A Heart in a Body in the World
by Deb Caletti
When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?
So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.
Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.
Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.
Five quotes from A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD
1. “There are songs about the heart and poems about the heart and legends about the heart and facts about the heart. And, it’s true – the heart sings and speaks and tells its story. There are exact miles of arteries; there is the exact force of its beat. But the heart is also quiet. It is also a mystery. No one really knows how it goes on after being broken.”
2. “We go forward. Sometimes against our will, sometimes against all odds, we go forward.”
3. “She remembers the muscles in her calves and the strength in her thighs, and she remembers the heat of the farmland and the slope of the mountains and the miles and miles she’s crossed. She remembers her strength.”
4. “The trip across the glacier and through the dark land of grief is crooked and dangerous but sometimes beautiful. The voyage past the last edges of the universe is frightening and impossible but sometimes astonishing…”
5. “She is a different person than the defeated Annabelle, the giving up Annabelle. She is sort of a victorious Annabelle, lying among rose petals on the honeymoon bed of the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel. You never know what a day will bring, which is both the good news and bad news of life.”
About the Author
Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include The Nature of Jade, Stay, The Last Forever, Essential Maps for the Lost, and Honey, Baby Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book award, the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone, The Secrets She Keeps, and her most recent release, What’s Become of Her.
Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, and now lives with her family in Seattle.
Here’s a summary of what Macmillan Publishing has to offer as of late, from board books to children’s books!
by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Bob Kolar
Join Driver Bob and his little school bus as they wake early, pick up a diverse group of children, and drop them off at school. Then it’s over to the garage to fix a tail light. All in a day’s work for this trusty team. The lyrical text, catchy rhyme, and bright pictures make this a perfect choice for preschoolers who are soon to be school bus riders!
by Eugene Yelchin
An adorable baby chick and puppy become barnyard friends in this wordless picture book from Newbery Honor author Eugene Yelchin.
Across the barnyard, Pip the chick spots a new friend to play with—Pup! But Pup isn’t sure he likes how Pip plays—too rough. These two friends will weather the storm though. A bright, fun celebration of spring and friendship!
by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Chris Sheban
If you were a little girl
who listened to stories
over and over and over;
and who read books
even as her mother led her across the street,
You might be me,
Follow a little girl in author Patricia MacLachlan’s semi-autobiographical picture book and learn what it might take to grow up to become a writer.
by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks
Out of jail and up to no good, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are robbers on a mission. They’ve been stealing eggs from the fat red hen, and now they have their eyes set on the real prize—the fat red hen herself. They think their plan is foolproof, but they haven’t counted on one very tiny, very quiet thing. The ladybug has outsmarted these bandits once—and she’s ready to do it again!
by Petra Postert, illustrated by Jens Rassmus
In Petra Postert and Jens Rassmus’s illustrated I Need All of It, a little boy recounts to his father the tales of how he received the three objects in his pocket and why he needs to keep them.
by Gianna Marino
If I Had a Horse is an inspiring picture book with simple text and gorgeous, impressionistic artwork from acclaimed author-illustrator Gianna Marino about a girl imagining what life would be like with a horse.
by Kirsten Mayer, illustrated by Laura K. Horton
Laugh your whiskers off with Albert the Gnome in this charming and funny picture book about friendship, self-acceptance — and beards!
A beard is the biggest point of pride for a Gnome, but poor Al can’t sprout a single whisker. Each year, Al feels left out of the Beards International Gnome-athalon, B.I.G.
So Al decides to go BIG or go Gnome! It’s a close shave, but with a hidden talent and the help of his friend, Gnorm, Al learns accepting that you are different is the key to fitting in.
by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Mike Dutton
Join the members of one family as they head to the Food Truck Fest! They gather their things, cross the bridge, and prepare for a fun-filled day. And as they get ready, the workers on the food trucks get ready, too–preparing, tasting, and traveling across the bridge to join all the other kitchens-on-wheels. With delicious free samples and cuisines from around the world, it’s a day of trying new things and having fun together!
by Gene Barretta
A picture book about homonyms starring a silly cast of animal athletes.
What is a homonym? It’s a word that has different meanings but is always spelled the same.
This informative book, set at a sporting event, includes a BAT who can BAT! A karate-chopping bulldog who is tough enough to BREAK five boards without taking a BREAK, and a STEER who tried to STEER his skateboard, but accidentally fell into a well–and that’s just for starters.
The clever wordplay from Gene Barretta introduces children to the richness of language through homonyms.
