Posted in Reviews

Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the NightEmma in the Night by Wendy Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some books are full of action, thrills and big explosions – others are subtle as they twist your mind and make you question everything. “Emma in the Night,” is definitely the latter. And it’s amazingly good.

The story begins when Cass Tanner returns home. Her and her older sister Emma went missing three years ago. With no clues and no bodies, the case went cold. When only Cass returns, she begs for help finding Emma and she weaves an elaborate tale about being forcibly kept on an island with Emma, an older couple and a baby Emma gave birth to. All the evidence points to her telling the truth. But FBI investigator Dr. Abby Winters senses something is off – and that hunch three years earlier about there being trouble in the Tanner home is correct. Where is Emma and what really happened three years ago. It’s all going to come to a head.

This book involves a lot of psychology and exit stench of questions about the truth and importance – it’s really interesting because it creates a possible where you’re constantly questioning what you think you know. You don’t know which characters you can trust and which you can’t. And since the ultimate truth is not revealed until the very end of the book you are kept guessing.

I love trying to piece together what all was happening. I didn’t guess the ending, and I think it was done really well and in a way that was very satisfying.

I’d really like to see more of Abby in future novels. Her personal story is very interesting and her job as an FBI psychological analyst has a lot of possibilities for future stories. I hope we see her again soon.

I’d recommend this novel for anyone looking for a good psychological thriller that will keep me reading into the night.

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Posted in Book Extras, For Fun

#Blog Tour: Project Pandora – Guest Post with author Aden Polydoros and more!

 

ProjectPandoraTour

Welcome to my stop on the Project Pandora tour! I’m so excited to share information about this great book with all of you – including a guest post by author Aden Polydoros! Enjoy!

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Links:

Link to Goodreads

Purchase Links: Amazon – B&N – iBooksKobo

Giveaway Details: Project Pandora Prize Pack (US) or a $10 Amazon Gift card (INT)

Book Description:

EntTeen-01224-webbanner-ad2-STATIC(800x800)opt2Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…

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Guest Post by Aden Polydoros: How to Handle Pressure: Writing Under Deadlines

I have never been great at deadlines. I have a natural tendency to procrastinate on my work and wait until the last minute to finish it. However, with writing, I have found that it is easier for me to meet deadlines than when I’m working on schoolwork or other tasks. I have also come up with different strategies to compensate for my procrastination.

It is important to approach writing as a job. Although I love to write and hope to make a full-time career out of writing, I don’t want to view writing as a hobby. If I allow myself to fall into that line of thought, completing work by deadlines will seem less important to me and I might procrastinate more than usual.

For me, there are two different kinds of deadlines for my writing: Those I choose for myself and those that are given to me. The deadlines I have created are usually very short term goals, like write 1,000 words a day or complete this chapter by the end of the week. By thinking about it like that, the process of writing a novel becomes less daunting. I don’t have to worry so much about completing an entire novel, and can divide my work into small, manageable tasks.

This was one of the strategies I used while working on Project Pandora. I made a list:

  • Overall goal: Aim for 1,000 words a day
  • Specific goals:
    Add more status reports
    Add a romantic scene
    Make an event calendar to check for consistency
    Check for name and appearance consistency
    Research the D.C. metro system
    Write an outline for second half of the book
    Change names

I try to approach editor-enforced deadlines in a similar fashion. For example, let’s say that I have to complete edits by September 31st and it is currently September 1st. Before I even begin edits, I make a list of what I have to do based off of my editor’s notes. I estimate the amount of words that will need to be added to the manuscript. In the case of Project Pandora, I added 40,000 words to my 65,000 manuscript over the course of the editing process. I had aimed to add only 25,000 words, but when I reached that goal, found that there was still so much more to elaborate upon. I had aimed for 1,000 words added and one chapter edited each day. When I began to increase my workload, it felt like I was accumulating bonus points at a game instead of just meeting a deadline. I tried to beat each day’s previous “score”, and in doing that, the process of editing actually became more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise.

Which brings me to my next point: it’s important to enjoy what you are doing if you want to meet deadlines. When so much creativity and emotion goes into writing, if you are miserable at what you are doing, it will show. Even if you don’t think that your story needs a specific edit or that one chapter is good as is, it is important not to become resentful about the deadline. I try to approach writing as a job, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun while doing it.

I try to set awards for myself for each goal I complete. Usually, these are small things, such as watching a certain show on Netflix, going somewhere fun, or eating one of my favorite foods. If you are also motivated by rewards, what you can do is set aside some money after completing each task. Maybe you put two or three dollars in a jar after completing each chapter. Once you reach the deadline and submit your writing, you can spend the money on something special that you have been wanting to buy. It will make the purchase even more enjoyable, knowing that you met the deadline on time.

One of the most important things to keep in mind while working with deadlines is that if you don’t have time, make time. If a deadline is quickly approaching, I will write on the bus or train, or while in the waiting room during doctor appointments. If I don’t have my journal or laptop near me, I write on my phone. You can also dictate on your phone. If necessary, I cancel plans to meet with friends so that I can make a deadline.

Aside from that, it’s also important to mention that you should keep your emotional and mental health in check. Completing deadlines is actually very stress-relieving for me, but there are times when I feel completely overwhelmed with the task ahead. If I also have other problems in my daily life, this only worsens my stress. That being said, if you have something going on or there is an emergency, don’t beat yourself up over not meeting a deadline.

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About the Author

Aden PolydorosAden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, the youngest of three children. Aden’s family moved to Arizona when he was in second grade. As a kid, he spent much of his time exploring the desert near his home. When he wasn’t searching for snakes and lizards, he was raiding the bookshelves of the local library. As a teenager, Aden decided that he wanted to be a writer. He spent his free time writing short stories. He was encouraged by his English teacher to try his hand at writing a novel, which inspired him to begin PROJECT PANDORA. The YA thriller is set for publication with Entangled Publishing in Summer of 2017. He is represented by Mallory Brown of Triada US.

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Posted in Reviews

Updated review for new edition: The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts

34122259It’s incredibly satisfying when authors are able to take feedback from reviewers and use that constructive criticism to make their already good work even better.

Justin W.M. Roberts recently emailed me a newly revised version of his action-thriller “The Policewoman.” I was delighted with the results of his editing and am so happy to revise my review to 5-stars!

Check out the original review, plus update, here (and below) and make sure to check out my interview with Roberts here!

Updated with new edition, 8/13/2017

The author sent me a new, heavily revised edition to see if it took care of some of the issues I had. It certainly did. The writing is smoother overall, and the text flows easily.

Many of the unnecessary details have been removed, tightening up the text. However, most importantly, the essence of the story – the scary villains and fierce, yet lovable heroes – remains the same. I’m revising my review to five stars!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Ominous by Lisa Jackson

Ominous (Wyoming, #2)Ominous by Lisa Jackson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve seen these multi-author collaborations before, but never tried one. However, this latest venture between Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, and Rosalind Noonan looked good, so I decided to branch out. I have to say, I’m pretty glad I did.

“Ominous” provides the suspense, romance and mystery we’ve come to love from these authors, all in one volume. I greatly enjoyed it.

FYI: this novel contains multiple, graphic sexual assaults. If this is a triggering topic for you, you probably want to choose another book.

The novel centers around three girls, who, one summer night 15 years ago, decided to sneak out of their homes and go skinny-dipping at a local lake. However, things go terribly wrong when they are attacked – and through mutual agreement they decide never to talk about that night again. However, in the present day, all three have returned to the small Wyoming town where they grew up. And it shortly becomes apparent that their attacker is back as well, and ready to start up again.

I really enjoyed this book. It had all of the elements of a romantic suspense novel from Jackson or Bush that I’ve come to love. Plenty of suspects kept me guessing throughout the book as well. I didn’t guess the ending. And let me tell you – the villain in this book is bad. Like, really, really creepy/scary/awful. I was really creeped out during his “scenes.”

The romances were also on point as well. I was routing for each of the couples, and was happy with their scenes. They felt real and genuine, which is the key in this genre.

My only complaint would be that it with three main characters and three romances, there were a lot of characters squeezed into the book. I wish we had more time with each of them! But that’s the nature of anthologies.

Overall, I really liked this book and would try another multi-author effort involving these authors. Any fan of these authors will enjoy it.

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Posted in Book Extras

Cover Reveal: Never Apart by Romily Bernard

I’m happy to bring you a cover reveal for a cool new YA/supernatural-ish book. It looks awesome to me! Enjoy this sneak peek; the book is released Oct. 3!

