Format: Paperback

#BookReview All That We Are Together by Alice Kellen @AliceKellen_ @SourcebooksCasa #AliceKellen #AllThatWeAreTogether #LetItBeSeries #SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview All That We Are Together by Alice Kellen @AliceKellen_ @SourcebooksCasa #AliceKellen #AllThatWeAreTogether #LetItBeSeries #SourcebooksCasa Title: All That We Are Together

Author: Alice Kellen

Series: Let It Be #2

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Jan. 23, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Pages: 461

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 8/10

Three years without even seeing him. Three years without Axel.

How do you move on from a broken heart?

Three years have passed since Axel Nguyen shattered Leah Jones’ heart into a million pieces, and Leah has spent every moment of those three years distracting herself from the devastation. She tries to move on with Landon, a guy she meets in college, but she can only truly escape thoughts of Axel when she’s painting. At least one good thing has come out of all of it: her dream of exhibiting her work is finally coming true.

Axel is achingly aware every day of how much he misses Leah. The moment he learns about Leah’s exhibit, Axel can’t think about anything else but to go see her. Being in the same room with Leah, as beautiful and magnetic as he remembers, leaves Axel desperate and Leah breathless in his presence. He offers to be her agent; she accepts. One work trip to Paris later leaves Leah and Axel full of pent-up attraction and wondering if their whirlwind romance is a forever kind of love or if it’s better off left in the past.

International bestselling author Alice Kellen concludes her emotional new adult duology with an evocative and passionate love story for readers of Colleen Hoover, Anna Todd, and books to make you ugly cry.


Review:

Angsty, passionate, and hopeful!

All That We Are Together is an absorbing, heart-tugging tale that takes us back into the life of Leah Jones and Axel Nguyen three years after their breakup as Leah, now a university student with a new boyfriend and some recognition as a budding artist, has her life turned upside once again when Axel, an employee at a reputable gallery comes slamming back into her world to sweep her away to the City of Lights to showcase her work.

The writing is tender and fluid. The characters are vulnerable, scarred, and wary. And the plot is a push-pull tale of life, love, loss, family, expectations, forgiveness, introspection, acceptance, friendship, communication, and new beginnings.

Overall, All That We Are Together is the dramatic, romantic, satisfying conclusion to the Let It Be duology by Kellen that gave the characters I couldn’t help but root for the heartwarming, happy-ever-after ending I really hoped they get. 

 

This novel is available now.

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

       

 

 

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

 

About Alice Kellen

Alice Kellen is an international bestselling author of romantic fiction. She writes stories with universal, crossover themes such as love, friendship, insecurities, losses and longing for a brighter future, connecting with younger and older readers alike. She lives in Valencia, Spain with her family.

#BookReview The Silence in Her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa @SimonSchusterCA #TheSilenceinHerEyes #ArmandoLucasCorrea #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Silence in Her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa @SimonSchusterCA #TheSilenceinHerEyes #ArmandoLucasCorrea #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Silence in Her Eyes

Author: Armando Lucas Correa

Published by: Atria Books on Jan. 16, 2024

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 272

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 7/10

This fresh take on classic psychological suspense centers on a young woman with a rare neurological condition who is convinced her neighbor is going to be murdered.

Leah has been living with akinetopsia, or motion blindness, since she was a child. For the last twenty years, she hasn’t been able to see movement. As she walks around her upper Manhattan neighborhood with her white stick tapping in front, most people assume she’s blind. But the truth is Leah sees a good deal, and with her acute senses of smell and hearing, very little escapes her notice.

She has a quiet, orderly life, with little human contact beyond her longtime housekeeper, her doctor, and her elderly neighbor. That all changes when Alice moves into the apartment next door and Leah can immediately smell the anxiety wafting off her. Worse, Leah can’t help but hear Alice and a late-night visitor engage in a violent fight. Worried, she befriends her neighbor and discovers that Alice is in the middle of a messy divorce from an abusive husband.

Then one night, Leah wakes up to someone in her apartment. She blacks out and in the morning is left wondering if she dreamt the episode. And yet the scent of the intruder follows her everywhere. And when she hears Alice through the wall pleading for her help, Leah makes a decision that will test her courage, her strength, and ultimately her sanity.


Review:

Simmering, edgy, and intricate!

The Silence in Her Eyes is an intriguing, slow-burning psychological thriller that takes you on a journey into the life of Leah Anderson as she juggles the loss of her mother, adapting to living alone with akinetopsia, a night-time intruder who smells like bergamot and may wish to do her harm, and a new neighbour who seems like the perfect friend but who may actually be too good to be true.

