Blog Tour: The Lucky Ones (Tiffany Reisz)

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.10.54 PMGood Morning and welcome to my stop on the TLC Blog Tour for The Lucky Ones, by Tiffany Reisz!  This novel quickly rose to the top of my TBR pile when I happened to stumble over a few publicity releases for this novel that compared it to Flowers in the Attic by V.C Andrews. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that Flowers in the Attic happens to be one my favourite books; I am a sucker for the gothic vibe.

Now that I have finished reading, I can attest that The Lucky Ones does have a gothic vibe but, other than that, this novel was absolutely not what I was expecting at all.

The Lucky Ones opens when Allison is called back to her foster home when her foster father, Dr. Vincent Capello, is about to lose his battle with terminal cancer. Heading back to the idyllic beach home after thirteen years away (known as The Dragon) gives Allison mixed feelings. Her memories at The Dragon were positive but short-lived after an accident forces her out of the home and off to live with her great aunt. Known as “the lucky ones” after they were saved by Dr. Capello, Allison is reunited with her foster siblings and if forced to confront her past, but, in doing so, she begins to uncover horrific truths about the family she thought she knew.

First thing first, I did really enjoy the writing style of Tiffany Reisz. This was my first experience with this author and I found her prose easy to become lost in. I had no trouble diving into this novel and settling in. The first chapter gave me a sort of Fifty Shades vibe and I was actually really intrigued to how this was going to tie in with the rest of the novel (it didn’t really…). I still appreciated the ominous tone and the mysterious element surrounding Allison’s childhood.

Once she arrived at The Dragon, the novel sort of began to take a strange turn. It was fairly obvious she was going to have a relationship with one of her foster brothers almost immediately. I didn’t mind that at all. They are foster siblings, not related by blood and, let’s get real; I don’t really have any issue with any sort of strange familial relations in my thrillers. However, I just could not get past the brother/sister references throughout. After they have begun their relationship, they still continuously referred to themselves as brother and sister and that started to really give me a WTF vibe.

Initially, with the bits of mystery/suspense blended in with some romance elements, I thought maybe this would become more “thrilling” as the plot developed but this absolutely teetered more into the romance genre as the novel wore on with the mystery moving into the background. I didn’t actually mind this because I do like a romance novel every now and again and, by the end, I ended up enjoying how unique the tale was; I truly have never read anything remotely like this before. However, I think that readers expecting a mystery will be disappointed.

So, if you are a fan of dark romance, then this may be up your alley but if you are looking for a hard-hitting, suspenseful mystery, this may be lacking.

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

BOMG Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris) @BonnierZaffre

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I feel like the last several “book outside my genre” book reviews have had me reading various historical fiction, specifically Holocaust fiction.  Today’s review is just that!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, is a novel that I have been struggling to write a review for. How can a true, harrowing story be rated?   The novel follows Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, as he lives his daily life Auschwitz and struggles to protect the love of his life, Gita, whom he meets in the camp.   I really did appreciate it was inspired by the true events of a couple; both humbling and heartbreaking, I was captivated by their love story.

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BOMG Book Review: Perfectly Undone (Jamie Raintree) @jamieraintree @HarlequinBooks

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After my wedding, I had a bit of a backlog going with my review copies (oops!) so I was pretty excited to finally be able to give my full attention to Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree. This book had been on my list of highly anticipated reads for October. From the synopsis to the amazing cover, I was completely sold.

The novel surrounds Dr. Dylan Michels, a woman who is completely focused. She is has a loving long-term boyfriend, she is successful, hardworking and determined to make a difference in the lives of the women she encounters, especially after she could not help her own sister. Everything seems to be coming together until everything begins to unravel. A deeply moving novel filled with family secrets, forgiveness and finding yourself, from the first pages I was captivated by the story and Raintree’s prose.

Continue reading “BOMG Book Review: Perfectly Undone (Jamie Raintree) @jamieraintree @HarlequinBooks”

BOMG Book Review: The Trick (Emanuel Bergmann)

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After binge reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I had my sights set on reading something similar. I wanted a historical fiction novel set in the time of World War II. Browsing my bookshelves, I decided to dive into The Trick, (a novel recently translated into English) written by Emanuel Bergmann.

The story was very original and used a twist on the classic then vs. now type of narrative approach. Partially taking place in 1934, following a young Jewish man who falls in love and joins the circus as a magician and, decades later, with a young boy who seeks out the now elderly (and cynical) magician to try and bring his crumbling family back together.

I felt like this novel lacked the emotion that holocaust fiction is known for. I didn’t feel any particular connection to any of the characters. This disappointed me. Usually, I feel over-attached to characters within similar types of prose and find myself weeping by the end. The characters in this novel seemed a bit detached from the story, especially the characters within the “now” section of the narrative. I think, for me, this story would have been more successful if it had been through the eyes of the one narrative in the past. I was intrigued by the idea of the circus and the happenings during that time. Every time the switch was made into the present; I found that the author lost me.

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BOMG Book Review: The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah)

The Nightingale.pngYou know that book that you purchase as soon as it comes out because you are dying to read it? You go to the bookstore, snatch it off the shelves and buckle it into your passenger seat on the way home. You head inside, you get distracted and then the book ends up on your shelf for three years? The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, was that book for me.

I had been told I would love it. I figured that I would. However, it just never was the right time and, as I began reviewing books and accepting review copies, most of my poor bookshelf babies remained unattended.

