Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Bilie Livingston

The Crooked Heart of MercyPublisher: Random House of Canada
Pages: 272
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Buy From Chapters.caBuy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a brave, funny and heartbreaking novel about faith and family, love and forgiveness, and how people survive unimaginable loss. It features an indelible trio of characters who could only come from the imagination of Billie Livingston. There's Ben, whose world we enter on the first page: he's a limo driver who, after he loses his son, finds himself locked up in a psych ward with a hole in his head he can't explain. His wife, Maggie, the other narrator of the story, is locked up in her own grief, unable to reach out to her husband. Then there is Maggie's brother, Francis, an unlikely priest with a drinking problem and only occasional interest in celibacy, whose latest fall from the wagon was caught on video and has gone viral as Drunk Priest Propositions Cop.

How they come together to heal each other's many wounds is the magic of this novel, as is its intensity, its wit, its deep sense of the absurd, and the surprising grace at its core.

My Review:

A few years ago I saw this book that captured my attention, that book was One Good Hustle, and it was my introduction to Billie Livingston's writing. I was in love, yes there were a few little things about that book that took my attention away, but I loved how Billie could write such a story about people who are struggling and that are not necessarily heroic.

The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a much darker book than that one, and yet it is just as mesmerizing. This is a story about two very broken people who have suffered a great loss and Billie uses this story to show a back and forth about how this couple copes and how it has affected their lives and relationships. What I really loved about this book was how Billie Livingston is able to really make her readers feel for some very unlikeable characters. I really saw myself rooting for these two to get through and come out on top.

I have loved Billie Livingston's writing style for so long. She brings about characters that you can't help but care for and want to help them through their situations. This is a tough situation to write about and Billie takes a different approach for this book, she really brings out the negative aspects of these two characters... But it is that which helps them as well. It's the way that Billie brings these people together after they have been separated and shows that they need each other to truly heal which makes this book the beauty that it is.

Truly, Billie Livingston is an amazing storyteller who brings something different to the table and I will always look forward to what else she will bring to readers!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Burn by Paula Weston

Publisher: Tundra Books
Series: Rephaim #4
Pages: 448
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 7, 2016
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.

For a year she believe she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.

Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.

Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it's all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.

More importantly, she remembers why she's spent the last ten years wanting to seriously damage Rafa.

My Review:

I want to thank Penguin Random House of Canada for introducing me to such an amazing series. I have to start out by saying how upset I am that this series is over. Honestly, with how Shimmer ended, I was dreading and yet excited for this book. And I can truly say that this entire series has delivered such a punch. Readers are always surprised at what comes out and there is no way you can guess what comes next. Paula Weston has done a great job keeping her readers in suspense and not giving away too much.

This book opens with a bang, finally after so long Gaby remembers her past and why she ended up where she is. Burn answers so many questions and is still just as full of action as the rest of the series (actually let's be honest... it probably has the most action of all the books). This is what everything has been leading up to, the big showdown, and oh my gosh, the way Paula brings it all together is amazing.

I really enjoyed how Paula did the back and forth from NOW and THEN in this book, there is still a bit of a slow reveal and a build up to the past and how Gabe and Jude lost their memory, but the way Paula describes everything, readers are enthralled and need to know what will happen. This has always been a hard series to put down, but I find this book especially I needed to keep going.

I still absolutely love Gaby, even though she remembers her past and how everything ended, she doesn't go back to being that person, she has changed a lot and grown so much over the course of this series. And the way her relationship with Rafa has grown, oh I still swoon just thinking about it. The way these two came together and despite the history, they are an amazing team and it really shows.

I really enjoyed seeing more of tge relationship between Gaby and Jude as well. These two have a special bond and it really adds to the story. Paula delves even deeper into their relationship in this book.

I really don't want to speak too much about everything that happens and give away all the secrets that Paula has been keeping on hand for so long. But if this isn't a series you have picked up yet, I say rush out and buy these books and binge them. Now that the series is complete (I will miss these characters that I have spent so much time with), you will pick up one story and just want to keep going.

This has been one of the best angel series I've read in a long time. Readers will quickly fall in love with all the characters and you won't want to leave them!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People's HousesPublisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Pages: 240
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: February 23, 2016
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

My Review:

Wow, this book was a lot more than I was expecting, and in such a small little package. There is such a large story found in this book and it was so mesmerizing for me.  This book connects four people together in such a short amount of time, and the way they all end up helping one another is what makes this story so beautiful.

I am not too sure on how to review this book because there is just so much that happens, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock brings alive a tough time in Alaska. When I started this book I wasn't too sure if I would really get into, but as I continued and slowly got to know each of the characters better I was falling in love and I wanted to know how they would grow over the course of the time.

What I really loved about this story was how Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock writes a beautiful story about people dealing with some tragic situations. And yet this is also a story about the strength of family and how no matter how difficult a time you may be going through, those are the people that will be there for you in the end. This is the type of book that you really need to keep working with, don't give up on the story because you will find yourself falling for the characters, and wanting to see them come out on top.

I can't really talk about these characters without giving away too much information about everything that happens, but this book takes place over a year and readers see the characters through each season and watch how little by little each character changes and grows up. I think in some ways Dora was one of my favourites because she had such a substantial growth over the course of the novel.

This was a book I picked up because the cover just screamed out to me and the title was so odd that I knew I needed more information, and it is a book that I can see staying in my heart, it's just one that you need to invest yourself in and don't give up on. 


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