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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

REVIEW: Slender Man by Anonymous @harpervoyagerus #allthebookreviews

Slender Man
by Anonymous

Thank you to Harper Voyager for this bound manuscript copy for review.

Publisher:  Harper Voyager
Publish Date:  October 23, 2018
336 Pages
Genre:  Horror, YA

Lauren Bailey has disappeared. As friends at her exclusive school speculate and the police search for answers, Matt Barker dreams of trees and a black sky and something drawing closer. Through fragments of journals, articles and online conversations, a figure begins to emerge - a tall, slender figure - and all divisions between fiction and delusion, between nightmare and reality, begin to fall…

My Review:

I have been fascinated with the Slender Man phenomenon for quite some time.  It's amazing how something that started as a contest turned into something oh so real for some crazy individuals... resulting in murder, cult like following and just plain paranoia.

Recently watched the Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story and so far it's my favorite film re SM.  Deliciously creepy and I highly recommend.  I was hoping to get that same creep factor in this book but alas, it is YA Horror - though even some YA Horror can give me the chilly bumps.  This book took just a little too long to get into the meat of the main part.  I realize this is pretty much how the phenomenon happens in these Slenderman sightings to straight crazy journey... I just wanted more SM!! 

I loved the way this story was told via different types of entries, interviews, whats app messaging, articles, etc.  It made for a quick, entertaining and fascinating read.  Ultimately I knew I as going to like this before I even turned the first page.

If you're a lover of Slenderman and have been following this phenomenon in any capacity, I think you're going to enjoy this read.


Jessica's Review:

I’ll start off by saying that I can see this not being for everyone. The style of writing includes many forms – journal entries, interrogation transcripts, social media, emails, recordings, and more. I think that all of these combined made a compelling story and helped illustrate the wide reach that this entity can have.

Matt Barker is an outcast at a prestigious private school in New York. He keeps to himself mostly and no one at his school knows that he’s actually really close friends with one of the more popular girls, Lauren Bailey. They both have kept their friendship between them and they enjoy having this secret. Matt knows Lauren better than any of her other friends, like the fact that she loves Creepypasta and all of those obscure horror stories.

One day Matt finds out that Lauren has gone missing. CCTV footage shows her walking out of her apartment building at 3:14am and she just simply disappeared. Where did she go? What happened to her? The entire school is in a frenzy trying to find this out. Matt decides to log into her iCloud account to see if there are any recent photos taken while she’s been gone, but instead he finds a deeply buried folder with some seemingly normal photos of landscaping around New York. That is until he looks harder and notices, just out of frame and hiding in the shadows, a dark figure with a long body and angular limbs with a pale face. He shares them to a subreddit and everyone is loving the new photoshopped Slenderman photos – but are they fake or was something following Lauren?

Nightmares begin to plague Matt and all of them wake him up screaming at 3:14am. Not knowing whether he is truly awake or still dreaming, the author portrays his terror in the form of recordings on his phone. I know a lot of people won’t like these different methods but I think this did a great job capturing the raw fear that he was feeling. The dialogue felt authentic and on par with how disorienting it can be when you’re truly scared. I think the author did a great job capturing how a belief in something can overtake your life. Like everyone warned him, once you let him into your life there’s no getting rid of him, and he will eventually come for you.

I give this 5/5 stars

SPOTLIGHT: Bar None by Cathi Stoler @cathistoler

Bar None
by Cathi Stoler


BAR NONE, set in New York City, features Jude Dillane, owner of The Corner Lounge on 10th Street and Avenue B. When Jude finds her friend and landlord Thomas "Sully" Sullivan's work pal, Ed Molina, dead in a pool of blood in Sully's apartment, she's sure it wasn't suicide as the police suspect and adds murder to her plate when she helps investigate a case of major fraud at the Big City Food Bank.

Jude and Sully get more than they bargain for when they follow the leads left by the victim. The secrets Ed carried are passed along and the target now falls on their backs. They soon discover that uncovering corruption means uncovering the killer. They just have to stay alive long enough to bring justice and reveal the truth once and for all.

On-Sale: October 16, 2018
Clay Stafford Books / Pages: 323
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9788427-2-7

 Cathi Stoler is the author of the Laurel & Helen New York Mystery series, including Telling Lies, Keeping Secrets and The Hard Way, as well as the novella, Nick of Time. Her newest novel is Bar None, an urban thriller. 

She is the winner of the 2015 Derringer for Best Short Story “The Kaluki Kings of Queens,” as well as the 2012 Derringer Short Story finalist for “Fatal Flaw”. Her short mystery fiction has also been published in several anthologies and online. 

Cathi is an active member of the mystery community and is Co-Vice President of Sisters in Crime New York/Tri-State, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. A native New Yorker, she lives in Manhattan with her husband Paul. Please visit her at

Friday, October 12, 2018

REVIEW: The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol @hanover_square @tlcbooktours @petergadol #allthebookreviews

The Stranger Game
by Peter Gadol

Thank you to Hanover Square Press and TLC Book Tours for this stop on the tour!

Publisher:  Hanover Square Press
Publish Date:  October 2, 2018
304 Pages
Genre: Suspense

Rebecca’s on-again-off-again boyfriend Ezra has gone missing, but when she notifies the police they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real-life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense, and disappearances are reported across the country.

Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, a player willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may lead her further and further from the life she once lived.

A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Gameunearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.

My Review:

Three rules:
1. Choose your subjects at random.
2. No contact.
3. Never follow the same stranger twice.
Rules are made to be broken and games are made to evolve.

In this world of game play, the littlest thing can take on a life of its own.  Peter brings us a world in which stalking becomes a game, which turns into oh so much more.  

Rebecca is a lonely woman who lacks friends, is obsessed with her relationship with Ezra and JUST WANTS TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP ALREADY.  **sigh**  Ezra is in and out of Rebecca's life and just ups and disappears one day with no goodbye, no hint as to where he has gone and Rebecca dives into this game she thinks Ezra is playing.  

Ultimately you have no idea who you can or who you cannot trust.  You have no idea just how convoluted this game has become and who is a player and who isn't. STRONG PREMISE.  Society can take a meme that eventually takes on a life of it's own and cause murder - who is to say that this type of game couldn't actually happen.  After all, the hardest target to "hunt" are humans, right?

I did find that this ran quite slow.  Minimal dialogue in the beginning and we are stuck in Rebecca's lonely world which for me became extremely tiresome.  I don't even how these characters even sustain any type of life outside of this obsession.  Pages would lull and the slow movement of this suspense novel didn't quite work for me.  I'm unsure if it's just in the writing style that didn't quite fit or the execution that landed in a bit of a let down ending.  However, I did thoroughly enjoy the premise of this novel and the almost sheep mentality that lends itself to people these days... I've certainly spent time alone in a bar or coffee shop and have looked around giving people their own stories... I've just never had the urge to follow them to see where else they would go in life... maybe I will now though *wink*.

Fairly certain I'm going to be wondering if the people around me are potentially stalking me or playing some weird game from now on.


Jessica's Review:

Who doesn't love people watching? Let's be real here, we've all had our moments where some stranger catches our eye and you wonder what they do or what their lives are like. Or you completely fabric and guess to match them. I do this frequently when I'm out at Mall of America - one of the best places to people watch.

There are three rules to the stranger game:
  1.  Choose a person at random
  2. No contact
  3. Never follow the same person twice
Seems simple enough, right? Well, Rebecca plays this game and frequently finds herself making exceptions lately. To many, this is a fun game and almost cat-and-mouse to see if you won't get noticed as you follow someone. To the police it's glorified stalking and has been causing them a lot of problems.

When Rebecca's on-again-off-again boyfriend, Ezra, goes missing she dives in headfirst to this game that he created. By finding the original article he wrote about it she is convinced that he is playing this game, which is why he disappeared.

I loved this premise. It's unique and entirely possible - I've done it (without the whole following and stalking part) and I'm sure people have done it when they see me walking around. The minimal dialogue was odd and there were parts where it began to slow down, but didn't completely lose me. Overall, I would still recommend this to those that find this concept intriguing and I will keep an eye out for more from Gadol.

I give this 3/5 stars!

About the Author:

Peter Gadol grew up in Westfield, New Jersey and was graduated from Harvard College in 1986. While at Harvard, he studied writing with Seamus Heaney, wrote a thesis on Wallace Stevens under the supervision of Helen Vendler, edited the literary magazine The Harvard Advocate, and was for two years a fiction intern at The Atlantic.

Gadol is the author of six books. His debut novel, Coyote, published by Crown in 1990, was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the work of an energetic mind, one seemingly unfettered by fashionable norms,” and his second novel, The Mystery Roast (Crown, 1993), was described by the Washington Post as “a savory spoof of trends, but ultimately...a love story involving secrets and dreams, anxieties about fulfillment and intimacy and the Muses that inspire us nonetheless.”

Closer to the Sun, published by Picador USA in 1996, was inspired by Gadol’s move to Los Angeles and tells the story of a young couple who, after having lost their home in a canyon wildfire, enlist the help of a drifter to rebuild the house themselves, the drifter himself overcoming the loss of a lover to AIDS.
In The Long Rain (Picador USA, 1997), Gadol returned to California, this time wine country, to write a literary thriller about a lawyer who defends a man wrongly accused of committing a crime the lawyer himself committed. The novel was nominated for a prize from PEN Center USA. It is currently being developed as a television series by MGM Studios.

Light at Dusk (Picador USA, 2000), is set in the Paris of a slightly near-future in which the far right has ascended and white power skinhead gangs freely roam the streets. The daylight abduction of a Lebanese boy causes a young American ex-diplomat to re-enter the morally questionable world he abandoned in order to find the child. The LA Weekly applauded the novel for its “elegant, but mannered prose; tight, suspenseful plotting; moody Parisian setting; fearlessly high-modernist concerns,” and claimed the novel “will not look out of place slouching on the shelf somewhere between Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene.”

Gadol's sixth novel Silver Lake was published by Tyrus Books in September 2009. Silver Lake is about two architects, two men turning forty who have been involved professionally and personally for twenty years, and who are beginning to see their practice and their marriage falter. One day, a peculiar young man drifts into their storefront office claiming he has car trouble, asking to use the phone. The men get to talking; the young stranger is curious but enchanting, and one of the architects ends up playing tennis with him that afternoon, ultimately inviting him home for dinner. The ensuing evening involves a lot of wine and banter and then increasingly dark conversation, and when the stranger has had too much to drink, the two men insist he sleep in their guest room. During the night, the stranger commits an act of violence which shatters the architects' ordered lives, each man in his own way over the days and months that follow coping with blossoming doubt and corrosive secrets. Silver Lake was nominated for awards from Lambda Literary and the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. The novel is being adapted into a feature film.

The Stranger Game, a novel about a woman who is drawn into a dangerous game following random strangers, was published on October 2nd by Hanover Square Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. The reviewer for Kirkus called the book a beautiful, thoughtful meditation on the invisible ties that bind us—even to strangers.” The Stranger Game has been optioned by FX to be developed as a television series.
Peter Gadol’s work has been translated into several languages, and his short fiction has appeared in Tin House, Story, Bloom, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Review, and StoryQuarterly. He has taught at the California Institute of the arts and, since 2005, at Otis College of Art and Design, where he is Chair of MFA Writing. He lives in Los Angeles.

(taken from his website)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: Speak of the Devil by Britney King @britneyking_ @ejbookpromos

Speak of the Devil
by Britney King
Psychological Thriller
Release Date: October 4, 2018

A huge thank you to Britney for this copy and for having me be a part of her team. 💖

Speak of the Devil is a captivating, darkly satiric psychological thriller which offers readers another savage look into a utopian cultish society where beauty and perfection are valued at all costs and it’s best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. 

In the upscale suburb where Vanessa Bolton lives, she’s your average suburban housewife.
She does her grocery shopping on Tuesday, Thursday mornings are reserved for Pilates, Sundays for church. At home, she’s an impeccable housekeeper and a mother with a mediocre track record.
But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the city, she can be whatever you want her to be—provided you can afford the hourly fee.

In the rapidly expanding cult to which she belongs, Vanessa has been assigned the role of a “Siren”—a recruiter trained to use seduction to elicit compliance from her marks.

Vanessa’s latest assignment—an unsuspecting chemist merely looking for something without strings—proves to be her toughest yet. Unwilling to neatly slide into the roles society has prescribed for them, the two collide in a sensual and savage affair that threatens not only their own lives but also those they seek to protect most.

Featuring “tantalizing suspense, pulse-pounding danger, sex, and double-dealing,” Speak of the Devil is a timely and riveting psychological thriller that is impossible to put down.

My Review:

OH Vanessa and Elliot - what tangled webs you both weave.  Here's the thing with this series... Britney comes out blazing with The Social Affair and you're left needing to know more about New Hope.  Then BOOM, the Replacement Wife comes in and now we're getting into this cult - diggety! Now we have Speak of the Devil - where we're neck deep and probably getting rejuvenated as we read. **ahem**

Vanessa is a Siren - she is essentially a prostitute and uses her feminine wiles on both sexes to help recruit new members to New Hope.  But she's not just a Siren.  She's a (reluctant) wife, a mother and someone who is trying to find a way out... if she doesn't get rejuvenated to death first.  Elliot is a husband who just wants his wife back, doesn't want to give in to the pressure of his business and is Vanessa's mark.  They are multifaceted characters and while vastly flawed, you can't help but feel for the both of them.

What's so great about these books is that each book is a completely different story.  While snug in the same concept of the cultish life and New Hope, rather than just focusing on one character throughout the series, we get a look through different sets of eyes for each story.  LOVE!  I will, however, recommend that you read these in order.  While separate type stories, it helps to get the full background starting with book one - and they're such fast and entertaining reads, you will be glad that you did. 

I'm unsure whether this is an ending to the story as the ending leaves room for more to come, but yet feels like it could be complete if it wanted to be.  Personally, I'm always going to want more.  (hint hint, Britney!)

I do wish I had a little more to how that ending came about - while it does get explained, I still wanted some more detail.  And what happened with this and that character?!  I NEED ANSWERS.. but in the best way.

Another solid thriller.  I'm not sure if I could pick a favorite of the three and I don't think I have to choose so I just won't.  Highly recommend.


“....this is a series that stands apart from all other psychological thrillers out there as Britney King uses unique concepts and slays character roles.” - Elle’s Book Blog

“By far my favorite of the New Hope series. I couldn’t put it down!!” - Goodreads review

“The writing in fantastic. The plot was engaging and original…” - Between the Bookends

Britney King lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children, two dogs, one ridiculous cat, and a partridge in a pear tree.

When she's not wrangling the things mentioned above, she writes psychological, domestic and romantic thrillers set in suburbia.

Currently, she's writing three series and several standalone novels.

The Bedrock Series features an unlikely heroine who should have known better. Turns out, she didn’t. Thus she finds herself tangled in a messy, dangerous, forbidden love story and face-to-face with a madman hell-bent on revenge. The series has been compared to Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Basic Instinct.

The Water Series follows the shady love story of an unconventional married couple—he’s an assassin—she kills for fun. It has been compared to a crazier book version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, Dexter.

Around The Bend is a heart-pounding standalone, which traces the journey of a well-to-do suburban housewife, and her life as it unravels, thanks to the secrets she keeps. If she were the only one with things she wanted to keep hidden, then maybe it wouldn’t have turned out so bad. But she wasn’t.

The With You Series at its core is a deep love story about unlikely friends who travel the world; trying to find themselves, together and apart. Packed with drama and adventure along with a heavy dose of suspense, it has been compared to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Love, Rosie.

The Social Affair is an intense standalone about a timeless couple who find themselves with a secret admirer they hadn’t bargained for. For fans of the anti-heroine and stories told in unorthodox ways, the novel explores what can happen when privacy is traded for convenience. It is reminiscent of films such as One Hour Photo and Play Misty For Me. 

