Just a book blog

Just a book blog

I'm Jenn.

I like to read then blog about it :-)

Review
4 Stars
When You Find Me
When You Find Me - P.J. Vernon

Gray Godfrey and her husband, Paul, are visiting her family's estate in South Carolina. After waking from a night of heavy drinking she finds that she's alone in bed. In fact, Paul isn't even in the house and hasn't been all night. She remembers bits and pieces of their trip to the local bar, so maybe Paul went somewhere to cool off. But when their rental car is found abandoned on the highway Gray is relieved - Paul is gone. Gray receives a call from a stranger named Annie who claims to know his whereabouts. Gray reluctantly accepts her help, but soon Annie begins to reveal secrets only Gray knows. Nobody seems to know anyone named Annie. Who is she and what does she want? Paul still hasn't been found and Gray's world is falling apart.

The blurb sounded good, but it was the cover that made me request this - it's gorgeous! The story grabbed me from the start. The writing is good and it was easy to fall into the privileged yet damaged world of Gray. She's a drinker and as the story goes on we uncover what made Gray who she is today. What a big mess - poor Gray. And poor Paul. What happened to him?! I couldn't wait to find out. At about 70% something happened that I really did not like and I couldn't get into the story again. I understand how it ties in to everything and I can appreciate it but I can't help it - I don't like when stuff like that happens. Overall though this was really good. It was compulsive, suspenseful and interesting to get into the mind of Gray.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an ARC.

Review
3 Stars
Our Kind of Cruelty
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel - Araminta Hall

Mike Hayes grew up being neglected by his mother. While at university he met the beautiful Verity. She taught him about love. Mike became a successful, wealthy, handsome young man. He has dedicated his life to making her happy and making sure everything is perfect so they can live in bliss. He loves Verity so much that it doesn't matter that they don't live together or see each other anymore. It doesn't matter that she doesn't return his calls or emails. It doesn't even matter that she's marrying another guy. Because this is all just part of a secret game they used to play. If he watches her close enough he'll see that she's giving him signs. He'll know when to rescue her.

I was so excited to start reading this. There were lots of things I did like about this book - Mike made me feel uncomfortable. I wanted to talk some sense into him, which wouldn't have worked anyway. The concept was great. Mike and Verity's relationship was intense. Over the years they had grown to know one another well. But what about now? Is Verity really giving him signs? Is she in on this? This book had so much potential but it ultimately left me disappointed. It was boring. It wasn't as dark as I thought it was going to be. It became tedious and repetitious. And, for me, it's also forgettable.

Review
3 Stars
I Know My Name
I know my name - C.J. Cooke

A woman has washed up on Komméno Island in Greece. She's alone and doesn't remember anything, not even her name. Lucky for her there's a small group of people who have rescued her and will take care of her for the time being. Meanwhile, back in London, Eloïse Shelley has left her toddler and her three-month-old baby by themselves and has vanished into thin air. Her husband, Lochlan, can see that nothing has been taken from their home and his wife hasn't taken her money, passport or her car. There's no sign of foul play. So what exactly is going on? Where is his wife?

This sounded so good. I was very excited to win a copy through a contest on Twitter - thank you Harper Collins Canada! But this book turned out to be a disappointing read for me. I found it extremely boring. The author goes back and forth from Komméno Island to London and both storylines were missing that spark that made me want to rush through the pages so I can find out what happened to Eloïse. The characters fell flat. I found it hard to pick the book back up after setting it down and could only get through a few pages at a time. There was a huge convenient part towards the end that just had me like 'ugh, what are the chances of that actually happening?' However I did like the setting of Komméno Island. It's deserted now, but had once been a nice tourist attraction with shops and a big hotel and a ferry coming back and forth from the big island of Crete. I'm glad I got the chance to read this because it was a book I desperately wanted to read, I'm just sorry I couldn't give it a better review.

Review
5 Stars
Explicit
Explicit - Roxy Sloane

Jackson Ford is a bestselling novelist. He's arrogant and relentless. And he's way behind on his latest novel. His new editor, Ellie Parker, is desperate to get some of his pages to her boss before she loses her job, but Jackson is also stubborn and won't give her what she needs - at least when it comes to his novel.

I don't read a whole lot of erotica. The way the sex scenes are written usually have me rolling my eyes. But I thought this one was very well-written. There wasn't one part of this book that I did not like. Ellie was a hard worker, she was a good friend and a good daughter, she followed her heart. I loved the relationship between her and her best friends Bianca and Maggie. When Jackson wasn't being an arsehole he was a great guy! There were lots of cozy vibes - curling up by the fire, drinking tea and reading, watching the snowflakes, staying in a secluded cabin. I'm happy I read this!

Review
4 Stars
The Masterpiece
The Masterpiece - Fiona Davis

It's 1928 and twenty-five-year-old Clara Darden is teaching at the Grand Central School of Art. But it's not without its challenges as most people don't want to be taught by a woman. But Clara is fierce and determined and she isn't afraid to work hard for what she wants. Unfortunately Clara and her friends have no idea of what's to come with the Great Depression. Having no job, no money and no food won't be the worst things for Clara.

Now, in 1974, Grand Central terminal is run down. It's dirty and dangerous, and it's at the center of a lawsuit - is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved or is it to be demolished? Virginia Clay is a recently divorced mother whose last resort is to take a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her daughter Ruby. Taking a wrong turn, Virginia stumbles upon an old abandoned art school within the terminal. She finds a watercolour hidden under the dust which sets her on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece. This not only draws her into the mystery of Clara Darden, who disappeared into thin air in 1931, but it also draws her into the fight to save Grand Central.

Fiona Davis has the amazing ability to transport the reader back in time as well as bring New York City landmarks to life. If you've enjoyed her other books then this one will be no different. If you've never read any of her books - what are you waiting for?! I could feel Clara's frustration at being treated differently because she's a woman. I could feel the desperation and worry as the Great Depression settled in. I loved Clara's story and I did eventually grow to love Levon Zakarian. There's something about that era, being taken back and seeing the beauty of the Grand Central terminal. But Virginia's story was good as well. I liked that she and her daughter were close and could get strength and support from one another and I liked seeing Virginia grow into someone who can be comfortable in her own skin. And that cover - gorgeous!

Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton for an ARC.

Review
4 Stars
She Was the Quiet One
She Was the Quiet One - Michele Campbell

Twin sisters Rose and Bel Enright couldn't be more different. Rose is serious about her education, she's quiet and isn't as pretty as her sister. Bel is a wild child who runs with a bad crowd at their new school. The Odell School is a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school. This was their chance to start anew after leaving California but nothing's gotten better between the sisters. In fact, things have gotten much worse. Especially when one of them is accused of murdering the other.

Sarah Donovan is the wife of a handsome, charismatic, ambitious teacher who is determined to rise through the ranks. She's trying her best to be happy and supportive but she knows her husband well enough to notice the warning signs. Doesn't she? But surely he's not involved in the murder of a student. Right?

I was sucked in from page one. I love stories about boarding schools with all their drama and secrets and coverups. Which twin was killed?! And why? Does it have anything to do with a certain handsome teacher? Could one twin murder the other? Could another student have done it? There were a few different possibilities that kept me guessing. I found part one very compelling and suspenseful. I was so absorbed in the story that I felt like I was there. But once I got into part two my interest started to wane. I found it repetitious, it dragged on and on. Some things were convenient. And I didn't really care for the ending. Overall though I did enjoy this book.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the invite to read this ARC through Netgalley.

Review
4 Stars
Death of a Russian Doll
Death of a Russian Doll - Barbara Early

Liz McCall has been seeing Ken Young, the current Chief of Police, but he neglected to tell her he was married. His estranged wife, Marya, shows up in East Aurora to rekindle their marriage. She's working right next door to Liz's toyshop. And she's involved in the toyshop's doll rehab project. It seems as though no one in town really knows Marya, so it's especially hard to come up with suspects when her body is discovered in the barbershop next door with a hair dryer cord wrapped around her neck. Since Ken is the prime suspect, Liz's father, retired Chief of Police Hank McCall, is asked to take over the investigation. Liz has a few questions of her own and she's determined to get some answers.

This is the third book in the Vintage Toyshop Mystery series and can be read as a standalone. I love the toyshop with all its old goodies. Who doesn't like a trip down memory lane every now and then? The setting, the characters, the mystery - this book has so many great things going for it. And there are lots of puns that will have you rolling your eyes but also smiling!

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an ARC.

Review
5 Stars
Foe
Foe - Iain Reid

Junior and Henrietta are married and live on a farm. They enjoy their solitude. There are no neighbours, the city is far away, and they don't get visitors. Ever. So imagine their surprise when, not only do they get a visitor one night, but this visitor comes with the news that Junior has been randomly selected to travel very far away. Alone. No Henrietta. Arrangements have already been made and Hen will be left in good hands.

I was SO excited when I found out Iain Reid was coming out with another book because I loved I'm Thinking of Ending Things SO much!! I was even more excited when I got my hands on an ARC. Just by looking at the cover you can tell it's going to be creepy and that something sinister is lurking in those pages. I loved everything about this book - Junior and Hen are real and they're living in an old house in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't imagine having to go through what they did. I couldn't get through this book fast enough. I couldn't wait to know exactly what was going on! Junior's frustration was palpable. Definitely a clever, thought-provoking, page-turner.

Thank you to the author, Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC.

Review
4 Stars
Tin Man
Tin Man - Sarah Winman

Ellis and Michael are twelve when they meet and become best friends. They cycle the streets of Oxford, spend long lazy days on the beach, Ellis Sketches and Michael writes. They travel. And in between all that their friendships blossoms into something more. But not quite. A decade has passed and Ellis is married to Annie and Michael is no longer in the picture. But what happened to make it that way?

I did not like that there were no quotation marks at all in this short book. It was PDF and I could not open it on any program on my computer and the text was extremely small and frustrating to have to zoom in on every page on my phone or tablet so I read it on the kindle app which made the story sometimes confusing. However, I did enjoy this story more than I thought I would. I read Sarah Winman's other books and said that I liked them while I was reading them but forgot them immediately afterwards. But this one is going to stick with me. Ellis and Michael have such a strong, true connection that it is enviable. They, as well as Annie, really came to life. Their experiences were written in such great detail that they felt real. I could see everything as I was reading it. A really great story about living, love, loss and friendship that should make us grateful for the time we've shared with loved ones and for us to remember to enjoy the precious moments together with loved ones who are still here.

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House Canada for my copy.

Review
3 Stars
The Amazing Mr. Morality
The Amazing Mr. Morality - Jacob M. Appel

Appel's stories are always quirky, fun and imaginative. In my opinion though these were not his best. It felt like there was something missing from most of these stories to make them truly stand out and be great. The big reason I chose to read this was because of the woodchuck on the cover. A failed television producer wants the woodchuck in his yard gone, so he has it relocated only for it to send him written letters begging to come back. I did enjoy that one as well as the long story at the end in which the title of this collection comes from. In it two ethicists writing for rival newspaper columns answer questions such as 'If you’re going to commit a murder, is it worse to kill when the victim is sleeping or awake?' I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for more from this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and Vandalia Press for an ARC.

Review
5 Stars
Deadly Secrets
Deadly Secrets - Robert Bryndza

DCI Erika Foster stumbles into another murder investigation while on her way to Christmas dinner. Marissa Lewis is the beautiful young woman who has been found brutally murdered on her own front doorstep. DCI Foster discovers that other people have been assaulted in the same neighbourhood and they all have one thing that links them to the murder victim - a figure dressed in black, wearing a gas mask. This case has many layers as DCI Foster uncovers the tangled web of secrets and deceit surrounding Marissa Lewis.

This is the sixth book in the Detective Erika Foster series and I found it to be the strongest one since the first book The Girl in the Ice. I'm not sure what to say that I haven't said in my other reviews - suspenseful, great cast of familiar characters. Erika's taking no bull from anyone. I thought the author was going to lose me towards the end, but everything worked out. This page-turner had no dull spots. I love this series!

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for an ARC.

Review
4 Stars
Don't Believe It
Don't Believe It - Charlie Donlea

Sidney Ryan has put together the most watched documentary in television history. The Girl of Sugar Beach is a true-life mystery that is running in real time. The audience finds out exactly what happened ten years ago in St. Lucia when an American woman was accused of murdering her American boyfriend. Is Grace Sebold guilty or did the police want everything tied up in a neat little package to avoid a drop in tourism and money? The audience seems to think Grace is innocent and it looks as if she's getting out of that St. Lucian prison soon. Sidney has been uncovering startling evidence, things that were overlooked during the original investigation. But as the television series races towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying she got it all wrong.

