Monday, March 25, 2019

Suspicious Minds(Stranger Things #1) by Gwenda Bond

Suspicious Minds (Stranger Things, #1)
Release Date: February 7th, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Genre: Sci-Fi | Fiction
Pages: 304 Pages
Series: Stranger Things #1
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon

A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.
It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be further from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.
But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines. When word gets around about an important government experiment in the small town of Hawkins, she signs on as a test subject for the project, codenamed MKUltra. Unmarked vans, a remote lab deep in the woods, mind-altering substances administered by tightlipped researchers . . . and a mystery the young and restless Terry is determined to uncover.
But behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory—and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner—lurks a conspiracy greater than she could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including one so mysterious the world doesn’t know she exists—a young girl with unexplainable, superhuman powers and a number instead of a name: 008.
Amid the rising tensions of the new decade, Terry Ives and Martin Brenner have begun a different kind of war—one where the human mind is the battlefield. 

"Alice felt out of joint here, in the Beneath as she'd begun to think of it, like she didn't fit. A daydream of decay, filled with shadows."

Anyone who even knows me the slightest knows that I adore the show Stranger Things. Even at 31 years old, I find the characters so relatable. I always considered myself a bit of an outcast child and always gravitated towards books and film that had similar characters. Stand by Me, The Goonies, Sand Lot, the list goes on. Even in adulthood, I'm still drawn those kinds of characters. When I learned that Netflix teamed up with Random House to bring us a series of books, I was pretty pumped!

Suspicious Minds was everything I hoped it would be and so much more! The first book in the series is a prequel. We dive into the back story of Eleven's mother, Terry Ives, Hawkins lab, Kali, and Mr. Brenner. The author flawlessly blended the facts we know from the show and interlaced them into her own story. I feel she did the characters and fans great justice at producing this in-depth back story. Bond also crafted beautiful characters! They were penned with the same qualities that we admired in the show. Each character has their time to shine and you'll fall in love with each and every one of them. Andrew and "the fellowship" stole my heart. 

I enjoyed every second of my Suspicious Minds. Like the show, the book is an action-packed experience. But, just as the series, it is packed with lots of heart and soul as well. I sat on the edge of my seat, I love and I cried. I can't wait for the next book in the series! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler

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

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

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

Talk about a gripping tagline! This book had me hooked before I even cracked it open, and the story that lays between the cover will wrap its firm grasp around you and will not let you go!

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

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

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

Monday, March 11, 2019

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Izzy and Tristan by Shannon Dunlap

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

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

Image result for crying gif 

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Drowning by J.P. Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Last Night(The Searchers #2) by Karen Ellis

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Danger to Herself and Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Release date: December 7th, 2018
Publisher: Independently published
Genre: Fiction | Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 314 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the book: Purchase

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

“What you read will taste so bad at times, you’ll want to spit it out, but you’ll swallow these words and they will become part of you, part of your gut, and you will hurt because of them.”  

Excuse me while I just have a quick beverage after finishing this book...

Image result for Chugging wine

Costco can't even stock the amount of wine that you'll need while reading this book! Whoa boy! Buckle up!

Do you remember(or maybe it was just me) how you felt when you heard that the creator of Glee, Ryan Murphy, was the same creator of the American Horror Story series? I remember watching Murder House and thinking: "The mind of Glee created this?!". That is exactly how I feel about this book. The Colleen Hoover mind we've all fallen in love pulled a major plot twist on us! Bravo, Colleen Hoover, bravo!  

Verity has all of the CoHo qualities we love: Endearing characters, an irresistible plot and a beautiful, flowing writing style that just makes the entire package addictive. Be sure to carve out a block of time when diving into this one, because you will not be able to put it down. Food, kids, work, will all come second when it comes to dividing up your time when reading this!

Verity starts off with a bloody bang, and the dark and twisted just continues deliciously on from there. Colleen Hoover does a spectacular job at pacing the story. She gives you just enough in each chapter to tempt you to keep on reading. The CoHo spell is cast over you and you much rather be reading than anything else! If you do, for whatever reason, have to put the book down, you'll be left thinking about it constantly until you can pick it up again. 

Verity is a mind-bending rollercoaster. It is a racy, wicked and taboo ride. Your knuckles will turn white from your grip on the book. Your gut will twist and you'll cringe. Once of the best reading experiences, I have ever had! You've been warned!

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.
Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day. After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.
“We are all drowning slowly in the tide of our opinions, oblivious that we are taking on water every time we open our mouths.” 

It's rare that I am at a loss of words. Seriously, just ask my fiance, family, and friends. I usually have no problem gabbing about the book I just read. However, I am really struggling with this one. Not because I disliked it, the complete opposite in fact. A Spark of Light left me speechless. I am left struggling to find the words to explain to you how spectacular this book was. 3 words come to mind when thinking about this book:  Breathtaking. Spectacular. Heart-stopping. 

I wish I could just end the review here. Really, that's all you need! However, I'll try to explain why you should read this book immediately. 