Without a doubt, connecting with readers is the best part of this gig. You can find Britney online here: 
Web | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

To get more-- grab two books for free, by subscribing to her mailing list at or just copy and paste into your browser. 

Happy reading.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: The Isle of Gold by Seven Jane @smithpublicity @sevenjanewrites @blackspotbooks

The Isle of Gold
by Seven Jane

Spotlighting this historical fiction, fantasy novel about pirates, myths and magic!

Publisher:  Black Spot Books
Publish Date:  October 9, 2018
254 Pages
Genres:  Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Mystery, Myth & Magic Meet in an Epic Adventure of Two Women Lost at Sea—

and the Secret that Binds Them Together


The year is 1716—the Golden Age of Pirates. An orphan who sleeps in the dusty kitchens of a quayside brothel, Merrin Smith is desperate to unravel the secrets of her past and find the truth about the events that brought her to the Caribbean island of Isla Perla as a child. Disguised as a sailor, and with the help of her longtime friend Claudette, Merrin joins the crew of the pirate ship Riptide, helmed by the notorious Captain Erik Winters. Tenacious and rumored a madman, Winters is known as much for his ruthlessness as for his connection to the enigmatic and beautiful proprietress of the Goodnight Mermaid, Evangeline Dahl, who vanished from Isla Perla two summers before.

At sunset the Riptide sails for the mythical island of Bracile, a place hidden between air and sea and that exists only for a moment every two years, and which has never returned any man who has sailed for its shores. The journey will be perilous and long, and it will take Merrin far away from the only home she’s ever known. Because she can read, Merrin will serve as the Captain’s apprentice, deciphering old texts for clues to the island’s whereabouts as the ship sails through haunted, frozen waters and into the very heart of the ocean. As she struggles to navigate the rough, seafaring life aboard a pirate ship, Merrin must keep her identity hidden from the scrupulous gaze of not only Captain Winters, but also Mister Brandon Dunn, the ship’s surly, legend-spouting quartermaster, and Tom Birch, the charming boatswain Merrin can’t help but feel drawn to.

As the Riptide makes its way to Bracile, Merrin begins to suspect that the men she has worked so hard to deceive may in fact be more connected to her than she would have imagined, and that perhaps her own past might have more to do with the Dunn’s legends and myths than she ever could have guessed.

In The Isle of Gold [Black Spot Books, October 9, 2018] Merrin Smith must face perilous waters, cursed sea goddesses, and the embodiments of some of the ocean’s most terrifying legends as she not only struggles to survive her journey, but to find the answers to the mysteries of her past.

A story where history meets fantasy, The Isle of Gold is an epic, emotional adventure of two women—one desperate to save herself, and the other determined to be rescued—and the secret which binds them together.

Seven Jane is an author of dark fantasy and speculative fiction. Her debut novel, The Isle of Gold, will be published by Black Spot Books in October 2018.

Seven is a member of The Author's Guild and Women's Fiction Writing Association.

She is largely nocturnal, has an affinity for black and white photography, and exists almost exclusively on chai tea and avocados. She lives in New England.


Black Spot Books is a traditional small-press publisher specializing in speculative fiction, including titles in dark humor, fantasy, paranormal and horror. Learn more about Black Spot Books at

Learn more about Black Spot Books at and connect on Twitter @BlackSpotBooks, Instagram @BlackSpotBooks), and Facebook (

Monday, October 8, 2018

REVIEW: The Burn Zone by Renee Linnell @Renee_Linnell @shewritespress @fsbassociates

The Burn Zone 
by Renee Linnell 

Thank you to FSB Associates and She Write Press for this copy!
I love memoirs about cult life....

Publisher:  She Writes Press
Publish Date:  October 9, 2018
299 Pages
Genres:  Nonfiction, Memoir

After seven years of faithfully following her spiritual teacher, Renee Linnell finally realized she was in a cult and had been severely brainwashed. But how did that happen to someone like her? She had graduated magna cum laude with a double degree. She had traveled to nearly fifty countries alone before she turned thirty-five. She was a surf model and a professional Argentine tango dancer. She had started five different companies and had an MBA from NYU. How could someone like her end up brainwashed and in a cult? 

The Burn Zone is an exploration of how we give up our power―how what started out as a need to heal from the loss of her parents and to understand the big questions in life could leave a young woman fighting for her sanity and her sense of self. In the years following her departure from the cult, Linnell struggled to reclaim herself, to stand in her truth, and to rebuild her life. And eventually, after battling depression and isolation, she found a way to come out the other side stronger than ever. Part inspirational story, part cautionary tale, this is a memoir for spiritual seekers and those who feel lost in a world that makes them feel less than perfect.

My Review:

We all have had that feeling of being needed, wanted... the search for something more.  Being accepted and loved.. who doesn't want it? How high of a price would you pay for it.. and would you even know that you were paying that price?

I always find cult life extremely fascinating.  I think the most fascinating is how people get pulled into this "culture".  You don't even realize it's happening.  The slow isolation.  Creepy!  While I've certainly had my share of manipulation in relationships, I don't think I could ever truly fathom the intensity this type of brain washing can do to a person.

Linnell does an outstanding job in sharing this intense story.  It's not just about the journey that she went on with this cult.  Even reading some parts, I was like "WHY GIRL, WHY?" and I should shake the book thinking it would help. (spoiler alert, it doesn't).  What's fantastic about this story is her journey back out.  How she took these experiences, that still "haunt" her, and found herself again.  You certainly can't take the past away from you.. it becomes a part of your being - the journey itself brings you to a different part that maybe was necessary.  Not many people can get out.  Linnell makes you understand that you can.  It's not easy, but it CAN be done.

I'm not one into spirituality or believing in "the universe" doing for you - so although this cult was within this parameter and was out of my normal scope, I could still relate to the story of trying to feel important in any world... of needed to feel important.  It's also a story of letting you know that you do NOT need to be perfect to be the best.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

REVIEW: The Lies We Told by Camilla Way @berkleypub @CamillaLWay

The Lies We Told
by Camilla Way

Thank you to Berkley Pub for this advanced copy.
A fan of Camilla since Watching Edie, I was thrilled to review this one - see what I thought below.

Publisher:  Berkley Pub
Publish Date: October 9, 2018
336 Pages
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Mystery

When Clara's boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he's left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he's been kidnapped. Then Luke's older sister, Emma, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.

Emma wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened--even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke's mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected.

My Review:

Camilla gives us the same format in this book as she did in <I>Watching Edie</I>.  Past to present stories that ultimately end up coming together for that final reveal.  There's not a whole lot new here in terms of a new thriller - we get lies, dysfunctional families, secrets that come to the surface and the suspending of belief that I do not mind doing for most of the books that I read.  However, throw in that creepy kid and it doesn't matter how many times I read this kind of storyline, I am intrigued - and I certainly was fascinated with Hannah.  Both storylines had me hooked, actually.

Here's the thing - when it did seem to jump the shark just a little bit - I mean, people can only get away with so much... right?? - I didn't mind. I also love that a little inkling I had did come to pass... but yet not in QUITE the way I thought it would so I was surprised but not but either way oh so happy about it.  Hahaha.  

The ending did throw me off for a bit - I kept trying to turn a page that wasn't there.  Sometimes I like these types of endings - other times I don't - I'm torn in how fully I feel about this one.  That's all I'm going to say so as not to spoil anything but it's also a nod to the author that I just wanted to know where it would continue to go - GIVE ME MORE STORY! **shakes fist** I'd totally read a book that's all from Hannah's POV.... ahem ;)

This is a fast and addicting read that certainly makes you want to be careful what you wish for - and never underestimate someone's desire to want to fuck your world up.


Friday, October 5, 2018

REVIEW: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid @tjenkinsreid @randomhouse

Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Huge thank you to Ballantine Books, Random House and Astoria Bookshop for this copy.
My second Reid book and now my favorite. 

Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publish Date:  March 5, 2019
368 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

My Review:


I'll admit that when I read the "author's note" at the very beginning, I thought I was reading a legit non-fiction documentary type novel about a band that really existed.  Did I pay attention to the genre this is placed in, historical FICTION?  Nope.  You know why? Because it's written so brilliantly that you don't even notice.  You are pulled into this world where we learn of the ups and downs and while Billy Dunne and Daisy are the leaders, you are rooting and feeling for EVERY.SINGLE.CHARACTER.

While this is only my second Reid book, I'm flabbergasted and completely impressed with her ability to write such different types of stories - even creating the song lyrics AND it's being optioned for the screen.  WHO IS TAYLOR JENKINS REID?! 

I actually did wonder just how much I would like this as I'm not big on "documentaries" in general.  Written like an interview of sorts with each character giving their perspectives, it never once got confusing and the voices of each character was very clear.  I love how each was flawed and yet so strong in the person that they were - even as they struggled.  I really did not come across a single character I didn't like.

Reid also has this genius ability to give you a reveal towards the end of the book that is as impactful as it is subtle. I have a feeling that many people will say if you loved Almost Famous that you'll love this book and while that is true, this book holds it's own without any comparison or if you like this you'll love that kind of thought.

Just read this book. Please.

(also, how cool is it that Reese Witherspoon will be producing the adaptation?!)


Thursday, October 4, 2018

#allthebookreviews: Easy Prey by Catherine Lo @catherineElo @acbya @jessicamapreviews

Easy Prey
by Catherine Lo

Thanks so much to Amulet Books for these amazing copies.
See Jessica and I's 5 star reviews below.

Publisher: Amulet Books
Publish Date:  October 16, 2018
352 Pages
Genres:  YA, Mystery, Fiction

Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number—and private photos—with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal. 

My Review:

We all remember high school.  Everyone is put into some kind of category.  In this novel, we have the jock, the nerd and the wholesome girl gone goth.  Each of them have their own issues and when put together on a school project, they start learning there's more to each of them than meets the eye.

Here's what I love about a smartly done YA novel.  Lo takes hot button topics such as sexting, privacy, the blame game and even parental liability into a high school scene where teenagers think there's nothing else in the world but the one that they live in.  If I had known that high school really wouldn't have made a difference in my world afterwards, I may have looked at it differently.  But hey, it's all part of our learning process, right?  The author smartly brings these topics into play and grasps the fine line in how differently gender roles and expectations fall into the blaming process.  

I was intrigued from the beginning of the book straight until the end.  I wasn't quite expecting that ending, which was a surprise that brought a large smile to my face!  We all have our secrets... and secrets have a tendency to come out, whether you like it or not.  Be careful what you do and who you do it to and for goodness sakes, LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES.

I do think there may be some controversy about the ending as I even questioned certain parts of WHY IF THIS OR THAT?  However, rather than reading way too much into it, I'm just going to revel in the ingenious of it all.  Well done Lo, well done!  


Jessica's Review:

Leaked photos are a big issue in recent years. People’s personal photos taken and shared with the world which creates big controversies. However, when it takes place in a high school and the owner of the photos is a teacher, that causes alarm. When only three students have access to these photos before they go viral, they have to figure out which one of them did it.
We have three very different characters that could be to blame. The quiet overachiever, the star athlete, and the rebellious girl. All with their own secrets and potential motives. I think Lo did a fantastic job giving all of these characters their own voice and they were all well-developed. She also sets the scene so well – back in those hallways of high school!
The readers get to dive into the topics surrounding privacy and sexting – which are very real hot button issues people are facing today. Invasion of privacy and then culpability are the more controversial parts of the story. I will say that I was not expecting that ending! I really liked the direction that it went.
Despite this being a more YA novel, it didn’t read like one to me. There’s enough mystery to it and realism that it doesn’t feel like a YA novel – I feel like the real reason it fits into that genre is because the main characters are high school age. I think Lo approached these topics very well and created an incredibly realistic story for us. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more from Lo in the future!
5/5 stars!