Monday, February 19, 2018

Comic Review - Bingo Love

Diving into comics has been a bit of an eye opening experience for me. I've binge purchased a ton of them at this stage, all based on recommendations from people who have been reading them WAY longer than I have. And let's face it, I have a lot to catch up on!

Comics have turned out to be perfect reading as my agenting work gets busier and busier. When I'm in the midst of edits and putting together pitches and need to get away for a bit, but don't have time for a full novel, comics fit in perfectly alongside the shorts and novellas that have been my go to for short breaks.

And it was in one of these breaks that I discovered Bingo Love! Newly released from Image, this comic is about true love that stands the test of time!

It's 1963 when Hazel Johnson meets Mari McCray. She glimpses the new girl across the bingo hall, but doesn't meet her properly until she's introduced in class the next day - and she's instantly smitten! Hazel is elated when the two become fast friends, but she also realizes she wants more than just friendship with Mari. And when it turns out Mari feels the same, she couldn't be happier! Unfortunately the two are torn apart when Mari's grandmother catches them kissing.

Decades later, the Hazel and Mari meet again - over bingo - and find their love is still as strong as ever!

This story has all the feels! I mean ALL THE FEELS!

Hazel and Mari are teens in the 60s and well aware of the fact that the timing is not right for them. But the betrayal by each of their families when their love is discovered is way worse. And so - and these aren't spoilers - the two women go on with their lives without one another.

We get the story from Hazel's perspective - we begin with her in 2038 as she begins recounting her story, jumping back to February 1963 when she first catches sight of Mari and she takes readers all the way through to her present day.

And because this is a comic, I have to talk about the illustrations! I adored the illustrations in this one - they're gorgeous! And, paired with the writing, give readers the full extent of the characters' emotions as the story plays out.

Now, what I hadn't realized was that prior to being picked up by Image, Bing Love started as a graphic novella from Inclusive Press funded through Kickstarter last year. In October, it was announced that Image had picked it up and now that brand spanking new mass released edition is out too! So this is a double yay for the folks behind this sweet story! And according to the comic itself there's to be at least two more pieces to the Bingo Love story.

Bingo Love does stand alone as a full story. The extras promised within its pages are just that, welcome extras, including Hazel's husband's story.

Full credits for Bingo Love are:
Writer: Tee Franklin
Artist: Jenn St-Onge
Colorist: Joy San
Letterer: Cardinal Rae
Editor: Erica Schultz

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Releases 2/20/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

The Clarity by Keith Thomas

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin

The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

The One by John Marrs

Outpost by W. Michael Gear

Dreadful Young Ladies And Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin & Jennifer St. One

Lumberjanes v8: Stone Cold by Kat Leyh & Shannon Watters

These Vengeful Souls by Kelly Zekas & Tarun Shanker

New on DVD:
Daddy's Home 2

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Oh, readers. You know by now there are a few names that pop up again and again and again on this blog and I'm super excited to be posting yet another Sarah Pinborough installment. And it's another pre pub book buzz, which means we have another new title to look forward to!

Here's a bit about Cross Her Heart from Goodreads:

‘Cross my heart and hope to die…’

Promises only last if you trust each other, but what if one of you is hiding something?

A secret no one could ever guess.

Someone is living a lie.

Is it Lisa?

Maybe it’s her daughter, Ava.

Or could it be her best friend, Marilyn?

It's sparse, I know. But the best thing about Pinborough's latest titles is the less you know going in the better!

This is the UK cover - and the book will be out there in May. Looks like it'll be released Stateside in September from William Morrow. 

In other Sarah Pinborough news, it looks like Netflix is adapting her most recent release, 13 Minutes! I can't wait!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mister Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson

Two time Colorado Book Award Winner Carter Wilson is back in what promises to be his breakout hit!

Carter Wilson's latest is a story literally ripped from the headlines. Inspired by the recent Slenderman killings, Mister Tender's Girl introduces readers to Alice, the daughter of a graphic novel writer who's creation inspired two twin girls to commit a heinous crime. Alice survived, but moved overseas. Her father abandoned his popular creation, vowing never to write another Mister Tender tale. He passed away shortly thereafter.

Now grown up, Alice has done her best to move past the crime that so defined her youth. She's changed her name and owns a semi successful coffee shop. But she still suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and has to be on guard at all times if she's to combat them.

And then a package arrives. A package that appears to be a new Mister Tender tale and includes a log in to a website that proves someone knows who Alice really is.

Mister Tender's Girl is a leave all the lights on, check your doors and windows kind of read guaranteed to keep you up at night wondering just who might be watching you!

This is, surprisingly, almost a bit of a slow burn. The story moves quickly, but it starts with the nagging fear that something is coming. Alice knows she's being watched but she doesn't know why or by who. Clearly, though, she knows being the subject of someone's obsession isn't good. The only reason anyone has to be interested in her is her status as a survivor of that long ago crime. And the girls responsible are in prison.

Or they were.

This is not actually based on the Slenderman case. I had the chance to meet Wilson at our regional trade show where he discussed how this story came to be. Apparently he heard the headline and that's pretty much it. It kicked off the idea and he avoided everything else about the case while he was writing. So while the kernel of the story is founded in that all too real crime, the book itself is all Wilson.

Which is kind of scary if you really think about it :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Look For Her by Emily Winslow

Oh, the week is halfway over! And today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Emily Winslow's Look For Her.

Annalise Wood disappeared in 1976. Almost twenty years later, her body was found but her case was never solved. 

Fresh off leave thanks to PTSD and treatment, Morris Keene has returned to his job as a police officer in a somewhat different capacity. Partially retired thanks to injury, he's been drafted as part of a new cold case team and Annalise's case is to be his first. Back in 1992, when the body was discovered, DNA was found on an item of clothing found with the body. The DNA was tested and put into the database but no match was found. Until now. 

With former partner and new mom Chloe Frohmann by his side, Keene aims to finally lay the Wood case to rest. But that may be more complicated than it first appears.

Emily Winslow is another author that I was turned onto by a favorite author - though at this stage I can't remember the circumstances. I do know it was back when the second installment in the series, The Start of Everything, was released (Look For Her is actually the fourth entry in Winslow's Keene and Frohmann series). And since The Start of Everything was on my wishlist thanks to the recommendation, now seemed like a good time to read it as well. Which turned out to be a good decision considering all of the books in the series apparently take place over less than a year.

When I met Chloe and Morris in The Start of Everything, Morris was just returning to work after being injured on a case. He was still struggling with losing the use of the fingers on his right hand. And Chloe had just discovered she was pregnant.

When we begin Look For Her, Morris has been on leave after seeking treatment for PTSD, something he was just seeing signs of as The Start of Everything wound down and he's visiting Chloe and her newborn. There is a bit of bad blood between the two of them thanks to events that took place in the book in between, but Morris is finally ready to set that aside a bit and offers to take Chloe with him to interview the suspect in his new case. Of course, having been cooped up with no work to focus on, Chloe jumps at the opportunity (after her husband's suggestion)!

Morris is definitely my preferred character of the two, though the two irritate and grate at one another throughout. Morris's investigative style is a bit more intuitive, though, and Chloe comes across as quick to judge. In other words, they're a bit like a bickering couple and by the end of the book you feel like you know them both quite well!

I always find it funny when I end up reading books with unexpected connections. In this case, Emily Winslow used to create logic puzzles for Games magazine, a trait she shares with one of the main characters in Best Friends Forever.

Her experience with logic puzzles has served her well in plotting out suspense. This is the second book I've read in this series (back to back I might add) and her twisty turny plots are fabulous! I enjoyed working out the puzzle myself as Morris and Chloe investigate and even when I did figure it out first, still quite enjoyed seeing them work their way through the clues to the same conclusion.

I definitely recommend these if you're looking for a great new series to dive into. Each installment is fairly short and the suspense is such that they make for great one sitting reads!

As mentioned, there are currently four books in the series. They can actually be read as standalones very easily - you might have some spoilers for previous entries, but you can definitely dive in at any point. Here's the full title list if do you want to start from the beginning:

The Whole World
The Start of Everything
The Red House
Look For Her

In addition to the series, Winslow is also the author of Jane Doe January, a memoir. All of the titles are available thanks to the good folks at Harper Collins.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Emily Winslow and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What I'm Reading: The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

Happy book birthday to Kimmery Martin whose debut, The Queen of Hearts, hits shelves today! I'm currently in the midst of this one, so here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they're happily married wives and mothers with successful careers--Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie's life--both professionally and personally--throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick's unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.

Martin has a smooth style and a wonderful voice that really pulls you into the story! You are going to love these characters and their tale - and if my recommendation isn't quite enough to convince you, check out the blurb one of my favorite authors gave it:

"In The Queen of Hearts, debut author Kimmery Martin brings humor and insight into this exploration of friendships and secrets set in the fascinating world of practicing doctors. Sure to be a hit with fans of JoJo Moyes and Liane Moriarty."—Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Hidden and The Good Liar


Added bonus: Martin is a physician as well as a writer, which means she's super talented (for one) and her characters feel authentic because they are!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt

Welcome back, everyone! Today is my second stop on the TLC blog tour for Margot Hunt's Best Friends Forever.

Alice and Kat have been friends ever since an opportune meeting in the airport. They were in New York - Kat after a trip to buy art for her gallery and Alice and her kids after a visit to her parents' - both flying back to Florida on a way delayed flight, and ended up sitting next to each other in the terminal. The chatted and commiserated with one another over martinis and that was that. But then Alice saw Kat drop her wallet at baggage claim, swooping it up and returning it to a thankful Kat. 

Three years later, they're as close as ever. 

But now Kat's husband is dead and the police are questioning Alice. Howard, Kat's husband, was drunk when he fell off their balcony. Alice thought it was a tragic accident, but the police are treating it like a homicide. And Kat's not returning her calls.

Hunt's debut is a fast and fun read that will make you wonder just how well you really know your friends!

From the start, we know Howard was a drunk. We know Kat was in London when he died. And we know Howard fell from the balcony. The police say they have a witness who claims otherwise, though, and Alice is the one they turn their eye to for answers.

Alice's marriage isn't what it used to be but she loves her family and her kids. Her friendship with Kat, though, gave her a chance to get away sometimes. Lunches with someone she could talk to about anything. And it seemed Kat felt the same.

But then why is Kat avoiding Alice? Why is Kat's family keeping Alice from seeing her? And why are the police harassing Alice in the first place?

Hunt does a great job building the suspense and teasing out details about the characters' lives. Kat and Alice seem so mundane when the story begins but as we get to know them, we understand they're hiding things.

As the story progresses, the timeline switches from present to past, bringing readers back three years to when Kat and Alice met. The past timeline progresses forward as the investigation does, and the two timelines weave together to bring us to the final pages. I loved the way the story played out, even when I did have my suspicions about what the eventual conclusion would be.

Best Friends Forever is a super quick read that was the perfect thing for a lazy weekend hiding out from the cold. Plus, it's set in Florida so I could almost imagine myself in that beachy setting alongside Alice and Kat. Or maybe peeking through their windows would be more appropriate :)

For more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here

For more on Margot Hunt and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter

Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble