Blog Tour: Dan Knew (FJ Curlew)

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 3.36.34 PM.pngGood morning and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dan Knew by FJ Curlew. This book is something completely different from Clues and Reviews and the books I normally read. However, I am such a sucker for a story featuring a dog. I am probably 100% percent, absolutely, a little bit obsessed with my own fur baby (which I have mentioned before, I think) so I was pretty excited to read this story about a street dog who is rescued.

This story is also semi-autobiographical; the animals (and people!) in the book are all real so I enjoyed that there was a personal connection with the author and the text. I think that it made the story more heartfelt.

From the opening pages, the story was very different. The plot is actually narrated from the perspective of the dog, Dan, which I found to be incredibly interesting.   I often find myself thinking what my dog would say if she had the opportunity to narrate her own story so I loved seeing this perspective.  Dan is living on the streets in the Ukraine when a little girl, who becomes his new “mother”, finds him and he ends up joining their family and travelling with them.

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Book Review: If the Creek Don’t Rise (Leah Weiss) @sbkslandmark

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.21.58 AM.pngI am such a sucker for a character-driven novel. As much as I love a story with a fast-paced plot and plethora of twists, every so often I enjoy the decadence of curling up with a story that is full of strong characters and pushed by their emotions and actions. I love to get lost in their lives.   If the Creek Don’t Rise, the debut novel by Leah Weiss, did exactly that.

The novel opens with the introduction of Sadie Blue, a pregnant and newly married teenager whose husband turns abusive the minute they are married. Bruised and broken, Sadie retreats back home to her grandmother. Through alternating POVs from various members of their small Appalachian town, Sadie’s story unfolds.

As a novel categorized as a historical fiction, I was little bit worried when I started my reading but I was pleased that this one didn’t feel too out of touch. I often find some historical fiction hard to digest, but, as I read this one, I didn’t feel that way at all. Weiss does a brilliant job at creating a piece that is historically accurate as well as inviting. I loved the touches of the dialect and I loved the narrative style. From the first pages, I was drawn into and loved the female-centric narrative; for a majority of the story, a key woman in the plot narrates each chapter. I thought this was so interesting and original, especially given context of the story and the time period it is written in.   Women, pretty obviously within this plot, did not have a real voice and Weiss chooses to give their voices a chance to be heard entirely.

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Throwback Thursday: The Killing Lessons (Saul Black)

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Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by book blogger extraordinaire, Renee at It’s Book Talk. She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favourites and read books that have already been published. This is becoming one of my favourite features on my blog because it forces me to go back and read some of the books on my shelf that have been sitting there (neglected and probably incredibly sad).

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 2.53.46 PM.pngThe Killing Lessons, by Saul Black, had been on my TBR list for a couple of years and I was encouraged by several of my book blogging (and real life!) friends to make time to read this book. Since Black’s second novel in the series, Love/Murder, was being published during the summer and featured a stellar synopsis, I figured I would get myself caught up so I could start the series from the beginning.

Two strangers turn up at an isolated farmhouse brutally murdered one and kidnapping another. The murders do not go according to plan, since one small girl survives and now holds the key to the killings. In San Francisco, homicide detective Valerie Hart is feeling the psychological breakdown of a difficult case. Are the situations related? This slow burning mystery follows the mind of the psychopath and the desperation of the woman determined to stop him.

This one left me feeling completely mixed.
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Book Review: Copycat (Alex Lake) @HarperCollinsCa

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.21.51 AM.pngEarlier this year, I read Killing Kate, a thriller written by Alex Lake. I really ended up enjoying it so I instantly went to Kindle and downloaded After Anna, another title by the author. Needless to say, when I found out that Copycat, the newest release by Alex Lake, was coming out this month, it went to the top of my TBR pile!

The book was written extremely uniquely, which I loved. Written in parts, the first is told in alternating chapters between Sarah, a doctor who finds out she is being stalked, and the mysterious, unnamed stalker. As Sarah’s life begins to unravel and her sanity is called into question, this section is written in short chapters; very easy to get lost in. Lake does an amazing job at capturing Sarah’s anxiety and increasing paranoia. In fact, I loved the Sarah character and as the novel progresses Sarah finds herself sinking deeper and deeper into her own mind as she questions the motives of her “copycat” and the story is very intense! This section of the novel gave me a similar vibe as The Breakdown by B.A Paris.
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Sitting Down With Kaira Rouda: Author of Best Day Ever @KairaRouda @HarlequinBooks

 

Fall is my absolute favourite time of year; not only do I feel more content surrounded by the bright colours and cooler weather but fall marks the time where the most anticipated releases from my wishlist are published.  Enter Best Day Ever, the newest release by Kaira Rouda (which is out TODAY!) and a book that was topping my TBR pile.

I was lucky enough to be able to chat with the author, Kaira Rouda about Best Day Ever, her thoughts on book reviews and how she spends her time when she isn’t creating her novels.

Keep reading to see what Karia said during our chat!  And, stay tuned for our CJSreviews of Best Day Ever, which we made one of our September picks!

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Book Review: White Bodies (Jane Robins) @alfresca @TouchstoneBooks

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.18.55 AM.pngI am such a sucker for a psychological thriller; I am always on the hunt for something new that will leave me thinking.  Enter, White Bodies by Jane Robins, a book that topped by fall TBR list and one that I was eagerly anticipating.  Chandra, Jessica and I added this one to our September TBR pile months ago so I was incredibly excited to dive in.

The story begins and develops your typical love story:  man (Felix) meets girl (Tilda), man controls girl, twin sister of girl (Callie) gets mad, man ends up dead.  Ya know, the stuff that makes ya warm and fuzzy inside.    I loved how Robins slowly built and weaved the tension throughout the plot; it truly left me feeling unsettled.    Especially in regards to the Callie character.  What a treat she was.  A completely disturbing and pretty messed up treat, but a treat nonetheless!  I think one of the first “um…WTF Callie??!” moments comes at about 13% into the book.   I don’t think I will ever look at a pair of twins the same!!

I also felt like the writing style of this one was incredibly different; the premise is like other books I have read but the execution felt more original.   The story does not follow a specific linear path; instead, it focuses on alternative narrative moments in time between the present and then two different snapshots from the past.   I think my favourite (is that okay to say something was my favourite when it was so twisted) were the Callie chapters from her childhood.  Creepy.

My biggest complaint with this novel was the pacing.  I felt like the first 100 pages or so really dragged.  I was interested.  I wanted to keep reading but I didn’t find myself tearing through the pages.  However, the second half of the book really shone and I did find myself completely engrossed.  I guess I wish it had paced more evenly so I felt entirely dedicated throughout.   I also had a hunch regarding the “reveal” fairly early on, but that didn’t deter me from completing the novel.  I loved Robin’s style.

Overall, if you want a psychological thriller that will give you the creeps, then I would pick this one up.  It is totally worth the read.

4/5 stars.

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

As mentioned this one a #cjsreads pick.  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought?  Keep reading to find out!

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Blog Tour: The Mother (Jamie Raven) @AvonBooksUK

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Good morning and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Mother, the newest novel by the brilliant Jamie Raven!   I am thrilled to be able to provide you with an extract today.

Following her previous thrillers (The Madam and The Alibi), Raven’s The Mother will have you gripped as it taps into every mother’s worst fear.   Interested? Here is a bit more about the book!

South London detective Sarah Mason is a single mother. It’s a tough life, but Sarah gets by. She and her ex-husband, fellow detective Adam Boyd, adore their 15-month-old daughter Molly.

Until Sarah’s world falls apart when she receives a devastating threat: Her daughter has been taken, and the abductor plans to raise Molly as their own, as punishment for something Sarah did.

Sarah is forced to stand back while her team try to track down the kidnapper. But her colleagues aren’t working fast enough to find Molly. To save her daughter, Sarah must take matters into her own hands, in a desperate hunt that will take her to the very depths of London’s underworld.

 A gripping new voice in crime fiction, this book is perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Jessie Keane.

I am such a sucker for an abduction thriller, aren’t you?!

Keep reading for an extract of The Mother

Continue reading “Blog Tour: The Mother (Jamie Raven) @AvonBooksUK”

BOMG Book Review: Young Jane Young (Gabrielle Zevin)

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A young intern, Aviva Grossman, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss (who is also a successful and married politician) and blogging about it. After the affair comes to light, Aviva is thrust into the spotlight and ends up taking the brunt of the backlash.   Years later, after changing her name to Jane, moving to a new town and starting over in a new career with her daughter, she decides to run for office herself. Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin is a contemporary chick lit novel that will have you thinking.

I went into this book completely blind, I knew nothing about the synopsis and I knew nothing about the author, Gabrielle Zevin. All I knew for sure what the cover was incredible and that was enough for me!

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Book Review: 99 Red Balloons (Elisabeth Carpenter) @AvonBooksUK

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.40.22 AMWhen I first saw the cover of 99 Balloons, the newest release by Elisabeth Carpenter, I was pretty much obsessed. The ominous black and white silhouettes with the lone red balloon had me instantly intrigued, and, after reading the synopsis, this one found its way on to my TBR list.

Eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweet shop on the way home from school and her family is thrown into a nightmare. Meanwhile, a woman sees Grace’s story in the newspaper and instantly makes connections to her own granddaughter’s disappearance.   As both families begin to crack, everything is called into question and it seems that maybe no one is as innocent as they seem.

This one had a creepy opening. After reading the first chapter, I had actual chills.  I am always quite the fan of an abduction story and this one had all the caveats that I would expect in an abduction tale: unreliable characters, ominous tone and red herrings a plenty.

However, I have to say, as much as I loved the plot, I found the narrative style to be a bit confusing. Some of it was clearly labeled and other moments are not. I suppose this could be because we aren’t privy to the identity of the kidnapper, but even some chapters not narrated by the kidnapper were not clearly labeled. I still found this to be a little bit disorienting and it would throw me out of the story as I tried to figure out who was speaking and where I actually was.

Overall, was this my favourite abduction story I have ever read? No.

Was it worth the read? I’d say so.

In fact, this one really had a similar vibe to The Child by Fiona Barton, so if you enjoyed that story then I would say this one would be of interest to you as well!

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