Month: June 2017

Blog Tour: The Fourth Monkey

I am very excited to be the stop for the blog tour for J.D. Barker’s upcoming novel The Fourth Monkey. It will be available next week.  I loved this book! My review and more is below:

Pre-order The Fourth Monkey
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 416 pages in Paperback

To Be Published:  June 27, 2017
Dates Read: May 30-June 12, 2017

My Rating: 5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, “A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.


The Fourth Monkey (4MK) was my first novel by J.D. Barker and it will not be my last!  It was brilliantly disturbing and I loved every page of it!  4MK is about a serial killer who has terrorized Chicago for five years, but then he is found dead and it appears he has taken one final victim.  It becomes a race against time to find 4MK’s latest victim before it is too late.

There are multiple narrators in this novel, and if you follow my reviews then you already know I enjoy those types of novels.  The main narrators are Detective Sam Porter, the final victim, and even 4MK through diary entries.  We get to know Detective Porter well and learn about his private life, which is not perfect.  Porter has been on this case since the beginning and he wants to end this case for good.

This is a very intense, dark and disturbing novel to read. The chapters are short, which gives you that “just one more chapter” feeling and I did not want to put it down. EVER.  4MK is being compared to Silence of the Lambs and Se7en, and like both, 4MK has very graphic violence in it, so it will not be for everyone.  J.D. Barker is vivid in his descriptions.  For example, at one point I was reading a scene that involved a rat and could picture everything clearly in my mind. I cringed as I was reading because I thought the scene was going to go in a certain direction and could see that direction in my head.

The diary entries are very unsettling as we see the influences that show how 4MK became what he is today.  I believe a person can have a tendency for things such as violence, but one’s environment can also affect a person.  4MK never had a chance to become anything other than what he did.  That is what makes those diary entries so disturbing.  For me the diary entries were more violent and troubling than the current case.

4MK takes place over a very intense and short time period. Barker does a remarkable job pulling you in and taking you for this ride with Porter as 4MK reaches its conclusion.   I thought I knew what the ending was going to be about 125 pages in, but I am glad to report that I was wrong.

I am very selective with my choice of five star reviews, and 4MK receives one!  In fact, I think it will be in my list of top reads of the year.

4MK is very highly recommended.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for my arc review copy and for Booklover Catlady Publicity & Reviews for having me on the blog tour!

If you like the idea of The Fourth Monkey and think it should be a film, then you are in luck! Barker has sold publishing rights for The Fourth Monkey in America and other countries, and also has a TV and movie deal.

Do you want a draft copy of The Fourth Monkey? Check out this contest HERE that is going on!

Do you want to be a character in J.D.’s next book? Check out this contest HERE he has going on right now!

About the Author

Barker was born January 7, 1971 in Lombard, Illinois and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A staunch introvert, he was rarely seen without a book in hand, devouring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series by the age of six before moving on to classics such as the works of Dickens and Twain. The discovery of Shelley, Stoker and Poe fueled a fire and it wasn’t long before he was writing tales of his own which he shared with friends and family. These early stories centered around witches and ghosts thought to inhabit the woods surrounding their home.

At fourteen, Barker’s family relocated to Englewood, Florida, a climate better suited to his father’s profession as a contractor. He attended Lemon Bay High School and graduated in 1989. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the arts but unsure of a direction, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he later obtained a degree in business. While in college, one of his writing assignment found its way into the hands of Paul Gallotta of Circus Magazine. Gallotta reached out to Barker and asked him to join the staff of 25th Parallel Magazine where he worked alongside the man who would later become Marilyn Manson. Assignments dropped him into the center of pop culture and by 1991 Barker branched out, interviewing celebrities for the likes of Seventeen, TeenBeat, and other national and local publications. In 1992, Barker syndicated a small newspaper column called Revealed which centered around the investigation of haunted places and supernatural occurrences. While he often cites these early endeavors as a crash course in tightening prose, his heart remained with fiction. He began work as a book doctor and ghostwriter shortly thereafter, helping others fine tune their writing for publication. Barker has said this experience proved invaluable, teaching him what works and what doesn’t in today’s popular fiction. He would continue in this profession until 2012 when he wrote a novel of his own, titled Forsaken.

Stephen King read portions of Forsaken prior to publication and granted Barker permission to utilize the character of Leland Gaunt of King’s Needful Things in the novel. Indie-published in late 2014, the book went on to hit several major milestones – #2 on Audible (Harper Lee with Go Set a Watchman held #1), #44 on Amazon U.S., #2 on Amazon Canada, and #22 on Amazon UK. Forsaken was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (Best Debut Novel) and won a handful of others including a New Apple Medalist Award. After reading Forsaken, Bram Stoker’s family reached out to Barker and asked him to co-author a prequel to Dracula utilizing Bram’s original notes and journals, much of which has never been made public.

