Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review of it. Thank you. vmls
On the surface one mightDisclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review of it. Thank you. vmls
On the surface one might think The Pure and The Hated a simple straight-forward tale of loss and the serendipitous crossing of paths with psychopath.
One might think that... one who was not familiar with the writings of Richard Godwin.
There is nothing ‘simple’ in the tales Richard puts to paper.
Shepard Butler lost his son in a hunting accident several years ago and with that loss also came the loss of self and a distancing between him and his wife, Mary. A 'gap', if you will, in their relationship neither seems able to close.
Grief can be an incredibly destructive force.
Shepard is also a man whose past is about to catch up with him.
With a vengeance.
Temple Jones is a psychopath. Of that there can be no doubt. But he is more than just a cold-blooded, sadistic killer. The psychopath usually targets a 'type', not a specific individual; but not so with Temple Jones. The psychology of Jones, like that of many of the characters Richard creates, is never ‘textbook’ and in Temple Jones the author remains true to his style in bringing to life a character both fascinating and frightening.
The Pure and The Hated is a taut drama set in the Vermont woods. Moody and atmospheric - I could almost hear the crunch of footsteps in the snow - Richard's latest offering is somewhat of a departure from the dark psychological/horror urban thrillers he does so well, with nothing lost in the translation. There is a poignancy to The Pure and The Hated so subtle as to almost be an undercurrent in the story. The themes of loss, revenge, forgiveness, redemption are explored with a profoundness and sometimes brutal honesty that will be familiar, and welcome, to fans of the author
Some lesser writers overuse plot twists to the point of cliche.
Not so Richard Godwin.
The twists in this dark little morality play are timed perfectly and executed with chilling certainty. This is 'trademark' Godwin and just one more reason his stories are so compelling and memorable.
The 'duality' of man is well on display here as Shepard battles not only with a ruthless killer but the man he himself is and the man he wants to be; the need to punish and to be punished. The desire for forgiveness and the need to carry the burden of guilt;
As Shepard delves deeper and deeper into the mystery of the man bent on destroying his family, he has to come to terms with his own past and how his actions then planted a seed that has now come to fruition.
With deadly fury.
The Pure and The Hated offers a view in to the soul of a man… and the monster he has wrought. Richard Godwin weaves a tale that captivates and draws the reader in from the first page, often times leaving the reader in fearful anticipation of what will come next, but unable to put the book down.
Not for the faint of heart, but then what of this author’s vast repertoire is?, I recommend The Pure and The Hated without hesitation.
DISCLAIMER: I received, at my request, an ARC of Savage Highway from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. I give only honest reviewDISCLAIMER: I received, at my request, an ARC of Savage Highway from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. I give only honest reviews; my reputation depends on it. Thank you. vmls
Richard Godwin’s Savage Highway is an intense, shocking and riveting blend of contemporary noir fiction and Faustian drama. Sparingly drawn characters and short, sharp dialogue, trademarks of the master storyteller that Richard is, tell a story so brutal and visceral one hopes that such things could take place only in the realm of the fiction writer’s dark mind.
The thing about fiction though… it all springs from at least a grain of truth.
The setting for Savage Highway is a desolate area of the American Southwest where a group of men, yearning for “more than earthly meat and drink" take their fill from the lost souls unfortunate enough to stumble across their path. These men, from both sides of the law, have little regard for women, seeing in them little more than an entrée to satisfy their twisted appetites.
From the beginning of the story and Patty’s ‘encounter’ in a truck stop restroom to the startling conclusion, the pace of Savage Highway is not unlike that of one journeying one of the highways in the American Southwest. One moment moving at breakneck speed as the protagonists race to prevent another death… or escape their own… and then slowing for the curves and hills of the rolling landscape ahead as Richard introduces another twist and turn to the story.
The duality of several of the characters… constantly shifting between responsible, law-abiding citizens and sexual sadists… is something that the author does quite well and is one reason his stories are so absorbing and memorable. The characters Richard draws are indelible and one of my favorite parts of any Godwin tale.
