Book Review and Playlist: Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels

It was supposed to be epic.

During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken.

So the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite.
But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up.

A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is.

And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent.
Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences. 

Well, you can definitely count me out on any possible hiking trip in Yosemite National Park after reading this. Okay, that’s definitely an exaggeration because I do love a good hike…hmm…Oh! You can count me out of ever camping in Yosemite National Park after reading this book.  In fact, camping in general.

This book was everything that has always made me terrified of camping and completely disconnecting from society: unexpected weather, wild animals, inappropriate camping gear, lack of sustenance, and of course, drama between all of the people camping together.

Yep, you guessed it, this killer thriller novel about teens hiking in the woods contains drama. To be fair, I will say that the relationship-y drama takes very much a back seat to the survival drama for the most part–at least for me. It was a welcome change, in all honesty.

Now, I’m not always a fan of switching point of views.  Especially if they are changing between sexes, if only because I find that some authors are not very good at switching between the two.  However, I have to give Wallenfels for using two very distinctive narrators that are different enough personality wise that it was easy to make the distinction (the titles of the chapters indicating who was narrating, not-with-standing).

I read Bad Call in one day, and it was definitely one of those reads that enthralls you and then leaves you wanting more at the very end.  If anything, my only negative comment is going to be how quickly the end was resolved.  After so much narrative build-up, it felt like we needed a bit more composition to get us from A to B, as it were.

Overall, I recommend this for fans of the outdoors and thrillers.

4 Bards!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review & Playlist: Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear “You’re Dusty’s sister?” ever again.

Life is real enough for Dylan—especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV.

As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises—including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation. 

Release Date: December 19, 2017

Around the holidays I tend to be more susceptible to a love story than I am on a normal average day, so when Hyperion sent me a copy of this book, I couldn’t resist.

This book is equal parts E! network and Jane Austen, via Bridget Jones’s Diary and I enjoyed every single page. It was a relaxing, albeit freezing, Southern December Sunday when I picked this book up…and finished it in that same exact spot. Strohm’s storytelling was lighthearted and fun, full of literary references that pleased this English Major, but not too many to make the Darcy character unlikeable or cold.  In fact, I think Strohm made Jamie the character I wish Darcy had been all along.  Although, that would have made Pride and Prejudice an entirely different narrative.

As someone with a sister, and a sister whom I love but don’t always agree, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dusty and Dylan. It’s hard to capture that kind of sisterly relationship in words, and I think Strohm did an amazing job. I also adored the musical inspiration behind their names, because I am a sucker for classic music and obviously so was their mother.

I also came out of this novel knowing a lot more about Scottish culture than I ever thought I’d know, and so I’m officially skeptical of Haggis and all it is made of. Although, I do appreciate the Robert Burns celebration, as I am a sucker for his “A Red, Red Rose” poem.

Overall this book was delightfully written and I could have read two more books of Jamie and Dylan’s banter.

Instead I leave you with my 4 Bard rating and the playlist I created especially to celebrate this novel. Be sure to give it a listen, I chose my personal favorite Dylan song to represent Dylan. Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin

 

 


BOOK SUMMARY:

Let’s not die today. Not even to make things easier for our parents.

When a building collapses around five teenagers–and they just barely escape–they know something strange is going on. Little by little, the group pieces together a theory: Their parents are working together to kill them all. Is it true? And if so, how did their parents come together–and why? And, most importantly, how can the five of them work together to save themselves? With an unlikely group of heroes, sky-high stakes, and two budding romances, this gripping murder mystery will keep readers guessing until the last page.

 

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Nancy Werlin is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Killer’s Cousin, The Rules of Survival, Impossible, and a host of other young adult novels. She received her BA from Yale, was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for her first novel, and has since established herself as a writer of literary teen suspense. Werlin lives with her husband near Boston, Massachusetts.

 

 

REVIEW: 

WHOA.

What do you get when you cross an incredibly diverse cast of characters in a thriller with some incredibly unpredictable twists and turns? And Then There Were Four.  I have to assume that the title of this book is an homage to Agatha Christie’s roller coaster murder mystery, And Then There Were None, and I definitely see why this is made due to the high stakes and the fast paced plot.

This is a novel you will not want to put down, and I read it in just around four hours.

Readers are immediately introduced to our wonderful characters, but the story is dual narration between two of the five main characters.  I have to applaud Werlin for effectively using the second person for one of these narrators, because I have only read one another young adult novel that I found utilized this in a good way and that was Stolen by Lucy Christopher, and even then the “you” was referring to her kidnapper.  Caleb, the character narrating in second person, uses the “you” in referring to himself.  I believe Werlin did this to exemplify the amount of emotional and mental abuse that the character had suffered throughout his life.

The other narrator, Saralinda, is in first person. I will say, that I found her narration to be a bit annoying as it was very stream-of-consciousness. While this is effective and it really does clearly separate the two narrators well, it really just makes it hard to read in places due to the lack of grammatical marks and the sentence structure.  That is probably my only critique of the novel because I found the book to be such a great story overall.

I also worry about giving too much away in this review, because it’s one of those narratives that you need to peel back like layers of an onion. Because almost every page is carefully crafted by Werlin to slowly build to the big reveal.

Trust me, you do NOT want to miss out on reading this phenomenal thriller.

And Then There Were Four is out today!

4.5 Bards

 

 

 

PLAYLIST: 

These are a list of songs that really struck me as something that either these characters would listen to, or would be playing in the background of scenes in a cinematic setting.

GIVEAWAY:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY LEGAL COPY:

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin (ARV: $18.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on June 5, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 19, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 22, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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