Tag Archives: five stars

The List by Kiersten Modglin

This book has been on my “to be read” list for a while now. As I continued adding titles to my TBR list, this novel moved further down. Until last night (October 26).

Kiersten Modglin is a fantastic author who has penned over 20 novels so far in her career. She is a wife and a momma, and a genuinely kind soul. Her talent and passion for writing are evident in all of her work. And she can tell a story that will make your heart race, make your blood run cold, and make you question whether you locked your front door.

Persistence. Forgiveness. Determination. Revenge.

This twisted tale introduces us to Jordyn and Connor, a young married couple preparing to move because Connor has been transferred. Seems innocent enough, right? They find the perfect house for their growing family and settle in. Very quickly, things take a turn for the mysterious. As newcomers to a small town, Jordyn witnesses an emotional scene in the grocery store that leaves her with questions. Questions no one will answer and questions with answers no one wants Jordyn to discover.

The twists in The List are intense! Classic Modglin, this twisted tale, is filled with secrets, suspense, and a powerhouse of strong female characters. The women in this novel are genuinely badass; there is no more straightforward way to say it. These women are strong, smart, brave, determined, and unstoppable. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Jordyn, our main narrator, and her persistence in getting to the bottom of the mysterious deaths that have haunted Bates for the past ten years.

There are so many themes within this novel that just hit you in the heart. The biggest one for me is Jordyn making an impossible choice despite her initial gut instinct. Being a good person and doing the right thing is a shade of gray, but it becomes a shining white light within these pages.

This book is so well written, the story is scary and suspenseful, and it is filled with characters you can’t help but like. Unlike Santa’s list, you do not want to find your name on The List. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Find The List by Kiersten Modglin on Amazon.

Follow Kiersten Modglin on Instagram here.

Schitt’s Creek Available on Netflix

This isn’t a review; I really just needed to talk about how incredible Schitt’s Creek is. I don’t think I have cried so much during a show since watching Sons of Anarchy. This show is beautiful. Absolute perfection. I am not someone who cries often. But this show made me ugly cry at least five times. No spoilers, but if you have watched this show and want to talk about it forever- let me know. Because I am available for that. Sigh. Beautiful show!
I have had friends telling me to watch Schitt’s Creek for years now. And I finally did it. Whew. My heart is torn between being so unbelievably happy and devasted. Happy because this show is refreshing and pure and unabashedly beautiful. This show highlights so many beautiful things; the power of family, perseverance, redemption, love, and embracing change.
The costumes alone were stunning. I watched the documentary filming the final season, and it is crazy that Daniel Levy found so many designer pieces for such affordable prices. The creative brilliance that went into dressing these characters was pure perfection. The clothes were almost as wonderful as the characters!
The characters on this show go through such a dynamic evolution of growth. Each character is so deeply dynamic and so full of life and so funny. You really can’t help but fall a little in love with them all. Something I genuinely appreciated with this show was how everyone was so accepting regarding sexuality. This show is such a beautiful representation of love and gives so much positive light to the LGBTQ+ community. I love how David and Patrick’s love story unfolds. There is no big struggle to overcome; they don’t have to “beat the odds” they have a beautiful love story, and we watch it blossom and grow. Seeing an LGBTQ+ relationship being presented in such a “normal” light is refreshing. And the acceptance and normality that surrounds the way everyone embraces queer lifestyles is incredible.
I am devasted because it is over. Six seasons isn’t enough. This is a show that could have gone forever. But I applaud the crew for making the tough decision to end things on their terms… and ending things on a high. As much sense as that makes and as amazing as it is, seeing a show’s creators having absolute control and calling the shots is powerful. Eugene and Daniel Levy created something simply magical.
I hadn’t seen many of the actors before, and I love that Eugene and Daniel Levy were so determined in finding the perfect people to bring their characters to life. I also really appreciate how groundbreaking this show was for Canadian television. And I really appreciate that the show consisted of mostly Canadian actors. It was a wonderful introduction to some very talented individuals.
The cast was perfect, the writing was brilliant, and the message contained within this comedy was pure genius. The writing for this show was truly perfect. The comedic timing and level of talent presented in each episode was magical. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara are pure dynamite together. The chemistry was real, and it is so obvious there was nothing but love and respect among the cast and crew. If you are looking for a show that will make you laugh out loud and cry like a baby, watch Schitt’s Creek.

