Friday, December 14, 2018

We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott

We Told Six Lies
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult | Thriller
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: Egalley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Remember how many lies we told, Molly? It’s enough to make my head spin. You were wild when I met you, and I was mad for you. But then something happened. And now you’re gone. 
But don’t worry. I’ll find you. I just need to sift through the story of us to get to where you might be. I’ve got places to look, and a list of names. The police have a list of names, too. See now? There’s another lie. There is only one person they’re really looking at, Molly. And that’s yours truly.


Buckle up because this book is going to take you on one wild ride! I read this book on my Kindle while at the gym and I swear it made me amp up my Cardio! I was flying through the pages so fast, devouring every word and eager to know how everything unraveled.  

The book is told from the position of Now, Then, and Molly; Now and Then is from Cobain's perspective. I love that Victoria Scott crafted it this way. It was delivered flawlessly and really added to the overall suspense and intensity of the story. 

Scott also created outstanding characters. Cobain is somewhat of an outcast and when he meets his match in Molly, a uniquely beautiful, slightly broken girl, Cobain is almost immediately infatuated by her. It's not long that he is fallen under Molly's spell. Molly comes from a past that resulted in her putting up the highest, most cemented walls around her heart. She doesn't allow many, if any at all, to see her true self.  These traits of Molly's play a big role in the story. We Told Six Lies will have you questioning everything. You'll think that you have it all figured out only to have your theories ripped to shreds. 

We Told Six Lies has many side stories and flashbacks but they are all vital to the overall story. The Author gives you a lot of great background story yet it doesn't feel bogged down or too detailed. It was a necessity for the novel and it was all unpacked beautifully. 

Victoria Scott created a fast-paced, nail-biting reading experience. It's not the most unpredictable storyline yet she penned it in such a way that will leave you breathless and jaw-dropped. I loved every minute of it!


Monday, December 3, 2018

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

Dear Evan Hansen
Release Date: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 368 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


Dear Evan Hansen,Today's going to be an amazing day and here's why...When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be?No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

What rock am I living under where I have never seen nor heard of this musical?! I am embarrassed and ashamed!
Image result for hiding in shame gif

Thankfully, I was able to get my hands on this book and was introduced to the outstanding story that is Dear Evan Hansen.  This story was beautifully written and packs quite the punch. It tackles the trials and tribulations of surviving high school, depression, suicide, and the effect all of these things have on the people and families around them.

Despite the heavy subject matter, there is a humourous undertone to the novel. Evan, although mostly at the expense of himself, has a great wit to him. And Jared, Jared is spectacular and he and Evan's back and forth banter definitely provides some comedic relief.

The novel delivered a great background into Evan's life without weighing down the reading experience. Little bits of Evan's life are sprinkled throughout the entire novel that you feel you are really getting to know this beautiful character. Although the book is geared towards Young adults, I find any reader would be a suitable audience for this book. It's a deep and raw story with a powerful voice. And there will be at least one character someone can relate to, whether that be Evan, Conner, Zoe or even Evan or Connor's parents. I feel each character can offer a common ground with each reader.

I truly loved every minute of Dear Evan Hansen. As we are wrapping up 2018 I am looking back at all of the amazing books I've read, yet this one definitely moves its way to the top 5. It's tragically beautiful, almost a dark comedy. I hope to finally see the musical one day!

“I'm left with a loneliness so overpowering it threatens to seep from my eyes. I have no one. Unfortunately, that's not fantasy. That's all natural, 100 percent organic, unprocessed reality.”

Monday, November 19, 2018

Books That Tackle the Tough Stuff

I was inspired to do this post after I read 14 Life-Changing Books That Deal with Important Social Issues on Epic Reads. If you have not checked that out yet, head on over there and give it a read!
I tend to gravitate towards books that get really raw and honest. I love it when an author will push the boundaries to bring awareness to their readers. Many more authors are stepping forward and giving voice to some very important and relevant issues; issues like rape, gun violence, drug addiction, racism and so much more. Below, I have compiled a (small) list. It does not even break the surface of the number of fantastic books I've read that have proven to be a powerful force, however, these books have left quite the mark on me and are ones that I am quick to recommend when people are looking for a powerful read.

What books have left an impact on you?




1.  People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

People Kill People

People kill people. Guns just make it easier.

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?

One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?


2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


3. Sadie by Courtney Summers



Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.


4. The War Outside by Monica Hesse



It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day, and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.

With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone--even each other?


5. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson



“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”
At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.


6. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt



A story of breaking down and growing up, for young adults.

Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own - until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high - the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose - and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical, Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt is a story of breaking down and growing up.


7. Dime by E.R. Frank



The realities of teen prostitution are revealed in this eye-opening, heartbreaking story from the author of America, which Booklist called "a piercing, unforgettable novel" and Kirkus Reviews deemed "a work of sublime humanity."

As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the foster care system, Dime just wants someone to care about her, to love her. A family. And that is exactly what she gets-a daddy and two "wifeys." So what if she has to go out and earn some coins to keep her place? It seems a fair enough exchange for love.

Dime never meant to become a prostitute. It happened so gradually, she pretty much didn't realize it was happening until it was too late.

But when a new "wifey" joins the family and Dime finds out that Daddy doesn't love her the way she thought he did, will Dime have the strength to leave? And will Daddy let her?


8. Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick


Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.


9.  Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow



Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.



10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher



You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.



Monday, November 12, 2018

How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

How She Died, How I Lived
Release Date: November 13th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Only Jamie--beautiful, saintly Jamie--was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed.
On the eve of Kyle's sentencing a year after Jamie's death, all the other "chosen ones" are coping in various ways. But our tenacious narrator is full of anger, stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she tries to piece together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead.Now she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie's boyfriend--knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. Is hope possible in the face of such violence? Is forgiveness? How do you go on living when you know it could have been you instead?
The Young Adult literary world is having quite the movement of its own. Authors are writing bolder stories that tackle real-life issues. They are breaking down barriers and giving voices to many.  How She Died, How I Lived is no exception.

Mary Crockett penned an emotionally raw novel that will leave you thinking about it long after you've finished. The story tackles the aftermath of the violent murder of a teenage girl by a fellow classmate. The author does a tremendous job at capturing the emotional intensity of this story. She crafted multiple layers that provided a wide perspective of how each character was impacted.

A small character cast adds to the overall tone of the novel. You don't get lost in too many side stories. It was just the perfect amount to achieve the emotion of the storyline. Aside from the subject matter, there was a light undertone that shined through that provided a bit of a relief at times.

How She Died, How I Lived is more than just a story about death. It is about life after death. It's about the ripple of effect of those still left on earth. Even those affected who didn't quite know the victim that well. It's also a story about forgiveness. How forgiving isn't a weakness, it's a necessary step to moving on. It's about figuring out who you are now; since the person you once were has been ripped away from you. Or that person just doesn't quite fit right anymore. How She Died, How I Lived is an intense powerhouse of a novel.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Grim Lovelies (Grim Lovelies, #1)
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 384 Pages
Series: Grim Lovelies #1
Format: ARC
Source:  From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.
Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price. 

Gargoyles and Beasties and Witches, Oh my! Grim Lovelies is an enchanting tale that will take you down its dark and twisted road. 

Grim Lovelies is a book that you will want to return to, year after year, as a loved tradition. I can already see myself, this time next year, as the wind chills and the leaves are bold and colourful, curling up to this book and revisiting its magical world.

I adored and savoured every single moment of this story. Megan Shepherd, as if casting a spell herself, lures you into the world of the Beasties and the dark magic that surrounds them. Shepherd paints a beautiful setting, placing you right in the palm of its Parisian hands. You could smell the lavender, taste the tea, feel the warmth of the magic pulsing off of the pages. It was a delicious reading experience!

