Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Make Up for Mystery Monday: The Shark


THE SHARK
(Forgotten Files: #1)

Written by Mary Burton
MAY 24, 2016; 350 Pages
Genre: romantic suspense, suspense, mystery, thriller

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

★★★★

Nothing can put a damper on Virginia state trooper, Riley Tatum adopting her seventeen year old foster daughter until she gets a call to a murder scene.  The grisly murder of  a prostitute brings back memories of Riley's past - a part of her past that she cannot remember so well.  She is brought on to the team of investigators including former FBI agent, Clay Bowman.  Bowman is now retired and working at Shield's (Shield is also former FBI), a security company.  Bowman was also Riley's one time lover and instructor.  As Riley's past is coming to haunt her present, and maybe also her future, she is not sure she can work with Bowman.  But he could be her last chance to capture the predator, The Shark before more victims get caught up in his game.

I have read Mary Burton in the past and have thought her books okay.  I liked the romantic suspense story line but wanted more thriller and mystery.  I was looking forward to the quick read, but wow, I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the plot, characters and suspense.  I think you mysteries fans will figure out who The Shark is, but you will love every second of Riley and Bowman chasing him down. The next book will have Riley's boss as the main hero and I cannot wait!

k (My Novelesque Life)
 

Ta-Da Twisted Tuesday: The Sisters


Sooooo, here is my confession: I judge books by their covers.  I picked up The Sisters by Claire Douglas based on the cover and tag line.  It was set in Britain so I was eagerly awaiting to read this book in one shot.  Two days later...

THE SISTERS
Written by Claire Douglas
MAY 31, 2016 (already released in UK 2015); 363 Pages
Genre: suspense, mystery

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS in exchange for an honest review.)
​​
★★
 
After the loss of her twin sister, Abi has moved to Bath to be closer to her parents.  One day she meets Bea, who looks a lot like her sister Lucy and her. Bea invites her to a art opening at her home and they quickly become friends.  At this art opening Abi meets Bea's twin brother, Ben.  When one artist moves out of Bea and Ben's family home, Bea invites Abi to move in rent free.  Abi soon finds herself falling for Ben which only begins to irk Bea.  Soon Abi's letters from Lucy go missing, and she begins to get threatening messages.  When Abi goes to Ben he sides with his sister and Abi doesn't know who to turn to and if she can get out alive.
 
If I see one more book with the review/tagline of "for fans of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train" I am purposely going to not read it. So there.  I had high hopes for this book.  The synopsis sounded great and it being a British psychological thriller I couldn't wait till this book came up on my list.  Sadly, this book did not live up to the hype. (It was chosen as a winner for Marie Claire fiction contest and Good Housekeeping also recommended it).

1. I didn't like the characters and so I had no one to root for and kind of felt like they deserve anything awful that happens (I know, that is mean - but they did say it was like Gone Girl so that was at least true!)

2. I am not sure why Abi didn't just leave...period.  There was no incentive in my opinion to keep her there.

3. Where was the suspense??? And, the psychological thriller part??? The constant is she crazy or not was pretty obvious. It was easy to figure out what happened to Lucy...and the later "twists".  
4. At times it felt like there was no editing involved.  There were errors and at time rambling descriptions. 
I gave this book a star because it is an easy read and I did finish it.  I decided to give it another star because I felt bad that this book didn't even grab me at any point.  I will not be reading any further books by this author.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Monday, 30 May 2016

Mystery Monday Postponed till Ta-Da Tuesday!

Tomorrow is release day for two novels I'm reading right now...so will do both reviews tomorrow.  Stay tuned!  

 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Short Story Sunday: Ritter: Alternate Ending


ALTERNATE ENDING: Ritter
Written by Kris Kaila

He leaned over and watched as the nine-millimeter fell from his hand.  He leaned over the railing to see if the gun had fallen into the water.  With one leg in the air, he pulled himself up a bit. Only his toes touched the ground.  He smiled to himself, and his new freedom.  Without warning, his knee gave out he leaned forward to catch himself.  Instead he went over the railing headfirst.  From the shock of his knee, he could not grab anything in time.  The last thing he remembered as he fell was poor John Ritter falling over the couch.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Saturday Short Story: Ritter Conclusion




RITTER
Written by Kris Kaila


She was probably out somewhere trying to teach him a lesson. Probably having dinner with a friend, just because he was a little late. He wanted her home so he could accuse her of all the things he had conjured up driving home.  Gone was the night they had spent together laughing and making love.  Gone was the morning they spent feeling closer to one another than they had in awhile.
    


He stormed inside the house and dropped his briefcase by the door.  Dropping his keys in the empty candy dish, he saw the answering machine blinking.  It was probably either a message for her, or her calling him.  (His clients, co-workers and friends all called his office or cell phone). Roger knew he could never actually kill his wife, but he could piss her off some more.  He decided he would not listen to the message.  Why should he? He walked up to his bedroom, changed and lied down on his bed.
    Two hours later, the repeated loud banging on the downstairs door finally woke him up.  Before he opened the door, he could see the red and blue lights through the window.
   

    “Mr. Roger Gill?” The police officer asked.
   

     “Yes.”
     

     “Sir, I am sorry to be the one to inform you…”
    

                                      

       Roger starred at the glow of the television, the faces had begun to blur, as the tears filled his eyes.  She had never made it home.  Reena was dead.  He could not stop the message on the answering machine from replaying in his head.
      

       “Hey Roger, it’s me.  I’m going to be home late tonight.  I have to finish last month’s figures.  I think I should be finished by eight-thirty.  Hey…if it’s not too much trouble, Roger, could you…come by. You see…there have been some muggings in this neighbourhood, and I’m, uh…kind of scared.  I know it’s stupid, but still…uh…call me.  Otherwise, I’ll see later at home. Oh, by the way I had a real nice time last night.  It’s been awhile… But anyway, talk to you later.”
     

        If only he had heard the message.  He had been home at 8:30 and could have gone to walk her to her car.
    

          “Earlier this evening, a woman was sexually assaulted and left for dead right in front of the accounting building where she worked.  The victim was a woman in her late thirties.  After being dragged into the park nearby she was assaulted repeatedly.  With a blunt object she was struck at least five times.  A late night jogger found her body upon hearing some moaning. By the time help arrived she was pronounced dead.  The police have no suspects at this time, but are warning women in the area to be careful.  This is Barb, from channel 9 news.”
     

           Roger finally turned off the television.  He sat on the edge of bed looking at his reflection in the screen.  His sweet Reena was dead.  It was his fault. She was so young and suddenly without any warning she was taken from him. He sobbed for a moment, and then stopped, mid-sob. Was she taken from him?  Had he been given a chance to save her, would he have?  If he would have listened to the message he could…would have gone to pick her up.  No matter how angry he was at her, if she were frightened, he would have gone to her.  Wouldn’t he have?  He would have.  Wouldn’t…he…have?
   

          She was gone now.  Whether he could have saved her is beside the point now.  She’s dead. Gone.  It wasn’t really him that killed her. Thoughts of murder were not the same as killing someone.  No one would blame him for not listening to the message.  Anyone could have made that mistake. It was God’s will. She was gone. He was alone. Alone.  Alone…to make all the decisions.  His decisions. His first decision was to take some time off work.  In fact, he would work less, period.  He did not need expensive things, like she did.  He no longer had to worry about missed meals, or buying gifts to placate her.  No more of her condescending remarks.  Roger would no longer have to embarrass himself by going to the sperm clinic.  Sitting the tan coloured room with magazines soiled from pathetic men like him, sitting in the same seat as him. Sent here by their aging nagging wives. He could adopt as many kids as he wanted.  She was gone.  Gone. He was not to blame.  It was not his fault, at all.  It was all a part of God’s greater plan. It was all meant to work out like this.  He loved her the best he could.  No one could have asked him for more. For the first time since the police had arrived at his door, Roger smiled.  He was free. He. Was. Free.
  

            Roger got up from the bed, grabbed his jacket, tie and briefcase.  At the lobby, he checked out.  He would wait awhile and then sell the house.  She was gone, and so would her house along with her memories.  As he drove home, he stopped by the Fraser River. He got out of the car and walked to bridge with his briefcase still in his hand. He balanced the briefcase on the railing as he opened it up.  Taking the cold hard metal out from beneath his papers, he stared at it one last time.  He leaned over and watched as the nine-millimeter fell from his hand.


ALTERNATE ENDING next time.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wooing Wednesday: Back in Carr Town


Yay, I am again up to date on all of Robyn Carr's contemporary series.  I am glad I have some standalone books if I get the withdrawals!

Audiobook Cover
WHAT WE FIND
(Sullivan's Crossing: #1)
Written by Robyn Carr
Narrated by Therese Plummer
April 2016; 342 Pages (9 Hours and 30 Minutes)

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 1/2
 
What We Find is the first book in a new series by Robyn Carr. This book reminded me a lot of Carr's first series, Grace Valley Trilogy.  A thirty-seven year old doctor wants to find a man and have a baby.  She returns to her hometown and to her father and meets a set of quirky townsfolk.  That is simplifying it as there are different stories running in each series.  In Grace Valley we had three novels for main character, June to evolve but we also had side stories of the townspeople also changing.  Like Virgin River and Thunder Point, in this novel we get Maggie and Cal's story.  We may see more of them yet, as there are more books in the series, but I am not sure were the story will go.  Tom seems to be the only bachelor they have talked about and there are his teenage kids.  Carr includes teens in her stories to give it a more rounded feel.  
 
I found at times this novel was stalling a bit, in that it was just going in no direction or having an exciting beginning.  When it does pick up I did enjoy it but not as much as I have enjoyed her books in the past.  I may have high expectations for Carr, but I just found myself not getting too into the plot or characters.  Maggie and her father felt a bit like previous Carr characters that they did not stand out to me.  The best thing about Cal was his past and how he came to be at Sullivan's Crossing.  Cal's parents and his home life sounded much like a story line from Grace Valley that I was wondering if he was a re-occurring character.  I love Sullivan's Creek...it totally sounds like a place I would want to go.  As always, Therese Plummer was amazing with all the character voices! While this novel didn't leave me clamoring for the next book, I am curious to see where it goes next!

k (My Novelesque Life)
 
 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Toddlers, Tots and Teens: YA Fiction and Nonfiction






TRUE CRIME FOR YA

THE BORDEN MURDERS: LIZZIE BORDEN AND THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY
Written by Sarah Miller
2016; 304 Pages
Genre: true crime, history, nonfiction

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.) 



In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home and their daughter, Lizzie is soon arrested. In this true crime book, Sarah Miller takes the reader on a linear look at the case from the moment the Bordens are murdered to when Lizzie dies. We sees the different theories that have been thrown around then and now.  Where the key players were and their motives. Miller also supplies some historical context of the time to gives us some ideas of what that time was like  It reads like a textbook rather than a story which is not a bad thing.  While the book is about crime and murder, it isn't gory in details but I would pin this one at mid to late teens to adults. A must for any true crime buff...or one in the making!

 FICTION FOR YA

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS
Written by Marieke Nijkamp
2016; 285 Pages
Genre: suspense, crime

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.) 



This novel is about a school shooting from the perspective of four students - two inside and two outside the auditorium where the gunman has them trapped.  I liked that it was told this way and that it was told within the minutes of the shooting to the end. I was interested in reading this novel because it told from the kids point of view and by an author who advocates diversity.  However, I was greatly disappointed with the plot and characters.  The shooter comes from an abused home and he is quite aggressive with everyone including his sister.  Therein lies his motivation and we get nothing more than he is an evil person....and he deserves all the bad things that have happened to him.  Everyone else is good.  They are all good people who have bad things happen to themThey stand up to the bad and are now doing well.  We don't really find out any flaws or realism to any of the characters but very one-sided personalities.  I finished the book to see where it would go and if it would grow.  Unfortunately, the end does not get better.  It ends quickly without any feeling.  I rated it 1 star because of the ending where a student purposely stands up to the gunman when he didn't need to.  When this kid is shot he thinks it is worth dying to tell the gunman what he thinks about him.  I walked away from this novel more disturbed by the book's message then the school shooting. 


k (My Novelesque Life)
 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Mystery Monday: The Real Mystery is After Reading the Novel






US/CAN Cover
A GAME FOR ALL THE FAMILY
Written by Sophie Hannah
2015 (UK); MAY 24, 2016 (CAN/US); 464 Pages
Genre: mystery, psychological thriller, suspense

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS in exchange for an honest review.)

★★

For some reason Justine and her family, husband and daughter, are moving to another city and she is excited to not be working.  As we move a few chapters into the book, we find out that Justine's daughter, Ellen is devastated that her friend (that no one knew about) George has been expelled.  Also, Ellen has been working day and night on a short story assignment from school.  Justine decides to visit the principal and finds out that George doesn't exist.  So what does this mean?
UK Cover

Yes, what does this mean???!!! I read FOUR HUNDRED and SIXTY-FOUR pages and I have no clue what happened other than implausible fantasy or crazy Wonderland stuff.  I can't even review this book because I don't know what is a spoiler! The positive is that Hannah writes well.  After reading more reviews on this book - which are mixed - I think I want to try Hannah's series (Spilling CID) before making decisions on the author.  I rarely say don't read the book - I feel like after you read my review you can judge if it's something you want to pursue - but this one I would say...read something else!

k (My Novelesque Life)  

A Late Sunday Tea: Short Story Sunday!


I apologize that there was no Sunday Tea yesterday.  I forgot I was working the Victoria Day long weekend so that pushed me back a bit.  I did get through two books, though :)  SO instead of a person essay for Sunday Tea here is another installment of Ritter!

RITTER
Written by Kris Kaila

 Last night they went to bed together, for the first time in months. She had finished her reports early and her day plan had already been written. He had just won another case and had several hours to himself as his victory prize.  They had spent hours in bed just talking and laughing like they had done not so very long ago.  In the morning they were again their professional selves. While one of them brushed their teeth, the other showered.  Both used the small mirror while he shaved, and she applied her makeup. In the bedroom, they were at either side of the bed slipping on their suits.   For breakfast, the coffee was set on a timer from the night before.  Breakfast included some overpriced name brand granola bars to go.  With a quick kiss, that barely made contact, they headed off for the morning traffic jam.
    

         He strutted into his office with his recent win still fresh in the air.  After handing over the final papers, he went to his office where his new client was waiting.  Roger had his secretary cancel lunch with his wife, because of his workload even though he had time to go to the gym before heading home.  They usually ate by 7:30 pm, but he was already an hour late.  He knew that his wife would be upset over the missed lunch and now the late dinner.  To tone down her nagging he stopped to pick up some flowers and dessert.  Tomorrow he might pick up a small tennis bracelet if she was really pissed. He really didn’t want to give his wife a bracelet.  He felt that he worked for the both of them.  Without his paycheck they would not be able to live in such a nice house, have two cars paid off, and able to take a vacation twice a year.  He was doing all this for them, so he did not understand why she would get so angry over a few missed meals and late nights.  He was faithful to her.  Roger never even had time to flirt with a girl, so what more could he do?  What more did she expect from him?
 

            By the time he was ten minutes away from his house, he himself was pissed off. How dare she make him feel guilty over something he was doing for her?  He had half a mind to throw the flowers and candy out the car window.  It was not as if she would be that grateful for them.  She would sniff at flowers, claiming that they made her eyes water.  The chocolate would not be expensive enough for her tastes. She would eat one to satisfy him, and then chuck the rest. And, yet it was him who was being wasteful.
    

          After eleven years of marriage, he could not at this moment remember anything good about her.  When they had married at 24 years of age, they had vowed they would not have kids until they were secured enough, and when they really wanted them.  Seven years went by when they were final ready.  By then they were old enough to have problems that come with age and trying to conceive.  His sperm count was not as great as it once was, and her uterus was not a great environment for the few that managed to make it over there. Roger had spent nights holding her in his arms and soothing her.  He would whisper that children were not as important to him, as she was.  There was always the possibility they could adopt a child or try in vitro.  He had been disappointed when they could not have kids. He felt that he let her down by not being a real man.   So he loyally jacked off into a cup every time she asked.  He gave her the injections, and was ready to lend his services when she was ovulating.  He did it all.  And, he did it all for her.  He did it despite knowing that in vitro was never going to work on her.  He was even willing to adopt.  He could love another man’s child.  She was the one that could not love another woman’s child. She could not because he or she did not grow inside her.  If it did not grow inside her then how could she feel anything for it?  It. The baby. Their baby.
    

         As he stopped at the stop sign, he rolled down the window and flung the flowers out.  The roses hit the pavement still in the gold colour wrapping. He could not help himself thinking of doing the same to Reena.  Flinging her out of a window, pushing her off a cliff, or using the good old predictable gun.  Opening the chocolates he ate them one by one.  Why shouldn’t he enjoy himself? Driving into the garage he noticed her car was not where she usually parked.
    

            “Bitch,” he muttered.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Fiction Friday: Ritter



RITTER
Written by Kris Kaila

The light from the flashing neon sign crept through the sheer curtains onto his face.  Lying on the stiff stale bed he could not will himself to get up, and pull down the shades.  The glow from the television, some eighties sitcom, was background noise for his incessant thoughts.  The air conditioning in the small room kicked in with a low rumble, and half an hour later died out. Died out, quickly without any warning.  There was a squeaking noise coming from next door that he drowned out with the high pitch squeals of the laugh track.  Roger turned his head towards the television. Jack Tripper was at it again trying to convince Mr. Roper he was gay, while a leggy blond sat on the coach blinking in confusion. John Ritter was dead, too.  He had died quickly without any warning.  He, Ritter, was only fifty-four. Roger could not remember where he had heard about Ritter’s death, or when. The telephone rang with a shrieking echo in the hollow motel room.
   

    “Hello,” he said, finally on the seventh ring.
 

    “Mr. Gill, this is the motel manager.  We just wanted to confirm your eight-am wake up call.”
     

      “Yes, thank you.”
       

      “Goodnight, Mr. Gi…” was all the manager could choke out before Roger hung up the phone.
    

       When he turned the television off only the neon vacancy sign lighted the room.  For the hundredth time that night he looked over at his briefcase sitting on the night table.  He had already opened it several times to feel the weight of the cold hard metal in his hand. Roger tried to get the briefcase and it’s contents out of his mind.  His eyes would not close no matter how hard he tried.  Sleep was no longer an option. He flicked the TV back on. His stomach rumbled, now that the vodka had left his system.  Unfortunately, he was sober and he could feel the day’s weight on him.  He was alone.  Reena was dead.  She died quickly without any warning.



Thursday, 19 May 2016

New Features

I have been going over my past posts and updating some grammar, spelling, adding links, etc.  



One new feature you will or have notice is DROP EVERYTHING AND READ (D.E.A.R.).  Through all my reviews of great books, I am further narrowing down the "must reads" by adding this icon on to the posts.


Another icon is for AUDIOBOOKS - this lets you know right away that this is a book I listened to audiobook. 






The last new icon is Book Club.  If my post is not about my face to face book club but is a book we read I will include this icon.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Please Note...


As I write essays about myself and my feelings I would just like to make a quick note and say that every story has TWO sides and this is just mine.  Facts are facts but once feelings get involve it becomes perception.  Relationships in general are difficult.  For me, I think I can be a bit neglectful sometimes. I want to state this because I don't want anyone to judge anyone but me harshly.  These are my words, my thoughts and my responsibility.  (As well as, my dealings with people).  I am writing these essays to hopefully let go of some of this baggage I carry afraid I will be judged...so face your fear and all that.  Secondly, I hope this helps with my writing...and maybe even make this into a career...do what you love.

k

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Wooing Wednesday: Everyday Sexism


Here are two books I have been reading lately...

MEN EXPLAIN THINGS TO ME
Written by Rebecca Solnit
2014; 130 Pages
Genre: nonfiction, social issues, gender

Rating: ★★1/2

Writer Rebecca Solnit uses humour in her scathing essay about how men converse with women.  Solnit demonstrates in her essay how men silence women and talk to them as if they know best.  As I read this essay I found many of Solnit's examples were on point.  I have always hated the way men patronize women and "there there" them to lull them into silence.  And out of politeness we sometimes let them.  If we want change we have to stop letting it become normal and speak up...speak louder, clearer and with confidence.  Let's see how I do. I would recommend this book to men and women - it is definitely eyeopening.

EVERYDAY SEXISM
Written by Laura Bates
2014; 384 Pages
Genre: nonfiction, social issues, gender

 Rating: ★

After being sexually harassed on a public transport Laura Bates takes to Twitter with a new project called, Everyday Sexism Project.  As a journalist she starts to collect stories from other woman and realizes how big and problematic this issue is.  Bates had women in every country, class, culture etc telling their story of sexism.  The one underling issue behind this was that because women were sexually harassed every day it becomes normalized. Things like being leered at, whistled or called out, groping in public in the day time, etc. Women don't think others will care or see it as an assault.  Basically, being a woman and being in public is enough to get harassed.  Bates has said enough is enough.  We need to tell our stories so we don't feel so alone and that it is not okay.  We will not accept this behaviour. In between Bates own writing we get many comments on Twitter as real life examples of what Bates argues in Everyday Sexism.
Drop Everything And Read!

I took this book out hoping to read it over the next few weeks but found myself devouring it in one night.  What makes this book so powerful and engaging is that these are real life women sharing things to let other women know they are not alone.  It is a hard book to rate as it's more of an informative guide that really makes you think.  I will have more to say on the topic another time but as for this book, I recommend it to everyone.

k (My Novelesque Life)





Free flow: essay about me (draft)


Recently I have been reading nonfiction books about women, feminism and empowerment.  It was not something I planned to do, but as I came across them I was drawn to reading them. Three years ago, my grandmother, Bibi passed away.  A part of me died with her.  I know that sounds SO dramatic and a statement very overused.  I wish I could say it was me being showy.  She died and a big part of who I am and how I see myself positively went with her.  That same year, I was laid off from my job and things with the guy I was dating were up in the air.  Bibi's biggest disappointment in me was that I wasn't married.  She would always talk about my wedding day and how it would be one of the happiest days of her life.  I thought I had so much time to give her that wish.  She was always my biggest fan.  I lost myself.  I lost who I was and who I wanted to be.  I saw failure.  I was not the person I wanted to be at 35.  I hadn't achieved what I wanted to.  And, feeling that way I let other people's expectations also weigh on me.  I let others paint me in a corner and just gave up.

I give a good face for being cheery and laid back and am Bette Davis-level actress at making my life seem like it's fabulous.  I'm happy and never freak out.  2009-2012 I had a job I would have stayed at for the rest of my life.  I loved everyone I worked with especially my manager, team lead and partner.  Commuting 3 hours a day did not get me down.  Big challenges at work only made me strive harder.  Then changes came, my grandmother became sicker so I needed a change.  A job that was closer to where she resided.  I put a lot of what I am worth in what I do.  Working auxiliary hours at a job that doesn't use any of my potential makes me feel weak.  Anyway, blah blah blah, not really rah rah rah.

I'm an only child so feeling alone sometimes sucks.  Even with all the lovely people in my life I felt alone.  Reading about other women - their failures and/or successes - made me feel less alone.  I get told sometimes I am too sensitive and I am always fighting causes that I can't personally fix and get too involved in.  Injustice of any kind riles me up.  I know, me alone, makes no difference to the cause. I don't have grand plans to change the world, realistically.  Yet, I do hope that I light a fire in someone that can.  Reviewing books and writing my ramblings - they don't make me money or give the successful sticker, but it's something I am good at and can strive to be better at.  I am hoping my hard work ethic can be seen someone and I get a chance to show what I can do.

The point of this rambling? I was completely lost and now I see a bit of the light in this maze of life.  I am reading a lot of feminist stuff not to get a hate on men, but to empower my own potential and see where I can go if there are no limits put on us.  I am trying to see myself...through Bibi's eyes and what I want.  I can't live by how others' think I have failed.  I realize I am 35 - not married.  I'm not an easy person to love, and I saw that with honesty and realism (not a putdown), and be with so that someone I marry has to have that extra love that I sometimes forget to give myself.   More explanation on this later....

I am not an open person.  I give things in snippets enough to think you know me.  I like that control and I have known nothing else.  But fuck it, it's the internet age...you can just google shit now.  SO be VERY aware...non-book posts may cause you to know me too much...never Kardashian-much, but you will find out that love Nicholas Sparks books and the way they make me cry like those dang Hallmark movies!

k

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Two Reviews for Tuesday!


I WILL FIND YOU
Written by Joanna Connors
April 2016; 272 Pages
Genre: nonfiction, crime, memoir

Rating: ★★★1/2

In 1984, a reviewer for a newspaper, Joanna Connors is raped in empty University theater.  Her rapist is caught the next day and is convicted 30-75 years in prison.  After her last day in court, Joanna decides to put away the rape incident but it actually takes over her life for the next twenty years.  When her college bound daughter is looking at University, she decides to tell her and her son about being raped so they can understand her anxiety and actions.  This only leads her to think she needs closure.  For that closure, as a reporter, she decides to find her rapist - to understand but to more so to heal.

This is Joanna's personal account of one of the most influential incidents in her life. She wrote this not just for herself but for other survivors.  So how do I rate or review this book? If you are looking for a engaging crime memoir, this is not it.  This is written like a very well edited journal. You have to let go of your views a bit and just go on Joanna's journey with her.  This is a good book for women to read because it is a honest and emotional account of something a lot of women go through.  It gives you tools to be kind to people because you don't truly know someone's story.

For me personally, this book along with some other books I have read recently, have opened my eyes to my truths.  To be continued in next post!

k (My Novelesque Life)


Throwback Tuesday: Roughing it in the Bush: The Graphic Novel


I come across a graphic novel entitled, Roughing it in the Bush, and wondered if it was based on Susanna Moodie's novel by the same name.  Yes, it is, but the story is also adapted by Carol Shield (who wrote her thesis on RIITB)! And, Margaret Atwood wrote the forward (who also wrote her thesis on RIITB, and wrote a poetry collection on Susanna Moodie)! Sold! I would really like to thank Second Story Press in making sure I was able to read this book.  After a few technical issues in downloading the eBook, they generously sent me a finished copy in the mail.

Last Fall I read Charlotte Gray's biography on Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill which renewed my interest in the sisters and their writing.  (My Review of Sisters in the Wilderness). I have still not read anything by the sisters (but they are definitely on the TBR list) but I have to say I am thinking reading RIITB this summer.


SUSANNA MOODIE: ROUGHING IT IN THE BUSH
Written by Carol Shields and Patrick Crowe
Adapted by Willow Dawson
Illustrated by Selena Goulding
Forward by Margaret Atwood
April 2016; 152 Pages
Genre: historical, biography, graphic novel


(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY and PUBLISHER in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating:★  

Susanna Moodie was born in England, the youngest daughter of the Strickland family but first to marry.  Susanna met and married John Moodie, a retired officer from the Napoleonic War, in 1831 and then emigrated to Canada in 1832.  She was excited about her new adventure but soon found that the land agents lied about the conditions and what they would own.  As things seem to get worse her depression increases and her writing takes a back seat.  Her sister, Catharine who married John's friend, Thomas Traill also came to Canada but wrote a positive review of Canada in her new book.  Susanna angry at this dishonest portrayal decides to write her own book based on her journals.  

Like Margaret Atwood said in the forward, having Roughing it in the Bush turned into a graphic novel will spread Moodie's work to other audiences.  This is a great introduction for those who are daunted by Moodie's book, and also great for younger audiences.  It gives the biography of Moodie, how this book came to be and the book itself.

I loved Selena Goulding's illustrations in this book and will look for more of her works. I liked how Willow Dawson adapted Carol Shields, Patrick Crowe and Susanna Moodie's words.  It is a quick and easy read but you come away with Canadian history and an yen to start "researching" on Wikipedia.  As a Canadian woman I am very happy to see a brilliant and courageous woman starring in her own graphic novel.  I recommend this book to everyone! (I hope many Canadian schools will have a copy in their library!)

k (My Novelesque Life)

Monday, 16 May 2016

Mystery Monday: My First Wish Granted



On occasion NetGalley will have books listed on their site that are not available to request but you can "wish for it." The publisher/author may later decide to grant a reviewer wish.  (I am not at all sure how this decided).    I have "wished" for a few books and not really thought much about it.  I was so excited to see one of my favourite authors, Marcia Clark, had her newest book on NetGalley.  And, then I saw it was a "wish for it" item. SIIIIIIGH. Less than a week later I get an email entitled....You Wish Has Been Granted! I finally got my wish :)

BLOOD DEFENSE
(Samantha Brinkman #1)
Written by Marcia Clarke
MAY 1, 2016; 400 Pages
Genre: legal drama, suspense, mystery

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★★

Samantha Brinkman is a defense attorney in Los Angeles and striving to hit the big leagues. She has a part-time gig on HLN that doesn't pay the bills but may help her get bigger clients. Helping her along is her Gal Friday and childhood friend, Michelle and former-client-turned-new-not-legally-an-investigator, Alex.

Soon all news networks are airing the case of a popular young TV actress who is found murdered in her apartment.  Her roommate and inspiring model is also found murdered with all clues pointing to  the actress's older boyfriend, a LAPD cop.  As all defense attorney's vie for the high profile case, the defendant, Dale comes to Samantha to take his case.  Even after saying yes, on the urging of Michelle and their mounting bills, to taking the case Sam is not entirely sure she believes in Dale's innocence.  As she starts to investigate the case, talk to Dale and interview witnesses she is finding that nothing in this case is straightforward.  And, if Dale is not the murderer, is the real murderer watching her?

Ever since I read Clark's first book, Guilt by Association I have been a big fan of her legal thrillers.  They are a more stylish Grisham that has you hanging on every suspense moment and twist.  I love that Rachel Knight is so realistic and easily to relate to.  When I saw that Clark had a new book out this year, and was not a Rachel Knight book, I was a little disappointed.  And, seeing that Samantha Brinkman was to be a new series I worried over the future fate of Rachel.  I, of course, was going to read Blood Defense either way - and did enjoy this book.  I really liked that we got to see the defense side of things (as Rachel was a prosecutor) and Samantha was a likeable character.  Like in the other series, friendship is the key to making Sam successful.  Characterizations by Clark are always well done in my opinion.  What I did think lacked in this book was a romantic interest...or maybe even banter with a frenemy.  I recommend this book, and any other Marcia Clark book, to fans of legal thrillers, suspense and mystery.

 BUY NOW ON AMAZON



MARCIA CLARKI began practicing law as a criminal defense attorney. I became a prosecutor in the L.A. District Attorney's Office in 1981, and spent ten years in the Special Trials Unit where I handled a number of high profile cases prior to the O.J. Simpson case, including the prosecution of stalker/murderer Robert Bardo, whose conviction for the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer resulted in legislation that offered victims better protection from stalkers as well as increased punishment for the offenders.

Since the Simpson trial, I have toured the U.S. and Canada giving lectures on a variety of women's issues including domestic violence and inspirational/motivational speeches, as well as lectures on the latest high profile cases, public service careers, and of course, the Trial of the Century.
In May of 1997 my book on the Simpson case, Without a Doubt, was published and quickly rose to #1 on the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, and Publishers Weekly bestsellers lists.

From February 1998 to 2000 I was under contract as a legal analyst and expert commentator for NBC, CNBC and MSNBC. I appeared weekly as the substitute host of Geraldo Rivera's "Rivera Live," and also hosted "Equal Time" for CNBC and "Judge and Jury" for MSNBC. I have appeared on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," the "Larry King Show," the "Today" show, "The Early Show," and "Good Morning America," among others, and provide legal commentary on a wide variety of cable shows such as "Anderson Cooper 360" and "Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell."

TNT optioned the Rachel Knight books for a one hour drama series and shot the pilot, which starred Julia Stiles as Rachel Knight. I (with my writing partner, Catherine LePard) have sold hour-long pilots to the FX network, Lifetime, and VH1 and developed a half hour comedy for NBC. I've also developed reality projects for CBS and was an executive producer of a one hour reality pilot for CBS.


k (My Novelesque Life)


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Some Poetry for Sunday Tea


Free flowing writing...


 #1
Your words come out
The daggers hit their marks
I stand there
Take it
Apologize for any mess I've made.
My words stumble down
Missing the point
You run out
Striking one more hit
Telling me to fix it.

#2
Cut
Run
All crazy
No worth
You tried hard
Even if ugly
Why waste more time?
Your time from perfect.
I stand by you, always
You hate my weight, plainess
I crave to be more loved
loved for mind, body and soul
I always try but not hard enough
Not hard enough for you, not you
I didn't show up not come to you
You think it's because I do not care
You do not see I want to be missed
Miss me a little, show me I matter now
I will wait...wait for you to see me, me
I'm not perfect, not at all, but I love you.

#3
It's all about me
Me is all I know
And even then I get it wrong.
One day I think this
and next day I see that
I always see the gray
That everything has a side.

You see you
You know you best.
You always get it right
But you think every one see it as wromg
You think this when it's just us
You say you think that when everyone else is around
You see the white
That someone is always wrong.

k (My Novelesque Life)





Thursday, 12 May 2016

Books for Tots on Thursday

WHO BROKE THE TEAPOT?!
Written and Illustrated by Bill Slavin
April 2016; 32 Pages
Genre: humour, picture book, children's

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★★★

Oh no, Mom is upset because her favourite teapot is broken.  There are several suspects and she interrogates each one- her husband who is reading in his underwear, brother who is stuck in the air, and baby is in his chair...plus, sister who is eating a pastry roll, the dog is licking the bowl and the cat is stuck in the wool.  If all of them have alibis who is the culprit that broke the teapot?
Drop Everything And Read!

First of all there is reading and tea - sold right there on the book! A very cute and funny story that is a definite read out loud with the kids.  The story will have you laughing and the illustrations are great.  I also like all that is going on in the pictures so that you can talk beyond the story itself.  I recommend this book to anyone around kids!

k (My Novelesque Life)
 

Throwback Thursday: Back to the Golden Age of Mystery



THE WHITE COTTAGE MYSTERY
Written by Margery Allingham
1927 (reissue: JUNE 2, 2016; 139 Pages)
Genre: mystery, cozy, romance

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★★

When Jerry Challenor drops a young woman off at the White Cottage all he can think about is going back to the pretty girl.  Moments later there is a scream and the body of Eric Crowther is found murdered and the lists of suspects is long.  It seems like everyone that met Eric Crowther hated him as he would use their secrets for his own purposes.  As Detective Chief Inspector Challenor, Jerry's father, sifts through the suspects he finds himself siding with the suspects' motives.  With Jerry in love with one of the suspects DCI Challenor finds more resistance than any other case!

This novel in 1927 was presented as a serial for the Daily Express, and was published into book format the following year.  Now, almost 90 years later, The White Cottage Mystery is available in eBook format.

This is a short, novella-sized, book and I was able to read it in one sitting.  If you enjoy Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth, etc you must read The White Cottage Mystery.  This is my first book by Margery Allingham so I can't say I yet recommend her books in general.  I will definitely be reading more of her novels as they bring the golden age of mystery fun.  The mystery is cute, fun and keeps you reading even if you figure it all out.  It's more about enjoying the characters discover the truth.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Some Poetry for Wooing Wednesday



THE RILKE OF RUTH SPEIRS: NEW POEMS, DUINO, ELEGIES, SONNETS TO ORPHEUS AND OTHERS
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke; Translated by Ruth Speirs; Edited by John Pilling and Peter Robinson
2015; 188 Pages
Genre: poetry, translations

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★ 

I am going to let the publisher describe this volume of poetry:

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sunday Tea's Top Ten for Mother's Day Reading

Now that Mother's Day is winding down but your heart is still full of love...her are some books that I have enjoyed over the years that feature motherhood!

Drop Everything And Reads!


TOP TEN BOOKS: Mother's Day Edition


1. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood written by Rebecca Wells


I have read this book a few times now and love the way Wells portrays a realistic and raw relationship between Sidda and her mother, Vivi.  We also see Vivi's relationship with her mother and the relationship between women young and old. 

2. We Are All Welcome Here written by Elizabeth Berg

In this novel Paige, who has challenges due to contracting Polio in the last months of her pregnancy, is trying to raise a a 14 year old girl, Diana, while living in 1964, Mississippi. For extra care they have hired Peacie, a "tough-talking black woman." Between the two women in her life, Diana learns there is more to life than just fitting in. Like the previous novel we see from both the mother and daughter's perspective of how they see each other.


3. The Good Mother written by Sue Miller

 Anna Dunlap is a recently divorced single mother to a four year old who is her whole life.  When she meets Leo, her new lover, she begins to feel like she is more than a mother but also a beautiful woman.  I liked that this novel explores this woman's journey as both a mother and as a woman wanting more in her life.

4. Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen

Never mind Darcy, in Pride and Prejudice the most memorable character is Mrs. Bennet! The way she strives to get her daughters married off and the banter between her and Mr. Bennet.

5. One True Thing written by Anna Quindlen

Ellen drops everything to be by her mother's side through her illness.  As they spend more time together they have gotten closer.  When her mother dies, Ellen is seen as the prime suspect for a mercy killing.  As a daughter you wonder what you would do, and as a mother what you would ask.


6. Black and Blue written by Anna Quindlen

After years of abuse, at the hands of her police officer husband, Fran takes her son and vanishes into the night.  It is for her son she decides to leave and for him she will keep running and hiding.


7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Oh, Marmie! One of my favourite mothers in literature.  She is this strong woman that is raising four daughters on her own while her husband is away fighting in the Civil War.  And, she is helping the community in any way she can.  I love that she encourages her daughters in being creative and marrying for love.

8. Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary 

Another one of my favourite mothers.  Any woman raising a Ramona and being accepting of her quirkiness deserves "Mother of the Year".

9. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret? written by Judy Blume


While this is not really a novel of a mother and daughter, I still love the relationship that Margaret has with her mother and paternal grandmother.  It is not the focus of this book but for me I found it to be a great part of the novel.

10. My Mother Got Married (And Other Disasters) Written by Barbara Park

Charlie is just getting used to his parents divorcing when his world is turned upside down again with his mother getting remarried.  This novel focuses more on Charlie and his new siblings, but losing his mother's attention is a big theme in the book.  

k (My Novelesque Life)