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review 2018-02-13 18:03
Absolutely riveting thriller inspired by a real-life case; I couldn’t put this down!
Mister Tender's Girl: A Novel - Carter Wilson

I waited with baited breath to receive my finished copy after reading the initial excerpt, and I was not disappointed when I got the actual book in my hands. ‘Mister Tender’s Girl’ kept me riveted from start to finish; the tension, and gripping story just didn’t let up for the entire novel.

 

The main character, Alice Gray (formerly Hill), has been victim to the atrocity of being attacked and stabbed by the Glassin twins, some 14 years ago now, and the crime was ‘encouraged’ by their fanatical attachment to graphic novels that Alice’s father wrote and drew about a character called ‘Mister Tender’. For many readers (and author Carter Wilson writes about this at the end of the novel), this will remind them of the real-life crimes spurred on by the Slender Man case.


Alice now lives in a world where she has tried to run away from her terrible past back in England, where her father was also later attacked and killed, her brother has been diagnosed with mental illness, although her mother is pulling all the strings for him; along with all that, Alice gradually finds out there’s a whole online community dedicated to following Alice’s new life, obsessed with her struggle, and she comes to learn that the past is catching up with her. There’s now a ‘Mister Interested’ on her tail, and figures from her past are popping up, making her her terrible PTSD symptoms and panic attacks incredibly difficult to deal with, especially in her new life that she has tried to create; she now owns a coffee shop, and has dedicated time to make her body and mind stronger in response to her past. It seems her changes are not enough though, as she is living in a world of constant terror, anxiety, and fitful dreams.

 

I feel like this is more than just a thriller though; it kept me glued to my pages for 2 days straight, as often as I could get reading time in, Wilson has done an excellent job in creating a character who has worked hard on herself and fights back against all odds, shows great tenacity, and although she is struggling with problems like PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks, she continues to rule out being a victim any longer. She also wants to have strong bonds with her brother and sees his struggle as well. I like that Wilson delved into the ‘scary depths’ of mental illness here because this was important to these characters.
I know you have to suspend your disbelief about the cops becoming involved at certain junctures of the plot perhaps (I’m trying so hard not to reveal what happens!), but the tension and drama in this book doesn’t let up and I was INSIDE this book all the way; it was written THAT well.

For writing Alice as a survivor who decided to fight back after she became a victim, I say bravo. And for making it so that I forgot about about real-life scenario comparisons, extra kudos. I also enjoyed the writing tactic of taking the reader inside other worlds within the book successfully, without losing me in the least: the children’s story, the graphic novel, the past storylines, the dreams, the Internet chatroom, all very cleverfully employed.
*Extra points for taking me back to Dover, England, where my dad lives.

 

Overall, this was one enthralling suspenseful read, and just like I couldn’t wait to get this in my hands, I can’t wait to read what Carter writes next. I couldn’t get ENOUGH of this book, I just wanted more. That’s ALWAYS a sign of a good book.
*Thank you to Sourcebooks and BookishFirst for my copy of the book.

 

 

 

 

**First Impression of what I’ve read so far (written after reading initial EXCERPT):
I actually slept on my first look of the book before writing this ‘impression’, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what I read. I also lapped up those first 30 pages (and kept swiping, hoping there was more on my Kindle, because I didn’t want it to end yet), because I was immediately drawn into the story that Carter has written. Alice is gripped in this world of anxiety and ongoing terror after what happened to her (and her father) so many years ago, and those feelings just emanate off those pages. I was immediately made to feel what she was feeling and because I love psychological thrillers in general, this just felt unique, with the graphic novel element, just jumping off the pages too. The writing was smooth and felt natural as Alice’s ‘voice’, and out of all of the ‘First Impressions I’ve read yet, this is the one that has pulled me in the fastest. Alice is haunted daily by her past, while trying to hide behind a veneer in a different world where no one really knows her, and now this ‘Mister Tender’ shows up?! I absolutely am dying to know what happens next and I would be honored to read and review an early copy of this thriller. It looks fantastic.

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review 2018-02-06 18:36
Quirky book that crosses the tech world with a LOT of bread-baking; I say make it into a TV show
Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

What an interesting read, as in, I’ve never read anything quite like that before, and I’ve never come away from a book that was NOT a cookbook, thinking about food like I have with this one. Bread, glorious bread! It’s the central subject, and I was actually warned before reading it about the ‘dangers’ of reading it on an empty stomach, and about how you end up craving your carbs afterwards. A young lady who discovers a love of baking bread and gives up her life in the tech world is the simplest way to put this book, but it’s SO much more.

