Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Wooing Wednesday: Repressed


REPRESSED
(Deadly Secrets: #1)
Written by Elisabeth Naughton
JULY 26, 2016; 318 Pages
Montlake Romance
Genre: romance, suspense, mystery

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



Samantha is back in town trying to settle her mother's estate and takes a job as a chemistry teacher.  She cannot wait to sell her mother's home and get back to her life, and it seems like someone else wants her gone too.  Enter Dr. Ethan McClane - therapist for a troubled student - and soon Ethan has fallen in love with Samantha.  Samantha is attracted to Ethan but something from her past keeps her from fully committed to anyone.  Throw in some cold murder cases and new fresh bodies and the small town of Hidden Falls seems to be the place to avoid!

First - this is more of a romance story with mystery and suspense thrown in.  Second - the characters aren't exactly realistic and are a bit cliched.  Third - too many things are happening at once then it is all tied up with just enough left unsaid for you to pick up the second book.

YET...the mysteries in this book kept me reading even thought I had kind of figured out where it was going.  I still wanted to read and see how it came out.  I didn't find Ethan and Samantha that great of a couple as the romance was a bit clumsy but I still rooted for them.  In my opinion, it was Thomas Adler that seemed liked the more intriguing character of the bunch.  It is his journey that will probably get me to read book two.  The next book will probably be Alec McClane as they kept hinting to his "past".  A good beach read for something light and entertaining.

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ELISABETH NAUGHTON: I was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.

Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.

My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.

Happy reading,

Elisabeth

k (My Novelesque Life)

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Ta-Day Tuesday! Release Day for Lost Girls



THE LOST GIRLS
Written by Heather Young
JULY 26, 2016; 352 Pages
William Morrow, Harper Collins
Genre: suspense, mystery

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

★★★

"In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family—her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine.

For Justine, the lake house offers freedom and stability—a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he’s telling.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives to steal her inheritance, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children." (on Book Jacket)

I went into this novel thinking it was more of a suspense thriller than a fiction book with a mystery.  Right off the bat, I will admit other than the young girls, Melanie and Angela, I didn't really connect with the characters.  While what happened to Emily was plausible, it seemed a bit too flippant.  Almost like, oh right, Emily died and we have to give some sort of ending.  There were certain plotlines that Young was trying to hint at without saying but it seemed too much in your face.  I'd rather have just known right out about the secrets.  The dancing around the secret got a bit tedious and then I just didn't care when it was revealed as it felt like you already knew.  Even the description above is more of a summary than a synopsis.

It took me a bit to get into the novel as the story takes awhile to heat up. It is one of the reason why there is no real suspense.  There was a mystery but even that wasn't mentioned as much as I thought it would.  BUT I am glad I stuck with it as I dis enjoy Young's writing and her intentions from this novel.  While her characters seem either very harsh and out for themselves or quiet pushovers - I did not feel any connection - good or bad towards them.  I am interested in seeing what Young writes next...I will try not to have expectations of a certain genre.

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HEATHER YOUNG: After a decade practicing law and another raising kids, Heather decided to finally write the novel she’d always talked about writing. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and the Tin House Writers Workshop, all of which helped her stop writing like a lawyer. She lives in Mill Valley, California, with her husband and two teenaged children. When she’s not writing she’s biking, hiking, neglecting potted plants, and reading books by other people that she wishes she’d written.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Monday, 25 July 2016

Mystery Monday: Good As Gone


GOOD AS GONE
Written by Amy Gentry
JULY 26, 2016; 288 Pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Genre: suspense, mystery, missing person, fiction

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

★★

When Jane was a young child she watched a man kidnap her thirteen year old sister, Julie at knife point.  She had watched all this through the crack of the closet door to stun to move. It took her a few hours to raise the alarm to her parents.  From that day on the Whitaker family changed both physically and emotionally. Then many years later a stranger appears at the door - it is Jane's older sister, Julie - alive.

Anna - their mother - feels like there is something not right about everything that is unfolding with Julie.  As Jane and her father are over the moon about Julie's return, Anna cannot help but doubt her story.  She tries to bury her uncertainty, but then a private investigator contacts her with his own suspicions, Anna knows she must find out the truth even if it breaks her family again.

This novel kept me interested enough to see how it unfolded. We see all this through Anna, Jane and Julie's point of view.  I was not wowed by the twists and turns of this novel but I found all the characters (but Julie) very realistic.  This novel has the tag of being like Gone Girl which was a suspense novel I did not care for...so maybe this kind of suspense is not my cup of tea.

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AMY GENTRY: lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two cats. After graduating in 2011 with a PhD in English from the University of Chicago, she began a freelance writing career, writing book reviews, cultural criticism, and, for one strange and wonderful year, a fashion column. She frequently reviews fiction for the Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row Journal, and her writing has appeared in Salon.com, xoJane, The Rumpus, the Austin Chronicle, the Texas ObserverLA Review of Books, Gastronomica, and the Best Food Writing of 2014. GOOD AS GONE, her first thriller, is set in her hometown of Houston, Texas.


k (My Novelesque Life)

Friday, 22 July 2016

Fun for Friday: Art and Crafts






THE ART AND CRAFT OF HANDMADE BOOKS
Written by Shereen LaPlantz

2001 (reissue JULY 20, 2016); 128 Pages
Dover Publications
Genre: arts, crafts, nonfiction


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

★★★★
 
"This innovative approach to bookbinding demonstrates an array of creative techniques that elevate handmade books into extraordinary works of art. Easy-to-follow, well-illustrated directions for more than 25 patterns explain how to make seven different kinds of books with pop-up panels and pages that "explode" from the spine as well as slipcases, tassels, and other distinctive features.
 
The guide begins with instructions for a simple accordion-fold book. Successive projects build on methods readers have already mastered and introduce new skills, including the pamphlet stitch, ideal for photo albums and scrapbooks; tacket binding, the versatile stitch of medieval Europe; and the Coptic stitch, employed by Christians of ancient Egypt. A full-color photo gallery, with contributions from more than 60 artists, offers further inspiration for enhancing and personalizing projects by using alphabets, bestiaries, botanical illustrations, and other designs. The author includes a glossary of terms as well as information on materials and tools." (From Amazon)

I enjoyed looking through this book as it has very creative ideas and great pictures.  I would really like to try at least one or two of the techniques listed in the book.  If I do I will definitely make sure I let you all know! And maybe post pictures if it looks okay.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Wooing Wednesday: Quick Review: Poetry by Kerouac


OLD ANGEL MIDNIGHT
Written by Jack Kerouac
JULY 12, 2016; 94 Pages
City Lights Publishers
Genre: poetry

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

★★★

Straight up truth...I don't think I am smart enough for Kerouac! While I enjoyed reading it out loud I have no clue what any of it meant.  I did enjoy going through the book and it is SO beatnik!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wooing Wednesday: If you are looking for more romance



FORGOTTEN SECRETS
Written by Robin Perini

JULY 19, 2016; 370 Pages
Montlake Romance
Genre: romance, suspense, mystery, romantic suspense, fbi

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

★★★
 
When F.B.I. Profiler, Riley Lambert was ten years old her sister was abducted from their bedroom and still has not been found.  Riley's mission in life is find her sister at any cost. The cost seems to be her own well-being so she is put on forced vacation for a week.  

While Riley contemplates her next step, she receives a phone call from Thayne Blackwood, a man she is attracted to but afraid to get any closer.  Thayne's sister has vanished after a break-in to her medical office.  Riley finds herself getting closer to the case which is what her boss has warned her against and she could lose her career...and her resources to finding her own sister.  

Reading the synopsis of this novel I was SO excited to read this book.  I have not read anything by Robin Pernini so I had no expectations of the writing.  I liked this novel...as a romance with a bit of suspense thrown in.  As a romantic suspense book, I was a little disappointed.  I found that the back story, the romance and the grandmother's illness slowed down the pace of the suspense.  I still liked that book so I will try another book, but read it as contemporary romance with suspense.
 
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Robin Perini: Award-winning author Robin Perini’s love of heart-stopping suspense and poignant romance, coupled with her adoration of high-tech weaponry and covert ops, encouraged her secret inner commando to take on the challenge of writing romantic suspense novels. Her mission’s motto: “When danger and romance collide, no heart is safe.”
Devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts, Robin won the prestigious Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award in 2011. By day, she works for an advanced technology corporation, and in her spare time, you might find her giving one of her many nationally acclaimed writing workshops or training in competitive small-bore rifle silhouette shooting.

A frequent speaker across the country and at RWA National, Robin has been included on the 24 Most Popular Workshop CDs five times. Robin writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her agent is Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. You can find more information at www.robinperini.com or www.discoveringstorymagic.com

Robin loves to interact with readers and other writers. You can catch her on her website (www.robinperini.com), via AmazonFacebook, Goodreads, Google+ or Twitter and other major social networking sites. Or write to her at P.O. Box 50472, Albuquerque, NM 87181-0472.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Toddlers, Tots and Teens II: What Happened to Daddy's Body

WHAT HAPPENED TO DADDY'S BODY?: Explaining What Happens After Death in Words Very Young Children Can Understand
Written by Elke and Alex Barber
Illustrations by Anna Jacobs
JULY 21, 2016; 40 Pages
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Genre: death, loss, grieving, families, children's book, picture book

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

★★★
 
Alex is 4 years old and lives with his sister and mother.  His father has died and Alex wonders what happened to his father's physical form.  His mother explains after his father died he was put into a coffin and was cremated...and that you can also bury a body and have a headstone.  The main message in this story is that "it is okay to be sad, but it is okay to be happy, too".  I liked how the writers broke it down and explained it in a way a 4 year old would understand death and what happens after.  I was not crazy about the artwork which took a bit away from the story.  A little issue I had with the story - and this is just my opinion - was that there was a step-family introduced so quickly to the end of the story.  I just didn't see how it fit in with the timeline and story.  While I like the main message of the book, I don't think this is a book I would recommend to my own niece (who has lost a parent).  The issue of a new parent and siblings seems a bit too much overload on a child when you are trying to get over one hurdle and not increase anxiety.  I would have saved John and his five kids for a later books on step-families. 
 
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*The author's description is pretty long so thought it would be better to just provide link. 
 
k (My Novelesque Life)
 
 

Toddlers, Tots and Teens: Postcards From a War






POSTCARDS FROM A WAR
Written by Vanita Oelschlager
Illustrated by Mike Blanc
2009; 40 Pages
VanitaBooks
Genre: war, picture book, history

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

★★★★

Based on a true story - Colonel Wilfred Bauknight

Matthew Jackson misses his mother, who is in the Air Force, and must travel to another country because there is a war going on.  His grandfather senses Matthew's sadness and tells him a story about his own father.  Grandpa's father had to go fight in WWII leaving behind his three kids and his wife.  As he tells Matthew about his experiences he also shows the letters they had exchanged.  This sparks Matthew into staying more connected with his mother.

What gorgeous pictures! And, the story is so heartwarming and prevalent to present day. Many children have parents in the military and seeing all that is going on in the world it can be scary.  I liked that this book as it opens up conversation with children with ease. 

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Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet.

She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee.

She has also supported and helped Jim as he built Oak Associates, ltd. into a successful investment management firm.

Today, as an accomplished author, Vanita shares openly the experiences that she, Jim and their families have had with multiple sclerosis. She has likened MS to living with an elephant, one that won't go away or be ignored. Together, she and Jim have found ways to live with this "elephant", and to share some of the larger lessons about life they've learned through the diseas

k (My Novelesque Life)

Mystery Monday: Book Blog Tour: The Stepmother



THE STEPMOTHER
Written by Claire Seeber
JULY 15, 2016; 345 Pages
Bookouture
Genre: psychological thriller, suspense, mystery

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

★★★

A naive single mother meets a divorced man with twin teens (boy and girl).  They marry quick and move into a creepy house.  The young girl doesn't like stepmother.  The woman does not know her husband's secret nor does he know her secret (that is continually eluded to and given in tiny bites).  There is a secret locked closet.  Things are happening to the naive women that only she experiences.  Is she going mad or is it someone within the house. 

The story is told from Jeanie's, the naive woman, point of view with some snippets from her sister, Marlena. At first I wasn't sure how Marlena would come into the story and how she was responding...we do learn later how she knows what is going.  We get a blurb in the beginning about an older woman being jealous of the young daughter's beauty...for me that gave away the suspense as I figured out what was going on with Jeanie.  There were also several hints to Rebecca - book and movie.  I was really hoping there was a twist because 3/4 into the book you think you already know how it will end.  But it can't end that way...spoiler alert: IT DOES!  I never got a sense of Marlena as a character as we don't really get to know her.  And, Matthew, the husband, is a bit dry

The psychological "thriller" is well done that I would recommend this novel for a quick beach read.  It is a good read but it just lacks the oomph to send it to Drop Everything And Read status. I would definitely read another Seeber book.

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*as of 07/18/2016

CLAIRE SEEBER Because of a love of travel, 10 years after my Austrian father met my English Rose mother over cheap Chianti and original cappuccino (ie not Starbucks) in a beautiful city in the Umbrian hills, I was born in Greenwich, London.

I spent a few months myself in Perugia when I left school but not only did I fail to learn Italian (too much coffee drinking and cigarette smoking and not enough study), I didn’t meet my future husband either.  My academic career culminated in a degree in Drama & English, and an ambition to act – stemming, probably, from my family thinking it was such a bad idea. (I did like to play the rebel in those days).  Bit parts in The Bill etc became too frustrating when I truly hankered after the RSC, and I constantly got cast as prostitutes, bimbos and drug dealers (draw your own conclusions). Eventually I abandoned everything to travel the tropics; did a bit more acting on my return – see Pete Cattaneo’s Screen Two film, Loved Up as the high point in my acting career – but eventually slid smoothly behind the camera instead. (OK, I collapsed there after an audition where I was commanded to be ‘ witty with a Pringle crisp ‘. You try it.)

I was far happier out of the limelight.  My TV career spanned MTV through chat-shows to documentary television, giving me the opportunity to travel the world, be it after oil barons in Oklahoma or Viagra merchants in Surrey (yes really), pop stars in New York or dysfunctional families looking for a fresh start in Australia – although please believe it really wasn’t all glamour (I’ve been sworn at, punched in Amsterdam’s red light district, threatened and propositioned more than once – which kept me on my toes, I suppose). I also started writing features for The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Somehow I became an expert in confessional journalism and after having my first baby, I wrote my first book in a bid to stay at home with him and not keep getting punched in Amsterdam.  I was lucky to get snapped up fairly quickly by Harper Collins, and have had 4 novels published by them, and in various countries.  A change of direction recently means…well, all will be revealed if you please watch this space

In 2014 I also started studying psychology, moved up to Derbyshire for a year, moved back down South, missing the smog (not really, I hate the smog) with my children, my very tall partner and lots of animals.  I am still undecided on who is the most feral




k (My Novelesque Life)





 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

What's Ahead...






Happy Sunday evening...

I hope you had a relaxing Sunday with gobs of time to yourself.  I am in the middle of psychological thriller that is being released this month and will be featured in tomorrow's Mystery Monday Book Blog Tour edition. 
 Tuesday will be for the tots as I will be reviewing two picture books that deal with the horrors of the world yesterday and today.  I am quite liking picture books that help open discussion with children regarding big issues.  There is so much happening in the world and it's so easy for kids to pick up on it but not know how to deal with it or what it is about.

For the tantalizing Wooing Wednesday I will be reviewing some "modern" day poetry as well as a romantic suspense from a new-to-me-author!

Thursday I will actually be attending the Vancouver Symphony which will be Harry Potter related...I will review this show on Friday (my first Friday off in a few months).

Also on Friday I will be reviewing for the first time...a book on crafts and another one of my Free Flow Fiction...which can really be anything.

Saturday and Sunday there will be no posts as I will be reading my ass off as it is a big release day next Tuesday.  I will be spreading out several book reviews over that week...stay tuned to all the fun!

I am also in the process of doing some edits and changes to the blog...which I will reveal as they come along.  Have a wonderful night and sweet dreams!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Wicked Wednesday with Among the Wicked


I love Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder series and last year I binged read the series and then felt some withdrawal.  I was very EXCITED to hear that a new book would be out this summer and it made my day when I received an ARC of Among the Wicked. I didn't get a chance to get my hands on the novella, Seeds of Deception (#7.5) before this book. From my past experience with the novellas they do not connect to the next book.  They are separate stories.

AMONG THE WICKED 
(Kate Burkholder: #8)
Written by Linda Castillo
JULY 12, 2016; 320 Pages
Minotaur Book, Macmillan
Genre: series, police, mystery, suspense, amish

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

★★★★1/2

When the dead body of a young girl, Rachel is found in upstate rural New York, Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police,  is visited by the Sheriff for her help in the case.  Rachel was Amish and the community she hails from has closed ranks around their Bishop, that believes in the old ways.  They need Kate to go undercover into the Amish community and get some answers to what happened to Rachel.


Kate is the only one in law enforcement that is fluent in the language and can blend in with Amish.  She borrows clothes from her sister and sets up a story for herself.  As she meets the women in the community she senses that they are keeping a dangerous secret...that might be worse than just murder.  As Kate starts to ask questions she is warned to back off or people will be hurt.  How can Kate abandon her assignment when rumours of children being harmed and members disappearing is ongoing? But can she help those in trouble before she is silenced?


Linda Castillo has not written a bad novel in the Kate Burkholder series. I have rated them all as four-stars and enjoyed each full-length book. (My only concern with the novellas is that they are not long enough.)  This book has less of her team and John Tomasetti in it, but I did like that we got to see Kate in another environment. Kate had to act the part of being Amish at every moment she was with someone.  It was interesting to see what parts of being Amish she misses and what parts she is happy to have shed.  Her relating to the Amish Community was also a different part to her.  The previous books had her relating to the Amish as an outsider, former-Amish and a police officer.  The crime(s) in this book were really terrifying and I have to say the suspense was crazy that I stayed up to finish the book.  I highly recommend this series and this book!

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LINDA CASTILLO: Originally from Ohio where her Amish thrillers are set, Linda Castillo knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer--and penned her first novel at the age of thirteen.  She's published thirty books for three New York publishing houses and won numerous industry awards, including a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, the Golden Heart, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and a nomination for the prestigious Rita.

Her debut thriller, Sworn to Silence, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and Booklist--and spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.  The following books in the series also hit the NYT and USA Today lists and became international bestsellers.  Sworn to Silence was recently adapted into a two-hour original movie re-titled An Amish Murder and starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder.

In her spare time, Linda enjoys trail riding, and dabbles in barrel racing.  She resides in Texas with her husband, two rescued Blue Heelers, and two Appaloosa horses.  She's currently at work on her next novel, a thriller set in Amish Country and featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder. 


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k (My Novelesque Life) 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Mystery Monday on Tuesday for Book Blog Tour with ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN


"Deeply intriguing and provocative, All Is Not Forgotten explores intricate family relationships against the backdrop of searing suspense. A novel filled with twists, surprises, and a plot that keeps you guessing. 
All Is Not Forgotten is not to be missed."
—Karin Slaughter, author of PRETTY GIRLS

ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN
Written by Wendy Walker
JULY 12, 2016; 310 Pages
St. Martin's Press
Genre: psychological thriller, suspense, mystery

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER/NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)
 
★1/2
 
What if you could erase one of the most horrific moments in your life?  
Fairview, Connecticut is the kind of place you want to raise your kids and where you know all your neighbours.  Then one night at a party for teenagers, Jenny Kramer is brutally attacked and raped.  She must go through surgery just to fix the physical wounds.  To fix the emotional side her parents decide to try a controversial drug that medically erases the memory of her rape.  As part of the treatment she must also see a therapist - who tells us her story and her parents through therapy sessions.  While Jenny's father is focused on finding the rapist and getting justice, her mother is trying to forget it all happened to them.  Jenny, although she cannot remember the assault is starting to feel things she can't explain. Alan, the family therapist, takes them individually on a journey of coming to terms with the brutal assault.  What comes out are more secrets and will keep you guessing.
When I was first offered a chance to read and review All Is Not Forgotten I was intrigued by the synopsis but still not 100% sure it was my kind of novel.  I wasn't sure how "the treatment" would be played out.  I didn't want it to be too sci-fi or not explain the science behind the medication and expect the reader to just buy.  Seeing the book trailer and that Reese Witherspoon was optioning the book to make a film I made a few more checks on the pro side.  (Witherspoon is known for making films that give women a greater presence in the industry).  What sealed the deal was that a reviewer, I admire and has the same taste in suspense as me loved the book.  And, she hasn't disappointed me yet ;)
 
I loved this novel - the writing was haunting and so vivid much like my favourite author, Karin Slaughter's writing.  The suspense had me flipping through my eReader not just to figure it all out but to see where it goes and it comes together.  The best part of this novel was the fact that I found myself pondering so many themes...morals, values and ethics.  While All Is Not Forgotten is an entertaining read...prepare to find your mind wondering and getting you deeper in Walker's world and writing.

Drop Everything And Read!
Walker is fabulous in creating characters. Again, like Slaughter her characterization is realistic as they are perfectly flawed and broken.  There is no judgement by the author but there are consequences for their actions.  As a reader - I love this! The following is Wendy's own words on Jenny Kramer's mother's Charlotte Kramer - who in my opinion is such a fascinating character. With the book Gone Girl I did not like the characters and found myself not really caring what happened to either of them.  This is what makes me dislike a book.  I at first didn't care for Charlotte yet I wanted to know more about her.  And, as I did I found myself becoming warmer to her.  At the end you just realize that as a human you more than one side and the past lingers in the present.  There was no character I would say is my favourite or I loved but I wanted to know more and felt invested.  Thank you, Wendy for writing this great guest post.


GOOD CHARLOTTE/BAD CHARLOTTE
Written by Wendy Walker
One of the most gratifying moments in the publication of All Is Not Forgotten was a conversation I had with actress and producer Reese Witherspoon, and her partner Bruna Papandrea at Pacific Standard. They were excited to produce the film and we were discussing the themes and characters in the book.

