Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada

#BookReview #20BooksofSummer
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
@Backmanland @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview #20BooksofSummer Beartown by Fredrik Backman @Backmanland @SimonSchusterCATitle: Beartown

Author: Fredrik Backman

Series: Beartown #1

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on April 25, 2017

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 415

Format: Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.


Review:

Gritty, insightful, and profoundly moving!

Beartown is an immersive, dark, riveting story that delves into the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of competitive sports on the youth that play them and highlights the ugliness and weaknesses of group mentality and the ease with which it allows one to turn the other way, ignore, overlook or cover-up even the most heinous of crimes.

The prose is dark and immersive. The exceptionally memorable, timely plot is a journey of life, loss, coming-of-age, familial drama, friendship, courage, morality, loyalty, sexuality, community, politics, and the culture of hockey. The characters are familiar, consumed, and raw. And the setting, Beartown is a character itself with its isolation, social strife, class division, and depressing economics.

Backman has an uncanny ability to write powerful, perfectly crafted, atmospheric novels that remind us that to be human is to be flawed and that even though we often forget strength, compassion, and kindness is the base of humanity and Beartown is no exception. It will make you think, it will make you cry, and it will resonate with you long after the final page. 

 

🏒 And get ready to head back to Beartown in Us Against You publishing September 4, 2018. 🏒

 

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

#BookReview
Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
@SusannaKearsley @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley @SusannaKearsley @SimonSchusterCATitle: Bellewether

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on April 24, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 414

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Some houses seem to want to hold their secrets.

It’s 1759 and the world is at war, pulling the North American colonies of Britain and France into the conflict. The times are complicated, as are the loyalties of many New York merchants who have secretly been trading with the French for years, defying Britain’s colonial laws in a game growing ever more treacherous.

When captured French officers are brought to Long Island to be billeted in private homes on their parole of honour, it upends the lives of the Wilde family—deeply involved in the treasonous trade and already divided by war.

Lydia Wilde, struggling to keep the peace in her fracturing family following her mother’s death, has little time or kindness to spare for her unwanted guests. French-Canadian lieutenant Jean-Philippe de Sabran has little desire to be there. But by the war’s end they’ll both learn love, honour, and duty can form tangled bonds that are not broken easily.

Their doomed romance becomes a local legend, told and re-told through the years until the present day, when conflict of a different kind brings Charley Van Hoek to Long Island to be the new curator of the Wilde House Museum.

Charley doesn’t believe in ghosts. But as she starts to delve into the history of Lydia and her French officer, it becomes clear that the Wilde House holds more than just secrets, and Charley discovers the legend might not have been telling the whole story…or the whole truth.


Review:

Powerful, absorbing, and incredibly fascinating!

Bellewether is an enthralling tale set on the eastern shores of Long Island during the late 1750s, as well as present day, and is told from three different perspectives. Lydia, a strong, hardworking young woman struggling to care and support those she loves in a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Jean-Philippe, a French-Canadian soldier who finds himself captured and a parole of honour in the final pivotal days of the Seven Years’ War. And Charley, an intelligent, independent woman determined to discover all the skeletons hidden inside the Wilde House, as well as her own.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are alluring, sympathetic, multi-layered, and authentic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with familial drama, introspection, love, loss, grief, mystique, heartbreak, romance, secrets, passion, loyalty, as well as a little peek into a war that had a tremendous impact on the culture and history of Canada as we know it today.

Bellewether is a beautifully written, exceptionally atmospheric novel that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you never want it to end. It is without a doubt one of my favourite novels of the year that once again highlights Kearsley’s extraordinary imagination and talent as a masterful storyteller and researcher.

 

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Susanna Kearsley

A former museum curator, Susanna Kearsley brings her passion for research and travel to her novels, weaving modern-day and historical intrigue. She won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Award for her novel Mariana, the 2010 Romantic Times Book Review’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction novel for The Winter Sea, was shortlisted for a 2012 RITA Award for The Rose Garden, and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada for Every Secret Thing.

Photograph © Jacques du Toit

#BookReview
The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie
@CEMcKenzie1 @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie @CEMcKenzie1 @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Good Liar

Author: Catherine McKenzie

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on April 3, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 360

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

One explosion. Three women. Countless secrets. From bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes a suspenseful, unsettling novel about what lurks in the wake of tragedy.

Everybody hides. Everybody lies.

On October 10th, three women’s lives are forever altered by a terrible accident.

Cecily was supposed to be in the building that exploded in Chicago and killed her husband. A photo taken of her as she watched the horrifying scene quickly brings her unwanted media attention as the “poster child” of the haunting event. Cecily has secrets she’s desperately trying to hide but cannot find a way to divert the media’s attention from her and her family.

Franny lost her birth motherCecily’s best friendin the destruction shortly after the two met. A year later, she and Cecily team up to help families obtain financial compensation for their loss, but their budding friendship is derailed when it starts to become clear Franny’s story doesn’t quite add up. How did she manage to track down her mother? And why did her mother keep Franny a secret even after they’d met?

A thousand miles away in Montreal, Kate is trying to create a new life. But what led her to leave Chicago in the first place? Will she succeed in moving on from her mistakes or will Kate be drawn back into her old life?

With surprising twists and turns, The Good Liar is a riveting read by a masterful storyteller that will make readers wonder how far they’d go to hide their own secrets.


Review:

Thought-provoking, intricate, and masterfully crafted!

The Good Liar is a perfectly executed, character-driven psychological thriller that highlights how devastating, damaging, and dangerous secrets can truly be and has you quickly questioning whether a good liar is one who lies out of benevolence or spite.

The writing is polished and fluid. The characterization is exceptional with a cast of characters who each draw your curiosity, loyalty, sympathy, and doubt. And the plot told from multiple perspectives and using a mixture of narrative styles creates tension and suspicion as it unravels piece-by-piece all the deception, secrets, histories, personalities, and relationships within it.

The Good Liar is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year. It’s a clever, twisty, skillfully paced page turner that will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page and will leave you surprised, shocked, satisfied and ruminating the weight grief, guilt, insecurity, and obsession have over our reactions to tragedy.

 

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Catherine McKenzie

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine McKenzie practices law in Montreal, Quebec, where she was born and raised. Catherine’s novels Spin, Arranged, Forgotten, Hidden, Smoke, and Fractured are all bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages.

Photograph © Jason Mott

#BookReview
Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley
@NabenRuthnum @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley @NabenRuthnum @SimonSchusterCATitle: Find You In The Dark

Author: Nathan Ripley

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on March 6, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In this chilling debut thriller, in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr. Ripley, a family man obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of serial killer victims catches the attention of a murderer prowling the streets of Seattle.

Martin Reese is obsessed with murder.

For years, he has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and studying them in depth, using them as guides to find missing bodies. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results to the police anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs that cops have continuously failed to do.

Detective Sandra Whittal sees it differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case-closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious caller—the Finder, she names him—leading the police to the bodies. Even if the Finder isn’t the one leaving bodies behind, who’s to say that he won’t start soon?

On his latest dig, Martin searches for the first kill of Jason Shurn, the early 1990s murderer who may have been responsible for the disappearance of his sister-in-law, whom he never met. But when he arrives at the site, he finds a freshly killed body—a young and recently disappeared Seattle woman—lying among remains that were left there decades ago. Someone else knew where Jason Shurn buried his victims . . . and that someone isn’t happy that Martin has been going around digging up his work.

When a crooked cop with a tenuous tie to Martin vanishes, Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder. Hunted by a real killer and by Whittal, Martin realizes that in order to escape the killer’s trap, he may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever thought.


Review:

Dark, menacing, and gritty!

Find You In The Dark is an engrossing, creepy thriller that delves into the sadistic and disturbing thoughts, motivations, and actions of serial killers and immerses you in all the manipulation, violence, murder, depravity, and pure evil they’re capable of.

The prose is chilling and tight. The characterization is well done with a whole slew of characters that are flawed, vulnerable, and persistent. And the plot, told from multiple perspectives, is an exceptionally suspenseful, twisty, violent, tension-filled thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very first page.

Overall, Find You In The Dark is a fast-paced, unique, ominous tale that reminds you that if you continually dance with the devil eventually you might get burned.

 

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Nathan Ripley

Nathan Ripley is the pen name of literary fiction writer and journalist Naben Ruthnum. His stories and essays have appeared in The Walrus, Hazlitt, Sight & Sound, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, among other places. He lives in Toronto.

#BookReview
Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley
@marissastapley @SimonSchusterCA @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley @marissastapley @SimonSchusterCA @HarlequinBooksTitle: Things to Do When It's Raining

Author: Marissa Stapley

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on February 6, 2018

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 256

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Two families are torn apart by secret pasts and broken hearts—from Globe and Mail-bestselling author Marissa Stapley.

When secrets tear love apart, can the truth mend it?

Mae Summers and Gabriel Broadbent grew up together in the idyllic Summers’ Inn, perched at the edge the St. Lawrence river. Mae was orphaned at the age of six and Gabe needed protection from his alcoholic father, so both were raised under one roof by Mae’s grandparents, Lilly and George. A childhood friendship quickly developed into a first love—a love that was suddenly broken by Gabe’s unexpected departure. Mae grew up, got over her heartbreak, and started a life for herself in New York City.

After more than a decade, Mae and Gabe find themselves pulled back to Alexandria Bay. Hoping to find solace within the Summers’ Inn, Mae instead finds her grandparents in the midst of decline and their past unravelling around her. A lifetime of secrets stand in the way of this unconventional family’s happiness. Will they be able to reclaim the past and come together, or will they remain separate islands?

From the bestselling author of Mating for Life comes a powerful story about guilt, forgiveness and the truth about families: that we can choose them, just as we choose to love.


Review:

Powerful, poignant, and heartrending!

Things to Do When It’s Raining is an absorbing novel that delves into the mental and emotional anguish that can be caused by underlying secrets, grief, guilt, family dynamics, friendship, first loves and loneliness and emphasizes the importance of closure and forgiveness.

The prose is smooth and well turned. The characters are consumed, troubled, raw, and authentic. And the character-driven plot interweaves the past and present of two multigenerational families as they learn to cope, survive, accept, support and love each other unconditionally.

Things to Do When It’s Raining is ultimately an intelligent, evocative, pensive novel by Stapley that tugs at the heartstrings 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 and Harlequin – Graydon House for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Marissa Stapley

Marissa Stapley is the Globe and Mail bestselling author of the novel Mating for Life, and the forthcoming Things to Do When It’s Raining. She writes the commercial fiction review column “Shelf Love” for the Globe and Mail, reports on books and culture for the Toronto Star, and lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

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

#BookReview The Lying Game by Ruth Ware @RuthWareWriter @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on July 25, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

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.


Review:

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.

 

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ruth Ware

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 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game. Her latest book, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, will be available in May 2018. She is married with two small children.

#BookReview
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
@KathyReichs @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Two Nights by Kathy Reichs @KathyReichs @SimonSchusterCATitle: Two Nights

Author: Kathy Reichs

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on July 11, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.


Review:

Fast-paced, mysterious, and entertaining!

This is a suspenseful thriller that reminds us that terrorism can often be homegrown and emphasizes just how dangerous anger, hatred, and religious fanaticism can truly be.

The writing is clear and precise. The main character, Sunday Night, is tough, intelligent, and determined, and the supporting characters are an intriguing mix of ruthless, persistent zealots, and a charming, dependable brother.

I have to say that die-hard fans of the Temperance Brennan series may be a little disappointed in this latest outing by Reichs which doesn’t have the scientific jargon and forensic analysis we typically associate with her novels, but there’s no question that Reichs is a great writer and if you read this new novel with an open mind you will recognize her trademark strong, flawed, female protagonist and straightforward style of writing that could definitely lead to another bestselling series for her.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                          

 

 

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

 

About Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A professor of anthropology at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.

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