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!

Continue reading “Book Review: White Bodies (Jane Robins) @alfresca @TouchstoneBooks”

Book Review: Idyll Fears (Stephanie Gayle) @StephofLegends @SeventhStBooks

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 4.58.29 PM.pngI read so many novels, a majority of them being police procedurals, and I find that many of them feel the same. Same old jaded detectives, same old love interests. Which is why I was so pleased when I read Idyll Fears, the second novel in the Detective Lynch series. What a breath of fresh air Thomas Lynch is. An openly gay police chief is not something I am used to seeing in a police procedural novel and I was so pleased to be able to read a story that featured a character like Lynch!

Although this book is the second in a series featuring this dynamic detective, I had no issues reading this one as a standalone and found that Gayle did a phenomenal job at making sure enough of Lynch’s character was brought into the plot for those joining in.

This story follows the race to find a missing six-year-old boy who wanders out into a snowstorm. With a rare genetic disorder that makes it so he cannot feel pain, there is a serious race against time to find the boy before it is too late.   I was pretty much captivated right away by Gayle’s prose and found it easy to settle into the story.

I did find that were a lot of secondary characters (mostly others on the police force and members of Idyll) that I found very confusing. I’m not sure if that was because I wasn’t introduced to them in the first book or just because there were so many; I did find that a little bit distracting but it didn’t really take away from the general plot.

Overall, I think this series seems to be worth looking into. I’ll likely go back and read the first!

3/5 stars!

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

This book was also a #cjsreads pick for September.  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought when they read Idyll Fears?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: Idyll Fears (Stephanie Gayle) @StephofLegends @SeventhStBooks”

Book Review: Good Me Bad Me (Ali Land) @byAliLand @Flatironbooks

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I am all about living in Canada, the true North strong and free and all that, but I really struggle when I see a book on my wishlist that comes out so much later here than in the UK!  One of these books was Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land.  After reading a plethora of positive reviews and hype during the time of the UK release (which was in January), I waited with baited breath until I could get my hands on a copy!  Now that I have read one of my most anticipated September titles, I am feeling a little bit mixed about my feelings.

The novel opens with the introduction of Milly (aka Annie) who is new to the foster care system after turning in her mother, a serial killer, to the authorities.  Milly is awaiting her mother’s trial in which she is the star witness.   However, Milly has some secrets too; wrestling with her guilt and dealing with her troubling past, Milly is forced to face her most internal desires and question whether or not she will be good or bad.  After all, she is her mother’s daughter.

One of the first things that struck me about this novel was the characterization.  Kids are creepy.  Kids as a narrator are creepy.  This was clearly represented within the pages of this story.   Milly is such a complex character and she was really interesting to watch develop.   She seems to be quite the mess, and for good reason, and I felt like I was able to get into her headspace through my reading.  Land does a brilliant job at creating a memorable character here.  However, one of my main issues with the text came from the disjointed narrative style.  I realize that this was probably intentional due to the unreliable nature and psychological state of our protagonist but I found this style a little hard to follow.   I think I would have gotten much more from the text if it had been more of a third person narration instead of first person.  I did end up getting used to it in the end and I did find that by the end of the text, I was following it easier.

I loved the little vignettes that were placed throughout the text that gave insight to the atrocities that Milly witnessed while living in her mother’s house of horrors.  I thought this gave such an eerie and ominous tone to the text and legitimately creeped me out.

Now, my mixed feelings do not come from a hatred of the text or from a lack of entertainment because, don’t get me wrong, this novel was binge read worthy and I finished it very quickly, it was just completely different from what I was expecting.  I was thinking this would be full of twists and turns but I knew exactly where the plot was going.  I thought this would be a fast paced thriller and instead, it was a slow burning character study.  I feel like maybe I became a bit of a victim of the hype on this one, but I still really enjoyed the story for what it was.

If you are looking for a fast paced thriller with mind-blowing twists, then this one probably will not be for you.  However, if you into a character that will look deep into the psyche of a character and bring an eerie feeling to your bones, then this will be up your alley!

4/5 stars from me.