Usually, conversations about the novel focus on Jenny and the issues surrounding memory science and the treatments for PTSD and trauma. These are fascinating issues, but All Is Not Forgotten has many other relatable topics that were meant to make the story thought provoking as well as entertaining. One of those topics has to do with Charlotte Kramer, our young victim’s mother, and the character Ms. Witherspoon felt so passionate about that she plans to portray her in the film.

When I gave the first fifty pages of the manuscript to my agent, she said to keep on writing! Everything was working – but what was I going to do with the mother? She was coming across as unlikeable and that is usually not good for a main character who is not a villain in the story. I told her not to worry – I had a plan for Charlotte that would change everything she thought and felt about her. Confronting this challenge was one of the most enjoying aspects of writing this book. Every time I got to a section where I could be Charlotte, I felt a twinge of excitement because I knew readers would get her in the end. 
 
As the story unfolds, we come to learn about Charlotte’s past, what drives her, what scares her, and what is at the heart of her internal conflict. She has built a perfect life and is emotionally unable to see it tarnished in any way. But why? And why does she do things herself that could destroy this life she is fighting so hard to protect?

We come to learn that there are two selves living with Charlotte – Good Charlotte and Bad Charlotte. Good Charlotte has dominated, and is responsible for the perfect life with Tom and their children in the bucolic town of Fairview. But Bad Charlotte lives in the shadows, rattling the bars of the cage she has been relegated to since Charlotte’s dark childhood. Good Charlotte must let her out in small ways in order to keep her locked in her cage. It becomes a force she cannot suppress. The only way to stop it is to pull Good Charlotte from her pedestal and live an authentic life as just Charlotte – the good and the bad – exposed to the world.

What I love about this theme, and what resonated with Ms. Witherspoon and so many other people I have met with, is that we all have aspects of this fractured self. We all think things we do not say out loud, do things we wish we hadn’t, and desire things that are not good for us. We are all flawed in this way, and that is part of what makes us human. I think readers will hear a voice inside saying “yes!” when Charlotte is deconstructed, because they will see themselves in her. They will relate to her. And those are the connections between readers and characters that make books stay with us after the last page is turned.

WENDY WALKER: is a practicing divorce attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller, All is Not Forgotten.


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*Read by Dylan Baker (a wonderful actor that makes me want to reread this novel just to hear him perform it!)

k (My Novelesque Life)
 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Book Mail!



This morning I woke up to some great book mail! Susan Branch and the great team behind her sent me her Autobiographical trilogy.  These gorgeous hardcovers are eye candy for any book lover.  I cannot wait to read them and let you know ALL about them.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Friday, 8 July 2016

Free Flow Essay: What I Cannot Shake Off

The following free flow essay is about what I have been thinking about for awhile, regarding race...but sometimes I am afraid to voice my own experience because it might offended some non-Indians. Then I realized anyone  that I really love and respect won't see this as offensive and see me as Kris - an odd yet lovable anxiety ridden book lover.

There has been a lot of violence lately in the world. Black men being shot by white police officers has really brought home the idea of racism still being alive.  I am heartbroken to see the lives that are being destroyed over prejudice of someone's skin colour.  I have always respected police officers and held them to a high level of expectation.  If I wasn't so klutzy and in love with food I might have tried out for the police academy.  So it really hurts to see a police officer gun down a man of colour for no reason.

Racism is still alive.  We like to pride ourselves in thinking that we have evolved to a place where we don't see colour.  I hate to break it to you, but we have not moved that far ahead when it comes to prejudice in ourselves.  Yes, people of colour can now sit with whites and use the same fountains, and can even marry a white person without being lynched...they can legally, but has the mindset really changed? Are people as open as they think they are?

I like to think of myself as Canadian and that is about as stereotyped as I want to be.  I am a woman, I am a non-practicing Sikh, my ancestors are from Punjab, India, I am brown, and heterosexual.  None of these things define me as me on their own or even as a collective.  They are parts of me.  I have to admit I didn't even realize I was not like everyone else in my school until someone called me a "Hindu".  I had never heard of the term before but could tell by the person's tone it was not something they thought was good.  So, yes, stupidly I did call that white boy a "bigger Hindu."  I get asked a lot if I can speak English, where I am from, and what my people celebrate and eat.  (Yes, Surrey, Christmas and pizza...or at least I do).  And, every few years at school I would have to take an ESL (English as a Second Language) test even though I was born in Canada and English is my first language (trust me, I had to take two different languages to graduate from University).  While I was still in high school, non-Indian people would ask me if my parents were going to choose my husband and if he would be from India.  (Answer: No. I have been to India once when I was 9, my dad hasn't gone since 1970, and my mom has gone back once in the last 20 years when her young cousin passed away - so there is not a whole lot of matchmaking happening there).  The worst was when a boyfriend's non-Indian mom asked me "if my parents were okay with me not dating an Indian boy?" and "why didn't I date an Indian boy?" and "what were my people really like?" (Not gonna lie, I have so many sarcastic thoughts when asked this!)  SIGH. People also like to slather on the praise with "You are very Canadian-like", "You don't have an accent." and my favourite, "You're skin is so light you can't tell what you are."  I thought I was human, but I could be wrong.

Dating.  Ahhhhh...dating.  I grew up with a father who came to Canada when he was ten (1959) and lost most of the Punjabi language.  He grew up with mostly non-Indian people but his parents were still of the "home country" so he could at least understand Punjabi, a bit.  My older cousins also grew up with non-Indians, and later so did I.  My first crush was Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gable, and I always wanted carrot hair and attend church like Anne, my first concert was Boyz II Men and my best friends were of European ancestry.  It was not a big surprise that my first boyfriend was also non-Indian.  I have dated boys of the same colour as my skin and whose parents are from the same home country, but when it comes to meshing I just haven't found the one within my own race.  Neither have I found the one in any race, yet!  Love is all very confusing if you ask me.  Having rules is rather restricting the pool of finding your significant other isn't it? I am already weird enough with all my anxieties and whatnot to really have a cap on people.

I have that same dream for the future generation.
While I am happy that interracial dating hasn't caused either of us (me and my non-Indian partner) to be injured it doesn't mean we haven't had bad experiences.  There is a lot of stereotyping that goes on and gets put on both of us.  Then there are the stares when we are in public.  My boyfriend has probably gotten a lot more comments about him dating an Indian girl (than I have dating him).  People are always interested to know if he will be safe (ie: will my father or some Indian relative kill him for dating me), if he will have to marry me against his will (because again my father will have a shotgun, or tradition Indian sword, to him if he doesn't restore my honour) and if Indian girls put out (ie: am I stringing him along without giving him sex, and he has now become delirious and must marry me to get some...because of the whole traditional Indian thing we have going on). Phew, I am so glad interracial dating is so different than in the past.

Sorry I had a point, until I got rambling here....hmmmmm, ah, yes, my point.  If you are going to hate me, judge me, hurt me...I really hope it is because I have offended you with my words or attitude, and not because I happen to be born with a tan and sometimes date out of my "race".

*(I will be working on this essay and hope to publish it on here again once I have heavily edited!)

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Wooing Wednesday: BOOK BLOG TOUR!!! If the Earl Only Knew



As promised, today is the book blog tour for IF THE EARL ONLY KNEW! I was happy to read, review and be part of this tour as I really enjoyed this historical romance novel.  I have previously read (and reviewed) Amanda Forester's Marriage Mart Regency series.

IF THE EARL ONLY KNEW
(The Daring Marriages: #1)

Written by Amanda Forester
JULY 5, 2016; 384 Pages
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: historical romance

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

★★★★

"The chase is on in award-winning author Amanda Forester's brand-new Regency romance series!

A sizzling scandal just waiting to happen…


Orphaned at a young age, Lady Katherine Ashton and her brother have spent most of their lives on the high seas, seeking to restore their family fortune through somewhat dubious means. After that kind of adventure, Kate knows she won't ever be accepted as a proper society lady.

To the annoyingly clever, temptingly handsome, and altogether troublesome Earl of Wynbrook, society ladies are a dead bore. Kate, on the other hand, is scandalous, alluring, and altogether fascinating. And Kate can't decide which she relishes more, the thrill of chasing fearsome pirates, or having Wynbrook chase after her..." (From Publisher)


I really enjoy Amanda Forester's wit and writing. Very much like Jane Austen, Forester means more than what she has literally written.  Forester writes strong sassy women that are trying to maneuver in a world dominated by men. I have to say...and hopefully, Amanda reads this...I kind of wish there was a novella when Kate was in her teens to early 20s (I can't say anymore without spoilers)! With the steamy romance of Kate and John we also have adventures, banter and realistic themes.  John's sister was in an accident and loses both of her legs.  I found this portion very interesting as you don't always get "disabilities" discussed in historical romances.  I am really hoping we get more Ellen and how she progresses in life. The adventures in this book involve both Kate and John and isn't just John rescuing Kate.  John, as well as a few other men, don't seem so rigid about gender roles especially when it comes to women they love (familial and romantic).  This is great as a beach read or after a hard day of work...it takes you away but I will warn you that is a bit more than romance fluff!


