Under My Skin, Lisa Unger

 

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Title: Under My Skin

Author: Lisa Unger

Pages: 304

Genre: psychological thriller

Is this part of a series? No.

Publish Date: October 2nd, 2018

Summary:

Poppy lost her husband a year ago.  It was called a random act of violence- he was beaten to death in a park during a morning run.  There are no suspects, no one to blame.  No closure.  Is it any wonder she had a nervous breakdown?

Going through the motions of life in a drug-induced haze, she knows she isn’t getting anywhere.  She hasn’t even unpacked her apartment- it isn’t healthy.  Then there’s the hooded man.  He’s everywhere, following her.  Slowly things seem to be coming back from the lost time right after the funeral…. but with the amount of medication, grief and mental illness can she rely on any of it?

Could Poppy be holding the keys to understanding Jack’s death?  What price would you pay for the truth?

My thoughts:

Lisa Unger has been one of my go-to authors for years.  Every time I see her name on an ARC I pray that I will get it even as I am preordering the book because I simply cannot wait.  (Hardback copy coming in, two book buds already on a waiting list).

She has a flair for the slightly dramatic and deranged that lends itself well to psychological thrillers.  While this one was not my favorite of hers, it’s still one of the better thrillers I have read this year.  I think I have just grown to expect more from Unger, the way I do Patterson.

As with her other books, it starts a bit slow- there’s a lot of foundation to lay here- but quickly picks up and sweeps you into the grief riddled mind of our main character.  I feel for Poppy even as I wanted to strangle her.  Some of her choices drove  me absolutely crazy, but given what she was dealing with and her mental state they seemed legitimate.  I will say I loved and hated the Poppy/Layla relationship.  Part of me loved how close they were, the love they shared.  Part of me felt that the amount of controlling behavior was pretty toxic.  Still with Poppy’s recent past and the abuse Layla watched as a kid…. it, too, made a deranged sort of sense.

The writing style was a bit choppy in the best way- playing well with the state of our main character without being too overly chaotic.  I loved it for the genre.   There was good character development and some great character growth.    I was fenced as far as Noah for a long time, a romantic interest seeming bad timing; but I feel like he was pivotal to Poppy’s growth through the book.  Plus, I just kinda loved him!  For me, this is a four and a half star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating 2000px-Half_Star_Yellow.svg

On the adult content scale there was a lot of language, substance abuse, violence and very light sexual content.  This one is definitely geared toward adults.  I give it a seven.  mature audience.

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Park Row in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  pro_reader_120

The book comes out 10-2-18.  Who’s ready?!?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Virgil Wander, Leif Enger

 

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Title: Virgil Wander

Author” Leif Enger

Pages: 352

Genre: Literary Fiction

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date? October 2, 2018

Summary:

      After his car went over a cliff, Virgil is saved by the local scavenger.  His health is frayed, but what seems to upset him more is that is memory is shot.  While he remembers a lot of people, he doesn’t always- or not completely.  Words fail him- which is a terrible thing for a man that prides himself on his precise description.

Then there’s a stranger, Rune, who is the lost father of the man that disappeared 10 years ago- come to town after learning of the son he never knew in hopes of learning who the man was.   The man and his hand made kite’s call to something in Virgil and he finds himself becoming close to him.

And the missing man’s son, Bjorn.  A teen now with his own passions and ambitions, wanting to make a life of his own- be more than “that man’s son”.

Nadine- the gorgeous, enigmatic widow raising her son as she sends suitors away.

Gavin- the Tom Sawyer-esk youth who hates school, loves fishing, and is far too intent on the status of his manhood.

These characters and more pull at Virgil, move him as he strives to take control of his life and his aging theater.

My thoughts:

There have been several books in my life that I loved beyond reason.  This is going to be  one of them.  Virgil was a fantastic character that I couldn’t help but root for.  His pain quickly became mine, and his mistakes more easy for me to forgive because I loved him so much.  With gorgeous, sometimes whimsical descriptions and a steady pace, this book wasn’t a fast read, but one that you lingered over; chuckling over a turn of phrase or sighing over a declaration.  I filled page after page of quotes and character quirks.  It was part imaginative imagery seen in the likes of Isabel Allede’s Eva Luna, married with the quirk of small town living found in Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.  Both are favorites of mine and I could not fail to be charmed  by a book that could incorporate what was magical about each.

Another thing I loved was seeing the different characters grow and change through Virgil’s eyes.  There was a lot of growth in almost all characters without ever derailing from the story being about Virgil- his life and observations.  Gavin, especially went from a young Tom Sawyer-type imp to a strong man-boy with a fishy arch nemesis.  I loved these characters, and was sad to see the final page.  For me, this is a five star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

As far as the adult content goes there’s some language and light substance abuse, nothing major.  I would give it a four.  It’s geared toward adults but an older teen might like it.  General.svg

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Grove Press in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  I loved it so much that I have preordered the hardback novel from Amazon (get ready for a second post with quotes and a lot of gushing).  pro_reader_120

The book comes out 10-02-2018.  Who’s excited?

Link to book:

Amazon

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New Release Tuesday!!!! 9-18-19

Tomorrow is my birthday and I consider these releases to be the best present! I have one ARC coming out, and one book I preordered that I am stoked about.

        First, the ARC:

the.... deaths of evelyn hardcastleEvelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 pm.  There are eight witnesses for you to embody, and you will relive the day 8 times.  Figure out who killed her, and you’re free…

I adored this book.  It’s an interesting premise with good world building and great character development.  The mystery in in itself kept me guessing and writing style kept me turning pages. 

normal star rating normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating  Read the full review: The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton

Now, I have been a fan of Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series since the first book came out.  Audrey Rose is an interesting character, and the premise takes older tales and twists them a bit.  There were some issues with writing style at first that I put down to being a debut author, and a young one at that.  The second book, Hunting Prince Dracula, Kerri Maniscalco was more fluid and showed growth both in character development and writing style.  They were five and four star books for me, respectively, simply because they are great reads that pull you in.  When I found out about Escaping From Houdini I immediately ordered the book and I get my hands on it tomorrow!
escaping from HoudiniFirst, I love this cover.  Isn’t it gorgeous?!? 

Audrey Rose and Thomas Creswell embark on a journey to New York where they will be looking into another murder mystery.  Who would imagine that one awaited them aboard the ship?

Privileged young women are going missing only to be found murdered.  Can Audrey and Thomas solve the murders before too many of the boat’s passengers are taken?  

I can’t wait to get into this one!!!

        So those are my releases for this week.  Have you read them?  And have I missed any?  Let me know!

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The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton

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Title: The 71/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Pages: 432

Genre: mystery, thriller

Is this part of a series?  No

Publish date:  September 18th, 2018

Summary:

      Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered…. again and again, and her killer is never caught.  One man will relive that day eight times, as eight different men.  If he can find out who killed Evelyn Hardcastle, he escapes.  No more days on loop, no more hosts, he can have his life back.  If he fails…. it begins again.  At a house party where everyone seems suspect can he really be expected to figure who the murderer is?  Will that even be enough for him?  Moving from one host to another, one clue to another, one ally to another…. what happens if he finds something at Blackheath worth saving?

My Thoughts:

This was a stunning debut novel with a lot of great characters and world building.  I was constantly surprised by how engrossed I became with the plot, the drama…. the lives of the hosts and Aiden’s struggles.  I literally have 26 pages (one sided) of notes saved for this book.  There were so many twists and turns, descriptions and phrases…. it was a masterpiece. 

         At the beginning, Aiden is scared, angry.  As he moves along, though, he finds reasons to move forward and play the game.  People he cares about, people that were kind, promises and friendships springing up in a hellish environment.  The relationship he has with Anna is one that truly intrigued me.  Unlike Aiden she only has one body, and one day.  She relives this again and again, never free.  When the two team up, it’s amazing watching them move together. 

          I loved the flow of the book, from host to host and sometimes back.  It’s definitely an intense mystery and one that kept me guessing.  I am so enamored of this book that I cannot wait to see what the author comes out with next.  Turton is a definitely an author to watch out for.  Five stars!  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

    On the adult content scale, there is a lot of violence, language and substance abuse.  I would say that this one if for older teens and adults.  I give it a six.  mature audience.

     I was lucky enough to receive and eARC of this book from Netgalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  pro_reader_120

The book comes out 9-18-2018.  Be ready!!!

Link to book:

Amazon

Kobo

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I have a new toy!

I got myself an elfin book form Amazon and I am loving it!  These are notebooks with special paper that, so long as you use the right pen, can be scanned onto an app, saved and wiped clear with a damp cloth.  I am lazy so I use napkins.  It’s great!  I have always preferred hand written notes- shopping lists, book notes, day planning…. everything.  My handwriting is atrocious, but it helps me think.  On the other hand, it’s super wasteful- right?  I mean all those notebooks, all that paper…

But what if one page could be used dozens or even hundreds of times?  That’s what the claim is anyway.  I have used my front page about 12 times now and the worst I will say is that there are slight indents in the page from past writing- but that doesn’t show up in the pic at all, so it that really a deterrent?  I have found the erasable pens at Office Max and Target, so I don’t even have to wait for them to come in from Amazon!  With Christmas coming up fast, why not consider this for your budding author, student, or artist (half the pages have no lines making them ideal for sketches).   I will say, though, that I didn’t care for the Elfin app- I went straight to Office Lense per my husband’s recommendation and it’s so user friendly!  I will be posting some pics, but please note that the hand writing is, as I said, really bad and has nothing to do with the app.

 

Just think what someone more artistic could do!  Lol

-Amber

New Release Tuesday! 9-11-18

Hi guys!!!! This week I have an ARC coming out and a James Patterson novel.  Let’s get started!

the exex revfiengeThree very different women with one thing in common.  Phillip.  They all loved him, they all suffered at his hands, and they have all had enough!  I adored this book, even when I couldn’t agree with steps the characters took.  It just drew me in and kept me guessing!  Highly recommended.  Read full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

juror #3A new book from Patterson!  Of course I preordered it for my kindle app.  I am super excited about reading this one, but don’t know when I will get to it.

Ruby is new to Mississippi and to the bar.  As a new lawyer under Judge Baylor’s circuit, she’s surprised to find herself as defense against a racially charged felony.  Who can she turn to  for help understanding the case, who can she trust?

…………It sounds so good!

 

 

 

 

So those are my new releases for this week.  Did I miss any?  Let me know!

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The Summer List, Amy Mason Doan

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Title: The Summer List

Author: Amy Mason Doan

Pages: 384

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Is this part of a series?  No

Published: June 26th, 2018

Summary:

           Laura and Casey were best friends- inseparable since the day they met.  Floating, skating, scavenger hunts, secrets and dreams…  So what happened that summer night to tear it all down?

Seventeen years later, Laura gets a note- an invite.  Can things really be fixed after so long?  Once there, they find that there’s one last scavenger hunt with the biggest prize of all.  Can the two adults stick together, get through the weekend, and maybe make a new friendship out of the ashes of the past?

My thoughts:

This book was gorgeous and heartbreaking.  I loved how teen Laura and Casey were, back then.  How they responded to one another, and to Casey’s mom, Alex.  She was a mess, but she loved them both like crazy.  I have to admit there were parts that confused me, I was forever trying to figure out who the narrator of the summer camp was.  Once it was revealed, though, it made perfect sense and added a lot to the story.  While the writing was jumpy- really far from the fluid writing styles I normally gravitate toward- I couldn’t help loving it.  The story was spellbinding, and the characters were gorgeously imperfect.  I especially liked JB…. it’s easy to see why Laura would loose her heart to him.  For me, this was a definite five star book.   normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s a lot.  Language, substance abuse, sexual content- though not very explicit, the relationship in itself can be a trigger.  I give it a six.  mature audience.

The book is out! Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Kobo

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