Category: Blog Posts (Page 2 of 7)

Review – The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

This week I listened to the audiobook of THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN by Dot Hutchinson. I will say up front, this book contains many triggers – and is likely not for everyone because of that. But as someone who is interested in true crime, crime thrillers, and books about serial killers – I found this book fascinating and disturbing.

We get a look inside The Butterfly Garden, a garden crafted by a serial killer called The Gardener to house his butterflies. The Gardener kidnaps beautiful women, tattoos them with butterfly wings, and hold them hostage in his garden. In his own twisted way, he thinks that he’s taking care of these women and saving them. There are so many horrors waiting in the garden, I found myself incredibly nervous for the characters at every turn.

The characters themselves are beautifully written – there are so many – but I didn’t find the number of characters to be overwhelming or burdensome while listening, every one was so distinct that I could easily tell them apart. I loved the main character, Maya, who is all hard edges. I connected with her right away, she’s complicated, unreliable, and multifaceted.

Inside the garden you uncover the horrors that have been occurring for over 30 years – I can’t say more without giving away any more of the book. This book is beautifully written and a hell of a ride.

The narrators for the audiobook Lauren Ezzo and Mel Foster did an incredible job. I can’t wait to listen to the next book.

You can find out more about this book here – or you can listen to it for FREE on audible by using my link!

Note: This page contains affiliate links.

Review – The Good Twin by Marti Green

This week I listened to the audiobook of THE GOOD TWIN by Marti Green. Thomas and Mercer (Amazon Publishing) was kind enough to send me a copy to review, but receiving this copy did not in any way influence my opinion. My opinions are my own.

In Marti Green’s twisting novel of psychological suspense, twin sisters become engaged in a dangerous deception…

Mallory Holcolm is an unfulfilled waitress and aspiring artist living in a Queens boardinghouse when she learns something astonishing about her past: she has an identical twin sister named Charly she never knew existed.

Charly is a Princeton graduate, a respected gallery owner, and an heiress married to her handsome college sweetheart, Ben. Charly got everything she ever wanted. Everything Mallory wanted, too. And now it might be easier than Mallory ever imagined. Because Ben has reasons of his own for wanting to help her.

It begins with his startling proposal. All Mallory has to do is say yes.

But as their devious plan falls into place, piece by piece, Mallory learns more about her sister and herself than she ever meant to—a discovery that comes with an unexpected twist. A chilling deception is about to become a dangerous double cross. And it’s going to change the rules of Ben and Mallory’s game to the very end.

I was sold on this book after reading the blurb. I’m a huge fan of psychological suspense/thrillers. Let me start out by saying — this book nailed it at every turn.

The sisters were so complicated, different — yet similar, and I was drawn to both of them. Each sister had a dark side in their own way, which I absolutely loved. Their dynamic was so interesting and a fresh take on twins. Though I’ve read a few books about twins, none have been anything like THE GOOD TWIN.

The point of views in this book were all unique and drew me in in their own ways. Marti does a great job of letting you in on what the characters are thinking and really laying out their motivations — and you may find yourself cheering while they’re doing horrible things.

Once the action really got going in this book — I didn’t want to stop listening. There were several twists I did not see coming at all! The narrator, Dara Rosenberg, did a fantastic job reading the book.

If you’re looking for a wonderful psychological suspense with hints of GONE GIRL, you’ll absolutely love this book!

You can find this book (and places to buy it) on Goodreads OR — you can use my audible link to listen to this book FOR FREE (plus you’ll get an extra code to listen to a second audiobook FOR FREE)!

 

 

 

Note: This page contains affiliate links.

Review – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

First of all, go buy this book right now. You don’t even need this review, just do it.

BUT — if you really want the review, here’s the deal y’all. Someone get me a bag of gushers because I’m about to gush about how AMAZING THIS BOOK IS.

I listened to Children of Blood and Bone on Audible, and I didn’t want to stop listening to this story for even a second. The narrator, Bahni Turpin, did a fantastic job. There was so much to this story, magic, romance, friendship, war, loss, heartbreak. There were layers upon layers, and the author, Tomi Adeyemi, managed to weave it all perfectly so I never felt I lost a single thread during this book.

When I began listening, I was a little taken aback by all the Gods, the magic users, and how the system all fit together. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep track of them all or keep all the information straight in my mind, but that didn’t end up being a problem at all. The magical elements and the worldbuilding were perfect to keep you grounded in the story, but did not dump too much information on the reader at any time.

The friendships and relationships in this book are beautiful, heart-warming, and at times, heart-breaking. The characters in this book were so engaging, so real, so well defined. And I loved how the arcs of each character were interwoven.

Want to read this book? You can find it here on goodreads!

Review – My Highland Spy by Victoria Roberts

Review – My Highland Spy by Victoria Roberts

I LOVED this book. I picked it up just because I couldn’t resist the title of Kill or be Kilt. And I’m SO glad I stumbled upon this series. There was an excellent balance of outside action + romance. The romance was incredibly believable and flowed very naturally throughout the whole book. I liked the way the history was woven into the plot.

Throughout the book there were twists I didn’t expect, moments I was screaming to myself LOVE HIM ALREADY, and I genuinely cared about what happened to Ravenna, Ruairi, and the rest of the Sutherland clan. And I absolutely loved how fiery Ravenna and Grace both were.

I listened to this book on Audible, via the awesome Romance package, and I have to say I loved the narration of this book as well as the story.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

You can buy this book on Amazon here — or Listen to it on Audible like I did here (my link will give you two free credits if you’re new to Audible!).

 

 

note: This post contains affiliate links

Books I’ve been enjoying

Last year, my family and I moved. We’ve got a lovely house now, we’re finally settled — but one of the unfortunate side effects of the move is my commute. It nearly doubled. Most days, I find myself in the car for 45 minutes to an hour and a half each way. And I have to say, the only thing that’s really saved my sanity is audio books. I figured I’d share a few of the audio books I’ve listened to recently that I really enjoyed!

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I absolutely loved this audiobook. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started it, I wanted no spoilers, I didn’t want to know a single thing about the book — so I just dove in. In the beginning, I’d simply wanted to listen to American Gods because I’d planned to watch the TV show. I did not plan to be completely consumed by the story, the characters, and the full cast in the audiobook. The world and the characters are so rich, the writing beautiful. I loved everything about it.

The Shades of Magic Series – by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light

When A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC came out three years ago, I tried to purchase a copy then. Alas, it was sold out. Then it slipped off my radar until I bought an ebook of it, but it got lost in my TBR pile. But finally, the audio book made its way into my life, and I cannot express how thankful I am to have read this series. These books made me love the characters, broke my heart (several times), and left me DYING when I had to pause them. I want to steal Kell’s coat, go on a ship with Lila, and give Rhy a long, much-needed hug. This was a world I was so sad to leave. There are not enough good things I can say about this series, other than, if this is not in your life already — fix it, and fix it now.

If you want to listen to any of these books (and I suggest you do) you can use my affiliate link to get two free books from audible!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links

December/January Queries for a Cause

Throughout December (2017) and January (2018) if you donate $15 to End the Backlog I will critique your query for free.

What’s End the Backlog?

When tested, DNA evidence contained inside rape kits is an invaluable investigative tool to solve and prevent crime. It can identify an unknown assailant, reveal serial offenders, and bring opportunities for justice and healing to survivors.

To accomplish these things, however, rape kits must be tested.

END THE BACKLOG is an initiative of the Joyful Heart Foundation to shine a light on—and eliminate—the backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in the United States.

After you donate, please contact me on Twitter to send me your receipt. (DM me, if I don’t follow you, tweet at me so I can start following you.)

December Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017, for December I am giving away a 30 page + query critique, and a query critique! There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my newsletter for NEXT GIRL TO DIE!

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

This giveaway has ended.

November Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017, for November I am giving away a 30 page + query critique! There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Products I use for writing

Occasionally I have other writers ask me how I write, and what products I use to make writing and editing easier for myself. I figured instead of just tweeting links constantly, putting them all in one place would be the easiest thing. I will try to keep this page updated so as I stumble on more things I like, I’ll add them.

Editing/Writing Binder

I write all of my manuscripts by hand, I also do most of my editing on paper. This is just the easiest process for me – but I understand if it’s not a good process for you, I’m not here to convince anyone. But if you’re looking for a binder to help keep your writing life together, I have found this one to be AMAZING.

Once I print out my manuscript, I use a standard 3-hole punch and then put all the pages into the binder.

Word of warning, it’s large. There are smaller versions, but I like lugging this behemoth around. There are smaller options available on Amazon.

Here’s a link to the binder on Amazon.

This thing has pockets and folder tabs galore. It can easily hold a 400 page manuscript. It might be able to go up to 500-600 pages, but I’ve never had a manuscript that length so I can’t attest to it personally.

It also has a shoulder strap.

I love this thing because I’m able to keep all my notes, pens, notebooks, etc. all in one place while I’m editing.

I also have a smaller version of this binder that I use for writing. This is the same brand as the binder above, but it’s not quite as bulky. I usually just have a 5-subject notebook in this and an assortment of gel pens.

Notebooks

I’m a notebook snob. I’ve accepted this part of myself. My husband thinks I’m completely insane because of this. But I swear, some paper really feels different as you write on it. Some paper feels like it offers resistance against the pen, and I hate that. These notebooks I’ve found offer no resistance when I use my gel pens, and I get very little smearing.

Here’s a link to these notebooks on Amazon.

I usually buy these in bulk about a month after school starts, and they’re all marked down like crazy on clearance. I find that one 5-subject notebook is perfect for my outlining, notes, and hand-written pages for a project.

Gel pens

I’m obsessed with gel pens. At all times I’ve probably got around two hundred in my house. I’ve seen complaints about gel pens drying up if they sit for too long without being used. But I’ve gotta tell you, in the four years I’ve been using them, I’ve probably had two or three total dry up. It doesn’t appear to be a common problem.

My only complaint about most gel pen assortments, is that there are SO MANY neon and pastel colors. I can’t write with those on standard notebooks, so I have an over-flowing bin filled with all these cast-off colors. That being said, being able to write with glitter or metallic gel pens makes it all worth it.

Here are some of my favorite sets:

This set has 100 pens and 100 refills. I do find that the point on these varies sometimes, but I’m not a stickler for that. This set also has a lot less of the pastel and neon colors than the other options do.

This wasn’t my favorite set, but it got the job done. I wasn’t crazy about it because I felt it had more neon/pastel than others.

This is a much cheaper set than the others, and I had pretty good luck with it. Not my favorite though.

Booklight

I no longer use a booklight, since I have an office now. But for the past five years, most of the time I wrote my manuscript by booklight. I’ve had several I hated, this is the light I’ve had the best luck with.

Small notebooks

I always keep a small notebook in my purse, as I usually get ideas for my novels while I’m in the car, or waiting in line somewhere. These are the notebooks I like best on the go.

Books I use

During my writing and editing processes there are a few books that I use as tools. Here’s a short list of the ones I use most often.

Self Editing for Fiction Writers is a great book to help you edit your own work before self-publishing or querying. I will say that you should still have betas and critique partners read your work before sending it out, but this book should give you the confidence to get your writing in a good place before sending it out to your readers.

Rules for Writers is another great book that can help with grammar, editing, citing sources, abbreviations, etc. Most questions you’ll have in writing should be covered in this book.

And all the writing thesauruses are invaluable. If you don’t have them already, buy them all RIGHT NOW.

The emotional thesaurus. This has helped me many times as I have issues with writing emotions and body language. If you need help in these areas as you’re writing, be sure to pick it up!

Need to come up with some flaws for your characters or some negative traits? Drawing a blank? The negative trait thesaurus exists for exactly that!

On the flip side, if you need positive traits there’s a thesaurus for that as well.

There are also a few other books in the writing thesaurus line, The Urban Setting Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus. I have never used any of these, so I cannot vouch for them personally, but I’m sure they’re just as helpful as the others!

I think that covers all of the products I typically use for my writing. I don’t really use highlighters, or other office supplies. But if you think I missed anything, tweet at me and I’ll update the list! ?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy things, I might get a cut of the purchase so I can buy more gel pens. Please help fund my addiction :p

October Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017, for October I am giving away a 30 page + query critique! There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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