The Day She Died Book Review

In The Day She Died, after a traumatic head injury, Eve questions every memory and motive in this mind-bending psychological thriller.

About The Day She Died

Eve Gold’s birthdays are killers, and her twenty-seventh proves to be no different. But for the up-and-coming Vancouver artist, facing death isn’t the real shock — it’s what comes after.

Recovering from a near-fatal accident, Eve is determined to return to the life she’s always wanted: a successful artistic career, marriage to the man who once broke her heart, and another chance at motherhood. But brain damage leaves her forgetful, confused, and tortured by repressed memories of a deeply troubled childhood, where her innocence was stolen one lie — and one suspicious death — at a time.

As the dark, twisted pages unfold, Eve must choose between clinging to the lies that helped her survive her childhood and unearthing the secrets she buried long ago.

My Thoughts

The novel, The Day She Died, moves between past and present following Eve and the dark path her life has taken and the twists and turns along the way.

Our story starts with Eve and a near-fatal accident, she must begin the slow recovery and the chance that she will never be the same again. We are brought back to her childhood, her teens and the present as we learn the difficult history that makes up her young life. She loses not only her best friend but her Mother – and as we learn, she is a suspect in these murders, which is almost unthinkable. Her Grandmother, Button, is her source of strength, happiness and love in all of her darkness. But even Button can see something is wrong after the accident, and how Eve is not quite the same. Most of these changes can be seen in her artwork, but many times it is evident in her actions, her personality changes and her demeanor.

This is the story of a young girl who trusted those older than her to keep her safe, protect and to love her. Instead, she is met with hostility, manipulation and abuse. Many times throughout the novel, you had the sense that something was not quite right in her relationships but you could not put your finger on it. When you learn the truth, it feels like the chair is pulled out from under you. You feel anger and hurt that someone can do this.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. At times, I did have to go back a few pages or to the start of the chapter to confirm what time period in her life we were in but I found that these glimpses at each stage of her life added to the story. It gives us just the right amount of information at just the right time to help her story along. I had to finish this story in one sitting, as it was such an unique plot that I had never read before.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

S.M. Freedman is the author of The Faithful and Impact Winter. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and worked as a private investigator on the not-so-mean streets of Vancouver, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

The Son of the House Book Review

In The Son of the House, the lives of two Nigerian women divided by class and social inequality intersect when they’re kidnapped, held captive, and forced to await their fate together.

About The Son of the House

In the Nigerian city of Enugu, young Nwabulu, a housemaid since the age of ten, dreams of becoming a typist as she endures her employers’ endless chores. She is tall and beautiful and in love with a rich man’s son.

Educated and privileged, Julie is a modern woman. Living on her own, she is happy to collect the gold jewellery lovestruck Eugene brings her, but has no intention of becoming his second wife.

When a kidnapping forces Nwabulu and Julie into a dank room years later, the two women relate the stories of their lives as they await their fate.

Pulsing with vitality and intense human drama, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s debut is set against four decades of vibrant Nigeria, celebrating the resilience of women as they navigate and transform what still remains a man’s world. 

My Thoughts

In The Son of the House, two women who are from two classes and social walks of life are brought together by a kidnapping and as the story unravels we learn just how connected these two women really are.

The story starts in the present with the kidnapping but we are soon brought back to the beginning of their personal stories and learn the personal stories of each of the women. Reading their journey left me in awe – their stories are powerful and moving. Each journey, while different, has similar elements. The women have struggled, suffered, and despite it all keep moving forward, day by day.

Nwabulu is a bright woman, who was full of promise – she was smart, hard working and determined. She balances her role as housemaid, caregiver for her young charge with her studies. Her downfall? A young, rich man who promised her the world but left and denied her when she needed him the most. While her dreams begin to unravel, she remains her dignity, strength and courage. I was in awe of her strength and determination, despite the way she was treated by those who should have protected her.

Julie, in so many ways is the opposite – a young modern woman living on her own and infatuated with a married man. She is independent and does not want to settle down and get married. All of this changes when she loses several people close to her. She sets herself down a very dangerous path of lies in the pursuit of happiness and honouring her family.

I loved every moment of this novel – learning about the history of both women, the path their lives took, their resilience and how their lives were connected. I have to admit, I did not see the twist coming at all! But it fit perfectly in the novel. The story is full of hope, forgiveness, pain and the impact of family and cultural beliefs can have on our journey. The Son of the House is a must read novel for both young adults and adults – you will not want to put this one down.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic, and writer. She holds a doctorate in law from Dalhousie University and works in the areas of health, gender, and violence against women and children. Cheluchi divides her time between Lagos and Halifax.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Safe Harbour Book Review

In Safe Harbour, as far-fetched as her father’s plan sounds, sticking to it is easy for Harbour — until it isn’t.

About Safe Harbour

Fourteen-year-old Harbour is living in a tent in a Toronto ravine with her dog, a two-month supply of canned tuna, and an unconventional reading list. She’s not homeless, she tells herself. She’s merely waiting for her home — a thirty-six-foot sailboat — to arrive with her father at the helm. Why should she worry when the clouds give her signs that assure her that she’s safe and protected?

When her credit card gets declined, phone contact from her father stops, and summer slips into a frosty fall, Harbour is forced to face reality and accept the help of a homeless teen named Lise to survive on the streets. Lise shows Harbour how to panhandle and navigate the shelter system while trying to unravel Harbour’s mysterious past. But if Harbour tells her anything, the consequences could be catastrophic.

My Thoughts

Safe Harbour is a powerful book that touches on several important topics including homelessness, child welfare system and mental illness told with compassion, understanding and sensitivity.

Fourteen year old Harbour has found herself living in a Toronto ravine in a tent with her dog Tuff Stuff while she waits for her Dad to join her on his sailboat. As we learn, this is not unusual – Harbour has had a very interesting childhood. She has been homeschooled in an untraditional manner – learning more about real life application about topics close to her Father’s heart. Harbour is kind, thoughtful and independent. She is used to being on her own and making do, this time getting by on cans of tuna and crackers. But this time, something is not quite right as the days turn in to weeks waiting for her Father. She develops a friendship with a young woman named Lise, who helps show her how to survive on the streets of Toronto especially as fall is closing in quickly and the weather is changing quite quickly. She also helps her to realize and support her when it appears something bad has happened to her Father and he may not be coming.

This was a beautifully written book that many times had me in tears over the kindness and compassion that Harbour finds in Lise. Being witness to their struggles on the streets of Toronto hurts, hearing the stories of the youth, their struggles with the system breaks your heart because you know that these stories hold true for so many of our youth. Lise approaches life with caution but with humour, getting by by trusting her instincts and the people who have been there for her judgement free. Both young women are trying to get through each day looking for food for themselves and Tuff Stuff, to keep warm and clean, and to find a way to move forward while facing extreme weather, mistrust of the system and being judged by society. While the ending may not be an ending that all youth will experience, it warmed my heart and helped bring the story full circle.

Safe Harbour was an incredible read from start to finish that I could not put down. It is perfect for all age groups and covers some very important topics with compassion. Safe Harbour is a definite must read novel this summer!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Christina Kilbourne is the author of Safe HarbourDetached and the award-winning Dear Jo. Her writing has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Slovenian, and Ukrainian. She lives in Bracebridge, Ontario.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

The Wilderness Spa Book Review

iRead Book Tours

The Wilderness Spa brings people from three quite different sources together to survive catastrophe in the Alaskan wilderness. 

About The Wilderness Spa

The Wilderness Spa brings people from three quite different sources together to survive catastrophe in the Alaskan wilderness. They amaze themselves in their ability to coalesce and work cohesively in the face of hunger, injury, insecurity, and possible death. With that on their minds, they explore statistics, logic, social justice, and challenges to philosophies and social norms.

After rocky starts when new members enter the group, they learn to find the best in their fellow travelers, how to help, follow, and lead when necessary. Nothing is ever easy. Without attacking each other, they dig deep to reconcile their differences.

Join the group as they make the best of what they have. Struggle along with them and reconcile your own philosophical belief systems with logic and science.

My Thoughts

Take a dive into the Alaskan wilderness where a group of individuals from different backgrounds must work together to survive.

An earthquake has hit the Alaskan wilderness and has put several different groups of individuals (with very different backgrounds, comfort levels and survival skills) on a different path of survival. Each one of the individuals has their own strengths and weaknesses, and each is vital to the survival of the group in the face of such uncertainty and wildness. Tom brings his knowledge of the land and strong survival skills, while other brings medical skills, food handling skills, leadership and hunting skills. They have been thrown together in an almost impossible situation – facing death, injury and hunger. They not only have to survive but have to learn how to trust each other as well (no easy task under such intense pressure!). Can Tom ensure that the group survives? Can he tame the personalities and encourage them to work together for the greater good?

This was an incredible tale of survival, and how individuals from different walks of life can come together to overcome obstacles. It is also an important reminder that every member is vital to the groups survival – bringing to the group different skills necessary. The novel is well written and the characters each bring with them a different approach and flavour to the novel that you can appreciate and recognize in real life (you may even be able to recognize a few of your own colleagues in this group). You do not want to put this novel down, as you follow along with their struggles and achievements in the wilderness, a great summer time read.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books a Million and Indie Bound.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

J​im Halverson is the author of Trials & Trails (2019) and Ponce, What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth (upcoming, 2021). Jim grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

You can connect with him on his website.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor Book Review

In the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor, when the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.

About On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

1885. 

Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life. 

Present day. 

Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.

My Thoughts

Two young women separated by over a century are tied together by the mysterious Foxglove Manor, a ghost story and the secrets within its architecture, caves and those who guard its secrets.

Adria has been banished to Foxglove Manor to recover a secret treasure that was stolen from her Father. She is a young woman who has had a difficult life, with little sense of family and who suffers from depression. She can sense the dark history of the manor and those who live there, despite the warnings she still tries to uncover the secrets both for herself and her Father.

Kailey lost her parents tragically as a young child and just before this she was kidnapped but no one believed her. She now cares for her autistic brother and is determined to uncover the memories of her past and discover how the kidnapping and deaths are connected to Foxglove Manor.

I loved how the novel went back and forth between the two young woman and we were able to witness their story evolve. The plot was incredible and keeps you on the edge of your seat. We learn bit by bit the history of the manor, stolen treasures, a ghost and a story that has been carried down generation to generation. It is a well written novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat, unable to put the novel down. I loved the way the stories built up, as Jaime gives you just the right amount of information at each stage of the novel. I enjoyed the two female characters – they were vulnerable and flawed, which made them relatable and makes you want to protect them and support them.

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor is an intense novel full of suspense that is a definite must read novel this summer.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of six novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo; her husband, Cap’n Hook; and their littles, Peter Pan and CoCo. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.com.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading