Source: Penguin Random House Canada

#BookReview
Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
@khaledhosseini @PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini @khaledhosseini @PenguinRandomCATitle: Sea Prayer

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Published by Riverhead Books on September 18, 2018

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 48

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed responds to the heartbreak of the current refugee crisis with this deeply moving, beautifully illustrated short work of fiction for people of all ages, all over the world.

A short, powerful, illustrated book written by beloved novelist Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone.

Impelled to write this story by the haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed upon the beach in Turkey in September 2015, Hosseini hopes to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution, and he will donate author proceeds from this book to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe.


Review:

Impactful, evocative, and profoundly moving!

Sea Prayer is an intense, beautifully depicted story that highlights the plight of thousands around the world who are forced to leave their homes and embark on a perilous journey to find safety and freedom for themselves and their families.

The prose is lyrical and fluid. The narration is unique and powerful and told entirely through a heartfelt letter written by a father to his young son. And the illustrations are a perfect complement to the compelling, emotional plot as they transport you from the greens and reds of content country life to the blacks and browns of turmoil and war, and then on to the blues and dark greens of the unpredictable, endless raging sea.

Overall I would have to say that Sea Prayer is a short but incredibly poignant tale that reminds us that the base of humanity is kindness, compassion, and strength and that no matter nationality, locale, or religious beliefs everyone deserves to be loved, protected, and free.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                        

 

 

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

 

About Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed. Hosseini is also a U.S. Goodwill Envoy to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Photo by Brian Sokol.

#BookReview
The Exes’ Revenge by Jo Jakeman
@JoJakemanWrites @PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview The Exes’ Revenge by Jo Jakeman @JoJakemanWrites @PenguinRandomCATitle: The Exes' Revenge

Author: Jo Jakeman

Published by Berkley Books on September 11, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Originally titled Sticks and Stones

A wickedly dark debut thriller about three women who’ve all been involved with the same man and realize the one thing they have in common is that they all want revenge against him…

Divorces are often messy, and Imogen’s is no exception. Phillip Rochester is controlling, abusive, and determined to make things as difficult as possible. When he shows up without warning demanding that Imogen move out of their house by the end of the month or he’ll sue for sole custody of their young son, Imogen is ready to snap.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable–something that puts her in control for the first time in years. She’s desperate to protect her son and to claim authority over her own life.

But she wasn’t expecting both Phillip’s ex-wife and new girlfriend to get tangled up in her plans. These three very different women–and unlikely allies–reluctantly team up to take revenge against a man who has wronged them all.


Review:

Ominous, relentless, and intense!

The Exes’ Revenge is a character-driven, domestic thriller that delves into how much relationships define us and reminds us that hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.

The prose is gritty and taut. The characters, including the sinister, despicable villain are consumed, ruthless, complex, and vulnerable. And the plot, using a back-and-forth, past/present style does a nice job of building tension and unease as it subtly intertwines and unravels an intricate web of lies, secrets, abuse, control, desperation, vengeance, violence, and manipulation.

Overall, The Exes’ Revenge is an unnerving, relentless, satisfying read and even though I felt the plot was slightly unrealistic at times it is still a compelling, entertaining debut for Jakeman, and I can’t wait to read what she comes 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 Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jo Jakeman

Jo Jakeman was the winner of the Friday Night Live competition at the York Festival of Writing in 2016. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in London before moving to the countryside with her husband and twin boys. The Exes' Revenge is her debut thriller.

Photo by Ollie Grove.

#BookReview
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
@GinPhillips17 @RandomHouseCA

#BookReview Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips @GinPhillips17 @RandomHouseCATitle: Fierce Kingdom

Author: Gin Phillips

Published by Random House Canada on July 4, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 275

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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


Review:

Gripping, intense, and downright eerie!

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

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

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

 

This book is available now.

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

                                        

 

 

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

 

About Gin Phillips

Gin Phillips is the author of five novels. Her debut novel, The Well and the Mine, was the winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Since then her work has been sold in 29 countries.

Born in Montgomery, Al., Gin graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in political journalism. She worked as a magazine writer for more than a decade, living in Ireland, New York, and Washington D.C., before eventually moving back to Alabama.

#BookReview
The Child by Fiona Barton
@figbarton @RandomHouseCA

#BookReview The Child by Fiona Barton @figbarton @RandomHouseCATitle: The Child

Author: Fiona Barton

Published by Penguin Books Canada on June 27, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…


Review:

Intriguing, disturbing, and gritty!

This is a character-driven psychological thriller that reminds us that secrets from the past often find their way to the surface no matter how well they are hidden or buried.

It is, ultimately, a story about abuse, neglect, manipulation, sexual deviance, deception, heartbreak, lies and familial dynamics.

The writing is suspenseful and twisty. The characters are multi-layered, flawed and vulnerable. And the plot, although a little slow in the first half of the novel is much more intense, emotional, mysterious and unpredictable in the second half of the novel and has an exceptional ending that is sure to not only satisfy but completely take you by surprise.

This is definitely a good sophomore novel for Barton with a lot of heartfelt drama, character development and multiple subplots that will keep you completely entertained, invested and engaged until the very end.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                        

 

 

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

 

About Fiona Barton

Fiona Barton's career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. She has been a journalist - senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up her job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, has trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.
But through it all, a story was cooking in her head.

She lives with husband in south-west France, where she writes in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is her cockerel, Sparky, crowing.

#BookReview
The Thirst by Jo Nesbo
@RealMrJoNesbo ‏@RandomHouseCA

#BookReview The Thirst by Jo Nesbo @RealMrJoNesbo ‏@RandomHouseCATitle: The Thirst

Author: Jo Nesbo

Series: Harry Hole #11

Published by Random House Canada on May 4, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

THERE’S A NEW KILLER ON THE STREETS…
A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.

HE’S IN YOUR HOUSE… HE’S IN YOUR ROOM
Under pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case.

HE’S OUT FOR BLOOD
When another victim is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he’s to finally catch the one who got away.


Review:

Welcome back Harry Hole!

This a brilliantly crafted, dark, gritty thriller that takes us on a hunt for a sadistic serial killer with a taste for blood and causes Harry to come face-to-face with some of the demons that haunt him.

The writing is seamless, precise and vivid.  The characterization is spot on with characters that are driven, selfish and flawed, including the tough and tenacious Harry Hole whose greatest struggles persistently involve his own addictions and obsessions. And the plot is a twisty, violent, tension-filled thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning and will definitely leave you speechless by the end.

Once again Nesbo has proven that when it comes to writing clever, gripping, fast-paced police procedurals with exquisite character development and spine-chilling storylines he’s one of the best.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Jo Nesbo

Jo Nesbø is a bestselling Norwegian author and musician. He was born in Oslo and grew up in Molde. Nesbø graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics with a degree in economics. Nesbø is primarily famous for his crime novels about Detective Harry Hole, but he is also the main vocals and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. In 2007 Nesbø also released his first children's book, Doktor Proktors Prompepulver.

#BookReview
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
@SideshowAmi

#BookReview The Witches of New York by Ami McKay @SideshowAmiTitle: The Witches of New York

Author: Ami McKay

Published by Vintage Books Canada on July 4, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 504

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The beloved, bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure is back with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of a trio of remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft… 

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (‘Moth’ from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it’s finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and “gardien de sorts” (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan’s high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions–and in guarding the secrets of their clients. 

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor’s apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? 

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over what’s best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force. 

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they’re confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?


Review:

Dark, fascinating, and incredibly atmospheric!

This story is set in New York City in the early 1880s, a time when building and bridge development was rampant, immigration was ongoing, and the Statue of Liberty was still only a torch-bearing arm displayed in Madison Square Park. However, it was also a time of religious condemnation, fear of the unknown, and a time when cruel and barbaric behaviour towards women who didn’t conform to what society deemed norm was still acceptable.

The writing is elegant and vividly descriptive. The three main characters, Adelaide, Eleanor, and Beatrice, are strong, bold, and independent. And the plot is a creative, dark, mysterious ride of historical tidbits, mystical occurrences, friendship, murder, witchcraft, and love.

This definitely is an enjoyable read that sweeps you away to another place and reminds you of some of the hardships and struggles of a different time. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read anything else by Ami McKay, I highly recommend “The Virgin Cure” still today one of my all-time favourites.

 

This novel is due to be published on October 25, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

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

 

About Ami McKay

Ami McKay’s debut novel, The Birth House was a # 1 bestseller in Canada, winner of three CBA Libris Awards, nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and a book club favourite around the world.

Her new novel. The Virgin Cure, is inspired by the life of her great- great grandmother, Dr. Sarah Fonda Mackintosh, a female physician in nineteenth century New York. Born and raised in Indiana, Ami now lives in Nova Scotia.

#BookReview
Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison
@simonm1

#BookReview Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison @simonm1Title: Bolshoi Confidential

Author: Simon Morrison

Published by Knopf Canada on October 11, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In this enthralling, definitive new history of the Bolshoi Ballet, sensational performances onstage compete with political machinations backstage.

On January 17, 2013, a hooded assailant hurled acid into the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, making international headlines. A lead soloist, enraged by institutional power struggles, later confessed to masterminding the crime. The scandal, though shocking, is not an anomaly in the turbulent and tormented yet magnificent history of the Bolshoi. Renowned music historian Simon Morrison reveals the ballet as a crucible of art and politics, beginning with the disreputable inception of the theatre in 1776 and proceeding through the era of imperial rule, the chaos of revolution, the oppressive Soviet years, and the recent $680 million renovation project. Drawing on exclusive archival research, Morrison creates a richly detailed tableau of the centuries-long war between world-class art and life-threatening politics that has defined this storied institution. As Morrison makes clear, as Russia goes, so goes the Bolshoi Ballet.


Review:

This is a remarkably researched, sophisticated story of the tumultuous history of the iconic Bolshoi.

It is a journey through its 240-year history, complete with an in-depth look into the scandals, corruption, damage, destruction, violence, and restorations that it has endured over the years, as well as an introduction to the characters that have played an important role its enduring successes and failures, including Tsars, politicians, dancers, directors, composers and choreographers.

This is, ultimately, an expository story about the creation and production of one of the most beautiful art forms the world has ever known, complete with the shady and gritty underworld that plagues its backstage.

Overall, this novel is incredibly descriptive, effortlessly fluid, and highly fascinating.

 

This book is due to be published on October 11, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook Depository

 

For more information on Simon Morrison, visit his website at: princeton.edu/~simonm

or follow him on Twitter at: @simonm1

 

 

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

#BookReview
The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey

#BookReview The Fortunate Brother by Donna MorrisseyTitle: The Fortunate Brother

Author: Donna Morrissey

Series: Sylvanus Now #3

Published by Viking on September 6, 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 260

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

A powerful tale of a family reeling from the tragic loss of a son, while facing a mysterious murder on their doorstep–told by one of Canada’s most beloved voices. 

After being uprooted from their fishing outport, the Now family is further devastated by the tragic loss of their eldest son, Chris, who died working on an Alberta oil rig. Kyle Now is still mourning his older brother when the murder of a local bully changes everything. The victim’s blood is found on the family’s pier, and suspicion falls first on an alienated wife, and then finally on the troubled Now family.

But behind this new turmoil, Chris’s death continues to plague the family. Father Sylvanus Now drowns his sorrow in a bottle, while mother Addie is facing breast cancer. And the children fight their own battles as the tension persists between Kyle and his sister, Sylvie, over her role in their brother’s death.

A cast of vivid characters surrounds the Now family, some intriguing, others comical–all masterfully crafted. As the murder mystery unfolds, other deeper secrets are revealed. Wise in the ways of the heart, The Fortunate Brother is a moving family drama from beloved storyteller Donna Morrissey.


Review:

Intriguing, poignant, and deeply moving!

This story is steeped in the rugged history, hardships, landscape, dialogue, and culture that is unique to Newfoundland. 

The writing is smooth and flawless.  The characters are grounded, raw, hardy and loyal. And the plot has a nice mix of suspense, tragedy, and emotion.

It is, ultimately, a murder-mystery that takes us on a subtle journey through loss, love, grief, guilt, perseverance, community dynamics, and family relationships.

This is definitely a well written, character-driven novel, by a respected Canadian author, that shouldn’t be missed.

 

This book is due to be published on September 6, 2016.

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

Chapters/IndigoAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Penguin Random House Canada, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Donna Morrissey

Donna Morrissey has written six nationally bestselling novels. She has received awards in Canada, the U.S., and England. Her novel Sylvanus Now was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and she was nominated for a Gemini for best writing for the film Clothesline Patch. Her fiction has been translated into several different languages. Born and raised in Newfoundland, she now lives in Halifax.

Photo by Bridgette Morrissey

%d bloggers like this: