Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Last Night(The Searchers #2) by Karen Ellis

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Danger to Herself and Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Verity by Colleen Hoover

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for Chugging wine

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
“If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.” 

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

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

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

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