“Closer By Sea” by Perry Chafe – Book Review @SimonSchusterCA @simonschuster #CloserBySea @perrychafe #BookReview

Closer By Sea” is a literary debut that will remain in my memory for some time. It was a coming-of-age story set on an island off the coast of Newfoundland during one pivotal, unforgettable summer when our protagonist, Pierce, was twelve years old.The story evokes an emotional response in the reader. It is a novel about change, loss, friendship, and growing up. It also vividly describes island culture and the harsh and often severe way of life of its residents. The action takes place in the year 1991, just one year before the Canadian government imposed a moratorium on the Northern cod fishery along the country’s east coast. This moratorium drastically impacted the lives of Newfoundlanders and changed their social and cultural identity. For generations these men and women depended largely on the cod fishery to make a living.

When Pierce Jacobs was just nine years of age, his father was lost at sea. With no siblings, it was now just Pierce and his mother left to support themselves and grieve a much loved husband and father.

“She had that tone in her voice, the one that went straight to my heart and made it bleed invisibly, the one she only used when she was extremely disappointed in me.”

Three years after his father’s death, during the summer of 1991, Pierce and his friends experience many adventures. Anna, a girl who was a friend to Pierce when he most needed one, has gone missing. The boys suspect foul play by Solomon Vickers, a man who lives on the other side of the island.

“Mind your tongue. It can be as sharp as any blade and can cut even deeper.”

It is also a summer when Pierce has his first girlfriend. This tests his friendship with his childhood friends and changes his views on many things.

This is much more than a coming-of-age novel. It has many suspenseful moments with a mystery at its heart. The writing was skilled and evocative of the place and the people. It is an awesome debut novel that I can highly recommend.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss.

ISBN: 9781982185251 – ASIN:‎ ‎ B0BHTPZNS6 – 272 pages

Published May 23, 2023

Perry Chafe is a Canadian television writer, showrunner, producer, and songwriter. He is a co-founder and partner in Take the Shot Productions. Perry was the co-creator, show-runner, and head writer for the TV series Republic of Doyle, which ran for six seasons on the CBC, and an executive producer and writer for the Netflix/Discovery series Frontier, starring Jason Momoa. In addition, he was an executive producer and writer for Caught, a CBC limited series based on Lisa Moore’s award-winning novel of the same name.

Born and raised in the small fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, he now lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “Closer By Sea” is his debut novel.

Connect with Perry Chafe via his Website, Twitter and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, Canadian fiction, debut novels, Edelweiss, Literary fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fictionophile’s MAY 2023 Reading Wrap-Up #bookblogger #MonthlyWrapUp

MAY by the numbers:

Total novels read: 10

Short story anthologies read: 1

Total short stories read: 5

Published in 2023: 9
Backlist titles: 1
Five star reads: 6
Debut novels: 4
Books that are part of a series: 2
Goodreads challenge: 57/120 (47%)
GR NetGalley challenge: 27/80 (34%)
GR Edelweiss challenge: 12/20 (60%)

In May, my armchair travels took me to

England (3 times)

U.S.A. (7 times)

Canada (once)

Wales (once)

Ireland (3 times)

Scotland (once)Austria (once)In this past month I’ve read SIXTEEN titles.

I enjoyed every one of them, some more than others of course.

No Two Persons” by Erica Bauermeister


The Secret Book of Flora Leaby Patti Callahan HenryBefore You Knew My Name” by Jacqueline Bublitz

Short Story of the Month

Tess and Tattoos” by H.A. Leuschel

May was Short Story Month

I read 5 individual short stories and one anthology of short storiesDid you read any short stories in May?

I feel very lucky to have access to so many wonderful books and hope that you have lots of great reading in your future. ♥

Posted in Fictionophile report, Reading | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Fictionophile’s MAY 2023 #BookHaul #Bookbloggers #ForthcomingTitles #TBR

This month I added TWELVE new review commitments to my TBR mountain.

(All book descriptions are linked to Goodreads.)

I received EIGHT of these titles from NetGalley.

I received THREE of these titles from Edelweiss.

Do any of these titles sound good to you?

Are any of them on YOUR TBR?


Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – May 30, 2023 #NewBook #TheGoodOnes @pollystew @HarperCollins #NetGalley #TeaserTuesday #TuesdayBookBlog

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the titles from my own TBR.

This book is a title I received from Harper Collins via
NetGalley and I look forward to reading it soon.

Today, Tuesday May 30, 2023 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on June 6, 2023

“‘Bold, beautiful, savage and stunning. The Good Ones is a taut thriller, an elegant exploration of loss and the haunt of past mistakes, and a true page-turning mystery. I adored it.” — Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of “We Begin at the End”
Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN:  9780063234154 –  304 pages

1)  The Appalachian setting.

