Book Review

A book review is a summary of my thoughts, feelings, and impression of a book.

#BookReview The Dredge by Brendan Flaherty @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #TheDredge #BrendanFlaherty #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Dredge by Brendan Flaherty @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #TheDredge #BrendanFlaherty #PGCBooks Title: The Dredge

Author: Brendan Flaherty

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 240

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

n Brendan Flaherty’s debut novel, two estranged brothers must confront the violence of the past when they find out a pond where they played as children will be dredged.

After some traumatic teenaged years in rural Connecticut, Cale and Ambrose Casey had nothing left to say to each other. Cale ran off to Hawaii to sell luxury real estate. Ambrose stayed behind and built up his construction company. Neither thought they’d be in touch again and were glad for it—until they learned of a real estate developer’s plan to drain and expand Gibbs Pond.

Nearly 30 years before, the Casey brothers buried a secret in that pond, which fell somewhere between self-defense and family preservation.

Lily Rowe, the contractor in charge of the dredging, can also trace her roots—and her trauma—to the banks of Gibbs Pond. After a childhood that saw her and her brother yanked across the country by her abusive father, it was here where she finally stayed put, even if they didn’t. But as ambitious as Lily is, and as much as she wants answers of her own, her family also has secrets to protect. 

Now, the haunted lives of Cale, Ambrose, and Lily collide once more as they reunite to unearth the devastation of the past.


Review:

Intricate, gritty, and unsettling!

The Dredge is a compelling, absorbing tale that transports you to Macoun, Connecticut, and into the lives of members of both the Rowe and Casey families as the past suddenly collides with the present when a developer decides to dredge Gibbs Pond and more than one person is on edge and threatened by the long-buried secrets it may finally bring to light.

The writing is tight and intense. The characters are vulnerable, impulsive, and scarred. And the plot, using a back-and-forth style, intertwines and unravels seamlessly into an engrossing tale full of lies, deception, abuse, desperation, manipulation, familial drama, troubled pasts, unusual friendships, troubling behaviours, violence, and murder.

Overall, The Dredge is a dark, atmospheric, promising debut by Flaherty that kept me enthralled from the very first page and left me entertained, satisfied, and eager to read whatever his deliciously sinister mind manages to come up with next. 

 

This book is available now.

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

        

 

 

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

 

About Brendan Flaherty

Brendan Flaherty is from outside Hartford. He went to Washington University in St. Louis, and received his MFA from Boston University, where he was awarded the Saul Bellow prize. The Dredge is his debut novel.

Photo by Luke Wayne Photography

#BookReview It Takes a Rake by Anna Bennett @_AnnaBennett @smpromance #ItTakesARake #AnnaBennett #RoguesToLovers #SMPRomance #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview It Takes a Rake by Anna Bennett @_AnnaBennett @smpromance #ItTakesARake #AnnaBennett #RoguesToLovers #SMPRomance #SMPInfluencers Title: It Takes a Rake

Author: Anna Bennett

Series: Rogues to Lovers #3

Published by: St. Martin's Paperbacks on Jan. 23, 2024

Genres: Historical Romance

Pages: 310

Format: Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

She’s about to face her biggest challenge yet…

Since she was a girl, Miss Kitty Beckett has been adept at finding trouble: sneaking brandy, running away, and getting under the skin of the boy who, like her, was an apprentice to an architect. Now Kitty’s a talented heiress who can take a dry building plan and breathe life into it with her pencils and paints. Also? She can spot a rake at a hundred yards—and she won’t be tricked or charmed into marriage. Certainly not by a man who might interfere with her dreams. When Bellehaven Bay announces its first ever architectural design contest, she vows to win—with a little help from her childhood rival.

Turning her buttoned-up nemesis into a certified rake.

Leo Lockland, a hardworking architect with a gift for numbers, has returned home after a few years in London, and he has secrets. The biggest? He’s been in love with Kitty since they were both apprentices. She refuses to give her heart to any man, but Leo’s determined to beat the odds—even if it means learning how to be a rake. Fortunately, Kitty’s willing to tutor him in the nuances of fashion, flirtation, and seduction in exchange for his help with the contest. But the whole plan would fall apart if she knew how he felt, so he’ll have to be very convincing.

