Somebody I used to Know by David J. Bell

Somebody I Used to KnowSomebody I Used to Know by David J. Bell

The breakout author of The Forgotten Girl and Cemetery Girl, “one of the brightest and best crime fiction writers of our time” (Suspense Magazine) delivers a new novel about a man who is haunted by a face from his past….

When Nick Hansen sees the young woman at the grocery store, his heart stops. She is the spitting image of his college girlfriend, Marissa Minor, who died in a campus house fire twenty years earlier. But when Nick tries to speak to her, she acts skittish and rushes off.

The next morning the police arrive at Nick’s house and show him a photo of the woman from the store. She’s been found dead, murdered in a local motel, with Nick’s name and address on a piece of paper in her pocket.

Convinced there’s a connection between the two women, Nick enlists the help of his college friend Laurel Davidson to investigate the events leading up to the night of Marissa’s death. But the young woman’s murder is only the beginning…and the truths Nick uncovers may make him wish he never doubted the lies.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really found this to be quite an intriguing book. The mystery is set up in the very beginning and continues to mature throughout the story.

The main character is able to carry a novel like this well enough, and I thought his profession and lifestyle was a good choice. He seemed like a ‘regular guy’ and it made it easy to relate to the way he thought about things and see his side more clearly.

The supporting characters in this book are good, and I enjoyed the various unexpected twists the plot turned. The only issue I had with this book, is that I felt like about 75% of the way through, too much was revealed, and I was able to guess the rest before it happened. The end came off as rather predictable. I’m still not sure if I could logically reason that things would work out so well in the real word–but hey, it is fiction. I did respect the author for spending time describing the importance of the character’s ex-stepson. It was nice to see a bit different relationship dynamic than the usual father protects flesh and blood scenario.

I liked the interactions between the main character and his dog. With all of the intense things happening in this story, I felt that simple thing really helped to ground this story.

Overall, I was impressed with this book. It made me wonder what was going to happen next for a large majority of the story. It made me laugh a couple of times and in the end, the characters and story were memorable.

Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at HeartThe Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart by Kory Merritt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and everything about it from the concept of the story to the illustrations. I am not always one for graphic novels as often times I don’t feel like they tell a complete story, but that was not the case with this book.

The story here is fun, interesting and different. It wasn’t predictable and the illustrations are so good that you want to go back and flip through it again just to admire them. I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for the main character. He goes through a lot.

The use of limited colours really worked here. They weren’t distracting as you read the story and I think people of all ages will have fun with this. According to the author bio, this is the first published work of this author, and I really hope that there will be more to follow. This would be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

The mixture of prose and traditional storytelling in this book makes for a nice flow as well.

Also–this book has a great message about getting out there and creating a life for yourself that is worthy of talking about later. Loved the monsters. Two big thumbs up for this one. I recommend you check it out–you will have a good time.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of “If Jack Had”

Would you like to win a copy of an exciting Ebook? Here’s your chance! Simply share this post with your favourite social media outlet and then drop me a comment to let me know you did. A winner will be chosen tomorrow afternoon 6/27. Find out all the details on this book below! It’s one you don’t want to miss 🙂

If Jack Had High Res front
About If Jack Had:

“What’s the difference between a serial killer and an assassin? A pay check.”

Jack is a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist with a secret second job. Since he was a smart-ass grad student slinking around New York’s Upper West Side and Brighton Beach, he’s been working as an assassin for the Russian mob.

Beginning at the end – that is, with an aged, incontinent, and at last truly alone Jack, his mind made up that tomorrow will be the first day he kills someone he loves: himself – If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing, June 4 2015] tells his story in rearview, providing an all-access-pass into the enviable, high-flying life he clear-cut for himself against all odds…and the (literal) trail of dead he left along the way.

The debut novel from sixty-eight-year-old Manhattan author Steve Rappaport, If Jack Had is, much like its protagonist, more than meets the eye. A caper comedy featuring sex and drugs, blasphemy and blood, far-flung exotic locales and all the other stuff that makes for good, not-so-clean fun, If Jack Had also happens to have a big, beating heart. Beneath the surface, it’s a meditation on family, fatherhood, the indignities of aging, the inevitability of loneliness, and the preciousness of life itself.

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About the Author:

Steven Rappaport, age 68, has been a stock trader, pot dealer, itinerant hippie peddler, cab driver, retailer, and is currently a successful commercial real estate salesperson in Manhattan. He offers a simple rationale for his first novel: “My eldest son, Jack, died at forty from a progressively debilitating, unknown neurological disorder. This brilliant boy, a Vassar grad, never got to live the life he deserved. I’ve infused him with one.”

If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing] is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in brick-and-mortar bookstores nationwide as of June 4, 2015.

Find If Jack Had on Goodreads and at http://ifjackhad.com

My Review:

I think the blurb description of this book is very apt. It is dark, and it is ironic. This is a gritty, no-holds-barred type of book that will not be for everyone, but those who love it will truly love it.