This cover reveal is brought to you by Entangled Teen & USA Today’s HEA Blog.

Book Description:

How many times would you die for love?

What if you had to relive the same five days over and over?

And what if at the end of it, your boyfriend is killed…

And you have to watch. Every time.

You don’t know why you’re stuck in this nightmare.

But you do know that these are the rules you now live by:

Wake Up.

Run.

Die.

Repeat.

Now, the only way to escape this loop is to attempt something crazy. Something dangerous. Something completely unexpected. This time…you’re not going to run.

Combining heart-pounding romance and a thrilling mystery Never Apart is a stunning story you won’t soon forget.

Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of Never Apart by Romily Bernard today!

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Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled Publishing

About Romily Bernard:

Romily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a Literature degree. Since then, she’s worked as a riding instructor, cell phone salesgirl, personal assistant, groom, exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service rep.

So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed.

Her YA thrillers FIND ME, REMEMBER ME, LIE FOR ME, AND TRUST ME are now available.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Entangled Publishing

Posted in Book Extras, New releases

#BookBlitz: I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter – Excerpt, Giveaway and more!

I Stop Somewhere
T.E. Carter
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

THE LOVELY BONES meets ALL THE RAGE in a searing, heartbreaking contemporary story of a lost teenager, and the town she leaves behind.

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But then the unthinkable happens and Ellie is trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture but also makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

Later, I remember how my dad would stand in my doorway, watching me. Trying to reach me across so little space, yet so much. He stared at me like you look at a museum display or a creature in the zoo. I was the coelacanth and he was awed by my strangeness.

“I brought you something,” he said, holding a bag out across the threshold to my bedroom.

My room was an experiment. Posters and magazine pages and images covered the walls and the vanity and my dresser. All the people I wanted to be, wanted to look like. They were the people who mattered. I stared at myself in the mirror, hating how I looked. I hated how the curves made the boys poke me through the back of my chair in class, and how they made the girls call me fat. I hated how far the people in the magazines were from me. I thought I would never count, because I wasn’t them.

“What is it?” I asked my dad, gesturing toward the bag he was holding.

“I thought you might like it.”

It happened every few nights. He’d show up, presenting an offering in a plastic bag. Makeup. Clothes. Hair bands. He tried. He tried and so I tried, but the discount stickers said it all.

They were marked down, because the lipstick was too orange. The tank top wasn’t cut right. The hair pins would have been perfect for a girl my age – ten years ago. But I wore them for him and he smiled, because he didn’t know the difference.

“Thanks, Dad. I love it,” I lied.

“You’re beautiful, Ellie.”

I was a markdown girl.

I did know the difference.

Author Bio:

TE Carter was born in New England and has lived in New England for pretty much her entire life. Throughout her career, she’s done a lot of things, although her passion has always been writing. When she’s not writing, she can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (she’s one hundred percent Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge watching baking competitions. She continues to live in New England with her husband and their two cats.

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Posted in Reviews

The Child by Fiona Barton

The ChildThe Child by Fiona Barton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There have been several really good “shifting perspective” books published recently, and “The Child” continues this trend. And it’s also good. So, so good.

The main characters are three women: Kate, a journalist who becomes intrigued when the body of a baby is found buried on a building site; Angela, whose baby disappeared from the hospital 40 years ago; and Emma, a fragile woman who lived in the apartment block the baby was found behind and, by her own admission, is hiding secrets. The three of them are all drawn into this tragic story. It’s up to Kate to find out how.

The central mystery of the book is, of course, the child. Who is it? How did they get there? As the reader is taken on this journey, we find people who are hiding their pasts, who are insecure, and it makes for great dramatic reading. I was immediately drawn into the story. There so many possible answers to this mystery in these characters in their lives that you become completely obsessed.

I didn’t get the ending at first, but at about 85 percent of the way in, there was a reveal that laid it out for me. It was a great ending that satisfied me fully and wrapped up most of the major storylines. Which is a credit to the author because there’s a lot going on in the book, so to have it wrapped up nicely is quite a feat.

Overall this book continued a great summer of reading for me and I would recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries and thrillers.

I look forward to reading more from this author.

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