Introducing Video Reviews

 

Video reviews can also be viewed on my Instagram, Facebook and ta-da YouTube. I will provide links in my next post with my first review of a did not finish book – Kathleen Winter’s Lost in September. Note I did not edit this video and all flaws are mine.

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Review: The Last Thing She Ever Did

cover122566-mediumTHE LAST THING SHE EVER DID Written By Gregg Olsen

JANUARY 1, 2018; 380 Pages (Thomas & Mercer)
Genre: suspense, mystery, thriller, gritty, fiction

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: 4 STARS

This novel is crazy! I mean crazy in a good way.  I will warn you that there are some uncomfortable scenes in this book, so if you don’t like gritty suspense novels, you might want to pass on this one.  Charlie, a young boy, is out of his mother’s sight for several minutes and vanishes.  A neighbour and close friend to his mother knows what happens but coming forward will ruin their lives.  Other than Charlie, all the characters were pretty much selfish jerks.  Yet, I couldn’t wait to see where the story would go and I was flipping through the pages.  What I found interesting was the realism of the split decision moments, but wrestled with the how they reacted to.  There was a twist to the ending, I for once didn’t expect and while I am not sure if I liked the ending it was interesting.  This novel had be glued till the end and that’s what I love!  I recommend this one to my suspense friends.

Review: The Music Shop

music shopTHE MUSIC SHOP Written By Rachel Joyce

JANUARY 2, 2018; 320 Pages (Doubleday/Random House)
Genre: fiction, humour, literary

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: 3.5 STARS

I have heard only good things about Rachel Joyce so I was excited when I was approved to read her newest book, the Music Shop. This novel I set in 1988 and 1989 respectively, and it is a time when vinyl records are no longer what music lovers’ purchase. Frank prefers records, and in his music shop that is all he will sell. His gift is that he can find the perfect album for a person, even if that is not what they wanted when they came in. His shop is among other stores on a dead-end street. It is the “beacon” for the down and trodden and the trouble. One day a German girl, Ilse faints in front of his shop and things change for Frank. He falls for her but she is engaged to someone else.

This was a great book for a rainy afternoon. It is a sweet story where nothing huge happens, but that is what makes it realistic. The story also has Frank’s memories with his mother, who give him a love of music. Okay, I am going to admit I glossed over these chapters. Maybe something big happens and I missed it, lol. While the story between Frank and Ilse is sweet, it is the characters around him and the way he can recommend an album that was the most endearing part of the novel. If you like books like, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The Man Called Ove and The Story of Arthur Truluv you must read this one!

 

 

Review: Enchantress of Numbers: Ada Loveless

34555334ENCHANTRESS OF NUMBERS Written by Jennifer Chiaverini

December 2017; 446 Pages (Dutton)
Genre: historical fiction, history, biography, science/math
Listened to on Audio

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

RATING: 3 STARS

I have to admit that I became more interested in Ada Lovelace due to her father, Byron. I enjoyed Byron’s poetry and study him and his friends, Mary and Percy Shelley’s work for school. He is a fascinating person in literature history. He also sounds like a huge jerk to people around him. And, the whole thing with his sister is definitely…odd. Then I heard about Ada and all her accomplishments with math and science blew me away. It was so cool that a woman from her class and time was able to get so far. I was so happy to see that Chiaverini was writing a book on her. Chiaverini has most written about American historical figures, especially in the Civil War era. I was really interested in reading this one.

Chiaverini is a good writer and she was able to make Lovelace’s time period come alive. With the narrator’s accent and reading of it I felt like I was there. Chiaverini is great at descriptions and makes her books come alive. However, in that same vain, she is also too detailed. There are moments when it feels like a fact drop. While the time and place comes alive the characters sometimes become neglected as people and driven more by descriptions. The plot and story lines sometimes get lost and moments get dull. I think Chiaverini’s novels could be brilliant if there was a bit more editor input. This book did get me excited to learn more about Ada and Byron. It is hard to say if I recommend this novel.

Book Reviews: History and the Future

 

This weekend I finished two novels written by two authors I have been wanting to try for a long while.  Every time I read a synopsis to a Louise Erdrich‘s book, I want to (and often do) add it to my to-read shelf.  Her books sound so interesting and given all the accolades, they must be well-written.  I even asked to review Erdrich’s latest book, Future Home of the Living God, from the publisher. I hadn’t yet had time to download it to my Kindle, but when I was at the library on Saturday I saw that it was a 7-day loan, and grabbed it.  The book gods must want me to read it now. Who can deny the book gods?  And, amazingly I did start it Saturday and finished it late on Sunday afternoon.

After reading a few of Tasha Alexander and Deanna Raybourn’s historical/romantic mysteries, I kept seeing Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series being recommend to me.  I liked the summary and added that to my list.  After a several books, Willig released a few standalone historical fiction.  When I saw her newest novel, The English Wife was a gothic mystery, I was down to read and review this.  I got my crap together and actually sent it to my kindle! I ended up giving both novels the same rating.

 

34217599FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD Written by Louise Erdrich

2017; 288 Pages (Harper Collins Canada)
Genre: literary, fiction, dystopia

​​(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

RATING: 3.5 STARS

I did not read the synopsis to this novel and just started in. A few chapters in I realize this is a dystopian novel. I don’t read a lot of dystopia. I try to be cool and read them, but often I lose interest. Yet, The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) is one that blew me away with each reading. So I kept a positive vibe, and I enjoyed this one. Erdrich is a great writer. I was hooked with the characters and to see where they would go. The story was intriguing (and scary af) but I kind of felt like I was lost in some parts. I think that was more because of the diary format or me, lol. I am looking forward to my next Erdrich novel!

 

34945222THE ENGLISH WIFE Written by Lauren Willig

JANUARY 9, 2018; 384 Pages (St. Martin’s Press)
Genre: fiction, historical, gothic, mystery

​​(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: 3.5 STARS

I didn’t really see this one as a gothic romance with mystery, but more like the books set in the 1940s – romance mystery. It did have some parts that kind of reminded me of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, which I guess were a bit on the “gothic” side. I liked Willig’s writing, but found that the editor could have cut down a bit on the story as it started to lag a bit. I enjoyed seeing the story get tied up. I think had this book been a bit tighter I would have galloped through it as it is a good story with interesting characters.  I am definitely going to read more of her books.

The Story of Arthur Truluv: Review

32918898THE STORY OF ARTHUR TRULUV Written by Elizabeth Berg

Fall 2017; 240 Pages (Random House Canada)
Genre: fiction, literary, humour
Listened to on audio

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Berg. Even when I don’t love one of her books I still think it is worth the read. She is a great writer that takes you into the novel and the characters become friends. This book has a lot of heart. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this one as the “old man still in love with his wife” seems to be a big genre. It’s not that I don’t like the premise, but sometimes when there is a flood of similar books I tend to get sick of it pretty quick. I get judgemental and put high expectations on the next book. In this one, we had two other characters that added to the story line. A young girl, Maddy wants to find someone to love her and see that she exists. Living with her widowed father she may as well not be there. She finds herself pregnant, wanting to keep the baby, but alone. Arthur, has lost the love of his life. They weren’t blessed with children so they had extra love for one another. With his beloved wife gone, he still has love to give. Arthur’s next door neighbour, Lucille has loved one man and has never married. When the man comes back into her life and still wants her, she is ecstatic until he suddenly passes away. After having love again, she feels more alone. These three people, extremely different, find themselves being a family for one another. Instead of tears and sadness, Berg was able to give it humour and heart. It reminded me of another book starring an Arthur, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. I highly recommend this one, and enjoyed the audio.

The Woman in the Window or Rear Window

34848682THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW Written by A.J. Finn

January 2, 2018; 448 Pages (William Morrow)
Genre: psychological thriller, suspense, fiction, standalone

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

Can you guess what this book is about? From the title and cover, I guessed this was a Rear Window retelling. You can’t beat the original, but it’s always fun to see what someone else’s take on it is. In this book we have a child psychologist who is now an agoraphobic, so her view of the world is through her window or computer. She sees something she shouldn’t have, and no one believes happened. Yada yada yada…the twist wasn’t so much of a twist as there were clues (a la The Sixth Sense – ie pay close enough attention to details). The ending was not bad, but I think because of the hype I was hoping for a little more. I would definitely read another one by Finn.

 

My January 2018 “Can’t Wait to Read” List

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This year I am going to do a monthly “can’t wait to read” post, about new books that I am set to read and review for publishers.  Each month the size of the list may change depending on my excitement of the books.

34848682FICTION:

The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn (psychological suspense) I am a sucker for psychological thrillers especially when the author uses classic movies!  I am hoping that this book lives up to all the hype that it has been pumping out. (Review on this one posted TOMORROW).

34945222The English Wife by Lauren Willig (historical fiction) I have been wanting to read Willig’s Pink Carnation series for awhile, as well as her standalone books.  I am determined to actually read this one and not put it on the back burner.  This one is a Gothic historical fiction set in the Gilded Age with romance, murder and mystery!  Those are pretty much all my favourite ingredients in a book.  (I am currently reading this one so I am hoping to do a review this weekend.  Cross my fingers).

34964920When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham (contemporary romance) This is the fifth book in the Cottonbloom series, set in a small town (squeal!).  I really enjoyed this series – the characterization and writing has gotten better with each book.  I am excited for another Abbott brother to find love.

35482623Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan (suspense thriller) Did he or didn’t he? Sophie, his wife, thinks he is innocent.  Kate, the prosecutor, thinks he is guilty. I am excited to find out which woman is correct, as long as it is not in chapter one, unless it keep me reading.

cover111393-mediumCarnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict (historical fiction) I loved Benedict’s novel, The Other Einstein! Since last year I have been waiting for her next book.  I don’t even know what this one is about (other than it’s told from Carnegie’s maid’s point of view – I am so clever, I know).

35099029NONFICTION:

The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century by Simon Baatz (true crime) I watch a lot of true crime shows.  I usually watch them in the background as I do my blog posts, etc.  I am also a big fan of mystery books but have not read too many true crimes.  A lot of true crime is going the way of Truman 32326006Capote’s In Cold Blood (which I read and liked) – literary nonfiction.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins (nonfiction essays – race/feminism) I don’t know too much about Morgan Jerkins but I am very interested in feminism and race essays.  

35805861A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong (true crime) A woman reports a rape, and is not believed and bullied into recanting and then bullied again for recanting.  A detective hears a similar story she starts to investigate both cases.  The synopsis for this book is right up my alley for so many reasons, but I have a feeling I am going to be also angry while I read some parts.

9781582706573_2000xUnmedicated: The Four Pillars Natural Wellness by Madisyn Taylor (self-help) This one is part memoir and part self-help.  I am reading this for a few reasons.  I am working on my writing project, so I am reading books for the research phase.  Because I am in therapy for anxiety I am also reading books that may help me understand things.

91wMT014KOLYour Creative Career: Turn Your Passion into a Fulfilling and Financially Rewarding Lifestyle by Ana Abino (self-help/business) This is one I am looking forward to reading for very personal reason – I would like to turn my passion into something I can make a living out of and feel accomplished.  I am hoping to not only learn how to, but gain motivation.  Sometimes it is hard to believe in myself, but with having so many people in my corner, and my own personal cheerleader who thinks I can do anything. This may be one that I read slower as I learn but I promise to keep you posted!

 

My Lists of 2017

The following are my favourite reads for 2017 – it doesn’t mean that the following books were written in 2017, only that I read them last year. In no particular order.

MY FAVOURITE PICTURE BOOKS:
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1. UNDER-THE-BED FRED Written by Linda Bailey and Illustrated by Colin Jack 

2.  HOORAY FOR BOOKS! Written and Illustrated by Brian Won

3.  CARSON CROSSES CANADA Written by Linda Bailey and Illustrated by Kass Reic

4.  TIETHE TWEEDLES GO ELECTRIC and TWEEDLES GO ONLINE Written by Monica Kulling and Illustrated by Marie Lafrance

5. BLUE CHAIR Written by Cary Fagan and Illustrated by Madeline Koeppler

MY FAVOURITE CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

ttt1. A TRIO OF TOLERABLE TALES Written by Margaret Atwood and Illustrated by Dusan Petricic

2. WOLFIE AND FLY Written Cary Fagan and Illustrated Zoe Si

3. LITTLE WOMEN Written by Lousia May Alcott (reread a million times)

4. GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS: 100 TALES OF EXTRAORDINARY GIRLS By Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

5. BABY-SITTERS CLUB (Graphic Novels) Written by Ann M. Martin and Illustrated by  Raina Telgemeir 

FAVOURITE YOUNG ADULT BOOKS:

26156987

1. MS MARVEL (Graphic Novels)

2.  PAPER GIRLS (Graphic Novels)

3.  IF I WAS YOUR GIRL Written by Meredith Russo

 

 

9781607749769MY FAVOURITE NONFICTION BOOKS:

1. LOVING BRAVELY Written by Alexandra H. Solomon (Review to come – part of writing project)

2. WOMEN IN SCIENCE Written by Rachel Ignotofsky

3. LOVE SENSE Written by Dr. Sue Johnson (Review to come – part of writing project)

4. GIRL UP Written by Laura Bates

5. BLOOD SWEAT AND FEAR  Written by Eve Lazarus

 

MY FAVOURITE HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS:

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1.  THE NATURALIST Written by Alissa York

2. SYLVANNUS NOW (Sylvannus Now: #1) Written by Donna Morrissey

3. POLDARK Series Written by Winston Graham

 

61f6c9y3G6L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_FAVOURITE HISTORICAL MYSTERY BOOKS:

1. MODERN CRIMES (A WPC Lottie Armstrong Mysteries: #1) Chris Nickson

2. A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING (Veronica Speedwell: #2) Written by Deanna Raybourn

3. WHERE THE DEAD LIE (Sebastian St. Cyr: #12) Written by C.S. Harrsis (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. A GIRL LIKE YOU (Harriet and Inspector Howard: #1) and A RING OF TRUTH (Harriet and Inspector Howard: #2) Written by Michelle Cox (Not Yet Reviewed)

5. THIS SIDE OF MURDER (Verity Kent: #1) Anna Lee Hurber (Not Yet Reviewed)

6. GIRL WAITS FOR GUN (Kopp Sister: #1), LADY COP MAKES TROUBLE (Kopp Sister: #2)  and MISS KOPP’S MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS (Kopp Sister: #3) Written by Amy Stewart  (Not Yet Reviewed)

 

51EoaKhZDyL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_FAVOURITE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOOKS:

1. DEATH AND HER DEVOTION (Rogue Vows: #1) Written by Kendra Elliot BURNED BY HER DEVOTION (Rogue Vows: #2) Written by Melinda Leigh

2. THE DOLLMAKER (Forgotten Files: #2) and THE HANGMAN (Forgotten Files: #3) THE LAST MOVE Written by Mary Burton (Review not done for The Last Move)

3. SILENT SCREAM (Romantic Susepense: #11) Written by Karen Rose  (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. THE OTHER GIRL Written Erica Spindler 

5. THE GRAVE CALLING (Bodies of Evidence: #1) Written by Wendy Roberts

 

25895548FAVOURITE HISTORICAL ROMANCE BOOKS:

THE BROWN-EYED EARL (The Wayward Wallflowers: #1), I DARED THE DUKE (The Wayward Wallflowers: #2) and THE ROGUE IS BACK IN TOWN (The Wayward Wallflowers: #3) Written by Anna Bennett

 

FAVOURITE CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE BOOKS:

51+UmrYyHXL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_1. LEAVE THE NIGHT ON (Cottonbloom: #4) Written by Laura Trentham

2. THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO (Heart of Texas: #1) Written by Donna Grant (Not Yet Reviewed)

3. THE SUMMER THAT MADE US Written by Robyn Carr (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. FOUR FRIENDS Written by Robyn Carr (Not Yet Reviewed)

5. SWEPT AWAY Written by Robyn Carr (Not Yet Reviewed)

 

33229330FAVOURITE EUROPEAN MYSTERY BOOKS:

1. Inspector Banks series Written by Peter Robinson

2. Robyn Carter series Written by Carol Wyer

3. BROTHERS AND SISTERS Written by Adele O’Neill

4. WHEN I WAKE UP Written by Jessica Jarlvi

5. A DARK SO DEADLY Written by Stuart MacBride

6. THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR (Detective Eden Berrisford: #1) and DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU (Detective Eden Berrisford: #2) Written by Mel Sherratt

7. LAST BREATH (Detective Erika Foster: #4) and COLD BLOOD (Detective Erika Foster: #5) Written by Robert Bryndza

8. SLEEP TIGHT (Detective Ruby Preston) Written by Caroline Mitchell

 

FAVOURITE MYSTERY/SUSPENSE BOOKS:

299391481. THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE (Bosch Universe: #28) and THE LATE SHOW (Renee Ballard: #1) Written by Michael Connelly (Not Yet Reviewed)

2. BROTHERHOOD IN DEATH (In Death: #42), APPRENTICE IN DEATH (In Death: #43) and ECHOES IN DEATH (In Death: #44) Written by JD Robb (Not Yet Reviewed)

3. HER EVERY FEAR Written by Peter Swanson

4. RIGHT BEHIND YOU (Quincy and Rainie: #7) Written by Lisa Gardner

our-little-secret-9781501142802_hr5. NEVER LET YOU GO Written by Chevy Stevens 

6. PRETTY GIRLS (Not Yet Reviewed), COP TOWN (Not Yet Reviewed), THE GOOD DAUGHTER and THE KEPT WOMAN (Will Trent: #8) Written by Karin Slaughter

7. OUR LITTLE SECRET Written by Roz Nay (Not Yet Reviewed)

8. EMMA IN THE NIGHT Written by Wendy Walker (Not Yet Reviewed)

9. DOWN A DARK ROAD (Kate Burkholder: #9) Written by Linda Castillo

10. EXPOSED (Rosato and DiNunzio: #5) Written by Lisa Scottoline

 

FAVOURITE LITERARY BOOKS:

97818484550161. THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER Written by Phaedra Patrick

2. MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON (Lucy Barton: #1) and ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE (Lucy Barton: #2) Written by Elizabeth Strout

3. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE Written by Cynthia Ng (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. ARE YOU SLEEPING Written by Kathleen Barber

 

 

 

Why Isn’t It Friday Yet?

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Seriously, I haven’t been so tired/sleepy in a long.  At work today we were all discussing how we were feeling drained…must be the holiday effect.  I am not done the 2017 lists yet as I apparently became too detailed and have more lists than I thought I would, lol.  So list is on it’s way (cross fingers) tomorrow.  I did finish Elizabeth Berg’s newest novel The Story of Arthur Truluv and really enjoyed the predictable sweet story!  Review to come!

Night!