Book Review: The Runaways (Sonya Terjanian) @Sourcebooks @TerjanianSonya

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 7.54.15 AM.pngEvery so often, I come across a book that I become completely engrossed in. The prose is easy, the characters are intriguing and I find myself reading late into the night so I can figure out that the story. That is exactly what happened to me when I opened The Runaways, the sophomore novel by Sonya Terjanian.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened up The Runaways and the synopsis wasn’t exactly clear. I knew it would involve a teenage runaway, trying to break free from what she believes will be a dull future and I knew she would meet a woman who is trying to escape from her mundane life.   Was it going to read like contemporary drama? Women’s fiction? Suspense? These were the types of thoughts running through my head as I sat down to flip open the first page.

What I found, as I continued my reading, was that this novel was a little bit of everything: a dark, cold landscape, deeply flawed characters that collide and secrets flow throughout the plot. It was sort of like Scandinavian Fiction meets Southern Gothic Fiction meets a psychological character study. Needless to say, Terjanian had me hook, line and sinker.

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Book Review: Then She Was Gone (Lisa Jewell) @lisajewelluk @AtriaMysteryBus

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 11.04.22 PM.pngI really love a novel that is a nice blend of suspense and women’s fiction. I find them to be such a nice breath of fresh air in a genre saturated with serial killers and psychological thrillers (mind you, I enjoy those as well!).

After reading the synopsis of Then She Was Gone, the newest publication by Lisa Jewell, I knew this would fit that bill for me. Having read several of Jewell’s other novels, I was excited to dive into this one. Just as entertaining as her others, I flew through my reading but, truthfully, I didn’t find it to be as suspenseful as some of the other novels I have read by Jewell. I actually found it to be quite predictable but still incredibly entertaining.

Let me break it down a bit further.

So, the novel follows Laurel Mack, who is still reeling after the disappearance of her daughter, Ellie, 10 years prior. She has never been able to fully move on and this has ultimately affected most of her relationships.   This begins to change when she meets Floyd and she finally starts to feel like herself again. However, Floyd’s nine-year-old daughter unsettles Laurel when she realizes she shows a startling resemblance to Ellie.   All those memories of Ellie come flooding back pushing Laurel to find out once and for all what happened to her daughter.

I loved the writing style of Jewell, as I always do! Something about her writing is so easy to digest. It is sort of like chatting with a good friend. I really like that I can start one of her novels and them just sort of settle in and enjoy the ride.

However, like I said above, I found this novel lacking suspense. To me, it read more like women’s fiction or contemporary family drama. I enjoyed it. I wanted to know what happened. I just feel like it was a bit misleading in this genre.   Also, I felt like it was very predictable. I was able to guess what has happened very early on in the novel but was still interested to see whether or not I was correct.

Overall, I really like this novel as an easy read and will continue to read more Lisa Jewell. If you are looking for an on the edge of your seat style suspense, this will be lacking but I would highly recommend if you are looking for a well-rounded and developed story.

3.5/5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher (Atria), the author (Lisa Jewell) and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Jessica and Chandra read this one with me for #cjsreads.  Want to know what they felt about Then She Was Gone?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: Then She Was Gone (Lisa Jewell) @lisajewelluk @AtriaMysteryBus”

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.

Blog Tour: Best Friends Forever (Margot Hunt) @HuntAuthor @TLCBookTours

Best Friends Forever copy.pngWelcome to my stop on the TLC Book Tour for Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt!  This morning, I am thrilled to be able to bring you a review of this psychological-domestic thriller!

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I was intrigued instantly.   Two women (Alice and Kat), best friends after a chance meeting at an airport, are rocked when one of their husbands end up dead and police begin an investigation into the suspicious death.  Who is the master manipulator?  How well do you REALLY know your best friend? From the first pages, as Alice is explaining how she has been arrested for murder, Hunt had me on edge and I read this one late into the night.  A bingeable read?  Absolutely!

Told through back and forth narration as Alice deals with the police investigation in the present and showing how their friendship unfolded in the past, I found Alice and Kat to be deliciously addictive characters; I was hypnotized by Kat’s charisma and felt sorry for Alice’s plight.  Hunt did a phenomenal job at making both character relatable and I felt like I could have known each of these women at some point in my life.   I felt like this was one of the strongest points of Hunt’s writing; the realism of the prose brought the psychological suspense to a whole other level.

Giving me a vibe between Big Little Lies and Making A Murderer,  I found myself growing increasingly paranoid as Hunt builds to the final twist.  I was a little bit underwhelmed by the ending, as I had my suspicions about the ending and I was correct.  However,  Hunt delivers a well-written thriller that is completely entertaining!

You want a chick-lit inspired thriller that will keep you up late into the night?  Are you a fan of Liane Moriarty or Michele Campbell?  Then, look no further, this one MUST be your next read!

Book Review: I Know My Name (CJ Cooke) @CJ_Cooke_Author @GrandCentralPub

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 9.35.38 AM.pngI am such a sucker for a mystery/thriller with a missing wife.  Gone Girl started the trend and, now, I cannot help but add a book to that similar thread to my TBR pile.  I Know My Name, the debut novel by CJ Cooke, had just that element.

Lochlan’s wife, Eloise, is missing.  She disappeared from their home leaving her phone, her wallet and her children behind.  Meanwhile, a woman washes up on a Greek island without any knowledge of who she is or how she got there.   Told in a back and forth narration, these two tales weave together making quite the digestible read. In fact, I sat down to read a few pages and was finished within a few hours.

Cooke’s tale is not only beautifully written but incredibly entertaining.  It becomes quite clear within the first few chapters that the missing woman and the woman on the island are one in the same but Cooke still had me on the edge of my seat wondering how she got there and how Lochlan would discover her whereabouts.

My only complaint in the novel came from sections of narration.  There were a few moments where I found the style to be incredibly confusing. Told mostly through the eyes of the woman on the island and Lochlan, as he desperately searches for his wife, there ended up being some random chapters narrated from Eloise’s grandmother’s point of view and also a few chapters from the past which felt a little bit random.  These had me flipping back and forth trying to re-orient myself in the text.

The final twist nearing the end I did find interesting and quite fitting for a novel of psychological suspense. Overall, I felt like it was a solid crime read that readers who are looking for a softer bit of crime fiction will enjoy.

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

This novel was a #cjsreads pick for January.  Want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought?  Keep reading to find out!

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Book Review: Poison (Galt Niederhoffer) @StMartinsPress

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 4.21.33 PM.pngIt is no secret that I am a huge fan of the domestic thriller genre.  Give me an unreliable narrator and an up-to-no-good husband and I am hooked.  So, when #cjsreads decided to read Poison by Galt Niederhoffer, I was thrilled.  It seemed like the exact type of book that would keep me up late into the night.

The novel surrounds a picturesque family and their suburban life.  Cass and Ryan make up a newly blended family with their three children.  However, Ryan has a dark side, one that keeps Cass looking over her shoulder, and when she confronts Ryan about his fidelity, Cass begins to wonder if her life is at stake.  As tensions rise, Cass’s sanity is questioned and she begins to worry her children are at risk.

As I began my reading, one of the things that stood out the most for me was the style of Niederhoffer’s writing.  I was drawn in immediately, almost as if I was connecting with old friends.  The prose was familiar and inviting.  It had me turning the pages.

One of the cleverest things about this novel was the use of the title and the ties to the plot; the jealous nature of Cass is poisoning her relationship and Cass believes that Ryan is literally poisoning her.  I loved this play and exploration into literal and psychological poison.  I felt captivated as I watched the story unfold.  Is she actually crazy?  Is she correct?  Who do I believe?

I really like novels with strong characters and Poison fit this bill.  Ryan was incredibly creepy and I found Cass to be very unreliable.    I also loved how Niederhoffer constantly called into question the idea of the unreliable female and the doubt that those in the legal system have with women as the victim.  I felt like this is extremely prevalent in today’s society and I found myself questioning my own judgments and assessment of Cass throughout my reading.

However, I did have a few issues with this novel towards the end.  About 40% of the way into the novel, I did find parts of the novel beginning to drag quite a bit.  The idea of the poison is brought to light very early in the novel and teased in the synopsis, so it was very clear that Cass believed she was being poisoned.  However, this was constantly drilled home for the next 30% of the book.  It felt very redundant.  Also, although I loved the little twist in the end, the final resolution left me feeling as if it had come out of left field.

Regardless of this, I did enjoy the easy prose and the compelling plot enough to finish this book over the course of a few sittings.  This novel really gave me a B.A Paris vibe and I feel like fans of this author will really enjoy PoisonPoison is published today!  Be sure to add it to your TBR pile if you are a fan of the domestic genre!

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

I mentioned this was a #cjsreads pick; want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought of Poison? Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: Poison (Galt Niederhoffer) @StMartinsPress”

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”

Book Review: Depth of Lies (E.C Diskin) @ecdiskin

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 3.45.21 PM.pngI am a pretty big sucker for any book that can combine a chick lit feel with added suspense; Liane Morarity does this brilliantly as does the Pretty Little Liars series that I loved when I was in high school. Depth of Lies, by E.C Diskin, fell under this umbrella. I devoured this novel.

It opens in the wake of tragedy. A group of friends have just lost one of their own, Shea, to suicide.   As each friend traces their last moments with Shea, wondering how they could have missed the warning signs, Kat is hit the hardest. She finds herself desperate for answers and tracing Shea’s last days. Discovering shameful secrets and a web of desire, Kat’s idyllic suburban life is shattered and what happens behind closed doors is revealed.

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Book Review: Without Merit (Colleen Hoover) @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA @colleenhoover

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 6.33.21 AMColleen Hoover is one of those guilty pleasure authors that I pick up whenever I just need to be completely lost in a story and am not looking for anything too heavy or anything too complex.  Pure entertainment value is what I am looking for and, Without Merit, the newest novel by Colleen Hoover certainly delivers.

The novel opens and we meet the Voss family, who is anything but normal.  We meet twin sisters, Honor (who is obsessed with dating boys with terminal illnesses) and Merit (who collects trophies anytime anything bad happens to her).  They live with their father (Barnaby), their father’s mistress turned baby mama, turned wife (Victoria).  Their mother, who is agoraphobic and never leaves the basement.  Their brother, Utah, who is hiding several secrets, Honor’s newest boyfriend, Sagan and Victoria’s brother, Luck, who turns up to add another layer to the plot.

It is hard to even pinpoint what this novel is actually about.  In typical CoHo style, there is a bit of contemporary romance, some messages about family, suicide, loss, and grief.  Many hats are worn during the reading of this novel.  Personally, I felt like it read a little bit more like a YA novel then I would have liked.  I prefer something a little bit more mature, but regardless of my feelings about that, I cannot deny the completely addicting nature of this book.

I picked it up to read and consumed it in a matter of hours.  I couldn’t put it down.

If you are a fan of Colleen Hoover, then this one is a no-brainer.  If you are a fan of books that read like YA, then I think you will enjoy this one too!

4/5 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.

This book was also our first #cjsreads picks for November.  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: Without Merit (Colleen Hoover) @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA @colleenhoover”