Charlie Donlea is one of those authors, for me, where I don't have to read the blurb because I already know it's going to be good. If you've read his last book you'll recognize some names in this one, which I liked. I liked the aspect of Sidney Ryan digging around to free those who were wrongly accused and airing Grace Sebold's story on tv in real time. I found it easy to envision a group of friends in St. Lucia for a wedding and then everything being torn apart and everyone having to go on with their lives in different ways. Some things were convenient and the ending was a little far-fetched but overall it's another solid and entertaining read from this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington for an ARC.

Review
5 Stars
Dial Meow for Murder
Dial Meow for Murder (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery) - Bethany Blake

It's almost Halloween and the small town of Sylvan Creek is preparing a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue. It's being held on the lawn of a mansion that is said to be haunted. What's even more frightening for Daphne Templeton is that she finds the owner of the house, Lillian Flynt, dead. Daphne's dog, Socrates, is with her every step of the way as she ultimately figures out who the murderer is.

This is the book that took me out of my reading slump! Dial Meow for Murder is the second book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting series. I have read the third one first then this one but have not yet read the first. I suggest starting at the beginning because there was a spoiler in this one, however I'm sure it won't spoil my enjoyment when I get my hands on Death by Chocolate Lab. I love this series. Everyone and everything seems so real and authentic and so damn cozy and festive. The whole story flows well. The animals all have their own personality. I was suspecting everyone, they all had their own reasons why Lillian Flynt should disappear. This one also includes recipes for our furry babies. I may even attempt the Pumpkin-Peanut-Butter Ghosts! I can't wait to read the first one and the fourth when it comes out later this year! Exclamation points all around!!

Review
5 Stars
Best Day Ever
Best Day Ever - Kaira Rouda

Paul Strom has the perfect life - he is a successful advertising executive, his wife is young and beautiful, they have two healthy boys together, they live in a big house in a wealthy suburb, and they now own a lake house. In fact, Paul is taking his wife, Mia, to that very lake house for a romantic weekend, just the two of them. Paul promised Mia this would be the best day ever, but the tension in the car is palpable and things don't go the way Paul had planned.

I love the cover and appreciate it more now that I've read the book, which was great from the very first page. The writing is stunning and flawless and allows us to really get to know the characters. The story is from Paul's point of view and we can definitely tell he's a smug arsehole. We also get the feeling that there's something sinister lurking just beneath the surface. I couldn't wait to find out what was going on. There's no big twists, just little bombs dropped here and there that had me thinking 'wow' It's amazing how different Paul's mind works from Mia's and everyone else's in the story, although it focuses quite heavily on husband and wife. This was a quiet but intense read and I absolutely loved every word!

Review
4 Stars
Tell Me No Lies
Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back) - A.V. Geiger

After Eric Thorn's phone was found cracked and bloody in the snow, but no Eric Thorn, who knows what's going on? Fangirl Tessa Hart knows the truth. She's been in hiding the last couple of months. But now she's forced to face the consequences. Back in the interrogation room it seems as though there are more questions than answers.

This is the conclusion to Follow Me Back. To be honest I don't remember a whole lot about that book, only that I had fun reading it and it shed some light on the dangers of social media. The same can be said about this book. Instead of focusing only on Twitter like the first book, we learn about Snapchat (okay, maybe I'm the only one who learned about it) and even though it may seem safer, you just never know what can happen. I was a little surprised at who the culprit was in this one. I enjoyed a look into Eric Thorn's life, how demanding and hectic it is to be famous. I'm a sucker for books that have police interviews and Twitter messages and stuff like that so I loved those parts. Overall this was a fast read and a satisfying end for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for an ARC.

Review
4 Stars
The Marriage Lie
The Marriage Lie - Kimberly Belle

Iris and Will Griffith seem to have a perfect marriage - they're crazy in love, they live in their dream home in a nice neighbourhood, and they both have rewarding careers. But on the morning Will was supposed to fly to Orlando for business, Iris learns that he was on a plane going to Seattle. She only learns this because that plane has crashed, killing everyone. Iris has trouble believing this is happening. She has so many questions - why was he going to Seattle? Why did he lie about going to Orlando? And she's determined to get answers.

This book grabbed me from the very first page and kept my interest all the way through. Sometimes the writing itself was just okay, and I wasn't crazy about what went on in the last couple chapters. But the very end, ooh, that was fantastic! I absolutely loved it! Poor Iris was on an emotional rollercoaster. There was one thing after another. I was impressed at how many things the author threw in there and still made it all work. I was shocked a few times. I don't know what I would do if I was in the same position as Iris. A very suspenseful and compulsive read for me.