Book Reviews

A High-End Finish (A Fixer-Upper Mystery #1) by Kate Carlisle

A High-End Finish
(A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #1)
By: Kate Carlisle

Published: November 2014
Published by: NAL
Format Read: Kobo, eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Rating: 2.5/5
♥♥.5

Synopsis

In the seaside town of Lighthouse Cove in northern California, everyone knows the best man for the job is actually a woman—contractor Shannon Hammer. But while Shannon can do wonders with a power drill and a little elbow grease, she’s about to discover that some problems aren’t so easily fixed….

Shannon’s home-renovation and repair business is booming, but her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.

Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure.…

My Thoughts

I decided to pick up Kate Carlisle’s A High-End Finish because of my interest in cozy mysteries and home renovations. Shannon’s business restoring and building Victorian style homes was quite interesting to me as I’ve been a long time fan of anything on HGTV. The descriptions of Lighthouse Cove made it sound like a beautiful place.

Although the story kept my attention, I felt there were some aspects of the plot that lacked detail. While there were others that unnecessarily took up too much detail. I have yet to decide if I will continue on with the Fixer-Upper Mystery series.

 

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith

Ebb and Flow
By: Heather Smith

Published: April 2018
Published By: Kids Can Press
Format Read: Hardcover, Library Book
Genre: Middle Grade, Poetry

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo’s.
It was my mother’s idea.
Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.
I think she needed a change of scenery, too.
One without me.
Because that rotten bad year?
That was my fault.

Thus begins the poignant story, told in free verse, of eleven-year-old Jett. Last year, Jett and his mother had moved to a new town for a fresh start after his father went to jail. But Jett soon learned that fresh starts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. When he befriended a boy with a difficult home life, Jett found himself in a cycle of bad decisions that culminated in the betrayal of a friend – a shameful secret he still hasn’t forgiven himself for. Will a summer spent with his unconventional grandmother help Jett find his way to redemption?

Writing in artfully crafted free-verse vignettes, Heather T. Smith uses a deceptively simple style to tell a powerful and emotionally charged story. The engaging narrative and the mystery of Jett’s secret keep the pages turning and will appeal to both reluctant and avid readers. This captivating book offers a terrific opportunity for classroom discussions about the many ways to tell a story and how a small number of carefully chosen words can have a huge impact. It also showcases the positive character traits of empathy resilience, courage, and responsibility.

My Thoughts

Ebb and Flow is another library book that I picked up on a whim. The cover instantly reminded me of Newfoundland and I was pleased to learn that it was indeed set in that province. I’ve never been a fan of poetry, but decided to give this book a try anyway.

Surprisingly this was one of the top books I’ve read in 2018 to date. Wrote in free verse, it tells the story of a troubled boy, sent to spend the summer with his Grandmother. In flash backs, readers learn about the terrible year he had.

Geared for the Middle Grades it teaches an important lesson about following your moral compass and forgiveness. It was beautifully written, which interesting characters. I found several poems to be really touching and the metaphors can be applied to many different situations.

I would highly recommend Heather Smith’s Ebb and Flow. It would be a great addition to school curriculum’s as well.

Book Reviews

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #1) by Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic
(Shopaholic, #1)
By: Sophie Kinsella

Published: November, 2003
Published by: Dell Publishing Company
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: 2.5/5
♥♥.5

Synopsis

Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something.

Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.

My Thoughts

I first read Confessions of a Shopaholic in high school. I don’t remember a lot about this book (aside from the basic plot), however I do remember that it wasn’t one of my favourite books. I decided to give it a second try, as I have added the series to a challenge I am trying to complete. I also hoped that perhaps I would enjoy it more than I did the first time around.

It didn’t take me long, once I started reading to understand why I didn’t love this book the first time I read it. Simply put, Becky Bloomwood is probably one of the most frustrating characters I’ve ever come across. She was really quite selfish and superficial. However this seems to be a theme in previous Sophie Kinsella books I’ve read. Another similarity I’ve noticed is that many of her characters have a very overactive imagination. Becky’s personality is meant to be humorous, but I often found it irritating, which was reminiscent of how I felt reading Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada.

Confessions of a Shopaholic isn’t one of my favourite books by this author, but it did have its entertaining moments and it was quick to read. I hope that I enjoy the second installment in this series more than I did the first.

 

 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)
By: Colleen Hoover

Published: December, 2012
Format Read: eBook, Kindle
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 5/5

♥♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Thoughts

Colleen Hoover is another author who I became curious about after hearing a lot of hype on Book Tube. I definitely wasn’t prepared for how much of an emotional impact Hopeless would have.

The dramatic prologue to Sky’s story had me hooked immediately.  However I was unsure if I wanted to continue once I figured out where the plot was heading. The subject matter featured in this book is extremely hard to read. Some may even find it very problematic and triggering. Thankfully I decided to continue on, as this ended up being a 5 star read for me.

Hopeless was one of the most intense books I have ever read. Although I was able to predict early on the outcome, I still couldn’t put it down.

I would highly recommend Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless to fans of new adult fiction. However I advise caution to those who are sensitive to triggering subject matter.

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: July 2018

Total Books Read in July: 3
Total Books Read in 2018: 17


Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith
Genre: Middle Grade, Poetry
Rating: 4/5


A High-End Finish (A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #1) by Kate Carlisle
Gene: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Series
Rating: 2.5/5


The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4/5

The Stats
Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 2

Formats Read
Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 0

Currently Reading