Saturday, December 2, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)
Release Date: June 4th, 2007(first published 1934)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Mystery | Fiction
Pages: 275 Pages
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

The murderer is with us - on the train now..."
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again...


All aboard FOR this murderous gem! Murder on the Orient Express is a wicked good time! My interest was piqued by this story as soon as I learned about the film remake hitting theaters(with a star-studded cast). I have to admit that this is my first Agatha Christie novel but it will not be my last!

Murder, lies, dark secrets, all unfolding before your eyes, what more could you want?! I feel it's unnecessary commenting on Christie's writing style. She is a legend in literary world for a reason. She penned colourful, stand out characters that leapt right off the pages. You can smell their perfume. The scent of cigars filling the air. The crisp air of the winter's evening raising goosebumps. The Murder on the Orient Express comes to life. The novel is written with the beautiful, rich language of the time of it's original publication, 1934, which made for a more authentic reading experience. 

The Murder on the Orient Express is far more than a mystery novel. As each piece of the puzzle is slowly making it's way into place, you are still left completely unaware of the final outcome until the very last pages. A twist that you will not see coming! 

I did not expect to enjoy this novel as much as I did. A true gem in every sense of the word. A wildly entertaining ride. Buckle up, you're in for a treat!

“What's wrong with my proposition?"
Poirot rose. "If you will forgive me for being personal - I do not like your face.” - Hercule Poirot

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Release Date: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Children's Lit | Young Adult
Pages: 316 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.


 Wonder has been on my bookshelf, unread, for 4 years! How do I know it's been exactly 4 years? Because I purchased it before the little bookstore I worked at closed it's doors for good. I feel like after reading this Wonderful novel that I have committed some monstrous book crime for letting this book sit on my shelf that long going unread. I am so ashamed of myself! I feel like I need to be walking down some book-plank begging for forgiveness!

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Now that I've confessed, let me move on and tell you just how moving, heart-warming and truly beautiful this novel is. We are introduced to August "Auggie" Pullman, a young boy born with a facial deformity. Being somewhat sheltered and home-schooled his entire life, his parents have decided it's time for him to attend school. We are then taken on the journey of Auggie's first year as a 5th grader in a real school, with real students, and real teachers. 

There are some gut-wrenching moments when we are reminded how cruel others can be(not just children) but what shines even brighter is the kindness in others. Love is truly louder. 

What makes this book a true gem, a real wonder, is the perspectives in which the story is told. We hear not just from Auggie but some of the other marvelous characters. Auggie is not the only character that is faced with setbacks, the trials and tribulations of school, life and growing up. We hear from Via, Auggie's loving, overprotective sister. Jack Will, Summer and even Miranda, a friend of Via's who feels she has the right to claim Auggie as her own as well. 

Wonder can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Not only it is just simply a beautiful story, but I can assure you that everyone will be able to relate to or find a closeness with something in this novel. Whether you are the new kid in class, a parent who is unsure if you're making the right decisions as a parent, a sibling, friends that may be drifting apart, etc. Wonder is so colourful and you will surely find an understanding or bond with someone or something. 

What I found to be the true takeaway of this novel was the strength and kindness in Auggie. It is not a story about Auggie being an underdog, it is story about love, friendship, and growth. 

“Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world.” -Auggie Pullman

"Be kind to one another" Ellen Degeneres 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Feature: Us Kids Know By JJ Strong

"A gripping, tragic debut novel that will fascinate and trouble sophisticated teen readers."Kirkus Reviews

A risky, heartbreaking debut in the vein of The Outsiders, following a group of unmoored teens in suburban New Jersey as they blaze destructive paths and wrestle with burgeoning adolescence, ultimately committing one disastrous error that changes their lives forever.
We all knew about Cullen Hickson.
Siblings Bri and Ray O'Dell are lost. Anxious. Restless. Ray—bullied at his Catholic school for being small and timid—wants to be someone people respect or, even better, someone people fear. Meanwhile, Bri knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. They don't really understand Bri, and if Bri is being totally honest, she doesn't really understand them either.
 When storied delinquent Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O'Dell siblings, though, everything changes. Bri and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn't know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of crime—from breaking and entering to grand theft auto—while Bri quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman. As Bri and Ray become more and more entwined with Cullen's antics, and their once-thrilling experiences grow increasingly dangerous, a series of life-changing events threatens to lead the teens down a dark path—one that could forever alter the course of their lives.

