Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien

Carry Me Home
Release Date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 356 Pages
Format: Arc
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.
They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.
But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world. 
Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.
Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

2017 has been an epic year for books and specifically the Young Adult genre. Some ground-breaking books have been hitting the shelves that shatter the Young Adult stereotype and will pave the way for future YA authors to come. Carry Me Home is a tragic, touching, painful and moving tale about a family fleeing their broken home to create a better life. It is about a mother wanting more for her 2 teenage daughters but we all know, things aren't always as easy as they seem. 

Carry Me Home is told from the perspectives of Mom, Lucy, and Ruth. Each character dealing with their own deep-seeded insecurities. Lucy has the strongest influence in the novel. Her story is raw, at times, sickening and mostly heart-wrenching. She is a teenage girl begging for acceptance and love in all of the wrong places. Mom has always been under the thumb of her alcoholic, abusive husband and after scooping up Lucy and Ruth and moving to Los Angeles, she is now solely responsible for providing for these children. Keeping food in the stomach and a roof over their head. Working and going back to school, her presence at home is almost non-existent and her parenting lacks authority, especially when it comes to Lucy. Yet, her intentions are strong and she loves fiercely. Ruth is quiet and an introvert. She is not like her outgoing sister, Lucy, and they bump heads constantly. Ruth is the one that tries to pulls Lucy's reigns when Mom doesn't know what to do, but it causes more problems than fixing them. 

Each character has so much depth and the author does a spectacular job at letting each of their stories unfold effortlessly throughout the entire book. She crafted an emotional and relevant reading experience that will leave you thinking about it long after you've finished the last page. You will simply devour this extraordinary tale of heart-ache, pain, and redemption.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Things I'm Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

Things I'm Seeing Without You
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 336 Page
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she'd told she loved and the first boy to say it back. Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming. Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

You guys, I freaking LOVED this book...And I know you'll love it, too! It's been one of Fall's most anticipated reads and I can definitely see why after I devoured it in nearly one sitting!

I cried, I laughed, I cried some more, and laughed some more. This book tackles suicide, grief and earth-shattering heartbreak in one of the most honest and raw ways I have come across in a book. Sometimes life just sucks! And sometimes, it's like the universe knows how much it is sucking for you and wants to throw more suck your way. We can crumble and succumb to the suck, we can give up and hide, or we can simply toss our problems into the river and try to start again. Meet Tess, she is broken, the boy she loved just took his own life and now she is trying to navigate through her grief.

I have to address Peter Bognanni's writing, it's absolutely perfect. He delivered this heart-wrenching yet beautiful tale flawlessly and also managed to craft such a strong female character. Tess is filled with wit, she is bold and she speaks her mind.

Things I'm Seeing Without You reads as a dark comedy. Yes, it sad, and if like me, you will cry. But it is also filled with great humour and so much heart. Just as much as it's about grief and heartbreak it's also about growing and second chances.

I loved every minute and every second of this book!


Monday, September 18, 2017

The Girl Who Wasn't Dead Samantha Boyette

The Girl Who Wasn't Dead
Release Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 209 Pages
Format: NetGalley
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Prom was supposed to be the biggest night of senior year, but for Jenny Lewis it was the night she almost died. The night someone drugged her, loaded her in a car, and dumped her body in the river. 

The next morning, her soaked prom dress was found on the riverbank. Her body was never found. People whispered that she’d killed herself or gotten drunk and stupid. People moved on, went to college, and stopped thinking about her. Months later, her ex-girlfriend and three other classmates received a text from an unknown number accusing them of her murder and claiming to have proof. The text? It came from Jenny, not dead and ready to figure out who tried to kill her. There’s going to be an impromptu reunion and no one is leaving until the would-be murderer steps forward.

I'm just going to dive right in here, this book was tough for me to get through and finish. There were a few times that I was ready to throw in the towel and just not finish it, but I ain't no quitter! I soldiered on really hoping the book would redeem itself...Unfortunately, it did not.

The Girl Who Wasn't Dead oozes with potential. The premise immediately grabbed me and the simplicity of the cover is so inviting and is so fitting to the story. What I struggled with most was the writing style, or more so, the delivery. It is very...juvenile for lack of a better word. It read more like a middle grade novel but talked about drugs, booze and sex all the time and the characters just fell flat. It was your typical clique and each character just treated one another so terribly. If these were my friends, I would have throat-punched them and dropped all of them.

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I also felt the book was taking on a "Pretty Little Liars" theme. I don't know if that was intentional but it felt like the book was trying to appeal to that crowd but the storyline didn't stand strong enough to achieve that. 

The Girl Who Wasn't Dead just wasn't my cuppa tea. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

Salem Falls
Release Date: November 7th, 2005
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 472 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal interest
Find the Author: Website

Jack St. Bride was once a beloved teacher and soccer coach at a girls' prep school - until a student's crush sparked a powder keg of accusation and robbed him of his career and reputation. Now, after a devastatingly public ordeal that left him with an eight-month jail sentence and no job, Jack resolves to pick up the pieces of his life. He takes a job washing dishes at Addie Peabody's diner and slowly starts to form a relationship with her in the quiet New England village of Salem Falls. But just when Jack thinks he has outrun his past, a quartet of teenage girls with a secret turn his world upside down once again, triggering a modern-day witch hunt in a town haunted by its own history


Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that I LOVE Jodi Picoult. She is on my auto-buy list, which means that I'll buy anything she writes without even needing to know what it is about.

Salem Falls is a page-turner! And it is no small feat. It's packed in a  472, small font package, but even so, you will fly through this one! Each chapter break will make you want to go on to the next.

Picoult, like most of her novels, divides the book up into all of the main characters points of view, and in Salem Falls it is quite a few perspectives. However, each character has a very strong voice and presence. Not once did a character muddy into one another. They all stood very powerfully on their own.

The writing style is typical Jodi. Epic! She knows just how to rope and lasso you where you simply cannot break free...but you wouldn't even want to anyway. She delivers the story at such a perfect pace. Dangling each word in front of your eyes, while you keep grasping for more. Picoult sure knows how to write court room drama. That is just one of the qualities I adore about her. She takes the law to a whole new level. In Salem Falls she takes the heart-wrenching subject of rape and the brutal environment of a courtroom and puts in front of us a dramatic, vicious back-and-forth that will leave you jumping sides more often than you thought you could!

Another wonderful Picoult book that definitely won't disappoint. And if you're new to Jodi Picoult, this is a great pick to start you off on your journey with her!

“There is a place in you that you don't even know exists, where you can simply stand back and watch without feeling any pain.” ― Jodi PicoultSalem Falls

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Lives of Desperate Girls by Mackenzie Common

The Lives of Desperate Girls
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For honest Review
Find the Author: Goodreads
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

One small, northern community. Two girls gone -- one missing, the other dead. A riveting coming-of-age debut young adult novel for fans of Everything I Never Told You and All the Bright Places. 
Sixteen-year-old Helen Commanda is found dead just outside Thunder Creek, Ontario. Her murder goes unremarked, except for the fact that it may shed light on the earlier disappearance of Chloe Shaughnessy. Chloe is beautiful, rich and white. Helen is plain, and from the reservation. They had nothing in common except that they were teenage girls from an unforgiving small town. Only Chloe's best friend Jenny Parker knows exactly how unforgiving, but she's keeping some dangerous secrets of her own. Jenny begins looking for answers about Helen's life and death, trying to understand larger questions about her town and her best friend. But what can a teenage girl really accomplish where adults have failed? And how much is Jenny actually complicit in a conspiracy of silence?
I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Lives of Desperate Girls. It sounded like the perfect way to welcome Fall and end a summer that was filled with your typical "beach" reading. There were two things that stood struck my interest most: The gorgeous cover and the synopsis. Both invite a mysterious and alluring promise and after reading, I find that the cover captures the essence of the book beautifully!

The author does an outstanding job at building this story's foundation. Her delivery and easy writing style hook you from the very beginning and keeps you nail-biting until the very last page! The strongest trait of this novel is the story. It's filled with mystery and thrills yet also has a an emotional glimpse at the effects of bullying and racism.

The one complaint I had with this book was the main character, Jenny. Against the books hearty premise, she fell flat. I found her character slightly irritating and underwhelming. However, because the book is so strongly story driven, I was easily able to o still enjoy my reading experience and the journey Jenny was on to solving this mystery.

Overall, I enjoyed The Lives of Desperate Girls. It took me on an emotional whodunnit rollercoaster. For a debut novel, I feel Mackenzie Common hit the mark! I look forward to her future work!

 
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