Another July 25th release for the #CJSReads2017 trio!
A big thanks to William Morrow Books for providing us with advanced copies in exchange for our honest reviews!
This book was previously released by Bonnier Zaffre a couple months ago under the title EYES LIKE MINE. Now being released as THE LOST ONES by Sheena Kamal.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars
Nora hasn’t had the easiest life. She lives a solitary existence, trusting no one and working for an investigative company where she puts her talents to use. In one of her interviews, she finds out that the girl she gave up for adoption 15 years ago has gone missing. In her search for her, the past creeps up on her, her sobriety gets shaken and she has to confront the man that almost killed her. Just how much more can this poor woman take?
I’m so blessed to have read so many GREAT debut novels this year and this is no different! It especially spoke to me after reading the author’s essay on how she came to write this book and how she incorporates her own experiences into this. I highly recommend you read this if you can (I have posted it on my blog). The nuances she brings to Nora and her experiences made me fall in love with this flawed protagonist. For me this was more of a character driven book and I was hooked. The further you read, the more layers you find to Nora’s characters and to see her progress, decline and try to come to terms with things far buried was quite the ride.
The other members of the “cast” were hard to like (which is fine by me!). Nora’s sister is deplorable (though I can almost see her point of view), Brazuca (her AA sponsor) is a bit out there and does this stay-away-from-me but I’m-here-because-I-care thing, her bosses are lovable and trusting and the only stability in her life outside of her dog, Whisper, who chose her one day and became her lifeline. Whisper is quite the character herself with her own issues and I LOVE her!
Overall a fantastic debut from Sheena. Not only does she weave a tale, but she really integrates the history of Canada and the social issues involved, giving the reader a full sense of her knowledge. I truly look forward to more of Sheena’s work as I only see great things coming our way. And if you haven’t interacted with her via social media, you really should – she’s quite the delight!
Sam’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars
When the phone rings, Nora is expecting another work phone call; instead, she is surprised to hear a man on the other end stating his daughter is missing. Nora’s daughter: the baby she gave up fifteen years earlier cannot be found. Grappling with not wanting to get involved and wanting to be helpful, Nora struggles until she sees a picture of the girl. The girl with eyes just like her. Once she is on the case, Nora is thrown into the past; the past that she has worked hard to forget and danger that she has longed to escape.
The Lost Ones, previously published in the UK under the name Eyes Like Mine, introduces a brand new anti-heroine with flawed, recovering addict, Nora Watts. Working as a PI and journalist, Nora finds herself caught up in the case of her missing daughter, a daughter she had given up years before. Along with the help of her ex-sponsor, her employers and her sister, Nora begins the hunt for her daughter and gets wrapped up a parallel crime when one of her co-workers is murdered. This upcoming mystery thriller by Sheena Kamal will have you glued to the pages and flipping rapidly to understand how all these moving pieces fit together.
Much of the novel is spent discussing and rolling out Nora’s backstory. In fact, the search for the missing daughter, Bonnie, almost becomes secondary to rolling out Nora’s character. I, for one, loved this. Between learning about her seedy upbringing and her tempestuous past (her rehab stints and her addictions), Kamal lays out a complex character that takes the entire novel to unfold. The author’s notes at the end make it seem like this will not be the last novel for this character and I am pleased. Nora was very likable; her vulnerability, wit and scarred personality made her incredibly relatable and appealing.
I also loved the setting of this story. Call me biased, but this one is set in Canada. As a Canadian blogger, it is so nice to be able to see a novel set in your country! The plot points discuss certain issues that are very prevalent in Canadian society. Specifically focusing on Aboriginal issues as Nora comes from mixed race heritage. There is discussion surrounding the of assimilation of Native cultures and the missing Aboriginal women. I loved seeing this develop throughout the pages.
My only complaint with this title was that I found that it dragged at times, especially in the middle of the story; this one hit the ground running and I wanted the novel to keep its momentum and be a little faster paced.
Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a twist with their protagonists and an anti-heroine to root for.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
THE LOST ONES by Sheena Kamal was previously released in the UK under a different title, EYES LIKE MINE. This thriller, set in Canada, follows a woman on a bleak mission to find the daughter she gave up 15 years ago. Will she be able to make it through the streets to find Bonnie?
The story begins with a phone call – a call that Nora Watts has been dreading since the day she gave up her newborn for adoption, 15 years ago. Bonnie has disappeared, and with her record of running away, the police aren’t looking for her. Her adoptive parents are completely desperate, so they reach out to Nora in a last ditch effort.
Having been apart of the foster system then having to fend for herself on the streets, Nora sets out with nothing but her dog, Whisper, to go find Bonnie. On her journey through the streets of Vancouver to the icy mountains of the Canadian interior, she must face the events of her past in order to find her daughter. Her searching leads to a conspiracy and Nora soon finds herself in danger – she endures this all to find the girl she wishes was never even born.
Nora is a character you grow to love. For all of her flaws and what she’s endured in her past. Throughout the book we get flashbacks and get to see the events that lead to her deciding to put Bonnie up for adoption right after she was born. My only real complaint about this book was the pacing. It started really fast and drew me in, then there was a portion in the middle of the book where it slowed down a lot and started to lose me. I’m glad I kept going though, because I ended up really enjoying the book! Kamal did a great job with the scenery! I’m not Canadian, but being in Minnesota I’m basically Canada and it’s fun reading books where it’s set somewhere different.
Overall, if you want a great mystery with a lovable anti-heroine, then this is the book for you!
Did you read this one as EYES LIKE MINE or THE LOST ONES? I’m very curious as to why the title was changed for the different releases between countries.