Book Review: Bad Call By Stephen Wallenfels

Four high school seniors lie about going to a school-related activity over the weekend and go camping instead – without telling anyone where they’re really going. When a forest fire alters their course, they find themselves lost in the wilderness with no cell service, dwindling supplies, and a freak snowstorm that they aren’t prepared for. As they struggle to survive, one thing becomes clear – the elements might not be their biggest threat. Four go up the mountain. How many will come down?

This book has mixed reviews, but I really liked it. The characters, the plot, and the situation combine to create a perfect storm. I was expecting more of a kill them all high body count thriller, which might be what the disappointed readers were looking for, too. Instead, the author takes a more realistic approach, focusing on the characters and group dynamic rather than thinking up how many different ways he can kill someone off. I thought it worked well. No complaints here.

From Goodreads:

It was supposed to be epic. During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken. So the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite. But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up. A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is. And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent. Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This was an interesting book. A teenage girl with schizophrenia deals with her illness while also trying to lead a somewhat normal life in high school, if there is such a thing. Her issues with determining what was real and what was part of her psychosis leant itself well to the plot. It was an interesting portrayal of mental illness and ultimately I really enjoyed it.

This is the book upon which Hitchcock based the legendary movie, only in the book, what takes place happens against the backdrop of France during WWII. I really had to push through this one. I only continued to get to the payoff I knew was coming, but I found even the ending a bit disappointed. This is one of the rare instances where I’d recommend watching the movie and skipping the book.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

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This book was glorious and brutal and thrilling and heartbreaking and wrong. But SO right. You can always count on McGinnis to emotionally destroy you. If you need to cry, she’s your girl. If you need a lift and some strength, she’s your girl, too. Officially crushing on this author. (Is it wrong that I plan to use this book as my defense in court if I ever go on a rampage?)

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I felt kind of blah about this one. It was on a list of titles with killer twists, so my expectations may have been unfairly high. There were plenty of twists, but they left me underwhelmed – I didn’t experience the highs and lows I expect from a thriller. That said, it was well written and a different reader may really enjoy it.

I just started:

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Monday #Book Madness

This week I read:

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I’ve read a book by this author before, so I started this one expecting some campy fun and eerie horror – which is exactly what I got! It’s hard to go wrong with a quick, easy read that holds your attention without requiring too much concentration. I’d suggest this for fans of #YA creeps and chills. Not recommended if you’re looking for literature.

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I wasn’t sure about this one at first – sometimes the first few pages don’t feel right, especially if the writing is a different style than the book I’ve just finished, but I found myself pleasantly surprised. This author did a great job of misdirection and peppering red herrings throughout the pages, making for some nice twists. I’d suggest this for fans of mysteries. Not recommended for readers who get hung up on imperfect reading – this one could had a few typos and could use a final edit.

I just started:

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Monday Book Madness

It was a really good week reading wise. I lucked out and found two awesome books that held my attention!

This week I read:

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Now that it’s over, it seems strange to me how much I loved this book, but I really, really did! I’m usually not a fan of sci-fi or fantasy, and this book had a touch of both, but I didn’t care. I was emotionally invested in the main character and her plight for survival. The suspense and stakes kept me riveted to the page, and the tension kept me reading well into the night. I’ll definitely be looking for more from this author!

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Usually books surrounded by a lot of hype are disappointing, but not this one! I kept seeing rave reviews for this on Litsy, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon – and I’m so glad I did! Suspenseful and well written, this mystery interwoven with a ghost story had all the creeps and chills! A fun escape full of tension and atmosphere!

I just started:

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Monday Book Madness

I missed last week, so I’m including it this week.

Last week I read:

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I don’t know how the heck I missed this one when I was a kid! Seems like it would have fit right in with my Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock mysteries for young people phase! The author skillfully handles a large number of characters, and while I wasn’t loving it in the beginning, by the end I was!

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Fast-paced, twisty, and much better than I had anticipated. A nice (and much needed) vacation from reality. 

This week I read:

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This one was good, but for some reason I had trouble keeping the characters straight, and I felt underwhelmed at times. There was no urgent need to find out what happened next – the tension to keep me glued to the pages just wasn’t there.

 

All Your Twisted Secrets
I feel like I waited forever for this one to be released. All the hype had me salivating over myself once I finally had it in hand. I enjoyed it, and it had everything it needed to have – tension, twists, high stakes, the imminent threat of death – but ultimately I felt a litttle disappointed, which, in the author’s defense, usually happens when a book is built up so much for so long. I’d read more by Urban, I just wouldn’t spit on myself to do so. 😛

 

I just started:

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Monday Book Madness

This week I read:

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I guessed it, then I changed my mind 5 times, then I changed it back. Not a five star read, but it was twisty and held my attention.

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I can’t say enough good things about this book! I couldn’t put it down! Well crafted and suspenseful, it grabbed me from the start and wouldn’t let me go until I reached the last page. I feel like I’m still catching my breath. Highly recommended!

