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Fire is not to be played with: Author tells us

Playing with Fire
April Henry
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: January 19th 2021

When a fire cuts off a popular trail in the Oregon forest, a small group trapped by the flames must find another way out―or die―in Playing with Fire, an unrelenting teen-vs-nature YA thriller by New York Times bestselling author April Henry. Natalia is not the kind of girl who takes risks. Six years ago, she barely survived the house fire that killed her baby brother. Now she is cautious and always plays it safe. For months, her co-worker Wyatt has begged her to come hiking with him, and Natalia finally agrees. But when a wildfire breaks out, blocking the trail back, a perfect sunny day quickly morphs into a nightmare. With no cell service, few supplies, and no clear way out of the burning forest, a group of strangers will have to become allies if they’re going to survive. Hiking in the dark, they must reach the only way out―a foot bridge over a deep canyon―before the fire catches them.

April Henry Tells why she wrote this book:

After I read news stories about a group of hikers was trapped by the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017, I knew immediately that I wanted to put fictional hikers in a similar situation. The real group of hikers trapped at Punchbowl Falls numbered over a hundred, but that’s far too many to follow for a book. I cut it down to about a dozen.

In real life, as in the book, people who had planned on doing an easy three mile round-trip trek to a swimming hole suddenly found themselves forced to hike over twenty miles on much more treacherous trails, much of it at night.

I was fascinated by the idea of this disparate group of people having to pull together if they are to survive. And after writing books featuring serial killers, it was kind of fun to write one where the serial killer is nature. I wanted the characters to survive everything the environment might throw at them, so I brainstormed scenarios with a search and rescue leader. He told me some crazy true stories about the Eagle Creek Fire. One was about a large tree that toppled and torpedoed down a couple thousand feet of scree slope, which sheared off all its limbs and turned into a giant log missile. I used that in the book.

I decided that my main character had survived a house fire as a child, so I researched house fires, burn units, and trauma therapy.

For additional research, my husband and I hiked in the unburned side of the Gorge in Washington State so that I could take pictures and make mental notes.

I also became certified in wilderness first aid.

The fire struck close to home. In fact, if the winds had shifted, it could have reached Portland. Even so, it burned for weeks. On many days, my car was coated in ash. The Columbia Gorge is considered one of the jewels of Oregon, but now the trees that used to stand sentinel on the hills are nothing but blackened stubs. Surviving a wild fire unfortunately continues to be a timely topic, as the summer of 2020 saw even fiercer wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Washington.

AUTHOR BIO:

April Henry is the New York Times–bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels The Girl in the White Van; Girl, Stolen; The Night She Disappeared; The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die; The Girl I Used to Be, which was nominated for an Edgar Award and won the Anthony Award for Best YA Mystery; Count All Her Bones; The Lonely Dead; Run, Hide, Fight Back; and The Body in the Woods and Blood Will Tell, the first two books in the Point Last Seen series. She lives in Oregon.

Author links:

https://www.aprilhenry.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/88507.April_Henry

https://www.facebook.com/AprilHenry/

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Dust up: A Book Review

Witch Dust: A Paranormal Comedy Book Cover Witch Dust: A Paranormal Comedy
Thriller Witch Series Book 1
Marilyn Messik
Mystery & Thrillers, Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 12 Jan 2020

For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill! But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.

From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without. Ophelia, it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, the newly discovered nearest and dearest with their peculiar tendencies and failing hotel business, the happier she’s going to b. 

There are just a few things to sort first including a possessed chef; a hanged housemaid; a fly-on-the-wall documentary and a doppelgänger. Things slide swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One minute she’s saving the family business the next, battling to save their lives. Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left undisturbed.

Complicated fun and bizarre plot elements give a nicely humorous storyline for this witch-based story. Starting with initial paragraph where her mother transports into her living room with her luggage, a cat, and a brown envelope, and announces that she has just killed her husband – our narrator’s father!

Of course, this turns out not be as literal as it could have been.

Ma and Pa were 2 halves of a Magic Act – which of course was more magical than they let on. They had been together for many years touring and bringing baby along too – both were beautiful, glamourise and natural show business actors. They had a manager named Murray who did most of the actual child rearing for Serenissima (AKA Sandra) our narrator. Who much preferred to be living outside of the chaotic life of her parents.

And then Pa has a mid-life crisis and decides that Ma is getting too old for the act and he would prefer a younger partner. Which is of course the start of the shenanigans that occur, especially around the knives! And the ghosts and….

Fun and light with a show business element.

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Adding it all up

The Sum
#5 The Trusted
Michelle Medhat.
Political thrillers, metaphysical and visonary
Mindblowing Books Ltd (2 May 2020)

The world is in harmony, and humanity’s light shines bright. But is there more at play than what can be seen. And what will be the Protector's role now Earth shows it doesn’t need her.

The sadistic global terrorist collective, Al Nadir is gone. World leaders have joined together in Freedom Earth. Religious heads have put aside their differences. The Balance is in equilibrium. Cheap energy is available for everyone.

This is a time of peace.

But Ellie isn’t so sure.

She feels something dangerous bubbling beneath the smooth surface. Struggling to shake her instincts, she remains suspicious of British Prime Minister Ashton. His sly smirk and wandering eyes undermine his perfect, family-man façade. But how can she denounce the most popular man in the world?

As pressures grow and lies build, one thing is for certain, when, in the end, the truth is revealed, it's going to be cataclysmic!

The Sum is the finale in the dark, edgy and dangerous The Trusted Thriller Series. If you like mind-blowing suspense, ancient alien powers, and espionage intrigue, then you’ll love this exhilarating adventure.

This was disappointing. I had read the previous books in the series but found this one just too difficult to read. It didn’t work for me from the starting chapter onwards. And in my opinion doesn’t work as a standalone novel as it relies too much on the previous books and the reader having knowledge from them.

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Notorious – they will be

Notorious Minds Boxset: Book Cover Notorious Minds Boxset:
Mystery & Thriller Crime Boxed Set
various
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Fire Quill Publishing
Publication date: October 13th 2020
kindle

Delve into these dark and twisted tales by twenty USA Today and International Bestselling Authors. No matter what kind of crime story typically catches your imagination, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Conspiracies, political plots, and yes, even murder, are just a few of the crimes waiting inside this box set. Discover a narcissistic grandmother running an underground syndicate, or a support group bent on murder…and even a serial killer who turns his victims into fairytale creatures. Uncover the passion, jealousy, and fear lingering in every tale. This box set is packed with thousands of pages that will hold you on the edge of your seat, crying for answers. Definitely a must for fans of Patterson, Lee, and Grisham.

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Trees and Minds

Girl from the Tree House Book Cover Girl from the Tree House
Women of our time Book 1
Gudrun Frerichs
psychological, thriller
Gudrun Frerichs
(21 May 2019)

It all unraveled at the funeral...

Horace Reid's death opened the door to our freedom. His widow, Elizabeth, exists only on paper. She disappeared thirty years ago. It's us, the Tribe, who live in her body now. But nobody knows that. Us are Elise, the reluctant host, Lilly the closer, Ama, the proverbial mother, Sky, our wise guide, Amadeus, the warrior, and Luke, the man around the house. There are others, but we make sure they stay hidden and away from harm.

After Horace's funeral, they tried to lock us in a mental hospital. Our sister-in-law had it all carefully planned. Thanks to quick thinking—yes, being a multiple has its advantages—we escaped to New Zealand's South Island. Tucked away in the West Coast wilderness we... well, the plan was to continue our healing. We didn't expect that monsters from our past still had us on their radar. When the police accuse us of murder we have to run again. Where to go, which way to turn? Our neighbor Scott appears helpful, but can we trust him? Can we trust ourselves? Can we trust anyone?

The GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE is the first of a series of psychological thrillers set in current day New Zealand. It describes how Elizabeth, a thirty-two-year-old woman with multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID), fights for her sanity and freedom. Four core personalities tell the story from the inside out, giving a touching insight into the workings of the dissociated mind. There are no graphic descriptions of abuse.

Gudrun Frerichs is a retired psychotherapist and trauma specialist in the field of (sexual) abuse recovery. She successfully worked with many clients who had a DID diagnosis. Recovery from trauma and dissociation has been the focus of her Master's dissertation (2000) and Ph.D. thesis (2008) and is also the topic of her blog Multiple Voices. THE GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE is a spectacular departure from her romance series THE GOLDEN GIRLS.

Whilst written by a psychotherapist she failed to completely proofread the book for terms spelt incorrectly. Which is a shame as this will confuse those readers who are not of her community.

Multiple personalities do exist in the DID world but it is rarer than most fiction writers would have us believe. Nevertheless, as this book is written by a psychotherapist, what we get here, is an amalgam of her true experiences with such patients. 
For someone like me, who is not an expert, this is fascinating. And yes, ECT is still used occasionally it seems. But childhood trauma is so often a cause of dissociating as Miss Marple says- it is a normal response, to any trauma in fact. 
And our narrator says she belongs to a Tribe, not all of whom are female. And only 1 got married.

This is not light reading, but it is thought provoking, especially in relation to our own internal worlds. We all have them. And, in the right circumstances, we can hold two contradictions as equally true and valid. Do we have more
than one personality? It often seems so. There is the way we interact with strangers, which is different from our interactions within family, and which may be different from how we interact with rich or poor or famous people.
So 5 stars for tackling a difficult issue- and think on- there are a very high percentage of prisoners with trauma related mental health problems which cause them to have difficulty operating in 'normal' society.

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