Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 11, 2019

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Every Breath
Release Date: October 16th, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 321 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon | Amazon Canada

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she's been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family's cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.
Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother's early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.Illuminating life's heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties -- and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?
“Why does love always seem to require sacrifice?” 

It's no secret here that I am a HUGE Nicholas Sparks fan. He has this ability to transport you from everyday life and into a beautiful, heart-warming story. Every Breath was no different. In Sparks' classic style, he penned a novel that will both warm your heart and tug at its strings. 

Nicholas Sparks does something a little different this time around. His characters and their tale is inspired by a true story. Knowing this element going in really added to the overall reading experience. I always devour his books but this extra knowledge really had me invested in the story. 

I love how Every Breath was delivered. The chapters were packaged in a unique way. The story is told not only from Tru and Hope's perspective but also from an outsider's perspective, perhaps Nicholas Sparks, himself?

“Falling in love is the easy part; making that love last amid life’s varied challenges is an elusive dream for many.” 

Every Breath is simply an elegant, timeless love story. You will be carried away to the sandy dunes in Sunset Beach, the breathtaking Safari camps in Zimbabwe and into the lives of Tru and Hope. 2 people that will embed themselves into your heart forever; and you'll immediately be adding Kindred Spirits to your bucket list!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Izzy and Tristan by Shannon Dunlap

Izzy + Tristan
Release Date: March 12th, 2019
Publisher: Poppy Books
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Izzy, a practical-minded teen who intends to become a doctor, isn't happy about her recent move from the Lower East Side across the river to Brooklyn. She feels distanced from her family, especially her increasingly incomprehensible twin brother, as well as her new neighborhood. 
And then she meets Tristan. Tristan is a chess prodigy who lives with his aunt and looks up to his cousin, Marcus. He and Izzy meet one moonlit night, and together they tumble into a story as old and unstoppable as love itself. In debut author Shannon Dunlap's capable hands, the romance that has enthralled for 800 years is spun new. Told from several points of view, this is a love story for the ages and a love story for this very moment. This fast-paced novel is at once a gripping tale of first love and a sprawling epic about the bonds that tie us together and pull us apart and the different cultures and tensions that fill the contemporary American landscape.

Image result for crying gif 

This book, you guys *clutches chest* I finished this book while in bed and was kept up long after from all of the emotions that I was flooded with!

I went into Izzy and Tristan thinking it was going to be your typical YA love story, but typical it was not! This rare, unicorn of a story is told from 3 separate perspectives, The Knight(Tristan), The Queen(Izzy), and The Rook(Brianna). Each perspective allows us a completely different view of the storylines that unfold in this book. A spiderweb of events unravel that lead to each character's fate. You think one small action is harmless, but really, it can snowball into something far beyond our control. At the forefront though is a beautiful love story that matches a love like Noah and Allie(shoutout to The Notebook). An instant connection, that despite the efforts, cannot be resisted or tamed. 

Dunlap crafted characters that will run away with your heart, stealing it, unapologetically, without a thought. You'll fall deeply into the lives of Izzy, Tristan, Brianna, Hull, and Marcus. You'll likely read this book in one sitting, becoming fully invested in their story, not wanting to step away even for a moment. On top of an outstanding character cast, the author penned a story that will both warm our hearts and break it. As we know, no love story comes without its fair share of hardships. 

Remarkable storytelling and outstanding characters made this rare and unique novel an even more delightful reading experience. This is Shannon Dunlap's debut author but she has already made an instant fan in me. I cannot wait for her future work! 

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Drowning by J.P. Smith

The Drowning
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Mystery | Thriller
Pages: 336 Pages
Format: E-Book
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon

Every summer camp has a ghost story. For Alex Parson, that story came true—and twenty-one years later, the ghost from that story is back for revenge… 
Every summer camp has a ghost story. While Alex is working as a swimming instructor at a rural boys' camp, he hears the tale of John Otis, who is rumored to snatch one boy from the camp every seventh summer. It's a ridiculous story, clearly meant to rile up the campers.The next day, an eight-year-old boy named Joey Proctor is in Alex's swimming group. Frustrated by Joey's fear of the water, Alex leaves him on a raft in the lake, tells him to swim back on his own, and storms off. Alex returns after nightfall to find the raft empty. Joey is never seen again.Now, twenty-one years later, Alex is a wealthy Manhattan-based real estate developer with a trophy wife and two young daughters. But someone is after Alex—it seems Joey Proctor is back, and he wants revenge…

 This is my first J.P. Smith novel, but I can easily tell you that it won't be my last! The Drowning is a psychological thriller that takes you on a dark and winding rollercoaster! Whipping you through its twists and turns, leaving you in suspense until the very last chapter.