Well-paced action, sharp dialogue, and terse descriptions of both character and place make Savage Highway a story not easy to put down and will leave imagery in the reader’s head long after.
I hesitate to use such over-played phrases as ‘pulse-pounding’, but it is apt in this case as Richard brings us a story filled with suspense, danger and virtually non-stop action. If this doesn’t get the adrenaline surging through your veins, you’re probably dead and just haven’t fallen over yet.
Savage Highway is ‘five-star’ in every sense of the word and well-deserving of accolades. This is classic noir… taut and unapologetic.
Savage Highway is Richard Godwin at his ‘noirest’. A must-read story I recommend without hesitation.
Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery: Avery Fowler 2.0 Series, Book 1 is Jennifer Ammoscato’s breakout debut novel that will leave you in stitches and with tDear Internet: It’s Me, Avery: Avery Fowler 2.0 Series, Book 1 is Jennifer Ammoscato’s breakout debut novel that will leave you in stitches and with the realization that you’re either going to have to work on those Kegels or stop by the Depends aisle of your local supermarket. Because putting down Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery is simply not an option.
Smart, funny, sassy, snarky and at times irreverent, Avery Fowler is the best friend we all want (or is that just me, dear reader?).
With her life turning into a cliché… cheating husband (they always go for the younger blonde, don’t they?)… the new boss-from-hell who, if she were a cartoon, would have a balloon over her head that reads “I drown kittens and knit their skins into placemats for my dinner parties.”… a career headed in the wrong direction… Avery does the only thing a girl can do. She gets a life coach. But where does one find a life coach that is a good match for one with Avery’s unique personality (read "quirks and foibles")? The Yellow Pages? Recommendation from a friend? Noooooo….!
Avery turns to the Internet because, well… because the Internet can fix anything, right? I mean, if it’s on the Internet…. right?
Enter Clementine, Avery’s ‘life advisor’ from HowTo.Com. Clementine soon becomes, unwittingly, Avery’s partner-in-crime as Avery takes (read "ignores") much of Clementine’s advice and sets out to ‘fix’ things in her life and when things go from bad to worse…
Well, I can’t say more… that would be a spoiler.
I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard! I already have a reputation on the train as that crazy lady who laughs out loud for seemingly no reason and Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery had me laughing with each page turn.
Jen Lancaster and Sophie Kinsella… move over because there’s a new funny lady on the block. Her name is Jennifer Ammoscato and she is bringing it ‘live and unplugged’! Jennifer brings her characters to life with a verve and wit that you just don't see a lot of in today's rom/com - chick-lit. They are sharply drawn and all-too human, a reflection of people some of us know all too well. The dialogue is unforced and spot-on and flows seamlessly with the story. Jennifer gets high marks indeed for her skills as a storyteller.
Hmmm… I have a sudden craving for a chocolate chip muffin. Darn you, Avery! You're gonna make me fat!
Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery: Avery Fowler 2.0 Series, Book 1 is a ‘can’t-put-down’ must-read that I can’t recommend highly enough. You’ll want to be careful reading it on the bus or train though, lest you miss your stop (oh, surely I am not the only person that has ever happened to. Don’t judge me, blame Avery… err, I mean Jennifer. *wink*).
“I LOVE you, Avery Fowler!”
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 9 November 2015 (Writing under a large mushroom somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)...more
From pothole to published author, Torture is an amazing and intimate journey... a journey of soul-searching and redemption. A journey possible only byFrom pothole to published author, Torture is an amazing and intimate journey... a journey of soul-searching and redemption. A journey possible only by the grace of an angel and one woman's indomitable spirit.
When Lori Nelson steps in a pothole on her street, virtually destroying her foot and shattering her soul, life as she knows it over. Or so she thinks. But, it seems, every time that inner voice says "I can't"... Lori discovers that she can. Souls and bones heal, but it takes time.
