Day: February 7, 2018

Book Review: Blood Sister by Kenna McKinnon

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Why This Book 
I’d heard a few good things about Blood Sister by author Kenna McKinnon from some fellow readers and decided to take a chance on it. It was published in 2015 by Creativia and has a very unique set of characters and multiple voices (you’ll get this joke later on)… let’s get on to the review.

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
Set in contemporary Canada, this quirky novel tells the story of two vicious murders of the town mayor and doctor in Serendipity. While the police lead the investigation, they’ve called in a consultant private-eye who has a unique relationship with the detectives working on the case. She’s a schizophrenic who still hears voices and is currently on a stress leave while she re-adjusts to new medication levels. As if that’s not enough of a reason to draw you in, Annie is married to another interesting fellow, Samir, a Sudanese man who has a few issues of his own to deal with, but they may just be trying to pull the wool over their guardian’s eyes… as they’re barely in their early 20s and not quite ready to be on their own based on a few crimes they too committed in the past. Add in a sexy new detective named Mark Snow who just happens to have the same initials as the possible murderer and you’ve got yourself quite a corker to figure out!

Approach & Style 
I read this 294-page mystery and suspense novel over ~4 hours on my iPad via Kindle Reader. It’s broken into ~90 chapters which means each one is relatively short around 3 to 4 pages. While it could be difficult to tell who’s talking, given all the personalities sometimes taking control of Annie, author McKinnon has kindly italicized those moments so readers are quick to follow along. The story is told in third-person POV with a perspective focusing on the main character, Annie, and her adventures not only in solving the crime, but deciding how to handle her relationship with Samir and feelings for Mark.

Key Thoughts 
Let’s focus on the mystery first. Two dead people always make a story more complicated. Was it a single murderer, a serial killer with more victims in his/her plan, or just two very unrelated incidents. Lots of red herrings and different motives, both real and faked, help move this plot along nicely.

You’ll either love or hate the characters. They are portrayed quite well, so it’ll really come down to your ability to see through the quirks and nuances versus the games they seem to be playing with each other and within poor Annie’s mind. I’m in awe of how the author kept this all in line!

There are a lot of side-stories going on which help keep readers interested in all the action and characters. Between birds and cats, foreigners and natives, old historic beliefs and medical approaches, the novel seems to have a bit of everything. It’s a lot to keep track of, but imagine what that’s like for Annie who has to try to assemble all the clues while her schizophrenia idles up and down depending on her adjustment to the medicine.

Throw in a bit of romance, some Canadian humor, and the potential for some fun and silliness, you’ve got yourself quite a unique read. If you’re looking for something different and logical in its own right, this would be a great choice to push your reading comforts. The best part is following Annie’s mind and voice throughout the story. She’s got a lot of charm and intelligence, and you never quite know what she might say out loud unintentionally. I know a few people like that!

Summary 
This was a unique book and I don’t think I expected it to be what it turned out to be — but that’s certainly not a bad thing either! It has all the drama, mystery and suspense you’d expect in this type of novel, but it gives you a very different setting and tone as part of the ride. I like when books throw me for a loop, especially when you need to re-orient how you think in order to align your reading style. Kudos to the author for finding great formatting, approaches and character descriptions to help make everything pop on the page.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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Book Review: The Whole of the Moon by Kevin McManus

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Why This Book 
I’ve been reading a few books from the publisher Creativia in the last year. I was looking for something set in a new (to me) location and liked the summary of The Whole of the Moon, written in 2016 by Kevin McManus. It definitely hit the spot and I would recommend it to others.

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
Conor Doyle, a late 20ish Irish lad, returns home from London in the mid-1980s for Christmas break to visit his parents. He runs into old friends from school and falls back into a routine of meeting them each night for drinks at the local pub. He soon learns a respectable villager was run off the road by an unknown the car the day before he arrived. As he begins to reconnect with his friends and listen to different stories around town, he learns the identity of the hit-and-run driver. It’s someone he knows, too. Conor struggles with keeping the secret, as well as crossing the line from friend to lover with an old flame. It all comes to a head in a big confrontation when secrets are exposed, and the cops are hot on the tail of the driver.

Approach & Style 
I read this 124-page novel in two hours on my iPad via Kindle Reader. It’s the first book of a two-book series thus far told in third-person POV with a perspective on Conor Doyle. The opening chapter covers the actual hit-and-run accident from the perspective of the victim, but otherwise the focus follows Conor around. It has a very authentic Irish feel to the story, the language and the setting. Quite a strong and easily-understandable read.

Key Thoughts 
McManus is a strong writer, especially when it comes to immersing readers in the culture of a 1980s Ireland. Between references to cultural phenomena, on-going politics, and the general way in which people speak and interact, readers will be swiftly taken to the village of Ballinastrad in County Sligo. I have a strong affinity to anything UK and this book is an example of why. I found myself thinking about the people and the views for several days after finishing the novel. That’s how you know the author has made his/her positive impact on the reader.

One of the reasons I found this book so enjoyable is the simplicity of the story, which is a bit odd for a guy who normally looks for ingenious or twisty plots. On the outskirts, it’s the impacts of a hit-and-run accident tied together with the discovery of a secret being kept among friends. In McManus’ novel, the beauty of this story comes from the aura or ambiance within the setting. Whether it’s the tone of the conversation, the description of the land, or the way the main character steps through his day, you feel a connection to Conor’s need to experience a break from the normal busyness of life by returning to his hometown.

I traveled with him on his journey re-living the past and falling back in love. I remembered the bonds you build with friends while hanging out at a bar. And I recalled the disappointment of making the right decision even when you know it will hurt many people in the end. The story is real and it will push you to question loyalty versus heart.

Summary 
I’m really excited to read the second book which was published just last year. It’s in my reading queue and will probably land sometime around April or May. Maybe you should read this first book now and join me later for a buddy-read of the second, Under the Red Winter Sky.
About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 327 – Enough

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Enough: as much or as many as required

_If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough._.jpg

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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