Confessions (2008) by Kanae Minato

My copy was translated by Stephen Snyder

My Review:

Confessions is a hauntingly gripping story about love, loss, motherly bonds, and the worst of human nature. I appreciate how all of the characters are multidimensional, deep and consistent in their actions.

I found it as hard not to understand where they were coming from and, at the same time, remain shocked and disturbed by their actions. Minato did a great job threading the line of revealing their motivation without excusing their behaviour.

Confessions is a book that will linger with me for a while.

Characters: 9

Plot: 10

Enjoyment: 10

Atmosphere: 10

Intrigue: 10

Writing / Execution:  9     

Fainess / Logic: 10

My total rating: 4.86

Disclaimer: I couldn’t find any social media for Kanae Minato.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

Thirteen Storeys (2020) by Jonathan Sims

My Review:

I won’t lie – I thoroughly enjoyed Thirteen Storeys as a whole. I loved each “Stor(e)y” as its own and honestly think this would be a great Shutter or Netflix limited series. There are enough creepy elements in each chapter to hold their own.

Each chapter can be considered its own short story; One can even read 11 of them in any order without compromising the story as a whole. I was fully invested and even had a diagram linking characters and events going for fun.

The ending was not bad, but it did break a little bit of the intrigue, IMO, albeit it remained consistent with previous events and information. The book lost significant points for me in its writing and execution. I gave it 3/10 – Some sentences were tough to follow, and I found myself consistently having to reread paragraphs and sometimes even pages to understand what was going on as it wasn’t always clear what or who was being referenced.

For example, an earlier character completely changed between their chapter and when we met them again in the end. My biggest issue is that a secondary character’s name was changed and alternated many times – sometimes, the author would call them A in one paragraph and go back to calling them B in the next. That took me out of the “zone” quite a bit.

With that said, Thirteen Storeys was still relatively painless to follow, and the author more than made up for it with the atmosphere.

I do hope it becomes a series. I feel it will have tons more appeal in a visual format.

Characters: 7

Plot: 9

Enjoyment: 9

Atmosphere: 10

Intrigue: 9

Writing / Execution: 3           

Fainess / Logic: 7

My total rating: 3.86

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

She Said, Three Said (2020) by David B. Lyons

My Review:

She Said, Three Said is not a book for everyone. It’s not a spoiler to say that the book heavily revolves around Sexual Assault. We start in the deliberation room when 12 jurors go over the evidence presented at trial to decide whether or not to convict three men of their alleged SA of a woman.

This book is heavy. I felt it in the pit of my stomach from the first page. We are in the room with the jurors, feeling their stress of taking the job seriously and the duty of only counting on facts to reach their decision. The juror scenes were intense, and they sometimes got me in tears.

Intercalated with the present juror deliberation, we get the PoVs of the titular her and them three. We leave the book knowing both the truth and the jury’s decision.

I absolutely loved this book; I will be binging on Lyon’s other books. This is the first of a trilogy, and I am so thankful to Dreamscape Media for producing this audiobook. Otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic author whose writing is gutwrenching and authentic. I felt like I was reading about a real case throughout the book.

This book could have gone very wrong, but Lyons nailed it. The whole subject was treated with so much respect, and the characters are multidimensional and nuanced. The audiobook has a full cast, and they DE-LI-VERED. Fantastic performance, outstanding book.

Characters: 10

Plot: 10

Enjoyment: 10 

Atmosphere: 10

Intrigue: 10

Writing / Execution: 10               

Fainess / Logic: 10

My total rating: 5

Disclaimer: Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

Can’t Look Away (2022) by Carola Lovering

My Review:

Jake and Molly fell in love at first sight. But their love story ends in heartache for both parties.

Years later, they both move on, and Molly is now happily married to Hunter living in a small town. They are having problems conceiving their second child, and Molly doesn’t feel like anyone understands the pain of her struggles. But then, newcomer Sabrina moves into town, and after two casual encounters – at Molly’s work and at the doctor’s clinic – they become fast friends. But Soon, both of their lives will collide as their past comes back to haunt them.

I am a huge fan of Lovering’s plotting. Her characters are compelling, relatable and are believable. They make real decisions a non-fictional person would make and I find that very refreshing. I also love how her love/intrigue triangles make sense.

She teases us by slowly releasing information, much like that pixel puzzle. Slowly you start seeing it more clearly, until you have the whole picture. It makes for a satisfying reading experience. Without spoiling anything as it is my personal taste, I absolutely adore her endings. So satisfying!

I both read and listened to the book. The audio production was fantastic, Caitlin Davies, Karissa Vacker and Zachary Webber brought the story to life with amazing chemistry, well paced narration, and a superb performance. I feel that it captured the essence of the book perfectly.

Characters: 10

Plot: 8  

Enjoyment: 10

Atmosphere: 10

Intrigue: 10

Writing / Execution: 8              

Fainess / Logic: 10

My total rating: 4.71

Disclaimer: Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

Reckless Girls (2022) by Rachel Hawkins

I have to say that I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did, I knew I was going to like it, because Hawkin’s debut thriller was a crazy ride I thoroughly enjoyed.

In Reckless Girls we follow some people who find that it would be a great idea to sail to this desserted Island with a somewhat eerie reputation. What I great idea, right? Gets better when they get to their destination, trust me.

The women in this book are fantastic – layered, grey, unreliable, some are kind of a hot mess, and completely magnetic. I wanted to be friends with them, even though I probably wouldn’t trust any. The relationships between all characters as the tension rises is so thrilling. I really couldn’t put it down. Unfortunetely, I feel that the men weren’t as well fleshed out – they were very similar and honestly the kind of men I do not respect.

Hawkins narrative is so addicting and enjoyable. She has a natural ability to draw the reader in and keep them immersed in the world she creates. Her plotting is tight and even though she throws some fun twists, she always play fair.

Closed Circle. Isolated Setting. Strong Female Characters. Yes, please.

Characters: 8

Plot: 10

Enjoyment:  10    

Atmosphere: 10

Intrigue: 10

Deduction:    0    

Writing / Execution:  9              

Fainess / Logic: 10

My total rating: 4.79

Disclaimer: Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

Devil’s Creek by Todd Keisling (Goodreads Review)



My enjoyment rating: 1 of 5 stars


Starting now my GR reviews will be based on enjoyment alone, hopefully this would help me actually post them!

This is a book I absolutely didn’t jive with me, if I could DNF I would have done so for this one. Finally I picked it back up since I put it down in March because I needed to finish it before the end of the year and the audiobook came out. Was that wise? No, is the short answer.

If I could let go of everything I hated about this book, I can say Keisling narrative and plotting are consistently good. Structuraly this was a great book, but the choices of direction was atrociously against everything I love about reading. I do reccomend you check trigger warnings.

If you don’t mind crude language, explicit (and taboo) sexual content, cults and anti-feminist writing this book is for you.

I understand that when writing about cults, the author needs to go places that are uncomfortable for most and commit to that narrative. However, there was a choice about a particular character that was unnecessary and quite frankly shallow, insensitive and tone deaf.

Enjoyment 2 Character 7
Ambience 10 Fair Play N/A
Plot 8 Execution 6
Deduction 4
Total 2.9

The List by Carys Jones (2021) Review

What would you do if you found a list with your name on it?

Why I picked up the book:

Beth Belmont is on her daily run when she finds something different in a route she knows as the palm of her hand: the corner of a paper at the base of a tree. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she picks it up.

On that paper, there are five names, including her own. As the day follows, Beth can’t stop thinking about the names on the list and decides to look further into it. When she finds out the two words above hers belong to dead people, she wonders if she could be next. I mean, wouldn’t you?

