Friday, June 24, 2016

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

The Girls in the Garden
Release date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Genre: Fiction | Mystery
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: From publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really? 
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.

The minute I read the premise for The Girls in the Garden I was hooked! There is so much mystery in the telling of what this book was about that I just had to know!

The Girls in the Garden does not disappoint! And it definitely lives up to it's expectation when it comes to a thrilling reading experience. Once started, I couldn't put this book down! I know I've said that about other books, but I really, truly struggled with putting this one down! It is a masterpiece of a puzzle that you'll just want to put together, piece by piece.

The setting alone is enough to enchant you and pull you in gently.  You begin the story right at the the discovery of Grace, and are then taken back in time leading up to this event. Lisa Jewell did a tremendous job at painting this vibrant story!  It's also one of the most well crafted multiple perspective books I've read. It was delivered flawlessly! Each character has a strong voice and they definitely do not blend into one another.

The Girls in the Garden packs a lot of punch but it is put together at a beautiful pace. It's not necessarily a fly-through-the pages kind of read, but rather a savour-the-story experience. You'll find yourself really reading the words and taking in all of it's gripping stories.

The Girls in the Garden will keep you enthralled from page one, and will leave you mourning the story's end. This is my first novel by Lisa Jewell, but I instantly became a fan. I cannot wait to devour her previous and future work!

This novel is the perfect book to spend reading while soaking up the Summer sun!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Relativity by Antonia Hayes

Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 368 Pages
Series: None
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe, an exceptionally talented boy obsessed with physics and astronomy, has been raised alone by his mother in Sydney, Australia. Claire, a former professional ballerina, has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life. Claire is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son—and of her own feelings. But when Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event that occurred during his infancy, her tightly-held world is split open.
Thousands of miles away on the western coast of Australia, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart, but an unexpected call forces him to confront his past and return home. When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that—like gravity—pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

It has been a long time since I have come across a story that has stolen my heart like Relativity has. In it's 368 pages Relativity manages to capture the story of a beautiful relationship between a boy and his mother, a story between a woman and her whirlwind romance with a studying physicist and a story about a man and the painful past that tore him away from his family. Told in multiple perspectives, the book unfolds from the lips of 12 year old Ethan, his mother Claire, and his Father, Mark.

Ethan is a remarkable character. One that will stay with you long after you've placed the book back on your shelf. Yes, Ethan is a genius and he can chat about Physics and Astronomy until your eyes begin to glaze over, but those details don't even begin to scrape the surface on what makes up this beautiful young boy. Ethan is magical; although he probably doesn't even believe in magic because it isn't based on scientific fact, he is truly a one of a kind character. He will make you laugh, cry and shake your head with wonder and amusement.

Claire is complex. She has been hurt and glued back together more times than she can count. She has danced, piroutetted, loved and lost until her cracks begin to show. She was a woman who had her life mapped out perfectly, only to learn that life had a different plan for her. The relationship between Ethan and Clair is one that I can barely put into words. They are on their own galaxy. It was truly a beautiful and heart-warming relationship to watch unfold.

Mark is broken. Another character that thought they had life figured out until one painful night tore everything he every knew out of his hands. Brought up by a loving mother and disapproving father, Mark was tainted. Until he met Claire. Then unfolds a blossoming, passionate love affair. One that radiates off the pages. Both strong and stubborn characters, their fierce love and fierce values radiate off the pages.

All of these characters have more connecting them then DNA, they are all whisked away in the whirlwind of a painful past. The story unfurls over the course of a few days, while Mark is back in Sydney to give a final goodbye to his dying Father. It is his Father's last wish to Mark that sets the story of on it's bumpy trail.

A character driven novel that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. An eloquently written raw and touching story about a startling secret, family, individuality and growth.

The Regulars by Georgia Clark

The Regulars: A Novel
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Genre: New Adult | Fiction
Pages: 400 Pages
Series: N/A
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.
Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well...gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.
But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:
What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?
Okay, Gerogia Clark, why are you not writing for SNL, Amy Schumer, Tina Fey and/or Amy Poehler?1 Your comedy is epic and you literally had me laughing out loud throughout the entire novel!

Georgia Clark's witty and down right hilarious writing left me in stitches. She has definitely earned a place beside the best comedy goddesses. It's as if Death Becomes Her(Meryl Streep, anyone) and Girls(HBO) had a hot, steamy night and 9 months later, The Regulars was born.

The Regulars is a multi-perspective novel, telling the story of 3 average girls, that are all striving to make it in this big world. They believe the only thing holding them back is their appearance. Well, opportunity came a-knockin' and they were "blessed" with a magical elixir that can make all their superficial dreams come true.

The Regulars is filled with wit and charm, but it is also thought-provoking. You can't help but put yourself in one of their shoes and ask yourself: Would you try the Pretty?

Buckle up, because The Regulars is a wild ride, but with that good time, you'll also witness the heart and soul that is loaded in this book. Yes, you'll laugh, but you'll also feel and witness these girls grow and evolve. You'll watch friendships grow, you'll watch relationships begin and end. There will be tears and at times, sorrow. This book definitely has it all!

A charming cast of characters, outrageously funny and a magically good time, you will simply devour The Regulars!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ramblings of A Crazy Bookworm: Gushing about Book to Strangers

Talking Books with Strangers

Do you ever find yourself out in public, maybe on the bus, in a store, at the gym, etc and find yourself face to face with a complete stranger who happens to hold in their delicate hands, a book that you absolutely adored? Of course you have! 

Some may smile to themselves and hope(to themselves) that they enjoy the book as much as you did...Well not me! Unfortunately for these said strangers, I can't keep my excitement to myself!

"Oh hi there! I see you have a copy of Me Before You. Isn't it SO good? Oh, you just started it? Well TRUST me, it is SOOO good!!!!!! You'll ugly cry your heart out!!!!"

That is generally how a conversation will go when I approach these poor unexpected folks. Sometimes, I am met with equal excitement and we gush for a few minutes. Other times, I am met with wide eyes and utter fear written all over their face.

Either way, I can't help but contain my excitement that they are about to embark on a lovely reading journey, and that I am envious of them for getting to experience this book for the first time!

So, I ask you fellow bookworms, do you approach bookey strangers? Comment and let me know!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters

Beauty of the Broken
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster | Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 368 Pages
Series: None
Format: Paperback
Source: From Publisher, unsolicited
Reason: For Review

Growing up in conservative small-town New Mexico, fifteen-year-old Mara was never given the choice to be different. Her parents—an abusive, close-minded father and a detached alcoholic mother—raised Mara to be like all the other girls in Barnaby: God-fearing, churchgoing, and straight. Mara wants nothing to do with any of it. She feels most at home with her best friend and older brother, Iggy, but Iggy hasn’t been the same since their father beat him and put him in the hospital with a concussion.
As Mara’s mother feeds her denial with bourbon and Iggy struggles with his own demons, Mara finds an escape with her classmate Xylia. A San Francisco transplant, Xylia is everything Mara dreams of being: free-spirited, open, wild. The closer Mara and Xylia become, the more Mara feels for her—even though their growing relationship is very much forbidden in Barnaby. Just as Mara begins to live a life she’s only imagined, the girls’ secret is threatened with exposure and Mara’s world is thrown into chaos.
Mara knows she can't live without Xylia, but can she live with an entire town who believes she is an abomination worse than the gravest sin?

"If there is one thing this world as taught me, it's that no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse. Secrets should stay secrets. It keeps them tolerable. Telling secrets turn them into full-on hell.”

I have few regrets in my life, but one regret I do have is that I let this novel sit on my shelf for 2 years, going unread. 

Beauty of the Broken is one of the most exceptional novels I have ever read. In Tawni Waters' author bio it mentions that she is a poet, and that definitely translates into her writing. The writing style had such a beautiful poetic flow to it; the words just lyrically dancing off of the pages. 

Main character, Mara, reminded me so much of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. She was an old soul and was wise beyond her years. She was rough around the edges but so delicate beneath the surface. The premise of this novel will give you a John Green or Rainbow Rowell impression. A coming of age novel that will tug at the heart strings, however Beauty of the Broken is so, so much more than that. This book will do more than "tug at your heart strings". It will yank, and push and pull, and at times, it will completely remove them leaving your heart broken. Having said all that, this book is filled with wondrous moments and breakthroughs. The growth and revelations of Mara and her relationship with Xylia was nothing short of breathtaking. This novel took a love story to a whole new level. To quote John Green, their Love Story unfolded slowly, and then all at once. 

This book is more than a love story though. Mara will gently take your hand and guide you along side her; giving you a peek into her soul. You will meet(and fall in love) with Iggy immediately and your heart will also break for him. This book will also fill you with anger. Anger at the world knowing that these unfortunately events happen to people every day, and also anger towards the characters. I never knew I could get so furious at someone fictional!

Beauty of the Broken and Tawni Waters should be sitting alongside the literary greats. Tawni Waters has earned herself a shinning spot next to Yeats, Steinbeck and Harper Lee. 

I regret that I took so long to reach for this book, but now I am forever grateful that I finally had the chance to meet Mara and that she let me into her life for that brief moment in time
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