The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup @HarperCollinsCa

Genre: Mystery & Thriller

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Two dark brown chestnuts placed on top of each other, the top one small and the bottom one large. Two holes have been scratched into the smaller chestnut to make eyes. Match sticks have been poked into the larger one, representing arms and legs.

You know the Christmas song..by Nat King Cole?

🎶 Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.. 🎶

Okay, seriously..now that I’ve read this book, whenever I hear this song, I will have that image (of the chestnut man) in my head! And I will never look at chestnuts the same!!

Bring on the Scandinavian crime fiction, cause this was one hell of a fucking ride! It was gruesome and had my heart racing. The exact kind of crime thriller I’ve been searching for! For the first time, it actually kept me guessing, even when I thought I had an idea who the killer was.

I haven’t seen The Killing, but will definitely be watching it, having read this book.

This won’t be for everyone, but for me, it made my list of favourite reads.

Have you read it? Have you watched The Killing?

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

Goodreads

[#BlogTour] Reverie by Ryan La Sala @RaincoastBooks @Ryality @SourcebooksFire

Genre: YA

Thank you Raincoast Books for my ARC

Okay, can we just stop and take a moment to gush over how stunning this cover is?!!

And hello? Evil drag queen sorceress? Where do I sign up?!

I know the description said Inception meets The Magician, but to me, I actually felt like I was lost in a gay musical version of Oz.

After somehow surviving a horrible car accident, Kane loses his memory and needs to figure out what exactly happened. There’s monsters. There’s magic..seriously, the MC may as well have been a unicorn pooping sprinkles!

But who can he trust? Kane is confused, and so are you!

See what I was trying to do there? No? Exactly!

This was probably one of the most weirdest, yet interesting YA books I’ve come across! Nothing like I’ve ever read before! It was one that kept me intrigued the whole time I was reading it!

To find out whether this one’s for you, you can read an excerpt here.

Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

Narwhal & Jelly Series by Ben Clanton @TundraBooks

Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

OH-EM-GEE. This series is total cuteness overload! Think Spongebob & Patrick, but not annoying.

I had just as much fun as my kids did reading this, and would highly recommend it for ages 6 & up.

Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.

Mini Reviews: Something For you & It’s Okay To be A Unicorn

** Thank you Macmillan Kids Books for our ARC’s **

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Something For You by Charlie Mylie

Munckin Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mouse’s friend is sick and wants to do something nice for her. So he goes out to try and find a gift that will help cheer her up.

This was a cute little story to teach kids that you don’t always need gifts to make someone happy.

It serves as a great reminder to be thankful for what you have and to appreciate the people in your life.

It’s the thought that counts!

It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn by Jason Tharp

Munchkin Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Did someone say unicorn?! We love unicorns! Especially my 3 year old, so this was the perfect read!

This was a really fun way to teach kids kindness and to embrace diversity. It’s ok to be different.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin @shelbymahurin @harperteen @HarperCollinsCa @HCCFrenzy

** Caution: minor spoiler alert **

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

You’ll either love this, or totally roll your eyes and call it a day. But if you enjoyed Six of Crows, Twilight or like the enemies to lovers trope then I think you’ll like this one too.

Not gonna lie, there was a bit of eye rolling on my part. As much as I loved the slow-burn romance between Lou & Reid, I also found their union a bit ridiculous..like watching a cheesy, yet addictive daytime soap. It does end up making sense later on in the story, but it was something I also had to overlook. Which wasn’t that hard.

Regardless, I found myself captivated and mesmerized by the storytelling, which is told in alternating POV’s between Lou & Reid. It read very much like a TV series.

Shelby Mahurin really knows how to write a great cast of characters. I loved every single one of ’em, including the ones I hated!

Jean Luc

For those of you who have read it, how much did Jean Luc get under your skin? Didn’t you just wanna sucker punch him?!

Ansel

*gush* And how cute was Ansel? Didn’t you just love him?!!

Reid

As thick headed as he was in his beliefs, his heart was way too good!

Lou

She was a great female lead. I loved her sarcasm and witty banter with Reid.

Coco

She was the kind of BFF you’d want, with beauty other girls would be jealous of.

Morgane

Evil! Picture the evil queen, Lady Tremaine & Maleficent all in one person.

The Archbishop

Tsk tsk..let’s just leave it at that. I don’t wanna say too much or it’ll spoil the story for those who haven’t read it.

My advice/two cents:

– This one is very character driven. The flow is reminiscent of SOC. It may be a tad slow for some to start, but once you get past the first chapter or so, you get sucked right in.

