writer

Book Review: Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon

Posted on Updated on

Sconed to Death (Cat Latimer Mystery #5)Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I am an avid cozy mystery series reader. Last fall, I began reading the Cat Latimer Mystery series by Lynn Cahoon, beginning with the 4th book that had been recently published at the time — also when I’d won a giveaway copy or participated on a blog tour (can’t remember!) and needed to read it ASAP! I enjoyed it so much, I went back to the beginning and caught up on the series. This 5th book comes out in a couple of months, but NetGalley generously approved me an ARC to read. I am a lucky guy for that reason as well as it having been quite a good book. 4.5 stars from me.

In this caper, the writer’s retreat group is all normal / fun. No one is mean and trying to hurt each other, at least as far as we know. A few old friends pop up to visit Cat, and her relationship with Shauna and her Uncle Pete is really put to the test. Dee Dee, a rival baker, has it out for Shauna. Too bad a famous chef winds up dead and gets between them. Was it Dee Dee? The chef’s brother or sister-in-law? A college employee with a vengeance? The health inspector? A mysterious fan? So many to choose from… the story kept me interested from start to finish. I was glad we saw Dante for a few pages, too, as I want him to come back from and center soon.

Sometimes you read a series for the mystery, other times it’s due to the setting and characters. For me, this book’s mystery was a little too easy to solve but it did have merit on many levels. On the flip side, the side stories and the everyday happenings in the main characters’ lives were superb. Overall, I’m very happy with this new release and glad to see the series continues to shine. What’s even better, in the back of the book, the title and publication date for the 6th book has been made available. It’s not even listed on Goodreads, but I’ve got 10 months to wait, so maybe I should check out her other series, right?

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 four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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.

Advertisements

Book Review: Of Murder and Men by Lynn Cahoon

Posted on Updated on

Of Murder and Men (Cat Latimer Mystery, #3)Of Murder and Men by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve completed reading the four books currently published in the Cat Latimer mystery series by Lynn Cahoon. Today’s review is for Of Murder and Men, the 3rd in the series; I read the 4th one first because I’d won it in a giveaway and then went back to read them in order. I wish I started properly, but overall, this series keeps getting stronger and stronger. I think this is my favorite thus far, and it earns 4.5 stars.

Cat is a late 20s widow who inherited her ex-husband, Michael’s, house when he died. At this point, we know he was somehow involved with the mob who has ties to the small town outside Denver, Colorado where they lived. What Cat didn’t know was that he’d been sucked into the accounting issues with a mob-related property, and before long, he had to pretend to be doing bad things in order to survive. Unfortunately, he couldn’t extricate himself quickly enough and was killed. We finally learn in this book who likely killed him, and how the killer’s family may or may not still be be after Cat. Instead of ignoring it, Cat has been trying to solve Michael’s death while using the house he left her as a writer’s retreat. Her high school boyfriend (and new love interest), Seth, and her best friend, Shauna, help run the retreat, where 5 writers show up for a week each month to finish their current WIPs. Almost always, one of them is a murderer, dies, or has a connection to the victim.

In this one, it’s Shauna who suffers. Kevin, her distracted boyfriend-turned-fiance, is found dead in his barn. Cat, Shauna, Seth, and Uncle Pete find connections between Michael’s death and Kevin’s death. One of the writers, Shirley, an ex-cop, helps investigate while she warms up to Pete. Ah, romance is brewing… the other writers are busier than usual and not as involved in the plot, but one of them turns up to have a connection with Kevin. Shauna’s battling it out with Kevin’s two ex-wives and their children for his estate, too. She doesn’t want the money, just a few things to remember him by. At the same time, Cat finds out Michael left her another building and never closed their joint account. Except… there’s WAY more money in it than he could have ever earned. Someone’s play games here, and Cat is determined to find out before Dante, the hot guy from the mob family who turns out was Michael’s childhood best friend, gets her all excited and bothered in a good way. No, poor Seth!

