Thursday, January 17, 2019

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends with Us
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 367 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Local library
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. 
I am so late to the Colleen Hoover party but she has been on my radar for a looong time! Friends, bloggers, co-workers, everyone I know has raved about her. The first book I read from her was All Your Perfects, which I received for review in 2018. I was instantly hooked! I am now making my way through her backlog and decided It Ends with Us to be my next choice!

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Never, have I experienced such an emotional rollercoaster!

This book WRECKED me; I am not exaggerating one bit. I laughed, I cried and there were moments where I wanted to strangle the words right off the pages.

It Ends with Us is the definition of 'Just one more chapter'! I found myself devouring this book any chance I could and even contemplated canceling all plans and calling in sick to work just so I could continue reading...Who needs sleep right?

It Ends with Us is told from Lily's perspective. We learn about her first love Atlas, through 'Dear Ellen' diary entries, where she addresses her entries to Ellen Degeneres, and her new love Ryle Kincaid.

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The story of Atlas and Lily was both beautiful and heart-breaking. I could have read a whole book on just the two of them! And then we meet Ryle. Who is just as swoon-worthy. BUT, to keep this review spoiler free, that is all I am going to say about Ryle. You'll just have to pick up the book to find out for yourself.

Hoover does a spectacular job at drawing you inside the world of her characters. You feel almost intrusive as you are reading through their most raw and vulnerable moments.

And then we hit about partway through the novel

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I was a sobbing mess at times! And though I would never harm a book, there were moments that I wanted to toss my copy across the room.

I am now a proud Colleen Hoover fan! I cannot wait to read my way through her work and will eagerly await her future releases! It Ends with Us is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. It is not only a book about Lily and her journey, but a book about self-discovery. A story about a young woman navigating her way through life and finding where she belongs.

Have you read Colleen Hoover? Comment and let me know what I should read next!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)
Release Date: November 29th, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 305 Pages
Series: Legend #1
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal interest

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I'm am SO late to the party on this one! I am trying to knock off some of the books that I have had sitting on my shelf FOREVER.

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 Since its release, I have heard so many amazing things about this series, so I know that it was the first book I was going to go for! I devoured this book in one sitting. It grabbed my attention immediately and I just flew through the pages. Before I knew it, I turned the last page and the book was over(sadly). I definitely see what everyone was raving about. This book is AH-MAZING! An intense plot paired with fantastic characters made for a fast-paced, edge of your seat reading experience!

 Legend is packed in a small 305-page package but don't let that fool you. It keeps your heart pounding from beginning to end. It packs a lot of punch that will leave you breathless. I adored Day. His story is heart-wrenching but he is a fighter. He is so strong yet humble. June will have you screaming GIRL POWER. She is fierce!

I am hating myself for waiting so long to read this book but I am so glad I finally did. I have already ordered the rest of the series and am anxiously awaiting the mailman's arrival!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2018 Wrap-Up! What I Read, Watched, and Listened to

Happy New Year!

I cannot believe 2018 is officially behind us. While 2018 felt like it was 3 years long, now that it's gone it feels like it went so fast. Strange!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and rang in the New Year exactly how you wanted to; whether that was curled up at home with a good book or a night out on the town celebrating. 

2018 was an epic year for entertainment! Amazing books, thrilling shows and thought-provoking podcasts that tackled so many topics! Below, you can find my Top 5 for all of those categories...except books, books is a top 10, because how could I narrow it down to just 5?!

So, without further ado, here is what kept my eyes and ears busy all year long!

I am a true crime junkie. I know that might be a very strange(and possibly alarming) past-time but what can I say? This year, I discovered some new faves and caught up some new seasons with others. 
I listened to:
In The Dark  Season 1 and 2 
Up and Vanished Season 2

I use the app Castbox to catch up on all my favourite podcasts but any of these can be found wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Netflix was on FIRE this year! So many epic shows! It was tough to narrow down to a top 5 but I managed ;) 

Just like Netflix, there was also a lot of amazing films that hit the big screen in 2018. Below are the ones that stuck with me the most:

Even though I did not even come close to my reading goal this year. I only hit 37 out of my 50. *Gasp*. The books I did get around to reading were pretty amazing. I obviously could not narrow it down to just 5. However, I did manage to do a top 10 even though I wanted to add a few others to the list! 

Add to Goodreads:

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What kept you busy in 2018? 
Comment and let me know!

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: Website
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!
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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.
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