What I didn’t expect was the underlying long-distance love story, which I enjoyed very much, and several other little quirks that author Robin Sloan brings to the (restaurant) table. He has a way with words that is so unusual and full of fabulous descriptions that your senses are filled up when you read this book. I hate to admit it, but there were times that I was so distracted by the descriptions of noises (these were surprisingly the most amazing to me), smells, tastes, that I lost track of the story at times. Sloan also comes up with the most glorious names for characters! And the contrast in the book between technology and the basic act of doing something simple like baking bread is such a fantastic thing to think about. What may turn off some readers is the constant dialog about bacteria and fungus (which of course is central to the basis for starting off bread, as well as cheese); I’m not squeamish but it distracted me sometimes! But there’s a lot of science in cooking, and that has to brought up if you’re talking about this topic in-depth.

I can absolutely see this novel being made into a TV show, and these characters and the concept being written about by the creators of maybe ‘The Good Place’ plus the writers of ‘The Office’. There’s a lot of ‘food for thought’ for a TV version for something even beyond the confines of this book. 

I can see why this has become an unusual, and almost ‘cult’ hit of a book; just don’t read it  when you’re hungry. 

*It’s also the best advertisement I’ve ever seen for King Arthur Flour. 

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review 2018-02-06 16:53
What Is Your Definition of Art – Work of Art by Ken La Salle @KenLaSalle
An Intention of Flowers (Work of Art) (Volume 1) - Ken La Salle

I love the cover for Work of Art by Ken La Salle, when something so simple can say so much.

 

Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Goodreads  /  Amazon

 

MY REVIEW

 

What is your definition of art? After reading Work of Art by Ken La Salle, you may change your mind.

 

The whole time I’m reading, I’m trying to take notes, but the words won’t come. This is one of those books that took me down a road I didn’t anticipate, but I was happy to have traveled.

 

Andy Hollis is fascinated, some would say obsessed, with Joseph Avilla, a young artist who is painting flowers on the asphalt parking lot. Why? Some would ask, why not?

 

Joseph has a home, a mother and a father, but Andy only sees him painting in the parking lot at all hours of the day and night.

 

Andy is an art teacher and thinks Joseph needs to be in his class. I think the one who will learn the most is Andy.

 

We all march to a different drummer and have to find our own way, though a little help from our friends never hurts.

 

The characters and their motivations grow and change, as do the situations they find themselves in.

 

This is one of those reviews that was hard for me to write. I just can’t seem to find the words…BUT, once I started to read Work of Art, I couldn’t stop until I reached the end and I am really looking forward to the next one.

 

Ken La Salle writes with attitude, sarcasm, wit. and humor. His books always surprise me and that is a very good thing.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Work of Art by Ken La Salle.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

To see the interview and read more, go HERE

 

MY KEN LA SALLE REVIEWS

 

 

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/what-is-your-definition-of-art-work-of-art-by-ken-la-salle-kenlasalle
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review 2018-01-23 22:32
Compelling and timely read; came away with a lot more than I anticipated
Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel - Sarah Vaughan

I have come away from reading this novel with so much more than I anticipated. This is more than a portrait of a marriage rocked by an affair. More than a story about a scandal that rocks the Houses of Parliament and ends up in the the Daily Mail. And it's more than a droll courthouse drama with a Junior Minister at the center of the story.

Told from several perspectives, and from both the past and present, 'Anatomy of A Scandal' is primarily told in the first person by Kate Woodcroft, who is the prosecuting lawyer in the case against James Whitehouse, accused of raping Olivia Lytton, his researcher and with whom he had an affair with. His wife Sophie wants to believe he didn't actually rape her but continues on as if she is willing to forgive his transgressions. All these characters are well-fleshed out and developed; Sophie and Kate's emotions are raked through with a fine-toothed comb and it's difficult to read much of it without feeling incredibly involved with their contrasting worlds. It's also so rich with descriptive prose, as it's written so meticulously and with such care and thought.

The novel is hard to completely discuss without giving too much away (massive twists) but I will say that Sarah Vaughan has written such a timely and compelling novel: it's so much more than an ordinary thriller or courtroom drama, and it needs to be on everyone's list of books to read, especially if they intend to read any book this year that will make them ask difficult questions about morality, power, privilege, and the most difficult topic on everyone's lips right now - sexual assault. The book gets so uncomfortable at times, it's hard not to see conversation coming out of it. While there may be parts of the book that might be hard to read, Vaughan has crafted both an excellent drama with a fantastic twist, but also a timely novel that can't help but be a conversation piece.

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review 2018-01-19 16:31
Walking the Bones
Walking the Bones (Ryan DeMarco Mystery) - Randall Silvis

Ryan DeMarco Mystery #2

By: Randall Silvis 

ISBN: 9781492646914

Publisher: Sourcebooks 

Publication Date:  1/23/2018 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Blog Tour Jan 23

Book Giveaway Contest

Jan 15-Feb 1, 2018 

When long-buried secrets come back to the surface..

 

Ryan DeMarco returns following Two Days Gone landing on my Top Books of 2017 with a gripping follow-up from the acclaimed author, Randall Silvis — WALKING THE BONES. 

Join me Blog Tour Host Jan 23. Enter to Win Book Giveaway Contest Jan 15-Feb 1. 

