Monday, November 12, 2018

How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

How She Died, How I Lived
Release Date: November 13th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Only Jamie--beautiful, saintly Jamie--was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed.
On the eve of Kyle's sentencing a year after Jamie's death, all the other "chosen ones" are coping in various ways. But our tenacious narrator is full of anger, stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she tries to piece together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead.Now she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie's boyfriend--knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. Is hope possible in the face of such violence? Is forgiveness? How do you go on living when you know it could have been you instead?
The Young Adult literary world is having quite the movement of its own. Authors are writing bolder stories that tackle real-life issues. They are breaking down barriers and giving voices to many.  How She Died, How I Lived is no exception.

Mary Crockett penned an emotionally raw novel that will leave you thinking about it long after you've finished. The story tackles the aftermath of the violent murder of a teenage girl by a fellow classmate. The author does a tremendous job at capturing the emotional intensity of this story. She crafted multiple layers that provided a wide perspective of how each character was impacted.

A small character cast adds to the overall tone of the novel. You don't get lost in too many side stories. It was just the perfect amount to achieve the emotion of the storyline. Aside from the subject matter, there was a light undertone that shined through that provided a bit of a relief at times.

How She Died, How I Lived is more than just a story about death. It is about life after death. It's about the ripple of effect of those still left on earth. Even those affected who didn't quite know the victim that well. It's also a story about forgiveness. How forgiving isn't a weakness, it's a necessary step to moving on. It's about figuring out who you are now; since the person you once were has been ripped away from you. Or that person just doesn't quite fit right anymore. How She Died, How I Lived is an intense powerhouse of a novel.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Grim Lovelies (Grim Lovelies, #1)
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 384 Pages
Series: Grim Lovelies #1
Format: ARC
Source:  From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.
Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price. 

Gargoyles and Beasties and Witches, Oh my! Grim Lovelies is an enchanting tale that will take you down its dark and twisted road. 

Grim Lovelies is a book that you will want to return to, year after year, as a loved tradition. I can already see myself, this time next year, as the wind chills and the leaves are bold and colourful, curling up to this book and revisiting its magical world.

I adored and savoured every single moment of this story. Megan Shepherd, as if casting a spell herself, lures you into the world of the Beasties and the dark magic that surrounds them. Shepherd paints a beautiful setting, placing you right in the palm of its Parisian hands. You could smell the lavender, taste the tea, feel the warmth of the magic pulsing off of the pages. It was a delicious reading experience!

With this beautiful setting comes an even more decadent character cast. The book is told from the perspective of Anouk, a beastie that was Mada Vittora's house servant. I loved Anouk. I found her to be a powerful main character. She is not a damsel in distress, she is a rockstar! Then we have Cricket, another strong and bold female character that is witty and seriously kick ass. Beau is the love interest in the story. I think Megan Shepherd gave us just the perfect about of romance. It is not the main storyline, nor is it really the second. It is a pleasant undertone of the novel. A beautiful reminder that despite the darkness, there is still beauty, there is still love.

There is so much that can be said of Grim Lovelies it holds so much in its 384 pages, and yet could have gone far beyond that. I love that this is a series. The author does a spectacular job of setting up the potential storylines for the next book to come, which I am already eagerly awaiting! Aside from it being thrilling and heart-pounding, Grim Lovelies is also a story about self-discovery and growth. A story about finding one's self right in the midst of chaos. A phoenix rising out of the ashes.


“You thirst for magic so you can exact revenge. You want to destroy, to tear down. I see it in your eyes."
"And what's wrong with that?"
"Nothing, my dear, as long as you don't mind living in a broken world.” 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little

Confessions of a Teenage Leper
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Canada | Penguin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 304 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For honest review

Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She's hot, she's popular, she's a cheerleader and she's going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It'll all be hers. 
Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can't even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!
But it's during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen's Disease. She's becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she's on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn't like what she sees. . . 
But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She's tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she's tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen's Disease, aka leprosy. 
Despite the heavy storyline, Confessions of a Teenage Leper was witty, quirky and a really fun read!

Abby, a literal Regina George, is given a pretty harsh reality check. A girl who uses her looks to charm her way through life is diagnosed with Hansons Disease, aka Leprosy. She loses her friends and everything she has built in her shallow world.

I really loved the way Ashley Little crafted Abby's character. You really do kind of dislike her in the beginning, and her attitude can definitely make you cringe. But, all of that was necessary to get the full grasp of her transformation throughout the book. It is a great story of self-growth. Abby struggles to grasp her diagnosis and goes through all the natural stages of coming to terms with it.

Aside from Abby, we are given a pretty great character cast. Each character adds charm and depth to the entire story.

Confessions of a Teenager Leper was not what I expected at all. It is filled with so much personality. At times heart-wrenching it was just as much heart-warming. A wonderful reading experience! 

Monday, September 24, 2018

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

The War Outside
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 336 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

A stunning novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal from Monica Hesse, the Edgar Award-winning and bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat
It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.
Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.
With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone--even each other?

The War Outside is one of those books that you hug tightly to your chest and let out a deep sigh as soon as you've finished the last page. The story and its characters will embed themselves deep into your soul.

The War Outside was a perspective of WW2 that I have never known. I did not know about these internment camps and their existence. It's another heartwrenching fact of that time. Although The War Outside may be fiction, I am sure its story is very true for the people that were involved. I'm sure if they could have read The War Outside they would have found a little piece of themselves in one of the characters.

This is my first book by Monica Hesse but it will not be my last. She crafted an emotional story about 2 girls that, despite the rules of society, developed an unbreakable bond. The War Outside is a very character driven novel. It is not a story about a war. It is a beautiful tale about 2 girls with a war happening around them. Hesse approached this story with a fine delicacy. It's as if Haruko and Margot were in the room with her, confiding their stories, whispering their secrets and she was just transcribing them to paper.

The War Outside is a book that you'll want to savour. You will want to take your time reading each word, not rushing, although it will be tough to not devour it. It's dual perspective will give you a deep look into each character and the own wars within themselves and their families that they are dealing with.

Get cozy, curl up with your favourite blanket (and a box of tissues) and delve into the stories of Haruko and Margot, but be prepared, once you meet them, you'll never forget them. 

I read a book, this book was called The War Outside and I will never forget it.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little

Confessions of a Teenage Leper

Release Date: September 25th, 2018

Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She's hot, she's popular, she's a cheerleader and she's going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It'll all be hers. 
But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She's tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she's tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen's Disease, aka leprosy. Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can't even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!But it's during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen's Disease. She's becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she's on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn't like what she sees. . .

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Little was born in Calgary, Alberta. She earned her bachelor of fine arts in creative writing and film studies at the University of Victoria and an MFA in creative writing from University of British Columbia. She lives in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.Little's debut novel PRICK: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist was published by Tightrope Books in 2011. Prick was shortlisted for the ReLit Award. Her second novel The New Normal (Orca Book Publishers, 2013) is for young adults. The New Normal won the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize at the 2014 BC Book Prizes. Her third novel, Anatomy of a Girl Gang (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013) won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize at the 2014 BC Book Prizes, one of two awards Little won that year. Anatomy of a Girl Gang was a Finalist for the 2014 City of Vancouver Book Award and longlisted for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.Little served as the 2014 writer in residence for Calgary's Alexandra Writers Centre Society, and as the 2015 Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence. Little served as the 2017 Edna Staebler Writer in Residence for Wilfrid Laurier University.
Join the conversation! 
#confessionsOfATeenageLeper
@PenguinTeenCa

Monday, September 3, 2018

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

People Kill People
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books | Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 448 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

People kill people. Guns just make it easier.
A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who? 

 You can't be a part of the young adult literary world without knowing who Ellen Hopkins is. She is well known and well loved for pairing her unique writing style with raw and relevant stories. Her books may be based off of fictional character but the issues she tackles so honestly hit home for many people. Ellen Hopkin's gets as real as fiction can get.

People Kill People is no exception. This book hit me hard. I finished it a few days ago and am still left reeling. Immigration, gun control, gun violence, and racism is a very active issue right now. Yes, it always lived, more so in the shadows, but not it is front and center, in the spotlight. People Kill People tells the story of 6 very different lives all within one pulsing week. The book is delivered from the perspective of each character: Rand, Cami, Noelle, Silas, Ashlyn, and Daniel. Each character holds their own strong opinion on immigration, racism and guns. This reason, driving them to make the decisions that they make. The pacing of this novel is on point. Hopkins does an outstanding job at building each character and letting their story unfold at a perfect pace. Giving you a glimpse into themselves and why they believe their perception of life is the right one. Why they believe they are justified in doing what they do. 

There is another perspective that joins us in this book, in Hopkins unique verse style, Violence. That's right, we also get to hear from the side of Violence itself. And I tell you, that made for quite a rattling and powerful reading experience.

People Kill People is honest and relevant. It will shake you up and consume you. It will tug at your heart and madden you all at the same time. It's a one of a kind read that will leave you thinking about it long after you've read it.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie
Release Date: Septemeber 4th, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: E-galley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon | Amazon CA


Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. 
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Canada is known for some pretty spectacular things: Health Care, Maple Syrup, Poutine...But, to me, what makes Canada most notable is its talent in the literary world. We've got Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro but most brag-worthy is Courtney Summers. A strong female author that writes books that will shake you to your core. She tackles subjects that some shy away from. She gets raw and gritty and isn't afraid to go there. Courtney Summers makes me proud to be Canadian.

Sadie is a heartwrenching tale about a girl on the hunt for her sisters killer. Delivered, outstandingly, in dual perspective: the first being in podcast format and the second coming from Sadie herself. It is a sad story about a girl seeking vengeance for her dead sister. Sadie's pain bleeds from the pages and will leave you heartbroken for her. Like her previous work, Summers has a flawless writing style. Her story development draws you in immediately and will never let you go. Summers crafts a small but in-depth character cast in Sadie. Each character adds their own valuable puzzle piece to this dark and mysterious story. Summers surely captures the emotional tone of this novel. It will have you questioning whats right and wrong, and how you would handle Sadie's situation. This story isn't just about Sadie, it is also about a journalist that is willing to go to the ends of the earth to find out what happened to her and to Mattie. To give Sadie a voice and to tell her story. In a way, it's a triumphant story.  

Courtney Summers has done it again, but really, I had no doubt whatsoever. Her books, her characters nestle themselves deep into my heart and hold space there until the very last page and long after.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying
Release Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Delecorte Press
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 361 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal interest

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. Pay close attention and you might solve this.On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. 
“Unless one of us is lying. Which is always a possibility.” 

If I had a quarter for each time this book was recommended to me, I would be sipping Pina Colada's on the beaches of Costa Rica. If I had a nickel for each time I was asked: "Why have you not read this yet?!" I'd be sailing the open sea on my yacht. Get it? In the short year this book has been released it has been a constant "must read" in my reading circle, both in person and online, but I am happy to announce that I finally read it!

Image result for celebrating gif

The verdict? I freaking LOVED IT! Naturally, I am now cursing myself for waiting a year to read it. Beating myself up over the fact that I could have read this epic novel sooner! Now let me tell you why I loved it so much...

Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars...yes and yes! One of Us is Lying is written from 4 points of view. Bronwyn, the Brain, Addy, the Beauty, Nate, the Criminal and Cooper, the Athlete. Each character is fighting their own demons and secrets. Secrets that could destroy them if they ever came out. They each have their own reason to keep Simon silent, so when Simon dies while in detention with the 4 people that may have wanted to keep him quiet the most, they are all instantly suspects. Caught in a whirlwind investigation while they are all trying to put together the pieces themselves and figure out who really did it?

This book left me guessing the entire time. You'll think that you've figured it out only to have that theory(and many others) crumble before your eyes. McManus put together an intricate story told through the eyes of 4 very different characters. Throughout the entirety of the novel you'll be going back and forth wondering which one did it. One of Us is Lying is a character driven novel. If one had fallen flat the entire story would have suffered. However, McManus crafted each character so delicately. They each thrived and each added a vital role to the success of this novel.

I was completely immersed by One of Us is Lying. When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about reading it. Every spare moment I had I would devour what I could. This book left me hungry and begging for more. I have become an instant fan of Karen M. McManus and eagerly await her future work! If you haven't read One of Us is Lying yet, what are you waiting for? Don't make the same mistake I did. This gem will appeal to all types of readers. Fantastic writing, a mesmerizing story and in-depth characters will leave you engrossed until the very last page!

“Some people are too toxic to live. They just are.” 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Literary Book Gifts PLUS a PROMO!

Are you looking for the perfect tote to accompany you around Campus? or perhaps a cute tank to kick off the first day of school? With fall around the corner, why not get nice and cozy in one of the many literary hoodies? Literary Book Gifts has all of the above and more! Something for every literary fan out there. Totes, Tanks, T-Shirts and Hoodies all with one-of-the-kind designs and a variety of colours: Emily Dickinson, The Great Gatsby and everything in between! Whatever your taste, you'll be sure to find something that is absolutely perfect for you!

All of the beautiful and unique designs are put together personally by Melissa, the owner of Literary Book Gifts. Each design is crisp and a wonderful tribute to the literary classics she is representing. Her website is sleek and simple, it couldn't make online shopping any easier or more enjoyable. You're just a few clicks away from becoming the proud owner of one(or many) of the exclusive products she offers.

Literary Book Gifts is offering The Crazy Bookworm readers an epic promo...Are you ready for this?! Readers will receive 20% off anything in the store, no minimum and can be used unlimited amount of times...That's right, UNLIMITED! How awesome and generous is that? Perfect timing for back to school, or if your trying to find that epic gift for the literary lover in your life, Literary Book Gifts has you covered!

To take advantage of this awesome PROMO. Just head on over to Literary Book Gifts(literarybookgifts.com) do your shopping and enter: CRAZY-BOOKWORM20 at check out. Keep that promo handy because you can use it as many times as you want! 

Promo Code: CRAZY-BOOKWORM20 


Check out some of my favourites below!

Edgar Allan Poe Hoodie (Women's)
Edgar Allen Poe Hoodie

Dante's Inferno Tank Top (Women's)
Dante's Inferno Hoodie

J. M. Barrie Peter Pan Tote Bag
Peter Pan Tote


Friday, August 10, 2018

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Give Me Your Hand
Release Date: July 17th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Publishing
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon 


Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane's academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them. More than a decade later, Kit thinks she's put Diane behind her forever and she's begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both. 

I can't believe this is my first Megan Abbott book! I have heard wonderful things about her so when I was presented with the opportunity to read Give Me Your Hand I had to jump on it!

Give Me Your Hand tells the story of Kit Owens and Diane Fleming. Two ex-friends who are reunited when a position opens up for a scientific research study.  Kit and Diane were friends in high school but a devastating secret changed everything. Now, a decade later, Diane and Kit are thrust into each others lives once again.

Firstly, I absolutely loved the way this novel was delivered. Going back and forth between past and present, making the story unfold at a perfect pace, keeping you hanging on until the very end.  Abbott put a lot of care into the backstory which I really appreciated. You get a great understanding of why both Kit and Diane are the way that they are and how they seem to have this everlasting attachment.

Abbott not only crafted great characters but she backed it up with an epic storyline, or I should say multiple storylines. A few things unravel in this book: Kit and Diane's history, their present connection and both Kit and Diane's separate backstory. It made for a very interesting read! Another great addition was the research they are studying. It is fascinating. PMDD is something that I have never heard about and the author does a great job at integrating it into the story.

Give Me Your Hand will appeal to lots of readers. It's a psychological thriller with a young adult twist. It takes you on a heart-racing journey of who and why. All of your questions will be answered but the author does not give them up quickly. You will be left guessing until the very end!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Watch the Girls by Jennifer Wolfe

Watch the Girls
Release Date: July 10th. 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Mystery | Thriller, Horror, Fiction
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

I've been watched all my life. I'm used to being stared at. Observed. Followed.
Fame and obsession collide in this darkly twisted novel from an incredible new voice in suspense.SOMEONE IS WATCHINGWashed up teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her beloved younger sister inexplicably disappeared following a Hollywood party gone wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life, and her sister was never heard from again. But all this time, someone's been waiting patiently to finish what was started...FOUR MISSING GIRLSNow fifteen years later, broke and desperate, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a webseries in which she'll pose as a real-life private detective--a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to investigate a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.FOLLOW THE WHITE WOLFLiv is given a cryptic first clue: Follow the white wolf. And now a darker game is about to begin. Through social media, someone is leaving breadcrumbs to follow. As Liv makes increasingly disturbing discoveries, her show explodes in popularity. A rapt internet audience is eager to watch it all--perhaps even at the cost of Liv's own life...Filled with provocative twists and turns as the line between plot and reality blurs in this inventive tour-de-force from breakout writer Jennifer Wolfe. 
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*Slow Clap*
Bravo, Jennifer Wolfe, Bravo!!

This is EXACTLY how a thriller is done! Jennifer Wolfe nailed it!

Watch the Girls is a wild and suspenseful ride that will have you hanging on to the edge of your seat the entire time. You will struggle with the desire to fly through the pages to see how it all ends and the desire to slow down and savour the story. 

Jennifer Wolfe introduces us to Liv Hendricks, a former teen star who is still struggling over the disappearance of her sister, Miranda, 15 years ago. At her financial breaking point, Liv is forced to enter the spotlight again. She decides to start a crowdfunding campaign for an investigation-style web series. A mysterious donor makes her an offer she can't refuse. He asks her to go to Stones Throw, a place famous for its horror movies filmed there, to investigate a series of disappearances. We are then taken down the "dark road" of Stones Throw and thrust into an eerie and disturbing web of events. Buckle up!

Liv Hendricks was a fantastic main character. Despite some of her decision-making, she is a very likable character. Watch the Girls has a small character cast, making it an intimate experience with the time you spend with each one. You grow to like(or dislike) characters easily. The book is told from Liv's perspective but delivered between the past and the present. Two stories are unfolding here: What is happening in Stones Throw and What happened that night Miranda disappeared, 15 years ago. Wolfe's delivery of these 2 storylines is flawless. She pens two thrilling and suspenseful narratives, each as equally heart-pounding as the other. She crafts a unique reading experience, winding through multiple theories and whodunnits, but nothing will prepare you for the jawdropping ending! 

I loved every single minute of this book. If this is what Jennifer Wolfe has up her sleeve, I cannot wait to see what else she has in store for us! Jennifer Wolfe, you better be high-fiving yourself, because you nailed it!

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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:

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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...
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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: 

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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.
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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. 

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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?" 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Love and Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves

Love & Other Carnivorous Plants
Release Date: May 15th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult | Fiction
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For an honest review

Buy the Book

Freshman year at Harvard was the most anticlimactic year of Danny's life. She's failing pre-med and drifting apart from her best friend. One by one, Danny is losing all the underpinnings of her identity. When she finds herself attracted to an older, edgy girl who she met in rehab for an eating disorder, she finally feels like she might be finding a new sense of self. But when tragedy strikes, her self-destructive tendencies come back to haunt her as she struggles to discover who that self really is.

It's hard to take a book like this and say how much you enjoyed it considering the subject matter, but it's true, I really liked this book!

I really enjoyed Danny's character. Her dark and sarcastic humour added comedic relief to the overall tone of the novel. The book itself dives into the struggles of eating disorders, addiction, and depression with the real-life realities of living life through it all. Florence Gonsalves did a wonderful job at penning these delicate subjects and delivering them with a raw voice. It can be tough approaching Mental health in novels. It's placing a very real struggle into a fictional world and the author did a spectacular job. I feel that if anyone who has been in Danny's shoes would have felt the author was very authentic. There was no sugar-coating. It was no holds barred.  It was raw and untethered. 

There are multiple storylines going on in the novel. We have Danny and Sara, Danny and Bugg, Danny and her parents and Danny and herself.  Each storyline packs a lot of punch. Each one is riddled with highs and lows. It's messy but in an intentional way.

Love and Other Carnivorous Plants went beyond my expectations. I wasn't expecting this book to turn out the way that it did. It's sad yet hilarious at times. Even though it's a fictional story, it's a very truthful representation of disorders and mental health.  Definitely a one-of-a-kind read!


"When I no longer hear her receding footsteps, I touch the place where her lips were, half expecting to find a scar."



 
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