Mystery Monday | The Couturier of Milan (Ava Lee #9) by Ian Hamilton

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Ian Hamilton, a Canadian authour of the 7 novels in the Ava Lee series. His Ava Lee series has recently been green lit to be adapted into a TV series by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

What is it about?After a successful show to introduce PÖ to western audiences, Ava and her partners from Three Sisters were expected to see the orders come in and gain more new accounts. However what they were not expecting was mogul Dominic Ventola to take a sudden interest in Clark and PÖ. And when The Three Sisters turn down his corporation’s offer to buy them out, things turn ugly as Clark finds his reputation under attack and The Three Sisters find their investment at risk as they start losing clients right and left. Fortunately Ava Lee doesn’t back down from a fight, with her connection and wits she’s determined to make Dominic regret ever attacking PÖ and Clark

milan

Where does it take place? From London to Milan to Shanghai, once again Ian Hamilton takes us around the world. This time to some of the major fashion centres of the wild.

Why did I like it? Even after nine books, Ian Hamilton still manages to keep the series momentum continuing strong. And despite a few major changes that are taking place in this book, I remain intrigued and still have the desire to continue with this series, which I have grown to love increasingly with every book.

As always, Ava Lee is a total badass and even when she is up against challenging and intimidating opponents resembling members of the Italian mafia, she doesn’t back down. It’s also admirable how she is also able to command the respect and loyalty from such powerful men, Additionally, I also love the bonds and loyalty that the “Three Sisters” have for each other on top of the pride and protectiveness they have over PÖ and its founders, Clark and Gillian.

Once again, Ian Hamilton has crafted another incredibly skilful page turner that gets you from the start. He definitely excels at descriptions of fashion, and body language and has a gift for setting the scene which are all factors that have made the Ava Lee books consistently incredible in the last few installments that showcase Ava Lee embarking on a new chapter of her work life. As with the previous Ave Lee books, I flew through this The Couturier of Milan loving every second of it.

When is it out? January 16, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Midweek Mini Reviews #2

Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life by Sayed Kashua

nativeAs, Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life was my introduction to the writings of Sayed Kashua I was struck by how dry, dark, and self-deprecating the humour was at times. Just by reading the columns, I felt as if I got to look beneath the surface at what life is truly like in Israel particularly if you’re an Arab. Of course it was fun being reminded of some of the quirks of living in Israel as I too can recall having a shower in my apartment that a n incredibly strong water pressure, which was amazing when you’re living in the middle of a desert town. Additionally, I also enjoyed reading about Kashua experiences going through book festivals and travelling as it appealed to the book nerd in me. All in all, this was a somewhat dark, satirical, albeit a heartwarming collection of stories about the Israeli-Palestinian Life.

But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens, Judith Perrignon

didnt

While short in length, But You Did Not Come Back manages to summarize the important details of Marceline’s life, including the horrors of the concentration camp and her struggle to adapt to the world once she returns “home”. The events she relates back in the book are especially horrifying if you let it sit in your head for a while until you realize the book is not a work of fiction but rather a memoir of the authour’s life experiences. People were actually treated in the concentration camps in the despicable manner that Marceline describes and it’s unfortunate that even today some people still hold the same beliefs as the tormentors back at the concentration camps.

Written as a letter to her deceased father, But You Did Not Come Back also comes across as a heartbreaking story of true survival and resilience. Like the author, I too am slightly pessimistic about our world today given all that’s happened in the world and politics in 2016 and the aftermath of such events. And it’s why books like this one are so important in that they remind us to not forget that what happened in the past can happen again if we are not careful.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

firstsightAuthour:
Josh Sundquist
Format:
e-Galley
Publication date:
January 3rd 2017
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I came across Josh Sundquist’s Love and First Sight from an excerpt I read of it from the Buzz Books 2016: Young Adult Fall/Winter sampler which was compiled by the Publishers Lunch group at BEA. I liked what I read, and was excited to continue the story when I was fortunate enough to receive an e-galley.

I’ll admit that when I received a review copy of Love and First Sight I was in a desperate mood for a lighter, contemporary read. However, regardless of my mood it was difficult not to enjoy this charming character driven story. Especially as the writing was particularly gifted in describing art, and the everyday images that those of us with sight take for granted.

16 year old, William has been blind his entire life and as a result he’s developed ways to get around in his life without relying too much on others. Accustomed to being on his own, he definitely wasn’t expecting to make friends when he starts attending a regular school. One of my favourite things in Love and First Sight was the quirkiest group of friends that William joins. They are just incredibly open and accepting of each other, and although I disagree with their decision to lie to William about Cecily they were all truly exactly what William needed. I also found in the developing relationship between William and Cecily adorable though it was a slow burn romance for the majority of the novel and felt rushed at the conclusion.

This book is amazing in its portrayal of blindness and illustrating what it’s like for a person who has been blind for your entire life. Yes it’s difficult, but if you’ve lived your life a certain way without knowing anything else you end up developing ways to cope around what others view as a handicap. Additionally, I found it refreshing that it is made clear that William’s journey is just beginning when he “regains” his sight. Because for a person who has been blind their entire life, having the opportunity to see again is not just a matter of “seeing” again. It’s overwhelming, messy and it definitely requires tremendous amounts of hard work, commitment and dedication. However, as it is made clear in this book if it’s what you truly desire, then you can make it worth it in spite of all the obstacles and challenges.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | I’ll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell

tellyouAuthour:
Chloe Caldwell
Format:
Trade Paperback, 170 pages
Publication date:
October 4th 2016
Publisher:
Coffee House Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I found out about Chloe Caldwell’s second collection of essays, “I’ll Tell You in Person” through an article that was shared on Twitter. It spoke of the collection of essays telling the experiences of a young woman caught between the ages of 20 and 30 which made me feel that perhaps I could relate to what she had to say. Additionally, as I was in the midst of trying to write my own personal essays I felt that it would be helpful to read what others have written. Apparently I’m not alone in doing this, as Chloe also notes in an interview included in the book that she read a bunch of personal essay collections while in the process of writing this book.

Initially when I started reading the first few lines of the book, I found that I’ll Tell You in Person did indeed speak to me. However, my initial infatuation with the book didn’t subside as in the end like any collection, some of the essays were strong while others were not as well written. Furthermore, some of the essays were about topics that I knew little of and/or could not relate though majority of the essays were interesting to read. In the end, my two favourites that stood out in the book, would have to be “Failing Singing” about giving up a talent that you have and “Sister Less‘, a heartwarming essay on the bond that Chloe forms with Bobbi, who the daughter of writer, Cheryl Strayed.

I’ll Tell You in Person, is a short read that makes it the perfect companion for a commuter. However, be forewarned that it does pack a powerful emotional punch, especially for those who find themselves in a similar stage of their life. Meaning one that’s prone to a great deal of imperfection and disillusionment as well as a bit of disorientation. But, hey we all need to go through it at some point, no?

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk

breakAuthour:
Lindsey Kelk
Format:
ARC, 404 pages
Publication date:
January 3rd 2017
Publisher:
Harper
Publisher Social Media: Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Okay, show of hands, how many of you thought of the TV show Friends when you hear “we were on a break”? That’s basically what came to mind when I saw the title of the latest Lindsey Kelk novel.

I absolutely adored Always the Bridesmaid thus I was curious to pick up We Were on a Break. Furthermore, I was in desperate need of a fluffy light read and I was fortunate to have a review copy of this book arrive on my doorstep at a perfect time.

Unfortunately, after Always the Bridesmaid, We Were on a Break was a bit of a letdown. The novel follows Adam and Liv a couple on vacation and the aftermath of what was supposed to be the “perfect” proposal but has now become a “break” of sorts from each other. Switching back from the point of views of the two characters readers get to experience the events from both sides of this couple.

Perhaps that was the reason this book didn’t click with me, I couldn’t connect to either Liv or Adam. Which is unfortunate as the novel has told from a dual perspective of the two of them. It may have just been me, but I found the pair of them to be remarkably selfish and self-absorbed which made them not incredibly likeable. In addition, in my review copy the perspectives often switch without warning in a single chapter which often made it a bit confusing as to who’s point of view, it was.

On the other hand, I did appreciate the doubts that Liv and Adam had about each other and life in general as it felt authentic to their characters and situations. I also did like some of the side characters that appeared, including David who was the better friend to Liv than either of her girlfriends> In addition the bromance between Adam and his best friend, Tom was also rather sweet.

So while, We Were on a Break was a light novel for the majority of the book, it was also one riddled with so much misunderstanding and conflict which were basically a result of some frustrating miscommunication. In the end, I can’t help but feel unsatisfied with the conclusion as it felt too sudden and given all that unfolded throughout the course of the novel it left me doubtful as to whether what happened in the end was truly what was best for both Liv and Adam.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

1000thAuthour:
Katharine McGee
Format:
ARC, 440 pages
Publication date:
August 30th 2016
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Imagine a world, where people all live in a single residential/retail tower that has everything one could need or want. As a result, you would never have to leave your own building, ever. This is the setting of Katharine McGee’s debut novel, The Thousandth Floor. The interesting thing about it is that while the novel is set in the year 2118, it was actually inspired by a real life 2013 project called Sky City China, and while it has since been abandoned in real life it does not mean that in the future we would have a tower or even towers like the one featured in, The Thousandth Floor.

Told from the 5 different, unique perspectives I found that some of the voices were more captivating than the others. For instance, I liked Eris and Avery’s storylines and their friendship with each other but found the characters of Watt and Leda (who was a “bit:” of a hot mess) to be incredibly annoying. Still for the majority of the novel, I flew through the book at a fairly fast pace thanks in part to the authour’s writing style in addition to the way the chapters were set up. As The Thousandth Floor is only the first book in a series, there is definitely a cliff-hanger ending with a couple of the major loose ends, which has me intrigued as to how the author with proceed in book 2. (I’m hoping for some revenge and for Leda to get her comeuppance)

All that being said, I do think fans of TV shows like Gossip Girl and even Pretty Little Liars with enjoy this one as it does take some dark and twisty turns. The Thousandth Floor is also following suit with those two series as it has been optioned for an ABC television series. And seeing as the most notable thing about this book is its world building and setting, I am rather looking forward to the day when this book hits the small screen.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Waiting on Wednesday #22 | Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians #3) by Kevin Kwan

wed Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights upcoming titles that we’re looking forward to/dying to read. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

rich
Synopsis:
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside–but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan’s gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia’s most privileged families.

When I first heard about this book, I knew I needed it right

If you know me even a little bit, you will know that I am OBSESSED with Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians series. I always try to stay on top of the latest news when it comes to the book series and the movie which is currently in casting. I’m also responsible for convincing most of my blogger friends (and a couple of non book blogger ones as well) to pick up this series.

The synopsis of the last book in this series promises a ton of juicy drama and I’m definitely looking forward to the face-off between Kitty and Colette! Rich People Problems is without a doubt my most anticipated 2017 release. Here’s to hoping that it proves to be a satisfying conclusion to what has been one of my favourite series ever! (I’m also hoping the author visits Toronto again so I’ll be able to get my copy of the book signed)

What books are you “waiting” on this week?

Top Ten Tuesdays | Top Ten Best Books of 2016

TTT Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesdays | Top Ten Best Books of 2016”

December Blog Update

After the craziness of October, it was nice to have a calmer month at work in November. Though this was after we hosted a major work gala on the 1st of November. Since work had settled down quite a bit, I was able to meet up with some old friends to catch up and enjoy some good food.

Unfortunately, there will be no new blog posts this month. However, I will be back in full force come the New Year. My goal is to post at least twice a week, and I’ve already started scheduling several posts for 2017. Check out the photo below for a sneak peek of some of the book reviews that will be coming to you in the New Year. I’ll see you all in 2017!

Book Review | Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

everAuthour:
Erin Summerill
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
December 27th 2016
Publisher:
Harcourt Childrens Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
If you read my Raincoast Fall Preview post, then you would recall that Ever the Hunted was one of my most anticipated Fall/Winter 2016 releases. Thus I was beyond excited when I was approved for an e-galley of it.

Initially, Ever the Hunted was everything I was expected from it. The world building and descriptions were exquisite and the plot was compelling. I found myself speeding through the first half of the book. However, somewhere along the way I became slightly bored with the story. The protagonist, Britta wasn’t as kick butt as I hoped and her romance wasn’t as swoon worthy as I thought it would be. That being understood I did delight in the revelations and reveal of Britta’s past in addition to whom her mother and what it means to her. And I also found her voice and reactions to be refreshing, realistic given her age and situation.

Overall I felt that maybe the synopsis of Ever the Hunted (or rather my interpretation of it) misled me a bit into thinking that the book would have more of a revenge twist in addition to a cat and mouse type of dynamic between the lead and the guy who was accused of killing her father. Instead, I found that the entire misunderstanding was cleared up early on, leading to a jump into the romance aspect of Cohen and Britta’s relationship which for the majority was lacking in chemistry. All that being understood, however, Ever the Hunted does a decent job at setting up the premise for the series and the ending, while confusing also left me a bit curious as to what will happen in the book following in the series.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

sunalsoAuthour:
Nicola Yoon
Format:
ARC; 349 pages
Publication date:
November 1st 2016
Publisher:
Delacorte Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m probably one of the few bloggers who did not pick up Everything, Everything. To be frank, I didn’t feel that the book was for me. However, the person I passed my advance copy of the book to (my cousin) remains obsessed with the book as are several other bloggers who I know.

Yet Nicola Yoon’s sophomore novel, The Sun is also a Star had a synopsis that had me intrigued. And despite its comparisons to Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, a book which I could not finish I actually thoroughly enjoyed The Sun is also a Star. For those of you who have read both, you’ll definitely be able to appreciate the obvious similarities between the two, however The Sun is also a Star truly does stand out as its own unique story.

Taking place all in a single day, The Sun is also a Star tells not only the love story of Natasha, a teenage girl who wants to save her family from being deported and Daniel the younger son of a Korean immigrant family struggling to live up to his parents’ expectations but also the story of those they meet on their adventure. Dispersed among the chapters telling Natasha and Daniel’s story are short chapters on various cultural, scientific and historical topics in addition to the stories of the other characters.

What I loved about The Sun is also a Star is that Natasha and Daniel both feel like real teenagers facing real issues, including the cultural struggles that ring true for those of us who were not born in our current country or who are the children of immigrant parents. I adore how families are portrayed in the novel and it’s refreshing that we are given the back story to characters like Natasha’s father and Daniel’s father who on the surface both appear to be difficult men.

Another thing I adore about the book, was Nicola Yoon’s prose which made for some gorgeous and heartbreaking storytelling. Though the story at times was disjointed and non-linear, I appreciated the fact we are given glimpses into the futures of various characters. Furthermore, I liked how Yoon demonstrates that we are all connected, and how one person’s decision can have major impacts on another’s life without them even realizing it. It makes the reader stop and consider how their actions can affect others. That being said the lawyer in the book annoyed me to no end, and it was heartbreaking how his actions ended up affecting both Natasha and Daniel.

The Sun is also a Star is infinitely more than your average love story, sure it’s the story of Natasha and Daniel but it’s also the story of their parents without whom they would not exist. It’s also the story of all the other people in the book. After all, your story is without a doubt your story, but it does not exist alone. As humans, we are constantly interacting with others, all who have their own stories that are just as important as yours. Reading a book like The Sun is also a Star reminds us that no one story is any less important than another and that you should never discount the stories of others.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Authour:flames
Sarah Raughley
Format:
ARC, 353 pages
Publication date:
November 22nd 2016
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The moment I heard it about a book that was pitched for fans of Sailor Moon, and Avatar in addition to featuring a group of kick butt female leads, I was in and Fate of Flames became probably my most anticipated YA title from Simon and Schuster’s fall catalogue.

Fate of Flames is about four girls who all have control over an element resembling fire, water, or air. What’s intriguing about these girls is that there are always four of them, when one dies, another girl comes into her powers in addition to all the memories of her predecessors. This brings us to our protagonist, Maia whose effigy powers awaken during a lockdown at her school. This causes her to realize that her predecessor, the fire effigy has Natalya has died. She is at that point quickly thrust into the world of the effigies and fighting phantoms.

What I enjoyed about Fate of Flames was that it incorporated modern elements in a fantasy/science fiction story. Social media is a major element in the story, as are online forums which Maia tends to go on even before she became an effigy. I also liked the fact that Maia existed as a fangirl before she became an effigy as it makes this more relatable. Interestingly enough, I think the book took a realistic approach to how someone who is a fangirl transition into become one of the “heroes” they looked up to. Maia is definitely out her comfort zone, and it was refreshing to have a protagonist who doesn’t just easily adapt into her new powers and her role as a fighter, especially since it’s clear that Maia did not have any pre-existing badass attributes or abilities. Unfortunately, not much happens in Fate of Flames, the reader is thrown a great deal of history/backstory and information with little explanation. Furthermore, there isn’t much fighting until the near the conclusion of this book. Maia, the protagonist is incredibly useless for the majority of the book and instead her role is relegated to gathering the other effigies. Once the four girls, Belle, Lake and Chae Rin are gathered that’s when the story proceeds to move forward.

Overall as a first book in a trilogy, I’d consider Fate of Flames to be a decent read. I just hope all the hints, back stories, and mysteries lead up to a thrilling and satisfying story. My interest is definitely piqued, at least for book two which I hope will focus more on the girls learning to work more effectively as a team. Fate of Flames is a book for those who desire a female group focused fantasy novel that is refreshingly light on the romance.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? David Casarett, is a physician, researcher, and tenured associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness is his first work of fiction, and the first novel in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series. He currently lives in Philadelphia.

What is it about? Ladarat Patalung is a nurse-ethicist (someone who “guides” her fellow nurses and physicians on matters of clinical ethics), and not a detective nor did she ever want to be one. However, when a series of murder victims are patients at her hospital she must act fast with the help of her assistant and a kind detective and figure out what is happening or her hospital’s excellent reputation with be ruined.

rooster

Where does it take place? Set in Northern Thailand, this book is filled various details about the culture and lifestyle of the people living in Thailand. And while it was fascinating learning about a country I only vaguely heard about before, I did find that having a lot of details tin the book was somewhat distracting as I would often put down the book to google various dishes and plants mentioned throughout the book.

Why did I like it? Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness stars a nurse Ethicist, Ladarat who find herself playing the role of detective. Before reading this book I had no idea what a nurse ethicist did.  Thus, it was interesting to have a protagonist whose day job was a nurse ethicist at a major hospital.

What I liked about Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness was the fact that Ladarat did not have any superhuman like special skills, instead she was just a very observant person. This was something that I could relate to, as I often people watch when I’m out in public. Another thing that was done well were the various descriptions of Thai food and culture. I never gave much thought to Thai culture, but reading about it has made me interested in learning more about the country and perhaps visiting it one day. Through his writing, it is obvious that the author has a deep love and respect for the people and culture of Thailand. Although he does tend to compare Thailand to America quite a bit in the book.

While Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness does take some time before it picks up, it was overall a decent read. The author does a good job at capturing the voice of the female protagonist, and it’s definitely evident that he has a medical background which he brings to the novel making the story come alive more.

When did it come out? September 13, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Winter + Spring 2017 Preview Picks

On Saturday September 10th, Raincoast Books held their Winter and Spring 2017 Teen Reads preview event for their upcoming titles. While I normally would have attended the in person events (there’s one in Toronto as well as one in Vancouver where the Raincoast Books offices are located). This time around due to a family emergency, I was forced to attend the event via Google Hangout. And while my laptop and internet had glitches which made me fall behind in the presentations, fortunately I was able to keep up by following the #TeensReadFeed hastag on Twitter at the same time. Anyways below are my top anticipated titles from the Raincoast preview:

1. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

wires

This one is a give, and probably my most anticipated 2017 title (of all the ones I presented during the preview. I love graphic novels and am looking forward to seeing Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew making appearances in this book. Also Iko was a character that pretty much stole every scene she was in during the Lunar Chronicles series so it’s great to see her finally get her own story. Anyways this is the first volume of a two volume series and it will be out on January 31st.

2. Things I Should Have Known by Claire Lazebnik

things

So this book sounds right up my alley what with the quirky romance and sibling relationships. During the preview we were told that the idea for this book came from an article the author wrote about the difficulties that her son with autism had in dating. I haven’t seen many books touching upon this subject so Things I Should Have Known definitely has me intrigued.

After special guest, author Mary E. Pearson spoke, the people at Raincoast Books asked all participants three questions. Below are the three questions and my answers, feel free to chime in below in the comments with your own answers:

 

  1. What book are you most anticipating? Of all the titles presented, I’d have to say without a doubt its Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer. Two other titles from Raincoast Books I’m eagerly anticipating that weren’t mentioned during the preview are The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord and The Truth about Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo.
  2. What book are you reading now? At the time of the preview I was reading The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon.
  3. What are your favourite books of the year so far? A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (one of her bests to date)

***

fall-preview

Back on the first day of October, I had the pleasure of once again visiting the amazing office of Penguin Random House in downtown Toronto. This time it was for their fall preview where we got to hear from Jackie and Evan about all the exciting Fall titles that were already out as well as those that will be in stores later in the Fall.

There were also two special guests at the session I attended, one was Shari Lapena the author of The Couple Next Door while the other guest was author, Kyo Maclear who spoke about her upcoming book Birds Art Life Death: A Field Guide to the Small and Significant. Everyone then received an advance copy of the book which will be out in February.

In addition to the Fall titles, we got a sneak peek at some Winter titles as well and I thought it would be nice to share with you guys some of the Winter titles that I’m looking forward to.

1. Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

bookslive

Fun fact, Will Schwalbe was technically the first author I met as a book blogger. His memoir, The End of Your Life Book Club inspired me to start a book club of my own with my mother…and while that has not yet happened, I’m still looking forward to the recommendations that can be found in Books for Living. Pitched as a book for those who are curious as to what others are currently reading, it sounds like a perfect read to me.

2. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

wrongtodays

Elan Mastai was one of the many authours who had an introduction video at the fall preview. In his, he was “apologetically” Canadian. The premise of All Our Wrong Todays sounds incredibly intriguing as it mixes science fiction elements like time travel with elements of more realistic fiction like relationships and life in general. I’m curious to see as to whether the protagonist will choose to stay in the new world (our version of 2016) or head back to the one he came from, the 1950s

3. How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

bawse

I recently got into iiSuperwomanii’s videos and I’m slightly obsessed. Lilly is just so relatable and hilarious, and I love that we are both alumni’s of the same university and program. With this title, I’m more excited to get my hands on the audio book as it would be way cooler to listen to her actual voice as it’s what I’m used to with her YouTube videos.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Faithful by Alice Hoffman

faithAuthour:
Alice Hoffman
Format:
Egalley
Publication date:
November 1st 2016
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Before Faithful, I’ve only read one book by Alice Hoffman which was Aquamarine, a book I read back when I was in elementary school. Thus, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Faithful besides gorgeous prose.

Told from a third person, omniscient perspective, Faithful is the story of a woman named Shelby, who struggles with immense guilt when a car accident leaves her best friend brain-dead while she is virtually unscathed. As a result, Shelby spirals downwards and engages in countless self-destructive behaviours before she is slowly able to come to terms with the fact that she “survived”. What I liked about Shelby’s story was that Shelby undergoes lots of terrible things yet in the end she is able to come out of it as a stronger character. It just goes to show that no matter how broken somebody may be, they can eventually come back from it.

Another story element I enjoyed within Faithful were the female relationships. In particular, the friendship between Maravelle and Shelby was incredible and I adored the way that Maravelle’s family gradually became a substitute family to Shelby. It was touching to witness her begin to care for others all while assisting her in her journey of learning to love herself again. The other central relationship throughout the book was Shelby’s relationship with her mother. It was lovely watching their relationship evolve over time and their bond becomes stronger as both grew older and begin to understand each other better.

In spite of the fact that I enjoyed Faithful for the reasons mentioned above, there were two things that I wasn’t fond of. One was the romance in the book, the relationship in the conclusion felt underdeveloped and if I were to be honest, this book would have been more than fine without any romance plot. The other thing that made me slightly uncomfortable was what happens to Shelby’s friend, Helene. Despite being brain-dead she is kept “alive” on life support so that people can come to and worship her for miracles. While it is understandable that her parents are unable to let go of their daughter, it’s also depressing to read how she is kept alive like this after having read about what she was like.

Faithful, is a powerful novel that demonstrates how amidst all the tragedy, loss, guilt, and shame there can be love, hope and perhaps even a “rebirth” of sorts. And that “magic” does exist and in manifests itself in unexpected ways in real life. All in all it was a fairly quick and engrossing read that I would recommend to readers who love stories of redemption and stories with dogs!

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.