REVIEW: HOLD BACK THE STARS By Katie Khan

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Published May 23, 2017 by Gallery Books

Trapped in the vast void of space, Carys and Max have only ninety minutes of oxygen left to live. None of this was supposed to happen. After a freak accident, Carys and Max are left adrift in space with nothing to hold onto but each other. As they fall, they can’t help but look back at the world they left behind. A world whose rules they couldn’t submit to, a place where they never really belonged; a home they’re determined to get back to because they’ve come too far to lose each other now. While their air ticks dangerously low, one is offered the chance of salvation—but who will take it?

In this startling and evocative novel harkening to both One Day and Gravity, Hold Back the Stars shows how the choices we make can change the fate of everyone around us

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How about that cover? I was immediately drawn to it as well as the title and then when I read the blurb and saw it’s being compared to One Day, one of my very favorite reads, I knew I’d have to hit the request button on Netgalley.  As you know if you’ve read even a few of my posts, I read a lot of mysteries and crime fiction so I thought this would be a good “out of my comfort zone pick,” and in some ways it was.

The beginning of the story pulled me in right away when we are thrust into space with Carys and Max after they’ve gotten separated from their ship and soon discover they only have 90 min of oxygen left. What a perfect way to start this story because I was glued to the pages, fascinated by the details of space as well as their attempts to find a way back to the ship.

The novel is structured in such a way that we are then taken back in time, via Carys and Max’s flashbacks, to the beginning of their relationship in futuristic Europia which is a utopian society that exists after the destruction of the United States and the Middle East following a nuclear war. I was definitely intrigued by the world building in this society where couples had to follow the Couples Rule meaning they were forbidden to have long term relationships or marry until the age of 35. This was reinforced by people living on Rotation in which every 3 years everyone would move or rotate their locations to a brand new district. Of course, when Carys and Max meet and fall in love, the rules and Rotation prove to be a huge struggle for them, especially since Max has a completely different set of beliefs than Carys. Along with the utopian world building, I also really enjoyed the technology and setting details of this futuristic world.

With alternating timeframes , however, what inevitably seems to happen for me is I’m more invested in either the past or the present and that’s exactly what happened in this case. I was much more interested in the space chapters and the intensity that came as their oxygen levels were decreasing and they continued to try to make it back to the ship. Plus, we get to know and hear from each of them NOW and this just made for better reading for me, rather than breaking to go back into the past. In addition, the further I got in the book, the more I found myself skimming the past chapters in order to get back to the action in space. While this was my favorite part of the story, there were still questions that nagged me….why were they both on the mission together when only Carys was actually an astronaut? Why did they seem woefully underprepared for such a large venture into space? Even suspending disbelief, I scratched my head over these.

Of course, I’m not giving spoilers away regarding the ending but what I will say is… it was very surprising and not what I expected, yet getting there was somewhat confusing. Sorry to be vague but if you read this I’d really love to chat about your thoughts regarding the ending! I think if you’re looking for an entertaining, quick read to enjoy while at the pool or the beach you should definitely give this a try. If you’re looking for an epic love story like One Day you might be disappointed. I didn’t find this to be similar to that book at all, unfortunately.

Many thanks to Gallery Books via Netgalley for my copy.

MINI-REVIEWS: A JANE CASEY BINGE

I’m officially obsessed with the Maeve Kerrigan series! You may remember I decided to jump into this series back in March, starting with book 3, The Last Girl. You can find my review here if you missed it. I knew I wanted to continue on with book 4 but other books were calling so it wasn’t until last week that I decided to pick up The Stranger You Know….5 days later I had binged that, The Kill (book 5) and After the Fire (book 6) and boy was that fun! Can you say super late night reading and being a zombie the next day? Totally worth it though because I literally cannot get enough of these characters and I immediately headed to Book Depository (I can’t wait until July for US publication) to order Let the Dead Speak…I’m currently stalking my mailbox daily waiting for it to arrive.  Read on and see what you think of this binge-worthy series….

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Published May 2014 By Minotaur Books, book 4

He meets women. He gains their trust. He kills them. That’s all London police detective Maeve Kerrigan knows about the man she is hunting. Three women have been strangled in their homes, and it appears to be the work of the same sadistic killer. With no sign of break-ins, every indication shows that the women let their attacker in willingly. The victims’ neighbors and friends don’t seem to remember anything unusual or suspicious, and Maeve is almost at a loss about how to move forward with the investigation.

Then the evidence starts to point to a shocking suspect: DCI Josh Derwent, Maeve’s partner on the police force. Maeve refuses to believe he could be involved, but how well does she really know him?

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Maeve is back and this time the murder investigation into the deaths of three different women hits close to home…with her partner and supervisor DI Josh Derwent falling under suspicion. You see, there was a murder in Derwent’s past and along with learning the details of that long ago crime, we also get to know him so much better and I for one was thrilled by this plot development! I haven’t had a book boyfriend since Mark Joesbury from Sharon Bolton’s Lacey Flint series and then along comes Derwent and I find myself really loving him despite his often sexist and vulgar comments…who knew?! He has made me laugh on more than one occasion so maybe that plays a part:) As Maeve and her colleagues dig deeper into Derwent’s past, they also have the present murders of the three women looming…could they all somehow be connected? You’ll have to read to find out! I had my suspicions about the who but I couldn’t figure out the why and I really shouldn’t have tried because Jane Casey managed to spin an extra twisty tale here that threw me for the best possible loop. So, along with a murder to solve, Maeve also has personal drama and behind the scenes office politics & secrets to deal with…this story has a little bit of everything and it comes together beautifully in the end. Oh and the Maeve and Derwent banter in this book…the best!

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Published June 2015 By Minotaur Books, book 5

Detective Maeve Kerrigan is away for a colleague’s wedding, and she’s enjoying an excuse to spend a beautiful fall weekend relaxing in the English countryside. It’s a much-needed break from the grit and grime of her daily life on the London police force. But even at a wedding, the job is never far away.

Midway through the reception, Maeve and her abrasive but loyal partner on the police force, DI Josh Derwent, are called back to London. A fellow policeman has been murdered, in a compromising position in a public park at night. And when Maeve and Derwent arrive to speak with the victim’s family, his wife and daughter are surprisingly cold and reticent, which adds further layers of complexity to an already delicate investigation. And Maeve knows the victim and his family aren’t the only ones with things to hide: the dark secret that her boss, Superintendent Godley, has been keeping for years is threatening to blow up in his face, and if that happens, they’ll all be caught in the aftermath.

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I really loved the idea of Maeve getting a much needed break at the start of this book when she’s at her colleague’s wedding. I know I completely gush about Derwent but I really like Maeve! She’s tough, super smart, and sarcastic, yet also feminine and I love getting to know her outside of her job. She has the best insight into herself as she often knows what she’s about to say or do isn’t going to go well for her but she’ll do it anyway. While enjoying time off the job at the wedding, there’s a very interesting scene between Derwent and Maeve (hint..it involves dancing) that literally left me breathless…I think Jane Casey wants my head to explode over these two characters!! Soon enough, however, the job intervenes and they return to London to investigate the murder of a policeman. This murder is not at all what it seems and worry starts to build that other police officers may be targeted as well. Then, we have Maeve’s on-going cat & mouse with her stalker from a previous book, her continued love/hate relationship with Derwent, her relationship crisis with Rob, as well as Superintendent Godley’s secrets coming back to haunt him…all in all there’s drama and suspense coming from every angle and I loved every second of it.

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Published May, 2016 By Minotaur Books, book 6

London police detective Maeve Kerrigan has spent plenty of time at Murchison House. One of the many cement high-rise towers comprising the Maudling Estate housing project, Murchison Tower is home to a motley mix of society. From domestic abuse victims and elderly widows with nowhere else to turn to its flourishing criminal elements, Maeve is familiar with many of its occupants by name or reputation. But when a fire breaks out at Murchison House that consumes the top floors and leaves three dead, Maeve and her colleagues are startled to learn the identity of one of the victims.  

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Jane Casey manages to out do herself with each book because the concept for the mystery in this one was brilliant! Picture a high rise, run down apartment complex filled with people harboring many secrets. When a fire breaks out and several of these people are killed or injured, the question soon becomes whether this was a case of arson?  Not only is the list of possible arson suspects long, but since there were several people killed and injured, questions also arise as to who was actually being targeted? Right from the start I was completely drawn into this mystery, especially since this is a place that holds bad memories for Maeve. She not only has her hands full with this investigation but her personal life with Rob is in shambles, her stalker has intensified, and her own mental health seems to be taking a nosedive. And you can feel ALL of this coming at you full speed through the pages as Casey’s writing creates such vividly drawn, authentic characters who just feel so completely REAL. The regular characters have a genuineness to them, as well as the characters we meet in this investigation. That’s the genius of Jane Casey at work here and by the end of this story she delivers a jab to my heart *sob* with a death I didn’t see coming. Not only that, but I managed to be wrong (yet again) about the mystery and I’m completely beside myself as to where she’s taking Maeve and Derwent personally! Have I mentioned I love Derwent? He continues to be the wittybad boy who can occasionally show a softer side and I’m convinced there’s more to his feelings for Maeve than meets the eye. And vice versa. Or is that my own wishful thinking?? I’m eagerly awaiting Let the Dead Speak so I can (hopefully) find out. In the meantime, Jane Casey please continue writing this amazingly addictive series with as much Derwent as you can possibly squeeze in:)

What do you think? Are you tempted to jump into this awesome series?  Who are your favorite book boyfriends, I’d love to know for when Book 7 causes the inevitable book hangover and I need someone to fill Derwent’s spot for the summer, so drop me a quick line in the comments:)   

HAPPY READING! 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published 2012 By Viking

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, the brash cop from Tana French’s bestselling Faithful Place, plays by the book and plays hard. That’s what’s made him the Murder squad’s top detective—and that’s what puts the biggest case of the year into his hands.
On one of the half-built, half-abandoned “luxury” developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children are dead. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.

At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it’s going to be an easy solve. But too many small things can’t be explained. The half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the Spains’ walls. The files erased from the Spains’ computer. The story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder who was slipping past all the locks.
And Broken Harbor holds memories for Scorcher. Seeing the case on the news sends his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family one summer at Broken Harbor, back when they were children.

 

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 If you haven’t read Tana French, Broken Harbor would be a perfect starting point!  You may remember that her most recent release The Trespasser was on my top reads of 2016 list. I’d say this is for sure my second favorite book of hers. I remember reading this and being completely confused (in the best possible way) about what could possibly have been going on in that house and within that family. I actually enjoy when an author can pull off that level of reader confusion because for me it’s so fun to try to figure out the puzzle and clues and really… I WANT to think I have it all figured out and then in the end find out I KNEW NOTHING. Good times! What puts Tana French at the top of my must read author list, other than her excellent writing skills, is that you can truly jump into her “series” at any point ( Janel I’m talking to you:) because every book focuses on a different detective from the Murder squad.  If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box, well-written mystery I think you’ll really enjoy Broken Harbor

HAPPY READING!

**For all you Throwback Thursday bloggers, if you don’t see your blog at the bottom of my post please leave me a comment because WordPress has been VERY bad about sending me links and I want to include everyone!!**

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Claire at I’m a Coffeeholic Bookworm

Nicki at The Secret Library

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Ashley at The Bookish Mommy

REVIEW: THE FACT OF A BODY By Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

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Published May 16, 2017 By Flatiron Books

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

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I’ve read several true crime books in the last couple years and they all seem to have one thing in common for me…they’ve brought me to tears and infiltrated my thoughts in such a way that I couldn’t stop thinking about the people in the stories. This true crime/memoir has been no different. I like to read while on the elliptical and there was a point in my reading where I just had to take a break from this story and switch to a different one. The author’s writing was beautiful and lyrical in a way that I was so fully engaged with the story that when the brutal details of little Jeremy’s murder and then the author’s own heartbreaking story came front and center, it really hit me in a way I wasn’t expecting…hence the needed break.