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

Want to know what my other #cjsreads members thought about this one?  Keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra had to say about Good Me Bad Me.

Continue reading “Book Review: Good Me Bad Me (Ali Land) @byAliLand @Flatironbooks”

Book Review: Dead Woman Walking (Sharon Bolton) @AuthorSJBolton @MinotaurBooks

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 9.43.43 AM.pngI wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. I had never read a Sharon Bolton book before and I always go into a new author’s work with excitement and with a little apprehension. Will I like their writing style? Will I appreciate the tone of the story? Now that I am finished, I am pleased to say that I can safely add Sharon Bolton to a list of my “must read authors” because I DEVOURED this book!

The novel opens with a balloon accident gone wrong (please note, this is my worst nightmare) leaving several passengers dead, others critically injured, all except for one. Jessica Lane, on the ride with her sister, survives the accident and finds herself immediately in danger after witnessing a horrible crime minutes before the crash. As a game of cat and mouse ensues, Jessica must follow her instincts and try to return to the only place she has ever felt safe- but could it be her sanctuary is the most dangerous place of them all?

From the pacing to the plot, this one had me completely on the edge of my seat. I read it in a single sitting, binging on each chapter and relishing in the story. I absolutely loved the short chapters; a smart choice by Bolton, I felt like I couldn’t put this book down.   I was also a huge fan of our protagonist, Jessica, who is mourning her sister and running from a killer. I found her to be incredibly likable and developed. Truly, even the secondary characters in this novel were memorable to me. I loved that Bolton gave each their own backstory.

There were a few things, although I loved the book that I found a little problematic; I did find the switches in time periods a little confusing at times. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of rhyme or reason at the time and not all the chapters were clearly labeled.  I also didn’t love the ending; I felt like the story on its own gave me enough resolution and I didn’t need the little tidbit at the end. It felt like it was thrown in. I am obviously being vague since I don’t want to give any spoilers but it didn’t really feel like it fit.

Regardless of my nitpicking, I really did love the book and will absolutely read more novels by this author.

4/5 stars!

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

This was also a #cjsreads pick for September.  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one?  Keep reading to see what they thought!

Continue reading “Book Review: Dead Woman Walking (Sharon Bolton) @AuthorSJBolton @MinotaurBooks”

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”

Book Review: I Know A Secret (Tess Gerritsen) @tessgerritsen @randomhouse #rizzoliandisles

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 9.10.26 PM.pngWhen #cjsreads is choosing titles for our upcoming months, we usually decide together on titles. It is easier that way.   The only general rule we try to stick by is to avoid any novels that are deep into a series; it makes sense for our sanity. However, when I discovered that I Know A Secret, the twelfth novel in the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen, was coming out this summer, I begged and forcefully pushed my friends to read this book asked kindly and, since they are nice, Chandra and Jessica obliged. Am I glad they did!

I’ve mentioned about a bajillion times on my blog how much of a Gerritsen fan I am, especially in regards to her Rizzoli and Isles series. I picked up the fifth book in the series randomly last summer, binge read it and ended up going back and devouring the first nine in the series before deciding to pace myself.   Kick ass female leads are pretty much my favourite and Gerritsen has created two brilliant characters in these novels; downright addicting, they are!!

The newest installment is no exception. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. Gerritsen is a master storyteller and this is consistently made clear in her novels. From the rich character backgrounds to the fast-paced, dark, suspenseful plots, she leaves no stone unturned and weaves the story brilliantly. In fact, I find the series gets better with age! This novel is a highlight in the series!!

If you are a crime lover that has yet to dive into this series, you are seriously missing out! I urge you to go and check out The Surgeon (the first in the series), I promise, it does not disappoint!!!  You can absolutely read this as a standalone, but trust me, you will want to go back and read the rest of the series anyways!!

5/5 stars.

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

Keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one…or if they regretted listening to my intense book recommendation.  Yikes.

Continue reading “Book Review: I Know A Secret (Tess Gerritsen) @tessgerritsen @randomhouse #rizzoliandisles”

Book Review: The Good Daughter (Karin Slaughter) @SlaughterKarin @WmMorrowBooks

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Everyone needs to stay calm regarding the piece of information I am about to reveal.

