blood

Book Review: Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt

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It’s been a while since I read a gory thriller, but when I picked up Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt, I knew I would be thrust in the middle of something deliciously vicious. Did you see that cover? Blood, death and pain. And does this book deliver! Earlier this year I read another one of her thrillers, and while it was definitely an intense ride, this one was even more of a suspenseful punch… probably because we actually hear thoughts occurring in the serial killer’s head a few times. But perhaps my favorite part of this book was sharing it as a buddy read with my friend, Dani, an amazing book reviewer and blogger I love chatting with!

The book starts out a little scary… Markie, a young woman, is hurting over the vicious murder of her best friend from ~18 months earlier, trying to bond with her sister and find her new place in the world. She even goes on a blind date with a setup assembled by her late best friend’s parents who’ve come to think of her as their own daughter now. And it helps, given Markie’s own mother is a bit eccentric. Markie and her sister, Kam, setup a signal code so if the date is going poorly, Markie has an easy out. During the date, the signal goes off and Markie is disappointed, as she liked the guy. But when her sister calls with a fake emergency, it’s not actually fake. Thus, the chase kicks off in the books and we’re treated to a rotation of narrators from the killer, Markie, her family and a few other critical players.

aggraavted

Oviatt is fantastic at delivering the creepy, page-turning horror that pulls you in and kicks you out (from fear!) many times over. Whether it’s a description of the violence, the freakishly lucid yet nonsensical mind of a serial killer, or the palpitating fear readers witness when the main character is being stalked, it’s an intense journey. Casually dropping in the fear factor is a specialty of Oviatt, i.e. her reveal about how the killer is picking off his or her victims somewhere around 20% into the book. And you’re left thinking… yikes, how will anyone survive! But it’s when we learn the final twist that my eyes popped out of their sockets. Are you serious, Oviatt? I will NEVER be alone with you at this point… and I mean that in a you’re awesome, but you’ve got such bubbling creativity in that masterful mind of yours kinda way.

Characters are well drawn. I loved seeing the relationships between all the key players, but that ending! You’ve closed the loops on all the big things, but you’ve left quite a few open in the mid to small range that have us still wondering and thinking about this book. There’s gotta be a sequel in the works… it could still go so many ways. I hope you’ve got some sort of trickery up your sleeve as I want more on this wild adventure. One thing I’ve come to count on with Oviatt’s books is a strong story, crazy and deceitful characters, a massive twisty-turny road, and a realistic setting. It’s a methodical build where she ramps up at just the right pace, then the shock hits when you don’t expect it. But it makes you all the more focused and alert as you can’t help but squint and mistrust everyone at that point. So… how long do we have to wait for the next one?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. 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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365 Challenge: Day 334 – Arrow

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Arrow: a shaft sharpened at the front and with feathers or vanes at the back, shot from a bow as a weapon or for sport

arrow.png

In a giant twist of fate, I will have two Valentine’s dates today! Shocking, I know. I should be thrown in prison for my blasphemy… except it’s 2018 and probably okay to have two dates. No, W has nothing to worry about! My first date is with the doctor. Ouch! I’m not sure how it happened, well I suppose I am. I realized I hadn’t gone for an annual check-up last year, so I called recently to schedule one. Somehow I selected today at 1:30. I must have been drunk or busy writing as there’s no explanation for why I did this to myself. Since it involves blood work (on Valentine’s Day??? Vampires!), I had to fast this morning. The last thing I had to eat was dinner around 7:30 last night. Pancakes. As it was Pancake Day. That oughtta show up great on the blood sugar test! Now I will have fasted for 18 hours instead of 8 hours because the appointment is so late in the day. I’m fine not eating, but please give me coffee ASAP.

I really can’t complain. I did it to myself. I didn’t plan properly. But… on the way home afterward, I’ll stop at the grocery store to buy dinner for Valentine’s Day. I’m thinking of making an asparagus risotto with some sort of protein depending on what looks good today at Whole Foods. I might put red food coloring in the risotto. Sounds tasty, right? Ha! That will be the second date… this time with W. I’m sure it will be a much more pleasant one. I’m not a big fan of going to the doctor. I skipped it for ten years. Last time I went, they mentioned things like… oh, you’ll be 40 next time so we should do a prostate exam. And your cholesterol was a little higher than normal today so start cutting back on everything you love to eat. Maybe we should also get you scheduled for a colonoscopy as it’s good to know how everything looks.

So… I avoid doctors; however, after what happened earlier this year with Ryder, I guess I’ve learned that you need to know what’s wrong as soon as possible. Fine, I’ll go. But I’m taking an arrow. (You were probably wondering why that’s today’s 365 Daily Challenge word!) If the doctor tries to suggest anything I don’t want to do, I’ll toss the arrow directly at her… and it won’t be Cupid’s Valentine’s Day kind!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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.

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365 Challenge: Day 100 – Morbid

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Morbid: characterized by or appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, especially death and disease.

morbid

Today, we are celebrating life and death on ThisIsMyTruthNow’s 365 Daily Challenge. And before you go any further, I mean no offense nor to cause any trouble with this post, as it’s intended with humor and jest; however, I acknowledge it also reveals a little bit about my sense of humor. This is going to be an interesting one, but I promise no GIFs with gore, although I do love them.

This is my 100th post in the 365 Daily Challenge. I thought about the number 100 for a few minutes, discovering what it really means to me:

  1. The perfectionist in me always strives to get a score of 100 on any tests or exams (assuming that’s the highest mark). What a nerd!
  2. I’m very in tune with history, time and genealogy, which makes the concept of 100 years, or a century, very important to my research and interests.
  3. I’d like to live until I’m at least 100 years old. I plan to be healthy, active, youthful and still have all my wits about me. The way I look at it… as a kid, I always acted at least 5 to 10 years older than I was, and that continued up until I was around 30 when acting like I was near retirement… I finally gave up and said… act your age. So now… as I start growing older, it’s time to regress a little. By that logic, when I’m 100, maybe it’ll be like I’m really 50. So this is all gonna work out quite well for me. Hope to see you all then, too!

To put a few points around these rambles… hitting the milestone 100 posts in the 365 Daily Challenge today made me feel kinda good. I will also have completed 500 book reviews by next week, which has been a lot of work. And I just made 600 followers on WordPress. A nice little celebration this week… Life on WordPress has been great!

So now you’re asking why is the title of this post “morbid?” Well… I have a slight fascination with death and horror. And life and death balance each other out… so I thought I’d combine the two into this 100th post. A bit morbid, right? Ever since I was a young kid, I’ve always wondered about death — in a very healthy way. Big curiosity over what happens when someone dies, where they really go, do you get a second chance, are there really past lives, can you haunt someone? That kinda stuff. And whenever there’s a book, film or TV show that covers these topics, I love it!

My favorite place to go by myself is a cemetery or a graveyard. I find them relaxing. I feel connected with things. To see all the history. The memories. The missing pieces. The lost. The pain. The hope. Sometimes a little scare or fear at night. It’s a place that feels real to me, which is quite odd, given that it’s the place things that are no longer “real” go after life. I’m odd. I know it. I accept it. But it’s the truth. And that’s what I say on this site.

I also love gore. When movies or films get right in there and show all the horrible, nasty and disgusting things happening to bodies or people who’ve been murdered, it keeps my attention. For almost everyone I know, they close their eyes or leave the room; some even get sick. Not me. I’m good with seeing it all. I have some strange ability to turn off the “scary & squeamish” part and look at it more subjectively. That said… I’ve never been injured myself, so I have no idea what might happen if it were my own body with the issues. I know I get this from my dad, as he’s the same way. Blood, gore, surgery… none of it bothers him. Apparently, we’ve got strong stomachs for that kinda stuff. The only way to describe it is “morbid.”

When I read books like Paradise Lost or Inferno (Dante), I wish I could be part of that exploration. It’s not that I want to see the pain in or on other people, but it’s to gain knowledge about the broad concepts of life and death. It’s more intellectual for me… not like I want to sit around and watch people be dismembered just for fun. OK, well that’s not true… I do love serial killer books and movies, especially when they come from nowhere and make me jump just a little. I root for the serial killer. In theory. Not in real life, of course. That would be wrong. I know that much. 😛

By now, you probably agree… I’m morbid. You may even think I’m quite peculiar and extraordinarily scary. But… as you know… I don’t hold back in these 365 daily posts. So no need to worry whether I’m a secret psycho. A psycho wouldn’t put all this out for the public to read. And it’s a good thing this stuff all makes me laugh and have fun. I could be morose about it; and most people think of morbid and morose together. I’m the opposite. I see morbid as a fascination and morose as doom-n-gloom. Aren’t you glad you read today’s post?