It's no secret that I am a big Jodi Picoult fan. She is one of my auto-buy authors; I'll buy whatever she writes without caring what it's about. A Spark of Light just may be my favourite book of hers yet, and that is saying A LOT! 

A Spark of Light brings us a dynamic character cast and a very compelling storyline. The characters and their stories will have a very powerful effect on you. This novel tackles Abortion. Another amazing Picoult quality is how timely she is with her books. Abortion has always been a debate. However, it is even more important today, and this book is very relevant. Whether you agree, disagree or are indifferent, you will be left considering all the perspectives in this book; and will be left pondering long after you've put it down. 

I also loved the unique delivery. A Spark of Light is told in reverse. It really gives you a better glimpse at the characters, and how they all ended up at the center on that day. 

Impeccable writing, unforgettable characters, and very relevant subject matter, A Spark of Light will definitely spark something deep within you. Emotions will stir and questions will be raised. It is an intense story that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 272 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: AmazonCA | Amazon

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a T├Ątowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
“If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.” 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the traumatic true story of Lale. A Jewish Slovakian who is transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. He is given the job as the tattooist that marks the prisoners with their numbers. It is at this camp where Lale lay eyes on Gita, a female prisoner at the camp. The agonizing details described in this book will leave you sick and angry. The horrors that people endeared at the hands of Hitler's reign is nothing short of monstrous and vicious. Despite these heinous acts Lale and the other prisoners find it in themselves to stay hopeful. Despite being ripped from their families, and not knowing the fate of their loved ones, they left themselves open to love and established a family within the barbed wire of the camp. 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a love story, yes, but it goes beyond that. It is the harrowing tale of survival and resilience. It shows that even in the darkest of moments, a vast blackness that is trying to eat you up whole, you can still find beauty. You steal moments to tell jokes, laugh and hope.

Lale and Gita stole my heart. Their story is one that will be with me forever. The stories of the other prisoners will stay with me. And the stories of those that did not make it to share those stories themselves will forever be in my heart. 

Expectedly, this book will stir a lot of emotions out of you. You will cry and my god, you will get angry. But, that will all soften as you watch the relationship between Lale and Gita flourish. Their story is the rose that grew through the cement.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott

Five Feet Apart
Release Date: November 20th, 2018
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 288 Pages
Format: Egalley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Review

Can you love someone you can never touch?Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

“...I want to be fearless and free. It's just life, Will. It'II be over before we know it.” 

This. This book is exactly why I adore the Young Adult genre! A charming and captivating story about two teens trying to navigate their way through their lives and their diagnoses.

I went into this book blind. I was sent a Netgalley, and only knowing the genre I decided to dive in without knowing what the book was about. I don't know if that heightened my reading experience at all, but what I do know is that I devoured this novel. I could not, and did not, put it down. It followed me to the kitchen, to work, to the gym and to bed until I, sadly, finished it.  Do you ever just sigh after finished a book? Almost as if you're releasing a breath you didn't even know you were holding? That's exactly how I felt after finishing Five Feet Apart. 

Five Feet Apart is told through the perspectives of Stella and Will. Stella, who has Cystic Fibrosis and "enjoying" another stint in the hospital.Her home away from home. She knows every nurse and is a bit of a control freak when it comes to her meds and routines. Will, who has CF and B. Cepacia, is new to this hospital, though he is not new to treatments. His mother flying him all around the world for trial treatments, that have all eventually failed. He now finds himself at Stella's hospital for a new trial. Will is laid back, a little too laid back for Stella, and she quickly wants to reign in control and "help" Will with his medications and wellness regimen. The hitch? Because of their diagnoses, they must remain 6 feet apart, or they'd be at risk for deadly infection.  Stella and Will's friendship grows and their relationship blossoms before your eyes. You're given the pleasure of learning who they are individually, and then who they become together. 

With its beautiful writing and heartfelt storyline Five Feet Apart is not just a story about 2 teenagers. It is a story about growth resilience. It's about Stella and Will learning who they are, beyond their diseases.  I cannot wait to see this book come alive on the big screen! Check out the trailer below.

Monday, January 21, 2019

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 373 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

“Maybe it's better to have gotten it right and been happy for one day instead of living a life of wrongs.”

Looking for a book that will make you ugly cry worse the Kim Kardashian? Then today is your lucky day! They Both Die at the End will have you sobbing into the ice cream that you are emotionally eating. 

Okay, all kidding aside, this was one of the most beautiful, well-written stories I have ever read. I laughed and cried. My heart broke, mended, then broke again.

Adam Silvera introduces us to two very different people. Mateo and Rufus, teenagers that both receive their alert and find one another via the Last Friend App. We then get the bittersweet pleasure of joining them on their journey together as they live the last day of their life to the fullest. Could you imagine getting a call notifying you that today is the last day of your life? Adam Silvera did a spectacular job at penning the emotions that would surge through you should you get that alert. The emotions for Mateo, Rufus and those around them radiated off of the pages.

Mateo and Rufus are not the only stars of this novel. There is a winning secondary character cast that compliments the entire novel. Each one adding so much to the reading experience that makes this book a wonderful, complete package.

Adam Silvera's writing is flawless and I am eager to dive into his previous work. I am an instant fan. He captured such raw intensity that made you feel as if you were right there, standing in the background, witnessing their stories with your own eyes.

They Both Die at the End is, honestly, the most genius book title. Though you know the outcome, nothing will prepare you for the ache your heart will feel. Both heart-breaking yet incredibly beautiful. It's the ultimate carpe diem.

I miss this book already. I will re-read this novel. Likely many times over, because I have made great friends in Rufus and Mateo, and I'll want to visit them from time to time. If you have not read They Both Die at the End that needs to be changed immediately! Though, be sure to hit up Costco and buy the biggest skid of Kleenex they have! You'll need it!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends with Us
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 367 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Local library
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. 
I am so late to the Colleen Hoover party but she has been on my radar for a looong time! Friends, bloggers, co-workers, everyone I know has raved about her. The first book I read from her was All Your Perfects, which I received for review in 2018. I was instantly hooked! I am now making my way through her backlog and decided It Ends with Us to be my next choice!

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Never, have I experienced such an emotional rollercoaster!

This book WRECKED me; I am not exaggerating one bit. I laughed, I cried and there were moments where I wanted to strangle the words right off the pages.

It Ends with Us is the definition of 'Just one more chapter'! I found myself devouring this book any chance I could and even contemplated canceling all plans and calling in sick to work just so I could continue reading...Who needs sleep right?

It Ends with Us is told from Lily's perspective. We learn about her first love Atlas, through 'Dear Ellen' diary entries, where she addresses her entries to Ellen Degeneres, and her new love Ryle Kincaid.

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The story of Atlas and Lily was both beautiful and heart-breaking. I could have read a whole book on just the two of them! And then we meet Ryle. Who is just as swoon-worthy. BUT, to keep this review spoiler free, that is all I am going to say about Ryle. You'll just have to pick up the book to find out for yourself.

Hoover does a spectacular job at drawing you inside the world of her characters. You feel almost intrusive as you are reading through their most raw and vulnerable moments.

And then we hit about partway through the novel

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I was a sobbing mess at times! And though I would never harm a book, there were moments that I wanted to toss my copy across the room.

I am now a proud Colleen Hoover fan! I cannot wait to read my way through her work and will eagerly await her future releases! It Ends with Us is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. It is not only a book about Lily and her journey, but a book about self-discovery. A story about a young woman navigating her way through life and finding where she belongs.

Have you read Colleen Hoover? Comment and let me know what I should read next!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)
Release Date: November 29th, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 305 Pages
Series: Legend #1
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal interest

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I'm am SO late to the party on this one! I am trying to knock off some of the books that I have had sitting on my shelf FOREVER.

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 Since its release, I have heard so many amazing things about this series, so I know that it was the first book I was going to go for! I devoured this book in one sitting. It grabbed my attention immediately and I just flew through the pages. Before I knew it, I turned the last page and the book was over(sadly). I definitely see what everyone was raving about. This book is AH-MAZING! An intense plot paired with fantastic characters made for a fast-paced, edge of your seat reading experience!

 Legend is packed in a small 305-page package but don't let that fool you. It keeps your heart pounding from beginning to end. It packs a lot of punch that will leave you breathless. I adored Day. His story is heart-wrenching but he is a fighter. He is so strong yet humble. June will have you screaming GIRL POWER. She is fierce!

I am hating myself for waiting so long to read this book but I am so glad I finally did. I have already ordered the rest of the series and am anxiously awaiting the mailman's arrival!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2018 Wrap-Up! What I Read, Watched, and Listened to

Happy New Year!

I cannot believe 2018 is officially behind us. While 2018 felt like it was 3 years long, now that it's gone it feels like it went so fast. Strange!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and rang in the New Year exactly how you wanted to; whether that was curled up at home with a good book or a night out on the town celebrating. 

2018 was an epic year for entertainment! Amazing books, thrilling shows and thought-provoking podcasts that tackled so many topics! Below, you can find my Top 5 for all of those categories...except books, books is a top 10, because how could I narrow it down to just 5?!

So, without further ado, here is what kept my eyes and ears busy all year long!

I am a true crime junkie. I know that might be a very strange(and possibly alarming) past-time but what can I say? This year, I discovered some new faves and caught up some new seasons with others. 
I listened to:
In The Dark  Season 1 and 2 
Up and Vanished Season 2

I use the app Castbox to catch up on all my favourite podcasts but any of these can be found wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Netflix was on FIRE this year! So many epic shows! It was tough to narrow down to a top 5 but I managed ;) 

Just like Netflix, there was also a lot of amazing films that hit the big screen in 2018. Below are the ones that stuck with me the most:

Even though I did not even come close to my reading goal this year. I only hit 37 out of my 50. *Gasp*. The books I did get around to reading were pretty amazing. I obviously could not narrow it down to just 5. However, I did manage to do a top 10 even though I wanted to add a few others to the list! 

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What kept you busy in 2018? 
Comment and let me know!

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