Gianna is the average seventeen-year-old girl living in 1918 New Orleans. She worries about her family’s store, the great war, and a mysterious illness that’s about to take hold of the city she loves.
It doesn’t help that there also appears to be a mad man on the loose in her neighborhood. The attacks started as burglaries but soon escalate to cold blooded murder. There’s a killer out there, and the police can’t seem to figure out how to stop him.
Gianna enlists the help of her friend Enzo to investigate. And as they study the crimes, they see a common link between the victims, and Gianna can’t help but wonder if it’s the same man who attacked her family years before.
As Gianna gets closer to the killer, she discovers a connection between them that she never would have suspected.
I love historical fiction and New Orleans, so this should have been a winner. Instead, I found it slightly above average. I was fascinated by the descriptions of New Orleans a century ago, but Gianna’s habit of rushing headlong into danger without regard for the consequences was a bit too much for me. Not just chasing a literal axe murderer but running around the city in the midst of a deadly influenza pandemic. Her POV felt a little disjointed and distant, and there was never any explanation offered for her connection to the killer.
Bryce Moore lives in western Maine and is a Librarian. Don’t Go to Sleep is his newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.)
In New Orleans in 1955, the languid heat presses down on everything. Thirteen-year-old Bonavere, the youngest of the Bonavere sisters, has her best friend Saul to turn to and her two older sisters. Her parents pay the sisters no mind, even when middle sister Constance goes missing.
Some of the blame falls on Saul and his family because of their race, but Bonavere knows that isn’t true, so she sets out to find what really happened to Constance. Her questions lead her to the wealthy Lasalle family, and stories of girls found half-mad in the nearby swamps. Bonavere has no idea what secrets she’ll stir up when she starts asking questions. She just wants her sister back.
I’ll read just about anything set in New Orleans, and this novel captures the feel of the city very well: the heat, the cobbled streets, the craziness…However, most of the story itself is a bit inexplicable to me. Things happened, but I couldn’t always see the connection to them and anything else, and I’m still not sure exactly what was going on.
Caitlin Galway’s newest novel is Bonavere Howl.
(Galley courtesy of Guernica Editions via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Managing the Darkwater Inn in the heart of the French Quarter is a dream job for Adelaide Fountaine. The job is demanding and busy, but she loves the hectic pace. The owner, not so much. But the owner’s son, Dimitri, has become her friend, over late-night meals in the quiet kitchen.
Detective Beau Savoie has been friends with Adelaide since childhood, but when a murder in the Darkwater brings up secrets from her past and leaves Adelaide a suspect, Beau starts to wonder if he really knows her at all. With the murder investigation pushing her into Dimitri’s arms, Beau wants to be mad at Adelaide, but he’s hiding secrets of his own.
I love suspense novels, Southern fiction, and New Orleans, so I was eager to read this novel. And I was not disappointed. The author captures the feel of the French Quarter—and the boutique hotels found there—with style and charm. I was so caught up in the drama between the characters, I didn’t even really care who the murderer was!
Robin Caroll is the best-selling author of almost 30 novels. Darkwater Secrets has just been released in paperback.
(Galley provided by Gilead Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)
I’m not an expert or anything–well, I’ve been writing for around 15 years, so a semi-expert?–but I do have a few tips for when you need writing inspiration. Give them a try if you’re stuck, hopefully they’ll work for you.
Music. For me, it requires music without lyrics, so I don’t get distracted (although sometimes Enya works). YouTube is a good place to find new things that fit whatever you’re working on. If you go to the Music page, you can find songs grouped by genres, themes, or or even seasons. This could be really useful if you need a soundtrack to get in the heads of your character. (And I really have to start using music when I write again. Duh…). Warning: YouTube is distracting, so you can end up watching tutorials on obscure or impossible subjects if you’re not careful, eating your writing time.
Pictures. Specifically, pictures of beautiful, magical places (if you’re wondering what to write about), or pictures of the place you’re writing about (if you already know). For Chasing Shadows, my story set in New Orleans, I looked at tons of pictures from the city. I also–since I lived nearby at the time–visited the areas I was writing about (Yeah, I know that sounds like a convenient excuse to spend time in the Big Easy. It was. Perhaps that book needs editing…). Pinterest is a good place to find awesome, inspiring pictures. I have several boards for this. Warning: Pinterest can EAT YOUR LIFE, so you might want to set a timer or something to make sure you escape alive.
Pay attention. Seriously. If you’re paying attention, you can find inspiration in the tiniest, most random things. My Muse loves to grab meaningless fragments and put them together. I can almost hear an audible click when this happens, and I know there’s a story idea brewing. This happened just a couple of weeks ago, working on my final essay for British Lit. I chose to re-write a scene from Morte Darthur from Guinevere’s POV. Boom! My Muse said “Hey wait, I’ve got an idea!” and suddenly my WIP isn’t quite enough to keep her occupied anymore, because she has a shiny new idea. (That will get written, I promise.) Just pay attention. Inspiration is like lightning. It strikes randomly.
Any suggestions for getting or staying inspired? I’d love to hear them!