The prose is crisp and tight. The characters are secretive, persuasive, and vulnerable. And the plot is a complex, menacing tale of family, friendship, deception, lies, drama, manipulation, secrets, revelations, suspicious personalities, violence, and murder.

Overall, The Silence in Her Eyes is a suspenseful, twisty, intense tale by Correa that I found a little hard to follow at times but which, ultimately, did a remarkable job of highlighting that people aren’t always who they seem to be and murderers come in many different faces.

 

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 Armando Lucas Correa

Armando Lucas Correa is an award-winning journalist, editor, author, and the recipient of several awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications and the Society of Professional Journalism. He is the author of the international bestseller The German Girl, which is now being published in thirteen languages. He lives in New York City with his partner and their three children.

Photograph by Héctor O. Torres.

#BookReview Where You End by Abbott Kahler @HenryHolt #WhereYouEnd #AbbottKahler #HenryHoltBooks

#BookReview Where You End by Abbott Kahler @HenryHolt #WhereYouEnd #AbbottKahler #HenryHoltBooks Title: Where You End

Author: Abbott Kahler

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Jan. 16, 2024

Genres: Horror, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 7.5/10

From bestselling nonfiction author Abbott Kahler comes a spellbinding fiction debut inspired by true events: an unusual form of amnesia upends the lives of identical twins, forcing them to face the indelible, dangerous shadow of the past.

When 22-year-old Kat Bird wakes up from a coma, she sees her mirror image: Jude, her twin sister. Jude’s face and name are the only memories Kat has from before her accident. As Kat tries to relearn her history and identity, she trusts Jude will provide all the answers. But as the months progress, Kat begins to fear that, maybe, Jude has been lying to her.

Recruit. Hunt. Perform or Perish.

Growing up in a sophisticated New Age cult, isolated from society, the girls studied poetry and literature—but also played dangerous games of cunning and savagery, games with dark lessons that followed them into adulthood. Now, with Kat’s mind as a blank slate, Jude invents an idyllic childhood in the hope of erasing this history, and all the threats it still holds.

As Kat pulls at the threads of Jude’s elaborate tapestry, those threats draw closer. When the past and present finally converge, the twins must risk everything to save both their unique bond, and each other’s lives.

Intensely creepy and beautifully written, Abbott Kahler’s Where You End is an unforgettable tale of intrigue, revenge, and moral ambiguities in the quest for redemption.


Review:

Dark, eerie, and compelling! 

Where You End is a taut, ominous tale that takes you into the life of twenty-two-year-old Katherine Bird who, after a terrible car accident that leaves her mind blank of almost every memory except the special connection she has with her mirror twin, struggles to uncover the truths and secrets she knows she’s not being told about a past littered with a lot of darkness and perversion.

The prose is gritty and tight. The characters are vulnerable, secretive, and damaged. And the plot, using a back-and-forth, past/present style, unfolds and unravels quickly into a menacing tale of lies, deception, indoctrination, depravity, retribution, manipulation, shocking revelations, sisterhood, violence, and murder.

Overall, Where You End is an intense, sinister, solid debut by Kahler that has certainly left me intrigued and excited for whatever utterly disturbing tale she manages to come up with next.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Abbott Kahler

Abbott Kahler, formerly writing as Karen Abbott, is the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City; American Rose; Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy; and The Ghosts of Eden Park, which was an Edgar Award finalist for best fact crime and a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award. Her next nonfiction book, Then Came the Devil, is forthcoming in 2025. She is also the host of Remus: The Mad Bootleg King, a forthcoming podcast from iHeartRadio about legendary Jazz Age bootlegger George Remus. A native of Philadelphia, she lives in New York City and in Greenport, New York, where she is at work on her next novel.

#BookReview Hedging Your Bets by Jayne Denker @JDenkerAuthor @smpromance @StMartinsPress #JayneDenker #HedgingYourBets #smpromance #smpinfluencers

#BookReview Hedging Your Bets by Jayne Denker @JDenkerAuthor @smpromance @StMartinsPress #JayneDenker #HedgingYourBets #smpromance #smpinfluencers Title: Hedging Your Bets

Author: Jayne Denker

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Jan. 9, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

Opposites attract in this enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy of feuding neighbors and dueling hearts from Jayne Denker, the author of The Rom-Com Agenda.

