Thursday, June 30, 2016

ALL THE MISSING GIRLS BY MEGAN MIRANDA - BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today, I am partnering with Simon and Schuster and some other bloggers in the Summer Fiction Blog Tour to bring you all a bunch of highly anticipated books of the year, over the course of 5 weeks with 5 different bloggers!


This week, we are all sharing our reviews of All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

This book was one heck of a ride! Sometimes, with these types of books, there's not a lot of suspense, because you know the ending before the story, but this was definitely not the case with this book.

Before I even talk about plot or characters or anything, I want to talk about the way this book is written, because it is quite different than the usual books you read. You got a glimpse of the first day at the beginning of the book, but then it jumps forward to two weeks later and everything counts down from that point until day one, giving more and more insight into what is actually going on. Some books try to do this with flashbacks, but it was a totally different experience living it backwards like this. The storyline was simple enough, the main character Nicolette comes back to the sleepy town she grew up in to help get her ailing father's house ready to sell. A few days later, a girl goes missing. While this in and of itself is tragic, it is even more troubling when you find out the girl that went missing was Nic and her friend's alibi for the disappearance of one of their friends, Corinne, who went missing ten years ago, and is presumed dead.

At first, I thought this was going to be a story about Nic trying to help her father, but also help find the girl that helped prove her innocence in the last disappearance. But, as the note from the editor in the ARC says, you quickly learn that no one is a reliable narrator, and no one is trustworthy. Nic is not who she seems to be, but neither are her friends or her father. As the days roll on, you learn more about what really happened that night, and who was really to blame.

Up until the last few days of the story, I honestly thought that I could rely on Nic's narration. I thought the editor's note was a bit of reverse psychology to trick me into not trusting her, so automatically, I did. And to be frank, she didn't really give me much of a reason to think she was lying or hiding anything.

I think between the unreliable narration and the reverse chronological order of storytelling, this book really messes with your head. You are constantly trying to remember what happened in days prior, and trying to figure out how everything pieces together. I was confused, but it was a good confused. On some level, I knew what was going on, but like Nic, some pieces were slipping away while others were falling into place. It was this weird sort of limbo where you are juggling what is actually happening and what you remember happening later on. I couldn't put this book down, not only because the story was so engrossing, but because I was afraid if I left it too long, I would forget important details.

As crazy as this book was, I do think it had some great quotes and a really great, if not frightening message. I won't give too much away, but this book really delves into what happens when those you love are in trouble, and the things you will do to protect them. Love is a powerful force and can drive people to do crazy things to protect those they love most. While this book is a bit extreme, it is admirable the lengths these characters will go to to protect each other from harm.

Overall, this book blew me away. It was wondrously confusing and exhilarating; I loved every page!

I was also able to do a quick Q&A with the author, Megan Miranda!

Telling the story backwards, as opposed to just having flashbacks, is an interesting way to tell a story. Why did you decide to write the book this way? 
The structure and the story developed hand-in-hand. I knew from the start I wanted to tell it this way, as the unwinding of a mystery, where each day would peel back another layer, revealing more of the why and how of things. To me, it was also tied to the theme, with the main character going back to the past for an understanding of things, seeing the events in a different light.


Many thrillers published lately are being compared to major blockbusters like, or advertised for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Other than the fact that this book is considered a psychological thriller, why or why is it not fair, in your opinion to compare All the Missing Girls to these books? 
I think Gone Girl and The Girl on The Train are pretty different from each other, but are similar in that both primarily focus on the characters and relationships, and the set-up or structure adds a level of mystery or unreliability. Whereas in Gone Girl, part of the story is presented in a journal, and in The Girl on The Train, there are blank spaces in the main character’s memory. So there’s an inherent question of trust built into both. Though I think All the Missing Girls is pretty different from each of these books, I think there’s a similarity to a question of trust built into the structure, where the answers to motivations may be revealed later because of the reverse chronology.


I’ve been on the hunt for a fantastic thriller and part of what always fascinates me in these types of books is wondering why the author wrote the book, the underlying psychological reasoning. Is there any personal significance to writing this story, or is it just more of an idea you came up with? 
I usually start with character first when developing an idea. For me, Nic’s character is what sparked the story. I’d been driving from NC (where I live) to NJ (where I grew up) to see family, and the drive felt like a character shift in itself, where as the scenery changes, you almost feel yourself change as well, back to the person who existed there, with all these people who know you that way waiting for you. So I wondered if versions of you could be tied to place, if it was possible to leave the person you used to be behind. The first scene I wrote was of Nic driving home from Philadelphia to NC, seeing pieces of her past as she drove. And then, because I love thrillers (both reading and writing), the backstory of what happened 10-year earlier is what I saw first, and the idea developed from there, in the present.


What, in general, do you want the reader to take away from this book at the end of the book? 
I tend to think that when you put a book out there, it stops belonging to you, and instead belongs to the reader and what they take from it. I guess for me, while I was writing it, the element that really stuck with me was a questioning really—what these characters have each done to protect the people around them, and what you would do for the people you loved.

Thanks so much to Megan for answering my questions!

Stay tuned for next week's review of Lily and the Octopus! And don't forget to check out the Simon and Schuster's Read Chill Repeat website for more info and to enter for a chance to win a set of books + one year of free coffee from Aroma Espresso Bar!


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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BEWARE THAT GIRL BY TERESA TOTEN - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten. Thank you to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in their Blockbuster Books Binge Box. A review was not requested, however I am providing one as a complimentary copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.


This book was not what I was expecting. Although, to be completely honest, I'm not sure what I was expecting. I knew there were some girls at a boarding school and some secrets they didn't want revealed.

I will say I did really enjoy this book though. The characters were interesting and the plot was enthralling. The story is written with an enchanting tone, and with the short, 2-4 page chapters, you can't help but be sucked in, much like the women in this novel.

Let's start first with Kate. While her friend Olivia is a major part of this story as well, Kate is the main character, I would say. It is her perspective that we get in first person, Olivia's are all third. We get a glimpse of Kate's past, through her flashbacks, and we see how she is processing things, becoming a bit of a con artist herself. When she first meets Olivia, it was unclear as to whether or not she wanted to be her, or just be in her life. There were times when Kate's actions were questionable, and I think Olivia's dad caught on to those. They had the same favourite dessert, they both wanted to go to Yale, they were just so frighteningly similar.

Olivia, on the other hand, struggled even more than Kate did, especially with the demons in her mind. I won't give away too much, because Olivia works hard to bury her secrets and I don't want to spoil them. All we are really told about Olivia in the beginning is that she was at a hospital in the previous year. It's not until later that we find out why. And part of me wonders why it happens. Was it because her mother died? The stresses of the mega-rich lifestyle she lives? The reasoning behind her illness is never really talked about, perhaps because she only talks to Kate about it, and her father is pretty absent.

The other major character in this book is Mark Redkin. He is a school administrator type person who instantly woos all the women in the all-girls boarding school, students and staff alike. Mark was super messed up, and I feel like once you read this book and see what his deal was, you won't be offended by me calling someone with a very clear mental illness, such as he, "messed up." My skin was crawling reading it, and even now, re-thinking it, I'm getting chills. There were times when he was so like Kate's father, part of me thought he was, even though Kate would have recognized him and he was too young.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the beginning, how we open with two blonde girls, one in a hospital bed, hooked up to machines, and the other sitting beside her, waiting to be questioned. It's a little cliche, but it had just enough details to hook you in, but not enough to give everything away. Within each chapter title, there was the date. It started at the end, March 22 and then jumped back to September. Each chapter was counting down the months, weeks, days, until the end, and you could feel the suspense building as things got closer to the end.

I think my main issue with this book, and why I didn't give it a full five stars, was the fact that everyone in this book it seemed, had some sort of mental illness. And don't get me wrong, I totally understand, on a personal level, what an issue mental illnesses are, and how much more common they are becoming, but I just felt like there wasn't one character in this book that didn't have one. Kate had borderline antisocial sociopathic tendencies, Olivia dealt with anxiety, and others I won't mention and Mark was a full blown sociopathic sexual predator. It seemed like every girl at the school was medicated for something, maybe that's just a comment on today's teenage population. I mean, I understand why the author chose to make mental illnesses so prominent in this book, but by the end, I just thought it was a little over-dramatic and unoriginal.

Overall, a very good psychological thriller with a twisted ending that will definitely shock you.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

SUFFER LOVE BY ASHLEY HERRING BLAKE - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here with another book review, today it is Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake. Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book to review. All opinions are my own.


Suffer Love

This book was exactly what I thought it was going to be, exactly what I wanted it to be. And it still ripped my heart out.

Basically, this is the story of Hadley and Sam. Both are dealing with some parental issues. Sam's parents are recently divorced, and he, his sister and his mom have moved back to the small town where they used to live. Hadley's family is still shaken a year after finding out about her father's affair, however they are trying to make things work.

From very early on, we learn that Sam has a secret he isn't sharing with Hadley. It is fairly obvious and comes out in the first couple of chapters, but I won't say what it is, because I don't want to spoil anything. Even though he wants to dislike Hadley because of this secret, he ends up becoming friends with her and developing feelings for her.

Hadley, oblivious to the lies about Sam, begins to fall for him. After finding out about her father (in a pretty horrible way), Hadley pretty much swears off relationships and men in general. What starts off as a distraction with Sam begins to become something more.

The relationship between Hadley and Sam is really great. It's not instalove, they become friends for a bit first. I really liked how they interacted with one another. They were able to talk about their home life when they needed, they were both dealing with similar things, but they also joked around and had fun.

The characters were really great, but so was the plot line its self. I really liked how things were organized, and I really felt, as someone who has been in their shoes, the kids reacted very well to the actions of their parents.

Obviously this book deals with some major issues like divorce, infidelity, etc. but it also was about first loves and taking chances. There are some great lessons in this book, both for kids and adults. There was one point where I was on the brink of tears - not full on crying - but just about. And I'm not a crier.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It made me emotional and I really felt for the characters. I would highly recommend this one to anyone who is going through similar things, or is just looking for a twisted romance thats a little deeper.


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Friday, June 24, 2016

NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS BY JANE L. ROSEN - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here with another book review! Today it is Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen! Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


This was a very different book than what I am used to reading. And not necessarily in a bad way. I was expecting a sort of a The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants vibe (even though technically, I think I've only seen the second movie...). I guess it was kind of like that, kind of not.

The story is told in a bunch of different perspectives, from a Bloomingdales salesgirl, to a movie star, a Brown grad going nowhere, to a private detective that finds out if spouses are unfaithful, a dressmaker, to an executive assistant, etc. The first perspective we get is a young model who is very new to the scene and ends up wearing "the" dress of the season. From there, all the other characters are connected to one another by the dress. The salesgirl sells the dress but wears it on a date to prove the movie star isn't gay. The Brown grad convinces others she lives a lavish lifestyle through pictures of herself on Instagram, wearing the dress.

I would say it differs from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants because the people don't all know each other, but they are connected by the dress. Also, there are twice as many women in this book. Also, while most of the women are connected by the dress, I didn't really get the sense that it was the same dress for each woman. I know at the end, there's only one size small, and its in rough shape, so maybe it's the same dress and I just missed it?

Anyways, I enjoyed this book. I thought that maybe some of the perspectives were unnecessary, like the girls from Paris and the whole side storyline with Andie the detective. They were interesting perspectives, but I just didn't think they added a lot to the main storyline. I can see why they were included, and they didn't take away from the story, I think they just weren't needed.

Overall, a good story. It has very unique premise and the writing style was different. I just felt like some people were added that we didn't need to know about.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

ONE PARIS SUMMER BY DENISE GROVER SWANK - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review! Today it is One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank. Thanks so much to BookLook Bloggers and Blink for sending me an finished copy of this book for review. As always, all opinions are my own.


I've been the mood for some fluffier, romantic contemporaries lately, I think it's with the summer weather I've been having here. Anyway, this book fit that bill quite nicely.

Basically, Sophie and her brother Eric are forced to fly from their home in Charleston to Paris, France to attend their father's second wedding, to Eva, a woman neither of them has met and he's only known for less than a year, and live there with their new step-sister, Camille who is pretty much the definition of evil step-sister, for a whole summer.

Of course, along the way, Sophie meets a cute French boy, Mathieu, and is juggling his mixed signals while also using the trip as her opportunity to tell Dane, her brother's friend from home who is visiting them for a few weeks, that she has feelings for him. Don't worry, things don't really stay love triangle-y for very long, Sophie makes her decision fairly quickly after some revelations about one of the boys comes to light.

As someone who has been in Sophie's shoes, I really felt for her and Eric. Their dad walked out on them, didn't even tell them he was leaving the country, pretty much for good, until the day he left for the airport. Our situations do differ slightly though, and I am glad that Sophie and Eric are able to come to terms with everything that is changing in their lives.

In terms of the romance, it was very slow building. It turns out that the cute French boy is one of Camille's ex-boyfriends and she's told all her friends not to be nice to her step-siblings. Obviously, there's some conflict and friction there, but things work out.

Everything builds to the end of summer, and while there is a few chapters after they leave, I was heartbroken for Sophie. I won't say too much but this is a love story, so obviously something has to turn out right.

I think overall, I really enjoyed this story. There was lots of deeper issues mixed in throughout the fluffiness, and I think that balance is important so the story isn't too meaningless, but not too depressing either.

I didn't quite give it 5 stars, because I found a few minor issues, the piano practice and Jenna issue working out a little to conveniently, Sophie ended up going where she wanted to even after everything, just little things that lined up a little too perfectly for my tastes.

A cute fluffy romance, with lots of Parisian charm and a little bit of drama!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN BY LISA JEWELL - BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today, I am partnering with Simon and Schuster and some other bloggers in the Summer Fiction Blog Tour to bring you all a bunch of highly anticipated books of the year, over the course of 5 weeks with 5 different bloggers!


This week, we are all sharing our reviews of The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell. Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


I really wanted to love this book. I did like it, but it wasn't the book I thought it was going to be.

This book is broken down into two, possibly four parts. I know, I'll explain in a minute. First, we get a short prologue. This is where we learn that a young girl, Grace, is found in the dark, by her sister, Pip, in the secluded private park they live on, unconscious and bloodied. This is one of those books where the main event is given away at the very beginning, and then you try and figure out who's responsible throughout the rest.

Anyway, after the prologue, we get the "Before" section. This explains the backstory to how the girls and their mother came to move to this area, as well as looking at the lives of the neighbours who also live around the park. The story is told in a few different third person perspectives, Pip, Clare (the girls mother), a neighbour, Adele, along with a couple others. We learn some secrets about these people and of the park, where a young girl was killed many years ago. There are a few key "suspects" that at least ran through my head, but I was a little weary to truly blame them, because they seemed like the obvious choices. All this "Before" section culminates to the annual summer party, the night Grace is found.

After the "Before" is, obviously, the "After." The police get involved, people are questioned, etc. I don't want to give too much away, because this is where things start to click together. At the end of this "After" chapter, it is 'revealed' who harmed Grace. I'll explain why I say 'revealed' in quotes in a second.

There is also a short section on "Ten Months Later" that tells what has happened to the girls and the neighbourhood so many months after the tragedy.

As I said earlier, I liked this book. I thought the writing was very enchanting, and the story felt very rich and almost dream-like (or it could be I was a little bit tired when I started it :) ). I liked the characters, and how each family was so different. Clare and her girls were close, but not suffocatingly so. Meanwhile, Adele and her husband Leo homeschooled their three girls, and were a very dysfunctional, strange family. I also really enjoyed the concept of the communal park surrounded by houses, in one of Pip's letters to her father, she draws a very charming picture of what everything looks like. Even though there are dark secrets in the park, it is still a very integral part of their little community and way of life.

Now, I also didn't love this book. And that is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, most of the book is the "Before" section. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the backstory and everything, but I just kind of felt like it was dragging on. This book is definitely a slow burn. And I don't know if it's just because you know the major event at the beginning, but I felt like it didn't really build to anything. We knew what was going to happen, we just didn't know who. And really, while the "Before" is good to arouse some suspicions, it didn't really make me want to keep reading until I found out who was responsible.

I also didn't love this book because of the ending. We get hundreds of pages on the "Before," we finally find out who did it, and then we find out that they couldn't have done it by themselves, but let's not worry about it. They just kind of give up. Already this book didn't have a ton of build up giving away the big event right away, but then the assailant is 'revealed' to the reader but not really the characters, and then in the last two pages we find out that someone else was involved too. And then the book ends. I'm imagining this story in my mind as a firecracker exploding, and then just gradually falling back down and burning out. A lot happened at the beginning and then not really anything.

I think part of my problem with this book as well was the hype. So many people are raving about it, but I just don't think it lives up to the hype. As much as I wanted to love it, I'm thinking that even 3 stars is too generous.

Stay tuned for next week's review of All the Missing Girls! And don't forget to check out the Simon and Schuster's Read Chill Repeat website for more info and to enter for a chance to win a set of books + one year of free coffee from Aroma Espresso Bar!


Monday, June 20, 2016

THE WAY TO GAME THE WALK OF SHAME BY JENN P. NGUYEN - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back this week with another book review! Today, I am reviewing The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen! Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me an eARC of this book for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Ahh! This book was so cute and sweet and just AHH.

This book is pretty much everything I wanted To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han to be. A fake relationship, born of necessity that maybe turns into something more. (I won't get into my major dislike for TATBILB)

My heart was just so happy through this whole book. It's a little stereotypical and cheesy, but I loved it.

Taylor is your typical good two-shoes who, after receiving her wait-list letter from Columbia, decides to go to a party with her friend and drown her sorrows. There, she meets the schools notorious player, Evan. They end up stumbling home to Evan's house, to drunk to get anywhere else. Despite the fact that nothing happened, the next day at school, rumours are flying. In an effort to curb these rumours, Taylor proposes that they fake date, to save their reputations, clear hers and improve his.

They go on some fake dates to try and help their case. Over a few months, the two become good friends. And even though this is a romance novel, it also deals a lot with friendship. Both their biological father's aren't in their lives, Taylor's ran off with a waitress, and Evan's was in and out of jail until his mom left him. They connect over these similarities and help each other out. Taylor even helps Evan apply to college, something he wasn't previously planning on doing.

Of course, there is a fairly typical plot-line, they meet, become friends, maybe start developing feelings, have an argument, forgive, happily ever after, etc. But you know, I am totally fine with that! This book was just what I needed. Something light and fun and ROMANTIC.

There is a little bit of a love triangle/square in this book, Evan has an old flame who won't leave him alone and Taylor has a smarty pants friend who she always thought she would end up with. It's not really annoying or anything, mainly just background stuff.

I really enjoyed this book and even though it was a little cheesy, will definitely be picking up a finished copy for my shelf. It was so nice to pick up a book, and know, three chapters in, I was going to love it.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM BY GRADY HENDRIX - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. Thank you so much to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Let me just start this review off by saying I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. I requested it originally because it sounded intriguing, but once I got it, I didn't pick it up right away because I didn't think I was ready for it yet. I had to mentally prepare myself, because this is not the sort of book I normally pick up, but I wanted to challenge myself.

And I'll tell you, I am very pleased I decided to give this one a chance.

Based on the synopsis of this book, and really, even the title, you can tell this book is going to be about a girl who's best friend is possessed. However, this story, much to my delight, was so much more than just a book about demons and satanic worship.

Firstly, the setting. This book is set in Charleston, North Carolina (I'm so proud to say, as a Canadian, I didn't have to look up the state) in the year 1988. There are a lot of sort of background issues happening, historically, especially in the South (is North Carolina considered south? Ok, maybe I am too Canadian). There was some racial issues, including one part of the book that addresses this issue, during the schools "Spirit Week," one of the day's is "Slave Day." The book mentions how this activity becomes obsolete in later years, but that is just one of the examples. As well, there are political and sexual conflicts, the book mentions the first female vice president, as well as the families being considered Democrats vs. Republicans, and Ronald Regan (he was a president, right?) There was also some pop culture, or more cultural things that came up, heavy metal music being a backwards brain-washing technique, the occult, Satanists and exorcisms making the news, etc.

It's interesting to me, being that I didn't live through this time period, to see how people responded to different situations, and what people believed. The author does a great job of showing what life was like then, and just based on my general knowledge, what he describes seems pretty much on point.

Of course, a significant portion of this book deals with Abby (the main character) and her possessed friend, Gretchen, and everything evil that happens. People get hurt, relationships get shattered, there's even a gut-wrenching scene near the end that involves the family dog. Friends turn on one-another, and actions have terrible consequences.

I think another large part of this book was the friendship between Abby and Gretchen. There are times their friendship frustrated me but I also thought it was really sweet Abby stuck with Gretchen through thick and thin. Abby tries to help Gretchen, even after all their other friends desert her, because she was there for Abby when she needed a friend, but there were some points where I thought that Abby was way to loyal. She pretty much helped Gretchen no matter what, cue dog scene. There is only one scene in the whole book that Abby stands up for herself, and that is only when she knows Gretchen knows she had crossed the line. But even that betrayal didn't last much longer.

Also, quickly, I want to mention the fact that each chapter was titled with an 80s song, and it was spectacular! Everything from "Jenny (867-5309)" and "It's the End of the World As We Know It (I Feel Fine)" to "We Got the Beat" and my personal favourite, "Total Eclipse of the Heart." I loved the incorporation and it was fun singing the song in my head while reading. Sometimes, the chapter even featured part of the song in it.

I will say, for a book that has exorcism in the title, the exorcism itself was a little lacklustre and I'm still a little fuzzy on the details. I feel like there was a big lead up and when it happened, it was just, like "Oh, okay. I guess she's back to normal now?" I didn't really get the vibe that anything happened, which leads me to my next point.

I'm not sure Gretchen was really possessed.

I know, I know, I sound like those parents in the book, she's just troubled. Part of me thinks she is, actually. I think the whole possession was more of a metaphor, I know, groan, for growing up, rebellion, especially in a household with such strict parents. I feel like Gretchen just wanted to be her own person for a bit. There are a few things that don't quite add up to troubled teen, however, so I'm thinking she suffered from some sort of mental illness. Now, hear me out, I'm not trying to throw her in the loony bin like the parents, but I just think that she had either schizophrenia or some other illness that made her hallucinate. I think the LSD they took kicked it into overdrive, and she started going crazy. In addition, the exorcism was sketchy at best, she could have been faking it, and Abby said the demon's name, so she could have easily just repeated it back.

