Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Pet Sematary
Release Date: February 26th, 2019(Movie Tie-In)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Horror
Pages: 395 Pages
Series: None
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing…as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. Then there are the warnings to Louis both real and from the depths of his nightmares that he should not venture beyond the borders of this little graveyard where another burial ground lures with seductive promises and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. As Louis is about to discover for himself sometimes, dead is better

“I’m going crazy, Louis thought wonderingly. Wheeeeee!”  

I am making my way through Stephen King's work, my own personal bookworm challenge! This is my fourth by King. I have to admit, I may be cheating a little by making my way through his thinner books before I tackle the heftier ones...I'm looking at you IT!

I enjoyed Pet Sematary for the most part. As a child, I was a big fan of the movie, I thought it was super creepy, especially Pascow and Zelda's characters. I shudder just thinking about them. Their characters creeped me out just as much in the book. They were well-written and added a spook factor to the story. Louis was also a spectacular character. Watching him become more unhinged as the story unfolded added that extra thrill to the reading experience. 

Having said all that, I did find that the book dragged on a bit. In my opinion, there was a lot of dialogue that we could have done without. A lot of it just felt like filler. The ending was exciting and fast-paced but I wish there was more of that "page-turning" vibe like his previous books that I have read. A lot of people have said that this is one of King's scariest novels, however, it did not scare me at all. I will say, being a bit of a horror movie fanatic, I am a little harder to spook. I'd say Pet Sematary is more eerie and macabre rather than scary. 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and have yet to be disappointed by King's stories. I am definitely understanding more and more how he has built such a horror empire and fan base! On to the next! 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six
Release Date: March 5th, 209
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 368 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

“We love broken, beautiful people. And it doesn't get much more obviously broken and more classically beautiful than Daisy Jones.”  

Every once and a while you will come across a book that will completely embed itself into your heart and soul. Despite the fact that the story is fictional, it's characters not real, it will nestle itself deep within you and leave an imprint that only a small few have done before. This book did exactly that. Daisy Jones and the Six has buried itself into my heart and will stay there forever. 

Daisy Jones and the Six follows the rise and eventual fall of the fictional band by the same name. It is a cocaine-fulled, whiskey-soaked, rock n' roll adventure that will have your heart pounding, aching and breaking. Taylor Jenkins Reid created magic. She penned some of the most diverse characters that you will fall utterly in love/hate with. You will love these characters so fiercely that they will bring to the surface some of your deepest emotions. They will make you laugh, cry, cringe and bubble with anger. It is one brilliant dysfunctional family. 

The story unfolds in an interview style with each character, and I loved that delivery. I found it really gave us a personal and intimate reading experience rather than the book told to us through multiple perspectives through chapters or through the point of view of the author. The delivery really added to the beautiful tone of the novel. 

This was my first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but it will not be my last. Her writing is absolutely impeccable. Flawless. Her words flowed lyrically off of the pages. The story was so expressive and emotional. 

Daisy Jones and the Six is a beautiful chaos that will leave you breathless. Cancel your plans because you will not be able to put this book down until you finish! 

**I also learned that this is being adapted into an Amazon series! Whoo hoo!**


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 447 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
“Sometimes she's my personal Yoda. If Yoda was a woman and had a gold grill. Unfortunately, she doesn't know who Yoda is.” 

You know that moment after you finish a book where you close it, clutch it to your heart and let out a sigh? You just sit there for a few more moments with your eyes closed, collecting yourself. I am going to start calling those the 'Angie Thomas Moments', because I had the same thing happen with The Hate U Give and now with On the Come Up

Angie Thomas's second book On the Come Up was just as beautiful, honest and heartfelt as her first. On the Come Up, also taking place in Garden Heights, tells the story of Bri, a 16-year-old girl who is going after her dream of becoming a female rapper. 

As we know with Angie Thomas, this story does not come without its hardships and difficulties. She writes deep and powerful novels that tackle real and relevant issues, and that stays true with On the Come Up. As the story unfolds, Bri and her family are trying to survive through some of life's hardest hands and situations. It's through these emotional times that Bri turns to her music. Her anger, hurt, frustrations, and sadness comes out in her rhymes. Her lyrics leaping off of the pages and swirling around you. It made for a really powerful reading experience. 


Bri was such a compelling character. She was smart, talented and funny! She gave this book so much personality! I found myself smiling or laughing my way through a lot of it. Bri may be the main star of On the Come Up but all of the characters brought this novel home. Malik and Sonny, her best friends, were fantastic. They were heart-warming and funny. 


I was not surprised one bit that I loved this novel. Angie Thomas had me hooked since her debut. She will be an auto-buy author of mine from here on out. I eagerly look forward to her future work, but until then, will happily re-read her previous novels to tide me over. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Top 5 Books Where the Hype was Real!

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your Instagram or social media and there is just that one book that everyone keeps talking about?! That is happening to me right now with Where the Crawdads Sing which I have yet to read, but I WILL! Below are my Top 5 Books where, in my opinion, the hype was real!!

Verity

Good god, this book twisted me up! I heard so many things about it, but once I heard that people had to start a Facebook Support Group after reading it, I knew I had to see what the hell everyone was talking about. The hype was real!

They Both Die at the End

Whenever I came across a recommendation post on Facebook this one always flooded the comments. Ok, I give! This book emotionally destroyed me. And despite the epic spoiler of a title, it does not stop you from snot-crying all over the place!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

I was really nervous about reading this one. Again, I knew it was probably going to be a tear-jerker, but what if I was that one person that didn't respond to it like most readers were? Well, the hype was real with this one. It was one of the most beautifully written story's I have read to date!

Five Feet Apart

Honestly, this one took me a couple chapters to get into. During those chapters, I thought "I am going to be shunned from the YA Book Community for not liking this one" but after chapter two or three I was completely and utterly in love! 

The Hate U Give
I don't think I need to explain this one too much. The hype was DAMN REAL with this one!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Suspicious Minds(Stranger Things #1) by Gwenda Bond

Suspicious Minds (Stranger Things, #1)
Release Date: February 7th, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Genre: Sci-Fi | Fiction
Pages: 304 Pages
Series: Stranger Things #1
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon


A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.
It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be further from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.
But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines. When word gets around about an important government experiment in the small town of Hawkins, she signs on as a test subject for the project, codenamed MKUltra. Unmarked vans, a remote lab deep in the woods, mind-altering substances administered by tightlipped researchers . . . and a mystery the young and restless Terry is determined to uncover.
But behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory—and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner—lurks a conspiracy greater than she could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including one so mysterious the world doesn’t know she exists—a young girl with unexplainable, superhuman powers and a number instead of a name: 008.
Amid the rising tensions of the new decade, Terry Ives and Martin Brenner have begun a different kind of war—one where the human mind is the battlefield. 

"Alice felt out of joint here, in the Beneath as she'd begun to think of it, like she didn't fit. A daydream of decay, filled with shadows."

Anyone who even knows me the slightest knows that I adore the show Stranger Things. Even at 31 years old, I find the characters so relatable. I always considered myself a bit of an outcast child and always gravitated towards books and film that had similar characters. Stand by Me, The Goonies, Sand Lot, the list goes on. Even in adulthood, I'm still drawn those kinds of characters. When I learned that Netflix teamed up with Random House to bring us a series of books, I was pretty pumped!

Suspicious Minds was everything I hoped it would be and so much more! The first book in the series is a prequel. We dive into the back story of Eleven's mother, Terry Ives, Hawkins lab, Kali, and Mr. Brenner. The author flawlessly blended the facts we know from the show and interlaced them into her own story. I feel she did the characters and fans great justice at producing this in-depth back story. Bond also crafted beautiful characters! They were penned with the same qualities that we admired in the show. Each character has their time to shine and you'll fall in love with each and every one of them. Andrew and "the fellowship" stole my heart. 

I enjoyed every second of my Suspicious Minds. Like the show, the book is an action-packed experience. But, just as the series, it is packed with lots of heart and soul as well. I sat on the edge of my seat, I love and I cried. I can't wait for the next book in the series! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

The Quiet You Carry
Release Date: March 5th, 2019
Publisher: Flux
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 272 Pages
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:Website
Buy the Book

Victoria Parker knew her dad's behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights. 
Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.But some secrets won't stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can't stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won't leave you alone?
“No one can really see the quiet you carry, unless you let them.” 

When looking at the people around you, know that each one is dealing with something in their lives. It may be small or it could be so massive, it is taking everything in them just to get one foot in front of the other. Everyone is carrying something. 

I was not sure what to expect when I first began reading The Quiet You Carry. I knew it was probably going to be tough at times, and I knew it would probably stir up some emotion; what I was not expecting was how invested I would become with Victoria and her story. My heart absolutely ached for her. Victoria may be a fictional character, but her story is very real for many, many youths in the world. There are far too many children that have been failed by their parents/guardians and by the foster system. Victoria's story struck a chord with me. I cannot relate on a personal level the horrors of manipulation and abuse she went through, but I experienced a great amount of sympathy for her. 

The author states that she entered the foster care system when she was 12. I feel she represented the thoughts and feelings of children in foster care authentically. I truly believe they will find solace in her book. They will find a friend, and maybe, hopefully, will not feel so alone. 

Her writing was absolutely beautiful. She translated a heart-wrenching story into a hauntingly beautiful novel. Despite the ugliness that Victoria had to endure, she still had a softness and light to her.

The Quiet You Carry is far more than a book. It is a voice. It is a voice for the children and youth that had theirs stolen from them. It is an advocate. A supporting ally. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler

House on Fire
Release Date: March 12th, 2019
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Genre: Fiction | Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 416 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

Divorce lawyer Leigh Huyett knows all too well that most second marriages are doomed to fail. But five years in, she and Pete Conley have a perfectly blended family of her children and his. To celebrate their anniversary, they grab some precious moments of alone time and leave Pete’s son Kip, a high school senior, in charge of Leigh’s fourteen-year-old daughter Chrissy at their home.
Driving back on a rainy Friday night, their cell phones start ringing. After a raucous party celebrating his college acceptance to Duke and his upcoming birthday, Kip was arrested for drunk driving after his truck crashed into a tree. And he wasn’t alone—Chrissy was with him.Twelve hours later, Chrissy is dead and Kip is charged with manslaughter.Kip has always been a notorious troublemaker, but he’s also a star student with a dazzling future ahead of him. At first, Leigh does her best to rally behind Pete and help Kip through his ordeal. Until he changes his story, and claims that he wasn’t driving after all—Chrissy was, and he swears there is a witness.Leigh is stunned that he would lie about such a thing, while Pete clutches onto the story as the last, best hope to save his son, throwing his energy and money into finding this elusive witness. As they hurtle toward Kip’s trial date, husband and wife are torn between loyalty to their children and to each other, while the mystery of what really happened that night intensifies.This richly conceived and tightly plotted psychological exploration of family and tragedy will have you racing toward its shocking and thought-provoking conclusion.

Jodi Picoult, Colleen Hoover and now, Bonnie Kistler. I love discovering new authors that spellbind me with their beautiful storytelling and Kistler did just that!

"COULD YOU FORGIVE YOUR DAUGHTER'S KILLER-IF HE WAS YOUR SON?"
Talk about a gripping tagline! This book had me hooked before I even cracked it open, and the story that lays between the cover will wrap its firm grasp around you and will not let you go!

House on Fire is delivered from multiple points of view. We get a front row seat to this emotional family drama that will have you both clutching your heart and bubbling over with every emotion imaginable. Early on, the main premise unfolds and a flurry of events quickly follow suit. The voice of each character is so powerful and raw. Your mind will try to sort the events to draw your own truth, your own conclusion to what really happened. Who will you believe?

House on Fire is slightly over 400 pages, yet reads very quickly. The author doesn't drown the book in unnecessary detail or long-winded dialogue. I read this book at a fairly quick pace, eager to learn how everything unravels. I found Kistler's writing style very pleasant to read. She crafted a heart-wrenching story that shows the dynamic between a family when the absolute worst thing can happen. The struggle between a family when tragedy strikes and different opinions are formed. She captured the painful sorrow and commotion beautifully. The emotions radiating off of the pages!

House on Fire is a deeply thought-provoking tale that will have you forming your own opinions and theories. A wonderful debut from Bonnie Kistler. I eagerly look forward to her future work!
 
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