Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cover Crush: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
I've only listened to the audiobook version of one novel by Joe Hill - his graphic novel Locke and Key - but loved it so much I've gone out and bought all of his other books in anticipation of some free time to devour them. I mention this to explain how excited I was when I heard he had a new book coming out. Then I saw this cover! There is just so much to look at! First off it's all taking place in that strange looking sky, which fits the title, but then the longer you look at the images the more you see. Just look at all the things encapsulated within the falling man - skulls, horns, some sort of branches, a dragon, crows - I'm sure there is more that I'm missing! And maybe it's just me but it looks like a face on the right hand side of the clouds. I just can't get enough of this provocative and uber creepy image!
Read what kind of deliciousness we have to look forward to behind this cover....

A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill

“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.

A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”

On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.

In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.

Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Writer's Ireland: Guest Post by Julie Christine Johnson, Author of The Crows of Beara

May 2002. My first trip to Ireland. Alone, I join a small group of strangers to hike the Beara peninsula, West Cork, and there I fall truly, madly, deeply in love. On the flight home two weeks later, I turn my face toward the window and sob. I am as if torn from a lover, forever. Ireland has changed me. Beara has given me a sense of peace and wholeness I have never before experienced.

The years pass and I return to Ireland several times, hiking the Wicklow Way, Connemara, the Dingle and Kerry peninsulas; exploring Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Kenmare, Tralee. But that first time—and Beara—remain a dream crystallized in photographs and memories.
Photo Credit: Julie Christine Johnson

January 2014. I set the first complete draft of my first novel aside to rest, exhausted by the effort to corral a 170,000 wordsoup into a 99,000 word manuscript. That novel becomes my debut In Another Life, which is named 2016 Gold Winner for Fantasy by FOREWORD Indies at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June 2017. I leave behind a timeslip of modern and medieval southwest France to enter the cool, scabrous beauty of southwest Ireland.

Perched on hill overlooking Ballycrovane Harbor in the remote southern end of the Beara peninsula sits a humped, ragged block of stone. One edge resembles the profile of a woman, her furrowed brow arched over a proud nose, her gaze fixed on the Atlantic Ocean. She is An Cailleach Bheara, the Hag of Beara, mother of Ireland. Her story is Ireland's story, her survival the enduring drama of a tortured land of legendary beauty. I learn of the Hag by reading the poetry of Leanne O’Sullivan, who grew up in the Hag’s shadow, a child of West Cork, a woman of Ireland. O’Sullivan’s work whispers, sings, howls of romance and loss in this place of stone and sea. This modern poet’s magic opens the door to the legend that shapes my novel’s spirit and themes.
Photo Credit: Julie Christine Johnson

I create the story of a recovering alcoholic who has a marriage to repair and a career to salvage, and another of an artist who cannot forgive himself for the tragedy he caused. As my characters begin to take shape, I know the threads connecting them will be found in the presence of the Hag. Her voice filters through these characters’ pain to reveal their authentic selves.
Photo Credit: Julie Christine Johnson

Spring 2015. I am packing for Ireland. The Beara peninsula, specifically. The Universe is granting me the opportunity to come full circle. I’ll visit An Cailleach Bheara for the first time. I will attend my first poetry workshop, led by Leanne O’Sullivan.

  June 2015. I am is in the land of poetry and legends, of An Cailleach, Clan Ó Súilleabháin, St. Caitighearn where battles were fought on gorse-cloaked mountains and warriors marked their Ogham runes on tall pillars. I am where the ruined shadows of a British Coast Guard station destroyed by the IRA in 1920 pale against the shadows of history cast by circles of ancient altars—these slabs of stone sculpted by Bronze Age hands now scratching posts for the russet and inky-black flanks of Angus and Friesian cows.
Photo Credit: Julie Christine Johnson
I am walking through Eyeries village where rows of houses line up like Crayons and lace curtains flutter in open windows; in MacCarthy’s Bar, Castletown-Bearhaven, enjoying the craic with new friends, laughter stealing my breath.
Photo Credit: Julie Christine Johnson

I am high on a hillside peering into the green and blue infinity, sheep scattering in my wake, boots soaked through with bog, fingers wrapped around a trekking pole, pack cinched around my waist like a lover’s arms. I learn that my novel, The Crows of Beara, has been offered a publishing contract and will take flight in September 2017. I am so happy I could explode from the very fullness of my heart.
Photo Credit: Julie Christine Johnson
Publisher: Ashland Creek Press
Pub. Date: September 1st, 2017
Pages: 300

Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart

When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.

Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.

Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice--a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.

Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.

Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.

Praise for The Crows of Beara

"As Johnson's wounded, good-hearted characters sort inner truths along the mystical Irish coast, the personal decisions and missteps they make have consequences that reach around the world. A captivating tale of our yearning to belong and the importance of following this ancient call." --Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of The Far End of Happy and The Art of Falling

"Like Ireland itself, The Crows of Beara pulls at something deep inside the reader and won't let go. In this captivating and thoughtful novel, the enchantment of Ireland heals two damaged souls and reminds all of us that no matter how dark life may be at times, there is always hope." --Kelli Estes, USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

"You don't have to love rain or Guinness or wild, windswept coasts to be seduced by the delicate intermingling of Irish mythology, environmentalism, and love that are entangled at the heart of this novel; the juxtaposition with darker, harder truths of grief and addiction create a rich and reflective resonance. From France to Ireland, across centuries and oceans...where will this author take us next?" --Jenny Williams, author of The Atlas of Forgotten Places

"Julie Christine Johnson swept me away from the first page. 'It is that nervous time between seasons, when chill winds skirr across faces upturned to the sun.' How can one stop reading after this? Johnson incorporates the beauty of the Beara Peninsula with such exquisite language that I wanted to fly off to Ireland immediately and hike the Beara Way. Annie Crowe is that memorable character--flawed but vulnerable--who fails in fits and starts but engages the reader with her desire to rediscover life. Johnson writes with her pulse on the heart of the people who fly off the page. When she introduces Daniel, aching and shamed, she does not fall into sentimentality. Opting for truth, she creates depth, even when reaching back into Gaelic mythology to prove her point. Johnson writes music on the page with words. She is a lush writer who does not turn away from the heart. " --Julie Maloney, poet, author, director of Women Reading Aloud

"In this important novel, Julie Christine Johnson brings together a remote peninsula in the west of Ireland with environmental issues that threaten a local community and its attachment to the landscape...Written in a lyrical voice with honesty and authority on the environment, addiction and recovery, and the magic of the Irish landscape, The Crows of Beara is a passionate story of one woman's recovery of her soul." --Christine Breen, author of Her Name Is Rose and O Come Ye Back to Ireland (with Niall Williams)

"The Crows of Beara takes the age-old question of whether a book's setting can be a character one step further by proving that it can be an emotion. Ireland is longing. Daniel is the lure. And Annie -- well, she's something special. A sumptuous book through and through." --Scott Wilbanks, award-winning author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster

"Haunting, hopeful, and transporting. You'll sink into this story of loss and redemption and be carried away from the very first page." --Kelly Simmons, international selling author of One More Day and The Fifth of July

Buy the Book


About the Author

Julie Christine Johnson’s short stories and essays have appeared in journals including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; and River Poets Journal. Her work has also appeared in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and psychology and a master’s in international affairs.

Named a “standout debut” by Library Journal, “very highly recommended” by Historical Novels Review, and “delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical” by bestselling author Greer Macallister, Julie’s debut novel In Another Life (Sourcebooks) went into a second printing three days after its February 2016 release. A hiker, yogi, and swimmer, Julie makes her home in northwest Washington state.

You can learn more about Julie by visiting her website and can connect with her on Twitter.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cover Crush: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
Ah, what a frenetically beautiful cover this is! There's so much chaos going on, with the birds flying around in every direction, partially covering up the wording so you almost get the feeling that they will cover everything soon. I love the way the lettering is so standard and uniform, which is such a great contrast to the wildness all around it. I also love how the center seems to glow faintly. To be honest I'm not sure what the novel is about, based on this cover, however I don't really care...I just keep staring at it!
The synopsis might give us more information to explain this frenzied cover....  
A novel about the end of the world--and the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca of San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.
Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Spotlight on Fortune’s Wheel: The First Meonbridge Chronicle by Carolyn Hughes

Publisher: SilverWood Books
Pub. Date: November 7th, 2016
Pages: 270

Book Series: The Meonbridge Chronicles
Genre: Historical Fiction

Plague-widow Alice atte Wode is desperate to find her missing daughter, but her neighbours are rebelling against their masters and their mutiny is hindering the search.

June 1349. In a Hampshire village, the worst plague in England’s history has wiped out half its population, including Alice atte Wode’s husband and eldest son. The plague (which we call the Black Death but they called the Great Mortality, or the Pestilence, or simply, the Death) arrived only days after Alice’s daughter Agnes mysteriously disappeared and it prevented the search for her.

Now the plague is over, the village is trying to return to normal life, but it’s hard, with so much to do and so few left to do it. Conflict is growing between the manor and its tenants, as the workers realise their very scarceness means they’re more valuable than before: they can demand higher wages, take on spare land, have a better life. This is the chance they’ve all been waiting for!

Although she understands their demands, Alice is disheartened that the search for Agnes is once more put on hold. But when one of the rebels is killed, and then the lord’s son is found murdered, it seems the two deaths may be connected, both to each other and to Agnes’s disappearance.

Extract of Fortune's Wheel


Alice atte Wode, the Millers’ closest neighbour, was feeding her hens when she heard Joan’s first terrible anguished cries. Dropping her basket of seed, she ran to the Millers’ cottage. She wanted to cry out too at what she found there: Thomas and Joan both on their knees, clasped together, with Peter’s twisted body between them, sobbing as if the dam of their long pent-up emotions had burst. Alice breathed deeply to steady her nerves, for she didn’t know how to offer any solace for the Millers’ loss.

Not this time.

It was common enough for parents to lose children. It didn’t mean you ever got used to their loss, or that you loved them any less than if they’d lived. Few lost five children in as many months. But the Millers had. The prosperous family Alice knew only six months ago, with its noisy brood of six happy, healthy children, had been swiftly and brutally slaughtered by the great mortality.

Every family in Meonbridge had lost someone to the plague’s vile grip – a father, a mother, a child – but no other family had lost five.

The great mortality, sent by God, it was said, to punish the world for its sins, had torn the village apart. It had struck at random, at the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the innocent and the guilty. Some of its victims died coughing up blood, some with suppurating boils under their arms or next to their privy parts, some covered in dark, blackish pustules. A few recovered, but most did not and, after two or three days of fear and suffering, died in agony and despair, often alone and unshriven for the lack of a priest, when their loved ones abandoned them. After five months of terror, half of Meonbridge’s people were dead.

When the foul sickness at last moved on, leaving the villagers to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, Thomas and Joan Miller went to church daily, to pray for their five dead children’s souls, and give thanks to God for sparing Peter. Then the arrival of baby Maud just a few days ago had brought the Millers a bright ray of hope in the long-drawn-out darkness of their despair.

But Peter hadn’t been spared after all.

Praise for Fortune's Wheel

“...exceptionally well written...astoundingly well researched.”

“...visually descriptive, atmospheric and felt authentic….”

“...completely intriguing, fascinating and surprisingly emotional...more please!” 

“...saturated with expertly researched descriptions which capture the essence of medieval life.”

“…captivating…opened my eyes to a personally unexplored genre.”

“…grab yourself a copy and get lost in an altogether different time.”

Buy the Book


About the Author

Carolyn Hughes was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire, in southern England. After a first degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. It was fun for a few years, but she left to become a school careers officer in Dorset. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the Government. She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest, several years ago, that creative writing and, especially, writing historical fiction, took centre stage in her life. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

Fortune’s Wheel is her first published novel, and a sequel is under way.

You can learn more about Carolyn on her website and blog, and connect with her on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Book Blast: The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz

Pub. Date: September 15, 2017
Series: Heaven’s Pond Trilogy, Book Two

Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?

The Soldier’s Return is the second book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy and will be released on September 15, 2017.

Buy the Book


About the Author

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

For more information, please visit Laura Libricz’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Soldier's Return Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 4

A Book Geek
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!

Tuesday, September 5

100 Pages a Day
The Reading Queen

Wednesday, September 6

Must Read Faster
Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 7

The Writing Desk
The Maiden’s Court
To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, September 8

 Book Nerd
CelticLady’s Reviews

Saturday, September 9

Passages to the Past
Books, Dreams, Life

Sunday, September 10

I Heart Reading

Monday, September 11

A Literary Vacation
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, September 12

Jo’s Book Blog
WS Momma Readers Nook

Wednesday, September 13

Laura’s Interests
Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, September 14

A Holland Reads
Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, September 15

T’s Stuff
Pursuing Stacie


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cover Crush: All Is Beauty Now by Sarah Faber

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....

As I look at this cover it's kind of hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I love about this cover, but love it I do! Some of it, I think, is the beautifully painted bird and foliage and then the angry slash cutting right through it! What does it mean? While giving a sense of texture - which I do love in a cover - it also makes me think that something horrible is coming to the beautiful things within this story.

Amy I correct in my assumption? Let's see....

Set against the seductive world of 1960s Rio de Janeiro, an exquisite debut novel about family secrets, divided loyalties, and what we're willing to do to save ourselves.

This mesmerizing first novel follows a glamorous family as they prepare to leave the seeming paradise of Brazil for Canada in the wake to the mysterious disappearance--and presumed drowning--of their eldest daughter a year earlier. As the novel moves back and forth between the members of the Maurer family, we are taken into the heart of a family whose beauty and charm belie a more troubling reality. We meet the family's brilliant and charismatic father, whose bipolar extremes are becoming increasingly disturbing; his long-suffering wife, who once had a brief affair that proves to have shattering consequences for the family she swore to protect; their two remaining daughters, both on the brink of understanding the darker currents that run in their once-proud family; and the lost daughter herself, a beautiful young woman undone by her own grand delusions.

Taking readers from the golden beaches of Rio to the poverty of its fishing villages, from the glamour of the legendary Copacabana Club to the austerity of a remote convent, this revelatory novel takes us into the soul of a family already living in the shadow of loss and now poised to leave behind everything they've ever known, if only they could make peace with the past.

Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):

Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Publisher: Tantor Audio
Pub. Date: June 5th, 2015
Narrator: Zach Villa
Length: 8 hours, 24 minutes

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery / Thriller


College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran-and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Aided by his skeptical neighbor, Lila, Joe throws himself into uncovering the truth. Thread by thread, he begins to unravel the tapestry of Carl's conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it's too late to escape the fallout?

What Did I Think of the Story?

I've seen this book a number of times online and, while I thought it sounded pretty good, the chance to pick up a copy just didn't seem to come up. Then I saw it available to download on my library's Overdrive account (which, anyone who uses Overdrive will know, is sometimes a rarity as there never seem to be enough copies available) and knew this was the perfect time to snag a copy.  So download the audiobook I did and I started listening to it right away on my commute. While there were aspects of the audiobook I wasn't crazy about, the story overall ended up being quite good.

My biggest issue with the audiobook, at least at first, was the narrator (Zach Villa). When the story began his voice and cadence were so monotone and boring that I almost gave up all together. However, he actually did a pretty great job of changing up the timbre and emotion of his voice during the dialogue, which I found so interesting as most narrators I've come across have had more trouble successfully pulling off the latter than the former. So persist I did and I am so happy I did because the actual story was thrilling and the narration improved as the story progressed.

My favorite aspect of the story, which I didn't expect at all, was the sweet relationships between some of these characters, especially between Joe and his autistic brother. Seeing Joe try to protect his brother from their selfish and cruel mom while also trying to move away and better his life was quite touching and felt very realistic given the pretty horrible circumstances Joe found himself in. So many of the characters - nearly all of them really - had been through some horrific situations and this in-depth look at these scars and triumphs that can either build or destroy a person and seeing how our particular characters either retain their humanity no matter what or become bad people was fascinating.

This being said, the actual mystery and thriller aspects of The Life We Bury were wonderful as well. Watching Joe and his neighbor weed through the inconsistencies between Carl's story and what they find in the court files and trying to pick up the crumbs of what really happened as Joe puts together the pieces kept me wanting to listen to more and more of the story so I could figure out what really happened. And once we do discover the truth the real danger picks up for Joe and his loved ones and the breakneck speed of the narrative left me quite breathless.

I won't give away the ending but I will say that I loved it! While I might have enjoyed this one a little more if I had physically read it instead of listening to it, either way it became quite touching and exciting in turns. It's so much more than simply a thriller and is also an excellent look at grief, regret, atonement, and fighting to find the truth about people even if that truth is sometimes ugly. It's about coming to terms with the life you live in and not trying to run away or hide from it. I'll be looking out for more from this author for sure. 

What Did I Think of the Cover?

To be honest, it's plainer than the typical cover I gravitate towards. That being said, the cover fits the book perfectly.  It's stark, cold, and harsh, much like the actions and consequences the characters deal with within the story. It's an honest and unadorned sort of cover and, having finished the story, I've grown to kind of like it. Definitely not something that would make me stop in my tracks but perfect for this particular story.

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

I borrowed the audiobook version of The Life We Bury from my library's Overdrive account. All opinions are mine alone. You can find more about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy yourself, on Goodreads HERE.