Next up:

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Monday (Book) Madness

This week I read:

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This book had ALL the feels. It grabbed me by the throat and pulled me along on an emotional rollercoaster, keeping me breathless and slightly dizzy. I couldn’t put it down – even though the most eventful part happens near the beginning, I had to keep reading. Right book, right time. 😍

 

Drowning With Others
An interesting premise, well written, but I didn’t connect with or care about any of the characters, and the stakes never seemed quite dire enough for me. While I wouldn’t not recommend the book (it kept my attention and I enjoyed it), I feel like I liked the idea of the plot better that the book itself. 

 

I just started:

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Letter To My Possible Future Literary Agent

Dear Possible Future Literary Agent,

There are some things you should probably know about me.

I love words. I love reading. I love writing. I write for myself but also because I hope to entertain people and help them to escape the reality of life from time to time. Awards are good, I have nothing against them, but I have no desire to win a Pulitzer. If you’re looking for the next Toni Morrison, it probably won’t be me.

Image result for cheeseI’ll listen to what you say, because I’m well aware that I don’t know everything, but there are some things I do that you might not like. Sometimes I get bound by the bonds of alliteration. I can’t stand the way a properly executed em-dash looks, so I use spaces around it. And I like to do things in a series of three for emphasis. Why? Why? Why? I don’t quite know, but if you tell me to stop, I will try.

I’ll need to know your favorite treat, because I believe in celebrating everything, and if you give a Shannon a contract, she’s going to want to send you a cookie food. I’m not going to assume it’s chocolate, and hope you’ll do likewise. I enjoy chocolate like most people, but sometimes the sugar doesn’t make me feel so great, plus my husband will probably eat most of it before I get a chance.Image result for cheese

But don’t worry, because I also like cheese. Said husband likes cheese, too, but I believe I can eat more cheese quicker than him, plus, I’ll take the best cheese, the tastiest one, and put it in the hidden part of the refrigerator, the secret vortex that keeps things hidden from the husband’s eyes. There’s a reason our vegetable drawer is always full – so no one can see what’s at the back.

But, if a treat for you is hot yoga, I can arrange that too. I understand that while it may not be my thing, it might be yours. I have nothing against hot yoga, it’s just that it’s hot. And sweaty. And sweaty leads to stinky. Then you’re in a room full of hot, sweaty, stinky people, and the teacher wants you to move around and stuff, which means you’ve got to breathe. Deeply. If you’re into all that, it’s cool. But I’ll stick with the cheese, please.

Image result for cheeseYou should also know that I’m not afraid of hard work, and I won’t give up. I’m not just saying that. I’ve got proof.

I get out of bed every day, even the days meant for staying in bed, like rainy Sundays when I’m in the middle of a book I don’t want to put down. On those days it’s mainly because a girl’s gotta eat, and said husband is willing to exist on things he can dip into mustard and salsa (with a side of cheese) if it allows him to maintain his claim that he can’t cook. That, and I’d have to get out of bed to open the window for the delivery driver, anyways, so I might as well just stay out of bed.

Also . . . I know SO many ways to dispose of a body, which makes me the ideal person to be that friend everyone should have on hand. Unless that offends you. Then you can be that bastion of levelheaded wisdom friend for me. We don’t even have to be friends if you don’t want. I’m not very social, anyways. You’ll probably have to do most of the work. So, I’ll let you decide.Image result for cheese

My point is, I’m well aware that I need you more than you need me. Everyone and their uncle’s a writer. Not everyone and only some uncles are agents. I’ll do my best to make you proud. And if you’re having a hard day and feeling blue, I’ll do my best to cheer you up with a song I create just for you. (Actually, I might re-appropriate one of the ones I sing to my dogs, but I’ll change the name to yours and throw in a couple of other details to make sure you feel special.)

My songs, by the way, are delightful, engaging and entertaining. (There’s that three thing again!) And you’d like more tempting, tasty tidbits about me? (Score once more for alliteration! Do you see what you’re missing out on?!?!)

I love horror movies and have a tendency to laugh at the worst parts. I bar-tended through seven years of college, and not just how most college students bar-tend, but professionally, so I could cater all your lunches with acquisitions editors and make them super strong drinks that taste like candy. And what else . . . oh, yeah. I like cheese.

Most Sincerely,

Shannon

 

 

 

 

Monday (Book) Madness

This week I read:

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I almost didn’t read this because of a few bad reviews on Goodreads. It got off to a bumpy start, and it wasn’t entirely unpredictable, but it kept my attention and I enjoyed it. By the end it was uplifting.

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I read “Heroine” by this author and loved it so much that I decided to give another of her books a shot. This one was completely different, and not at all what I was expecting. Not bad, just not my ideal cup of tea. There’s no denying that McGinnis is a talented author, and while I didn’t love this book, I did enjoy it.

I just started:

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To join me in bookish fun, click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads

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