Sunday, 31 December 2017

Reader Favourites of 2017

Every year I like to see which were the most popular posts I put together. Here's the top ten list for 2017!





#9 and #8  - Book Review and Chapter 1 Excerpt for The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine






















As always, thank you for your continued support with my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you.

xo
Jenn

If you're interested, here are my top 10 posts for 2016, 2015, and 2014.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

10 Excellent Books I Read This Year

Tis the season for "Top 10" book posts, and it's. so. hard! I give you top five in different genres...or my top ten that weren't actually published in 2017....or here are a few I didn't get a chance to read yet but I know are amazing....it's all just too much pressure!!!

So, I've played around with this list for weeks. Books have been added, removed, added back again, and combined so I can cheat and add more books.

Are these my top ten best, favourite, most fantastic books I read this year? I honestly don't know. Are these ten amazing books I read this year? Absolutely.

Here we go!



Beartown by Fredrick Backman - A powerful novel about how a horrific event in a small town changes a hockey team forever. It's a departure in genre from Backman's other work, but still an absolute winner.

Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson - Jennifer Robson is one of my favourite authors. Her 2017 release was about a female journalist during WWII. You can read my full review here.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy by Sarah J. Maas - I'm including all three books because I read this whole trilogy this year and loved it. This trilogy of books begins as a beauty and the beast retelling but then ventures off with the very best world-building and the most swoon-worthy characters. Also, can I include Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series? I know that's super cheating, but they were also some of my favourite reads this year :)

Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me by Lorilee Craker - This is a charming true story that weaves together the author's passion for Anne of Green Gables, her own adoption story, and the adoption story of her daughter. You can read my full review here.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - This was a captivating story of life a glamours Hollywood actress and her seven husbands. The writing was so good, it almost felt like a true story!

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - A quick and powerful read about being and raising strong women.


Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan - A hilarious take on the outrageous expectations put on new moms. Laugh out loud funny!

A Newfoundlander in Canada by Alan Doyle - Doyle's second memoir is full of stories from the early days of his band, Great Big Sea, as they toured throughout Canada. I'm a huge fan of his music, so this was a really amazing read for me. You can see my full review here.

Cuffed by K. Bromberg - I read a lot of romance, so I wanted to include one on this list. Cuffed was super sexy and had a plot line with substance, so it wasn't just a simple/fluffy read.

The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Boys  - I know this is probably also cheating, since I'm one of the authors in this book, but I love this anthology with all my heart, and I think any mama will enjoy these stories from the trenches. Read more about this book here.

Did you read anything outstanding this year? Let me know!

xo
Jenn

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Miss You by Kate Eberlen - Book Review

I'm squeezing one last book review in for 2017! Miss You is the debut novel from Kate Eberlen. It tells the story of Tess and Gus. They initially meet briefly when they are 18 years old and on holidays in Florence with friends and family. Then, over the next 16 years, their lives indirectly intersect many times.

At first glance, Tess and Gus are each in a tough spot. Gus is living in the shadow of his perfect older brother's death, and Tess is raising her 5 year old sister almost entirely on her own.

Will fate allow these start-crossed lovers to ever properly meet? And if they do, will they actually live happily ever after?


I've said this before, but I really enjoy stories that are told from dual points of view. That structure in a novel really keeps me interested.

There is much tragedy that befalls both Tess and Gus, and at times it was actually hard for my mama-heart to read. That being said, I just had to know how their story would come together. Wondering how their paths would cross next kept me engaged and reading.

If I had any critique at all, it is that I wanted more in the end. I wasn't finished with these characters. Maybe I just want a sequel??

I loved Kate Eberlen's clever and witty writing, and I look forward to reading more from this author. You can connect with Kate Eberlen on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

Anyone who loved the movies Serendipity or Sliding Doors will absolutely enjoy reading Miss You.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 18 December 2017

5 Wonderful Authors I Discovered in 2017

One of my favourite things about reading and book blogging is discovering new authors. Sometimes they are debut authors, but more often than not I'm late to the party, and I'm just now learning about authors that have already published many great novels.

Here are five authors I discovered this year, a bit about them, what books I've read so far, and what I hope to read next.



K. Bromberg - K. Bromberg writes steamy contemporary romance novels. I discovered her when I picked up Sweet Cheeks at Turn the Page Bookstore (heaven for romance readers). I also just finished Cuffed, and I loved them both so much! Next, I'm planning on reading her Driven series.

Hazel Gaynor - Hazel Gaynor writes beautiful historical fiction. I discovered her when I reviewed The Cottingley Secret this summer. I loved this magical story, and I loved her writing. Next I'm planning on reading The Girl Who Came Home.

Sarah J. Maas - Sarah J. Maas writes teen (but it's really adult) fantasy. I read both her Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series this year. They were so much fun! Sarah J. Maas has four books being published next year, including the DC Icons Catwoman retelling. I can't wait to read them all!



Liv Constantine - Liv Constantine is a debut author (actually two authors, sisters Lynne and Valerie), and I discovered them when I reviewed their book The Last Mrs. Parrish. I loved this take on the domestic psychological triller genre. Plus, The Last Mrs. Parrish was just selected as Reese Witherspoon's latest book club pick! I don't know what they're planning next, but I would totally read another book by these two.

Maisey Yates - Maisey Yates writes funny and swoon-worthy romance. The ones I've read so far have all be set in small towns, which I love. This year I read and reviewed both Slow Burn Cowboy and Christmastime Cowboy. Currently sitting next to read on my bookshelf from her are Part Time Cowboy, The Prince's Pregnant Mistress, and The Last Di Sione Claims His Prize.


And while I didn't write a post about it, I'd say my favourite authors I discovered in 2016 were Sarah Addison Allen, Bella Andre, Sarah Morgan, Eleanor Brown, and Neil Gaiman.

Did you discover any new-to-you authors this year?

xo
Jenn

Monday, 11 December 2017

Blind Side by Jennie Ensor - Book Review

Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable? 

London, five months before 7/7. Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time. 

But Georgie can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier she meets in a pub. While Julian struggles to deal with her rejection, Georgie realises how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai. She begins to suspect that the Russian is hiding something terrible from her. 

Then London is attacked... 

Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears. 

(Goodreads)



I connected well with the initial themes of this book. An obsessive ex-lover. Characters with suspicious motives. Family drama. There are also many political tones as Georgie navigates her new relationship with Nikolai because of his own history. As an ex-Russian solider, he is not innocent and can people ever really change?

I especially found Julian's character quite interesting, and I was most engaged with the chapters told from his perspective. This is where the most tension is created in the novel. I also learned a lot about the conflict between Russia and Chechnya which was an area of history I didn't fully understand before.

The one challenge I had with Blind Side is that I found it difficult to empathize with Georgie because of some of the decisions she made. At times, she came across as not very thoughtful.

Given the global conversation about immigration, this is a very timely novel. I can see how readers who especially like political thrillers will enjoy this debut.

Blind Side is available for purchase from Amazon. You can also connect with the author, Jennie Ensor, on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a copy of Blind Side courtesy of the author. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 4 December 2017

11 Christmas Books to Read in December

Last year I really got into seasonal reading, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite Christmas novels. Many of these I've read and loved while others are on my TBR pile, but they will each be sure to get you into the holiday spirit!




Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak - A family is quarantined together over Christmas. Secrets are revealed. Drama and hilarity ensue.

The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - A couple separated by war in 1914 write letters to each other. How will fate treat them as the war comes to an end?

Christmastime Cowboy by Maisey Yates - A second-chance holiday romance set in a small town winery at Christmas. Read my full review here.

The Christmas Bridge by Elyse Douglas - A young widow travels to NYC near Christmas. She wonders about meeting up with a lover from 20 years ago, but a chance encounter changes everything. Read my full review here.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman - A poignant novella about the broken relationship between a father and his son.



Miracle on 5th Avenue, Sleigh Bells in the Snow, and Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan - Sarah Morgan is my favourite Christmas romance author. Her books are the perfect amount of sexy and sweet. I couldn't just pick one of her books, so I'm including all three! See my review of Miracle on 5th Avenue here.

Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan - A young woman coming out of a disastrous marriage travels to London, Paris, and NYC to find her feet again and discover what's next for her in life...and in love.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig - Sebastian and I are currently reading this together.  A humorous and heartfelt tale about the original story of Santa. Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson - I grew up reading this short novel with my mom, and it is hilarious! Imagine "Children Gone Wild" mixed with organizing a Christmas pageant. A very fun read!

xo
Jenn

Friday, 1 December 2017

The Paris Secret by Karen Swan - Book Review

I judged this book entirely by its title. I have a weakness for all things French, and love books set in France. Other than a Paris setting, I knew nothing about The Paris Secret before beginning it.


I loved the concept of a secret apartment that hadn't been entered in 75 years. What mysteries would it hold? How would they matter today?

The Paris Secret was inspired by the true story of a Paris apartment that remained untouched and unknown for 70 years. It was rediscovered in 2013 full of art and artifacts frozen in time.
In Karen Swan's fictionalized account of this event, high-flying Fine Art Agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to asses these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and just who has concealed them for so long.
Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding? (via Goodreads)



This was the perfect novel to escape with for an afternoon while enjoying a glass of red wine. Flora was an excellent no-nonsense character who had to navigate the intense family drama surrounding the apartment she was brought in to inventory. It was easy to be on her side throughout the novel.

This was my first novel by Karen Swan, and I truly loved her writing. She blended the elements of history, art, mystery, French culture, and even romance, into one interesting story.

The Paris Secret is available on Amazon or wherever books are sold. You can connect with Karen Swan on Facebook and Twitter.

xo
Jenn

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