#BookReview The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I’m so torn on this book!

The Hypnotist’s Love Story is a marvelous stand alone by the author of Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. This book is full of deceit, stalkers, a very strange love story, and life lessons. Oh, and did I mention a little hypnotherapy? It’s kind of obvious, since it is in the title, but it’s one of the biggest parts of this novel!

I found this book to be an interesting mix of chick lit, drama and contemporary fiction. There were times I was laughing, there were times when I was cringing, and at the end I felt like I was missing something. I wanted just a little more of Ellen and Patrick’s story instead of the abrupt ending. There was so much strange insanity in this book (Patrick having a stalker, Ellen being a hypnotherapist, Patrick’s former wife Colleen, Saskia’s past…) that I was left feeling slightly empty. All of these story lines were epic, but none of them had the big follow through I was hoping for (especially in a book as long as this one!).

Ellen starts dating Patrick and their relationship moves very fast. Soon enough, she learns that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend Saskia is stalking him and that he is a widower. He idolized Colleen and the son, Jack, that they shared together. Ellen gets the feeling she doesn’t live up to Colleen and she seems to be intrigued by this stalker. All throughout the book we follow some of Ellen’s hypnotizing shenanigans and meet some of the clients. Of course, that doesn’t go too well either.

This book has the best concepts – all of that paragraph makes me really excited! To me, I just wanted more follow through. Why does Saskia feel the need to stalk? Why does Patrick feel like the type of guy Ellen should have just dumped? How did Ellen become a hypnotherapist? Why was hypnotherapy working on certain clients?

All of that being said, this book was still a real treat. If you love drama and a splash of romance, this book would be perfect for your shelf. Not every book can be utterly perfect in a reader’s eye and I do expect a lot (I grew up watching soap operas, so I kind of expect the real dramatics). Liane also has a wonderful writing style that makes the book fluid and easy to read (and man, having a 400 page book as an easy read is a real feat, so don’t underestimate this woman!). I will one hundred percent be reading more books by Liane Moriarty. Her ideas are incredible, her writing style is flawless and she writes realistic, believable characters REALLY well!

Three out of five stars!

P.S. “Knit, don’t stalk” is the most solid life advice I’ve ever read from a book. It is also now my favourite line I’ve ever read and I’m going to live by it.

 

You can find this book on:
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Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy!
#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

 

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#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

City of Friends is a lovely story by Joanna Trollope following the interconnecting lives of women.

This book focuses on the trials and errors of middle aged women being women. Lost jobs, children to take care of, parents to take care of, struggling romantic relationships, family drama and friendship drama all mash together into one well written tale. It’s everything you’d expect from a contemporary, women’s fiction novel!

There are four women who were once friends and now all of them are middle aged. Each of them have their own struggles to deal with, and somehow all of their problems relate to each other’s problems. As with most female centered books, there is a pinch of feminine drama that makes me question if women are just bound to be dramatic and gossip (as a woman, I haven’t seen too much of that as an adult – maybe it’s just me though). Examples of this drama: One woman offers her friend’s “mistress” or new lover a job but not her best friend, two of the women’s children start seeing each other, a husband tells a woman to pick between their relationships or her mother’s health. Yeah… this book felt petty at times.

Even with some of these interesting plot lines, I did enjoy this book. Buuuuuut… it wasn’t a hit out of the park for me. I found it was a lovely, soft read that wasn’t hard to jump in and out of. The worst part was that it got very slow at times. There were entire chapters that could have been left out and the story still would have progressed. I also didn’t feel like there was a real “end” to this book, it just stopped. That’s how life stories go there – there never is an “end”, something just “stops”.

There are some really strong parts of this book, for those looking for my positives! There are strong women characters who are facing realistic problems. I know many girls and women who have faced some of these troubles – like a sick parent, dealing with a lost job, and trying to balance work and family life. I like seeing books like this that bring about real issues so people realize that everyone goes through this stuff. Our lives aren’t what we see on Instagram – life isn’t perfect.

It may be because I’ve read a lot of women’s fiction lately (on accident) or maybe it is just the plot of this book – I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. The synopsis sounds awesome, the cover is gorgeous and the first half of the book really peaked me interest. At half, I kind of just wandered off in my brain and had trouble getting through it.

That being said, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary novels and women’s fiction. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not a good book for me – mainly because it couldn’t hold my attention the way other women’s fiction has. I think Joanna Trollope has a fantastic, easy reading, writing style and I want to read more books by her! This is just a blip on the book radar!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus
#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel
#BookReview Tempting Faith by Susan Mallery

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#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

A Woman of Valor is the newest addition to Gary Corbin’s literary genius line-up!

I loved Gary Corbin’s Mountain Man series, so it was a no brainer for me to pick up A Woman of Valor. Especially since this novel focused on a woman in a crime setting – I’m a real sucker for The Rookie, Rookie Blue, etc., and any tale that follows a strong female lead.

In this book, Valorie Dawes is a rookie police officer. She has a bit of a family legacy which casts a shadow over yet, but she is determined to show her worth. Val gets partnered up with Gil and chaos ensues. Will Val be able to deal with her past and the trauma that’s holding her back? Will she make it as a police officer when no one wants to accept her?

I really liked this story, if I’m being honest. This particular plot point is common – a woman police officer trying to be treated equally – but Gary did a great job making me invested in it. I could have been really bored with the “same old, same old”, but he made me feel for Val. I wanted to see her do well! Somehow, he managed to make Val feel more real than just a character. All the while, he throws in some very tough plot points (sexual harassment, rape and social injustice). Those topics fit perfectly into this narrative, but they could have been handled REALLY wrong. Lucky for us, Gary is the master!

Gary does a great job putting this story together. There’s action and adventure, a pinch of romance, and a dash of comedy. It’s not all down and depressing, which was a big plus for me. Often times, I find that police dramas get so sad and boring. Gary amps it up real well! On top of all of that, Gary does a great job making me know each and every character. I tend to lose focus when there’s a lot of people to follow, but I didn’t this time around! Kudos!

My negatives are as followed:
1. Sometimes the plot slowed down, and I’m a fast paced kinda girl. It’s not the end of the world, but I struggled to get through just a couple of the chapters.

2. The ending, while it sums up the book, it felt like a cliffhanger. Will there be another book?! Will I see what happens to Val and Gil soon?!

Overall, this book is a real gem. I’m glad I got to read it but sad it took me so long to get to it. Gary’s a real master at making books that feel like they can cross multiple genres. He deals with tough topics like rape, molestation, post traumatic stress disorder and the cruel realities of human kind really well. I’d highly recommend this book if you like crime dramas or want something with a little ‘umph’ on your shelf.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Gary Corbin, in exchange of an honest review.

 

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Amazon.ca
Kobo
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Here’s some links about the author, Gary Corbin:
Goodreads
http://www.garycorbinwriting.com/
@GaryCorbin

Check out my other reviews of Gary’s books:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Badge
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Bride by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin

 

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#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

I love exploring new cultures, so having the opportunity to pick up Dear Haiti, Love Alaine was absolutely thrilling for me!

This novel follows the lovely Alaine as she gets sent to Haiti to fulfill a school project. Along the way she helps out her Tati’s PATRON PAL app/company, meets a cute guy, learns who her real friends are, and deals with some large, life altering issues. Oh, and did I mention this book felt so darn real?!

It was a true gift to receive the opportunity to read this book. The authors make Alaine feel like a real person and present this book in a really unique matter. Emails, letters, postcards, diaries, text messages and so many different mediums of communication are present in this novel! All of these mediums make it so easy to jump in and out of the book and I felt like I lost nothing! It truly was a marvelous feat and it makes me want more from these lovely sisters and their writing abilities.

The big standout for this novel is Haiti. Obviously, it’s in the title, but Maika and Maritza make it feel like you’re there. The cultures and traditions are presented so beautifully and naturally. I didn’t feel like anything was forced, it felt so REAL. It’s hard sometimes – being a Canadian who has only visited the U.S.A and Canada because I don’t know what other places are like. Sometimes reading a book like this, you get caught up and wonder if the authors actually knew what they were talking about. But this book? It read so wonderfully and you could tell the authors weren’t just making up what they thought Haiti was like. I LOVE it when that happens.

The other lovely standouts of this book are:
1. Alaine’s sassiness is legit how I felt as a teenager. She did have some worrisome moments (like the reason she was sent to Haiti to begin with), but she had the teenage angst we all had back in the day. Other words you might use to describe her are: feisty, fierce, and fabulous! She’s such a strong lead and she has flaws which makes her more lovable. She’s no Mary Jane/Mary Sue!
2. Jason, Estelle, Roseline and our large assortment of characters didn’t feel like background characters. They were used effectively and written in a way that made them have a point to being there.
3. Alzheimer’s. Medical issues SUCK, but having a book that shows the good and the bad sides of these diseases is PERFECTION. This book wasn’t just ‘boo hoo Alzheimer’s’, it also showed the hope people can have.
4. The relationship between Alaine and her parents made me feel really connected to her. I had a parent that worked more than I wanted too and I am sad to say I lost a lot of time with them. Seeing that exact feeling put into a book (but have a more happy ending) made me have butterflies and feel really affectionate towards this novel. Maika and Martiza connected with teenage me SO HARD with this plot thread.
5. PATRON PAL. I’m always down for a plot line that brings up actual, real-life issues and presents them in a manner that makes sense. How can we help people? Make an app! Donate! Help people who need help! This book also presents helping poorer countries/nations in a really smart way – we want to provide them a sustainable way to pull themselves back up and take care of themselves, not just give them money forever and wish them luck. I’m glad they pointed that out in this book because it’s a REALLY important lesson for people to learn.

I would love to hear the thoughts of reviewers who are Haitian, Haitian-American or have lived in Haiti. I think this book is pretty darn swell, but my background isn’t of this culture. One thing that I hope comes out with this book is more people want to read about other cultures. Books like these make me want to know and learn more!

Do I have any negatives? Yes. I would have liked a couple of more chapters to see what happened after the project, but the book wasn’t set up that way. I really grew to love these characters and I wanted a little more time with them. Other than that, my negatives are non-existent. I think this book is unique, beautiful, and full of stories that need to be heard. I truly respect these authors and love that there are books like this out there. We need more authors and books like this.

Also, the cover? Oh-my-gosh it is stunning! Having a physical copy of this book in my house is a real gem for me! It’s eye popping and gets your attention but at the same time it’s really fabulous and subtle. I LOVE IT!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find out more about this book on:
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http://www.maikaandmaritza.com/
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo (Canadian Retailer)

 

If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out something else you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Rainbow Vintner by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 

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#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis

Man, oh man. I did NOT see that ending coming! Like… wow! What in the world just happened?!

The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer takes some wild twists and turns in this rather short story. K. Kris Loomis does an absolutely marvelous job at allowing us a peek at Claire’s life and the brains of a few musical geniuses.

When the best musical genius comes to town, everyone needs to see his brilliance! Many piano players take a trip to a historic plantation site. Claire is one of the many musicians ready to learn from the always brilliant, but slightly insane, Leopold Beckenbauer. Along the way, many musicians learn their abilities and figure out who the real Leopold Beckenbauer is. Oh, and as the title suggests, he dies.

Claire’s troubled marriage, her tragic past, Leopold’s wacky behaviour and the kooky cast of characters all make this story really engaging. I was honestly so pulled into this story that I could hardly believe it was over! K. Kris Loomis can tell a really good story in such a small amount of space! I’m kinda annoyed that it wasn’t longer and that I couldn’t spend some more time with these characters. I was truly enchanted by the descriptions of Beethoven’s music (and the other composers too!).

I didn’t see half of this story coming from a mile away, which was super awesome! I hate when I can guess the ending by the first few pages. It took me about half the book to figure out the big twist, but I’m glad it took me that long! It’s a ‘fun’ yet tragic twist that most readers won’t catch onto unless they are paying attention. So many hints were dropped along the way that it’s “easy” to catch onto the twist, but you have to be paying attention to really grasp what’s going on. I felt like Sherlock Holmes trying to solve these mysteries!

My biggest negative is this: I want to see more of Danny. I felt like I needed a little bit more of him in this book or to see what happens with Claire and Danny. What can I say? I like a happy ending.

Overall, this book was epic! I want more mysteries like this that really pull you in and drag you along. It was such a treat! If you like Murder on the Orient Express styled books, this story will be right up your alley!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, K. Kris Loomis, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
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If you liked this book (or review!) check out some other reads you might enjoy:
#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview Survving Revision: How One Writer Finished What She Started by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

 

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#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon is one of the loveliest books I’ve read this year.

Family drama, generations of Irish men & ladies, comedy, tragedy and character growth. What more could a girl ask for in novel? Not much else!!

I was truly surprised by how amazing this book was, considering it has so few reviews. It’s by far one of my favourite reads and it will sit high atop my shelves. Kathleen MacMahon has a beautiful sense of writing style and her prose is just magnificent. I can’t get enough of this book and I want more by her.

This story follows the MacEntees – an Irish family with four generations of men and women trying to deal with a long, hot summer. Deidre and Manus were once married, but Manus is now with his male lover and at Deidre is grasping with the fact that she is now “old” and in her 80s. Alma, Acushla and MacDara are their children and they all have to grasp with their own choices too. Alma and Acushla married twin brothers, and somehow their lives are echoing each other. The girls’ children, Constance and Nora, are also dealing with their own lives choices. The entire book follows these characters one by one and lets us into a world of family drama, insanity and growth.

I would have loved to read a book like this in high school, when you have the opportunity to pick apart lines and themes within the story. I loved seeing how each character interacted and how life didn’t end up the way they quite expected it. Lots of humors is thrown in with the tragedy, family drama is addressed in a very real way, and this book shows just how tough life can be (yet also how fruitful and silly we can make it). In summary, it’s all about perspective.

Kathleen does a great job showing the differences between the generations and how they interact with one another. The conflict felt so real and the book felt like it could have been a non-fiction retelling (but it’s not!). I really want to read more by Kathleen because she has a real knack for story telling. I was so attached to these characters and I was furious that this book had to end (and in the way that it did! I cried! I never cry at books!).

I HIGHLY recommend this book if you love fictional dramas, stories set in Ireland, and books about being a family.

Five out of five stars! I would give it more if I could.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out another book (or review!) that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran
To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW
Quick Book Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Quick Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

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#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

This book was my best surprise of the year. To be honest, I just picked up a random book from my shelf. I decided that I would just take a very un-calculated risk and pick up whatever book my eyes went to – and this book was it.

Fire Sermon is an incredible novel following the journey of a religious woman who begins to have an affair on her husband. The narrative is not your typical romance novel, it’s truly a dramatic unfolding of the character. I loved this character study and how beautifully Jamie Quatro could write out this woman’s feelings and experiences. Seriously, it blew me out of the water. I truly did not expect this book to be half as good as it was.

Jamie Quatro has a beautiful writing style, full of metaphors and truly engaging descriptions. This book could have been a real flop because of the subject matter, but it had me hooked at every single word. There isn’t one thing I would change about this book because it truly was just mesmerizing. I highly recommend it! I’m almost frustrated that I didn’t read it sooner! This is one incredible, lovely and amazing piece of literature that I think anyone who loves drama and riveting reads should pick up.

Maggie has a ‘romantic’ relationship with her husband, but begins to fall in love with an intellectual poet. She’s cheating on her husband, but doesn’t know how to deal with it. The sex with her husband isn’t all that great and it hurts, but she feels like she owes him his pleasure. The more she engages in infidelity, the more she questions herself. Can someone truly fall out of love or change their feelings about someone? Will God understand what she has done?

Even if you’re not religious, I think this book is an excellent view into one woman’s perspective. Yes, it’s fiction but it does really open your eyes to another world. The struggles and changes in a woman’s life can be more troublesome than one thinks and I loved that Jamie opened us into Maggie’s world. The story is absolutely breathtaking.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:

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Amazon.ca

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Check out another book you might enjoy: #BookReview Sons of York by Lesley J Nickell