Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Found You by Lisa Jewell




Happy Book Birthday to I Found You by Lisa Jewell! A thrilling mystery that leads you to cling to every page as you seek out the identity of the mystery man on the beach.




Title: I Found You
Author: Lisa Jewell
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Atria Books
Publishing Date: April 25, 2017
Rating:







Synopsis from publisher's website:
A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Review:

I Found You is the second book that I have read by Lisa Jewell. Last year, I reviewed The Girls in the Garden. Similar to her previous book, Lisa Jewell, puts an emphasis on her characters and relies on their ability to drive the story. Alice, a single mom, with three children from three different partners lives in a remote town by the sea. Her daily routine is interrupted when she comes across a stranger sitting by the water. The man appears to have forgotten who he is and what it is that has brought him to this quaint town. Alice befriends the man and attempts to help him through his amnesia, potentially putting her and he children at risk.  As the two dig deeper into the man's life, they slowly unravel a secret that has been buried for almost 22 years.

I was a bit hesitant to read I Found You because I had a hard time relating to her previous work. I am glad I put my skepticism aside. I read this book cover to cover on a while on a three hour flight. Despite my flight leaving at 6am, I could not put it down! The characters were well developed and easy to relate to. Lisa Jewell takes you on a journey through two different timelines which eventually meet and unfurl the mystery that surrounds the stranger on the beach.

Fans of mystery/thriller novels will surely enjoy the twists and turns that Lisa Jewell has laid out for her readers. I Found You is a book you'll definitely want to add to your Spring reading list! I'd love to hear from any other readers who have read any of Lisa Jewell's previous novels. Are there any other that you'd recommend? Let me know in the comments!


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of I Found You by Lisa Jewell from Simon & Schuster for an honest review. All opinions are my own.




Monday, April 10, 2017

Giveaway: Beartown by Fredrik Backman


With the Toronto Maple Leafs and other Canadian NHL team's clinching playoff spots this month, hockey fever is definitely in the air! Hockey is one of a few sports that can bring a small town, city and nation together. Beartown by Fredrik Backman is founded on this sense of community. 

Synopsis from Simon & Schuster Canada:
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

Giveaway time!! The lovely team at Simon & Schuster Canada was gracious enough to sponsor a giveaway on my blog. One lucky winner will receive a finished copy of  Beartown by Fredrik Backman. Complete one or all of the raffle entries below for a chance to win!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda


Title: The Perfect Stranger
Author: Megan Miranda (Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Source: Paperback ARC from publisher
Pages: 352
Rating:

Synopsis from the publisher:

In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls—a “fiendishly plotted thriller” (Publishers Weekly)—a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?


Review:

The story jumps right into Leah's background prefacing her reason for moving from New York to a rural Pennsylvania town. You get an immediate sense that even though Leah is hiding a dark secret, she is a strong willed woman who will not back down from a fight. Her character is tested throughout the novel, but her loyalty and perseverance to find the truth behind her friend's disappearance never falters. The author takes readers down winding roads as you learn about Leah's past and the source of her passion towards finding the truth behind Emmy's disappearance. Miranda does a fabulous job with developing this character which is a huge reason for why The Perfect Stranger is so engaging.

It has been a while since I've read a book from cover to cover without coming up for air. The Perfect Stranger has a perfect blend of mystery, twists and dash of predictability (I have to be right sometimes!).

This is the first novel I've read by Megan Miranda and surely won't be my last. With the warmer weather on its way, The Perfect Stranger is the perfect book to take to the beach and get lost in the twisted and engrossing story that the author has laid out.

If you're still unsure about picking up The Perfect Stranger, you can check out an excerpt here.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda from Simon & Schuster for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 6, 2017

BookTube #1: Mini JG reviews Beware the Kakamora


My daughter has been asking for her own YouTube channel for quite some time.  Unlike me, she loves being in front of a video camera. She turns 5 in only a few weeks and the amount of confidence this kid exudes is inspiring.

I have challenged her to come up with her own theme for her channel. Until she figures it out, she has agreed to "practice" by doing BookTube videos. Enjoy and stay tuned for more!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Kill The Father by Sandrone Dazieri

Let's Take a Shelfie is the fourth stop on the Simon & Schuster Blog Tour for Sandrone Dazieri's thriller, Kill the Father.


Kill the Father
by Sandrone Dazieri
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Format: ARC from the publisher
Publishing Date: January 17, 2017
Rating: 



Synopsis: 
In this fascinatingly complex thriller, two people, each shattered by their past, team up to solve a series of
killings and abductions—unspeakable crimes that turn out to be merely the surface of something far 
more sinister.

When a woman is beheaded in a park outside Rome and her six-year-old son goes missing, the police 
unit assigned to the case arrests the woman’s husband and awaits his confession. But the city’s Chief of 
Major Crimes has his doubts and assigns two of Italy’s top analytical minds to the case: Deputy Captain 
Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from a horrific mass killing she survived, and 
Dante Torre, a man who spent his childhood trapped inside a concrete silo. Fed through the gloved hand 
of a masked kidnapper who called himself “the Father,” Dante emerged from his ordeal with crippling 
claustrophobia but, also, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

All evidence suggests that the Father is back at work and wants a reunion with Dante. But when Colomba 
and Dante begin unraveling the truth, they find themselves wanted for murder. Now Dante and Colomba 
must travel down a number of dark tunnels, both literal and figurative, as they confront the question that 
may solve it all: what lies beneath the water in a remote Italian quarry? And what might that revelation 
mean for ten children who have recently gone missing?

An instant breakout novel in Italy, Kill the Father boasts a brilliantly layered plot that offers new and more 
haunting revelations at every turn. Not since Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs has there been as 
intriguing a pairing of hard-charging female detective and “damaged” savant, and not since Jo Nesbo has 
there been a foreign thriller talent as promising.


Review:
First book and first review of 2017 and I sure picked a doozy! 

If you were following along in the last couple months of 2016 you would have noticed a trend, I was 
listening to a ton of audiobooks and reading a bunch of memoirs. Fast forward to the first few weeks of 
January where I was happily lugging around a 500 paged book everywhere I went. The cover, or maybe 
just the title, got its share of second glances on public transit.

Where do I begin....

Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri is the first psychological thriller I've read in at least 3-4 months and it's 
got me hooked back into the genre. It's filled with unpredictable plot twists and clues to help 
the reader solve the crimes left in "the Father's" wake. Dazieri has built a setting that is almost too 
real. 

The lead protagonists Dante and Colomba are characters you won't soon forget. They are written with 
such precision. They are so relatable that you can't help but hold your breath for them during 
some of the more intense scenes in the book. I could feel my heart racing and body tensing up during 
some of these moments.

If you pick up Kill the Father, and I recommended that you do, you'll be in for a quite a ride and you won't 
be disappointed. I cannot wait for the second book in the Colomba Caselli series to be translated to 
English. It's either that or I'll have to learn to read Italian.

Have you read Kill the Father? I'd love to hear your thoughts about the book in the comments. if you'd 
like to learn more about what inspired Sandrone Dazieri to become a writer, check out my Q&A post with 
the author here.

You can also check out the fantastic reviews on the blogs that are a part of this tour:


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri from Simon & Schuster for review and participation in this blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Blog Tour and Q&A with Sandrone Dazieri



Q & A with the Author
Let's Take a Shelfie is the fourth stop on the Kill the Father Blog Tour. As part of the tour, I was given the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the book's author, Sandrone Dazieri.


1.       What inspired you to become a writer?

In 1990, aged twenty-six years old and at the lowest point in my career, I was working for a pittance as a cook in a restaurant where the owner’s dogs defecated in the kitchen. My flat had no heating and I had the start of pneumonia. In the boredom of being bed-ridden I asked friends and neighbours to bring me things to read, leading me to collect a pile of dog-eared paperbacks.
One of the books that surfaced from that pile had the picture of a typewriter on it and the name of an author I was not very familiar with: Stephen King. It was Misery.
As is known, it is the story of the writer Paul Sheldon who, following a car accident, ends up prisoner of a nurse who is in love with his novels: his Number One Fan, as she likes to describe herself. When Annie, the name of his kidnapper, finds out that in his last novel Sheldon “kills” the heroine Misery, she forces him to destroy it and write another in which Misery lives.
I’m not going to disclose the ending, but that novel that I read on a feverish night exposed something I had within but which I could not yet give a name or shape to. I realised I too had some form of Annie inside me and that it was so terrible it had completely crushed me. I wanted to write but I was frightened of doing so because my Annie expected masterpieces and my efforts had never met those expectations. Reading Misery, I realised that I was not alone in that war of words, and a week later I quit my job. It was a long journey before I become a professional writer, but started that day.  

2.       Kill the Father is a very dark and gruesome story, how do you mentally prepare yourself to write about such topics?

Castle, the fictional writer hero of the eponymous tv series, always tells that there is two kind of folks who think about killing people on daily bases: serial killers and crime writers… More seriously, I always write of what I fear. So, I can say that it is the writing that helps me survive my nightmares, not the reverse.

3.       How does it feel to have your work translated to English and made available for a wider audience?

Well, it’s fantastic. I found a magnificent publishing house, Simon&Schuster (Scribner for USA), and a fantastic international team to help me and my job. And I hope to be invited to Canada and meet Wolverine.

If you haven't had a chance to check out my review of Kill the Father, check it out here.

Simon & Schuster will also be hosting a Twitter Chat with Sandrone on Wednesday, February 22 @ 10AM EST. If you've read the book, join in on the conversation and tell us what you loved! If you haven't read the book, follow along to see what all the hype is about. If the responses to my Q&A are any indication of Sandrone Dazieri's personality, we'll definitely be in for a entertaining conversation!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016: The Year of the Memoir

As I started to put away a few of my 2016 reads, I realized, that over half of the books I read were non fiction. Of those books, a majority of them were memoirs or collections of essays about the author's life. They were all filled with inspiring words, hilarious stories and some very personal sentiments. Here mini reviews of a few of my recent reads:


Title: Where Am I Now?
Author: Mara Wilson
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: ARC from the publisher
Publishing Date: September 13, 2016
Rating: 

I have always wondered what happens to child actors/actresses when they grow up. I often click on articles titled "Where are they now?". When I found out that Mara Wilson was writing a book, I knew I just had to read it. I mean, have you read her Twitter account? From her tweets alone you can tell she is a free spirited, confident and outspoken woman. Much like the character she plans in one of her movies, Matilda.

Mara Wilson's book dives deep into the life of a former child actress who, as most of them do, fell out of the "cute" phase and eventually could no longer find work in Hollywood. Her collection of essays is a mash up of stories that at times, can make you laugh uncontrollably and others that make you shed a tear. Mara's book is an easy read that gives you a look into what it's like to grow up as a young child, having all the same problems as most, with the added pressure of being a star. Definitely a recommended book for fans of Mara's movies or those looking for a light read.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of Where Am I Now from Penguin Random House Canada for review purposes. Opinions are my own.



Title: Scrappy Little Nobody
Author/Narrator: Anna Kendrick
Publisher: Touchstone
Format: Audiobook
Publishing Date: November 15, 2016
Rating: 

I was first introduced to Anna Kendrick in the film Up in the Air. When I saw Pitch Perfect, I became a fan. Anna Kendrick's collection of essays is her way of "letting the crazy out". We get a behind the scenes look behind her broadway debut, her experiences on the set of the Twilight films and just how quirky, cool and composed she really is.

For anyone interested in reading this book and hasn't yet purchased it, I highly recommend the Audiobook. I've said this before, but listening to an audiobook that is written and narrated by the author really gives it that extra bit of enjoyment. The changes in their tone and spurts of sarcasm don't stand out as much on paper as they do when it's being read to you. Regardless of the format, fans of Anna Kendrick will definitely enjoy this whimsical series of essays that takes a look into her road to stardom.



Title: Born A Crime
Author: Trevor Noah
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: November 15, 2016
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: 

I have to admit, other than knowing that Trevor Noah hosts the Daily Show, I didn't know much else about him. My husband is actually the one who told me I HAD to get this book. When Penguin Random House Canada offered to send a review copy I jumped at the chance and I'm SO glad I did.

The book begins with some background on the laws of Apartheid and brings light to the author's title choice. During the years of apartheid, sexual relations between a white man and black woman was illegal, making their children a crime.

Trevor Noah's story is nothing that I've read before. His life journey from being raised by his mother in secret, to overcoming hardships presented by his skin colour was eyeopening. Born A Crime serves two purposes. It's partially a history lesson in what it was like growing up in South Africa during these times and the difficulties it's people endured in the years after apartheid was abolished.

As expected, this book had more than its share of laugh out loud moments. But, what I appreciated most was his openness to share about his upbringing and how it was affected by blatant racism. What I found most inspiring was how he and his mother approached and endured torment from both black and white people. Both of them had learned how to be a chameleon among them.

Hands down one of the best books I've read and one that I woudn't hesitate to pick up and read again.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of Born A Crime from Penguin Random House Canada for review purposes. Opinions are my own.



My next read...
The next memoir I have on my to be read list is The Elephants in My Backyard: A Memoir
by Rajiv Surendra. Rajiv is was born and raised in Toronto. Once an actor with a dream, that was never fulfilled. This memoir is filled with joy, heartache and a desire to overcome the pain.




My past reads...
If you're looking for some other recommendations of memoirs to read, here are a few others that I've reviewed and really enjoyed this year:




Have you read any interesting or inspiring memoirs recently? Leave me your recommendation in the comments below.





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