Monday, December 14, 2015

REVIEW: Stranger than Fiction (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway)

Title: Stranger Than Fiction
Author: Emelle Gamble
Pages: 198
Date Published: 2015
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Set in New York City and Narragansett, Rhode Island in 1990, meet Claire Kennedy, successful mystery book editor at Cauldron Press. Her most famous client, the reclusive Sarah Winesong, has written her first new novel in five years, and Claire is ready to break out the champagne!

And then, in walks Tony Nichols. He’s gorgeous, angry and full of accusations that start with “Cauldron Press stole my book” and end with “Sarah Winesong is a fraud”.

This contemporary cozy mystery has a stellar cast of would-be villains and one real one who will stop at nothing to eliminate his nefarious scheme from coming to light, including stalk and try to kill Claire and Tony!

~My Thoughts~
They say write what you know, so a writer writing a mystery book about a writer and an editor and a mystery book should be a grand slam! Stranger Than Fiction was a short, quiet little read that was interesting although not particularly ground-breaking. A famous recluse of a best-selling author - Sarah Winesong - has finally submitted another story after almost a decade. Her publisher, Claire Kennedy is thrilled, especially because Cauldron Press needs a big seller to keep itself in the black and prevent any hostile takeovers. 

The dialogue was pretty stiff. It seemed almost a parody of dialogue, which if intentional would be great, if unintentional...perhaps some time could be spent smoothing the flow of dialogue and removing cliched or stilted phrases. You know how comic books sound super exaggerated and campy when the villain starts monologuing? That was kind of what was at play here. Not bad, just campy. 

Emelle made some unconventional plotting choices with this story, choosing to reveal what could have been a big plot twist - within the second chapter of the book... There were a lot of would-be villains here and I enjoyed taking my time, trying to figure out who had what motives... Was the murderer Patricia? Nope...she's gone.... what about Sarah Winesong? Who could it be?!? 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Tony Nichols used both hands to push through the revolving door into the Waldorf Astoria. A second later he stood inside the hotel, his dark eyes methodically searching the throng of well-dressed guests.

The woman he sought was nowhere in sight.

Keeping his head down and his shoulders square, Tony walked through the richly paneled lobby. His demeanor was defensive, as if he expected to be asked to leave.

The people around him flashed discreet smiles, and their intimate conversations annoyed him.

Once he’d have felt right at home threading through this throng of professionals, greeting and being greeted affectionately. But today only disinterested glances were cast his way, the sour tang of insults too long held back burned in his mouth.

The person at the front desk directed him up to the third floor, where the socializing was now in full swing. Usually courteous, Tony snapped a curt no when a tray of canapés was offered to him by a gaping waitress. With a deep breath he reminded himself to stay calm until he had completed his task.

Everything was at stake.

Lengthening his stride, Tony reached the doorway of the main banquet room. A skinny redhead in a black sequined gown standing in the shadows took him by surprise.

“Why don’t I fill out a name tag for you? We really aren’t all that mysterious here.”

Turning to her, the lean muscles working slowly in his jaw, Tony measured out his words. “Why don’t you. The name’s Poe. E. A. Poe.”

The redhead smiled. “Poe. How appropriate. Any relation to the Poe?” Her black felt marker squeaked against the paper.

“Just in spirit.” Slapping the white adhesive tag against his shirt, Tony walked over to the table bearing a Register Here sign. The chairs behind it were empty, but a banner tacked on to the wall behind it heralded the 45th Annual Mystery Writers Convention. He was in the right place.

So where the hell is she?

Turning back to search the now even more crowded room, his anxiety began to turn to anger. He fixed his stare on the groups of threes and fours moving into the room and studied each woman. Several, including a couple of blonds, returned his look.

But he did nothing to encourage any of them to speak to him. Only one woman interested him today.

 Look for a tall blond woman about thirty with freckles. She is wearing a scarlet jacket and miniskirt. With a croc belt.

 Isn’t that what the receptionist at Cauldron Press had said? Damn, every other woman here had on that color, he thought.

He discarded his original plan. He had planned to confront the editor in her office when Cauldron’s secretary told him the woman would not be back until Monday. But Tony now realized it might be impossible to find her in this crowd or, once finding her, to get her alone. But he had to keep trying. His business could not wait five days.

Tony was jostled out of his thoughts when a large group of Mystery Society members moved in his direction. Backtracking to the banquet room doorway, he noticed that the redhead was gone. Most of the people were sitting at the tables inside, as a battalion of waiters bustled around the room. He glanced at his watch.

It had been twenty-four hours since the phone call that had confirmed his suspicions. Time was running out. He had to find Claire Kennedy now.

Find her. And convince her she would be better off dead than publishing that book.
~Meet Emelle!~ 
Emelle Gamble became a writer at an early age. At six years old, she was bursting with the requisite childhood stories of introspection, and this itch to tell tales evolved into bad teen poetry and tortured short works that, thankfully, never saw the light of day, or an editor’s red pen.

She took her first stab at writing a novel in an adult education class in Mobile, Alabama when her kids were in bed for the night. As ‘M.L. Gamble,’ she published several romantic suspense novels with Harlequin Intrigue. She now publishes novels of Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Situations with SoulMate Publishing and Posh Publishing …works ranging from women’s fiction to thrillers and romantic suspense.

Always intrigued by the words ‘what if’, Gamble’s books feature an ordinary woman confronted with an extraordinary situation. Emelle celebrates the adventurous spirit of readers, and hopes each will enjoy the exciting and surprising journeys her characters take.
Emelle lives in suburban Washington D.C. with her hero of thirty years, Philip, and two orange cats, Lucy and Bella. Like all good villains, the cats claim to have their reasons for misbehaving. Her children are happily launched on their own and are both contributing great things to society, their mother’s fondest wish.

Emelle will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, thanks very much Andra, for you thoughtful and insightful review. There were several challenges for bringing out a book from the 1990s for 2015 readers - I think the dialogue was me channeling that old TV show Moonlighting...loved the repartee. Readers, do let me know what you think if you get a chance! STF is FREE now through January 30th!

  2. "... Gamble’s books feature an ordinary woman confronted with an extraordinary situation...." Sounds good to me!

    1. Thanks, Laney4. The book is free now on Amazon, iTunes and B&N, so if you'd like to dip your toe in, please do. It was fun bringing out these classic stories of romantic suspense, and I hope you enjoy the effort.

  3. Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a great read thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Eva! FREE now through Jan 31, so if you'd like to try it, its everywhere you buy eBooks. Happy Holidays and thanks for following the blog tour.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, I'm looking forward to reading it :)

    1. Thanks Victoria. It was a fun book to re-read...I forgot some of the scenes! It's FREE now through Jan 30 so take a peek if you're interested. And good luck in the drawing.

    2. I downloaded it the other day, I plan to read it soon :)

  5. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you for sharing! I just got my copy and I can't wait to read it! Thank you again!

  6. I like the idea of "unconventional plotting choices".

  7. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you.

  8. I know this is a random question, but what is your favorite food?

  9. Loved the excerpt, sounds like my kind of book! Thank you

  10. loved the excerpt, thank you so much for the giveaway

  11. I really enjoyed the excerpt, can't wait to get started. Thank you for giving us a chance to win.

  12. Looks like a good read; thanks for giving us a chance to win.