Become Bookishly Brilliant! Subscribe Now!

Follow

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (Thriller)


Greetings Friends!

This month my book club selected this book as our read and I can't stop thinking about it!  

I'm not sure even how to begin conveying my thoughts on this one because there are so many reasons it was so intriguing and addicting to read without giving away any of the spoilers that make this book so fascinating!  My only advice is to just go and read it!  


Rating:  


Genre:  Thriller, Suspense
Release Date:  January 2017

Synopsis:


Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.



About the Author:  



Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed adult and YA author based in London. 

She was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story and also the 2010 and 2014 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, and she has four times been short-listed for Best Novel. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.  
You can find her on:


Review:


This is an extremely difficult book to review because the most fascinating parts to discuss would ultimately spoil everything if I talked about them!  And we're friends and I don't want to ruin the experience for you!  This book is a journey and I want you to enjoy the one heck of a ride you will take by reading this.

I went into this book knowing there was a shocking ending that is so utterly twisted that you won't believe it, see it coming, nor predict it, and that's exactly what it was.  The social media marketing campaign surrounding the book included #WTFthatending.  And while it totally lives up to the hype, it undeniably drives reader curiosity.  I know there are many who hate it or felt let down by it, but I personally loved it because in my opinion, it defied the genre and created an interesting way to think about or rethink the very nature of psychological thrillers as we know them.  I think that in a lot of ways if you've ever read A Monster Calls you know that it becomes apparent that there are scarier things to face than the "monster."  And though these two books are in no way connected or similar, Behind Her Eyes lends itself to the incredible suggestion that ultimately there are far scarier means of inflicting psychological terror on people than through criminal actions.

The story is very readable and engrossing to the point of being addicting.  I thoroughly enjoyed the slow, simmering suspense that was built.  None of the characters are likable, as they are all greatly flawed and irritating due in large part to their horrible decision-making skills.  But just like them, you are driven to find out what is going on!  You want to know the truth, but once you get to the end, you'll only hear Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men screaming at you, "You can't handle the truth!"

I highly recommend this one, especially if you are looking for a thriller that takes things to a whole new level not yet seen before.  I look forward to rereading this one at some point in the future to slowly savor the incredible brilliance of it all over again.  Hopefully, you'll also have a hard time not thinking about it as well and you'll come on back so we can talk about it together!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review: Any Day Now by Robyn Carr (Romance)


Greetings Friends!

Well, it seems that the past few reading months have been all about books on second chances and romance!  And fixer uppers apparently!  Oh, and diving into series without having read the first book!  Well, after all, I do read dangerously!

I was graciously contacted by Little Bird Publicity Team and a copy of this book was sent to me for free in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review.  All thoughts, opinions, and feels are my own.


Rating:


Genre:  Romance, Contemporary
Release Date:  April 18, 2017


Synopsis:


This is the highly anticipated sequel to #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr's What We Find, which transports readers back to Sullivan's Crossing. The rustic campground at the crossroads of the Colorado and Continental Divide trails welcomes everyone—whether you're looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or a whole new lease on life. It's a wonderful place where good people face their challenges with humor, strength, and love. 

For Sierra Jones, Sullivan's Crossing is meant to be a brief stopover. She's put her troubled past behind her but the path forward isn't yet clear. A visit with her big brother Cal and his new bride, Maggie, seems to be the best option to help her get back on her feet. 


Not wanting to burden or depend on anyone, Sierra is surprised to find the Crossing offers so much more than a place to rest her head. Cal and Maggie welcome her into their busy lives and she quickly finds herself bonding with Sully, the quirky campground owner who is the father figure she's always wanted. But when her past catches up with her, it's a special man and an adorable puppy who give her the strength to face the truth and fight for a brighter future. In Sullivan's Crossing, Sierra learns to cherish the family you are given and the family you choose.



About the Author:



Robyn Carr is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River novels.  

She was a young mother of two in the mid-1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, that she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction.

Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.
You can find her on:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website  |  Instagram   

Review:


While this is a follow-up to What We Find, there is no need to have already read that book to enjoy this one. I had never read anything by Robyn Carr before, but I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to read this book, as now I'm actively seeking out her other series to give those a read too!

This story primarily follows Sierra as she attempts to make a fresh start after a spending some time at rehab for alcoholism. After some convincing from her brother, Cal, Sierra arrives in Sullivan's Crossing and begins the process of trying to turn her life around. She soon discovers that as much as she may want to do things for herself, it's just as important that she lean on the support of others, and through that experience, she comes to find friendship, guidance, and love in the most unlikely places.

Sully, a campground owner and Cal's father-in-law, offers Sierra a place to live and was such a great character.  He takes her under his wing and becomes the father figure that she has always needed.  Connie (Conrad), a local firefighter, gradually becomes her love interest, although at times, I felt that their dialogue was a bit awkward, especially as they became closer.  Their romantic relationship was a bit steamier than I expected or wanted, but it wasn't gratuitous and made sense within the context of the story. There is also a bit of suspense that becomes crucial to Sierra's story, as she must confront this past in order to truly move on.  This layer also adds to understanding the depths of her pain as well as showing how far she has come once the story concludes.

Ultimately, I really appreciated how authentic and realistic this cast of characters was.  They were all hardworking, friendly individuals who like anyone else may find themselves facing struggles; however, they pick themselves up and use those healthy connections and relationships with others to keep moving forward. None of them are perfect and they don't always make good choices, but they continue to push themselves towards redemption and happiness, and in the end, I believe that's really all any of us can do.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Sullivan's Crossing and look forward to hopefully returning again to read more, as there was some setup between secondary characters that seemed to suggest another story awaits!

Many thanks to Robyn Carr, Katie and Claire at Little Bird Publicity, and Mira for sending me a copy.  It was a pleasure providing a review.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

March 2017 OwlCrate Unboxing and Review

photo credit:  @thebookranter

Greetings Friends!

Today I wanted to give you an unboxing of the March OwlCrate box along with a review of the book that was included!

OwlCrate is a monthly subscription box that includes a newly released young adult novel and 3 to 5 bookish items.  March's theme was "Sailors, Ships, and Seas" and contained many seaworthy goodies!

Let's take a closer look at each of the items!
  • An exclusively designed compass necklace for OwlCrate members from The Geeky Cauldron
  • A hand-printed tea towel from KitchStudios
  • An octopus notepad from boygirlparty
  • Mermaid scale washi tape from Simply Gilded
  • Last, but certainly not least, the book of the month - Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, which also included a signed book plate, letter from the author, and a temporary pirate tattoo


Rating:





Synopsis:


Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King. 


Review:


This was such a great and fun book!  It was so refreshing to finally read a story that claimed the female protagonist would be cunning, spunky, confident, and dangerous and which ultimately totally delivered on that promise!  Alosa is the daughter of the ruthless pirate king, but she is not nor has she ever been spoiled or pampered.  She's spirited and a fighter and has had to work, train, and prove herself just as much as anyone else in her father's fleet, making her competent, brilliant, and brutal. She's also quite feminine, thoroughly embracing that side of her personality as well, and proving to be a wonderful example of an empowered heroine.

The story starts fast and moves quickly.  The pacing is fantastic and really adds to the atmosphere of capturing the high stakes race to find the map. As with most all young adult books, there is a bit of romance that develops between Alosa and one of her captors, Riden, the first mate, but thankfully this doesn't happen quickly. I really appreciated the age appropriate romance that is presented rather than creating these over-sexualized characters that are gradually becoming the norm in young adult literature. This was very much a love-hate relationship that is surprisingly fun and adorable to watch.  They keep each other on their toes to such an extent that they begin to respectfully admire one another.  And whether they ultimately become lovers, best friends, or allies is yet to be determined, but it does appear that a great partnership is definitely in the making.

This is the author's debut novel, but honestly, the writing is so fantastic that you would never even know it! There are some paranormal/fantastical elements to the story that are sparingly hinted at throughout, but once the truth is revealed, it packs a great punch for the sequel coming next year.  While it's definitely not a cliffhanger by any means, the ending strongly suggests there is way more to this story.  I can't wait to find out what adventure awaits!


About the Author:



Tricia Levenseller is from a small town in Oregon, but she now lives in Utah with her bossy dog, Rosy.  She received her degree in English language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again.  When she's not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching her favorite TV shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.  

You can find her on:

Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Website  |  Twitter 
I hope that you enjoyed this unboxing!  April's box is currently available and will begin shipping out soon!  The theme is "Head over Heels" and will include a highly anticipated contemporary romance and bookish goodies that will give you all the feels!  Subscribe today so you don't miss out on this fun box!

photo credit:  @bookswrotemystory

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Blast: Mystery at Manatee Key by Nancy Stewart (Children's)


Greetings Friends!

Today's feature is a book blast to welcome Nancy Stewart with her new children's picture book Mystery at Manatee Key!


Mystery at Manatee Key is available on Amazon!

Synopsis:


Bella and Britt love to explore along the beach and at more remote places like Manatee Key as well. It is there that they discover a manatee smuggling ring.

The manatees have already been netted, so the girls must act fast! But a kidnapper snatches Bella, hustling her into their hideout. When Britt sneaks a look in the window, she discovers that the ranger is being held, too. Now it's up to Britt. But what can a single girl do?


Book Excerpt:
 
A dark animal circled slowly in the shallow water of Manatee Key. Walking closer, Bella whispered. “A baby manatee. And it has a patch of white near its snout.” Britt frowned. “But where’s the mother? It must be hungry. We should tell the ranger.”
“Yeah,” Bella said. “This one’s too young to be without her mom. Let’s go.”
The friends worked their way through the jungle-like brush back to their bicycles. Britt took the lead. “It’s really hot, but we gotta make time.” 
After a twenty minute ride down dusty paths leading to the main road in their coastal town, they reached the ranger station. “It’s quiet in here today,” Bella said.
 The ranger’s assistant glanced up from his reading. “Hi, girls. Can I help you?”
“We need to see the ranger and report an orphaned manatee,” Bella said.
He frowned. “She hasn’t come in today, and that’s not like her. I’ve called her phones. Nobody answered. And no one’s seen her. Have you by any chance?”
“No,” they answered at the same time.
 “Well, it’s a mystery,” he said. “I won’t call the police yet. But I’m getting worried. Now, about that manatee. Can you take me to it?”
 “Sure,” Britt said. “If you can bring us back to town. We rode our bikes here.” He nodded. “Of course.”


About the Author



Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education. Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing). Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011. Nancy's YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017. She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

You can find her on:

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website


Thanks for checking out this book blast!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tome Topple Readathon Announcement and TBR!


Greetings Friends!

I came across another readathon that will be happening from April 7 to April 20 called Tome Topple and focuses on reading those big books on our TBR that keep getting pushed aside because of their size! Now's your chance to dedicate two weeks to one or some of those books and topple those tomes!

The only rule for this readathon is that the books have to be over 500 pages.  Check out Sam over on Thoughts on Tomes for more information.


She will be hosting along with a few others in the book community across formats such as YouTube, Instagram, and Tumblr, so pick your poison and join us!  There is also a Goodreads group you can join for book suggestions as well as discussion boards featuring the most widely chosen books that you can participate in.  Also follow @tome_topple for updates and use #tometopple to stay involved on Twitter.

There are also a few challenges associated with the readathon that you can keep in mind when selecting your book(s):

  • Read more than 1 tome
  • Read a graphic novel
  • Read a tome that's part of a series
  • Buddy read a tome (use the Goodreads group and Twitter to find buddies)
  • Read an adult novel

Feel free to combine challenges using one book to meet more targets!

The only book I will be spending my time on is The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.

I have been telling my husband for over 10 years now that I will read this and I have yet to do so.  I actually made it about 150 pages in last year before I got distracted by other reads, but I'm going to finish it this month!  I've flagged out exactly how many pages I have to read each day to complete it in the two weeks.  It's definitely not the most inspiring method, but I really want to get this done!


I hope that you will join me in Tome Topple!  Let me know in the comments if you plan to participate, what books you'd like to get read, or whether you'd like to buddy read The Eye of the World with me!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Books on my TBR


Greetings Fellow Book Dragons!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme within the book community that was created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey, but is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.  If you're interested in participating, find out more on the Goodreads group.

This week's topic is Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Books on my TBR!  This is a collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, and while nominees have already been selected for each category, this is simply a chance to talk about those SFF books that you want to read ASAP!

In no particular order, here are my selections:


Eye of the World by Robert Jordan


The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)

Finishing this book is one of my goals for this year.  When my husband and I were first married, we agreed to read a book from the other's favorite author.  He held up his side of the deal, but I have yet to do so and it's been over 10 years now!  I did start this last year finally, but got distracted, so I plan to finally complete it as part of the Tome Topple Readathon starting this week.


The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

This is the tale of a magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. 



A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas


A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

I can't wait for this one and I'm going to try and reread the first two before May 2!  
This is the third book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.  Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees, but to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit - and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.  As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords and hunt for allies in unexpected places.  The earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. 


The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson


The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)

In a world where ash falls from the sky and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?  In this intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage— Allomancy, a magic of the metals.


Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey


Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)

Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.


Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe. 



So those are the top SFF books on my TBR.  What are some that you want to read?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Future Classics


Greetings Fellow Book Dragons!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme within the book community that was created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey, but is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.  If you're interested in participating, find out more on the Goodreads group.

This week's topic is Future Classics! Let's talk about those books that you believe will one day be considered classics that everyone will or should have to read. Disclaimer:  I'm not going to include Harry Potter because that series goes without saying!

Here are my selections in no particular order:


The Hunger Games


This book catapulted the dystopian novel to what it is today. While these kinds of stories have always existed, the book's enduring sense of hope creates enormous appeal and features both the best and worst about society with an amazing plot and strong character development. 


Graceling


I had to include a fantasy, and while my instinct says that I have to put Game of Thrones on this list because entire course catalogs could be devoted to teaching that incredible tome, I wanted to include something that would have a stronger appeal to larger audiences. 

Featuring a strong female protagonist, Katsa is a Graceling, a person born with a rare supernatural ability or Grace.  She is gifted with the ability to kill and becomes the King's personal assassin; however, she secretly forms a council and uses her grace to seek out and right injustices. There is also an incredibly believable and swoon-worthy romance because of course there is! And because fantasy is one of those genres that is hard for people to get into, this is a great introductory book to dip your toes in before moving on to bigger and bolder worlds.


The Hate U Give


This is an incredibly important book, defining a time in our society that will be studied and talked about for generations to come.  All of the hype is completely warranted with this one and I can't recommend it enough.


The Book Thief


We will forever study World War II, and great novels about this dark period in our world's history are important.  This book is one of them.  Featuring an unforgettable narrator, this book is heart-breaking, eye-opening, and truly captures the ability of books to feed the soul.


Gone Girl


This book turned the psychological thriller on its head and made the summer beach read of 2012 a very dark and twisted one.  Five years later and marketing campaigns are still trying to sell readers the next "Gone Girl."  This is a brilliant study in dual perspectives and building tension and suspense towards the ultimate climax.  

So those are my picks for future classics!  What are some that you want added to the classics canon?  Let me know in the comments!