Let the lessons begin…

Leo proves to be a surprisingly quick study in the ballroom, on the beach, and in the bedchamber. Before long, he’s softening Kitty’s hard edges with his wicked words and kissing his way past all her defenses. Perhaps she’s a bit too skilled at teaching, because her lessons are threatening to backfire, putting her closely guarded heart in grave danger…


Review:

Playful, passionate, and charming!

It Takes a Rake is an enticing, heartwarming tale that sweeps you away to Bellhaven Bay and into the life of Leo Lockland who, after spending a few years away honing his architectural skills in London, returns home only to find the reluctant to marry Miss Kitty Beckett still as beautiful as ever and willing to offer up her services to turn him into a rake while still unaware of just how much he actually wants her.

The prose is amusing and light. The characters are loyal, supportive, and endearing. And the plot is an enchanting tale full of life, love, friendship, familial drama, societal expectations, scheming behaviour, tricky situations, desire, and delectable romance.

Overall, It Takes a Rake is a cosy, alluring, tender tale by Bennett that’s a delightful indulgence and a wonderful addition to the Rogues to Lovers series.

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to SMP Romance – St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Anna Bennett

Anna Bennett (she/her) is the award-winning author of the Debutante Diaries and Wayward Wallflowers series. Her dream of writing romance began during a semester in London, where she fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. Now Anna's living happily-ever-after in Maryland with her family, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.

Photo Credit: Anna Bennett

#BookReview The Black Crescent by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheBlackCrescent #JaneJohnson #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Black Crescent by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheBlackCrescent #JaneJohnson #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Black Crescent

Author: Jane Johnson

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A captivating historical novel set in post-war Casablanca about a young man marked by djinns who must decide where his loyalties lie as the fight for Moroccan independence erupts.

Hamou Badi is born in a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains with the markings of the zouhry on his hands. In Morocco, the zouhry is a figure of legend, a child of both humans and djinns, capable of finding treasure, lost objects, and even water in the worst of droughts. But when young Hamou finds the body of a murdered woman, his life is forever changed.

Haunted by this unsolved murder and driven by the desire to do good in the world, Hamou leaves his village for Casablanca to become an officer of the law under the French Protectorate.

But Casablanca is not the shining beacon of modernity he was expecting. The forcible exile of Morocco’s sultan by the French sparks a nationalist uprising led by violent dissident groups, none so fearsome as the Black Crescent. Torn between his heritage and his employers, Hamou will be caught in the crossfire.

The lines between right and wrong, past and future, the old world and the new, are not as clear as the magical lines on his palms. And as the danger grows, Hamou is forced to choose between all he knows and all he loves.


Review:

Complex, evocative, and moving!

The Black Crescent is a compelling, gritty tale that sweeps you away to Morocco in the mid-1950s and into the life of Hamou Badi, a young man from the small village of Tiziane who, after discovering a murdered woman on his way home as a young boy, decides to train as a police officer in Casablanca to try to do some good in a country that is unfortunately full of unrest and upheaval and where simmering anger, questions of loyalty, and ongoing tension due to the French occupation is quickly coming to a violent head.

The prose is rich and smooth. The characters are kind, strong, and resilient. And the plot is a vivid, suspenseful tale filled with life, loss, friendship, family, folklore, religion, morality, self-identity, patriotism, survival, politics, romance, murder, and culture.

Overall, The Black Crescent is a thought-provoking, informative, atmospheric tale by Johnson that reminds us that often the choices we make have far-reaching consequences and has just the right amount of intrigue, colourful history, magic, culture, moral dilemmas, and heart-tugging emotion to be exceptionally pleasing to lovers, like myself, of the historical fiction genre.

 

This novel is available now.

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

       

 

 

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

 

About Jane Johnson

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.

#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Bear by Kelley Armstrong @KelleyArmstrong @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #TheBoyWhoCriedBear #KelleyArmstrong #HavensRock #HavensRockNovels #MinotaurInfluencers #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Bear by Kelley Armstrong @KelleyArmstrong @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #TheBoyWhoCriedBear #KelleyArmstrong #HavensRock #HavensRockNovels #MinotaurInfluencers #SMPInfluencers Title: The Boy Who Cried Bear

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Series: Haven's Rock #2

Published by: Minotaur Books on Feb. 20, 2024

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Hardcover

Source: Minotaur Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

In The Boy Who Cried Bear, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong keeps readers on the edge of their seats while detective Casey Duncan tries to locate the threat before it’s too late. . .

Haven’s Rock is a well-hidden town surrounded by forest. And it’s supposed to be, being that it’s a refuge for those who need to disappear. Detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton already feel at home in their new town, which reminds them of where they first met in Rockton. And while they know how to navigate the woods and its various dangers, other residents don’t. Which is why people aren’t allowed to wander off alone.

When Max, the town’s youngest resident—taught to track animals by Eric—fears a bear is stalking a hiking party, alarms are raised. Even stranger, the ten-year-old swears the bear had human eyes. Casey and Eric know the dangers a bear can present, so they’re taking it seriously. But odd occurrences are happening all around them, and when a dead body turns up, they’re not sure what they’re up against.


Review:

Gritty, suspenseful, and addictive!

The Boy Who Cried Bear is a twisty, unnerving tale that takes us back to Haven’s Rock and into this newly created refuge for people who need to hide. But after the first family moves in and the youngest boy suddenly goes missing shortly after reporting a bear with human features prowling the woods, no one feels safe, everyone is considered a suspect, and at least one person ends up dead.

The prose is sinister and tight. The characters are layered, troubled, and clever. And the plot is an intricate, action-packed tale full of secrets, surprises, community, suspects, deduction, hostility, desperation, manipulation, deception, violence, and murder.

Overall, The Boy Who Cried Bear is another ominous, atmospheric, unsettling addition to the Haven’s Rock series by Armstrong that ultimately left me captivated, surprised, disturbingly entertained, and undoubtedly confident that there’s a lot more danger still to come in this series.

 

This novel is available now.

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

        

 

 

Thank you to Minotaur Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

Photograph by Kathryn Hollinrake.

#BookReview The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay @uplitreads #TheBerlinLetters #KatherineReay #gifted #uplitreads

#BookReview The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay @uplitreads #TheBerlinLetters #KatherineReay #gifted #uplitreads Title: The Berlin Letters

Author: Katherine Reay

Published by: Harper Muse on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Uplit Reads

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Bestselling author Katherine Reay returns with an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

From the time she was a young girl, Luisa Voekler has loved solving puzzles and cracking codes. Brilliant and logical, she’s expected to quickly climb the career ladder at the CIA. But while her coworkers have moved on to thrilling Cold War assignments—especially in the exhilarating era of the late 1980s—Luisa’s work remains stuck in the past decoding messages from World War II.

Journalist Haris Voekler grew up a proud East Berliner. But as his eyes open to the realities of postwar East Germany, he realizes that the Soviet promises of a better future are not coming to fruition. After the Berlin Wall goes up, Haris finds himself separated from his young daughter and all alone after his wife dies. There’s only one way to reach his family—by sending coded letters to his father-in-law who lives on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

When Luisa Voekler discovers a secret cache of letters written by the father she has long presumed dead, she learns the truth about her grandfather’s work, her father’s identity, and why she has never progressed in her career. With little more than a rudimentary plan and hope, she journeys to Berlin and risks everything to free her father and get him out of East Berlin alive.

As Luisa and Haris take turns telling their stories, events speed toward one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic moments—the fall of the Berlin Wall and that night’s promise of freedom, truth, and reconciliation for those who lived, for twenty-eight years, behind the bleak shadow of the Iron Curtain’s most iconic symbol.


Review:

Gritty, intense, and informative!

The Berlin Letters is an edgy, insightful tale set between 1961 and 1989 that takes you into the life of Luisa Voekler, a CIA cryptographer living in DC who, after finding a pile of encrypted letters after her grandfather passes away, learns there’s more to her family’s history in Berlin before and after the wall was erected than she ever could have imagined. And though she has always been told that her parents were killed in an accident when she was young, she suddenly uncovers that her father is actually still alive and being held in a Stasi prison.