I’ve always liked narrators that get right to the heart of the story and tell you how they feel about life, and you definitely get that with this book. From his adventures as a much younger man to the final moments of his life, this narrator gives it to you straight and doesn’t hold back.

This is the kind of book that keeps you wondering what will happen next, makes your imagination run wild and then twists and goes for shock value when you don’t expect it to. Kind of reminded me a little of Pulp Fiction, at least in the way the atmosphere of the story came across.

I think people who enjoy books that are a bit outside the conventional will find something to love here. There’s some dark humour worthy of a good laugh, an interesting story and a character strong enough to lead a book like this. Overall, I thought it was definitely worth a recommendation.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wandering Among the Stars by Wirton Arvel

Wandering Among the StarsWandering Among the Stars by Wirton Arvel
The motivational biography of a poet, a tale written in prose with many poems and inspirational quotes.
‘Wandering among the stars’ tells the love story between the protagonist and life.

A story where poetry and prose are intertwined like soul and body, to bring this love story to life so the reader can live it.

So it’s not about a collection of poems, least of all a story in verse. Maybe it could be described as a book of ‘narrated poems’ or as a ‘literary musical’; actually it represents a narrative experiment that lies somewhere between a meta-novel, a collection of poems and an essay; its main aim is to encourage those readers that usually prefer to read only prose works to read poetry as well.

It includes chapters about love, the cosmos, death, spirituality and poetry itself.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Unlike Songs whose words depend on the melody of the music, poems must have their own internal music”

I love that quote and I love this book. If you are a poet, successful or struggling, or even just someone who appreciates the written word, you will find something to love or to inspire you in this book.

Above all else, even above the fantastic arrangement, excellent editing and interesting content–this book comes down to words. I know, I know, they all do, but some poets have a gift for choosing exactly the right word on the right occasion to send a tingling down the spine of the reader. Wirton Arvel is one of those poets.

This book is a mixture of free verse and prose, arranged in a way where one connects to the other to tell a story. The author’s journey as a writer is laid before us in a most unusual and pleasant way. Rather than using the boring formula of “first I picked up a pen,” as other authors have done, Wirton Arvel allows us to journey along through a combination of different themes and watch the progressive trek toward becoming a poet.

This is a beautiful book. It is startling, thoughtful and unique and in my opinion would be a treasure for anyone who loves poems. Highly recommended and (I don’t say this often) a book that I look forward to reading again.

Love in a Small Town by Curtiss Ann Matlock

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Mollie and Tommie Lee have been married for twenty-five years. They grew up in Valentine, Oklahoma, and were sweethearts from the get-go. But something is missing in their marriage, and Mollie can’t bear to stay where she doesn’t feel loved. Tommy Lee is confused and hurt and angry when she leaves for the refuge of Aunt Hestie’s empty cottage, but he has complaints of his own. In her unique voice, Curtiss Ann Matlock uncovers the heart of their story—their passion and promise, their hopes and dreams.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are at all familiar with the work of this author, then you know that she writes at the deepest level of human emotion. Her characters do not have to be rich or famous to make you like them, and that is exactly what I loved about this novel.

This book is about people who are easy to relate to, because they are so much like the rest of us. If you have been or are currently married, then you will find yourself nodding in agreement with the situations in this book. All marriages have trouble at some point, and Curtiss Ann Matlock brought this fact to attention in “Love in a Small Town,” without using the basic formula of shocking event causes split.

I loved that the chapters were headed with song titles and that the main character seemed to pluck the thoughts right out of my head as I was reading. This author has a rare talent for being able to find her way inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Molly, the main character is such a sweet person and you can’t help but feel the same things she does as you read along. I wanted so much to fix things for her.

Another reason I loved this book was the way the author made the rest of the family and friends truly important to the story. Rather than feeling like there are other names in the book just because the author realised they couldn’t successfully pull off a book with just one or two characters, the author really managed to give me a sense that these people were integral to the story. Each of them have their own charms and quirks and make you laugh, or cry, or relate to them in some way.

Above all, this is a beautiful love story about aging, changing, life and marital/family relationships and what it means to make a promise of forever. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a wonderful read–any time of the year.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

INSPIRING EARLY READERS: Author on a Mission

An awesome post about early literacy, check it out

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Early last winter, I discovered that one of my author friends regularly metamorphoses into “Blossom the Butterfly” to share her love of reading with pre-school and elementary school children. I asked Pamela to share her story. Opportunities abound for all of us! ~ Bette A. Stevens

CHILDHOOD LITERACY: Sharing the love of reading

Guest post by author Pamela Beckford

IMG_2405How did I get so involved in childhood literacy? I’ve asked myself that question dozens of times. I’m not a teacher, nor did I ever have any aspirations of being a teacher. I’m not a librarian, nor did I ever have any desire to be a librarian. But I am an avid reader myself and I have seen how much reading means to me personally.

I have the world’s best job as CEO of a local United Way. We have a goal of making sure that 90% of all children in…

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