Monday, May 20, 2019

No Exit by Taylor Adams

No Exit
Release Date: January 15h, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Suspense | Mystery
Pages: 336 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside, are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.
Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.But who can she trust? 

What. A. Ride!! You're going to want to buckle up for this one because it's going to take you on one wild ride!

No Exit far exceeded my expectations. I've been hearing how great it is but I was not expecting just how intense and gripping this book was going to get! 

It was a bit of a busy week/weekend for me so I was squeezing in reading whenever I could, and I can tell you that it took so much effort to have to put the book down. It was painful, actually. When I couldn't be reading it, all I could do was think about it. Today, I had nothing to do so I knew I was going to relax out in the sun and devour this wild story. 

No Exit hurls twist after twist at you. Sending your mind down a deep spiral of theories and explanations, and debunking each one just as quick. The author penned such a sophisticated storyline. The twists and sudden developments left you in a delicious entanglement that leaves you flying through the pages hungrily. 

Each character adds so much value to the plot. It's a small character cast which offers the opportunity for each one to shine. Although this book is dark and chilling, it had a humorous undertone. Darby's quick wit and sarcastic charm provided some comedic relief throughout the entire novel. 

This book is a powerhouse! It packs so much punch that will leave your mind reeling. The flawless writing paired with the intense storyline seemed effortless for the author. What a storyteller Taylor Adams is! I loved every minute of this dark and bloody tale. If books were given standing ovations, this would get one that would make Quentin Tarantino jealous! 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Two Can Keep a Secret
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 336 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book


Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery's never been there, but she's heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it's hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone's declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she's in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous--and most people aren't good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it's safest to keep your secrets to yourself.
“When you come into the world with another person, they’re as much a part of you as your heartbeat.” 

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THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how you write a book! Damn! Karen M. McManus proved herself to be a masterful storyteller when she penned One of Us is Lying but Two Can Keep a Secret is an even more delicious thriller that you'll eagerly gobble up.

Two Can Keep a Secret is a heart-pounding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The story unfolds through two perspectives, Ellery and Malcolm. Ellery, a True Crime Buff(like myself) finds herself getting deeply invested in the mysterious happenings of Echo Ridge. Her aunt had vanished there at seventeen years old, her disappearance left unsolved, and now more menacing threats are terrorizing the town. Ellery is determined to get to the bottom of it, including the truth of what happened to her aunt. Malcolm was a great perspective to read through. His point-of-view dealt more with the murder that his brother, Declan, found himself in the center of. Both perspectives added great depth to the story. McManus crafted very relatable and powerful characters, both the main and secondary characters.

Two Can Keep a Secret is far from your typical YA Thriller. McManus penned such an intricate web of storylines that you are pushed and pulled every which way. Just when you think you have it all figured out you are spun in the other direction, left guessing until the very end!

I enjoyed every minute of the wild ride that Two Can Keep a Secret took me on. It was thrilling, suspenseful and left me jaw-dropped with its twist of an ending. Karen M. McManus has easily become a favourite author of mine. I can't wait to devour her future work!

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

The Perfect Child
Release Date: March 1st, 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 370 Pages
Format: egalley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.
But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge. 

“I wished I were as optimistic as I pretended. I used to be. Not anymore.” 

This was one of the most spectacular, well-crafted reads I have read in a very long time. It is a thrill ride packed with suspense, fantastic characters and a wild storyline.

The Perfect Child delves into the lives of Hannah and Christopher Bauer, a married couple eager to become parents. After a sequence of events, they come to adopt, Janie, an abandoned child that turned up at the hospital that Hannah and Christopher both work at. The 'perfect' life they had imagined as parents were anything but. It's absolutely horrific. The story is told from 3 perspectives, Hannah's, Christopher's and Piper's, the CPS worker. This delivery really added to the intensity of the reading experience. It allowed the story to unfold at such a perfect face. Keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time. 