Barker’s indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television.

Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.

Contact J.D.
Twitter @jdbarker

Owlcrate ‘Unboxing’

Yesterday I did a live ‘unboxing’ of an Owlcrate box over on the Bookies Facebook page.  Owlcrate is a monthly YA book subscription service.  Their website is HERE. They also offer an Owlcrate Jr. box which is also a monthly subscription service for kids ages 8-12. For the purposes of this post I will just be discussing Owlcrate.

There are three ways you can subscribe to Owlcrate:
Monthly at $29.99 a month
3 months at a time $86.98
6 months at a time $167.94

Shipping costs:
US $6.99
Canada $10.59
International $19.99

There was a special discount code for this particular box which was ALIVE15  and I was able to save 15% off my box which made the total $32.49.

The theme for June’s box was Make it out Alive! As this was my first ‘unboxing’, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Owl Crate had sneak peaks on their site, so I knew a little going in on what was in the box.

When the box arrived in the mail, I was surprised at its size.  I don’t know if the box is always this large, but it barely fit in my mailbox!  We measured the box and it was 11x7x5. My little hands had a hard time holding it.

If you would like to watch, here is a link to the video from my live unboxing:

First in the box was a card with the theme and “spoiler warning”. It tells you what everything is and where it came from as they are Owlcrate exclusives.

Next was my bath bomb which came from Fizzy Fairy Apothecary. I knew about this ahead of time and was looking forward to it as it was mentioned on Owlcrate’s Facebook page.  It was Divergent themed and inside is a charm telling you what faction you are. Needless to say I just had to go ahead and take a bath, plus I have never used a bath bomb before and did not know what to expect.

It fizzed and turned my bath water green.  I enjoyed my bath and found out my faction:

Erudite: The Intelligent

There was also a nice double sided bookmark from A Court of Thorns and Roses series, which I have not read.  The bookmark was designed by Hey Atlas Creative. There was also a small pin. There wasn’t anything about it on the card, so I can’t really say anything about it other than it went with the whole theme of the box.  There was a big magnet that I really liked and it is already on the refrigerator.  It was inspired by An Ember in the Ashes, another book I have not read.  It was created by Little Inklings Design.

There was also a totally awesome sleeping mask that came from Archie McPhee. I LOVE it! I haven’t replaced my old one that broke, so this was a nice surprise to get.  Apparently my husband will be sleeping with a zombie in the very near future….  LOL

There was also a patch that is from The Giver (which is yet another novel I have never read) which came from Laserbrain Patch Co.

Now it’s time to talk about the books!

This month there are two books in the Owlcrate box.  The first one is New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson which is part of a series. The publisher is Oftomes Publishing.  The cover and the book description intrigue me, so I am looking forward to reading this one at some point!

Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words- to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls- outside of The Sanctuary- is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself.

Here is the main event! 

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
Published June 6, 2017

The theme was centered around this book  and the cover is an exclusive Owlcrate cover.  It also came with a letter from the author, a signed book plate, and a sticker sheet:

When all hope is gone, how do you survive?

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.

Here is my whole box of goodies:

I really enjoyed my first unboxing experience and sharing that with the followers of the Bookies Facebook page and I plan to do more.  I liked how everything was green and stayed to the theme.  It seems that you definitely get your money’s worth, especially with two books in this box.  Opening the box is really an experience. I can see why people keep getting boxes every month; It’s like Christmas, you don’t know what you are going to get and it happens year round!  I just know I personally would not be able to afford a box every month. Anyone want to buy me a subscription????

With this box, I would recommend Owl Crate. 

**UPDATE** 6/28/17

After a few days of using the zombie face mask it snapped and was broken. I was disappointed as I did not have it long at all. I contacted Owlcrate about that and within a few days I had a replacement, which I received today.  Thanks for your great customer service Crystal!



Standalone Sunday: The Silent Wife

Standalone Sunday was started by Megan over at Bookslayer Reads.

What is Standalone Sunday?

Each Sunday bloggers feature a standalone book (one that is not part of a series) that they loved or would recommend. The standalone can also be one you want to read. There is so much focus on books that are part of a series that standalone books seem to be forgotten. They can be just as great as book series!

Here is my choice for this week:

The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison

Description from Goodreads:

Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go.

I was able to get a copy at my local library sale in October.  I enjoy books with alternating POVs (point of views) and it sounds good, so I am hoping this will be one I will enjoy.

The Silent Wife is A.S.A Harrison’s first novel, though not her first book written.  There is a sadness about the author, she passed away from cancer at age 65 in April 2013, before The Silent Wife was published. It was published June 25, 2013.   It’s sad as she worked so hard to write The Silent Wife and was never able to see it published.

A.S.A. Harrison