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Blog Tour | This is How I Lied

Blog Tour | With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later. –This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

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


Author: Heather Gudenkauf

(4.27 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: May 12, 2020, by Park Row Books

Pages: 336 (Kindle version)

#ThisIsHowILied #HeatherGudenkauf #ParkRowBooks #NetGalley


Dark places made it so much easier to be cruel, to exact revenge.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, 
that's what little girls are made of...

We’ve all heard that popular little nursery rhyme touting the sweet attributes of precious little girls. But This is How I Lied is a murder mystery, not a nursery rhyme, so perhaps the more appropriate lyrics for this particular book would be those from Donna Summer (it’s disco, look it up)…

Toot toot, hey, beep beep
You bad girl, you sad girl
You're such a naughty bad girl
Beep beep, uh huh

You’ve gotta love a book with a really bad girl in it (or two). I think I first learned to appreciate the novelty of the female villain by watching Disney movies; Maleficent (the original animated version) and Ursula the Sea Witch are legit frighteningly evil characters! Later, I loved reading about diabolical female serial killer Gretchen Lowell in Chelsea Cain’s HeartSick series. Bad girls just draw us in! What motivates them? Why are they so damaged? Why aren’t they sugar and spice and everything nice?

That’s what captivates us – the bad boys are bad, but the bad girls are better! But before we get too far ahead, let’s check out the blurb…

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.
Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve.


People get what they deserve.

All is not right in the small town of Grotto, Iowa. Fifteen-year-old Eve is dead and the police can’t pin down the murderer. In any crime mystery worth its salt, you have a healthy lineup of credible suspects. If you only have one or two, it’s too easy for the mystery to fall flat. This is How I Lied goes full tilt on the suspects.

We’ve got an angry, violent ex-boyfriend, a creepy neighbor who’s a little too interested in young girls, a handsy drifter, a secretive husband, and then there’s Nola – Eve’s little sister who the whole town describes as a weird, crazy, evil genius. An evil genius who did not get along with Eve (or anyone else for that matter).

If you don’t understand how things die how can you understand how they live?

We’re conditioned to immediately point the finger at the ex-boyfriend, the shady stranger, or the man who’s keeping secrets because, after all, frogs and snails and puppy dog’s tails – that’s what little boys are made of. Right? But the way Gudenkauf writes Nola Knox, you can’t take your eyes off of her on the page. Her devil-may-care attitude, her reclusive lifestyle, her many many secrets. Readers love characters like her, you love to hate her.

So… whodunit? Unh, unh. I’m not telling! You won’t get any spoilers here. Plus, the truth behind all the lies is so unexpected and teeter-tottery that you’ll devour the last few chapters all while holding your breath!

This is a fast-paced, engaging read by an experienced author who knows how to play on our emotions. I love the multiple POV, the bouncy timeline, and the unreliable narrators. There are specific triggers that might offend sensitive readers (including domestic/physical abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, animal abuse, and abuse of a senior), so be warned.

This is my first Gudenkauf novel, so I can’t compare This is How I Lied to any of her other book, but if this one is at all representative of her work, then count me as a fan!


This is How I Lied is available now at any of the following retailers:


Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.


Blog Tour | Sunrise on Half Moon Bay

Blog Tour | “Sometimes the happiness we’re looking for has been there all along…” –Sunrise On Half Moon Bay

**Many thanks to Harlequin/MIRA and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Author: Robyn Carr

(4.24 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Contemporary Romance / Women’s Lit

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: April 14, 2020, by Harlequin / MIRA Books

Pages: 336 (Kindle version)

#SunriseOnHalfMoonBay #RobynCarr #MIRABooks


It’s just that I’m so careful about what I let myself feel because I’m afraid I might crack. And if I crack, I might collapse and never get up again.

This pandemic is teaching us a lot. I don’t think I’m only speaking for myself when I say that we are learning to appreciate the little things more. We are longing for what we considered to be normal. We are hoping to return to what we were used to before the world effectively stopped.

But that’s the thing about big changes; you almost never go back to the way things were beforehand, at least not completely. Addie and Justine – sisters who are each experiencing big life changes – are learning this the hard way. Let’s check out the blurb:

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other. When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.
Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.
Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.


Real love can be a little boring sometimes. Or at least not so pretty.

Sometimes, like the global pandemic we’re all experiencing right now, big changes happen very quickly. Other times, change is very slow. It creeps up on you and surprises you when you’re least expecting it. Either way, your response to life-altering events will shape your immediate and long-term future.

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay demonstrates that beautifully. The two main characters both manage their changes in different ways, but their resilience and fortitude in the face of tough decisions and major setbacks can certainly encourage us today irl.

… living well is the best revenge.

As you know by now, I try to be honest and fair in my reviews. If I love a book, you won’t get me to stop gushing about it. If I don’t care for it, I’ll say that, but I will always try to find the silver linings.
While this book won’t be one of my faves for the year, I think it’s an important read for those who have experienced the things these sisters do. Starting life over after having others depend on you exclusively for their well-being, or rebuilding a life after someone you love betrays that trust and commitment – both situations can be daunting and scary. These are common themes and relatable for so many. Carr’s writing speaks to those issues and offers the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel; lemonade for life’s bitter lemons.

I hope you and your family are managing the pandemic and quarantine well. I hope you are finding some zen in the midst of all the turmoil and that you are also finding some very good books to read!


Sunrise on Half Moon Bay is available now at any of the following retailers:


Robyn Carr

Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women’s fiction such as Four Friends and The View From Alameda Island and the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix Original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her website at http://www.RobynCarr.com.


One Perfect Summer

“She’d promised herself one precious summer, and she was going to have it.” -One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak

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


Author: Brenda Novak

(4.35 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Adult Contemporary

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: April 7, 2020, by MIRA Books

Pages: 464 (Kindle version)

#OnePerfectSummer #BrendaNovak


They’d gotten to know each other on a level they couldn’t have any other way – had become real sisters – while staying in this beautiful place.

Three women discover that life has more than a few surprises in store as they discover each other as sisters, as women, and as friends. Let’s check out the blurb…

When Serenity Alston swabbed her cheek for 23andMe, she joked about uncovering some dark ancestral scandal. The last thing she expected was to discover two half sisters she didn’t know existed. Suddenly, everything about her loving family is drawn into question. And meeting these newfound sisters might be the only way to get answers.
The women decide to dig into the mystery together at Serenity’s family cabin in Lake Tahoe. With Reagan navigating romantic politics at work and Lorelei staring down the collapse of her marriage, all three women are converging at a crossroads in their lives. Before the summer is over, they’ll have to confront the past and determine how to move forward when everything they previously thought to be true was a lie. But any future is easier to face with family by your side.


…any future is easier to face with family by your side.

As this title suggests, this book is best read during the summer, especially if you happen to be spending time at a lake or a beach!
It’s a light and easy read with an underlying mystery that will have you turning pages to get to the bottom of.

If you’re already a Brenda Novak fan, then you already know what to expect from her writing and her characters. You know how she connects a good story with enticing romance. You get both with her latest release.

Brenda Novak is a pro in this genre, and she knows how to write relationships. I guess that’s why I wanted so much more direct interaction between the sisters themselves. They fell into a respectful togetherness from the beginning, but it would have been nice to see their family relationship grow with each other even more throughout the story.

Also, can I just mention (carefully – without spoiling anything!) that each sister’s life drama could really have been a standalone book for each of them. Especially Lorelei’s story; oh man!

All in all, this is a book about acceptance, forgiveness, and rediscovery. It may include very specific triggers for those who have dealt with infidelity; however, those triggers become valuable life lessons for the characters and lead them into the next stages of their relationships.


Get an Autographed Copy of One Perfect Summer

Also available on Audio!



Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak, a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, has penned over sixty novels. She is a five-time nominee for the RITA Award and has won the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookbuyer’s Best, and many other awards. -bio from publisher


P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, # 2)

“They were just pretending. Until they weren’t.” -P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han


Author: Jenny Han

(4.13 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / YA / Romance

Format: Paperback

Publication Date: January 31, 2017, by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Pages: 337 (Paperback)

#PSIStillLoveYou #JennyHan #ToAllTheBoysIveLovedBefore


Lara Jean, I think you half-fall in love with every person you meet. It’s part of your charm. You’re in love with love.

Ahhh, high school. I remember it well. All the teen angst and uncertainty. Does he like me? Do I like him? Does he like her more than me? Do we have a pop quiz in Algebra today? All of these were very scary prospects in 11th grade. Lara Jean Covey can definitely relate to teen angst. Let’s check out the blurb…

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. They were just pretending. Until they weren’t. And now Lara Jean has to learn what it’s like to be in a real relationship and not just a make-believe one. But when another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him suddenly return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? … Lara Jean is about to find out that falling in love is the easy part.


But the act of writing a letter, … it’s far more deliberate. … A letter is something to keep.

Since I’m highlighting stories this month that went from page to screen, P.S. I Still Love You is the perfect book to review today – especially since its highly anticipated Netflix premier was all the rage this past February.

I read the sequel to Lara Jean’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before story and I loved it almost as much as the original. But would I like the movie just as much as the book? Is that always and forever going to be the thing with page-to-screen? Are we always doomed to compare the two and proclaim which one is better? Can we ever just… love them both? <gasp!>

All I can say is, if that boy was my boyfriend, I’d never let him go.

So, the short answer is, yes. Just as I would advise Lara Jean that it is entirely possible to love two guys at the same time, we can definitely love both the book and the movie adaptation the same way. While I absolutely prefer the way the book handles this story, the movie has its own charm which I also really appreciate.

Jenny Han captures the heart of her characters so well. Readers get totally wrapped up in the lives of these teenagers – their loves, their disappointments, and their ability to bounce back from all kinds of craziness. I remember those days! And, just like I felt with To All the Boys…, the final chapter came much too quickly.

I loved this romantic YA novel and – dare I say it? – I’m really looking forward to Always and Forever, Lara Jean… the book AND the movie!


P.S. I Still Love You Movie Trailer

Jenny Han

Jenny Han is the author of bestselling books that have been published in more than thirty languages. A former librarian, Jenny earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. -Bio from http://dearjennyhan.com/


The Majesties

“What choice do we have about the form love takes?” -The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

**Feature pic credit: Joseph Lee Art – josephleeart.com


Author: Tiffany Tsao

(3.42 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Adult Contemporary / Mystery

Format: Hardcover

Publication Date: January 21, 2020, by Atria Books

Pages: 255

#TheMajesties #TiffanyTsao


Pretty girls don’t play with ants.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to compare this book to Crazy Rich Asians. Not that the comparisons don’t have their merits; however, The Majesties is completely its own creation. It stands completely on its own and is an amazing story without any comparisons at all. Here’s the blurb…

Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan.
As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?


Love was forceful and obsessive, extravagant and jealous. It never took no for an answer. Instead, it wore its object down until said object realized the right answer was yes.

I have a confession: I 100% judged this book by its cover. I mean, look at it – it’s GORGEOUS. I read a little blurb about the plot on Goodreads, and I was instantly intrigued. Lucky for me, my library had it and I dove hungrily in.

If you read this book and can get past the very first page without your jaw dropping all the way to the floor, then nothing can shock you. And I’m not even exaggerating about that – the very first page. After Tsao’s enthralling introduction to The Majesties, I was confident that I had made the right choice – even if I did pick it because of its cover!

Aren’t you tired of all this, though? … All the secrets we keep? Everyone acting as if everything is all right? As if we aren’t rotting away on the inside?

The Majesties introduces us to an affluent family with many of the same problems that all of the rest of us have with our loved ones. The Sulinado family has its secrets, its dark corners, and its whisperings behind locked doors just like we see in families of any race and economic background.

I feel like any deep-dive into why I loved this book would only spoil all the surprises the story has to offer. So, on the surface, you’ve got a family story, a story of how extreme wealth impacts that family and the individuals in it, and about how decisions to protect that wealth at all costs forces changes that ripple into the future and through the generations.

In the past, there have been only a few rare times that I have actually really enjoyed a book that I picked randomly just because of its cover. This time, I struck the jackpot. Although it was the beautiful artwork by Joseph Lee that initially drew me in, it was the intricately woven narrative by Tiffany Tsao that kept me invested and amazed as this family’s tale unfolded. Read the book and see what I mean!


Tiffany Tsao

Tiffany Tsao was born in San Diego, CA, and lived in Singapore and Indonesia through her childhood. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and received her PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children.
bio from The Majesties


Caraval (Caraval, #1)

=> Shelf-Discipline September continues! I’m clearing my bookshelves one book at a time, and this extremely popular YA novel got drawn next out of my title jar. It appears I got an invitation to Caraval! <=


Author: Stephanie Garber

(3.95 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Mystery / YA

Format: Hardcover

Publication Date: January 31, 2017, Flatiron Books

Pages: 407 (Hardcover)

#Caraval


Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.

Annalise – Caraval

I’m OK with admitting it when I make mistakes. I wish I could say that it doesn’t happen often, so I don’t have to bother with many admissions; however, that is not the case! Early on in my reading “career”, I made a vow not to compare books with other books, but to judge them on their own merit. So, you’ll rarely see me stating, “Oh, I liked this book, ABC, but it wasn’t nearly as good as XYZ.” I don’t think that’s fair and if I wrote books, it would annoy me immensely. So I try my hardest not to do it.

So before I admit to my transgression, let’s talk about what Caraval was all about. Here’s the blurb:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.

Aiko, Caraval

So there’s an exclusive performance, a pretty young woman who’s wishing on a star, and some pretty devious guys pulling more than a few magical strings to manipulate one totally unsuspecting person. The secrets have secrets in this one, folks.

Caraval started off with a promise of some pretty scandalous acts taking place in order to rescue a helpless young woman. Which one? Pick one, because they both needed saving in more than one way. Their dad is a nightmare, they live on a conquered island (doesn’t sound like white beaches and mojitos to me), and their only escape is to be bartered off like cattle to men from other lands. Not my idea of a good time.

Enter Caraval. The ladies get invited, they go (one more willingly than the other), and they embark on an adventure that proves to be mysterious… and deadly. So, what doesn’t sound intriguing and exciting about all that. Nothing! So, why did I rate it only 3 stars? Here’s where we circle back around to my confession…

Once people leave this isle, the things they’ve done here don’t just unhappen, no matter how much they might wish them undone.

Legend, Caraval

I compared this book with another. <Gasp!> I know, I know. I shouldn’t do it, I told myself I wouldn’t do it, but the stars aligned such that I drew Caraval’s title out of my title jar for Shelf-Discipline month right after I read The Night Circus. What can I say? Fate is sloppy.

If you follow me, then you may have already read last week’s blog where I gushed about how much I loved The Night Circus and how captivating it is, yada yada. And, now, reading another book with a similar setting – a magical carnival-like performance for the public – well, a comparison between the two just can’t be denied. And The Night Circus came out on top; it’s as simple as that.

Now let me clean this up a bit: Caraval is the first book of a trilogy and it has its die-hard fans. Not adding me to that list will not hurt sales for this book one little bit. Is it a bad book? No, it is not. It has a very strong YA feel (well, duh) and readers who aren’t put off by a few classic tropes (insta-love, hate-becomes-love, and conservative spirit vs free-spirit) may enjoy the character dynamics and the valiant attempts at plot-twistery. (It’s a word!)

So, if you love the idea of trying to solve a mystery in the setting of a color-changing carnival where literally everyone is lying and there’s a god-awful lot of tunnels and top hats, then this just might be the best book you’ve read all year. Just do yourself a favor and don’t compare it to other better books as you read!

Stephanie Garber

When she’s not writing, she teaches creative writing at a private college in Northern California, where she’s been known to turn assignments into games and take students on field trips that involve book signings. Now that her dream of becoming a published author has come true, her new dream is to visit Club 33 at Disneyland. –http://stephaniegarberauthor.com


A Head Full of Ghosts

⇒My October Spooky Reads book #4 is A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. What do you do when you’re literally living with your deepest fear?⇐

by Paul Tremblay
SmellRating3.5
(3.81 stars – Goodreads rating)

Published June 2, 2015, by William Morrow

Genre: Fiction / Horror / Thriller

Format: Paperback

Pages: 284

#AHeadFullofGhosts

A Head Full of Ghosts…being literally and figuratively haunted by outside forces, is almost as horrible as what actually happened. Almost.

October Spooky Reads month continues, and I’m getting exasperated! I AM NOT BEING SCARED! Ok, ok, so maybe my book picks are at fault because I chose to read primarily from physical books that were already on my shelves instead of lining up some truly, awesomely frightening books from the library. BUT!…. some of these have held the promise of “scary” without quite delivering.

A Head Full of Ghosts for example. I mean, come on! It’s right there in the title! Ghosts. In a Head. Gotta be horrifying, right? Meh, only marginally so.

…there are all these ghosts filling my head and I’m just trying to get them out…

Here is Goodreads’ synopsis:

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show, and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

Are you good at keeping secrets, Merry?

The story is told from 8-year-old Merry’s perspective, so we get the innocence and gullibility of youth combined with her faith that her big sister and best friend would only always protect her. With a sister like Marjorie though, that’s blind faith indeed.

Marjorie is fourteen. And we all know how heinous some teenagers can be. Sure, blame it on imbalanced hormones and the awkward state of trying to “find oneself”, but Marjorie had some help with her misplaced aggression and angst: a psychotic break.

Here we tread on thin ice – do we pity her because mental health issues are gravely serious and people suffering from them should be treated not only with medicine but with respect and dignity? Or do we make Marjorie the monster because, hey, she’s “crazy” and this is a fictional book? You decide because I couldn’t.

I mean, this chick was definitely certifiable, but it seemed that her family was too in many ways. They definitely didn’t help her situation. So many different turns could have been taken that weren’t. It feels more like they were all in on it together, so their story really ended in the only way it could have.

What if you expelled the person’s real spirit and only the demon’s spirit was there to take its place?

Gripes: (in my whiny voice) I wanted it to be scarier! I wanted a real horror book. I read psych thrillers a lot, and that is what this book felt like to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad book – and there are some genuinely creepy moments. However, I found myself looking for more of those moments instead of being interested in the rest of the story.

Were these the most irresponsible parents on the planet? I’m thinking yes. Right now, I’m sitting here trying to dredge up one redeeming value about either of them… I got nothing.

And was that supposed to be a twist at the end? Hmmm… no spoilers, but I think what was supposed to pass as astounding information in the final two chapters just felt like a given. Still interesting, but predictable.

… I’m wicked smart, because I have to fill my head with something other than the ghosts.

A Head Full of Ghosts left me wanting more horror, but it was still a creepy book that had me questioning on several occasions whether or not there was really more to Marjorie’s mental health issues than what we’d rationally surmise. Could there have possibly been ghosts? In her head? Extremely willful and manipulative ghosts?  And how does that line up with the scientific definition of what psychosis is understood to be?

In the 1800s, Marjorie would have probably been burned at the stake instead of given her own reality show (19th-century folk didn’t play around with demons or witches), but that age is long gone; the spectacle is now more important than the cure. It’s sad. And that’s how this book makes me feel. Sad, instead of pleasantly scared and jittery like I wanted to be.

But that’s not quite right either. Maybe I really feel horrified, but in a completely different way than I intended.


About the Author

Image result for paul tremblayPAUL TREMBLAY

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Paul G. Tremblay is an American author and editor of contemporary horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction. He is also a juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards.

(Bio from Google)


 

image001_1514946317787

The Water Cure

by Sophie Mackintosh

SmellRating4

(3.9 stars – Goodreads rating)

To Be Re-Published January 8, 2019, by Doubleday

Genre: Fiction / Dystopian Science-Fiction

Format: Kindle Edition

Page Count: 256

#TheWaterCure  #NetGalley

The Water CureEven if it is a failed utopia, at least we tried.

Grace, Lia, and Sky live with their parents in a house beside a sandy beach. That sounds like the beginning of a wonderful story, doesn’t it? Who would have thought that such a benign beginning could result in such a tangled web of disappearances, deceit, and danger?

King believes he has rescued his family by secluding them in a home by the bay. He and their mother taught them to protect themselves from the toxicity of the world by performing rituals and ceremonies of cleansing. The three girls had to prove themselves strong, loyal, and loving – to their parents, to each other, to themselves. But not to men.

There were men who naturally caused great harm. It is built into them. You had warned us. You are one, though you would never admit it.

Men weren’t present in their lives. Only King. This was for their protection because men were the cause of all the harm and poison in the world. Being hidden away from them was the only way to survive.

But when King disappears during a routine supply run and is presumed dead, and Mother also does not return from her trip beyond the sea border, the sisters are stuck on their beach with three castaways. Men. And this changes everything.

… loss is a thing that build around you… what feels like safety is often just absence of current harm, and those two things are not the same.

Told through the POVs of the sisters, Sophie Mackintosh’s debut novel, The Water Cure is a palpably tense look through a dystopian window at a family’s search for a unique utopia, and what they end up finding instead.

This is The First Book of Calamity Leek meets The Handmaid’s Tale meets My Absolute Darling in all of each of their weird wackiness and horrifyingly resolute honesty about what makes society (and separation) so imperfect.

This is a stunning debut novel with writing that behaves like watercolors, painting each new page with dynamic emotion: angst, elation, peace, dread. It was unusual, confusing, and eerie in all the best ways. And I could easily see this playing out on the big screen, although it would take a master director to get it entirely right.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Doubleday, and the author for the opportunity to read and review a copy of this book.


About the Author

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SOPHIE MACKINTOSH won the 2016 White Review Short Story Prize and the 2016 Virago/Stylist Short Story competition and has been published in Granta magazine and Tank magazine, among others. The Water Cure is her first novel.

(Bio courtesy of Google)


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Select Few

by Marit Weisenberg

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(3.95 stars – Goodreads rating)

To-Be Published October 9, 2018, by Charlesbridge Teen

Genre: Fiction / Fantasy/ Sci-Fi

Format: Kindle Edition

Page Count: 368 (Hardcover)

#SelectFew  #NetGalley

Select Few (Select, #2)I couldn’t shake the feeling of something pulling me down from this sunny world into a dark place waiting just beneath.

Select Few, Marit Wiesenberg’s 2nd book in the Select series, begins with Julia Jaynes essentially hiding from the world. She’s avoiding the FBI, avoiding the paparazzi, avoiding nosy neighbors, and – most of all – avoiding being discovered by her dangerous and powerful father, Novak. She’s also desperately trying to keep her boyfriend, John, and his newly discovered powers off of Novak’s radar. Julia’s doing a lot of hiding and all the while hoping to someday be able to live a normal life.

One of Julia’s problems is that she doesn’t have a clear idea of what “normal” looks like for her. Does it mean college and a future with John, or does it mean constantly running and staying undercover with Angus in order to keep John safe? These are the decisions that Julia waffles through keeping her conflicted throughout most of the story.

John’s point of view added depth to the narrative and helped cement the romantic undercurrent between Julia and John despite their intense conflicts and separation throughout the book.

Although the resolution was fast-paced, the action of the main story was very slow. It seemed like most of the excitement came while reading the characters’ flashbacks to activities performed in the first book. And for a fantasy/sci-fi story, I expected a tad more fantasy and sci-fi.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Charlesbridge Teen, and the author for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of this book.


About the Author

Marit WiesenbergWebsite

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Marit Weisenberg has a master’s degree from UCLA in Cinema and Media Studies and worked as a film and television executive for a number of years in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two daughters. SELECT is Marit’s debut novel for young adult readers.

(Bio courtesy of Teenreads.com)


 

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