#ThrowbackThursday The Bone Garden (Tess Gerritsen)

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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.  Sometimes, I feel like I need a serious kick in the pants to get some of my poor book babies that have been sitting lonely on my shelf.  Following the mantra of my friend Amy at Novel Gossip, I figure participating in Throwback Thursday will help me to read at least one older title a week!

I have been very clear with my love of Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series. I have also been a fan of her standalone novels, most of which are medical thrillers, so I was very excited when I made room in my reading schedule to read The Bone Garden, a standalone featuring the medical examiner, Dr. Maura Isles from her Rizzoli and Isles series.  It was the best of both worlds for me!

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Book Review: The Address (Fiona Davis) @FionaJDavis @DuttonBooks

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The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis was a book that I had seen over and over again in the past year, so, when I found out that Davis had her sophomore novel, The Address, publishing this month, I added it to my top of my TBR pile and hopped on the Fiona Davis bandwagon.

I do not read a ton of historical fiction so I wasn’t sure what to expect; however, when I started reading, I quickly discovered that Fiona Davis is a masterful storyteller with the capability to completely entrance her reader.

I was transported back to 1884, where, after a chance run in with a wealthy American family, Sara decides to back up her life and move to America to be the head of house at The Dakota. Flash-forward about a hundred years, in the autumn of 1985, Bailey is out of rehab, fired from her job and without anywhere she goes. In a panic, she turns to her cousin and finds herself in The Dakota.  The novel goes back and forth between these perspectives where Davis weaves a tale of love, the quest for success and betrayal within one of New York’s most famous residences.

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Book Review: See What I Have Done (Sarah Schmidt) @groveatlantic ‏

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I had heard of Lizzie Borden before but had never really given much thought to her actual trial until I began See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. One of #cjsreads first August picks, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect when I dove into this book. Generally speaking, I enjoy historical fiction but struggle when it has a mystery/thriller angle. I don’t know what it is about them, but they all feel a little “Sherlock Holmes” to me. However, with a cover quote by Paula Hawkins stating this book was “eerie and compelling” I was intrigued right away.   I would have to say that I agree with Hawkins on this one; See What I Have Done had an ominous vibe throughout.

Opening with Lizzie discovering her father dead in his study and going back and forth between the day of the murder and the days prior, the investigation into the murder begins and it doesn’t take long for Lizzie to be at the center when she begins to seem unreliable and struggles to remember events of the day. With her sister by her side and the police closing in, the novel is narrated through multiple character perspectives including a stranger and a housemaid.

The first thing that stood out for me while I was reading was how irritated I was with the multiple character perspectives. I didn’t care for the various POVs; I felt like I wanted to hear the story through the eyes of Lizzie and all the other characters felt a little bit irrelevant to me. I know they all played their role but I think I would have been completely consumed with the plot should it had been through Lizzie’s unreliable narration. I love me an unreliable narrator!

I was impressed with how Schmidt was able to take a real scenario and turn it into a fictionalized account without making it seem over-embellished or too far-fetched. I feel like it was kept realistic and took more of a rational approach. This was a smart decision on Schmidt’s part. I felt like I was truly reading more a “true crime” story instead of a work of fiction.

Overall, I felt like this was an entertaining read but, like some other historical mysteries, I found this one to be quite slow moving. If you are at all interested in Lizzie Bordon, this will obviously appeal to you and I also feel like fans of true crime will have a special interest in this tale. However, if you are looking for something incredibly fast paced, then I would skip this one!

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

Want to know what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one?  Keep reading to see what the other members of #cjsreads had to say about See What I Have Done!

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Blog Tour: Betrayal at Iga (Susan Spann) @SusanSpann @TLCBookTours

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 9.13.35 PM.pngI am always looking for diversity in my reading; sometimes I feel like I am reading about the same people, places and time periods. These books tend to blur together. Enter, Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann, which I have the pleasure of being on the blog tour for today!

This novel is incredibly different from anything I have read lately; part mystery, part historical fiction, this novel finds itself in Japan in the 1500s. Master ninja, Hiro Hattori and his “sidekick” Jesuit priest, Father Mateo find themselves with an enemy to make a peace treaty. This turns South when that man is murdered, war is pending and the duo is in a race against time to find the true killer before all hell breaks loose.

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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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BOMG Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid) @tjenkinsreid @AtriaBooks

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I had read my first Taylor Jenkins Reid novel earlier this year (you can check out my review for that one here) and immediately fell in love with her narrative style.   So, imagine my delight when I stumbled across The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Reid’s latest release, as I was scrolling through Netgalley. Now that I have finished this novel, I must say, I was completely blown away by Reid’s writing ability in this novel. Beautiful, bittersweet and deliciously decadent in her prose, I could not put this one down.

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Book Review: Block 46 (Johana Gustawsson) @OrendaBooks ‏@JoGustawsson

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Well, I am going to cut to the chase people. Block 46, by Johana Gustawsson, absolutely blew me away. This book will end up being one of my favourite reads of the year. Hands down. No questions.

This book wears so many hats; it truly is a book for everyone.   Fans of historical fiction will love its general premise rooted in the Second World War and the Holocaust. Suspense and mystery fans will devour its ominous tone, it’s red herrings and intricate, meticulously weaved storyline. Thriller fans will be impressed with the pace, the jaw-dropping plot twist, and the creepy nature of the serial killer character.

In this story, multiple things are happening right from the first pages. In 2014, in Sweden, a body of a woman is discovered and investigators begin to hunt down the perpetrator.   Not far, in England, the bodies of young boys are being discovered in shallow graves, the work of another serial killer.   Emily Roy, an RCMP (yeah Canada!) and a profiler on loan to the Scotland Yard begins working alongside true crime writer Alexis Castells to investigate these cases. Meanwhile, the novel flashes back and forth to 1944 to Buchenwald Concentration Camp where Enrich Ebner is suffering in the midst of the Holocaust.  Continue reading “Book Review: Block 46 (Johana Gustawsson) @OrendaBooks ‏@JoGustawsson”

Book Review: The Body in the Ice (A.J MacKenzie) @BONNIERZAFFRE @AJMACKNOVELS

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 4.58.45 PMOn Christmas Day in 1796, a frozen corpse is found frozen into the ice of the horse pond at New Hall. With no murder weapon, no motive and the victim’s identity unknown, Reverand Hardcastle, his trusted friend (Amelia Chaytor) and a new captain (Edward Austen) are summoned to the scene to investigate.   It is only then that they realize, the secrets of New Hall are more dangerous than they initially appeared.

I don’t often dabble into historical fiction, but every so often, I make an exception! The Body in the Ice by A.J Mackenzie (a pseudonym for a husband and wife Anglo-Canadian writing team) had all the components of a novel I would read to escape my everyday life. Unique characters, a mysterious plot and cheeky humour, made this one a slow and easy read.

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Book Outside My Genre: Mischling (Affinity Konar) @affinity_konar @leeboudreauxbks @RandomHouseCA

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 11.20.59 AM.pngI have always been fascinated by historical fiction set in the Holocaust; I think it has something to do with the stories of human survival. I find myself completely enveloped in these types of novels. The characters are what make them. I relish in their tenacity and cheer for them as they defy odds.   I cry for their loss. I will them to live. Needless to say, this novel gave me all the feels.

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