Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever. – Goodreads

I’m not quite sure how to feel about this one. Yes, I read it in a short amount of time because I was curious about what would happen next.

I thought the entire story was very…predictable. Though I have to give Lonsdale props for the unique storyline, many of the twists felt extremely convenient and I often found myself rolling my eyes. I obviously can’t provide any examples here, though, because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

The timeline of the book is also confusing. Sometimes months would go by from chapter to chapter, with the entire story spanning about 16-18 months. I don’t mind the span of time, but I think it could have been more clear how much time had passed and less jumpy.

Lastly, before I say some good things — I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters. Aimee fell flat for me, as she was either the grieving widow or magically healed and in love. The only time her personality came through was when she talked about her cafe. Her friends were obviously only in the story as a way to connect her to Ian and push her to go to Mexico. I still don’t know who the F Lana is. Ian is a stage-five clinger. James was way too damn perfect. I just…couldn’t identify with anyone, and thus cared about no one.

The book was paced well, though, and despite it’s flaws, held my interest. This is a good beach read if you’re looking for something light.

I rated it a 2/5 on Goodreads.


The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister (& giveaway!)

9781402298684-300This book was captivating. I couldn’t stop thinking about it whenever I had to put it down. In fact, I would have to say it’s my new favorite historical novel.

The story opens with a magic show and a murder. Officer Holt is the one-man police force of a small town, and is on the scene of the horrific scene, where a bloodied man has been stuffed inside one of the magic show props. Illusionist Arden is suspected of murdering her husband, and is shuttled to the police department by Holt when he spots her on his ride home.

The story switches point-of-view between Officer Holt and Arden. While Holt is questioning Arden, she tells him her life story, warts and all—her sociopathic cousin, running away, broken hearts, and getting her start in illusions. Between flashbacks, the story focuses on the interrogation.

There was a romance element weaved into the story, but not so much that it was nauseating. In fact, it felt very real, and was never storybook perfect. For the bulk of the storyline, Arden is focused on her career, in an attempt to live her dream and escape the ghosts of her past.

The Magician’s Lie is well-written and engaging. It’s full of twists and turns, and the variation on the narrative points-of-view kept me intrigued and invested in the story.

I rated it a 5/5 on Goodreads. The Magician’s Lie will be published on January 13th. I highly recommend!

I received a free copy of this book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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9781402298684_3DSourcebooks, the publisher of The Magician’s Lie, has graciously given us a physical copy to give away to one lucky reader!  To enter, go to our Rafflecopter entry form. There are several different ways to earn extra entries.

The contest ends at midnight on Thursday, December 18th. The winner will be contacted the following day.
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The Catalain Book of Secrets by Jess Lourey

23597977I’m not sure how to come up with words to do this book justice—magical? Intriguing? Eccentric?

It was a fantastic read, full of rich detail and beautiful metaphor. In fact, the only reason I bumped a star off of this book was because it had too many metaphors and too much flowery writing for my taste. Though absolutely appropriate and well done in many parts, it became overdone after a bit and actually began to turn me off from the writing.

The Catalain women are several generations of witches with magical powers—Ursula makes potions, Helena creates magical candies that can inspire patience, love, and much more, Jasmine can infuse her amazing cooking with feelings and spells.

When Ursula is a young girl, her mother tricks her into helping her murder her father. In revenge, he casts a curse over Ursula and her future children.

The book jumps through time to present day and switches points-of-view between all of the Catalain women to paint a vivid picture of their emotions, powers, and scars. Lourey does a seamless job of switching between women and painting a image of who they are at the core. All of the characters felt full, and nobody fell flat. I felt equally for each woman and didn’t choose favorites—in fact, it made me respect each one more because you knew what their past was and how it impacted their present day.

I would definitely recommend this book. Once you get past the flamboyant writing style, you’ll find a beautiful, well-written story about a group of gifted women who are trying to heal. I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads. The Catalain Book of Secrets is due to be released on January 1, 2015.

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I received a free copy of this book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.