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Once There Were Wolves

“… when you open your heart to rewilding a landscape, the truth is, you’re opening your heart to rewilding yourself.” —Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy


Author: Charlotte McConaghy

(4.28 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Mystery

Format: Hardcover

Publication Date: August 3, 2021, by Flatiron Books

272 Pages (Hardcover)

Triggers: sexual assault, murder, animal abuse, violent death, and a bit of gore

#OnceThereWereWolves #CharlotteMcConaghy


I had a magic power that wasn’t magic. I felt what other people felt, and I knew what lived in those touches and how it was mostly sweetness.

-Once There Were Wolves

My daughter is obsessed with wolves. She loves the wildness of them, their beauty, and how clever they are. She is taken by how cute wolf pups are, all while knowing that they are deadly predators and fiercely protective of their pack members. Wolves are incredible. Did I say my daughter is obsessed? I am. It’s me. I am obsessed with wolves.

But that’s only one reason why I picked up this August release by Charlotte McConaghy a couple of months ago. Although the cover may not stand out in a crowd – or on a shelf – the feel of it is something special. When you run your hands over it, it’s almost soft. Like, your fingertips want to stay and hang out for a while. And that was before I even read what the book was about.

So let’s check out the blurb…

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.
Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?


Fear makes for danger, whether it was there to begin with or not.

-Once There Were Wolves

To start, Inti is a very strong female main character. Now, granted, she has a lot going on in her head and in life as a whole. She’s away from home, doing a difficult job, she’s got a dependent sister, a defensive attitude, and some pretty gnarly ghosts in her past. But she’s making it. Right now, wolves are her business and she’s handling her business, no holds barred. Everyone doesn’t like it, but hey, wolves aren’t for everyone, right?

Now let’s talk about something else cool about Inti: her mirror touch synesthesia. Mirror touch synesthesia is a condition that causes a person to feel the sensation of touch whenever they see someone else being touched. This can be something as mild as a hand on an arm or as intense as a punch… or something worse. Inti’s ability helps her to connect to the wolves, but it could also be having the opposite effect on all her human connections.

The book is carried by Inti, but she isn’t the only dynamic draw here. She has an enigmatic, selectively mute identical twin sister, a mom who is a homicide detective, and a dad whose influence is both beneficial and detrimental to them all. This is a story with priceless backstory deftly woven into the present action that makes readers appreciate and respect these characters and their motivations.

We stomped through the world and crumpled things where we walked, too human, not creature enough.

-Once There Were Wolves

So, I know you saw it. At the top of the page? My 4.5 rating. Yes. That’s not a mistake. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a story as much as this one. The writing style, the plot, the subtle mystery, the turn. I loved it all. I literally chose this book for its wonderfully-feeling cover and it did not disappoint. This is the type of book that I always hope for at the beginning of every year, and sometimes fail to find. Is it perfect? Not entirely. But is it good enough for me to recommend it and give it a permanent home on my bookshelf? Absolutely.

This book will appeal to readers who appreciate when a skilled writer puts pen to paper (or fingers to keys). The prose is smart, suspenseful, and subtly poetic. Read it if you love strong female leads. Read it if you’re into a rugged type of romance as a side story. Read it if you’re into rediscovering the strong natural ties between human nature and nature nature. Read it if you’re into books with unexpected plot twists that change everything you thought you knew. And read it if you, like me, are kinda crazy about wolves!


Charlotte McConaghy

CHARLOTTE is an Australian author living in Sydney. She has a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from the Australian Film Television and Radio School, and a number of published SFF works in Australia. – https://www.charlottemcconaghy.com/


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October Spooky Reads Wrap Up

⇒ “Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” Dracula by Bram Stoker⇐

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare. –Brackett, Halloween

Why, oh why did Spooky Season have to go by so fast? I was just getting into the rhythm of all things creepy and now ghosts and ghouls have to give way to turkeys and pumpkins. So sad. So, as an homage to all things horror (or at least a little more scary than usual), here is my wrap up for all my spooky reads this month that didn’t get their own standalone review…


Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab

Genre: Middle Grades / Horror / Fantasy

Pub. Date: March 2, 2021 by Scholastic Audio (audiobook)

It’s not unusual to have at least one bad book in a series. This is not that one. Sufficiently scary, but better described as tense, Schwab took me to the edge of my seat more than once during this trip to New Orleans. Cassidy and Co. are filming an episode of her parents’ show in this enchanted town packed with spirits. But when Cass encounters something that few others have ever seen, she gets help from her friends (living and dead) to save her life and theirs too. A great book for Spooky Season! I recommend!


Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar

Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar

Genre: Fiction / (mislabeled as) Horror

Pub. Date: August 17, 2021 by Gallery Books (hardcover)

This is not the book I thought I was going to read. Labeled as horror/suspense, and on the Horror shelves at the bookstore- this should, instead, be categorized as a memoir or just plain adult lit. I was drawn to this book with high expectations because of the unique style of true-crime metafiction. If that had been the premise that Chizmar had stuck with throughout the book, it could have been a successful representation of that genre. However, it became primarily a memoir and a love story to the town he left behind. And with that change, he managed to write the true crime portions of the book (including all associated thrills, chills, and suspense) into the shadows of the story. Chasing the Boogeyman held a lot of promise, but didn’t deliver on what was necessary to make this either horror or true crime. With looming plot holes and a resolution that was sketchy at best, I feel generous by giving it three stars. It felt more like a book full of unfulfilled promises. And that’s sad for me to write as I was anticipating a dynamic experience. For readers who are looking for an atmospheric thriller for spooky season, skip this one. BUT, if you’re interested in a slice of small-town Americana, you’ll get a full dose of it here.


Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Genre: Fiction / Horror / Mystery

Pub. Date: July 21, 2014 by Mulholland Books

While this isn’t your traditional horror book, it’s certainly well within the category of sinister story. A demented serial killer is on the loose whose hallmark is to leave hybrid man/animal bodies scattered across Detroit. This story is so layered in character and connections that you almost forget you’re in it for the spook factor until it hits you right in the face. We see this guy. We know who he is. We’re in his head, and it’s not a good place to be. This is a book where you see things swiftly going out of control, but you can do nothing to stop it. And until the final twisty chapters, readers can do nothing but try to fit all the pieces together. This isn’t a little book, so reading it is an investment in time and energy, but for this reader, it was worth it.


A Season of Whispers by Jackson Kuhl

A Season of Whispers by Jackson Kuhl

Genre: Fiction / Horror / Gothic

Pub. Date: October 8, 2020 by Aurelia Leo

This was not the book for me. It overpromised and underdelivered. The expectation was for a sinister haunting, a questionable start-up community, and a spooky reason for some mysterious disappearances. In the end, what we got was a showcase of greedy men and, unfortunately, an unsatisfactory ending.


Lacrimore by SJ Costello

Lacrimore by SJ Costello

Genre: Fiction / Horror / Gothic / Fantasy

Pub. Date: June 23, 2020 by Findaway Voices (audiobook)

I knew Lacrimore was going to be one of my spooky season books on October 1st. Hoopla recommended it to me and I have been using the audiobook to get me to and from work this past week. Despite a moderately slow start, the story built steadily until, by the end, I was satisfied that I had not only picked out a solid haunted house story for my last book of spooky season, but that even outside of Lacrimore itself, events were strange enough to stand all on their own. Four stars for this ghosty gothic novel.


*Featured image from Mentalfloss.com / CYANO66/ISTOCK


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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Spooky Reads 2021

⇒ “Everything that happens before Death is what counts.” Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury⇐

Author: Ray Bradbury Narrator: Christian Rummel

(3.92 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Horror / Fantasy / Science Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Re-Publication Date: October 21, 2014, by Audible Audio / ListenUp Production LLC
Original Pub Date: September 17, 1962

Length: 9 hr 5 m (Audiobook)

#SomethingWickedThisWayComes #RayBradbury #SpookyReads


You had to run with a night like this, so the sadness could not hurt.

Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

In the early 80s, the film adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes was released in theaters. There must have been a dare going around at school because my younger cousin begged his mom to take him to see it. I was always so much smarter than he was, so I had no part in this particular shenanigan. I’m not sure exactly why my aunt decided to take him to this dark fantasy (he was very young at the time), but off they trotted. I never heard it directly from him (pride prevented that, even much, much later in life), but apparently they were less than 30 minutes into the action when a scrunched and eyes-hidden boy (my cousin) knocked on his mom’s arm and begged her to leave. Now! Trust that I will never let him live that down. Ever! Let’s check out the book blurb…

A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare.


Beware the autumn people

Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

Let me pause and give my cousin the smallest bit of credit. At least he tried. Although he didn’t quite conquer the challenge, he was willing to face it head on. And, after reading (and finishing, might I add) this book, Bradbury has taught me that this is what life is all about. I was expecting only a scary story about a creepy carnival, but instead I came away with a valuable life lesson. Classic Ray Bradbury.

Will and Jim are the absolute best of friends. They are alike in countless ways: the same age, height, and they even run the same speed. Until this October, time has been standing still for them and they’ve just been boys, in their town, doing what boys do everyday. And everything has been great. Until the carnival comes.

First of all, this particular carnival is out of season. Summer is over, school is in session, and the fall leaves are already getting kicked around by much chillier gusts of wind. Why would they come now, erecting their tents at 3 AM? And why does it feel so inexplicably wrong to Will and Jim? They’d soon find out that nothing about this carnival and its host of freaks is what they expected. It’s so much worse.

The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread. They butter it with pain. They set their clocks by deathwatch beetles, and thrive the centuries.

Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

Now you already know that I really do hate spoilers – even for books that have been around for almost 60 years. What I can easily say about this book is that if carnivals and carnival-folk didn’t creep you out before, they definitely will now! If I never ride a carousel or go through a maze of mirrors again, I will 100% be OK!
But there’s something more going on with this plot outside of a tattooed man behaving badly. There is a distinct and touching sub-plot where Will and his dad find common ground in the midst of all this madness, and where the reader learns that life is for the living.

Read Something Wicked… if you appreciate a story about a freakish carnival that is written like poetry. Definitely read it if you swoon when words seem to move across the page like crisp autumn leaves dancing on the October wind. Read it if you want a horror story under your belt, but also want to be able to sleep at night. Also read it if you’re an English teacher and can’t bear the thought of forcing yet another class of young minds to read Animal Farm and Death of Salesman again (think outside the box!). And read it because it’s a classic spooky story with witches in balloons, time-warping carousels, skeleton men, and mirrors that show you your deepest fears.