2)  Going ‘home’ to unearth long hidden secrets.

3) Missing person who seems all but forgotten except for her friend…

4) This is a debut novel and I’m always up for those.

First sentence of the prologue:

“The last time I saw Lauren Ballard, she was scraping a key along the side of a new cherry-red Chevy Silverado.”

Actual first paragraph:

“My mother had taught me that the fangs of a decapitated copperhead could still bite. After I’d struck with the machete, I stepped back to what I thought was a safe distance, but my heel banged into the lawnmower and I fell hard, landing on my palms before scrabbling backward like a crab, as the snake gave one final hiss that made my chest constrict.”

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, debut novels, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

“The Bookstore Sisters: a short story” by Alice Hoffman – Book Review @ahoffmanwriter #TheBookstoreSisters #ShortStory

If you’re looking for a charming yet thought-provoking little story look no further. I read this one while eating my lunchtime salad.

Isabel, a thirty-two year old divorce, is a New Yorker who works as a ‘dog walker’ in Manhattan. Originally she was from a tiny island off the coast of Maine. When her mother, then her father died, she became estranged from her elder sister over the future of the family’s bookstore and she escaped the island for the big city. When she receives an unexpected letter, she, along with a labrador retriever named Hank, travel to Maine.

Once home again, Isabel reconnects with her past and the people she left behind.

This is a story about returning to your roots, about familial love, being true to yourself, and about the love of books.

This is the second short story I’ve read by Alice Hoffman, and now I’m eager to read more of her work. Her characters were engaging and her settings easily imagined. Recommended.

I purchased this novella in Kindle format from Amazon.ca

Publication date: November 1, 2022

ASIN:  B0BB52CCND    36 pages

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical MagicThe World That We KnewThe Rules of MagicThe Marriage of OppositesPractical Magic, The Book of Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on EarthThe Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Dovekeepers, and in August 2023 The Invisible Hour. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

Connect with Alice Hoffman via her website, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, Short stories | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

“The Collected Regrets of Clover” by Mikki Brammer – Book Review @StMartinsPress #NetGalley #TheCollectedRegretsOfClover @mikkibrammer #BookReview

“There was something beautiful about the tenuous reality of being human.”

“From my experience, the ones who preferred not to think about it while living tended to have the most regrets while dying.”

It was very brave for Mikki Brammer to write her debut novel on the subject of death.  A topic that many find uncomfortable to talk about, read about, or even think about…

Somehow though, she has written a story about death that is uplifting. A hopeful, authentic story about overcoming your fears, finding a way out of loneliness, celebrating the life we’ve been given… in other words, ‘living your best life’. She expounds on the validity of grief and how we must almost embrace it to endure it in a healthy way. Even when others are hoping we’ll ‘get over it’ to make them feel more comfortable.

Clover Brooks, our protagonist, is a ‘death doula’. She actually had a master’s degree in thanatology. A word I had never heard of before reading this book.

At thirty-six years of age, she lives alone in a West Village New York brownstone, and despite the fact that almost nine million people live in New York City, she has only one friend – her eighty-seven year old neighbour. Other than her dog and two cats, Clover is a loner who loves to read and dislikes socializing because she feels inept in social situations. She came to live in the brownstone at six years of age after her parents death. Her grandfather brought her up and she adored him.

“It’s easy to glamorize the path you didn’t take.”

This was a novel that I’ll remember for a long time. It addressed some very interesting issues such as loneliness, fate, interconnections, and welcoming change into your life.

The ending was beautiful without being saccharine or unrealistic.  An outstanding debut! Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan via NetGalley.

ISBN: 9781250284396 – ASIN: ‎ ‎ B0B9KXL4R6 – 320 pages

Published May 9, 2023

Mikki Brammer is an Australian writer based in New York City. She spent her childhood in Tasmania before living in several different parts of Australia, as well as France and Spain.

In addition to fiction, Mikki writes about architecture, art, and design for publications including Architectural Digest, Dwell, ELLE Decor, Luxe Interiors + Design, Metropolis, and Surface.

“The Collected Regrets of Clover” is her first novel.

Connect with Mikki Brammer via her website, Twitter and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Literary fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

OverDrive is 20! some fun facts @OverDriveInc #LibraryLove @LibbyApp

OverDrive (parent company of Libby) is celebrating its 20th anniversary of digital lending this month. Started by Cleveland Public Library librarians, OverDrive has served millions across the globe (109 countries), connecting people of all ages to public library eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, comic books and more.

