Monday, 22 July 2019

Cover Reveal - Crave by Tracy Wolff

Author: Tracy Wolff
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Publisher: Entangled TEEN

About Crave:
Crave, by New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff, is a romantic and thrilling tale of forbidden love, about the undying battle between feeling nothing and feeling so much, it could destroy everyone you love.  

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Isabella's Reading Corner: Lock Every Door

Lock Every Door
Author: Riley Sager
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Publisher: Dutton

Jules is offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to reside rent free for three months in the Bartholomew, a prestigious building located in Manhattan. She readily accepts, believing this will be just what she needs to get back on her feet after recently losing her job and the apartment she shared with her ex-boyfriend. The unusual questions asked by the woman interviewing her for the position of apartment sitter should have raised alarm bells for her. Jules quickly brushes away any concerns she has as living at the Bartholomew has been a dream of hers for years. In addition, she will be paid for her time. What could go wrong?

Jules is given the guidelines for her stay, most of which are acceptable. However one rule takes her aback - she is allowed absolutely no visitors. She’s okay with it, especially as she begins enjoying the luxury of her new abode. She ignores warnings from her friend Chloe about the unpleasant history of the building and begins enjoying the luxury of her new surroundings, in addition to meeting some of the other residents. But things rapidly take a sinister turn, disturbing incidents arise, the suspense escalates and the scares pile up!

From the moment I started reading I quite literally couldn’t put the book down. I’m a huge fan of the author’s previous titles and this is probably my favourite of the three. Jules is a convincing lead protagonist and her background gives her an added depth and understanding. Lock Every Door is inspired by Ira Levin’s classic, Rosemary’s Baby and The Dakota, aka The Bramford, where the majority of Levin’s book takes place, makes a cameo in Sager’s novel. The Bartholomew is equally as brooding and spooky as The Bramford, with it’s gothic style and gargoyle adornments. It’s a testament to Sager’s descriptive writing that the building is more of a character in it’s own right, than a setting.

Lock Every Door is terrifyingly twisted! Highly recommended, my only complaint is I now have to wait to read a new Riley Sager novel!

Thank you to Penguin Random House for the copy provided for review.

From the publisher:
The next heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost more than it pays.

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

You can read my original Isabella's Reading Corner post on Lock Every Door here.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Isabella's Reading Corner: Sea Sirens

Sea Sirens (A Trot & Cap'n Bill Adventure, Book 1)
Author: Amy Chu 
Illustrator: Janet K. Lee
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Sea Sirens is a graphic novel about a young girl named Trot who along with her grandfather and beloved cat Cap’n Bill find themselves in a wonderful underwater kingdom. There they meet it’s inhabitants the Sirens and their foes, the infamous Serpents! 

The story and art is endearing and filled with all sorts of marvellous creatures. Cap’n Bill the cat is adorable, especially when through the magic of the Sirens, Trot is able to understand him when he speaks. The book and some of the characters are inspired by the writings of L. Frank Baum, who is one of my favourite authors. 

Are you a fan of graphic novels? If so, what are your favourite titles or series?

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for the ARC provided for review.

From the publisher:
Dive into this visually stunning, middle-grade graphic novel about a spunky Vietnamese American surfer girl and her cantankerous talking cat who plunge into a fantasy world of oceanic marvels . . . and mayhem!

Trot, a Vietnamese American surfer girl, and Cap'n Bill, her cranky one-eyed cat, catch too big a wave and wipe out, sucked down into a magical underwater kingdom where an ancient deep-sea battle rages. The beautiful Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King and his slithery minions--and Trot and her feline become dangerously entangled in this war of tails and fins.

This beautiful graphic novel was inspired by The Sea Fairies, L. Frank Baum's "underwater Wizard of Oz." It weaves Vietnamese mythology, fantastical ocean creatures, a deep-sea setting, quirky but sympathetic main characters, and fast-paced adventure into an imaginative, world-building story.

You can read my original Isabella's Reading Corner post on Sea Sirens here.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Isabella's Reading Corner: Star-Crossed

Author: Minnie Darke
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Do you believe in astrology and read your horoscopes? Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke is delightfully magical and shows what might happen when you tinker with fate! I thought it was absolutely charming. I loved the two main characters, Nick and Justine - I had a smile on my face through their entire romantic journey!

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for the finished copy provided for review.

From the publisher:
A highly adorable and addictive love story about one woman who gives destiny a little push.

When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) randomly bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine anyway. True, she hasn't seen Nick in thirteen years, one month and three weeks, but who's counting? She's pined after him all the same, and now that Nick lives in the same town, a struggling actor to her struggling magazine reporter, he'll surely realize his own unchanged feelings, take the reins and jump at the chance to rekindle their relationship. Right? Well, no. Nick, she learns, is an astrological devotee, and his decision-making, romantic and professional, is guided solely by the infallible horoscopes in his favourite magazine. The magazine Justine happens to work at. Perhaps the stars' guiding forces could use a little journalistic reimagining?

It's only a few tweaks to the Aquarius column, just a little push to get him to realize they're meant for one another. It's nonsense in the first place, what could possibly happen? Aquarians everywhere are about to find out, when the doctored horoscopes, ostensibly published to steer Nick and Nick alone, end up reverberating in the lives of the column's devoted readers, showing the ripple effects of what can happen when one woman takes the horoscopes, and Fate itself, into her own hands.

Spanning exactly one year, as the earth moves through all twelve stars signs, Star-Crossed is a delicious, intelligent and affecting love story about fate, chance and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

You can read my original Isabella's Reading Corner post on Star-Crossed here.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Isabella's Reading Corner: Your Life Is Mine

Your Life Is Mine
Author: Nathan Ripley
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada/Simon & Schuster

Main protagonist Blanche thought she’d put the past and the memory of her father’s crimes behind her, but they’ve come back full force. She’s a dynamic character, full of depth and her strong personality and relationships are well executed. Nathan Ripley’s descriptive writing draws you in. He divulges secrets and backstory at all the right moments, leading the reader to the intense, page-turning conclusion. 

More than just a fast-paced thriller, Your Life Is Mine delves into the real horror of mass spree killings - the aftermath and effects on the families of both the victims and the killers. 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Nathan Ripley for the ARC provided for review.

From the publisher:
Instant national bestseller Nathan Ripley follows up the success of Find You in the Dark with another suspenseful page-turner— this time about a woman whose notorious father died when she was a child, but whose legacy comes back to haunt her. 

Blanche Potter never expected to face her past again—but she can’t escape it. 

Blanche, an up-and-coming filmmaker, has distanced herself in every way she can from her father, the notorious killer and cult leader, Chuck Varner. In 1996, when she was a small child, he went on a shooting spree before turning the gun on himself. 

Now, Blanche learns that her mother has been murdered. She returns to her childhood home, where she soon discovers there’s more to the death than police are willing to reveal. The officer who’s handling the case is holding information back, and a journalist who’s nosing around the investigation is taking an unusual interest in Blanche’s family. 

Blanche begins to suspect that Chuck Varner’s cult has found a new life, and that her mother’s murder was just the beginning of the cult’s next chapter. 

Then another killing occurs.

You can read my original Isabella's Reading Corner post on Your Life Is Mine here.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Isabella's Reading Corner: Heart of Thorns

Heart of Thorns
Author: Bree Barton
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Mia Rose lives in the kingdom of Glas Ddir where Gwyrach, half-human, half-god demons can kill with a touch using their powerful dark magic. Since any woman can be a Gwyrach, they are all considered a threat. King Ronan issues laws restricting the movements of every woman within the kingdom. Trained by her father to be a Hunter, Mia lives by the Hunters’ Creed – ‘heart for a heart, life for a life’ and pledges to find and kill the Gwyrach who murdered her mother. But all is not as it seems in Glas Ddir. Mia soon discovers she herself is one of the creatures she is determined to destroy.

Mia can take care of herself and is willing to protect the ones she loves at any cost. She had a strong bond with her mother, worries constantly about her frail sister and has a complicated relationship with her father. Although tough, she is passionate and dreams of a world where women have the freedom to control their own lives. On her journey Mia meets other strong women who she learns from and looks up to. She begins to develop an understanding of who she really is and what she is capable of. The development of Mia’s relationships with the other characters is intriguing, as some show themselves to be very different from how she initially viewed them. 

The novel is filled with fascinating, well-written characters and gorgeously vivid and detailed settings. The story contains treachery, dangerous situations and many secrets. Heart of Thorns is an exciting fantasy debut and I am looking forward to the next book in the series to see what happens to Mia and read more about this captivating world.

Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for the ARC provided for review.

From the publisher:
Inventive and heart-racing, this fierce feminist teen fantasy from debut author Bree Barton explores a dark kingdom in which only women can possess magic—and every woman is suspected of having it.

Fans of Leigh Bardugo and Laini Taylor won’t want to miss this gorgeously written, bold novel, the first in the Heart of Thorns trilogy.

In the ancient river kingdom, where touch is a battlefield and bodies the instruments of war, Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood. The same women who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia's father announces an alliance with the royal family, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Determined to forge her own path forward, Mia plots a daring escape, but could never predict the greatest betrayal of all: her own body. Mia possesses the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

Now, as she untangles the secrets of her past, Mia must learn to trust her heart…even if it kills her.

You can read my original Isabella's Reading Corner posts on Heart of Thorns here and here and a post from guest author Bree Barton here.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Isabella's Reading Corner: The Last Time I Lied

The Last Time I Lied
Author: Riley Sager
Publication Date: July 3rd, 2018
Publisher: Dutton

Riley Sager’s debut novel Final Girls chilled me to the bone and The Last Time I Lied certainly did the same! It is about an artist named Emma who is obsessed with finding out what happened to three of her friends who vanished without a trace from the summer camp she was attending when she was only thirteen. When adult Emma is invited back to Camp Nightingale to teach painting, she decides to accept, hoping to find out the truth about what happened to the girls so many years ago. 

The book alternates between the present day and the past when Emma was still a camper. The characters are well defined and developed and the story is super spooky with great atmosphere and imagery. I can easily see how Sager was inspired by Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, one of my all-time favourite films. The Last Time I Lied is a novel to pick up and devour in one sitting. I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to the missing girls and if Emma would make it to the end unscathed!

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada, Penguin Random House US and Goodreads for the copies provided for review.

From the publisher:
In the latest thriller from the bestselling author of Final Girls, a young woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there fifteen years ago.

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees.

Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, but soon discovers a security camera--the only one on the property--pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to those girls, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.

You can read my original Isabella's Reading Corner post on The Last Time I Lied here and author Riley Sager's guest post here.