[#BookReview] The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich @alexandriaml @Flatironbooks #nonfiction #thefactofabody

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a MemoirThe Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She pushes the videotape into the player and steps back. The screen on the old box television flickers. A seated man slowly comes into view. Pale face, square jaw, jug ears. Thick, round Coke-bottle glasses. An orange jumpsuit. Hand bound in cuffs in his lap.
“State your name,” a deep off-screen voice instructs.
“Ricky Langley,” the man says.

This was my first introduction to non-fiction. I don’t typically read this genre, but received an advanced copy for which I am incredibly thankful to Flatiron Books
To be honest, I am quite surprised at how well this was written. There were times I had forgotten I was even reading a memoir.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters regarding Ricky’s trial. His case was quite intriguing. However, some parts rather slow and I found myself skipping ahead. I appreciated the author’s inclusion of her own personal experiences with abuse and molestation, as these parts were especially difficult to read.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and powerful story.

View all my reviews

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[#BookReview] Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty @BerkleyPub @BerkleyMystery #lianemoriarty #biglittlelies

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It shouldn’t matter.  She knew it shouldn’t matter.  But the fact was that some people were so unacceptably, hurtfully beautiful, it made you feel ashamed.

SOO..much better than The Husband’s Secret! I was surprised at how addictive this novel was and gobbled up every page! I felt like I was playing a game of Clue, trying to figure out who died and whodunit. It was like I couldn’t read fast enough to get to the end.  Bravo to Moriarty for keeping me on my toes! I had no idea until the end, despite my own conclusions (which were way off).

I had read The Husband’s Secret and was not a fan. However, I believe in second chances, and this just proved it was worth giving this author another chance.

I’m looking forward to watching the series!

Have you read the book or watched the series?

View all my reviews

[#BookReview] The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

My Rating: ❤❤ 1/2 (2.5 Stars)

Book Blurb

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My Thoughts
The first time I saw this book in the book aisle, I thought it was kinda cheesy.  But then my friend raved about it, shoved the book in my hand and told me I HAD to read it.  It saddens me to say..my initial instincts weren’t too far off!

Believe me, I wanted to like this book as much as those who raved about it did.  But unfortunately, it missed the mark for me.

The story was off to a great start.  In fact, it had me so immersed that I was tempted to skip right to the end just to see whodunit.  However, after around the 4th chapter, things started falling apart in my opinion.  It felt like I was reading a case file or play, with parts that were predictable (which I hate).  I didn’t see the twist at the end coming, but on the same note, I found it a bit ridiculous.

*Sigh* as a proud supporter of Canadian authors, I was really rooting for this to be a good read! 😦

Have you read it? What did you think?

 

 

[#BlogTour] Night Court by Erica Goss #Poetry

Night Court by Erica Goss

Genre: Poetry

Advance Praise:

Night Court leaves us hungry for more of the poet’s open, probing, leaping intelligence, her ‘wild associations’ and surprises in the unexpected ‘shivering’ sweetness of a love story where ‘joy scrambles sadness.’ We hear ‘the clatter of souls entering bodies’ and experience ‘spring’s lizard stealth’ as sadness, longing and reluctance are transformed by breath-stopping beauty. Like a creature in the forest, the poet will ‘rub my cheek against the night.’ And she reminds us a prince waits, perhaps for centuries, until we wake.”
—Susan G. Wooldridge, author of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words

“’No more / mindless syrup blunting / raw edges, // no more disguising things / with bland counterparts.’ The poems in Night Court are often starkly rendered, tough yet sensitive. Deeply imaginative, the poems describe a feral world also experienced by children, a world of hungry ghosts, magic, beasts and violence. ‘There’s a crack at the edge / of the world where the dark // and comic leak through’ Goss takes us to this illuminating place.”
— Robert S. Pesich, President, Poetry Center San Jose

About the Poet

Erica Goss is a poet and freelance writer. She served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA from 2013-2016. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award, Wild Place and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, Atticus Review, Contrary, Eclectica, The Red Wheelbarrow, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review, among others. She is co-founder of Media Poetry Studio, a poetry-and-film camp for teen girls.

Links

Website  Facebook LinkedIn

Video poem: https://vimeo.com/214537057

Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uzK6ne

 

 

[#NewRelease] Sleep, Savannah, Sleep by Alistair Cross @CrossAlistair @BAMLiterature #MysteryAndThrillers #Paranormal

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep by Alistair Cross

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal

Publisher: BAM Literature

Publication date: Sept 25, 2017

BLURB

The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace

Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own – and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.

When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.

Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem – and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.

** Excerpt **

“This is it? Seriously? It’s like we’re moving into Hill House.” In the passenger seat, Brent looked uneasy.

Jason Crandall turned to his son. “It has character.” He looked up at the old Victorian. But he’s right. It’s creepy. Surrounded by mid-century houses, the decrepit Victorian seemed like a flaw on the neighborhood, a stain on something otherwise clean. The cat’s claw vine climbing the walls seemed to shroud the house, as if trying to hide it, the violently yellow blossoms creating a diversion from the faded wood siding – as did the bowers of honeysuckle that accented the yard, draped the veranda, and sweetened the air. Two second-story windows peered out from between the lush vines, looking like the eyes of a hunted beast. 

Surrounded on both sides by white split-rail fences coated in spindly climbing roses, the property was spacious, with a small courtyard beyond a wisteria-choked arbor that lead to the back yard. “I don’t know. I think it’s charming.” He offered his son a grin, and shut off the silver Legacy. The annoying squeal – probably a fan belt – went silent and Jason made a mental note to hunt down a local mechanic. 

“It’s creepy, Dad. Seriously creepy.” Brent leaned back and assumed his usual air of annoyed indifference. 

“But creepy in a cool way, right?” asked Jason.

Brent’s eyes, the color of seawater, looked unimpressed. “Only if you like haunted houses.” 

“It’s haunted?” In the back seat, Amber sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Even Ruby, the blond, blue-eyed doll that never left her arms, looked alarmed.

“Of course it isn’t haunted.” Jason shot Brent a warning look. “It’s just old.”

The three of them stared at the house and it seemed to stare right back. All in all, it didn’t appear pleased to meet them. 

“Let’s go have a look around.” Jason undid his seatbelt. “After that, you two can help me unload.” A large moving van was a day or two behind them; the small trailer they’d pulled contained only the essentials – and most of Jason’s massage equipment. He knew he was being optimistic about how quickly he could get his studio up and running, but he couldn’t help it. His new business was the entire reason he’d bought the house. It had a basement complete with its own entrance, so Jason could work without having strangers traipsing in and out of the family’s living space. Overall, the old Victorian was pretty ideal, even if it was a little spooky. 

Then again, the whole town – or what he’d seen of it so far – was pretty spooky, too. Quaint and quiet, Shadow Springs was a startling contrast to the buzzing pace of Los Angeles. Jason told himself this would be good for him – good for all of them. 

Here, just outside of Ojai in Ventura County, they’d begin their new lives, free of bad memories. That was what Jason had told himself a hundred times in the past weeks – it was what he had to believe.

Preorder Link

Amazon

Author Bio

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Visit Alistair at: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

[#BlogTour] Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by @BenHatke @01FirstSecond #ComicBooks #GraphicNovels

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Genre: Graphic Novels, Comics 

Publisher: First Second Books

Publication Date: September 5, 2017.

Blurb

Like a bolt from the blue, Jack’s little sister Maddy is gone—carried into another realm by an ogre.

When Jack and Lilly follow Maddy’s captor through the portal, they are ready for anything . . . except what they find waiting for them in the floating crossroads between worlds. Even the power of their magic plants may not be enough to get them back to earth alive.

Alone and injured, Jack and Lilly must each face their own monsters—as well as giants who grind the bones of human children to feed their “beast” and a fearsome goblin king in the sewers down below.

But when Jack finds himself in a tough spot, help comes from the most unlikely person: the goblin king!

My Thoughts
Being a fan of fairytales and comics, Mighty Jack offers the perfect combination. I’ll admit, it’s been a reeeally long time since I’ve read a comic book, and just started getting back into it.  But this is a fun twist on the classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk, which takes you on a magical journey to another world filled with goblins, giants and plants with special powers.

In Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, Jack and Lilly must save Maddy from human-eating giants and beasts.

I quite enjoyed this series so far..one that can actually be enjoyed at any age!  Even my 11 year old got into it, and she’s not much of a comic book reader. Since this is a continuation, my only suggestion would be to read the first book before diving into this one.

Author Bio

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters.
Website | Twitter
Have you heard or read this series?  Do you enjoy graphic novels? If so, which ones?


 

 

 

 

[Book Promo & Giveaway] Rotten Magic by Jeffrey Bardwell #Steampunk #Fiction

Rotten Magic by Jeffrey Bardwell

GENRE: fantasy/steampunk

SERIES: The Artifice Mage Saga, Book 0.5

BLURB:

Devin will do anything to win. Even resort to magic.

Devin competes to become the best artificer in the mage phobic Iron Empire. Who needs magic when you can master the art of machinery? The other apprentices envy his genius and skills . . . especially Benson. Every apprentice hones their craft building and fighting in crude prototypes of powered armor. Some add frills, others barbs or horns. When Devin transforms himself into a mechanical dragon to slaughter the competition, Benson steps into the role of dragon slayer.
But Devin harbors a secret as he claws his way to the top of the Artificer’s Guild: he’s a mage. These new abilities are thrilling and frightening, and the voices more so. How long can Devin be content wearing a steel dragon mask when the seductive promise of true arcane power whispers in his ear?

Experience the prequel to the Artifice Mage Saga: a fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody’s hands are clean.

LINK:

http://twigboatpress.com/rotten-magic/

AUTHOR BIO: 

Jeffrey Bardwell is an ecologist with a Ph.D. who loves fantasy, amphibians, and reptiles. The author devours fantasy and science fiction novels, is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove, and has eaten a bug or two. The author populates his own novels with realistic, fire breathing lizards. These dragons are affected by the self-inflicted charred remains of their environment, must contend with the paradox of allometric scaling, and can actually get eaten themselves.

