Review: Burning September by Melissa Simonson

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One meaning of the title of this book was much more literal than I was expecting! Perhaps more surprising though was how powerful this book ended up being – one of my faves of this year, for sure!

Burning September by Melissa Simonson
Genre: Literary Fiction

Kat’s life is going exactly the way her sister has planned it, until a detective shows up at their front door early one morning and arrests Caroline for murder.

Suddenly and utterly alone, Kat doesn’t know how to navigate a world without Caroline, the woman who raised her. During the aftermath of the crime, Kat tries to figure out who she is without her sister, but unlocking those doors only leads to more troubling questions.

Kat realizes the one person she thought would never lie to her had, and quite frequently. Sorting through the skeletons and secrets might be more than she can handle, but it’s a necessary evil if she ever wants to see her sister acquitted.

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I did have some issues with this book, which I’ll get into below, but I still really enjoyed it. The writing is so strong and that’s immediately evident from the first page. I was really impressed the entire way through! I think this is an author I’ll enjoy coming back to again and again, if this book is anything to judge by.

There’s also a lot of humour in this one, mostly in the dialogue as the sisters can be quite snappy with their remarks. Here’s one of my fave quotes:

“This is quite possibly the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done. And I’m counting that one time you asked me why it was called stainless steel.” (p. 197-98)

At its core, this story is about the relationship between two sisters. Katya has always lived in Caroline’s shadow, her beautiful sister who always turns heads and has everything go her way. Until Caroline is arrested for murder. Now Katya is left on her own, struggling to understand who she is without her sister.

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Author Interview: Robin Cote

This month’s featured author is quite inspiring with her honesty and desire to empower others. Robin Cote’s autobiography details her personal experience with abuse but also how she’s learned to move beyond the label of ‘victim’. Learn more about her and this powerful read below!

life imageMy Life, Victim No More! The Ugly Truth Exposed by Robin Cote
Genre: Non-Fiction / Self-Help

Some people are tested more than others. Some are lucky enough to learn the toughest lessons and manage to survive. Others aren’t so lucky. Domestic violence, verbal and emotional abuse, rape, bullying and death. This is one woman’s journey and how she makes it through to become a survivor.

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And now, learn all about the author…

Sam/Spines: Let’s start off with a little game to learn more about you: what are two truths and a lie about yourself?

Robin Cote: Truth 1. I am a survivor of domestic abuse
Truth 2. I’m very comfortable in my own skin
Lie- The process of writing a book comes very easy to me (I wish)

S: How did you get started in writing?

RC: I guess you can say my beginning into writing was journaling. I began to journal in my late teen years and it progressed into many different things. I write about real life stuff so I found it was my way of dealing with life’s growing pains and experiences.

S: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

RC: Writing kinda chose me. I fell in love with it as a way to get things out of my system and I found it very easy to put words down on paper. Very cathartic.

S: What other jobs have you had?

RC: I worked in radio for 26 years as a DJ, Reporter and Producer, worked in television for PBS and several TV shows, Senior Writer and Asst. Editor for a music publication, Sports Writer for an NHL team, Extra, Actor and Stunt person in films and commercials since I was a kid (still dabble in it), massage therapist, worked in a steel foundry, built and ran a very successful Landscape Design and Installation company, and other multiple odd jobs through the years as a single mother.

S: Can you tell us a little about your book?

RC: My book is called, My Life Victim No More. The Ugly Truth Exposed. It’s a portion of my life story, probably some of the most grueling and heart-wrenching stuff anyone can ever experience. I take the reader on a journey into things like domestic violence, verbal and emotional abuse, rape, bullying, and death. It’s not meant to be one of those things that show I’m a victim. It’s meant to inspire the reader by showing that we are pretty resilient as human beings and we can rise above to not only survive life’s challenges but we can overcome and be successful at life.

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Spotlight: Scythe of Darkness by Dawn Husted

Happy release day to Dawn Husted with her book, Scythe of Darkness! You can get a sneak peek below (and enter a giveaway for the book :D) and be sure to head over to Facebook for the release party to celebrate with the author and other readers!

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Scythe of Darkness
by Dawn Husted

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

For Mia Hieskety, surviving high school meant focusing on exams and avoiding stupid parties. After breaking up with the only boyfriend she ever had, dating was off the agenda. That is, until Thanatos came along.

Inexplicably drawn to Thanatos, she’s determined to find out who he is and why he insists on wearing gloves to school. Something is off about him. And it’s as if she can feel him when he’s near.

Without warning, she’s thrust into a sinister world and discovers a truth that she never expected. When a supernatural connection puts Mia’s life at risk, she doesn’t know who to trust–especially Thanatos. But what if she’s in love with him?

Bold, irresistible, and beautifully written, Scythe of Darkness explores a star-crossed destiny in a whole new way. Don’t miss this hot YA urban fantasy!

Get it here: Amazon | Kobo

Enter below to win a paperback copy of Scythe of Darkness!

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Chapter one excerpt:

The compulsion to find him made me slightly crazy.

My knees shook, vibrating my full-size bed; my headboard tapped the wall like Morse code. Restlessness overtook my feet. I wished my parents would leave already.

The same moment I tossed another knife, a knock jolted the door. “Mia, we’re going. Sure you don’t want to come? Fresh air,” my mom urged in her counselor voice, an unfortunate result from all the years as adviser at my little brother’s school.

I flung my third knife, whipping it next to the others. Knife throwing calmed my nerves, and mine were buzzing like phones during study hall. Adding to my angst, the anniversary of my kidnapping loomed around the corner.

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