The book through my criteria lens:

 I first read The List as an audiobook produced by Dreamscape Media and narrated by Charlotte Worthing. And I really enjoyed it. Worthing’s voice was enticing, and her pacing was spot on. Although I felt that she did excellent with projecting the characters’ voices, I wish there was a second narrator for the “mystery” POV. I realize this wasn’t on Charlotte’s talent but the book’s writing, making it hard for readers to get used to that narrative until almost the end of the book.

On that note, I will start the book review with my one gripe – We have three narrators, Beth in the present, Ruby in the past, and a mystery narrator we know is the list author, but don’t know their identity or gender. I have no problem following stories with “mystery narrators.” Still, in The List this narrative came right in the middle of other chapters without warning, making it difficult for me to follow or enjoy at first. It often broke the tension of either Beth’s or Ruby’s Story. I would have rated the book higher if somehow that PoV had its own chapters. It would have made the narrator’s storytelling more fluid as well. 

On the other hand, Jones did a fantastic job taking us on the emotional journey of characters and their thought process. It made it easy to understand their feelings and motivations off the bat and see the events through their eyes. One of my favourite things about reading is connecting with characters, and I did just that in The List. Beth is such a compelling, multidimensional character. Her whole journey was the perfect frame for this story.

My personal feelings:

Even with the awkward placement of the “mystery narrator,” I really enjoyed all the alternating PoVs. It reminded me of The ABC Murders in style (but utterly different in everything else, so I promise this isn’t a spoiler.)

I still catch myself thinking about Ruby and Beth, which is a great sign the author wrote a book worth reading. I will be checking her other books out and hope her characters are just as enjoyable!

Enjoyability     8

Characters       10

Ambience        8

Fairness          8

Plot                  10

Execution        8

My total rating: 4.33

I mention this book in this video: TBD

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Dreamscape Media, Carys Jones, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The List.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

Children Literature: A Bear for Bimi by Jane Breskin Zalben (2021) Review

Kindness generates kindness

Bimi and his family immigrate to The United States as refugees and move into a neighbourhood where not everyone is welcoming. Evie and her parents live in the same neighbourhood and try to make the new residents feel included. Evie gifts Bimi her teddy bear as a symbol of friendship, and the bear has a pivotal role in the story.

I loved Zalben’s story. She did a wonderful job showing us how to welcome people into our lives and that kindness generates kindness. The story also has a powerful message that sometimes, by doing the right thing, we can inspire others to rethink their preconceived ideas. I loved how this story reflects the innocence of children and how they perceive the actions of adults. Zalben also brings an important message of empathy. The way Evie empathizes with Bimi is simply beautiful.

Nayberg’s illustration is absolutely stunning. I was mesmerized by the images.

I love the overall inclusivity, representation and message in this book and feel it will be a great addition to any children’s collection! We can learn a lot from the Saids and the Golds.

Thank you, Kar-Ben Publishing, NetGalley and Jane Breskin Zalben for providing me with an advanced copy of Blossom and Bud in exchange for an honest review.

#ABearforBimi #NetGalley

Representation 10

Story 10

Illustration 10

My total rating: 5

The Chateau by Catherine Cooper (2021) Snapshot

You can run but you can’t hide

Aura and Nick needed a fresh start. With their marriage on the rocks following a scandal, they moved to France to offer their children a better life and give their marriage a chance.

They thought they were moving to paradise, but sometimes your past follows you, and someone wants Aura and Nick to pay for what they have done.

The Chateau is absolutely an unputdownable book. I also loved the plot idea and ambiance. The book is set in England and France, and I felt the difference in the atmosphere each time it flipped locations. Not only that, the tension between Nick and Aura is palpable. I thoroughly loved the tension and suspense.  I also loved Aura in her own POV chapters. That being said, in the chapters narrated by Nick, she is unrecognizable. Even allowing that in those chapters, we see her through Nick’s eyes, some actions didn’t add up, and I had a hard time seeing both versions as the same character. Nick, on the other hand, remained consistent throughout the whole story. 

I had a few issues with some choices, including how the author handled a sensitive topic. I won’t mention it because it would be considered a spoiler, but check the trigger warnings before you pick this book out. These choices took away from my enjoyment. However, I was intrigued enough that I will check Cooper’s other books out.

**Minor/Major Spoilers below** (click on the arrow)
    If you’re reading this, you don’t mind being spoiled. A few minor things peeved me, but they were style preferences – so not worth mentioning as they didn’t break my reading experience. However, what I had the most issue with was the (in my opinion) romanticization of pedophilia. I understand this is a British book and that in the UK, the age of consent is 16, but in my opinion, that is still a child, and there is no way a teenager can consent to any relationship with someone 11 years older and a teacher at that! This is 100% abuse, and it shouldn’t have been brushed off as something people overreacted about and read as if that was the girl’s choice in any way, shape, or form.
    **
    I was 19 when I got in a relationship with someone in a power position and 11 years older. At the time, I thought I was in charge. Still, as the relationship progressed and it became mentally is sexually abusive, I continued to think I was in charge. It took the end of that relationship and therapy to understand that I was groomed and emotionally abused from the beginning. I wish Cooper had drawn the line and made it clear that what happened to that character was abuse and wrong and that the victim hadn’t paid for the abuser’s actions.

wonder if it will work

Enjoyability     7

Characters      6

Deduction   5

Ambience        8

Fairness          8

Plot                  10

Execution        7

My total rating: 3.42

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to HarperCollins UK, Catherine Cooper, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The Chateau

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price (2021) Review

Lizzie is a breath of fresh air

Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1

Why I picked up the book:

Pride and Premeditation is a mystery YA debut novel. In it, we follow Lizzie Bennet, a 16-year-old law fanatic and feminist extraordinaire who doesn’t accept women only being allowed in court as witnesses and wants to pave the way by proving herself as a kick-ass litigator.

Opportunity knocks on her door when a shocking murder scandalizes London high society. Lizzie jumps on it, determined to prove the accused man’s innocence. The only kicker is that the suspect is already being represented by Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the heir in training to the prestigious firm Pemberley & Associates.

The case and Lizzie’s feeling for Darcy take some twisty turns, and soon Lizzie finds out that her dream job might lead to both happiness and getting her killed!

The book through my criteria lens:

 Pride and Premeditation is a solid debut novel, overall. I think that this series has the potential to keep getting better and better. The characters were delightful; the narrative was witty, managing to be old-fashioned and modern at the same time. Lizzie is a great heroine, driven, caring, funny, and independent. It’s not easy to have a cast of characters inspired by such iconic precedents and still manage to make them distinguishable, and Price did that. Albeit, there were so many characters that some felt overlooked.

The mystery was a good one, and the solution fair. The narrative was consistent, but it felt like the book was slightly too long, especially for a YA novel. But great fun!

My personal feelings:

Romance is a genre I don’t read anymore, even though I read quite a bit of it in my teens. So a YA book based on a classic romance might not seem like a choice I would make, right? Well, yes. However, Pride and Prejudice happens to be one of my favourite books of all time, I love Jane Austen, and when I read romance, enemies to lovers was my favourite trope. Plus, this is a mystery! Marketed as the first of a series to boot! Reading the synopsis it quickly became one of my most anticipated 2021 novels. And can we take a moment to appreciate the cover? (Part of me thinks I started reading YA because they look amazing on the shelf 😂)

 I am excited for the rest of the series; Pride and Premeditation was light and cheeky. I felt that Price did a good job capturing the essence of Pride and Prejudice and turning it into a YA Mystery.

I particularly loved that the romance was kept to a minimum and didn’t overshadow the mystery. Which, by the way, really impressed me. Price has a talent for plotting puzzles and delivering them seamlessly, with all the clues woven into the narrative. 

I cannot wait for Lizzie to continue to grow into her own and take on the world!

Enjoyability     8

Characters       8

Ambience        8

Fairness          10

Plot                  8

Execution        8

My total rating: 4.16

BOOK SNAPSHOT: