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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

REVIEW: Guess Who by Chris McGeorge @Hanover_Square #ChrisMcGeorge

Guess Who
by Chris McGeorge

Thanks to Hanover Square Press for this review copy.
A locked room mystery and keeps you guessing!

HAPPY PUBLISHING DAY!


Publisher:  Hanover Square Press
Publish Date:  September 18, 2018
Paperback
368 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Locked Room Mystery, Thriller

The rules are simple.

But the game is not.
At eleven years old, Morgan Sheppard solved the murder of a teacher when everyone else believed it to be a suicide. The publicity surrounding the case laid the foundation for his reputation as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. He parlayed that fame into a gig as TV’s “resident detective,” solving the more typical tawdry daytime talk show mysteries like “Who is the father?” and “Is he cheating?”

Until, that is, Sheppard wakes up handcuffed to a bed in an unfamiliar hotel room. Around him, five strangers are slowly waking up, as well. Soon they discover a corpse in the bathtub and Sheppard is challenged to put his deductive skills to the test. One of the people in the room is the killer. He has three hours to solve the murder. If he doesn’t find the killer, they all will die.

My Review:


So here's the thing.  I was in it to win it with this book.  Had me captured from the first page.. and then about 3/4 of the way in… I was like waiiiit a minuuuteee… is this like SAW but NOT?  And luckily it didn't go quite in the direction that I thought it would but it did veer in a completely different direction that I didn't expect (serious kudos for that) but also like WHAT?!  

The short chapters keep you moving quickly through the book.  I LOVE hating on characters and I absolutely hated on Sheppard but I think I could've hated him MORE.  Ya hear me??  I'm supremely torn in how to write this review. The idea behind it is amazing.  I totally can suspend some reality. I can think "OH SHIT, who did I piss off and what's going to happen to me??"  I can also realize that if I was ever in a locked room situation where I had to solve a murder or the strangers (and I) died within a three hour period - well quite frankly, sorry people - we're ALL dying.

Ultimately, I thoroughly did enjoy this book.  I really, truly did.  However, the ending was a little bit off-putting to me.  I would've preferred it had it gone <this way> <---- no spoilers here, folks but maybe that's just a me thing...  regardless, this is a fast paced and entertaining read.  I just wanted... a little... bit... more.  

★★★

SPOTLIGHT: Because of Jenny by Brad Neaton

Because of Jenny
by Brad Neaton

At less than 300 pages, this novel based on a true story is something to put on your radar!



What if the person you need most is someone you don't even know exists? 

Eric is a 22-year-old struggling with depression and teetering on the brink of suicide when he meets a gorgeous, utterly fascinating plot twist named Jenny. The two meet in an unlikely way, but soon discover they're kindred souls. A heroin addict, Jenny is also caught between wanting to escape life and wanting to live. Despite circumstances conspiring against them, Eric takes a leap of faith and commits himself to helping Jenny, and the two become an endearing pair, helping and accepting one another as they embark upon a mutual adventure that seems destined to fail. 

Funny, irreverent, insightful, tragic, and raw, the story explores many of life's deepest questions while shedding light on what remains a little known epidemic. An unflinching portrayal of addiction, love, and resilience, Because of Jenny is a book you will never forget. 



Brad Neaton is originally from New Baltimore, Michigan. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2014 and served in the Army. Brad is currently a graduate student at the University of Southern California, where he hopes to pursue a PhD in Creative Writing. Because of Jenny is his first book. An avid reader, he has a personal library in excess of 500 books and is a veritable, modern day nerd. Brad resides in Los Angeles, where he enjoys people watching and being critter-friendly.


Monday, September 17, 2018

REVIEW: Josh & Hazel's Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren @gallerybooks @christinalauren

Josh & Hazel's Guide To Not Dating
by Christina Lauren

Thanks to Gallery Books for this free copy.
The perfect in between book between my thrillers - this delightful story is sure to bring you laughs with a lot of heart.


Publisher:  Gallery Books
Publish Date:  September 4, 2018
Paperback
309 Pages
Genres:  Contemporary, Romance

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

My Review:



This is one of those delightful stories that while you know exactly how it will end, the fun is in the journey to get there.  Hazel is absolutely adorable, quirky and the perfect example of being comfortable in your own skin.  I know I've had my moments where I've heard from guys that I need someone who will fit me better because I can be a bit off putting at times (in their minds)... and I've tried being that "standard" girl you want to marry, but that didn't work because then I wasn't being true to ME.  So to read this, was just so refreshing and lovely. Then there's Josh -Then there's Josh - and his whole story - he gives me hope for the men in the world (ha- joke)!  Here's a great example of opposites attracting and how you really can't help who you fall for, nor should you try to stop that ball from rolling.

There are definitely some laugh out loud moments and a lot of bad dates happening - and I loved every single moment.  I also applaud the authors with their depiction of the Korean family.  The neatness, traditions, ALL THE FOODS and honestly this had me missing my Korean family a lot by the turn of the last page.  Very well done!

If you want a highly entertaining, funny and heartfelt book that just may actually believing in OTP, well I think you've found it with this read.  

★★★★★

REVIEW: The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang @LUAuthors @amazonpub @LydiaYKang #allthebookreviews

The Impossible Girl
by Lydia Kang




Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date:  September 18, 2018
Paperback
364 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.



Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.


Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists—sought after as an endangered prize.

Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death.

My Review:


I have always had a fascination with the macabre, the "freaks", the strange and different.  Probably why Freak Show is still my favorite season of American Horror Story, partly why I loved The Greatest Showman and why I absolutely adore this book.

Cora is the girl with two hearts - having to grow up as a boy and then take on dual roles as herself and her twin brother, taking on a job as a resurrectionist so she could always be privy to any talk of anyone coming after her, to show her, or rather her two hearts, off to the world.  In the time of Barnum and Bailey and the freak shows of the world, grave robbing as a norm and where the thought of a woman doctor was still astonishing and unheard of - Kang takes us into this world with flourish and entertainment.

While I did enjoy the story thoroughly, I especially loved reading the Author's Note at the end where it's explained what was taken from actual truth from those days, including the amazing language that the resurrectionists used - how fun is that?!  And the explanations of the various things that happened throughout the book made it even more interesting for me.

This is the perfect kind of historical fiction that I enjoy.  Cora is a character I thoroughly enjoyed.  I also loved the uniqueness in the interspersed chapters of the last minutes of the characters who died from their point of view.

If you like the world of grave robbing with a strong female protagonist who fights for her life on the daily, this is a great read for you.  While historical fiction isn't typically my cup of tea, this one became my shot of whiskey.

★★★★

Jessica's Review:


I know historical fiction isn't for everyone, but I'm a huge fan of the genre. THE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL brings readers into the time of Barnum's and the side shows. I have always been fascinated with the concept of freak shows and learning about them, so this synopsis grabbed me immediately. I would also like to say, you definitely need to read the Author's Note at the end!

Cora is a woman with two hearts, but must be on constant alert to protect herself. She is the only female resurrectionist in a male exclusive profession. Despite needing to remain in disguise, her position as a resurrectionist comes with a perk - she is able to get information about if anyone is looking for her to showcase her medical peculiarity before it can happen. Kang transports us into the Victorian era and directly to the center of the macabre world that is the freak shows and museums of curiosities.

This is a period in history that fascinates me. We often forget the darker side of the freak shows and curiosities - this book portrays the medical side of these attractions. People are sought after for anatomical abnormalities, which is why Cora knows she is a target. As far as historical fiction goes, this one is definitely out of the norm. I know there are people that aren't fans of the genre because they can be too dense and focused more on the historical side of things. Well, Kang has woven such a unique read with a memorable female protagonist.

I would highly recommend this to anyone that finds the synopsis intriguing. Don't let the fact that it's historical fiction deter you - I feel that this book has more to offer than just being a historical fiction novel. You have the Victorian era grave robbing, exhuming bodies for medical purposes, oddities and curiosities, murder, mystery, and a woman caught in the center of it all.

I give this 4/5 stars


Sunday, September 16, 2018

REVIEW: A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne @john_boyne @hogarthbooks

A Ladder To The Sky
by John Boyne

Thanks so much to Hogarth Press for this amazing copy!
A book that will definitely stick with you long after you finish it - see my full thoughts below.


Publisher:  Hogarth Press
Publish Date: November 13, 2018 (First published August 9, 2018)
Hardcover
Standalone
Genres: Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for success. The one thing he doesn't have is talent - but he's not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don't need to be his own. 

Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful - but desperately lonely - older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice's first novel. 

Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall...

My Review:


"This is a tale of ambition."  Oh what a tale it is!  Meet Maurice Swift.  A young, ambitious man whose hunger to be a successful writer chews up and spits out everyone with whom he comes into contact.

This story is told in several parts, and through the eyes of Maurice's victims, and then ultimately himself.  At points you almost feel like you're getting more than one book, but then it all comes together and you're left wowed.  The way Boyne builds Maurice's character - I haven't hated on a character like this in a very long time.  There are no redeeming qualities and I will remember him for a long time coming; this I know.

Have you ever met that ever charismatic person who instantly takes over a room, who is ridiculously good looking and who commands attention?  Yet, at the same time, their only talent lies in manipulation and selfishness?  Well if you haven't, then Boyne presents you this person on a silver platter.  Completely narcissistic and sociopathic, you can't even feel for him.  I feel almost dirty just knowing his life story - fiction or not.  And often, it doesn't feel very fictionalized. (I mean, did Boyne even really write this book?! ha!)

A story that will stick to your bones long after you turn that last page.  This psychodrama is a beautifully written book and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves an intricate story and character study of a person you just can't like but yet you just can't look away from either.

★★★★★


Thursday, September 13, 2018

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: In Her Bones by Kate Moretti @atriabooks @atriamysterybus @katemoretti1

In Her Bones
by Kate Moretti

So excited to be today's stop on the Blog Tour for Kate Moretti's In Her Bones.  
I'm a fan of Moretti's for sure - see my review for The Blackbird Season HERE.
Thanks so much to Atria Books for this review copy.


Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: September 4, 2018
Kindle Edition
320 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction, media frenzy, and the release of an unauthorized biography, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie Beckett is just trying to survive out of the spotlight. She’s a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job and an unhealthy codependent relationship with her brother. Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to see how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on. While her escalating fixation is a problem, she’s careful to keep her distance. That is, until she crosses a line and a man is found murdered. Edie quickly becomes the prime suspect—and while she can’t remember everything that happened the night of the murder, she’d surely remember killing someone. With the detective who arrested her mother hot on her trail, Edie goes into hiding. She’s must get to the truth of what happened that night before the police—or the real killer—find her. Unless, of course, she has more in common with her mother than she’s willing to admit…



Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of The Blackbird SeasonThe Vanishing YearThought I Knew You, and Binds That Tie. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and kids.


My Review:



"There's a ripple effect to violence, you know."

I've always wondered what it was like for the family and friends of killers in the aftermath.  They are constantly associated with an act they didn't even commit and sometimes even ostracized for it.  How do you move on from this association?  Especially if you're the daughter of a most notable female serial killer?  Does the apple fall far from the tree?  

I was pulled in straight from the prologue and was committed to the story.  I will say that it did run a bit slower as the book chugged along.  However, I've come to think of Moretti's writing style as suspenseful thriller rather than edge-of-your-seat and in that vein, she is absolutely fantastic.  Also, with this subject matter (which I find thoroughly fascinating), I couldn't help but enjoy this story from beginning to end.  Some things were predictable, while others were not.  As proven in The Blackbird Season, we get another suspensefully nuanced psychological thriller.  I did enjoy that this story was told mostly through Edie's eyes.  Her obsession, her protectiveness of herself, her family, her strife... and the one person who has been consistent in her life, Gil, the detective who arrested her mother and helped find Edie a place to thrive in life.  

I did enjoy the excerpts from the tell-all book about Lilith (Edie's mother) - I wish I could have the entire story to read.  The humanness Moretti brings to the other side of the serial killer - they're not always so bad - sometimes they're just normal people, trying to be normal but something in their chemistry just doesn't allow them to be.  Give them children and while the horrors may take front court in memories, those of her just being a mother are also in there.  How do you reconcile the two?

Perfect for those who like that slower suspense with a dash of mystery.

★★★☆


Advance Praise for IN HER BONES:

“Kate Moretti is incredibly talented! IN HER BONES is at once chilling and compelling, frightening and insightful—and truly madly deeply satisfying. You'll gasp at every twist, and turn these hauntingly sinister pages as fast as you can.”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, nationally bestselling author of Trust Me

“Sensational; a stunning psychological thriller that kept me riveted from the first page to the last. A dark and compelling exploration of what it's like to grow up with someone who just may be the worst mother in the world, Moretti's chilling and insightful novel answers the question: If your mother is a serial killer and you're obsessed with her victims, what does that make you?”
—Karen Dionne, internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King's Daughter

“Suspense at its best: A chilling voice, an unlikely heroine, a haunting story. IN HER BONES is Kate Moretti at the top of her game.”
—Jessica Strawser, author of Not That I Could Tell

“Kate Moretti’s IN HER BONES is a suspenseful, whirling spiral of mysteries within mysteries, plot twists you won’t see coming, and characters linked by deadly fates that stretch across the years. Moretti’s prose is crisp and masterful, her people rich and real. Don’t miss this haunting, wild thrill ride.”
—David Bell, author of Somebody’s Daughter


“We dove head-first into In Her Bones, its riveting twists and turns keeping us up well past our bedtime. Moretti has meticulously crafted this gripping mystery, which begs the question: Is it possible to escape our own fate? Another stellar contribution to the suspense genre.”

—Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, authors of The Good Widow


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Why I Scream In Verse by Isha Snehal

Why I Scream In Verse
by Isha Snehal

Get your poetry fix with Isha Snehal's collection!


Why I Scream in Verse is a series of poems for the woman, for the society, for the self. It questions the norms and pushes the realities on the face, using sarcasm and rhymes. It is a quiet read to burn the fire in your belly and make your heart cringe at the short and crisp cynical verses.

A cup of coffee, Instagram and this little book will bring you to read it over and think it over of the things that are being done and that have been done. The last section resounds with the soul as those verses seek answers to some very important questions of our lives.
Give it a read and go on a bumpy ride.


Isha Snehal is a doctor and an artiste. She has been writing poetry since the age of 14 and has been performing poetry on the stage since 2016, having performed at big stages such as Akshara Theatre and IIT Delhi Rendezvous as a featured poet, and other groups such as Poetry Darbar and Poetry Couture, the Rhyme Republic and has hosted several poetry meets. She draws her inspiration from poets like Pablo Neruda and Maya Angelou and sees poetry as a form of activism against the various ills of society.
She believes poetry gives her and her thoughts a voice beyond her work sphere and that the internet has boosted the space poets are able to get to be able to express their art form especially through social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Having studied in Lady Hardinge Medical College, which is the oldest medical college for girls in the country, and among the top ten medical colleges, she believes women have much more power than they believe they have and she seeks to inspire the women around her to stand up for themselves and stop fearing.

REVIEW: When The Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica #allthebookreviews

When The Lights Go Out
by Mary Kubica

One of my favorite authors, but sadly this book didn't quite work for us.  See what Jessica and I thought below - this will definitely be a divisive one in the reading community.


Publisher: Park Row
Publish Date:  September 4, 2018
Paperback
336 Pages
Standalone
Genres:  Thriller, Mystery


Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.


Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

My Review:



Listen, I'm a huge Kubica fan and still am and she will continue to be an autobuy author for me.  It was bound to happen though - at some point one of her books was just not going to work for me and unfortunately this is the one.  


Let's start with the good.  Man, I just LOVE her writing style.  It's atmospheric, draws you right in from the very first chapter and the short chapters make her books a breeze to get through.  This book is no different.  I was glued to the pages - needing to see what was going to happen.  Is Jessie going insane with each passing day her insomnia is keeping her awake?  How far will Eden go to get the family she so desperately wants? I NEED TO KNOW ANSWERS!

At one point, I thought to myself, "Self, if this goes in THIS direction, I'm going to be so pissed off." Well, IT DID and uff.... I wanted to throw this book across the room.  For 95% of the book I was so invested and then WHY... WHYYYYYYYYYYY.  **throws tantrum** Now, some people are really going to LOVE this twist and I can see why.  Unfortunately it didn't set well with me. Nope. Not even a little bit.  Sigh.  Readers, you'll see why when you read this book, and you still definitely should because I need people to talk to about this!

Don't worry, the following won't spoil anything..... What I enjoyed best was the portrayal of the emotional instability miscarriages can cause - I'll be quite personal here and tell you when I went through mine, I hated everyone who was getting pregnant so easily (and it was a surprise for me, not planned at all so surprise surprise when I was thoroughly devastated... men will never understand the physical and mental ups and downs - hell, my hair even grew curly afterwards - hey, biology, how are ya?)... I've come to terms with not having children and I am A-OK with it now, but for a period of time I would either break into tears, get thoroughly pissed and felt a giant hole (which gradually grows smaller day by day but will likely never go fully away).  Kubica very well puts these feelings into this book... and then some.  For that, I thank her. I'm not one to get "triggered" but for those that are - the topic of miscarriages and infertility run amok in this book.

I'm still ruffled about that twist.  I really wish it had gone in a different direction. But hey, not all books will work, even from one of my favorites.   I'll still be keeping a keen eye out for her next book. <3

★★

Jessica's Review:





This book will definitely divide people and especially fans of Mary Kubica. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT is a book that I loved, until the very end. It's rare that a book will flip like that for me, but it does happen on occasion. I will also warn that this book does deal with the topic of miscarriages and infertility, so that's something to keep in mind before starting. 

Insomnia is something that a lot of people seem to suffer from for one reason or another, and it is no joke. Not being able to sleep or get very little sleep definitely begins to take a toll on you and not just physically. We follow two timelines - Jessie in the present and Eden, her mother, in the past. Their relationship is built on a secret that is beginning to affect Jessie now and her future plans. 

The short chapters made this a very quick read and this had me drawn in from the very beginning. Is Jessie's insomnia beginning to take a toll on her mentally? What lengths is Eden willing to go in order to get the family she is yearning for? The place where I have an issue with this book is the final twist. I know a few other readers have the same issue. This went in a different direction than I was anticipating and hoping for, but on the flip side, I can see a lot of other readers loving it. 

The characters were very relatable and felt authentic. The pain and heartache felt by Eden with the issues she was experiencing trying to have a family. I know this will be harder for some people, but I think that Kubica approaches it very well. As someone that knows I won't be having children (for medical reasons), it wasn't as difficult for me to get through. The effects of insomnia are very real, I know some people that suffer from it and it 100% begins to take a mental toll on you. 


Overall, I would say that this is a book that just didn't completely work for me personally. It's been a back and forth on my final rating and I would say that I fall in the middle ground for this one. I know a lot of people will love the pacing and the final twist! I love Kubica's writing and will continue to pick up her future titles - she really knows how to weave a great thriller.

3/5 stars

Monday, September 10, 2018

REVIEW: The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn #allthebookreviews @aniaahlborn

The Shuddering
by Ania Ahlborn

I've been reading Ania ever since her first book came out - anytime a new release comes out, I am ON IT!  It's a reread that delivered!


Publisher:  47North
Publish Date: June 18, 2013
Paperback
283 Pages
Standalone
Genre:  Horror

Ryan Adler and his twin sister, Jane, spent their happiest childhood days at their parents' mountain Colorado cabin - until divorce tore their family apart. Now, with the house about to be sold, the Adler twins gather with their closest friends for one last snowboarding-filled holiday. While commitment-phobic Ryan gazes longingly at Lauren, wondering if his playboy days are over, Jane's hopes of reconciling with her old boyfriend evaporate when he brings along his new fiancée. As drama builds among the friends, something lurks in the forest, watching the cabin, growing ever bolder as the snow falls - and hunger rises. After a blizzard leaves the group stranded, the true test of their love and loyalty begins as the hideous creatures outside close in, one bloody attack at a time. Now Ryan, Jane, and their friends must fight - tooth and nail, bullet and blade - for their lives. Or else surrender to unspeakable deaths in the darkened woods.

My Review:


As a long time Ania fan, I am thrilled to be doing rereads of her work this year.  For some reason, I didn't remember a lot about The Shuddering except that somehow, it fell towards the bottom of my love to like ratio - and I've been a fan of every single one of her reads!  Sometimes a reread has you see a book in a different light and that's exactly what happened here.  I couldn't seem to remember a lot about this novel until I started reading it and yet some pieces still felt new.

The thing with Ania is that she does old school horror in fast paced reads that keep you creeped out and satiated from beginning to end.  The Shuddering gave me slight Wayward Pines from Blake Crouch feels.  Maybe it's the alien-like creatures in the rough snowy weather.  Maybe it's the ease in which they both write and get me absolutely ADDICTED to their work.

Any time you take a group of people to an isolated place, chaos is sure to happen.  Throw in some creepy, lanky, scary and hungry creatures and we have a recipe for a fantastic horror novel.  Some of the death scenes were cringe-worthy in the best way.  At times I felt bad for these creatures - I mean, getting HANGRY is no joke, folks!  But to be that ferocious with a fangy smile like you're happy.... uff...  I may be swearing off snowboarding for the immediate future!

Basically, readers and lovers of horror, just read Ania.  Anything she puts out is worthy of the read.  I especially like that each of her books are unique in their tellings but they all have that deliciously creepy old school horror feel that I absolutely adore.

★★★★

Jessica's Review:



I've been picking up more Ania Ahlborn books this year and I remain amazed and thoroughly creeped out with each novel. THE SHUDDERING was the next one on the list. A snowy setting and plenty of hungry monsters to go around. 

Ryan and his twin sister Jane have fond memories of their time at the family cabin in Colorado. All the happy memories faded when their parents finalized their divorce, and now with the cabin about to be sold, the twins decide to have one last weekend. 

They gather their old friends and spend one more weekend snowboarding, enjoying the cabin, and experiencing enough drama after so much time. While we are occupied with the love triangles there is something terrifying and sinister lurking within the woods. As the blizzard begins to take hold of the cabin, everyone inside is in for a weekend getaway they never expected. 

Compared to the other Ania novels I've read, this one took a little time to suck me in completely. The beginning was good, but I didn't feel entirely invested, but then halfway through the book...holy crap! Once the terror begins there was no putting this book down. Being in Minnesota, and living near the woods, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on things when the first blizzard of the winter happens!

I give this 4/5 stars!



Sunday, September 9, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: The Moving Blade by Michael Pronko @pronkomichael

The Moving Blade
by Michael Pronko

THIS COVER!!  Take a look at book two in the Detective Hiroshi series below!



When the top American diplomat in Tokyo, Bernard Mattson, is killed, he leaves more than a lifetime of successful Japan-American negotiations. He leaves a missing manuscript, boxes of research, a lost keynote speech and a tangled web of relations.

When his alluring daughter, Jamie, returns from America wanting answers, finding only threats, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is dragged from the safe confines of his office into the street-level realities of Pacific Rim politics.

With help from ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi, Hiroshi searches for the killer from Tokyo’s back alley bars to government offices, through anti-nuke protests to the gates of an American naval base. When two more bodies turn up, Hiroshi must choose between desire and duty, violence or procedure, before the killer silences his next victim.

THE MOVING BLADE is the second in the Tokyo-based Detective Hiroshi series by award-winning author Michael Pronko.



About the author

Michael Pronko is a Tokyo-based author who writes in three genres—murder, memoir and music. The compelling, character-driven mysteries in his Detective Hiroshi series, set in Tokyo, have won critic’s awards and five-star reviews. Three collections of writings about Tokyo life, all award-winning, were taken from his popular column in Newsweek Japan. Kirkus Reviews called the third collection, “An elegantly written, precisely observed portrait of a Japanese city and its culture." Michael also runs the site, Jazz in Japan, reviewing, interviewing and pondering the meaning of the vibrant jazz scene in Tokyo and Yokohama.

Michael studied philosophy as an undergrad before taking off to travel for several years. After more traveling, more degrees, and several years teaching in China, Michael settled in Tokyo as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University. He teaches classes on contemporary American novels, film adaptations, music and art. He has written regular columns for: The Japan Times, Newsweek Japan, Jazznin, and Artscape Japan, amongst others. He lives in western Tokyo with his wife and his Japanese (sort of) garden.

News, views, thoughts and stories: http://www.michaelpronko.com/newsletter/