The Fundy Vault by Linda Moore

img_3627“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.

A Year in Review: Favourite Books of 2016

“Because every day with a book is slightly better than one without, and I wish you nothing but the happiest of days.”

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It is that time of the year already. Choosing favourite books of the year is not always an easy task, especially when there are so many great ones to choose from. For me, the favourites are the books that really made an impression on me and ones I would love to revisit and reread at some point. These are ten standout books I read in 2016:

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Select a book for the full review!

I thoroughly enjoyed these books and if any of them look like something you might enjoy as well, I absolutely recommend giving them a try.

Happy reading!

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

img_3682“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.”

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

img_3289“Just do something. You might make a mistake, then you can fix it. But if you do nothing, you can’t fix anything. And your life might turn out full of regrets.”

Nina Redmond is a librarian who loves finding the perfect book for each reader. However, when her job becomes obsolete, she is forced to take stock of her life and determine what the next step for her is. How brave and bold does she dare to be? Turns out, brave enough to realize a long-standing dream of owning a bookshop by opening a bookmobile. With plenty of books in tow, she sets off to change not only the lives of those she encounters, but her own as well.

“What is it your dream to do? I suppose . . . I want to be with books, have them all round me. And recommend them to people excited to be going on vacation, and people who need to know they aren’t alone in the universe and books for children . . .  And to go places where I’m needed.”

The Bookshop on the Corner is a lovely book that will speak to anyone looking to make a change, be brave, and pursue a passion. It is sweet, endearing, and a real love letter to books and bookworms alike. I found it to be an easy story to get into and quite the little page-turner, as I had a hard time putting it down at times. There are some interesting romances, a charming village in Scotland, and of course plenty of books. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a simple and engrossing story to escape into.

“Because every day with a book is slightly better than one without, and I wish you nothing but the happiest of days”

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

img_3620‘For us, the places we went were home. We didn’t care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.’

Under the right conditions, secret doorways and hidden entrances open up to different worlds. When fairy realms appear to children, they step into a place that best fits them, a place that feels more like home than any other they have ever known. However, when circumstances deem that they must be expelled back to an ordinary reality, coping with the loss of their magical home is very difficult indeed. Most end up at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, where they are among others who have shared their experience, those forever seeking a way back. Nancy has recently stumbled back from her magical world and not too long after her arrival at Eleanor’s, the unthinkable happens. And it is up to Nancy and a crew of interesting characters to figure out the reason, and person, behind it all.

“You want to go back, and so you hold on to the habits you learned while you were traveling, because it’s better than admitting the journey’s over.”

Every Heart a Doorway is a novella with an intriguing premise that may or may not hit the right note with readers. It is strange, creepy, dark, and at times a bit gruesome. So it may be your thing depending on your preferred level of weird. For me, the overall story worked quite well and I found myself enjoying the characters, the writing style, and the discussions and thoughts regarding human behaviour. The only drawback was the fact that it is a novella rather than a lengthy novel. There are so many aspects of the story that can be explored in much greater detail and I wanted to delve even more into this world (and all the fairy realms). However, this is the first in what will be a series of novellas, so there will be more to explore in the near future. The second book in the Wayward Children Series, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is set to be released in June 2017.

“Now I know that if you open the right door at the right time, you might finally find a place where you belong.”

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

img_3414“I had thought my younger self assumed everything would work out – that I was possessed of some reckless confidence you only have in youth. Otherwise, how could I have been fool enough to try? But the journal wasn’t quixotic, it was fearful. The terror was so present, yet I was doing it anyway.”

With her trademark sense of humour, actress Anna Kendrick delivers a delightful collection of essays on the ups and downs of life, love, and career pursuits. From her early start in theatre to her successful movie career, along with “dating experiments,” she presents stories in a voice that is funny, genuine, honest, and self-aware.

“I worried that luck and timing and opportunity (and my little frame and goofy face) might never align at the right moments, but for all the inexorable insecurities that live inside my head, I knew what I was capable of. I just had to be patient.”

I am a big fan of Anna Kendrick and her sense of humour, so her collection of autobiographical essays was a must-read for me. Scrappy Little Nobody does not disappoint, as Anna’s voice and humour comes through each story, exploring various aspects of her life. She comes across very relatable and as someone you want to be friends with, and this book just confirms why we all want to be friends with Anna Kendrick. A great read for fans.