Did you know that the service predated the first Amazon Kindle by four years? Here are some additional fun facts:

  • 2003: 1st public library launched digital lending library: Cleveland Public Library
  • 2007: One millionth digital book loaned by public libraries from OverDrive partners
  • 2011: OverDrive platform and Amazon launched Kindle compatibility for library ebooks in the US
  • 2017: Libby, the award-winning library reading app, launched
  • 2018: One billionth digital book checked out through all OverDrive platforms
  • 2022: Los Angeles Public Library first to reach 10 million digital checkouts in calendar year
  • North American public libraries have seen a 117% increase in ebook and digital audiobook checkouts from 2018 to 2023, and a 55% increase in checkouts from 2020 to 2023 alone.
  • North American public library users’ digital magazine checkouts in Libby have grown 612% from December 2020 to January 2023 as many legacy publications have increased (or shifted) their availability in libraries, digitally.
  • One of North American public libraries’ biggest growth categories in the Libby app is comic books and graphic novels, which has increased 222% from January 2020 to January 2023.
  • Overall, the number of fiction checkouts have increased by 37% since 2020 and nonfiction checkouts have increased by 32% in that same time.
  • The number of fiction eBook checkouts have increased by 20% since 2020, while nonfiction eBook titles have increased by 16.6%.
  • The number of fiction audiobook checkouts have increased by 72% since 2020, while nonfiction audiobook titles have increased by 54%.

Posted in Ebooks and Ereaders, Library services | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday – revisiting my 25th #CoverLove post from May 2017 #ThrowbackThursday #BookCovers #Fictionophile

Hard for me to acknowledge that I’ve been doing these Cover Love posts for seven years now! Today I’m featuring my twenty-fifth Cover Love which displayed covers that had DANDELION CLOCKS on them. Forty titles are featured here.

I find myself attracted to certain kinds of covers. Dandelions on fiction covers is always a good choice. They symbolize wishes and also the ephemeral quality of life.

Are you tempted by book covers that feature dandelions?

Just click on the cover to read the book’s info from Goodreads.

If you have the time (and interest)

please feel free to visit any of the other many posts in this series

Cover Love – some of which I’ve updated recently

What is your favorite ‘Cover Love‘ series post so far?

Have you found anything to add to your TBR?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Have you been following my Cover Love blog series from the beginning, or are you a new visitor? Have you ever found a book on Cover Love that you’ve added to your TBR list?Thanks SO much for visiting Fictionophile today!

Posted in Cover Love series, Throwback Thursday | Tagged | 6 Comments

“We All Die In The End” by Elizabeth Merry – Book Review #ShortStories

Like many small towns everywhere, this little town has a real cross-section of residents. Some are quirky, some lonely, some kind, and some mean spirited. They have a variety of lives and lifestyles, as well as individual problems and worries.

Some of the town folk are trapped – either by circumstance, or by their own fears and insecurities. Some residents are longing for escape, while others are complacent with their lives and situations. Some finding joy in their lives while others are merely enduring theirs.

This book of short stories was extremely well written. The authentic characters sprang to life from the pages. Often the tales were quite dark, but convincing in their simplicity. Here are nineteen inter-connected short stories, but the connections are tenuous. Every human emotion is touched upon at one time or another. Some of the topics are common to every town, everywhere… jealousy, grief, sadness, marriage, loneliness, resentment, mental illness, parenting, encumbrances, hope, and despair.

I could almost hear the Irish jargon and lilt to the sentences.

I found these stories to be compelling reading. Finishing one then eagerly starting another. Highly recommended! A great choice for May which is Short Story month!

I read this title via my Kindle Unlimited subscription. All opinions are my own.ASIN: B087N43Q82 –  ISBN: 9798689101705 – 230 pages

Elizabeth Merry was born in Bangor, Co Down on the north east coast of Ireland and she still has family there whom she often visits. She has lived most of her adult life in Dublin.

Elizabeth began writing many years ago, mostly short stories for children, and then she tried a novel which was published but is out of print now.

Connect with Elizabeth Merry via her website or Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Kindle Unlimited Read, Short stories | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Top Five Tuesday: 5 books that have something to do with AIR #Top5Tuesday #TuesdayBookBlog

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Bionic Bookworm, now hosted by Meeghan Reads. If you’re interested in participating, check out their blog to get the details and the prompts for each week!

This week, we’re picking out books that have something to do with air.

So, with no further ado, here are my choices:

(as I usually do, I’ve linked the covers to the Goodreads page for the book)My review of “A Shape On The Air” by Julia Ibbotson

“Coming Up For Air” by Patti Callahan Henry is on my TBR

“An Air That Kills” by Andrew Taylor is the first novel in his Lydmouth series and it is on my TBR

“The Burning Air” by Erin Kelly is a novel on my TBR

“Thin Air” by Lisa Gray is the first novel in her Jessica Shaw thriller series and it is on my TBR

Posted in Top 5 Tuesday | 3 Comments