Who would have thought combining the 100th “365 Daily Challenge” post would lead to me talking about serial killers, whacking people’s heads off and wondering when I might die!?!?!! Anyone else out there like me? Or do you run for the hills when it comes to this kinda stuff?

To Be or Not To Be: That Is The Question

(morbid, that is… to be or not to be morbid?)

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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.

Review: Be My Killer

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Be My Killer3 out of 5 stars to Be My Killer, a mystery and thriller novel set to release on May 26th, 2017, by Richard Parker. It appears this is Parker’s first novel, and for a debut, he shows a lot of potential. I’m curious to see what else he publishes. On to the review…

Why This Book
NetGalley has become my new go-to for selection of ARCs to read and review. But this time, I happen to see this book on my friend Bentley’s list of Goodreads’ books, and I thought it sounded really interesting. I requested it via NetGalley and was awarded it that day. It was the next book on my list due to be published, which meant I had to squeeze it in this week. Oh, deadlines… Many thanks to the author, NetGalley and the publisher, Bookouture, for the advanced copy in lieu of a fair and honest review.

Overview of Story
A killer is on the loose, propelled by a new Twitter handle called “@BeMyKiller,” in which people can suggest names of who should be killed, as well as a witty response to taunt the killer into choosing them. It was only a fun game one man created, but someone took it to heart and killed 3 people in the exact manner suggested on Twitter. The families of the victims are out for blood, but the man who created the Twitter handle has been cleared of any wrongdoing. Enter Hazel, an indie film producer fresh off a prestigious award, looking for her next big break. She’s pulled together a crew to interview the family of the last victim, Meredith; however, Hazel is the only person who believes the same killer murdered all the victims, and possibly a 4th and a 5th, which the police are still investigating. As she heads to the sacred ground where Meredith was brutally murdered, Hazel interviews all the families, as well as the guy who created the Twitter handle. Things start getting out of control when people threaten to kill him, but along the path, people’s true personalities and hidden agendas begin coming to the surface. Over the course of 4 or 5 days, one by one, each member of the crew or victim’s families begin disappearing. The killer is knocking them off for some mysterious reasons. As the story comes to an end, there are only 4 or 5 people left and they begin to realize the others haven’t just disappeared (no bodies were ever found until the very end). It all comes to an explosive conclusion in the final chapters when the killer is revealed and Hazel takes a stand to save and protect those who still remain.

Approach & Style
The book is told in the past tense via an omniscient third party narrator, watching over each of the characters as they are brutally murdered. The point of view is consistent, but there is some mystery as you don’t always know which character is being tracked by the killer. Pronouns are often used in lieu of him or her, especially when the victim realizes they are about to die and knows who the killer is — the author doesn’t want to give it away, so “they” is quite frequent. It got a little confusing in the beginning, but then you realize you have to go with it, based on how the story is told. It takes place in a small New England town, though the murders happened all over the country, and possibly one in Europe.

I read this on my iPad Kindle reader. Chapters are very short, and even though the book is roughly 300 pages, there is a lot of white space on the screen due to the break in each of the scenes. As a result, it’s much shorter, and only took me about 4 hours to read over the course of 2 days.

Strengths
1. For a thriller novel, it’s full of suspense and the fear-factor. Given the way the story is told, and the writing style, it has the creep-factor. It almost feels like you are the camera person, following the people and watching the murders happen, but you can’t do anything about it. It’s also very descriptive and creative in the ways each of the characters die. I love me some horror, but this was very intricate. I felt the pain and shook / squirmed a few times, thinking about the vicious torture the attacker inflicted on “their” victims. Just to give you a flavor of the torture, one of the Twitter followers suggested her brother be killed, the brother responded “Sure, take a piece of me.” Well… the killer basically gutted him, chopped him up while he was still alive, into little pieces, and filmed the whole thing for the family to watch. What?????

2. I love when books kill characters one by one, keeping you guessing who is behind it the whole time. This book does well in that capacity. I also am fascinated by the premise of a Twitter stalker who kills people based on suggestions from various followers. It makes for a fun read and makes me a little leary to respond to people I don’t know on social media!

3. The characters are strong and real. I didn’t like many of them, mostly because they are all spineless jerks who hide behind the walls of the internet. The families of the victims also seemed to be using the death of their loved one as a way to help promote their own objectives. The film crew felt dirty and seedy, given what they were doing and how they treated each other, but it also felt a bit realistic in how this would play out — as far as the exploitation part.

Open Questions & Concerns
1. The cops seemed way too easy-going about the whole film production setting up in the murder spot. They were missing throughout most of the book, which felt too convenient just to keep the murders happening one by one.

2. I am not sure I believe the FBI couldn’t track the killer down through technology. I suppose the killer may not have had his/her own Twitter profiles, and looked at victims thru other means… but it felt like no one had a clue what was going on in that investigation.

3. I didn’t care for the ending. It was a surprise, and it made sense; however, it felt like it came a little too far from nowhere. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll stop there. Key thing to convey is… if you want a truly tidied up, complex and shocking ending, this wasn’t it. It definitely was surprising, but I wanted more in terms of the “why.” It does make up for the disappointment in the reasoning with a fantastic hide and seek scene in an amusement park.

Author & Other Similar Books
Tough one… I think it’s the author’s first book, so not much to say here. I am in no way, shape or form comparing him or the book to Agatha Christie; however, the concept of “one by one they die” was very similar to her novel, And Then There Were None.

Final Thoughts
I liked the author’s style and the topics in the book. I wasn’t a fan of the pronoun usage and think there could have been a better method to accomplishing the mystery goal. Overall, I’d definitely try another book by the author as it had a good amount of suspense, some horrific gore and kept my attention the entire time.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

View all my reviews

Review: All That Remains

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All That Remains
All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The “Kay Scarpetta” mystery series by Patricia Cornwell was one of the first adult mystery book series I began reading. I also started these very young, around 13 or 14, which may not be the best thing for young adults if they don’t have a strong sense of right/wrong and a stomach to handle really gory stuff. All That Remains is the third book in the series about a forensic medical examiner in Virginia who helps solve brutal crimes.

What I love about the early books is the relationship between the detective, Pete Marino, and Scarpetta, the medical examiner. It’s love/hate, and as the series grows, their relationship gets very volatile and intense. In the early books, like this one, you just want to hate Pete but you know he’s got a heart in there. He represents a typical cop of the 1970s / 80s, who is starting to change his philosophy on women being involved in his jurisdiction. And he’s of course in love with her but can’t do anything about it.

In this book, young couples are brutally murdered. And the psychopath behind it all is playing games with Scarpetta. All her serial killers end up wanting to get to Scarpetta, to impress her, because of how methodical and intelligent she is.

Cornwell’s writing is intense. And she describes everything about the blood and guts during the autopsies, finding the victims and conveying what the murderer is likely doing to his/her victims.

As the title suggests, this is all about “what remains” of the body to be able to figure out who is the culprit. Every page leads you to revelations, and you want to close your eyes and pretend you’re not reading about the gore, but you can’t help needing to keep reading it.

Scarpetta is so complex. Sometimes you love her. Sometimes you really want to lock her in a closet until she learns how to play a little nicer. But she will always evoke some huge reaction from the reader.

If you can handle the creepy-factor and the explicit language (vicious, usually not too sexual), you have to read a couple of these books to see how hard the author works to make each one unique and a very complex mystery.

She was one of my faves, and I stopped around 17 or 18 in the series to give myself a break. I’m close to going back to finish it up. And she’s still writing more!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


View all my reviews

Review: The Tell-Tale Heart

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The Tell-Tale Heart
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who wouldn’t find this insanity pure bliss? OK, possible exaggeration, but honestly… the rhythm and the beat of the words just make their own music in your mind and your breath as you read through them. A master… I wish I could have met him. Guessing what the noise is and what’s going on around you… makes you want to watch the whole scene looking in from the window.

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