I went into this book pretty neutral. I thought it was going to be your "typical" mystery/thriller but I was completely blown away with how it pulled me in immediately. You'll devour this gripping story and will stay completely absorbed until the very end.

What I loved about The Drowning was how, intentionally, unlikeable the main character is. I believe the author made it his mission for us to not really want to root for Alex. His very egotistic nature lands him in hot water many times. Having said that, Alex was an excellent main character. His nerves definitely add to the heart-pounding aspect of the story.

The Drowning is a pulse-racing pageturner that will have you utterly captivated. The author's fantastic storytelling leaves you breathless and on the edge of your seat. A haunting good time!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Last Night(The Searchers #2) by Karen Ellis

Last Night (The Searchers, #2)
Release Date: February 26th, 2019
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Mystery | Thriller
Pages: 352 Pages
Series: The Searchers #2
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

NYPD detective Lex Cole tracks a missing Brooklyn teen whose bright future is endangered by the ghosts of his unknown father's past, in this highly anticipated sequel to A Map of the Dark.
One of the few black kids on his Brighton Beach block, Titus "Crisp" Crespo was raised by his white mother and his Russian grandparents. He has two legacies from his absent father, Mo: his weird name and his brown skin. Crisp has always been the odd kid out, but a fundamentally good kid, with a bright future.But one impulsive decision triggers a horrible domino effect--an arrest, no reason not to accompany his richer, whiter friend Glynnie on a visit to her weed dealer, and a trip onto his father's old home turf where he'll face certain choices he's always strived to avoid.As Detective Lex Cole tries to unravel the clues from Crisp's night out, they both find that what you don't know about your past can still come back to haunt you.

It was so nice to see Lex and Elsa back! In book one Elsa was the main character but in Last Night we had the chance to get to see Lex in action more as he was more of the leading character. Though this is a second in a series, it can read as a standalone. Other than Lex and Elsa knowing each other previously, the storyline and characters are completely different. I promise you, you won't get confused or be missing much if you haven't read the first.

I love book one, A Map of the Dark. Sadly, this one fell a little short for me. The characters and their development was great and Karen Ellis's writing is really good. She has this style that keeps inviting you back for more. However, I found the plotline to be pretty flat. The synopsis has so much promise, yet I found it didn't really live up to its potential.

Last Night does an excellent job at addressing the racial divide in New York and has a very powerful message throughout the book. Even though the book didn't really have me flying through the pages like I hoped it would, I am still really eager for the next book in the series! Karen Ellis has an excellent ability at crafting deep characters that can you wanting more! 

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Danger to Herself and Others

A Danger to Herself and Others
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: Egalley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book


Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape… 
Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there's been a mistake. She didn't need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn't a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.
Bookworm confession: I am a cover judger. I don't write off books that don't initially pull me in from their cover, but a beautiful cover definitely draws me in and will pique my interest immediately.  A Danger to Herself and Others has such a stunning and inviting cover. Its simplicity right down to the font gives a great representation of the tone of the novel!

Behind that beautiful cover is the haunting story of Hannah, a seventeen-year-old girl who is being institutionalized following the accident of her best friend and roommate, Agnes, who fell from their dormitory window after a game of Truth or Dare. A desperate Hannah fights to share her side of the story of what happened so she can return back to her regular life.

This book definitely has a Gossip girls meets Girl, Interrupted vibe. Hannah's life before entering the institution was very posh. She traveled to luxurious places with her successful parents and was on the road to an Ivy League school. But, once inside the institution while she awaits her hearing, she is just another patient. She has no upper hand and no special privileges. As Hannah adjusts her story begins to unfurl and a whole new story begins.

I love that the Young Adult genre is bringing more awareness to Mental Health. Alyssa Sheinmel did a remarkable job at crafting Hannah's character and penning this dramatic novel. There are other patients in the facility and the author represents each with great sensitivity and authenticity.

Her writing style brings Hannah's story to life before your eyes. A Danger to Herself and Others is a heartbreaking recount of what happened between the night of Truth and Dare to the present. A beautifully written and shocking reading experience that you'll devour.
 
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