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review 2019-11-17 00:06
Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
Don't You Forget About Me - Mhairi McFarlane

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


He chewed his pen and gave me a guarded smile. Something and everything had changed. I didn’t know yet that small moments can be incredibly large.


Don't You Forget About Me is a moving standalone that I would consider women's fiction with about 15% that could be considered romance. Told completely from Georgina's point of view, we're introduced to her on a night she gets fired from her waitress job and catches her boyfriend cheating on her.


So Lucas is now a grown-up who owns and runs places. I’m thirty and begging to work in them. The indignity.


Through Georgina's reminiscing, reader's learn that she was a typical student just wanting to be liked and that she had a secret romance with a bit of an outcast named Lucas the last year of school. On a night that was supposed to end up special for her and Lucas, something happened and they ended up never speaking again, until Georgina's brother-in-law gets her a job at a pub Lucas and his brother are newly opening. Lucas behaves toward her like he doesn't know who she is and even though that breaks her heart, Georgina pretends they never met too.


I shake my head and fight to get control of my vocal cords. “I’m writing about my worst day at school for a writing competition at the pub,” I gasp. “And I know they want something funny and light and easy. But my worst day at school. It was terrible. I think it might’ve ruined my life.”


I somewhat struggled with the first half of the book. Georgina's inner musings dominate and the tone from her reads a bit hyper, distraught, and rambling. Georgina's life is laid out, with her feeling like a failure, still dealing with dad's death, friends, and family issues; it's more structure of our lead character's world. This made it at times plodding for me to get through but when towards the middle when Georgina is settled working at the pub, starting to deal and interact with family, friends, and starting to write by competing in a stand-up performance at the pub, this opens the story up and Georgina interacts with the outside world more, bring in more emotion.


The price of keeping the secret, it was too high to keep paying.


While I would give the first half 2-3 stars, the second half is 5 stars all the way, rarely have I read a story that packs such emotional punches. In the beginning, Georgina hints at what happened her last night of school, I'm sure most will guess, but the second half she lays it out there and the author did a beautiful job of writing Georgina's emotions as she confronts, deals, and shares such an impactful night of her life. Secondary characters, like her friends and family, are brought even more in and the emotional ties between them added so much to the story. This also helps to bring Lucas even more into play and the later half is where there is a stronger romance genre feel. These two don't have a lot of moments together but you'll feel and remember each and every one.


Sometimes the truth is messy and difficult but it isn’t always best left. Sometimes it saves you.


This story is about all the laughter that hides the pain and relationships that can weaken and strengthen you. Georgina started off a little bit left of center character with a circle of family that brought messy emotional ties, friends that supported her and pushed her, and a first love that acted like he didn't know who she was. As this was more women's fiction, Lucas' character was lacking a bit in feeling completely filled out but the way he shows up in the end came pretty close to making up for it for me. I would have liked more of Keith the dog and the beginning to be cleaned up in terms of flowing better but the second half was pretty close to perfection. If you're wanting a story to make you feel, Don't You Forget About Me packs a heck of an emotional punch that will have you smiling through your tears.

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review 2019-09-15 04:03
Never Forget - Martin Michaud

This series has been adapted into a TV show that is hugely popular in Quebec but  the books were only available in french. Now they’re being translated, beginning with book #3. The MC’s are detectives Victor Lessard & Jacinthe Taillon, partners in the Major Crimes Unit in Montréal.


As the story opens, we learn Victor has just returned to work after being demoted. HIs last case left him a changed man & his physical/psychological fitness is about to be tested. It all begins when an elderly woman’s body is discovered in a warehouse. There’s not much to go on…just some very odd marks on her skin. But she is soon identified as Judith Harper, a retired psychiatrist.


Across town, a respected lawyer has received some disturbing mail. Not to worry. Nathan Lawson prepared for this day a long time ago & quickly puts his plan in motion.


Meanwhile, a beat cop in another part of the city is struggling to find family of an elderly man who jumped 10 stories to his death. It’s not like he didn’t have ID. In fact, he had 2 wallets….one belonging to someone named Judith Harper, the other to a Nathan Lawson.


Oh, Victor. You might want to see if you have any vacation time left. The story begins with several diverse plot lines following separate characters. Initially the only common denominator is none of them are having a good day (especially Judith). As more characters are introduced & the body count rises, it’s clear Victor & his team have a big, snarly murder spree on their hands.


The plot is like a labyrinth that twists in a multitude of directions, some of which reach back to seminal moments in the province’s political past. Canadians in particular will recognize references to the FLQ & October Crisis (see link below). It’s impossible to summarize & better to go in blind anyway. The cast is large & some of the chapters feature characters in different decades so you need to pay attention to the time lines. There are a lot of moving parts but instead of getting lost, I quickly found myself in “Damn it, I need to know what’s going on” territory.


Interspersed with all the chaos are subplots that expand on the characters’ personal lives, mostly in regard to Victor. He’s a flawed man whose recent experience made him reflect on & accept the mistakes he’s made. Despite dealing with PTSD, he’s a smart & intuitive cop given to poking around wherever his gut feeling leads.


So you’re probably wondering why 4 stars. Well, there are a couple of nitpicky procedural things that don’t ring true but unfortunately my main issue was with Jacinthe. I found her crude, offensive & belligerent. Think Roberta Steel without the humour. Her only obvious talent was an ability to navigate the snow covered streets of Montréal at high speed & I’m still pondering the author’s goal behind her character. Perhaps as a foil for Victor’s? I don’t have to like a character but I do need to feel they’re adding a particular element or fulfilling a necessary role. In his notes, the author states “everything, always, must serve the story” so it feels like I missed something as her contribution to the investigation is negligible.


It’s all down to personal taste & luckily for me, a number of compelling characters & the intricate plot made up for it. The present day investigation takes place during the Xmas season & the unending snow storms lend a claustrophobic feel that effectively adds to the building tension. 


Just a heads up: there’s a fair amount of sexual content & the killer’s MO will have you googling a certain medieval torture device. The title is fitting & plays off the motto “Je me souviens” featured on Quebec license plates. It’s a well written & ambitious procedural that is all about memories….whether they be cherished, forgotten or tweaked.






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review 2019-08-31 17:30
Forget-Me-Not Blues by noangelsinthegarrison
Forget-Me-Not Blues - noangelsinthegarrison

A well written fic in which Dean and Cas meet at Sam and Jess's wedding, ten years after their last disastrous clash in high school.

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/2542658
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review 2019-07-28 17:43
"Never Forget", by Martin Michaud
Never Forget - Martin Michaud

A Victor Lessard Thriller book #1

This is cleverly weaved and thought-provoking story will send shivers down your spine within its few first pages. This tale is set in francophone Montreal and because Victor Lessard is the kind of series that makes you addicted, incredibly so. I am warning you will be hooked from the start. I was, I simply devoured this book!

“Never Forget” is a difficult investigation with multiple bifurcations in a snowy Montreal, "sloché" and icy that begins for Detective Sergeant Victor Lessard and his teammate, the voluminous and strong Jacinthe, ten days before Christmas.

The opening scene hits hard….

“He is the murderer. No, it's her. Finally, it must be him. Oh boy!...I don’t know anymore” 

The book is written with finesse. As the bodies are falling, my frustration at not finding who the killer is also rising at the same pace as those of the characters who are investigating, so I need to find out and continue reading, and read and read till the conclusion….what a page-turner. 

Martin Michaud does not go without a dead hand. In less than 100 chapters, in less than 700 pages he manages to evoke the Middle Ages and his refined tortures with a crime weapon poetically named "the fork of the heretic", makes live and die Lortie , a poor fellow, "perfect scapegoat, a former victim of the MK-ULTRA program, fragile and psychologically unstable, he flies over contemporary history with the assassination of JFK and its hypothetical plots. The author also offers his detective sergeant a suspicious story whose son twists up to catch the CIA and the FLQ. These sidebars will resonate for Quebecois and those who were around in the 60’s and 70’s.

“Never Forget is well written, action packed, fast paced and very suspenseful, the plot leaves no respite until the denouement. We find with pleasure characters that become more complex as we read on…

We are definitely in good hands with this book. I simply loved this murder investigation and the police procedural that went with it.

I receive this ARC from the publisher DunDurn Press via NetGalleys for my thoughts.

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review 2019-07-09 15:07
Wonderful Romance!
Don't You Forget About Me - Mhairi McFarlane

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.


So "Don't You Forget About Me" was wonderful. I have never read McFarlane before, but now I want to read all of her books. This book had so much heart and I loved Georgina (the main character) and her friends Jo, Clem, and Rav. I also laughed a lot and even teared up when you find out why Georgina's life derailed when she was a teen and again a few months later. There's not any love scenes in this one, but you definitely get chemistry for days between Georgina and her love interest. Now if we can a sequel following Clem, Rav, or Jo I will be thrilled.

"Don't You Forget About Me" follows 30 something Georgina. Georgina is a waitress at possibly the worst restaurant in England. Seriously, I maybe laughed a few times when Georgina recounts the mess that went on in the kitchen. When a restaurant critic starts to make a fuss about his congealed carbonara the chef blames Georgina and fires her. Georgina goes to her boyfriend's place and finds him having sex with someone else. So yeah, we're off and running. McFarlane follows Georgina who is trying to do something with her writing (yeah she hasn't written anything yet) and who ends up finding a new job at a pub. Only problem is that one of the owners of the place is someone that Georgina has wondered about for ages, the boy she was in love with, Lucas McCarthy. 


Georgina is definitely someone you want to root for. Her whole family sounds like a mess, but once you get some reveals going on you find out what was going on with all of the parties (her mom and sister) and I just ended up liking everyone more. That is one thing I want to keep emphasizing with this book, not everything is pushed out in the open. McFarlane lets the character of Georgina tell us things in her own way. We find out that her relationship with her jerk of an ex wasn't as awesome as she thought it was. And with that she starts to reveal how she first met Lucas and what happened between them.


The secondary characters like Lucas, Clem, and Rav were great. Lucas is an engima at first, but once again we find out what has happened to him since school. Rav and Clem were hilarious. I loved the friendship between the three friends and Georgina. They all got each other and supported one another. 

The writing was great. The stories that Georgina tells are hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking. Her voice throughout this book was strong. The flow was great as well.

The book takes place in London though we mainly have the bar that Lucas owns, Georgina's apartment, and her sister's place as the main settings in this book.

The ending does a six months later epilogue that I was very pleased with. Seriously though, follow up with Clem or Rav. 

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