Posted in Reviews

Review: A Lily in the Light by Kristin Fields

A Lily in the LightA Lily in the Light by Kristin Fields

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4, because I really did enjoy this book.

This book is less of a thriller/mystery, and more of a family drama. There is a central, important mystery- the disappearance of a young girl – but the story deals more with how it affects those who remain and how it shapes their actions into the future, than with actual possibilities for her fate.

Lily disappeared from her family’s Queens apartment one night and changed her family’s world forever. Esme, the main character, is forced to examine her priorities and how she can move on, using her love of ballet to help get her through. All the while, her family begins to crumble around her. About halfway through, the novel jumps eight years into the future, when a phone call from her older sister shakes Esme, now a successful ballerina, to the core.

The book really is suspenseful, in that it is quite a mystery how a little 4-year-old girl just walks out of her apartment and seemingly disappears into thin air. I mean, how is that not a complicated mystery that you just can’t wait to be solved? But the central storyline isn’t really about what happened to Lily, but how her remaining family members just wilt under the strain of the emotional aftermath. They desperately search for her, while they really seem to lose each other in the process. That’s what makes the book so emotional and realistic. It’s a heavy, heavy situation that everyone hopes they will never have to go through and can’t imagine how to move on if it did.

Esme is a great character, but I felt like she was a bit more mature than an 11-year-old would have been, though I guess everyone’s situation is different. There were times I definitely had to remind myself that she was only 11, not 15 or 16. And the emotional strain, especially as she prepares to perform a ballet that reminds her of her younger sister, is so realistic, i was absolutely gripped.

Overall, I think this was a great book, though I wish there was maybe a little more focus on the mystery itself and more tension created there, rather than with the family itself. The novel felt so heavy in parts, it was really very emotional and almost draining. But I did enjoy this book and it was very powerful. Just know what you’re walking into.

View all my reviews

Posted in Reviews

Review: Birds in Flight by Anni Taylor

About the Book

In 1998, the American Jorgenson family had been on a year-long road trip in Australia. One humid, storming night, the mother – Elsa Jorgenson – vanished in an isolated stretch of Australian everglades. Elsa was never seen again.

That night, twelve-year-old Lily Jorgenson was left alone and terrified in the family camper—even her teenage sister Iris is missing. When Iris comes racing back through the rain, she refuses to tell where she’s been. Lily is certain her sister is hiding a dark secret.

24 years later, Lily is a travel writer living a settled life with her son in Pennsylvania, USA. Lily and Iris are estranged, with Iris’s secret having torn them apart. When floods dredge up their mother’s backpack from the everglades, tantalising clues are uncovered, and the police reopen the cold case.

Lily returns to Australia, determined to force Iris to finally tell her secret – and to do that, she’ll have to reunite with her. But when Lily unlocks the gut-wrenching events of the past, everything she thought was true about her family is about to shatter.

My Review

Birds in Flight by Anni Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In an effort to confront her past when new evidence surfaces, Lily returns to Australia to try a solve her mother’s disappearance, which includes confronting her sister Iris about that fateful night. The sisters are almost polar opposites, and clash as they fight for information and then finally set out to recreate the fateful road-trip where their mother and one of the neighbor girls that came with them disappeared. And boy do they get answers. Some very interesting and uncomfortable answers, complete with twists I did not see coming at all! I was floored at times!

It was certainly very reminiscent of real sister relationships and a story that contained an intense mystery as well as a genuine portrait of strained family relationships.

The ending was really intense and tied up all the loose endings, which was great and I really liked that we got the answers to all of our questions, down to some of the finer details that were mentioned earlier in the story, for example, why their mother hated a certain type of flower. It was very satisfying.

But what made it 4-star instead of 5-star for me was that I wish the ending was a little less “realistic” than it was. This was the perfect story for a little bit of a fairy tale ending, but instead the author went practical. And that took away some of the magic of it.
I wanted a certain character to say “Screw it, I’m doing this!” And instead she said “We’ll see.”Sometimes I want yo suspend belief and just believe in the happy ending, you know? Just let me.

But overall, this was a great book that I would heartily recommend. Both for its mystery and its domestic storyline, which was touching and engaging.

View all my reviews

Posted in Reviews

#BlogTour: Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica; including excerpt!

About the Book

A husband’s disappearance links two couples in this twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.

Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.

My Review

Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a reason Mary Kubica’s books are bestsellers and can be found in book stores everywhere- they’re just that good. And this book isn’t an an exception, I’m happy to report.

Like her other thrillers, “Just the Nicest Couple” set up an incredibly tense atmosphere from the beginning pages and didn’t let you put the book down until the very end. And I mean the VERY end, because anything can happen in these books and you don’t want to miss a minute of it. I mean, I was completely floored as strike after strike just kept coming.

I don’t want to say too much because it’s best to go into these books with a completely open mind and just see where the story goes. Because once it takes off, you’ll be happy to let it just carry you away. And this one is one that will make you really look at those around you a beat longer, even those closest to you. Trust me, it’s that good.

Pick this one up if you’re looking for a great domestic thriller.

Other Mary Kubica Reviews:

About the Author:

Mary Kubica is a New York Times bestselling author of thrillers including The Good Girl, The Other Mrs.,  and Local Woman Missing. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller” (Kirkus) and “a writer of vice-like control” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “illuminating” (L.A. Times). She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and children.

Social Links:

Buy Links:

Read an excerpt from “Just the Nicest Couple” after the jump!

Continue reading “#BlogTour: Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica; including excerpt!”
Posted in Reviews

#BlogTour: The Opportunist by Elyse Friedman, including excerpt!

About the Book

A deliciously sly, compulsively readable tale about greed, power and the world’s most devious family.

When Alana Shropshire’s seventy-six-year-old father, Ed, starts dating Kelly, his twenty-eight-year-old nurse, a flurry of messages arrive from Alana’s brothers, urging her to help “protect Dad” from the young interloper. Alana knows that what Teddy and Martin really want to protect is their father’s fortune, and she tells them she couldn’t care less about the May–December romance. Long estranged from her privileged family, Alana, a hardworking single mom, has more important things to worry about.

But when Ed and Kelly’s wedding is announced, Teddy and Martin kick into hyperdrive and persuade Alana to fly to their father’s West Coast island retreat to perform one simple task in their plan to make the gold digger go away. Kelly, however, proves a lot more wily than expected, and Alana becomes entangled in an increasingly dangerous scheme full of secrets and surprises. Just how far will her siblings go to retain control?

The Opportunist by Elyse Friedman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, which I would classify as a domestic suspense, in which we watch a rich family try to figure out what the heck is going on behind the scenes and try to outsmart each other when it seems that everyone is keeping secrets from each other.

Wow – what a ride from start to finish! Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out -WHAM! The author throws a twist in there that complicates things. And what’s the most interesting thing is that they’re probable twists – not something completely out of left field, but something that could totally happen, if you could have figured it out.

And the ending really blew me away. I was absolutely floored! Great job by the author really laying out the framework for an amazing twist ending that left my jaw on the floor. Bravo!

The characters are also really well done, from the siblings a the heart of the novel, to the new, young girlfriend – to the trophy girlfriend who has more to her than first appears. It was like watching an episode of a reality show on Bravo, with characters that you liked, and some characters that you just couldn’t stand. And some the you just couldn’t figure out – dun dun dun!

Needless to say, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great weekend read or a twisty domestic suspense that takes you into world of the insanely rich and privileged.

About the Author

Elyse Friedman is a critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, poet and playwright. Her work has been short-listed for the Trillium Book Award, Toronto Book Award, ReLit Award and Tom Hendry Award. She has also won a Foreword Book of the Year Award, as well as the 2019 TIFF-CBC Films Screenwriter Jury Prize and the 2020 TIFF-CBC Screenwriter Award. Elyse lives in Toronto.

Buy Links

Social Links

Check out an excerpt from “The Opportunist” the jump!

Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Opportunist by Elyse Friedman, including excerpt!”
Posted in Reviews

#BlogTour: YouWill Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon

About the Book

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland, wearing only swim trunks and a gash on his head. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth raises more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

My Review

You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is a dark and dismal tale right from the very beginning, when a man wakes up alone on a beach with no memory of who he is and only a vague feeling that he should head toward Maine. Luckily for him, he finds a trailer with Maine plates nearby and he “hitches a ride,” and off he goes into a world he disappeared from two years prior, where at least one person seems to want him back too much (his stepsister Maya) and others want to get rid of him, thanks to old rumors surrounding the mysterious disappearance of one young woman and the death of another.

As he is trying to deal with all of that, his current girlfriend, who also mildly obsessed with him, tracks him down, and all hell breaks loose.

Needless to say, in all this mess, it’s really hard to know who to root for, if anyone. Everyone is hiding things, and everyone is really shady. Like, everyone. Tragedy seems to be around every character and secrets and lies are the only thing keeping them from spilling over into everyday life. It’s a huge mess.

From all of this, you can probably gather that the ending is intense to say the least. It’s a thrill ride from the moment the climax hits to the epilogue. The reveals come fast and furious and things quickly heat up. As soon as you think you have. A handle on things, BAM! They change.

I can’t say every twist was a total shock, but I was totally into it. This was a dark thrill ride and I loved every moment of it. If you like stories with a bit of a Single White Female vibe, this story is for you.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors, Her Secret Son, and Sister Dear. 

She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.

Buy Links

Social Links

Check out an excerpt of You Will Remember Me after the jump!

Continue reading “#BlogTour: YouWill Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon”