Indian Summer

Title: Indian Summer
Author: Marcia Willett
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Rating: ★★★

Mungo is a retired actor who lives in the country with his dog. He lives on the family property that belongs to his brother Archie. Archie and his wife Camilla rent out the cottages on their land. Brothers Philip and Billy are from a farming family. They live near the orchard, where Philip takes care of Billy who had a stroke. Mungo’s friend, Kit, comes to stay with him. She is dealing with a past lover who has come back into her life after his wife died. All of these old friends always think of their friend Izzy. She was a beautiful actress that everyone loved but she died young from an overdose. The other tenants of the cottages are Emma and James. James is a writer who has moved to the country to get some inspiration for his latest novel. Emma lives with her two children while her husband is away as a doctor in Afghanistan. She starts to have a relationship with one of her husband’s friends, who turns out to be more dangerous than she imagined.

There were a lot of characters and storylines. They were all connected, some much less than others. The perspective kept changing between characters. This could be confusing at times when it switched between characters in the same scene without warning.

The story kept giving hints to big scandals but it didn’t deliver. Some scenes had big cliffhangers but they were disappointing when nothing happened. I think if there were simpler plot points, the climaxes could have been bigger.

This story was well written but not as exciting as I hoped.

Maud


Title: Maud
Author: Melanie Fishbane
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Lucy Maud Montgomery lives with her maternal grandparents in Cavendish PEI. Her mother died when she was twenty-one months old and her father moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Maud had trouble with her teacher the previous year, so she was sent to live with her Aunt Emily for a while. However, Maud still causes trouble for her grandparents when she returns. They find her secret diary which ruins their relationship. She also starts to have a relationship with Nate, the stepson of the Baptist minister. This is a problem because her family is Presbyterian. These incidents lead her grandparents to send her out to live with her father. But her life doesn’t get easier when she has to deal with his new wife and family. Throughout all of this, Maud finds solace in her writing, both stories and letters to her friends.

The beginning of this story shows Maud being immature and playing with her friends. Though she is fourteen, she acts younger. She often passes notes with Nate and her best friend Mollie. But when everyone else grows up around her, like her cousin Pensie, she also matures.

Maud changes throughout the novel as her situation changes. She acts like a child with her friends in PEI but she has to grow up quickly when she faces her stepmother, who treats her like her personal maid. Maud has to adapt to this new life, where she must defend herself.

Though there were hints of her inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, Maud wasn’t portrayed as her iconic character. Sometimes, stories about authors just show them acting like their characters, but that wasn’t the case with this one.

I liked this story about Canada’s most famous female author.

Girl Last Seen

Title: Girl Last Seen
Author: Nina Laurin
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Ten years after she was found, Lainey learns that a ten-year-old girl has gone missing. The girl resembles her, so she knows she was taken by the same kidnapper. Lainey was held by him for three years from the time she was ten. However, the police contact Lainey to help them because of her connection to the girl: she’s her birth mother. Lainey has to use her unique position to help find Olivia Shaw while also finding her own kidnapper. 

This is an original thriller with many twists and turns. It reminded me of the stories in the last few years of girls being held captive for many years.

This story also demonstrates the different media coverage that cases get, depending on who the missing child is. Lainey’s story wasn’t as popular because her mother was in jail, whereas Olivia’s family is very wealthy so they had a lot of media coverage.

I really liked this thrilling novel!

Here and Gone

Title: Here and Gone
Author: Haylen Beck
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Audra Kinney was driving her two children, Sean and Louise, across the country from New York to California when she was pulled over by Sheriff Whiteside. He claimed that he thought her car was loaded down too much at the back, so he offered to help her unload some things into his car. But when he reached into one of her boxes in the trunk, he found a bag of marijuana, more than would be considered for personal use. He arrested her and had his deputy come and take her children to “a safe place.” However, when he brings Audra into the station and she asks where her children are, he says “what children?”

This was a chilling thriller. My heart was racing through the whole book. I was hooked right from the beginning, when I didn’t even know why Audra was escaping something in New York with her children.

I liked that it was a small cast of characters, so they could be developed. The perspective switched between characters too. Even though I knew who had taken the children, the story was exciting because they were still in danger.

I highly recommend this book if you like psychological thrillers!

Small Hours


Title: Small Hours
Author: Jennifer Kitses
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Tom starts his day by taking his three-year-old daughters to see the sunrise. Then he goes into the office, where he is a news editor. His mind isn’t on his work though. He’s thinking about the other three-year-old daughter he has with his former boss and mistress in the city. Meanwhile, his wife, Helen, picks up their twin daughters from preschool, where their tuition is late. She then has an altercation with some teenage girls, which frightens her daughters. She spends the rest of her day in fear of the teenagers retaliating in some way, while also working from home. Tom and Helen live their lives full of secrets told in this hour by hour story.

This story was a little slow at the beginning. It was describing the mundane activities of their lives, such as Tom’s commute into work and Helen’s workout in the gym. Also, the story wasn’t just about what was happening during that day. There was a lot of background of Tom’s past relationship, so it wasn’t all told in the present. I think this information could have been given in a different way, so that it didn’t have to flash back to years ago, but could stay within the 24 hours of the story.

This story was well written. The hourly account of the couple’s lives is a unique form. I really liked the tension at the end. However, it was left on a cliffhanger which could have been more dramatic.

China Rich Girlfriend

Title: China Rich Girlfriend
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

The Crazy Rich Asians return in the sequel to Kevin Kwan’s bestseller. It’s two years later, and Nick and Rachel are engaged. They plan to get married in California, excluding his mother. Nick still hasn’t forgiven her for the spectacle she made involving Rachel’s possible father. But you can’t keep Eleanor Young out of the loop for very long! When she finds out about the wedding, she makes a grand entrance, bringing along a new family for Rachel. Nick and Rachel go to China to meet her new family, and they get caught up in the wild life of Colette Bing and Carlton Bao which ends in the hospital. Meanwhile, the excessive Kitty Tai is trying to make a name for herself in Hong Kong society by splashing hundreds of millions of dollars all around. But everyone is asking one question about her: where is her husband and daughter?

This is an awesome sequel! I loved the first book. I couldn’t put this one down either. The characters are so funny. They’re extremely extravagant but they don’t realize it. My favourite quote is “Bernard has no money. He only gets about ten million a year to live on.” In their world, ten million is pocket change.

The story wouldn’t be as good without Kevin Kwan’s amazing writing. He artfully juggles the many characters, without missing a beat. Each character is distinct. The story also comes full circle at the end in a subtle way. All the loose ends were tied up, all questions I had were answered. There is even a little mystery near the end, and the solution was shocking!

This is a great story, and I can’t wait to read the next book!

My review of Crazy Rich Asians can be found here.

Rejected Writers Take The Stage


Title: Rejected Writers Take the Stage
Author: Suzanne Kelman
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

The women of the Rejected Writers Book Club are back! The writers gather in a club where they collect the rejection letters that they receive from publishers. In the first novel, they go on a mission to get a rejection letter from a publisher who accepted them. In this story, one of the members, Annie, is facing foreclosure on her house. She owns a farm where she boards dogs. The leader of the Book Club, Doris, comes up with a plan to put on a play to raise money for Annie. They each pitch in to write a portion of the play called The Merlin of Ooze. Janet works in a library, and she is given the job of director. She also has a daughter who is pregnant with twins, who comes to visit her. Meanwhile, Flora met her new boyfriend, Dan, on their last adventure. But he doesn’t live in town, so they have a long distance relationship. He surprises Flora with a visit to Southlea Bay, but he brings more than himself. And of course, with the ladies of the Rejected Writers Book Club, nothing goes as planned!

I loved this sequel! I was so excited when I heard about it. This one was a little different because it didn’t focus as much on writing. Since the characters were introduced in the last novel, their lives could be explored more deeply in this novel.

I really like the titles of the chapters. Each one is named after a funny image or metaphor in the chapter.

One aspect that was a little confusing was the narration. Sometimes Janet narrated, if she was present in the scene. But if she wasn’t there, it was a third person narration. There were also a couple of consistency issues, like someone being introduced twice in a chapter.

I love how these stories have an open ending, leaving the possibility for a sequel. I hope the Rejected Writer’s Book Club goes on another adventure soon!