7.5/10

#BookReview
A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride
@McBrideKristina @skyponypress

The Official Synopsis:

One night. Two paths. Infinite danger.

On the night of the big spring break party, seventeen-year-old Hadley “borrows” her boyfriend Ben’s car without telling him. As payback, he posts a naked picture of her online for the entire senior class to see.

Now Hadley has a choice. She can go back to the party and force Ben to delete the picture. Or she can raise the stakes and take his beloved car on a road trip as far away from their hometown of Oak Grove, Ohio, as she can get.

Each storyline plays out in alternating chapters. In one strand, Hadley embarks on a reckless adventure with her best friends, spinning the perfect plan for revenge. In the other, stuck in a car with her ex-boyfriend, Josh, she’s forced to revisit the mistakes they each made, including whether they should ever have broken up at all. As events of a wild night race toward an explosive conclusion, old feelings are rekindled, friendships are tested, and secrets uncovered that are so much worse than a scandalous photo.

A Million Times Goodnight is a fast-paced romantic contemporary thriller ripped right from the headlines.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Mysterious, thought-provoking, and romantic!

A Million Times Goodnight is a young adult novel that reminds us that every choice has a consequence and sometimes those consequences have far-reaching ramifications.

The characters are young, fearless, and at times irresponsible. The writing style is unique and delves into the idea of parallel universes by utilizing alternating chapters to present the different “what if” scenarios. And the plot is a fast-paced, twisty thrill ride full of adventure, heartbreak, and surprises.

It is, ultimately, a story about life, love, secrets, deception, betrayal, teenage drama, and friendship.

A Million Times Goodnight is a very intriguing novel that at times is quite moving. And although I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would have liked to I think teens, the target demographic, would definitely be able to identify and relate to their behaviour, mindset, and choices more readily.

 

About the Author:

Kristina McBride is a former high school English teacher and yearbook advisor, as well as an adjunct professor at Antioch University Midwest and Wright State University. She dreamed of being a published author since she lived across the street from a library as a kid. She is the author of two previous novels, The Tension of Opposites and One Moment. She lives in Centerville, Ohio with her husband and two young children.

 

 

Thank you to Sky Pony Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Kristina McBride, visit her website at: kristinamcbride.com

or follow her on twitter at: @McBrideKristina

#BookReview
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
@katelizabee @SimonSchusterCA

Synopsis:

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Complex, creative, and satisfying!

Are You Sleeping is a character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 10-year-old murder while delving into the intricacies and psychological effects homicide, deception, and abandonment have on surviving family members.

The writing is well done. The characters are scarred, leery, and emotionally distant. The plot has a good mix of mystery, intrigue, conflict, and drama. And the unconventional narration using true-crime podcasts and social media postings adds a unique touch.

Are You Sleeping is ultimately a novel about familial dynamics, twinship, friendship, secrets, lies, murder and the power of media and although it isn’t exceptionally fast-paced or unputdownable, it is certainly a strong debut for Barber.

 

About the Author:

 

Kathleen Barber was raised in Galesburg, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law, and previously practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York. When she’s not writing, Kathleen enjoys traveling the world with her husband.

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Kathleen Barber, visit her website at: kathleenbarber.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @katelizabee

#BookReview
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
@RuthWareWriter @SimonSchusterCA

Synopsis:

From the New York Times and #1 Globe and Mail bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood—a novel about the slipperiness of truth and the price of friendships.

I need you.” Three small words that change everything.

Isa Wilde knows something terrible has happened when she receives this text from an old friend. Why else would Kate summon her and their two friends Thea and Fatima to the seaside town where they briefly attended school together seventeen years ago?

The four friends first met at Salten House boarding school, where they quickly bonded over The Lying Game, a risky contest that involved tricking fellow boarders and faculty with their lies. But the game had consequences, and the girls were eventually expelled after Kate’s dad, their beloved art teacher, mysteriously disappeared. Forever bound by their lies but needing to forget their past, they went their separate ways—Kate remaining in Salten while the other three left to start new lives in and around London.

Now reunited, Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima discover that their past lies had far-reaching effects and criminal implications that threaten them all. In order to protect their reputations, and their friendship, they must uncover the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Atmospheric, twisty, with just the right amount of chill, The Lying Game will have readers at the edge of their seats, not knowing who can be trusted in this tangled web of lies.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Tense, absorbing and eerie!

This is a well-crafted, character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 17-year-old mystery while delving into the intricacies of a friendship built on lies and secrets and maintained by trust, loyalty, and fear.

The characterization is well done with a cast of female characters that are unique, troubled, and self-involved. The prose is clear and direct.  The setting is a character in itself with its isolation, dereliction, and dreariness. And the plot unravels subtly and has just the right amount of drama and a past/present style that reveals all the actions, motivations, personalities and relationships within it

This is ultimately an intriguing, atmospheric novel with little action but enough twists and suspense to be unputdownable.

About the Author:

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, and is the internationally bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10. She is married with two small children. 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Ruth Ware, visit her website at: ruthware.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @RuthWareWriter

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Court of Lions by Jane Johnson
@JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books

Synopsis:

An epic saga of romance and redemption. Court of Lions brings one of the great turning points in history to life, through the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada.

Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever.

Court of Lions brings one of the great turning-points in history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Absorbing and romantic!

This is a historical love letter to the city of Granada complete with incredibly intriguing and genuine details about The Granada War that took place in the late 1400s and included the rise and subsequent fall of Abu Abdullah Mohammed, the twenty-second and last Islamic ruler of this emirate.

The story is told from differing perspectives; Blessings, a young confident whose yearning and love for the young sultan never wavers; and Kate, a middle-aged woman who finds herself immersed in a mystery from the past while running in fear from her own. The prose is exceptionally descriptive. The characters are complex, fascinating, and sympathetic. And the plot uses a back and forth, past/present style that sweeps you along through the highs and lows of both Blessings and Kate’s life.

Once again, with this novel, Johnson has written a remarkably researched tale that effortlessly interweaves religious persecution, cultural discrimination, and violence with threads of passion, acceptance, devotion, support and the true power of love.

About the Author:

 Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for over 20 years, as a bookseller, publisher and writer. She is responsible for the publishing of many major authors, including George RR Martin.

In 2005 she was in Morocco researching the story of a distant family member who was abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa, when a near-fatal climbing incident caused her to rethink her future. She returned home, gave up her office job in London, and moved to Morocco. She married her own ‘Berber pirate’ and now they split their time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. She still works, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins.

 

Thank you to Head of Zeus for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                

For more information on Jane Johnson, visit her website at: janejohnsonbooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @JaneJohnsonBakr

#BookReview
Among the Lemon Trees by Nadia Marks
@Nadia_Marks @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

She had thought that they would be together forever, but Max’s betrayal leaves Anna questioning their marriage and fearing the future.

So when her elderly widowed father invites her to spend the summer with him on the small Aegean island of his birth, Anna agrees – unaware that a chance discovery is about to unleash a host of family secrets. Kept hidden for sixty years, they reveal a torrent of events, beginning in Greece at the beginning of the 20th century and ending in Naples at the close of the Second World War.

Confronted by their family’s long-buried truths, both father and daughter have their worlds turned upside down and Anna begins to realise that, if she is ever to heal the present, she must first understand the past . . .


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Heartwarming, intriguing and touching!

This story is predominantly set on a small Aegean island in the Mediterranean and is the story of Anna, a middle-aged woman who decides to accompany her father home to Greece after her husband’s infidelity and finds herself not only engaging in some deep introspection about her own life but also uncovering some family mysteries and secrets that have remained buried for decades.

The writing is light and fluid. The characters are multi-faceted, gregarious, and forgiving. And the plot is written in a back and forth, past/present style that captivates and engages you as it sweeps you along through a tale of love, loss, family, war, betrayal, regret, deception and the true meaning of home.

Overall, this is a nice, easy, enjoyable read about love in all it’s forms, passionate, unconditional, family, and friendship with a picturesque backdrop and an authentic feel that will certainly leave you daydreaming of sunshine, lazy days, and fresh olives.

About the Author

Nadia Marks (ne Kitromilides,) was born in Cyprus, but grew up in London. An ex creative director and associate editor on a number of leading British women’s magazines, she is now a novelist and works as a freelance writer for several national and international publications. She has written for the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Express, the Independent, the Royal Photographic Society Journal, Psychologies, In Style magazine and others. For Europe and abroad she has contributed to Italian Vanity Fair, Brazilian Vogue, Greek and Australian Marie Claire, to the biggest Greek Sunday newspaper Vima, and the glossy Greek Cypriot lifestyle magazines Omikron and Must.

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                

For more information on Nadia Marks, visit her website at: nadiamarks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Nadia_Marks

#BookReview
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
@GinPhillips17 @RandomHouseCA

Synopsis:

An electrifying literary thriller introduces an unforgettable mother and son, whose simple trip to the zoo one afternoon is transformed into three hours of terror and survival after gunshots ring out. What would you do to protect the ones you love?

After school on a late October day, Joan has taken her four-year-old son, Lincoln, to one of his favourite places on earth: the zoo. Just before closing time, as they need to go home, she hears some loud pops like firecrackers. Not thinking much of it, they head for the exit…until Joan realizes the eerie human emptiness means danger, then sees the figure of a lone gunman. Without another thought, she scoops up her son and runs back into the zoo. And for the next three hours–the entire scope of the novel–she does anything she can to keep Lincoln safe.

Both pulse-pounding and emotionally satisfying, Fierce Kingdomis a thrill ride, but also an exploration of the very nature of motherhood itself, from its saving graces to its savage power. At heart it asks how you draw the line between survival and the duty to protect one another? Who would you die for?


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Gripping, intense, and downright eerie!

This is an adrenaline-filled thriller that brings a mother’s worst nightmare to life and explores the anxiety and terror involved in protecting one’s child.

The characters are a mix of protective, determined and strong, and young, callous and ruthless. The writing is compelling and sharp.  And the plot, which is told in real-time over a period of three hours is bursting with tension, angst, violence, fear, panic, instinct, and survival. 

I have to say that overall this is an insightful, harrowing novel and even though I would have liked some of the subplots to be wrapped up just a little bit more it definitely kept me on tenterhooks from start to finish.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                           

For more information on Fiona Barton, visit her website at: ginphillips.com

or follow her on Twitter at:@GinPhillips17

#BookReview
Chief’s Mess by L.A. Witt
@GallagherWitt @RiptideBooks

Synopsis:

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.

When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.

But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Sexy, steamy, and sensitive!

Once again we head back to Anchor Point and this time Witt delves into the choices, struggles, and fallouts of alcohol addiction and reminds us that sometimes we find what we want and need when we least expect it.

The writing is sultry. The characters are sympathetic, sincere, and committed. And the plot, which has a little less depth than the previous novels in the series is ultimately about military life, friendship, alcoholism, acceptance, support, desire, and explosive chemistry.

Overall, I have to say this is a deliciously erotic novel written in alternating points of view that allow a genuine look at all the unfolding dynamics, relationship drama, emotion, and salacious scenes through each man’s eyes.

This is the third novel in the “Anchor Point” series. If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for the first two novels in the series “Just Drive” (Anchor Point #1) and Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) you can check them out here:

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Riptide Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following link.

                                 

For more information on L.A. Witt, visit her website at: gallagherwitt.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @GallagherWitt

#BookReview
The Map that Leads to You by J.P. Monninger
@StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

A romantic, vivid novel that takes place in the tender time of a young woman’s life: Heather has graduated from college and is traveling around Europe with her two best friends. She’s left school responsibility behind and adult responsibility is looming, but this is her one, ONE last summer to be free. Heather doesn’t expect to even meet Jack, let alone fall in love with him. Jack is an enigmatic Vermonter a few years older than she is, who is following his grandfather’s journal to various cities around Europe. But in the same way that forces are bringing Jack and Heather together, life and duty are pushing them apart. And Jack has a secret that is going to change absolutely everything.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Poignant, compelling and endearingly romantic!

This is a coming-of-age story about friendship, responsibility, independence, and first love all wrapped up in a beautiful travel guide to some of the most breathtaking historical landmarks, monuments, and cities in Europe.

The characters are young, enthusiastic, and adventurous. The prose is clear and precise. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow, the second half is definitely much more intense, angsty, emotional, and drama-filled with an ending that will definitely have you shedding a few tears.

Overall, I think this novel will be a big success and really appeal to teens and young adults and even though I think I’m a little older than the target demographic I found it intriguing, unique and wonderfully descriptive.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

#BookReview
Exposure by Aga Lesiewicz
@Aga_Lesiewicz @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

You know that feeling. Your life’s on track and all is going well. And then something monumental occurs that turns everything on its head. It happens to everyone but, for Kristin Ryder, it was much, much worse . . .

When up-and-coming photographer Kristin begins to receive anonymous emails, her life in a trendy loft in London’s Hoxton with Anton, her ultra-cool, street-artist boyfriend, suddenly begins to feel unsafe. The emails come with sinister attachments that suggest the sender has an intimate knowledge of Kristin’s past, and soon her life spirals out of control.

Who can she trust? And will she be able to discover the sender’s identity before it’s too late?

Breathtaking and shocking, Exposure by Aga Lesiewicz will grip you until the last snap of the camera shutter.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Gripping, edgy and dark!

This is a character-driven psychological thriller that illustrates just how vulnerable our technological dependence makes us and how quickly life can change.

The story is set in London and is told from the perspective of Kristin, a photographer with incredible talent who suddenly finds herself in a lacklustre career with an unfaithful partner and a tenacious stalker who seems to be everywhere.

The writing is crisp. The plot is fast-paced, suspenseful and a relentless thrill ride of multiple suspects and precarious situations, as well as some intriguing glimpses into the world of street art, photography and metropolis sights and sounds. And, generally, the characterization is well done, with an assortment of characters that are troubled, intense and layered.  However, I do have to admit that the poor choices and decisions occasionally made by the main character seemed a little unbelievable even given the circumstances and caused me at times to lose some sympathy and connection with her.

This is Lesiewicz’s second novel and it is definitely an entertaining, riveting read that will keep you guessing for quite some time.

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The book is available now and the paperback will be available in Canada on March 24, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboB&NBook Depository

For more information on Aga Lesiewicz, visit her website at: agalesiewicz.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Aga_Lesiewicz

#BookReview
The Secrets You Keep by Kate White @katemwhite @HarperCollins

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wrong Man and Eyes on You comes a harrowing new psychological thriller about a successful self-help author who suddenly finds her life spiraling dangerously out of control.

What would you do if you realized that your new husband, a man you adore, is keeping secrets from you—secrets with terrifying consequences?

Bryn Harper, an accomplished self-help author, already has plenty to deal with. She’s still recovering from a devastating car accident that has left her haunted by recurring, smoke-filled nightmares. Worse still, she can’t shake the ominous feeling her dreams contain a warning. 

In the beginning, Bryn’s husband Guy couldn’t have been more supportive. But after moving into a new house together, disturbing incidents occur and Guy grows evasive, secretive. What the hell is going on, she wonders? Then, a woman hired to cater their dinner party is brutally murdered.

As Bryn’s world unravels—and yet another woman in town is slain —she must summon her old strength to find answers and protect her own life. Her nightmares may in fact hold the key to unlocking the truth and unmasking the murderer.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Engrossing, suspenseful and entertaining!

This is a psychological thriller that emphasizes how many deep and dark secrets people can truly have and questions is there anyone you can really trust.

The main character, Bryn, is confused, scared, and determined; and the supporting characters are suspicious, complex, and secretive.

The story is told in first-person narration and uses a stream of consciousness style to give context and insight into the main character’s thoughts, feelings and motivations.

The writing is well done and the plot is rife with intrigue, red herrings and tension.

Overall, this story is not extremely fast-paced, but is definitely a captivating, mysterious, enjoyable read that will certainly keep you guessing until the very end.

Thank you to Edelweiss, especially Harper Paperbacks, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on March 21, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboB&N

For more information on Kate White, visit her website at: katewhite.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @katemwhite

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