It isn't easy. It isn't pretty. It is long, slow torture. Telling herself every day, for days and weeks on end, that she can't, her own mind and body... guided by an angel named Graham... proves the lie to all those negative thoughts and feelings.
Torture is a frank... often brutal, often intimate... and transformative story. An experience that only a person with the keen insight of not just herself, but the human spirit, that Lori has could possibly tell. Interjected with equal doses of honesty, psychology and humour, Torture is a must-read for anyone who has ever doubted themselves in the face of adversity.
Brava, Lori... brava!
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)...more
When one looks back on Richard Godwin's writing career, Meaningful Conversations will, I have no doubt of this, be named one of the author's most impoWhen one looks back on Richard Godwin's writing career, Meaningful Conversations will, I have no doubt of this, be named one of the author's most important works and an extraordinary contribution to the genre of psychological horror and contemporary noir fiction.
Bertrand Maver may not serve up pan-seared human brain with chianti and fava beans, but he is more than a match for Lecter and in Meaningful Conversations, Richard unleashes a psychopath Thomas Harris only wishes he had written.
Richard's unique wit and brilliant turn-of-phrase are showcased perfectly in Meaningful Conversations and as I have said before... his writing never disappoints.
The pacing of Meaningful Conversations leaves one breathless at times as the madness of the man behind the cello increases almost exponentially, struggling to keep up with Bertrand's psychoses - don't you just love a multi-faceted psychopath?
One thing that particularly stood out for me in Meaningful Conversations - aside of course from the fact that Richard's writing is bloody brilliant! - is the metaphor of the lipstick and man's domination of / dominion over 'weaker' women; although, this is really only part of the metaphor. Now, before some of you get your kit bunched up, no, I am NOT saying women are weak or that man is the stronger of the sexes and if that is all you got out of my words, you need to go back and re-read the book.
Others before me have made the literary comparisons to some of the greats of the last two centuries so I won't go on about that here, other than to say that they are all spot on!
Richard's tense narrative, interwoven with pathos, humour, erotica and psychopathy, make Meaningful Conversations a story that will long be remembered, discussed and dissected. And a definite 'must-read'!
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (Writing under a large, rain-drenched mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)...more
(Reviewer's note: I received, upon request, a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Howard Books - a division of Simon & Schuster, i(Reviewer's note: I received, upon request, a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Howard Books - a division of Simon & Schuster, in exchange for my honest review. vmls)
Fame... one's own or that of a friend or family... and the price that we are willing to pay to protect that fame, coupled with being sexually abused as a young teen set young Anny Donewald on a course... on a journey... of self-destruction that very nearly claimed her soul forever.
Dancing with the Devil tells the heart-wrenching story of a young woman caught up in the world of drugs, sex trafficking, prostitution and trade and her journey to and through that dark, dangerous world that has claimed literally tens of thousands of lives... many to the point of death and many to a life in which death would have been a welcome release from the hell on Earth they found themselves in.
It begins innocently enough... amateur night at a small time strip club. A few bucks... some free drinks are the 'prize'... and 'stories' to tell your friends later ... just another Saturday night, right?
But, wait... that wasn't the beginning of Anny's long dark night - a night that would last for years. No, for Anny the darkness began the first time she was abused by one of the players on her father's college basketball team.
For far, far too many women, their own journey into darkness began - will begin - the same way. Sexually abused at a young age by, not a stranger, but someone known... someone they are close to. Someone they trusted. And like Anny, their guilt and shame over what had been done to them made their own abuse a secret. One, as Anny says, had to be kept at all costs!
For Anny, that night was the beginning of a nightmare that seemed would never end. Guilt and shame overwhelmed her, robbing her of self-esteem, self-worth... robbing her of hope. And just when Anny feels that everything is lost... that she has used up all her chances at life... she has lost everything and everyone... save one... she ever loved or cared about... and she has finally hit rock bottom... and there is nowhere left to go...