The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are troubled, inquisitive, and brave. And the plot, told in a past/present, back-and-forth style, is a tightly crafted, intriguing tale of life, loss, secrets, sacrifice, war, loyalty, passion, heartbreak, corruption, treachery, familial drama, politics, and repression.

Overall, The Berlin Letters is a compelling, absorbing, perceptive tale by Reay that not only satisfied and entertained me but did a wonderful job of opening my eyes to a dark time in history I lived through as a child but barely understood.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

Thank you to Uplit Reads for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator…

She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.

The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.

#BookReview The Girls We Sent Away by Meagan Church @mchurchwriter @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheGirlsWeSentAway #MeaganChurch #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Girls We Sent Away by Meagan Church @mchurchwriter @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheGirlsWeSentAway #MeaganChurch #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Girls We Sent Away

Author: Meagan Church

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

A searing book club read for fans of Ellen Marie Wiseman and The Girls with No Names set in the Baby Scoop Era of 1960s and the women of a certain condition swept up in a dark history.

It’s the 1960s and Lorraine Delford has it all – an upstanding family, a perfect boyfriend, and a white picket fence home in North Carolina. Yet every time she looks through her father’s telescope, she dreams of the stars. It’s ambitious, but Lorraine has always been exceptional. 

But when this darling girl-next-door gets pregnant, she’s forced to learn firsthand the realities that keep women grounded.  To hide their daughter’s secret shame, the Delfords send Lorraine to a maternity home for wayward girls. But this is no safe haven – it’s a house with dark secrets and suffocating rules. And as Lorraine begins to piece together a new vision for her life, she must decide if she can fight against the powers that aim to take her child or submit to the rules of a society she once admired.

Powerful and affecting, The Girls We Sent Away is a timely novel that explores autonomy, belonging, and a quest for agency when the illusions of life-as-you-know-it fall away.


Review:

Touching, emotional, and compelling!

The Girls We Sent Away is an absorbing, moving tale set in North Carolina during the 1960s that takes you into the life of high school senior Lorraine Delford who, after falling for the charms of the boy she is confident she will marry, finds herself pregnant, alone, and sent by her parents to a home for wayward girls until she has delivered her child and had it adopted out regardless of any wishes of her own she may have.

The prose is sentimental and rich. The characters are vulnerable, strong, and brave. And the plot is a tender, captivating blend of life, loss, secrets, dreams, surprises, grief, heartbreak, family, friendship, and motherhood.

Overall, The Girls We Sent Away is a compassionate, enlightening, hopeful tale by Church inspired by real-life events that is a haunting reminder of all those women who were shamed, coerced, and unimaginably suffered in these types of institutions for way too many years.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Meagan Church

Meagan Church is the author of The Last Carolina Girl and The Girls We Sent Away. She writes to tell grounded stories that explore the complexity of human nature. Her historical fiction chronicles the plight and fight of unheard voices of the past. After receiving a B.A. in English from Indiana University, Meagan built a career as a storyteller and freelance writer for brands, blogs and organizations. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets.

#BookReview The Women by Kristin Hannah @StMartinsPress #TheWomenNovel #KristinHannah #KristinHannahAuthor #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview The Women by Kristin Hannah @StMartinsPress #TheWomenNovel #KristinHannah #KristinHannahAuthor #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: The Women

Author: Kristin Hannah

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Feb. 6, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 10/10

From the celebrated author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds comes Kristin Hannah’s The Women—at once an intimate portrait of coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided.

Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is over- whelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets—and becomes one of—the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.


Review:

Poignant, romantic, and incredibly absorbing!

The Women is an intriguing, heart-wrenching, memorable tale that sweeps you away to California in the mid-1960s and immerses you into the life of Frances “Frankie” McGrath, a young nurse whose heart, strength, perseverance and compassion are tested when she heads to the jungles of Vietnam to help however she can in a conflict that is littered with wounded souls, irrevocable trauma, unimaginable hostility, condemnation, rejection, and an inconceivable amount of lost lives.

The prose is rich and vivid. The characters are complex, resilient, genuine, and endearing. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel effortlessly into a captivating tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, secrets, betrayal, friendship, determination, self-discovery, love, survival, and the harrowing effects of war.

Overall, The Women is an atmospheric, evocative, beautifully written story by Hannah that does an exceptional job of blending historical facts with fiction that’s moving, wonderfully captivating, and not often read about. It’s one of my favourite novels of 2024, and I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

This book is available now.

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

             

 

 

Thank you to St. Martins Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kristin Hannah

KRISTIN HANNAH is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including The Nightingale, The Great Alone, and The Four Winds. A former lawyer turned writer, she lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

Photo by Kevin Lynch.

#BookReview Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano @ElleCosimano @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #MinotaurInfluencers #FinlayDonovanRollsTheDice #FinlayDonovan #ElleCosimano

#BookReview Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano @ElleCosimano @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #MinotaurInfluencers #FinlayDonovanRollsTheDice #FinlayDonovan #ElleCosimano Title: Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

Author: Elle Cosimano

Series: Finlay Donovan #4

Published by: Minotaur Books on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Minotaur Books

Book Rating: 9/10

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

But when they sneak into the loan shark’s suite to search for clues, they find more than they bargained for―Marco’s already dead. They don’t have a clue who murdered him, only that they themselves have a very convincing motive. Then four members of the police department unexpectedly show up in town, also looking for Ike―and after Finlay’s night with hot cop Nick at the police academy, he’s a little too eager to keep her close to his side.

If Finlay can juggle a jealous ex-husband, two precocious kids, her mother’s marital issues, a decomposing loan shark, and find Vero’s missing boyfriend, she might get out of Atlantic City in one piece. But will she fold under the pressure and come clean about the things she’s done, or be forced to double down?


Review:

Quirky, clever, and exceptionally entertaining!

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice is a vibrant, action-packed tale that takes us back into the lives of mystery writer Finlay Donovan and her nanny-turned-trusty sidekick Vero Ruiz as their plan to head to Atlantic City to negotiate with a ruthless loan shark, find a stolen car, and save the missing Javi goes a little sideways when Finlay’s mother, two kids, and ex-husband decide to tag along, bodies start piling up and need to be put on ice, and a whole slew of police officers and FBI agents show up uninvited.

The prose is dramatic and amusing. The characters are reckless, impulsive, and charming. And the plot is the perfect mix of witty banter, familial drama, humour, suspense, friendship, secrets, parenthood, deception, mayhem, dangerous situations, steamy moments, and sexy times.

For the past three years, the three previous novels in this series have topped my must-read list, and even though I didn’t think it was possible to love an Elle Cosimano book more than I already did, she proved me wrong. Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice is escapism at its best and is hands down my new favourite novel in this outrageously zany series I can’t seem to get enough of.

 

This book is available now.

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

          

 

 

Thank you to Minotaur – St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elle Cosimano

ELLE COSIMANO is an award-winning author. Her YA debut, Nearly Gone, was an Edgar Award finalist and winner of the International Thriller Award. Her novel Holding Smoke was a finalist for the International Thriller Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and Time. Elle lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with her husband, two sons, and her dog. Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is her adult debut.

Photo by Powell Woulfe Photography.

#BookReview The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheOtherValley #ScottAlexanderHoward #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheOtherValley #ScottAlexanderHoward #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Other Valley

Author: Scott Alexander Howard

Published by: Scribner on Feb. 27, 2024

Genres: Fantasy, General Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A literary speculative novel about an isolated town neighbored by its own past and future

Sixteen-year-old Odile is an awkward, quiet girl vying for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decide who may cross her town’s heavily guarded borders. On the other side, it’s the same valley, the same town–except to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness.

When Odile recognizes two visitors she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the parents of her friend Edme have been escorted across the border from the future, on a mourning tour, to view their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present. Edme––who is brilliant, funny, and the only person to truly see Odile––is about to die. Sworn to secrecy in order to preserve the timeline, Odile now becomes the Conseil’s top candidate, yet she finds herself drawing closer to the doomed boy, imperiling her entire future.


