I have to admit something here and now: I wanted to like this book. I read another book by Jenny Milchman, Cover of Snow, and really enjoyed it. I was honored to share space over at Kingdom Mysteries with Ms. Milchman recently. And I love, love, love suspense novels set in the great outdoors. This one, Wicked River, combines two of my passions: suspense and survival stories in one.
So what were my thoughts on this novel, set in the neighboring New York state? I loved it!
Not only did Ms. Milchman deliver a well-thought out story full of twists and (sometimes very) unexpected turns, but she also had a cast of really interesting and well-developed characters. The suspense was taut. The action was prevalent. And there was ample opportunity for the reader to wonder, "what ELSE can possibly go wrong?" just before the bottom fell out...again.
Want to learn more? Here's a description of Wicked River from the author's website:
"Six million acres of Adirondack forest separate Natalie and Doug Larson from civilization. For the newlyweds, an isolated, back country honeymoon seems ideal: a chance to start their lives together with an adventure, on their own. But just as Natalie and Doug begin to explore the dark interiors of their own hearts, as well as the depths of their love for each other, it becomes clear that they are not alone in the woods.
Because six million acres makes it easy for the wicked to hide. And even easier for someone to go missing for good."
Highly recommend this great book, Wicked River, which you can find via the usual online shopping channels, your local library or your favorite indie bookstore. Enjoy!
You'll remember in my last post I was discussing the reasons that I don't like writing book reviews, and what I like to do instead.
This isn't to say that I don't like reading some book reviews. I find sites like I Wish I Lived in a Library and Kay's Reading Life and Rebel Mommy Book Blog to be great places to find new-to-me-books/authors to check out. Each of these reviewers does a fantastic job of writing good reviews. They also include just enough information about their personal life that you feel like a close acquaintance is sharing information with you on coffee break. Want a straight book review site for mystery and suspense reads? I recommend Mysteries in Paradise or Bitter Tea and Mystery, both of which use straight review format.
Even if they didn't particularly like a book, these reviewers make sure to point out its good qualities. They also state that the parts they didn't enjoy are because of their own reading preferences, not because they believe they are the end-all and be-all of book reviewers. I respect that very much.
Oh, and I'd be remiss not to send you to check out the clever and well-rounded book review site by writer/author/editor Beth Kanell, Kingdom Books. It's a fantastic resource for any reader who is a fan of mystery, suspense and great thrillers.
What book review sites do you rely on? Or are you an Amazon, Goodreads or LibraryThing-only type of review reader? Please share in the comments.
My family watched a nature show recently that showed the reciprocal relationship of a certain, tiny bird and elephants on the savanna. The tiny birds fly along just in front of the elephants. As the elephants step and rustle the tall grass, bugs fly out.
Gulp! The birds catch the insects one by one, getting their fill. What could be seen as an insurmountable task is made easier by the work of the elephant.
So, what does this have to do with authors and readers?
While the analogy isn't perfect, let's go with it. Readers (the birds) like what the elephants are dishing out. They get their hunger satisfied. They have their basic needs taken care of. However, the elephants (authors) get something from this partnership too. They get rid of the pesky bugs which might otherwise fly up their trunks or worse, land in their eyes.
How Authors Help Readers
Authors help readers by providing them with excellent stories, of course, but they do more than that. Authors help readers to forget about the problems that they're struggling with even if only for a little while. Books provide an escape and we often leave a reading session feeling grateful. Even though we're struggling with Problem X, at least we aren't dealing with the enormous Problems Y and Z that the main character in this book is.
How Readers Help Authors
One of the most important ways that readers help authors is by telling someone else about his or her books. Think about it this way: if there was a new coffee shop in town that you ADORED, would you make it a point to tell friends and family that you know also enjoy coffee? Of course you would!
Readers have perhaps more power and influence now than ever before because of the internet.
They can tell other people on Facebook or Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat about the awesome book they just read. They could mention it in their real-life or online reader's group. They can leave a review so that other readers who maybe haven't read anything by a particular author, can get a feel for the book before they try it.
Help Your Favorite Author Out
Here is one quick thing you can do that will likely make your favorite author's day. Leave a review of the last book of his/her's that you read. You can do it easily on Amazon (you don't have to have purchased the book there), on Goodreads, LibraryThing, Barnes and Noble or wherever else you like to read reviews.
I just left two reviews for books I've read recently and it took literally two minutes. Remember, authors need readers just as much as readers need authors. :)
20 Reasons you should read this blog
To be continued in the next post ...
Tell me if you share this pet peeve: you're reading along in a new mystery or suspense novel, enjoying the characters that the author has brought to life and then, wham! There is a scene so disturbing and horrible that you're completely thrown off-track. An in-your-face rape scene that's so well described you feel dirty after reading it, the torture of a character in such great detail that you are nauseous. Or so many details about the blood, gore and/or dismemberment of someone that you slam the book shut.
I hate that.
It really makes me angry, too. As readers, we are more vulnerable than TV watchers of movie-goers because we can't just cover our eyes/plug our ears and wait for the disgusting part to be over. And unlike in movies, there is no thematic music cuing us as to when things might get grisly. There are also no ratings on books or warnings like, "This book contains disturbing sexual violence against women" or "This novel has a torture scene so terrible it would make Himmler blush." Nope, none of that.
Now, understand this: I'm not against any of these things ending up in literature. I mean, the Bible is filled with such descriptions, for pity's sake! And I'm certainly not advocating book banning or book burning (shudder, shudder). But it does bother me that there is no warning for hapless readers, who would like to know about this type of stuff up front and don't.
So, I decided to do something about it and created a new Goodreads group, Suspense for Sensitive Readers. I hope you'll check it out and if you like mystery/suspense without the frivolous use of gore/torture/dismemberment, maybe you'll join us. Would love that!
Welcome to the website of author J.P. Choquette (pronounced, "show-kett"). Join the Reader Group and nab a free short story, along with the latest news, goodies, upcoming event announcements and more.
Already read a book? Have you checked out her other suspense novels?