Meet Clare Vengel, undercover Toronto cop

I am finally embracing my inner Oprah and giving everyone a FREE BOOK! You get a book! And you get a book! And you! And you! AND YOU!

Mind you, the book is on Wattpad… where all books are free. But it’s a really good free book so you should take me up on my offer.

Vengel_Dead_Politician_SocietyThe book is Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano and it’s part of her Clare Vengel Undercover series. She’s been releasing the book for free on Wattpad one section at a time. The rest of the Clare Vengel series is available on Spano’s site.

Clare Vengel is undercover cop extraordinaire. Well, that’s her dream anyways. Her supervisor considers her so green, he considers speaking to her “babysitting”. In Dead Politician Society, the left-wing Toronto mayor is murdered and a secret society at the University of Toronto is suspect number one. Clare lands her first undercover gig as a poli sci student. Remember, left-wing mayor — so this is pre-Rob Ford.

Spano’s writing is fast and fun — switching between a number of eccentric characters all with their own motives to get rid of the mayor. Clare is reminiscent of Deb from Dexter. She’s a fast talker, self-doubting and occasionally sleeps around. She’s also on an uphill battle to prove herself as a skilled cop. If I have one criticism for Spano is that there should be waaay more about Clare than the rest of the characters.

I was a political science major at the University of Toronto once upon a time so the setting of the book was eerily familiar. I’ve literally taken courses in these buildings Spano describes. Pretty awesome to see the campus come alive in fiction.

So there, go ahead — take home your free copy 😉

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Gone Girl had me pulling my hair out

GONE_girlReading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is incredibly frustrating. Everything starts out a little too perfect. The characters are too shiny and it’s annoying. Then it they become unlikeable and super annoying. Then they become unbearably irritating.

Perhaps the most frustrating part is that I also couldn’t put it down!

I read this book in less than 3 days — a pace usually reserved for short stories and YA novels. It’s definitely a page-turner with all its twists and turns. There is a, to use the author’s words, major bombshell halfway through the book.

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Gone Girl is about a laid off magazine reporter named Nick Dunne and his picture perfect wife, Amy Dunne Elliot. His wife is a bit of a celebrity and has money to her name. But when both of them lose their jobs and Nick’s mother gets sick, they move out of their New York apartment and back to Nick’s hometown in Missouri. One day, Nick arrives home to find his wife missing and there are signs of a struggle.

As evidence piles up, the cops are increasingly discovering that it all points to Nick as the perpetrator. The media circus ensues — including a biased talk show host that is a startling reminder of Nancy Grace. And like any other murder case, the media automatically presumes it must be the husband.

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That’s all of the plot I can tell you without giving too much away. I found both passive aggressive Nick and little Miss Amazing Amy very irritating characters. Actually, I didn’t really like anyone in this book. I think that may be what makes Gone Girl so addictive. It’s a lot like watching the Real Housewives of Wherever. After a while, you realize that you’re only watching for the sensationalism.

It’s worth noting that the Gone Girl movie is scheduled for release in October 2014. Ben Affleck plays Nick and Rosamund Pike is Amy. Will be interesting to see how this plays out on the big screen and whether they decide to over-Hollywood-it.

The ending of Gone Girl will shock you. But if you’ve ever wondered how your parents stayed married, this will answer all your questions. Frankly, I’ll never look at marriage the same way again.

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The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow was so good…

BONAVENTUREThe Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski was so good, I didn’t want to write this review.

It was so good, I didn’t want to share it with you.

It was so good, I couldn’t face that it had ended. That I finished reading the last page.

It was so good, I wanted to close my eyes and go back to the warm and swampy Louisiana with Bonaventure and his mother Dancy.

It was so good — I think you get the point. I read The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow during the ice storm and it was possibly the only thing I enjoyed doing during this time. The story begins in the 1950s, in the fictitious town of Bayou Cymbaline, Louisiana. A man named William Arrow meets a waitress named Dancy at a diner. They hit it off and get married after an unplanned pregnancy. Happily ever after is destined until William is shot dead months before baby Bonaventure is born.

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I’m warning you now that The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is impossibly sad but it’s also wonderfully enchanting. Bonaventure is born mute, he never speaks a word — but he can hear everything from memories to colours to the voice of his dead father who needs his help to accomplish a few things before he can get to heaven. The events to follow are a mix of voodoo/hoodoo magic and religious (Catholic) will.

Bonaventure is an angelic little boy that wants to help his schoolmates find the right crayon, wants to make his mother stop crying, wants to be Captain America. Rita Leganski takes us all into mourning with Dancy but you never lose hope that all will be recovered thanks one loveable little boy.

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Photo credits: countryliving.com (Photographer: Bjorn Wallander)

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Waiting on Wednesday: Snow White Must Die

This is my eighth edition of Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly event held by Breaking the Spine.

I began university thinking that I’d be an English major but half way through my final modern literature exam, I realized I was sick of it. I didn’t want to analyze T.S. Eliot to death, I just wanted to read it, love it and fall asleep dreaming of fictitious worlds.

SNOW_whitemustdieSo I chose to major in Criminology instead. I read about morbid Victorian court cases about cannibalism on the high seas and the horrible conditions of state asylums. And I came to appreciate murder mystery fiction in a whole new light.

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus sounds like a fantastic creepy thriller. Neuhaus is widely known German author but this is her first book translated to English. From what I understand, this is the first book in a series which has already done incredibly well in Germany.

Snow White Must Die is available January 15th, 2013.

Synopsis:

On a rainy November day police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: A woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer.

On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer’s son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?

In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. When another young girl disappears, the events of the past seem to be repeating themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a race against time, because for the villagers it is soon clear who the perpetrator is—and this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.

Painting by Liese Chavez. Print available from Etsy.

Painting by Liese Chavez. Print available from Etsy.

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