Whether or not Gretchen was possessed, I still really enjoyed this book, more so than I thought I would. I think the important thing here is that you don't think of it as a book about a girl and a demon, but two best friends, trying to make it in a tricky world, with some great 80s songs.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS EDITED BY STEPHANIE PERKINS - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here today with another review, today it is for the summer short story anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins, Summer Days and Summer Nights. Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book. This review is based on a physical copy I bought myself, prior to reading the eARC. As always, all opinions are my own.


I will start by breaking down my thoughts on each individual story, and then overall, my thoughts on this anthology.

First up is Leigh Bardugo's story. This was a great start to the collection of short stories, and it was such a cute story! This was a story about a river monster and a really cute couple that takes place over three summers, three years. In typical Bardugo fashion, this book had some darker elements, but it was a very sweet story. I will say that at the end I was a teeny bit confused, but overall a cute story! I gave this one 4/5 stars.

Next we have Nina LaCour's story. This was one of the two LGBT stories in this anthology and it was really sweet. LaCour manages to touch on serious topics, such as divorce, and write an adorable f/f story at the same time at the same time! This one had a great summer feel with a group of friends camping together. Another 4/5 stars.

Libba Bray's story is up next, and while I've never read anything by Bray before, I can tell why people enjoy her books. This story was very different, the writing was almost enchanting! It was hilarious story about a small group of friends who worked together at a run down movie theatre, and when they play the final movie, the audience becomes possessed by demons (or something like that, I'm still unsure). Anyways, I loved the feel of this one and the paranormal aspects were crazy! I also gave this one 4/5 stars.

Next is Francesca Lia Block's story, and I'm not sure what to think of this one... It was strange to say the least. None of the characters had names, just A and M. And I'm not really sure what happened in the story, overall. I wasn't sure if it was set in an earlier time, or a weird, present day where people dance to 50s music regularly. The ending is also so weird, I don't know if you could really even call it a love story the way it ended. I would say this is probably the most realistic of the love stories, in terms of the ending, but I'm still only giving it 3/5 stars.

Written by the editor herself, we get a story from Stephanie Perkins. I knew from the beginning that these characters sounded familiar, and I actually had to hop out of bed to check, but they were from the first anthology!! It was such a cute story, but I was kind of sad, you see from pretty much the first paragraph that the characters are broken up, which is not how I wanted the previous 'instalment' of this story to end. However, I fell in love with these characters again, so I give it 4/5 stars!

Tim Federle's story is the other LGBT story in this anthology, but I didn't really like it that much. I think I just didn't like the characters. The love interest, Kieth (yes I spelt that right), really annoyed me and I didn't really enjoy the main character's voice. It was their 'break-up day,' I know, and it just felt like a weird fit for this collection. It was nice to see a m/m story in here though. Unfortunately, I can only give it 2/5 stars because of the characters.

Next is Veronica Roth's story and it was very interesting. Set in an almost futuristic world, I mean, would you expect anything less from Roth, this book deals with two friends who have feelings for each other, but never have the courage to admit them. Overall, this story was so cute, but it also dealt with some serious issues, like depression and death. I liked the concept of the Last Visitation, where you share memories with a dying friend or family member, it was definitely an original idea; I give this one 4/5 stars.

Up next is Jon Skovron's story, which was a very unique story that I quite enjoyed! It might be my favourite of the collection! It had an almost Jesse Andrews feel to it, where the author, although in this case it was a character in the story, was talking directly to the reader, telling us it won't be a love story. This one had a lot of characters, and I really enjoyed each one of them. In the end, there are three couples, one of which is a gay couple, but I wouldn't categorize this as a LGBT story, because the main couple is m/f, but it definitely has lots of LGBT elements. For some reason, I got like an Alice in Wonderland meets Roach Motel vibe, for some weird reason. I'm giving this story a 5/5 stars, because it has so much potential, and I think if it was a full sized novel, I would definitely pick it up and devour it!

Next, Brandy Colbert's story deals with a lot of serious issues, such as death, mental illness and race and discrimination. This one was real and also really sweet. You could really feel for the characters in the story. This one also has some LGBT elements as well. This book also talks about different kinds of love, not just romantic. The main character's mother committed suicide and she talks about how her mother loved her, but still left her. A very moving story that helps diversify this collection, 4/5 stars.

Getting to the end of the anthology is Cassandra Clare's story. This one was interesting, very different than the others. Not sure I loved it though, I didn't really find it to be a love story. There's a run down 'dark' carnival (whatever the heck THAT is...) and some demons and evil things, and then two step-cousins fall in love. It was okay, but I just don't think it was that great, 2/5 stars.

