Thursday, 29 December 2016

The Taste of Air - Book Review

What would you do if you learned that your mother was living a second life in another town?

Nell receives a phone call one day from a hospital in Vermont letting her know that her mother has been admitted to their ICU, but Nell is confused because her mother lives in a senior's community in Massachusetts. And her mother no longer drives. What is she doing in Vermont? How did she get there?

As Nell sees her mother in the hospital, weak and unable to really speak, Nell learns from those around that her mother has a complete second life, complete with a lakeside cottage, car, neighbours, Fall Festivals, and even her own puppy.

As her mother remains in the hospital, Nell and her sister Bridget begin unraveling the secrets of this other life.

I really enjoyed reading The Taste of Air! It pulled me in from the very first page and had the perfect balance of secrets and suspense to keep me going. To give you a taste, you can read chapter one here.

Timelines from Nell, Bridget, and their mother Mary interweave throughout the novel, slowly revealing pieces of a complicated puzzle. I always love novels where the characters' stories steadily merge together at the end, and I found the three women's different lives easy to follow.

The Taste of Air is about love, longing, family, friendship, impossible choices, and the internal struggle we all face to find a space that we can call our own.

If you enjoy books about family secrets, then you will absolutely enjoy The Taste of Air. An excellent way to spend some of those Amazon gift cards you may have received over the holidays :)

"What we do for ourselves and for each other."
- Gail Cleare, The Taste of Air


Disclaimer - I was sent a copy of The Taste of Air courtesy of the author. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. You can connect with Gail Cleare on her website, Facebook, and on Twitter.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard - Book Review

Under the Influence is the newest release by Joyce Maynard.

Helen is at her absolute lowest. Her marriage has failed and her drinking has cost her custody of her only son, Ollie, whom she now only sees briefly on weekends. While at an art gallery, Helen meets Ava and Swift Havilland and is immediately pulled into their lives. She takes on small jobs for them, and they take her under their wing by inviting her to lavish parties, providing her with an extraordinary home to use when her son is visiting, and promising to help her regain custody of Ollie. However, things that seem too good to be true generally are and when it comes time to pay up for all of the Havilland's generosity, Helen may not be able to comply with their demands.

When Wally Lamb calls a book "riveting" that sets some high expectations, and this book did not disappoint. Under the Influence was completely captivating.

I was pulled in right from the very first page. It is a story about friendship, family, envy, and escape. Under the Influence was a book that I mentally carried around with me, even when I was not reading it.

Helen is so desperate for attention and love that it's hard not to understand why she was so pulled to the Havillands. They have everything, and they are more than happy to share it with her, as long as she continues to do their bidding. This story kept me engaged because the reader knows that somewhere along the line, Helen is going to be asked to pay up in a major way for all of the opportunities that she has been given by Ava and Swift, but what will be the cost?

I enjoyed the writing style and the storyline very much. There were twists and turns along the way that kept me thinking. I felt there was just enough suspense to keep me interested without the terrified feeling that comes along with psychological thrillers.

Under the Influence is available for purchase from Amazon or HarperCollins.  You can also connect with the author, Joyce Maynard, on her website or on Facebook.

Part of the reason I love participating in promotional book tours is that I often get to learn about authors that are new to me, and that I possibly would have not otherwise known. This was my first Joyce Maynard novel, and it will not be my last. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.


Disclaimer - I was sent a complementary copy of Under the Influence from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. To see what other bloggers had to say about this book, you can check out the full book tour.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Novel Editions - December 2016 Review + Coupon Code

Novel Editions is a new Canadian book box subscription. Each Novel Editions box includes a newly released fiction novel and 3 or 4 other bookish goodies.

Cost - $44.99 + shipping (currently they only ship within Canada)
Use the code SPLENDIDLIFE10 to receive 10% off the January Novel Editions box. Their next theme is Enchantment.

The theme for the December box was Literary Rebels.

Inside the box was a book, beautifully wrapped...

.... along with a number of other wonderful treats!

I love beautiful stationery, so I know I will put the notecards to good use. And I've already been using the brass bookmark actively because while I love beautiful bookmarks, I'm always sad when they inevitably get bent or creased. That will not happen with this feather bookmark. Even my four year old declared it "so beautiful, Mommy" when he saw it in my book.

Literary candles are so popular right now! In this sampler there are 12 scented tea lights with themes like Pemberley Park, Aged Page, Walden Woods, and Café au Library.

The book featured this month is The Ballroom by Anna Hope. I heard about this book a few months ago, and added it to my Goodreads to be read list. I've heard it's really captivating. I was looking forward to reading it before, but now I'm even more excited because I can't wait to see how all of the items chosen tie into the novel. Feathers will play a role somewhere I'm sure!!

Novel Editions also prepares a monthly book club guide for their selected books with ideas for creating the right atmosphere, preparing themed food, and discussion questions. You can join the Novel Editions Book Club group on Facebook and also look forward to discussions with the authors themselves!

Head on over to the Novel Editions website to subscribe. They offer 1 month, 3 month, or 6 month subscriptions. Remember to use the code SPLENDIDLIFE10 to receive 10% off your January box! Be sure to tell them you saw this post too!


Disclaimer - I was sent a complementary Novel Editions box for review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.