Wednesday, December 5, 2018

ARC Review: Deadfall by Stephen Wallenfels

Author: Stephen Wallenfels
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (December 11, 2018)

Description: Twin brothers Ty and Cory Bic are on the run. When they encounter a dying deer in the middle of a remote mountain road with fresh tire tracks swerving down into a ravine, they know they have to help. But when they reach the wrecked car the vehicle appears empty, with signs that the driver escaped.

Until they hear a sound coming from the trunk.

Ty and Cory are escaping demons of their own. But what they discover in the trunk puts them in the crosshairs of something darker and more sinister than their wildest nightmares.

Told through a gripping, lightning-fast narrative that alternates between present and past, this unputdownable survival thriller unravels the tangled circumstances that led Ty and Cory to the deer in the road and set them on a perilous course through the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.

My Thoughts: This story begins when Benny Bic takes his twin 16-year-old sons Cory and Ty on a road trip for their birthday. Benny is a drunk who has taken to physically abusing Cory since his wife left the family a couple of years earlier. Ty is the one who is the most like their father, including his anger issues. Cory is more sensitive. He's fat, bright, interested in cooking, and is coming to believe that he is gay.

The road trip isn't something either of the boys want to do. They wind up hiking into the wilderness where, after scaring them by seeming to abandon them, Benny shows the boy a secret hideout in an old burnt out stump that he discovered some years earlier. He also tells them that their home has been sold and that they are moving to Portland so that he can go into business with a low-life named Tirk.

Benny moves the kids into a former crack house and begins to get involved with Meth. After he double crosses his partner, he's murdered and the boys are thrown into foster care with the bad guys on their trail.

The story is told in a somewhat linear fashion alternating between the boys life in Portland, in Luster, and in Stumptown. It talks about their life in foster care with former judge turned political candidate Harvey Mott and his family, and what they discover about him. It also adds suspense when the boys decided to run away to winter in Stumptown and discover a car with a girl in the trunk who's still be pursued by those who put her there.

The story was fast-paced and action-packed. I liked getting to know Cory and watch him grow through the story. The only complaint I have is the number of coincidences that litter the story. The judge picked the boys because he remembers seeing them along with their parents one time when Benny was up before a judge. The kidnapped girl connects to their father and the other villains after them.

Favorite Quote:
"It's a shitty deal. I get all that. But I have a job to do, okay? My job is to catch the bad guys. Because if I don't catch the bad guys, they get to keep being bad."

Cory thought, Did he really just say that?

Ty looked at Cory. "I think this is where he tells us that we can do it the easy way or the hard way."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

State of the Stack #78 (Dec. 1, 2018)

This is my monthly State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. I take a look at my review commitments on or near the first of the month. Link with Avalinah's Books (description below) to check out other people's progress. She has just recently started a meme about review books.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet I list them in publication order and sort them by month. I can quickly see how many books I have for each date. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books. Check my spreadsheet to find out where I got each book.

I also do this post because sometimes (frequently) review books sit on my stack for a while before I read and review them. I try to read and review books within two weeks of publication date. Sometimes I can't, though, if too many books are releasing on the same date or if the book arrives too near its publication date and my calendar is already full.

I am very grateful to the authors and publishers who support my reading habit.

I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
  1. Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch (Nov. 17)
  2. Deception with an Unlikely Earl by Victoria Alexander (Nov. 20)
  3. Fool's Moon by Diane A. S. Stuckart (Nov. 22)
  4. Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst (Nov. 28)
  5. Deadfall by Stephen Wallenfels (Dec. 5)
  6. A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn (March 6)
Read Previously, Reviews Posted This Month
  1. Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate (Nov. 1)
  2. Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne (Nov. 2)
  3. A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden (Nov. 3) 
  4. SEAL's Honor by Megan Crane (Nov. 6)
  5. The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston (Nov. 7)
  6. A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany
  7. A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes (Nov. 8)
  8. Fatal Festival Days by Jamie M. Blair (Nov. 8)
  9. Those Who Go By Night by Andrew Gaddes (Nov. 10)
  10. The Once and Future Geek by Mari Mancusi (Nov. 14)
  11. In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon (Nov. 15)
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date published is listed in parentheses.
  1. Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose (Feb. 12)
  2. A Merciful Fate by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 15)
  3. One Tough Cowboy by Lora Leigh and Veronica Chadwick (Jan. 29)
  4. The Military Wife by Laura Trentham (Feb. 5)
  5. Untouchable by Jayne Ann Krentz (Jan. 8)
  6. Secrets Never Die by Melinda Leigh (March 19)
  7. The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (May 7)
  8. Killing November by Adriana Mather (March 26)
  9. A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn (March 12)
My Review Pile

Untouchable by Jayne Ann Krentz (Jan. 8)
This Promise of Change by Jo An Allen Boyce & Debbie Levy (Jan. 8)
Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden (Jan. 8)
 The Au Pair by Emma Rous (Jan. 8)
The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (Jan. 8)
The Hangman's Secret by Laura Joh Rowland (Jan. 8)
 A Merciful Fate by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 15)
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (Jan. 15)
Tear It Down by Nick Petrie (Jan. 15)
 The Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (Jan. 15)
The Burning Island by Hester Young (Jan. 22)
Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (Jan. 22)
One Tough Cowboy by Lora Leigh & Veronica Chadwick (Jan. 29)
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Jan. 29)

 The Military Wife by Laura Trentham (Feb. 5)
Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong (Feb. 5)
Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins (Feb. 5)
 The Antidote by Shelley Sackier (Feb. 5)
Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose (Feb. 12)
How I Became a Spy by Deborah Hopkinson (Feb. 12)
 Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert (Feb. 12)
The Blood Spell by C. J. Redwine (Feb. 12)
Immoral Code by Lillian Clark (Feb. 19)
In the Dark by Cara Hunter (Feb. 19)
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlar Kay Mejia (Feb. 26)

 The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets (March 5)
If You're Out There by Katy Lautzenhiser (March 5)
The Pioneer by Bridget Tyler (March 5)
 The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees (March 12)
Murder in Belgravia by Lynn Brittney (March 13)
Secrets Never Die by Melinda Leigh (March 19)
 The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst (March 19)
Winter War Awakening by Rosalyn Eves (March 19)
Sherwood by Meagan Spooner (March 19)
Killing November by Adriana Mather (March 26)

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (April 2)
Dreaming Darkly by Caitlyn Kittredge (April 9)

The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (May 7)
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst (May 14)

Next Month's Plan

I have been doing some thinking about what I want to do about review books. Right now I have 21 YA and 18 adult books on my stack. When I look at the list, I am much more excited about reading the adult books on the stack.

I think it is time to cut way back on accepting YA books to review. This is the second year of my retirement and I don't have any contact with school kids anymore. I don't feel the same need to keep up with what YAs are reading that I felt when I was working with them.

I have noticed that my reading tastes are changing too. I have much less desire to read the big fantasies that seem to be filling the lists of books for review. I go looking for mysteries and romantic suspense with a dash of science fiction and romance.

For 2019, look for fewer YAs and more mysteries. I may also switch this post over to my adult blog and let my YA blog go mostly dormant. Right now I have only one post scheduled for December and no real plans to read any YA in the near future.


I am also linking up with the State of the ARC meme. Here is the explanation and rules.

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies). You can track your reading progress and link up with your own post. Most commonly it comes out on the 30th of every month.

Rules of State of the ARC:

  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share our ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post. You can use my State of the ARC image too.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • And most importantly – have fun!