And if you read it in October, at night, when the chill in the air is just setting in, you may just hear the first high notes of a calliope on the wind…


FUN FACT: Bradbury’s writing life was sparked by an encounter with a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of Electrico’s performance, he reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched him with his energy-charged sword, and commanded, “Live Forever!” Bradbury later said, ”I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.” – Raybradbury.com


Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury | Excerpt courtesy SoundCloud

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s contribution to the literary landscape and our collective imagination made him one of the best-known writers of our time. As a master storyteller, champion of creative freedom, space-age visionary, and guardian of the human heart, he has been embraced by millions across many generations and all walks of life.

https://raybradbury.com


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Old Hollow | Spooky Reads 2021

⇒ “Come Forth, O Dark Ones, and Avail Thee of Our Blood.” Old Hollow by Ambrose Stolliker⇐

Author: Ambrose Stolliker Narrator: Thomas Deckard Croix

(4.08 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Historical Fiction / Horror

Format: Audiobook

Publication Date: February 27, 2018, by Findaway Voices / Radiant Crown Publishing

Length: 1 hr 44 m (Audiobook)

#OldHollow #AmbroseStolliker #SpookyReads


I chose to start off my spooky season reading with the short novella, Old Hollow, and I am so glad I did. It was the perfect book to whet my horror appetite and knock the cobwebs off of that genre for me. And, to be honest, I didn’t have high expectations when I first started reading it, but it ended up really surprising me! Let’s check out the blurb…

Spring, 1865. The Southern armies are close to defeat. Union Cavalry Commander Philip Sheridan has loosed his scouts into the Virginia countryside in search of an opportunity to intercept and destroy Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Rebel army and bring the war to an end. One such scout is Captain Benjamin Lawson, a man haunted by the burden of command and the scenes of senseless slaughter he has endured at places like Antietam and Gettysburg. His sole desire is to see his men survive the final days of the terrible conflict that has engulfed the country for five bloody years.
The fortunes of war, however, have another fate in store for Lawson and his men, Sergeant Jordy Lightfoot and Corporal Emil Boyd. On a dark, rainy night, Lawson’s party of scouts stumbles into a large group of Rebel cavalry. All Hell breaks loose. Two of his men are killed outright, and Lawson, Lightfoot and Boyd barely manage to escape into a thick forest.

There, Lawson discovers that the young corporal has been gravely wounded. Determined not to lose yet another man under his command, Lawson heads for a small, out-of-the-way town called Old Hollow in the hopes of finding a doctor who can help the dying boy. What he finds instead is far more terrifying than anything he has witnessed on the battlefield. Soon, he and his men are in a fight for their lives against a twisted preacher who has struck a diabolical covenant with an ancient, unspeakable evil.


I don’t know of many horror stories based during times of war. Now before you proceed to regale me in the comments of a thousand titles, let me just say that I, myself, am not aware of them – not that they don’t exist. But that is initially what intrigued me about this book. I always like to be plopped down in the middle of unexpected places in books, and what other place is more unexpected than a Civil War zone, or a small, out-of-the-way town in Virginia, for that matter.

Any time characters find themselves accidentally having to detour to random small towns that no one has ever visited before, you know you’re in store for some freaky stuff to start happening. And once the captain and his men reach Old Hollow, it doesn’t take long for that to ring true.

I am not going to spoil anything for you. It’s best to just allow the events of this quick read unfold naturally. But I will say that I was very satisfied with the balance of creepy thrills and plot development by the time I reached the grisly end of this book.

Read Old Hollow if you want a quick, chilling read to set the Halloween season off on the right foot. Don’t expect to be outright terrified, but expect to be creeped out and maybe keep a light on nearby to dispel the shadows in the corners. The audiobook was well done – accents and all. I’ve included a little snippet of it below courtesy of SoundCloud. Enjoy, and happy spooky reading everyone!



Ambrose Stolliker
Ambrose Stolliker lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son. He is a former newspaper reporter and magazine journalist and currently works as a storyteller and digital marketing manager in the technology sector.

https://ambrosestolliker.wordpress.com


*Featured image by Nick Page Photography


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Spooky Reads TBR – October 2021

⇒The moon has awoken with the sleep of the sun, the light has been broken; the spell has begun. – Midgard Morningstar

Wait… Stop… Do you smell that? Something new is in the air… It’s a mix of reddening leaves, crisper temps, and just a faint hint of pumpkin spice. That’s right, fall is here! October is absolutely the best month of the year – no contest (we can debate about this in November). It’s also the best month to pick out some creepy books to read!

This year, I couldn’t even wait to start my annual #spookyreads. I kicked it of in the last week of September and I am ready to power all the way through October 31st (unless the ghoulies get me first). So let’s check out my picks for creepy titles this year – hopefully there will be a few that will keep me up at night!

There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror.

Arthur Conan Doyle – A Study in Scarlet

Old Hollow by Ambrose Stolliker

I kicked off my spooky season with this eerie little novella, and wow! It was scarier than I initially expected! I can’t remember ever reading a horror story based in war times, so that was a completely fresh premise for me. Plus, this story gets injected with a creepy cult and dark supernatural beasties that make it a great page-turner to kick off any October TBR.

“‘Come Forth, O Dark Ones, and Avail Thee of Our Blood.’ The Civil War has left scars both physical and unseen. Few towns in the South have escaped devastation, but one has been left mysteriously unscathed. After Union scouts survive a harrowing battle with Rebel soldiers, they seek help for a wounded man in Old Hollow. Instead of aid, they encounter a nervous woman who warns them to leave, a doctor who seems strangely reluctant to help, and a preacher who ministers to his congregation in a most unusual way. There is evil in Old Hollow, but it may not be solely supernatural. It may also be in the deeds people do to one another and the lengths they will go to to save their own skins.”


Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

No, you do not have deja vu. Yes, you have seen this on my spooky reads TBR before. Am I as committed to reading it this year as I have been in past years? Again, wholeheartedly, yes. Don’t judge me.

“If you’re Detective Versado’s geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you’re desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you’re Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you’ll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe — and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world. “


We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.

Stephen King

Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar

I am ready for this book to rock my world! In this work of metafiction, the author will bring us to a place where we have to separate fact from fiction, imagination from reality; all while realizing that the true horrors of this world aren’t really that far away from any of us. I can’t wait!

“Recent college graduate Richard Chizmar returns to his hometown just as a curfew is enacted and a neighborhood watch is formed. In the midst of preparing for his wedding and embarking on a writing career, he soon finds himself thrust into the real-life horror story. Inspired by the terrifying events, Richard writes a personal account of the serial killer’s reign of terror, unaware that these events will continue to haunt him for years to come.”


A Season of Whispers by Jackson Kuhl

Full disclosure, I have already knocked this one off of my October TBR and I feel kind of meh about it. For some, it struck all the right horror chords, but it just wasn’t the book for me. It overpromised and underdelivered. From the blurb and the first few chapters, I expected a historically haunted house, an evil community leader, and an elusive beast in the basement with a ravenous appetite. However *SPOILER ALERT, that is only a shade of what we got. In the end, we were only left with a parade of greedy men and an unsatisfactory ending. I’d say skip it.

“In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide from his past… But Bonaventure isn’t as utopian as it seems. One by one, Lyman’s secrets begin to catch up with him, and Bonaventure has a few secrets of its own. Why did the farm have an ominous reputation long before Grosvenor bought it? What caused the previous tenants to vanish? And who is playing the violin in the basement? Time is running out, and Lyman must discover the truth before he’s driven mad by the whispering through the walls.”


There is something haunting in the light of the moon.

Joseph Conrad

Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake, #3) by Victoria Schwab

This originally started out as a series that my daughter and I were reading together (her name is also Cassidy). She moved on to manga and feral pets battling in the forest, but I just can’t get enough of Cassidy Blake and her paranormal pal Jacob! Primarily, it’s because Schwab just really knows how to write a good book, but it’s also because this series – although considered to be middle grade fantasy – doesn’t hold back on the spine-chilling thrills!

“Cass thinks she might have this ghost-hunting thing down. After all, she and her ghost best friend, Jacob, have survived two haunted cities while travelling for her parents’ TV show. But nothing can prepare Cass for New Orleans, which wears all of its hauntings on its sleeve. In a city of ghost tours and tombs, raucous music and all kinds of magic, Cass could get lost in all the colourful, grisly local legends. And the city’s biggest surprise is a foe Cass never expected to face: a servant of Death itself.”


Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I knew I wanted to include at least one classic on my list this year, and when I saw that my library had this book available through Hoopla, I gladly added it. One, it’s Ray Bradbury. Two, the title alone is enough to make you start looking over your shoulder. And three, who isn’t down for a scary book about a traveling carnival? I’m here for it!

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.


Lacrimore by SJ Costello

And, yes, another novella for the list this year. The blurb and reviews of Lacrimore drew me in because so many commented on how beautifully written it is. I also needed another (perhaps better?) haunted house story for my TBR. Let’s hope Lacrimore has the goods and delivers in ways that A Season of Whispers did not.

Far from the mainland, on a small island in the middle of a lake, stands Lacrimore, centuries old and wreathed in grim legends. But something much darker than legends thrives within its walls, waiting to lay claim to the house’s inhabitants.


Halloween wraps fear in innocence, as though it were a slightly sour sweet. Let terror, then, be turned into a treat…

Nicholas Gordon

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

OK, honestly, I think the 17th century was scary enough without having to add a twice-dead leper and demons into the mix, but this is where Turton is taking us. I have this one waiting for me on audiobook, and the question is, am I going to be able to make it all the way through? We shall see…

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?


*Summary blurbs courtesy of Goodreads.com and BarnesandNoble.com


I realize that my 2021 Spooky Reads list is a bit ambitious (I have never been the fastest reader); however, I am hopeful because I have a good balance of print and audiobooks this year. So, whenever I can’t actually have a book in my hands, I can still be listening to one. I just hope that doesn’t lead to any embarrassing moments of abject terror from people coming up behind me at work while I’m engrossed in one of these hauntingly good tales! Eesh. Enjoy your October reading!


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Blog Tour | Ravens in the Rain: A Noir Love Story

Blog Tour | “What truth she sees, so she flees. Unseen. Insane. Like a raven in the rain.” – Ravens in the Rain: A Noir Love Story by Christie Santo and Jeff Santo

**Many thanks to BookBaby Books and the authors for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Author: Christie Santo and Jeff Santo

(4.38 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Noir / Hard-Boiled Mystery

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: September 22, 2021, by BookBaby Books

Pages: 248 (Paperback)

#RavensintheRain


Lately, it seems like love is a game where everyone plays dirty.

-Ravens in the Rain

Black and white TV. OK, I may have just lost all the millennials, but I do remember a time when there were still black and white movies on TV. Sure, they weren’t first releases when I was watching, but there was a certain magic to them. They were from a different era and I was in the future, peeking in on them with all my omniscient knowledge of color and remote controls and cable boxes. So when you mention “noir” to me, yes, I picture the stylized and cynical characters of classic Hollywood embroiled in some shady mystery – everyone smoking cigarettes in well-cut trench coats and accented English. And I also relate those TV shows and movies to all that black and white magic of a time long past that can still pull you in to those stories no matter which era you claim.
Ravens in the Rain has that kind of magic. Set in modern times, it’s a story that nevertheless gives you all kinds of black and white vibes in both character and setting. Let’s check out the blurb…

Ravens In The Rain is an unconventional noir love story between a woman with a past and a man with no future where love is no fairy tale, fantasy is foreplay, and sex is had on second dates. Carney and Pru, down on luck and down on love, meet over a game of chance, and the mystery of the other’s intentions, compounded by their overwhelming attraction toward each other, compels them into a game of cat and mouse. They ante up and play this game of love or survival that has you wondering who’s the villain and who’s the hero and how it will all play out. When murder is brought to their doorstep the game gets serious. A psychological tale between a poet and a filmmaker that has even the cat wondering if it’s really the mouse, what is real, and who is telling the truth. Is love on the table? Or is it life?


