June 2017 Wrap Up: #wrapup #June

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMWell I blinked, June is over and summer is officially here! Anyone who works in education or an

Anyone who works in education or an education-related field waits for June with bated breath!   It always feels like there is not enough time and yet, time moves at a snail’s pace!  I work in an alternative school setting, so I work through the summer, but it is absolutely more relaxed and I am looking forward to the lighter weight load before I transition back into the public school system in September!

Needless to say, June was an absolutely crazy month for me personally, but, I must say, I had a seriously mediocre month for reading.

With life in the way and a full blown reading slump that plagued me for almost two weeks, I finished June with 25 titles read.

Keep reading to see what I read in June and, as always, be sure to click on the titles to bring you to the full reviews!
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Book Review: Part of the Silence (Debbie Howells)

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I had never read a novel by Debbie Howells before, so, when #cjsreads decided to add this novel to our June line up, I was excited to dive into the work of an unfamiliar author.   Part of the Silence had a beautiful cover and an intriguing synopsis involving a woman (Evie Sherman), with no recollection of whom she is, left for dead in a field and a daughter that she insists she has; however, there is no evidence of the girl’s existence. As Evie goes deeper into her own mind and her obsession with “a daughter” intensifies, she must figure out whom she can trust and how she can protect the child she knows exists.

In the first few chapters, I was really interested to see who these characters were and how the plot would develop; it opens so vaguely that I was grabbed instantly. Though, as I continued reading, one of the things I struggled with about this novel was the predictability and the actual characterization.

The novel is told through multiple perspectives; for the most part, the plot is described through the eyes of Charlotte (a local woman who knows Evie Sherman) from her high school years. Jack, the police detective on the case, and, finally, a few chapters by Evie, narrates the remaining chapters.   There are also random entries from a diary of a girl named Casey. I did like the multi-perspective narration; I am always a fan of different character views.  However, I didn’t really care about what any of these characters had to say. I found the Evie (sometimes known as Jen) character a little whiney, I found Jack to be randomly placed in the plot and I found Charlotte to be obviously off base.   These characters one-dimensional attitude gave a lot of predictability to the plot and I found myself easily able to figure this one out within the first 50 pages.

For someone who is new to the thriller genre, this would be an entertaining read. However, for someone more familiar with the genre, this one plays out like the same song and dance.

I gave this one a 2/5 stars.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for providing a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

As I mentioned, #cjsreads read this title as one of our June titles; keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra thought about Part of the Silence.

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Discussion Series: How I Balance Books, Blogging and Life (Part 2): Dealing With Time

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMIt is time for another instalment of my balancing books, blogging and life series.

Last week, I posted a typical daily routine (if you missed that one, you can check it out here!).   This week, I figured I would get more in depth and start answering some of the questions I have received surrounding making time and staying focused!

To start, I would like to be clear. People keep asking me to write this post and to share my secrets.   Truly, there really is no secret.   I do what works for me, so, that being said, some of the things I do will not work for everyone! So my top piece of advice, before I start my ramble, is to play around with your routine and adjust it to how it will benefit you the best!

I decided to take direct questions and answer them Q&A style for this portion of the series, so without further ado, let’s get into it!

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Blog Tour: The Orphan of India (Sharon Maas) @bookouture @sharon_maas

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Welcome to my stop on The Orphan of India blog tour by Sharon Maas!

When I told Kim at Bookouture that I wanted something completely different from my regular reading to cleanse my palette, she recommended The Orphan of India by Sharon Maas, so, into this book I dove!

Surprising even myself, I was completely sucked into this story of love and loss within the first few sentences. Part coming of age drama and part historical fiction, Maas brilliantly captures the life of a little girl and the people who surround her.

Following British couple, Monika and Jack Kingsley, who are desperate for a family of their own. On a charity trip to India, they come across Jyothi, a small girl living in poverty and who seeks comfort from the music she hears around her; the couple falls in love with her immediately. Fighting through red tape and culture they are unfamiliar with, Jyothi finally comes to England and deals with the struggle to fit into her new surroundings. Following her lifetime, Jyothi realizes the importance of embracing your future and confronting your past.

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Giveaway: Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Initiative (Eric Van Lustbader) @GrandCentralPub #TheBourneInitiative

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The Bourne Identity (and, truly, the entire Jason Bourne series) is one of those books that all crime and spy fiction lovers talk about and discuss.  In fact, some would argue that they are the best in the spy genre!

Needless to say, they have been on my TBR pile for quite some time.

With the arrival of the fourteenth novel, The Bourne Initiative, which published earlier this month, I am thrilled to be teaming up with Grand Central Publishing to offer a prize pack for one of you featuring The Bourne Initiative and other books in the Jason Bourne series!!

What an amazing way to get into the series and binge read some spy fiction!  Keep reading for a glance at the prize package and the Rafflecopter link for your chance to enter!

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Sitting Down with Grace O’Connell: Author of Be Ready for the Lightning @yesgrace @RandomHouseCA

Earlier this month, I read Be Ready for the Lightning by Canadian author, Grace O’Connell.  I was completely blown away by this novel (if you missed it, my review is here).    Today, I have Grace O’Connell on Clues and Reviews answering my questions about the book, the writing process and some serious Canadian business….

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Behind the Blog: Meet the Blogger Series- Becca from If I Could Only Read Faster @ifonlyread

Ever wonder about the person behind the blog?  I mentioned back in January (here) that I would be starting a Meet the Blogger series.  This series will feature some of my favourite bloggers as we go behind the scenes and have them answer the questions!
Next up is Becca from If I Could Only Read Faster!
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Thrilled to have Becca here today to answer my Behind the Blogger questions!  Becca has an amazing blog and an incredible story!  Keep reading to see what Becca had to say during her turn in the “hot seat”!

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Book Review: Every Last Lie (Mary Kubica) @MaryKubica

Every Last Lie.pngMary Kubica is one of my auto buy authors; everything she publishes, I read and enjoy so I was thrilled when I discovered she had a novel being published this month!

Known for her psychological thrillers, Every Last Lie, follows the life of Clara Solberg after her world is shattered; her husband, Nick, is killed in a car crash with their daughter in the car. Their daughter remarkably unharmed and the crash ruled an accident, Clara cannot help but question what happened. Tormented by grief and obsessed with Nick’s death, Clara is desperate for the truth. Who could have wanted Nick dead? Why were they after him? Who is the “bad man” that their daughter continuously refers to?

The narrative is divided in true Kubica fashion through multiple viewpoints. Clara, as she desperately hunts for answers and Nick, told through his last months before the crash.  Unlike her previous novels, I felt like this one really delved into the characters and developed them.   I had so many ideas throughout this reading. I continuously was guessing, changing my mind and adding new theories into the mix.  Did Nick have an affair? Was he attacked? Did Clara have anything to do with this? Did he fake his own death? Is this a dream? Is Clara in a psych ward? I was constantly frustrated, and entertained, as Kubica weaved the plot

I think my favourite thing about a Kubica novel is the fact that her narratives are never outlandish or far-fetched. The eeriness surrounding the plots is because they are so simple. They are truly something that could happen to anyone.

This is absolutely not a traditional thriller, this is not a rollercoaster ride with red herrings and doom around every corner, and it will not be for every reader, however, if you like a book that is eerily realistic that will keep you guessing, Every Last Lie is a brilliant choice! I gave it 5/5 stars.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.



Book Review: Unsub (Meg Gardiner) @MegGardiner1 @DuttonBooks

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 11.24.41 AM.pngI am one of those people who is fascinated by serial killer thrillers; think Ragdoll by Daniel Cole and The Fourth Monkey by JD Barker, and, of course, Criminal Minds. Truly, anything with a sicko at the core, I completely eat up. Well folks, if you are like me and are looking for a killer summer read, then you best be adding Unsub, the newest novel by Meg Gardiner, to your TBR piles. Heart pounding, dark and visceral, Unsub had me holding on to the edge of my seat and screaming for more.

Drawing inspiration from the Zodiac Killer, a never caught serial killer who wreaked havoc in California during the 1970s, Unsub follows Detective Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective who finds herself transferred to homicide when the killer at the heart of her childhood reemerges. The Prophet, a notorious Bay Area serial killer, nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case, during her youth and now he is back with a vengeance. Mind games, cryptic messages and violent actions draw Caitlin closer and closer into the Prophet’s web with each gruesome murder.
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