Book Corner

Story Sentence: An Unfinished Story

After locking up, Claire climbed into her convertible and drove north, back toward the Don CeSar hotel. David’s novel rode shotgun. 

Story blurb:

A grieving widow and a disenchanted writer form an unexpected bond in a novel about second chances and finding the courage to let go of the past.

It’s been three years since Claire Kite lost her husband, David, an aspiring novelist, in a tragic car accident. Claire finally finds the courage to move on; then she discovers among the remnants of her shattered world her husband’s last manuscript. It’s intimate, stirring—and unfinished. An idea comes to her…What if she can find someone to give David’s novel the ending it deserves?

Whitaker Grant is famous for his one and only bestselling novel—a masterpiece that became a hit film. But after being crippled by the pressure of success and his failed marriage, Whitaker retreated from the public eye in his native St. Petersburg, Florida. Years later, he’s struggling through a deep midlife crisis. Until he receives an intriguing request from a lonely widow. To honor David’s story, Whitaker must understand, heart and soul, the man who wrote it and the woman he left behind.

There’s more to the novel than anyone dreamed. Something personal. Something true. Maybe, in bringing a chapter of David’s life to a close, Claire and Whitaker can find hope for a new beginning.

These two sentences are from chapter three of “An Unfinished Story” by Boo Walker. (First of all, LOVE the author name). 

So, the premise of this reminds me of Verity by Colleen Hoover. Which I liked. Actually, I loved it. I know that book had mixed reviews. But I enjoy the premise of another writer finishing what someone else started. 

This story so far is sad and I hope to God to never experience what this character is going through losing the love her life, (because when we die, Kevin and I will die together – how is that for macabre?) and I’m sure it’s heartbreaking but all of the sadness … I just find myself getting impatient. Okay, we get it, you’re sad. Let’s move on to happier times. 

The story begins with David, Claire’s husband, leaving the house with the promise that he will bring someone to dinner that night. He won’t tell her who it is and he dies without her knowing who it was. So there is that element of mystery. I’m at the part in the story where she is selling their house and she is forced to finally go into David’s study to start clearing it out. David is a writer, or was a writer, he was getting back into it when he died, and he was working on a manuscript that he didn’t want Claire to read until he was finished. 

So now, she has the manuscript but she hasn’t had a chance to read it yet. 

I’m hoping the manuscript has some mystery character, maybe the character that he was going to bring to dinner, or some sort of information that will cause Claire to question whether she knew David or not. 

I’m guessing, by the blurb, that it’s not going to have anything like that and will just be a story where she finds a handsome writer to finish her husband’s story and she ends up falling in love with him, thereby moving on with her life. 

That wouldn’t be a bad story, but I’m hoping for something a bit more dramatic. 

At any rate, my thoughts on this book so far: Meh.

TBR

April To-Be-Read Stack

AprilTBR1-2018

Hello readers!

*SNIFFFFF* Can you smell the fresh air? Oh look! I see some green out there! The world is slowly waking up and I’M READY.

To read some more …

I’m not reading for the rest of the month. I’m “caught” up on my goals, according to Goodreads and I want to take this time to work on my blog and Patreon AND the April Camp NaNoWriMo.

More on that very soon!

___________________________________________________

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review on Goodreads – I’ve come to trust the reviews of Goodreads readers. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

I have currently read 12 books out of 55.

Moving on, here is my April TBR stack:

  1. An Unfinished Story by Boo Walker
  2. The Cipher (Nina Guerrera Book 1) by Isabella Maldonado
  3. DEAR NEIGHBOUR: no boundary to murder by Anna Willett
  4. The Arrangement by Kiersten Modglin
  5. In the Dark by Loreth Anne White

One (?) ARC (Advanced Reading Copy from NetGalley)

Happy Reading!
Book Corner

Book Review: Winter’s Curse

Knowing someone will die is the worst curse…

A bank robbery turns into a blood trail as a pair of unhinged masterminds hack their way through a list of the most notorious US heists. The copycat crimes, emulating famous robberies, escalate as the FBI work with local law enforcement.

