If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in 10 sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. Her successes are phenomenal–she helps people overcome everything from domineering parents to assault–and almost absorb the emptiness she sometimes feels since her husband’s death.
Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple–until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.
When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a domestic suspense story but I really enjoyed The Wife Between Us and I couldn’t wait for all the twists and turns this writing duo was sure to provide. I wasn’t disappointed. The story revolves around a marriage in trouble and an unconventional therapist. Few things are what they seem and a teetering tower of lies holds it all together.
Avery Chambers, a discredited therapist, promises to fix a client’s problem in ten sessions. Then the Bishops hire her to fix their marriage. She begins to change her mind once she gets to know them. They say all the right things but they have no interest in telling the truth. They reveal just enough of it to cover up the things they don’t want to be discovered. And Avery has other threats and problems to worry about. Somehow it all comes together in the end in with a bang.
This story makes very compelling reading. I couldn’t put it down.
Writing duos always fascinate me. I’m not sure how they do it. My approach is all over the place and I can’t imagine coherently explaining my thoughts well enough to co-author anything. Apparently, that wasn’t the problem for an interesting writing pairing about to release a book next Tuesday.
I’ll be reading this book. I won’t be able to resist the hype. The combination of Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton is to fascinating to resist and premise for State of Terror is very tempting.
Until next time…
I find domestic suspense, which often revolves around unreliable narrators and what is true and what is not, interesting reading. Having said that, I haven’t read one in awhile. What are your thoughts? I would love some Canadian author and Canadian setting recommendations.
Heading into the weekend and sharing thoughts on books I’ve read. This week it’s The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont. I was lucky enough to receive a ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) from Netgalley for review.
n 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.
I’m no Hercule Poirot.
I’m her husband’s mistress.
Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.
Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.
After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.
Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .
I’m probably one of the only people who hadn’t realized Agatha Christie infamously disappeared early on in her career or that no one knows what happened during those eleven days. This book details one of many possibilities. While the title suggests it’s about the Christies, but it’s really a fictional account of Archie Christie’s mistress, Nan O’Dea, her involvement with the Christie family, and is an intriguing take on might have happened.
There are definitely many unexpected twists and turns in this book that spans Nan’s life from young girl, her life during the 1st World War, until she becomes involved with Archie Christie. It’s an interesting look at life pre and post WWI and the insecurities women faced during that uncertain time. I admired Nan, even though I didn’t much like her. The same goes for Agatha Christie’s character. I definitely wasn’t a fan of her husband.
But, though the concept was entertaining, I couldn’t get past the narrative style which often led to confusion. It was the first person narrative intrusion in scenes that Nan could know nothing of that put me off and pulled me out of the story. Having said that, what bugs one reader will entertain another. This book will definitely be worth checking out when it becomes available in early 2022.
Until next time…
Are you an Agatha Christie fan? Did you, unlike me, know she’d infamously gone missing? Maybe you’re a mystery bluff? What are some of your favourites?
Categories: Mystery / Amateur Sleuths / Canadian Detectives / Canadian Setting
After surviving a horrific trauma in Nigeria, international aid worker Amanda Doucette returns to Canada to rebuild her life and her shaken ideals. There, the once-passionate, adventurous woman needs all her strength and ingenuity when a friend and fellow survivor goes missing along with his son.
A trained first-aid and crisis responder, Doucette — always accompanied by her beloved dog Kaylee — joins forces with RCMP officer Chris Tymko to discover the truth about the disappearance. Their search leads them to the Great Northern Peninsula, a rugged landscape of Viking history, icebergs, whales, and fierce ocean storms. Elsewhere, a body gets hauled up in a fisherman’s net, and evidence is mounting of an unsettling connection with Amanda’s search for her friend. Fradkin writes evocatively of the beautiful, often hostile, Newfoundland landscape where Amanda soon finds herself fighting for her very survival.
Fire in the Stars is the first book in Fradkin’s Amanda Doucette mystery series. Amanda, an international aid worker, has returned to Canada to recover from the trauma she experienced during her time in Nigeria. She plans a camping holiday in Newfoundland with her friend and former co-worker. When she shows up, she finds he’s gone missing along with his young son. What follows is a search through parts of Newfoundland’s more remote areas with the help of RCMP officer, Chris Tymko.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this book and we get a real sense of the rugged and beautiful province of Newfoundland. Amanda is on a mission to find and help her friend, Phil, before the worst happens. This places her in several precarious situations as she’s always ready to wade into trouble. Almost too ready, as she took more and more chances. Some to the point of folly and against sound advice. The author makes it clear that Amanda was in the habit of making crucial decisions with few resources in her former job. Still…it became a bit frustrating.
There is a lot happening in this book. We are learning who Amanda is, what drives her and the lengths she’s willing to go to protect the people she cares about. Dog lovers will enjoy the antics of Kaylee, Amanda’s faithful canine companion. Amanda and Tim grow close as they search for their friend. And plenty of other secondary and minor characters show up. It’s a complicated plot. Bodies start to turn up and the situation continues to escalate. All the different things at play make for a confusing read at times.
Overall, I think it’s an interesting start to a series that will take Amanda across Canada, which is an intriguing concept. If you’re looking for an interesting Canadian setting, a daring amateur sleuth, and a mystery that isn’t the least bit cozy, I recommend giving the Amanda Doucette series a try.
Here is a map of Newfoundland and Labrador. Fire in the Stars takes place mainly on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.
August is my birthday month. Wave back if you’re also a Leo. Also true, I don’t read my horoscope. So, I don’t really know much about being a Leo…
I do know that August brings a fullness to the air that signals the end of summer. Flower pots are bursting with colour and gardens are producing. I don’t have a garden but I have a couple of vegetables planted amongst the flowers.
Fresh garden tomatoes are one of my very favourite things. This time of year always reminds me of growing up on a farm and harvest season, both in the field and in the garden.
And it’s all because of the bees.
We have leafcutter bees helping us out in our yard. The pre-built Pine Solitary Bee Barn (with Nesting Block & Larvae) is from Backyard Pollinator, a company that operates out of Imperial Saskatchewan. Jed and Kathy Williams are the sole owners of their alfalfa seed and leafcutter bee operation.
Our daughter got the kit from her brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. We stored the bees in our garage fridge for the rest of the winter. Our son came in the middle of June to hang the house outside. We’ve had fun watching them go in and out. Leafcutter bees are great non-aggressive pollinators and the last image is proof the leafcutter bees are busy in our yard. You can tell by the careful cutouts in the leaves.
Many of the holes are now plugged, which means the bees have laid their larvea and filled the holes with leaves. At the end of summer we’ll take the nesting block out and put it in a cool spot until next summer.
This is a great book full of inspiration and recommendations of the fabulous places this province has to offer locals and eager visitors.
Shortlisted for a 2021 Taste Canada Award and four 2021 Saskatchewan Book Awards
A robust and inspiring travel companion for both local and visiting food-lovers alike that reveals the stories, inspiration, and friendly faces of the people who craft great food in Saskatchewan.
From the province’s southern grain fields to its northern boreal forests, from its city markets to its small-town diners, Saskatchewan is the humble heartland of some of the nation’s most delicious food.
Author Jenn Sharp and photographer Richard Marjan spent four months travelling Saskatchewan, chatting at market stalls, in kitchens, bottling sheds, and stockrooms. Flat Out Delicious is the culmination of interviews with small-scale farmers and city gardeners, beekeepers and chocolatiers, ranchers, chefs, and winemakers. Together they tell the story of Saskatchewan’s unique food systems.
The journey is organized into seven regions (including a chapter each for restaurant hotbeds Regina and Saskatoon), with essays that delve deeper—into traditional Indigenous moose hunts, wild rice farming in the remote north, and berry picking in the south. There are profiles of over 150 artisans, along with detailed maps, travel tips, and stunning photography, making the book the ideal companion for a road trip that involves plenty of stopping to eat along the way.
You’ll meet a lettuce-grower who left a career in the city, and the small-town grad who worked his way up in the Saskatoon restaurant world; couples who are the first in their families to raise livestock, alongside new generations maintaining century-old operations. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or are Saskatchewan born and bred, prepare to be surprised by the abundance of personalities and culinary experiences to be found here in the land of living skies.
Until next time…
Are you a gardener? Do you love farmers markets? And all the beautiful food that this time of year produces?
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.SEE LESS
January Andrews is suffering from writer’s block. She’s also broke. Grieving the loss of the father she thought she knew, she ends up in the last place she wants to be, the beach house her father left her. Even worse, she finds herself living next door to her college nemesis, Augustus Everett. Turns out he’s also suffering from writer’s block. When avoiding each other doesn’t work, they strike a deal. She’ll write a literary novel. And he’ll write a romance. And they’ll help each other through the process.
I worry when writers, who are not romance writers, write romance. I worry it won’t be a romance at all but an attempt to ‘elevate’ the genre. I also shy away from romances written in 1st person perspective. Just not my favourite perspective when it comes to romance. So, why did this book work for me? The chemistry between January and Gus is immediate. The dialogue is witty and funny and surprising. The writing is clever. January’s grief and sense of betrayal is heart wrenching. So, is Gus’s. Gus is delightfully swoon worthy in a guy-next-door kind of way. And January is quirky and real and just the right amount of over the top.
Also, this was an audio read for me and I have to say the narrator is amazing. Julia Whelan does a fantastic job. I can’t say enough about the great job she does. It’s the first time I’ve haven’t cringed when a narrator switches from a female to male character or vice a versa. I enjoyed her narration as much as I enjoyed Emily Henry’s writing.
This book is a great look at what happens when our egos fail us and the necessity of grieving. And what it looks like to find your way back and forward. Definitely recommend.
Until next time…
What beach reads have you savoured so far this summer? Any recommendations?
Sundays seem like a good time to talk about the books I’ve read! I don’t give ratings, or stars, or gold crowns. Just offering a few of my thoughts. This week I’m talking about Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin.
AYESHA SHAMSI has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and his family; and the truth she realizes about herself. But Khalid is also wrestling with what he believes and what he wants. And he just can’t get this beautiful, outspoken woman out of his mind.
Ayesha Shamsi has no time for a relationship, and even less interest in an arranged marriage. She’s busy adulting, putting aside her passion, and accepting a job that will allow her to repay her uncle and aunt for the financial and emotional support her family received since immigrating to Canada. Her younger cousin is on a different path. One slightly more self-absorbed and flightier. Ayesha is enlisted to encourage Hafsa to make a success of her latest career adventure. Hafsa is busy collecting marriage proposals. Enter ultra conservative Khalid, who becomes engaged to Hafsa, sort of…
I loved everything about this modern Pride and Prejudice retelling set in a Muslim community in Toronto. It’s full of interesting and complex characters who bring the setting to life. The main characters, Ayesha and Khalid have very differing views on arranged marriages and I wondered how the author would bring these two together. I knew very little of how arranged marriages look in contemporary times. But the book is full of relationships, both past and present, that give insight into all the different ways people find each other.
I felt an immediate connection to Ayesha, much like I did with Elizabeth Bennett. And Khalid was a challenge at the beginning, much like Mr. Darcy. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to say Khalid turned out to be one of my favourite romance heroes. But before that happened, I had to work through some perceived misconceptions of how I thought arranged marriages work and what the power dynamic looks like within an arranged marriage.
This book is full of humour and witty, charming dialogue. The plot is perfect. The writing is rich and generous and the author managed to make me laugh while also tugging on my heartstrings. Highly recommend!
Sundays seem like a good time to talk about the books I’ve read! I don’t give ratings, or stars, or gold crowns. Just offering a few of my thoughts. This week I’m taking An Image in the Lake by Gail Bowen, which is an ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy).
An Image in the Lake: A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery by Gail Bowen
Published: ECW Press, September 7, 2021
Length: 350 pages
Categories: Mystery / Cozy Mystery / Women Sleuths / Amateur Sleuths / Canadian Setting
A dark secret threatens the future of the Shreve family
It’s August 24 and Joanne Shreve and her husband, Zack, are savoring the last lazy days of summer and looking forward to the birth of a new grandchild; involvement in the campaign of Ali Janvier, a gifted politician with a solid chance of becoming the province’s next premier; and the debut of Sisters and Strangers, the six-part series Joanne co-wrote that focuses on her early life. The series is the flagship of a new slate of programming, and MediaNation is counting on a big return. Joanne and Zack’s stake in the series’s success is personal. Their daughter, Taylor, is in a relationship with one of the show’s stars, and Vale Frazier is already like family to them.
It seems the “season of mist and mellow fruitfulness” will be a bountiful one for the Shreves. But when a charismatic young woman wearing a grief amulet that contains a lock of her dead brother’s hair and a dark secret becomes part of their lives, the success of Sisters and Strangers and the future of Taylor and Vale’s relationship are jeopardized, and only Joanne and Zack can put an end to the threat.
Joanne Shreve and her husband Zack are enjoying the last days of summer, determined to spend more time together and less time at work. But strange things are happening at MediaNation. They are about to air the line-up of fall programs which includes Sisters and Strangers, a six-part series co-written by Joanne about her early life. Then people start to disappear. Joanne and Zack are drawn into the search for answers when information comes to light about a group of four young people who are prepared to break the law in their quest to get to the top.
An Image in the Lake is classic Gail Bowen. Plenty of colourful and familiar faces show up, and we catch up with Joanne’s children and grandchildren. The meandering twists and turns that make Bowen one of Canada’s best mystery writers lead us on a slow but dark and entertaining path to the truth. Joanne (Kilbourn) Shreve is one of my favourite fictional characters. There is a calmness and a self-assuredness about her that is immensely appealing. After reading this book, I can tell you she is a lot for forgiving then I am. She’s also a wonderful example of a woman in her fifties who lives life to the fullest. Her life is never perfect but it’s always compelling.
I really enjoyed this book. And always love a Canadian setting. We need more of those. I would definitely recommend it.
An Image in the Lake is set in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! My home city. I love reading books set in Regina. Regina is also a great city to visit with lots of fun activities and opportunities to offer visitors!
June with its tentative greens and cool mornings. I love June mornings. With my tea in hand, I take a tour of the yard taking note of how my plants are doing, listening to the birds chatter. We’ve having a heatwave right now, with heat warnings and everything. Which is weird for Saskatchewan this time of year. It’s more the ten degrees above the normal temperature. I sense there is wild weather on the horizon.
Lilacs are another of my favourite things about June. This sweet Sensation Lilac is a new addition to our yard. But as the days stretch longer and longer, other delights are making their presence known. Chicks and hen, sedum (another favourite of mine), and my ornamental alliums. All hardy, zone 3 perennials. Great for prairie gardening.
“The smell of moist earth and lilacs hung in the air like wisps of the past and hints of the future.”
June feels like it should be a season of its own and last a little longer before we springboard into summer. Where we rush trying to fit it all in before the seasons turn again.
An Image In the Lake by Gail Bowen – ARC (Advance Reader Copy) – ebook. Early impressions: Just happy to be catching up with Joanne and the gang again, and waiting to see who dies. LOL Will follow up later with a review.
Hellion by Bertrice Small – audiobook. Early impressions: or more accurately – middle book of the book (I think). Also known as the point where this book swerves sideways into What The Hell is going on territory. This is my first Bertrice Small book, and…I just don’t know…
Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel by Lisa Cron – Print book. Early Impressions: So far, interesting. I’ll be working through the suggestions and exploring the idea for a new series as I read it.
Escaping our daily worries can be a challenge, especially these days, and it is no secret that reading can be a powerful tool in balancing our mental health. So, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not reading. Listening to audiobooks provides the same benefits as reading print or ebooks. Each of them is a different experience, but each are valuable. Audiobooks are simply a different way to consume content. They offer us an opportunity to fit books into our day in a new way.
Ways I Listen to Audiobooks and Some Suggestions:
I don’t know about you, but I get tired of listening to the latest hit single on the radio for the 100th time, so instead I might listen to something like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, narrated by Rosamund Pike. Hopefully we’ll be out in our yards and gardens soon. This is one of my favourite times to listen to audiobooks. What better way to pass the time pulling weeds, then listening to something by Nora Roberts, like Northern Lights, narrated by Gary Littman. I’m also clumsy. But I can walk and listen without the fear of getting a concussion. Maybe try a Susanna Kearsley book, like her latest The Winter Sea, narrated by Rosalind Landor. And, these days, when keeping our distance is essential, why not try listening to Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, narrated by Adjoa Andoh, while shopping for groceries and take the boring out of picking out fruit.
The popularity of audiobooks show there is a real thirst for audio content. And as much as audiobooks are for those of us who love reading, they are also popular who people who don’t love books. Not everyone consumes content in the same way. As much as they are a boon to those of us who can’t read enough, they are essential to people who can’t read print or ebooks.
The video below has some great tips on how to get started with audiobooks!
I’m always about romance novel recommendations! Check out Audiofile Magazine’s Listen To These Five Scandalous Romances. “Judge for yourself if these couples are outrageous, skirting propriety, or simply falling in love on their own terms.” With audiobooks by Mary Balogh, Olivia Dade, Rosie Danan, Carly Phillips, and Hadley Beckett.