All six seasons of Schitt’s Creek is streaming on Netflix now! Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell is also streaming on Netflix and is worth watching.

Taken to the Grave by M. M. Chouinard

I enjoy M.M. Chouinard’s writing style. She can tell a story most compellingly. I loved this continuation featuring Jo; I am a big Josette Fournier fan.

Chouinard writes her female characters with such depth and sincerely. Jo is such a dynamic character. She is easy to relate to. She is smart, brave, and has incredible integrity.

This storyline was really great and posed some ethical dilemmas that I’ll dive into later. I enjoyed the references to The Dancing Girls (if you haven’t read that book, seriously do it!), letting us know that that story isn’t finished yet. Which I am pumped about because the ending of that novel completely blew my mind.

We get to know more of the characters within this novel, and that was great. I enjoyed the dynamic and obvious respect they all have for each other. We get to know Jo quite a bit more, seeing more intimate glimpses into who she is, which added another layer to who Jo is and gives me another reason to like her.

This is a fast-paced storyline, and the way the story is woven and how the crumb trail is dangled leaves you thinking you’ve solved the case at least five times before the lightbulb comes on. Chouinard executes her twists brilliantly. It’s like she knows just how to dangle the truth in front of our faces without letting us actually figure anything out.

The amount of research Chouinard obviously does is incredible. She writes such detailed, well-formulated plots. The majority of this storyline danced around science and academia, and the details were immaculate.

I really enjoy that you can see each character’s vulnerability, strength, and compassion. MINOR SPOILER if you have not read this book, STOP READING THIS REVIEW NOW.

In the scene where Jo and Bob are interrogating Terry and Jo can completely empathize with why Terry did the things he did… the compassion she showed, even if she was putting it on to get his partner, was brilliant. And the way Terry empathized with Jo’s emotional baggage… the flip flop of good vs. bad was so well played. After Terry tells Jo why he did what he did and how he justified his reasoning, poetic justice, and Jo tells him that personally she agrees with what he did poses such an excellent discussion point… is vigilante justice ever truly justified? While this isn’t answered for you in the book, it is left to the reader to decide if these crimes were justified. I thoroughly appreciate how the themes were presented and how poetically the concept of vigilante justice was written. Poetic justice, the ultimate of irony.

I recommend this book. It is a fast read, an intense story and the ethical questions posed really make you think. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Find Taken to the Grave by M. M. Chouinard on Amazon.

You can also follow M. M. Chouinard on Instagram here.

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

Oh man. I don’t even know where to begin to unpack this book. It’s the ultimate game of clue- winner takes all. In a oddly structured, blended family, the death of the patriarch leaves both sadness, and a bizarre will behind.

Getting to know the characters in this novel was seriously wonderful. The dynamic storytelling and the lead-up to the twist is insane. You will seriously not be able to put this one down.

I really enjoyed the themes of self-reflection and the grass not being greener on the other side, and things and people not being what they seem throughout this novel. It is so well played, and it is so relatable in terms of relationships.

This is my first Rose Carlyle novel, and I can honestly say it will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing. Her characters all had such depth and dimension. She dangled the plot in front of you, like a carrot on a stick, and she keeps the pages turning with her seriously devious, suspenseful, twists. I am so please with my October BOTM selection. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Find The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle on Amazon

The Perfect Getaway by Kiersten Modglin

Thank you so much, Kiersten, for giving me the absolute pleasure of reading this book early. I am so grateful for the opportunity.

HOLY. HELL.

This was a RIDE. Lifelong friends end up getting an amazing offer- that almost sounds too good to be true… yet under pressure, everyone agreed to go. Who would have thought that being stranded on paradise could turn into purgatory?

The character development in this book is done so carefully, and in such detail, that you literally find yourself building assumptions about who did it… only to have another little truth-bomb dropped, shattering all you thought you knew. I was getting definite Agatha Christie vibes, with this cast of characters. And I definitely appreciated the build-up, and the suspense with each turn of the page.

I really enjoyed getting to know these characters, and seeing the dynamic of the couples. I have to admit, Natasha and Jaren were my favorite couple… and I was hoping this trip would be the thing necessary to close their broken marriage. They were both the most calm, cool, rational, and honestly, the most likable couple. They were definitely the only couple who didn’t have deadly secrets, or a dirty past that could potentially come crashing down like a tidal wave.

The island imagery was beautiful. I felt like I was there (sigh), and it made me want to book a trip to an island surrounded by crystal clear water, and sunshine. The resort sounded like absolute heaven on Earth, and was a character in a way. Beautiful, and deadly; calm, but chaotic… charming but not without imperfections. Kiersten shared that her initial inspiration for this book came to her, while she was on vacation (ironically, on a secluded, beautiful island) and she ran with the concept. And run she did… this is a twisted tale.

I really liked the underlying themes Kiersten played with in this book… nothing is what is seemed, everything and everybody was like an iceberg- what you could see was just a sliver of what was hiding beneath the surface. Calm waters turn deadly, and secrets from the past start crawling out of their hiding places. The choices we make, are not always right. Sometime we choose what is easy, as opposed to what is right. Friendship is a beautiful, powerful, life changing thing. Keep your friends close… but your enemies closer… Easier said than done, when you don’t know friend, from foe.

There was a lot of information to process in a rapid manner. And much like a game of Clue, Kiersten dropped tricky hints like a trail of crumbs. It was definitely a twisted ride. The build-up for the first half of the book was full of details that helped you start thinking you knew what was going to happen next. Spoiler! You really have no idea. Getting to know the characters, and getting a glimpse into their dynamic, their current lives, and their inner dialogue… really makes you think, can we ever really know someone?

The final chapters will literally blow your mind. So many twists, turns, and deadly waves will come crashing down… and you will be left not knowing who you can trust. Friends forever, right? I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Find The Perfect Getaway by Kiersten Modglin on Amazon (official release date October 20, 2020)

Swing and a Mishap by Tara Sivec

How Tara Sivec manages to write books that are funny, real, sexy, and romantic is beyond me. But oh my goodness… this book is the total package.
I absolutely adore Wren, and getting to know her throughout the book. She is such a strong, spunky, brave character. I absolutely cheered for her growth throughout the book, and the final chapters did not disappoint. She found her voice in such an empowering way.
Shepard was sarcastic and fun. His love of glitter and crafting was a pretty adorable characteristic. And the fact that he loves Wren and Owen so completely and is not afraid of making that known, is incredible.
I very much enjoyed the sassy banter and charming wit within these pages. Who knew being a baseball player could be so much fun? Middle field is one hell of a position.
The writing is great, the internal dialogue is funny, and the storyline is simply sexy Disney. I loved the way the journey was splayed out, and I really appreciate that Tara doesn’t shy away from the grittiness and complications that arise within a relationship. Her characters all have such big, dynamic personalities, and they are all so well rounded, but also such hot messes, it is very relatable. I really enjoyed this one. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Final thoughts: who knew vanilla ice cream was sexy?

Find Swing and a Mishap by Tara Sivec on Amazon

The Better Choice by Kiersten Modglin

A modern day fairytale told in a way that only Kiersten can pull off. This story was so beautiful. Change mixed with heartache and grief, topped with healing and growth is a powerful and ambitious task to take on, and it was executed in such a realistic and careful way. I found myself cheering for Blythe, and until t-h-e twist… I didn’t know who I wanted to be THE guy. I definitely did not see the shocking twist coming, but it played out is such a magically perfect manner. The descriptions of how Blythe felt moving to New York from her small hometown made me feel as though I were standing in her (Blythe’s) shoes. This is a tale that definitely proves that having it all, is oftentimes not nearly as charming as assumed, and that second chances are worth it. I really enjoyed this book, and I really enjoyed the characters and their journeys. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

…and they lived happily ever after… cue the happy tears

Find The Better Choice by Kiersten Modglin on Amazon

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Read 7/7/20

This book is beautiful, complicated, eye opening, frustrating, sad and enlightening. Celeste Ng has such a gift for describing scenes. She weaves so many important and necessary factors almost effortlessly and she causes you to feel so many feelings… anger, sadness, confusion, happiness, and beyond. Excellent read, strongly recommend this book. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Find Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng on Amazon

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