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review 2017-08-15 06:18
Emma in the Night
Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

By: Wendy Walker

ISBN: 978-1250141439

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date:  8/8/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars + 

 

Talented Wendy Walker returns following her standout debut, All is Not Forgotten—landing on my Top Books of 2016, with another gripping and twisty, addictive psychological suspense thriller EMMA IN THE NIGHT revolving around narcissistic personality disorder and abuse. 

Top Books of 2017! 5 Stars + 

Two girls go missing. Three years later, only one comes home. What happened to Emma?

One of the most difficult things to understand in life is how someone who professes to love you can then go on to abuse you. Combine narcissistic behavior with obsession, insecurity, control, jealousy, love, hate, and revenge, and you have a nasty evil person. 

Emotional coercion, blame, guilt, manipulation, negative comparison, jealousy, and possessiveness. (great character traits for a parent, right)? 

Judy Martin (well I do like the name), but she is one evil horrible person. Her daughters call her Mrs. Martin. Readers will despise her. She lives to be the center of attention. 

Walker does an outstanding job with her characters. (I cannot imagine how difficult this book was to write). Judy inflicts pain (her ways and motives) onto everyone around her. A devil of a mother. She manipulates everyone around her. Everything is a game. Even Emma gets caught up in the game. 

Everything is a competition. Not sure how either of these girls had time to live a normal life. Game on every day. Like an endless tennis match. 

Two daughters. Emma and Cass Tanner. 

Their mother remarried a guy she was having an affair with. Mr. Martin. Their biological dad is Owen. 

The two girls have been missing for three years. 

Cass was 15 and her older sister Emma was 17. No one knew whether they were dead or alive? 

Now Cass shows up on her mother’s doorstep. She claims her sister is on an island and she escaped and needs help in rescuing her and her baby girl. Who knew she was pregnant?

Of course, at the time of the original investigation, there was the FBI psychologist, Abigail Winter (Abby) who was engrossed in the case. She herself lived with a narcissistic mother and was a pro on the subject.

Now Cass returns without Emma. 

Is she telling the truth? Can she provide enough clues to lead them to her sister Emma? Are they really on an island? Apparently, her sister had a horrible argument with Judy the night she left and went to the beach. Cass hid in her car.

A man and woman who befriended them, turned against them and held them hostage. For three years they attempted to escape. 

What is this family hiding? Everyone seems to be hiding a dark secret. From Mr. Martin (step-dad), his son—Hunter, Owen—the dad, Judy, Emma, and Cass. 

Wow, this is one dysfunctional family! Nerve-wracking suspense. Walker knows how to build suspense with unreliable narrators. You know something is coming. Something is lurking around the corner. Which one will outsmart the other in this cat and mouse game?

You know there is a scheme, a plan; however, you are not sure where this story will lead. What is Judy hiding? Mr. Martin? Cass? Hunter?

The author keeps you guessing from the first page to the last. From slow burning manipulation, Walker hits on all cylinders. 

 



I had a lot going on in my life during the reading of this book; however, I found myself rushing to get back to this saga. This subject is one I did quite a bit of research on years ago and have read many books on the subject. My ex-husband (I emphasize "EX" for 20 yrs. now), was a true narcissistic personality. He could give Judy a few lessons. Will give you chills. 

Reading this book brought back all these dangerous, manipulative, and scary personality traits and their sense of entitlement, which he handed down to his own sons. (Thank goodness I did not have any children with him; however, mine saw the damage) and we were able to get away from this life after five years. 

Narcissistic abuse was originally just defined as a specific form of emotional abuse of children by narcissistic parents, parental narcissistic abuse, where parents who require the child to give up their own wants and feelings in order to serve the parent's needs for esteem. 

It is real. You can be assured a narcissist can have “intellectual empathy” and no emotional empathy. Not in their vocabulary. If faced with a narcissist, you will ask yourself, “How much abuse am I prepared to take?” RUN! However, if you are a child, this is somewhat difficult to do. 

How could an island be any worse than living with Mr. and Mrs. Martin? There has to be a good reason to return. Yes, it was. 

Walker works her way back to that night slowly as all the pieces unravel for dynamite ending. Outstanding twists, intense characterizations, and interesting subject matter make EMMA IN THE NIGHT a top psychological thriller. 

I also purchased the audiobook and Therese Plummer and Julia Whelan provided an edge- of-your-seat award-winning performance!

What an intense mind-bending page-turner! Move this one to the top of your list. A devilish cat and mouse game. Who will win in the end? Read and find out. . . 

Read more on the author’s website Behind the Book. Good Stuff! 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/09/Emma-in-the-Night
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review 2017-08-12 15:58
Best Character: Daisy the dog cattle-herding-extraordinaire
Berserker - Emmy Laybourne

Book Title:  Berserker

Author:  Emmy Laybourne

Series:  Berserker #1

Genre:  Older YA, Historical, Supernatural, Splash of Romance

Publisher:  Macmillan Children's Publishing Group Feiwel & Friends

Setting:  Norway & Montana

Source: I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  3.8/5

Main Characters:  3.8/5

Secondary Characters:  4/5

The Feels:  3.5/5

Addictiveness:  3.8/5

Theme or Tone:  3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style):  3.5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4/5

Originality:  5/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Ending:  3.8/5 Cliffhanger:  Sort of

Total:  3.8/5 STARS

 

 

My Thoughts

 

First off, I freaking love this cover, it's what initially drew me in, and the synopsis had me thinking, wow, that's sounds amazing…Norway mixed with some early American old west…I totally clicked on the READ NOW button on Netgalley.  I'm not at all disappointed that I did, either…overall I really liked Berserker…it's just so different from anything else I've been reading lately, but I do have a few issues. 

 

Berserker is very violent and it doesn't sugarcoat any of it, either.   Plot wise it's a very ambitious undertaking and I'm not sure the Author pulls it off completely.  I would have liked more character development and I wished the romance was a little more developed too.  The ending scenes were a little over-the-top supernaturally, and I didn't fully commit to feeling them.

 

Will I continue this series⇜  I would like too…just to see where it goes from here.  It really could have ended with this book, though.

 

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review 2017-08-09 18:02
From Holmes to Sherlock
From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon - Mattias Boström,Michael Gallagher

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, more than I thought it would be—the matter of course I was definitely interested in, but the way the author gathered and presented his material gave the whole book a ‘storytelling’ side that kept me wanting to read, and read, and read. Much like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. A biography-slash-history book that is in itself a big story.

I won’t deny that some chapters towards the middle (the period between Conan Doyle’s death and the modern adaptations after the 1970s-80s) weren’t the most interesting for me, but even those didn’t detract from the book as a whole. It takes us through the genesis of the original Holmes & Watson stories, how they came to be, how their author perceived them, the conundrum of seeing them more successful than his ‘most serious’ works and of wanting to kill Holmes... How they gradually escaped his and his family’s grasp, in spite of efforts to keep a hand on them, because what Doyle gave birth to was bigger than him, bigger than just a handful of people, and wanted out, plain and simple.

I’ve read all the original stories (will read them again), yet I admit I’m lagging behind when it comes to movies. Well, now I know exactly what to catch up on, what to look for, and what kind of tone these adaptations’ would be—the movies with Basil Rathbone won’t be the same than the BBC Sherlock series, nor is their Holmes the one from the 1980s series with Jeremy Brett. I’d need half a lifetime to catch up on all this (and I’d want to catch up several times, for sure), but now at least I have a clearer view of ‘the bigger picture’.

Arthur Conan Doyle gave life to Holmes and took it away, but the Great Detective just won’t stay dead, will he? It’s all the readers and actors and directors and other authors that gave him a much, much longer life than expected.

Conclusion: Highly recommended!

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review 2017-08-04 19:50
Bizenghast Collectors Edition 1
Bizenghast Volume 1 - M. Alice LeGrow

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I've had this comic book on my shelf to read and review for quite some time, I just didn't get to it until now. (I've known about it for quite, quite some time, back when the author posted on deviantART, and when I saw it on NetGalley, well, it reminded me that at some point, many years ago, I used to check on the related art from time to time.) The copy I got is the Collectors Edition, vollume 1, gathering the first chapters of the Bizenghast series, and I'd say it's more an introduction for now, but still giving the reader to see enough.

A strange girl who isn't getting over her parents' death and whose health seems to suffer in consequence; a boy who seems to be her only friend, in the small remote town where she lives with her aunt who doesn't know what to do with her; and a contract signed in a mysterious castle with a strange arachnoid-slash-humanoid being, with the goal of freeing spirits who couldn't find solace in death, following a trail of riddles. I am not sure yet where this is leading, but in themselves, the first 'tasks' involved sufficiently creepy elements to keep me hooked.

The art is sometimes confusing and inconsistent, though, potentially because it's a work that started years ago, and one can see the author's style changed over the years. Still, it's worth a read.

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review 2017-08-04 19:23
Cold Hearted
Cold Hearted - James A. Hunter

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I do believe I liked this second instalment in the series more than the first one (usually, it’s the contrary).

Still packed with action, a little less noir and but with perhaps a bit more grit towards the middle , and also more female presence this time (not the Damsel In Distress kind either—she’s the one saving his ass more than the contrary... and at the same time, she’s also the way through which he can realise he may be a better person than he thinks). A dash of potential romance, but it's light, and follows the no-nonsense I'm getting used to from Yancy, and from the other party as well: they both know they live in a world that isn't what it seems, that is more often than not hectic and unforgiving, and so they're going with a carpe diem attitude rather than the usual sappy 'true love forever'.

The plot felt a little tighter than in the first book, although I could’ve done with a few less flashbacks (we already know about Yancy’s past family and time in ‘Nam from book one, so having him think about it -and- tell another character about it was redundant). Here there are more hints of a meta-plot that I think is going part of the next books in the series for now, considering a certain name dropped during a conversation, and which is bound to resurface. So far I like the world the characters evolve in; the author keeps going with other supernatural creatures than the usual vampires, werewolves and ghosts—there is a sort of werewolf, but only in appearance, and that creature’s nature is actually really cool in my opinion. The Guild of mages is prooobably full to the brim with corrupt people, and I bet it’s going to end in Yancy and a couple of good guys having to save the world or something (if the ones appearing good aren’t the most corrupt of the bunch!), which would be predictable, but also fitting in that kind of universe. I’m not sure I’d like to see it otherwise anyway.

While the main antagonist was more of the pitiful kind, all things considered, he was a good reminder than sometimes one doesn’t need to be truly evil at hear to do evil... and thus, anyone in a moment of weakness may end up turning to means they shouldn’t envision. Yancy included (good thing he plans for failsafes).

Conclusion: It still reads in some places as if it could do with another editor’s pass, but all in all the story and the characters were entertaining (in a good way, that is).

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