[#BookReview] Shattered by Allison Brennan @StMartinsPress @Allison_Brennan @Netgalley #MysteryAndThrillers 

** I’d like to thank the publishers for providing an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review **

Shattered (Max Revere Series #4) by Allison Brennan
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: Aug 22, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Description

Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?

That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her―they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.

Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure―so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law― Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth―but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.

Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family―and herself―the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling―with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.

Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.

My Thoughts

When I first started reading this book, it was great.  I hadn’t realized it was part of a series until I marked it on my Goodreads shelf.  Having said that, I felt it was one that could be read as a standalone eventhough I haven’t read the others.

The Good

I really enjoyed getting to know Max who’s an investigative reporter solving cold cases.  She’s clever and very good at what she does.

I thought Brennan did a great job at keeping the reader immersed and filling in who the characters from the previous series were and how they’re connected.

The Bad 

Because there were characters brought in from two different series, it became overwhelming and a lot to take in.  It was easy to become confused since there were so many people and stories to keep track of.  If you’re like me and pace your reading, you will find yourself backtracking just to remember who was who.   

I would have typically given 3 stars, but this was a rare case in which I rated it a 4.  Despite having to go back and retrace a few steps, the storyline was well thought out which made it a very enjoyable read.

Have you had a chance to read this yet?  Or have you read any books from this series?

[Book Review] The Mayfly by James Hazel @JamesHazelBooks @BonnierZaffre #CrimeFiction #TheMayFly 

The Mayfly by James Hazel

**I’d like to thank Bonnier Zaffre Books for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Crime Fiction

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre Books

Publication Date: June 15, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Description

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two. 

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly – a secret society that people will kill for. 

As Priest races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?



My Thoughts

I kept coming across this book on other blogs and Instagram, and thought it sounded like a really great read.  I was definitely not disappointed!  This was just the high octane thriller I was seeking.  

The story starts off with the discovery of a mutilated body in the woods.  While investigators are trying to piece the crime scene together, we are then taken back to the past during WWII to a German concentration camp, where a mysterious man from the British intelligence shows up.  Fast forward to the present, and we meet Charlie Priest: an ex-detective inspector, turned lawyer who gets an unexpected visit from a fake cop who nearly kills him in search of a flash drive.  Sounds exciting right?  

The story weaves in and out between the past and present, which was cleverly written.  It was like playing a game of Clue.  You literally don’t start piecing all the bits of information until the very end.  Even half way through the book, I was still pulling at straws to figure out a plausible motive and suspect!  Well done James! You truly had me stumped 😊.

This was a fly-by-the seat of your pants type of read. One that I would highly recommend.  

Have you read it?  What did you think?

[Book Review] It Can’t be October Already by Jeffrey Archer @Jeffrey_archer @StMartinsPress

It Can’t be October Already by Jeffrey Archer

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

My Thoughts

Ever since I read Only Time Will Tell, I have been a fan of his work.  This was a fun, short story about Pat O’Flynn who returns every October for his detainment in prison.  

Archer has a way with words that draws you in from the moment you begin reading.  Once again, he has showcased his talent in writing and offers another read that didn’t disappoint!

** I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review **

Have you read any of Jeffrey Archer’s work?

[Book Review] Every Last Lie by @MaryKubica 

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

**I’d like to thank the publishers for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review **

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Publisher: Harlequin (US & Canada), Park Row Books

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Description

“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.”  
Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. 

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit. 

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

My Review

I’ve heard so many great things about Mary Kubica.  So of course I jumped at the chance to read Every Last Lie.  Now I understand what the hype is all about!  Kubica has a way with words that intoxicates you from the start.  

It’s been a long time since I was this hooked on a book!  Yay! Happy dance.  

The last time I was this excited was Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.  I would’ve finished in one night, but I couldn’t keep me eyes open any longer and the sun was starting to rise.

This book is narrated by alternating POV’s: Clara (the wife) and Nick (the husband).  The story starts off with Clara receiving news that her husband has gotten into an accident, and was DOA with her 4 year old unscathed.  As Clara is trying to piece together what really happened the day of the accident, she slowly unravels the secrets he’s been hiding.  Was it really just an accident? Or was he murdered?  Why had he kept things from her?

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Kubica cleverly threw me back in a loop making me second guess my initial thoughts.

The characters were well developed and despite finding Clara a tad annoying at times, I absolutely loved this story.

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Have you read this book? Or any others written by Mary Kubica?  What do you think of this author?  Tell me your thoughts by leaving a comment ☺

[#BookMail & Review] @MacKidsBooks #KidsLit #ChildrensBooks #ChildrensFiction

As you all know, story time is a fav pastime for my kids and I, so they were super excited to receive these wonderful books in the mail.

**Thank you Macmillan Children’s for our Arm’s in exchange for an honest review **

So I thought In would do something different this time.  Rather than list every single book and writing separate reviews, I’m just going to mention the ones that made the list of favourites and are in no particular order:

1. What’s Your Favorite Color by Eric Carle and Friends

If you enjoyed The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you will certainly enjoy this one.  It is filled with colourful pictures and fun reasons why each colour is a favourite.

2. The Jelly Bean Tree by Toni Yuly 

3. Hector the Collector by Emily Beeny, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin 

4. Tractor Mac: Worth the Wait by Billy Steers

5. Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket

My kids (particularly my 11 yr old) love Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, so it was no surprise they enjoyed this one.

