Book Review: By Chance by E. Denise Billups

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By ChanceBy Chance by E. Denise Billups
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By Chance, written by E. Denise Billups, focuses on three women who have a shared, unknown connection in the beginning of this supernatural story. Although they start out as colleagues working on a TV home remodeling show that gives a house away each year to one lucky entrant, they become friends over time and support one another through multiple difficult, personal situations. They also have varying degrees of paranormal abilities, enabling them to predict what might happen and to recall memories from long ago. When they each receive a peculiar gift one holiday morning, they turn to each other to protect themselves from a harmful entity seeking vengeance.

Enter Tom and his family. He appears to be a man suffering from something awful that occurred in the past. He previously won the home giveaway contest, but after time, things went awry. We never quite know what happened, but he wants to punish the show for its lies and the unfairness it’s caused in his life. He makes a difficult decision to leave his family in order to travel around the country to get revenge against the show, stalking and hunting down the three women (and a few others) who were part of his downfall.

Told from different perspectives, we learn the history leading up to Tom’s anger through the eyes of different situations and characters. At the same time, we watch the women try to discover who is out to get them, as Tom’s notes and presents are purposefully confusing. The women are also unable to clearly see Tom’s identity, and nothing indicates he is past winner, at least in the beginning. As the events unfold, and Tom unravels, he makes mistakes which lead to someone figuring out his identity. But then, they can’t actually find him. They just foresee the final encounter, which doesn’t bode well for their futures. What can the trio do to stop him?

While the supernatural abilities are important to the story, they aren’t what made this such a great read for me. Billups created memorable characters with painful history and wonderful, outgoing personalities. I believed the kindred spirit and friendship among the three primary women, and they kept my attention throughout the tale. The concept of the story was intriguing–a home giveaway contest gone wrong. Or did it? There is a heightened psychological aspect to this story because at times, we are unsure who might be involved in the entire situation. It creates good suspense and makes for a very easy read.

This isn’t a whodunit tale, nor is it focused on what actually went wrong with the house that was given away. It’s more a story of perspective and overcoming challenges. The main plot takes place over about a year, and the subplots are plenty–we see all the new relationships and events in the women’s lives while the stalking continues to occur. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t know that will haunt you in the end.

Tom suffers through a lot, but we won’t find out all the details until much further in the book than you’d expect. I turned the pages quickly on a flight halfway across the country, and before long, it’d ended. Pacing and timing were strong, and I found myself invested in the outcome. The ending was a nice surprise, and I realized how much I enjoy Billups’ writing style. A definite recommend from me for fans of something that blends a few genres and turns out a solid story.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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11 thoughts on “Book Review: By Chance by E. Denise Billups

    E. Michael Helms, writer said:
    May 28, 2019 at 11:31 AM

    I really enjoyed Denise’s KALORAMA ROAD, and am looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one! 🙂
    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    Colline said:
    May 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM

    I enjoyed reading your review. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      May 28, 2019 at 6:17 PM

      Thank you so much! I’m just back from vacation and have a few more to write up soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      May 28, 2019 at 6:19 PM

      Hope you are well. I’m so behind and need to catch up on blogs. 🙂

      Like

        Colline said:
        May 29, 2019 at 12:17 PM

        I often wish we had an extra hour in the day just to read blog posts 😄

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        May 29, 2019 at 9:15 PM

        yes!!!!

        Like

    carhicks said:
    May 30, 2019 at 7:37 PM

    I hope you had a great vacation Jay. This one sounds good and 5 stars is amazing. I am not big on supernatural stuff, but it sounds like it is minor in this story. I love books that highlight strong friendships and relationships. Wonderful review.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      May 30, 2019 at 10:28 PM

      The concept is what really had me interested and garnered the 5 stars. So much going on between every character and the house, it made it really suspenseful.

      Liked by 1 person

    Rae Reads said:
    May 30, 2019 at 10:18 PM

    Oh wow, sounds goooooood.
    Since I didn’t make it to NYC this year for the Book Expo, I’m planning to do SOMETHING bookish, even if it’s just to go to a bookstore. The nearest one is about 30 mi. away.Sigh…

    Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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