With this beautiful setting comes an even more decadent character cast. The book is told from the perspective of Anouk, a beastie that was Mada Vittora's house servant. I loved Anouk. I found her to be a powerful main character. She is not a damsel in distress, she is a rockstar! Then we have Cricket, another strong and bold female character that is witty and seriously kick ass. Beau is the love interest in the story. I think Megan Shepherd gave us just the perfect about of romance. It is not the main storyline, nor is it really the second. It is a pleasant undertone of the novel. A beautiful reminder that despite the darkness, there is still beauty, there is still love.

There is so much that can be said of Grim Lovelies it holds so much in its 384 pages, and yet could have gone far beyond that. I love that this is a series. The author does a spectacular job of setting up the potential storylines for the next book to come, which I am already eagerly awaiting! Aside from it being thrilling and heart-pounding, Grim Lovelies is also a story about self-discovery and growth. A story about finding one's self right in the midst of chaos. A phoenix rising out of the ashes.


“You thirst for magic so you can exact revenge. You want to destroy, to tear down. I see it in your eyes."
"And what's wrong with that?"
"Nothing, my dear, as long as you don't mind living in a broken world.” 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little

Confessions of a Teenage Leper
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Canada | Penguin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 304 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For honest review

Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She's hot, she's popular, she's a cheerleader and she's going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It'll all be hers. 
Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can't even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!
But it's during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen's Disease. She's becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she's on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn't like what she sees. . . 
But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She's tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she's tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen's Disease, aka leprosy. 
Despite the heavy storyline, Confessions of a Teenage Leper was witty, quirky and a really fun read!

Abby, a literal Regina George, is given a pretty harsh reality check. A girl who uses her looks to charm her way through life is diagnosed with Hansons Disease, aka Leprosy. She loses her friends and everything she has built in her shallow world.

I really loved the way Ashley Little crafted Abby's character. You really do kind of dislike her in the beginning, and her attitude can definitely make you cringe. But, all of that was necessary to get the full grasp of her transformation throughout the book. It is a great story of self-growth. Abby struggles to grasp her diagnosis and goes through all the natural stages of coming to terms with it.

Aside from Abby, we are given a pretty great character cast. Each character adds charm and depth to the entire story.

Confessions of a Teenager Leper was not what I expected at all. It is filled with so much personality. At times heart-wrenching it was just as much heart-warming. A wonderful reading experience! 

Monday, September 24, 2018

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

The War Outside
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 336 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

A stunning novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal from Monica Hesse, the Edgar Award-winning and bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat
It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.
Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.
With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone--even each other?

The War Outside is one of those books that you hug tightly to your chest and let out a deep sigh as soon as you've finished the last page. The story and its characters will embed themselves deep into your soul.

The War Outside was a perspective of WW2 that I have never known. I did not know about these internment camps and their existence. It's another heartwrenching fact of that time. Although The War Outside may be fiction, I am sure its story is very true for the people that were involved. I'm sure if they could have read The War Outside they would have found a little piece of themselves in one of the characters.

This is my first book by Monica Hesse but it will not be my last. She crafted an emotional story about 2 girls that, despite the rules of society, developed an unbreakable bond. The War Outside is a very character driven novel. It is not a story about a war. It is a beautiful tale about 2 girls with a war happening around them. Hesse approached this story with a fine delicacy. It's as if Haruko and Margot were in the room with her, confiding their stories, whispering their secrets and she was just transcribing them to paper.

The War Outside is a book that you'll want to savour. You will want to take your time reading each word, not rushing, although it will be tough to not devour it. It's dual perspective will give you a deep look into each character and the own wars within themselves and their families that they are dealing with.

Get cozy, curl up with your favourite blanket (and a box of tissues) and delve into the stories of Haruko and Margot, but be prepared, once you meet them, you'll never forget them. 

I read a book, this book was called The War Outside and I will never forget it.


 
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