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Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.

Category

thriller

Review: Don’t Tell A Soul, by D.K Hood. 3 stars

MY REVIEW:

3 stars

Thank You NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

There is a lot going on with Don’t Tell A Soul… probably too much. I was really excited to read it based on the description, some awesome reviews, along with the first fifteen pages or so.  But, after that it was kind of rocky for me. It took me quite a while to get through this book, and it drove me nuts that I couldn’t just get attached enough to finish it faster. Some parts sucked me right in and were SO well written, but then some parts I really had to force myself to get through.

For the first half of the book I blamed it on a reading slump, but once I got over halfway through I realized it wasn’t me so much, as my dislike for the main characters and the chaos of too many angles contributing to the suspense. I would have been happy if it would have only been about the missing people with regular ol’ police force on the case, rather than both the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff having such outrageous backstories. Their characters felt a little too convenient, and yet still rather irritatingly inconsistent.

There are two factors I loved about this book: 1. The opening was creative and sharp and it sucked me right in. 2. Each time it jumped into the disappeared victim’s stories, it was absolutely engaging. (if D.K. Hood ever wrote a horror story without the investigative aspect, I’d be the first in line to read it!!!)

Now, I really hate writing reviews that just list all the things I don’t like, so I’ll cut this short. Jenna’s character I struggled with. Sometimes she was a rock solid, brilliantly a don’t mess with me type, and I loved that… But then she would flip a switch and make weird rookie mistakes and turn into a helpless damsel. As for Kane, he drove me insane. All technical (paranoid over-thinker type), no personality.

At this point I’m about 70% sure I’ll read the next in the series. But, only because of the aspects I liked, I REALLY liked… Also out of curiosity in the potential that D.K. Hood’s writing truly has.. Not so much emotional or personal investment in the story.

DESCRIPTION:

When a body is found stuffed into a barrel at the local dump, covered in long red cuts, Detective Jenna Alton and her new deputy, David Kane, rush to the scene.

Nothing ever happens in the small town of Black Rock Falls, so Jenna believes the victim must be one of two recent missing persons, and she fears for the life of the other.

Both were strangers to the town, but there’s nothing else to link them. Jenna knows someone must have seen something, but no one’s talking; how well does she really know the people around her?

Then a disturbing clue makes Jenna suspect a connection with other disappearances in the town’s history. Just when she begins asking the right questions, she realises she’s being followed. Is she next on the killer’s list?

In a race against time, Jenna and David must unlock the dark secret at the heart of the town, before it’s too late…

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Has It Really Been A Month?

I can’t even believe it’s been a full month since I released Search For Maylee! I just want to throw out here how grateful I am for everyone who has read my book so far. I’ve been completely washed over with positive comments and it means the world! Help me to celebrate Search For Maylee’s one month release-aversary by enjoying this short excerpt:

Threatening tears welled in her eyes, confirming the quiver of her voice to be genuine. Of course Jeremy noticed the hesitant display of emotion. He already knew that Autumn had a secret, one that she’d reveal when she was ready, and not a minute before. It didn’t matter that he wanted to push her for more information, because he didn’t actually dare too. Jeremy knew more than what he was letting on, and plus it was visible that Autumn might snap with violence, or even worse, cry. Soothing emotional women had never been Jeremy’s strong suit, so he left it be. She’d come around eventually, and patience was always on his side.

The thinking wheels in Jeremy’s head were practically visible on the curves of his face. A pulsing clench of his jaw read ‘piss off’ and the wrinkles on his forehead shouted ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this’.  With a mere flick of his hand, but no words, Jeremy pointed the way. It was in the exact opposite direction of the clearly visible freeway sign sitting comfortably at the stoplight to their left. Jeremy sunk himself into the seat, leaning far enough back that he could barely see out the window. Then he pulled the hood of his light jacket up over his head and crossed his arms over his chest. He was irritated, but compliant.

After a full hour’s test drive, Autumn learned two stiff facts. The first fact was that she had definitely chosen the right car. Not a single person so much as glanced in their direction. The second was a much more sickening fact, there were places in this city that were equally as disgusting as they were heart wrenching. In merely one morning, and without even exiting her vehicle, Autumn had witnessed a drunken mother slapping around her toddler, a hooker sleeping on her street corner after a long night’s work no doubt, and two groups of young men exchanging drugs and money in plain daylight. That’s not to mention the windowless apartment buildings, and heavily ‘caution’ taped sidewalks.

Description:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

One Hell Of A Bookish Month!

So much bookishness has happened with me in the month of October. I was sitting here staring blankly at my computer today, struggling to pull a little bit of write-spiration to the surface, when it hit me… You know, I could probably get away with taking the last two days of this month off because after all, it’s likely been the best bookish month I’ve had all year!!

First off, every single one of the books I’ve read and reviewed have been Fantastic!  So much so that I’ve given the last five books on my read-roster either a 4 or 5 star review, and the last three have all been FIVES!  I think this is some kind of record. Insanity! This never happens, it’s been an excellent reading month, if you want to check out the reviews here they all are:

The month of October also brought about so many milestones, celebrations, and collaborations!  Far more than any other month in 2017(yet).

I did my very first guest post. It was on the When Women Inspire Blog, and it turned out fantastic! I was able to talk about motherhood, which is my favorite subject there is, period. Change of Seasons: Coping as a Mother (Guest Post)

I was able to Interview my favorite author of all time Colleen Hoover!!  We addressed the Bookworm Box and her feeling about giving back to the public and charities. My Interview With Colleen Hoover!!

 

Also, as most of you may know I released my latest novel Search For Maylee!!  I’m so damn excited about this still!  The official release date was Oct. 6th. Since then I’ve had a Blog Tour with several stops hosted by Reads & Reels,(check out all of the reviews in the tour by clicking on the R&R link!) Along with a few interviews!!

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As far as milestones go, I’ve had a couple of BIG ones!!!  Not only did I reach the 1000 followers mark here on the blog, but I’ve also reached my one year Blogiversary!

Lastly, but most definitely not least(ly??) lol… I have marked one of my books down on price for most of the month. Because it’s the scariest month of the year here in the U.S. and we celebrate all things awful tomorrow on Halloween. The psychological thriller that I released last year, Aggravated Momentum, has been marked down to 99 cents!  If you haven’t grabbed your copy, then you may want to do so because tomorrow is the last day of the sale!

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WHEW!! I think that’s it, my October in a nutshell… For some reason I feel like I’m leaving something out. Of course. Hopefully I got it all though!  So here’s to an excellent month for everything bookish in my world. May there by many more, just as phenomenal!  Although, I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to top!

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Only A Few Days Left

Every time I mark a book down for sale there’s a part of me that feels a little drug dealerish. Especially since the book I have on sale now is an adult book. Like I’m being naughty selling naughty things. Part of me wants to stand in a dark alley, like a nerdy 120 lb blonde girl hangin’ with the pimps, ready to pedal my raunchy product. I’d peek around the corner and watch for people in their early twenties to mid forties to stroll by, so I can creep half of my face around the edge of a building to get their attention. I’d say,

“Pssst… Hey you?”  Then I’d look over my shoulder to make sure no one is watching before I gave them a nod to my direction. “Comher’ I think I got somethin’ you might like.”

I can see it now. They’d be hesitant, because it’s weird. But ultimately, most of them would casually stroll over, trying to be all nonchalant so they don’t get caught falling for a trick in a dark alley. When actually, they’re a tiny bit frightened at the unknown and little swirl of excitement at being a rebel is filling their core. Curiosity is fuming. I mean, really, what could a girl like me possibly have to offer in a place like this. Then just when their senses are heightened and a lump is formed in the base of their throat from the dicey situation they find themselves in, Id ask,

“So…. You like to read? Want a thrill ride?”

I’m pretty sure I could run a fairly successful underground operation!  I’d call it covert book nerd, and the the sneaky deals.

Anyhow. My book will only be on sale until Tuesday. So here’s the link.

DESCRIPTION:

Not everything is as it seems in what appears to be an average family. When danger lurks so close to home, skeletons emerge, and the darkest of secrets surface, causing twisted desires to become reality. Aggravated Momentum offers the perspective of some very diverse and unique characters, including fun, witty personalities to fall in love with, along with an intellectual killer to die for. You may be surprised as to whom exactly you can relate. Is it the cold, calculated murderer, who’s name is yet to be revealed? Markie or Kam, the independent sisters, guilty of nothing more than getting tangled with the wrong people at the most inopportune times? Or, the cowardly snake curled in a hidden corner? Who are you, exactly? And, more importantly, who are they? The deeper you dig into the psyche of another, the more breath taking are the secrets you will find.

Review: The Secret Mother, by Shalini Boland 5 stars

My Review:

5 of 5 stars

The Secret Mother is the first of Shalini Boland’s books I’ve read, and I’m extremely pleased!  It’s the kind of book with the kind of characters that I just want to dissect every little part of. I’m one hundred percent satisfied with the character development, it’s perfect. Tessa’s character is brilliantly written. She’s layered perfectly. The plot of the entire book unravels itself at a very clever pace. Each imperative detail is strategically placed in the perfect spots. The writing style is admirably straight forward, the picture is drawn beautifully, the plot is unfolded very neatly before your eyes as a reader. It’s impeccable, I love that!

The book starts out with the main character Tessa coming home to a child in her home. He seems completely at ease there, is drawing a picture of her, and when she walks in he asks her if she’s his Mummy. What a powerful start, right? From here everything spirals. Tessa is forced through a long journey of sorting out her past as well as trying to make sense of the boy.

One odd thing about this boy is that his entire origin seems off. Something about him is a very intriguing mystery.

A few things that I really like about the book is that Tessa isn’t so sure about her sanity. She seems to recollect her past as well as detailed events as they play out, but then she questions herself. This quality about Tessa keeps you kind of guessing, and it really adds to her persona. I also really like the way her co-workers, neighbor, boss, and ex-husband’s characters are so in depth. Everyone who is woven in and out of Tessa’s life is perfectly developed. Even the way the news reporters, the hateful assumptive public, and all the media in general are portrayed in a way that really fits.

As Tessa’s psyche unravels, it becomes very clear that the pockets in her emotional baggage are extremely deep. Her maternal instincts are impeccable. This book has undeniably won itself a spot amongst my favorite psychological family dramas. I absolutely loved it! This is a must read!

Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher for a free copy of this book for my honest review.

DESCRIPTION:

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

Living In Your Killer’s Head

With the preference of first person writing comes a strange and sometimes overwhelming character absorption. In other words – you can’t just portray the image of your character, you actually have to become that person in thought. Not every personality written can be a bubbly little ball of joy whose words flow like rainbows and eyes dance magically in the light of  sunshine and happiness. The dark dreaded characters also have to be created (especially in thrillers, obviously).

I remember reading an article a few years back about actors who “become” the character they are playing in movies or shows.  They will live their lives exactly how that said character would do, sometimes for months at a time.  They will talk like them, walk like them, dress like them, and even react to life’s events with a certain dramatic flare – just as their characters would do.  As I was reading this article I thought to myself ‘wow, seems a bit extreme’.  Then I brushed the entire notion under a rug in the back of my mind. While writing the killer in Aggravated Momentum, I somehow lifted that memory rug and let the dust of it fly free. If you think about it, writing a personality isn’t too much different from acting one. Both require a very personal connection.

Now, I clearly didn’t re-route my psyche and run around with a gutting knife chopping people to bits. I did however, develop a horrible trait of minor self-loathing.  YES I do realize how completely depressing that sounds, and NO my point is not for any level of pity.  I don’t need a hug, or even a pat on the back. The intention of this post is merely to share my own writing experience with others who may be having the same unwelcome emotions while hashing out what could possibly be their next best seller.

Every great writer and actor alike have a switch. This on/off switch allows them to toggle back and forth between themselves and their characters. When creating the sickest, most twisted personalities, that switch isn’t so easily flipped.  Unfortunately, It’s common for it to get stuck somewhere in the middle. It took me months to write what should have been done in weeks.  During that process, or emotional slump I should call it, I’d often ask myself ridicules questions like: Am I actually an evil person to be able to think this sh*t up? Why am I able to relate with such narcissism? And… What is wrong with me, to enjoy a raunchy sex scene through a killers eyes?  I actually found myself wallowing in question of self-character and integrity. That is until I made a conscious decision to slap that silly toggle switch senseless, and knock it proper.

One morning upon waking it hit me. Before I was even able to stand to my feet I promised myself that ‘today is the damn day’. I had had it.  I knew that my killer’s personality was imperative and that moping around like a petty little slave to him was undeniably juvenile! So, I got rid of my kids for the day and went to work. I completely submerged myself into this character, stopping only to eat and shower. I did this every day for over a week.  I cried, I shook, I worked on my calm breathing techniques and I visited parts of my mind that until then was completely untapped. Then, the very instance I finished up his character, I put it way.  I set my writing on the back-burner and spent the next two weeks cleansing the palate.  I played with my children, went on dates with my husband, and watched countless hours of Disney movies.

The moral of my tale is this:  Figure out your switch! It is okay to “become” your characters to a certain point, but never ever linger in a place you’re uncomfortable with.  Write your story (even the darkest of them) in a way that is healthy and wholesome no mater the circumstance. If your book requires you to tap into a part of yourself that is better off left untouched, then maybe it is best to jump into the water completely, swim your laps, and then get the heck out of the pool!

This is Aggravated Momentum, the book I mentioned, and it’s actually on sale right now for 99 cents for a Scary month special!!

 

In Love With My book(s)

A shipment of books was dropped off on my doorstep last night, and I’m absolutely beside myself! Excited doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel right now. It’s kind of weird the way a mix of elated nerves, pride, and strange humility can all braid themselves into ones insides. I absolutely love how the cover to Search For Maylee has turned out!! Pardon my language, but it’s fucking beautiful! Even looking at it next to my other books, it just kind of stands out!!

**breath Didi, just breath**

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Trudging down the well beaten path of a writer isn’t always easy. There are so many ups and downs in the writing process, and finding the dedication and balance to keep on moving can be hard. But, it’s moments like these when you get to see your name printed on such beautiful covers and get feedback with four and five star reviews that make it all worth it!!

That, and the smell. I adore the smell of a book. I could totally be happy as that weirdo who sits in the corner for an hour a day, just fanning and shuffling the pages of a paperback, just sniffing lol.. Being able to do that with my own books is oddly fulfilling!

Thank you everyone who has read my book, and who has put it on their TBR’s. I can’t wait for more feedback. This is me, I hope you can see the Thank You in my grateful eyes!

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EXCERPT, Aggravated Momentum. On sale now for Halloween! #99cents #slasher

For the first time in my life, I get a thrill from hearing my name. He releases his hold on my hair and shoves me back against the wall. A firm arm presses against my back. I’m unable to move my chest or shoulders, and am forced to take him in on his terms. Just as I’m about to crumble under his strong hold, a menacing whisper echoes in my ear.

“This is going to hurt.”

A shock pools to my center and a chill runs down my spine. It takes every ounce of strength I have to pull away from him. He squeezes my body tightly against his own. Then he loosens his grip, allowing me to turn and face him.

“What are you talking ab…”

A sudden pain consumes my neck, cutting me off mid-question. My voice catches in the center of my throat and is unable to escape. Instinctively, I grab hold of the sharp pulsating pain and squeeze. The fluid filling my hands and running down my arms is much thicker and hotter than the shower water. Everything is beginning to blur. I look at him, trying to plead with my eyes. I am unable to speak. I lean against the wall, in effort to regain balance. Everything is spinning. I pull my bloodied hands from my neck to take a look. My vision is distorted, but not enough to disable the sight of color. My scarlet fingers spin and blur.

I feel cold. I want to grab him, beg for his help, but I can’t. My body slumps down the wall. My legs become weaker and weaker. What have you done to me? I scramble through the black and red blur, struggling to take a look at his face. For a flash, I see him. His head is tilted to one side and his face is blank. A hint of a smirk forms across his lips. I black out. I can still feel but I can’t see. I pull in breath with short shallow pants. I can hear an awkward gurgle coming out of my throat. My body is ice cold under the hot running water.

My life slowly drains away, yet a sharp digging pain reminds me that I am still alive. One piercing jab after another stings into my ribs, chest and stomach. I try to kick, throw my arms or scream, but can’t. I can’t move. It only takes a few more jolts to realize that I’m being stabbed. Over and over the shock spreads across my body. After what seems like a lifetime of torturing pain, it finally fades. A faint sensation is left at my neck. There is something touching my midsection, something inside it.  That too melts away until there is nothing left. I don’t feel anything anymore – no pain, no fear. I give up the struggle for breath and let myself go to the darkness.

Tour Success, My Gratitude! And Winners!!

I just want to drop a quick thank you to everyone who participated in the blog tour last week for my book Search For Maylee, and Also to every one who took the time to read all of the Promo, Review, and Interview Posts!!  It means the world, and I’m so excited about how everything is going since I released the book!!

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Just to let everyone know… READS AND REELS is excellent to work with!! Shenanigans, the leading gal, was very efficient. She got back to me quickly with each email, answered my ridiculous questions without missing a beat, and did a phenomenal job with the banner and organization of everything!  If you’re looking into a book tour of your own then definitely check out Reads and Reels services. I was far from disappointed, Shenanigans did an amazing job with my book. THANK YOU R&R!!

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Also, as always, there was a GIVEAWAY! That’s right my friends, three Amazon gifted Kindle copies of Search For Maylee was thrown into a Rafflecopter, and this morning the names were drawn!!!!  Thanks everyone who put in!

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And the winners are

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Shantel Rummel Gibson

Esperanza Gailiard

Sharon Extine

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Last but not least… If you’re yet to check out Search For Maylee then here’s a little info:

BLURB:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

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