Book Review | After He Killed Me by Natalie Barelli

after he killed me
Emma’s friends are close. Her enemies are closer.

Emma Fern has won at life: she’s a prize-winning author and she’s blissfully happy with her husband, Jim. It wasn’t an easy rise to the top, but Emma knows you can’t achieve success without sacrifice. The trouble is, Jim knows that too.

As her literary triumph starts to fade into the past, Emma comes under pressure to write a second bestseller. But her big secret is that she didn’t write the first one. She’s a fraud, and the only people who ever knew the truth are…no longer a problem.

What Emma didn’t count on was Jim playing the long game too. He has his own secrets—and a dangerous plan that could derail her beautifully orchestrated life. Faced with the loss of everything that defines her, Emma is forced to take increasingly desperate steps.

She won’t go down without a fight. And as Jim should know, she won’t fight fair.

So Emma Fern is back, in the second of two books in this series.  Without giving away spoilers, since I truly am going to suggest that you read the first book, Until I Met Her, this book picks up right after the ending from that book.  Emma is a published author, Poulton Prize winner and she and Jim are happy and moving on after some of the incidents from book one.

Yet within the first three chapters, Emma is struck by a car and things begin to move into motion.  She and Jim seem to have weathered some pretty intense moments in their marriage, and the accident is another one that pulls them together.  Or does it?

After the accident, Emma has some repercussions and as a result, her instinct seems to be a little off.  This time around, Emma needs to write another book, and she coincidentally runs into a ghostwriter who offers help.  Things begin to slowly unfold and Emma’s new reality is revealed.  Prepare for the fast-pace and “what in the world is really happening” moments that are reminiscent of book one.  I laughed out loud a few times, just because Emma always seems to have a plan, and one that involves so many crazy pieces fitting together.

This book made me wish there was a book three, simply because the ending is almost unbelievable.  There’s no way it can just end there.  Do you want to go on the wild ride that is Emma Fern?  Grab a copy, snuggle up by a fire, and maybe grab a bottle of Scotch in honor of Beatrice Johnson Greene.  You’re definitely going to need it!

Book Review | The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn

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I loved this book!!  It follows the story of Esther who is a high risk analyst at a very high profile bank.  Her ability to see trends and decipher some kind of pattern in her bank’s behavior alerts her that something heavy will affect the stock market and result in a 2008 mirror effect of today’s economy.  She goes to her bosses with her urgent intel, only to find out that they have an escape plan for what’s coming, and she’s not part of it.

Among the constant urgency that can be felt throughout the book are two additional subplots: one is that her brother was in a very tragic accident that left him in a nursing home and she is the only survivor in her family to take care of him.  Due to his dependency on her, she is forced to deal with some painful memories from their childhood.  And in addition to visiting him on a regular basis, she also meets a man who has quite an effect on her, and helps her learn to let go of some things and to love again.

I enjoyed the overall story line, even though I’ll admit, some of the banking and economical words were over my head.  But even for a layperson reading this novel (hoping it’s not prophetic!), it’s a simple read with depth page after page.  I would definitely read another book by this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Larissa Murphy

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Eight Twenty Eight was a very easy, yet emotional read.

Larissa Murphy writes a first-person account of meeting a young man and falling in love with hopes of a picture perfect wedding, only to have those dreams shattered when her new love survives a very tragic accident that changes both of their lives forever.  She writes deeply about the love that she has for him which was maintained during learning what it’s like to live with someone who can’t do things by themselves anymore.

Ian and Larissa, both young Christians, demonstrate intense faith amidst great tragedy.  Much of what is in the book comes from Larissa’s journals during that time, and she struggles very candidly with whether or not she has the level of love needed to continue the new relationship with Ian.  Trust in God becomes a new trial and she questions God’s grace and purpose in all of it.  But with a renewed sense of who she is and who God is making Ian, she pushes forward to care for, live with and pursue a relationship, and ultimately a marriage with the man she knows God had in mind for her.

It’s beautiful how she writes through the pain, allows us to see the heartache, and the hunger for God during her questioning, struggles and uncertainty.  With raw emotion, she details exchanges between herself and Ian’s family, friends and others whom she encounters.  And she’s not afraid to admit her anger during her grief.  I enjoyed this book a lot and shed many tears through its pages.

The flow of the story was disjointed at times, and I believe it was because her emotions were the focus of the story and not a chronological timeline.  It’s still understandable, but that would be my only con.  Other than that, a great read about faith being strengthened, relationships growing and grace persevering.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through B&H Publishing and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”