Frenzy Presents Spring 2019 Releases

On Sunday morning I woke up excited to attend the Frenzy Presents event happening at the Harper Collins publishing house in Toronto. I love these events not only because everyone attending loves books and reading, but also because I get to hear of new releases and of stories that I would love to read. This event was extra special because both my daughters decided to come along with me. They were curious to see what the events were about and experience a little the vibe that I often enjoy. It is not often that I get to go out with my girls now that they are older teens and so I was pleased that they were willing to spend their Sunday morning with me (if you know any teens, you would know that giving up a Sunday morning sleep-in does not happen too often!).

There are many exciting Young Adult books that are planned to come out in the Spring. There were 8 titles in particular that I am excited to read:

Fantasy fiction is definitely my preferred genre. Add in romance and a little intrigue and I am sold! The Beholder by Annie Bright fits into this category and sounds like something I definitely want to read and will be available 4 June.

I love fairy tale retellings, don’t you? The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter is a Snow White spin-off told from the point of view of the stepmother. The premise sounds interesting and a little unusual. This tale will be available 25 June.

A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause is a story set in the world of high fashion  – a little like The Devil Wears Prada. This novel is a little historical and touches on the theme of deception. I will have to wait until 6 August to read this one.

Both my daughter and I cannot wait to read The Beckoning Shadow  by Katharyn Blair which comes out 2 July. This is a fantasy novel that depicts a human that has some magic and has to fight for her survival. Sounds exciting!

I am a Jane Austen fan and when I heard that Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh was a retelling of Sense and Sensibility, I was in. This contemporary novel is out 4 June.

Last Things by Jacqueline West sounds a little creepy – but intriguing nonetheless. This is one I will definitely head out to pick up on 7 May.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven is a contemporary novel that deals with an important issue – bullying. I believe this novel will be an important one for teens who are currently in a bullying relationship. I look forward to seeing what the author discusses in this one on 11 June.

Isn’t the cover of this novel absolutely stunning? It is for this reason that I would open With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo. I am sure this book will attract the eye when it is put on the shelves on 7 May.

The event ended with each blogger receiving a tote bag filled with goodies. I love the pillow slip and will enjoy the tea. I look forward to sharing with you what I think of the ARCs that I received.

Do any of the titles I listed interest you?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

 

Book Review: The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

I entered a draw to win an Arc of The Winters by Lisa Gabriela as the story sounded interesting. I was happy when I received the book in the mail. I loved the cover from the beginning and looked forward to reading the contents.

GenreThriller, suspense

Release date: 16 October 2018

Blurb: 

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.

My thoughts: 

The novel is written in the first person and is told from the perspective of the soon-to-be Mrs Winter. We experience her uncertainties and read about her changing her judgements on the new people in her life. Her vacillations are authentic as they remind me of the many times I have had to run through my judgements in my head. As I was reading this well written novel, I could relate to some of the experiences of the main protagonist: being a second wife, taking on a stepchild, moving into a home that has already been established. With her words, the author accurately reflects the tension that would arise with a new person coming into an established home.

As I was reading this novel, I thought that it had been labelled incorrectly as a thriller. Instead it read like contemporary women’s fiction. The issues hinted at are experienced by many women the world over – the drama of a stepmother arriving to create a second family. So I was taken by surprise when the element of suspense was introduced after I had read more than half the novel. I loved how the writer surprised me. I loved how I was taken completely unawares. I loved how the novel moved towards the unexpected.

The Winters is a story that may seem mundane but has the unexpected weaved into it. It is a novel that brilliantly describes how strong a woman can be if she needs to be. It is a novel that makes us question the validity of what a person allows the public to see. It is a novel with a few unexpected twists that will leave the reader eagerly reading until the last page.

I enjoyed reading this novel and recommend it if your enjoy reading both thrillers and contemporary fiction.

I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐  4 stars.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 62nd in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Book Review: The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest

At the Frenzy Presents Event hosted by Harper Collins Canada to which I was invited, I received not only a copy of The Black Witch by Laurie Forest, but also an ARC of the second book in the fantasy tale – The Iron Flower. After reading the first volume of The Black Witch Chronicles, I was eager to read the second and dove right in. I had quickly become a fan of Laurie Forest and was eager to read more on the world she had created, and read the stories of the characters I had come to love.

Genre: young adult, fantasy

Release Date: 18 September 2018

Blurb:

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs, but their actions have propelled them straight into the ranks of the realm-wide Resistance against Gardnerian encroachment. As the Resistance struggles against the harsh rulings of High Priest Marcus Vogel and the Mage Council, Elloren begins to realize that none of the people she cares about will be safe if Gardneria seizes control of the Western Realm.

With tensions heating up in Verpacia, more and more Gardnerian soldiers continue to descend upon the university…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the newly rebuilt Fourth Division base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to wandfast to her, convinced that she has inherited her grandmother’s magic—the prophesied power of the Black Witch. As his very nearness seems to awaken a darkness inside her, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas Grey, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

My Thoughts: 

I absolutely loved the first volume in this epic saga (The Black Witch)  and hoped that Forest would continue with all that I loved of her first novel in the second. I was not disappointed. The representations of the characters I had grown to love were just as rich; the attacks on society just as subtle. The germinating seeds of the Resistance in Elloren as described in the first novel in this series, begin to flower in the second. Our protagonist grows even more as a person in this volume in spite of – or because of – events out of her control.

I do not want to tell you too much of the story as I would not want to spoil it for you. What I will tell you is that Forest’s descriptions of those peopling Gardenia once again entranced me. I could see the detail in my mind as I was reading: the hair and colour of skin, the dress, the beauty enhancements. While reading, I held my breath with Elloren; and my heart raced for her as she worked towards the safety of her friends. I was invested in the story and hoped that the outcome for her and her friends would be a positive one.

I read book 2 of The Black Witch Chronicles in two days over the Labour Day weekend (and the tome is not short). I could not put the book down and immersed myself willingly in a fantasy world filled with dragons, selkies, and fae people. The grandeur of this world is an epic one and one which – when I turned the last page – left me wanting more.

The Iron Flower  by Laurie Forest is an excellent read and a perfect sequel to the first. If you are looking to start a new series, or you are looking for an epic read, I do suggest reading The Black Witch Chronicles – you will not be disappointed.

Review of Book 1: The Black Witch  by Laurie Forest

I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 5 stars with no hesitation.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 60th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

T.B.Markinson’s Latest Release

ACluelessWoman (3)I have recently read T.B. Markinson’s novel The Miracle Girl (my review is here) and already a new piece of writing is available to enjoy. You can now read the story linked to one of Markinson’s earlier works: A Woman Lost. 

This story centers on graduate student, Lizzie Petrie, who feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.

When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.

Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.

Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.

This story sounds like it will be a fun read. If you wish to get the first book in this series (A Woman Lost) for free, you can subscribe to TB’s Reader Group here. If you wish to read the current story in the series, you can buy the novel at the following links:

Amazon US       Amazon UK      Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia        Goodreads

You can follow T.B.Markinson at her blogs 50 Year Project or Making my Mark.

New Release from T.B.Markinson

claudia_frontToday T. B. Markinson releases her latest novel: Claudia Must Die.  I am excited about this new release as the storyline appears to be a little different to what Markinson has written before. (She has published A Woman Lost, Marionette, and Confessions From A Coffee Shop.)

Blurb: Claudia doesn’t feel like herself anymore—she feels like prey. Her husband’s hired goons have stalked her all the way to Boston and will only stop their pursuit once she is dead. Divorce is not an option. Instead, she has stolen a bunch of her man’s money to disappear into another life. In order for Claudia to live, someone else must die. A lookalike college student becomes the target capable of freeing her from an awful marriage. The plan goes horribly awry. Instead of murdering Claudia’s double, the assassins shoot the woman’s lover who is the cousin of a powerful Irish mobster. Claudia becomes hunted by all involved. Can she survive? Should she?

An excerpt from the novel:

At first, everything had been roses and wine. When others warned her about Dennis, Claudia laughed it off.

“Use your head,” Claudia’s mother had said. “How could a man in his early thirties make so much money owning a handful of run-down bars in two small towns in the West?”

“What, you think he’s a drug dealer or something?” Claudia had broken into hysterics. “He hardly looks like a gangster, Mother. Dennis doesn’t wear any jewelry. Not even a wedding ring.”

In Claudia’s mind, a gangster would at least wear a gold necklace. And, he had excellent table manners. There was no way Dennis could be a thug. How many scrawny five-foot-six guys were?

          They had married after seven months. Neither had intended to marry so quickly, but they had visited Vegas for a long weekend, got drunk, and got hitched. It wasn’t until Claudia moved into Dennis’s house that she started to notice things. He wouldn’t come home for days, and when he did, he refused to tell her where he had been. He racked up a lot of mileage on her car, not his. When Claudia asked about it, his reply was a cold stare that made her legs feel like jelly. Granted, one of his bars was in Greeley, but that was only a twenty-minute drive from their home in Loveland. How did the miles add up so quickly?

          After a year, they started to fight constantly. Verbal arguments. After another year, the fights turned violent. Claudia ended up in the hospital—still nothing serious enough for her to walk out. Not yet. Instead, she started hoarding cash. In the beginning, it was a little bit here and there. It was simple. Claudia would request cash back when she used her debit card at the grocery store. Dennis liked her cooking; he never questioned how much his wife spent on food. When she realized her embezzlement plan would take years, not months, The Hunted chose a more drastic solution. The next time her husband crossed the line …

If this excerpt has whet your curiosity, you can head over to Amazon or Goodreads to obtain T. B. Markinson’s latest novel. You can also connect with her on the following social media:

Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

I am currently reading Claudia Must Die and I am enjoying every page so far. Look out for my book review soon.