I suggest you get to know each other fast. Love’s the ticket for the next ride.

-Ravens in the Rain

As the book opens, we’re immediately dropped into the middle of a story that has already started. We don’t know who we’re meeting or why, but we know that if we don’t pay attention, we’ll miss something vitally important. We meet the main characters, Carney and Pru, and almost immediately we get the feeling that both everything and nothing is right about them getting together. Fate is almost certainly at work here, and all we can do is watch as her little game is played out.

At this point, I have to interject. I know the authors have called this a love story, but I have to give die-hard romance readers a little heads-up here. This is not your typical enemies-to-friends, fake-couple-falls-in-love, blind-date-setup (or whatever common romance trope you’re used to seeing in novels these days) type of book. Sure, there is a theme: Mistrustful man meets woman with secrets and, despite all of his brain’s deep-seated warnings, well… the heart wants what the heart wants. But that theme is wrapped up in the dark, sketchy settings of casinos and nighttime LA streets where anything can and does happen. All it takes is one bad decision – or a string of them – and some pretty bad luck.

He’s always had a little bit of bad luck and bad timing, a shadow away from shining.

-Ravens in the Rain

Reading Ravens in the Rain will put you in a different mindset. It reads like a movie script, especially in the first few chapters. You can practically sense the soundstage with all of its looming cameramen and lighting crew just waiting for the director to yell “Cut!” so they can reset. As the story advances, all of that falls into the background as you are engulfed in this couple’s story of troubled togetherness.

As far as characters go, we start out not knowing much about either of them. They are as intentionally mysterious as the events in their past. Chapter after chapter, we are given just a few more morsels here and there that eventually flesh out Carney and Pru, while still leaving them feeling almost as mysterious as when we first meet them. And that feeling only adds to the mystery of the story which is only better because of it.

One thing though, do not read this book thinking that you’re immediately going to be inundated with crazy action and/or an overarching mystery right off the bat. It really is a slow burn, but rightfully so. Pru and Carney are the real story, while the rest of everyone and everything just circulates around them. Now, don’t take that to mean it’s a snooze-fest – there is definitely action and a mystery to be solved as well, but those act as sub-plots to the main characters finding themselves in each other.

See, you’re the creator of your dreams, so rewrite them with better endings.

-Ravens in the Rain

Ravens in the Rain will appeal to a reader who is looking for an unconventional love story with characters who harbor a lot of secrets and certainly aren’t your cookie-cutter romantic types. It is a little laggy in the middle, but picks up a lot toward the end. There were definitely some points where I questioned motives and saw easy outs for their predicaments; but, honestly, this couple was born for the drama and because of that, there was no way they would have avoided any of it. The style of the book almost acts as a third main character – moody and just a little bit wild and unpredictable. All the things noir mystery readers really appreciate.

I am grateful to the authors for reaching out to me to be a part of their blog tour, and be sure to pick up a copy of Ravens in the Rain: A Noir Love Story in stores beginning September 22nd, 2021 (and check out the book trailer below)!


Ravens in the Rain is available September 22nd at any of the following retailers:

  • Amazon *Books-A-Million *Barnes and Noble * Book Depository *Target *IndieBound


Christie and Jeff Santo

Married over 10-years, Christie & Jeff Santo, lucky in love, never would’ve met if Christie didn’t miss her airplane. Luckier still, when a motorcycle accident almost took their lives, it became the driving force toward their writing career together. Coming from the independent film industry, Jeff has over 25-years of filmmaking experience, directing and writing, with memberships in both the WGA and DGA. And Christie has years of experience in editing, producing, acting, and writing. Christie has her Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from California State University Long Beach and has freelanced as a ghostwriter for novels. Jeff and Christie are owners of www.SantoFilms.com. They live in Burbank, California with their two Boston Terrier dogs. –Ravensintherain.com


Featured

New or Old – That Smell is Incredible

Welcome to my book review blog. Thanks for dropping in!

The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.

–W. Somerset Maugham

Whenever I get a new book, or mooch an old book, or borrow a book from the library, for that matter, I bring it close to my nose… and inhale.

Sometimes the smell is crisp and warm, almost woodsy. Other times it’s ancient and musky, like well-worn furniture. Either way, it’s a great smell. Remember that episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory is showing Anna (future Yale student) around the library and she picks up a book and smells it? Yes, just like that: #bibliosmia.

So now you know I read old books and new – and I love them both equally. So if you’re here to just see reviews on all the hot new releases that everyone else is reading and blogging about, then you’re not in the right place. Sorry.

I do read selective New Releases, but I also have a lot of “Dusty Bookshelf” reads that I am committed to getting through in this upcoming year (I said that last year too), and a lot of books that people have recommended to me that I will finally get around to. The books I read/review won’t always be current, but they’ll always be interesting.

I prefer reading hardcovers or trade-sized paperbacks (there’s nothing like the feel of a book in your hands), but I also read several e-books and listen to a few audiobooks each month, so you’ll likely see reviews for publications in those formats as well.

Occasionally, when she lets me, my daughter and I will read her books together. She’s in 5th grade and has a bookcase full of chapter books that we work our way through whenever she’s not bogged down with school-assigned stories. When our read-along books are especially good, I’ll review those too.

I’ll also occasionally be featuring my favorite authors, book events in Georgia, upcoming new releases, links to free e-book deals, and throwback looks at my favorite childhood reads.

I’m a Goodreads member and belong to several groups there. The book cover pics I post will most often come from Goodreads along with mentions of their overall rating of each book. However, I do not – I repeat, NOT – allow the rating from “the masses” influence my personal opinion of any book I read. Reviews are my own individual thoughts and I am absolutely not receiving any compensation for anything I post here.

As you may have guessed, this is my first foray into blogging so I’m sure I have some kinks to work out. If something isn’t working or posting correctly, just bear with me and I’ll get it worked out. Eventually. ♥

Enjoy!

booksniffing

The Night She Disappeared – Pub Day Review: Sept. 7, 2021

“I just want it to be us, the three of us, always. That’s all.” – The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

**Many thanks to Atria Books, NetGalley, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Author: Lisa Jewell

(4.37 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Crime Fiction / Mystery / Thriller

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: September 7, 2021, by Atria Books

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

#TheNightSheDisappeared #LisaJewell #AtriaBooks #NetGalley

**Trigger warnings:


How can two people go to the pub on a Friday night and never come back and nobody know what happened to them?

The Night She Disappeared – Lisa Jewell

In school, I was not one of the popular girls. I wasn’t outgoing, or extroverted, or confident. I had friends, but they were all pretty much like me. We knew the popular kids though – the ones that seemed to have the sun on their shoulders every time they walked into the room. We knew how they dressed, how they wore their hair, the music they listened to. It seemed important to know, even if it wasn’t part of my own identity. Cool kids are hypnotizing. Apparently, Tallulah Murray thought so too – and her interest in one particular girl completely changed her life. Let’s check out the blurb…

2017: 19 year old Tallulah is going out on a date, leaving her baby with her mother, Kim.
Kim watches her daughter leave and, as late evening turns into night, which turns into early morning, she waits for her return. And waits.
The next morning, Kim phones Tallulah’s friends who tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a party at a house in the nearby woods called Dark Place. She never returns.
2019: Sophie is walking in the woods near the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started work as a head-teacher when she sees a note fixed to a tree.
‘DIG HERE’ . . .
A cold case, an abandoned mansion, family trauma and dark secrets lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s remarkable new novel.


She wants to tell her mum that sometimes she feels like she can’t breathe, she simply cannot breathe.

The Night She Disappeared – Lisa Jewell

Not sure if this is a theme for this month or not, but this is my second book (in as many days) that is based in the UK and has to do with missing people – and not on purpose!

I’ve learned a lot by reading so many crime novels and listening to so many true crime podcasts. Don’t get into cars with strangers. Never walk home alone. And always, always make sure you tell someone exactly where you are going to be when you go out. But if there is one thing that I would add after reading this book – and it’s not a spoiler – always be honest with at least one person about things that are going on in your life, even if they are a bit embarrassing. It never helps to keep big feelings bottled up, and sometimes the right person can surprise you with how helpful they can be. What does any of that have to do with this book? Ahhh, there’s so much to unpack with Jewell’s latest release. I promise that little nugget will make sense after you read it.

And there are no answers to anything, anywhere, no clear paths through.

The Night She Disappeared – Lisa Jewell

I guess, by now, that any time a Lisa Jewell new release hits the shelves there are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of readers just clamoring to be the first to read it. We want the thrills, the mystery, the question marks that lead to dead ends, clouded speculations, and twisty conclusions. Is a Lisa Jewell book a sure thing? Not always. But this one should definitely do well among her dedicated fans.

It’s a taut mystery with sympathetic characters and secretive villains that may or may not be innocent in all this. One thing I wish Jewell would have done was to make the Dark Place house into more of a character on its own. There was so much more this amazing house could have given us, I believe, in tone and atmosphere. It wasn’t wasted, I just wanted more!

So, back to the popular people… Tallulah has a lot going on. She’s a young mother, trying to finish school, and she’s trying to make her life work with her son’s father, Zach. Maybe she sees in the popular kids what her life could be like. Or maybe there’s something else that she sees. An escape? I can’t tell you everything. But I can tell you that decision-making is key in this book. And at every turn, choices are made that are hard to come back from. The kind of choices that make for a great crime novel!

Being with me shouldn’t stop you being free. Nothing should stop you being free.

The Night She Disappeared – Lisa Jewell

The Night She Disappeared is a solid 3.5-star read. Told across multiple timelines and narrators, the storyline proceeds at a nice pace and kept me interested throughout. The main characters are developed well in the beginning and then even more as we travel back and forth along the timeline of events. At each point, the reader will feel exactly how Jewell wants you to feel about each character, and when it’s time for that assumption to change, you’ll immediately feel the shift. And those changes are key to the movement and emotions of the story going along exactly the way that they should. I don’t think there was one time when I felt that the book was dragging. And the shorter final chapters really let the reader race through the denouement in a way that perfectly matches the action!

Pick up a copy of this Brit-based crime thriller if you love stories with multiple timelines, stories where a writer is the MC, handsome detectives, love triangles, someone-knows-something plots, and you-have-got-to-be-kidding endings!


The Night She Disappeared is available September 7th at any of the following retailers:


Check out this excerpt from The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels, including The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Invisible Girl and Watching You. Her novels have sold over 5 million copies internationally, and her work has also been translated into twenty-eight languages. –contact@cjmerritt.co.uk


The New Home

“You never know what’s happening behind closed doors.” – The New Home by Chris Merritt

**Many thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Author: Chris Merritt

(3.64 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Crime Fiction / Mystery / Psychological Thriller

Format: Kindle

Expected Publication Date: September 7, 2021, by Bookouture

Pages: 332 (Kindle)

#TheNewHome #ChrisMerritt #Bookouture #NetGalley

**Trigger warnings: domestic violence references, miscarriage, rape references, violence


A vivid imagination can be scary at times, but I wouldn’t want to live without it.

The New House – Chris Merritt

You may know what it feels like – to move to a new place and feel like you’re starting all over. You have to figure out a new route to work, school, the grocery store. And if you bought a fixer-upper, there are countless renovations, repairs, and replacements before you can even get settled. And then there are the neighbors to consider. Will they be friendly, helpful, quiet? Or will they be… something other than that? The main characters in this new release by Chris Merritt had high hopes for their new home, but will it live up to their dreams? Let’s check out the blurb…

Freya loves her new home on a quiet suburban street. And her beautiful neighbour Emily is everything she’s ever wanted in a best friend. Finally, she has somebody to share her secrets with over a glass of wine. But as Freya watches her new friend setting the table for dinner one evening, she sees something shocking that makes her think that Emily’s life might not be as perfect as it seems. Days later, Emily and her daughter vanish…
When you meet Emily’s husband, you will think you know what he’s hiding.
You will ask yourself whether Emily and Freya really did meet by chance.
You will think you know what happened to Emily and her little girl the night they went missing.

But when you discover the truth, it will shake you to your core and you will lie awake at night wondering if you can ever really trust the people in the house next door…


…if they could just disappear, the same thing might happen to me. That one day I could simply vanish, too.

The New House – Chris Merritt

OK, yes, this is yet another book about a woman gone missing. BUT before you flip to the next blog, understand that, surprisingly, the missing persons in this story kinda take a backseat to everything else that’s going on with the main character, Freya. Sure, Emily and her daughter, Thea, are important, but there’s so much more involved with their disappearance and the investigation that, often, they are the motivation but not the focus. It gives this story a fresh spin that separates it from so many of the police procedurals I often read.

The London setting doesn’t truly come into play until much later in the book, but when it does, the setting and atmosphere are vividly captured and weirdly perfect for the ensuing action. And this book is all about action. Freya isn’t one to sit around and contemplate long about what should happen. She’s a doer, and doers make for great book action. Granted, it was often cringey action. Like, what-no-stop-seriously kind of action, but action nonetheless. Spontaneity may not always make for the best decisions, but it’s excellent for creating movement in a story!

People do strange things when they think they’re in love. Or perhaps when they feel they have no other choice.

The New House – Chris Merritt

OK, let’s be honest, there are two words that can easily pull a reader like me into a book: twisty thriller. The “sales pitch” for this book had that phrase attached to it, so I was sold. Is it thrilling? Sure. Is it twisty? Definitely. The characters play well with each other, in that they are all totally at odds with one another! It’s the perfect mish-mosh of neighborly dysfunction that only adds to the reader’s inability to trust anyone at all. If you enjoy being totally lopsided in all of your assumptions about who the “bad guy” is while still being 100% sure that you’re accurate, then this is the book for you.

I had to be with you. But I knew even that wouldn’t be enough.

The New House – Chris Merritt

The New Home is a solid 3.5-star read. You can get through it in one sitting, if you’re so inclined. Readers should be aware of certain triggers including references to domestic violence, involuntary commitment to a mental facility, and rape. Also, direct depiction of a miscarriage were pretty difficult to read. And this is, of course, a crime novel, so there are several violent acts featured as well. Sensitive readers should govern accordingly.

Pick up a copy of this quick standalone psych thriller if you enjoy mysteries with satisfying endings, unreliable narrators, creepy neighbors, London settings, and steadily-building, twisty, whodunnit drama!


The New House is available September 7th at any of the following retailers:


Chris Merritt

I began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. I specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked my interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.
Now, I spend most of my time writing novels and drinking coffee while ‘thinking’ about writing novels. When I’m not writing, I love climbing and playing basketball. –contact@cjmerritt.co.uk


August Audiobooks – The Guest List by Lucy Foley

⇒ “If I can’t move heaven, then I shall raise hell.” The Guest List by Lucy Foley⇐

Author: Lucy Foley Narrators: Jot Davies, Chloe Massey, Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Sarah Ovens, Rich Keeble

(3.86 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller

Format: Audiobook

Publication Date: May 5, 2020 by HarperAudio

Pages: 330 (Hardcover) Audio Length: 10h 22m

#TheGuestList #LucyFoley #Audiobook


I’m not worried about it being haunted. I have my own ghosts. I carry them with me wherever I go.

The Guest List

Many, many years ago, I used to be a wedding planner. It wasn’t something I got paid for; I did it for my church, but I put just as much energy into it as if there was a paycheck on the other end of all that planning and coordination. I really did love it. Yes, it was stressful. Yes, there were times when things didn’t go perfectly as planned. And, yet, things always seemed to come together as they should. At the end of the night, there was always a happy couple and, best of all, leftover cake!

Reading a book where two of the main characters are coordinating a wedding fit perfectly in my wheelhouse. Throw in a previously deserted (and possibly haunted) Irish island, and top it all off with an engaged couple who are wealthy minor celebrities with skeletons in their closets and this story has all the ingredients for a disastrous recipe! Let’s check out the blurb…

The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner – The bridesmaid – The body. On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding fit for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed. But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast. And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

But no matter what happens, life is only a series of days. You can’t control more than a single day.

The Guest List

So this book progresses about the way that you’d expect it to – especially when there’s a lot of money and alcohol flowing and there’s also an exacting bride with expensive taste. As you see the many threads begin to pull apart (and I’m not just talking about in the maid of honor’s silk dress either), you also see the talented and patient wedding planner stitching everything back together again. Aoife is a force to be reckoned with, and the rowdy wedding party and guests need someone with her strength to wrangle them all away from the deadly bog… and each other.

I love how the suspense builds steadily throughout the book. And the audiobook only intensifies the feeling of impending disaster with multiple POVs voiced by multiple narrators as well. That combination sets the perfect ominous tone over what is supposed to be the happiest day of Jules and Will’s lives. It may be just me, but I was waiting with bated breath to see all the things that could possibly go wrong with this wedding! I mean, let’s be real – neither Will or Julia are particularly likable, and we already know that someone on this island is not going to have their best day, so it was a pretty satisfying read to see how badly things began to thoroughly fall apart page after page.

In my experience those who have the greatest respect for the rules also take the most enjoyment in breaking them.

The Guest List

Since this is my last review of Audiobook August, it seems only fitting that this book takes the cake (get it?) with not one, not two, but SIX narrators! Sometimes having so many can become cumbersome and confusing, but the varied accents and inflections in The Guest List kept each of these characters fresh and unique. From the ne’er-do-well best man, Jonno, to the best friend of the bride’s plus one, Hannah, these are all the people you come to love, hate, or suspect as the wedding night approaches.

It’s difficult to review the book without wanting to give everything away. And it’s so much better if readers just allow the story to unfold for them. Since this is a review blog, however, I will say that I was very disappointed to not give this book 4 stars at least. Nothing other than a rather patchy ending caused the deficit. Even with the addition of an epilogue, this story ended with me checking the recording to see if it had stopped prematurely or if I had accidentally skipped ahead and missed some paragraphs. Outside of that, I did enjoy my virtual trip to the Irish island, but I hope that no one invites me to a wedding there any time soon.

Now, here are your narrators…



And check out an excerpt of the audiobook on SoundCloud reading The Guest List:


Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry – during which time she wrote her debut novel, The Book of Lost and Found. Lucy now writes full-time. During the year she divides her time between the UK and the Middle East – much of this novel was written in a garden in Tehran! – as well as travelling around the world for research and inspiration . She is currently working on her next book. -harpercollins.ca


August Audiobooks: Before the Coffee Gets Cold

⇒ “We must become friends before this coffee cools.” Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi⇐

Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi Narrator: Arina Ii

(3.72 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Fantasy

Format: Audiobook

Publication Date: November 17, 2020 by Harlequin Audio

Pages: 272 (Hardcover) Audio Length: 6h 52m

#BeforeTheCoffeeGetsCold #ToshikazuKawaguchi #Audiobook


At the end of the day, whether one returns to the past or travels to the future, the present doesn’t change.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Pour a warm cup of your favorite coffee blend, take a deep whiff of it, and feel the warmth of it in your hands. Feel relaxed now? Good. Now, let’s share our thoughts about this book while our cups are steaming hot. It’s the best way to drink coffee after all.

I knew that I was going to include this book in my Audiobook August reading list ever since I picked up a paperback copy of it in a bookstore on one random weekday. It has an instantly intriguing cover that invites you into a story that I immediately felt drawn into as well. Let’s check out the blurb…

What would you change if you could go back in time? In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time. In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know. But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold…

Water flows from high places to low places. That is the nature of gravity. Emotions also seem to act according to gravity.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

There was a point at the beginning – in the first few chapters – when I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this book. I wasn’t ready for the relaxed pace of it; I wanted to jump directly into the drama of time-traveling. I’m such an American! However, chapter by chapter, the story grew on me and I fell under it’s comfortably steady spell. I quickly learned that what I was anticipating the most was only a backdrop for really meaningful emotional experiences of some very touching characters.

This book feels different from many other novels in unexpected ways. It is soft and unrushed. Each story unfolds without pretense or pressure, even when the individual characters are under very stressful situations. Each character is meaningfully introduced and will occupy a place in your heart. You will feel their emotions and relate to each of their reasons for visiting the Funiculi Funicula café. Kawaguchi’s writing is a balm to my senses, especially in the midst of reading dark crime thrillers and naughty faerie fiction.

If this continues, I won’t find myself in the present or past; I’ll simply vanish in a wisp of smoke.

We all know that an audiobook can be made or destroyed by it’s narrator. Imagine Fran Drescher narrating War and Peace. Wait… that might actually make it better! Arina Ii narrates Before the Coffee Gets Cold and it is a perfect marriage of a calm, soothing presence leading you into a fantastic journey with the coffee café patrons and owners.

I would love to see this book brought to life on stage. That’s almost how it reads, like a stage play. I would definitely recommend it for a quiet, meaningful change of pace and for the opportunity to read a book with a subtle greater meaning: Don’t let the coffee get cold.

Now, let’s meet the narrator , Arina Ii…


Arina Ii
Arina Ii is an actress, known for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017), Cyberpunk 2077 (2020) and Jack and the Beanstalk (2020).

Bio from IMDb


Check out an excerpt of Ii reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold below:


And check her out on SoundCloud reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold:


Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Toshikazu Kawaguchi (in Japanese: 川口 俊 和) was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971. He formerly produced, directed and wrote for the theatrical group Sonic Snail. As a playwright, his works include COUPLESunset Song, and Family Time. The novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold is adapted from a 1110 Productions play by Kawaguchi, which won the 10th Suginami Drama Festival grand prize.