All posts filed under: October

Special Review: The Hiding Place

While doing some light research on our October book (The Chalk Man) and its author C.J. Tudor I read that she has a second book coming out this winter. So I took a chance and asked for an early copy to review along with The Chalk Man. THANK YOU to Crown Publishing for sending along the advance copy of Tudor’s next thriller The Hiding Place! It did not disappoint. Not all four of us read it, just me, Katherine C. Although you can bet I’ll be recommending it to all of our Bookly Katherines as soon as it’s released. SYNOPSIS Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault. …

Great Mysterious Confusion

I’m always game for a good thriller or scary story. I think it goes back to why I first started loving to read. I remember watching my cousin devour R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series and telling me how scary it was. I was sure books couldn’t be scary. How could words on paper come close to a scary movie or haunted house? I wasn’t quite Fear Street ready so I started with Goosebumps. To my surprise Welcome to the Dead House was actually scary. Who knew words could have such power?! I know, give me a break, I was young. Then came Fear Street, all things Mary Higgins Clark, and any good scare I could get my hands on. And that hasn’t changed. C.J. Tudor’s The Chalk Man was exactly what I was in the mood for, especially this time of year. Written by an English, author set in an English town, it tells the story of four young friends— Eddie, Mickey, Hoppo and Fat Gav— and how the horror of one summer haunts their lives. Playing with chalk …

October Book

The weather is changing and there’s a new chill in the air, so now’s the time for a chilling story. Maybe more than any other month, October begs you to read something fit to the season; something a little spooky to give you the creeps and put you on the edge of your seat. So if, like us, you’re in the mood for a good ghost story read with us! This month we’ve chosen The Chalkman by C.J. Tudor thanks to our Instagram community. Normally we come up with suggestions among the four of us and vote. But this year we opened the suggestion box to our Insta community and The Chalk Man was a nomination by one of our followers. And we’re so glad she suggested it! It’s British author C.J. Tudor’s debut novel that Stephen King commented on as, “Want to read something good?…If you like my stuff, you’ll like this.” Tudor lives in Nottingham, England and before writing she’s had a long history of various other professions (dog walker, voice actor to name …

Bum Bum!

Ok so I totally agree with Katie – this is like an SVU episode. Which I love. Except that there is no Stabler. This book has no Stabler. So you can stop reading here. Just kidding – this book is not going rewire your whole literary life but it is fun, it is creepy, and it is a great autumn evening read. Brian Freeman hits the ground running from the first scene.  Probably the thing that he does, that I love the most, is that he keeps the story moving. There is very little dead time with the mystery and he manages to do that without making the scenario super convoluted. I mean its a crazy pants story but it isn’t muddled with characters or asides or distractors. Part of the downfall of the pace of the story is that not too many characters are well flushed out. Frankie – I thought she had to be a secret crazy psycho because she had so little of anything going on with her.  She had a weird …

SVU: The Night Bird

I’m all about the right read for the right time, and October begs a good, spooky, mystery. The Night Bird was just that. It read like a double episode of Law & Order SVU: the brooding investigator with a haunted past and a strong female professional being victimized by a series of targeted killings of young, innocent women. The premise is that the “Night Bird” killer is kidnapping, hypnotizing, and conditioning women into reliving their forgotten phobias when they hear Joni Mitchell’s “The Night Bird.” And he’s doing this to women who at some point have been patients of Dr. Francesca Stein; a psychiatrist who specializes in hypno-therapies to rid people of debilitating phobias. It was pretty easy to see some of the connections early on (phobias, hypnosis, the Joni Mitchell song), and SPOILER I also saw it coming that Frankie’s husband was cheating on her with her sister and that the death of Frankie’s father was less than innocent. But this made me think the larger mystery would also be easy to solve, and then …

A Perfect October Read

There’s something about fall that makes you want to read a book that gives you a bit of a chill, isn’t there? A good thriller or crime drama, something with a bit of suspense. Of course, that’s why our October theme is what it is, and why we chose The Night Bird. I absolutely FLEW through this book – finished it almost as soon as we announced it as our October read. It was engaging, entertaining, and I was completely engrossed in the story. I know others have mentioned that the character development was perhaps a bit lacking, but I didn’t need it in this case (unusual, because that is usually the number one thing that makes or breaks a book for me). I enjoyed the story, and I enjoyed the way it unfolded. I loved that it kept me guessing, and that all these little clues sprinkled throughout the book gave you a chance to make some educated guesses. On that note, I have something that is maybe a bit embarrassing to admit: I didn’t guess …

Detective Easton vs. Memory

The Night Bird grabbed me from the first scene. A girl who’s perfectly fine one second, and then crawling out of her skin the next, and discovering she’s not the only one this is happening to? I was hooked. Psychological thrillers — heck, thrillers of any kind — can be hard for me to definitively rate. While they’re one of my favorite genres when I’m looking for a quick read, they either have me flying through the pages looking for answers, or they don’t. (Stephen King might be the exception, because man, he can WRITE. But I digress.) The two things this book has going for it are the plot and characterization. I immediately liked Frost Easton. His character seemed warm, kind, sympathetic, and just quirky enough. (Shack might have been my favorite character of them all!) He made me feel that if anyone could solve this case, it was him. Through numerous plot twists and some gruesome scenes (reader beware), I was never bored. In fact, I barely put it down, finishing it in …

October Book

Happy Fall, everyone! As I write this the Midwest is sweating under 90 degree heat, even though leaves are starting to fall. Let’s hope while you’re reading this it’s more fall-like out there, and hopefully a more perfect setting for our spooky October book: The Night Bird by Brian Freeman. A Chicago native, Brian Freeman worked in Marketing and Public Relations before becoming an author. He made his debut with the crime thriller Immoral in 2005. Since then he’s written over a dozen thrillers following the stories of different investigators; Jonathan Stride, Cab Bolton, and Frost Easton. And the first (so far only) of the Frost Easton series is The Night Bird. As Freeman describes it: “Frost Easton is a Homicide Inspector in the dramatic locale of San Francisco. He’s young, with a sexy shock of swept-back brown hair, a neat beard, and laser-like blue eyes.  He’s unattached, except for his cat, Shack, who patrols the city with him. Think Justin Timberlake with a gun, and you’ve got Frost.” It seems like a bit of a stretch. …

Pleasantly Surprised

Hi all! Sorry I’m a little behind the curve this month. Non-stop coughs and stuffy noses have kept me preoccupied. But I’ll get to the point. I really enjoyed our October book! I didn’t have many expectations. Until voting on this as our October selection I hadn’t even heard of this book. But it was a pleasant surprise. I thought it was a great story, and it was very well written. It was hard to read at times, considering it was about the abduction of a daughter, and the subsequent but inevitable decline of a formerly nuclear family. But I was on the edge of my seat the entire 375 pages. I loved how the author referred to certain characters as just “he” or “the boy.” It gave the characters just enough anonymity to build relatability. But at the same time, he managed to write the characters with such depth and realism. I love when a writer can tell you so much in just a few words. And that’s what it was like reading Descent. Johnston …

A [Thrilling] Ride Through the Rockies

Most of the time when I pick up a suspense novel I expect writing that’s okay, but nothing too notable–which never bothers me, as long as I’m entertained. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Tim Johnston’s way with words. He does a phenomenal job of depicting each personality, describing the environment, drawing out the tensions–allowing you to really absorb yourself in the story , despite the fact that it’s not your typical edge-of-your-seat thriller. While the story starts in a dramatic fashion, the majority of the novel is a very slow burn, setting up the characters–and I consider the Rocky Mountains to be one of them–in a way that makes you in no hurry to get to the end. In fact, the way in which Johnston incorporates the book’s setting is something at which he’s particularly skilled. There are still some things I’m working through–Caitlin’s mother, recurring themes that I don’t know what to make of, Sean and his role in the family–all signs that this is a book I won’t …