The continuation of Ryan DeMarco leads Marco and his partner to an unsolved murder case of seven African American girls who went missing from 1998 and 2004. A story of things buried―memories, regrets, secrets, and bodies.

Dark hidden secrets are unraveled and exposed in this gripping psychological suspense crime mystery thriller (procedural) with a strong literary twist. The shocking conclusion will leave you gasping, with thoughts of Vladimir Nabokov’s classic Lolita. 

“The past is never past, she thought. Every second of their pasts lay gathered inside them. Every incident of their pasts had constructed their present, every cell interlocking, layer upon layer. The past is omnipresent." 

Picking up from Two Days Gone, Sergeant (49 yrs. old) Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police is still suffering from the loss of his best friend, Thomas Hutson, his son, Ryan Jr. and the demise of his marriage. Guilt-ridden, he continues to wrestle with his demons spending time at the cemetery. 

They were all gone. Only Jayme remained. He hopes he will not ruin her life. 

Currently, he is dating Jayme Matson (fellow Trooper), and she is quite concerned about his well-being. She has convinced Ryan to take a medical leave of absence for three months rather than retire. She decides to join him. They rent an RV and hit the road to visit her sick grandmother in Kentucky, her hometown. 

However, when they arrive, they become involved in a murder mystery. Seven young females reduced to bone. Seven skeletons found in a four by fourteen by ten-foot space between the walls of a local church. 

Each of the girls — are between fifteen to nineteen years of age. All light-skinned African American girls. Not a single Caucasian. Each cocooned in a clear plastic sheeting and sealed with silver duct tape. Each meticulously, obsessively cleaned and stripped. 

One per year from 1998 to 2004. A fetish for girls of color, or a hatred of them? Cause of death? 

"Sometimes the bones talk, and sometimes they hoard their secrets."

Who was the killer? It had to be someone who knew about the false wall in the church and how to access it. A regular visitor, the pastor, or someone well-known in the community? Later the church was torched. 

Flashing back and forth from Ryan’s childhood to the present –we learn more about his earlier childhood. The one which still haunts him. 

Between Ryan’s internal struggle, his grief and guilt, emotions, insecurities, disturbing dreams, regrets, his troubled ex-wife Laraine, and his current relationship with Jayne – he has his hands full. The tensions and drama run high. Will he screw up his second chance at happiness? 

“Unless you have chaos inside, you cannot give birth to a dancing star.”—Freidrich Nietzche 

Neither Ryan nor Jayne knows where their relationship may be going, but they are along for the rocky ride. (Mixed with a few family members and locals). Plus we learn about both their pasts.

In the midst of their personal affairs, they are drawn into this old mystery. 

From a senior amateur group of six concerned citizens (Da Vinci Cave Irregulars). Determined to solve this case and help in any way they can —to a registered pedophile, minister, Mennonite, a groundskeeper, a foreman, a tarot-car-reading librarian, a retired coroner, a reclusive chiropractor millionaire, among others.

They have folders for the players: Suspects: Chad McGintey (statutory rape), Lucas McGintey (drug possession), Aaron Henry (teacher), Virgil Helm (caretaker), Eli Royce (pastor & narcissist), and the victims. 

Each of the victims had circumstances and were reported missing in the Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. The all were between five feet and five four. Petite. The cause, date, time, and place of death were undetermined. Runaways. Had their families given up on them long before their bones ended up in Aberdeen? 

In addition to Ryan’s haunted past, afraid he was becoming his father—now the seven girls are starting to haunt him as well. Will the cemetery, a bear cage, or being trapped in the woods give him the answers they are desperately seeking?

"History never really says good-bye. History says, see you later.” — Eduardo Galeano

With rich, evocative language, a twisty plot, and well-developed characters, Silvis once again delivers an extraordinary piece of art. Not only is WALKING THE BONESa phenomenal suspense crime mystery, but it also possesses an intense character study. I loved Two Days Gone; however, the followup further delves into the heart and soul of DeMarco and his tormented childhood as well as adulthood. 

Both parts of the story (Ryan’s) and the (murder mystery) are equally as gripping. The secret behind the girl’s death was unpredictable and a clever twist. Silvis lyrical prose is spellbinding. Beautifully written, and profoundly moving, an emotional and haunting meditation of acceptance, love, trust, and survival. (an intriguing character). 

I enjoyed Jayme’s personality — a strong sassy and witty female counterpart to Ryan’s complicated, moody, emotional, deep, and grief-stricken side, at times. A delicate balance of humor. Enjoying Silvis’ writing and look forward to reading his backlist. 

Highly Recommend both Two Days Gone and WALKING THE BONES. For fans of intelligent well-plotted literary mystery suspense thrillers. Looking forward to seeing what is coming next!

Also, recommend Only the Rain. (2018) 

A special thank you to Sourcebooks and #NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Enter to win!

A post shared by Judith D Collins (@judithdcollins) on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:10am PST

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/09/07/Walking-Bones
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