Review: Twist by Kylie Scott

Review: Twist by Kylie ScottTwist by Kylie Scott
Aprill 11, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they're emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets... apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

Twist is tricky book for me to review. I’m a big fan of Kylie Scott. She always draws me in with her humor, her unique characters and fun, yet emotional, story lines. But something about Twist felt…different. Not because it didn’t have all the things you expect with a Scott title. It did. They were there. But it took longer for them to surface, I suppose.

It was a bit like reading two books. The first 50% and then the second.

The first half is fairly slow paced, as we learn how Alex finds her way from Seattle to Idaho. It’s a cute take on mistaken internet identity, she believes she’s been getting to know one person but it turns out the real person returning her emails is his – much more responsible (and bearded) – brother, Joe. A lot of time is spent with the struggle of being lied to and of trying to re-trust someone after such a betrayal. All important stuff and I appreciate the realness of the timeline here.

But man, did I want them to remove some clothes earlier. 😉

I’m slightly kidding there. Mostly.

Once you  get to that half way point, the pace changes and the story heats up. It also allows for the characters to relax enough for that familiar funny to kick in. I really enjoyed the easiness between Joe and Alex at that point. They fit together really nicely, pushing each other just enough without making it too hard for the other person, as they both struggle with relationships in their own ways.  

By about 80%, I was fairly over the fact that we had a slower start. Then Scott pulled one of my all time favorite, and hardly ever used, moves.

In so many, many romances you hit that spot in the book. You know it’s coming. You know about when in the timeline (80ish %) it’s going to surface. It’s the all too familiar ‘break up’. Right? You know it. Something happens and one person gives up or leaves the relationship for one reason or another. Then you spend the next 10% of reading with them separated, before head is removed from arse and they reconcile.

We’ve seen it time and time again.

Well, Scott twisted that up a bit. In my favorite way. I won’t say how because I don’t want to be a spoilery bitch. But it’s different and I’ve only seen it in a few titles. That isn’t to say that there isn’t that emotional climax. It’s there, it’s just different and I fucking loved it. I re-read the last 20ish %. Twice.

While I would probably rate the front half about a two star, the second would be quite near a five. I ended up really enjoying it, as a whole.


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Review: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

Review:  The Deep End by Kristen AshleyThe Deep End by Kristen Ashley
Published by St. Martin's Griffin March 7th, 2017
Genres: Erotica, Erotica Romance
Pages: 454
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US
Goodreads

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman's every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one's darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley

I’m going to tell you a secret.   I totally signed up for an ARC of this book without even reading the blurb.  All I knew is that it was written by Kristen Ashley, and it was erotica.  

That’s it.

And then right before I started to read it, I checked on Goodreads to see what was being said so far…and that’s when I learned that the premise behind The Deep End was a Domme female, and an alpha male who is her submissive.

I was so surprised, and maybe a wee bit hesitant.  I’ve read a handful of male sub books and I can only remember ONE where I was able to connect to the characters and enjoy the story line.  And really, typical romance glorifies male characters dominating in the bedroom…  and this is the opposite.  

Reviews were mixed on GR, and I was even more hesitant.  But I jumped in… and I’m actually really glad I did.

Let me start by saying this…  if you’re going to read this book because you’re a huge KA fan and you love her writing style (quirky heroines, mega-alpha males, tons of silly shenanigans), and that’s the only reason… DON’T.   Her writing in this book is very, very different from her previous work.  If your expectations are to get a Rock Chick story, you will be so incredibly disappointed.  (Actually, if I didn’t know this book was by Kristen Ashley, I would have thought it was a new story from Ella Frank.  Have you read her Masters Among Monsters series?!  I swear the writing style is SO CLOSE to that.  It’s a bit different and can take time to really get the hang of the flow and connect to the character’s voice.  But once you do, you’re there and it’s magical.)

BUT, if your mind is open to a different writing style from her, and you’re into erotica and BDSM stories… DO IT!

Any hesitation I had about KA  portraying an alpha sub male was obliterated.  Trust me, a man can be a submissive and still be alpha.  He can still test his dom and try to have authority inside and outside the bedroom.  The book has a ton of sex… and I really, really liked it.  It was good BDSM, if that makes sense.  You can really tell when an author has either first hand experience or has truly researched that community when you read BDSM books, and KA’s scenes are phenomenally executed.

