Book Review: Best Intentions (Erika Raskin) @erikaraskin @StMartinsPress

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When I started reading Best Intentions, by Erika Raskin, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hadn’t heard very much about this book. Now that I have finished, I must say, this one became the surprise hit of my summer. I cannot believe more people are not talking about this book!

The way Raskin chose to narrate the novel and roll out the plot was absolute literary brilliance.

The novel opens with Marti, our narrator, looking back on the events of the story. Something bad has happened. She is facing charges. Her world has been torn apart. And, at this point, the reader has no idea why. Needless to say, I was hooked.    Told through a back and forth type of narration, the reader is able to see how the events played out and the repercussions. At about the 60% point is where the reader is finally privy to the events that led Marti to her situation and I was actually shocked with how things played out; I had my suspicions and I had my theories but Raskin does a phenomenal job at leaving small breadcrumbs so the reader stays in the dark.
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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: The Party (Robyn Harding) @SimonSchusterCA

The Party

I was hesitant to pick up The Party, by Robyn Harding, based on a number of mediocre reviews I was reading. Well, now that I have finished, it just goes to show you that entertainment truly is in the eye of the reader because I loved this novel.

Jeff and Kim host a sweet sixteen party for their daughter, Hannah, with some rules: no alcohol, no drugs, no boys. However, rules are broken and the party turns tragic. In the aftermath, relationships are tested, secrets are revealed and nothing will be the same.

 

I found this one absolutely unputdownable; I binge read it over the course of a couple of hours. Harding has an uncanny ability to captivate her reader with quick prose and eloquent story telling. I loved the way the book was narrated; quick chapters told through the eyes of alternating characters (both teenaged and adult).
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Book Review: Find Her (Lisa Gardner) @DuttonBooks @LisaGardnerBks

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 8.28.03 PM.pngLast year I had seen Find Her by Lisa Gardner all over the place and people were raving about it. I promptly picked it up and put it on my bookshelf…where it sat in solitude for the last year.

I figured what better way to celebrate the novel’s paperback release (which is today!) than to read and review it.

And, let me tell you, I am glad that I decided to read this one.

This novel surrounds survivor, Flora, who spent over 470 days with her kidnapper who transported her around the country in a wooden box. Five years later, Detective D.D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime where a dead man is on the floor of a garage and a naked, bound Flora who has killed him. Is she a victim or a vigilante?   With several missing women, Detective Warren begins to piece together these abductions and finds herself in a race against time when Flora disappears.

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Book Review: Be Ready for the Lightning (Grace O’Connell) @RandomHouseCA @yesgrace

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 2.06.34 PM.pngIf I had to use one word to describe Be Ready for the Lightning by Grace O’Connell, I would say vivid; from the descriptions of the scenery to the characters, everything in this book was so intricately developed and detailed. I could smell the smells and hear the sounds. I felt like I knew these people, they were my friends and my confidants. Throughout my reading, I felt a visceral attachment to them, which made this one feel suspenseful and explosive.  O’Connell is a master of imagery and I was captivated by her prose.

The novel opens like every other day. Veda has just moved from Vancouver to New York, running from her complicated relationship with her brother, and is starting her day like every other day: by almost missing her bus. As she gets on just in time and begins to the monotony of her bus ride, a man a hijacks the bus and shoots the driver. Veda finds herself in an unpredictable hostage situation.

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Book Review: Beartown (Fredrik Backman) @SimonSchusterCA

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I don’t really care for hockey (I know, I know, I am a horrible Canadian) but I couldn’t help my curiosity surrounding Beartown by Fredrik Backman.  I had heard so many things about it! So, when I saw it in the bookstore, I added it to my cart. In typical fashion, I put it on my shelf and assumed I would get around to it in 2021, until my friend Chelsea (at The Suspense Is Thrilling Me) bought the same book, so, I suggested that we do this one as a buddy read.

I am so glad I didn’t wait to read this book.

At first, I didn’t know what I was getting into. As I mentioned, I don’t really care for hockey but my extended family eats, sleeps and breathes it. They spend hours at the rink. They train all year. They do not miss a game. I don’t understand this but I understand the culture. Backman captures it brilliantly within these pages: the sacrifice, the anticipation and the hope.  I initially started this one with the intention to read it slowly and when I had some time, however, after I sat down to read this novel, it demanded my full attention and I could not put it down.

Heart-wrenching, gut twisting and fast paced, I am still thinking about this book days after I completed it.

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Book Review: Everything but the Truth (Gillian McAllister) @GillianMAuthor @MichaelJBooks

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 6.14.58 PMRachel and Jack, following a whirlwind romance, are expecting their first child.   When Jack is sent in email in the middle of the night, Rachel thinks nothing of clicking off the notification. She trusts Jack; he has nothing to hide from her. Until she realizes that he does.

Everything but the Truth, the debut by Gillian McAllister, was a novel I had been eagerly anticipating. Full disclosure? I harassed people for this book. I shamelessly sent e-mail after e-mail, Twitter messages, Instagram messages, I was even seconds away from throwing in the towel on my Canadian citizenship and moving to England…and it was totally and completely worth it.

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