But the federal team has problems of its own. Sun Ming, Winter Black’s partner and nemesis, has her own agenda, while Winter can’t keep her mind off The Preacher, the notorious serial killer who murdered her parents and holds the key to finding her missing little brother.

To make matters worse, Winter must attempt to hide her ever growing abilities as the “gift” The Preacher gave her years before turns into a curse that threatens to destroy her, body and soul.

I’m really digging Mary Stone’s work, specifically, the Winter series.

And I just discovered that she has more than one series – it’s now my mission to read every last word of her work.

I really like Winter Black. She has a tough exterior but a caramel filling (soft, but sticky) – when it comes to certain people. I really like how Stone keeps Winter a mystery. Yes, you get to know Winter, but only bit-by-bit. This is my second Winter Black story and though I have a good grasp of Winter’s back story I don’t really feel like I know HER fully – yet. And I like that. It keeps me reading and guessing. She doesn’t seem predictable or stale.

I really like Stone’s style of writing. She writes from several points-of-view which I wasn’t sure I was a fan of, until I read her work. I feel she does a really good job of keeping all of the POV’s separate without getting too sloppy about it and I’m going to try and adopt her style of writing in my April Camp NaNoWriMo project. (Did you realize that’s coming up soon??)

I haven’t really a big fan of multiple POVS, but after watching Sarra Cannon’s YouTube videos and reading Stone’s work, I think I’ve been converted.

I really appreciate the richness and the fullness of Stone’s stories. I appreciate getting the villain’s POV as well as the two men in Stone’s life. I also love we occasionally get The Preacher’s POV as well. And I’m looking forward to reading more about the potential love triangle between Winter, Aiden and Noah.

This cat-and-mouse story had me on the edge of my seat. It was also really cool to read about a female protagonist, antagonist and female competitor – the females had the spotlight in this story and the male characters were more supporting.

It was refreshing. I appreciate strong females in stories. And I think Stone does a really good job of making Winter relatable in her toughness but at the same time, doesn’t make her too soft. This may not be for everyone, but personally, I love it. I find Winter fascinating and I want to know more about her.

The only thing I wished had been different was the fact that we didn’t really find out why the female antagonist felt so compelled to pull off her copycat crimes. Though Heidi was highly intelligent and a complete sociopath, I wanted to know the reason why she spent six long years planning these heists and what the motivation behind her doing so was. Either I missed it, or it wasn’t given to us.

Another fascinating element of Winter’s story is her “gift.’ She has visions that are so strong at times, they knock her unconscious. In addition, she has the ability to see “red” dots whenever there is something evil lurking about which helps her stay on the heels of the bad guys. Why does she have this gift? Will it end up killing her? How is this tied to The Preacher? There are a lot of questions, I’m looking forward to reading more of her story and learning the answers.

In addition, I really thought the relationship between the two criminals in this story was unique and different, too. Heidi blackmails her accomplice into helping her with her heists and again, the significance of her doing that wasn’t made clear. It wasn’t enough to spoil the story for me, sometimes there is no explaining crazy, disturbed people, but it left a small hole in the story that I had difficulty overlooking.

I also really enjoyed the way Stone starts the story – with yet another POV. This one was from one of the victim’s from Heidi’s first crime – the bank heist. Again, an interesting way to start the story and one I fully intend to try in my stories.

If you enjoy the mystery/thriller genre, then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Mary Stone’s work. You won’t be disappointed.

Book Corner

Story Sentence: The Arrangement

I now have two sugar daddies (SD) and I’ve learned loads in the past fortnight.

This is the first sentence from chapter 24 from “The Arrangement” by Miranda Rijks

Blurb:

Abi had a secret life. That’s why she had to die.