The writing, superb. It was flawless, as was the storytelling. Lucinda Berry delivered an intense read that will both make your heart ache and wrench almost simultaneously. She crafted such memorable characters. Both Christopher and Hannah will find their way into your heart. Their story is one that many can relate, too. Many couples deal with the struggles of trying to have a family and I feel that the author captured all of those emotions beautifully. I also feel she gave an authentic voice to her characters when it came to the struggles of being new parents. Piper was another spectacular character and I really loved seeing things from her point of view. Janie, what can I say? The Perfect Child? Well, you'll just have to read it to find out!

This was my first book by Lucinda Berry but I can absolutely assure you that it will not be last! She has made me an instant fan and I cannot wait to lose my self in another one of her stories! 


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Guilty by Laura Elliott

Guilty
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 400 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

It begins with a phone call. It ends with a missing child. 
On a warm summer’s morning, thirteen-year-old school girl Constance Lawson is reported missing. A few days later, Constance’s uncle, Karl Lawson suddenly finds himself swept up in a media frenzy created by journalist Amanda Bowe implying that he is the prime suspect. Six years later … Karl’s life is in ruins. His marriage is over, his family destroyed. But the woman who took everything away from him is thriving. With a successful career, husband and a gorgeous baby boy, Amanda’s world is complete. Until the day she receives a phone call and in a heartbeat, she is plunged into every mother’s worst nightmare.
Guilty tells the story of 13-year-old Constance Lawson who is reported missing. It doesn't take long for the media to catch fire and point at Karl Lawson, Constance's uncle as the prime suspect.

For the most part, I liked this read. It is told in 4 parts but I feel like it could have been done in 2 or just avoided the separation entirely.  
It does move slowly at times; the first half of the book moved fairly quickly and kept my attention. However, the 3rd and the early stage of part 4 was a bit of a slower pace. I do believe the pace was the author's intention. It definitely builds up the suspense! I was just riding the wave from the first half that I was hoping it would keep that momentum throughout. 

Having said that, there were points that I absolutely loved. The characters. Guilty is a character-driven novel and they were very well crafted! We were given in-depth back stories that gave us a clear picture of why they are the way they are now, and why they are making the decisions they are making. The author penned exceptional characters. There was nothing perfect or sugar-coated about them. They were raw, imperfect human beings.

Overall, I enjoyed Guilty! As a psychological thriller, it definitely hits the mark! It's heart-wrenching and painfully honest in regards to Constance and her disappearance. The rest is deep, dark and eerie.  

Monday, April 22, 2019

You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno

You Must Not Miss
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 304 Pages
Format: Advanced Readers Copy
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
By the Book

Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day her family self-destructed. That was the night Eryn, Magpie's sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp's party.
Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won't speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who've all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.Near is perfect--somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie's own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. It's a place where she can have anything she wants...even revenge.

"She let this word into her heart, creepy; she opened up a tiny door for it to crawl in and settle among the blood; she felt it pumping in time with the little chambers in there, settling in to the rhythm of her body."

When I first came across the beautiful cover and the enticing synopsis I couldn't resist reading this book! It pulls you in immediately, before you read the first page.

This book was both heartbreaking and brilliantly bizarre. A beautifully written yet tragic story about a girl named Margaret "Magpie" Lewis. The book comes from Magpie's perspective and it's a tough perspective to live in. Magpie is dealing with more than her fair share of harsh circumstances and these circumstances made for some hard moments to read. Although this book is only 300 pages, and reads quickly, I had to take a few moments every so often to digest the story. Magpie is painfully honest and raw and living in her worlds made for an emotional reading experience. 

You Must Not Miss is a very intimate read. Magpie's candor paired with a small character cast gives you a private viewing of her life and there were moments where I almost felt intrusive. Kudos to the author for crafting such an experience.

This book took a turn I did not expect it to go. For a good half of the novel I thought I had predicted the ending only to have it twist a different way. I loved that it was not as predictable as I thought! Despite its tough storyline, I am really happy I had the opportunity to read this book. It tackles a lot of big issues: Sexual assault, alcoholism, mental health and the consequences of what rumours can do, it approaches all of these issues with an honest point of view. 

