The Twilight Wife by A.J Banner

This novel really reminded me of Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson so I thought it would be interesting to see how another author would put their spin on it. Here is my review:

Ever since her diving accident, 34-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop can’t remember anything. Apart from brief flashes of the last few years of her life, Kyra’s world is limited to her close friends on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob. But as Kyra begins to have visions of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and relationships with people she doesn’t know, Kyra starts to question her new life … and her husband.

This novel was ridiculously similar to Before I Go To Sleep to the point where it felt like I was reading the same story. Despite this, I quite enjoyed this story. It had a lot of intrigue and the author spent a lot of time developing Kyra’s character and her memories. There were certain things that I felt the author could have explained better, and there were certain characters that could have used a stronger backstory. However, the overall story was interesting and engaging and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of S.J. Watson.

Happy reading ~

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Thank you to Penguin Random House and their First to Read program for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’m not a big fan of historical fiction and if you go through my blog, you will see that I haven’t read very many books from this genre. I always feel a bit guilty about not widening my horizons so this time I chose a book that is not only part of the historical fiction genre but also the romance genre (which I also don’t delve into very much).

Austria, 1938.
Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. However, when Kristallnacht occurs, Kristoff’s teacher disappears and it is up to Kristoff to deal with the Germans, who want him to engrave stamps for the Fuhrer and his army. With the help of his teacher’s fiery daughter, Elena, the stamps get made …. but for each stamp created for the Fuhrer comes another stamp for the Austrian resistance, along with forged papers to help Jewish Austrians escape. As Kristoff and Elena’s love for each other grows, they must find a way to keep each other safe before they get caught.

Los Angeles, 1989.
Katie Nelson is struggling with her life, as she goes through a divorce and deals with her father’s memory loss. As she cleans up her house, she comes across her father’s beloved stamp collection. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter, Katie finds herself intrigued. As she and Benjamin try to get to the bottom of this mystery, they are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall.

This was a very well-written story and looked at a very different angle of the war than one I’ve previously read about. I’ve heard of Kristallnacht, of course, but this novel took an interesting perspective of it. Even though half of the story takes place during WWII, the emphasis was evenly divided between the relationship of Kristoff and Elena and the resistance effort. I also really liked the other narrative that was happening with Katie and her father’s stamp collection. I learned a lot about stamps and their significance that I was unaware of before this story, and that was a nice surprise. The romance aspect of this novel was really well done; it was believable and simple and touching. I quite enjoyed the read and got a bit emotional at the end, which is always a good sign. This is definitely a strong historical fiction novel with a well written romance angle!

Happy reading ~

The Breakdown by B.A Paris

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

B.A Paris has quite a reputation for writing great thrillers. I read Behind Closed Doors and it was a thriller I really enjoyed so I was hoping that the author would continue to wow me with this next novel. Here is my review:

When Cass is leaving a party late night, she decides to go down a winding rural road to get home quicker. As she is driving, in the middle of a downpour, she sees a woman sitting inside a car on the side of the road. Cass stops to see if she needs help, but when the woman is unresponsive, Cass hurries along home. Later, Cass learns that that very woman was killed – and she can’t help but blame herself. But since then, Cass has started having lapses in her memory. At first, it’s little things like where she left the car, and what the code is for the alarm. But as her memory gets worse and worse, Cass starts getting more and more anxious. The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the one she could have saved. Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

Compared to Behind Closed Doors, this novel wasn’t nearly as engrossing or intriguing. It was definitely more of your traditional thriller and it was quite easy to predict. In fact, I had pretty much pieced it all together before the halfway point of the novel, just based on the few clues that the author gave. There were still a few surprises that I wasn’t expecting but there really wasn’t much of a twist anywhere in the story.

I didn’t really like Cass’s character all that much. She was a bit annoying to say the least and while I felt bad for her and her memory issues, it seemed like she never thought things through properly before saying or doing something. And that got quite tiresome. At one point, Cass took charge of her life and was in control: this was the highlight of the book for me. I loved that Cass didn’t just take things lying down, but actually went about getting justice. It was a shame that her strength was short-lived; the scene literally came up near the end of the book and the author didn’t really make it a big part of the story.

The ending itself was unexpected as I never expected so many things (and people) to become connected. To be honest, I didn’t really feel like it worked. I understand why the author wanted to make everything connect, but I just wasn’t convinced and it really didn’t fit in very well. If the novel had been extended a bit more and had had more details dropped at various points that would have made the ending more believable, I think that would have helped make sense of it all.

Overall, this novel was just okay. There wasn’t anything very special to it: the main character is your typical paranoid wife, the story is easy to figure out, and the ending is just really abrupt and forced to be believable.

Happy reading ~

 

The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

As usual, this book was advertised as being along the same vein as Gone Girl and Girl on the Train; the former I loved and the latter I thought was just meh. Whenever I get these kinds of comparisons, I like to read the book and make my own judgement. So thank you to the publisher, author, and to NetGalley… and here is my review:

She finds herself on the beach, completely soaked and unaware of the circumstances that brought her here. She can’t remember her name, or who she is. A stranger rescues her and gets her to the hospital. Upon waking up, she is told that she has retrograde amnesia and that her memories will come back with time. Fortunately, her boyfriend has identified her and will be coming to get her soon. It turns out that she has a perfect life – she is rich, and has a wonderful boyfriend and family that are eager to help refresh her memory. But soon, she begins to see through them and discover the lies. What is it that they don’t want her to remember? Who can she really trust?

I was quite surprised by this novel. At first, I enjoyed reading it and moving along the predictable path that had been set out. I was perfectly ready to give this novel a solid 3/5 for being well-written but not exceptional. AND THEN THE ENDING HAPPENED. It took a completely different turn than what I was expecting. In a way, it was a tad bit too abrupt. But as I continued, I was just so shocked and so intrigued that I started to enjoy it. When I read the last sentence, I put the book down and was just in awe. I usually am not easy to surprise, especially when it comes to the thriller genre; after reading so many books in this genre, I am pretty familiar with the various plot twists that are used. But this one took me by surprise. That automatically raises it up for me and makes it a worthwhile thriller to endorse. It was a quick, well-written, intriguing read with a crazy ending that I never expected. I definitely liked it better than Girl on the Train and I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good thriller fix!

Happy reading ~

Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher – Never Never #2

After the first book ending in such a cliffhanger manner, I knew I had to read on and find out what would happen to Silas and Charlie. As soon as I got a copy of this book,  I stopped doing everything else and just sat down and read until it was all done. Good thing the novel was short!

Silas wakes up, not remembering anything. He is in a car, all by himself, in the middle of nowhere. But he spies a letter, a letter that is written by him and someone named Charlie which is supposed to explain his circumstances. The only instruction in the letter is to find Charlie. With no knowledge about himself or his life, Silas sets out to find Charlie – and find out what is going on with his memory.

To be honest, this novel was a let-down for me. I understand that they always lose their memory within 48 hours at an appointed time (no, that is not a spoiler!) but half of this novel was just a rehashing of the previous novel with a bit more detail. The only time when it started to move beyond that was after the half-way point, and by then, the novel was close to being done. I know that the author is trying to make it more realistic and stick to the idea of complete memory loss but sometimes being this thorough can leave a reader wanting! Since this is a trilogy and I’m almost done, I’m going to read the last book. I hope that the conclusion of this mystery is satisfying enough to justify having to keep returning to the same starting point!

Happy reading ~

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The first book I ever read by this author was when I was 12 years old and I remember it being a really good romantic teen fiction (it’s been a while since I read it so I may be wrong). When I was recommended this novel, for some reason, I found myself hesitant. Maybe the premise didn’t interest me or maybe I didn’t want to read anything teen-y. I’ve put this novel off for a while but I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.

Cadence comes from a distinguished family. Every summer she and her mother go to their summer vacation island to meet her grandparents and cousins.  It is the one time where they all come together, everyone in their separate yet connected estates, bonding and joking and laughing. But everything is different the summer that Cadence turns 17. After a traumatic swimming injury that has led to memory loss, everyone is tiptoe-ing around her and hiding things from her. And Cadence is determined to find out.

This summary really doesn’t do this novel justice but the whole mystery and thrill of this novel comes from figuring it out on your own so I don’t want to reveal anything more. It’s only told from the perspective of Cadence but she is such an interesting character that I was fine with that. In the beginning, I felt quite fed up hearing about the privileged lifestyles of the family but the more I kept reading, the more I saw that this was the author’s intent. This novel is not humorous; it is dark and dysfunctional in the best way possible. I enjoyed it because it takes teen fiction to a whole other level; it deals with complex issues and almost becomes an adult novel. I’m definitely recommending this to older teens because it is really a thought-provoking read!

Happy reading ~

Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

I don’t usually come across books with two authors but, well, this is one of those times! It was a surprisingly short read – until I discovered that there is a sequel! I thought the premise of this novel was interesting and decided to give it a shot, not expecting it to be a time investment. Boy, was I proven wrong! The blurb for the book is quite short so I have taken the liberty of extending it (by a lot) and I hope that I don’t give away anything by doing so…

Charlie and Silas can’t remember anything. They don’t know their names, or where they are, or who they are supposed to be. But they know that they are dating. They know they have history. And so, they decide to work together to find out what it is they have forgotten – and why they have forgotten everything.

I can’t say any more than this without revealing too much. As I mentioned earlier, this is a really short book because the story is continued in another novel (which I will definitely be reading). This novel was very interestingly written, and had both characters’ perspectives. It transcended the teenage love story theme and was quite thrilling to read. I was literally sucked into this crazy world of Charlie and Silas and I could not put the book down. After reading it, I am hungry for more. I NEED to know what happened to the two of them. Suffice to say, this novel was a teaser to the sequel because just as it begins to pique your interest, it ends. I would recommend this to teenagers everywhere – it’s got great potential and is a break from the dystopian genre that has been so prevalent!

Happy reading ~

The Treatment by Suzanne Young – The Program #2

This is the sequel to The Program and the conclusion of this story. I was surprised by the speed at which I was able to acquire this book; I had had to wait for quite a while to get my hands on a copy of the first novel! Either way, here are my thoughts on the final novel in this series! NOTE: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!

Although Sloane and James have managed to escape from The Program, their troubles are never too far away. They still don’t have their memories and are being pursued by enforcers from The Program. When they join a rebel group, Sloane and James have to put all of their faith into people that they don’t know and pool all of their efforts to find a way to topple The Program – before they are captured and taken care of for good.

This book continues with the pang of teen love that was so prevalent in the first novel. Sloane is a bit stronger now that she doesn’t have her memories. I quite prefer the romantic dynamic between Sloane and James now that they are “new people” with a clean slate. I did not enjoy the love triangle aspect at all, mostly because it reminded me a lot of the love triangle in Twilight (which is a series I really REALLY do not like). The rebels were a nice addition and the conclusion was optimistic. Overall, this series was more of a 5/10 for me. It had too much of a focus on romance and not enough on the idea of family. The concept of depression and teen suicide as an epidemic is a novel idea but the dismissive behaviour of the doctors and adults in this novel was a bit unrealistic. I wish this novel had had more of a fight; the conclusion was quite abrupt and didn’t really have a great buildup. The solution was too simple and too easily done. At the end of the day, this novel (and the series in general) were a bit lacklustre and didn’t reach my high expectations.

Happy reading ~

The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

This is the second book by this author that I have read. I generally don’t write about too many books by the same author because I want people to have a general idea and then find more out by themselves but this book was just too good to pass up!

When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in a hospital, she has no memory of her life. She knows that it is 1960 and that she is in London but she doesn’t remember her husband or anything about herself. In an attempt to learn about her past, she rummages through her things when she is discharged from the hospital – and finds a letter from a lover who signs it off as ‘B’…
Years later, in 2003, a reporter named Ellie discovers this letter in the archives of a newspaper. Determined to reunite the lovers (and save her career), Ellie begins the search for Jennifer and the unknown Mr. B.

This was a really cute book and I really enjoyed it, so much so that I finished it in one sitting. It was funny, romantic, and heart-wrenching. Yes, it was like a chick flick (I don’t even know what the equivalent of that is for books) but it was a good one and I would recommend this for anyone looking for a good realistic fiction with romance!

Happy reading ~

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

If I compared this novel to the ones I’ve been reading so far, this is definitely on the light hearted side. It was a quick read but a great one and I’m definitely happy that I gave it a shot!

Alice is happily married and thrilled to be expecting her first child at the age of 29. But when she wakes up, she finds herself in a gym with a severe concussion. What’s more, it had been 10 years since she was 29 and she has three children that she can’t remember and a divorce in progress. As Alice grapples with her memory loss, she discovers that she no longer recognizes the person she has become. Alice is determined to win her husband back….but is there a deeper reason behind why she was getting a divorce in the first place?

This book was funny and lovable. Alice is a cute character and her desire to live out her life is so passionate that you can’t help but get sucked up by the enthusiasm. The impact that her memory loss has on her family is shown so well here; she may be the main character but that doesn’t mean that the other characters are pushed into the shadows. It was touching and heart warming and full of soul. Near the end, I thought all would be lost but the author saves the ending just in time. I read this in one sitting and loved it to bits. I recommend this to anyone who likes Sophie Kinsella (but wants something a bit deeper )!

Happy reading ~