Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Lost Ones: A Novel by Sheena Kamal

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Recommended for summer reading by TIME magazine

“A brave, unflinching heroine and brave, unflinching writing add up to an extraordinary debut–highly recommended.”–Lee Child

A dark, compulsively readable psychological suspense debut, the first in a new series featuring the brilliant, fearless, chaotic, and deeply flawed Nora Watts—a character as heartbreakingly troubled, emotionally complex, and irresistibly compelling as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole.

It begins with a phone call that Nora Watts has dreaded for fifteen years—since the day she gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Bonnie has vanished. The police consider her a chronic runaway and aren’t looking, leaving her desperate adoptive parents to reach out to her birth mother as a last hope.

A biracial product of the foster system, transient, homeless, scarred by a past filled with pain and violence, Nora knows intimately what happens to vulnerable girls on the streets. Caring despite herself, she sets out to find Bonnie with her only companion, her mutt Whisper, knowing she risks reopening wounds that have never really healed—and plunging into the darkness with little to protect her but her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.

The search uncovers a puzzling conspiracy that leads Nora on a harrowing journey of deception and violence, from the gloomy rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy white mountains of the Canadian interior, to the beautiful and dangerous island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born.

my thoughts:

Mystery-thrillers chock full of suspense are my go-to this summer.  Especially the page-turners that haunt you for days after. I just love those books to bits. So, I was definitely excited to get my hands on a copy of Sheena Kamal's debut novel, The Lost Ones.  I'd read the blurb about it and thought it sounded right up my alley.  Plus, it has been getting nothing but rave reviews.  How could I not want to read it, right?

I settled down with a huge cuppa, ignored the rain and howling winds, and read all day long.  I found myself in Canada with Nora, a strong and very flawed woman who is on a mission to forget her past.  Except, her past won't let her go.  One day, out of the blue, Nora receives a phone call.  The caller asks for her help.  Bonnie has gone missing and they need Nora to help find her.  Who's Bonnie?  Well, Bonnie is Nora's daughter.  Fifteen years ago, Nora gave up her baby and now she's being asked by the adoptive parents to help look for her. What's Nora to do?  She could ignore the phone call and keep on trying to forget about her past.  Or, she could choose to help look for Bonnie and face her past head-on.  Hmm...talk about a tough decision...or not.  Nora knows that she has to look for Bonnie and she knows that her past will definitely be haunting her all throughout her search.  And so, the story begins.  Where is Bonnie?  What happened to her? Why has she gone missing?  What dreadful things from Nora's past is she keen to forget?  How does her past connect with Bonnie's disappearance?  Will Nora find Bonnie?  Ack! So many questions and so many twists and turns to get through. And I loved every minute of it!

The Lost Ones is a terrific story that will grab you from the start.  Its slow-going, but feels fast-paced at the same time (if that makes any sense).  Nora is a great character - complicated and messy - the kind that you want to keep reading about.  And the story lines are captivating - you can't help but want more.  I absolutely enjoyed this book. It was such a thrilling read - perfect for summer!

I would happily recommend The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal to fans of suspense/mystery novels - you will LOVE this book!!  I know that I can't wait to read more of Kamal's books.

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Lost Ones
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, July 24, 2017

My Sister's Bones: A Novel by Nuala Ellwood

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“Rivals The Girl on the Train as a compulsive read (and beats it for style). — Observer (UK)

In the vein of Fiona Barton’s The Widow and Renée Knight’s Disclaimer, a psychological thriller about a war reporter who returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death but becomes convinced that all is not well in the house next door—but is what she’s seeing real or a symptom of the trauma she suffered in Syria?

The One Person You Should Trust Is Lying to You…

Kate has spent fifteen years bringing global injustice home: as a decorated war reporter, she’s always in a place of conflict, writing about ordinary people in unimaginable situations. When her mother dies, Kate returns home from Syria for the funeral. But an incident with a young Syrian boy haunts her dreams, and when Kate sees a boy in the garden of the house next door—a house inhabited by an Iraqi refugee who claims her husband is away and she has no children—Kate becomes convinced that something is very wrong.

As she struggles to separate her memories of Syria from the quiet town in which she grew up—and also to reconcile her memories of a traumatic childhood with her sister’s insistence that all was not as Kate remembers—she begins to wonder what is actually true…and what is just in her mind.

In this gripping, timely debut, Nuala Ellwood brings us an unforgettable damaged character, a haunting , humanizing look at the Syrian conflict, and a deeply harrowing psychological thriller that readers won’t be able to put down.

my thoughts:

Wow! Talk about a psychological thriller at its best! I absolutely LOVED My Sister's Bones. This book was on fire! It had top notch writing, chock full of mystery and suspense which all made for quite a thrilling and exciting read. And the characters were crazy good - they had me questioning everything!  Oh, and the flashbacks mixed in with present day were terrific - they really made you get a better understanding of Kate's past.  Or did they? Hmm...

So, who is Kate?  Well, she's a war reporter who has just returned from Syria to her childhood home for her mother's funeral.  However, once she's back in familiar territory her life seems to take a turn for the worse.  We find out about her abusive childhood, her terrible father, and her alcoholic sister.  We see Kate become convinced that something sinister is happening to the kid next door.  And we find ourselves wondering just how mentally competent Kate really is - how hard has her job impacted her life?  The horrors she grew up with combined with the war torn countries she travels to must have affected her psyche in some way or another - right?  Or is something else happening to Kate?  What is making her see what's not there? Hmm...let me just say, you will have quite a time figuring it out.  All the horrors, the family drama, and the hallucinations - Whoa, Nelly! Talk about storytelling at its best! 

I would happily recommend Nuala Ellwood's debut novel, My Sister's Bones to fans of psychological thrillers - you will get a kick out of this one!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: My Sister's Bones
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dark Saturday: A Novel by Nicci French

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Enter the world of NICCI FRENCH with Dark Saturday, an electrifying, sophisticated psychological thriller about past crimes and present dangers, featuring an unforgettable protagonist…

A decade ago, 18-year-old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the shocking murder of her family. It was an open-and-shut case, and Hannah has been incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital ever since.

When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment, she reluctantly agrees. But what she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time. And Frieda is haunted by the idea that Hannah might be as much of a victim as her family — that she might, in fact, be innocent.

As Hannah’s case takes hold of her, Frieda begins to realize that she’s up against someone who will go to any lengths to keep the truth from surfacing — even kill again.

Utterly compelling and enthralling, Dark Saturday speeds readers down a twisting trail of secrets, suspense, and murder.

my thoughts:

I'm going to be upfront and admit to never having read any of the books in the Freida Klein series by writing duo Nicci French (the authors are husband and wife, Nicci Gerrard and Sean French).  However, I have heard nothing but amazing things about their books and so I've always had their name on my list of authors to read.  So, when I was provided with the chance to review Dark Saturday, I jumped at the chance.  How could I not?  The book not only sounded amazing, but the author was on my TBR list - it was fate!

I settled down with a huge cuppa, a warm blanket ( the A/C is cranked up to freezing in my house, because its so HOT outside ), and my copy of Dark Saturday.  I did not get up for anyone or anything - I just read, read, and read some more until I reached the very end.  And let me tell you, I loved every minute of.  The book was fantastic! Chock full of mystery and suspense, I was hooked all the way through.  I can't wait to read the rest of this series!

So, what is Dark Saturday about?  Well, its about psychotherapist Freida Klein and her latest case: Hannah Docherty.  Hannah was eighteen when she was arrested for murdering her family.  All the evidence pointed right at her, so she was sent to Chelsworth Hospital - a hospital filled with inmates that the doctors are supposed to be treating/helping.  Its been thirteen years and the police want her case looked over again.  Apparently the lead investigator has just had another case overturned and in order to make sure that it doesn't happen again, the police have asked Freida to look over Hannah's case.  They figure the evidence is all there and the fact that Hannah is crazy will pretty much confirm what they already know - that's she's guilty.  Of course, Freida being Freida, can not just meet Hannah once and decide that she is guilty.  Nope, she needs to meet with her multiple times and pore over the files of the case.  Why?  Well, she's wondering if perhaps Hannah is a victim.  And she's wondering who really killed Hannah's family and why.  Yep, Freida is now on the case and she wants her answers.

French has written a chilling and gripping story that is the epitome of unputdownable.  It is seriously addictive- you won't/can't stop reading.  The writing was spot on with its quick-paced feel that provided the right amount of tension to each scene.  The horror and grittiness of the hospital was eye-opening and terrifying.  And getting to know Freida through her friends and her work was perfect.  I loved how smart, determined, and dysfunctional she was - a flawed, but realistic character.  This book was seriously just what I needed to get me out of my reading doldrums. I absolutely LOVED it!!

I would happily recommend Dark Saturday to fans of Nicci French and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to my TLC Book Tour schedule for: Dark Saturday
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Inifinite Summer: A Novel by Edoardo Nesi

(Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Set in Tuscany in the Seventies, three men share a dream of building a textile factory from scratch, in a time and place when everything still seemed possible

Ivo Barrocciai, the son of a textile artisan and full of enthusiasm, embarks on a slightly over-ambitious undertaking: to build a large factory that will be “the envy of the Milanese.” He involves Cesare Vezzosi, a small building contractor, and Pasquale Citarella, a site foreman from Southern Italy, in the project. Their relationships with their wives, their secret passions, their ambitions and the compromises they have to make form a comical, moving fresco, a family saga, a love story—not only about people, but also about a flourishing nation rich with opportunity and promise.

my thoughts:

Italy during the 70s - what more could I want from a book, right? How about a story that is chock full of unforgettable characters from all walks of life who are filled with hopes and dreams, but flawed in every way imaginable.  Oh, and writing that is rich with creativity - the beauty of the prose drips from the pages and it sweeps you away to Tuscany with its glorious vividness.  Well, I got all of that and more from Edoardo Nesi's latest work, Infinite Summer

Talk about a must-read book for the summer!! I absolutely LOVED Infinite Summer.  I soaked up the descriptions of Italian life and culture with pleasure.  The smells, the sights, and the sounds came to life.  I could imagine myself walking around a piazza, eating gelato, and people-watching.  The sky is blue and cloudless, the air filled with life, and the flea market bustling with shoppers eyeing leather-bound journals and dazzling necklaces.  Its like I'm right there and I can't help but smile.  To be in Italy is to be in bliss. 

The story focuses on capitalism and the textile trade industry via three men: Ivo, Cesare, and Pasquale.  Ivo wants to build the largest textile manufacturing company in all of Tuscany.  He hires Cesare as the contractor and Pasquale as the foreman.  The two men are thrown into new terrain upon learning about Ivo's outlandish expectations for the building and his company.  And yet, through their hard work and determination the trio somehow manage to make things happen.  Its fascinating and eye-opening to learn about the "behind the scenes" machinations of creating and running a textile manufacturing company.  Of course, what makes it all so interesting are the people and their personal lives. Somehow, the personal always manages to intersect with the professional at some point.  I enjoyed getting to know Ivo, Cesare, and Pasquale through their relationships with each other, but mainly through their relationships with their loved ones.  It all made for quite a funny, captivating, and unputdownable read.  I absolutely LOVED Infinite Summer!!

I would happily recommend Infinite Summer by Edoardo Nesi to fans of his work and anyone looking for their next great summer read - you are going to LOVE this book!!

Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dunkirk:The History Behind The Major Motion Picture by Joshua Levine

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:


The Battle of Dunkirk, in May/June 1940, is remembered as a stunning defeat, yet a major victory as well. The Nazis had beaten back the Allies and pushed them across France to the northern port of Dunkirk. In the ultimate race against time, more than 300,000 Allied soldiers were daringly evacuated across the Channel. This moment of German aggression was used by Winston Churchill as a call to Franklin Roosevelt to enter the war. Now, historian Joshua Levine explores the real lives of those soldiers, bombed and strafed on the beaches for days on end, without food or ammunition; the civilians whose boats were overloaded; the airmen who risked their lives to buy their companions on the ground precious time; and those who did not escape.

my thoughts:

Nonfiction is where its at! Then again, I'm on a bit of a nonfiction kick lately, so I am loving learning about everything (celebrities, history, authors, Paris).  Especially, when the topic I am learning about has been made into a film I am dying to see - starring Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles (I have to admit I'm curious to see if he can act).  Dunkirk is a must-see film for WWII buffs and anyone interested in learning about history, specifically the Dunkirk Evacuation.  I will admit to having no knowledge regarding Dunkirk until I saw the film's trailers.  Of course, when I did, I just knew that I had to read about it.  Luckily, I was provided with the opportunity to do just that - thank you, TLC Book Tours!!

Yep, I received a copy of Joshua Levine's awesome book, Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture and dove right in.  I settled down with a huge cuppa, my copy of the book, and the weekend ahead of me.  And let me just say, I didn't stop reading for anything.  I was mesmerized - absolutely hooked on learning all about Dunkirk: the soldiers, the civilians, the airmen, the small boats, and the battle.  I learned about a part of WWII history that is viewed as a successful failure.  I learned about the Dunkirk Spirit.  And I learned about the courage and bravery exhibited during WWII - a true story of survival.  Definitely eye-opening, engaging, and informative - Dunkirk is a must-read!!  Oh, and did I mention the film aspect of the book.  Levine includes an interview with Christopher Nolan (the director of Dunkirk) and some behind the scenes information of the filming of this historical event.  Definitely an interesting way to connect the history and the film - I really enjoyed it.  In fact,  now I can't wait to watch the film even more so than before:

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Dunkirk
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!