Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here
Release Date: January 27th, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Series: None
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Reason: Personal interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon

Cody and Meg were inseparable.Two peas in a pod.Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

“I’ll go where you go.” A simple statement that feels like a blanket.”  

Ah, Gayle Forman...You sure know how to make a girl cry! I easily could have read this book in one sitting if I wasn't trying to purposely drag it out. Have you ever done that? Willingly drag out a book because you don't want it to end? Almost like you are savouring it? That's exactly what I was doing with I Was Here by Gayle Forman. The wonderful author who brought us the epic If I Stay and Just One Day books.

Gayle Forman is known for penning emotionally charged novels. Each one had me reaching for the Kleenex constantly. Gayle Forman is also known for crafting outstanding characters. Characters that nestle their way into your hearts forever; Cody, Meg, Ben, The Garcia's and every other character in this book are no exception. You not only become emotionally tied to the main characters but with the entire character cast!

Cody's character is not one that is put out on the table for all to see right off the bat. We learn of her deep friendship with Meg, but not too much about her. Her character and her emotions over her Best Friend's death unravel throughout the novel. Almost as if we are experiencing the stages of her grief right along her side. It made for a very raw yet realistic read. Gayle Forman is also a master when it comes to Male characters. They all seem to have an almost boyish exterior but a much deeper, more vulnerable interior. Ben, of course, falls under this category. And not to mention, he is totally swoon worthy! I adored his character from his first introduction.

And Meg, dear Meg. Although we only learn of her character in past-tense she has a strong presence. Almost as if she was looming over your shoulder, hauntingly, as her story unfolded.

I Was Here was nothing short of amazing! You will want to devour it and savour it all at the same time. You will want to fly through the pages yet hold off from turning them. Another spectacular novel from Gayle Forman in the books...Like what I did there?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

Lost & FoundRelease Date: February 3rd. 2015
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 272 Pages
Series: None
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Facebook | Twitter
Buy the Book: Amazon CA |Amazon

Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back.

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.

Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.

Every so often, you come across a book that leaves you speechless. A book that is so rare, it is like a precious gem. It's characters, it's voice and it's story building all aligning perfectly to form a wonderful reading experience; And a touch of sadness when reading the last page.

Be prepared to meet some of the most quirky, lovely and eclectic characters to grace a novel together. I challenge you to find a character as wonderful as Millie. When describing her, I want to use words like: Extraordinary, untypical, eccentric. You'll fall in love with her immediately...Along with Agatha and Karl. It's rare that I come across such a fascinating bunch of characters. They are the heart of this novel.

I find it so hard to believe that this is Brooke Davis' debut novel. Her crafting of characters and her story delivery read as if she is a seasoned author!

This book will make you ponder, laugh and cry. It is, in every sense of the phrase: The total package!

Please don't be put off by my vague review as I did this on purpose. I want every word of this novel to truly be experienced by the reader first hand. No preconceived notions here! Go out and get this book...Now!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Damned by Andrew Pyper

The DamnedRelease Date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Genre: Fiction/Horror
Pages: 304 Pages
Series: None
Format: Arc
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Danny Orchard wrote a bestselling memoir about his near-death experience in a fire that claimed the life of his twin sister, Ashleigh, but despite the resulting fame and fortune he’s never been able to enjoy his second chance at life. Ash won’t let him.

In life, Danny’s charming and magnetic twin had been a budding psychopath who privately terrorized her family—and death hasn’t changed her wicked ways. Ash has haunted Danny for twenty years and now, just when he’s met the love of his life and has a chance at real happiness, she wants more than ever to punish him for being alive—so she sets her sights on Danny’s new wife and stepson.

Danny knows what Ash really wants is him, and he’s prepared to sacrifice himself in order to save the ones he loves. The question is: will he make it back this time?

Well I'll be damned...It's not often that a book spooks me to the point where I actually want to sleep with the lights on. I knew I was creating a recipe for disaster when taking this book to bed with me, but it was just so damn good that I couldn't put it down.

Andrew Pyper made a fan in me when I finished The Demonologist. An equally as terrifying novel. When I had the opportunity to read his newest, I didn't hesitate one instant. Was it horrible of me to have had low expectations? I only had them because I was almost certain he couldn't blow me me away the same way he did with The Demonologist...But I was so very wrong! He blew me away alright, even thought I will now have nightmares until my 30's, it was totally worth it!

The Damned wastes no time painting the dark, vivid world of Danny Orchard, his upbringing and relationship with his twin sister. Pyper has proven himself to be an expert on possession. Ashley, a clear sociopath and lacking a soul is one of the creepiest book characters I have come across. She dies(no spoiler, clear in the synopsis) and from then on, torments Danny throughout his adult life.

Riveting, terrifying and will have you on the very edge of your seat till the very end. The Damned  will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning. Not only from reading, but from being to scared to close your eyes...But like I said, totally worth it!

Move over Stephen King, there is a new king of horror emerging!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reading and Blogging Slumps: How to Overcome!

As Book Bloggers, we all share a mutual passion: Books! We love to read and we love to talk about what we are reading...But, blogging can come with it's share of frustrations. Such as:
  • Keeping things fresh
  • Having something to talk about
  • Making the time to blog
  • Keeping with comments and social media
  • etc. 
Sometimes, blogging can feel like a job or a chore. And that's no fun! Blogging should be fun. When I finish reading a book, or have something I really want to share, I can't wait to turn to my blog and talk with you guys! But, what happens when we don't have something new to say? Or we've been in a reading slump and haven't been reading anything. Kinda makes Book Blogging a little bit stressful!
As much as I love reading, there have been times where I've fallen in a reading slump. Either I have a lot on my plate and don't have much time to read, or I just can't keep interested in anything. And I'm sure I am not alone in this regard. I love my book blogging community and have seen many posts regarding reading slumps. So, it got me thinking: How do I dig myself out of a slump? Well, I am here to share a few things that have worked for me in the past, and I'll also throw in how I tackle my blogging slumps as well, because, they go hand in hand.
Tackling a Reading Slump
Take a break! Sometimes, that is all it takes. Just a little break from reading. I know, it may sound crazy but if you find yourself disinterested or just unmotivated to pick up that book. Then just leave it aside for a bit and take a little break. Usually a couple days/up to a week works for me!
Re-read one of your all-time favourites. Whenever I am suffering from a reading slump, sometimes all it takes is a re-read of an old favourite or even just reading a favourite passage from that book.
Rearrange your bookshelf. This may make you say "huh?." But, it works for me. When I find that I have no desire to read, I will refresh/reface my bookshelves. Sometimes I forget what great books I have, and how many books I have waiting to be read! Pulling these books out, flipping them open, perusing them...It definitely sparks the reading juices!
Visit your local library or even a bookstore. Just being in the presence of all those books is enough to do it. Being in a space with other people that share the same love for reading as you do.
Tackling a Blogging Slump
Again, take a break. Put a little announcement on your blog just letting your lovely followers that you are stepping away for a little while. I usually like to include an open timeline. Nothing is worse than visiting some of your favourite blogs only to eventually find out they aren't active. A nice little message just keeping them in the loop is a nice, considerate approach.
Visit some of your favourite blogs! I love surfing the web for new blogs, and visiting old favourites. And it goes beyond Books! Sometimes all it takes it a great blog post to inspire you, or to get those blogging ideas flowing.
Get personal. I always find it's great to learn more about the blogger behind the blog. So, when you've hit a blogging slump and don't know what to talk about. Why not write a post to share a little bit about you?
 Talk about it! There have been times when I've been in a blogging slump, and just simply blogging about that slump has been enough to fix it. You are getting it off your chest and letting your fellow readers/bloggers know that they are not alone when it comes to these slumps.
...These have been the most helpful things for me when dealing with reading and blogging slumps. Have you suffered a reading and/or blogging slump? What are some of your tips to getting out of it? Comment, share on Facebook, or Tweet me!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How I Became a Reader Again...

When I was a wee child, I LOVED reading. I was like a little Matilda...Or I guess, just like Matilda seeing how she is already little...Anyways...I was like Matilda. Dragging my little plastic wagon behind me while my Mother and I walked to the library once a week. I would fill the tub of the wagon with all sorts of treasures. Even "adult" books(as my mom would put it) on birds, history, etc. If it had an enticing cover, I wanted it. So maybe I couldn't understand what the heck the author was talking about, or what the hell that bird was, I loved looking at the pictures, and loved the feel of it in my hands, and I enjoyed hearing my mom read them to me...Bless her patience! Of course, I loved Children's books as well. The classic Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, to name a few. As I grew out of Children's books, my love for Early Chapter Books began:


I would devour book after book. If I wasn't playing outside with friends, I was found under a tree, on my porch or in my room reading. Wherever I went, I had a book in hand. Do you guys remember Scholastic Book Orders? Do they still do those? Every month was like Christmas. I mean come on, a little catalogue full of the latest goodies, fresh for the pickin'? Dangerous! Anyways, a little reader I was and I was damn proud of it!

Then came 8th grade and for some reason that I truly cannot remember, my love for reading faded. I don't know if it's because the "crowd" I hung around with didn't read, or what, but I just gave it up...Just like that! However, my bookshelf always remained in my bedroom. Stocked full of old favourites that were just shouting at me to pay them a visit.

High School came and went(thank god!) and still, not much reading. I read the required reading for school but that did little to re-ignite the passion. Then it came...The big phenomenon. The series that had prepubescent and adult girls and boys flipping their Sh!t! Twilight!

Yes, I said it, Twilight. Twilight is the reason I am reading now. Sure, I may have stumbled upon something else but we'll never know now will we? I read it. I freaking loved it, and I devoured the series. It re-ignited my love. Yes, it may have rekindled my love for reading in a Paranormal way, meaning I didn't want to read anything if it didn't have at least one super hot vampire and/or Werewolf and one Naive, love-blind girl. But I was reading, and that's the moral of the story here.

Now, my love for reading is much more broad. I've re-read the Twilight books and yes, they are flawed. Yes, there are moments that I just want to slap Bella upside the head now. However, if it wasn't for this "little" series, my love for reading may still be lurking, deep down within me, begging to come out. It feels like many New Moon's ago..See what I did there...That this re-ignition happened, and it feels like I never stopped. I still visit old favourites; I just finished Charlie and The Chocolate Factory for the millionth time. And already have a mini library set up to read to my niece's when they are ready. The power of reading is indescribable. Something that can only be understood by experiencing it.

I will always be grateful for those Twilight books. I still proudly display them on my Bookshelves. You should never be ashamed of something you enjoyed or loved. 

Were you always a reader? Is there a certain book that ignited or re-ignited your passion for reading? Do tell by commenting below!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Blu-Ray Review

Gone Girl

Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
Genre: Fiction | Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 422 Pages
Series: None
Format: Paperback
Source: Think Jam
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

“There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.” 

I am a little late to the Gone Girl fame. When I used to work at my little bookstore, we couldn't keep this book in; It was flying off the shelves. Here I am, the "Young Adult" reader who doesn't really step out of her book comfort zone too often...However, Gone Girl completely changed that for me! While being absolutely engrossed by the novel, barely putting it down for anything, the book was saying to me: "See Cathy, this is why you need to step out of your zone a bit. To discover books like me." 

Like I said, I couldn't put this book down. It followed me to the gym, on errands, in the Kitchen...You get the point. Anytime I could squeeze in some reading time, I took full advantage. Firstly, I was totally Team Nick! To keep this spoiler free, I won't go into details about some of his character flaws and wrong-doings, but despite of those things, I just loved him! Amy was a fantastic character as well! Gillian Flynn really set the bar when it came to the development of these characters. Sheesh! I don't think I've even become so engrossed by 2 characters in my entire reading life. It is no shocker that this book won 'Best Book' awards and was featured on pretty much every talk show. 

Buckle up, because this book will take you on an epic roller-coaster right until the. Very. Last. Page. Throughout the book you will feel like a detective; Trying to tie together the clues faster and to solve the riddle. Good luck! I was on the right track for most of the book, however, was quickly shut down but the jaw-dropping revelations. 

Gone Girl is mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, dark and provocative. It packs so much punch, you won't know what to do with it all! A wild reading experience that you shouldn't miss!


Release Date: January 13, 2015
Running Time: 148 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Format: Blu-Ray | Wide Screen
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Cast: Ben Affleck, Roseamund Pike, Tyler Perry

I jumped at the opportunity to review this Blu-Ray because the book was such a huge success for me. And when I heard Gillian Flynn was doing the Screenplay, I had full faith in the movie!

The film did a fantastic job at painting the "picture perfect" couple between Amy and Nick. The casting, in my opinion, was bang on, right down to the detectives. How often is it that a cast can almost match the cast you created in your head?! David Fincher, who is pretty legendary. Well known for: Fight Club, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was the Director of this film, and that was an epic win. In my opinion, the book had many 'Finch' characteristics: The ominous tone, the eerie musical scores, the pacing of the film. He delivered this movie in a way, just like the book, that kept you hanging on a thread until the screen goes black and the credits roll.

Go was a favourite character of mine, both in the book and the film. I found the chemistry between Carrie Coon(Go) and Ben Affleck very strong. They are twins and very much alike in personality's. I don't think they could have put together a better pair. There was a specific moment between the two towards the end that made me tear up unexpectedly, where Go states she has always been 'with' him. Even before birth. A very touching moment.

I loved that the Blu-Ray came with an Amazing Amy book! Talk about a nice touch! I can't wait to read it to my niece and see what she thinks about this Amy character.

Overall, Gone Girl, both book and film was one wild adventure. Get the book, read it, then watch the movie!

Have you read or seen the movie? What did you think? Comment below!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Owl and the Japanese Circus Book Giveaway!

Owl and the Japanese Circus

Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.
Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.
Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

Thanks to the wonderful Kristi Charish, I have one copy of Owl and The Japanese Circus to giveaway!

Giveaway Rules:
Must be 13 years of age or older
Open to Canada and U.S. Only
Giveaway ends Wednesday, January 21st at 11:59PM
Fill out Rafflecopter to enter

Good Luck!