When small-town neighbors go head-to-head, better start Hedging Your Bets.

Gillian has been happily divorced for several years and, after trying a few dating apps, prefers to stay that way. Navigating her way through dates with fat shamers and lackluster men has left her with no desire to do anything other than work in her garden in her spare time. Who needs rude comments and awkward first-date conversation when soft roses and vibrant tulips are so much better?

Noah West has just moved to Willow Cove. After a rough breakup that leaves him looking to get far away, he relocates to the same small town he spent summers in as a teen―and moves right next door to Gillian. A big believer in minimalist design and that the best kind of plants are non-flowering, he knows as soon as he meets his neighbor that they are going to clash on just about everything. Now if only he could keep his eyes off her too. That might be helpful.

When a gardening contest brings out the competition in Gillian and Noah, dueling plant arrangements and fiery banter ensues. But is it possible that beneath all their differences, they might just be perfect for each other?


Review:

Heartfelt, engaging, and fun!

Hedging Your Bets is a spirited, heartwarming, enemies-to-lovers romance that introduces us to both the sexy, kind Noah who, after having his heart broken, is hoping that a move to the small town of Willow Cove, Ontario will be the perfect place for him to settle down and create a new life, and the insecure, passionate Gillian who, after a somewhat dismal foray into the world of dating since her divorce, is more than content spending her days helping the people of the community with their pharmaceutical needs and working on her beautifully cultivated garden.

The prose is amusing and light. The characters are quirky, supportive, and sweet. And the plot is a playful, flirty blend of tricky situations, tender moments, awkward mishaps, self-discovery, friendship, kindness, support, happiness, chemistry, misunderstandings, undeniable attraction, and romance, 

Overall, Hedging Your Bets is a charming, humorous, enjoyable treat by Denker that is a delight to read and a wonderful reminder that true love is always worth the fight.

 

This book is available now.

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

         

 

 

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

 

About Jayne Denker

Jayne Denker is the author of romantic comedies, including The Rom-Com Agenda and the Welcome to Marsden series. When she's not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when she should be hard at work on another novel), she can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time on social media.

Photo by Elizabeth Torgerson-Lamark.

#BookReview Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge by Lizzie Pook @LizziePook @SimonSchusterCA #LizziePook #MaudeHortonsGloriousRevenge #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge by Lizzie Pook @LizziePook @SimonSchusterCA #LizziePook #MaudeHortonsGloriousRevenge #SimonSchusterCA Title: Maude Horton's Glorious Revenge

Author: Lizzie Pook

Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada on Jan. 16, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

An Arctic expedition. A mysterious death. And the lengths to which one woman will go to avenge her sister

When Maude Horton receives a letter from the British Admiralty informing her of her younger sister’s death, her world is shattered. Bold and daring, Constance had run away from her life in Victorian London two years prior, disguising herself as a boy to board the Makepeace, an expedition vessel bound for the Arctic’s unexplored Northwest Passage. The admiralty claims Constance’s death was a tragic accident, but Maude knows when she is being deceived.

Armed with Constance’s diary from her time at sea and a fiery desire for justice, Maude sets her sights on the Makepeace’s former scientist, Edison Stowe, a greedy and manipulative man whom she suspects had a hand in her sister’s death. When she learns he has a new venture, a travel company that escorts spectators across the country to witness popular public hangings, she decides to join the latest tour, determined to extract the truth from Stowe and avenge her sister—no matter the risk to herself.

From the stark beauty of the Arctic to the teeming streets of Victorian London, Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge is a mysterious, transportive tale about the unbreakable bond of sisterhood and the things we are driven to do by both love and greed.


Review:

Action-packed, alluring, and exceptionally atmospheric!

Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge is a rich, adventurous tale that sweeps you away to London in 1850 and into the life of the independent, bold Maude Horton who, after learning of her sister’s suspicious death on the Makepeace’s expedition to find the missing explorer Sir John Franklin, embarks on a secret mission of her own, attending ghastly public hangings and befriending the shady Edison Stowe in order to discover what truly happened to her.

The prose is eloquent and vivid. The characters are persistent, clever, and brave. And the plot is a fascinating tale of life, loss, family, bravery, survival, tragedy, danger, forbidden love, sisterhood, and vengeance.

Overall, Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge is an intriguing, absorbing, meticulous tale by Pook that grabs you from the very first page and does an outstanding job of blending historical facts with fiction that is both compelling and wonderfully immersive.

 

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 Lizzie Pook

Lizzie Pook is a London-based travel writer and journalist whose work has taken her to some of the farthest-flung parts of the planet, from the trans-Himalayas—in search of elusive snow leopards—to the vast, uninhabited east coast of Greenland. She has written for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times (London), Lonely Planet, and Condé Nast Traveler. Lizzie is the author of Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge and Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter.

Photo by Magdalena Smolarska.

#BookReview The Search Party by Hannah Richell @hannahrichell @SimonSchusterCA #TheSearchParty #HannahRichell #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Search Party by Hannah Richell @hannahrichell @SimonSchusterCA #TheSearchParty #HannahRichell #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Search Party

Author: Hannah Richell

Published by: Atria Books on Jan. 16, 2024

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A spellbinding locked-room mystery about a glamping trip gone horribly wrong when a powerful storm leaves the participants stranded and forced to confront long-held secrets and a shocking disappearance.

Max and Annie Kingsley have left the London rat race with their twelve-year-old son to set up a glamping site in the wilds of Cornwall. Eager for a dry run ahead of their opening, they invite three old university friends and their families for a long-needed reunion. But the festivities soon go awry as tensions arise between the children (and subsequently their parents), explosive secrets come to light, and a sudden storm moves in, cutting them off from help as one in the group disappears.

Moving between the police investigation, a hospital room, and the catastrophic weekend, The Search Party is a propulsive and twisty destination thriller about the tenuous bonds of friendship and the lengths parents will go to protect their children—perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley.


Review:

Intricate, ominous, and tight!

The Search Party is an engrossing, eerie thriller that delves into the complex bonds that exist between friends and family members and reminds us that behind all those happy, smiling faces often lies an abundance of escalating tension, simmering resentments, and devastating secrets.

The writing is taut and edgy. The characters are secretive, multilayered, and anxious. And the plot, told from alternating perspectives and using before and after timelines, is a sinister tale full of twists, turns, familial drama, secrets, lies, deception, infidelity, relationship dynamics, parenthood, reckless behaviour, swirling emotions, red herrings, vengeance, and murder.

Overall, The Search Party is a suspenseful, atmospheric, exceptionally clever tale by Richell that highlights everything is not always as it appears and is definitely one of the most gripping page-turners I’ve read in a while.

 

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 Hannah Richell

Before I became a writer, I worked in the publishing and film industries marketing books and movies. I began to write in 2007 while pregnant with my first child. The result was Secrets of the Tides, which was picked for the 2012 Richard & Judy Book Club, the Waterstones Book Club and was shortlisted for the Australian Independent Bookseller Best Debut Fiction Award, ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year (2013) and ABIA Newcomer of the Year (2013).

Since then I have written The Shadow Year (2013), The Peacock Summer (2018) and my latest novel, The River Home, which will be published in 2020. My work is available in twenty-two territories and has been translated into seventeen languages.

I have also written for a number of media outlets including Harper’s Bazaar, The Independent, Fairfax Media and Australian Women’s Weekly.

I am a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, though I currently live in the South West of England with my family.

Photograph by Claire Newman-Williams.

#BookReview The Fury by Alex Michaelides @CeladonBooks #AlexMichaelides #TheFury #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner

#BookReview The Fury by Alex Michaelides @CeladonBooks #AlexMichaelides #TheFury #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner Title: The Fury

Author: Alex Michaelides

Published by: Celadon Books on Jan. 16, 2024

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A masterfully paced thriller about a reclusive ex–movie star and her famous friends whose spontaneous trip to a private Greek island is upended by a murder ― from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient.

This is a tale of murder.

Or maybe that’s not quite true. At its heart, it’s a love story, isn’t it?

Lana Farrar is a reclusive ex–movie star and one of the most famous women in the world. Every year, she invites her closest friends to escape the English weather and spend Easter on her idyllic private Greek island.

I tell you this because you may think you know this story. You probably read about it at the time ― it caused a real stir in the tabloids, if you remember. It had all the necessary ingredients for a press a celebrity; a private island cut off by the wind…and a murder.

We found ourselves trapped there overnight. Our old friendships concealed hatred and a desire for revenge. What followed was a game of cat and mouse ― a battle of wits, full of twists and turns, building to an unforgettable climax. The night ended in violence and death, as one of us was found murdered.

But who am I?

My name is Elliot Chase, and I’m going to tell you a story unlike any you’ve ever heard.


Review:

Gripping, intense, and suspenseful!

The Fury is a menacing, locked-island thriller that sweeps you away to a secluded island in Greece and into the lives of seven people as a furious wind storm leaves six of them stranded, one of them dead, and more than just a few long-buried secrets and skeletons finally coming to light.

The prose is precise and clear. The characters are multilayered, self-absorbed, and secretive. And the plot, told through an unreliable narrator, unfolds and unravels quickly into a foreboding Greek tragedy full of lies, secrets, jealousy, deception, drama, manipulation, desperation, obsession, betrayal, infidelity, violence, and murder.

Overall, The Fury is a dark, taut, unnerving page-turner by Michaelides that did a wonderful job of keeping me mystified, surprised, and guessing from start to finish while at the same time reminding me just how easily people can often be psychologically and emotionally manipulated.

 

This novel is available now.

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

        

 

 

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

 

About Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides was born and raised in Cyprus. He has an M.A. in English Literature from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and an M.A. in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. The Silent Patient was his first novel, debuting at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and has sold more than 6.5 million copies worldwide. The rights have been sold in a record-breaking 51 countries, and the book has been optioned for film by Plan B. His second novel, The Maidens, was an instant New York Times bestseller and has been optioned for television by Miramax Television and Stone Village.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Knee.

#BookReview The Lost Van Gogh by Jonathan Santlofer @jsantlofer @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheLostVanGogh #JonathanSantlofer #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Lost Van Gogh by Jonathan Santlofer @jsantlofer @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheLostVanGogh #JonathanSantlofer #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Lost Van Gogh

Author: Jonathan Santlofer

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Jan. 2, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 8/10

From the author of the much-praised The Last Mona Lisa comes another thrilling story of masterpieces, masterminds, and mystery.

For years, there have been whispers that, before his death, Van Gogh completed a final self-portrait. Curators and art historians have savored this rumor, hoping it could illuminate some of the troubled artist’s many secrets, but even they have to concede that the missing painting is likely lost forever.

But when Luke Perrone, artist and great-grandson of the man who stole the Mona Lisa, and Alexis Verde, daughter of a notorious art thief, discover what may be the missing portrait, they are drawn into a most epic art puzzles. When only days later the painting disappears again, they are reunited with INTERPOL agent John Washington Smith in a dangerous and deadly search that will not only expose secrets of the artist’s last days but draws them into one of history’s darkest eras.

Beneath the paint and canvas, beneath the beauty and the legend, the artwork has become linked with something evil, something that continues to flourish on the dark web and on the shadiest corridors of the underground art world.


Review:

Intriguing, mysterious, and fast-paced!

The Lost Van Gogh is a rich, ominous tale that takes us into the life of Alex Verde and her boyfriend Luke Perrone who, after purchasing a seemingly unknown painting at a nearby market, find their lives turned upside down when it’s quickly discovered that it may actually be a lost Van Gogh that more than one person is willing to do whatever it takes, even kill, to get their hands on it.

The writing is smooth and fluid. The characters are relentless, driven, and clever. And the plot, told in alternating POVs, is a menacing tale full of life, loss, secrets, deception, lies, greed, peril, intrigue, and the complex world of art.

Overall, The Lost Van Gogh is an absorbing, pacey, dramatic tale by Santlofer with just the right amount of suspense, well-drawn characterization, and creative storyline to make it another satisfying, highly entertaining read for lovers of both art and this genre.

 

This book is available now. 

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

         

 

 

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

 

About Jonathan Santlofer

Jonathan Santlofer is a writer and artist. His debut novel, THE DEATH ARTIST, was an international bestseller translated into 17 languages, a People Magazine "Page-Turner of the Week" and is currently in development at Fox, along with his second and third novels. His fourth novel, ANATOMY OF FEAR, won the Nero Award for best crime novel of 2009. Jonathan created the Crime Fiction Academy as The Center for Fiction. As an artist, Jonathan has been making replications of famous paintings for wealthy clients for more than 20 years.

Photo by Clarke Tolton.

#BookReview The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan @vanjchan @SimonSchusterCA #VanessaChan #TheStormWeMade #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan @vanjchan @SimonSchusterCA #VanessaChan #TheStormWeMade #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Storm We Made

Author: Vanessa Chan

Published by: Marysue Rucci Books on Jan. 2, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

A spellbinding, sweeping novel about a Malayan mother who becomes an unlikely spy for the invading Japanese forces during WWII—and the shocking consequences that rain upon her community and family.

Malaya, 1945. Cecily Alcantara’s family is in terrible danger: her fifteen-year-old son, Abel, has disappeared, and her youngest daughter, Jasmin, is confined in a basement to prevent being pressed into service at the comfort stations. Her eldest daughter Jujube, who works at a tea house frequented by drunk Japanese soldiers, becomes angrier by the day.

Cecily knows two things: that this is all her fault; and that her family must never learn the truth.

A decade prior, Cecily had been desperate to be more than a housewife to a low-level bureaucrat in British-colonized Malaya. A chance meeting with the charismatic General Fuijwara lured her into a life of espionage, pursuing dreams of an “Asia for Asians.” Instead, Cecily helped usher in an even more brutal occupation by the Japanese. Ten years later as the war reaches its apex, her actions have caught up with her. Now her family is on the brink of destruction—and she will do anything to save them.

Spanning years of pain and triumph, told from the perspectives of four unforgettable characters, The Storm We Made is a dazzling saga about the horrors of war; the fraught relationships between the colonized and their oppressors, and the ambiguity of right and wrong when survival is at stake.


Review:

Absorbing, harrowing, and impactful!

The Storm We Made is a poignant, immersive tale set in British-occupied Malaya that takes you into the lives of the Alcantara family, especially the matriarch, Cecily, a middle-aged mother suffering from extreme guilt over the decisions she made ten years ago, and her three children, Jujube, Abel, and Jasmin whose lives are irrevocably changed forever when their homeland is invaded and occupied by the Japanese during WWII.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are brave, tormented, and determined. And the plot is an exceptionally touching tale about life, loss, family, secrets, separation, desperation, infidelity, tragedy, and the horrors of war.

Overall, The Storm We Made is a gritty, emotional, beautifully written tale by Chan inspired by real-life familial events that reminds us that survival of any kind often involves heartbreaking choices, moral dilemmas, action, spirit, extreme loss, and beyond all else, unimaginable sacrifice and courage.

 

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 Vanessa Chan

Vanessa Chan Author Photo

Vanessa Chan was born and raised in Malaysia. Her short stories have been published in Electric Lit, Kenyon Review, Ecotone, and more. She was the 2021 Stanley Elkin scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference and has also received scholar awards to attend the Bread Loaf and Tin House writers’ conferences. The Storm We Made is her first novel.

Photograph by Mary Inhea Kang.

#BookReview The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell @MaxwellJessa @SimonSchusterCA #TheGoldenSpoon #JessaMaxwell #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell @MaxwellJessa @SimonSchusterCA #TheGoldenSpoon #JessaMaxwell #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Golden Spoon

Author: Jessa Maxwell

Published by: Atria Books on Mar. 7, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

For six amateur bakers, competing in Bake Week is a dream come true.

When they arrive at Grafton Manor to compete, they’re ready to do whatever it takes to win the ultimate The Golden Spoon.

But for the show’s famous host, Betsy Martin, Bake Week is more than just a competition. Grafton Manor is her family’s home and legacy – and Bake Week is her life’s work. It’s imperative that both continue to succeed.

But as the competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s small acts of sabotage. Someone switching sugar for salt. A hob turned far too high.

But when a body is discovered, it’s clear that for someone in the competition, The Golden Spoon is a prize worth killing for…


Review:

Fast-paced, atmospheric, and cosy!

The Golden Spoon is a crafty, ominous tale that sweeps you away to a dilapidated manor in Vermont where six contestants from all walks of life have gathered to film and compete in the reality TV show “Bake Week,” but in a group like this, where tensions are high, secrets are rife, winning is everything, and everyone has a hidden agenda, death is definitely not out of the question.

The prose is crafty and light. The characters are self-obsessed, quirky, and secretive. And the plot is an enticing, suspenseful mix of twists, turns, secrets, manipulation, sabotage, revelations, revenge, confessions, malicious intentions, and murder.

Overall, The Golden Spoon is a mysterious, amusing, satisfying treat by Maxwell that had just the right amount of suspicious personalities, zany antics, and abundance of drama to keep me engaged and entertained from start to finish.

 

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 Jessa Maxwell

Jessa Maxwell is the author of The Golden Spoon and I Need You to Read This. She is also the author and illustrator of five picture books for children. Her comics and cartoons have been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times and her writing has been published in Slate, Marie Claire, and many others. She now lives in Jamestown, Rhode Island with her husband, two cats and three-legged dog.

Photo by Stephanie Ewens.