Friday, February 12, 2016

Take the Fall ~ Emily Hainsworth (earc) review [@Emily_YA @harperteen @epicreads @BalzerandBray]

Take the Fall
Balzer + Bray
February 16, 2016
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?

At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been?

I like that we start with Sonia's escape from the woods. It's not only dramatic, but it throws readers right into the action. We not only see Sonia trying to come to terms with her best friend's death, but also her own guilt over surviving - and a desire to be know what's happening, what the police are finding out, who they suspect.

It makes sense, then, when she agrees to help Marcus. Though, he wants to prove he's innocent, she's looking for proof of his guilt. Sonia may not be as sure of his guilt as everyone else seems to be, but she wants to find proof, to find answers.

They are an interesting match - they supposedly hate each other, but Sonia hints that may not be the whole truth. The more they try to figure out who killed Gretchen, the more we learn of who Gretchen really was. She may be being remembered as the beautiful, wonderful girl but she had her secrets. And her enemies.

The more you find out about Gretchen, the larger it seems the suspect pool should be. I almost (almost) couldn't understand why Sonia was best friends with her. Yet, Sonia - through author Emily Hainsworth - gives us glimpses into the good times with Gretchen, the why of their friendship. You can see why they were best friends, more the more we learn.

Take the Fall is a twisty-turn mystery full of surprises. As soon as it seems like one character is likely the guilty party, someone else will do something questionable or suspicious and you'll think it might have been them, instead. This was a great group of friends, classmates, neighbors to read about but certainly not one I would want to be a part of. I don't think I would ever be able to trust anyone!

The ending of Take the Fall was somehow a huge surprise and not a surprise, all at once. It was unexpected but fit. It left me with a lot of questions, but the good kind. The, 'So that means . . .' 'What about . . . ?' 'But they . . . ?' type, not unresolved things. It's one you'll think about and speculate on for a while.

(Also the author gets points from me for using 'alumnus,' and correctly because I've read too many titles lately that used alumni incorrectly.)

You May Also Enjoy: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten and The Escape by Hannah Jayne

review copy received, from publisher, via Edelweiss

Book Blitz: Till Death Do Us Part ~ Cristina Slough [@cristina_slough @XpressoTours]

Till Death Us Do Part
Cristina Slough
Limitless Publishing
December 29, 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
add to Goodreads 
buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

The fateful day Mimi Marcus has dreaded begins with a phone call…

The wife of a U.S. Marine, Mimi spent countless nights worried that her husband Joel would fall in the line of duty. He had fought valiantly and served his country with honor. That’s exactly what they tell her when they deliver the news—Joel was taken by the enemy in Afghanistan. Her husband is dead.

In desperate need of closure, Mimi travels to the one place Joel still has ties—The Marcus Ranch in Texas, inherited by his handsome younger brother Austin.

New beginnings are only an illusion…

The closer Mimi grows to the Marcus family, the more she considers it home. But when suspicions of Joel’s past surface, Austin refuses to disclose family secrets—even to his brother’s widow. It’s only by accident she uncovers evidence of Joel’s tainted past. Devastated by his lies and betrayal, she slowly opens up to Austin, and together they unfold layers of pain and grief.

Mimi is sure she’ll never love again, but is Austin the man to prove her wrong? Then the unthinkable happens…

Just as Mimi finds new hope in a future with Austin, Joel returns home from war. Enraged, traumatized, and teetering on the edge of insanity, Joel confesses to a history of deception, revealing yet another secret—this one too terrible to forgive.
In an awful twist of fate, Joel proves marriage vows are made to be honored.

No matter what.

Teaser 4 Till Death Us Do Part


Mimi had been dreaming of a storm. Heavy rain, violent claps of thunder, and lightning flashing simultaneously.

She saw Joel, reaching out for her, his body bloody and wet. She awoke in the darkened room. It was 2:17 a.m.—the exact time she had woken up for three nights in a row. She slipped out of bed, her pyjama bottoms loose around her ever-shrinking waist. The air was freezing. She dashed across the room to wrap herself in the fleecy dressing gown her mother had just bought her for Christmas.
6:47 a.m. in Afghanistan.

Her stomach growled, begging for food. She couldn’t eat. She clicked onto her Twitter feed to check for more updates since the suicide bombing in Kabul, which had claimed at least six—two were American Marines.

Mimi had contacted the Embassy several times, but nobody could tell her anything. The pain of not knowing was taking away her ability to breathe normally. The silence was too loud. She had tried to remember their last conversation. Did she tell him that she loved him? Words so quick to fall off the tongue to end a phone call. Love you—bye. Often she had felt like she was holding a grenade—being the wife of a Marine, always waiting for a letter, hearing his voice, waiting for news that he was alive or dead.


About the Author:

Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of Till Death Us Do Part, her debut novel.
Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.

At the age of 11, her junior school teacher told her mother that she would be wasting her life if she didn’t become an author. Throughout her teenage years and beyond, her parents spurred her on to keep writing. She later began a career in commercial real estate, working in London’s West End, a corporate bubble where she was unable to fuel her passion to write.

It was on her Californian honeymoon in 2012 that the bug to write was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. After visiting Yosemite National Park she was inspired by the natural beauty of the land that surrounded her. Holding a special place in her heart, Yosemite would later be written into her debut novel.

She finally gave up the ‘big smoke’ when her son, Lucas, was born in October 2013.

When Lucas was a newborn, Cristina was told to sleep when the baby sleeps. She never could. There was a calling inside her to write. After getting to grips with her new role as a mother, she began working a psychological thriller, but she couldn’t fully connect to the characters she created. She ditched the manuscript and started Till Death Us Do Part (Limitless Publishing, 2015).

Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, crazy white German Shepherd and three spoiled cats. They can be found trekking through woodlands, or around the many shops Cristina loves to explore. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favorite.

  • International
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  • (1)$10.00 Amazon U.S. or Amazon UK eGift Card

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Haunting ~ Alex Bell (earc) review [@stripesbooks @Alex_Bell86 @doYAreadme]

The Haunting (Red Eye)
Stripes Publishing
February 11, 2016
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/Amazon UK

Some curses grow stronger with time…

People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.

Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…

A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.

I don't know why but I was expecting The Haunting to be a lot less creepy than it was. This is not a book to read right before you go to bed, not if you're looking for a good night's sleep.

While it feels weird to say I am happy Emmy's character was in a wheelchair, in a way I am. (Not only because it's something that should be represented more in fiction, either.) It not only provides an interesting switch up to how she approaches things (and Bailey!) but why she is in the wheelchair is integral to the story. That bit of history plays well with the Waterwitch, the past and the haunting.

The possible haunting slash spirit activity is scary and startling in all the right ways. There is a backstory to it all that is unearthed and developed nicely as the book progresses. Yet, I love that with Shell's character, especially, we're presented with the question of how much if really happening and how much might be perception, the power of suggestion or mental health troubles. We had some of this, as well, in Frozen Charlotte (though I'd forgotten that) . The blend of seemingly very real paranormal occurrences and the characters doubting themselves or each other gives an appreciated bit of mystery.

Alex Biting makes The Haunting incredibly atmospheric. You aren't just reading the scenes, you're in those scenes. You feel what the character is feeling, the fear, the anxiety, the uncertainty and you need to know what's around the corner - even as you fear finding out. For readers it definitely amps up the tension.

I loved how this story unfolded. The mix of the history of the inn, the ship, the current state of the Waterwitch, Jem and Shell's past and present, what happened to Emma, and how everything comes together, right now, in the inn. Alex Bell's writing isn't flowery or overly descriptive but oh how it can paint a picture. Often a disturbing, disgusting or frightening one. The Haunting is definitely a creepy read and I am really, really looking forward to what this author publishes next.

(Be warned though, if you're scared of birds . . .  Just be warned.)

digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Final Seven ~ Erica Spindler (earc) review [@ericaspindler @LittleBrownUK @Trident_Media]

The Final Seven (Lightkeepers # 1)
Erica Spindler Books
February 11, 2016
322 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

The first Saturday in July. . .
A missing coed . . .
The number seven carved into her door . . .
The countdown has begun.


New Orleans Detective Micki Dee Dare is a seasoned, no-nonsense cop. She doesn't need a partner, especially not Zach “Hollywood” Harris, an irreverent charmer, fresh out of an experimental FBI program. And her assignment — keep him alive while he fights crime using the special skills he brings to the table — is not what she signed up for. But the die has been cast and there's nothing she can do about it.

Micki soon realizes there's more to her partner than meets the eye—and more at stake than catching bad guys and closing cases. There’s a new kind of evil at work the Crescent City, more cunning, more powerful than any she’s ever encountered. And she and Zach may be the only ones who can stop it.

As another coed goes missing and the darkness closes in, Micki must face a terrifying truth: this time she might not make it. This time the evil they’re facing might destroy them all . . .

Full of surprise twists and unexpected turns, The Final Seven is a heart-pounding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
UK cover

Detective Micki Dare is great. She made me think of a mix of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum and JT Ellison's Taylor Jackson. She loves being a detective and she's good at it. She is tough and knows how to do things right -- and isn't afraid to full-out tackle a suspect, if necessary.

She takes her job seriously and, if she's going to have a partner, they should as well. Which is why she isn't thrilled to start work with Zach.

You can understand why Micki is unsure of, or, actually, flat out wants nothing do with Zach. He is not nearly as trained or tested as any other partner she could have. He doesn't seem to be taking things seriously. He has his 'abilities' but they aren't what she's used to. (Plus, he's off looking for bottled water and salads while she's good with dinner from the vending machine.

I was not as sold on his character at first, mostly because I think we get a better idea of who Micki is, but I liked what we learned about him and what he learned about himself by the end.

Their different approaches, their different personalities and different pasts make Micki and Zach an interesting pair. You understand why they don't immediately mesh but as the story progresses, you understand as things change.

The supernatural element was a fun twist to The Final Seven. I liked that we are introduced to some of it from the beginning - but without knowing anywhere near everything. Some of that is admitted (with the characters aware of secrets being kept, information withheld) and some of it is a surprise to the characters as well.

I did not completely understand how the who/what/why/when all came together, even with the explanation. I understood the broader setup but the details that made sense to the characters didn't click for me. Still, I liked how Micki and Zach, with the other characters' help, went about solving things. Now that we - and they - have a fuller picture of the supernatural elements, I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.

review copy received through NetGalley
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