Good morning, bookworm, do come in. Excuse the strange smell in the mystical library today; I asked the Natural Health books to make me a salve for my sunburn (the perils of spending lots of time reading indoors – I burn like a vampire when I do venture out!) and I suspect the Humour books may have added something when nobody was looking! Speaking of scents, the putrid stench of sulphur is a theme throughout a book I’ve just finished reading called Last Time She Died by Niki Kamerzell. Have you read it? Have a seat in your favourite comfy chair and I’ll bring you a custard Danish pastry and coffee to enjoy while I tell you all about it.
Firstly, here’s the blurb: A rainy night. A slick road. A car crash.
‘A puff of yellow dust blew from the vent, and the car filled with a strong sulfur smell. Laughter whispered through the speakers, then blared at full volume.’ Everything changes for Alexia Harper the night she leaves late from her waitressing job. When voices threaten her through the radio, she wonders if she’s gone crazy. Then lightning explodes close by, and Alexia crashes.
Following the accident, every day is the same. Every night the same nightmare stalks her. It’s like her life is on repeat, but she can’t shake the fearful warning her subconscious is screaming at her.
When Leland starts working at the diner, Alexia is drawn to him. He’s kind, funny and handsome, and he’s…familiar. It’s like they’ve spent the past eight lifetimes getting to know each other.
Now, the memory-like dreams make sense. She recognises people she doesn’t know—and they are giving her clues; answers she desperately needs to stop the thing that’s coming for her. Coming for all of them. Again.
Here’s a little about the author: Niki Kamerzell lives in Colorado and spends her summers out in the wild enjoying camping and fishing. Her favourite place to visit is Yellowstone National Park.
She spends her free time reading and writing and will read just about anything recommended to her. She’s been known to sacrifice eating and sleeping to finish a good book. Niki writes fantasy and has been writing for the last ten years. When not writing or reading, Niki is probably distracted by her Corgi or out hiking in the Rocky Mountains with her husband.
Her other distractions include driving around and singing off key with the radio and scrapbooking. Always willing to make things awkward, sarcasm is like a second language to her and, next to her passion for writing, probably one of the things Niki’s most proud of.
Finally, here’s my review: Whenever I review a book for a blog tour, aside from initially reading the blurb to sign up sometimes months in advance, I deliberately don’t read the blurb before I start to read and most of the time that works for me. I regret not doing so in this case because I spent the first third of the book feeling baffled. Once the penny dropped as to what was happening, I settled in to the narrative much more.
The scenes of Alexia’s crash had me on the edge of my seat and the author built up a malevolent atmosphere which made me feel like I was there as a helpless bystander. My own confusion was mirrored by Alexia’s as she tried to understand what was happening to her following that fateful night and each time the narrative flicked to Alexia’s friend, Cali, I itched to return to find out more pieces of the puzzle.
Cali begins to experience her own strange flashes of memory and lost time, as fear and danger begin to permeate her life. As the novel progressed, the strong bond between the two friends was clear. Whilst Leland had his own significant part to play in the story, Dustin never really came to life for me in the same way as the other three characters.
The world building was impressive and scenes involving snatches of other people’s untimely demise were vivid and compelling. I’m desperately trying not to involve spoilers here so I’m being deliberately vague!
A good fantasy tale would not be complete without a nemesis and this role is fulfilled by Blaine. Power-hungry and driven by jealousy of the friendships and abilities of the friends, he will stop at nothing in his desire to destroy them. The sensory descriptions that herald his appearances formed striking images in my mind as I read with a sense of unease at what his latest attack would entail.
I was initially going to give this a 3.5 star rating due to feeling so confused at first but in hindsight I could have avoided this had I read the blurb first so it feels only fair that I up it to 4 stars. And read the blurb of future books I review!
If you like the sound of Last Time She Died, you can click on the book image above to go to the relevant page on Amazon. I don’t get anything for providing the link; I’m just being a helpful bookworm. Thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
Ah, it seems the Natural Health book have mixed up a fresh salve for my sunburn and it smells delightful. I’d better go and apply it before those pesky Humour Books get to it again… Until next time, bookworm, farewell!