see coming.  As a result, I decided to give it a 4 out of 5.

A story is more than the recounting of events.  The events are the sketch, the outline, but it is the colors and the landscape and the medium and the artist’s hand that make it what it is in the end.

Have you read it?  What did you think? Let me know!

 

 

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[#BookBlitz] Murder Feels Awful by Bill Alive #MurderMystery

Murder Feels Awful
Bill Alive
(Empath Detective, #1)
Publication date: October 10th 2017
Genres: Mystery, New Adult

He can feel people’s emotions. And murderers feel awful.

Mark Falcon can “vibe” other people’s emotions … and they’re usually super painful. So he hides out in rural Virginia, making websites for clients he never has to meet. It’s a not-terrible life, sort of … until he vibes the final panic of a woman’s murder.

The last thing hermit Mark wants to do is go out and investigate, vibing which suspect is seething with secret hate. Even with me along, his trusty new sidekick/housemate. (I’m so cheerful that I double as an emotional air freshener.)

But Mark has no choice. He has to act, because our local cop detective is convinced that there’s no killer and the woman killed herself. Unfortunately, our cop’s also got the overall presence of a Viking goddess, and the last thing she wants is some delusional “psychic” website guy playing amateur sleuth. (Not to mention hitting on her.)

With the cops threatening jail, small-town secrets threatening Mark’s sanity, and a crazy-gorgeous doctor suspect threatening my heart, time’s running out for Mark and I to catch the killer…

Before the killer catches us.

Murder Feels Awful is the very first Empath Detective novel, a new cozy mystery series that totally really happened, but is officially fiction. If you like Janet Evanovich, M. C. Beaton, Deb Baker, and long lists of famous author names, you’ll love this new series that has it all — amateur detectives you’ll love, zany small-town characters, sparkling wit, and a cold-blooded killer you’ll never even suspect.

Buy this hilarious cozy mystery today! Right now, even! Seriously, at this limited-time launch price of 99 cents, it’ll cost you more to lose time thinking about it than to click RIGHT NOW and jump in! Plus, there’s a whole extra mystery book waiting for you inside … for free…

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

So I’m just going to start typing, because I can’t decide where to start. The dead woman flying the glider? Or when Mark first read my mind? Or maybe that crazy creeptastic first funeral?

This writing thing is hard.

But this story needs to be told. For the victims. For justice.

Plus, we both missed a lot of work time with this murder stuff. It’s not like our finances are dire, officially, but Mark said I could try this ebook thing if we used the money on the mortgage first.

Not that the mortgage is the worst of our problems.

Thing is, people really did die. Somehow, in made-up mysteries, that doesn’t seem to hit the characters much. Trust me, it’s a big deal.

In fact, spoiler alert, this all does get kind of dark. Like, not even just murder. Some things are worse than murder.

But … on the positive side … working with an empath is freaking amazing.

And you know what, that’s exactly where to start this. On that Saturday hike with Ceci, just before my mind exploded.

Not literally. That would be gross. Although that did kind of technically happen later … ugh … anyway…

It was one of those rare Virginia mornings in late August that are magically coolish instead of the usual broil. The point of our hike was to bask in the splendor of our gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, with the gentle, ancient hills rolling around beneath us in green late summer glory.

But Ceci had picked some new trail that turned out to have no views at all, just a scrabbly single-file path through skinny oaks and poison ivy. In the deepest shade, beside huge boulders, the air was cold and damp and tombish. Our voices echoed a little too loud, like kids squabbling in a graveyard.

“Not going to happen, Pete,” Ceci said, in her southern Virginia drawl that higher education and a nursing career have only partly tamed. She flicked me back a firm glance over her buff shoulder. “You are not moving in.”

This hurt.

My current lease was up in a couple days, and I needed new digs fast.

Dad was serious this time — “Son, it’s been a year since graduation, time to pay your own way, blah blah blah…” But how was I supposed to make the rent in the stupid four-room palace Mom had settled me in? And why was Ceci being like this? With our history…

“Don’t you want help with your mortgage?” I gasped. The gasp was only partly emotional — I had to sprint to keep up as Ceci jumped easily from rock to rock up yet another steep incline. My calves and thighs were starting to ache.

No, I’m not out of shape. In fact, I’m lean and wiry, sometimes misinterpreted as “skinny”. But these days, Ceci treats every minor excursion like some kind of Tough Mudder Triathlon.

By the way, “Ceci” sounds like ”sessy”, and it’s short for “Cecily”. Which has always struck me as super fancy and feminine for a woman who’s built like a linebacker (if the linebacker were five foot six and had a cute lopsided smile).

“Besides,” I pursued, “you’ve already got other housemates.”

She groaned, that special Ceci I-love-you-but-sometimes-I-wonder-how-you-even-know-how-to-talk groan. “My housemates are all women.”

“And?” I said, confused. It took me a second to process what she meant. “Wait, you mean, because I’m a dude? Really? Is this some Baptist thing?”

“I’m not Baptist!”

I flinched with remorse. I’m pretty good with details, but for some reason I can never remember the precise flavor of her denomination. Not Baptist, apparently.

“Sorry,” I said. “But we’re friends, Ceci. We have this magical complete lack of sexual attraction! We always have.”

Ceci stepped wrong on a pebble and lurched sideways. But she righted herself instantly. “It’s not that,” she said.

I don’t know why it wasn’t. She’s one of my best friends. We met our first week of college, back when she was a chubby freshman fifteener instead of this transmogrified Miss Muscle. Since then, we’ve been talking pretty much nonstop. We were probably brother and sister in another life. I’m serious. (I used to not believe in past lives, but in the last couple years I’ve really gotten a lot more spiritual.)

“I mean, sure, Hermosa is moderately hot,” I granted. “But I’m not going to try anything with a housemate!”

“Pete—”

“And she’s totally into that cop dude. Ramiro Romero. That guy has enough self-confidence to launch a major world religion.”

“Pete—”

Side note: Ceci knows a lot of cops and cop affiliates, because her older sister Gwen happens to be one of the Force’s finest. Sergeant Gwen Jensen, head of our local Investigations Division. (It’s a small town, so the division only has like three cops, but still.)

Gwen is also basically a Viking goddess, in both her Attractiveness Quotient and her overall temperament and approach to life. I’m not going to say she’s intimidating, because she might actually read this.

“Trust me,” I said. “Cop girlfriends are officially off limits.”

“PETE!” she exasperated. “You are not moving in!”

I opened my mouth to protest, but just then, there came a dude.

Trail etiquette is sketchy, but I always feel you should make at least fleeting eye contact as you try to avoid shoving each other into the poison ivy.

It’s like when you’re driving on back road gravel and there’s some three-ton pickup barreling your way. You both have to give this little half-wave of acknowledgment, even if you don’t actually lift your hand off the wheel and even though there is no way you actually know each other or will ever see each other again, ever. It’s just the code.

This guy did not make eye contact.

I tried three times.

On my first two quick glances, he was apparently way more interested in either watching his step or observing the fascinating local flora.

The third time, he was staring up, craning back his head to see the sky.

This seemed so obviously avoidant that I didn’t think to look up too. Besides, he was more interesting.

Even with his head back, his eyes burned a brilliant blue. They were luminous, the kind of eyes that shine so bright you might fall in. Almost unsettling.

He was also rocking a red-blond mustache, solo with no beard. That was unsettling. Because it actually kind of looked okay. I can’t explain it.

Maybe he was good-looking enough to burn some points on eccentric facial hair? He had a powerful, athletic kind of face. But who knows? I have no clue what kind of look girls actually go for.

I pegged him at mid-thirties, although it was hard to be sure because his reddish-blondish-grayish hair was thinning big time. A large expanse of scalp openly gleamed, and the hair he had left was all fringy and shaggy in the breeze, like the last few months had seen other priorities besides hair care. He wore a ratty T-shirt and thrift store jeans, but he did wear them well.

He tramped around us in awkward silence. Ceci and I put the courteous kibosh on our conversation to make space for obligatory pleasantries, but somehow even Ceci couldn’t muster a “good morning”. And this is a woman who can dump bedpans for sixteen hours straight while sporting the aforementioned cute smile. Somehow, this guy exuded silence like a force field.

Without a word, we went our separate ways.

Then, behind us, he gasped.

Hard. Like he’d been hit in the stomach by a freight train.

Ceci and I shared a glance of mutual what-the-hellitude, then whipped around to see.

The dude was slumped against an old oak, shuddering like he was freezing and fighting to breathe. He looked shocked, even horrified.

Ceci sprang into Nurse Mode, peppering him with medical questions as she leaped down toward him.

But he winced and rasped, “She’s dying.”

I went cold all over. I felt like I’d walked into a car crash. “Who’s dying?” I called, as I stumbled after Ceci.

Still wincing, he nodded … up. Toward the sky.

 

 

GIVEAWAY!

Mark Falcon, the Empath Detective, may be able to sense people’s emotions, but the rest of us need a little help. If you win this giveaway, you’ll not only get paperback editions of all Mark’s detective adventures so far (including his prequel novella, ORIGIN STORY, which you can’t even BUY in print, because it’s only a gift ebook for my email list friends) … you’ll also get the technology to BE an empath yourself! I refer, of course, to … MOOD RINGS!

According to the happy Amazon reviews, this mood ring actually DOES CHANGE COLOR! (And does NOT turn your finger green! ) These are nice. Plus, you’ll get TWO rings … the possibilities are endless … you and your significant other could start to feel a whole new connection … or, alternatively, you could “gift” a ring to a particularly inscrutable colleague … or crush …

The rings will be available in size 7, 8, or 9 — just let me know which size you want for each of your two rings. Man, I wish I could enter this contest myself…

 

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[#BlogTour] True East by Raymond Ahrens #Fiction

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Tasora Books

Publication Date: July 15, 2017

Book Blurb

Katy Givens, thirty and brilliant, learns in a static-filled phone call that her husband Andrew is missing in the Amazon and possibly dead. Although still mourning the death of their infant son, Katy flies to Brazil in search of Andrew, discovering that the man she married has secrets. As the mysteries surrounding Andrew’s disappearance mount, so does the list of shadowy forces benefitting from the recent discovery of oil in the Amazon.

Katy’s field of genetic anthropology proves useful when accounts of the Unnamed Ones, a primitive and possibly pre-human tribe, are rumored to exist in the same valley as the oil reserves. Katy tracks Andrew through the jungle, deciphering riddles he left before disappearing. Along the way, she barters with a Jewish coin merchant, challenges chance with a fortune teller, and argues the merits of prayer with a Jesuit priest, before placing her faith with the indigenous Tadi.

Purchase Link

Amazon

About the Author

Raymond Ahrens is curious. As a scientist, father, and novelist, he peers under the surface to discover what contradictions lie beneath. His genre of “mythic-realism” synthesizes both the rational and the mythic to arrive at a different way of seeing. His first novel, Drive, explores an old man’s perspective in both a real and imagined world filled with mysteries, myths, and memories. He lives in Newton, MA and Del Ray Beach, FL.

[#BookReview] MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu @RaincoastBooks

I’d like to thank Raincoast Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Genre:  Young Adult, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Roaring Book Press

Publication Date: September 19, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤

Book Blurb:

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution

My Thoughts

DNF.  So let me explain..if you haven’t already noticed, I’m a HUGE psychological thriller/suspense & horror fan.  However, every now and then I like to switch things up and read something out of my norm.  So when the opportunity arose to read a book about girl power, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try.  Not only did it receive a great review from Amy Poehler (Hello!), but it also got rave reviews on Goodreads.

Let me just say, I tried.  I really tried! But I just couldn’t get into it like everyone else.  I loved the message and appreciate that the author wrote this book to help empower young women.

It may not have been my cup of tea, but a book like this should be included in the high school curriculum if you ask me.  I feel like some of the issues covered would spark some really good discussions and for that reason, I gave this book a 3.

Have you read this novel?  Thoughts?  Have you ever read a book that wasn’t quite your taste, but felt it was still worth talking about because of its message/content?