White as Silence, Red as Song
by Alessandro D’Avenia
Hailed as Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars, this Italian bestseller is now available for the first time in English.
“I was born on the first day of school, and I grew up and old in just two hundred days . . .”
Sixteen-year-old Leo has a way with words, but he doesn’t know it yet. He spends his time texting, polishing soccer maneuvers, and killing time with Niko and Silvia. Until a new teacher arrives and challenges him to give voice to his dreams.
And so Leo is inspired to win over the red-haired beauty, Beatrice. She doesn’t know Leo exists, but he’s convinced that his dream to win her over will come true. When Leo lands in the hospital and learns that Beatrice has been admitted too, his mission to be there for her will send him on a thrilling but heartbreaking journey. He wants to help her but doesn’t know how—and his dream of love will force him to grow up fast.
Having already sold over a million copies in Italy, Alessandro D’Avenia’s debut novel is considered the Italian The Fault in Our Stars. Now available in English for the first time, this rich, funny, and heartwarming coming-of-age tale asks us to explore the meaning—and the cost—of friendship, and shows us what happens when suffering bursts into the world of teenagers and renders the world of adults speechless.
About the Author
Alessandro D’Avenia holds a PhD in Classical Literature, and teaches Ancient Greek, Latin and Literature at a high school in Milan. White as Silence, Red as Song was his first novel,published in Italy in 2010. It sold a million copies in Italy, has been translated into over twenty languages and was released as a film in 2012. Alessandro has since published four more books, the latest of which, Every Story is a Love Story, was published in October 2017.
A Room Away from the Wolves
by Nova Ren Suma
Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.
Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…
In the Dark
When the girl who lived in the room below mine disappeared into the darkness, she gave no warning, she showed no twitch of fear. She had her back to me, but I sensed her eyes were open, the city skyline bristling with attention, five stories above the street. It was how I imagined Catherine de Barra herself once stood at this edge almost a hundred years ago, when the smog was suffocating and the lights much more dim, when only one girl ever slept inside these walls of stacked red brick.
I was with my friend, if she could be called a friend, on the rooftop that night, close enough to pull her away or slip a word into her ear, close enough to push. I saw how far the gate was, how long the jump would be to reach it. I was there to witness how she flew.
It was dark, and I blamed the darkness. For those few moments, when she was midair and not even kicking, I practically became her. I grew her long legs and longer eyelashes, I lost the jumble of knots in my hair, I let the mistakes spill out of my suitcase and scatter without a care into the wind. I was falling, and falling fast. There was a hum in my ears like a song leaking through floorboards. The windows on the way down were all lit up, every one, people I didn’t know living their private lives inside as if no one could see. The skyline above sparkled the way stars used to at home, and I didn’t want to ever hit ground. I was someone here. I was someone.
Maybe that was what she saw, what she felt, what this house turned her into. She was out there beyond the ledge with nothing beneath her feet. She was high enough to clear the gate many times over. I swore she was out there. I swore the air had her, the night had her, the lights cast a ring all around her, and then the patch of darkness was empty.
I could see past where she’d been, as if I were sailing straight over buildings, beyond spires and scaffolding, past roof gardens and water towers, down through Lower Manhattan to the southern tip of the island, where the gleaming black bay took over. I saw the whole city spread out before me, sinister and strange and perfect. The air was clear, and she wasn’t in it. No girl was falling or flying. Every window was dark. And how oddly quiet it became, like a patch of forest where no person had set foot for what felt like days upon days.
When I remembered where I was, I crept closer to the edge, gripping the bricks to stay steady, and I did what I knew she wanted.
I leaned out into the vacant night—the air boundless, feathery gray, and blooming with possibility—and I looked down.
About the Author
Nova Ren Suma is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Walls Around Us, a finalist for an Edgar Award. Her new novel A Room Away from the Wolves is forthcoming September 4, 2018, from Algonquin. She also wrote Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, spent most of her adult life in New York City, and now lives in Philadelphia.
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– 1 Winner will receive a Copy of A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
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There’s something about horror movies that delivers an audience. Teenagers, and young adults in particular, rush to see the latest “scary movie” meant to frighten and capture their imagination once the lights go dim. This genre has become one of the most successful and lucrative in Hollywood, ensuring that these types of films will continue to be produced and released in theaters.
What may be surprising is that the horror genre is also vast, and diverse. There are certainly films within this genre filled with senseless violence and gore, however there are also movies produced under this banner that portray spiritual warfare and the need for faith and prayer.
These films aren’t thought of as faith-based and yet, they pack a powerful and perhaps the strongest message of all – that evil is not only real, it will do anything to destroy us, but God will always be there to protect and redeem those who turn to him.
Here’s a list of 5 Horror Movies That Re-Affirms A Message Of Faith:
THE NUN is the latest film in the “Conjuring Universe,” one of the most successful horror franchises in recent history.
Synopsis: When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. When they arrive, they discover the ancient abbey to be a battleground between the supernatural forces of good and evil. Risking not only their lives, but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in “The Conjuring 2.”
All films in the “Conjuring Universe” have a theme of battling evil, the need for faith, and the power of prayer, and it looks like THE NUN will continue to portray these themes onscreen. The movie releases in theaters this Friday, September 7.
For a sneak peek, check out this recently released featurette from the film.
A QUIET PLACE was the surprise hit of this year. Fan-favorite John Kransinski directed and co-starred in this film alongside his wife Emily Blunt.
Synopsis: IF THEY HEAR YOU, THEY HUNT YOU. In this thriller, a family must navigate their lives in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Knowing that even the slightest whisper or footstep can bring death, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) are determined to find a way to protect their children at all costs while they desperately search for a way to fight back.
Critics hailed A QUIET PLACE when it released earlier this year. For those looking for a horror film without supernatural elements, this is highly recommended, along with its themes of family values and sacrifice.
Written by Christian screenwriters, Chad and Carey Hayes, THE CONJURING was the movie that launched a successful franchise – with the latest previously mentioned, THE NUN releasing in theaters this Friday.
Synopsis: Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on a true story, The Conjuring tells the horrifying tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.
Critics also praised this film when it released in theaters. The movie portrays a family plagued by evil. It’s terrifying, but also pointed in its message that God is always more powerful than evil.
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA directed by Francis Ford Coppola features an all-star cast that includes Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Anthony Hopkins.
Unlike other vampire movies depicting this famous monster, this 1992 film version begins with a heartbreaking backstory. It portrays the devasting spiritual and physical consequence of anger, rebellion, renouncing one’s faith, and committing sacrilege against God.
The film which won three Academy Awards, weaves Christian symbolism throughout, and serves as a cautionary tale against giving in to evil.
THE EXORCIST needs no introduction. To this day, the film, which won two Academy Awards, continues to terrorize audiences. Folks who haven’t seen the doorway of a church in many years find themselves sitting in a pew shortly after watching this movie.
Synopsis: Nominated for ten Academy Awards, including “Best Picture,” The Exorcist was controversial and extremely popular from the moment it opened in 1973.
This is the frightening and realistic tale of an innocent girl (Oscar-nominated Linda Blair) inhabited by a terrifying entity, her mother’s frantic resolve to save her (Ellen Burstyn in her own Oscar-nominated performance) and two priests—one doubt-ridden, the other a rock of faith—who come together in a battle of ultimate evil. To this day, The Exorcist leaves viewers breathless.
As with any film, it’s a good idea to research content and discern before you watch it, however if you or someone you know likes a good scare or horror movie, these options will not only fit the mold, it reinforces the importance of faith and prayer.
by Tracy Barrett
Sixteen-year-old Clancy Edwards has always been “the good girl.” Ever since her mother died in a skydiving accident when Clancy was young, Clancy’s father has watched her like a hawk. Between her dad’s rules and her boyfriend’s protectiveness, she’s longing for an escape this summer. Then she meets Denny.
Denny is a new skydiving student and college freshman. Clancy lets Denny think they’re the same age–and that she’s old enough to make decisions for herself. But the lies snowball, relationships are damaged, and suddenly Clancy isn’t the person she wants to be. If only making choices were as simple as taking a leap out of a plane. Before Clancy can make things right, one last act of rebellion threatens her chance to do so–maybe forever.
Jumpers try to avoid reserve rides, even though every instructor reminds students, “When in doubt, whip it out.” It’s not only the expense of paying a rigger to repack the reserve. Reserves open fast, and the hard opening can give you whiplash, but it’s not the discomfort either. The main thing is that jumpers are superstitious. If you dump the reserve and it malfunctions too, you’re sunk. Nowhere to go. Reserves just about never malfunction, and the odds against both the main and the reserve malfunctioning are astronomical, but still. . . .
So my mom had tried everything to clear the main. She did exactly what you’re trained to do, exactly what I’d heard my dad and Leon and Noel and Randy and Louisa and Patsy tell their students: “If the pilot chute or the main canopy gets stuck, you have to break the burble.” So she flipped over. It didn’t work, so she flipped back to cut away, so the canopy would fly away cleanly. She had no way of knowing that the AAD would fire at precisely the wrong moment, making the two chutes—the main and the
reserve—snag each other, and that neither one would open.
