Book Review: The Walls (Hollie Overton) @hollieoverton

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 2.38.47 PM.pngLast year, I read Baby Doll by Hollie Overton (you can check out my review for that one here) and was blown away by her writing style and intensity of her narrative. Needless to say, when I discovered her sophomore novel was releasing this month, I was thrilled. I’m pleased to report, Overton’s second work does not disappoint. The Walls was filled with a fast paced plot and easily digestible narrative style. I read this one over the course of a few hours, unable to put it down.

The novel opens with Kristy, a single mom working on death row, navigating her daily life behind the prison walls. As a liaison between the media and death row inmates, she is no stranger to the evils of the world. Working with rapists and murderers is not easy, but Kristy does her best to see the good in every situation. When she meets Lance Dobson, a man advocating for her son, she falls in love hard and fast.   Until, after they marry, everything changes. Lance is abusive and Kristy finds herself in constant terror. Battling her own personal struggles and her difficult caseload at work, Kristy finds herself confiding in one inmate; an inmate who has always maintained his innocence. Kristy knows Lance will kill her, but not if she kills him first. Does she have what it takes to commit the perfect crime?  Continue reading “Book Review: The Walls (Hollie Overton) @hollieoverton”

Book Review: The Driver (Hart Hanson)

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 8.17.20 AM.pngLately, I have been craving an action style thriller, so, when #cjsreads decided to make The Driver by Hart Hanson one of our August picks, I was excited to dive in! I am a bit of a sucker for Hart Hanson; he is the creator of Bones and one of the main writers on the show, so I was curious to see how his television writing would transfer over to a novel. Also, although he is American, he lived in Canada at one point, so he is pretty much an honorary Canadian. Needless to say, I had some high hopes for this book!

The novel opens with Michael Skellig, an army veteran/ex-military officer turned limo driver, waiting for his high-end client behind an upscale hotel. Feeling like something isn’t right, Skellig moves inside the hotel just in time to save his client from two gunmen but is too late for one of his body guards and Skellig ends up in custody for murder. Romantically involved with both the detective on the case and his lawyer, Skellig ends up released under the condition that he becomes his high-end client’s personal chauffeur and protector. Sounds all fine and dandy, except that someone clearly wants him dead and the only person who stands in the way is Skellig.

The general premise was interesting to me but from the first pages, I found the narration to be really problematic. It felt choppy. It felt sort of confusing and I really struggled to try and figure out exactly what was going on. Really, as I was reading, I continuously thought to myself, ‘I think this would make more sense on screen”, which truly does make sense given the background of the author. I also found, surprisingly, that this one moved fairly slowly. The pace does pick up eventually, but I found it slow and steady until about the 60% mark.

I didn’t find Skellig a particularly likeable protagonist but I did love the dry wit and humour that he brought to the text; I felt like his character was well developed and complex. Hanson did a great job with him.

Overall, this one left me feeling disappointed due to the choppy narrative style but I absolutely think that this one will end up being one of those “marmite books” that people will either absolutely love or hate. I think fans of something a little less traditional will really enjoy this book.

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 Jessica and Chandra thought of this book?  Keep reading to see what they thought of The Driver.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Driver (Hart Hanson)”

Book Review: Yesterday (Felicia Yap) @FeliciaMYap @Mulhollandbooks

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As soon as I read the tagline for Yesterday, by Felicia Yap, I was hooked.

How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?

This debut thriller has a few sci-fi elements combined with a fast paced plot that had me equally confused to what is going on and intrigued enough to let myself go and become lost within the world Yap has created.

The novel opens with the discovery of a body and Hans, the cop on the scene has about 13 hours to solve the murder before his brain, and every other duo, resets. The world is made up of monos (those who has memories for 24 hours) and duos (those who have memories for 48 hours); all of these members keep detailed diaries of their discussions and whereabouts for reference.   So when the victim’s diary is discovered and a writer, turned politician, is the prime suspect, the race is on to bring justice before time (and memories) have run out. After all, how can a confession be given when no one remembers the crime?  Continue reading “Book Review: Yesterday (Felicia Yap) @FeliciaMYap @Mulhollandbooks”

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Address (Fiona Davis) @FionaJDavis @DuttonBooks”

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!

Continue reading “Book Review: See What I Have Done (Sarah Schmidt) @groveatlantic ‏”

Book Review: Are You Sleeping (Kathleen Barber) @katelizabee @GalleryBooks

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Last night, I finished one of my favourite reads of the summer (so far!)

Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber, was one of my most anticipated psychological thrillers for August and I had been reading rave reviews about this one all over the place. Now that I finished, I completely understand why. Fast paced and intricate, this one had me on the edge of my seat.

Josie and her boyfriend Caleb are living a blissful life in New York when a podcast, investigating a decade old murder case, begins to shatter everything.   Josie, the daughter of the victim, has spent most of her life trying to escape her family’s reputation and move past this tragedy (even going as far to changing her name) but old wounds are torn open rapidly as the podcast’s popularity increases and, soon, Jo finds herself back at home confronting her past. As Josie begins to question everything, she finds herself colliding with her twin sister Lanie, a girl whose sole testimony put a man in jail. Has Josie’s life been built on a lie? And can she move past them?
Continue reading “Book Review: Are You Sleeping (Kathleen Barber) @katelizabee @GalleryBooks”

Book Review: The Dark Net (Benjamin Percy) @Benjamin_Percy @HMHbooks

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 2.17.51 PM.pngWhen I first stumbled across The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy on a list of summer releases, it jumped right up to the top of my TBR pile and became one of my most anticipated reads for August. After reading a few other novels that discussed the dark net and the secret underbelly of the web, I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and creep myself out reading about this anonymous and criminal arena.

This book ended up being 100% completely different from what I was expecting.

The novel follows several characters: a young girl, Hannah, who is blind. She is being fitted for a high-tech visual prosthetic that is supposed to help her see. There is a journalist, Lela, who stumbles across a dark story that should have been kept hidden. There is Mike Juniper, a man who runs a homeless shelter to try and make up for the sins of his past and Derek, a hacker.   This random array of people comes together to try and fight literal demons that are hiding within the web.  Continue reading “Book Review: The Dark Net (Benjamin Percy) @Benjamin_Percy @HMHbooks”

Book Review: Girl in Snow (Dayna Kukafka) @danyakukafka @SimonBooks

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I read a lot of thrillers and mysteries; it is very hard for me to find any originality in texts. Enter, Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka, which felt like a breath of fresh air for me.   From the character development to the POV, I felt like this novel had something that others are lacking for me lately.

The plot opens with the discovery of a young girl (Lucinda), neck snapped, buried in the snow. From here, everything changes. Small town cop, Russ, begins to investigate while dealing with his own personal issues.   A social pariah, Jade, is irritated with the hype; she hated Lucinda. Cameron, struggling with her death, and what he knows about it, is forced to face parts of himself that he longs to keep buried.   Each character with a secret, each character seeking solace, Kukafka’s tale is weaved creating an unnerving story of love, loss and obsession.  Continue reading “Book Review: Girl in Snow (Dayna Kukafka) @danyakukafka @SimonBooks”