I have never read a Karin Slaughter book before.

I KNOW! I know.

Usually when I reveal such news, the first thing people say to me is “WHAT!!?? Karin Slaughter is EVERYTHING!”

Now that I have read my first Karin Slaughter book, her newest standalone called The Good Daughter, I would say I undeniably agree.

The novel opens with the introduction of two sisters, Charlotte (Charlie) and Samantha (Sam- solid name) whose family is torn apart by a horrific act of violence. One girl was left behind, one girl ran away to safety and nothing was the same. Twenty-eight years later, Charlie is a lawyer and witnesses another act of violence that opens old floodgates and makes her past traumas emerge. Now that she is a witness, she must confront everything she has worked hard to forget and watch as the truth about the crime that changed the course of her family bubbles to the surface.

This will be a completely spoiler free review, which is very hard for me, especially since I want to scream about this one from the rooftops. But, I will keep my scream to a whisper and try my best to remain vague. My apologies in advance if I sound jumbled or unclear, once you have read this on, you will understand!

One of the first things I need to note is the quality of Slaughter’s writing. Her prose is clean and finely detailed. I have never read a work by an author that can be both raw in language and impeccable in execution and both graphically gory and tastefully written. Her characters were multi-layered, diverse, complex and completely realistic. Truly, I have never read a piece of crime fiction that felt so real. Going back and forth through time, the reader watches the story unfold in the present and then gets to piece together the events that transpired twenty-eight years prior.

The pacing of this one was fantastic; after a slew of busy weekends, I sat down to finally give this one my full attention and finished all 500 pages easily within the course of two sittings.   I was completely entertained.

The plot itself felt like it was divided into sections, which I loved. Not only sections within the time periods, but also sections within the character events and, it seemed, specific turning points in character dynamics. As the plot progressed, I felt more and more connected to these characters and as their stories thickened, I felt completely entranced, experiencing the story with them.   Now, for a story to make you feel THAT? That is some seriously amazing writing.

This is absolutely a 5 star read for me and I will be running to pick up Slaughter’s other works. From what I hear, I should be starting with Pretty Girls and then working my way to the Grant County series.

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

This book was also an August #cjsreads pick, keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one!

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Book Review: Killer Harvest (Paul Cleave) @PaulCleave @AtriaMysteryBus

Killer HarvestBelieve it or not, I have never read a Paul Cleave novel before! I know, I know, from what I hear, I am seriously missing out. I was pretty pumped when #cjsreads decided to pick up A Killer Harvest, the newest publication by Paul Cleave for one of our August reads.   Chelsea, my good friend from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, had raved about this one to me months ago so I was going in with pretty high expectations. I am glad to report that this novel met (and surpassed!) all my expectations. I binge read this one over the course of a few hours and was left with a serious book hangover.

Sort of a mix between sci-fi, thriller, and mystery, Cleave weaves a seriously addicting novel from the first pages. A detective is killed in the line of duty and his murderer (a known serial killer) is also killed. Hours later, a blind teenager, Joshua, goes into surgery to receive a set of eyes to try and restore his vision; after a mishap, the teenager receives his sight after obtaining one eye from the detective and the other from the serial killer. As Joshua gains his sight, he begins to recognize people he shouldn’t recognize (after all he has never seen them before) and seeing memories from someone else’s life, leading him to realize that perhaps he is dealing with cellular memory.   As Joshua begins to discover what this means, and another murderer hell bent on avenging his partner’s death, Joshua finds himself in grave danger.

Crazy, right??

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#ThrowbackThursday Always Watching (Chevy Stevens) @ChevyStevens

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 10.34.13 PM.pngThrowback 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!

This week, I decided to tackle a book by Chevy Stevens, Always Watching.  I read my first Chevy Stevens novel earlier this year and was instantly obsessed with her writing style and addictive storylines.  I binge purchased every single one of her books….and then I got distracted.   Now that I read Always Watching, I am kicking myself for not getting to this book sooner.  I loved it.

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday Always Watching (Chevy Stevens) @ChevyStevens”