Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Thriller When A Stranger Comes by @KarenSueBell

Today’s team review is from Karen, she blogs here http://sassyredheadbookreviews.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading When A Stranger Comes by Karen S. Bell

When a Stranger Comes... by [Bell, Karen S.]

Quite a different read from what I am used to. I did not expect this book to turn out like it did. I liked the book and hated to put it down. I needed to find out what was going on in the story and try to understand Alexa’s story.

I have to say that in the beginning I wasn’t sure if this was a book I would like or not. The prologue was good, and drew me in, but the first chapter made me question the rest of the book. Wow, was I wrong. After I got through the first page of the first paragraph, I was really drawn in and wanted to hurry up and read the book to find out what was going on.

An author who is writing a trilogy and has just finished the third book in the trilogy when things go awry for her. Alexa’s reality comes into question after she receives a phone call from her copy editor and friend Margaret. Is Alexa dreaming, is she writing a new story, or is this her new reality? Who is real and who is a figment of imagination? These are all questions that were going through my mind while reading this book.

A story full of angst, mind games, and questions of reality. If you enjoy a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, once you get into it, then you really need to read “When A Stranger Comes”. I give this book a 4.5 star review.

Book description

A GRIPPING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER IN THE TRADITION OF KING AND KOONTZ!

Satisfying one’s greed can come at a devilishly high cost.

Achieving what you crave can also bring the terrifying fear of losing it. For Alexa Wainwright, this truth has become her nightmare. Born Gladys Lipschitz, the daughter of an unwed Soviet-era Jewish immigrant, she was beyond thrilled and amazed when her debut novel, A Foregone Conclusion, soared to number one on the bestseller’s list and became an international sensation. The accompanying fame and riches were beyond her expectations. Unfortunately, her subsequent work has yet to achieve the same reception by critics and readers. Yes, they have sold well based on her name recognition, but she dreads the possibility of becoming a mid-list author forgotten and ignored. She vows to do whatever it takes to attain the heady ego-stroking success of her debut. But is she really? 

Witnessing an out-of-the-blue lightning bolt whose giant tendrils spread over the blue sky and city streets below her loft window, Alexa doesn’t realize just how this vow will be tested as she’s magically transported to an alternate reality. In this universe, the characters from her books are given the breath of life and she meets publisher, King Blakemore, who just might be the Devil himself. At first, she shrugs off her doubts about this peculiar publisher and very lucrative book deal offer because the temptation of riches and refound fame is too strong. But all too soon, Alexa realizes she’s trapped in an underworld of evil from which she desperately wants to escape. For starters, she finds herself in an iron-clad book contract that changes its wording whenever she thinks of a loophole. Desperate to get her life back, she devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence.

About the author

Karen S. Bell continues to be in awe of the magical and wondrous phenomenon called life. As an observer and obvious participant in feminine values and approach to our human challenges, she brings this perspective to her work. Fascinated by the mysteries of the unseen forces that perhaps play a role in guiding our choices, she continues to search for answers in the mundane as well as in the cosmic forces that surround us. She is working on her third novel and lives in Ponte Vedra, Fl. with her husband and their two furry kids.

Karen S. Bell

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT E.L. Reviews The Night Porter by Mark Barry

Today we have a review from team member E.L Lindley she blogs at http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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E.L chose to read and review The Night Porter by Mark Barry

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My only concern with Mark Barry’s wickedly clever book, The Night Porter, is that I may not be able to fully do it justice in my review. It really is a joy to read and a novel that operates on many different levels.

Superficially it can be enjoyed as an observational take on life in a high-end hotel, as narrated to us by the night porter. It focuses in particular on a short period of time leading up to the Arkwright literary awards, in which the hotel will play a pivotal role, not least because it will become temporary home to four of the writers. The novel develops into something of a mystery as one of the writers is attacked in his room and left for dead.

Barry’s tour de force is about so much more than this though. Throughout the novel, Barry skilfully affords us a playful metaphorical nod to the art of writing and never lets us forget that he is in fact constructing a story. He deftly raises the question of what it means to be a writer and whether one form of writing is any more valid than another. Barry uses the character of Julian Green, an acclaimed indie writer who despises the more commercial writers, to represent the ‘literary’ school of writing. There is the constant reference to the “paradox” within writing, whereby what is popular and successful is not necessarily ‘good literature’.

Barry’s exploration of writing as a craft is made even more effective by his own brave experimentation with the novel form. Julian makes the comment that, to be successful, “footnotes and fancy titles” should be avoided and yet, ironically, Barry makes excellent use of both these devices. They lend the novel both a dry sense of humour and, in the case of the footnotes, a deeper glimpse into the mind of the night porter.

The heart of the novel is of course the eponymous night porter. He is a complex and at times devious character, who captivates the reader with his gloriously prissy and yet sincere account of his life in the hotel. The night porter is a man defined by his job, hence his anonymous status, and in the beginning it would seem he is nothing without it. He subsumes his own identity to the needs of the job and we get the idea of him being like an iceberg, with only ten percent of who he is on show to the public. He seems to have no close friends outside of the hotel and reveals that he has been celibate for six years.

The night porter prides himself on his isolationist stance as a “lone wolf” but, as he becomes more and more infatuated with the writers, we begin to question the impartiality of his view point. He is smitten by the romance writer Amy Cook and hates the “sociable nazi” Martin Sixsmith, who is the bar manager and his nemesis. The night porter may be the “all-seeing eye” of the novel but Barry never lets us forget that he is a human being with all of the flaws and prejudices that are part and parcel of that.

The novel ends in a froth of fun when, like a magician Barry pulls aside the curtain, affording the reader a tiny peek at the mechanisms behind crafting a story. The Night Porter is, without a doubt, indie writing at its best. It is an intelligent, funny and most of all engaging novel and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com