6. Escargot by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Sydney Hanson 

My kids had a hoot with one!  I read it with a French-english accent which made my little ones roar with laughter.  They also loved the little escargot and thought it was cute.

7. The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard & Benjo Davies

My 5 year old loves stories about giants..especially Jack & The Beanstalk.  So this was a definite winner.

8. Cat Nap by Toni Yuly

9. Daytime Nighttime by William Low

Cat Nap & Daytime Nighttime were perfect reads for my 10 month old.


[Book Review] The Child by Fiona Barton @PenguinCanada 

**I’d like to thank Penguin Random House Canada for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

The Child by Fiona Barton

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤ 1/2  (3.5 out of 5)

Description 

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

My Review

This was a tough one for me to rate because I actually struggled a bit at first. There were parts that were so slow, I wanted to cry. 

Normally, I would have ditched the book, but I was totally submerged in wanting to see how the story behind the building-site baby unfolded. 

I’m glad I kept pressing on because it had some redeeming qualities which made it an overall good read.  I really enjoyed the six degrees of separation between the characters.  The story is told from multiple POV’s: Emma, Angela, Kate, Jude & Will, which was well done in my opinion.  I wouldn’t have categorized this as a thriller though.  It read more like a soap opera or drama.

Even though I had predicted certain parts, Barton did a pretty good job of keeping the reader guessing until the end.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

[Book Review] Little Plane Learns to Write by Stephen Savage @MacKidsBooks @Savageartist #KidsLit #ChildrensFiction #IllustratedBooks

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publisher: Roaring Book Press

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Description

The best thing about flight school is that Little Plane gets to learn how to sky-write! He adores practicing ARCS! He excels at practicing DIVES! But not everything is easy and fun. Little Plane loathes practicing LOOPITY-LOOPS. They make him dizzy.

My Thoughts

This was a cute story about a little plane learning to write, but having trouble making loopity-loops.  It was perfect for my 3 year old who has an interest in learning the alphabet.  My 5 year old, who is the opposite and doesn’t care about the alphabet, was not a fan which is why I am giving this one a 4 instead of a 5.  To each his own right? 

My Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️

[Book Review] Don’t Blink by Tom Booth @TallTomsTales @MacKidsBooks #KidsLit #ChildrensFiction 


Don’t Blink! By Tom Booth

**I’d like to thank Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for my ARC in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Description

Think you can win a staring contest against an elephant? What about a gorilla, a cheetah, a fox, or an alligator? What about all them AND a bunch of their other animal friends at the same time? You’re about to find out!

Whatever you do DON’T BLINK!

My Thoughts

This was a fun book where the characters invite the reader to have a staring contest.  My kids love playing this game, so this was an automatic winner!

My Rating: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


[#BookReview] See What I have Done by Sarah Schmidt #HistoricalFiction #LizzieBorden #Crime


See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

**I’d like to thank the publishers and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Description

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence. 

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

My Thoughts 

I’m torn with this one, because I REALLY thought I’d enjoy this one.  In fact, I was excited because it combines crime and historical fiction!  Two genres I love to read.  It  was a no brainer and should have been a winner. 

I had no previous knowledge of the Lizzie Borden case, so I walked into this intrigued and with a fresh pair of eyes.

The book was off to a great start where Lizzie finds her father’s mutilated body.  But as the story progresses, it gets a bit confusing.  Or at least it did for me.  I didn’t particularly enjoy the narrative.  It’s told from multiple points of views, which can make for a really great read.  However, this fell short of spectacular.  There was too much dialogue and it felt like all the characters were told in the same voice.  

Where I found myself confused was when the story kept going back and forth between the present and the past.  There were too many flashbacks if you ask me.  Whenever a character started to reminisce about their past and got lost in their thoughts, I too was lost and found myself having to backtrack. 
Unfortunately, I did not want to waste anymore time and did not bother finishing it. 

My Rating ❤️❤️

Have you read it? What did you think? 

[Book Review] Almost Missed You by Jessica Stawser @jessicastawser @StMartinsPress #WomensFiction

Almost Missed You by Jessica Stawser 

**I’d like to thank the publisher for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: March 28, 2017

Description

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, ALMOST MISSED YOU is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
www.jessicastawser.com

My Thoughts

Imagine what it’s like to have the people you love most betray you, or have your child go missing.

The story starts off with Violet and Finn on their first family vacation with their son, Bear.  However, just when she starts to think life couldn’t get any better, Finn does the unthinkable by disappearing and taking their son with him.

Her things were just as she’d left them. But every trace of her husband and son were gone. As if they’d never been there at all.

I loved how things flowed effortlessly between the present and past, from three different characters: Violet, Caitlin & Finn.  Caitlin seems to get herself caught in the middle.  Finn has been her best friend since university, but her and Violet also share a bond.  

What do you do when you’re friends with both people, but one shows up at your cabin with their kid that they kidnapped, while the other is spending sleepless nights mortified and worrying about their little “bear”?

Even though this was a slower paced read than what I’ve been used to lately, it was a refreshing change. One that I needed.  This was a well-written story that allows the reader to connect with all the characters, which I found very interesting.  Each of them have secrets they’ve been hiding, which slowly unravel as the story progresses.  

I really enjoyed getting to know Finn and what drove him to do what he did.  He was one of my favourite characters.
Almost Missed You is a story about fate, love, friendship and betrayal.  One that I would recommend for readers who enjoyed The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

My Rating

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Have you read this book? What did you think?