Book Review: The Girlfriend (Michelle Frances) @kensingtonbooks

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 8.15.08 PM.pngI try to avoid reading reviews pertaining to titles that are in my current TBR pile but, by the time I was ready to dive into The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances, I had already read several reviews and the reviews of my fellow #cjsreads members. And, in this case, I feel like it really helped me prepare for this novel.

Marketed as a psychological thriller, I didn’t really feel like this one had a whole ton of “thrills” in the traditional sense.   Instead, I felt like maybe this one would have been better marketed as a domestic drama or maybe contemporary family drama.   There was no lack of family issues, manipulative girlfriends or overbearing mothers but I did find this one to be missing the fast-paced, twisty-turny type plot that I expect when reading a psychological thriller.

The novel opens with Laura, the woman who has it all (a successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband and a handsome, doctor in training son), who quickly becomes disgruntled when her son begins to spend all his time with Cherry, a real estate agent from the wrong side of the tracks.   Cherry wants to be welcomed into the family, but Laura suspects she is not all she seems.

From the first pages, this one had a lighter vibe to it and that didn’t bother me at all.  I have been finding myself feeling a little “weighed down” by all the heavy, dark, thrillers I have come to know and love.  I welcomed the break in The Girlfriend.     Initially, I was able to breeze through the novel quite easily but it ended up taking me a long time to finish when I started to find this one a little bit too predictable and the characters generally unlikeable.

In the end, this one missed the mark for me in regards to the plot but I did enjoy the author’s writing style and found that easy to digest.  I feel like with a different type of story, she probably would have had me hook, line and sinker!

I think fans going into the novel expecting a thriller, will be highly disappointed.  However, if you like a domestic drama, then this would be better up your alley!

2.5/5 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!

Continue reading “Book Review: The Girlfriend (Michelle Frances) @kensingtonbooks”

Book Review: Unraveling Oliver (Liz Nugent) @SimonSchusterCA

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.03.10 PMAs I have mentioned before on Clues and Reviews, I struggle with serious cases of FOMO! As soon as I see other bloggers reading (and loving!) a particular book, I make sure that I arrange my schedule so I can add that book to the top of my TBR pile and dive in! This was the case with Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent.

When this one published last year, I was oozing with jealousy as I read reviews from other bloggers comparing it to some of my favourite books (You by Caroline Kepnes and Perfect Days by Rapheal Montes). However, this one released in Canada much later, so, when I was finally able to dive into this book, I was ecstatic and filled with anticipation. Was this a well-written book? Absolutely! Was it entertaining? Completely. A solid debut? For sure! Was it everything I thought it would be? Not exactly…

The novel follows Oliver Ryan, a handsome and charismatic writer who also happens to be a sociopath. After beating his wife, Alice, into a coma, Oliver reflects on his violent acts and, in the aftermath, his neighbours, acquaintances and friends of the couple try to understand what happened and what forced this man to unravel.

First and foremost, I did love the many differing perspectives and found that Nugent did an amazing job at ensuring that the plethora of characters did not become confusing. Her narrative voice remained fluid and even though there were multiple characters, it never felt disjointed. I loved the fact that all types of characters were given a narrative voice that represented all stages of Oliver’s life. I found this refreshing and a well-rounded and intimate way to discover a character. I truly did feel, by the end of the novel, that I knew Oliver inside and out.

The multiple characters were one of my favourite features and, at the same time, it was kind of where Unraveling Oliver lost me. I felt like this novel, unlike You or Perfect Days, was more of a character study. In the other novels, I was able to get a first hand, continuous look at how the protagonist/antagonist was feeling due to the singular, first-person point of view. I was able to get into the mind of a psychopath. In this novel, I was able to understand the character but it lacked the gritty and unsettling details. I also felt like halfway through, I started losing interest. I realized he was a sociopath, he was clearly a messed up guy but I just felt like it went on too long with the multiple perspectives.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt like this was a spectacular debut, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. If you like a dark character study, then you will absolutely enjoy this novel. However, if you prefer something a little more unsettling, this may leave you wanting more.

4/5 stars.

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

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

Girl in Snow.png

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”

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: Everything but the Truth (Gillian McAllister) @GillianMAuthor @MichaelJBooks”