March 14, 2016

Cover Reveal: Hush (Black Lotus #3) by E.K. Blair

HUSH by E.K. Blair
Final book in the Black Lotus series
Genre: Dark Psychosexual Thriller
Releases: Tuesday, April 12
Synopsis:
I've come to learn there is no escaping your past.

It doesn't matter what you do, it will follow like a phantom--haunting you--reminding you.

PRE-ORDER HUSH NOW!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/21pAkd7

Other books in series:

My Review of Bang: http://bit.ly/1WkBlSd


About E.K. Blair: 
E.K. Blair, takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her dynamic and intense writing style. Noted for her ability to create fleshed-out characters that will evoke a realm of reactions, you can be assured that her stories will linger with you far beyond the last word.

A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.

March 8, 2016

Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes


Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

Review:

I loved having the opportunity to get back inside of the hilariously insane mind of Joe Goldberg. Hidden Bodies is the continuation of the story that Caroline Kepnes left off with at the end of You.

At the start of Hidden Bodies, Joe is still working in Mr. Mooney's rare bookstore when he meets a questionable but attractive young woman named Amy Adam (no "s"). After an unfortunate series of minor but angering events that prompts an extreme need for retribution, Joe is lead to Los Angeles, a city that for him, could not be more different from his beloved New York. Joe is in what he considers to be the land of the rich and pretentious and all throughout the book his inner commentary and pop culture references about the people he comes across there is absolutely hilarious!!

Hidden Bodies introduces us to a whole new slew of superficial and quirky characters. Some of my favorites had to be Joe's desperate and promiscuous neighbor Delilah (sometimes known as Don'tFuckDelilah), Joe's landlord Harvey who uses the catch phrase "Am I right or am I right?", a new love interest whose name also happens to be Love, and her drugged out pathetic poser of a brother, Forty.

As far as the story flow, this book moved a little bit slower for me. It definitely had some ebbs that I had to push through. Once I read past that middle chunk however, the sh*t really hit the fan and I couldn't put it down..

While I didn't love Hidden Bodies the same way I loved You, it was still a treat to enjoy more of Joe's  amusing and psychotic antics. One of the most noticeable differences between the two books is that You is written more like a conversation where Joe is indirectly talking to Beck within his own mind. Hidden Bodies involves Joe narrating his story as its occurring. The style change seemed to take something away from the creepy mannerisms that I became accustomed to in You. Perhaps Kepnes was trying for that. I just felt slightly less connected to his character in the sequel.

It's definitely no easy feat to turn a serial killer into a likable character who you root for to get away with murder, however Caroline Kepnes flawlessly accomplished it. I found myself wanting Joe to seek revenge on not only people who did him wrong but also people who slightly inconvenienced him. His frustrations made me frustrated What can I say? Joe Goldberg brought out the killer in me.

In the interest of keeping this review completely spoiler free, I wont speak to what type of ending Hidden Bodies has. I will recommend keeping an open mind as Kepnes does not tie every aspect into a perfect bow. All I'll say is, in many ways, the conclusion is open ended for the reader to decide what happens next, or wait until the next book...

Book Links: 
You: A Novel

Hidden Bodies

About Caroline Kepnes:


Born: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Lives: Los Angeles, California

Writes: YOU and HIDDEN BODIES, both of which bring you, the reader, inside the mind of a bright, nasty, sweet, mixed bag of a man named Joe Goldberg. He is both a law-breaking sociopath and a devout lover of literature, Internet stalker and old school dreamer.

What else?

Let’s see.

Before she wrote novels, Caroline worked as a pop culture reporter. While at Entertainment Weekly, she described the Sopranos bus tour is great detail, analyzed Carrie Bradshaw’s decisions in Sex & the City and watched the first season of 24 in 24 hours. Yes, that was intense.

She also wrote dozens of short stories. And you can find a lot of them online.

Caroline started writing when she was a child because she needed to track the action in her doll house. There was this secret room upstairs, sometimes a ghost, sometimes a murderer on the run, sometimes a Glamour Gal Hollywood actress with no morals, sometimes a gun-toting GI Joe.

(Sorry, brother Alex.)

When she was in high school, she received an Honorable Mention and a sleek, beautiful Smith Corona typewriter in Sassy Magazine’s Fabulous Fiction Contest. So she kept writing, of course.

At Brown University, Caroline studied American Civilization and designed a concentration called “Notions of Normalcy in American Culture”. In other words, she studied South Park, eating disorders, depictions of female psychologists in mainstream media and the works of Mark Twain. She also studied fiction writing with Meredith Steinbach.

After she graduated, Caroline moved to New York where she had the great fortune of working in the Mammalogy Department of the American Museum of Natural History. Her other job experiences in New York include:

Regular background acting on a Fox series called The $treet

Associate Editor at Tiger Beat and Teen Machine

Traveling SAT tutor

One terrible, long half day behind a desk at an investment bank

Script Doctor (First paid creative gig ever!)

Eventually, a desire to write for the TV and spend long, breezy afternoons at the Beach Club in 90210 inspired her to go west. She moved to Los Angeles where she covered Hollywood gossip for E! Online, wrote episodes of 7th Heaven and analyzed Sally Draper for Yahoo TV. Jobs in LA include:

Freelance Researcher for a Stand-Up Comedian

Staff Writer on Season 1 of The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Background Goddess on Oxygen’s “Mr. Romance” reality series

Author of Stephen Crane biography for kids

Caroline then adapted her short story “Sky Miles” into a short film, Miles Away. It was her first time directing, and she is proud that her little movie premiered at the Woods Hole Film Festival and took third place in the Audience Award for Best Short Comedy.

2013: Caroline took a deep breath, some time off and a long hard look at the world. She was sitting at a Starbucks in West Hollywood watching people with their heads in their phones. And then, she thought, what if someone else was watching them?

And then Joe Goldberg was born.

Caroline’s eternally grateful for all the passionate readers who have embraced her work. She loves hearing from people on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It’s an exciting time to be a novelist, right?

When she’s not on the social medias, she is at work on new books.

And oh yes, she does plan to return to Joe.

Some Book Facts

Caroline’s debut You was optioned by Showtime.

It was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Award.

It’s a Suspense Magazine Best Book of the Year.

Stephen King tweeted about You. He used words like “hypnotic” “scary” and “plenty of snark”. STEPHEN KING, YOU GUYS, STEPHEN KING.

Lena Dunham describes Hidden Bodies is “delicious and insane”. She was “RIVETED, AGHAST, AROUSED” by You.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think?

Find Caroline on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

And if she’s talking too much tell her to get back to those books.

Review: F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher


Synopsis:
Helena Conway has fallen in love.
Unwillingly.
Unwittingly.

But not unprovoked. Kit Isley is everything she's not—unstructured, untethered, and not even a little bit careful.
It could all be so beautiful...if he wasn't dating her best friend. Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others.
Until she doesn't. 

Review:

I really liked F*ck Love but I couldn't love it. The story had a good flow, some crazy ups and downs, and extremely detailed writing (who doesn't want to move to Port Townsend after reading that?). I've been a long time fan of Tarryn Fisher's books, all the way back to the Love Me With Lies series, so I was surprised when I was left feeling underwhelmed by this book.

Character-wise, I couldn't relate to Helena's quirky, yet lunatic-like behavior. There were many times that I found her highly amusing with her Harry Potter references and selfie taking habit, but towards the end, I just didn't feel much about her. Kit was likable, but his indecisiveness and lack of action really irked me throughout most of the book. Della was obnoxious from beginning to end and I could not understand for the life of me by Helena would deal with her for so long, life-altering dream or not. She was very reminiscent of Darcy from Emily Giffin's 'Something Borrowed' with her narcissistic tendencies and neediness. Greer was hands down my favorite character. She was fun, insightful, and self assured, sometimes even a mentor to Helena. She was the true MVP of F*ck Love. I would definitely read a book about her story in the future if Tarryn ever writes one. ;)

“You shouldn’t have to convince anyone to choose you. There is no real choice in love.”

The "no real choice in love" message is powerful, but the way Helena constantly fled from emotion and the way Kit wouldn't take action to the point where I didn't even know what he really wanted, left me unconvinced that these two characters were the proper example of this sentiment.

The plot was strong in the beginning, had some good ups and downs in the middle, but dropped off a little bit towards the end. Don't get me wrong, it's a good ending with a great message that I think will resonate with readers, it just didn't have the wow factor or typical angst that I was hoping for.
I also found the bit with Muslim Black a bit random and misplaced. I'll look forward to reading his story and hopefully it'll fill in some blanks about his character introduction in F*ck Love.

The setting descriptions were honestly the best part for me! Port Townsend sounds like such a beautiful place and I know I can't be the only one who wanted to pick up my life and move there just based off of Fisher's setting portrayal. She really did make it sound magical.

Though this book wasn't my favorite, I would absolutely recommend it to fans of Tarryn Fisher. Despite my few gripes, I won't lie when I say I did read it cover to cover! For readers who are new to her work, I would definitely recommend starting with the Love Me With Lies series, or Mud Vein first! You really can't go wrong.

Tarryn Fisher’s Bio:
Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of six novels. Her newest novel, Marrow, just released in April 2015 and she is currently working on the second installment of Never Never. She is the co-founder of Clothed Caption, a fashion blog she runs with her friend, Madison Seidler. Tarryn resides in the Seattle area with her family. She loves rainy days, Coke, and thinks Instagram is the new Facebook. Tarryn is represented by Amy Tannenbaum of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Author Links: