Among the Echoes

AmongtheEchoes_Cover 72dpi_EBook-1

Among the Echoes

By: Aly Martinez

Genre: Erotic Suspense

Synopsis2
My name was Dr. Erica Hill. I was a victim, then a witness, and then I ceased to exist altogether.

I may still be breathing, but stripped of my identity, I have long since stopped living. I am invisible, and my life depends on my ability to stay in the shadows.

But he sees me.

Slate Andrews is the embodiment of everything I have been taught to avoid. He’s rich and famous, and one image of him with a woman would earn millions for any paparazzi lucky enough to snap it. He has vowed to protect me with his life, yet he exposes me with his every breath. I should be stronger and walk away. I should disappear. But I’m terrified he would come after me.

I’m on the run, determined not to take him down with me but absolutely unable to let him go.

My name is Riley Peterson…at least for today.

*Among The Echoes is a stand alone novel which contains material that may be offensive to some readers. Including sexual abuse, graphic language, and adult situations. Intended for readers 18+.*

My Review

*****5 Seriously Deserved Stars*****

Among the Echoes was the first book I’ve read by Aly Martinez, but it will certainly not be the last. This book was phenomenal in every way. The writing was beautiful, the characters were thoughtfully developed and brought to the page in a way that made me love them whole heartedly, and the story kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

I will preface the rest of my review by letting you know that this book opens up with a pretty brutal and dark scene involving the main character Erica. As dark and rough as that scene is, it sets the tones for the book, and makes you immediately care for and connect with Erica. It serves a purpose, and I wouldn’t have this book any other way than how it was.

Everything about this book was just spot on from the first page to very last.

What I f-ing loved about Among the Echoes:

  • Erica’s Pain. While reading you will feel Erica’s pain to the core because of how magnificently it’s conveyed. It is painful as hell to read at times and sometimes it just hurt my heart for Erica, but it makes you understand her so much more. It also helps you understand every little and major thing she is feeling from her pain, to vulnerability, to her anxiety and erraticness at times. All of that is remarkably written, and it’ll make you feel for Erica from the get go.
  • Slate Saves the Day. I absolutely loved how Slate was there for Erica in every way from the very beginning, even before either of them started having feelings for the other. Slate was just a good guy, through and through. Slate sees something in Erica, and knows that he can help her. He promises to do just that, and he never once wavers on that promise. Ever. He’s protective, charming as hell, and just the right amount of “sweet as can be” and “give it to me harder” all wrapped into one deliciously ripped package. (Can you tell I heart me some Slate?)
  • Leo & Erica’s Friendship. Their friendship was one of a kind, and built upon some not so shiny events, but it was magnificently developed, and it made me love each of them more because of their friendship. It was rough at times because they had both been through so much together, but through all that hardship they were there for each other always. There each other’s rocks, and that just works.
  • The Theme of Overcoming it All. This book is filled with a lot of darkness and pain at times because of the story being so breathtakingly told, but at the end of the day it’s all about overcoming all of that. It’s about coming back and overcoming the negative things that happen in life. This book exemplifies that all that pain and darkness is surmountable, and it doesn’t have to define you if you don’t let it. (Makes me think of a certain quote: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
  • The Action & Suspense. The action kept this book extremely well paced and had me dying to know what would happen. I needed to know if Erica would be safe, or if she would be found. I HAD to know what would happen with her and Slate. I had to know it all. The level of suspense and action kept it all going, and through it all I never knew how it was all going to turn out. That made the guessing game throughout that more enthralling and exciting to read and experience.
  • Opening Up. The way that Erica and Slate open up to one another is magnificent. It takes a lot for both of them to open up because of their past circumstances. At the end of the day though, they’re both trying to protect themselves from each other and when they finally break down those walls and open up to one another, it’s a truly transformative. That opening up also exemplifies the depth of feeling these two have for one another. It’s a real moment of healing that was just beautiful to read.
  • The Real Erica. This book is all about seeing. Part of that seeing is seeing the ‘real’ Erica, and when that real Erica comes across on the page, it’s truly fantastic to read. Aly Martinez does an outstanding job of showing the broken Erica while giving glimpses to the Erica she used to be. Throughout the story more and more the real Erica comes to the page, and she is just a force to be reckoned with when she’s there.
  • The Crime. I am a huge sucker for crime shows, and I loved how Among the Echoes brought in the crime and drama. The hidden identities, witness protection, suspense, high octane action, and all the people after one another engaged me fully in the book. It also added another fabulous layer to the already incredible story being told.
  • The Fight. I love a story that gives me a good fight for that happy. And boy did Among the Echoes deliver on that. Slate and Erica are fighting for their lives, literally, to find that happy that they both deserve. That fight defines and exemplifies their characters, and ultimately makes this book out of this world wonderful.

Among the Echoes was just an all-around fantastic book. It has everything that makes a book stand out: magnificently developed characters, tons of spice, a whole lot of feeling and emotion, seriously wonderful writing, and a story that just won’t quit.

This book has it all, and I couldn’t recommend it to you more. It really will blow you away, and after reading it you’ll surely be an Aly Martinez fan for life.

Trust me, I’m there.

author

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in Chicago, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Don’t forget to check out Aly’s Wrecked and Ruined series

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Buy The Book

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N

I seriously cannot recommend this book to you all enough. It just hit it out of the park with the level of action & suspense, passion & love, pain & vulnerability, and the overall level of emotion. So do yourself a favor and check out this gem of a book today. You won’t be sorry.

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There’s No Crying In Reading!

There’s No Crying in Reading.

Okay so that statement may be a bit of stretch. Or a downright lie.

Maybe I should amend that to say There’s No Crying in Reading for ME.

Recently I saw a film adaptation of a very well loved and known book. This book and film are both serious tear jerkers. There was full on ugly crying going on in that theater from almost every person present. It was a sob fest.

I, on the other hand, barely shed a tear.

That’s not to say that I don’t cry during emotional moments. Crying is actually my go to emotional reaction at pretty much any heightened state of emotion.

I can watch a movie 100 times, and still cry at the same parts. I’ve even teared up reading human interest stories on the internet. (You know the ones that “restore your faith in humanity”) Heck, I’ve been known to cry during car commercials if they’re sentimental enough. And do not even get me started on those gosh darn ASPCA commercials with Sarah Mclachlan.

Bottom line: I AM A CRIER.

This would be me and my little brother circa 20 years ago. Clearly you can see I'm all hunky dory while he's having a meltdown. Not much has changed.

This would be me and my little brother circa 20 years ago. Clearly you can see I’m all hunky dory while he’s having a meltdown. Not much has changed.

Despite all these instances that tend to bring a tear to my eye, I can count the number of books that have ever made me cry using just 8 fingers.

Now you may be thinking, “So what, only 8 books have made you cry. That’s a lot”

Well let’s take into consideration the fact that I have read hundreds of books. Many of which have had some seriously gut wrenching and highly charged moments full of emotion, pain, and vulnerability. Numerous books I’ve read have killed off characters I connect with and like more than actual human beings.

Yet, I still don’t find myself getting emotional enough to cry while reading very often.

Maybe it’s weird I find that interesting about myself, but I do especially since it’s often a natural reaction for me. Scores and scores of people will review a book, and mention a moment that made them cry. Even my close friends will tell me about moments in books we’ve read that sent them hunting for tissues. Me, not so much.

Apparently I have the emotional range of a piece of paper.

At least when it comes to reading.

So I thought I’d use this post to share the 8 books that have ever made me cry, so we could all have a moment of “feels” together. (I’m sure you all want to share that moment with me.)

The books that make up this list vary in genre and subject matter, but each one had my tear ducts working something fierce. Honestly though, I wanted to share with you those books that reached in and made this “cold hearted” reader shed a tear.

The 8 Books That Have Made Me Cry: (If you click on the link, you’ll find your way to the Amazon page for each book)

  • The Last Lecture: This autobiography by Randy Pausch details his last lecture as a professor, as he was dying from pancreatic cancer. His lecture was all about achieving your childhood dreams, and its chalk full of words of wisdom and life lessons. The whole book is laced with emotion, but what really got me was the last chapter when he reveals what this lecture was really all about for his audience and his family.
  • Two Kisses for Maddy: Now I went into this memoir knowing it was going to be seriously emotionally charged, as the book follows a new father in the first year of his daughter’s life. The life that began on the same day his wife died. I stayed strong in this one until the very last page. The words Matt Logelin wrote on that page still give me chills and set my tear ducts to work with how much power and love they hold. (Even now as I’m typing I’m getting chills)
  • Tuesday’s with Morrie: Now if you are ever looking for a book full of emotion, Mitch Albom is your guy. Tuesday’s With Morrie tells of Albom’s meetings with his ailing professor slipping away from ALS. This is probably the only book I’ve cried multiple times throughout reading. It just had so many moments that were beautiful, emotional, powerful, and just sad as Albom and his professor reconnect.
  • Such a Pretty Face: This is one that made me cry not out of sadness, but out of shear healing. The main character in this book goes through a major journey. Think major transformation. At the end, there is the purest moment of healing this character experiences, and that had me balling like a baby. It was freaking powerful. Amazing Grace was also playing in the scene, so I was just doomed.
  • The Promise of Stardust: To say this book takes you through the lowest lows of serious emotion is an un
    photo (5)

    Just look at all these “feels” books!

    derstatement. The Promise of Stardust follows the main character as he must decide and battle to keep his wife on life support to keep their unborn child alive. At the end of the day this book is overflowing with love and pain, and I couldn’t not cry while reading this one. It just was utterly breathtaking in so many instance.

  • Love You, Mean It: This is another book that I persevered with not crying until the very last page. This co-written memoir is told by 4 widows of the 9/11 attacks. Their journey in this book is paved with mountains of pain and emotion. All 4 of these women are reeling throughout this book, but in the end their message is clear: “Cherish the love you receive. Remember, the heart’s capacity for love is unending. Make the decision to live. It would be wrong not to”.
  • All You Could Ask For: This wonderful book details the relationships and support system 3 women battling cancer build together. Each woman goes on her own individual journey, but one in particular had me running for the Kleenex. Katherine’s story, and her ending thoughts that come to terms with her diagnosis and what truly makes life worth living are phenomenally powerful and emotional.
  • The Fault in Our Stars: So this is the book/film adaptation I mentioned in the beginning of this post. And while I shed only a few tears during the movie, I’ll admit that I might have sobbed at the end of reading the book. Not because it was sad, but because of the intense love you could feel in the end. This book isn’t about dying, it’s about living, and John Green’s wonderful words at the end surmising that just did me in.

So there you have it. The list of the whopping 8 books that have EVER made me cry.

Now while these books don’t get trophies or anything for making me cry, they do have the distinction of having truly powerful moments that I couldn’t not tear up at. Apparently sometimes I do have more emotional range than a piece of paper!

That’s not to say other books haven’t come close, or that the other books I’ve read haven’t gutted me to the emotional core or pulled at my heartstrings. I guess the books above just knocked me upside the head with emotion.

And if I could, I would so totally give them all a trophy. Probably a bronze Kleenex box.

So now that we’ve had our “feels” moment together, I’d love to hear what books have ever made you cry. (We can compare notes! Haha)

Please feel free to comment on the post with whatever books have brought a tear to your eye, for whatever reason. (And Lord knows I’d love to know the reason!)

And just to end the post on a high note, I’ll leave you with the line from one of my all-time favorite movies that inspired the title for this post.

Enjoy, and Happy Reading!

 

If I Stay

Welcome back fellow readers. I hope time has found you well, and that you’ve found yet another good book to sink your teeth into.

Lately I have been on a big love story kick. What can I say? I am a huge sucker for love stories. They just reel me in. (Hence, I am a sucker, but I love it and accept it fully.)

Though I love me a good love story, as a book reader I also have a touch of ADD, so I often jump from one genre to another. Literally. I read a little bit of anything and everything.

That ADD is what brings us here today. I decided to dive deep into my Never Ending Book Basket and pull out something different. I was in the mood for a change.

(In all honesty the book I read was right on top, but in my defense, my book basket does contain a little bit of everything.)

The book I read today has been on my to buy list for a while, and in a surprising twist of fate I was able to find this book at one of my Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books! (Since I haven’t finished the countdown yet, I won’t reveal where. Yet. But I will let you know this book was found in that pesky little ½ place I keep mentioning!)