You Must Not Miss is a unique story that definitely murges the worlds of fantasy and fiction. It is gritty, raw and powerful. This was my first book by Katrina Leno but I look forward to devouring her previous and future work!

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Book Adaptations Coming to the Big and Little Screens

Some pretty epic book adaptations are on their way to hitting the big screens or coming to us in the form of delicious, binge-worthy tv series'. Below are just a few of the gems coming our way!


Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Bernadette Fox seems to have it all -- a beautiful home, a loving husband and a brilliant teenage daughter. When Bernadette suddenly disappears, her concerned family sets off on an exciting adventure to solve the mystery of where she might have gone.
Release Date: August 9, 2019
Check out the Trailer


The Woman in the Window
A woman who's afraid to leave her house witnesses a crime while spying on her neighbors.
Release Date: October 4, 2019 


All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places is an upcoming American drama romance film, directed by Brett Haley, from a screenplay by Jennifer Niven and Liz Hannah, based upon the novel of the same name by Niven. It stars Elle Fanning and Justice Smith. 

Release Date: 2019


The Goldfinch
A boy is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother dies in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Release Date: September 13, 2019 


Good Omens
An angel and a demon must join forces to find a way to save the world as the end of time grows near with the approaching Armageddon.
Release Date:  2019
Check out the Trailer


Catch-22
Incomparable artful dodger Yossarian, a U.S. Air Force bombardier in World War II, is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him; if he attempts to avoid his military assignments, he will be in violation of Catch-22.
Release Date: May 17, 2019
Check out the Trailer

Which one are you most excited about? 
I think I am most excited for All the Bright Places!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Pet Sematary
Release Date: February 26th, 2019(Movie Tie-In)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Horror
Pages: 395 Pages
Series: None
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing…as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. Then there are the warnings to Louis both real and from the depths of his nightmares that he should not venture beyond the borders of this little graveyard where another burial ground lures with seductive promises and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. As Louis is about to discover for himself sometimes, dead is better

“I’m going crazy, Louis thought wonderingly. Wheeeeee!”  

I am making my way through Stephen King's work, my own personal bookworm challenge! This is my fourth by King. I have to admit, I may be cheating a little by making my way through his thinner books before I tackle the heftier ones...I'm looking at you IT!

I enjoyed Pet Sematary for the most part. As a child, I was a big fan of the movie, I thought it was super creepy, especially Pascow and Zelda's characters. I shudder just thinking about them. Their characters creeped me out just as much in the book. They were well-written and added a spook factor to the story. Louis was also a spectacular character. Watching him become more unhinged as the story unfolded added that extra thrill to the reading experience. 

Having said all that, I did find that the book dragged on a bit. In my opinion, there was a lot of dialogue that we could have done without. A lot of it just felt like filler. The ending was exciting and fast-paced but I wish there was more of that "page-turning" vibe like his previous books that I have read. A lot of people have said that this is one of King's scariest novels, however, it did not scare me at all. I will say, being a bit of a horror movie fanatic, I am a little harder to spook. I'd say Pet Sematary is more eerie and macabre rather than scary. 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and have yet to be disappointed by King's stories. I am definitely understanding more and more how he has built such a horror empire and fan base! On to the next! 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six
Release Date: March 5th, 209
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 368 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

“We love broken, beautiful people. And it doesn't get much more obviously broken and more classically beautiful than Daisy Jones.”  

Every once and a while you will come across a book that will completely embed itself into your heart and soul. Despite the fact that the story is fictional, it's characters not real, it will nestle itself deep within you and leave an imprint that only a small few have done before. This book did exactly that. Daisy Jones and the Six has buried itself into my heart and will stay there forever. 

Daisy Jones and the Six follows the rise and eventual fall of the fictional band by the same name. It is a cocaine-fulled, whiskey-soaked, rock n' roll adventure that will have your heart pounding, aching and breaking. Taylor Jenkins Reid created magic. She penned some of the most diverse characters that you will fall utterly in love/hate with. You will love these characters so fiercely that they will bring to the surface some of your deepest emotions. They will make you laugh, cry, cringe and bubble with anger. It is one brilliant dysfunctional family. 

The story unfolds in an interview style with each character, and I loved that delivery. I found it really gave us a personal and intimate reading experience rather than the book told to us through multiple perspectives through chapters or through the point of view of the author. The delivery really added to the beautiful tone of the novel. 

This was my first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but it will not be my last. Her writing is absolutely impeccable. Flawless. Her words flowed lyrically off of the pages. The story was so expressive and emotional. 

Daisy Jones and the Six is a beautiful chaos that will leave you breathless. Cancel your plans because you will not be able to put this book down until you finish! 

**I also learned that this is being adapted into an Amazon series! Whoo hoo!**


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 447 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
“Sometimes she's my personal Yoda. If Yoda was a woman and had a gold grill. Unfortunately, she doesn't know who Yoda is.” 

You know that moment after you finish a book where you close it, clutch it to your heart and let out a sigh? You just sit there for a few more moments with your eyes closed, collecting yourself. I am going to start calling those the 'Angie Thomas Moments', because I had the same thing happen with The Hate U Give and now with On the Come Up

Angie Thomas's second book On the Come Up was just as beautiful, honest and heartfelt as her first. On the Come Up, also taking place in Garden Heights, tells the story of Bri, a 16-year-old girl who is going after her dream of becoming a female rapper. 

As we know with Angie Thomas, this story does not come without its hardships and difficulties. She writes deep and powerful novels that tackle real and relevant issues, and that stays true with On the Come Up. As the story unfolds, Bri and her family are trying to survive through some of life's hardest hands and situations. It's through these emotional times that Bri turns to her music. Her anger, hurt, frustrations, and sadness comes out in her rhymes. Her lyrics leaping off of the pages and swirling around you. It made for a really powerful reading experience. 


Bri was such a compelling character. She was smart, talented and funny! She gave this book so much personality! I found myself smiling or laughing my way through a lot of it. Bri may be the main star of On the Come Up but all of the characters brought this novel home. Malik and Sonny, her best friends, were fantastic. They were heart-warming and funny. 


I was not surprised one bit that I loved this novel. Angie Thomas had me hooked since her debut. She will be an auto-buy author of mine from here on out. I eagerly look forward to her future work, but until then, will happily re-read her previous novels to tide me over. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Top 5 Books Where the Hype was Real!

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your Instagram or social media and there is just that one book that everyone keeps talking about?! That is happening to me right now with Where the Crawdads Sing which I have yet to read, but I WILL! Below are my Top 5 Books where, in my opinion, the hype was real!!

Verity

Good god, this book twisted me up! I heard so many things about it, but once I heard that people had to start a Facebook Support Group after reading it, I knew I had to see what the hell everyone was talking about. The hype was real!

They Both Die at the End

Whenever I came across a recommendation post on Facebook this one always flooded the comments. Ok, I give! This book emotionally destroyed me. And despite the epic spoiler of a title, it does not stop you from snot-crying all over the place!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

I was really nervous about reading this one. Again, I knew it was probably going to be a tear-jerker, but what if I was that one person that didn't respond to it like most readers were? Well, the hype was real with this one. It was one of the most beautifully written story's I have read to date!

Five Feet Apart

Honestly, this one took me a couple chapters to get into. During those chapters, I thought "I am going to be shunned from the YA Book Community for not liking this one" but after chapter two or three I was completely and utterly in love! 

The Hate U Give
I don't think I need to explain this one too much. The hype was DAMN REAL with this one!

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!

"COULD YOU FORGIVE YOUR DAUGHTER'S KILLER-IF HE WAS YOUR SON?"
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.

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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

Verity
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...

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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!



 
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