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review 2017-04-23 22:20
Burntown
Burntown - Jennifer McMahon

By: Jennifer McMahon 

ISBN: 9780385541367

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 4/25/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 3 Stars

 

From the author of The Night Sister and The Winter People comes — BURNTOWN. Where do you even begin trying to describe a book like this? It is one of a kind.

From eccentric, colorful, to quirky, and wacky . . . a cast of misfits. Mix in a crime, a murder, a family’s past, a stolen invention, mystery, suspense, and crossing heavily into the mystical, supernatural and paranormal world.

Jennifer McMahon takes readers on a wild, crazy ride with BURNTOWN —meeting every character and scene imaginable. My head is still spinning.

As the book starts out it grabbed me immediately. A great set up. However, shortly thereafter when all the crazy things begin, I knew this book was not for me; however, continued to read to discover how it would unfold. However, I found myself skipping over many parts.

The book is broken into parts: Before: Miles. Then After, alternating between Necco, Theo, Pru, and Fred. Then one year later with Necco.

Set in Braxton, Vermont, It is 1975 and Miles Sandeski a ten- year- old boy who has a creative mind and love to play Robin Hood is spying on his mom, Elizabeth Sandeski outdoors while she is in their backyard.

She seems to be more adventurous, and mysterious; dancing with her brass elephant charm bracelet. She is beautiful. Miles thinks of her as a Goddesses, like Aphrodite. She looks like a movie star. He does not like for her to smoke since it is bad for her, so he played a little trick with her cigarettes.

However, as she is smoking, lying in the sun. The unexpected happens. Some person comes from the shadows, in a circus mask like a rubber chicken from nowhere. He comes up behind her and draws a blade across her throat. Miles is stunned and has no clue what is happening.

Miles uses his bow and arrow and hits him. Then all of a sudden he is afraid the man will come after him. Until his experiment pops and scares the man off.

Soon the town is rattled by a murder- suicide. After Elizabeth was slain in the backyard of the family home, with Miles as witness, he goes to the neighbor and police was called. But the bloodstained clothing, a rubber chicken mask, and a kitchen knife were found in the trunk of the family car. An arrest was made for Mr. Sandeski.

Martin Sandeski ran an appliance and repair service company and was in a jazz band, Three Bags Full. Miles knew it was not his father who was the chicken man. His father is the man he loved and taught him so much. Appears Martin had told several of his friends, he believed his wife was having an affair. Shortly thereafter, Martin took his own life, hours after his arrest. He hung himself while in police custody.

They did not find the killer, and Miles goes and lives with his aunt. However, his dad left him a letter explaining where to find the plans he has hidden. As a boy, he spoke of these plans from Thomas Edison.

He was not to share this with his Aunt Holly or anyone. He was passing down some special plans. His grandfather worked for Thomas Edison at his factory and plans were stolen. He told them where they were hidden. His dad left him instructions and plans to hold on to them and one day the Edison machine would change their lives, and possibly the entire world. A way to communicate with the dead?

Then he meets Lily. Her mother had died and her dad drank. Her brother Lloyd became close to Miles. She tells Miles she is gifted as well as her brother. She can see things.

Later they marry and have two a daughter— Eva. Soon this boy, Errol joins the family. Miles continues to carry this little charm elephant from his mom. Who had given it to her? Also, what had the killer whispered to her that last day that had made her smile?

He knows she should let it go, but he can’t. He needs to find the man who killed his mother. What if the dead could speak? What if he built the machine and it actually worked? He could find the answers. Miles became a professor. He was successful and talented.

Then there is the word of flood warnings. The chicken mask. The Chicken Man is dead because he killed him, didn't he? He decides to destroy everything in the workshop, even the machine. He had the plans to rebuild somewhere safe. From here we go to After. From here on out, the book completely changes.

Necco (Eva) has changed her name. Miles and Errol, dead from the flood. Lily and Eva (now Necco) are living as vagrants. From homeless to a camp with a group of women. Not the typical sleepy New England college town for the dark residents who live among the remains of its abandoned mills and factories, it’s known as “Burntown.”

After the mother dies, Necco is running and being chased by an evil man called “Snake Eyes or Chicken Man”. He goes by many names. A bad man is looking for them, her mom says. A walking shadow, a black hole man. He has such power, he can do things, like fly. He can spy on you in our dreams. The Kind of Liars.

He was the one responsible for the Great Flood and all the terrible things. Even responsible for what happened to their grandparents, and Miles and Errol. He meant to drown them too. He is ever vigilant. He is sneaky. He can change his appearance from a businessman to a biker.

Was her mother trying to blame a mythical monster for all the bad things that had happened to them?

Necco has no memories of the flood. The very event that caused them to live on the streets. Under the bridge where the women did the snuff, saw visions, ate fire. Burntown. All this had broken her mother. The world was changing she said. One day he would find them. Her visions.

“ . . . the truth isn’t something you want to look in the face. Sometimes you’re better off not knowing.”

A girl fleeing a drug dealer, a fat woman, the circus, elephant, the strongman, birds, a doll, a ghost from her past, plus much more. . .

“The things that scare us the most, the things we think might hurt us . . . they’re the things that make us whole.”

The author mentions she worked years ago at a homeless shelter in Portland, Oregon and assume this is where she received her inspiration for the different stereotypes of homelessness and their stories.

Was disappointed Cassandra Campbell (my favorite narrator), was not narrating Burntown, as in McMahon past audiobooks. (Abby Craden) for this one. However, not sure I would be up to re-read (listen) to this one again anyway.

I am not a fan of supernatural, or paranormal. I do not mind a little magical realism sprinkled with some mystery and suspense; however, this was more than a little and "over the top." For those who enjoy this sort of thing may find entertaining. Not to say McMahon is not a skilled and talented writer. This one was just not for me.

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

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/01/01/Burntown
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review 2017-04-23 17:01
THE WATCHER Review
The Watcher - Emery Armstrong Ross

Release Date: 04.25.17

 

Ross Armstrong's forthcoming debut novel, The Watcher, is a stylish and experimental challenge — one that will surely leave many a reader scratching his or her head when the story is done, but not without a faint sense of satisfaction . . . an inkling that something unique was just experienced.

 

Lily, the protagonist, lives in a new apartment building with her husband, Aiden. An avid bird watcher, she has taken to watching the people in the apartment building next to hers. Though she does not know these people, she is fascinated by them — going so far as to make names and backstories up for them. Soon she witnesses a murder and becomes entirely obsessed with catching the culprit, for she suspects he lives in the apartment she has spent so much time studying. Things get dangerous, out of control, and confusing . . . needless to say, Lily is the definition of an unreliable narrator (and I don't consider that a spoiler, as it is very much hinted at in the synopsis and apparent from page one). This is an in-depth look at a spiraling character in duress. The reader is totally inside her mind, helpless to do anything except hang on tight.

 

Like most reviewers have said, this novel confused me — but that's the point. It's intentional, though the reason for that does not become apparent until the story's final quarter. I must admit, I spent the first 50% of this one annoyed, lost . . . intrigued, too. This one just broods, right from the start. Lily is an interesting character, for sure. The author keeps the reader at a distance from her, yet by the end one feels as if he or she fully knows this character. I can't explain it, for this book is up to tricks I've ever experienced in modern fiction. I'll say this: The Watcher contains reveals that will knock you on your ass. So buckle up.

 

I finished this one feeling relieved that I made it through, relieved that it was over . . . and so happy I requested an ARC. While I can't award it a full five stars (the experimental style isn't a full success; I don't feel as though I fully grasped everything, either . . . maybe that's the point?), I can give it a solid four. Recommended. The Watcher hits shelves on Tuesday; check it out if you're looking for something off-beat and a little weird.

 

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text 2017-04-23 14:17
Read 157 out of 453 pages
Nora Roberts: The Obsession (Hardcover); 2016 Edition - Nora Roberts

Read chapters 6-10....five chapters of painting, decorating, furniture shopping, and house renovations that remind me of Roberts' Inn at Boonboro series. Then the MC had to get bitchy over adopting the stray dog. The hero came into the story WAY too strongly; there was no subtle introduction, he just started in on the sexual innuendos. The MC went from someone I could root for to a bitchy "independent" woman. I am breaking up reading this book with reading from my booklikes-opoly pick. 75 pages at a time is more than enough.

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review 2017-04-23 08:07
The Killer On The Wall
The Killer On The Wall - Emma Kavanagh

It began with the bodies. Indeed it did. The opening of the this new detective story from Emma Kavanagh starts thrilling with the discovery of multiple bodies neatly positioned against Hadrian’s Wall. It’s meant to shock the reader right into the story, but I’ve to admit, that I actually had a hard time getting into it, because after its great opening it slowed down quite a lot.

 

This story is set twenty years after the events described in the opening chapter. It mainly focuses on the effects it has had on the small community it took place in. Everyone knew the killer, but also the victims. It’s twenty years later and people seem finally ready to leave the past behind and move on. That is, until a new body appears, right against Hadrian’s Wall.

 

A big part of this story stands or falls with Isla Bell, who did not only discover the first bodies, is the daughter of the police officer who arrested the original killer but also is now the renowned forensic psychologist who’s talking to serial killers and looking at their MRIs. On top of that she’s also married to the brother of one of the victims who himself is the only survivor of the murderer. I very much doubt that given her connections to the case, she would have been allowed to visit him for her study, but either way, that is exactly what happens. The other main character is a young police officer who’s trying to prove her worth, while the older police officers try their best to ignore this.

 

For some reason, I didn’t connect to the characters. I could feel the uneasiness of the village and its inhabitants, but the main characters, and the people immediately surrounding them somehow slightly annoyed me. The mystery in itself was not enough to fully compensate for this. Still an okay read, but nothing special for me.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-04-23 05:25
Heavy lifting
Mountain of Evil: Trident Security Omega Team: Prequel - Samantha A. Cole,Eve Arroyo

This novella is a bridge between the original Trident Security Series and the spin off series, Trident Security Omega Team. While it is not necessary to read this prequel before the Omega Team series, it will give the reader more insight and background of the new operatives of Trident Security and their support team.

 

The new team has six men and one woman.  They are sent out into the wilderness to prove their "ready" status to their agency.  While out there, a girl goes missing.  Can this team find her and all get home safely?

 

This was a short jaunt into the new series about the team created by the Trident Security owners.  I loved how the author brought all the team members personalities into it.  I especially enjoyed some of the foreshadowing into books to come.  I cannot wait for the next installment in the Trident Security Omega Team series.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

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