Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the FallPublisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 391
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review


Release Date: May 31, 2016
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs—the painter—and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members—including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot—the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

My Review:

I have just recently started watching Fargo, the television series, and I have really loved it, so when I heard that one of the producers of that show had a book coming out I knew it would be something I would enjoy. This book has a great mystery aspect to it, what is it that happened in such a short amount of time and caused a huge tragedy.

I was intrigued by this story and the background of everyone involved, slowly piece by piece the puzzle is revealed and you get to know each of the characters and their history. I will say that I did have some issues getting through the book, it is a confusing read, there is a lot of back and forth from what brought each character to the plane that day and then back to the events following the crash and the aftermath. There were quite a few times that I found the story hard to follow, also because I put it down for so long and then forgot about things I had read before.

I will say that I was more consumed by the chapters that dealt with the aftermath of the crash, seeing how the little boy manages and how those that love him come to his rescue, but also the bond that Scott ends up having with this little boy after saving his life. I really loved Scott's story, he is a very strong character and he is the one who is having the toughest time in the aftermath, why is he the only one who survived? What I really loved is how this story shows the ways people can interpret something so quickly and turn a story so that it works in their favour. Noah Hawley makes it difficult at times for readers to make their own judgments about the characters because they are being thrown at you right from the beginning.

This is definitely the type of book that you can't put down for too long of a period of time or you lose the story. And it is one that you need to pay attention to everyone, you can never be too careful of who you meet and the motives they have to harm others. I did enjoy many parts of this book, but just had a lot of issues keeping myself motivated to read it. This is a good mystery book that has so many parts to it, you can't tell if you are on the right track with answers, but at the same time it felt like a little more of a blocking for a television show as well and I think that is what made it hard for me to stick with it for long periods of time.

This is the type of book that won't be for everyone but is one that needs a chance because it will be an interesting read.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Blog Tour Review and Excerpt: The Cabin by Natasha Preston

The CabinPublisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 6, 2016
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:


There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar and Awake.

When Mackenzie treks to a secluded cabin in the woods with six friends, she expects a fun weekend of partying, drinking, and hookups. But when they wake to find two of their own dead and covered in blood, it's clear there's a killer among them.

As the police try to unravel the case, Mackenzie launches her own investigation. Before long secrets start to emerge, revealing a sinister web of sins among the original seven friends. The killer is still free. Every one of them is a suspect. And Mackenzie starts to realize that no one is innocent… 

My Review:

I have to absolutely thank Raincoast Books for having me a part of this amazing blog tour. I hadn't heard of Natasha Preston before this book, though I don't know how I missed her. This book was impossible to put down. I'm betting her previous books are just as intense and I know I will be searching for those in the near future. 

Right from the beginning, Natasha introduces readers to these characters but everything is very vague and you really learn that not everything is as it seems as the story continues. Everyone seems innocent in the beginning but everyone has something to hide and has a reason to be a suspect. Mackenzie is the most trusting person and it is hard on her to find out how everyone has their own secrets, even when she has hers as well. This book is hard to review because I don't want to give away all the secrets that come with it, and trust me there are a lot that make it hard to process sometimes. 

I actually found that Mackenzie reminded myself of me quite a bit in this book, she is the type who cares wholeheartedly about those that are closest to her. Mackenzie wants to protect everyone and she will always put them above herself in many situations. She wants to see the best in everyone and every situation, and sadly for her this can cause some problems and get her in more danger as things get more intense as they close in on the killer. But yet, throughout all these difficulties, Mackenzie also starts up a new unlikely friendship and Blake is the one person who can actually keep Mackenzie distracted and adds some good humour to a very dark story. 

I love how this book is about such a close group of friends and yet they each have huge secrets that affect how this group works. What is interesting is how the book opens up mentioning another accident, but it takes time to find out what it is that happened. There are secrets behind that evening as well, and it just seems that things keep piling up one after another. 

I flew through this book needing the answers and things just kept getting more intense as I continued making it that much harder to stop. Natasha Preston truly keeps things interesting and hidden making you read to the very end without ever giving away the answer. She reveals information slowly and at interesting points. This is such a great mystery book with an intense story and I definitely can't wait to read more from Natasha in the future (also going back and reading her past books!!)



And now for an excerpt from the book!

Two hours later, Blake and I were back at the cabin and indulging in drinking games with my friends. It didn’t take long for me to get tipsy again…and then go straight to being drunk. I still knew my name and the prime minister’s, but I’d definitely had one too many.
Tipping my head back, I laughed hysterically until my stomach muscles screamed in protest. Everything that was only remotely amusing when you were sober was heightened when you were drunk—-so Kyle falling over was hilarious. He didn’t even go all the way down—-it was more like a stumble—-but I was drunk, so it didn’t matter. He stood up and looked around as if hoping no one had seen.
I giggled uncontrollably.
“Piss off,” he snapped, narrowing his eyes at Courtney as she laughed too.
“Touchy,” she muttered, leaning into Josh’s chest as he put his arm around her.
Kyle folded his arms. “Touchy? Really, Court?”
If Courtney had tripped, she wouldn’t have found it funny.
“Back off,” Josh barked.
Could we not go an hour without someone arguing anymore? Pre--Josh we rarely bickered. I groaned and held my full stomach. It was full from stuffing my face with enchiladas, and it was probably the only reason I could hold all of the alcohol I’d drunk.
Blake kicked his feet up on the coffee table and threw his arm over the back of the sofa behind me. Aaron’s baby blues turned suspicious as he watched us. I refused to meet his eye and wrapped my arms around myself, not liking being the center of anyone’s attention.
My walk with Blake had caused a few raised eyebrows. My friends—-minus Court and definitely excluding Josh—-seemed to think he was bad news, but that was probably because he was related to Josh and they hadn’t really spoken to him yet. If they were giving Josh a second—-or tenth—-chance, they could certainly well give Blake a first one. Aaron was stubborn and protective though, so I knew he’d be the hardest to convince.
“Oh my God, we’re gonna be so hungover tomorrow,” Megan whined. She wasn’t as drunk as she acted, but she had always been like that. She’d perfected her look--at--me wobble, blatantly tripping over her own feet. She didn’t like being drunk and losing control, but she didn’t like to be the odd one out, so she pretended. Everyone knew she pretended. I think she knew we knew, but we all went along with it and laughed at silly, drunk Megan wobbling. It was kind of ridiculous.
“More shots!” Aaron announced, pointing to the empty shot glasses on the table. I had lost count of how many we had done so far. But as much as we had already drunk, we were going pretty slow compared to that night.
Blake was surprisingly sober for the amount he’d put away. I suspected he drank quite a bit at home to have that kind of tolerance. He walked in a straight line when he got up for more beer.
As the shots kept coming, I started to feel sick. My stomach turned, and every time I swallowed, I felt like my throat was pinching shut. Megan had brought some Italian liquor with her and made us finish the bottle because, as she put it, “If I take that crap back with me, my mother will disown me.” I could see why. It tasted of lemon and burned on the way down. It was probably what toilet cleaner tasted like. We also polished off Aaron’s bottle of spiced rum.
I groaned and craned my neck. My body felt heavy and weak. I was getting to the sleepy part of being drunk. Everything was swimming and spinning.
“Does anyone else feel weird?” I asked.
God, I’ll be lucky if I’m not sick tonight.
Megan giggled. “What, drunk?”
“Sort of. I guess,” I replied, pressing my hands to my face. I was too hot. Please don’t throw up. The taste and feel of it rushing up my throat made me panic.

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!

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