Book Review: Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Say You're Sorry book photo

Say You're Sorry Book Cover

Title: Say You’re Sorry
Author: Karen Rose
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: The Sacramento Series book 1

Date of Publication: February 12, 2019
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group


Synopsis

When a serial killer targets Daisy Dawson, he doesn’t expect her to fight back. But she does, and she manages to grab the locket he wears around his neck during the struggle.  This locket connects to a cult that Agent Gideon Reynolds of the FBI escaped when he was only 13 years old.  He is driven to find that cult and expose them, saving the women and children from their psychotic leader’s tyranny.  This serial killer is Gideon’s one tangible connection to the cult.  He’s assigned to Daisy to protect her from the killer and hopefully draw him out.  Daisy and Gideon have undeniable chemistry, and Gideon quickly realizes that Daisy isn’t as helpless as he thought she was…

Language

First off, I want to say that Karen Rose is an excellent writer. Everything she writes is wrought with tension, and she creates such dynamic and realistic characters that it’s hard not to grow attached to every single one of them, even minor characters.  This is the primary reason why I gave Say You’re Sorry a 4 star rating, even though I had several issues with the plot, pacing, and characters.

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Book Review: Wolfgang by F. D. Gross

Wolfgang

Wolfgang book cover

Title: Wolfgang
Editors: F. D. Gross
Genre: Horror, fantasy
Date of Publication: October 23, 2018
Series: Wolfgang #1
Publisher: Independently published


Synopsis:

Wolfgang is a nobleman who spends his days and nights purging the countryside of the undead.  But when he returns home after killing a nest of vampires, he discovers his wife dead, his town in ruins, and his son is missing. Desperate to find his son alive, he must fight a race against time, all the while killing the hoards of undead that are trying to keep him from his goal.

Plot

The book opens with a little preamble setting the stage for the story. It sort of reminds me of the sliding words on the screen of the beginning of Star Wars movies.  I think this will be very useful in follow up books in the series, so that readers can be quickly reminded of what happened in the previous books, so the the author can jump right into the plotline in the first chapters.

This novel reads like a rocket-fast paced version of Dracula (minus the epistolary style).  The story itself is quite different from Dracula, but the writing has a similar language and tone.  The plot plunges forward from the very first pages, and things are explained just enough so that the reader can follow along for this wild ride.  There are quite a few twists and turns in the plot, some which were predictable, and others were not.  

Characters

Because of the fast pace of the story, there is not much opportunity for scenes that are crafted solely for the purpose of character development. However, every scene is carefully planned.  F. D. Gross does an excellent job of giving us a clear understanding of who Wolfgang is, what his motivations are, and even showing some vulnerabilities. For instance, in the very beginning of the story, he has to kill an undead woman.  He does so, because it’s his duty, but he wavers at the thought of killing her child, even though the little boy is no longer technically living. This tells us so much about not only the nature of the undead in this world, what the plot will be like for the story, but it also tells us bucketloads about the main character.

Side characters are a little less developed, and I would have liked to have had some more scenes with simple conversations between the characters, to get a better sense of who they are.  Wolfgang’s wife dies very early on in the book, but we didn’t have much opportunity to grow attached to her. However, F. D. Gross does provide some flashbacks later in the book, which allow the reader to better understand how greatly Wolfgang loved his wife.

Worldbuilding

While the plot is fast-paced, every word is carefully selected and F. D. Gross crafts a well-developed and elaborate world.  He even describes what the undead smell like – cloves and burnt leaves, in case you were wondering.

Wolfgang

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of fast-paced plots, effortless worldbuilding, and old-fashioned vampire killing.

starstarstarstar

*Thank you to the author for the ebook for review!*

Find the book:

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: When it Will Rayne, It Will Pour by S. C. McCormack

When it will rayne book cover

when it will rayne it will pour book cover

Title: When it Will Rayne, It Will Pour
Author: S. C. McCormack
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Date of Publication: October 4, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published


Synopsis

Rayne Slater is a private investigator with a mysterious past. When she’s hired to infiltrate a lion-shapeshifter colony and isolate one of their members, Reese Donovan, she agrees, but only for the big paycheck.  She’s hesitant to be thrown back into a world that she escaped years ago, but this case forces her to face her demons.  When she develops feelings for her target, she has to make a big choice: and it’s not just between her client and her feelings, but about what she wants the rest of her life to look like.

Language

When it will Rayne, it will Pour is written in a noir-like style that I enjoyed immensely.  The text needs editing (at least, the version I read), but it didn’t trip me up too much.

McCormack employs seamless transitions between present day and flashbacks that flesh out the story.  The author provides just enough information about Rayne’s past to leave the reader eagerly anticipating more.

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Book Review: Delivering Virtue by Brian Kindall

delivering virtue book cover

delivering virtue book cover

Title: Delivering Virtue
Author: Brian Kindall
Genre: Fantasy, Literary
Date of Publication: November 7, 2015
Publisher: Diving Boy Books


When Didier Rain, a broke scoundrel, is approached to fulfill a prophecy foretold by the The Church of the Restructured Truth, the offer is too good to pass up. He must transport the baby Virtue, the church’s prophet’s child bride, over a thousand miles across the western pioneer trail.  During his journey, he meets many peculiar and interesting characters, and he just so happens to learn something about himself along the way.

Delivering Virtue is an 1854 Western historical fiction, a fantasy, an adventure, an allegory. It’s definitely a genre-bender.  Readers need to approach this book with an open mind. I have to admit there were a few times I was taken aback, because I thought I’d known where the story was going (and I’d clearly had no idea).  This is a book that you can’t read too literally. There are quite a few WTF moments, but you just have to remember it’s allegory and try not to be too traumatized by what Didier does.

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Book Review: Ashes of Retribution by L. J. Andrews

Ashes of Retribution book cover

Title: Ashes of Retribution
Author: L. J. Andrews
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date of Publication: June 28, 2018
Publisher: 4 Arrows


Adira lives in a dystopian world where people have been divided in two groups: the “Pure” and the “Impure”. The pure have no deformities, no marks on their bodies, no scars. The “Impure” could be anyone–from someone who has eyes that are two different colours to someone with a little scar on their left hand.  When Adira was a child, her maid was an “Impure”, and Adira ridiculed her for it. But when her maid was killed while protecting her, Adira realized that the impure are not that different after all. Now that she knows this, what is she willing to do about it?

It took me a bit of time to get into this book. I didn’t fall in love with Adira immediately, and I wasn’t entirely sure where the story was going. About fifty pages in, things got interesting, and I started to understand why Adira was the way she was.  Then, once she’s kidnapped by the Shadow Assassins, the book becomes unputdownable.

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Book Review: Madame Victoria by Catherine Leroux

Madame Victoria

madame victoria book cover

Title: Madame Victoria
Author: Catherine Leroux
Genre: Literary
Date of Publication: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Biblioasis


In 2001, a skeleton was discovered in the woods behind the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec.  The remains were never claimed.  The mystery woman was lovingly referred to as Madame Victoria by those who sought to identify her.  Her case was eventually set aside, replaced by more urgent matters. But Catherine Leroux won’t let Madame Victoria be forgotten.  In this compelling novel, Leroux has crafted twelve possible backgrounds for Madame Victoria.

Each individual history is equally breathtaking and heartbreaking.  The stories are framed by the tales of the people affected by Madame Victoria’s discovery.  Their realization that she will never be identified and the impact that this has on their lives complements the mystery woman’s possible histories in a tragically beautiful way.

The stories are connected by common imagery and the theme of invisibility.  Through each story, Leroux reveals a kaleidoscope of emotion and human experience.  Each version of Madame Victoria was forgotten for different reasons.  A few of the stories towards the end became fantastical – with a little science fiction and fantasy thrown into the mix.  This added to the complexity and sheer uniqueness of the book, although my favourite stories are those based in realism.

Leroux uses captivating imagery in her writing, and the words drip off the pages like liquid sugar.  She could write about filing your taxes and turn it into a poignant piece that leaves the reader in tears.  I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Madame Victoria

I recommend this book to those who want to read a modern Canadian literary gem, and for those who don’t mind a little tragedy in their leisure reading.  That said, I can see Madame Victoria becoming an assigned book in high school French language classes across Canada.

starstarstarstar

*Thank you to Biblioasis for the advanced reader copy!*

Find the book:

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

The Other Woman

the other woman book cover

Title: The Other Woman
Author: Sandie Jones
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Date of Publication: August 21, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


Emily is a successful career woman with family and friends that she loves.  But she’s never truly been in love before—at least, not since her ex-boyfriend, Tom, cheated on her years ago.  When she falls deeply in love with Adam, it looks like she’s found everything she’s ever wanted in a man. Until she meets his mother. Pammie isn’t exactly happy to see her son with Emily.  Quite the opposite.  And it seems like Pammie will do anything to make sure that she is the only woman in Adam’s life.

This book was a pleasant surprise. However, it has a very slow start, and I had a hard time getting through the first 15%.  But once it is revealed that Pammie isn’t a doting, lovable potential-mother-in-law, things become interesting. The ways that Pammie undermines Emily are so subtle, yet so conniving and ultimately utterly disturbing.  No spoilers here, but the things that she does are a lot subtler that a rabbit in a pot of boiling water, yet nearly as creepy and evil.

The plot picks up its pace as it plunges forward, and I read the entire book in nearly one sitting. Of course, I was reading it during an Instagram reading marathon, but it was still unputdownable.

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Book Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox book cover

Vox book cover

Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Genre: Fiction, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Date of Publication: August 21, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group


What if women were only allowed to speak 100 words a day? In this dystopian tale set in the not-too-distant future, not only are women less than men, but they are equipped with bracelets that monitor the number of words they say.  They are expected to cook and clean for their families, and they are not allowed to do much else.  Dr. Jean McClellan is–or was–a renowned linguistic scientist, and while she once turned a blind eye to what was going on around her, now she can no longer deny what society has become. This is her story.

One of the strengths of this story lies in its modernity.  Dalcher frequently refers to technologies we’re familiar with – like Apple watches and Facetime (hmm I wonder if all the Apple product placement was funded?).  A year ago Jean was debating Pokémon Go with her son, and now she isn’t allowed to banter with him anymore.  She’s growing more and more detached from her children and husband.  We don’t realize just how important words are until they’re taken away from us.  Dalcher stitches together reality and dystopia quite seamlessly, and the realism makes this story even more terrifying.

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Book Review: Murder Notes by Lisa Renee Jones

murder notes book cover

Title: Murder Notes (Lilah Love #1) 
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Date of Publication: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance


FBI Agent Lilah Love is working a serial killer case that brings her back home to the Hamptons, where she hasn’t returned for two years. She left behind her family, her lover, and a dark secret, the latter of which she’ll do anything to protect. But this serial killer seems to know her secret. Will she be able to catch him before he strikes again?  Or worse—before he reveals her secret to the world?

Lilah is one badass main character.  At one point she mentions that she has a “potty mouth”—which couldn’t be more aptly put.  She’s equally rude to her friends and her enemies.  Within a few sentences of this remark, Lilah mentions putting on her pink lipstick. Thank you, Lisa Renee Jones! Girls can be strong and love pink lipstick! It’s such a pet peeve of mine that female FBI agents, cops, PIs, always have to be Tom boys. They can never like pretty things or they won’t be considered “tough”.  While Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the first to break this mold, this trope is still an irritating trend in books and TV.

That said, there were a few times when I noticed that Lilah was a little too harsh on others, a little too abrasive. That’s an entirely different character flaw, and I loved that about her. Sometimes the things she said would make me cringe, but it’s all about what makes Lilah Love’s name ironic.  She’s badass, she’s broken, she’s hiding her pain with biting jabs directed at everyone within jabbing distance of her.

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Book Review: Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle

Three days missing cover

three days missing book cover

Title: Three Days Missing
Author: Kimberly Belle 
Genre: Thriller
Date of Publication: July 1, 2018
Publisher: Park Row


Kat Jenkins’s 8-year-old son, Ethan, goes missing while away on a camping trip with his class.  This book follows the story of the events that follow. The police search for him, and it quickly becomes clear that sweet little Ethan didn’t just wander off. He was taken. The novel also follows the story of the mother of another boy in Ethan’s class.  Stef seems to have it all. She’s beautiful, rich, and the wife of the mayor, but there is a lot more going on than what meets the eye…

Told from the alternating first-person perspectives of Kat and Stef, this story is fast-paced and full of chills and thrills. While there’s a lot of information for Kimberly Belle to get through in a short amount of time, she manages to fluidly deliver it during the course of the action, without slowing down the experience with long paragraphs of exposition.  I admire this in a writer.  In the first chapter, when Kat is getting her son ready for his camping trip, driving him to the school, and dropping him off, Belle manages to drop in critical information about Kat’s rocky relationship with her soon-to-be ex-husband, her son’s genius-level IQ and social awkwardness at school, and other pieces of information that become critical as the book progresses.

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