Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

The Friend Zone
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Publisher: Forever Romance | Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Romance | Fiction
Pages: 384 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: From Publisher
Reason: Exchange for Honest Review
Find the Author: Website

Buy the Book


Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.
“Nothing offended me except for cauliflower and stupidity.” 

THAT ladies and gentleman is how you write a romantic comedy! In fact, that's how you write an epic story! This book, in its entirety, was absolutely amazing. I laughed, I cried, I swooned. I was completely immersed and invested. 

The Friend Zone is the entire package and so much more. It has light-heartedness but it is also real life. The characters are so relatable and you will fall in deep love with them immediately. The author did a spectacular job at translating the hardships of real life with such authenticity and compassion, while also adding some great comedic moments. I don't think I've ever laughed out loud so much while reading before. However, with great laughs, came some heavy moments as well. What each character deals with is something that is happening in people's lives, every single day. There were some moments that got really serious and left me in some serious tears. Abby Jimenez delivered an impactful story that will stay with me forever. 

The Friend Zone is far more than your average boy-meets-girl story. The relationships in this book go far beyond that. The Friend Zone is about friendships and dealing with real every day. the relationships between Sloan and Kristen and Brandon and Josh will really touch you. Kristen might just be my most favourite book character ever. Her no-nonsense personality and hilarious sense of humour had me loving her immediately. Josh, very quickly, earned himself the award of most swoon-worthy character. We can all thank Abby Jimenez for making us look at our significant others a little differently since being introduced to Josh!

 You do not have to be a fan of chick-lit or romance to enjoy this book. The Friend Zone will appeal to all audiences. It's genuine, heart-warming and overall a wonderful read. Definitely a favourite of the year! 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin

The Starter Wife
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing | Hachette Canada
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: Honest Review
Find the Author: Website

Buy the Book


Local police have announced that they're closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found. The chief of police has stated that no concrete evidence of foul play has been discovered in the probe.


I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband's first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There's a big difference. My phone rings, jarring me away from my thoughts, and when I pick it up, it's an unknown number. The only answer to my slightly breathless hello is empty static. When the voice does finally come, it's female, low, muffled somehow. "Where is it, Claire? What did you do with it? Tell me where it is."A woman. A real flesh-and-blood woman on the other end of the phone. She's not just in my head.A wave of panic spreads under my skin like ice water. It's Colleen.

What a wild and morbidly fun ride! I have been on such a Thriller/Mystery suspense kick this year, and The Starter Wife definitely gave me everything I hoped for and more! 

The Starter Wife is a fast-paced thriller that will leave your head spinning! It's a quick read that packs a lot of punch in its 350 pages. I must say, I was left completely jaw-dropped by the twist. It was not what I was expecting at all. I had a completely different theory in place and it just got tossed to the wind. Well done! The author crafted fantastic characters. Each character was left with a bit of mystery to them. Leaving you to try and figure who each one truly is. 

Nina Laurin penned a riveting story that unfolded at the perfect pace. I am so glad that I have discovered yet another amazing author. I can't wait to check out her previous books and am excited to see what other thrills she has in store for us in the future! Exceptional writing paired with a completely unpredictable storyline made this book a gripping reading experience! 

If you're a fan of Gillian Flynn or you're looking for an epic page-turner, I highly recommend you check out this book! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Patron Saints of Nothing
Release Date: June 18th, 2019
Publisher: Kokila | Penguin Random House
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin's murder.
Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth -- and the part he played in it.

This was such a moving and poignant story. It's books like this that make me cherish the young adult genre. YA has been taking a major step forward when it comes to diversity and penning stories that make you think, make you wonder, and make you want to take action. Patron Saints of Nothing is one of those books!

Patron Saints of Nothing stirs up just about every emotion imaginable. There were moments that I seethed with anger while others had me reading through tears. Jay's storytelling felt so authentic. The author created such a powerful voice in Jay, his narrative transporting me, bringing to light current events that I, sadly, knew little about. It is shockingly eye-opening!

 Ribay's lyrical writing style makes the story flow in such a poetic way, unfolding at the perfect pace. Compelling, strong and effective, Patron Saints of Nothing is a book that all should read. It should land itself in the libraries of schools and in the hands of students. Knowledge is power. The more we get these stories out there, the more power we have for change. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

The Grief Keeper
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: Exchange for Honest Review
Find the Author: Website | @Magpiewrites on Instragram and Twitter
Buy the Book

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol's mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber's, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as "an illegal", but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi's, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn't be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn't have been caught crossing the border.
But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She's asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It's a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.
"You aren't an illegal. You're a person. You are a girl"

Firstly, can we address this absolutely stunning cover? It is the perfect representation of this story. Each time I'd pick the book up, I couldn't help but admire its beauty each time!

The Grief Keeper will sweep its arms around you and nestle itself right into your soul. The 2 main characters, Marisol and Rey will find a comfortable spot within your heart. You will be left completely changed by the time you are done with it.

Alexandra Villasante penned a heartbreaking tale that tackles immigration, grief, suicide and sexual orientation. She approaches each with such compassion and respect. The hardships of each matter were written with such authenticity; I feel that any person dealing with even just one of these issues would have felt greatly represented. The same goes for each character. Readers will relate to Marisol and Rey in some way or another.

The author's writing will transport you, as if you are alongside Marisol, Gabi, and Rey during their journey, rather than reading it. I was completely swept up in their worlds, invested. I had to suppress the urge to devour this book because I feel it is one that should be savoured, taking your time reading it. Not taking the risk of missing even one word. 

The Grief Keeper is such a unique concept. Unlike anything I have ever read. It begs the question: Would you be a grief keeper? Would you take the grief of a stranger to give yourself a chance at a better, safer life? Or a loved so they are no longer suffering? No longer in crippling pain? Or, on the other side, would you allow someone else to take your grief from you? Every painful emotion weighing you down, being given to someone else to bear?

The Grief Keeper is a touching story of the lengths one would go to for their loved ones. For a new chance at life. A life they are deserving of. It is about self-discovery and perseverance. It's books like this that make me a proud reader. I couldn't imagine missing out on this story! Though listed as a Young Adult, The Grief Keeper should find itself in the hands of all readers. You will not be sorry and will be forever changed after reading their story.

Monday, June 3, 2019

One More Lie by Amy Lloyd

One More Lie
Release Date: April 4th, 2019
Publisher: Century
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 400 Pages
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley
Reason: Honest Review

Charlotte wants to start fresh. She wants to forget her past, forget prison and, most of all, forget Sean. But old habits die hard. Despite the ankle monitor she must wear as part of her parole agreement and frequent visits to her therapist, she soon finds herself sliding back toward the type of behavior that sent her to prison in the first place. The further down that path she goes, however, the closer she gets to the crime that put her in prison all those years ago. And that's the one memory she can't face. Until, one day, Sean tracks her down.



One More Lie is a chilling and disturbing ride. This psychological thriller takes you through the past and present of 2 lives, Charlotte and Sean, and really happened on the day that changed everything.

This book is a very heavily character-driven novel. The character development builds up strongly throughout the entire novel. You will be lead through believing certain things, but do not underestimate a person, what you see is not always what you get!

Amy Lloyd does a spectacular job at the pacing of One More Lie. The story unfolds unhurriedly as we are taken between the past and the present. Trying to piece together Charlotte's memory that lead to that fateful day.

Charlotte is a character that you immediately empathize with. Even though she is now an adult, she still remains almost child-like. She suffered through some pretty traumatic events at such a young age that will make your heartache. Sean is just as in-depth. You almost immediately peg him as the trouble maker but something keeps hinting that there is more than meets the eye. Charlotte and Sean's lives intertwine at a young age, and they remain in a tangled web together. Their story is just as important as the main story at hand. You need a clean understand of their relationship together to understand what prompted the most horrific crimes in Britain.

One More Life is the whole package. Gripping and shocking, it will leave you wide-eyed and jaw-dropped until the very last sentence!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

My Lovely Wife
Release Date: March 26th, 2019
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 374 Pages
Format: Egalley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book

Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting...
We look like a normal couple. We're your neighbors, the parents of your kid's friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.
We all have secrets to keeping a marriage alive.
Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.

Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.



Whoa, Nelly! What a sinfully delicious book this was! My Lovely Wife will satisfy your craving for a dark, psychological thriller! 

When this book was being described as Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I knew I had to give it a try! My Lovely Wife does not disappoint! It ticks all the boxes and so much more when it comes to a suspenseful thriller. In-depth characters, a masterful storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat, risking papercuts because you are flying through the pages so fast, and a big bang of an ending. It was a wickedly good read. 

My Lovely Wife tells that story of Millicent, her husband, and their white picket fence family. From the outside, it looks like they have the perfect marriage, but their idea of a date night is far different than yours...at least I hope it is... Samatha Downing penned a brilliant and edgy story with characters that you'll come to both love and hate. Millicent was an outstanding character! Although the book isn't told from her perspective, she dominates the story. She is a very strong character. The author crafted a flawless plot that unfolds at a perfect pace. You will eagerly fly through this book, dying to know how it ends!

My Lovely Wife is an epic fast-paced thriller! I would love to see this hit the small or big screen! I couldn't help but picture Jessica Chastain as Millicent and would love to see these characters brought to life. This would make a fantastic, binge-worthy series!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Testimony from Your Perfect Girl by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Testimony from Your Perfect Girl
Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Publisher: Putnam | Penguin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 272 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Instagram | Facebook
Buy the Book


Annie Tripp has everything she needs--Italian sweaters, vintage chandelier earrings, and elite ice skating lessons--but all that changes when her father is accused of scamming hundreds of people out of their investments. Annie knows her dad wasn't at fault, but she and her brother are exiled to their estranged aunt and uncle's house in a run-down part of Breckenridge--until the trial blows over.

Life with her new family isn't quite up to Annie's usual standard of living, but surprisingly, pretending to be someone else offers a freedom she's never known. As Annie starts to make real friends for the first time, she realizes she has more in common with her aunt and uncle than she ever wanted to know. As the family's lies begin to crumble and truths demand consequences, Annie must decide which secrets need to see the light of day . . . and which are worth keeping.

I am a HUGE fan of Kaui Hart Hemmings. I loved The Descendants and Juniors, so to say I was stoked to receive this in the mail would be an understatement! 

Testimony from Your Perfect Girl is a quick, easy read! I breezed right through it and enjoyed the reading experience. 

Kaui Hart Hemmings knows how to craft in-depth characters! This novel is a very character driven novel. This book has a great plotline but if the characters fall flat, the story would have as well. That is not the case with this book! Whether you love them or hate them, they stand out and carry the story!  Annie was not my most favourite character but I don't think she want meant to be adored. She is spoiled, and it comes off very strong throughout the book, which I believe was intentional for the author. I mean, what teenage girl who is used to having things her way would adjust well to her life being drastically changed? I think the author portrayed that character trait beautifully! I loved her brother Jay, he provided some comedic moments throughout the book.

 Testimony from Your Perfect Girl makes for a fantastic Summer read. It's quick but has a lot of heart. It that tackles the hardships of growing up, especially when your problems are now in the public eye. Looking forward to what else Kaui Hart Hemmings has in store for us in the future!

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
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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. 


 
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