Review:

Intricate, unique, and thought-provoking!

The Other Valley is a clever, absorbing tale that takes you into the life of Odile, a young girl who has her life turned upside down when she accidentally glimpses people visiting from the east who are living twenty years in the future, one of her close friends suddenly dies, she destroys her chances of becoming a member of the influential Conseil, and she must decide whether she will risk her life to go twenty years in the past and enter the duplicate valley to the west to alter the one tragedy that changed so many lives forever.

The prose is raw and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, conflicted, and inured. And the plot is a mysterious, immersive tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, self-identity, power, security, control, duty, desperation, and magical realism.

Overall, The Other Valley is a gripping, pensive, speculative story by Howard that did a beautiful job of incorporating a creative storyline, what-if fiction, and an atmospheric setting into a compelling coming-of-age tale full of reflection, friendship, and first love.

 

This book is available now.

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

        

 

 

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

 

About Scott Alexander Howard

Scott Alexander Howard lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, where his work focused on the relationship between memory, emotion, and literature. The Other Valley is his first novel.

Photograph by Veronica Bonderud

#BookReview Brooklyn by Tracy Brown @IAmTracyBrown @StMartinsPress #BrooklynTheBook #TracyBrown #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Brooklyn by Tracy Brown @IAmTracyBrown @StMartinsPress #BrooklynTheBook #TracyBrown #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: Brooklyn

Author: Tracy Brown

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Feb. 27, 2024

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

Tracy Brown crafts a tale about a master manipulator and serial survivor, who will scorch earth to get what she wants. The question isn’t who murdered her; the question is who wouldn’t?

Brooklyn Melody James has finally gotten the punishment she deserves after leaving a web of lies, heartache, and betrayal behind her. As her life slips away, Brooklyn remembers the events that shaped her into the cold, calculating creature she became.

Brooklyn learned the art of hustling from her parents who used the church to get money. Idolizing her father and despising her mother, Brooklyn’s determined to be the type of woman who makes her own rules. When her back’s up against the wall, she sacrifices her family, takes the burnt offering that remains, and runs away. In NYC, young Brooklyn charms her way into the inner circle of hustlers and stick-up kids, learning tricks along the way. She catches the eye of a major player in the drug game, Hassan, and they have a breathless love affair. Brooklyn becomes integrated into his operation, earning the trust of Hassan and his associates. But when she gets the keys to the kingdom, driven by unfettered ambition and a ruthless desire to survive, Brooklyn snatches the pot of gold, leaving bitter retribution promises behind her.

From DC to Maryland, Brooklyn burns bridges and breaks hearts. What she doesn’t realize is that someone is prepared to end her reign of terror. As she faces her killer and her fate, Brooklyn’s stunned that justice comes from the least likely place.


Review:

Brisk, tight, and immersive!

Brooklyn is a gritty, absorbing tale that takes you on a journey into the life of Brooklyn Melody James, a young woman whose life spirals out of control when her selfishness and ambition lead her to destroy every caring relationship she ever has while simultaneously leaving a slew of hurt, angry people in her wake who are just waiting for her to get her own back.

The prose is crisp and tense. The characters are self-assured, brazen, and ruthless. And the plot is a fast-paced, captivating tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, deception, lies, drama, manipulation, jealousy, secrets, revelations, tragedy, vengeance, and betrayal.

The sudden passing of Tracy Brown in May of last year was a tremendous loss for the literary world, and it was an honour to be able to read her final novel. Brooklyn is a dark, cunning, enthralling page-turner that I devoured in one sitting and was an excellent reminder that life is truly what you make it.

 

This book is available now.

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

        

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Tracy Brown

Tracy Brown is the Essence bestselling author of Boss; White Lines, White Lines II: Sunny, White Lines III: All Falls Down, Aftermath, Snapped, Twisted, Criminal Minded, Black and Dime Piece. She passed away two days after turning in Brooklyn—her final, and arguably best, book. The African Americans on the Move Book Club bestowed their Urban Classic Honor Award on Tracy's White Lines series in celebration of her legacy and impact on the literary world.

Photo Credit: Ashley Williams