2/15/18

In the Dark Audio - Chris Patchell



5 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
When the worst happens and her daughter goes missing, a mother will do anything to find her… Marissa Rooney’s daughter, Brooke, has been missing for days. Her roommate hasn’t seen her since that night in the bar. Standing in the middle of her daughter’s dorm room with a half-used vial of insulin clenched in her hand, Marissa comes to the terrifying realization that if she has Brooke’s insulin, it means that Brooke does not. The missing person’s investigation takes a sudden and deadly turn when the police discover the body of another college student who went missing a week before Brooke. Desperate to find her daughter, Marissa fears time is running out. But she isn’t alone in her terror. A phantom from Marissa’s past is lurking in the shadows, waiting in the night, and holding her family captive... In the dark.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
When Chris Patchell isn't hiking in the Cascade Mountains or hanging out with family and friends, she is working at her hi-tech job or writing gritty suspense novels. Writing has been a lifelong passion for Chris. She fell in love with storytelling in the third grade when her half-page creative writing assignment turned into a five-page story on vampires. Even back then Chris had a gift for writing intricate plots that were so good her father refused to believe she didn't steal them from comic books. Years later, Chris spent long afternoons managing her own independent record store and writing romance novels. After closing the record store and going to college, Chris launched a successful career in hi-tech. She married, had kids but amid all the madness, the itch to write never really went away. So she started writing again. Not romance this time – suspense filled with drama, and angst, speckled with a little bit of blood. Why suspense? Chris blames her obsession with the dark on two things: watching Stephen King movies as a kid and spending ridiculous amounts of time commuting in Seattle traffic. "My stories are based on scenarios I see every day, distorted through the fictional lens. And my stories come with the added bonus of not having to be restrained by socially acceptable behavior." Recipient of the 2015 Indie Reader Discovery Award for DEADLY LIES.

MY THOUGHTS -
I read and reviewed this book a few years ago (2015! Holy cow, has it really been that long?). Here is my link to that original 5 star review - HERE
I always love Listening to an audio book after I have already read it. It's kind of like watching the movie after the book. Listening to this one was GREAT! I am really looking forward to the next one in this series - Dark Harvest, which I also read a while back.

In my orig. review I said that I didn't like Melissa, the mom - I actually liked her this time around! I guess listening to it made me relate to her more. Once again I loved Brooke! And oddly though I also got to know Mrs. Holt - I didn't even remember her really from the first time I read it. So that just shows you how listening to it, even after reading it, can really make a difference. I picked up on different things.

This is such a great series, very suspenseful! But also getting to the heart of the character's personalities. Chris Patchell has become one of my go-to authors!

So, as for as the audio - The Narrators are - Lisa Stathoplos, Corey Gagne. 
Lisa Stathoplos has been a professional actor working onstage, in film and commercial VO work for many years as well as narrating books and performing in Audiodramas for Audible.com and Hachette Audio. Most recently, Lisa played Nina Locke in Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ epic multiple Audie award-winning 13-hour audio drama of their wildly popular graphic novel LOCKE AND KEY produced by Pocket Universe Productions’ AudioComics division and Finalrune Productions for Audible Studios.

Corey Gagne is an audiobook narrator, stage, and voice actor from Portland, Maine. Corey trained at Mountview Theater Conservatory (now Mountview Academy) in London, England, and has appeared on stage in London, New York, Philadelphia, Austin, and Portland. His work as an audiobook narrator includes Inci by Mike Resnick and Tina Gower, The Constable's Tale by Donald Smith, the Sin du Jour series by Matt Wallace, The Goblin Crown by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, The Twilight of the Gods Series by Christopher G. Nuttall, The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer, The Builders by Daniel Polanski, and Dark Harvest and In the Dark by Chris Patchell.
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I thought it was very well done. I loved that there were two voices, male and female that took turns! The female voice does Melissa and Brooke while the male does the detective and the "bad guys". I thought narrators were equally very good. Having the tow voices switching back and forth certainly made it seem more real - like listening to a movie.

Come back on Feb. 22nd to read my review the audio of  Dark Harvest.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Audiobookwork Promotions Thank You!!
Order your copy from Amazon - HERE

2/12/18

Breaking Down My Walls - Anne Marie Citro



4 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
After the torment of her childhood, Taya believes in love for everyone … except herself. Some things can’t be untaught.
Beautiful and tough, yet the most private woman anyone has ever met, Taya knows everyone has a past, yet she doesn’t share hers. Her past must remain behind her for her sanity and so the only man she has ever loved will move on with someone who hasn’t been destroyed by those who were supposed to protect her.
Then a threat has her past storming back in and taking over.

After looking into the big, baby blue eyes of the deranged little orphan who was dragged, kicking and screaming, into his home, Levi is determined to be the boy who will teach Taya that not every offered hand will betray her.
Playful and gorgeous, Levi’s first passion is the girl who consumes his heart. His second is serving his country, following in his father’s footsteps. When Levi is deployed overseas, he encourages Taya to spread her wings and pursue her dreams, hoping she will come back to her roots and the man who is waiting for her.
Levi is mistaken.

Taya can’t change who she is and has built a life for herself far away from the only man she will ever love.
Can Levi convince Taya their relationship is worth the fight? Can he force her to overcome her fears and let him in completely? Can Levi prove his love is the freedom she has been searching for?
Levi allowed Taya to control their relationship in the past, but now things have changed. He is taking control back, with or without her consent.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Anne Marie Citro grew born and raised in the greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada. She grew up in a large, loving family. Anne Marie is married to a very patient man. He is the love of her life. They have four very cool sons, and the girls they brought into their family that have become daughters of her heart. She has been blessed enough to finally have a beautiful granddaughter after four sons. She has her own personal gaggle of girlfriends, who enrich her life on a daily basis and make her laugh. Caesar Friday is her favorite day of the week. Caesars with the girls and date night with her hubby. She works with special-needs teenagers, that have taught her how to appreciate life and see it through gentler eyes. Anne Marie was encouraged by her husband to follow her lifelong dream to write. She loves the characters that take over imagination and haunts her dreams. She loves the arts and she has tried her hand at painting, wood sculpting, chainsaw carving, wood burning, metal and wire sculptures. Yes, her husband is a very patient man! Anne Marie is an avid reader and enjoys about three books per week. But nothing makes her happier then riding on the back of her husband's Harley and throwing her arms out and feeling the wind race by. Anne Marie and her husband take a few weeks every year to travel to spectacular destination around the world. Anne Marie is excited and can't wait to see what the next chapter holds for her life. 

MY THOUGHTS -
Wow what a rough start this girl had. The book certainly tugs at the old heartstrings. I loved seeing the blossoming of the relationship between Taya and Levi. Right from the very beginning Levi had a wonderful way with her. This was so sweet to read about. He was so gentle with her, patient, kind and loving.

And then they grew up - and their relationship changed and grew. It just killed me that Taya was so stubborn (I mean I get it, I know why, she was seriously hurt), Levi was so good for her and she couldn't see what was right in front of her. This story was not only about Taya and how she lived with her past, her pain and the memories but also Levi and how he grew and how he learned about love and how its a give and take - and sometimes giving in a little, taking a step back is the best plan. The whole time he never gave up on her awwwww!

Great character development! The author really drew a clear picture of their personalities. And actually the whole family, Taya's new family, was all pretty cool. they were rough around the edges, but still a great family and they loved her.

A lot of surprises and twits in this book and a very nice ending!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from RABT book tours Thank You!!




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2/6/18

Redheads Have More fun - Sharon Kleve


4 Stars

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Ambrosine Dubreauil’s life is quite, calm, and relaxing until the sexy Remy LaCroix walks into Who Do Voodoo, her voodoo shop on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and charms himself into her life.

Remy’s alligator farm takes in injured animals, rehabilitates them, and then releases them back into the swamp. When he visits Who Do Voodoo looking for a potion to protect his gators from poachers he meets the lovely, Priestess Ambrosine.

Potions, charms, and spells, can’t protect Ambrosine’s heart from Remy’s Louisiana slow drawl, sweet love of animals, and rambunctious family. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Sharon Kleve was born and raised in Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband.

Sharon is a multi-published author of contemporary romance. She loves romance. She loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.

One of her favorite things to do is pick up a new book and sink into the story, immersing herself in the emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way her favorite authors have inspired her.

When not writing, she can usually be found either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.

Blog: http://authorsharonkleve.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sharonrkleve
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonKleve

MY THOUGHTS -
Well this was a nice quick read coming at just over 100 pages can easily be read in a day!

This was a cute fun story with great characters especially Ambrosine. I loved her quirkiness! And -
Remy, a fun sexy leading man! And the Cajun flair was fun and different.

I always know I am in for a good fun read when I am trying on of sharon's books! She hasn't done me wrong yet! And... Cute cover!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Sharon Kleve Thank You!!

Order your copy from Amazon - HERE 
 

2/2/18

Interview with Lisa de Nikolits

Author of - No Fury Like That 

See my review HERE and enter two giveaways!



Lisa, I love you, you know I love you, but you are seriously demented... and brilliant! You have to be to write books like this!
Thank you Dear Wendy, I consider that a huge compliment!









So the first obvious question -
1. The storyline for this book is so different, wacky but deep! - How did you come up with the idea to write this (Nightmares? Drugs? Were you a therapist in a previous life?)?
Ha! I wish the reason was something that exotic! The reality is that I was let go from my job, a job I loved very much. I think about 70% of the staff were let go, before, during and after my experience so I wasn’t alone, which made it a bit easier, but not much!


We all knew ‘changes’ were coming and although I tried to prepare myself, one is never prepared for loss when it actually happens. I’m a magazine art director in my day job and it’s something I’ve always loved doing. I always looked forward to going to work and then, wham, I had no work to go to!


I think that’s how I came up with Purgatory. Thinking back, I was definitely out for revenge, I wanted to write something to make up for the hurt I felt at losing my job and I definitely felt like I was in a kind of purgatory, not being able to go to my desk and see my friends and do my job.


So, to psycho-analyze myself, I was in purgatory but I didn’t cognisize it as such but that’s where it came from.


And why an airport? Perhaps because I’ve spent so much time in them! I’m originally from South Africa, then I moved to Australia and then I came to live in Canada. I’ve gone back to South Africa about five or six times, from Canada, and I’ve also gone to Australia about five or six times. There are long layovers and the whole thing takes about 24-36 hours and you have to change planes and it’s not an easy trip. Also, I try to stop somewhere on the way back, a place I’ve never been, and that adds another leg to the journey.


And when I was an art director with Redwood Custom Communications, I did a lot of business travel to Chicago, Houston and Vancouver. For a country girl from Johannesburg, I’ve definitely done more mileage than I ever imagined!


I hope my answer isn’t disappointing – I wish my reasons and inspiration were less mundane!


I agree that the story developed into something quite crazy and I’m not quite sure how that happened! As with all my books, it’s quite weird really (and wonderful), the way a story unfolds. Sometimes, I just type as fast as I can, to see for myself what’s going to happen next!


I was deeply concerned that readers wouldn’t accept the magical realism aspects of the book (the purgatory/is she dead or alive aspects) but that was worry for nothing!
I think that was pretty exotic! I love Magical realism - that’s what I loved about this book!

2. The characters are really what made the book for me. They were all so crazy but yet lovable.  How did you come up with this zany cast of characters?
Ah yes, I love them too, thank you! To start off, let’s look at Julia Redner, the protagonist. I tried to imagine somebody as unlike me as possible, in appearance, outlook, manner and behavior. That was my starting point – look for opposites. She swears like a trooper and I was so worried that would put people off her and the book! I was also worried that her anger would put people off but readers find her funny, which is a great relief!


I wrote about Agnes in a short story for the Mesdames of Mayhem anthology, Thirteen O’ Clock, and I wanted to know what happened to her when that short story ended. So she had been floating around my brain for a while.


The same with Grace and her way of dissolving. I wrote a short story a very long time ago, Fall From Grace, and I’d always loved that character.


I based Samia on my good friend from work and so, no surprises that she wound up in the story, because I really missed seeing her on a daily basis! If I couldn’t see her, I’d write about her and hang out with her in that way! I told her what I was doing and she loved the idea!


But Isabelle, Beatrice, Tracey and Cedar Mountain Eagle… I have no idea where they came from! They kind of just showed up!

3. Who was your favorite, the most fun to develop and write about?
I love Beatrice. I love her forthright bluntless, her sense of humour and her unexpected kindness. I’m a great fan of urban exploration and there was an abandoned house I climbed into (I never break in, but if there’s a window open, in I go!), and it was very much like Beatrice’s house. I was in there years ago, so I definitely store things for future use. In fact, if I find a sparkly gem that I can use in my writing, I never let go of it, until I’ve used it entirely! Much like the story of Grace. The initial short story I wrote with her in it never amounted to anything but I liked her and I must have written that story in about 2004. So, a note to writers, if you have old stories that cannot be redeemed, throw them to the dogs but keep the characters. You can always write them into a better work.


But, back to that house. It was much like Beatrice’s one although I had a lot of fun dreaming up the awful d├ęcor and the upstairs scenario was an complete work of my imagination.


And it’s odd – how did I come up with the baby’s crib and the neat arrangement of clothing? And the spectacular wallpaper? I don’t know! Which is why I thank the creative gods and goddesses for every lovely idea that drops into my lap. I think it’s a largely a game of ‘what if’… what if two spinster sisters lived together… one had a bad love affair… she had a baby… what happened to it? But still, that doesn’t explain the specifics of how those details themselves emerge, does it?
Beatrice reminded me of Kathy Bates (Misery) and Cedar reminded me of George Carlin (the comedian).
Yes, haha, Kathy Bates and George Carlin!! :)))))

4. Not necessarily your favorite, but with all their quirks and sad stories,  if you could go into the book what character would you be and why?
This is a tough one! After much pondering, I’d be Cedar Mountain Eagle! I think he helped a lot of people and his contribution was a very valuable one. He met a lot of interesting people and he was kind and lovely and gentle to all of them. Here’s an admission I’ve never told anyone – every single time I read the ending, I cry! Isn’t that ridiculous? I do!
I did love Cedar, but my favorite was Agnes.

5. All throughout the book there are these sayings on "the sign" where did you get the sayings from? Did you make them up or are they from some big book of philosophical sayings?
I made some of them up and I got some online by googling ‘church signs’ and checking out the images that came up for that. I adjusted the ones that I used to fit the content of the book. I had a huge amount of fun with the signs! I wanted to do the cover as a church sign but I couldn’t make it work. The Calvary Baptist Church near where I live has great signs and I also always take pictures of church signs in the summer when we go for drives in the country. So church signs are another gem that I’ve hung onto, wanting to use them somewhere and they were perfect for this book!
I loved the sign! It was one of my favorite parts of the book - I always looked forward to it!

6. OK Lisa I'm going to get personal with you now LOL and you can answer this anyway you want to, you can be straight or funny. The theme of this book is about regrets, not living your life the way you should have or the way you really wanted to, what would you have done differently if you could go back. So Lisa, what's one of your regrets in how you have lived your life and what would you change if you could go back?
This is a tougher question than which character would I be! Wow… hmmm… Well, for sure, some of my decisions have resulted in difficult consequences. For example, I wasn’t happy living in Australia and so I came to Canada. I came on a whim, I was looking through some image books, stock books, back in the day when The Image Bank gave you printed catalogues instead of online catalogues and I saw a picture of the CN Tower and I thought hey, I’ve got a cousin in Toronto, Australia isn’t working out for me, I should try Canada. I sent my cousin an email that I needed to bunk on her sofa and I bought a round-the-world ticket. Toronto was my first stop and I never left!


And I love it here but I’m very far from my family and I really didn’t realize that the winters were quite as long and quite as bitter as they are. My husband and I recently returned from visiting my family and when we landed it was minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 68 Fahrenheit) here and it was 28 C (84 Fahrenheit) in Australia! And we looked at each other and said “It’s good to be back home. Right? It is good, right?” ☺


There are so many things I love about Canada and, apart of my husband who is my main good Canadian score ☺, I have my books with my beloved Inanna Publications. I wouldn’t have my books if I hadn’t come here. I mean one could say yes, you would have books and perhaps so, but they would be different books with a different publisher and I love these books and this publisher.


So I can’t regret coming to Canada, even if the weather sometimes makes me long for warmer climes!


I’m the worst person for second-guessing myself. Should I have tried to stay at this or that job for longer, could I have tried harder to make amends with a friend who got angry with me and dumped me? Should I have been more people-focused and less results-focused at my day job? Because I admit, I often put the job first, ahead of kindness. Haha, actually, although I tried to make Julia Redner my opposite, she isn’t really, not when it comes to her work ethic!


I regret the instances when I thought I was right and others were wrong and I regret thinking that being right mattered so much. It doesn’t. What matters is friendship, love and kindness. Doing the kind thing matters more than winning an argument.


I think we learn to live with regrets. We know we did the best we could at the time but consequences are not always straight arrows and you have to accept the complexities of life and of being human.
Wow! That was very philosophical!

7. You remind me of a cross between Stephen king and Christopher Moore, but in a way a little more twisted lol. Who are some of your favorite authors and what did you read as a teen?
I love that SO much! Thank you! My gosh, I was never without a book ever since I can remember. I remember reading those Reader’s Digest Condensed versions of novels and simply devouring them! I read pretty much everything at the library – which reminds me, libraries in South Africa have a different smell to the ones in Canada. I can still smell the libraries of my youth so clearly, the slight mustiness, the glue, the paper, the waxed linoleum floors, the wooden desks and chairs. I can feel the quiet and the optimism of finding a great big stack of books to take home. Not one but many! I remember thinking that if I could just have one book of my own in a library, that I’d be happy forever and I’d never complain about a thing again!


I can’t remember exactly what I read. I know I read a huge amount of Enid Blyton’s books although much of her work is considered offensive, racist and sexist today.


The first book I loved with all my heart and which made me fiercely determined to be a writer was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith.


I love Christopher Moore, The Stupidest Angel is my favourite. And I love Stephen King’s writing (and I’ve read them all of his books!) but I love his work to 2004 and after then, not as much. I know it’s a travesty to say it but I don’t love his latter books as much as his earlier work. The writing is polished and he won his war on adverbs and adjectives but I don’t find the stories to be as chilling or gripping or downright disturbing as they once were. You take Christine for example, or Cujo, or Needful Things… they were terrifying!
I love both of them! I used to read any and every Stephen King book I could get, but I haven’t read anything recently. And, I LOVE Christopher Moore - he is hilarious!

I love Harry Crews – The Gospel Singer, Car, A Feast of Snakes and All We Need of Hell – I just love them! And John Steinbeck, and Lionel Shriver, Ordinary Decent Criminals and So Much For That, and everything by Annie Proulx. And Joyce Carol Oates, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (for the fascinatingly awful relationship between the two characters), Jonathan Franzen’s work, early works by John Irving, A Prayer For Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, Cider House Rules, all these are books that have affected my writing directly, inspiring me and urging me to work harder.


And there are literally dozens of Canadian writers whose work I love. Margaret Atwood is all the rage but I’ve never truly loved her books, another travesty, I know! Except for The Heart Goes Last, I loved that a lot! But Michael Ondaatje was greatly inspiring – back when I didn’t even realize he was Canadian!


My list of Canadian writers is too long to write here but I have a website called The Minerva Reader which is dedicated to treasure reads that book lovers might have missed. I’d love it if readers would check it out – they might find a book that they’ve never heard of, that they love! I’m constantly reading. I have waist-high piles of books all over the house! Columns of them!

8. Are you writing something now? What's the next book you have in store for us?  
First up, coming in this Fall, is Rotten Peaches which I’m calling a gripping epic filled with disturbing and unforgettable insights into the human condition.  Love, lust, race and greed. How far will you go? Two women. Two Men. One Happy Ending. It’s very different to anything I’ve written before and some of it is disturbing indeed!


I’m working on the self-edits of Rotten Peaches right now, and I’m nearly done. Then I want to work on a noir novel titled The WeeGee Doll. I finished the first draft and as I got some amazing feedback from a wonderful writer friend of mine and I love her suggestions, so I need to work on that. And I started to write a book while I was on holiday in December in Australia, Boomerang Beach. I wrote on longhand – I wrote thirty-five thousand words! Talk about a crazy story there!
A woman leaves her husband on a whim and joins a cult. The things that follow are just nuts and I can’t wait to get back to it! I wish I could work on all of them at the same time!
Wow all this sounds amazing! Especially the woman joining a cult - that sounds like the makings of a great book!

Thank you very much for having me as a guest today Wendy, and thank you for your excellent and extremely thoughtful questions, I thoroughly enjoyed answering them!


And thank you to all your readers who stopped by today! 

Giveaway: Two ways to win!!!

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Lisa de Nikolits. There will be 1 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Giftcard AND 5 winners of one (1) ebook copy of No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2018 and runs through March 3, 2018. Void where prohibited.
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2/1/18

No Fury Like That - Lisa de Nikolits (GIVEAWAY)!!!



on Tour February 1 - March 2, 2018
No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits

5 STARS!!!!!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
No Fury Like That is a one-of-a kind suspense thriller about life and death – and the power of second chances.

The novel takes you on a fast-paced, funny, adventurous ride, exploring themes of love, friendship, revenge and family – and the transformation of character in impossible circumstances. No Fury Like That is about metamorphosis, and how friendship is more important than success, love is more important than money and family is more important than power.
What is your moral compass? Julia Redner has to die in order to find her answer to this question – but is she really dead or is she being given the opportunity to rethink her life while solving an intricate puzzle of murders? And she won't miss the opportunity to exact righteous revenge!
No Fury Like That is a philosophical murder mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, a surprising plot with twists and turns and a powerful, determined female protagonist. The novel will make you laugh and it will make you think but most of all, it will engage you from the get-go.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense Mystery Thriller
Published by: Inanna Publications
Publication Date: September 15th 2017
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 1771334134 (ISBN13: 9781771334136)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

10. Beatrice The Administrator.

“I got kicked out of Cedar’s again,” I tell the others. I expect them to find this funny but they don’t. Of course they don’t.
“I didn’t mean to,” I acknowledge, “it’s like I had Tourette’s or something.”
“Cedar’s alright,” Grace comments. “You should try to work with him.”
“Why? So I can have a so-called realization? That clearly worked well for you, look, you’re all still here.”
They have no answer for that.
“What are everybody’s plans for the day?” Samia asks, brightly.
“Rest Room, Reading Room, Rest Room, cafeteria,” Fat Tracey says and she sounds grumpy. “I don’t know why you bother to ask us, Samia. It’s not like I can say oh, I’m going to Bermuda to lie on a beach or fuck it, let’s go to the mall and spend money we don’t have.”
“You are in a mood,” Grace says and Fat Tracey nods.
“I was telling her,” she nods her head in my direction, “my life story and I guess it got to me a bit.”
“Oh, I am sorry, dear,” Grace says and Fat Tracey’s eyes fill with tears.
“I shouldn’t have left my boys,” she says and she starts keening quietly. “Julia said so, and she was right.”
They turn to look at me. “I never said that!” I am indignant. “I asked her if they couldn’t have been reason enough to make her stay.”
“Well, obviously not,” Isabelle is scornful. “That’s a stupid thing to say, don’t you think?” I feel like she just slapped me across the face. How dare she speak to me like that? But what am I supposed to do, these are the only people I have in my life right now, and so instead of asking her just who the fuck she thinks she is, talking to me like that, I nod.
“I see that now,” I say meekly and the others accept this apology of sorts.
“I want my fucking Viewing time,” Fat Tracey says.
“Let’s go and see Beatrice again,” Grace suggests, and I am glad she does because any kind of activity will help pass the day, or whatever our strange allotments of time are.
“Enjoy your lattes first,” Fat Tracey says. “No point in wasting them.”
We sit and drink in silence.
I notice that Agnes has gnawed away the perfect manicure I gave her and I sigh.
“You okay?” Samia asks.
“Still trying to get my bearings on things,” I say, and she nods sympathetically.
“It takes a while.”
“I don’t suppose there’s a Massage Room here?” I am wistful. “I wouldn’t mind a four hour massage, that’s for sure.”
“No, dear, no Massage Room,” Grace tells me.
“No movie theatre either,” Isabelle says and they all chime in.
“No animals, sauna, hot tub, swimming pool, beach, no real grass or thunderstorms—,”
“There is the Rain Room,” Grace interrupts the long list and I gather this isn’t the first conversation they’ve had like this.
“Yeah, it’s super depressing,” Samia comments, and it is unlike her to say anything negative.
“Why?” I ask. “Rain can be soothing.”
She shakes her head. “I’ll take you one day and you’ll see. The whole place is grey and gloomy.”
“There are chapels,” Grace says “and there’s even a cathedral. It’s enormous, like St Peter’s in Rome.”
“I don’t see the point in praying,” Isabelle says and the others fall silent.
“We’re not supposed to talk about religion,” Agnes explains to me.
“Why not? That doesn’t make any sense. Of all the places, you’d think religion would be first on the list here.” I am baffled. “Are there priests and nuns?” I think about Intrigua with her hajib and nun’s outfit.
Agnes shakes her head. “Only Helpers like Cedar.”
“I find that pretty weird,” I say, and I finally get the group to laugh.
“Ah, ya, Purgatory is weird,” Samia agrees. “That might be the point.”
“If you’re all finished, let’s go and see the bitch,” Fat Tracey says. “But I’m not going to do the talking, someone else will have to.”
“I will,” Grace is firm. “I want to see my family too.”
“We’re not going to get anywhere,” Agnes says with a warning tone in her voice, “I can feel it.”
“Well, we’re going to try,” Grace insists and she stands up and brushes biscotti crumbs from her skirt. “We’re most certainly going to try.”
This time we don’t enter the maze. We walk the perimeter of the building, and we pass those eerie planes, those white sharks lined up on the licorice black, lined up and waiting for god knows what. We pass the counter where a group of people are still gathered and they are arguing and jostling, while harried flight attendants shout from behind the counter.
I want to check if it’s the same group of people or a new lot but we walk by too quickly. Besides, I hadn’t noticed much the first time.
I spot the womb that birthed my arrival, that steel and black leatherette chair, and I can still feel the burning pain as I surfaced. I look out the window. The immaculate green grass between the runways is unchanged, as are the cotton wool clouds which are two-dimensional and cartoon-like in their perfection. A movie backdrop, Grace had said. Sometimes, it’s as if I’ve stepped into a graphic novel that been assembled using clipart. We walk for what feels like hours but of course, there’s no way of telling.
Shirley the Driver passes us, beeping and squawking, her lights flashing like a Christmas tree and we all press up against the wall.
“We’re nearly there,” Agnes tells me and I nod.
We turn down an unusually dark hallway.
“Everything’s on one level here,” I remark. “No escalators, elevators, stairs or ramps.”
No one finds my observation worthy of comment and I fall silent.
“We’re here,” Grace says after we turn a corner and walk past a series of yellow doors with yellow half-moon handles. I want to ask what’s with the yellow all of a sudden, but I sense it’s not a good time for questions. I don’t want the others to bounce me. They haven’t said they can do that, but I’m pretty certain they have the power.
We stopped at a door and no one wants to be the first to venture inside.
But then something creepy happens — the door handle twists down and the door swings quietly open.
“I know you lot are out there,” a hoarse voice bellows, “so come on in, you ninnies. I know what you’re going to ask me and I can tell you now that the answer is still the same, it’s no, nada, zip, zero, and I’ve got no idea why you wasted your time coming out all this way. I guess you had nothing better to do or you wanted to introduce me to your new friend. hear this, Julia, you’re a longer ways off from a Viewing than you can imagine. You, with your ego the size of Jupiter, well, you’ll have to wait in line like the rest of them, your charms hold no currency here.”
