I know what you are thinking. “Seriously…Another book with “girl” in the title?!” But fear not! The Broken Girls, the recently released novel by Simone St. James, stood out for me! From the beautifully blended narratives to the small details, St. James creates a novel that is hard to put down. In fact, I found myself reading this one late into the night.
The novel opens with the introduction of Fiona, a reporter with a haunted past. After the death of her sister, things have never been the same and even though the man responsible has been put in prison, Fiona (and her family) have never really been able to move past it. So, when she finds out there are plans to restore the building (an old school for girls) where her sister’s body was found, Fiona cannot help but dig around. And, in doing so, she quickly finds out that the past never really stays buried.
Told in alternating time periods and alternating perspectives, I loved the way St. James chooses to tell this story. I loved the moments that flashed back to the girl’s school in the 40s and how each member of their group of friends had an individual chapter to voice. I found each character likeable and I was interested in each of their stories and was truly concerned about their plights. I also found that Fiona, in the present storyline, was a well-developed character.
I think that St. James did a brilliant job incorporating a bit of historical fiction; it didn’t feel distracting. I felt like it really added another layer to the story.
One thing I didn’t care for with The Broken Girls was the paranormal storyline. The ghost at the school felt like it really didn’t belong and was sort of a side-plot. I felt like it wasn’t needed.
Overall, I was a huge fan of The Broken Girls and I think that fans of Fiona Barton or Fiona Davis will enjoy this one.
Thanks to the author (Simone St. James) and the publisher (Berkley) for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought about this one? Keep reading to find out what they thought!
Continue reading “Book Review: The Broken Girls (Simone St. James)”
I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately, so, when Chandra from #cjsreads suggested we read Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men by Howard Schechter, I was all about it! I am a fan of historical fiction and true crime so this book seemed like it would be a no-brainer for me.
I hadn’t heard (surprisingly) of Belle Gunness before, so, before I started my reading, I did a quick Google search to get myself a little bit familiar with the story. This ended up being a huge mistake.
The book ended up being a long-winded version of the Wikipedia page. It lacked any real “story” and just ended up being more of a list of facts.
I also really struggled with Schechter’s narrative voice, which I actually found to be a little bit offensive.
Overall, I was not a huge fan.
Thanks to Amazon Publishing for the copy of Hell’s Princess; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review
Want to see if this book worked better for Chandra and Jessica? Keep reading to find out what they thought of Hell’s Princess
Continue reading “Book Review: Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men (Howard Schechter)”
Clare Mackintosh is one of those “blow my mind” authors. One of the queens of the psychological thriller genre, I found myself completely gripped with her previous novels from the fast-paced plots to the “real world” situations, I loved her full of suspense writing style and dynamically developed characters.
Unfortunately, for me, Let Me Lie, the newest publication by Clare Mackintosh left much to be desired.
For starters, this one was a sloooooooooow burn. I found myself unable to read more than a few chapters at a time without feeling the need to put this one down. It just didn’t have the same “grip” as some of the previous work I have read by Mackintosh. I like to think I have a pretty solid attention span but this one tested me!
I did appreciate the final twist in the end and was intrigued by the last 15% or so of the novel, but, truthfully, I was expecting more!
I know that I shouldn’t compare one work to another but I cannot help it! I feel like fans of Mackintosh will be a little disappointed by this one but, if you are a new reader to her work, you may be more entertained!
I, of course, will continue to read more from this author but this particular book was a miss for me.
Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Want to see if this book worked better for Jessica and Chandra? They read this one too! Keep reading to find out…
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Sometimes I Lie, the debut novel by Alice Feeney, was a book that I was virtually bombarded with last year when it was released in the UK. I watched in jealousy as all my book blogger friends abroad devoured this psychological thriller and I patiently waited for the North American release. Now that it is here, I am pleased to report that Sometimes I Lie was worth the wait!
The novel opens with the introduction of Amber who is in a coma and unable to communicate with the world around her. All she knows for sure is that she is, indeed, in a coma, her husband does not love her anymore and that sometimes she lies. From the first pages, I was pretty much hooked. I appreciated Fenney’s slow release of information and I was eagerly awaiting more clues so I could try and figure out the wrongful parties. How did Amber end up in a coma? Was her husband involved? Maybe her sister? Perhaps her co-worker nemesis? I loved how Feeney kept me on edge and slowly drew me in.
Told mainly through the perspective of Amber, partially in the present as Amber listens to those around her in the hospital and in the past, in the events leading up to the “incident” that put her in a coma, I enjoyed that Feeney was able to keep things fairly chronological and that I didn’t have to do a lot of guesswork to when things happened or read past pages to reorient myself. Her writing style is pretty straightforward and to the point. Aside from a few diary entries from Amber’s youth, I appreciated that it took place all in the present. This was a change from the past few psychological thrillers I have read in which we go further into the past and then shoot back to the present continuously. I also love myself a good, ol’ unreliable narrator.
I have read a few reviews that claim the story is filled with too many of the classic thriller clichés but I personally did not mind this. Was there a lot going on? Sure. Did it work for me? Absolutely. I liked having a little bit of everything thrown in! And I loved the final twist.
Overall, I was impressed with this debut and I will absolutely read more from this author!!
Thanks to Flatiron Books, the author (Alice Feeney) and Netgalley for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Want to see what the rest of #cjsreads felt while reading Sometimes I Lie? Keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought!
Continue reading “Book Review: Sometimes I Lie (Alice Feeney) @alicewriterland @Flatironbooks”
Last year, when the #cjsreads trio was formed, our first novel was The Dry by Jane Harper which was an atmospheric thriller starring Federal Police Agent, Aaron Falk. Pretty much as soon as we finished reading, we unanimously decided we needed more of this series and our dreams came true with Harper’s sophomore novel, Force of Nature.
This novel follows Aaron Falk and his partner, Carmen, as they investigate a missing informant from their latest investigation into some corporate money laundering. A group of five ladies went into the woods, four came out and the only one missing is the whistleblower set to testify against her employer and colleagues. There is no doubt that betrayal and deceit were present in this work place but could it have led to murder?
From the first pages, when the women emerge from the wilderness missing a member of their crew, it had a The River At Night by Erika Ferencik vibe and I was all about this. I am not a nature girl myself so anything that has to do with people fighting through the elements and battling mother nature totally creeps me out. Adding the extra layer of personal relationships and the struggle of who to trust was icing on the cake for me. I think one of my favourite features of a Harper novel is the atmosphere. She does such a fantastic job at creating the setting as an entire character and throughout my read, ng I couldn’t help but feel fascinated by how INVESTED I was in the descriptions of the bushlands. There is no doubt that Harper’s prose excels in this landscape.
Told in back and forth between the women in the bush, fighting for their lives and trying to survive, and Aaron Falk with Carmen, investigating in the present was entertaining even though I didn’t find there too be very many twists and turns. It was a very straightforward story: this is who went missing and this is why it happened. Very blunt. No time wasted.
Overall, did I enjoy this novel? Absolutely! Will I read more in this series? Absolutely! Did I LOVE it as much as The Dry? No, but it was still a fantastic read!
Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Of course, the #cjsreads crew read this one as one of our February picks! Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of Force of Nature? Keep reading to find out!
Continue reading “Book Review: Force of Nature (Jane Harper) @Flatironbooks”