I watched to the end, seeing the pink canopy and the white one wrap around each other, making a big nasty barber pole that didn’t slow my mom down enough to make a difference. Then, when Angie dropped the camera, the ground came up, up, up to the camera lens, and then—whomp. And the screen went black. Was that the last thing my mom saw? The ground coming up, and then nothing? What did she think about in those last seconds? Did she think of me? Of my dad?
After I went to sleep, I saw it over and over again, only sometimes she cut away sooner and sometimes she cut away later. But no matter what she did, it ended the same way, with the camera thumping on the ground and the sounds of screaming and crying.
I woke up when my dad got home, and I wanted to ask him to come sit by my bed until I fell asleep again. I wanted to tell him about how Theo was acting weird and how confused I was about Denny—about whether he was just a DZ friend or whether he was interested in me (and whether I was interested in him), and what I should do about it if he was. Or I was. I wanted to confess that I’d driven the car on Travis day and had done just fine.
I couldn’t. He’d ground me forever. Anyway, he wasn’t the sit-by-the-bed-until-you-fall-asleep kind of dad, and even if he were, once I got started, I’d tell him about watching the video. And seeing that we hadn’t talked about my mom’s death ever, not even once, I couldn’t do that.
Copyright © 2018 by Tracy Barrett
About the Author
Tracy grew up near New York City, and went to college in New England and graduate school in California. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers and won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005. She taught Italian and other subjects at Vanderbilt University for almost thirty years. She has two grown children and lives in Tennessee with her husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of FREEFALL SUMMER and Swags (signed bookplate and a silver skydiving pendant) by Tracy Barrett.
The Leading Edge of Now
by Marci Lyn Curtis
Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor.
Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever.
People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn’t sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?
There’s a moment when I do not breathe, when my heart rate goes volcanic, when the distance to Rusty’s house seems so wide and so impassable that it will take me hours to scramble back.
Owen is staring at me, eyebrows crashed together like he’s trying to solve a particularly difficult crossword puzzle. It’s an expression I know well, seeing as how I’ve spent half a lifetime watching him stand in the garage, gazing at his projects as though he were unraveling the greatest mysteries of the universe.
I want to turn around and run.
I want to slap him.
I want to burst into tears.
What I do, though, is stare at him. He looks the same now, only different. While his dusty blond hair has been cut short, his eyes are the same — still clear emerald-green, big and serious, with lashes as long as palm fronds. He’s probably grown a full two inches since I last saw him, and he’s broader across the chest. On his right forearm is the small diagonal scar he got back in the third grade, when he tried to build a birdhouse for an endangered owl. I always considered that scar one of the things that made Owen Owen. But now it looks misplaced, inappropriate. I have to resist the urge to try to scratch it off. I close my eyes, like maybe I can erase his presence that easily. But he smells so familiar — like sawdust and coffee and soap — that this particular action only makes him more real.
I open my eyes again.
Owen plucks the headphones out of his ears. “Grace,” he says slowly, like he’s trying to remember how my name is pronounced.
Now would be the proper time to speak. But I’m pretty sure that my mouth has been blown apart and then reattached backwards and inside out, a couple of miles north of my vocal cords. So I just continue to look at him.
A few decades pass.
I clear my throat. It sounds like an old, brittle floorboard, creaking under bare feet. “You’re here,” I say, which is quite possibly the stupidest thing I could’ve said to him. Twenty-some-odd months of dreaming about getting even, and now all I can do is state the obvious.
About the Author
Marci Lyn Curtis is the author of young adult dramedies THE ONE THING and THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW. She lives near Tampa, Florida with her husband. You can find out more about Marci on her website (marcilyncurtis.com), on Twitter (@Marci_Curtis), on Instagram (@marcilyncurtis), or on Facebook (marcilyncurtis).
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3 winners will win a finished copy of THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW, US Only.
Are you visiting the City in the Garden anytime soon? Singapore is like Europe’s equivalent in South East Asia where ordinary English will help you find your way through the city-state. However, brace yourself for the culture shock. The country is home to close to four different ethnicities each with their distinctive traditions and cultures.
Acquiring a Singaporean tourist visa is easy especially if it is for a short stay. Nonetheless, if you are looking to extend your stay and seek employment, job agent Singapore can help you secure the needed documents.
Singapore has a tropical climate, meaning the weather is generally hot and humid for most parts of the year. Pack light cotton clothes that will help you stay cool during your visit. Additionally, carry a pair of sandals. Besides, if you are planning to go hiking a pair of sturdy trekking boots can come in handy.
To sum it up, don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
Remember the Rules
First and foremost, it is illegal to chew gum in Singapore. Secondly, do not litter the streets otherwise you will get to clean the streets on Sundays.
Singapore offers a plethora of travel options. You can choose from the cable cars, hop on/off buses, or the tram. Hop on/off bus services provide a cheaper alternative for you to travel far and wide and explore more significant sights.
Fun Places You Should Know
The island should the first place you visit once you land in Singapore. The island is home to Universal Singapore Studios, the Dolphin Lagoon, the Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom alongside many other fascinating places which are fun to visit.
Trip Down Singapore River
This one sure and simple way to tour most of Singapore’s iconic landmarks, such as the Merlion statue at Marina Bay and see the site of Raffles’ landing at the historic Boat Quay. Tickets for a cruise down Singapore river can be purchased online.
You can choose the mode you want to travel from hop-on buses to the traditional bumboats. A trip down the Singapore river will give an opportunity to discover Singapore’s perfect blend of modern and traditional heritage.
The Famous Night Safari
Singapore’s night safari is one thing you should not miss out on. Here in you get to take a tour through a nocturnal only safari park. You will get to watch the endangered Asian elephant, Malayan tiger species alongside many others.
The friendlier animals, such as the deer roam freely through the park with the fierce such as the tiger in cages. Here you can choose between taking a tram ride or explore through on foot.
Visit the Botanic Gardens
Singapore’s botanic gardens open their gates as early as 5 in the morning. It offers a perfect opportunity to talk that morning walk enjoying different tree and plant species.
Shop till You Can’t Anymore
Take a stroll down Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street will leave you spoilt for choice. Here in you will get a whole range of traditional garments, foodstuffs, and spices, antiques alongside many others.
On the side, remember to carry your camera to capture the most exciting events to share with your friends and family when you go back home.
by Paula Stokes
Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move…is murder.
About the Author
Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.
– 1 Winner will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon, B&N, Etsy, or Society6.
– 1 Winner will receive a Choice of any Paula Stokes YA Novel.
– 3 Winners will receive a Hidden Pieces Swag Pack.
by AJ Banner
Beware of friends with secrets…
Imagine your closest friend utterly betraying you. Years later, when she seeks forgiveness, you invite her to your engagement party as a gesture of reconciliation. But seething hostilities rise to the surface, ruining everyone’s evening. After an awful night, your friend’s battered, lifeless body is found at the bottom of a rocky cliff.
Newly engaged Marissa Parlette is living this nightmare. She should be celebrating her upcoming wedding, but she can’t shake the image of her friend lying dead on the beach. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or did she take a purposeful step into darkness? Desperate for answers, Marissa digs deep into the events of the party. But what she remembers happening after nightfall now carries sinister implications: the ugly sniping, the clandestine meetings, the drunken flirtations. The more she investigates, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her friends, the man she once trusted, and even herself.
Bestselling author A. J. Banner keeps readers on a razor-sharp edge in this intricately plotted novel of psychological suspense…in which nothing is as it seems.
3.75 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
If you like a story where absolutely everybody is a suspect, then this is the novel for you. Even the narrator thinks she herself is to blame at some point.
The morning after Marissa and Nate’s dinner/engagement party, Marissa wakes up to find that her best frenemy and next door neighbor Lauren is dead. Did she fall or was she pushed from the cliff down to the rocks below? Marissa does her best to investigate who might have had a reason to want Lauren dead–and before ling she finds out there are plenty of potential killers.
Marissa is a likable enough main character, though she makes some decisions that left me scratching my head. There is a wide cast in this novel, and it seems all of them have something to hide, even down to Nate’s 9 year old daughter.
At times I might have felt the author was throwing in TOO many red herrings; it’s a bit tiring trying to keep up with every side character’s personal problems. Most questions do get answered by the end, but it felt more like tying up loose ends than integrating their plot lines into the story.
When the killer was revealed, I was definitely surprised, although the climax fell a little flat for me. I wish we would have gotten to see a bit more of the culprit throughout the whole of the book.
This is another good thriller offering, and you will devour it quickly just like I did.
About the Author
Born in India and raised in North America, A. J. Banner received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Her previous novels of psychological suspense include The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife, a USA Today bestseller. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and six rescued cats.
Connect with A. J. Banner
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