[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?


[#BookReview] Written In Blood by Nathan Bush #CrimeFiction #ChristianFiction


Written In Blood (The Foley Chronicles) by Nathan Bush

**I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.  **

Genre: Crime, Christian 

Publication Date: July 17, 2016

Synopsis

Join Detective Kennedy Collins and his partner, Senior Detective John Filcher, as they attempt to track down a killer with an insatiable appetite for destruction. Read along as John, a devout Christian, seeks to lead Ken to a lasting relationship with his Creator. Feel the anguish as Ken struggles with his dad’s recurring illness, as well as his own mental and physical issues, and burgeoning questions regarding his Eternal security.

Throw in a budding romance between Ken and a beautiful coffee house cashier, a bureaucratic watchdog known as the “Special Crimes Division” established by the Governor, and some insight in the mind of Eddie, a serial killer bent on revenge, and you just might have a book worth reading.
Will Ken and John find the killer before more victims die? Will Eddie make good on his vow to destroy Ken? Will the “Special Crimes Division” make a move to take the case away from the detectives from the 8th District? Will Ken accept the Truth that can change his life forever?

Goodreads 

My Thoughts

The story starts off at a crime scene: a brutal murder at the Starlight, Starbright Motel, where we are introduced to Ken and his partner.  Ken is a rookie Detective in Homicide who quickly discovers his father’s illness has turned for the worse.  As Ken struggles with his personal problems, his Partner John who is like a father figure, tries to help him find peace through God.

When I was told this was a Christian-based genre, I was intrigued at how Christianity would be incorporated into the story.  However, I also had my reservations.  I was worried it might come off preachy, but surprisingly it wasn’t.  It was more crime-based with some twists and turns. It was very well-written and told in first person from two very different characters. 

From the get-go, Eddie was my favourite character.  

Bad memories were followed by even worse memories.  Then he came to mind: Ken, the cause for my current state.

He was introduced in such a manner that it was like leaving a trail of delicious cookie crumbs.  I kept wanting to know more each time he appeared.

Bush is clearly a talented writer who managed to create some very authentic characters the reader could connect to.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s in the mood for crime fiction.

My Rating

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Purchase Link: Amazon

Nathan is a God-fearing husband to a wonderful wife and father to 5 great kids (ages 25, 23, 21, 19, 2), SS school teacher and Youth Leader. 

He loves to read (when time permits – which is rarely) and write. He has published one book, but is in the process of rewriting/editing #2, and writing #3, for his series, The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District.

He has lived in several US states, but has called AL his home for the past 20 years, after leaving the Army to pursue other duties.
He found the Lord in 2001 after spending the first 32 years of his life fruitlessly searching for meaning in countless other endeavors, and has been passionately “working” as a youth leader for the past 10 years.

[Book Review] Spring Hare by Eugene Yelchin @EYelchin @MacKidsBooks @HenryHolt #KidLit #Childrensbooks #ChildrensFiction

Spring Hare by Eugene Yelchin

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Description

An adorable baby hare springs into an adventure, following his human friend up, up, and away in this flight of fancy. He follows his friend ever higher, flying through fluffy white clouds, chasing a red airplane through a flock of geese, and soaring into space on a rocket ship, before catching a ride on a shooting star back down to earth—and into his friend’s waiting arms. With bright, kid-friendly collage, this is a beautiful and accessible celebration of Spring and the imagination! 

-Goodreads 

My Thoughts

This is a wordless, illustrated book for preschoolers.  It’s about a baby Hare who follows his friend (a little girl), up to the sky and into space.  

This was my first experience reading a book with no words..so I had no idea how my kids would react or if they’d even be interested. My children’s ages range from 11 years old to 8 months.  They all loved the colourful illustrations.  My 5 year old took to this book the most by narrating his version the story.  It was definitely a great way to get the creative juices going and have the kids use their imagination. 

My Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️





[Book Review] Happy Easter, Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen @debbiediesen @MacKidsBooks #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #ChildrensFiction

Happy Easter, Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. 

**I’d like to thank Macmillan for my copy in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Description

Hippity-hoppity, the pout-pout bunny is on his way! Toddlers will love swimming along with the pout-pout fish as he turns little pouts into big smiles.

My Thoughts

When it comes to children’s books, a small portion of the rating is based on what I thought and ultimately whether my kids enjoyed it or not.  Thankfully, this was another hit.  Both my boys love fish, so this was a perfect story time choice.  The fact that it was Easter themed was a bonus.

It’s a short read with colourful pictures, perfect for a young child with a short attention span (like my 3 year old).

My Rating: ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Have you read the Pout-Pout fish series? What books do you like to read to your kids during Easter?


[Book Review] The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @aengelwrites @crownpublishing #Mystery #GeneralFiction

Warning: This review contains a bit of profanity.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thriller

Publisher: Crown Publishing 

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Synopsis

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

-Goodreads 

My Thoughts

Roanoke girls never last long around here.

In the end, we either run or we die.

I had read a few reviews before reading this book, and readers either loved it or hated it.  I was so intrigued by the mystery of what the Roanoke Family had to hide, why Lane left and where Allegra has disappeared to, that I was eager to read this one.

I thought it was a cleverly written story told in alternating narratives between THEN and NOW, with some of the missing Roanoke girls thrown in the mix.

The “family secrets” literally had me thinking: What the fuck?! Those who have read it weren’t kidding when they described it as disturbing, cause it was just that. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t and intend to read it, but it was definitely NOT what I was expecting.  

I typically don’t like predictable storylines, but this was an addictive read and kept me turning the pages. It’s not a story for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.

My Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Have you read it? What did you think? Love it or hate it?

[Book Review] Bunny Bus by Ammi-Joan Paquette, Lesley Breen Withrow (Illustrator) @MacKidsBooks

Bunny Bus by Ammi-Joan Paquette, Lesley Breen Withrow (Illustrator)

**I’d like to thank Macmillan for my copy in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: Chidren’s Fiction

Publisher: Farrah, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: February 2017

Description

Hop, 

hop, 

hop, 

STOP!

Are you ready to climb aboard the Bunny Bus? Up one hill. Down another. Come join the eager troop of animal friends as they bounce along to the Easter Parade.

My Thoughts

This is a cute and colourful story about a bus that looks like a bunny, who picks up all the other animals at each stop.  However, the bus gets too full and explodes: BOOM. 

Pros:

– I read this to my two boys who are 5 and 3, and they loved it.  My 3 year old is hard to read to since he loses interest in story time, but this one held his attention with the colourful pictures and rhymes.

Cons:

The illustrations look like they were drawn on lined and graph paper, then colour copied. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but it could have used some editing in photoshop.  

Overall, a great Easter read aloud for younger children who like animals.

My Rating: ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Do you have a favourite book you like to read during Easter? Let me know by commenting 😊



[Book Review] A Trial In Venice by Roberta Rich #HistoricalFiction

A Trial In Venice by Roberta Rich (Book #3)

**I’d like to thank 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: March 14, 2017

Synopsis

The thrilling conclusion to the #1 national bestselling historical trilogy by Roberta Rich. 

In The Midwife of Venice, set in 1575, Hannah Levi was forced to flee Venice with the baby of a Venetian aristocratic family whom she rescued. Roberta Rich followed that action-packed adventure with The Harem Midwife, which exiled Hannah and her beloved husband Isaac to Constantinople–only for Hannah to become enmeshed in the shady politics of a sultan’s harem. And now, with A Trial in Venice, set five years later, Hannah is forced back to Venice–both to opulent yet crumbling villas and the Jewish ghetto known as Veneto. Her beloved adopted son Matteo has been kidnapped and is in danger once more. And this time, so is Hannah.

-Goodreads

My Thoughts

The first two chapters were off to a great start and I appreciated the fact that the author wrote it in such a way that you didn’t really need to read the first 2 books, even though I’m sure it would have helped fill in the gaps.  

The story begins with Hannah in prison and has risked not only her life, but the life of her unborn child to find Matteo who could possibly be dead.  However, once I got to the chapters about Cesca and Foscari, the details started to bore me and I suddenly lost interest.  

I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately this just wasn’t my cup of tea, and I didn’t bother to finish the book.

My Rating: ❤️❤️

Did you read this book? What did you think?

[Book Review] I See You by Clare Mackintosh @claremackint0sh @BerkleyPub #Mystery #Thriller

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Synopsis 

The author of the smash bestseller, I Let You Go, propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world…

 Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

 It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her, a grainy photo along with a phone number and listing for a website called findtheone.com. 