Grace is living through every mother’s worst nightmare. Her student daughter Abi went away on a dream vacation – and was murdered.

Overwhelmed by grief, and fighting off old demons which have resurfaced, Grace tries to make sense of it – who would want to kill her beautiful girl?

But as she learns more about Abi’s life, she realises she didn’t know her own daughter very well. How did Abi acquire all those designer clothes? And what was she doing on those mysterious trips to the city?

Grace desperately needs to find answers. But soon it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want her digging into Abi’s secret past. Someone who knows how to use Grace’s own weaknesses against her, sending her on a journey to the darkest hell…

My thoughts so far:

This is a classic example of making a character’s life a living hell. Rijks throws everything but the kitchen sink at poor Grace to the point I’m yelling at my Kindle, “Oh come ON.” But here’s the thing, I can SEE every horrible thing happening to Grace actually happen to a terribly unlucky person in real life. This character can NOT catch a break.

The story opens with Abi, on holiday in South Africa, excited to meet a mysterious person. Only, she’s being followed and her mysterious person changes the location from a cafe to a deserted beach. Obviously, the person following her is the person she hopes to meet up with. The chapter ends with that mysterious person stabbing, and killing, Abi.

Grace is a divorced mom of two. Abi is her oldest daughter. She’s a hair stylist just trying to make ends meet. She’s also a struggling alcoholic. When she finds out Abi has died and her local police really can’t  help her since her daughter died on foreign soil she gets lost in her grief and obsessed with trying to find out why Abi was killed.  She stumbles into a few secrets and Grace is left wondering if she really knew anything at all about her daughter.

To top it off, the more she discovers, the more someone doesn’t want her to find out the truth. And because she started drinking again, her friends and the authorities think what is happening to her is a figment of her alcoholic brain and don’t believe her. I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to read it, but suffice it to say, Rijks really makes Grace suffer. I’m currently at the lowest of the low for Grace and I’m wondering how she is going to pull herself out of this.

I also have a pretty good idea who the killer is.

I’m about 69% done. It’s a pretty good read, if not a bit frustrating, but I admire the way Rijks tortures Grace.

TBR

March To-Be-Read Stack

Hello readers!

Gah! I’m two books behind, according to GoodReads, and that stresses me out! I need to stop watching so many YouTube videos and catch up.

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review on Goodreads – I’ve come to trust the reviews of Goodreads readers. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

Moving on, here is my March TBR stack:

  1. Elsewhere by Dean Koontz
  2. The Professor by Robert Bailey
  3. Winter’s Curse by Mary Stone
  4. The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara Davis
  5. Looking Glass by Andrew Mayne

One (?) ARC (Advanced Reading Copy from NetGalley)

Happy Reading!
Book Corner

Book Review: The Girl in Cell 49B

Pre-order on Amazon

Emily Calby disappeared at age twelve, the only survivor of a notorious home invasion. Three years after her terrifying odyssey in The Hiding Girl, she’s safe, living in anonymity with her mentor, ex-gang member Lucas Jackson—before life blows up again on her Sweet Sixteen birthday. Arrested for carrying her birthday gift—an illegal handgun from Lucas—a fingerprint scan shows her to be the missing Calby girl and worse: she’s wanted for murder in another state.

Extradited to a corrupt juvenile prison in the middle of nowhere, Emily struggles to adjust to a new code of survival while battling a vindictive prosecutor willing to resort to any means to convict her. As The Law thwarts her every move, she begins to appreciate its awesome power. She discovers an unused prison law library and buries herself in the books, casting her destiny.

As she fights for her life in court, the dark secrets behind the prison walls close in. Her cellmate, a spookily prescient drug addict, is in grave danger. So is her first love, a gentle boy sentenced to life without parole. Emily’s desperate to help them, but how can she, when her explosive trial brings one new disaster after another? A courtroom thriller like no other.

This was an ARC, (advanced reader copy).

This is the second book in Emily Calby’s story though is easily a stand alone book. I did not read the first book and though I do wonder why the men who raped and killed her mother and sister targeted her family specifically, (was it random?), where her father is, and if the men who did this heinous crime are still alive or still looking for her (and why), Box does a good job of bringing me up-to-date with Emily’s back story without giving away too many details. In other words, I’m curious enough to want to go back and read book one.

Emily has survivor’s guilt over the death of her mother and sister. She ran away but feels like she should have stayed to try and help her family only she knows, realistically, she likely would have died as well. In a lot of ways, she wishes she had. As a result of this horrific experience she has PTSD from the event and she has trouble controlling her anger at times.  Lucas is a gang member and professional forger who takes her under his wing. In a lot of ways, he saved Emily’s life by extending her kindness and guidance when she needed it the most. Lucas’ girlfriend (wife?) is a boxer and teaches Emily how to fight and defend herself. Emily channels her rage and aggression into working out and her body is toned and tough.

Because Emily is hiding, and because she is trying to put distance between her new life and her old life, she goes by Alice Black. Lucas forges documents for her and Emily is Alice for three years. She is now 16 years old. Emily is a walking juxtaposition – she’s tough and will not shy from trouble if she sees someone getting bullied or hurt, and yet, she has a big heart and a lot of compassion. These are unusual traits to package into one character but I think Box does a good job of melting these characteristics into a likeable character.

And that’s just it, I really don’t want to like Emily. She’s a badass that has killed people. True, the circumstances she killed people were due to self defense, still, she killed them. She graduates from self defense to murder and that’s the gray line that Emily struggles with. In a lot of ways, her character reminds me of Dexter from the TV show Dexter. In essence, if you haven’t seen Dexter, he’s a man who has homicidal tendencies. He knows this and recognizes this and yet, he can’t stop himself from killing people. So, he channels this disorder (?) into “good” – he only kills murderers, people who have gotten away with murder and are free to terrorize society. Only, there’s a twist, he’s also a blood-splatter expert who works with police. This juxtaposition is interesting and disturbing. I’ve watched a handful of Dexter episodes and I wanted to like the show but it was too gory for me and honestly, I couldn’t justify the premise, though I certainly could appreciate him getting rid of society’s cancerous people.

Emily is a bit  like Dexter in that she channels her aggression and anger into people who are scum, bad people. I don’t know if anyone can justify murder even if it’s for the “good” of society, but I can certainly understand it if not exactly condone it. As a result, I have mixed feelings about Emily.

She starts the story out being super aggressive but once she is caught and recognized as the girl who escaped the tragedy of her youth, (no one knew what happened to her – she just disappeared), and was thrown in juvenile jail she softens almost to the point where I’m left wondering, “is this even the same girl?” That shift nearly caused me to knock this star rating into a four but again, Box does a good job of “reforming” her to the reader – her actions really were justified, if not disturbing on so many levels.

While in juvenile jail, she befriends her cell mate who she suspects might be a bit clairvoyant and falls in love with Ben, a boy from the neighboring boys’ juvenile jail. Once she learns Ben’s story of why he’s in jail, she begins to question the legality of what happened to him.  After getting into some trouble while in jail, she is given a job in the jail library. She’s saddened to see so many of the girls are not very well educated and are reading below their grade level. She also discovers a little-used law library tucked into the corner with books that have never been cracked open. Emily begins reading about the law in order to try and help Ben but ends up teaching herself more and more in order to try and help her own defense against a murder charge of a man who picked her up while she was hitch hiking.

Emily soon learns that THE LAW pretty much dictates her life and if she has any hope of saving her own life, she has to not only learn THE LAW but to navigate it so she can be her own best advocate. I have mixed feelings about the ending. I can understand Emily’s decision to some extent, but her tendency toward bloodthirst borders on disturbing.

Emily’s journey is far from over and I’m intrigued enough that I would like to read more about her adventures.