A spark inside Anny refuses to die and a tiny voice inside her... a whimper almost lost in her dark despair... "help me... please!"
And God hears that plea... that tiny prayer... and He answers! God picks up Anny and touches her in such a soul-deep way that only our Creator... our Father... our Healer... our Redeemer... can.
Even after all the things Anny has done... after all the times that she turned away from God... all the times she set aside what she had read in the Bible... been told by friends... the messages she heard in church...
Even after all the times Anny turned her back on God... when she finally called out to Him.... He answered. Without hesitation... without condemnation... without any conditions... God answered Anny.
He lifted her up from the darkness and showed her light. He showed Anny his purpose for her.
That moment marked the beginning of Anny's next journey... one of salvation and redemption... one of hope and a message. A journey that would set her on a path of ministry that would come to touch many, many lives... and bring the message of Christ our savior to other lost souls. A message of love... of hope... of grace and mercy to countless 'lost souls', because this was Anny's calling.
It hasn't been an easy journey and I think Anny would be the first one to tell you that her journey is far from over.
At one point in the book, Anny relates something Jesus said to her. "Don't let people tell you who I am; let me show you who I am."
Anny doesn't tell us who Jesus is. She shows us. Her amazing story... from her 'fall from grace' all those years ago to where she is now... her salvation and redemption... the ministry known as Eve's Angels that she began... is an amazing testimony of God's love and of His grace and mercy.
Anny, through God's grace and with the support and encouragement of her cousin Carrie, tells an amazing, riveting and at times heart-stopping story of her journey through darkness and her divine rescue from the sex industry. Anny's open, frank words lay bare a world of depravity... a world no one wants to acknowledge exists... a world that isn't spoken of in polite company and only obliquely referenced in churches. A world that makes us squirm in our seats and change the television channel.
But more than that, it is a testimony of God's amazing grace and healing... and His unconditional, never-ending, never changing love. It is a reminder that we are all His children and there is nothing we can do... no hole so deep or dark or depraved that we find ourselves in... that He can't lift us out of.
Anny Donewald is living proof of that. She is also proof that the 'cycle' can be broken. That is part of the message of Eve's Angels, the ministry that she founded.
It doesn't matter how you got where you are. God will bring you home.
Dancing With The Devil is one of those rare reads that is hard to put down. It is told in such a compelling manner and voice that one could easily finish the book in a single sitting. I recommend this book without reservation.
Dancing For The Devil should be on everyone's 'must-read' list!
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) ...more
(Reviewer's note - I received a complimentary copy of the Audible book in exchange for an honest review.)
I don't read romance, although I am a hopeles(Reviewer's note - I received a complimentary copy of the Audible book in exchange for an honest review.)
I don't read romance, although I am a hopeless romantic. I don't read paranormal, although I do have my own vampyre character, who totally defies stereotype.
I don't read paranormal romances.
But... I am always open to new genres. One can't have an open mind if it closed to some things.
For a 'first-timer' to the paranormal/romance genre, Accepting the Moon is a wonderful introduction to the world of werewolves and vampires and how they intermingle and interact with 'humans'. I do know a bit of the mythology surrounding vampires and werewolves and I am glad to see Kristie stepping outside the stereotype of these two mythical (?) creatures to bring a thoroughly engrossing tale, and a very promising series, to her readers.
The author weaves a tale both captivating and promising, pulling the reader along with almost non-stop suspense and action. Yet, she doesn't bog the reader down in a lot of useless 'stuff' or lose the reader in one-too-many plot twists/turns. The story is paced very well, pulling the reader but not dragging them or leaving behind.
Kristie tells the story in three voices... the three main characters - Mena, Jackson and Phoenix... weaving backstory seamlessly into the present moment. I hesitate to go too much into the story itself and spoil it for others, but I will say that I received a few surprises as I read through - or, rather listened - the story and came away quite impressed. As well as completely captivated!
The author's storytelling prowess is a testament to that.
Accepting the Moon is skillfully written, weaving characters and plot to bring the reader a story long remembered after the last page is read.
And wanting more, I might add.
Accepting the Moon is a very well-written prequel to a promising new series - MOONRISING - by the incredibly talented writer and author, K.S. Haigwood and I recommend this book as well as the upcoming series without reservation.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (writing under a large mushroom somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) ...more
Lily Childs shows once again why she is the Queen of horror/urban fantasy. Within Wet Walls is a wonderfully crafted story... dark and dripping with eLily Childs shows once again why she is the Queen of horror/urban fantasy. Within Wet Walls is a wonderfully crafted story... dark and dripping with erotica... necrotica... fantasy... a thirsting for life at all costs... told only as Lily can. Within Wet Walls is a stunning tapestry of death, desire, drugs and disrepute... woven from the rich fabric of Lily's ever fertile imagination.
Wealdstone is a stately old manor of indeterminate age... weathering through seasons of repute and seasons of disrepute, but one thing remains constant...
The dark secrets that lie within the walls of Wealdstone. The dark, deadly secrets. The creatures... the spirits... that roam the rooms and corridors of the old manor. The beings... living but long dead that become the 'life blood' for those dark secrets whose 'lives' are measured not in hours and days, but seasons... seasons of man.
Beings who 'live' in the exquisiteness of death. Beings who 'taste the terror' of their....
Oh, but let's not be spoiling it here, eh?
No other writer I know holds a candle to Lily when it comes to telling a tale guaranteed to leave one stifling a scream... sleeping, albeit a most restless sleep, with a night light on for nights on end... and the echo of her words remaining long, long after the last page is turned and the cover closed.
Brava, Lily... Brava!
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)...more
Sister Girl is an exciting, often edge-of-your-seat, and moving read. Jonna Ivin tells an incredible story with truly unforgettable characters, weavinSister Girl is an exciting, often edge-of-your-seat, and moving read. Jonna Ivin tells an incredible story with truly unforgettable characters, weaving a tale rich with emotion and experience.
Sister Girl is the story of Tess, a girl whom life has truly been most unfair to. Or has it?
Tess is the girl some... a few, handful at most... of us were and many of us wanted to be. Tess is the girl I would have wanted in an older sister. She is truly amazing, not to take anything anyway from the other characters in the book.
Sister Girl is one of those rare books that will stay with the reader long after the last page has been read and the book put back on the shelf.
I recommend Sister Girl without hesitation. Jonna Ivin is an amazing storyteller with a voice that is refreshingly honest.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)...more
I should say, this copy. We've managed to go through three copies so far... books and water don't mix well.This book rarely leaves our bedside table.
I should say, this copy. We've managed to go through three copies so far... books and water don't mix well... lol!
Tina and I recommend Jude's book without hesitation. The title reads "101 positions..."... but if you are like me and my inamorata, you will find countless variations... almost another book in itself!...more
Richard Godwin’s One Lost Summer takes a detour from the author’s trademark noir / psychological thriller / horror stylings and answers with a resoundRichard Godwin’s One Lost Summer takes a detour from the author’s trademark noir / psychological thriller / horror stylings and answers with a resounding “Yes!” the question “Can Richard write anything other than horror thrillers?”
A novel steeped in mystery and suspense, with a subtle yet unmistakable eroticism, One Lost Summer takes the reader deep inside the mind of a damaged man… a tortured soul… where we are witness to the ‘shrouded’ dance of the watcher and the watched.
The story begins one hot summer… the mystery, long before that. And if there is a moral to this story, it is this…
Some things… once lost… were not meant to be found.
Unfortunately, some people find that out too late.
Identity… it is what makes man… it is what breaks man. If I had to choose one word to describe the theme of Richard Godwin’s latest novel… a blend of noir mystery and psychological thriller… ‘identity’ would be that word. Some might disagree with that, but… to paraphrase Joe Pesci in Goodfellas (I think)… “It is what it is.”
At first blush, One Lost Summer would appear to be a simple obsédé noir… a middle-aged voyeur drowning in the pool of his own desire, spending his every waking moment, as well as not-inconsiderable amounts of money, watching his neighbor and cataloging her existence on film.
But… with a master story-teller such as Richard Godwin… well, ‘simple’ just doesn’t apply. This soon becomes apparent as the layers that make up the mystery of filmmaker Rex Allen’s new life are exposed to the often unforgiving glare of the reader.
One Lost Summer is a slow reveal. That is not to say the story is slow, on the contrary; the pacing of One Lost Summer is ‘pitch-perfect’, to borrow a phrase from the music world. Page after page, the suspense builds… occasionally ebbing, so as to allow the reader a respite to consider what has transpired so far.
And to ponder on the two traps of man….
Identity… and memory. One is lost without the other.
Memory can be a cruel mistress. She will taunt and tease… scattering words and broken thoughts, like breadcrumbs, on the floor of one’s conscious. If there are secrets that she is not ready to give up – and there always are - no amount of begging will help. Memory will reveal the bits and pieces of one’s past in her own fashion… and in her own time. And… she always wants something in return. Always.
And this is the ‘crux’ of Rex’s problem. Memory, or more accurately, the absence of a good portion of his, is what drives Rex… what moves him to uproot from his home outside greater London to the suburbs of Surrey, where hopefully a change of scenery and distance from the noise and static of his former life will bring some peace and where Rex can begin to rebuild what was lost. If only he had more than a few broken shards from which to start.
Rex Allen has an obsession. He sees beauty in the ordinary and ordinary in beauty, and seemingly, has an almost singular compulsion with dominating the spirit of those who cross the path of his obsession.
It starts with a single image… flashing in the recesses of his mind like a relentless strobe… teasing something deeper, something still chained… unable to rise to the surface of Rex’s consciousness, where it can be named and placed in this new life of his… put into perspective.
And from that image, a word… “Coral…”
And from that one word, in what is… for lack of a better word… a Dr. Frankenstein-esque quest, Rex attempts to bring to life something more than just a memory. And in doing so, he discovers – or, rediscovers – the ‘flexibility’ of his own moral code. Ironically, he fails to see, or refuses to see, his own reflection in the morality of this new ‘world’ he has found himself in and which he soon grows contemptuous of.
When at last he can begin to enjoy – although, I’m not sure that ‘enjoy’ was ever a part of Rex’s emotional make-up… ‘possess’ might be a better word – the fruits of his labors, something changes. The stage of Rex’s little deux jeux de caractères is suddenly crowded with the arrival of ‘truth’… stage right.
But, as I mentioned earlier… one should be careful of what they wish for. La vérité n'est pas toujours mis un libre.
From page one, the narrative of Richard’s latest novel has a mesmeric hold on the reader, pulling them along… with questions rising as images flash past… and just when the reader thinks they have a firm grasp on the reality of the story, there is that Godwin “turn” that makes the reader sit up and go “Oh!”
At times, the tension is almost palpable… like the taste of silver amalgam… and brings an expectation not unlike that conjured in watching the recalcitrant fuse of a firework moving inexorably toward its explosive conclusion.
And at other times, there is an almost dreamlike quality to parts of the narrative that is like - to borrow Richard’s words – “… a key turning in a lock. Over and over and over…” And with each page turn… a flash of memory… not unlike that of light glinting off the polished surface of a key turning in a lock, as another bit of the mystery is revealed.
Seductive and suspenseful, One Lost Summer is a dark, richly woven mystery… a riveting tale of deception of self and a frightening look inside the human mind and the lengths and depths one will stir to possess another. Richard Godwin writes, with disturbing clarity, the psychosis of a man possessed by beauty, to the exclusion of all else.
One Lost Summer is a `must-read'... it "hits all the marks" of a classic and timeless mystery and is well worth a few sleepless nights.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) 5 August 2013 ...more