[#BookReview] The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale by Daniel Thompson, Illustrated by Connor Edwards #ChildrensFiction #IllustratedBooks #ChristmasStories

** I’d like to thank the author for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: Oct 31, 2017

My Rating: 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

My Thoughts

I’m always up for a story that involves an evil queen or witch, so I was all-in when I was given the opportunity to read this.  I would love to use my kids as an excuse as to why I wanted to read it, but who am I kidding?! If you didn’t already know, I’m a fan of children’s..ahem..ILLUSTRATED books.  Lol.

And might I say, the illustrations in this cute story were a nice addition! It had a Dr.Seuss kinda feel, with a hint of darkness to it.  

It tells a tale of 3 children who build an evil snow queen (rather than a snowman), who comes to life and casts an evil spell on all children to turn them naughty.

Elaine Gale totally reminded me of the witch in The Lion, the witch & the wardrobe by C.S Lewis making her my favourite character.

I especially liked that this story appeals to a broad age group and wasn’t too kiddie (if you know what I mean). If there was one thing I had to critique, it would be that even if this story was not in rhyme, it would equally have been just as good.

Whether you love a good Christmas story, or story of good vs. evil, I highly recommend this book for those ages 3 and up.

For more info: CLICK HERE

Book Blurb

In this book that you hold, a true story unfolds,

Of a Christmas not too long ago.

Where I’m lead to believe, on a cold Christmas eve,

Three Siblings played out in the snow.

As all children do, when the snow bustles through,

They built an acquaintance to scale.

But not a snow man, as suggested by Dan,

They built a snow queen, Elaine Gale

And they started to tell, how she’d cast an old spell,

For every child to be cruel.

For if no names exist, on Santa’s nice list,

There would be no Christmas at all.

But little did they know, as they played in the snow,

Before the night was through.

That story they told, would find life in the cold.

And every word would come true.

Daniel Thompson

Danny is a Poet/film maker/musician and all round creative human from Birmingham.

He wrote this book because he loves Christmas and wanted to create something to add to the already rich tapestry of the Christmas festivities. He felt it was really important to tell an original Christmas story that a new generation of readers can claim as their own. He is really proud of what hr and Connor have created with this book and hopes you enjoy their work.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Connor Edwards

Connor is a graphic design student and illustrator from Birmingham.

The book was an exciting project to work on because its quirky story and writing style really inspired his imagination. As a Christmas story it was unlike anything already available, this refreshing look at the Christmas story gave him a lot to work with. He hopes you enjoy reading the book as much as he loved making it.

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[#BookReview] Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction

Publication Date: 1933

Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers

My Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Book Blurb

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…

My Thoughts

The murder is with us – on the train now…

Can you believe I’ve had this book on my shelf foCan you believe I’ve had this book on my shelf for 13 years and only read it now?

I’m so glad I decided to read this gem because it was SO good, even though I figured out whodunnit by Part 2, Chapter 3.  I felt like I was playing a game of Clue (which is one of my favourite games).

I love how each chapter was labeled, giving it the feel of reading a case file.  Hercule Poirot was by far my favourite character:

“If you will forgive me for being personal – I do not like your face M. Rachett

He reminded me of the intelligent Professor Plum.

This is such a gush-worthy novel, that I really don’t want to ruin it for those who have yet to read it.

I can’t wait to watch the movie! Have you read this book? Seen the movie yet? Let me know in the comment section 😊

[#BookReview] The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware @RuthWareWriter @simonschuster @goodreads #TheWomanInCabin10 #bookofthemonth

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: July 19, 2016

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤ 1/2 (4.5)

Book Blurb

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

My Thoughts

Well no wonder this book was so good!  It was published on my birthday 😊 LOL.  Just kidding.  Seriously though..OMG..This was WAAY better than In a Dark, Dark Wood (sorry Ruth! It wasn’t my cuppa tea).  I really love how Ware includes a passage from another story before her book begins.  It really sets the tone.

The only reason I deducted 1/2 a star was because I felt the ending was a bit rushed.  But other than that, there were moments I felt like biting my nails cause it was so intense, and I’m not a nail biter.

There was a sound at the door and I stopped.  Stopped everything-stopped breathing, thinking, panicking – I sat, frozen, my back against the bunk.  Should I pounce? Attack?

Whenever I read mysteries/thrillers, I have this tendency to start formulating in my head how things are gonna go down or who I think ‘dunnit’.  Ruth did an excellent job of convincing me that Lo was crazy.  At one point, I even thought Lo may possibly have pulled off a Keyser Soze stint.  For those who don’t know who Keyser Soze is, he’s a character from the movie The Usual Suspects.  If you haven’t seen it, WATCH IT! Great movie!  

There were so many possibilities that I didn’t really anticipate the ending.  The kind of ending I LOVE! 

Have you read this yet? What did you think?

[#BookReview] The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda @simonschuster @goodreads

** Spoiler free review **

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Suspense

Publication Date: April 11, 2017

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

My Rating: ❤❤ 1/2 (2.5)-DNF

Book Blurb

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?

My Thoughts

My God, Leah, what did you do?

My thoughts exactly! What DID Leah do that caused her to skip town and start over somewhere else?

As always, I like to go on Goodreads and read the reviews before I purchase a book.  HOWEVER, I also take it with a grain of salt so to speak.  Almost all the reviews said the same thing: They loved All the Missing Girls (myself included) , and had high expectations but was disappointed.  I hate when that happens, and has happened ALOT!  So to be fair, I took a wee break from reading and decided to walk into this with no expectations..as if I’ve never read Miranda’s work.

Maybe it’s the way the story starts..slow.  But then by Chapter 2, things start to pick up.

-a smear of dried blood in the weeds beside the cop, marked off with an orange flag.  The gnats settling over it in the morning light.

Now wait for it..wait for it..by chapter 5, nothing.  That moment is gone.  *Sigh*  I tried to stick with it, but just couldn’t.

I feel like I’ve hit a wall, cause this is the second book in a row I’ve struggled to get into!!  I think this book would’ve been better if it was written in alternating points of view and started at the crime scene.

Have you read it? What did you think?

 

[#BookReview] Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker @RaincoastBooks @StMartinsPress

I’d like to thank Raincoast Books for my copy of Emma in the Night.

Genre: Suspense/Thriller, Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: August 8, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Book Blurb:

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

My Thoughts

I have to admit, this isn’t quite the review I thought I would end up writing.  The story started off at full speed:

They found Emma’s car at the beach.  They found her purse inside, on the driver’s seat.  They found the keys in the purse.  They found her shoes in the surf.  Some people believed she had gone there to find a party or meet a friend who never showed.  They believed that she’d gone for a swim.  They believed that she’d drowned.  Maybe by accident.  Maybe a suicide.

Everyone believed Emma was dead.

However, it just wasn’t quite the page turner I anticipated.  I had difficulty getting into it after the second chapter.  There were multiple times I wanted to give up, but I was hooked on wanting to know what happened to Emma: Was she alive? Was she dead? Why did she go missing? Why were Cass and Emma gone for so long?  I had all these questions I couldn’t leave unanswered.

The story was told in alternate points of view between Cass & Dr. Winter.  Now normally I love reading books that are told by different characters, but somewhere throughout this one, the two voices started to sound the same making it hard to remember who was telling the story.

I didn’t particularly like Mrs. Martin and hated that she wanted to be referred to as such.  But on the same note, I applaud the author for creating such a despicable and believable character.  I’m not sure why I didn’t love this more to tell you the truth.  The storyline and ending were brilliant.  Perhaps I wasn’t in the mood to read? Or maybe the were bits of information that really weren’t necessary, making it a slower read.

Despite some of the hurdles, I’m glad I stuck with it cause it was an ending worth reading..one that I didn’t quite see coming.  As a result, I decided to give it a 4 out of 5.

A story is more than the recounting of events.  The events are the sketch, the outline, but it is the colors and the landscape and the medium and the artist’s hand that make it what it is in the end.

Have you read it?  What did you think? Let me know!

 

 

[#BookReview] MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu @RaincoastBooks

I’d like to thank Raincoast Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Genre:  Young Adult, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Roaring Book Press

Publication Date: September 19, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤

Book Blurb:

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution

My Thoughts

DNF.  So let me explain..if you haven’t already noticed, I’m a HUGE psychological thriller/suspense & horror fan.  However, every now and then I like to switch things up and read something out of my norm.  So when the opportunity arose to read a book about girl power, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try.  Not only did it receive a great review from Amy Poehler (Hello!), but it also got rave reviews on Goodreads.

Let me just say, I tried.  I really tried! But I just couldn’t get into it like everyone else.  I loved the message and appreciate that the author wrote this book to help empower young women.

It may not have been my cup of tea, but a book like this should be included in the high school curriculum if you ask me.  I feel like some of the issues covered would spark some really good discussions and for that reason, I gave this book a 3.