So in my never ending battle to listen to my book ADD I read the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

If I Stay is a very emotional book, and I did not know what to expect going into reading it. The book is told from Mia’s point of view as she decides if she is going to choose to “stay” after her family is in a horrific car accident.

The book opens with a brief glimpse of Mia and her extremely adoring family, before segueing into the accident. If I Stay follows Mia from that accident as she is taken outside of her body, and must go through the painful decision of staying or going. To move on to whatever comes next, or stay and face the not so nice music of her new reality.

She’s not a ghost per say, but she can see and hear everything going on around her, while looking down at her battered body.

Interwoven with Mia’s current state are flashbacks telling brilliant stories about her family including her mother, father, little brother, Gran and Gramps, best friend Kim, and her boyfriend Adam. These flashbacks flow naturally into the story, and creates an excellent stream of consciousness effect in the book that lets you know exactly how Mia got to this point in her life and the story itself.

What I liked about this book:

  • The rawness. This book is full of emotion and thought, and it is all raw and out there for everyone to see. I loved that the emotions put forth were believable for the situation, and nothing was shielded or censored. When going through something as horrific as Mia is, everything is messy and raw and complicated, and that emotion was brilliantly conveyed.
  • Mia and her internal struggle. Mia is a gem of a character. Throughout this book she is either looking at her helpless injured body, or
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I found it only fitting to take this picture as there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Read the book and you'll see why.)

    If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I found it only fitting to take this picture as there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Read the book and you’ll see why.)

    remembering the many events of her life that bring her straight back into her harsh reality. (Those past events made me love her even more!) The internal struggle she battles throughout this book is phenomenal. Reading and watching as Mia struggles to decide whether to stay or go is heart rendering, and will really make you think: What would I do in the same position when the only choice I have is to live or die?

  • The structure of the book. I loved the way this book was told in a stream of consciousness like format, where Mia interweaves her present state with stories from the past. This structure fits the book, and it makes it easy to flow between the past and present worlds. It also makes it really easy to like the characters from the small glimpses you see of them.
  • The music. Music is a big part of this book. Mia is an accomplished cellist, and she comes from a world and family that loves, lives, and breathes music. Music is almost its own character in this book, and it finds its way into almost every character, sub story, and crevice. Music is the glue that really brings this book and its characters together.
  • The pace. I don’t want to reveal any major plot points in this story (We don’t do that shit here!) but I will say the pace of this book is very good and well matched for the story being told. I read this book in one sitting, and the pace along with the great plot of the story was the reason why. You hit the ground running, and you don’t stop until the very end.
  • The plethora of endearing characters. I cannot even begin to describe how much I love all the characters in If I Stay. Mia’s parents are the parents we all wish we had. Her little brother, Teddy is about as adorable as they come. Her best friend Kim, and her realness stand out in a sea of rawness. Adam, Mia’s boyfriend, adds another layer as well. (I think in the present tense of the story, he is only in the book less than 25 pages, but those pages and his searing emotion stand out.)

If I Stay is a book about a choice. Mia has to decide if she is going to stay and face the harsh reality of what she’s left with after a terrible accident, or if she’s going to go and let it all fade away.

The road to that choice is the pulse of this book, and the author does a fantastic job of creating a story where you honestly don’t know what the “right” answer to that choice is.

Watching Mia struggle with that choice takes you on a phenomenal journey that will make you wonder what you would do if asked the same question: Do you stay, or do you go?

This book is definitely an emotional and very raw ride, but it’s highly worth it. (And don’t worry, it’s not all dark, sad, and gloomy. I did smile and chuckle at some parts while reading. More than once, too!)

So, fellow book addicts I dare you to take a walk with me on the dark side.

Embrace your book ADD, and give something new and different a chance.

You’ll be glad you did.

I know I am.

ps. If you’d like to learn more about If I Stay and/or its author Gayle Forman, click one of the links below.

http://www.gayleforman.com/ (Website)

https://twitter.com/gayleforman (Twitter)

https://www.facebook.com/GayleFormanAuthor (Facebook)