The author lives on a farm, is perhaps overfond of puns and alliterations, and is a gigantic ham. When not in use, he keeps his degrees skinned and mounted on the back wall of his office. 

Email at: jhbardwell@gmail.com
** GIVEAWAY **

Click Here

[Book Promo] The Last Train: A Tokyo Mystery by Michael Pronko @pronkomichael #Mystery

The Last Train: A Tokyo Mystery by Michael Pronko
Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Raked Gravel Press

Publication Date: May 31, 2017

Description

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu investigates white collar crime in Tokyo. He’s lost his girlfriend and still dreams of his time studying in America, but with a stable job, his own office and a half-empty apartment, he’s settled in.

His mentor Takamatsu calls him out to the grisly murder of an American businessman. When Takamatsu disappears, Hiroshi teams up with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi. They scour Tokyo’s sacred temples, corporate offices and industrial wastelands to find Takamatsu, and a woman driven to murder who seems to have it all.

After years in America lost in neat, clean spreadsheets, Hiroshi confronts the stark realities of the biggest city in the world. Inside information can travel in a flash from the top investment firms to the bottom of the working world. Street-level punks and teenage hostesses sell their souls for a small cut of highly lucrative land deals. Their target, an ex-hostess, wants to extract her final revenge—which might be him.

Purchase Links

 Amazon | B&N

Author Bio

Michael Pronko has lived in Tokyo for twenty years, but was born in Kansas City, a very different world. After graduating from Brown University in philosophy, he hit the road, traveling around the world for two years working odd jobs. He went back to school for a Master’s in Education, and then took a teaching position in Beijing. For two years, he taught English, traveled China and wrote. 

After more traveling and two more degrees, another M.A. in Comparative Literature in Madison, Wisconsin and a PhD in English at the University of Kent at Canterbury, he finally settled in Tokyo as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University. His seminars focus on contemporary novels and film adaptations, and he teaches other classes in American indie film and American music and art. 

Pronko has published three award-winning collections of essays: Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo (Raked Gravel Press 2015), Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens (Raked Gravel Press 2014), and Beauty and Chaos: Essays on Tokyo (Raked Gravel Press 2014). He has published books in Japanese and two textbooks in both English and Japanese. 

Over the years in Tokyo, he has written regular columns for many publications: The Japan Times, Newsweek Japan, Jazznin, ST Shukan, Jazz Colo[u]rs, and Artscape Japan. He runs his own website Jazz in Japan (www.jazzinjapan.com). He also continues to publish academic articles and helps run a conference on teaching literature. 

More at: 
www.michaelpronko.com
www.facebook.com/pronkoauthor 
@pronkomichael


 

[#BlogTour] Mysterious Monsters: Bigfoot by David Michael Slater #KidLit #ChildrensFiction


Mysterious Monsters: Bigfoot By David Michael Slater

Genre: Early Chapter ages 6-10

About the Book

The Mattigan kids don’t believe in things that go bump in the night. After all, their dad is famous for proving such things are impossible. But, when their long-lost Grandpa Joe shows up with his Mysterious Monsters journal, begging for help, the siblings find themselves drawn into a search for Bigfoot.

Along the way, they’ll have to deal with meddling babysitters, suspicious psychics, a YouTube disaster, and their furious father. To solve this mystery, Maddie, Max, and Theo must rethink what’s possible — and make lots of peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

About the Author


David Michael Slater is an acclaimed author of books for children, teens, and adults. His work for children includes the picture books Cheese Louise!, The Bored Book, and The Boy & the Book, as well as the on-going teen fantasy series, Forbidden Books, which is being developed for film by a former producer of The Lion King. David’s work for adults includes the hilarious comic-drama, Fun & Games, which the New York Journal of Books writes “works brilliantly.” David teaches in Reno, Nevada, where he lives with his wife and son. You can learn more about David and his work at http://www.davidmichaelslater.com.

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qBj64w

[Book Promo] The Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen & J.R. Fehr

The Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen & J.R Fehr

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Coming of age

Publisher: Wondertale Press

Publication Date: May 2017

Description

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence.

Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

 Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

Purchase Link

Amazon Canada | Amazon US

 Author Bio

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all around us.” Chris looked around him and asked, “Where? I don’t see anything spectacular.” The man held out a pair of glasses. “Here, put these on.” The boy placed them over his eyes and—“Whoa!” He was gobsmacked by the Wonder he saw. But it lasted only a moment. The man vanished in a flash of starlight and the lenses melted and trickled down his cheeks.  Then a message was sung into his ear, “Go and seek what you have seen.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris set out. To his great joy, this quest has led him to discover many more glimmerings of this miraculous Wonder, often in the most unexpected of places.
J. R Fehr

When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child, he continued to find life whoa-tazzling. But as he grew older, the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless marshland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

Media Links

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Magiciansworkshop/

TWITTER: @HansenFehr    

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32948256-the-magician-s-workshop-volume-one

INSTAGRAM: http://Instagram.com/TheMagiciansWorkshop