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review 2018-06-18 04:44
The Witchfinder's Sister
The Witchfinder's Sister - Beth Underdown

In case you've noticed, I'm a little behind on my reviews. Not because I haven't been reading, just that if it's a choice between reading and posting, I usually choose reading. Which puts me on track for my reading year, but regretfully behind here.

 

So enough about that, let's pretend it's the end of January, when I read this book. Brrr! It's freezing! Perfect time to sit in a cozy chair with a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket and read a scary book about witches. But really, if you're like me, there's no bad time to read about witches. This book, though, was a little different for me. For one thing, it was based on the true story of "Witchfinder General" Matthew Hopkins in Essex, England, 1645. Underdown spins a compelling tale based on his investigations, that are every bit as cruel, gruesome and unethical as you might imagine.

 

Alice, newly back in town, has her own troubles to deal with even before she starts to unravel the mysteries surrounding her brother, the now-famous Witch Finder. There is a lot going on in this otherwise sleepy town, and everyone seems to have a skeleton (or a witch) in their closet. The author leaves some things a little vague, but she does not spare the reader. This was an uncomfortable story for me to read; I really longed for a little bit of goodness in this world. I think that in her debut, though, Underdown has crafted an intense, often frightening, but ultimately well-told story.

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review 2018-06-03 17:24
The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
The Favorite Sister - Jessica Knoll

A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.   

Five strong, successful women make up the Goal Diggers reality show cast set in New York City. The producers will get more than they bargain for this season when one of the women is murdered.

Brett is the fan favourite. She is only 27 and has launched a highly successful spin studio. That, coupled with her recent engagement, has only increased her popularity and made her the envy of her cast since they are all vying for the spotlight.

Kelly is Brett's older sister, business partner, and the newest cast member. The veterans of the show think she's a cling-on not understanding that growing up, it was Kelly who was the favourite, not Brett.

Stephanie is the oldest on the show, and the first black woman. She is a published author of erotic novels, but her success has come from her memoir in which she has taken some liberties and is afraid of being found out. Stephanie is married to an attractive, non-working actor with a wandering eye. Sounds like the perfect storyline for a reality show, but this season, the focus is on the rift between Stephanie and her former best friend, Brett.

Lauren a successful start-up story whose out-of-control drinking has her poised for a recovery storyline.

Finally Jen, rich and famous from her vegan food line is actually not vegan, and is incredibly ruthless behind the scenes. I pictured her to be like Gwyneth Paltrow chowing down on burgers.  

Can I tell you how riveting this was? Knoll has an incredible knack for writing conversation which is why the premise worked so well—we are also a culture that is obsessed with celebrity and social media, and this story plays right into that hand.

There are multiple characters introduced in the beginning and I had to keep referring back to the character synopsis to keep them all straight and I really hope that this is included in the published book. Certainly not a criticism, but I wanted to mention it because I found it useful. Knoll develops intriguing and complex characters with several layers and once you get into the story, you easily can tell who is speaking and whose point of view it is.  

The title of the book is clever—it speaks to the obvious sisters in the story as well as a nod to the sisterhood of women. It is these relationship dynamics that are present and integral to the narrative.  Knoll's view of the sister/sisterhood is multi-faceted and downright ruthless at times. But she's not wrong. Women are all about coming together and supporting one another however, the flip side is the incredible hypocrisy as women will turn on each other on a dime! Women have to be younger than their male counterparts, thinner, smarter, and so on and unfortunately, we are our worst critics both to ourselves and each other.  Knoll explores all of this through the lens of a reality show. I thought this was a fantastic read.  

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review 2018-06-01 03:53
Sister Light,Sister Dark
Sister Light, Sister Dark - Jane Yolen

I've never read a book by Jane Yolen before.

But this was a welcome surprise,the author does a great job with worldbuilding.And when it comes to character building she does very good.This book held my interest throughout.

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review 2018-05-14 22:23
The Favorite Sister
The Favorite Sister - Jessica Knoll

Let me start by saying that I don't watch reality TV. I get quite enough reality in everyday life. Nevertheless, the blurb for this one sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a gander. I did finish, but I set the book aside numerous times, mostly due to the fact that I couldn't find a single character in the book to actually root for. None of them were the least bit likable. Maybe that was the author's intention, but for me, I have a hard time getting invested in a story when no one has a redeeming quality.
We have five women who are each successful, but instead of being proud of that, they spend a crazy amount of time tearing each other down. The whole thing read like Mean Girls for grown-ups. We get lots of behind the scenes making of reality TV and how the drama gets encouraged, but the constant conniving among these women quickly grated on my nerves. There is a murder to give us some mystery and things do pick up in the end, but without that connection to any of the characters, it didn't help much.
I suppose I was expecting something more, some actual sisterhood at some point, and that's on me, but I still came away from this one disappointed.

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review 2018-05-08 00:18
The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis
The Good Luck Sister - Jill Shalvis

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a really nice time with this novella. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Jill Shalvis and this story had everything I was looking for when I pick up a book with her name on the cover. I loved the first book in this series, Lost and Found Sisters, so I was very eager to return to Wildstone for another story. Once I started reading this story, I simply could not put it down and ended up finishing it with a big smile on my face.

This story features Tilly and Dylan, both of whom played a part in the first book in the series. If you haven't read the first book, there is no need to worry because this story can easily be read as a stand alone. This story is set in the future and Tilly and Dylan are both all grown up now. They were both teenagers in the first installment so it was great to see them in adulthood. The story does include flashes from their past which was a really nice reminder for me and readers new to the series will quickly get the background information that they need to enjoy this installment.

The characters were great in this story. I loved Tilly and Dylan in the first book and I quickly discovered that I liked the adults they have become. There is a cute puppy in the story that melted my heart from the very beginning of the story. I did think that Quinn seemed a bit over the top in this one but it was all done in fun. I love that humor was flawlessly worked into the story and the quotes at the start of each chapter always brought a smile to my face.

I liked Tilly and Dylan together and am really happy that they were able to get their second chance. Although things have not worked out exactly as they had hoped, they have both made the most of the situation they have found themselves in. Their relationship did move pretty fast in this book but that tends to be the case in most novellas. They had fantastic chemistry with each other and their feelings for each other felt very genuine.

I would recommend this novella to others. This was a wonderful story filled with great characters, a few laughs, and a touching romance. I can't wait to read more of this great series very soon.

I received a digital review copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
This was a nice novella. I liked that parts of their past were shown during every chapter. I read the previous book so the flashes back to the past was a really nice reminder. Readers who are new to the series will not have to worry about missing anything either since we get a lot of their past in this story. Things moved pretty fast in this story as they tend to do with shorter pieces but it seemed to work. I did think that Quinn was a little too much at times in this story. I had a nice time with this one in the end.

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