Thursday, April 30, 2015


I can't believe I'm already doing my April recap. I feel like I just finished writing my March update. Although this month was extremely busy, I still managed to get through 10 books. A couple of these, The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens and Inside The O'Briens by Lisa Genova, have even made it to my Favourites Shelf. 

I managed to read a diverse range of books including some YA novels, thrillers and another memoir. My year to date book total is sitting at 40. I'm quite excited that I very well may hit my 50 book goal next month. As for my life as a blogger, I think I'm slowly settling in. I've met some really amazing people on and offline with some additional events coming up in the next couple months.

Just like April, May has some pretty exciting books that I can't wait to launch including one of my favourites The Fan Girl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls by Sam Maggs. It's a very funny and inspiring book for geeks and non-geeks alike. I also can't wait for A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson. It's a follow up to Life After Life which I read such a long time ago. I plan to read it again before starting A God in Ruins which releases on May 5.

How did your April go? Are there any May releases that you can't wait for?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Phenomenal Female Authors Reception & Signed Book Giveaway!

I started my blog in January to help me achieve my New Year's resolution of reading 50 books in 2015. I had no idea that this resolution would turn into what my blog is today. Over the past three months I've had the pleasure of engaging with fellow book lovers from publishers, to other book bloggers and even authors. But I feel as though my status as a "Book Blogger" was solidified when I attended my very first book event.

On Tuesday April 21, the girls at Random House of Canada invited me to the Phenomenal Female Authors Reception. The event was to in celebration of two amazing Canadian born authors. Sara Gruen who recently released At The Water's Edge and Lori Lansens who released her latest book The Mountain Story this month. The event took place at The Cellar which is located in the basement of the Duke of York in Toronto. The event was an intimate affair which gave the attendees an opportunity to speak to Lori and Sara as well as get their autographs. Both authors were a delight to speak to and were absolutely hilarious. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting the wonderful team at Random House Canada and fellow book bloggers who I have only engaged with via email or on social media. Overall, it was a fun evening and I hope to do it again soon!

I have quickly learned that the book community is filled with such enthusiastic and amazing people. I can't wait to meet more of you so, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY! I have read  At The Water's Edge and The Mountain Story and they're both high up on my favourites list for 2015. While at the event, I managed to get an additional SIGNED copy of each book (Thank you Random House Canada!) and I would LOVE for one of my readers to win them both. The contest will be open from April 27, 2015 at 12am to May 4, 2015 at 12am. Check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter & GOOD LUCK! This contest is only available to residents of Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I think I'm still recovering from that Game of Thrones episode and the Toronto Raptors loss. But life must go on...

After taking a bit of a break last week, I finally got back into my reading groove. The three books I read were all fantastic reads and I would recommend each one of them. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno was an addictive read. A story about a girl caught in the middle of two brothers. Anyone who enjoyed How to Love will definitely want to pick this up. The second book I read was We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (review to come). This was a very quick read, and contains a wealth of inspiration for all humans regardless of gender. The final book I read this week was The Man The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times by Peter Kavanagh. It is a medical memoir outlining his journey from infancy, where he suffered from Polio, to now. This book taught me a lot about the history of the Canadian health system and was truly inspiring.

This week, I have a few eBooks from NetGalley that I've been wanting to get to. I'm hoping I can find the time to read them before my May release books arrive.

What did you read last week?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times: A Memoir by Peter Kavanagh

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Format: Hardcover
Source: Requested Review Copy from Publisher
Publication Date: April 14, 2015

The title of Peter Kavanagh's memoir gives you a pretty big hint about what the book is about.  As you start reading it however, you learn that it's so much more. The book is a memoir of his medical journey. As an infant, he suffered from Polio and has had to endure many medical procedures as a result of the complications. In addition to Peter's health issues, the Kavanagh family also had to deal with an unstable home having to constantly move from city to city. With these moves came the search for a new house, new schools for the five children and new doctors and specialists to keep up with Peter's medical needs. In addition to Peter's physical pain, we as readers also get a glimpse into the emotional strain that his disabilities have caused. Peter shares his memories of getting bullied at school, feeling like an outcast within his own family and his insecurities about his need for walking aids (i.e. crutches, canes and braces).

This book surprised me. For one, I learned so much about Polio and the epidemic that plagued Canada in the 1950s. Peter's memoir also shed some light on the history of the Canadian health system. It also quickly highlighted his experiences at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital, a place that I have a deep connection with. The detail in which this book describes his treatments and rehabilitations are eye-opening. It is hard to believe how much pain and suffering Peter has endured in his lifetime.

The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times is an inspiring story of courage, rehabilitation and the ability to develop one's identity even when faced with impossible situations. I am so happy that I selected this book as one of my April reads and I hope that more Canadians get an opportunity to enjoy it as much as I did.

Disclaimer: I requested a finished copy of this book from Random House Canada in order to provide an honest review.
Rating: ★★★

Friday, April 24, 2015

99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Canada
Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Purchased
Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Molly Barlow fled Star Lake a year ago to get away from everything that was wrong in her life. Her friends have turned on her, making her life a living hell. Her boyfriend ex-boyfrend, Patrick, cannot stand the sight of her because she betrayed him by sleeping with his brother, Gabe. To top it all off, Molly's own mother weaved the tale of this infidelity into a best-selling book, which lead to her self-imposed exile. Now, she has to endure 99 days back in her home town before she packs up and leaves for college.

There's just something about Katie Cotugno's books that make them so captivating that I never want to put them down. Her main characters are flawed and go down paths that make you cringe. This is what makes them so believable. Molly and Gabe's characters are no different. They knowingly, without signs of remorse, put themselves into situations that make you feel like they deserve all of the negativity that is crashing down on them. Except, when you weigh out which of the two is getting the most heat from their situation, it's clearly Molly. It's this particular reaction that the author does a great job of focusing on in this book. In our society, when a relationship goes awry because one partner has been unfaithful, the blame, typically gets directed toward the female. Gabe's character often points this several times to try and make Molly feel like she isn't alone and wasn't the only person who did Patrick wrong.

I think some readers will have a hard time getting through 99 Days. This holds especially true if the idea of cheating is hard for you to get past. I urge these readers to dig deeper and push on. Although this book appears to be about infidelity and your typical teen aged love triangle on the surface, I promise it's much, much more. Definitely a must read for anyone who adored How To Love.
Rating: ★★★

To learn more about 99 Days and other amazing books at HarperCollins Canada check out them out on Twitter and Facebook. For fans of YA books follow @hccfrenzy on Twitter.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Happy Monday! I realized this morning that I didn't finish any book last week. I'm hoping to get caught up on the April releases soon.

I'm currently still reading The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times by Peter Kavanagh. There are a lot of historical points about the health care system in Canada and the after effects of the Polio outbreaks in the 1940s and 1950s. It's definitely been an eye-opening and informative read.

As for new books... I'm waiting on a shipment from The Book Outlet. I finally managed to get all the books I wanted into one order. I'll put up a book haul post once it arrives.

But perhaps the most exciting event I have happening this week is the Phenomenal Female Authors Reception in Toronto on Tuesday afternoon. It's the first book related event that I've been available to attend since starting my blog. I cannot wait to meet the Sara Gruen, author of At The Water's Edge and Lori Lansens, author of The Mountain Story. Stay tuned for a recap post!

I'm also excited for the possibility of meeting my fellow bloggers that I've interacted with over the past few months. Is anyone else attending this event?

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Sunday, April 19, 2015 - Discover your next favourite book!

Being out of the reading game for a couple years, I've had to rediscover my likes and dislikes. Most of the books I've read prior to this year were related to parenting and career advancement. So, the world of YA fiction and the list of amazing debut authors were pretty much non-existent. I joined a few book review sites, like Goodreads, and scoured the Amazon and Indigo websites for top recommended reads. Those helped me build a good sized TBR list for January and February, however it only contained books released in 2014 and upcoming 2015 releases leaving me yearning for more book recommendations. Enter I've Read That...

What is I've Read That?
I've Read That is a social media platform that connects the vast network of book lovers around the world. Through the site you can meet new people who share similar book interests, read/write reviews, recommend books to your followers. You can also maintain your book lists using their Stacks feature.

What do you like the most about the I've Read That site?
There are so many features that I love, but here are just a few:

  • The site is beautiful and very user friendly. My favourite part of the site and what keeps me coming back is the Feed. This is where you'll find featured content and your Followers' Stacks and Reviews. It's also the best place to find your next favourite book. Here's what my feed looks like at the moment:
  • Reviews are limited to 400 characters. I LOVE this. It keeps everything short, sweet and to the point.
  • The I've Read That team. I've never met them, but I have interacted with a few team members over the past couple months via email, Twitter and Slack. They are very kind and totally open to feedback and comments.
How do I sign up?
Register at You can also follow the IRT team on Twitter (@IveReadThat) or visit their Facebook page here.

Have you checked out the site? Let me know in the comments what you think! If you're already a member, come find me. My user name is OrieMG.

#BabySHELFie: Mini Myths by Joan Holub

The Mini Myths series is written by Joan Holub, illustrated by Leslie Patricelli and published by Abrams Appleseed.

Each book teaches the title character, and in turn the reader/listener, an important life lesson. This series is a favourite in our home and are read on a nightly basis. They are easy enough for early readers to start learning how to read and are the perfect length for bedtime stories. The pictures are vibrant and the board books are durable, even for young toddlers. I also appreciate the last page of each book which has a couple paragraphs about the mythology surrounding the title character.

These books are a favourite in our house and are read everyday before naps and bedtime. I highly recommend these books to parents who are looking for fun and subtle ways to teach their children life lessons through books. According to Goodreads, there are two Mini Myths books to be released this year. We will definitely be grabbing them to add to our collection.

Play Nice, Hercules!
Hercules is a strong boy. He's also an older brother. Before play time his dad reminds him to play nice with his little sister. Instead of listening to his father, Hercules knocks over his sister's blocks making her cry. After realizing what he did was wrong he helps her rebuild the fortress.

Brush Your Hair, Medusa!
Medusa is a spoiled little girl with very tangled hair. Her father is trying to brush her hair before Grandma comes for a visit. She insists that she gets a candy before anything. Grandma arrives and instead of staying for a visit, they take a trip to the hair dresser where Medusa gets a sweet surprise.

Make a Wish, Midas!
Midas' favourite colour is yellow. He likes to wear yellow clothes, use yellow markers and eat yellow food. Dinoboo is his stuffed, green dinosaur. After painting Dinoboo yellow, Midas gets upset because he wants his toy back to the way he was. He can only wait and wish to see if Dinoboo can be changed back to the way he was before.

Be Patient, Pandora!
Pandora's mom has a special box that she does not want opened. Pandora cannot wait to see what's inside and starts to fiddle with the box. Her antics create a huge mess and she can only hope that her mom can forgive her.

You can find additional titles by Joan Holub on her website at

Rating (for all 4 books): ★★★

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Lately, I've been spending a lot more time (and money) at my local book stores and my book hauls include books not only for myself, but for my kids (Mini JG & Micro JG) as well. After reading a review of Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali on Padfoots Library, it inspired me to broaden category of books that I review to include the books our kids love.  I'll be calling this feature #BabySHELFie. The first edition will be up next week!

Monday, April 13, 2015


It is a beautiful Monday morning. I think Spring may have finally arrived.

There have been no new book purchases since last week (this makes my wallet happy), but I did receive a Goodreads prize from Penguin Canada. I won Second Chance Friends by Jennifer Scott. The book is about four women from different paths who somehow meet each other at an extraordinary crossroads. I'm a fan of character centric stories so, this sounds like one I will enjoy. The book's release date is not until next month so, I'll be adding it to my May TBR.

As for what I read last week, both of the books I got through were ones that I loved.
How to Love by Katie Cotugno was a cute story about young, vulnerable love and the heartbreak that sometimes usually goes along with it. The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens was a story of survival, perseverance and redemption. This one is a keeper for me. I cannot wait to mee Lori Lansens next week!

I had originally started last week reading The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart, but had to put it down because I just couldn't get into it. I'm going to give it another go this week, but I fear it may end up in my DNF pile. I have also started The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times:  A Memoir by Peter Kavanagh.

What do you have on deck this week?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Format: Hardcover
Source: Requested Review Copy from the publisher
Publication Date: April 14, 2015

The Mountain Story begins on Wolf Truly's 18th birthday, the day on which he has decided to end his life. He set out for the mountain range to jump off of Angel's Peak, a section high above Palm Springs. His plans are interrupted when he encounters three women who, unbeknownst to him, will change his life forever. The quartet continue on together and through a series of mishaps end up getting stranded for five days. During their days on the mountain, the group endures injuries, hunger pains and are on the brink of dehydration. But, somehow still find the strength to carry on.

Wolf, now a grown man, is a husband and father. He has never told anyone the truth about what actually happened during those days on the mountain. With his son, Daniel, now leaving for college he decides that it's finally time.

An introductory letter from father to son appears on the first few pages. After reading it, I knew this was going to be a book that I would not want to put down. So, I buckled in to prepare myself for the ride. Afterall, Wolf warned, "There will be sway".

The Mountain Story is a book filled with family drama, heroism and a little bit of humour. It is a coming of age story tangled into a thrilling tale of survival and redemption. For me, the story was also inspiring. There were so many moments during the hikers' time on the mountain where I thought if I were in their shoes, I would give up. But, surprisingly they continued to push on. One of my favourite quotes from the book simply emphasized their perseverance and will to live:

"The most successful people in the most impossible situations are the ones that are sure they're gonna get out of it, and they go on thinking that, even if they die trying."
I adored this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to all readers. There's something in here for everyone. This is the first book by Lori Lansens that I have the pleasure to read and it will not be the last. I have already ordered a copy of The Girls and added it to my May TBR list. 
Rating: ★★★

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday SHELFie

I'm not sure about you guys, but it felt like this week just flew by for me. I managed to get through one book so far this week and hoping to finish another.

I'm currently reading The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens. I've been wanting to start this book as I've heard a lot of positive things about Lori Lansens' work. What's even more exciting is that I'm going to get a chance to meet Lori and Sara Gruen, author of At the Water's Edge, later on this month.

The Mountain Story about a group of hikers that get trapped on a mountain for five days and their story of survival. After reading the first two pages, I was hooked! The publication date for this book is this coming Tuesday April 14. I'm hoping have the book read and have my review up before then. Stay tuned!

What are you reading this weekend?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Penguin Drop Cap Adventure: May 2015 - ????

Over the past few months I've been collecting all of the Penguin Classic Drop Cap editions. There are 26 in the set with the letter on the cover representing the last name of the author. The set includes the following titles:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot 
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding 
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse 
  • An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro 
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce 
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee 
  • Moby-Dick: or, The Whale by Herman Melville 
  • Five Children and It by E. Nesbit 
  • Butterfield 8 by John O'Hara 
  • Swann's Way by Marcel Proust 
  • The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen 
  •  Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie 
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck 
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 
  • Kristin Lavransdatter: the Wreath by Sigrid Undset 
  • Candide: Or Optimism by Voltaire 
  • Leaves of Grass and Selected Poems and Prose by Walt Whitman 
  • Sky Burial by Xinran
  • When You Are Old: Early Poems and Fairy Tales by W.B. Yeats 
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón 

Starting next month, I will begin a new literary adventure by attacking each book in the Drop Cap series over the course of the next year and a half. My goal is to have them all read by the end of 2016. I've decided to read them in reverse order mostly because I haven't read any of the books from letter N to Z. 

Have you read any of the books in this series? Which are your favourites?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How To Love by Katie Cotugno


Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Purchased
Publication Date: October 1, 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:
Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

Most of the books I had lined up for April are intense thrillers and historical fiction novels. After reading four already this month, I needed something light hearted. Enter, How to Love by Katie Cotugno.

I liked the format of the book where each chapter alternates between the present and the past. The "After" chapters represent current day where Reena is living her life with Hannah after Sawyer has left. The "Before" chapters describe the events in Reena's life leading up to her pregnancy.

How to Love has been in the market for well over a year and has some mixed reviews. I can see how some readers are torn. Sawyer is a very difficult character to life because he is so carefree and disregards the feelings of those close to him, especially Reena. I think others may also have issues with Reena and Sawyer's relationship. In both timelines they are deceitful and show very little remorse for the people they hurt as they rekindle their childhood romance. Despite all of this, I still enjoyed the book and can see myself reading this again. The love story is believable and most of the characters are realistic enough that readers can relate to them. If you're looking for a quick, feel good read, this book is a great choice.

Rating: ★★★★

After finishing How to Love, I found out that Katie Cotugno has a new book coming soon, 99 Days will be released April 21, 2015. I've already added it to my TBR list for the summer.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Happy Monday! I hope those who celebrate Easter had a fantastic holiday and for those that don't, I hope your weekend was fabulous.

Last week was pretty amazing and I'm excited to recap it for you. Let's start with my book haul. It felt like I received books, yes books, almost everyday. My April review books arrived from Random House Canada, a surprise review book from Simon and Schuster and one of my Goodreads giveaway prizes all arrived in my mailbox over the course of the week. All of this, on top of my birthday book haul! I think I'm on a book buying ban until I get through all of these.

I also had a pretty amazing reading week. I read three really amazing books and one that I didn't like so much. Here's what I read:
  • The Hand That Feeds You: A Novel by A.J. Rich - A thriller novel which makes you question how well you know the ones you love.
  • Inside The O'Briens: A Novel by Lisa Genova - From the writer of Still Alice, this book follows the life of a Boston Police Officer who is diagnosed with Huntington's disease.
  • The Sunken Cathedral by Kate Walbert - My least favourite of last week. A story about several New Yorkers and their struggles to adapt to their constantly changing city.
  • Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø  - A crime thriller novel about a hitman who runs into trouble after he falls in love with his latest mark.
I don't think this week will be as successful as last, but I plan to read two of the books pictured above. Night Stages by Jane Urquhart and The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens. They are scheduled for release on April 7 and April 14 respectively.

So far this month there have been a ton of releases that I'm excited to dig into. What are your most anticipated April reads?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø

Publisher: Random House of Canada
Format: Hardcover
Source: Requested review copy from the publisher
Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:
This is the story of Olav: an extremely talented "fixer" whose unexpected capacity for love is as far-reaching as his talent for murder. He works for Oslo's crime kingpin, "fixing" anyone who causes him trouble. But it's becoming clear to Olav that the more you know about your boss's business, the more your boss might want you fixed yourself, especially if you've fallen in love with his wife....

Whenever I get the option to select review books, I choose ones that I know I will enjoy. But, sometimes, I take a risk and pick one that I wouldn't normally purchase. This month, Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø was that pick.

Blood on Snow is a story about Olav. A ruthless criminal with a soft side. We learn early on that Olav is a terrible has tried and failed at being a bank robber, getaway car driver and even a pimp. His thirst for violence stems from his abusive father and alcoholic mother. This drive helps him become a "fixer" for one of Oslo's top crime bosses, Daniel Hoffman. As Olav considers leaving his life of crime, he is handed another job. He has been ordered to kill his boss' wife, Corina. After days of surveillance Olav falls for his latest mark and everything starts to go downhill from there.

This book was a quick read, just over 200 pages. It contained very little character development (which I was OK with) and contained a lot of action. For the first half of the book, I felt that it was your typical "hitman falls in love with his victim" type story. But then, Nesbø threw in a few twists and turns that really propelled the book to the next level.

I think Blood on Snow would be enjoyed by frequent readers of crime thriller novels and could be made into a fairly decent movie. Think of it as the love child between Crank, starring Jason Statham, and The Big Hit, starring Mark Wahlberg. Personally, I enjoyed both of these movies and this book.

Rating: ★★★★

Friday, April 3, 2015


The long weekend is here!

This week has been a great week for reading - 3 books in 3 days! My weekend reads are two books that are scheduled for release this coming Tuesday, April 7:

  • Night Stages by Jane Urquhart
  • Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo

They are both requested review copies from Random House Canada. I'm already halfway through Blood on Snow. So far, it's a fairly fast paced book. Your typical mob/revenge story.

What are you reading this weekend?

The Sunken Cathedral by Kate Walbert

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:
Marie and Simone, friends for decades, were once immigrants to the city, survivors of World War II in Europe. Now widows living alone in Chelsea, they remain robust, engaged, and adventurous, even as the vistas from their past interrupt their present. Helen is an art historian who takes a painting class with Marie and Simone. Sid Morris, their instructor, presides over a dusty studio in a tenement slated for condo conversion; he awakes the interest of both Simone and Marie. Elizabeth is Marie’s upstairs tenant, a woman convinced that others have a secret way of being, a confidence and certainty she lacks. She is increasingly unmoored—baffled by her teenage son, her husband, and the roles she is meant to play.

When I was checking out Simon & Schuster's summer releases, I added The Sunken Cathedral to my TBR list. The description really peaked my interest. When I found out I won an ARC of the book through a Goodreads giveaway I added it to the top of my April pile because I was so excited despite the fact that it doesn't get released until June.

Unfortunately, for me, the book was not what I hoped it would be. I found it really difficult to get into as the story jumped from one character's perspective to another with no connections in between. I would have liked to be able to relate to the characters more than I did. The book also included footnotes often about the characters' past. They were quite lengthy causing me to lose my place in the book and having to reread entire pages.

My low rating for this book was because of my inability to enjoy the story due to the writing style. It was just too scattered for my liking. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it were a collection of short stories rather than a novel.

Rating: ★★★★★

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: eBook
Source: Requested ARC from publisher
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

When I saw that Inside the O'Briens was available on NetGalley I jumped at the chance and it did not disappoint.

I read Still Alice, my first Lisa Genova novel, last month and it instantly made me a fan. Her ability to draw attention to unknown and misunderstood diseases such as Alzheimer's, in Still Alice, and Huntington's disease, in this book, are admirable. Her heavy research on the diseases, their impacts to the person diagnosed and their loved ones is very evident in her writing. This makes her characters very relatable. Reading about the Joe O'Brien and his family's ability to rally around him and the disease was almost like I knew them. They could have been my family or a family down the street. It was hauntingly real.

Inside the O'Briens was so captivating that I could not put it down. I ended up reading it in one sitting. Fans of Still Alice will appreciate this novel and I highly recommend it. I will definitely be purchasing a hard copy of this book for my collection.

A digital copy of Inside the O'Briens  was requested from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Hand That Feeds You: A Novel by A.J. Rich

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: ARC from the publisher
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

From celebrated authors Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment writing as A.J. Rich, a smart, thrilling, sexy, and emotionally riveting novel of psychological suspense about an accomplished woman involved with a man who proves to be an imposter.

Morgan Prager, at age thirty, is completing her thesis on victim psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. She is newly engaged to Bennett, a seductive but possessive and secretive man. She returns from class one day to find Bennett mauled to death, and her dogs—a Great Pyrenees and two pit bulls she has rescued—covered in blood. Bewildered and devastated that her dogs could have committed such violence, she worries that she might suffer from one of the syndromes she studies: pathological altruism, when selfless acts do more damage than good.

When Morgan tries to locate Bennett’s parents to tell them about their son’s hideous death, she discovers he was not the man he said he was. Everything he has told her—where he was born, where he lives and works—was a lie. In fact, he has several fiancées, and fits the clinical definition of a sociopath. And then, one by one, these other women are murdered. Suddenly Morgan’s research into Bennett takes on the urgency of survival: to stay alive, she must find out who is killing the women Bennett was closest to.

Unsettling and highly suspenseful, this is a brilliant collaboration between two outstanding writers.

I don't normally choose to read thriller novels. But, after reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins earlier this year, they have really started to peak my interest.

The Hand That Feeds You is an intense psychological thriller which puts into question whether or not you really know the ones you love. My eyes were glued to the book page after page as Morgan continued to unravel the mystery of Bennett's true identity. I can normally predict the twists and turns in a story fairly early on but, this was not the case with The Hand That Feeds You. The book was compelling all throughout and kept me wanting to know more until the very end.

If you enjoy suspense thrillers, I would highly recommend that you consider adding this book to your summer TBR list. It's a must read in my opinion.

I received an advanced copy of The Hand That Feeds You: A Novel from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.

Random House Canada #ReadingBingo - March Update

I was able to cross off three more squares in March after reading The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, If I Fall, I Die by Michael Christie and The Truth Commission by Susan Juby. This brings my square count to 12 out of 25. Here's my updated card:

Are you participating in the Random House Canada Reading Bingo challenge? How many have you crossed off so far? Let me know in the comments below.

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