I can’t wait to read the next book: BLOOD & HONEY

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Goodreads

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged #SharkBait

I just realized it’s been quite sometime since I’ve talked about what I’ve been watching.

Hands up if you’re into shark movies or sharks! 🙋‍♀️

Aside from Jaws, some of the best sharks movies I’ve seen to-date are:

Soul Surfer

-which is based on a true story

The Shallows

-with Blake Lively (I love her).

47 Meters Down

I was pleasantly surprised by how good 47 Meters Down was! It was incredibly intense! Like walking in a haunted house, in the dark, waiting for something to jump out at you and scare the bejeezus out of you. So of course, when I saw the new trailer for 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, I HAD to see it! And hello?! John Corbett is in it!

There was no mercy in this story!

I have to be honest, there was one character I really wanted to see get eaten by a shark, but never did!! Highly disappointing if you ask me.

Otherwise, it was good..but I thought the first one was WAY better.

This one was predictable. Even my 5 year old knew what was gonna happen! Now I’m not suggesting you go let your child watch this one, cause it is rated 14A. But I just happen to have a 5 year old who is quite the thrill seeker (like his mom) and not afraid, and LOVES sharks.

Would I buy the DVD? Probably not. However, it made for a good movie night and would recommend renting it or waiting for it to come out on Netflix. 😜

My Rating: 🍅🍅🍅/5

Have you seen it? Or the first one?

Most Recent DNF’s

The last couple of months have been quite a hit and miss for me. There were lots of books I was looking forward to and reeally excited to read, but unfortunately some missed the mark and landed in my DNF pile.

Here they are:

1) Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

I’m SO glad this was a library borrow! It was a good start, but as soon as I got to chapter 1, it all went downhill from there.

I was bored and found myself just staring at words! I had no idea what was going on and honestly no longer gave a fuck.

2) The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

This book had everything going for it: appealing cover, intriguing title & promising premise. Except it turned out to be a lemon. Womp womp.

The story had a strong start with Heather and her mysterious package. But things quickly turn sour with her repetitive, drawn out thoughts and unnecessary details of her home.

I got the feeling Heather would be too exhausting for me, I no longer cared to know the story of the Red Lady. I started zoning out, which is never a good sign.

3) The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

It’s been a while since I’ve read historical fiction and was really looking forward to this one since I keep hearing songs of praises for Kate Morton. I also won it through Simon & Schuster Canada’s giveaway last year, so I was very excited to FINALLY get to it.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. While I’m a fan of multiple POV’s and timelines, this one left me confused. It was never clearly labelled, causing me to backtrack on several occassions and wondering if I missed something.

Maybe it was me, reading way too late in the evening, but it felt incredibly long-winded!

🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂

Well..there you have it folks! My last 3 DNF’s.

Have you read any of them? What were some of your latest DNF’s or disappointing reads?

We Should All Be Mirandas by Chelsea Fairless & Lauren Garroni @HMHBooks @laurengarroni @chelsea.fairless @everyoutfitonsatc

Genre: Non-Fiction

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you gonna do over there without your job? Eat croissant?

~ Miranda Hobbes, Esq.

I’m sorry (not really actually), but unless it’s a cookbook, non-fiction is something I don’t like reading. However, I’m a HUUUGE fan of Sex and the City and couldn’t turn this one down.

Like Miranda, I will call you out on your bull shit cheer-me-up bagels as a disguise to talk boy problems, while I’m down and out. Yet, I am the eternal optimist like Charlotte, when it comes to finding true love. However, like Carrie, I’ve picked the wrong men (which I think we all have at one time or another.)

I had such a blast reading this one! To be honest, I don’t think my review will do it justice!

I particularly enjoyed the bit with a rundown of different assholes.

Whether you’re a type A or not, this fun and witty read gives you the 101 on how to bring a little Miranda into your life when it comes to work, love, sex and fashion.

I highly recommend it for lovers of Sex And The City.

When Sex and the City premiered, many were hesitant to identify as the Miranda of their social circle—after all, sarcasm, workaholism, and dubious fashion choices are rarely considered aspirational. However, in the two-plus decades since her television debut, our culture has finally caught up with this forward-thinking icon and all she represents. The truth is, Miranda Hobbes is the feminist hero that we deserve— we were all just too busy obsessing over Carrie’s corset tops to notice it at first.

WE SHOULD ALL BE MIRANDAS is a celebration of a certain redheaded lawyer and the legions of fans who relate to her pragmatic, no-bullshit approach to work, love, and sex. Written by two self-proclaimed Mirandas, this humorous manifesto distills Ms. Hobbes’ core principles into a strategic guide for navigating life’s inevitable ups and downs. In it, you’ll learn to:

✔Overcome your internalized Mirandaphobia

✔Cope with humiliating sexual encounters

✔Make Google Docs your bitch

✔Dump that Skipper that you’ve been dating

✔Embrace your bad hair days
…and so much more!

[#BlogTour & Excerpt] Day Zero by Kelly DeVos

Author: Kelly deVos

ISBN: 978-1335008480

Publication Date: 11/12/19

Publisher: Inkyard Press

BUY LINKS:

Harlequin

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Target

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.
If you’re going through hell…keep going.
Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.
But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.
In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Dr. Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival

Rule One: Always be prepared.

I exhale in relief when MacKenna pulls the car into the Halliwell’s Market parking lot. Because of the Sugar Sales Permit waiting list, old stores like these are the only places that carry Extra Jolt soda. I have to buy it myself, because Mom won’t keep any in the house.

She thinks too much caffeine rots your brain or something. Halliwell’s is a squat brown building that sits across the street from the mall and is next door to the town’s only skyscraper.

The First Federal Building was supposed to be the first piece of a suburban business district designed to rival the hip boroughs of New York. The mayor announced the construction of a movie theater, an apartment complex and an indoor aquarium. But the New Depression hit, and the other buildings never materialized.

The First Federal Building alone soars toward the clouds, an ugly glass rectangle visible from every neighborhood, surrounded by the old town shops that have been there forever. Most of the stores are empty.

We park in front of the market.

Our car nestles in the long shadow of the giant bank building.

Charles gets out and stands on the sidewalk in front of the car.

MacKenna opens her door. She hesitates again. “Listen, I know you might not want to hear this or believe it. But my book report wasn’t about hurting you or getting revenge. I’m trying to get you to see what’s really happening here. That Carver’s election is the start of something bad. We could use you at the rally. You’re one of the few people who understands Dr. Doomsday’s work. You could explain what he did. How he helped Carver cheat to win.”

“I’ve been planning this raid for months,” I say. My stomach churns, sending uncomfortable flutters through my insides. I don’t know what it would mean to talk about my father’s work. What I really want to do is pretend it doesn’t exist. Pretend the world is normal and whole.

I reassure myself with the reminder that there’s no way MacKenna is going to the rally either.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Charles give us a small wave. Before MacKenna can say anything else, I get out and grab my backpack.

Inside Halliwell’s, I pick up a blue basket from the stack near the door. The small market is busy and full of other people shopping after school or work. The smell of pine cleaner hits me as we pass the checkout stations. They are super serious about germs and always cleaning between customers.

I leave MacKenna and Charles at the Click N’Grow rack near the door to check out the seed packets that my brother collects. Dad got Charles hooked on this computerized gardening that uses an e-tablet and a series of tiny indoor lights to create the ideal indoor planter box. Each week, they release a new set of exclusive seeds. Their genetic modifications are controversial.

All the soda is in large coolers that line one of the walls of the market. They keep the strange stuff in the corner. Expensive root beers. Ramune imported from Japan. And! Extra! Jolt! I put a few bottles of strawberry in my basket. I snag some grape too. For a second, I consider buying a couple of bottles of doughnut flavor. But that sounds like too much, even for me. The chips are in the next aisle. I load up on cheese puffs and spicy nacho crisps.

MacKenna and Charles are still at the rack near the door, and I try to squeeze by them without attracting any notice. I usually don’t buy unhealthy snacks when I’m with my brother. I smuggle them in my backpack and have a special hiding space in my desk.

My brother has type 1 diabetes, and he’s supposed to check his blood sugar after meals. He can have starchy or sugary snacks only when his glucose level is good or on special occasions.

MacKenna grimaces at a packet of seeds in her hands. “I still don’t like this one. It’s pretty. But still. It’s…carnivorous.”

I have to hand it to her. She really does have a look. She’s pale and white, like me, but she manages to seem like she’s doing it on purpose and not because she’s some kind of vampire- movie reject. Her glossy black hair always rests in perfect waves, and if the journalism thing doesn’t work out, she could definitely have a career in fashion design.

Charles smiles at her. “It’s a new kind of pitcher plant. Like the Cobra Lily.” He points to the picture on the front of the seed packet. “Look at the blue flowers. That’s new.”

“It eats other plants,” MacKenna says.

“You eat plants.”