I feel as if someone has thrown a bucket of ice water on me. I can’t move or speak. I just stand there, dripping with the venom of this woman’s sarcasm.
“Come on in,” the voice bellows again. “Bloody rude to stand out there and make me shout.”
“Hardly a point in coming in, is there?” Fragile little Isabelle shouts back and I am surprised. The mouse has roared. But then again, this is a girl who had sex with strangers, she isn’t afraid of anything.
“You should at least give us a timeline,” Isabelle says loudly, and she marches inside and I can see that her fists are clenched and her face is white.
The others creep in behind her and I bring up the rear.
“Should? Fuck should,” Beatrice says and I guess she’s never had Cedar as her Helper.
Beatrice is sitting behind a desk, with her feet up. She’s wearing Birkenstocks and her toenails are as thick and gnarly as old tortoise shells. They are also inexplicably filthy. There is no dirt in Purgatory, so how did her feet get to be that dirty? Did she arrive like that, and never wash?
Beatrice is chomping on a large apple and bits of it are spraying everywhere. She chews loudly with her mouth open and I look away, studying her office instead. Her bookcase filled is with works by Dorothy Parker, Charles Bukowski, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter S. Thompson and Raymond Chandler and I wonder if she had been a drunk back on Earth. That, and heavy smoking, would explain her less-than-dulcet tones.
A large poster of a Hawaiian sunset covers one wall along with a framed picture of an old Cadillac convertible. A stack of needlepoint cushions is piled in the corner and I wonder if Beatrice was in the Needlepoint Room when I barged in looking for Agnes. A large framed embroidered canvas has a green alligator baring its teeth, with the slogan, Come In, The Water’s Fine!
Everything is pristine and polished but the items are old and show wear; the Scrabble set, the stacked, empty margarine tubs, the cans of Sanka. A tiny black toy cat is perched inside a glass bell jar on the edge of Beatrice’s desk and behind Beatrice’s head is a framed picture of a vase and a bowl of fruit and the artwork, if you can call it that, is so dreadful that I am mesmerized. It looks like it was drawn with thick crayon and then melted over an open fire.
Beatrice stops chewing for a moment and the silence is so thick that I stop my inventory of the place and glance at the others to see what is going on but they are fearfully looking at Beatrice who is calmly watching me.
“Enjoying yourself?” she asks. “Very nosy, aren’t you? Nosy parker.”
Beatrice, resplendent in plaid shorts and a red and black man’s checked shirt, cocks her head to one side and I can’t think of anything to say. She shrugs and returns enthusiastically to her apple and juice spurts out in an arc onto Grace’s blouse and Grace flinches.
“Well, when?” Fat Tracey can hold back no longer. “When can I see them?”
“Should have thought of that when you left them,” Beatrice counters. “It’s not up to me, anyway.”
“It is so,” Isabelle insists. “We all know that.”
“You don’t know fuck all,” Beatrice aims the apple core at a bin in the corner and slam dunks it. “You think you do, but you don’t. Who would you View, Isabelle? Huh? Tell me?”
“No one. It’s not for me. It’s for Fat Tracey and Grace and Agnes,” Isabelle says. “I never had anyone, I don’t care. I’m fine with things the way they are, but it’s not fair to the others.”
“Fair? Fair? Like life was ever fair?” Beatrice is mocking. She whips her feet off the desk and pulls her chair close to her desk. She gives her mouse a thwack, to wake up the computer. She peers at the screen and then she fumbles for a pair of reading glasses, searching on her desk until she realizes they are strung around her neck on a beaded cord.
She puts them on and examines the screen, using the rough, thick nail of her forefinger to scroll down. She mutters all the while, and we stand there, silent and unmoving.
She taps furiously at the keyboard, so hard I am surprised it isn’t damaged, and then she slams a fist on the Enter key.
The printer next to the desk springs into life and jerkily delivers a single page.
We hold our breath.
“Here,” she says handing the sheet to Agnes. “Access for you for the Viewing Room. You’ve got half an hour tomorrow.”
Agnes looks stunned. “But I’m not ready,” she says.
“And I am,” Fat Tracey and Grace both chorus at the same time.
“You’re ready when I say you are,” Beatrice retorts. She looks at Agnes and holds out her hand. “You want to give it back?”
“No.” Agnes clutches the paper to her chest.
“Thought so. Well then, goodbye all of you. Don’t come again, why don’t you?” She laughs and coughs up a wedge of phlegm that she spits into a Kleenex and lobs at the bin, narrowly missing my head.
“Go on, shoo! Out you go!”
We turn and file out slowly, and the yellow-handled door swings firmly shut behind us.
We stand in the corridor for a while, in silence.
“I can’t do it today,” Agnes says. “I’m not ready.”
“Yeah, well, you heard her, it’s for tomorrow in any case,” Samia points out.
“When you do it, do you want us to come with you?” Grace asks and Agnes nods.
“Yes, I can’t do it alone. We’ll go after coffee.”
“Will you wait to have coffee with me?” I ask, sounding unfamiliarly unsure of myself. “I have to go and see Cedar, first thing.”
“Of course we’ll wait,” Samia says when no one else replies, and my confidence level drops even further.
“I’ll come and find you,” Samia reassures me. “We’ll wait. Don’t worry.”
I thank her, and before I can say anything else or ask the others what they’re going to do next, I am back in the Makeup Room, alone.
***
Excerpt from No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits. Copyright © 2017 by Lisa de Nikolits. Reproduced with permission from Lisa de Nikolits. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:


Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain. Lisa lives and writes in Toronto. No Fury Like That, her most recently published work, is her seventh novel and has received glowing preview reviews from internationally acclaimed authors, Metroland Media, and high-profile members of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Lisa’s previous works include: The Hungry Mirror (2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women's Issues Fiction and long-listed for a ReLit Award); West of Wawa (2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and a Chatelaine Editor's Pick); A Glittering Chaos (tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction); The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched in Spring 2014 to literary acclaim. Between The Cracks She Fell was reviewed by the Quill & Quire, was on the recommended reading lists for Open Book Toronto and 49th Shelf. Between The Cracks She Fell was also reviewed by Canadian Living magazine and called ‘a must-read book of 2015’. Between The Cracks She Fell won a Bronze IPPY Award 2016 for Contemporary Fiction. The Nearly Girl received rave reviews in THIS magazine and local newspaper, the Beach Metro, among others. No Fury Like That is her seventh book and Rotten Peaches will be published in 2018. All books by Inanna Publications.

Lisa has a short story in Postscripts To Darkness, Volume 6, 2015, and flash fiction and a short story in the debut issue of Maud.Lin House as well as poetry in the Canadian Women Studies Journal (Remembering, 2013, and Water, 2015). Her short stories have also appeared on Lynn Crosbie’s site, Hood and in the Jellyfish Review. She has a short story in the anthology PAC’HEAT, a Ms. Pac-Man noir collection and a short story in the Sisters In Crime anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3 and she will have two short stories in 13 Claws, the Mesdames of Mayhem anthology which will be published in August 2017.


MY THOUGHTS -

This book was freaking brilliant!  I read it once way back in the early fall - I loved it then. I just re-read it and I think I loved it even more this time!

This is one of those books that starts out like "Whaaaaat?" and you are not sure you want to continue, but wait!... Keep reading! You have to read this book all the way through before judging it, because you won't get it unless you do. If you quit in the beginning because you think you won't like it - you are really missing out!

This story-line is different, very different, but that's what I loved about it. I get tired of reading the "same ol' same ol'" So bravo to Lisa for her bravery in bringing us this incredible book. This was just as much fun as it was creepy.

And the characters! Oh my word! don't even get me started on the characters! Holy crap!  Excellent character development - even in the secondary ones. Each one was so different and unique. Quite a few of them - snarky and quirky (my favorite type!). Agnes was my favorite, but honestly I just loved them all!

Warning - there is quite a bit of swearing - but... it works! I can't imagine this book without it.

I guarantee this will be one of my favorite books of the year!  I was just telling my husband about it tonight at dinner. How there are so many spider webs in the plot and so many characters and how they are all connected in some way and how the author ties it all together in the end. I told him I could picture Lisa, the author, sitting with 3X5 cards with notes all over the table LOL. My husband said it sounds like it would make a great movie. YES!

I'm actually hoping it comes out in audible - I would love to listen to it!
So if you are looking for something that dares to be different and you don't mind a roller coaster ride - hold on and go for it!

Come back tomorrow for an original interview with the author - Lisa  de Nikolits, its a great interview, almost as much fun as the book!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!!

Catch Up With Lisa de Nikolits On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


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