Overall, I think it was a very sexy story.  I really enjoyed the entire club she has her characters in, and I really liked a lot of the secondary cast.  I can see so much potential for following books, because the characters are interesting, mysterious, sexy and witty.

There were times I had trouble connecting to the characters as a couple, and there was some lingo used a lot that I didn’t love, but as an overall story I think it was good and I’m glad KA is dipping her toes into the erotica genre.   If you like BDSM and hot sex…  definitely give it a  try.

 

 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


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Review: Black Sheep by Zara Cox

Review: Black Sheep by Zara CoxBlack Sheep by Zara Cox
Series: Dark Desires #2
Published by Forever Romance March 14, 2017
Genres: Dark Romance, Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Porn Star (I #1)
Amazon US
Goodreads

In a family of cold-hearted black sheep,
I, Axel Rutherford, am the blackest.
My father has hated me since the day I was born. The feeling was mutual. In the shady underworld that was my legacy, Cleo McCarthy became my light. She was beautiful, passionate, and my whole world. So naturally my father had to destroy us. First he sent me away. Next he claimed Cleo as his own. But now I've returned, and nothing will stop me from taking back everything that is rightfully mine.

He was the love of my life - when my life was still my own.
We were young enough to believe we would last forever, Axel and I. But neither of us realized how cruel life - and our families - could be. Now I'm trapped in a gilded cage: desired by Axel, who must never know the full truth, and controlled by his father, who would sooner see me dead than free. And I wouldn't even care, except that it's no longer only my life at stake.

Black Sheep may be the second installment in Cox’s Dark Desires series, but it is so loosely related to the first book (I, Porn Star), that you do not have to read that title before jumping right into this one.

Jumping in is exactly what I suggest you do! Black Sheep mixes second chance romance, a dirty talking hero, and scandalous deceptions with an easy expertise.

Axel is the estranged son of a mob boss. His father is desperate to bring him back to the fold, by any means. Including tempting him with the love of his life, Cleo, who left Axel’s bed in the worst sort of betrayal.  Axel has plans of his own, however, and Cleo and his father sit in the center of them. You get a bit of a Romeo and Juliet – star crossed lovers – feel with the added danger of mobster lifestyles.

This story moves fairly quickly, but is full of twisty secrets. Cleo hates Axel for reasons he doesn’t know. Axel hates Cleo for reasons she doesn’t know. Neither has the full story, they’ve been fed lies and half truths for so many years. The hatred, though, only feeds the sexual tension that still sizzles between them, which leads to some steamy sex scenes. Even though the story is a bit rushed at times, you still feel the depth of the secrets and the hurt of the betrayals. I found it very easy to like both Axel and Cleo, right from the start.  Seriously, Axel’s dirty talk was an A+, for me!

The ending could have been fleshed out a little more to my liking, but overall Cox vastly improved in style and emotion from I, Porn Star to Black Sheep. Which has me eager for round three, Wicked S.O.B., due out this August.


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Review: Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones & Giveaway!

Review:  Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones & Giveaway!Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones
Published by St. Martin's Griffin February 21, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Format: ARC, Audio
Source: Copy for Honest Review, Purchased
Narrator: Grace Grant, Jeremy York
Also by this author: Hard Rules
Amazon US
Goodreads

Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Damage Control, the smoldering, scorching next novel in the explosively sexy Dirty Money series.

The only thing more dangerous than a dark secret is a damaged heart…

Shane Brandon has been pushed to the brink, torn between his corrupt family and his explosive, all-consuming desire for Emily Stevens, who he now knows is not who, and what, she seems. Has he trusted the wrong person? Will she, not his brother Derek, be the ultimate destruction of his family Empire?

Emily tries to run from Shane, but he will stop her, confront her, force her to reveal all — one hot touch and kiss at a time, under every intimate detail of who this woman is, and what she wants, is exposed. But as he tears away the dangers of the unknowns with the woman in his bed, and in his heart, The Martina Cartel has set their sights on his company, his family, and the one piece of leverage they believe he won’t gamble with: Emily.

The blurb is what got me to read book one, Hard Rules, in this series by Lisa Renee Jones:

“When Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy…”

There really isn’t a better way to describe these books.  Picture the chaotic, crazy mess and ever-constant web spinning of the Sons of Anarchy cast… but instead of dirty (but sexy) bikers, picture filthy rich (and equally as sexy) bajillionaires.

I absolutely loved book 1 (you can read my review here) and was so excited to get my hands on book 2, Damage Control.  But with my entire family dropping like flies with the flu, my life got a bit hectic and I was late starting my ARC and ended up buying the audiobook and switching back and forth from e-book to audio (I highly recommend the audiobook, I think the narrators are fabulous, by the way!)

Damage Control starts exactly where book one leaves off, with a giant freaking mess, more secrets than you can remember, and pretty much zero answers as well.  I seriously haven’t read a book with so many intricate details, and lies, and side plots going on at once… it’s incredible the web that Lisa Renee Jones spins in these books.  You never really know who is good, who is bad, what side someone is on, who is going down next, who is plotting what…  seriously!   I am good at figuring things out but good lord I leave each book wondering how the flaming fig newton someone can get out of these disasters unscathed.

Emily and Shane both have secrets and terrible families that are desperately trying to drag them down.  There’s international hacking groups, murder, a cartel, a billion dollar family business changing control, cancer… you name it.  It is all in there tearing everybody apart at every angle.

I felt like this story was a lot of figuring out Shane and Emily’s pasts and how they would conquer their future… if they even have one together.  A lot of the plots are intense and action-packed, but Shane and Emily handle it separate from each other.  Unlike book one where they are busy trying to handle their feelings, and the hiding of their relationship from co-workers and family members, in book 2 they’re together in the open.  The plot is more focused on the suspense, the mystery, the scandal.  The parts where Shane and Emily are actually together are when they’re home from work or bustin’ cartel booty… and naked.

I loved that their relationship was there in the very steamy background, and the story instead took on a very strong voice more based on plot than relationship, if that makes sense.  It’s such an amazing, mind-boggling storyline that I loved immersing myself in the wtf is happening, how can they fix this, omg what now?!    

Yes, they are still figuring out what “us” even means, and let me tell you…  *fans face*   Their “us” is sexy AF.  *fans face harder.*   Shane is the epitome of alpha male.  And Emily is just as strong, no matter how lost she is in life, that chick is one bad ass mamba-jamba!

I can’t recommend this series enough, and if you enjoy romantic suspense that’ll get your heart pounding (for multiple reasons) this series is a must click!


***Giveaway!***
Enter to win (2) $25 Amazon gift cards, (3) signed books of Hard Rules and (3) Dirty Money totes!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e837c2b0294/

 

 

About Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.


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Chat Review: Black Hearts by Karina HalleBlack Hearts by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #1
February 19, 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Romance
Pages: 238
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Dust to Dust
Amazon US
Goodreads

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

 

Review is probably not the best word for this. It should just be described as ‘that time Tiffany and Ali reminisced about the characters they love’. Hopefully, you get something out of this. Hopefully, that something is that you want to read this book. 😉

What three words would you use to best describe Black Hearts?

Tiffany: You always do this to me and it’s hard. Lol. But let me try… Vicente, Javier, Bernal. Because that blood line is FUCKING GOLD!

Ali: Javier is back.

Tiffany: Hahah! I mean Javier is a self centered asshole it makes sense we have similar answers!

Ali: I love him and all his fucked up flaws.

Tiffany: FOREVER AND EVER!

Ali: Yes!

Tiffany: Dude…omg. Every part he was in, I just about died!

Ali: I know! I’m so glad age didn’t change him. He’ll be a grumpy ass murdering grandpa and I’ll still think he’s hot.

Seriously though, how exciting was it to see Ellie, Camden and Javier back on the pages?

Ali: It’s pretty awesome to get a glimpse of some of your all time favorite characters, years later. These three hold a very special place in my heart and one of them, in particular, is still living up to everything I loved about them from the start.

Tiffany: I totally agree with you although I read them like a year and a half go, no other drug lord trumps JAVIER, none. He is the ultimate. It took a second for me to adjust and envision them older while reading but once I did it was like NOSTALGIA HEAVEN.

And this…

Javier feels remorse snake through his body but then it’s gone. It never stays for long. It knows it’s not welcome.

Ali: Fuck. That’s so good. 

Tiffany: But this is my favorite: 

Wherever they go, we will follow. If he wants to fall in love while getting his dick sucked, it will only make his own life harder, not mine.

First impressions of Violet?

Tiffany: She kind of bored me, not in like a bad way where I didn’t like her but her personality was a bit monotone. I did however LOVE that she is an aspiring photographer. By the end though, I really did like her. But I think I especially liked her when her and Vicente had their first spat. I loved how she pushed back and didn’t accept him giving her bullshit.

Ali: She’s much more timid and sensitive than I expected from parents with such strong personalities. I think I expected someone edgier, someone with some bite. I guess I can understand how she’d be a more quiet and sensitive girl though, too. I imagine that could happen, constantly living around alpha types. I really had to have a good ‘think’ about her.

I agree, by the end I liked her more. I hope she comes in to her own in the next book.

Tiffany: Yes! There was definitely layers to her that are slowly being peeled back. I can’t wait to see what Vicente evokes out of her.

First impressions of Vicente?

Tiffany: Actually I wavered with my impression on him at first. Seeing as he is the son of Javier I instantly was in love with him but I think I was expecting him to be just like Javier. Then when he wasn’t I was like WHAT?! But that was my own personal hinderance I had to get over. Once I did, I was like damn! And he likes licking all the frosting off the cupcake if you know what I mean!

Ali: I thought the same. I expected him to be so diabolical. Where as he’s much more calculated and methodical.
Javier is too, but he was a bit more of a hip shooter. Vicente doesn’t give me that same feel.

Tiffany: Yes that’s it’s exactly it, Vicente has more feelings than Javier and it’s like an ice water shock. Lol

Ali: Yes! That’s a good way to put it. But, I loved him no less. He’s much more in tune with his feelings but his mind is still totally twisted.

I wonder what our take would be on it, had we not read The Artist Trilogy and Dirty Angels series first. I bet it would be completely different. We should have made Leah read this with us.

Tiffany: We should have!

Man… that part where Vicente was like I heard stories of what my dad did to Esteban. Seriously at the thought of Esteban I physically shrieked!

Ali: Hahaha! Esteban is not an image you easily forget. 

Tiffany: That (Dirty Promises) is still one of the most gruesome books I’ve ever read. 

Ali: Me too. So violent. I mean, it’s a drug cartel, so it’s fitting. But damn.

Tiffany: Luisa and the chicken. I couldn’t eat chicken for weeks!!!

I hope no one dies in the next book that matters, I couldn’t handle it. 

Ali: Hmmm. I don’t know how you get out of this situation with nobody dying. 

Tiffany: That’s what I’m most scared of. 

Ali: I have a feeling the four parents are not going to be all rainbows and unicorns about this love connection. 

Tiffany: You know even though I’m all for Javier I’m excited to see how Camden reacts, I want to see his violence unleashed!!

Ali: OMG, ragey Camden. Yes, please. For all the days.

Honestly though, I really want to see Vicente and Violet to just take all of this to the street and teach their parents to butt the fuck out.

Tiffany: Yes! I have a feeling Luisa is going to pull some ninja shit. Idk what but I have a feeling.

One thing is for sure, March 17th couldn’t be further away! This will definitely be where we see how truly similar or different Vicente is from his papa.

Ali: I’m pretty anxious for that showdown!

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.


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Review: The Evolution of Ivy: Poison

Review: The Evolution of Ivy: PoisonThe Evolution of Ivy: Poison Series: The Evolution of Ivy #1
January 30, 2017
Genres: Psychological, Sociology
Pages: 287
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

They won't recognize the new me.

But they know the old me well—the me she harmed, and the me he loved.

She thinks she has him. But I'm going to take him back.

He thinks she's the one. But I'm going to show him he's wrong.

I thought it was over. But now I have a chance.

The Evolution of Ivy: Poison blipped onto my radar because of the blurb. I mean, read it, chick sounds devious, vengeful and determined. I love that kind of shit. I like taking a peek into the heads of crazy people.

Ivy is that. Crazy. Devious. Vengeful. Most definitely determined. It’s not likely that you will like her. It’s not likely that you will understand the lengths in which she will go to get what she wants.

Or, at least, that’s how I came out of this read. Ivy is not really the hero in this story. There isn’t one. I finished the last page of this book basically disliking every single character. Yet, you don’t hate Ivy either. It’s a really twisted feeling. You want her to win but you know she doesn’t completely deserve to either. It’s all a lot of mindfuckery.

I don’t even know how to start to describe the story, there is just too much to giveaway and nobody likes a spoiler. The basic gist is that Ivy and Brookes were childhood friends of the closest kind. He left for a time and when he came back, Ivy had changed physically and their friendship didn’t survive it. It’s a betrayal Ivy has carried with her forever and now she’s in a position to enact some revenge.

The thing is…it’s hard to get behind exactly who she wants her wrath to fall on. It’s not Brookes but, in my eyes, he’s the one who had stabbed her with the sharpest knife. Again, it’s a bit of mindfuckery, your feelings reading this book are all over the place. Something I really didn’t mind, at all. You question a lot of the motives and feelings of the characters and I appreciate that so much.

One issue I had was with was the pacing. There were a few times the story fell off for me, it’s awfully slow at times. Another issue – there is one strange side story unraveling that I don’t fully understand it’s purpose. It threw me off track. I’m sure it gets explored more in the next book and hopefully it’s placement will become clear at that point.

Final thought – it’s not a bad debut. Campbell shows some promise as an author with a great imagination and a twisted sense of portraying right and wrong. I’ll absolutely be picking up the next book, I just won’t really be biting my nails in anticipation.


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Review: The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

Review: The Possessions by Sara Flannery MurphyThe Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy
Published by Harper Collins February 7, 2017
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies“, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.

But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.

After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.

A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.

After I finished reading The Possessions, I had to use my Phone a Friend to discuss the genre labeling. I’ve seen some call it a romantic thriller, but I wouldn’t call it that. I’ve seen some call it a fantasy, it is in a sense, but that didn’t seem quite fitting either. We settled on psychological thriller. It’s absolutely got the psychological part down, the thriller part is there but slightly more understated.

In fact, so much of this book is written in an understated way. More on that in a minute, first let’s get to the housekeeping bit.

Edie spends her days as other people. She channels them for money, with the help of a little white pill. She never remembers the experiences, it’s as if she falls asleep for awhile as a deceased spirit takes over her body. Then she wakes as herself again. Herself, however, isn’t much of a person. She rarely socializes with others, she has more possessions belonging to dead people than she has of her own. She moves through her day always waiting to escape herself and become someone else. Someone dead.

She looks at me as if I’m the invading spirit in her child’s body.

Edie is very good at moving through her life in a systematic and cold way. She has to be in order to avoid a past she won’t discuss and does not want to remember. Patrick, a new client, makes that all the more difficult. He’s hired her to channel his wife who’s death is surrounded by questions. Edie immediately feels a connection, but that connection is more with Sylvia, the dead wife, than with Patrick – the man she believes she’s falling in love with.

The Possessions introduces an interesting and thought provoking plot. If you could, would you want to contact a deceased love one? To what end or purpose? Is it healing or does it draw out the process of grief? All of these things are touched on in this tale. But one other thing is, as well. If a spirit could inhabit your body for a short period of time, could they do it for longer? Would they ever want to leave it?

For a crooked second, Sylvia is in the room with me. A drowned specter, white skin peeling away like fruit rind, eyelids eaten into filigree by the fish.

For Edie and Sylvia, that’s the key question, as Sylvia becomes more and more a part of Edie and Edie is all too willing to let her stay. To be her. The more time she spends as Sylvia, with Patrick, the more she digs in to Sylvia’s life…and her death. A search that eventually uncovers everyone’s secrets, including her own. 

Back to that understated part. Murphy wrote this book with a slow pace that still keeps you excited enough to turn the page. It’s written with a creepiness that’s indirect, I guess would be the word for it. It’s not blatant on the page. You feel like you are reading normal, every day thoughts of a lonely and quiet woman, until she thinks of wanting to slide her fingernail under skin and peel it all away. Then it’s right back to a sense of quiet normalcy.

It’s a strange read, very different than anything I’ve read in quite a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did wish the end had been a bit stronger, but it felt genuine to Edie’s character, so I won’t give it too much flack. It’s a solid start to Murphy’s career and I’ll be watching for more from her. 

 


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