Have you read this novel?  Thoughts?  Have you ever read a book that wasn’t quite your taste, but felt it was still worth talking about because of its message/content?

 

 

 

[#BookReview] The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich @alexandriaml @Flatironbooks #nonfiction #thefactofabody

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a MemoirThe Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She pushes the videotape into the player and steps back. The screen on the old box television flickers. A seated man slowly comes into view. Pale face, square jaw, jug ears. Thick, round Coke-bottle glasses. An orange jumpsuit. Hand bound in cuffs in his lap.
“State your name,” a deep off-screen voice instructs.
“Ricky Langley,” the man says.

This was my first introduction to non-fiction. I don’t typically read this genre, but received an advanced copy for which I am incredibly thankful to Flatiron Books
To be honest, I am quite surprised at how well this was written. There were times I had forgotten I was even reading a memoir.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters regarding Ricky’s trial. His case was quite intriguing. However, some parts rather slow and I found myself skipping ahead. I appreciated the author’s inclusion of her own personal experiences with abuse and molestation, as these parts were especially difficult to read.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and powerful story.

View all my reviews

[#BookReview] Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty @BerkleyPub @BerkleyMystery #lianemoriarty #biglittlelies

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It shouldn’t matter.  She knew it shouldn’t matter.  But the fact was that some people were so unacceptably, hurtfully beautiful, it made you feel ashamed.

SOO..much better than The Husband’s Secret! I was surprised at how addictive this novel was and gobbled up every page! I felt like I was playing a game of Clue, trying to figure out who died and whodunit. It was like I couldn’t read fast enough to get to the end.  Bravo to Moriarty for keeping me on my toes! I had no idea until the end, despite my own conclusions (which were way off).

I had read The Husband’s Secret and was not a fan. However, I believe in second chances, and this just proved it was worth giving this author another chance.

I’m looking forward to watching the series!

My two cents: If you haven’t read the book yet, don’t get to caught up with who’s who in the first chapter.  They reappear throughout the story.  Just sit back with your cup of whatever and enjoy the ride!

Have you read the book or watched the series?

View all my reviews

[#BookReview] The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

My Rating: ❤❤ 1/2 (2.5 Stars)

Book Blurb

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My Thoughts
The first time I saw this book in the book aisle, I thought it was kinda cheesy.  But then my friend raved about it, shoved the book in my hand and told me I HAD to read it.  It saddens me to say..my initial instincts weren’t too far off!

Believe me, I wanted to like this book as much as those who raved about it did.  But unfortunately, it missed the mark for me.

The story was off to a great start.  In fact, it had me so immersed that I was tempted to skip right to the end just to see whodunit.  However, after around the 4th chapter, things started falling apart in my opinion.  It felt like I was reading a case file or play, with parts that were predictable (which I hate).  I didn’t see the twist at the end coming, but on the same note, I found it a bit ridiculous.

*Sigh* as a proud supporter of Canadian authors, I was really rooting for this to be a good read! 😦

Have you read it? What did you think?

 

 

[#BlogTour] Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by @BenHatke @01FirstSecond #ComicBooks #GraphicNovels

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Genre: Graphic Novels, Comics 

Publisher: First Second Books

Publication Date: September 5, 2017.

Blurb

Like a bolt from the blue, Jack’s little sister Maddy is gone—carried into another realm by an ogre.

When Jack and Lilly follow Maddy’s captor through the portal, they are ready for anything . . . except what they find waiting for them in the floating crossroads between worlds. Even the power of their magic plants may not be enough to get them back to earth alive.

Alone and injured, Jack and Lilly must each face their own monsters—as well as giants who grind the bones of human children to feed their “beast” and a fearsome goblin king in the sewers down below.

But when Jack finds himself in a tough spot, help comes from the most unlikely person: the goblin king!

My Thoughts
Being a fan of fairytales and comics, Mighty Jack offers the perfect combination. I’ll admit, it’s been a reeeally long time since I’ve read a comic book, and just started getting back into it.  But this is a fun twist on the classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk, which takes you on a magical journey to another world filled with goblins, giants and plants with special powers.

In Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, Jack and Lilly must save Maddy from human-eating giants and beasts.

I quite enjoyed this series so far..one that can actually be enjoyed at any age!  Even my 11 year old got into it, and she’s not much of a comic book reader. Since this is a continuation, my only suggestion would be to read the first book before diving into this one.

Author Bio

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters.
Website | Twitter
Have you heard or read this series?  Do you enjoy graphic novels? If so, which ones?