Anne’s Book Club 14 – HARROWED Cover Reveal!

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Harrowed (The Woodsview Murders #1) by Brian Letendre & Jolene Haley (blurb):

Journalism Rule #1: Always report the story. Never become the story.

Avery Blair has accepted the fact that nothing exciting ever happens in her small town of Woodsview, Massachusetts. As the editor of the high school blog, she prays for something—anything—to come along that would make for a great headline.

When Beatrice Thompson’s body is found in the girls’ bathroom, Avery has her biggest story ever. The rumors circulating the school say that Beatrice took her own life, but Avery doesn’t believe it for a second. Her instincts prove true when the next day brings another body bag.

The tiny community of Woodsview has become the hunting ground for a killer known as the Harvester. The killer targets Avery and her classmates, stalking their every move and terrorizing them with morbid messages.

With the help of her boyfriend Jason, her best friend Quinn, and an aging detective who can’t keep her off the case, Avery dives head-first into her own investigation. She discovers that the secret of the Woodsview Harvester is buried in the town’s history and its annual Harvest Festival celebration. With every clue she uncovers, Avery grows closer to unmasking the killer—and becoming the next victim.

Avery Blair has finally found a story to die for…if she can stay alive long enough to write it.

More Info on Harrowed (The Woodsview Murders #1):

Releases: 09/22/15 by Horror Twins Press
Goodreads

About the Authors:

Brian LeTendre is the writer of the Parted Veil horror series, which includes Courting the King in Yellow, Lovecraft’s Curse, and Lovecraft’s Pupil.

A gaming, comics and horror lover, Brian has co-hosted and produced a podcast about geek culture called Secret Identity since 2006, producing well over 1000 hours of programming. He also hosts and produces three other podcasts about writing (See Brian Write), design and small business (Kitbash Radio) and gaming (Co-Op Critics).

In addition to podcasting, Brian has worked as a freelance games journalist, and currently writes a webcomic called Mo Stache, which can be read for free online and will be collected in print in 2016.

Brian lives and works in Massachusetts.

Twitter | Blog | Amazon | Podcasts

Jolene Haley is the author of the Woodsview Murders series, Harrowed (out 9/22/15) and Haunted, coming fall 2016. She’s also the curator of the best-selling horror anthology The Dark Carnival through Pen & Muse Press.

She runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society, the author resource site Pen & Muse, and Hocus Pocus & Co., a small horror press. She writes every genre under the sun, but prefers horror.

When she’s not writing she can be found cuddling her two dogs and enjoying the beach, where she lives.

Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook

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Audrey’s Cimmerian Tales Book Club

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Hello again. I hope you are having a lovely fall full of crunchy leaves, crisp air, and pumpkin filled treats. As you may remember from last year, I am a huge fan of NaNoWriMo (I usually fail but I love the challenge and camaraderie) so I am busy preparing which has left very little time for reading fiction. I have been researching which may *gasp* even lead to an outline… maybe. So most of the books I’ve read the past couple of weeks are about Ancient Egypt and the people unearthing Her secrets and I wish I had a stand out awesome book to share with you, but I don’t. At least not yet. Hopefully, I will have one by November. Or if you have a favorite book about Egypt, I would love some recommendations. But since I’m in a non-fiction phase at the moment, I will share my favorite non-fiction book with you: The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson. He seamlessly blends the tales of the lobsters, the biologists who study them, and the lobster fisherman into a truly engaging read. I loved it. Ok, my NaNo stuff is calling me. Ta!

Anne’s Book Club 13

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NEARLY GONE by Elle Cosimano (summary from Amazon.com):

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance . . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

My Thoughts on NEARLY GONE by Elle Cosimano:

Nearly “Leigh” Boswell has one shot to leave her single mom and the trailer park behind her: a chemistry scholarship. To increase her odds, she tutors classmates. That is, until they start turning up dead with numbers painted, carved, or burned into their flesh. If that weren’t enough, Nearly also has the uncanny ability to know what a person’s feeling just by touching them. An ability she recoils from every time it happens.

Emotion is energy, and if energy is strong enough, it can travel between two points.

The mystery of whodunit holds out until nearly (pun intended) the last page with red herrings and surprises along the way. Nearly doesn’t know who she can trust, as her friends, enemies, and fellow classmates are all suspects—until they die—so like any good detective, I had to rely on my knowledge of “motive, opportunity, and means” to solve the mystery. The clues add up for the police and point them in Nearly’s direction. She overhears one officer telling one of her classmates to spy on her in exchange for a more lenient sentence. Reece Wheelen’s the perfect suspect: trouble with the law, a dark past, and involvement with the local drug dealer.

Throughout the book I tried to figure out why the cover title has a “43” in it. The reason is awesome and ties into both Nearly as a character and the book’s plot. I don’t want to say too much more, or I risk spoiling you. If you like mysteries, fast-paced books, a touch of magical realism, and a smart heroine, this book’s for you!

Audrey’s Book Club

Hello Fellow Book Lovers!

I was so torn this week about whether I wanted to do my Book Club post about a specific book or do another Top 10 List (I was leaning towards my Top 10 Books for Preschoolers) and then I picked-up The Hoarders by Jean Stringham and I knew I had to share this book with you.

51baVnXEPPL[1] The Hoarders is the story of two young boys who do not have a stable home life. It is told from the viewpoint of Cheyenne, the older brother, as he explains all the details leading up to their current predicament. I loved how up close and personal the reader feels to Cheyenne and his family. I’m sure many of us remember being talked over as a child and it’s no different for Cheyenne; he experiences situations where adults are deciding his life without his input and often failing him as caretakers. What helps Cheyenne deal with these difficult situations with an amazing resiliency is that he is a great observer of adults. He learns to control what he can like keeping a hoard of food hidden in his backpack at all times. The story is often heart-breaking, but not only does it teach us as adults (or young adults) the importance of how our actions affect the young people in our lives, it teaches us about what is really important and how blessed many of us are. I hope you will pick this book up and give it a read.

Rebecca’s Book Club

51SDIODYA7LPicture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

So I have been on a biography kick of late, and haven’t devoted as much time to fiction as I would like. It’s all very well and good reading about actors and leaders and geniuses, but they don’t get to do things like transcend the limits of human biology and human experience to plunge the reader into a world a little different, a little off-kilter.

This makes me very pleased to talk to you today about Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff. I read The Catcher in the Rye at exactly the right age to feel that Holden Caulfield’s troubled musing on ‘phonies’ and the slippery adult world spoke of exactly what I was feeling as I grew out of the idealism of my teenaged years. It’s interesting to see those feelings explored in what may be a more readily accessible way in Picture Me Gone.

Our protagonist is Mila. She has a gift which doesn’t seem so bombastic but which any adult would give their eyeteeth for: the ability to discern the truth from those people (and animals) she encounters: ‘I register every emotion, every relationship, every subtext. If someone is angry or sad or disappointed, I see it like a neon sign. There’s no way to explain it, I just do. For a long time I thought everyone did.’

Mila and her father travel from England to the US to visit one of her father’s best friends whom they haven’t seen in years.  However, that is scuppered quickly, for her father’s friend goes missing before they arrive. They set out on a road trip to find him, encountering a host of characters along the way. Everything is filtered through Mila’s astute point of view; hers is a world underscored by melancholy, but a world which doesn’t frighten or alienate her in the way it does Holden Caulfield. This is a character who is able to understand (without ever crossing into Ubermensch territory) the world around her and empathise with it.

In short, it’s a world we may glimpse infrequently in our own lives, or only after life has made us hard.

Mila is not hard and cynical, yet. But nor is she naive: ‘I will not always be happy, but perhaps, if I’m lucky, I will be spared the agony of adding pain to the world.’

As Salinger might have said: it’s a wise child.

Tori’s Book Club 1

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin is the first in a trilogy (the third book, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, will be out in November). It’s a haunting story about a girl who’s dealing with something impossible while the normal world carries on around her. The magical realism grounds the book firmly in our world, which makes the paranormal elements even scarier because they no longer seem so impossible.

I don’t want to spoil things so I’m afraid to say too much. In the beginning, we learn that Mara suffers from PTSD after being in a building that collapses and kills her friend, and everyone–her parents, her brothers, her teachers–think all of her weird experiences are just symptoms. At least, the weird experiences they know about, which is only a fraction of them, because she’s afraid to tell them lest they lock her away in a padded room. At times, even Mara isn’t sure if the stuff she’s seeing or feeling is real or just hallucinations, and she worries maybe she’s lost her mind.

The book is fast-paced although the paranormal elements don’t show immediately. The book starts with a Ouija board, and at first it feels a little hookey (not the book, just the fact that there’s a Ouija board at all because what year is it, 1985?) And of course, it gives Mara and her friends some cryptic message. But I kind of like how it’s presented as ‘lol Ouija boards, right?’ It’s just something people do. (Not really a spoiler, but the reasoning behind its existence makes a lot of sense when we learn things later and can surmise why it was there.) Then Mara and friends visit an old mental hospital that collapses on top of them and only Mara survives. This leaves her with post traumatic stress, a metric ton of survivor’s guilt, and even inspires her whole family to move to Florida to give her a fresh start.

Actually, though, the book opens with her explaining that her lawyer told her to pick a fake name:

My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something. A pseudonym. A nom de plume, for all of us studying for the SATs. I know that having a fake name is strange, but trust me—it’s the most normal thing about my life right now. Even telling you this much probably isn’t smart. But without my big mouth, no one would know that a seventeen-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders. No one would know that somewhere out there is a B student with a body count.

And it’s important that you know, so you’re not next. Rachel’s birthday was the beginning.

This is what I remember.

I mean, how do you not want to keep reading right then and there?

The creepy and scary elements get amped up every chapter, so you never want to put it down. Hodkin writes an engaging teen voice, and Mara is pragmatic, sensible, and a little sarcastic. Also, Noah Shaw. I’m not even going to tell you about him, future reader, just trust me when I say he’s great.

I cannot recommend this series highly enough, even if you think you’re sick of paranormal books or magical realism, because this one is unexpected and captivating. Also, just FYI, the audiobook is excellent! It’s narrated by Christy Romano, who brings Mara to life in a way that completely compliments Hodkin’s clever writing.

Jen’s Book Club

Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Watership Down, by Richard Adams

I’m going back in time on this one, because nostalgia has me in its grubby hands today. Does anybody remember those newspapery order forms teachers gave out every couple of months for book ordering? My memory escapes me, but it had a name. It may have been Book Order, but I feel like it should have been more original than that. I used to dogear the flimsy pages and run home to my mother and beg for words.

The only one that made it from the blurb on the order form to my little 10 year old hands to high school and college and my first apartment and now my first home is Watership Down by Richard Adams. I thought I was ordering a book about a journey undertaken by disgruntled rabbits, but really I had themes and ideas much bigger than my fifth grade self. I was holding a novel full of determination, adventure, growth, and the impact of humanity on nature.

From Amazon.com:

Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England’s Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

Adams creates such a lush and reaching culture in this world of rabbits that includes language, poetry, love, family, and a complex hierarchy that explores leadership and the impact of tyranny. This is a novel that expands every single time I pick it up. It adapts itself to the age of the reader, and in that realm of thinking, it is a book that never loses impact. These are not the average bunnies, and this is not the average adventure novel.