*Please note: I would read Marriage Mart Regency Trilogy before reading this series IF you like to know all about reoccurring characters.  This character makes only a slight appearance but knowing that character's back story will make you chuckle and feel like you are in on the secrets!

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AMANDA FORESTER holds a PhD in clinical psychology and a Masters degree in theology.  As a psychologist, she has worked as a clinical researcher and a university instructor (what they call you when they don’t want to give you tenure).  None of which has anything to do with writing romance novels.  After trying for many years to stop the internal storylines floating around her head, she finally gave up and wrote one down.  Now when she is caught daydreaming and talking to herself she can just say, “I’m plotting a scene for my next novel,” which sounds so much better than, “I’m hallucinating and responding to internal stimuli.”

Amanda lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, three lazy house pets and one destructive puppy who is part yellow lab part tornado.

Amanda enjoys writing historical romance and splits her time between the rugged Highlands of medieval Scotland and the lively banter within the drawing rooms of Regency England.  She enjoys researching the history almost as much as the writing, and attempts to provide the reader with a glimpse of the historical reality, though usually without the fleas.  She enjoys sharing her passion for romance and history and loves hearing from readers.
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 k (My Novelesque Life)





 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Quick Review for Release Day: Kick


KICK: THE TRUE STORY OF JFK'S SISTER AND THE HEIR TO CHATSWORTH
Written by Paula Byrne 

JULY 5, 2016; 352 Pages
Harper
Genre: biographies, american, women

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

Kick is Kathleen Kennedy...the sister of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy...the daughter of Rose and Joe Kennedy.  I respect Byrne's research for this book and learning more about Kathleen Kennedy.  Yet, this book seems more about everyone around her with few of her stories sprinkled throughout.  We find out she is the second eldest girl and the fourth child  (of nine) in the Kennedy clan.  She is spirited and a bit of a rebel.  People cannot help but be attracted to her especially her brother, Jack and her father.  I enjoyed this book but I have more questions now!

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PAULA BYRNE was born in Birkenhead in 1967, the third daughter in a large working-class Catholic family. She studied at the University of Liverpool and now lives in Oxford with her husband, the Shakespeare scholar Sir Jonathan Bate, and their three children (Tom, Ellie and Harry). She is founder and Chief Executive of ReLit, the charity for literature and mental health. Paula is represented by The Wylie Agency.

Paula has also edited a Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Jane Austen’s Emma and is a regular reviewer for the Saturday Times.
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k (My Novelesque LIfe)




Toddlers, Tots and Teens Tuesday Two! Twisted Thriller for Teens


I have always loved mystery but my love of suspense thrillers probably intensified when I was in my teens (1990s).  I read authors Lois Duncan, Mary Downing Hahn, Joan Lowery Nixon, Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine (to just name some). I still gravitate towards teen thrillers as who can do drama better than young adults!

TWISTED
Written by Hannah Jayne
JULY 5, 2016; 304 pages
Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: young adult, suspense, thriller, mystery

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

★★★1/2

Bex was once Beth Ann.  After her father is accused of being a serial killer, her life is turned upside down.  At seven years old, Bex wears a necklace given to her by her father that the police discover was once belong to a murdered girl.  When the case seems strong against him he goes on the run leaving her behind.

Ten years later, her beloved maternal grandmother passes away and she is sent to live with a couple without children.  Bex likes them at first sight and seems to be making friends, and maybe even having a boyfriend.  No one knows of her past and her life is going well until a teenage girl is found murdered - by her and her new friends - and has all the hallmarks of her father's victims. When the detective from her father's case returns and asks for her helping in baiting her father...Bex cannot help but have doubts about her father being a murderer.

I love the synopsis of Twisted and the first half of the book had me glued.  Then the story began to get a bit predictable and it felt like a letdown.  Jayne is great at setting up suspense and a story but then it becomes like a dead end road.  The ending left me disappointed as the suspense had evaporated and I felt it was too pat.  The dad jokes were a bit too much...and Bex's sudden change also seemed out of the blue.  I reviewed Jayne's previous young adult thriller, Escape and have to say that Twisted has shown Jayne's growth in creating suspense and capturing her audience.  I honestly think that as Jayne writes her books will get better and I will be trying her next book if I can.

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Hannah Jayne is the author of the UNDERWORLD DETECTION AGENCY CHRONICLES from Kensington books and the upcoming young adult thrillers TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY and SEE JANE RUN available from Sourcebooks, Inc. When she's not battling the demons of the Underworld or tackling a murderer at Hawthorne High, Jayne kicks her feet up in her San Francisco bay area home and attempts to share couch space with two enormous cats.
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k (My Novelesque Life)