I’m quickly falling hard for this series. Cahoon has created some magic with the setting and action surrounding a writer’s retreat. Add in the mystery of Cat’s friends, and the mob-connections about town, there’s story in abundance. I love the clues Cahoon’s dropped in each book about future stories, too. I can already see plots formulating and know what might happen to certain characters. She’s a strong planner author (like me) which may be why I really like her writing style and these books. I need to read her other series next, especially since I’m now fully caught up with the four in this one. The 5th book won’t release for a few months, so I have time to start another of hers. Anyone else tried the Tourist Trap series?

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. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.

Book Review: Fatality by Firelight by Lynn Cahoon

Posted on Updated on

Fatality by Firelight (Cat Latimer Mystery, #2)Fatality by Firelight by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fatality by Firelight is the second book in the Cat Latimer mystery series written by Lynn Cahoon. It was published in 2017 and takes place in a small town a few hours outside Denver, Colorado. The series focuses on Cat, a late-20s former English professor who’s ex-husband, Michael, passed away (probably murdered) and left her his house and a few secrets to unravel. She’s turned the charming Victorian into a writer’s retreat to help aspiring and struggling authors finish their books, but somehow something dastardly always ends up happening. In this caper, one of the writers is flirting with a local at a nearby inn even though he’s engaged. Although she rejects him when he wants to take the evening a bit further, the police still suspect her when the guy turns up dead overnight — killed by a knife while sipping on champagne near a fire. Whodunit?

Cat and her friends are relatable characters. Shauna runs the daily operations of the inn and Seth is Cat’s part-time boyfriend, part-time repairman / chauffeur. She’s not completely ready to date after Michael died, especially now that his journals are revealing new information she hadn’t been aware of. When Dante, a sexy mob-connected man enters her life, she’s thrown even more. Is she attracted to him or afraid of him? Or possibly both! While she helps try to clear her young writer from being jailed for the murder, Cat realizes the victim has ties to Dante, who might have been the one to order his death. Something’s not quite right and Cat’s determined to figure it out alongside her uncle, the chief of police. Throw in fun cooking recipes and excerpts from the author’s books and you’ve got lots of side stories to enjoy, too.

Cahoon’s books are a good example of a cozy mystery. They have a bit of an edge to them given there are mob connections (like my own cozy mystery series!) and writers coming in from all over the country (maybe world one day?) to demonstrate variety. They’re easy to read in 3 to 4 hours depending on your reading speed and style. The theme and characters stay with you from book to book. I enjoy diving back into this world and have completed 3 of the 4 published. I plan to read the next one in February (maybe sooner) and then I’ll be ready for the 5th one when it’s published later this year. The author also has another series which might be something to consider reading, too, once I’m caught up here.

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. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.

Book Review: A Story to Kill by Lynn Cahoon

Posted on Updated on

A Story to Kill (Cat Latimer Mystery #1)A Story to Kill by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last year, I won an ARC of a later book in the Cat Latimer series by Lynn Cahoon. I didn’t have the time to start the series from the beginning, so I broke my own rule and read mid-series… it worked out and now I’m giving the whole series a fresh look from the debut, A Story to Kill. I enjoyed the book more than the later one, but I suspect it’s a case of this is one of those series it’s better to read in order. While Cahoon does a good job catching up readers on the basics, we learn so much more about the characters and begin to invest in them after what happened in the year leading up to the first book and the story in it, too. I’d suggest reading them in order if you’re new to the series.

Cat Latimer married her college sweetheart after leaving her high school sweetheart, Seth, when he went into the army and they lost touch. When her husband started to cheat on her and grow distant, they divorced and she was distraught for a while. Before book one opens, he’s passed away and left his home in Colorado to her. Cat decided to open a writer’s retreat house (she had become an English professor and moved around a bit) before settling back in Colorado. Her first set of guests includes a famous author who ends up being strangled in his bedroom one night. Was it the kooky sisters who seem very at odds? A young college girl with a crush on him or someone else? A supposedly grieving widow? An angry writer who claims the guy stole his work? Or a former friend whose girlfriend went missing years ago and suspected the late author of foul play? Cat feels obliged to investigate alongside her Uncle Pete, the police chief, and best friend and chef, Shauna. She figures it out just a bit too late when the killer shows up to take care of her, too! But luckily someone steps in to save her at the last minute.