“But I don’t eat people,” MacKenna says. “There’s got to be some kind of natural law that says you shouldn’t eat your own kind.”

Charles giggles.

So far so good. Until.

My brother trots up behind me and dumps a few packs of seeds in my basket. His gaze lands on my selection of soda and chips. “Can I get some snacks too?”

Crap.

I freeze. “What’s your number?”

Charles pretends he can’t hear me. That’s not a good sign.

“Charles, what’s your number?”

He still doesn’t look at me. “I forgot my monitor today.”

“Well, I have mine.” I kneel down and dig around for the spare glucometer I keep in the front pocket of my backpack. By the time I get it out, MacKenna has already pulled Charles out of his blazer and rolled up the sleeve of his blue dress shirt. I wave the device over the small white sensor disk attached to my brother’s upper arm.

After a few seconds, the glucometer beeps and a number displays on the screen.

221

Crap. Crap. Crap.

“Charles! What did you eat today?”

My brother’s face turns red. “They were having breakfast-for-lunch day at school. Everyone else was having pancakes. Why can’t I have pancakes?”

I sigh. Something about his puckered up little face keeps me from reminding him that if he eats too much sugar he could die. “You know what Mom said. If you eat something you’re not supposed to, you have to get a pass and go to the nurse for your meds.”

My brother’s shoulders slump. “I couldn’t go to the nurse. Hummingbirds were visiting the Chuparosa and…”

Charles is on the verge of tears and frowns even more deeply at the sight of my basket full of junk food.

“Look,” I say. “There are plenty of healthy snacks we can eat. I’ll put this stuff back.”

“That’s right,” MacKenna says, giving Charles’s hand a squeeze. “We can get some popcorn. Yogurt. Um, I saw some really delicious-looking fresh pears back there.”

“And they have the cheese cubes you like,” I add.

We go around the store replacing the cheese puffs and soda with healthy stuff. I hesitate when I have to put back the Extra Jolt, but I really don’t want to make my brother feel bad because I can drink sugary stuff and he can’t.

We pay for the healthy snacks and the seed packets.

I grab the bags and move toward the market’s sliding doors.

I end up ahead of them, waiting outside by the car and facing the store. The shopping center behind Halliwell’s is mostly empty. The shoe store went out of business last year. Strauss Stationers, where everyone used to buy their fancy wedding invitations, closed two years before that. The fish ’n’ chips drive-through is doing okay and has a little crowd in front of the take-out window. Way off in the distance, Saba’s is still open, because in Arizona, cowboy boots and hats aren’t considered optional.

I watch MacKenna and Charles step out of the double doors and into the parking lot. Two little dimples appear on MacKenna’s cheeks when she smiles. Charles has a looseness to his walk. His arms dangle.

There’s a low rumble, like thunder from a storm that couldn’t possibly exist on this perfectly sunny day.

Something’s wrong

In the reflection of the market’s high, shiny windows, I see something happening in the bank building next door. Some kind of fire burning in the lower levels. A pain builds in my chest and I force air into my lungs. My vision blurs at the edges. It’s panic, and there isn’t much time before it overtakes me.

The muscles in my legs tense and I take off at a sprint, grabbing MacKenna and Charles as I pass. I haul them along with me twenty feet or so into the store. We clear the door and run past a man and a woman frozen at the sight of what’s going on across the street.

I desperately want to look back.

But I don’t.

A scream.

A low, loud boom.

My ears ring.

The lights in the store go off.

I’ve got MacKenna by the strap of her maxidress and Charles by the neck. We feel our way in the dim light. The three of us crouch and huddle together behind a cash counter. A few feet in front of us, the cashier who checked us out two minutes ago is sitting on the floor hugging her knees.

We’re going to die.

Charles’s mouth is wide-open. His lips move. He pulls at the sleeve of my T-shirt.

I can’t hear anything.

It takes everything I’ve got to force myself to move.

Slowly

Slowly

Leaning forward. Pressing my face into the plywood of the store counter, I peek around the corner using one eye to see out the glass door. My eyelashes brush against the rough wood, and I grip the edge to steady myself. I take in the smell of wood glue with each breath.

Hail falls in the parking lot. I realize it’s glass.

My stomach twists into a hard knot.

It’s raining glass.

That’s the last thing I see before a wave of dust rolls over the building.

Leaving us in darkness.

Excerpted from Day Zero by Kelly deVos, Copyright © 2019 by Kelly deVos. Published by Inkyard Press.

KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins.
Kelly’s work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @kdevosauthor

Facebook: @kellydevosbooks

Instagram: @kellydevos

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