Book Review: The Ticket by Zaph Stone

Their very, very last thought was that this was probably for the best. The golden straw-colored dunes and the clear, deep blue sky faded away, and a once immaculate, untouched beauty was now forever stained with blood, lots and lots of blood.

It’s 1985, South Australia – a group of friends head off on a camping trip to the remote and beautiful Innes National Park. They’re planning on a weekend of surfing, drinking, drugs, and hijinks. It’s the eve of the state’s first million-dollar x-lotto draw, and one of the couples has a ticket. What could possibly go wrong? A lot is the answer, a lot –

I’d describe this, my second novel, as a tense, suspenseful, and ultimately horrific white knuckle thrill ride – but then again, I would say that. You be the judge – if you dare!

My Review

Several friends decide to go on a camping/surfing trip in 1985. Greg and Miranda have a van that will fit everyone…barely. The first 50 pages or so are spent getting to know the characters. There are nine main characters which is quite a few. I was mostly able to keep them straight, but it would have been easier if three of characters’ names didn’t all start with the same letter (Jamie, Jane, and Jackie).

When someone starts murdering the friends one by one, they don’t know if it’s a stranger who is doing it or one of them. Is it because of a winning lottery ticket that Greg and Miranda have? Or is that a coincidence? Most of them have had abusive pasts whether by family or bullies. Could that have something to do with it?

Shane, whose girlfriend is Jackie, has made some bad decisions, and some bikers are looking for him because he owes them money. He was planning on running, but the bikers have found him. Jamie, whose girlfriend is Jane, has made a bad move in the stock market and is suddenly broke. One of the bikers was sent to keep an eye on the campers. Even after someone is murdered, all Jackie can think about is the lottery ticket. So many possibilities for the reader to consider!

But occasionally, the story goes back in time to the future killer, telling their story. Because of these, I figured out who the killer was very early. I was hoping I was wrong and there would be a big twist at the end, but I was right. Despite that, once things get started, it’s impossible to put this book down. There’s so much going on and so much suspense!

The characters are young and most of them have no problem with doing drugs, so there were a couple of times that I just sat there with my mouth hanging open! I won’t go into it any further…no spoilers. I didn’t care for several of the characters, not because of their youth or the drugs but because they just weren’t good people. Greg and Miranda were a nice, normal couple. A couple of the others seemed decent as well.

There were also a few times that the intensity was broken but something hilarious such as when a tent collapses on a couple, and they can’t get out. Also, occasionally, the author’s writing tickled me. An example: “Liam didn’t like the look of this at all. I don’t like the look of this at all, he thought.” That wasn’t done often, just enough to make me giggle.

There is a lot of violence in books and movies these days, but there were a couple of things in this book that still make me anxious when I think about them.

The Ticket is absolutely a book I recommend. Even though it needs to be proofread, it’s still a great read.

About the Author

Zaph grew up in the UK and settled in Australia in the early 1980s. He has been writing professionally for a couple of years, and he sincerely hopes that you can join him on this adventure – it promises to be one hell of a ride.

Hit Zaph up on his website – https://zaphstonetheauthor.wixsite.com/website or socials under the tag zaphstonetheauthor. Thank you, and if you read my work, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: The Ninth Session by Deborah Serani

The Ninth Session Audiobook
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Published by: TouchPoint Press
Publication Date: September 26th 2019
Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
Purchase Links: 
Amazon | Audible | Goodreads
Visit Audible to listen to a sample!

An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller that brings a unique mix of psychotherapy and sign language and Coda culture. Just when you think you have it figured out, think again!

Dr. Alicia Reese takes on a new patient. Lucas Ferro suffers with crippling anxiety, and as sessions progress, he begins to share the reasons why he’s struggling. As Ferro’s narrative becomes more menacing, Reese finds herself wedged between the cold hard frame of professional ethics and the integrity of personal truth. And, finally, when Ferro reveals his secrets, Reese learns how far she’s willing to go, willing to risk and willing to lose to do the right thing.

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Alicia Reese is a widow and dealing with her own issues when she starts seeing Lucas Ferro. Lucas seems like a nice person who wants to get a handle on his anxiety. Even though Lucas soon tells her some disturbing things about his past, she believes that he trusts her and won’t harm her. I understood from their sessions why she thought this, but her thoughts and feelings when not in his sessions didn’t match her clinical observations.

The Ninth Session kept my interest throughout. I wanted to know what was going to happen in the next session and if Alicia was going to be able to help Lucas before it was too late. There were a couple of twists that I expected but one that I didn’t see coming. I felt cheated by the ending. I understand that life goes on and that was probably the reason the book ended like it did, but there were a couple of things that I would have liked closure on.

Authors narrating their own books often doesn’t work out too well but Deborah Serani did a fairly good job. The only thing that I felt was missing was the sound of anxiety, etc., in Alicia or Lucas’s voice.

If you like psychological thrillers, I recommend The Ninth Session. You won’t be disappointed.

About the Author

Deborah Serani, Psy.D. is psychologist in practice 30 years. She is also a senior professor at Adelphi University and has been published in academic journals on the subjects of depression and trauma. Dr. Serani is a go-to expert for psychological issues. Her interviews can be found at ABC News, CNN, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Reader’s Digest, The Washington Post and USA Today, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is also a TEDx speaker and has lectured nationally and internationally. Dr. Serani has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – where a recurring character, Judge D. Serani, was named for her. Dr. Serani is an award-winning author, writing about psychological topics in many genres.

Catch Up With Deborah:
www.DrDeborahSerani.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Twitter – @DeborahSerani
Facebook – @Dr. Deborah Serani

& Find out what’s new on Instagram – #deborahserani

Enter Below to WIN The Ninth Session:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Deborah Serani. There will be ONE winner who will receive (1) Audible promo code for The Ninth Session (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway runs from August 9 through August 30, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Review: Two Mothers by K. Kris Loomis

A mother’s depression. A ghost’s obsession. A baby caught in the crosshairs.

Anna Jenkins is a new mother suffering from postpartum fatigue. While her husband is finishing up his Army duties before retirement, she travels to South Carolina to set up their house, an old farmhouse her husband bought sight unseen.

It’s not long before Anna realizes there is something eerie about her new home. Although it’s the dog days of summer, the house is unusually cool even without the A/C running. And her baby, who usually screams nonstop, is mysteriously soothed whenever placed in the antique crib that came with the house.

When she uncovers a long-buried secret, Anna must claw her way out of her despondency to save her baby from the clutches of the dead. Will she find the strength to save her child? Or will a disturbed spirit get what it came for?

A psychological slow burn perfect for anyone who likes things that go bump in the night.

 
 
 

 

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Two Mothers is a novella about a mother in the 1960s and a mother in the present.  Two women connected by a home, both new mothers, and both depressed. Knowing that the house was haunted before Anna did made me wary every time she left the baby in the antique crib. I didn’t think any harm would come to the baby though, would it?

I like how the author is able to make the characters seem like “normal” people. I’ve read several of her short stories and she was able to do that in those as well. Her writing is also easy to follow. This was a quick and enjoyable read and even had a twist. I’m looking forward to reading more by Kris Loomis.

 

 

About the Author

K. Kris Loomis is an eclectic author who writes both fiction and nonfiction books. She is the author of the novel, The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane, as well as the short story collection, The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories. Kris has also written several books about yoga and meditation and a humorous travelogue about the time she, her husband and their handicapped cat moved to South America called Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador!

When Kris isn’t at her standing desk writing, you will find her playing chess, folding an origami crane, or practicing a Beethoven sonata on the piano. She lives in Rock Hill, SC with her husband and two cats.

https://www.facebook.com/kkrisloomis

https://www.instagram.com/kkrisloomis/

https://www.kkrisloomis.com/

https://www.twitter.com/kkrisloomis

 

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Relentless by Nancy J. Alexander

relentless

“The little girl lay under the hay stack scarcely breathing. Sweat poured down her face and dripped into her eyes; her heart pounded through her thin chest. Tiny flecks of hay clung to her wet skin, making her itch. She squeezed her nose tightly afraid she’d sneeze. Eyes clamped shut, she lay there. Flies buzzed around her, crawling on her. She didn’t move. She didn’t know how long she’d been there in the loft. She didn’t care how long she stayed. She couldn’t move. Not yet.”

Nearly a lifetime after a childhood filled with misery and abuse, Gina, now a successful doctor, finds herself thrown back into a terrifying world where her nightmares become far more than just a dream. With the help of an unconventional therapist with secrets of her own, the hunt is on and Gina fights for her life in this harrowing tale of cat and mouse.
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Buy the Book:   Amazon  ~  Audible

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My Review

I chose to listen to this audiobook after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Relentless is a good title for this book. Gina, aka Reggie Lee, was tormented by her cousin Jake when she was young. She left home at the age of 14 after he almost killed her. With help from a network of people, she changed her name and made a life for herself but she always feared that Jake would find her, even after she became a successful doctor miles away in Chicago. She had good reason to fear him because even after close to 20 years, Jake is still obsessed with her.

The characters are complex and believable. Even Jake and his crew, who are way “out there,” are believable. Jake is a serial killer focused on finding and killing Reggie Lee after she got away from him so many years ago. His friends are followers and stay with him even when they want to get away because they’re so afraid of him. It’s obvious that Nancy Alexander knows what she’s writing about by the way she portrays the characters.

Relentless is full of suspense. Gina is always on alert. I can’t imagine living in fear for so many years. 

If I read this book again, I would choose to read a print copy or the e-book. There were several times that all of the girls who were raped and/or killed were listed and to listen to those lists was a bit much to sit through. They were important to the story so they had to be there, it just would have been easier if I read the lists rather than listened to them. I also had to speed the book up because the author made noises (licking her lips?) in between sentences and those noises couldn’t be heard at 1.4x speed. She did do very well at distinguishing the different voices and it was also nice having the author read the book because she knew exactly where she wanted to verbally stress certain points or occurrences.

I would definitely recommend Relentless in the print or e-book form. 

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About the Author

nancy-j-alexanderLove of the mystery/thriller genre combines with psychotherapy training and experience to produce an emotionally supercharged dramatic novel. Nancy Alexander has devoted much of her professional life to helping survivors of childhood trauma; their distress has been ingrained and works to create characters who give voice to their plight. To analyze the evil minds that prey on others and the intricacies of law enforcers who pursue them seemed a natural interlacing of professional, literary and creative interests.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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Giveaway

Prizes 

Win a signed copy of RELENTLESS by Nancy J Alexander / 2 winners will also get a $15 Amazon gift card (open to USA & CAN) 5 winners total

Ends Jan 7

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