“But I was almost certain—almost completely certain—that she was the woman in cabin 10.”
As a journalist for a travel magazine, Lo Blacklock gets the opportunity of a lifetime, to set sail on the maiden voyage of a new luxury cruise. The ship itself is small in size with only a handful of cabins and its guests consist of the rich and influential. While initially, the cruise is the utmost in comfort, things take a turn when one night Lo is woken up by a disturbance in the cabin next door, and witnesses what she believes is a woman going overboard. However, when she raises the alarm she learns that the cabin next door is unoccupied and all on board have been accounted for.
As a fan of mysteries, the premise of this novel captured my attention immediately. It has been compared to the Agatha Christie style of mystery, and it is in the way it consists of a room full of suspects in an isolated location and attempts to work out who the culprit is. This is more or less part of the middle portion of the story, which I found to be quite interesting and page-turning. However, there are a number of aspects that just did not work for me and which made the overall story feel jumbled rather than as a well pieced together puzzle. For one, the main character is completely insufferable, with actions, choices, and behaviour that are bizarre and ridiculous. There are a number of things that happen that are not explained or tie in at the end, with the mystery being solved and the truth revealed much earlier than expected, and I’m not quite sure I even understand what the ending really was. The premise, the setup, and the pacing of the novel is well done and there are portions of the story that are intriguing, however the pieces just did not fall into place for me with this one.
“… everyone yearns for a little magic. Everyone wants the Gates of Paradise to open for them, and when I wrote my letter to Juliet, it was one last knock on the door. It was one last attempt at a happy ending.”
Juliet’s Answer contains real stories in which the author recounts his experience of traveling to Verona and joining a group that is dedicated to answering the many letters that are addressed to Juliet. That is Juliet of Romeo and Juliet. After the city of Verona began receiving numerous letters from all over the world addressed to Juliet, all having to do with woes of love, a group was established that came to be known as Secretaries of Juliet. Glenn Dixon, who was a teacher for over twenty years and taught Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to his classes, decided to travel to Verona and volunteer his time in answering the letters to Juliet. He does this in an effort to heal, understand heartbreak, and maybe learn something about the ever complicated subject of love.
“… the sentiments were all the same. All of them were asking about love. All were asking about this soul-wrenching experience that is both our deepest sorrow and our greatest joy.”
This is a nice, breezy, and enjoyable read for fans of soul-searching memoirs, as well as lovers of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The book is presented and organized beautifully into three “acts” containing photos as well as a map and a reader’s guide. The author takes turns talking about his experiences in Verona, flashing back to his struggle with heartbreak, and also dissecting and discussing the play of Romeo and Juliet in one of his classes. Each section is interesting and there is a really nice flow to the structure of the stories, particularly the way the author’s class on Romeo and Juliet is mixed in. A lovely read that tackles the subject of love and brings Verona to life.
“You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.”
I See You is the latest release from the author of the popular thriller, I Let You Go. It follows a woman named Zoe who sees an ad with her picture in the local paper for a website called FindTheOne.com. Other women start appearing in the ads and we learn that they have been victims of violent crimes. Zoe embarks on an investigation to uncover the reason behind the unsettling ads and why she is a part of it.
While I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, ultimately the story failed to capture my attention or draw me into the mystery. The beginning chapters are atmospheric and draw a vivid picture of the claustrophobic feeling of subway commuting, which is a perfect set up for a gripping thriller. However, there is too much time spent on the details of the mundane life of the main character that does not serve the story’s overall purpose and really slows down the narrative. The protagonist herself is not very compelling, and combined with the focus on the inconsequential details of her life, the story becomes quite dull. Unfortunately at a certain point I simply lost all interest and had to give up on this one.
*E-copy provided by NetGalley for an unbiased review.
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”
The circus held only at night is a unique and amazing experience that enchants all who attend. However, very few know that it is also the venue for a duel between two young magicians who have been studying and preparing for the challenge from the time they were children. The two fall in love without realizing that only one can be left standing. As time passes and the challenge continues without a victor, the lives of those associated with the circus become affected as well with dark consequences.
“Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”
This is a book I have been meaning to read for quite some time, and I am so glad that I finally did. It is a wonderfully creative and engrossing novel that captured my attention from the beginning. It skips around different years and select characters as the story unfolds, and while initially it took a little time to learn the various characters and get familiar with the flow, I found each section to be compelling all on it’s own. Unfortunately I did not connect to the characters as much as I would have liked, and I was not a fan of the way the romance between the two magicians was handled. As a result the ending and the way the story concluded felt quite rushed and somewhat unsatisfactory, but that is likely just a preference on my part. Overall I was really impressed with the intricacy of the story as there is something undeniably magical and compelling about it. An intriguing concept and an engaging read.
“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
“If I had just kept my nose in my book – if only I hadn’t looked up when I heard the crows.”
The Fundy Vault is the latest release in a mystery series that follows criminologist, Rosalind. In this second installment she has rented a cottage on Minas Basin in Nova Scotia, where she plans to explore ideas for her next theatre production. However, soon after her arrival she spots a body, which she witnesses being retrieved by a mysterious helicopter/team. She calls in her old sleuthing partner, McBride who ends up disappearing during their investigation and Rosalind is left to search for clues and figure out the truth.
I very much enjoy a good mystery novel, especially in the form of a series that I can follow and look forward to new releases. The main thing that draws me into a series is the compelling nature of the characters who carry the story and piece together the mystery. From the beginning of this novel it is clear that it has those kind of characters, ones that will interest you and have you turning the pages to see what will happen and where the story will go. The setting in Nova Scotia is lovely and it is wonderful to explore that particular region through the descriptions and the wonderful way the author brings it to life. A thoroughly enjoyable novel and a series I look forward to reading more of and following in the future.
*Book provided by publisher for an unbiased review.
“People spend their whole lives looking for love. Poems and songs and entire novels are written about it. But how can you trust something that can end as suddenly as it begins?”
A charming novel that tells the story of Natasha and Daniel, how they meet, and the power of fate. Natasha is not one to believe in destiny and places her beliefs in science and facts. On what is set to be her last day in the US before her family is deported to Jamaica, all she can think about is finding a way to prevent that from happening. What she doesn’t plan on is meeting and falling for a boy. Daniel, on the other hand, is a dreamer and a romantic who is carrying the weight of his parents’ expectations on his shoulders. On this particular day, the universe leads him to Natasha. Through the perspective of both Natasha and Daniel, along with a few characters introduced along the way, we learn about everything that fell into place for them to meet, and follow their day as they get to know and learn about each other.
“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.”
This one will speak to all the romantics. It does a wonderful job of presenting the various perspectives throughout and taking the reader on Natasha and Daniel’s journey. I came to really care about these characters and found myself eagerly turning the pages to see where the story would go and what their fate would be. There is an elegance and beauty to Nicola Yoon’s writing, which provides numerous lovely passages and sentences. She not only beautifully conveys the feelings associated with new love, but also with the immigrant experience through both Natasha and Daniel. A truly standout novel, which has made Nicola Yoon a must-read author for me.
“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.”