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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik @scoutpressbooks @EricaFerencik @jessmapreviews

Into the Jungle 
by Erica Ferencik

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publish Date: April 30, 2019
320 Pages
Genre: Thriller

Lily Bushwold thought she’d found the antidote to endless foster care and group homes: a teaching job in Cochabamba, Bolivia. As soon as she could steal enough cash for the plane, she was on it.

When the gig falls through and Lily stays in Bolivia, she finds bonding with other broke, rudderless girls at the local hostel isn’t the life she wants either. Tired of hustling and already world-weary, crazy love finds her in the form she least expected: Omar, a savvy, handsome local man who’d abandoned his life as a hunter in Ayachero—a remote jungle village—to try his hand at city life.

When Omar learns that a jaguar has killed his four-year-old nephew in Ayachero, he gives Lily a choice: Stay alone in the unforgiving city, or travel to the last in a string of ever-more-isolated river towns in the jungles of Bolivia. Thirty-foot anaconda? Puppy-sized spiders? Vengeful shamans with unspeakable powers? Love-struck Lily is oblivious. She follows Omar to this ruthless new world of lawless poachers, bullheaded missionaries, and desperate indigenous tribes driven to the brink of extinction. To survive, Lily must navigate the jungle--its wonders as well as its terrors—using only her wits and resilience.

My Review:

So, this is not the typical thriller you're used to where there's a killer on the rampage, or a person missing, etc.  This one is the journey of Lily... who has no family and is just traveling along, doing enough to get by but (almost) perfectly content with it... as she's known nothing different.  Then she meets Omar and in a very short time, he becomes her family so when he has to go to the Jungle to help his people, she gladly goes along.  She just didn't know what she was getting into.  But her life with the Ayachero and Omar brings more to her than she would have ever imagined... once she can get past the giant spiders, scorpions, eels, snakes, mosquitoes, howler monkeys and more!

You guys... when I was young I used to flip through my uncle's National Geographic magazines and would make up stories by the pictures and weirdly this book felt like these imaginations came to life (ish)... BUT BETTER!  The lush descriptions really made me feel like I was in the jungle.... which may be a nice place to visit but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't survive there.

I laughed, I cried... oh lord, Erica - what did you DO TO ME?!  One scene in particular just pierced my heart and I'm still recovering from it.  Maybe it's because I don't run across this type of book very often but it just really hit home for me and I highly suggest you all pick this one up. Add it to your TBR.  Pre-order it.  I wish I could say one character was my favorite but several, even secondary and tertiary characters, were absolutely delightful in their own ways.

Looks like I'm going to have to take The River at Night off my shelf to read sooner rather than later because I've heard it's just as good, if not better.

Please read this. For God's Sake. Over.


Jessica's Review:

I don't even know where to begin. A couple years ago, I read THE RIVER AT NIGHT, and let me tell you, I absolutely loved it. It was one of those books I read in one sitting. It also has a special place for me because it was the first ever galley copy I received from a publisher to share an early review. So I feel like it was really fun circling back and being able to review this upcoming thriller, INTO THE JUNGLE.

One thing I remember vividly from her previous book is how descriptive it was. The detail was incredible - Ferencik was able to transport us directly into the wilderness. This was no different! I felt like I was in that jungle and experiencing everything the characters were. Another point that she is fantastic at is the characterization. We get the necessary info we need to connect and really get a full picture of everyone.

I honestly don't think I would be able to survive these conditions. The bugs alone would be enough to get me the hell out of there. I'm perfectly content with the frigid temperatures here in Minnesota - nothing like that can survive here! The author's research that went into this novel was perfect and thorough. Following her on Instagram, I've seen so many photos of her experiences in the jungle and I know this is why everything felt so authentic.

Overall, if you're looking for an intense and suspenseful read, then you need to add this to your TBR (and maybe bump it up a few places). This isn't your typical thriller with detectives chasing down a killer, but one that hits you in a way where you feel the survival instincts kicking in. Ferencik remains an auto-buy author for me and now the wait begins for her next novel!

5 stars

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