In summary:

The Girl in Cell 49B is a story about a girl battling her darkest demons. She has multiple demons: guilt, aggression, and rage. She also has a soft spot for underdogs. Emily has a dark past – her mother and sister were raped and her family home was burned to the ground, nearly killing her in the process. She carries a lot of guilt around because she feels she should have somehow saved her family instead of running away, which ultimately saved her life. After changing her appearance and assuming a new identity and living as Alice for three years, her aggression gets the best of her when she witnesses a nasty bully abusing his girlfriend at a gas station. Unable to stop herself, she walks up to the bully and points a gun in his face. The bully stops his behavior and they drive off but not before the gas station employee reports her to the police and they capture her using the gas station security camera.

This lands her in juvenile jail where the authorities discover, after taking her fingerprints, that she’s the lost girl that disappeared after the horrific home invasion that killed her family all those years ago. She’s also a person of interest wanted in a murder in another state.

Once she’s in juvenile jail, she quickly learns how to navigate the various caste systems and befriends a few underdogs who she feels compelled to try and save. Once her own trial starts, she quickly learns that THE LAW could quickly make or break her and in order to give herself the best chance of surviving a “fair” trial, she begins using the law library in juvenile jail to teach herself how the law works and how she can make it work for her.

This is a story about grit, determination and self-perseverance. This character has had to adapt to a cruel world, learn how to fight and defend herself while somehow managing to keep her sense of self. She’s unusual in that she has a big heart and she can’t stand to see good people being treated unfairly. But she also has a dark side. A side that she finds hard to control and keep under control. Once that dark side of her is unleashed, she can be cruel, dangerous and unpredictable. Emily’s journey is just beginning and she intends to use her new-found interest in the law to help people who can’t help themselves while trying to keep her dark past from destroying her and those she cares about.

Book Corner

Hey Readers, GoodReads Has Competition

Goodreads is an American social cataloging website that allows individuals to search its database of books, annotations, quotes, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. They can also create their own groups of book suggestions, surveys, polls, blogs, and discussions. The website’s offices are located in San Francisco. The company is owned by the online retailer Amazon.

Goodreads was founded in December 2006 and launched in January 2007 by Otis Chandler and Elizabeth Khuri Chandler. In December 2007, the site had 650,000 members and 10,000,000 books had been added. By July 2012, the site reported 10 million members, 20 million monthly visits, and thirty employees. On March 28, 2013, Amazon announced its acquisition of Goodreads, and by July 23, 2013, Goodreads announced their user base had grown to 20 million members.

By July 2019, the site had 90 million members. Source

I discovered Goodreads in December 2007. I didn’t keep track of the books I read between 2007 and 2012 – I have no idea why – but here are my reading stats beginning 2012 if you’re interested:

Not sure why I only logged four books in 2012 and I have NO idea what happened to 2017,(NO books, really??) but my reading has really been all over the map these past years.

Anyway. All of this to say, I’ve enjoyed using Goodreads over the years and I will continue to enjoy the site but ya’ll, Goodreads has some competition.

Have you heard of StoryGraph?

(By the way, I’ve been watching Word Nerds for a while now – they are a group of girls that make videos and host writing sprints from time-to-time – they are fun to watch and I encourage you to follow them!)

I made an account on StoryGraph and I like their interface so far. It’s simple, but strong. I like how you can take a survey and they will customize recommendations for you. I also REALLY like how you can EASILY import your Goodreads data and everything transfers over to StoryGraph. I’m still trying to figure it out, like I haven’t quite figured out how to follow people yet, but if you’re so inclined to follow me (and you can figure it out – which, by the way, let me know in the comments if you do), here is my profile page.

It’s still in early development and I’m sure they will add more features as they grow but I wanted to join to help support them on their journey and it’s fun to get involved in something in the early stages.

Anyway, if you’re looking for an alternative to Goodreads, or maybe you’re in the market to try something new, check them out!

(Not sponsored).