Book Review: Hinterland by L.M. Brown

I was provided with a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Hinterland

 

Nicholas Giovanni’s life revolves around his five-year old daughter Kate. When he isn’t driving his taxi, he is taking care of her and her mother Kathleen, whose last involuntary admission to hospital was before Kate was born. When his childhood best friend, Ina, returns next door, tensions rise in the house. Already unstable, Kathleen suspicions of Ina and Nicholas grow until a day of violence ensues and Kathleen disappears.

Kate’s life is shattered by her mother’s disappearance. No-one will tell her where Kathleen is. Although Ina helps to take care of Kate, Nicholas keeps her at arm’s length. He cannot bring himself to tell the truth about Kathleen’s last day, until Kate runs away, and he realizes his silence has torn everyone apart. To find Kate and to keep Ina in his life, there are truths he must face, if it’s not too late.

My Thoughts:

Hinterland is a story of one family’s experience with mental illness as well as the choices they make and the subsequent consequences. The main protagonist Nicholas is a devoted father to his daughter Kate and takes care of her mother Kathleen. Initially we are introduced to these three characters and their neighbor, an elder woman named Tilly. She has known Nicholas since his youth. Nicholas has a strained relationship with Kathleen and we can see how that indirectly affects Kate, a five year old child at the time the story begins. We also follow along as Nicholas maneuvers his job as a taxi driver and taking care of his daughter, shielding her from anything bad as only a loving parent can do.

As the story progress, we are introduced to Ina, Tilly’s daughter and someone Nicholas has always had feelings for. With her arrival, things are set in motion as tempers run high, jealousy creeps in, doubts arise. This leads to one incident that changes all their lives. The author’s style of writing is unique and something I have not come upon very often. She leaves a lot unsaid and gives space for the reader to read between the lines and come up with their own interpretation. It’s an interesting way of handling the plot.

The characters are intriguing and I enjoyed reading about them. However, Nicholas was quite confusing and at times I did not like him. In addition, we observe as Kate grows up from a shy five year old to a rebellious teenager who does not know the truth about her mother or why she just disappears one day never to be seen again. This forms the crux of the plot leading to strained relationships and the family’s struggle to deal with the absence of Kathleen but the constant reminder that she exists/existed. I enjoyed reading about Ina and the support she provides in a quiet manner.

Though the story is slow in the first half, it picks up pace in the second half leading to an interesting open ended finish. This gives the reader space to imagine the kind of ending they want for the characters. The author has handled the concept of mental illness very well, bringing about an awareness among the readers of it’s effects on the person dealing with it as well as the effect on the people around. Even though I do have some mixed feelings about this book, I did enjoy reading it. It was a roller-coaster of emotions and finally, the truth always comes out! This book is well worth the read!

Book Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

My Thoughts:

The Beautiful has to be one of the most talked about books! I was quite intrigued by the book cover and premise that I had to pick it up! It is a dark and sultry romance with murder, mystery and thrills all thrown into the mix!

At first, it took some time to get into the book and understand the context and setting. We are introduced to Celine, our main protagonist, a very strong-willed woman who keeps her own council and is not afraid to speak up. At first we see her struggling to conform to the rules of the convent where she has been taken in in New Orleans, having fled from Paris. However, she catches the eye of first Odette and then Sèbastien Saint Germain, all part of a group simply known as Le Cour des Lions. Little does she know that she has stepped into a completely different world, shrouded in darkness and surrounded by the dead, quite literally!

A very well written tale, the setting of New Orleans is very well described, especially the streets and nightlife. The characters are intriguing and well developed. At times, I must admit to getting a little annoyed with Celine, but it was not enough to pull me away from the book. As we are introduced to the creatures of the underworld and Celine starts to discover the existence of the paranormal, a series of murders leads to questions of motive and who the real target is. Not to be left out, Celine tries to conduct her own investigation having the feeling that she is indeed a target.

The developing romance between Celine and Sèbastien is both natural and forbidden and is interesting to see develop. The courtship (a suitable word for the time in which the story is set) is not without it’s problems and when murder and mayhem are thrown into the mix, we have all the ingredients for an entertaining story! The story is a roller-coaster of a ride as we navigate the sub-plots and various supporting characters who add such flavor to the story!

Though there were some ups and downs with the story, it is definitely worth the read!

Release Blitz: Mr. Lucky by Nora Flite and Jackson Kane

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mrluckyMr. Lucky by Nora Flite and Jackson Kane

Genre: Billionaire Contemporary Romance
Series: A Billionaire Romance Novella
Publication Date: February 20, 2017

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+ BONUS copy of Bigger and Badder
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Could you share a bed with a smoking-hot stranger?
I’m stuck in my hometown with a depressing job and no future. So when my best friend asks me to drive all the way to NYC so I can be her maid of honor, I jump on the chance to escape. Or I would have, if my car hadn’t broken down. I’ve never been lucky. Then HE shows up—a guy straight out of a fitness magazine, wearing a sharp suit—and he actually fixes my engine. I’d love it if he’d fix a few other things of mine, but I’m in a rush. I don’t think I’ll see him again. Except here he is, staying at the same hotel as me. Turns out they lost my reservation. My mystery man offers to save the day again; I can sleep in my car and probably get arrested for it, or I can share his bed. He says nothing will happen between us… unless I want it to. I should know better than to hook up with someone I met 24 hours ago. I might regret this in the morning, but for once in my life? I just want to get lucky. Too bad I don’t know who this man really is. And when I find out… My whole world is going to change.

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Review: All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale

I was provided with a free copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

All the Breaking Waves

From the bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes a gripping tale of long-buried secrets, the strength of forgiveness, and the healing power of returning home for good.

After a harrowing accident tore her family apart, Molly Brennan fled from the man she loved and the tragic mistake she made.

Twelve years later, Molly has created a new life for herself and her eight-year-old daughter, Cassie. The art history professor crafts jewelry as unique and weathered as the surf-tumbled sea glass she collects, while raising her daughter in a safe and loving environment—something Molly never had. But when Cassie is plagued by horrific visions and debilitating nightmares, Molly is forced to return to the one place she swore she’d never move back to—home to Pacific Grove.

A riveting exploration of love, secrets, and motherhood, All the Breaking Waves is the poignant story of a woman who discovers she must confront her past, let go of her guilt, and summon everything in her power to save her daughter.

My Thoughts:

A heartfelt novel, All the Breaking Waves brings together a mixture of psychic abilities and family drama. The main focus is on the bonds of family and the importance to forgive and move on. The protagonist, Molly, has hidden within her a secret for twelve years. This has caused her to run away from her home and from her grandmother. When her daughter turns out to have terrible visions and nightmares, she is forced to return to the very house she had run from to seek her grandmother’s help. Forced to face the demons of her past, she doesn’t expect to come face to face with the man she had loved so many years ago and still did. She also had to deal with some revelations about her grandmother and eventually her past.

The author has written the story really well, beautifully blending these various aspects of the plot. She gives her characters a rather magical look and adds the same touch to her style of writing. The concept of sea glass and jewellery making with it is intriguing. Also, the author alternates between the present time and narration of events in the past and this flow happens flawlessly, making it easier for the reader to understand the events that have crafted our characters and made them who they were. Our protagonist is also forced to deal with her abilities, apart from those of her daughter’s and to accept that she can do more good than harm if she just tried.

A wonderful story, this teaches us the importance of family and the necessity to stick together and talk things out always. Throw in some romance a charming little girl and we have a great mix! A good read, strongly recommended for those who enjoy a good romance with a character who has an interesting psychic ability.

Book Review: What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

About the Book:

What Jennifer Knows

A vital member of her Surrey community, Jennifer Jacobs is dedicated to her job as a dance therapist, helping children with special needs to express themselves through movement. Wife of a successful though reclusive sculptor, Gerald, she is known for having a deep sense of empathy, making her a trusted confidante. So when two very different friends, Freya and Abi, both share information with her that at first seems to be an awkward coincidence, she doesn’t tell them. But as the weeks roll by, the link revealed between the two women begins to escalate into a full-blown moral dilemma – and also brings to the surface a painful memory Jennifer believed she had long since forgotten. What is the right thing to do? Should she speak out or is the truth better left unsaid?

My Thoughts:

 An interesting read overall, this book has its set of ups and downs. There are many things that will appeal to the reader and a few which may deter them. But persevering on will ensure that the reader comes away satisfied by the reading experience. On some level, it is a little daunting to read about Jennifer and Gerald, who seem to be role models for the perfect life and couple. However, as we progress through the story, we come to know that not everything is as perfect as it seems.

Jennifer struggles with her relationship with her daughter as well as her friendships with Freya and Abi. The main question of morality comes down to whether a friend should share the truth about something they know or withhold it and wait. There is never a right answer or reaction to this and each can have different ends. A trial of relationships, both on the personal front as well as with friends raises a dilemma in Jennifer’s mind which forms the crux of this story. The author’s style of writing is simple and flows well.

The supporting characters are nice and developed to some extent. I believe that there could have been more depth added to the story and the characters, making it a bit more complex. However, on the whole the story works. It is a decent read and a different kind of plot that ultimately forces the reader to think about certain moral ideas.