Add to your 'TBR' Pile!

About the Author: 
JJ Strong received a creative writing degree from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in English from Georgetown University. His writing has appeared in Fifth Wednesday, the Santa Monica Review, and LA Weekly. He taught for many years in the undergraduate writing program at USC, before moving to the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and son.

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Young Adult | Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal interest
Find the Author: Website

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Always keep an Exorcist on speed dial

My Best Friend's Exorcism was probably one of the most entertaining books I've read this year. I started this book just a shy of a few days after Halloween. It is the perfect book to curl up to when you're in the mood for a little spooky fun! There were a few nights I would read this in bed, completely home alone and it was a little unnerving. Every little house creak and tick suddenly became a lot more noticeable! 

My Best Friend's Exorcism is a fun blast to the past. With it's 80's references and nostalgic song choices, this book will make you want to have the most epic E.T. Rollerskating party after you're done reading it!

Grady Hendrix did an excellent job writing from the perspective of 2 female lead characters. He actually captured the awkward adolescence of teenage girls flawlessly. I related quite a bit to Abby and adored her character. The book is told from Abby's perspective and the chapters are laid out by awesome relative song choices. Trust me, you will have the most rockin' 80's playlist afterwards. 

 This book will make you laugh, cry and give you nightmares. It is the perfect package: 2 best friends. 1 being overtaken by a demon and the other willing to die trying to save her. 

"Two people were fighting to be visible on Gretchen's face."
"Hot damn!" he shouted. "We got ourselves a demon!"

Monday, October 30, 2017

Stranger Things Season 2 -Non- Spoilery!

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Unless you are living under a rock or had your nose in a really good book then chances are you were binging Season 2 of Stranger Things this weekend. I've been counting down the days since it was released there was a Season 2! On Friday my fiance, myself and our 2 dogs formed an epic cuddle puddle on our couch and hit play! We finished the last episode last night(Sunday) at 11:30pm and my heart was left pounding and my head spinning! Some storylines left us with a bit of closure, while others left us with so many questions! But I love that because it means there will most likely be a Season 3! 

As promised, this will be non-spoilery :) I just wanted to rave about the epicness of this masterful show!

1. A handful of amazing characters are introduced! MadMax(Maxine), Billy, Bob"Superhero" Newby, Kali and Dr. Owens
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2. Noah Schnapp who plays Will needs to win an Emmy. This kids acting chops are for real!
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3. Dustin is my Hero. That hair!
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4. Steve Harrington who is played by Joe Kerry has some epic screen time during this season. He "almost" stole the show. His character definitely grew since Season 1 and I loved every minute of it!
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5. Chief Hopper. No need to say more!

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6. Epic Soundtrack! We already know that the show pays a great tribute to the 80's and Season 2 just accentuated that even more. The soundtrack is "bitchin'" 

7. Sidestory: You will get lots of colourful side story on Eleven, Hopper, Will and more. 

8. Though this season started off a little bit slower than Season one, it does so intentionally and still keeps you engaged and intrigued. Season 2 spent it's time crafting it's storylines to bring together an outstanding showdown for the last 3 or so episodes. 

9. As mentioned above, the plotline and sub-plot lines provide so great material for the show. But it was the character growth and chemistry that really stole the show!

10. Overall, the writers struck gold, the Cast is magical and Season 2 just proved that Stranger Things is the best series to ever hit the small screen!

Did you watch Season 2? What are you thoughts? Comment below!

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic
Release Date: October 10th, 2017
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 369 Pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For honest review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Find your magicFor the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

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The Rules of Magic is a whimsical tale that will have you fall deeply and madly in love. 

I cannot put into words how much I loved, adored and cherished this book and the beautiful story that laid within it's pages. I'm actually struggling with getting my thoughts out because I am left utterly speechless and in awe. Please be patient with me while I try to *attempt* a decent review here instead of just urging you, grabbing and shaking you, and screaming at you to READ THIS BOOK! *Ahem*

The Rules of Magic tells the story of Francis(Franny), Bridget(Jet) and Vincent Owens. Brother and Sisters that are struggling to understand who they are and where they truly belong in this world. The story begins its tale in beautiful New York but will take you on a marvelous journey through Paris, California and Massachusetts. You will be given a stunning history lesson on the family and their roots and why they have chosen to live the life they do now. Alice Hoffman's ability to craft such beauty in her characters and setting is a magical quality in itself. Delivering sights and sounds that will whisk you away and perch you into the very world of the Owens and their surroundings. You will be taken on a breathtaking imaginary adventure! Falling quickly and madly under her spell and never let go(nor would you want to!) 

Franny, Jet and Vincent are unlike any other characters I have ever read. They are charming, intense and so full of depth. Though I just spent a whole book reading about them, I still feel there is so much that I do not know. Almost like a delicious secret is still being kept. The beauty in characters does not end there though. The character cast is large and each one blesses it's readers with their own unique story. Your heart will become fuller after reading this novel.

The Rules of Magic is a fantastical tale that will make you giggle with laughter, shed tears and shake your head in amazement. The Rules of Magic will leave you with an indescribable feeling but knowing that you just had a beautiful and memorable reading experience.

"Writing itself was a magical act in which imagination altered reality and gave form to power"

'When you are young you are looking forward and when you are old you are looking back"

"She opened a book and was therefore saved, discovering that a novel was as great an escape as any spell."

Monday, October 23, 2017

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You
Release Date: October 17th, 2017
Publisher: Running Press | Hachette Canada
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Hildy and Paul each have their own reasons for joining the university psychology study that asks the simple question: Can love be engineered?
The study consists of 36 questions, ranging from "What is your most terrible memory?" to "When did you last sing to yourself?" By the time Hildy and Paul have made it to the end of the questionnaire, they've laughed and cried and lied and thrown things and run away and come back and driven each other almost crazy. They've also each discovered the painful secret the other was trying so hard to hide. But have they fallen in love?Told in the language of modern romance—texting, Q&A, IM—and punctuated by Paul's sketches, this clever high-concept YA is full of humor and heart. As soon as you've finished reading, you'll be searching for your own stranger to ask the 36 questions. Maybe you'll even fall in love. 



1. Unique concept
Taking 2 people, putting them in a room together and seeing what happens? Um, yes please! 
2. Interesting writing style
I loved that the book was written in 'Chat' format. A lot of the book's dialogue is Hildy and Paul literally sitting in a room basically interviewing each other. However, it gets quite intense!
3. Quick read
4. Has Depth
3 and 4 go hand and hand. Although you can enjoy this book in one sitting, it has so much depth. The characters and storyline provide so much heart and soul.
5. Epic characters
Delivering a book in this style can be risky, it can lack "The feels" but that was NOT the case of 36 Reasons. Both Hildy and Paul were very intense characters. In the beginning, we are only seeing the surface, but the author did a spectacular job at letting their stories unfold at a beautiful pace as the experiment progresses and the individual character perspectives are delivered.
6. Not your average contemporary romance
Because average is boring!
7. Thought-provoking
Some of the questions are pretty basic, while others dive right into the soul!
8. Comedic relief
36 Reasons made me Laugh out Loud on more than one occasion...way more! The quips and banter between all of the characters were fantastic. It definitely had a "sitcom" vibe to it. I could totally see this as a Netflix series and me totally binging it!
9.  Charming
10. Discovery
It may be a light contemporary romance, but it has so much more! It's about not just about 2 people getting to know each others. It's about 2 characters getting to know themselves. 

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