Once composed, I dived back in because while at times brutal to read, this story is also fascinating, haunting, and illuminating. The author doesn’t just haphazardly toss out details of Jeremy’s murder and Ricky Langley’s life and then switch to her own story. Rather, she weaves the narrative by alternating timelines involving Rickey’s past and her own. While at times the shift between the two was abrupt and sometimes felt that it occurred mid-thought, overall this narrative technique worked very well to tell two separate stories. Let me back up for a minute and tell you what I mean by illuminating and fascinating. I found the author’s discussion of the law in terms of the intricacies of what it means to seek truth and justice, the breakdown of the system (Ricky Langley had 3 trials!), and the inherent problems associated with having shades of gray in a legal system that’s set up to be black and white. In addition, the author examines the very real breakdown of the family and criminal justice system in such a brilliant, “what if” way that, days later, I’m still thinking about…what if Ricky had a different type of childhood...what if that person at the hospital would’ve believed Ricky when he walked in and said he needed help…what if we had harsher sentences for sex offenders like Ricky…what if the author’s own childhood was different…what if her childhood wasn’t shrouded in secrets…what if children’s voices were better heard in their own family as well as our justice system?? Of course, we’ll never know the answers to these “what ifs” and that’s what’s so haunting.

This isn’t an easy read by any means and I would guess some readers may not be able to read about the graphic details of murder and abuse. BUT, this is an important story and one that I’m sure many may see themselves in and will benefit from Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s honesty.

Many thanks to Flatiron Books for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review

REVIEW: SINCE WE FELL By Dennis Lehane

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Published May 16, 2017 By Ecco Books

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best. 

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I’ve been in a love/hate relationship with blurbs lately but I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with the one above, especially because in the grand scope of the whole book it’s actually very vague and a little misleading in the best possible way. Confused yet? Good, because part of the fun of reading this book is feeling slightly confused as to where Dennis Lehane is taking you. If you’ve read any of his books you’ll know, as I did…it’s going SOMEWHERE and it’s possibly going to come out of the blue and knock your socks off!

I went into this novel having no preconceived notions and really no idea what it was about; in fact, I sought out Sonya from Ecco Books and begged for a copy solely on the fact that it’s DENNIS LEHANE and I’ve loved every single book of his I’ve read as well as the movies that have been made based on them. I didn’t care what it was about I just wanted to read it! So here’s where it gets interesting…I’ve been on bad terms lately with psychological thrillers…we’re just not getting along for many reasons.  I just don’t enjoy unlikeable, unreliable narrators, gimmicky plot lines, twists that come out of nowhere just for the sake of being a big “twist,”etc and that’s what the genre has seemed to me to be a lot of lately.  So, I was a little worried going into THIS psychological thriller but let me tell you, all my worry vanished when I started reading!

I’ll start with the prologue…fantastic!! If you’ve read Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard, it reminded me a little of that which is to say, it starts off with things going very wrong for certain characters and as the reader I knew I needed to find out what led to that and why. Then we get to know Rachel Childs, a journalist who has not had the greatest relationship with her mother, ends up working her way up at the Boston Globe, falls in love (kind of), and goes in search of her long lost biological father. The entire first half of the book centers around Rachel as well as her immediate friends and family. I had no problem with this per se because Dennis Lehane’s writing is phenomenal…it’s astute, engaging, lyrical…and I was rapt to find out more about Rachel as I LIKED her and there was this faint voice in my head whispering the whole time…is she for real?…what are we not seeing/hearing accurately about her? But doubts started to creep in and at the 50% mark on my kindle, I said to myself…Oh no, this is going to end up being my first Lehane book that’s just going to be good but not great…he’s wrote a really good character driven study but that’s not what I expected from him….I mean is this story going anywhere? Then, literally, by 51%, the tide turned and boy did it ever! Lehane went from 0-90 and never looked back with the next half of the book and I couldn’t have been happier! I read the rest like a speed demon, having absolutely no idea where it was going but what a fun ride it was.

I won’t say anything more about the remainder of the plot but what I WILL say is thank you to Dennis Lehane for restoring my faith in psychological thrillers. I knew I could still love them. In my opinion, this is what a psych thriller is all about…and he did it without jumping back and forth between multiple narrators or timelines. Amazing!

Many thanks to Sonya Cheuse and James Faccinto at Ecco Books for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published May 1999 By Regan Books

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother, Thomas, entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut, public library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable. . . .

One of the most acclaimed novels of our time, Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True is a story of alienation and connection, devastation and renewal, at once joyous, heartbreaking, poignant, mystical, and powerfully, profoundly human.

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Remember Oprah’s Book Club? I have to say I didn’t like many of her choices but THIS one…So Good! I read this many, many years ago so my memory of specific plot points is foggy.  I actually think this should go on my re-read list because I don’t remember details about it, just that I loved it. Check out all the awesome Goodreads Ratings for yourself and give this a try if you’re in the mood for a character driven emotional read.

HAPPY READING!

**For all you Throwback Thursday bloggers, if you don’t see your blog at the bottom of my post please leave me a comment here or DM me on Twitter because WordPress has been VERY bad about sending me links and I want to include everyone!!**

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Nicki at The Secret Library

Caryl at Mrs Bloggs Books

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Claire at I’m a Coffeeholic Bookworm

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills Review

Dee at

TEASER TUESDAY: SINCE WE FELL By Dennis Lehane

 

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I don’t think I’ve participated in Teaser Tuesday since starting my blog so I thought it would be fun to feature a couple sentences of Dennis Lehane’s upcoming new release Since We Fell. This book releases today and you guys…it’s fantastic! Be sure to check back Saturday for my review but for now I’ll tease you with a couple sentences that I just loved that not only showcase the main character Rachel but also Lehane’s awesome writing….

 

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From Goodreads

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best

This scene occurs halfway into the book when agoraphobic Rachel has decided to get answers and follow a certain someone in her rented Zipcar…mind you she hasn’t drove in 2 years and she has to get on the highway to try to “tail” her mark…

      “She slowed as she neared the intersection, let (    ) get as far ahead as possible, but there wasn’t much stalling to be done. A Porsche swung wide on her left, engine revving, and shot out in front of her. She’d never been happier for a small penis driving a small penis car to act like a small penis because she again had cover between her and (   ).  It didn’t last, though. At the first light, the Porsche drifted into the left-turn-only lane, then floored it, zipping around (    ) as they crossed the intersection, and roaring up the road ahead….Little dicks, Rachel thought again, and their little dick cars.”

What do you think? Does that scene tempt you? 

BLOG TOUR & GUEST POST: WATCHING THE BODIES By Graham Smith

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Graham Smith’s new crime novel Watching the Bodies available now from Bloodhound Books. I’m thrilled to share with you this awesome guest post from the author. Enjoy!

 

Watching the Bodies

 

Book Description:

When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.

Guest Post by Graham Smith

Is violence on the page entertaining or gratuitous?

This is a debate that’s as old as the hills or at least the debate about using clichés in writing.

Let’s be clear from the start; violence of any kind towards a human being or another living creature is abhorrent.

Yet as a writer, I love the elements that violence puts into my toolbox.

First and foremost, violence or the threat of violence, is a major driver of stories. Once our hero, Clint Squarejaw, has been established as a decent person we need to have something for him (or her) to do.

As someone who writes at the darker end of the spectrum, I’m not going to have Clint looking for a lost wedding ring or kidnapped cat. I’ll give him a task I find more interesting.

In my hands he’s basically going to be tasked with one or two scenarios. He’ll either be investigating an act of violence or trying to prevent one. It could be a single murder or a plot to kill millions.

Sometimes I’ll use both methods. In the case of a serial killer, the first murders are being investigated in the hope future ones will be prevented.

Now that I’ve established my jumping off point, I think it’s fair to point out that my stories include a lot of violent acts. In a different series, I have had someone executed with a nailgun, another person lost a limb to a blowtorch and naturally, I had to decapitate another character.

The issue I always have with violence is striking the balance between using it to drive the story and writing gratuitously visceral scenes. As a reader, I have read about torture as it happens and have read passages which had me wincing and shifting my eyes from the page every few lines.

I’ve never wanted to have my readers doing the peek and wince method so I keep most of my violence off the page. This is especially true for the more brutal murders which my villains tend to commit.

I’m very much of the opinion that Clint Squarejaw’s imaginings of the vicious murders is far more palatable than me writing page after page of some poor character being killed, dismembered, raped or otherwise hurt. The aftermath is always a more fertile playground for me and I can toss in a little forensic detail, some mysterious element and a sense of angst for poor old Clint.

Another facet to this, is that I firmly believe my readers are more interested in my characters than the random acts of brutality which litter my stories. Once in a while I will show some violence on the page and it will usually involve my hero fighting those who are guilty or are trying to hurt him.

For me this is acceptable violence to show; as however violent my hero may be when the need arises, he’ll never cross to the point where he’s being brutal for the sake of it. Sure, he may kill people and dish out a generous helping of retribution from time to time, but he’ll never be sadistic for the sake of it.

Any violence I do put onto the page which involves my villains harming their victims will always be done with the minimum of detail and will often focus on the emotional implications rather than the physical ones.

This is my outlook on violence in crime stories, but please comment below or look me up on social media as I’d love to hear what other writers and readers deem acceptable.

Wasn’t this interesting? Thank you Graham for sharing your thoughts on violence in novels. I for one appreciate the violence being left off the page and not the focus of scenes! 

 

Graham Smith Author Pic

 

Author Bio:

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

“Watching the Bodies is a storming addition to the action thriller genre, and Jake Boulder a new tough guy to root for. Be under no illusion, Boulder is no Jack Reacher or Joe Hunter c

Be sure to stop by these other fantastic blogs on the tour

#unleashboulder

 

Links:

Facebook

Author Website

Twitter

Amazon

BOOK HOARDING: WHAT’S BEEN ON MY TBR THE LONGEST

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After seeing this post by Danielle at The Blonde Iikes Books, Sam at Clues and reviews, and Chelsea at The Suspense is ThriIIing Me, I thought it would be fun to jump in with my own. The idea is to choose the top 10 books that have been on your TBR the longest with the plan to read them by the end of the year.

It’s high time I read some of the books that have fallen down my TBR rabbit hole. I read mainly on my kindle so once I buy a book if I don’t read it ASAP, it can tend to fall by the wayside and end up in my kindle purgatory…for years!! Looking over my 10 on this list I can’t believe how long I’ve had these and forgotten about them…poor books! Most of these aren’t even on my Goodreads To Read shelf because I like to “spring clean” that at the start of the new year. I had to go through my kindle to see what was lost and these are the gems that have been on it the longest and I’m making it my mission to read them by the end of the year.  Here we go….

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A classic novel of romantic suspense finds the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter entering the home of her mysterious and enigmatic new husband and learning the story of the house’s first mistress, to whom the sinister housekeeper is unnaturally devoted.

**Rebecca is the only print copy on the list I own, poor thing has been sitting in my closet for YEARS**

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Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead … yet.

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In today’s Russia, dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fatal double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the U.S. military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller. \

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At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.
Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry’s gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners’ team captain and Henry’s best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.
As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment—to oneself and to others.

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The master of the new “noir,” Dennis Lehane magnificently evokes the dignity and savagery of working-class Boston in this terrifying tale of darkness and redemption.  Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro’s latest client is a prominent Boston psychiatrist running scared from a vengeful Irish mob. The private investigators know something about cold-blooded retribution. Born and bred on the mean streets of blue-collar Dorchester, they’ve seen the darkness that lives in the hearts of the unfortunate. But an evil for which even they are unprepared is about to strike as secrets long-dormant erupt, setting off a chain of violent murders that will stain everything–including the truth.

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Moving to remote Shetland has been unsettling enough for consultant surgeon Tora Hamilton, even before the gruesome discovery she makes one rain-drenched Sunday afternoon… Deep in the peat soil of her field she’s shocked to find the perfectly preserved body of a young woman, a gaping hole in her chest where her heart has been brutally removed.
Three rune marks etched into the woman’s skin bear an eerie resemblance to carvings Tora has seen all over the islands: in homes she has visited, even around a fireplace in her own cellar. But, as she uncovers disturbing links to an ancient Shetland legend, the police, her smooth-talking boss and even her own husband are at pains to persuade her to leave well alone.
Is their concern genuine? Perhaps, for when terrifying threats start rolling in like the cold island mists, it seems someone wants Tora out of the picture, once and for all…
Sacrifice will grip readers from start to finish. It is a bone-chilling, spellbinding debut set on a deceptively beautiful island.

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Drew Silver has begun to accept that life isn’t going to turn out as he expected. His fleeting fame as the drummer for a one-hit wonder rock band is nearly a decade behind him. His ex-wife is about to marry a terrific guy. And his Princeton-bound teenage daughter Casey has just confided in him that she’s pregnant—because Silver is the one she cares least about letting down.  So when Silver learns that he requires emergency life-saving heart surgery, he makes the radical decision to refuse the operation, choosing instead to spend what time he has left to repair his relationship with Casey, become a better man, and live in the moment—even if that moment isn’t going to last very long. As his exasperated family looks on, Silver grapples with the ultimate question of whether or not his own life is worth saving.

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The summer of 1985 changed Reggie’s life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school’s outcasts-Charlie, the local detective’s son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie and harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother Vera-an ex-model with many “boyfriends” and a thirst for gin-the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears.
Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn’t trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.
With her signature style, Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals, and murder

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Welcome to Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to the Depression-worn men of E Block. Convicted killers all, each awaits his turn to walk the Green Mile, keeping a date with “Old Sparky,” Cold Mountain’s electric chair. Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities in his years working the Mile. But he’s never seen anyone like John Coffey, a man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child, condemned for a crime terrifying in its violence and shocking in its depravity. In this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecombe is about to discover the terrible, wondrous truth about Coffey, a truth that will challenge his most cherished beliefes… and yours. 
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Kenzie and Gennaro are private investigators in the blue-collar neighborhoods and ghettos of South Boston-they know it as only natives can. Working out of an old church belfry, Kenzie and Gennaro take on a seemingly simple assignment for a prominent politician: to uncover the whereabouts of Jenna Angeline, a black cleaning woman who has allegedly stolen confidential state documents.Finding Jenna, however, is easy compared to staying alive once they’ve got her. The investigation escalates, implicating members of Jenna’s family and rival gang leaders while uncovering extortion, assassination, and child prostitution extending from bombed-out ghetto streets to the highest levels of government.

 
So there you have it…now I’m wondering which one you think I should read first? Have you read and loved/hated any of these? Maybe you’re also up for the challenge of reading your top 10 longest TBR books by the end of the year? It was fun to “dig” these back out and I’m excited to get started! Thanks to Danielle, Sam, and Chelsea for putting this challenge on my radar:)  

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

 

My PICK this week is:

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Published Feb, 2015

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I, Thomas Clifford Donnely, am a manwhore.

I’ve been told I’m irresistible to women. Like catnip for a different type of pussy-cat. I guess you could call me a Tom Cat.

This is the story about how I lost my wingman, broke all my own rules, and found myself falling in love.

Tom Donnelly isn’t the marrying kind, or the dating kind. Even after losing his #1 wingman to love, he doesn’t see the point in relationships. When his sister’s best friend returns to Whidbey Island and propositions Donnelly for a one-night stand, he breaks one of his biggest rules—no fooling around with his sisters’ friends. It’s just sex, nothing more. That’s what Tom does and does well.

What happens when “just sex” isn’t enough?

Hailey King is more than a match for Tom’s flirtations. She’s known him most of her life and has heard the rumors about his “skills” for years. When her perfectly planned future falls apart, will the last man she should ever fall for turn out to be more than a one-night stand?

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With summer coming up, I thought this would be the perfect pick for you to add to your summer fun reads tbr! I’m the first to admit that mystery and crime fiction are my first loves, but every once in awhile I need to sit down with a glass of wine (or 2😉) and just read something fun and witty, where no one is disappearing or getting killed. Some may call them “palette cleansers” but I call them “feel good reads.” Whatever you call them, this book checks all the boxes for a fun, feel good, get lost in it read. I read this last summer and I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Tom! He’s your typical handsome, but commitment phobic type of guy….oh and super charming! It’s narrated by him and right off the bat I liked him. I really enjoyed Daisy Prescott’s writing style as well and will certainly be looking for more of her books this summer. If you’re like me and you typically enjoy Elin Hilderbrand and Emily Giffin for your summer reads, I think you’ll also enjoy Confessions of a Reformed Tom Cat.

HAPPY READING!

**For all you Throwback Thursday bloggers, if you don’t see your blog at the bottom of my post please leave me a comment here or DM me on Twitter because WordPress has been VERY bad about sending me links and I want to include everyone!!**

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Claire at I’m a Coffeeholic Bookworm

Nicki at The Secret Library