Friday, November 24, 2017

"Dark and Stormy" by J. Mercer

Dark and Stormy
by J. Mercer

Dark and Stormy by J. Mercer

Dark and Stormy by J. Mercer is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Faryn Miller wants to build a new life in a small town. It’s her last chance to figure out, of all the roles she’s played in her thirty-some years, which one truly fits. Her aim at simplicity sounds like the perfect medicine until she meets Kai Allen, who’s spent his life doing everything the hard way and never bending for anyone. Lucky for Kai, Faryn has no preconceived notions about what he’s done and who he is, unlike the rest of town.
When cryptic messages start sneaking their way into Faryn’s apartment, then blatant threats, the two of them compile a long list of who could be stalking her. Unable to keep his frustration and rage hidden any longer, Kai explodes on everyone in his path, and Faryn can’t help but wonder if the storm is closer than she thinks.

Sometimes I felt wild and restless, like a mustang that turns around one day and realizes it’s been domesticated when all it thought it did was take the offer of a simple apple. It always started the same way, from a point deep in my center, and would grow to an incessant itch I couldn’t shake.
To soothe it, I’d been driving for days, all my belongings stacked high behind me in my small SUV. The ones I’d seen as necessities anyway, since my goal was to pare back and succumb to basic need.
I yearned for amnesia to settle on my mind and recreate me into who I was supposed to be, because at thirty-three I didn’t know anymore. I’d been so many things, so very split and so widely scattered.
If I chased solitude and eliminated distractions, I figured my true self would have no choice but to rise from the ashes of all the other roles I’d spent my life playing. And if it did, maybe I could go back home and survive the future, whether that entailed the path I’d been on or a new one altogether.
Or maybe I’d find a home here, in this small Midwestern town that spoke to me of fresh beginnings. After an hour of winding along its streets, exploring every corner, I stopped in the driveway of an old brick house that was split into four units. A large cube with many windows, it pulled at me more than the apartment building a few blocks over, or the gaping farmhouse on the edge of town, all three of which had for rent signs crookedly staked in their front lawns.
It was manageable and adorable, at least from the outside. All brick, but lighter than the standard red, with faded white windowpanes and a small covering over an even smaller front porch. An attached covered staircase ran up the left side, and an old grill stood sentry on the right.
Fishing my phone out of my bag, I dialed the number written in fat permanent marker beneath the words encouraging me to call. And as if fate had shifted the winds to drop me here, my new landlord was not only home, but able to forgo everything to meet me and hand over the key in ten minutes flat.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Complex characters give way to a brilliantly written story ... Incredible writing from a first time author."
"Great small town setting with an awesome cast of characters. J Mercer masterfully takes you on a journey full of twists and reveals that are woven so skillfully into the story you’ll want to read it again and again."
"J Mercer combines her gift for poignantly haunting characters with a plot that is intriguingly complicated."
"I couldn’t put this book down! When I reached the last page, I sat, breathless, stunned."
"This book had me hanging on page by page. With thought provoking character development and surprises at every turn."

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Faryn moves to a small town for a fresh start and meets a number of local characters in her new bartending job. She's not looking for romance, but she can't help her attraction to Kai. Kai has a troubled past, but he's trying to reform, and he thinks Faryn is just the one to help him. When Faryn notices strange things happening in her apartment, the locals blame it on the ghost of the previous tenant. But could it be that someone has it out for her? What is Faryn running from, anyway? Has someone from her past followed her? And what about that opening scene? Did Kai, in fact, kill Faryn?
This book sounds complex but, in fact, nothing ever happens. It's a love story where thirty-somethings won't even have sex - totally unbelievable. It's told in the first person, mainly from the points-of-view of Faryn and Kai, with some input by minor characters. Kai's version of Faryn doesn't seem to mesh with her view of herself. For example: he makes her out to be a wanton tease, whereas she constantly tells us she's not looking for a lover; he makes her out to be confident, in control, and cocky, whereas she presents herself as being meek and mild. These discrepancies may be explained by what we find out later but, unfortunately, I found it all to be a bit too unbelievable. In addition, the opening scene is totally unnecessary and, while it may create suspense, it spoils the ending.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, sex scenes (not graphic), violence.

About the Author
J. Mercer
J. Mercer grew up in Wisconsin where she walked home from school with her head in a book, filled notebooks with stories in junior high, then went to college for accounting and psychology, only to open a dog daycare. She wishes she were an expert linguist, is pretty much a professional with regards to competitive dance hair (bunhawk, anyone?), and enjoys exploring with her husband - though as much as she loves to travel, she’s also an accomplished hermit. Perfect days include cancelled plans, rain, and endless hours to do with what she pleases.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three signed copies of Dark and Stormy by J. Mercer (open internationally).