I love the concept of the writer’s retreat. Cat is a sympathetic character who learns the death of her ex-husband, and what she thought he had been doing might not actually be the truth. The book ends on a cliffhanger making readers anxious to pickup the next one to find out the truth about the past. The mystery in this book was closed up nicely, but 50% of it was too easy while the other 50% was a challenge. I enjoyed the writing style and the setting, and the potential is strong. I look forward to continuing the series this year, as there are 4 currently with one on the way in the next year. Kudos to Cahoon for making this a wonderful reading retreat, too!

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. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.

Books Missing From Our Options List?

Posted on

The life of a reader is complex and overwhelming. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to read every book in existence. For every day you live, hundreds of new books are being published and made easily accessible. I’m only hazarding a guess, but I wonder if nearly every possible type of story has been written already and we are just unable to find something new and fresh. Between physical and electronic books, self-published and traditional published books, and recommendations or new discoveries, there are so many books out there, how do we really know if we’re finding that perfect book for us… you know, that book that meets every possible need you might have. Characters. Perspective. Point of view. Plot. Time period. Language. Length. Balance of dialog and narrative. Genre. You name it… the list could go on and on.

***

Have you ever thought about that amazing book sitting on some physical or virtual shelf somewhere… calling your name… wanting to meet its perfect match?

Whatbook is missing from ourlist of options_

The life of an author is complex and overwhelming. No matter how hard you try, someone will always have a problem with your book. Readers are a picky crowd. I know this because I’ve written over 700 book reviews in the last three years and find myself often thinking about the positive and the negative in whatever it is I’ve just read. As a writer, when I conjure up my next story, it often comes from some spark that called out to me… ‘Write about me, Jay… readers will love this story.’ While that little idea’s voice might be right, there is a completely different and opposite viewpoint to consider. Rather than dream up the story on my own, what if I said to someone:

What kind of book is missing from the plethora of novels that is our options list?

Give that some thought for a few moments… you’ve got your favorite genres, authors, series, or topics. You often gravitate to those first… then come the ARCs, beta reads, giveaways, and committed reviews we throw our hat in the ring for… and then there are the recommendations from friends or book review sites that dazzle us. Is that everything? Are there other ways to locate that book we haven’t yet to find? When I thought about these questions, I came to one conclusion first above all else:

What is still missing from our choices?

I’d love to hear from everyone over the next week as many of us sit down to eat our Thanksgiving meals… wish our international friends a happy holiday if we live elsewhere… or think about the many things we’re grateful for. This is a book-related post, so I’m not going to itemize everything I want to give gratitude to… purely focusing on books… I’m grateful for all the authors and readers out there. So tell me what’s missing in this wonderful literary canon we have in the 21st century.

***

I’ll organize all the response and create a poll later this month to see what we collectively think is the biggest type of book missing from our lives. I’m excited to see everyone’s input. Thank you for sharing it with me and everyone else.

Author Alert: Didi Oviatt’s Book Makeovers!

Posted on Updated on

Earlier this year, I had the privilege to read two fantastic books by Didi Oviatt. I’m going to be reading a third sometime in the next three months, too, once it’s ready to launch. While this prolific and creative writer works on that next book, she’s also signed on with a new publisher and has re-issued her earlier books – it’s makeover time! And what gorgeous covers they’ve come up with.

In today’s post, I’m sharing the new covers, new blurbs, some updated special scenes, and the links to get everything when it’s re-published this month. If you’ve missed out in the past, now’s your time to jump on the bandwagon because once it gets rolling, you might not catch up! Here’s a link to her dedicated author page on my blog — very few have earned this spot… but she’s definitely one of them!

***

Aggravated-Momentum-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

Aggravated Momentum:

The life of a seemingly normal family is shattered as long-buried skeletons emerge and dark family secrets surface.

Danger lurks so close to home. But who is the cold, calculated murderer? Can it be Markie or Kam: one of the independent sisters, guilty of nothing more than getting tangled with the wrong people at the wrong time?

Or is it another cowardly snake, curled in a hidden corner?

The deeper you dig, the more breathtaking the secrets you will find.

 
Search-For-Maylee-Promo-Hardback-Ereader
 

Search For Maylee:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her.

It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead, and travels across the country to find more clues about Maylee’s disappearance.

But will she be able to pry Maylee’s case back open, and what will she uncover in the process of searching for Maylee?

It’s a cold, dark world we live in, and Autumn is about to find out just how cruel it can be. But strength and determination are on her side, and she will do whatever it takes to deliver justice.

Excerpt from Search For Maylee

This wasn’t the same manager that she’d spoken to when she picked out the apartment. This new guy had a much smoother and kinder face, and he appeared to be a lot younger, probably in his late twenties. Perhaps a College drop-out? Autumn speculated, concluding that he was most likely managing the place for the free rent that the job entails. Was she stereotyping him? Maybe… Did she care? No.

“Can I help you ma’am?”  His smile rang friendly.

“Hi, yes.” She hesitated, “My name is Autumn. I’m renting an apartment here. I’m sorry to bother you so late.”  She straightened her wrinkly top and fiddled with a gnawed off thumbnail before saying, “I’m just arriving, and I was wondering if you know of anyone that I could pay to help me unpack?”

“Oh, hey, yes, I heard about you!”  His handsome smile grew causing his ears to lift, and a cute little crease to form just below the right cheekbone. “Apt 22 right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Howdy then, ma’am, I’m Jeremy.”

It was a very informal introduction yet he insisted on shaking her hand. His palm was big and his fingers were slightly calloused. A heavy free hand slapped her on the shoulder causing her entire body to jolt. He seemed like a very outgoing young man. A few husky voices rang in from behind him. Autumn could hear a couple of men laughing and joking in the background. It actually sounded like they were having a blast. She couldn’t quite make out their jokes or comments, but it wasn’t from lack of trying. A listening ear strained to make out their words.

Autumn tried, without success, to recall the last time she was able to laugh so freely.  Even with her friends, witty conversation and playful banter had been forced since the loss of Maylee. The lighthearted beam that Autumn used to carry with her everywhere, was now nothing more than a distant flicker.

It existed somewhere, but she was unable to actually grasp it tight enough to hang on for more than a few seconds at a time. Every time that lighthearted twinkle returned to her eyes, or a gleeful fire began to build in her chest, it was quickly distinguished with grief. Washed away before anything more than a spark could ignite. But, at least there was hope. Autumn was here for a reason and maybe someday she could get that light back.

Jeremy must have noticed her distraction by his guests because he tilted his head to the side, leaned into her personal space, and made a fully conscious effort to engage her in eye contact. That attractive crease in his cheek returned with the questioning grin he threw at her. Embarrassed butterflies escaped Autumn’s chest and a lump formed in her throat.

“Care to join?” He asked, pointing over his tall shoulder with a large outstretched thumb. “I’ve got a few friends over. We just finished up a barbeque. I’m sure there’s a burger left if you’re hungry?”

“Oh no,” was her very quick response.

Autumn couldn’t possibly impose on a party of strangers. The pull of her tired eyelids were nagging at her to get settled for the night, and she couldn’t help but to notice there wasn’t a female voice to be heard. This entire situation had danger written all over it. If there was one quality Autumn truly admired about herself it was a keen sense of reserved caution. After all, you’re nothing if not safe.

After declining the drink to go along with the already turned down burger that her stomach was very loudly cursing her for, Autumn again asked for help. Jeremy shouted over his shoulder toward the kitchen causing her to nearly jump out of her skin.

“Hey guys,” he yelled at his guests without taking his eyes off of her. The smile he had remained intact.  “I’ve got a quick job to do for a tenant, wanna’ help?”

Autumn’s eyes widened in fear, her feet shifted nervously beneath her, and she struggled to find words.

“I… Um… I can find someone else, really.” She hesitated.

Jeremy leaned forward and whispered, so that no one else could hear.

“They really only look scary, and they might smell, but they’re harmless, I assure you.” He said with a wink.

The three men that entered the room caused Autumn’s mouth to open, just a crack, and her shoulders to lower with the air that escaped her. An awkward rush of defeat crawled up her legs and stopped in her neck, threatening to drain the very life from her. The first man in sight was clearly older than Jeremy, by at least five years – was her guess.

He appeared to nearly double Jeremy in weight, and not the unhealthy kind either. There wasn’t an ounce of blubber to be found, only the thick hard kind of weight that most men only dream of developing. His hair was light, short, and squared off in a boxy type cut that had a weird way of making the muscles between his neck and shoulders look even bigger. A superman symbol was tattooed on his neck, just above the collarbone. It was the first tattoo Autumn noticed but definitely not the only one in the room.

Two more men emerged from behind the giant. One looked a lot like Jeremy, with the same smile and an identical crease below the cheekbone. It wasn’t really a dimple so much as a handsome dip of the skin, or a glorified wrinkle in the perfect spot.

 

Author Bio & links:
Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her  thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle.
untitled.png

 

*** Original 365 Daily Challenge Post from 2017 ***

Relentless: (a) ‘a force to be reckoned with’ or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Didi Oviatt

issue-2465910__340

If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who she is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work.

———-

Hello there This Is My Truth Now readers (and hi Ryder!).  Allow me to introduce myself before I proceed to barge my way into Jay’s blog for the day. My name is Didi Oviatt, and sometimes I consider myself to be a professional make believer. I write suspense novels and short stories, but to stop myself from getting carried away by talking too much about myself, which I’m good at *wink wink* let me first dive into Jay’s 365 word of the day!!

I think I’ll follow the lead of Chauncey Rogers. In his Author Alert on Jay’s blog last week Chauncey chose the word of the day (chicken), and did all the breaking down of this word rather than letting Jay do it. Now, because this is the big Book Blog Tour banner month for James J. Cudney’s novel Watching Glass Shatter, I feel like he could use the break today. [Alert Interruption from Jay — Yes, totally. I am grateful to you!]

filler-2294342__340

I’m choosing the word Relentless! I love this word, and for so many great reasons.

The word relentless is really a force to be reckoned with. It’s an adjective and it’s very definition states: oppressively constant; incessant. Some of the official synonyms listed for the word Relentless are: Persistent, constant, unabating, and even never-ending.

See, I told you, it’s quite a powerful word, right?!

Today when I think of this word, the very first thing that comes to mind is Ryder and his relentless love of chasing birds. The second thing that comes to mind is Jay and his relentless dedication to this perfectly executed blog, along with his relentless love for writing and producing such amazing literature and blog posts. Jay, you’re a fantastic human and I couldn’t be any more grateful to be here today. [Alert Interruption from Jay — Shh, I’m just me!]

The third thing that comes to mind with this powerhouse word of the day, is the character is my new release. Her name is Autumn, and the book is called Search For Maylee. You see, Autumn’s niece Maylee vanished. The last time anyone seen her was three years ago right after Autumn dropped her off in the parking lot of her High School. The case file was eventually placed on a dusty old shelf to grow cold and forgotten, yet Autumn refuses to let it go and give up. Autumn is RELENTLESS!

Autumn fights through her fears and anxiety in order to take matters into her own hands. Upon tracking down a current address for an old lead, she sells everything she has and moves across the country to find him…. and watch. Autumn has no intention of confronting this man, but rather to stock him in hopes of finding anything that might lead her to Maylee. What Autumn finds is far beyond anything she could have imagined. And, because of her relentless dedication to finding her niece, she continues to push through no matter what heart wrenching circumstance is wedged in her way.

[Alert Interruption from Jay — See, I told you she’s awesome and generous and cool! Now follow her site and blog to get more great deals and news in the future!]

school-916678__340

To see more about Didi Oviatt on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them. You will also see my review at that link — and let me tell you, it was a GREAT Book. You won’t be disappointed and you may just find a new favorite to follow.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Book Review: Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups

Posted on

After reading a few articles written by E. Denise Billups in Conscious Talk Magazine, I found myself intrigued with her writing style and voice. After some research, I noticed she’d written a few books, so I selected the one that appealed to me the most, Kalorama Road. If you’re a fan of mysterious character connections, someone with memory loss trying to unearth what happened during a missing 24-hour period, or a subtle tense feeling of “uh oh” while reading, you will definitely enjoy this one!

38340854.jpg

The story takes place in modern day NYC (blocks from where I live) and the Washington DC / Virginia area. Allie, an editor at a big publishing company, can’t remember what happened one night at a party during her college years. She remembers being invited by a strange girl, showing up and seeing some peculiar behavior, but then all she knows is that her roommate saw a handsome guy drop her off the next morning. What happened overnight? Well… Allie’s been getting monthly text messages and emails asking her what happened at Kalorama Road that night. They scare her but also intrigue her. Is it someone else who doesn’t recall? Is it someone who wants her to remember? Is it the person who took her there who has since disappeared? It all begins coming back together when she’s let go from her publishing job and begins writing a blog. Someone submits a book for her review but it seems like a real life mystery, then it begins to resemble her own experience at Emsworth University. Allie never told anyone but she’s compelled to reveal all the details to her former colleague and the former roommate. At the same time, Allie’s sister has a secret she wants to keep hidden and a new man enters Allie’s life that seems very familiar. How does everything come together?

The book jumps back and forth between a few main characters, sharing their stories and actions over the course of a few weeks. We see a few memories from the past and learn who is really connected to who. As each chapter unfolds, a piece of the puzzle gets more clear but also opens up more confusion to leaf through. Throw in a powerful senator and his family, a suicide, a newspaper reporter trying to find out what happened in the past, a murder, and a family with a large endowment given to the university yet some secrets worth protecting, there’s bound to be a few explosive moments. What a wild ride, both in terms of how all the connections are revealed and in the build-up of tension between all the new people suddenly just appearing in Allie’s life as she’s trying to solve the puzzle of her missing memories.

Billups drew me in from the first few chapters. I’m a sucker for a lost memory story, but when it straddles that line of “oh, this seems obvious” but then throws you a curve where you’re like “wait, WHAT?” it’s even more appealing. It takes a lot to plan a story where you reveal things bit by bit. It’s also difficult to cover a story from multiple points of view without confusing readers. Billups handles both with great aplomb and talent, as it came together solidly without any concern.

Her character sketches of different women and men in their 20s, living in NY, were on point and realistic — there were moments were they annoyed me because of typical behavior, but that’s a good thing as it means Billups has evoked intense emotion and a strong connection to the story. I enjoyed the slow-build romance and potential eerie connections with her new friends, but I also could tell she had some blinders on when it came to all the ‘coincidences’ going on in her life. And there’s an explanation for it… as the tidbits of history we learn about Allie and her sister’s lives growing up clearly show why they act the way they do now. A great way to make things seem quite reasonable in a story that has you guessing who to trust.

I’m quite intrigued by what else might come from the author’s clever mind. I’ll be taking another look at her previous books and seeing if I can find out what’s coming up next… as I’ll definitely be reading another one this year. And I don’t want to wait a year for another book! 🙂

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.