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Friday, November 16, 2018

REVIEW: All Men are Assholes (... and All Women are Crazy) by Jordan West @allmenareaholes

All Men are Assholes 
(... and All Women are Crazy) 
by Jordan West

Thanks so much to the author for this review copy.  If ever afforded the opportunity, I'd sit down with her over a couple drinks and just hang.

Publisher: West Press
Publish Date: February 12, 2018

207 Pages
Genre: Humor & Entertainment

In this lesson on how to find love when everyone is awful, Jordan West sets out to prove a simple theory: while the ultimate goal for a man is to find that low-level lunatic he can learn to live with, the ultimate goal for a woman is to find that one special asshole that doesn’t make her any crazier than she already is. 

West carefully and comically weeds through the wake of her disastrous romantic past, juxtaposing it against all of our favorite famous couples that have exhibited asshole/crazy behavior. From Sid and Nancy, to the Ken and Barbie Killers, Jordan even drops in to take a stab at the Trumps in this ruthless relationship satire. 

So maybe you're sick and tired of scraping along the bottom of the dating pool only to wind up in a repetitive relationship that leaves you worse off than you were to begin with. Or maybe you're currently in the passenger seat of one of those relationships that's driving you to the madhouse. All Men are Assholes (…And All Women are Crazy) serves as the ideal guide to help you figure out where you land on the asshole/crazy scale and how to navigate through the herd of ineligible suitors to find that one perfect mate who is just as awful as you are.


My Review:

I honestly don't know how to classify this book? Is it memoir? Is it autobiography? Or just satire/humor/entertainment slashed with truths from her life? I really don't care - I absolutely LOVED it.  It's pretty much all I did at work.  Read this damn book.  Thanks, Jordan.  Productivity level at work today, ZERO.  But I did read your book, so there's that. And now that I'm speaking directly to the author it seems... Jordan, if you're even in NYC, look me up, let's grab a couple drinks and dish. 

OK - back to this book already right? GOOD LAWD, I must be the same age(ish) as the author because I understood every damn reference. This is all too realistic look at the game of dating and making one horrible (but lesson worthy) choice after another in relationship land.  I reside in this corner of that universe way more than I care to admit. I didn't even want to throttle Jordan when she continually went back and back and back again because hell, I've been there. DONE THAT. I'll just throttle myself, thank you very much.

"The Amount of bullshit humans still take and how quickly they'll get up only to fall back down again is nothing short of fascinating.  Masochists, all of us."

These stories are funny and somewhat depressing as well. At the same time, when we're young, we're allotted mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes carry over into our adult life but isn't our whole life spent learning and then learning some more? 
"Odds are if you're old enough to read this, cover to cover, it's too late for you."  WELL, FUCK.

I really enjoyed the sense of humor in this book.  I honestly thought at first it would be that whole 'the past made me who I am and men suck so that's why I'm crazy and fuck the men in the world (but not literally, unless you're on a dry streak then anything goes)'.  What it turned out to be was a lesson for us all - yes, men are assholes and women are crazy.  Some more than others.  And I'm jealous of all you women who found their men when they were young so never had to endure the vapid dating game that the single people embrace on the daily.  Then again, grass is greener and all that, right? 

While I enjoyed the stories women throughout this book, I appreciated the epilogue as well and the advice given at the end. Did I say lesson earlier? I didn't quite mean that.  This book isn't a lesson. This book is just a raw realistic look into the craziness that occurs in a relationship and quite frankly, if you're been in the dating scene for a while and haven't experienced any of these stories or something similar well then... you're lying. 


Thursday, November 15, 2018

REVIEW: Fox 8 by George Saunders @randomhouse #GeorgeSaunders

Fox 8
by George Saunders

Thanks to Random House for this free book!
A must read for people of ALL ages.

Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: November 13, 2018
64 Pages
Genres: Fiction, Short Stories

Fox 8 has always been known as the daydreamer in his pack, the one his fellow foxes regarded with a knowing snort and a roll of the eyes. That is, until Fox 8 develops a unique skill: He teaches himself to speak "Yuman" by hiding in the bushes outside a house and listening to children's bedtime stories. The power of language fuels his abundant curiosity about people--even after "danjer" arrives in the form of a new shopping mall that cuts off his food supply, sending Fox 8 on a harrowing quest to help save his pack. Told with his distinctive blend of humor and pathos, Fox 8 showcases the extraordinary imaginative talents of George Saunders, whom the New York Times called "the writer for our time.

My Review:

If my review doesn't make sense, it's because I'm writing this through watery eyes. WOW this book packs a PUNCH!  It's absolutely brilliant in every aspect.  Adorable illustrations, the view of a fox, the writing itself.. I really could go on and on.

This is a tale of innocence.  A fox trying to be better to find a way to supply food to his family. One single act changes him forever.  The lesson here is deep and certainly socially relevant. 

Things I absolutely loved was the way it was written - the crude spelling because hey, a Fox is trying here.  And reading it this way was actually quite fun!  The interactions between the fox and other creatures, his own kind and the imagination he has was highly entertaining and had me giggling a lot in my seat.

Basically, I love foxes. I hate humans.  READ THIS BOOK


REVIEW: The Darkening by Chris Sarantopoulos

The Darkening 
by Chris Sarantopoulos

Thanks to the author for this review copy.
Fear the light. Fear your shadow. TRY NOT TO DIE!

Published: October 28, 2018
Kindle Edition
262 Pages
Genre: Post-apocalyptic Horror

Don’t fear the dark. Fear the light. 

The end came when light changed. It decimated humanity, leaving scattered bands of survivors stumbling in the dark.

Faced with saving himself or his family during the apocalypse, John Piscus made the wrong choice, and has been living with the guilt ever since.

When a glowing girl shows up at John’s shelter begging for help, his instincts tell him to kill her. After all, light kills. 

But when masked troopers tasked with capturing survivors come after them, it’s up to John to protect himself and the girl. Not only may she hold the key to reversing the lethal effects of light, she could also be the one who can save his soul.

If you love dark settings and characters faced with tough choices that result in horrific and sinister outcomes, don’t miss this post-apocalyptic horror read.

My Review:

John is a terrible character - terrible in the fact that he's wandering alone, trying to stay out of the light, trying to survive ... eating maggots, cockroaches, raw, spoiled meat... all the while trying to dampen the voices in his head.  It's the bare bones part of surviving - doing whatever you can at the expense of whoever around you.  We learn that John's made horrendous decisions that he now has to live with.. and I use the word live loosely here.  Enter the glowing girl who reminds him of his dead daughter - could she be his salvation? Only the voices in his head really know.

The author gives us the raw look into what we normally see happening during an apocalyptic event - people turn on each other, it's survival of the fittest, die or be killed. You're alone because you trust no one and the one person you think you can trust can't be there for you.  The voices in your head are making you insane.  You're seeing things but aren't sure if they're real or you're hallucinating.  John has it ROUGH.  The glowing girl convinces him they need help and they head off... and when they get to their destination, well then things take a different turn and my head spins.

There were definitely some repetitive moments strewn in - I'm torn between thinking it was too much to thinking that hey, when you're alone and in this environments, you're going to have these repetitive moments, thoughts and annoyances... and isn't that what the author is trying to get us to feel?  I also wanted more about the girl - there was what felt like a grazing into her role into the whole fold and I just needed more.  Once the twist was revealed, which was hinted to but I didn't quite pick up on, then the pace picked up quickly.  

What I did like was the unique story line - while there were some standard post-apocalyptic tropes, there was also this newness to the genre that I truly appreciated.  I think some might be a little put off with the sudden ending and feel like maybe something more was needed... however, I really like how it ended.  The fight within came to a head and well... you'll have to read to figure out what happened with John and the glowing girl. 😉


BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: The Lingering by Sji Holliday @orendabooks @SJIHolliday #TheLingering

The Lingering 
by Sji Holliday

Thanks so much to Orenda Books for this stop on the Blog Tour and gorgeous review copy.


Publisher: Orenda Books
Publish Date: November 15, 2018
256 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Paranormal

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history. When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

About the Author:

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has been described by David Mark as 'Dark as a smoker's lung.' She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

My Review:

I don't even know where to begin with this book! I love that the synopsis is fairly vague so that you have no idea what to expect going in and I certainly wasn't expecting THAT. 

Jack and Ali are having some marital issues.. so what's the best way to try and solve that? Why, pack up your bags and move to a commune. Seems legit. There's something interesting about this commune though - they're located on an abandoned psychiatric home, The Rosalind House. There's a history of abuse, ghosts and witches as a background. Again, seems legit! However, once they get there, things start happening and well... welcome to crazy town.

I was expecting this to read more like a cult book and that's not what I got. What I got was a semi-thriller/paranormal read and I'm not hating on it! Honestly, I wasn't all that hooked for the first 40% or so of the book. However, I was intrigued (albeit puzzled as to why the crazy cult phenomena I was expecting wasn't happening). Then BOOM, shit takes a left turn at Albuquerque and I was hooked. 

Look - bring me an asylum with ghosts and I'm going to read it. This novel delivers on this with an underlying, ominous tone that keeps your mind at high alert to not miss anything. Ali and Jack are characters where you have no idea what's happening with them until quite a ways into the story line... and I appreciate the bait. 

The Lingering title is suitable for many things that happen within the novel. The characters are fascinating, the eerie feel brings about an atmosphere of hesitance and paranoia and the unexpectedness of what the story brings is compelling and certainly unexpected. 

Certainly a suitable read for those who love a psychological thriller mixed with some paranormal.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

REVIEW: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart @atriabooks @atriamysterybus @NicoleLynnBaart @TLCBookTours

You Were Always Mine
by Nicole Baart

Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours and Atria Books for this gifted copy.
An absolutely brilliant book I'd suggest putting on your TBR.

Publisher:  Atria Books
Publish Date: October 16, 2018
384 Pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Jessica Chamberlain, newly separated and living with her two sons in a small Iowa town, can’t believe that a tragedy in another state could have anything to do with her. But when her phone rings one quiet morning, her world is shattered. As she tries to pick up the pieces and make sense of what went wrong, Jess begins to realize that a tragic death is just the beginning. Soon she is caught in a web of lies and half-truths—and she’s horrified to learn that everything leads back to her seven-year-old adopted son, Gabriel.

Years ago, Gabe’s birth mother requested a closed adoption and Jessica was more than happy to comply. But when her house is broken into and she discovers a clue that suggests her estranged husband was in close contact with Gabe’s biological mother, she vows to uncover the truth at any cost. A harrowing story of tenacious love and heartbreaking betrayal, You Were Always Mine is about the wars we wage to keep the ones we love close, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult.

My Review:

Imagine being separated from the love of your life, trying to make things work in your home as a "single mom" with your two sons, the youngest adopted.  One day you receive a call that your estranged husband is dead and now all thoughts of reconciliation are gone and you're a young widow. On top of THAT, you realize that your husband was in contact with your adopted son's birth mother and kept it from you. Could life get any more complicated?!

"Mariah K.
24, Caucasian, GED
Short blond hair, blue eyes, average height and weight, Soft-spoken but articulate. Little to no family support.
MAN/DEL CS, 35m, 16w"

Most chapters started with a heading similar to the above.  Random statistics that baffled me at every turn. Interspersed in these chapters are letters, email correspondence, journal entries and message board entries - which sounds like a lot more than they actually appeared.  Things move at a slow to moderate pace at first but when it all comes together... uff, I gotta say, readers, I loved it.  

The author does an amazing job of presenting Jessica and her state of mind as she goes through all of this.  Juggling her kids, trying to figure out what's happening around her, avoiding stares of people as she doesn't want people to feel sorry for her or give her the standard, "We're so sorry, we can't imagine what you're going through" and dealing with the struggle of how to deal with this secret that came to light in the aftermath of her husband's death. What can I say - it's been a while since I've felt this emotional for a character and at the end when we see how things culminate... well, I may have gotten a little misty eyed.  Maybe.  **shhh**

I love that the author is also an adoptive mother and you can see how her knowledge and experience seeps into this novel. It bursts with the energy she puts into this from her own heart space of knowing what adoptive mothers go through. 

Baart has turned a genre that has gotten a bit lackluster lately for me and brought it new life.  Part domestic drama/thriller and part mystery, this one really sets a new bar.  I'd recommend putting this on your list and while the pacing may deter some, I'd recommend sticking to it because that ending and how it all comes together is nothing short of genius.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

#allthebookreviews: The Winters by Lisa Gabriele @vikingbooks @lisagabrieletv

The Winters
by Lisa Gabriele

Thanks so much to Viking Books for these hauntingly beautiful review copies.
Jessica and I loved this one - see our thoughts below!

Publisher:  Viking Books
Publish Date:  October 16, 2018
320 Pages
Genres:  Thriller, Suspense

A spellbindingly suspenseful new novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that cannot be escaped.

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter--a wealthy senator and recent widower--and a life of luxury she's never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max's beautiful first wife, Rebekah, who haunts the young woman's imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman--alive or dead--to interfere.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family's dark secrets--the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family's ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.

My Review:

A modern retelling of Daphne du Maurier's, Rebecca, set in the Hamptons of New York.  I'll be up front and say that I've yet to read Rebecca (though I do have a copy on my shelf... why do I do this to myself?!).  I now wish I had read the classic first just to see what had been changed to make this a more modern retelling.

This novel builds - starts off innocently enough and then slowly unravels as you turn each page.  I was so intrigued and consumed by the story that I didn't even realize until just now that the narrator who is the incoming Mrs. Winters, never has a first name.  Genius!  I even just fanned through the book trying to find and it and thought "Wow, that's book amnesia at its finest - I JUST turned the last page!"  I really did enjoy how she would play out a scenario in her head of how she thought something would play out.  I do this ALL the time and it never plays out the way I imagine it!

Gabriele does such a fantastic job of weaving everything together and you really get the full on WTF just happened moments right at the end.  I'm floored you guys.  I mean, I had an inkling about one part but I definitely didn't see it going in this and that direction and I LOVE it when a book does that to me!  

Secrets never stay buried... not forever anyways.  Love can make you blind. Kids can be atrocious.  Money doesn't solve anything.  Just remember to trust your instincts... especially if your instinct tells you to pick up this amazing novel.  

The hardest thing about reading review copies is not wanting to spoil anything for a reader... and not having anyone else to really discuss this with!  So please, if you plan to read this, make a note and come back and speak with me!

Lovers of domestic suspense, psychological thrillers and an atmospheric (almost gothic type) read will absolutely fall in love with this book.


Jessica's Review:

Going into this I wasn't aware that this is considered a retelling of sorts of Daphne du Marier's REBECCA. Sadly, I haven't read this one yet, but I'm planning to this year! I'm anxious to see the parallels and similarities between REBECCA and THE WINTERS by Lisa Gabriele.

"Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again." Talk about an opening line to immediately grab your attention. Needless to say, this helped set the tone for the rest of the novel. Lots of twisty parts and plenty of moments to keep you on your toes! Much like my buddy reader, I had no idea our narrator, the soon-to-be Mrs. Winter, doesn't have a name. As soon as she mentioned that I had to go back and flip through to see if maybe we missed it, nope.

Our narrator meets, and quickly falls in love with, Max Winter. A well-known Senator from Long Island. She moves into his estate and is completely surrounded by the memories of his late wife, Rebekah. Not only is she constantly reminded of her, but her soon-to-be stepdaughter, Dani, has a striking resemblance to her as well. Our narrator is met with resistance and conflict at every turn with Dani. She quickly uncovers some deep buried family secrets, that do not want to come to light. Who can she trust? 

