Reading

The Runaway – Lisa Childs | A Book Review

The Runaway - Lisa Childs

Title: The Runaway

Author: Lisa Childs

Genre: Romantic Suspense

About the book: It’s the first in the Bane Island Trilogy. Rosemary Tulle gets a message from her sister, asking to be picked up from a treatment center that used to be an asylum. To learn the truth about Genevieve’s disappearance, Rosemary turns to a man she wants nothing to do with in Whit Lawrence.

First impressions: The premise intrigued me because I love a good mystery. The title and cover do a good job hinting at what the novel is about. I found it easy enough to get into the story thanks in part to the short, suspenseful chapters.

Characters: There are more characters than I expected, and it took some time for me to warm up to them. I liked how the relationship between Rosemary and Whit developed.

Quote:

“Every man has something or someone in his past that haunts him.”

Writing: The book is a little over 300 pages long, alternating between different perspectives. In my opinion, the narrative unfolded at a good pace, especially at the end. It’s well-written aside from a few mistakes here and there.

Final thoughts: I saw some twists coming, but I still enjoyed seeing the story play out. The ending ties up many loose ends while also setting the stage for the next novel. If you like mystery with a romantic subplot, check out The Runaway.


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Reading

The Berlin Girl – Mandy Robotham | A Book Review

The Berlin Girl - Mandy Robotham

Title: The Berlin Girl

Author: Mandy Robotham

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It follows Georgie Young, a reporter, who arrives in Berlin when the country is on the brink of war. Georgie and Max Spender, another journalist from London, put their life on the line in Nazi Germany.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’m a fan of historical fiction, especially stories set around wartime. The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was excited to pick up this novel. I haven’t read anything by Robotham before, so I didn’t know quite what to expect.

Characters: The story mainly revolves around Georgie and Max. I adored how their relationship with each other evolved. I found myself rooting for Georgie because she’s such a strong protagonist. I also enjoyed learning more about the secondary characters, which included other journalists as well as Jewish families.

Quote:

“Feeling had become a luxury he couldn’t afford.”

Writing: It’s about 400 pages long. The chapters are short, and the chapter titles hint at what’s going to happen. I felt a lot of different emotions while reading as the author examines difficult issues.

Final thoughts: The ending is interesting, and there’s also an epilogue. Robotham uses newspaper articles to show what happens to the different characters after the war. If you want to read about the influence of journalism in Europe leading up to the war, I would recommend The Berlin Girl.


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Reading

China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan | A Book Review

China Rich Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan

Title: China Rich Girlfriend

Author: Kevin Kwan

Genre: Contemporary

About the book: It’s the second book in the Crazy Rich Asians series that follows Rachel Chu as she prepares to get married to her fiancé, Nicholas Young. In an interesting turn of events, Rachel discovers the identity of her birth father, and she’s drawn into a world where everyone seems to be rich.

First impressions: I enjoyed the first novel, so I decided to check out the next one. The beginning wasn’t what I expected, but I liked it nonetheless. I found it easier to follow the different storylines because I was already familiar with the characters.

Characters: There are some new characters introduced but not too many. As such, it was easier to keep track of who was who. I like Rachel and Nick, but I also adore some of the secondary characters. Even though they are so rich, I still found myself being able to relate to them.

Quote:

“What she truly wanted, what she had always wanted but failed to realize until this moment, was someone who loved her just the way she was.”

Writing: It’s over 500 pages long, which doesn’t make for a fast read. The author is very descriptive, including a lot of detail about what people are eating, wearing, etc. Kwan uses footnotes to elaborate further or to provide a translation when he uses Chinese words.

Final thoughts: I felt the middle dragged on for a little bit, but I enjoyed the ending. I recently read Crazy Rich Asians, and I liked it better than the sequel. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, consider picking up China Rich Girlfriend.


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Reading

A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy (New Adult)

About the book: It’s a companion novel to the A Court of Thorns and Roses series that follows Feyre, Rhys, and their friends as they rebuild after the war. With the Winter Solstice near, this story picks up where A Court of Wings and Ruin left off and sets the stage for the next novel.

First impressions: I liked the previous novels in the series, so I was interested in reading more. I wasn’t expecting this book to be so short at a little over 200 pages long, but at least it makes for a quick read.

Characters: This novel focuses more on the characters than on a plot, so readers get to learn more about Feyre, Rhys, Mor, Amren, Cassian, Azriel, Elain, Nesta, etc. I enjoyed the conversations and interactions between everyone, even the secondary characters.

Quote:

“I have to create, or I will crumple up with despair and never leave my bed.”

Writing: The chapters alternate perspectives with Feyre’s and Rhys’s point of view written in the first person while the others are told in third person. There are also some sexual scenes, so I’d classify it as new adult rather than young adult.

Final thoughts: The novella is short and sweet, giving readers more insights into the characters. If you’re a fan of Maas and this series, you might enjoy A Court of Frost and Starlight.


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Reading

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan | A Book Review

Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan

Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Genre: Contemporary (Adult Fiction)

About the book: It’s the first novel in a trilogy that follows Rachel Chu who travels from New York to Singapore, spending the summer with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young. Young and in love, Rachel has to navigate all the challenges that come with rich Chinese families.

First impressions: I’ve heard a lot about the series and finally decided to check it out. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by all the characters, so it took some time to get into the story. I wasn’t as invested in all the storylines, but eventually, I enjoyed following the various subplots.

Characters: There are a few main characters and many secondary ones. The family tree included at the start of the book is a helpful reference, and I used it to keep track of who was related to whom. Rachel, Nicholas, and others grew on me over time. I loved the fact I could see myself and my family members in these characters. The author did a good job representing different aspects of Chinese culture.

Quote:

“At some point, we all have to pay the price for our excesses, don’t we?”

Writing: Kwan includes a lot of detail and description. As someone who speaks Cantonese, I liked that he sprinkled Chinese words throughout the novel. There are footnotes providing additional information and translations.

Final thoughts: The ending resolves lingering questions. I’m interested to see what happens in the series. If you’re looking to read a fun novel set in Asia, check out Crazy Rich Asians.


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Reading

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng | A Book Review

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

Title: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Genre: Contemporary (Adult Fiction)

About the book: It’s a standalone novel set in a suburb of Cleveland where every aspect of the community is planned. One day Mia Warren, a single mother, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, rent a house in Shaker Heights. A custody battle over a Chinese baby ensues between family friends of the Richardsons who want to adopt the child and the mother who works with Mia. Elena Richardson who believes in playing by the rules begins to look into Mia’s mysterious past. The story explores art, identity, motherhood, and much more.

First impressions: I’ve heard a lot of good things, so I had high expectations. The novel begins with the Richardsons house burning down. Ng spends some time describing the town of Shaker Heights and how it’s similar yet different from other cities. It took me some time to get into the story.

Characters: I enjoyed the juxtaposition between Mia Warren and Elena Richardson. Mia’s daughter, Pearl, and Elena’s four children Lexie, Trip, Moody, and Izzy are all different from each other. I also appreciated the racial diversity with white, black, and Asian characters.

Quote:

“Sometimes, just when you think everything’s gone, you find a way.”

Writing: It’s written in the third person, shifting between the perspectives of various characters. The book is a little under 400 pages long with detailed scenes. This isn’t a quick, fast-paced read but rather a slower, character driven novel.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends but leaves room for interpretation. If you enjoy novels that make you think about mother-daughter relationships, check out Little Fires Everywhere.


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Reading

Catwoman: Soulstealer – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

Catwoman: Soulstealer - Sarah J. Maas

Title: Catwoman: Soulstealer

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s part of the DC Icons series that can be read in any order. The YA novels focus on different superheroes during their teenage years. The story follows Selina Kyle who teams up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn as Catwoman to wreak havoc on the city. Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove himself as Batwing, but Catwoman keeps outsmarting him.

First impressions: I don’t know much about DC Comics or superheroes in general, but I like how easy the book was to follow even without any background knowledge of Catwoman or Batwing. Even from the beginning, I found myself intrigued by the story.

Characters: The novel mainly revolves around Selina who is a strong protagonist. As much as I found myself rooting for her, I also did the same for Luke, maybe even more so. I appreciated how the romance didn’t overwhelm the storyline. That being said, I loved their interactions.

Quote:

“But a glass house was definitely not the place for someone to live when they were throwing quite so many stones.”

Writing: It’s a little over 350 pages long, so the plot unfolds at a solid pace. The chapters are short, and the cliffhangers made me want to keep reading.

Final thoughts: I had no idea what to expect for the ending, but I’m glad all the loose ends are wrapped up. I would recommend Catwoman: Soulstealer even if you aren’t into superhero stories.


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Reading

The Lying Game – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Lying Game - Ruth Ware

Title: The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s a standalone novel that follows Isa Wilde who gets a text from an old friend that says “I need you”. At boarding school, Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima participated in The Lying Game, where they lied to teachers and other students. But their lies are coming to light, and they have to discover the truth of what happened seventeen years ago.

First impressions: I’ve read In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, enjoying them both. I love a good thriller as much as anyone, so I was looking forward to reading this novel. The author builds tension in the beginning by withholding information, slowly revealing details of the past.

Characters: I like that Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima are all unique individuals with their own flaws. There’s a bit of diversity with Fatima being a person of colour. I enjoyed Ware exploring friendships between women, especially looking at how relationships change over time.

Quote:

“I don’t want anyone to live in a prison of guilt, so go on: live, love, be happy, never look back.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages long with the book divided into five sections with different rules of The Lying Game: tell a lie, stick to your story, don’t get caught, never lie to each other, know when to stop lying. Some twists and surprises caught me off guard.

Final thoughts: I didn’t predict some events of the ending, so for me, it was fun to find out what exactly happened. If you are a fan of suspenseful mysteries about female friendships, consider checking out The Lying Game.


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