REALER by David Hewson and Narrated by Gemma Whelan – An Audiobook Review of a Speculative/Dystopian Near Future that could easily become our post-pandemic reality. 5 Terrified Stars

Title: REALER

Author: DAVID HEWSON

Narrator: GEMMA WHELAN

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION

Length: 8 HOURS and 35 MINUTES

Publisher: W.F. HOWES LTD. 

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 29, 2020

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Audiobook is narrated by Game of Thrones
star Gemma Whelan

DESCRIPTION:

AN AUDIOBOOK EXCLUSIVE, PERFORMED BY GAME OF THRONES STAR GEMMA WHELAN.

‘Life is real…but this is Realer…’

Realer promises a new virtual reality, a safe and sanitised window into a virtual existence without the risks of the real, crumbling, post-pandemic society beyond the door. Sixteen year old Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Mackintosh is a loner whose father works for the company. He gives her Realer for her birthday – only to be murdered as she watches through her high-tech hood at home. Alone in a tense, post-lockdown world, Charlie has to turn to Realer to find his killers. She’s soon trapped in a murderous conspiracy behind a system that’s steadily beginning to take over people’s lives. Charlie comes to understand that she can only hide from outside dangers for so long. In the end, the only way to defeat them is face-to-face, in the real world. A place she fears more than any.

Audie award-winning author David Hewson’s edgy dystopian, near-future thriller gives us a chilling glimpse into what our post-pandemic world could become.

LISTEN TO THIS AUDIBLE INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DAVID HEWSON FOR FREE.
Click on the photograph to get this free Audible interview.
David Hewson joins Robin Morgan in the Audible Studios to discuss Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, the latest in the series of original audiobook adaptations of Shakespeare plays, narrated by Richard Armitage. The audiobooks are imaginative reworkings of the original plays using contemporary language but retaining the original historical settings.
©2016 Audible Ltd (P)2016 Audible Ltd

MY REVIEW:

Not your typical Dystopian fiction tale.

This tale could (and probably should) be taken as a warning.

The story begins not long after a full year of lockdowns because of the Covid19 pandemic. (Although Covid19 is never specifically named.)

A corporation that is eerily similar to the Amazon corporation of today is at the center of this speculative fiction tale.

A new technological gadget has begun to take the world by storm. It is called a “Realer.” The company tagline is:

‘Life is real…but this is Realer…’

This piece of technology allows the user to visit anywhere in the world through a sort-of virtual reality.

Instead of being themselves, users create avatars and when in “Realer World,” it is those avatars that people see and interact with – meaning you could be talking to anyone, from anywhere and their real identity remains secret.

Fears of the Virus coming back have been a boon for the Realer Corporation. Why actually go on holiday and chance catching the virus when you can “visit” anywhere – from the comfort of your own home?

Charlie (short for Charlotte) is attacked while sketching at a nearby lake. After the attack she is terrified to leave her home. She receives a Realer from her father as a birthday present as a way to coax her back outside and to prove it is safe.

Her father goes for a walk in the nearby woods while wearing Realer glasses. Charlie is able to tag along from her Realer in the safety of her home. She starts to enjoy herself and even begins to think her father is right and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Suddenly, three cartoon devil monsters appear in her father’s path. He is brutally murdered while she could do nothing except watch it happen.

So begins this unique Dystopian/Speculative Fiction story.

Charlie may be only sixteen, but she is determined to find out who killed her Dad.

With the dogged determination of the youthful, Charlie finds herself not only caught up in a murder investigation, but also in what might prove to be life-altering events not only for herself, but for the entire planet.

With non-stop intrigue, believable technological innovations, a pandemic causing long term lockdowns and the detrimental mental health issues it caused, this story could easily be our near future.

There are a variety of social issues tackled in REALER, along with a mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

David Hewson has created  characters that readers will recognize as either similar to themselves or to others they know.

If you want to take a look at one of our society’s potential futures, this Audiobook is a must listen.

I will be looking for more audiobooks narrated by GEMMA WHELAN. She is a professional actress and was a member of the award-winning cast of Game of Thrones. Her acting experience shines through in her narration as she knows exactly what intonation to use for each chapter. Her narration deserves a 5 Star review of its own. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It is the combination of great writing, exceptional narration and professional production that combine to make REALER an audiobook not to miss.

A 5 Star rating is exactly what this Audiobook deserves.

5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David Hewson is a contemporary British author of mystery and thriller novels. His work includes the Nic Costa series and Romeo and Juliet, an expansive and rich retelling of the Shakespeare classic which was awarded Best Original Work at the Audie awards.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER   

AMAZON  

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Gemma Whelan is an actress and comedian, best known for playing Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones.

She plays detective Eunice Noon in The End of the F***ing World on Netflix.

To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER  

AMAZON

………….

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

N

https://www.instagram.com/wfhowes

https://m.facebook.com/WFHowes

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LITTLE BONES – by N.V. Peacock releases this Halloween. An addictive and eerie tale that could easily have been torn from today’s headlines is your Must Have Halloween read!!!

Title: LITTLE BONES

Author: N.V. PEACOCK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 402 PAGES

Publisher: AVON BOOKS UK – A Division of HARPER COLLINS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 31, 2020

ISBN: 9780008436360 (eBook)

Price: $9.99 AUD (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

I have three names: I was born Leigh-Ann. I became Cherrie. When I was a child, they called me Little Bones…

My father was Mr Bones – the notorious serial killer of 25 years ago.

As a child I witnessed his crimes.

Everything is different now. I have a new identity. I’m a mother. I am finally free.

Until that podcast. I should never have listened.

They’re linking a recent disappearance to the crimes of the past.

They know who I am. They’re calling me Little Bones again.

They say I’m a villain but I’m not. I’m a victim.

You believe me, don’t you?

MY REVIEW:

I began this book with no experience of reading other N.V. Peacock books. (Many of her previous books were published with Nicky Peacock as the author, but, before reading LITTLE BONES, I had yet to read any books written under either name.) I was unsure of what to expect since my research showed that the author’s usual genre is Young Adult. However, reading LITTLE BONES with a completely open mind ended up being a pleasantly rewarding experience and I am very pleased that I did so.

There are two interwoven plots in LITTLE BONES; they are fascinating both separately as well as together.

Cherrie is a grown woman with a child of her own. She lives a comfortable life even though she doesn’t make much money at her job at the deli counter of a local independent grocery store. The father of her child lives with them and Cherrie feels lucky. The only thing marring her perfect suburban existence is the knowledge that she harbors a secret.

She knows she should be honest with her boyfriend and with her close friends, but the terror and ostracism she experienced as a child has never been forgotten and she is afraid history will repeat itself.

As a child her name had been Leigh-Ann and her father was the notorious artist and serial killer MR. BONES. (Wait until you read about his crimes, you will be surprised at their uniqueness.) When he was arrested, Cherrie’s entire world fell apart. Kids who knew about her father and what he had done began calling her LITTLE BONES, the media followed suit and the horrible nickname followed her until she was old enough to legally change her name.

But, all that happened twenty-five years ago. Noone in her present-day life knew about her past and she planned to keep it that way… FOREVER.

BUT, life has a way of throwing curveballs into the best laid plans…

When a local child goes missing and ends up dead, one podcast is all it takes to place Cherrie right in the middle of her worst nightmare.

She needs to keep her son safe, and she may just have to channel her inner “Little Bones” to do so.

The fast pace of this story left me unable to put the book down. I just had to know what would happen next.

Kidnapping, murder, stalking, grief, and shame are just a few of the many themes addressed in LITTLE BONES.

I am a mother, so I empathize with Cherrie and her desire to keep her child safe no matter what the cost. There are several incidents during which she crossed the line between legal and illegal, and between moral and immoral. Readers will have to answer for themselves just how far they would be willing to go to keep their family safe. I think the answer might surprise you.

Creepy, yet relatable, this story is one that readers will continue thinking about long after reading the final page. In fact, this book is perfect for Book Clubs and is sure to invite vigorous discussion.

I rate LITTLE BONES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N V Peacock also writes YA and Horror as Nicky Peacock. She lives in lovely Northamptonshire, She has spent over 20 years in sales and writes in her spare time. Nine years ago she discovered the anthology market, and it wasn’t long before her first short story was published. With over 30 stories in horror, thriller and paranormal anthologies for publishers all over the world, including stories in the Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper and a Women in Horror Anthology, she’s no stranger to the dark side. After writing 5 YA supernatural novels, she turned her hand to an adult thriller.

With her love of true crime podcasts, the plot of Little Bones came together quickly and after several drafts, developed into a fully-fledged book with a killer twist and a strong female protagonist with a wicked sense of humour.

Nicky has a degree in creative writing and runs a local writers’ group. With 20 members, it’s grown into a wonderful place for novice and established writers to gather and share thoughts, discuss their work and above all motivate them to keep writing. While running the group, Nicky has found that spending time with like-minded people, who enjoy writing as much as she does, is crucial to maintain the motivation and devotion that writing needs.

About her writing, Nicky says, ‘Entertaining readers is the best feeling in the world. Times are tough at the moment, so to be able to transport readers into someone else’s life and take them on a twisty journey makes all the time and effort I put into my books worthwhile.’

Nicky appreciates every review she receives and thanks all her readers in advance for taking the time to put fingers to keyboard and share their thoughts with other readers.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM http://www.instagram.com/

TWITTER

TWITTER – PUBLISHER

AUDIBLE – DECEMBER 10th Release

AMAZON

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE by Investigative Reporter JUSTIN LING is available for pre-order NOW. This 5 STAR Read is destined for the National Bestseller list.

Title: MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE

Subtitle: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto’s Queer Community

Author: JUSTIN LING

Genre: NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA2+, LGBTQQ, QUEER NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, SERIAL KILLERS, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA,  CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: MCCLELLAND AND STEWART – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 29, 2020

ISBN: 9780771048647

Price: $32.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to killing these eight men.
Top row, from left to right: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen and Abdulbasir Faizi.
Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Majeed Kayhan.
(John Fraser/CBC)

DESCRIPTION:

The tragic and resonant story of the disappearance of eight men — the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur — from Toronto’s queer community.

In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men–Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan — from Toronto’s gay village were, perhaps, linked. When the leads ran dry, the investigation was shut down, on paper classified as “open but suspended.”

By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to retrace investigators’ steps, convinced there was evidence of a serial killer.

Meanwhile, more men would go missing, and police would continue to deny that there was a threat to the community. On January 18, 2018, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, would be arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. In February 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of eight men.

Canadian Serial Killer
Bruce McArthur
Ho / THE CANADIAN PRESS

This extraordinary book tells the complete story of the McArthur murders. Based on more than five years of in-depth reporting, this is also a story of police failure, of how the queer community responded, and the story of the eight men who went missing and the lives they left behind. In telling that story, Justin Ling uncovers the latent homophobia and racism that kept this case unsolved and unseen. This gripping book reveals how police agencies across the country fail to treat missing persons cases seriously, and how policies and laws, written at every level of government, pushed McArthur’s victims out of the light and into the shadows.

MY REVIEW:

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is destined to become a National Bestseller.

Investigative Reporter Justin Ling, himself a member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community – the very same community from which McArthur chose his victims – is uniquely qualified to author this book.

I say this, NOT based on his sexuality, I say this because he seems to have been the only person, and definitely the only reporter, who was interested in finding out what was happening in Toronto’s Gay Village YEARS before the police even considered the men’s disappearances to be connected. Not only that, but because Justin knows the area, and is a reporter with a heart who cares (sometimes too much) about each victim as a person, not as just another face in the lineup of victims. Justin is the only person who could tell this story without sensationalism getting in the way.

I have read numerous true crime books over the span of many years, but MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is unique. It is superbly told so that the focus is not on the gruesome crimes themselves, but is on the story as a whole. I love that the author was so wrapped up in the story that, at times, he had to fight back tears.

Canada has its fair share of crimes, including murder, but Canadian serial killers are rare. These killers seem to focus on marginalized populations, seeing those victims as disposable. The problem is that they seem to be right. It took way too long for the police to catch this POS.

Sex, murder and secrets are the basis for this horrific true crime story that, if I didn’t know better, I would never have believed to be true, especially not here in Ontario, Canada.

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is a MUST READ if you want to know the entire story, not just of Bruce McArthur and his victims, but also the history of Toronto’s gay village and the fight for LGBTQIA2S rights, and why Bruce McArthur was able to go on killing over the span of several years and remain undetected.

McArthur’s victims were real people who had loved ones and friends who still miss them.

In this era of the #metoo movement and the calls to #defundthepolice and, of course, #blacklivesmatter we all need to remember that many people are still seen as unimportant. THIS NEEDS TO STOP.

For decades people who are queer, who are sex workers, who are black, who are brown, who are Indigenous, who are homeless, and many more, have been treated as if their lives do not matter. It is up to each and every one of us to make sure we see, REALLY SEE, every life as equal and as precious. This book will open people’s eyes, it is up to us to ensure our eyes stay open.

If we can do this, maybe, just maybe, we can stop the next Bruce McArthur from being able to choose victims at will.

I rate MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be watching for Justin Ling’s byline, and hopefully another book.

I just discovered that you can Pre-order the hardcover version of this book on the Chapters/Indigo website for a reduced price. It is currently 25% off, but I am not privy to when this offer ends, so I suggest you pre-order your copy ASAP.

Pre-Order NOW and Save 25%

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

QUOTES:

“The bar changed colour like a drag queen trying on new shades of lipstick.”

“The contrast between the bright paint and the rest of the dour building gave Zipperz the particular quality of being a portal into another world, a secret passageway.”

“The campaign to find a missing loved one sits exactly between hope and dread.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JUSTIN LING is an investigative journalist whose reporting has focused on stories and issues undercovered and misunderstood.

His writing has appeared in Vice News, BuzzFeed, Foreign Policy, Motherboard, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and the Guardian.

In 2019 he hosted “The Village,” the third season of the CBC podcast Uncover, which examined cold cases from the 1970s that were reopened as a result of the McArthur investigation.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

LINKEDIN

CBC

UNCOVER – THE PODCAST

MUCKRACK

TWITTER

VICE

TALENT BUREAU

GOOGLE BOOKS

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

https://insight.randomhouse.com/widget/v4/?width=600&isbn=9780771048647&author=Justin%20Ling&title=Missing%20from%20the%20Village

THE COLD VANISH: Seeking The Missing In North America’s Wildlands goes on sale TODAY. A fascinating look into an issue that seems to be largely ignored.

Title: THE COLD VANISH

Subtitle: Seeking the Missing in North America’s Wildlands

Author: JON BILLMAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 368 PAGES

Publisher: GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING – A DIVISION OF HACHETTE

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JULY 7, 2020

ISBN: 9781538747568 (eBook)

Price: $14.99 USD (eBook)

Rating: 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jacob Gray’s bicycle and trailer were discovered close to a trail in Olympia National Park

DESCRIPTION:

For readers of Jon Krakauer and Douglas Preston, the critically acclaimed author and journalist Jon Billman’s fascinating, in-depth look at people who vanish in the wilderness without a trace and those eccentric, determined characters who try to find them.

These are the stories that defy conventional logic. The proverbial vanished without a trace incidences, which happen a lot more (and a lot closer to your backyard) than almost anyone thinks. These are the missing whose situations are the hardest on loved ones left behind. The cases that are an embarrassment for park superintendents, rangers and law enforcement charged with Search & Rescue. The ones that baffle the volunteers who comb the mountains, woods and badlands. The stories that should give you pause every time you venture outdoors.

Through Jacob Gray’s disappearance in Olympic National Park, and his father Randy Gray who left his life to search for him, we will learn about what happens when someone goes missing. Braided around the core will be the stories of the characters who fill the vacuum created by a vanished human being. We’ll meet eccentric bloodhound-handler Duff and R.C., his flagship purebred, who began trailing with the family dog after his brother vanished in the San Gabriel Mountains. And there’s Michael Neiger North America’s foremost backcountry Search & Rescue expert and self-described “bushman” obsessed with missing persons. And top researcher of persons missing on public wildlands Ex-San Jose, California detective David Paulides who is also one of the world’s foremost Bigfoot researchers.

It’s a tricky thing to write about missing persons because the story is the absence of someone. A void. The person at the heart of the story is thinner than a smoke ring, invisible as someone else’s memory. The bones you dig up are most often metaphorical. While much of the book will embrace memory and faulty memory — history — The Cold Vanish is at its core a story of now and tomorrow. Someone will vanish in the wild tomorrow. These are the people who will go looking.

Jacob Gray

MY REVIEW:

This book is unique. It is part memoir, part dissertation on the numbers of missing people who have “cold vanished.”

Exactly what is a cold vanish?”

A cold vanish is when a person goes missing, usually in the wild, leaving no clues. These people are often never found, and those who are found, are most often not found alive, and are usually discovered accidentally by other wilderness visitors, not by those who have searched for them.

“If you Google “missing person” and the name of your nearest national park or national forest, you will find clusters of the disappeared.”

The National Institute of

Justice, the research arm of the Department of Justice, calls missing persons (and unidentified remains) ‘the nation’s silent mass disaster.’ They estimate that on any given day there are between 80,000 and 90,000 people actively listed with law enforcement as missing.

The Department of the Interior knows how many wolves and grizzly bears roam its wilds, but has a hard time keeping track of visitors who disappear. The Department of Justice keeps a database, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, NamUS, but reporting missing persons is voluntary in all but ten states, and law enforcement and coroner participation is voluntary as well. So a lot of the missing are also missing from the database.”

THE COLD VANISH is required reading for those of us who are fascinated by true crime and for those who follow such podcasts as “Missing,” and “The Vanished.

According to NamUS, more than 600,000 persons go missing in the United States each year; thankfully, many of these are quickly found alive. Sixty percent of the missing are male, 40 percent are female. The average age for a missing person is thirty-four.”

Those statistics surprised me. I knew that many people go missing, but 600,000 in a single year? That is a staggeringly high number. With budgetary constraints and other logistical issues, it proves that those who volunteer their time and resources to locating the lost are an invaluable resource for the families of those who have cold vanished.

Jacob Gray went missing in Olympia National Park in April of 2018. His father put all other obligations aside and spent innumerable hours, days, weeks and months searching for his son. The author was able to tag along on his search and this is the story around which this book is designed. More than just a reporter, it became clear as the search dragged on without resolution, that Randy Gray (Jacob’s Dad) and author Jon Billman became friends.

Although the author occasionally goes off a bit of a tangent, all in all, the story is well-written and has certainly opened my eyes to the issue of people missing in the wilds of North America. I am thrilled that the Author has chosen to donate 20% of all author royalties to the Jon Francis Foundation.

I rate THE COLD VANISH as 3.5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Billman is a former wildland firefighter and high school teacher. He holds an MFA in Fiction from Eastern Washington University. He’s the author of the story collection When We Were Wolves (Random House, 1999).

Billman is a regular contributor to Outside and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, and Zoetrope: All-Story.

He teaches fiction and journalism at Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula, where he lives with his family in a log cabin along the Chocolay River.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

AUDIBLE  

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

………

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, reaches a diverse audience through hardcover, trade paperback and mass market imprints that cater to every kind of reader.

Our imprints are Twelve, Grand Central Life & Style, Forever and Forever Yours. Our authors include Nicholas Sparks, David Baldacci, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robin Roberts, Sandra Brown, Brad Meltzer, Preston & Child, Nelson DeMille, Mario Batali, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Seth Grahame-Smith, Candace Bushnell, and many more.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.grandcentralpublishing.com

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

PINTEREST

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES THAT WERE MENTIONED IN THE BOOK:

“In 2011, [David] Paulides launched the CanAm Missing Project, which catalogs cases of people who disappear – or are found – on wildlands across North America under what he calls mysterious circumstances.”
David Paulides, an ex-cop from San Jose, California, is the founder of the North America Bigfoot Search (NABS), established in 2004.
National Outdoor Leadership School
The Jon Francis Foundation is a Minnesota based nonprofit that helps families with loved ones missing on public lands.
Another title by Jon Billman

“Pretty Things by Janelle Brown – BOOK RELEASES TODAY – Nicole Kidman has already signed on for the movie version.

Title: PRETTY THINGS

Author: JANELLE BROWN

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 496 PAGES

Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525479123

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

MY REVIEW:

When a body goes down in Lake Tahoe, they say, it does not rise again. The frigid temperature of the lake, it’s vast depths, conspire to keep bacteria at bay. What once was human fails to decompose. Instead, the body is doomed to drift along the lake bed, in perpetual limbo; just more organic matter joining the mysterious menagerie that lives in Tahoe’s uncharted depths.”

What an incredible way to begin this suspenseful novel.

Readers of PRETTY THINGS are in for a treat. This book has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.

Oh the naivety of youth. As author JANELLE BROWN details the life of high schoolers Nina and Benny, it is easy to picture the two misfits finding each other and only after having built a foundation of friendship do they take the leap of faith into a relationship. I am positive that everyone can remember their first real relationship. It is easy to visualize the intensity of their feelings. Nina and Benny never forget each other and their puppy-love has ramifications that span decades.

Vanessa is Benny’s sister. She is the golden child to Benny’s black sheep. As a twenty-something, she becomes what all Millenials seem to aspire to, that is an Instagram Influencer. She flits through the world wearing designer clothing and is constantly posting photographs of herself on her Instagram feed.

There are so many people who post every moment of their lives online, hoping to be followed by hundreds of thousands of people. What Vanessa, as well as other Instagramers don’t seem to think about, is just who is following their feed and why.

In addition to the role the internet plays in the plot of Pretty Things, also included are characters who have grown up in extreme wealth, never having to actually work for their money. Of course there are also their polar opposites, people who have lived hand-to-mouth and the things they are willing to do to make their lives easier. Dysfunctional family dynamics, mental illness, anger, fear and greed also have their places in this twisted tale.

In PRETTY THINGS someone or maybe several someones are following people’s Instagram posts for nefarious purposes and the dangers of the internet loom large. This tale is a warning to all those who post online to be wary of what they put out on the world wide web.

The author writes with such precision and suspense that it is little wonder the film rights of this book have already been scooped up. Mega-Star Nicole Kidman has already been cast in one of the lead rolls.

With themes that everyone living in this age of Social Media can relate to, PRETTY THINGS is going to be the Number One book on Bestseller Lists for many, many weeks to come.

This book fully deserves every single one of 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo by Michael Smiy

Janelle Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of WATCH ME DISAPPEAR, ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE and the upcoming novel PRETTY THINGS.

An essayist and journalist, her writing appears regularly in Vogue, The New York Times, Elle, Wired, Self, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Previously, she spent five years as a senior writer at Salon, covering a diverse range of subjects — from Internet culture to the war on drugs, pop culture to style, public policy issues and the digital music movement– and began her career as a staff writer at Wired, working on seminal Web sites like HotWired and Wired News during the heydey of the dotcom boom.

Photo by Michael Smiy

In the 1990’s, she was also the editor and co-founder of Maxi, an irreverent (and now, long-gone) women’s pop culture magazine.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, filmmaker Greg Harrison, and two children.

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