This is a slower building suspense novel, so that's a good thing to keep in mind before starting! THE WINTERS is perfect for those that are fans of domestic and psychological suspense novels. The ending, I was not expecting at all. I loved how Gabriele tied everything together in the end and was captivated by the tale she wove for us.

Overall, if you want a solid psychological suspense novel, then THE WINTERS needs to be next on your TBR.

5/5 stars

REVIEW: The Regulators by Richard Bachman/Stephen King #letsTAKaboutit #allthebookreviews

The Regulators
by Richard Bachman / Stephen King

So many different editions of this book out there but this is the one I purchased for my reread as my original copy is in a box somewhere at my parents. Not my favorite cover but still lovely nonetheless.

Thanks so everyone taking part in the #letsTAKaboutit readalong I'm hosting with @jessicamapreviews... now on to Desperation!

Published: February 16, 2016 (first published September 24, 1996)
Publisher: Gallery Books
400 Pages
Standalone but mirror book to Desperation
Genre: Horror

The battle against evil has begun in this “devishly entertaining” (Publishers Weekly) story of a suburban neighborhood in the grip of surreal terror—a #1 national bestseller from Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman.

Peaceful suburbia on Poplar Street in Wentworth, Ohio, takes a turn for the ugly when four vans containing armed “regulators” terrorize the street’s residents, cold-bloodedly killing anyone foolish enough to step outside their homes. Houses mysteriously transform into log cabins and the street now ends in what looks like a child’s hand-drawn western landscape. Masterminding this sudden onslaught is the evil creature, Tak, who has taken over the body of an autistic eight-year-old boy, Seth Garin.

My Review:

Reading the Regulators after 20 years was like reverting back to my childhood.  I absolutely remember why I adore this book.  Things get crazy and you're left wondering what in the hell is actually happening and things start happening right at the get go.  As I was reading, I was like yep, yep, yep.. I remember that and THAT but what about THIS???  Oh yeah, that's Desperation! Haha! 

I do like it when books incorporate different types of reads such as articles, journal entries, drawings, etc and this one definitely does that, giving us a bigger picture of how everything evolves.  I feel like King/Bachman has a tendency to like things that lay dormant and come out with a vengeance.

It's not until the last few scenes where things go up a factor of craziness and we get an idea of what finally is going on and why that it really pulls me in and ups my feelings for the book.  Poor Seth.  Poor Audrey - POOR EVERYONE!  And that final page... Love.

Now on to read Desperation and see if I still feel the same about that one too. Either way, I'm so happy to be revisiting this completely insane world.


Jessica's Review:

It’s so hard for me to really review books like this that I’ve read multiple times without spoiling anything. THE REGULATORS is the sister book to DESPERATION. One written as Bachman and the other as King. There seems to be a clear division between readers – you either like one or the other more. I have always been on the side of THE REGULATORS and I still am after this reread.

The small suburban neighborhood on Poplar Street is about to go from the perfect summer day to a bloody nightmare. Upon the arrival of some strange looking vans, like something out of a sci-fi novel, an onslaught of shotgun fire rips through the neighborhood, and anyone that steps outside. What I love about this book is that this action begins immediately. After the first chapter the madness begins and doesn’t let up.
The town slowly begins to transform from the suburban homes to cabins and the residents find themselves in an old western landscape, with terrifying creatures that almost look like a child’s creation. What is causing all the violence? Why their street?

Meanwhile, in the Wyler home of Poplar Street, Audrey is desperately fighting for her life against an evil entity that has taken over her sweet nephew, Seth. Tak will always remain one of my favorite villains. An entity that attached itself to the young Autistic boy and proceeds to feed off of and weaken those around him. I think King did a really good job depicting Autism and how Seth interacts with those around him and even with Tak.

Just like the cover of my beat up paperback says, “Lean and Mean”. There’s something about the Bachman books that I’m drawn to and I think it’s how bleak the stories are, they have a darker overall tone to them. This is perfectly depicted throughout THE REGULATORS. I’m anxious to start up DESPERATION – it’s been over a decade since I last read it. Guess we’ll see how I feel about it this time around!

5/5 stars

Monday, November 12, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: On the Great Land by Emily Bieniek

On the Great Land
by Emily Bieniek

Ever wanted to visit Alaska but haven't had a chance?  Take your journey now with this short story compilation around this Great Land.

Nome, Alaska, is so remote that it can only be reached by airplane, boat, or dogsled. Situated on the coast of the Bering Sea, this town of less than four thousand people contends with bitter winters, the moose, bears, and muskoxen that roam the surrounding tundra, and a harsh cycle of days that vary from just a few hours of light in the winter to consecutive sunlit weeks in the summer months. No matter the season, both permanent and transient residents must depend on one another to navigate the physical and psychological challenges of living in the subarctic desert. With striking beauty and emotional frankness, On the Great Land weaves together thirteen vibrant short stories that explore community, loss, trauma, and healing in one of the most mesmerizing and demanding places in the world.

Originally from Chicago, Emily Bieniek spent a year living and working in Nome, Alaska after graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2013. She currently lives in Washington, D.C., where she is a second-year law student.

SPOTLIGHT: Tales in Sombre Tones by Sean Walter, Artwork by Drawings in Dark @drawingindark

Tales in Sombre Tones by Sean Walter
Artwork by Drawings in Dark

For lovers of eerie anthologies and amazing artwork - you will want to check this out!

Tales in Sombre Tones is a horror anthology featuring 24 dark and thrilling stories paired with beautifully disturbing artwork, from artist Karen Ruffles of Drawing in Dark and author Sean Walter. Due for release April 2019, the book is a real collaborative project with things crawling out of both their imaginations and has been a huge amount of fun so far. They want to share that fun by putting on a fully immersive touring show. 

mock-cover complete.jpg

Starting in Karen's home town of Whitby, where Dracula came ashore, they invite all comers to have a taste of life as someone who works with monsters for a living. Karen's desk models will be acting out key scenes from the stories in stop motion animations as Sean reads aloud, accompanied by sign language translations. In addition to the original artwork, they are having 3d versions of the illustrations made to add a tactile element and enable the blind and partially sighted to experience all of the work. Once they have the first few dates under their belt, an online version of the tour will be created so those unable to attend in person can join in the fun and with a set of full scale prints, the tour can continue entertaining and horrifying people all over the place.


All Saints Church, photo credit David Ross .

With all of this to assemble in the coming months and amazing locations like the stunning medieval church in York pictured above (what better location for a gothy horror show?) they have been busy fundraising. Most of the tour has been covered by an impressive grant from Arts Council England, but they're still building and so have set up a Kickstarter campaign offering signed copies of the book as well as some exclusive prints and other goodies. The Kickstarter hit it's initial target in the first week but naturally, they're not stopping at that and have released stretch rewards for everyone if they double their target by the time the project ends. 

Catmonkey print.jpg
Barghest bookmark.jpg

To bag a copy of the book signed by both artist and author, visit Tales in Sombre Tones on Kickstarter

To follow the creation of the book and sign up for the project newsletter, visit the tour website

There's one other video you should check out but I unfortunately couldn't get to load to my blog post:

SPOTLIGHT & Your Chance to Have a Character Named After YOU: The Draxler Program by IQ Malcolm

The Draxler Program
by IQ Malcolm

These types of books ALWAYS interest me and I'm so excited to get a copy to review for you soon!
And a debut novel... I love seeing new work from fresh authors!

Continue below for a synopsis, about the author AND where to purchase / how to enter the drawing to get a character named after you in his next book.

The choices that make us are the same ones that break us—a fact that Pete Rivers, a convicted con artist, knows all too well. After a lifetime of tough choices gone wrong, he thought he faced his easiest decision to date. Enroll in the Draxler Program and keep his brain intact, or do nothing and accept the mandatory brainwashing at the end of his prison sentence. If only it were that simple. Rivers soon finds out the Draxler Program isn’t actually a criminal reform program. It’s a reality TV show, and he’s a contestant. Like him, his fellow contestants are convicted felons, and their lives now rest in the hands of the voting public. The winner gets to earn their freedom with their mind intact, and the losers face an early trip to the washer. Or is there a third choice?

Purchase on AMAZON

AND.... you have a chance to have a character in his next book named after YOU! TO enter, just click the amazon link above, purchase and send proof of purchase via email or DM to the author to enter!

IQ Malcolm is the author of psychological thrillers and YA fantasy. His debut novel, The Draxler Program, was published by Lost Umbrella Publishing in September 2018. When he isn’t writing, Malcolm enjoys spending his time with his lovely wife, playing with their goldendoodle, and hopelessly supporting Tottenham Hotspur F.C. despite the emotional pain they inflict on him. He lives with his family in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

REVIEW: Her Last Move by John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @amazonpub #herlastmove #allthebookreviews

Her Last Move
by John Marrs

I'm a huge fan of John's - I've loved each of his books so thank you Mr. Marrs for reaching out and letting me review this book.... you are on a roll!  Continue below to see Jessica and I's thoughts.

Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date:  November 8, 2018
Kindle Edition
352 Pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.
He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.
Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.
Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?
My Review:

This is my third Marrs book and ding ding ding, it's another winner!!  I love how intricately different each book was - The Good Samaritan, The One and now Her Last Move.  I will say that this one took me a little longer to connect with but when it did... BAM - I was hooked and that was IT - goodbye productivity!
Told in three different POVs, we get the views of Joe, Becca and Dominic.  Becca and Joe are working together to catch the serial killer that is Dominic who has been methodical and elusive.  Not only do we get to go on this journey with them but we also get a glimpse into their lives.  Each one having their own personal problems and demons to fight. Now... there was one part that surprised me.  John, you WENT THERE... and I loved it!  I don't want to delve into it as to not spoil anything for anyone but I do love it when a book surprises me...
I did feel for each of these characters. I can't imagine how hard being in their line of work is and how it can deeply affect their personal lives.  Balance is hard when you're basically married to your job.  Add a side of even more background and uff.. these poor guys. I even felt for Dominic and his psychotic ways - there's always a reason.  
Fun fact - Oscar made a cameo - that's the name of the author's dog!
Marrs has become an autobuy author for me and I look forward to everything he has coming our way.  I highly recommend any of the three books I've read of his so far and one day I'll get to the others that have already published.  
Jessica's Review:

This is my third book by John Marrs, and I guarantee you that it will not be my last! I have previously read THE GOOD SAMARITAN and THE ONE (both I had also done a partner read for #allthebookreviews) and I couldn't put them down. The originality of the stories and how intricately they're written are what stood out the most. That is no different in Marrs' newest release HER LAST MOVE.
As with most thrillers, we get multiple POV's throughout the book. I think that Marrs did an incredible job getting the readers to actually connect with all three of the main characters. We don't typically get to see through the eyes of both of the investigating officers in a serial killer thriller, but we are brought through the events in Becca and Joe's perspectives. Then we have Dominic, the killer they are desperately searching for. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love when we get a glimpse into the mind of the serial killers.

In comparison to his other two novels I've read, I felt like it took a little longer to get into this one, but once I did I couldn't stop! I never thought I'd say these words, but thank goodness for the freezing temperatures and snow because I was not going anywhere. Zero interruptions while binging this thriller.

If you've picked up any of Marrs' other books, then this is a no-brainer. If you're looking for a fast, absorbing thriller, then you need this on your TBR now. I will continue to pick up whatever John Marrs releases and I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for his previous releases as well.

5/5 stars

Monday, November 5, 2018

REVIEW: We Were Mothers by Katie Sise

We Were Mothers
by Katie Sise

Publisher:  Little A
Publish Date: October 1, 2018
Kindle Edition
299 Pages
Genres: Suspense, Mystery

A scandalous revelation is about to devastate a picturesque town where the houses are immaculate and the neighborhoods are tightly knit. Devoted mother Cora O’Connell has found the journal of her friend Laurel’s daughter—a beautiful college student who lives next door—revealing an illicit encounter. Hours later, Laurel makes a shattering discovery of her own: her daughter has vanished without a trace. Over the course of one weekend, the crises of two close families are about to trigger a chain reaction that will expose a far more disturbing web of secrets. Now everything is at stake as they’re forced to confront the lies they have told in order to survive.

