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!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Burn by Paula Weston

Publisher: Tundra Books
Series: Rephaim #4
Pages: 448
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 7, 2016
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.

For a year she believe she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.

Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.

Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it's all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.

More importantly, she remembers why she's spent the last ten years wanting to seriously damage Rafa.

My Review:

I want to thank Penguin Random House of Canada for introducing me to such an amazing series. I have to start out by saying how upset I am that this series is over. Honestly, with how Shimmer ended, I was dreading and yet excited for this book. And I can truly say that this entire series has delivered such a punch. Readers are always surprised at what comes out and there is no way you can guess what comes next. Paula Weston has done a great job keeping her readers in suspense and not giving away too much.

This book opens with a bang, finally after so long Gaby remembers her past and why she ended up where she is. Burn answers so many questions and is still just as full of action as the rest of the series (actually let's be honest... it probably has the most action of all the books). This is what everything has been leading up to, the big showdown, and oh my gosh, the way Paula brings it all together is amazing.

I really enjoyed how Paula did the back and forth from NOW and THEN in this book, there is still a bit of a slow reveal and a build up to the past and how Gabe and Jude lost their memory, but the way Paula describes everything, readers are enthralled and need to know what will happen. This has always been a hard series to put down, but I find this book especially I needed to keep going.

I still absolutely love Gaby, even though she remembers her past and how everything ended, she doesn't go back to being that person, she has changed a lot and grown so much over the course of this series. And the way her relationship with Rafa has grown, oh I still swoon just thinking about it. The way these two came together and despite the history, they are an amazing team and it really shows.

I really enjoyed seeing more of tge relationship between Gaby and Jude as well. These two have a special bond and it really adds to the story. Paula delves even deeper into their relationship in this book.

I really don't want to speak too much about everything that happens and give away all the secrets that Paula has been keeping on hand for so long. But if this isn't a series you have picked up yet, I say rush out and buy these books and binge them. Now that the series is complete (I will miss these characters that I have spent so much time with), you will pick up one story and just want to keep going.

This has been one of the best angel series I've read in a long time. Readers will quickly fall in love with all the characters and you won't want to leave them!


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