When Chelsea, from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, and I started brainstorming for books for our online book club, this book immediately came into discussion.   We wanted something that had been widely read, so a majority of people would be able to chime into our book talk, and we wanted something that would give us a break from our regularly scheduled genres.

I knew generally speaking what to expect when I began this novel, but I couldn’t get over how diverse Hannah is as a writer. When I think of Kristin Hannah, my first thought is usually “chick lit”. This novel is so much more.

The novel opens with the introduction to sisters, Vivanne and Isabelle. Both very different, yet close, the girls are thrust together at the start of the German occupation in France during the Second World War. As the war progresses, the sisters are tested and their lives change in unbelievable and horrific ways as they find themselves in the middle of the war, the center of resistance and doing their best to survive.

From the first pages, I was absolutely captivated with the story of these two sisters. Told in alternating perspectives, the reader is given two completely different views and two completely different situations.   I was completely carried away by the story and become lost in the French countryside during the WWII.

It is hard to say anything about this book that hasn’t already been said since I am truly coming late to the game but I know for sure that this book will sit with me for a long time; it was absolutely brilliant. I would highly recommend it.

5/5 stars.

Did you read this book?  Did you feel like chatting about it?  It is never too late to join in the discussion on Goodreads!

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/245555-suspenseful-clues-and-thrilling-reviews

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: Someone You Love Is Gone (Gurjinder Basran) @RandomHouseCA @VikingBooks

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 9.55.33 PM.pngI am always looking to discover Canadian novelists to add to my repertoire, so when I discovered Gurjinder Basran and found out her newest novel, Someone You Love Is Gone, was publishing this month (yesterday, in fact!), I added it to the top of my TBR pile.

Initially, I was finding this story downright depressing.   Simran, the lead character and whose narrative voice is most heard throughout the story, has just lost her mother and is still grieving over the disintegration of her marriage and the loss of her child.   As her life is unraveling, she begins to question all sorts of incidents in her child, especially those involving her younger brother, and the past comes flooding back.

Told through alternating time periods, the present (dealing with her mother’s funeral, family relationships and her own grief) and remembering the past (her brother being sent away, talk of arranged marriage and trying to balance a patriarchal culture with what teenaged Simran wants) the author is able to delve into and dissect so many issues within very few pages. Someone You Love Is Gone packed a serious punch!

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Book Review: We All Love the Beautiful Girls (Joanne Proulx) @JoanneVProulx @RandomHouseCA

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 9.55.24 PM.pngWe All Love the Beautiful Girls, by Joanne Proulx, is a very different story from what I normally read and what I am attracted to. However, the synopsis intrigued me and, given the fact that she is a Canadian author, I added it to the top of my TBR pile.  I am so glad I did. From Proulx’s strong prose to the different narrative voices that are portrayed, I found myself hanging on to every word.

The novel opens and builds slowly with the introduction of several different characters that all have a point of view within the story. Mia (the family matriarch) Michael (her husband who has just been cheated by his business partner) and Finn (their teenaged son, who is in love with a girl he cannot have). After an evening with a terrible accident and some personal revelations, they find their relationships tested and their boundaries pushed as each character deals with the loss in a different way.

One of the main things that drew me into the story, pretty much immediately, was how real, dark and raw Proulx’s story telling is. There is no sugar coating or dramatic flourish within these pages. There is heartache, there is loss and there is the undeniable feeling that this could potentially happen to anyone.   As their family unit unravels, I felt emotionally compelled to continue reading.   I have read other reviews that state this story is too slow, I, however, felt the complete opposite. I felt like I settled into this story easily and was completely entranced throughout. I couldn’t put it down.

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Book Review: Sunshine is Forever (Kyle T. Cowan) @KyleTCowan #SunshineisForever @Inkshares

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After an “incident” and a suicide attempt, Hunter finds himself heading to Camp Sunshine, the happiest place on earth and haven for depressed teens. Once he arrives, he meets fellow camper, Corin, who hatches a plan to break out of camp.   In helping with the plan, Hunter ends up going deep within himself to figure out if he plans to run from the incident that got him to the camp in the first place or if he wants to stay and face it head on.

This is a totally different book from what the #cjsreads crew typically reads and, I’ll have to admit, when I first read the synopsis, I was hesitant.  I had some serious issues with Thirteen Reasons Why and that whole craze earlier this year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect as I delved into a book about teen suicide.    However, the tagline for this book stated it was The Bell Jar meets Chuck Palahniuk.  I was intrigued but a little bit confused.  “What a combination that would be”, I thought to myself.   So, my curiosity got the best of me and I dived in.  Now that I have finished Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan, I totally get it.

Given the subject matter, it is no surprise that this narrative is raw and honest but it is also, ironically, pretty funny.  Using dark humour, Cowan’s narrative prose completely stood out using Hunter’s narrative voice.  As he discussed his insecurities, his feelings, and his everyday life, I found myself accepting the information as if he was an old friend.  I don’t usually read YA, simply because I don’t usually enjoy it nor can I relate.  However, I found something different about this one.  Perhaps the subject matter made it seem more mature?  I’m not sure but I had no issues flying through the pages.

In my line of work, I often come across teens with suicidal ideations and I found the perspective of this book incredibly eye opening.  You can read textbooks for days on the subject but this account felt so honest and real, it actually felt like it gave me a better understanding.

4/5 stars from me!

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

Want to see if the other #cjsreads book appreciated this book as much as I did?  Keep reading to see what they thought about Sunshine Is Forever.

Continue reading “Book Review: Sunshine is Forever (Kyle T. Cowan) @KyleTCowan #SunshineisForever @Inkshares”