Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury
Release Date: July 31st, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Series: Grace and Fury #1
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble


In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace--someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything. 

MORAL OF THE STORY:
I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!
GIRL POWER!

You guys, this book...THIS book...THIS BOOK WAS SO DAMN GOOD! Okay, I'm sorry, I'll try to tone it down a little, but only mildly. I am still fan-girling over how much I liked, loved, adored this book!

I knew just based off of the authors dedication that I was going to love everything about this book:

Image may contain: one or more people and text

If that doesn't sell you enough, just flip over a page or two more and you will be immersed into the dark and addictive tale that Tracy Banghart weaves. Grace and Fury is told from the perspectives of 2 sisters, Nomi and Serina. Nomi is strong and stubborn and struggles to conform to the horrible rules set for woman. Serina has prepared for "grace-hood" her entire life. She longed for the day that she would reside in the palace living as a Grace to the superior, with Nomi by her side as a Handmaiden.

Banghart's writing is bang on(couldn't resist). She crafts a story that flows so effortlessly off of the pages. It's equally heart-wrenching and heart-pounding. Nomi and Serina are both very strong and in-depth characters. Each one has such a bold yet completely different personality. Their bond is strong and all though they are apart for most of the book, there love for each other radiates off of the pages. Malachi and Asa and very intense characters! I loved them both yet for very different reasons. Malachi, the villain, Asa the hero, a sibling rivalry that could draw blood.

Grace and Fury will capture your heart. Its deep characters and intense story line make for a one-of-a-kind reading experience. Cancel all of your plans, find your favourite reading spot and get comfortable because you will devour this book in one sitting.

"I think the woman in this prison--in this country--will rise up eventually. My father used to say that oppression isn't a finite state. It is a weight that is carried until it becomes to heavy, and then it is thrown off. Not without struggle, not without pain, but he believed that the weight would always, always, be fought and overcome."



Monday, July 9, 2018

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

All Your Perfects
Release Date: July 17th, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: E-galley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.
Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?
Before we start, I should tell you all that this is my first Colleen Hoover book...
Image result for gasp in horror gif 

I know, I know, it's awful. Aside from disappointing the book world, I was disappointing my office as 2 of my co-workers are very big Hoover fans. So, when I saw All Your Perfects on Netgalley it felt like book fate! 

If I had to some up All Your Perfects, it would go like this: 

Image result for quit playing games with my heart gif

This book seriously toyed with all of my emotions! It struck every cord my heart has. I laughed, I cried, I got angry and repeat. I can definitely see why Colleen Hoover has such a large and passionate fanbase. I can see, just from this book, that her storytelling is faultless, her characters are loveable and her writing style is without imperfections. 

All Your Perfects tells the story of Quinn and Graham. A couple whos first meeting is of unusual circumstances. Call it fate, call it circumstance, divine intervention, whatever you chose, it's apparent from that first meeting that they have an undeniable connection. The story of All Your Perfects is delivered between the past and present, then and now. Hoover gives us just enough each chapter that keeps us hanging on. Making the book nearly impossible to put down. Also, she gives us a character who is so damn swoon-worthy. If I could marry a fictional character I would marry Graham.

All Your Perfects made me an instant Colleen Hoover fan! I cannot wait to devour her past work and will eagerly await her future novels. All Your Perfects is the perfect combination of romance, drama, and emotion. A reading experience that will leave you adding Hoover to your auto-buy list! 

“The problem is, love and happiness are not concordant. One can exist without the other.”

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Fiction | Horror
Pages: 561 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.
An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.



MORAL OF THE STORY:
WEARING A BODY CAM AT ALL TIMES MAY BE NECESSARY!

Okay, confession time...I am fairly new to Stephen King. I've read 2 books by him: Carrie(which I loved!) and Joy Ride(which I didn't). But I could not get through Instagram or Twitter without hearing about The Outsider. And what can I say, when it comes to books, I easily succumb to peer pressure! So, I picked myself up a copy and eagerly dived in!

I kept my expectations pretty neutral given my limited King experience, but this book blew me away! Typical King style, the size of the book can be a bit intimidating, but I flew through this book eager for the closure of this nail-biting, page-turning tale!

As mentioned, the book packs a pretty hefty punch at 561 pages, but the way King penned this novel makes it a quick read! He broke down The Outsider in smaller chapters and multiple perspectives. I've heard that Stephen King is well known for his character development and depth, and I can now certainly see what people mean by that. Each character in this story play a very vital piece to the story; even the secondary cast add so much value to the overall delivery of The Outsider.

The Outsider will take you on a wild, baffling ride. You will be left bewildered one moment and jolted the next. The story is a rollercoaster of who, what's and why's. And don't expect King to give in easy. The suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. I have come across some conversations online that there is a link to The Outsider and the Bill Hodges Trilogy, seeing as I haven't read that series, I can confidently say that this book reads as a stand-alone. I will be adding that series to my list though because I am curious as to what the links are.

I loved everything about The Outsider: the pacing, the characters, the delivery. It was put together, in my opinion, flawlessly. It made me an instant Stephen King fan. I happen to have 5 of his books sitting on my shelf right now and can't wait to devour them. So King fans, which one should I read next?

Hearts of Atlantis
The Shining
Doctor Sleep
Under the Dome
It

“Doesn’t look like a monster, does he?” “They rarely do.” 


Monday, June 25, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth
Release Date: July 17th, 2018
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


Sweetness can be deceptive. 
Meet Hanna.
Meet Suzette.
She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

MORAL OF THE STORY:
MAYBE JUST AVOID CHILDREN, PERIOD.
 Related image

Thank you, Zoje Stage for providing the world with a very effect form of birth control. After reading Baby Teeth I'm not sure a child will ever be in my future. It's not worth the risk having a pint-sized, possessed, murderous monster. 

Okay, all joking aside Baby Teeth was one heck of a read! I am flabbergasted that this is Zoje Stages's debut novel. She has a tremendous talent and I cannot wait to see what else she has to offer!

In Baby Teeth she tells the story from the perspective of Hanna(creepy child) and Suzette(terrified mother of creepy child).  Hanna is mute, which adds a whole new atmosphere to your average Thriller novel. Her mutism doesn't seem to be caused by anything health wise, but more of a choice, either conscious or unconscious, of Hanna's. She is very bright and communicates through a series of gestures, sounds and, at times, writings and drawings. One thing is certain, Hanna LOVES her father. She is the apple of her father's eye, and to him, Hanna can do no wrong. She longs for the day that it is just her and her father. She then decides to take matters into her own hands and get rid of Mommy, forever. 

Related image

Zoje Stage, already proven to be a master at her craft, penned a story that I literally could not put down. If not for a busy weekend, I would have devoured this book in one sitting, but instead it took about a day and a half. I seized any moment I could, no matter how brief, to sneak in a page here, or a chapter there. Stage crafts the novel in a way that each chapter ending pushes you to keep going. Don't bother getting too comfortable in your seat because you will just be sitting on the edge of it the entire time!

She penned a small character cast that really gives the book an intimate reading experience. It's as if you are pulling the curtain aside on this seemingly perfect family and seeing what is really going on. 

Baby Teeth is a heart-racing, page-turning good time! The competition is strong when it comes to Evil Kids: The Omen, Children of the Corn, The Orphan, etc, yet Zoje Stage penned one that can stand out strong among the others. I am eagerly awaiting Stages's upcoming novels. I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeve!



Monday, June 18, 2018

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

The Death House
Publisher: Orion Books
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 288 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website

Toby is a boy who has forgotten how to live.Clara is a girl who was born to die.Toby's life was perfectly normal . . .Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House. Isolated from the outside world the inhabitants of are watched for any signs of a mysterious illness . . .Clara was a girl who had everything. Adored by her friends and her family, her life was destined for greatness. Now, Clara is the newest resident of the Death House and she's determined not to allow her life to end there.This is Toby and Clara's story.

MORAL OF THE STORY:
NEVER TRUST THE CREEPY NURSES

After reading 13 Minutes, I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Death House. It sounded like the perfect mix of creep and romance. It definitely had a haunting atmosphere to it; a bunch of kids that contain a fatal, defective gene, all living together in an English boarding house until they are taken to the Sanatorium and never seen again...Yikes!

Firstly, Sarah Pinborough's writing style is absolute perfection. She knows how to captivate her audience. The Death House grasps you tightly and does not let you go. Her writing just flows so easily off of the page, making it a quick read because you will not be able to put it down. Her characters are another one of her specialties. Just like 13 Minutes, she creates a medium-sized character cast that all compliment each other wonderfully. Pinborough has done her characters proud! In that imagination of hers, they came to her with their stories and she put them to paper perfectly. The romance aspect of The Death House was just right. It was a good focal point of the book but didn't cloud over the secondary storyline. It all meshed well together!

There were a few aspects of the book that did fall short for me. I wish we got more of a history regarding this mysterious gene: What is it? Why does it affect only a certain population of kids? Where did it originate, etc? I also would have loved a little more backstory on the nurses and the sanitarium. I know keeping those things a mystery was probably intentional, however, I would have liked just a little bit of story on them.

Overall, this book was an entertaining read! I flew through it and adored all of the characters.  I definitely recommend The Death House if you're looking for that quick, can't-put-down kind of read!



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Shooter by Caroline Pignat

Shooter
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill | Penguin Canada
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website

The Breakfast Club meets We Need to Talk About Kevin
A lockdown catches five grade 12 students by surprise and throws them together in the only unlocked room on that empty third floor wing: the boys' washroom. They sit in silence, judging each other by what they see, by the stories they've heard over the years. Stuck here with them--could anything be worse?There's Alice: an introverted writer, trapped in the role of big sister to her older autistic brother, Noah.Isabelle: the popular, high-achieving, student council president, whose greatest performance is her everyday life. Hogan: an ex-football player with a troubled past and a hopeless future.Xander: that socially awkward guy hiding behind the camera, whose candid pictures of school life, especially those of Isabelle, have brought him more trouble than answers.Told in five unique voices through prose, poetry, text messages, journals, and homework assignments, each student reveals pieces of their true story as they wait for the drill to end. But this modern-day Breakfast Club takes a twist when Isabelle gets a text that changes everything: NOT A DRILL!! Shooter in the school!Suddenly, the bathroom doesn't seem so safe anymore. Especially when they learn that one of them knows more about the shooter than they realized...

MORAL OF THE STORY:
BE KIND. YOU NEVER KNOW THE BATTLE THAT ANOTHER PERSON IS FIGHTING

This book was recommended to me by a neighbour and a friend who happens to be a teacher. She read this book to her middle-grade class and raved about it. After learning the subject matter of this book, I knew I couldn't pass up this recommendation. I am a strong supporter of books that tackle tough and relevant topics. Shooter definitely hit the mark when it came to addressing the hard yet real-life issues that students endure on a daily basis: bullying, social and academic pressures, fitting in, not fitting in, etc, and what these students do to cope with the stressors of their lives. 

Shooter spans over the course of an hour. 5 students locked in a Boys washroom during a school Lockdown drill...only, it is not a drill. As referenced, this book definitely takes on a 'Breakfast Club' vibe, which I loved. Hogan(the jock), Xander(the nerd), Isabelle(the princess), Alice(the good girl) and Noah(Alice's autistic brother) are all polar opposites. Throughout the novel they clash more than once, but despite some of the hostility and their "social rankings" there are moments of beautiful vulnerability. Glimpses inside their souls and the darkest corners of their thoughts. 

With some of the horrible headlines hitting the news and shows like 13 Reasons Why, this book couldn't be more relevant for the time we are living in.  Bullying is a worldwide issue, it's a pandemic. We are losing so many lives due to the actions of others, or the lack of actions entirely. I think this is a book that belongs in every school curriculum. It needs to be on every teacher reading list. What I loved most about Shooter was its ability to handle these matters in a way that didn't make this book inaccessible to the youth. It's perfectly appropriate for a young reader. 

This is my first book by Caroline Pignat, but I am already eager to dive into her previous and future work. She has a simple writing style that makes for an easy breezy reading experience. Shooter was a fast-paced novel that had me flying through the pages, desperate to know the outcome. It's both heart-wrenching yet hopeful.  Shooter was a great read with an even greater message!

"Don't judge a book by the chapter you walk into" -Alice 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts
Release Date: June 12th, 2018
Publisher: Minataur Books
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .
When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?
Dark, twisted and heart-pounding, Jar of Hearts is everything you'll want and more in a novel!

Jar of Hearts packs A LOT of punch! It is a gripping tale that will keep you on the very edge of your seat. And trust me, you'll want to cancel your entire day, because you'll devour this book hungrily in one sitting!

Call me biased(being a Canadian and all) but I feel like the best talent comes out of Canada, and since finding out that the author, Jennifer Hillier, is Canadian, it's not wonder this book kicked so much butt!

Jennifer Hillier penned a small character cast that really made for an intimate reading experience. There wasn't too many story lines going on so I felt I could really commit to each character. The story is also told between the past and present. The author delivered that structure flawlessly! She dished out just the perfect amount of each that would have you sitting at the edge of your seat, eager for the story to unfold more; making the pacing of the novel just right.

Jar of Hearts left me with a major book hangover! It will hook you from the very first page and keep your head-spinning with its masterful storytelling until the very last.

"A relationship isn't supposed to consume you; it's not supposed to change you into someone you don't want to be. But how do you teach that?  How do you explain to someone who's never been in a romantic relationship what a healthy relationship feels like? How do you explain to a sixteen-year-old girl who's never been in love what love is supposed to feel like?" 
 
Designed by Beautifully Chaotic