Book Review: The River at Night, by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night, by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Published by Gallery/Scout Press on January 10, 2017

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 304

Source: purchased

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A “raw, relentless, and heart-poundingly real” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) thriller set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, The River at Night charts the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare; a freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters and visceral prose, The River at Night “will leave you gasping, your heart racing, eyes peering over your shoulder to see what follows from behind” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author). This is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won’t soon forget.

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Do You DNF?

Do You DNF?Over the past several months, I’ve been trying to focus on quality over quantity with my reading. This doesn’t necessarily mean every book I read needs to be the BEST book ever but that I’d like to be reading books that thoroughly entertain, teach me something new and interesting, or bring something really special to the table. So I’ve been abandoning books more readily than I ever have in the past.

Although I’ve proclaimed to be fine with putting a book down when it’s not working, it’s been a fairly rare occurrence in my reading life. But as I’m getting older and realizing just how many books there are that I’d like to try, it’s getting easier to DNF (did not finish). It’s entirely possible I’m also getting more particular in my preferences and my patience for poor quality is waning as I read more, making it easier to decide to put a book down.

There are a few reasons why I might DNF a book:

1. The timing/format is wrong.

I’ve tried some books that deal with topics or themes that I just couldn’t handle at the time. It might be anything from the death of a loved one to something too creepy when I’m already stressed. And as a reader who enjoys using multiple formats (print copies, e-books, audiobooks), I find that some formats work better for some books than others. When I put these books down, I usually intend to go back to them at some point when the timing is better or in a different format.

2. I couldn’t connect with it.

This tends to be the hardest category for me. These are books that don’t necessarily have anything wrong with them and the timing and format is right, but something just isn’t clicking for me. Although sometimes I’ll realize it fairly quickly, most often I stick with these for the longest amount of time before putting them down. And sometimes I’ll consider going back to these at another time as well.

3. Poor writing and editing.

These are the easiest books for me to DNF. When I come across several spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes within a couple pages, I know it won’t be a book for me. This tends to be an issue more often with independently published (and especially self published) books, which is unfortunate because I like to give them a chance.

So I’m curious! Do you DNF books? If so, what are your reasons?

Book Review: The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

Published by Henry Holt & Co. on July 9, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 256

Source: Netgalley

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A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

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Book Review: Beyond the World, by T.J. & M.L. Wolf

Beyond the World, by T.J. & M.L. Wolf

Beyond the World by T.J. & M.L. Wolf

Published by Amazon KDP on December 20, 2018

Series: The Survival Trilogy, #3

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, science fiction, suspense

Format & Length: paperback, 308

Source: author

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In 2020, a year after an out-of-this-world encounter in Chinatown, Una Waters ventures into Yosemite National Park with General Ashcroft, on their honeymoon. When a coded distress call pulls him unexpectedly away on duty, Una uncovers a UFO mystery and turns to compadre Jack Howser for help. Joined by friends from Explorers Club, their quest for answers leads to a string of unworldly campsites, ancient caves, living pterosaurs, and a military manhunt–all fueled by an Alien conspiracy that threatens the survival of humanity! Una comes to realize that Fear of the Unknown may be our greatest obstacle, and the fight to overcome it requires Transformation: a willingness to let go of the Lies we hold dear.

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Book Review: Allegedly, by Tiffany D. Jackson

Allegedly, by Tiffany D. Jackson

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Published by Harper Collins Publishers on January 24, 2017

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 245

Source: purchased

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Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

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Infographic: What are you in the mood to read next?

What are you in the mood to read next?Today I want to share a different type of recommendation post. As a mood reader, when I’m trying to decide what book to pick up next I usually go through a particular process that involves a few steps. First I think about what genre or tone I’m looking for. And then I narrow it down based on some specifics I’ve heard about the books in that category on my TBR (to be read) list. So I thought it would be fun to share an infographic that visualizes that experience.

Since this could go in so many directions, I’m starting by focusing on genres and categories that I’ve read a good amount in and have chosen books that were released within the past two years (or have sequels that were published within that time frame). I’d love to hear your thoughts on this type of post! Please let me know if you like infographics like this and if so, what genres or topics you might want to see suggestions for in the comments.

Ready to see my recommendations?

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April Reading Wrap Up

April Reading Wrap UpApril was overall a great month of reading! I completed nine books, which is more than my average (although I’m not entirely sure how). And the majority of what I read I wound up rating a four. After the March I had, this was more than a few steps up and I’m feeling much better about choosing the right books for me.

I’m also happy to have knocked some backlist books that I’ve owned for a while off my list. As it stands now, I own 171 books that I haven’t yet read and I’d like to get that down to 155 by the end of the year. If I keep up this rate of at least two per month, that should be achievable.

Anyway. Ready to see what I read and reviewed in April?

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Book Review: Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, by Keira Gillett

Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, by Keira Gillett

Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well by Keira Gillett

Published by Keira Gillett on July 7, 2017

Series: Zaria Fierce, #4

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 260

Source: author

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First Aleks’ mom loses the car keys, which he finds in the fridge, and then Christoffer forgets how to get to Aleks’ house. On the surface it doesn’t seem so bad, but events become more disturbing as the day progresses. Something strange is happening in Norway, and Aleks Mickelsen is the only one who can stop it. Too bad for us, the last thing he wants is another adventure.

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Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Published by HarperCollins Publishers on September 20, 2016 (originally published February 11, 2016)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, romance, women’s fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 368

Source: purchased

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Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

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Book Review: The Night Before, by Wendy Walker

The Night Before, by Wendy Walker

The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Published by St. Martin’s Press on May 14, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 320

Source: Netgalley

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Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control. 

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

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