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including rape and murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…a discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. For now Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target. 

 And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

My Thoughts

After hearing rave reviews for Mackintosh’s debut novel I Let You Go (which I haven’t read yet), I was excited at the opportunity to read this one.  As soon as I read the description, I knew this was right up my alley.

The story dives right in with Zoe flipping through the London Gazette on her train ride home, and seeing an ad for an online dating service with her photo.  Not knowing what to make of it, she brings it home to show her boyfriend Simon and two adult kids: Justin & Katie, who brush it off as someone playing a joke.

Pros: 

– I loved getting to know Kelly.  She’s a good cop who’s smart, doesn’t like to follow the rules but is justified by trying doing the right thing.

– Eventhough Zoe was my least favourite character, the author did a good job at making her relatable.  

– I loved the narration from the “stalker’s” point of view.  It gave me the creeps.

I see you, but you don’t see me.  You’re engrossed in your book; a paperback cover with a girl in a red dress.   I can’t see the title but it doesn’t matter; they’re all the same.  If it isn’t boy meets girl, it’s boy stalks girl.  Boy kills girl.

– The story had a good who dunnit factor. Even when I thought I had it all figured out and the mystery was solved, there were still a couple of twists. 

-The ending was a slam dunk for me.  It was one I didn’t see coming.

Cons:

Some of the details of Zoe’s life were bordering on boring and slowed the story down.  However, just when I was about to give up, Mackintosh managed to recapture my attention.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will be reading I Let You Go very soon!

My Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read her debut novel (I Let You Go)?

[Book Review] Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirates Life @caroleproman @awaywegomedia_ @NavIndieworld #ChildrensFiction #ChildrensBooks #CaptainNoBeard

Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirates Life by Carole P. Roman

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: April 12, 2012

Publisher: Michael/Okon 

Synopsis

Captain No Beard and his pirate ship The Flying Dragon set sail for a voyage of the imagination with his fearless crew of four: First Mate Hallie, Mongo the Monkey, Linus the loudmouthed lion, and Fribbit the floppy frog. Normally a young boy named Alexander, his cousin Hallie, and three stuffed animals, once they board his bed their world is transformed into a magical vessel, sailing the seven seas on dangerous and exciting adventures! 

My Thoughts

Ahoy there..Shiver Me Timbers! 

If you have a child who loves pirates, then they will enjoy this book like mine did.  It reminds me of how my older two children play, when they play make-belief and dress up like pirates.  I love how Roman was able to capture the imagination of a child.  

The illustrations in this book were fantastic!  Very colourful and fun.  Perfect for both boys and girls.

I highly recommend this for me mateys 😉

My Rating: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Do you or your kids like pirates? 


[Book Review] Doll House by John Hunt @JohnHuntFiction @brwpublisher #Mystery #Thrillers #Horror


Doll House by John Hunt

* I received a copy from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion*

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Horror

Publication Date: January 19, 2017

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Synopsis

Olivia is excited for university. She will be on her own, in a new place hopeful to meet new friends.

On the night she moves in, she is taken off the street by two masked men. She is placed in a room which is little more than a cell. A pink cell. A room made for a doll. She is now part of their collection.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

What should have been an exciting time in Olivia’s life, quickly turns into her worst nightmare.  

Olivia goes away for university and gets taken away by two masked men before she even makes it to her first day of class.

For five years, she is held prisoner in a pink room with furniture bolted to the floor where she is raped and tortured.  

This was a very gruesome and disturbing story..like something out of a horror movie.  We are quickly introduced to the Gorilla & Jackal.  The two masked men who enjoy inflicting pain by mutilating their victims and eating their body parts.

Initially I wanted to rate this book a 3 because of all the grammatical errors I found.  But the story was so intoxicating, I decided to give it a 4.  There were times I felt my adrenaline rush, but there were also times I found myself having to stop reading because it was starting to get inside my head.  This is definitely not for the light hearted.

For me, the best part was wanting to know if the Jackal would ever get caught and revealing who he was.  

The author did a great job of taking the reader through the emotional journey of Harry, Olivia and the Jackal. 

If you can handle the graphic nature of this novel, I highly recommend it.

My Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Have you read Doll House? What did you think? If not, is this a book you think you would read based on the content?