My Review:

At first this gave me Desperate Housewives vibes but without the humor... which then gave me more Big Little Lies vibes... either way, there's a neighborhood full of mothers/daughters/wives that all interconnect in some way or another and boy do they ALL have secrets! Good lawd, did I need a chart of some kind to keep up with all of them.

I didn't feel like there was one particular plot line - it did center around one particular thing but ultimately it felt like a glimpse inside a community and the drama that happens behind closed doors. The intricacies of marriage, mother/daughter relationships and how the secrets of the past always come to slap you in the face in the future.

I wish I had connected better with this book. There were certain aspects that had me befuddled and going WHAT - no, no, that just doesn't even make sense. To the point where I had to reach out to a fellow Bookstagrammer to discuss. Then I remind myself, this is a work of fiction - suspend some reality woman! I can easily do this but sometimes it's just not quite as easy as others.

For me, I think there was just too much going on all at once. All the women are struggling. All the men are assholes. However, I also couldn't stop reading this either. It's like one of those Lifetime movies that are guilty pleasures. Twisty, lots of drama and you find yourself yelling at all the characters.

Thanks to @saltwaterreads for holding the readalong <3

REVIEW: The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra @harlequinbooks @AnnaSnoekstra @tlcbooktours

The Spite Game
by Anna Snoekstra

Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books/Mira for this free copy!
My first foray into Snoekstra's work and certainly not my last.... continue to see my thoughts.

Publisher:  Mira Books / Harlequin
Publish Date: October 30, 2018
320 Pages
Genres: Fiction, Psychological Thriller

Everyone does bad things when no one is watching

Mercilessly bullied in high school, Ava knows she needs to put the past behind her and move on, but she can’t—not until she’s exacted precise, catastrophic revenge on the people who hurt her the most.

First, she watches Saanvi. Flawlessly chic and working hard at a top architectural firm, Saanvi has it all together on the surface. But everyone does bad things when they think no one is watching and Ava only wants what’s fair—to destroy Saanvi’s life the way her own was destroyed.

Next, she watches Cass. She’s there as Cass tries on wedding dresses, she’s there when Cass picks out a cake, she’s there when Cass betrays her fiancé. She’s the reason Cass’s entire future comes crashing down. 

Finally, Ava watches Mel. Mel was always the ringleader and if anyone has to pay, it’s her. But one tiny slipup and Ava realizes the truth: Mel knows she’s being watched, and she’s ready to play Ava’s games to the bitter end.

My Review:

I'm a sucker for a red cover.  Always.  Every time.  Slap that cover on a book where you don't even really need to think and just sit back to enjoy the ride - color me happily entertained.  Exactly what I needed after a busy moving weekend.

The synopsis pretty much tell it all.  Ava gets bullied and now is exacting revenge. BOOM.  Good enough for me!  This has a bit of a Heathers feel with Ava as Veronica, ya get me?  Not quite as dark but definitely dark enough.... like a dark YA novel though I know this isn't considered a YA book.  But with my love for YA and for psychological thrillers, this combo worked for me.  Narrated by Ava, we glimpse her telling her story to someone as we flashback to the various things that happened to her in the past and how she translates that to her future.  They want to call her a psycho? Fine, she'll look up the definition and then become the very thing they say.

Even though this is an uncorrected proof, I found a plethora of typos that started to grate on me throughout the read.  The ending wasn't a surprise but I don't think it really was mean to be either.  I had one tiny issue with the ending but at the same time, I couldn't really argue with either character. **shrug**  

Basically, the lesson here is DON'T BULLY and if you do and want to play some kind of game, then prepare for the consequences - because those actions you want to play off as a condition of being young... well, they fester and you never know when karma will be your bitch.