Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review: Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster

Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publish Date: April 12, 2011
Paperback, 377 pages 
Fiction, Suspense, Paranormal
 ISBN: 9780615477527

My Review:
If you enjoy suspense, then Chasing Amanda is the book for you.  Weaving in and out of different perspectives from different characters the suspense builds and builds before finally coming to the climax that you never saw coming.  I loved Chasing Amanda and feel like Melissa Foster has a true way with words and storytelling.  Everytime I picked the book up and started reading I was right back in Boyds which really was a whole different world to me and into Molly life as she tries to find the missing girl Tracey as she sees snippets in her mind.  I felt her fear as she had to choose between trying to save this girl and saving her marriage as the tension mounted in her home as well as in the community.

The story is woven beautifully and artfully.  I love how it is told from different perspectives and you are never really sure who the "bad guy" is until Melissa finally gives that part to you.  I loved watching Molly unravel the town secrets.  I like small town books like this because small towns are always full of secrets.  Sometimes this type of book can be handled not-so-well and other times just wonderfully, like in Chasing Amanda.  I just can't say enough about this book.  The characters were interesting, I cared about them and they engaged me.  The plot sucked me in and didn't let me go and the writing is wonderful.  What more can you ask for in a book?

I highly recommend you check this book out if you enjoy suspense, and even if you don't you might want to give it a try anyway.

My Rating: 5/0/5.0

About the Book:
Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl’s abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl’s body was found, and Molly’s life fell apart. Consumed by guilt for not acting upon her visions, and on the brink of losing her family, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland.

Molly’s life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly’s home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she’d fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents--and the land itself--hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart

About the Author (from her website): 
Melissa Foster is the award winning author of two novels, Megan’s Way and Chasing Amanda. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan’s Way. Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written a column featured in Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa is currently working on her next novel, and lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.


FTC Information: I received this book from WoW - Women on Writing for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Author Interview: Melissa Foster (Chasing Amada)

Today I welcome Melissa Foster author of Chasing Amanda which I will be reviewing later today.  Also feel free to ask your own questions of Melissa, she'll be visiting through the day and is glad to answer questions.
1.Where do your book ideas come from? How do you choose from your list of ideas which book to write next?

My book ideas come from many different places. MEGAN'S WAY was born from an event with my mother, while CHASING AMANDA was born from my deepest fear. My next book, COME BACK TO ME, came to me while I was preparing for my husband to leave for a tour in Iraq. My next novel, SHADES OF GRAY, was developed from an image of an elderly character that visited me one day. The way I view the world--everything from my environment to the people I meet and the clothes I see in stores--all are followed by the silent questions, "Where can this go?"

I have a backlog of about four books that I have already begun, and new ideas come to me very often. I choose what to write next by how I feel about the story. If I think I'll start one story, and I begin, but it just isn't flowing, then I move on to one that is. When the time is right for a story to be written, it lets me know.

2. Which of the characters in Chasing Amanda is most like you and why.

I'm most like Molly. I'm terribly stubborn about believing in the untangible and I believe intuition is highly under-valued by many. I'm also a runner, and I think if I were in Molly's position, I would have chosen to look for Tracey over my spouse, too. A spouse is an adult, and can typically take care of themselves, while a child has only the adults that care enough to value their life, lead them in the right direction, and in Tracey's case, try to save them.

3. Both Chasing Amanda and Megan's Way have key younger characters, although the story is told from an adult's POV. Have you ever considered writing a book through a younger characters eyes...perhaps a Young Adult or Middle Reader Book?

My fourth book, SHADES OF GRAY, is written from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl (so far). After MEGAN'S WAY, so many people wrote to me raving about Olivia and her character, that my editor (who had been asking me to write a YA novel for months) finally pulled me aside and said, basically, that I had to do it, lol. I'm glad I did. I never expected it to be so fun or so easy to climb into the head of a teenager again, but I'm right there and loving every second of it.

4.Is it difficult to be writing one book while doing the book tour for another--switching from creative mode to publicity mode?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It's not so much difficult as it is all-consuming. Many authors don't love the marketing aspect of writing, but I crave it. Meeting and chatting with readers is one of the best part of being an author (for me). I wish I had two days for every one. I want to connect with so many people, and there's so little time.

I am happy that some readers find their way to The Women's Nest, the social and support site that I founded, and I'm able to chat with them there, which is terrific. In September I'll be launching the Women's Literary Cafe, an extension of The Women's Nest--a site that will unite readers, authors, bloggers, and reviewers, and I'm hoping it will make the process a tad easier for those that have difficulty navigating the marketing end of writing.

5.Have you ever battled with writer's block and if so, how do you get through it?

I have been very lucky. Writer's block hasn't touched me for more than a few minutes at a time. Now that I say that, I probably won't be able to write for six months, lol. I work through it by talking aloud. I run through where the story can go next, or I skip the scene that's giving me trouble and move to a different chapter, returning once the ideas flow again. I also talk out my blocks with my kids, my editor, and my husband. They help to brainstorm and pull me through those difficult moments. It's surprising how different the ideas males come up are from a females' ideas.

6. We're all happily delving into our Summer Reading lists--and looking to add books like Chasing Amanda to our lists. What books are on your list? What books/authors are you reading or do you hope to read this summer?

I have so many that I keep staring at them and apologizing. Here are a few that are next to my bed at the moment:

Hambledown Dream, by Dean Mayes
Left Neglected, by Lisa Genova
The Murderers Daughter, by Randy Suesan Meyers
Deceptions, by Rebecca Fayn
Loverboy, by Victoria Redel

Crystal, thank you for taking the time to interview me today. I enjoyed answering your questions and look forward to answering questions from your readers.