Jennifer E. Smith's story is next up. I always love Smith's romances, they are the perfect cute, fluffy pick me up. This one did not disappoint, it was another super sweet story! This story also dealt with the something that doesn't really get talked about, at least not regularly in any of the books I've been reading, the Autistic spectrum. Not only is one of the minor characters in the story on the spectrum, but one of the love interests has Asperger's. I kind of suspected something along those lines in the story, but it is confirmed closer to the end. It was interesting to read about this topic, and see characters who's struggles go beyond the stereotypes of teens these days. I'm giving this one 4/5 stars.

And finally, Lev Grossman's story. This story was funny and heartfelt at the same time! I really liked the premise behind this one, everyday was August 4th, like Groundhog Day. I really liked the characters and once you find out the reason behind the days not progressing, it may just well crush you. I'm also giving this one 4/5 stars.

So, overall, I really enjoyed this anthology. There was a great mix of premises and storylines. I really liked how there was diversification in both race and sexuality, incorporating a couple LGBT stories as well as elements into the stories. This anthology also deals with serious issues, mental illness, death, race, developmental disorders, etc.

I also think that this collection may even be better that the holiday one, just because there was more freedom here. The authors weren't constricted to a holiday, it was pretty much just a summer romance, they could do whatever they wanted. I do feel like these stories are a better quality as well, I think some of the holiday ones were just meh, and most of these I gave 4/5 stars.

My least favourite story is probably Cassandra Clare's, it just wasn't my thing, maybe other people will like it, if you like her writing, but I didn't find it appealing. My favourite story is definitely Jon Skrovon's. I really wish this was a full length novel, because I would love to read more about these character's backstories, as well as futures. There was a lot of great characters in this story, and I would love to see them again.


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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

FRAYED BY KARA TERZIS - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Frayed by Kara Terzis. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


First of all, let me just say that this book took me about 3 hours to read. And its almost 300 pages long. Now, part of me thinks that's just because the font is HUGE (ok, maybe just a little bit bigger than the typical font) so it didn't take me as long as a book this length normally would have, and a small part of me thinks that it was just a fast-paced book. There wasn't really much down time, one thing happened, and then bam, another thing happened. I read it quickly and in one sitting, but I don't know if I found that aspect of the book enjoyable. There were times when the suspense wasn't really built up, everything was happening so quickly.

This book is pretty much driven by that suspense, there wasn't a lot of character development. The main character Ava has a lot going on in her life, her sister was just murdered a couple of months ago, and she has recently just found out some things about her boyfriend of two years that aren't really great. And on top of that, her best friend is becoming distant and the notoriously violent all girls gang at her school is trying to get her. Next thing you know, she doesn't have a boyfriend, or a best friend and her whole perception of her sister is now a lie. There is a lot to take in and a lot going on, and at some points, I wasn't sure I believed it all. I get there had to be some conflict, but there were a couple side storylines that I didn't really think were necessary.

When we found out who killed Kesley (sidenote: it's KeSLey not KeLSey, I kept thinking it was Kelsey), anyways, we find out who the killer is and I don't really know who to feel. I mean, it makes sense, but there are not pre-cursory signs. I won't say who it is, or what happens surrounding that person, but I just felt like, in other books I've read dealing with this, you can usually suspect. I had no idea, but I'm not sure that blindside was good. It felt almost like a cop out. "Oh, this person couldn't have possibly killed her, but this happened, so it all makes sense now."

I will say though, I did enjoy this book. It held my interest, and I sincerely wanted to know who the killer was. I had a bunch of different theories, from the adopted mother, to one of the girls in KARMA. This is a solid book, but compared to the more adult thrillers I've been reading, I just didn't love it.

I also do want to briefly mention Wattpad, because this book had a very Wattpad feel. The author won a contest on Wattpad, (Wattpad is essentially a site where people can write and upload books/stories for others to read, either original works, or fan-fiction) where this book was originally released and got it published by Sourcebooks. I'm not trying to bash Wattpad, and I'm definitely not trying to bash the author, I felt like this book has great potential, I'm just not sure it is ready for the world yet. It could definitely get there some day, but I think there are a few too many loose ends and minor details that need to be reworked before anything major happens. I think it's really great she is getting the opportunity to be published, but the book needs some tweaking before that happens.

Overall, I enjoyed this book enough to keep me interested, I'm just not sure I would have picked it up myself.


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Monday, June 13, 2016

RELATIVITIY BY ANTONIA HAYES - BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today, I am partnering with Simon and Schuster and some other bloggers in the Summer Fiction Blog Tour to bring you all a bunch of highly anticipated books of the year, over the course of 5 weeks with 5 different bloggers!



I am kicking off the tour this week, by sharing my review of Relativity by Antonia Hayes. Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


This was a weird book for me.

You always know going into a science-y book if there is going to be just enough science to get the point across or if the author is going to bombard you with science facts and explanations. For me, I found this book to be the latter, which was a shame for me, but may not be for you. Depending on your knowledge of science, or I suppose WANT for knowledge of science and physics, this book may or may not interest you.

That being said, this book wasn't solely based on science. There were other elements as well. Told from alternating third person perspectives of Ethan, the boy, and his parents Claire and Mark, this story deals with physical illness, single parenthood, and loss.

Anyways, I just kind of felt like this book didn't really have a direction. There were a bunch of storylines that ended at random times. The John issue. The thing with Will. After the fight, we never really hear about him again. The story just felt a little disjointed and jarring. When the ending finally comes around to solve the INITIAL major plot point, I almost felt indifferent. At that point, it didn't matter.

There were some exciting theatrical moments, but there were also normal, everyday issues that, while they made the book seem more real and relatable, kind of made me want to put it down. I have enough stress in my life, I don't want to think about someone else's debilitating stress.

This is a very emotional novel, and it is almost driven by that emotion. Guided by some plot points, but driven by emotion.

Character wise, I enjoyed Ethan and Claire. Claire is, I think the synopsis says it best, fiercely protective of Ethan, and Ethan is just a loving boy. Claire is flawed, but she is real and a good mom to Ethan. I did find some moments clashing for Ethan, at times he felt like he was 6 or 7 years old, and then he was at home by himself and you can't imagine a 12 year old knowing all the things he does, not just scientifically.

I think one thing this book did have going for it was the writing. I didn't notice it as much later on in the book, partly because I think I got used to it, but the writing is so lyrical. Everything is described in such detail, you could really see what was being described.

Overall, this book was good. I didn't love it, but I was able to read it in a day, so it held my attention. I would say even if you aren't a physics buff, still give it a shot. There's enough of the storyline that doesn't deal with the science to hold your interest.

Stay tuned for next week's review of The Girls in the Garden! And don't forget to check out the Simon and Schuster's Read Chill Repeat website for more info and to enter for a chance to win a set of books + one year of free coffee from Aroma Espresso Bar!


Sunday, June 12, 2016

I LET YOU GO BY CLARE MACKINTOSH - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is the psychological thriller debut I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange of an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


I don't even know where to start this review, so much happened in this book.

I'm going to try and keep this fairly vague, because this book is a thriller, and truly, if you get spoiled for this book, there are so many twists, you need to experience it all first-hand.

For the majority of this book, we get two POV's, one of the detectives, Ray, and Jenna, a mother who lost her son, trying to escape her devastating past and move on. This book also has a third POV that comes into play a little bit later, but I won't really get into that, because it will reveal too much.

The two main detectives on this case at the Bristol Police Station are Ray and Kate. We don't get as much info about Kate as we do Ray, but I didn't mind. Between the rush of finding the hit-and-run driver, we get glimpses of Ray's family life, with his wife, Mags, a former cop, and their two children Lucy and Tom. There is some tension within the family, Tom isn't fitting in in secondary school, and Ray isn't at home as much as he should be. I liked the family dynamic, it made the story feel a little more real, not just two cops sitting a police station all the time. There, of course, was also some twists in Ray's personal life, with his connection with his partner Kate perhaps being more than professional, and his son Tom's bullying. These events were a nice break from the fast-paced, trying to find out what happened aspects of the accident.

The other character we get is Jenna. Her perspectives are all told in first person, where Ray's are third, so the transition is a bit jarring at first. I was confused at first, but then realized we were in the perspective of the mother. Jenna is racked with grief and guilt, while people are blaming the driver, they are also reprimanding the mother who let go of her son's hand. She gets on a bus and ends up in a small seaside town where she can escape her past. A variety of events happen, including her finding a puppy left to die, and falling for the vet who helps save him. She just settles into her new life when her past comes back for her. I won't say too much because Jenna has a lot of secrets that you need to experience yourself.

I will say, this is a thriller at it's finest. I started this book at around 9pm last night and stayed up to 1:30am trying to finish it because I. COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN. With 100 pages left, I begrudgingly put it down to get some sleep. But those last 100 pages are crazy. So much happens, the build up is unreal. One thing just gets resolved and then another comes up to attack. I pretty much held my breath for those last 100 pages because it was so intense.

I was glad with how everything ended, and then that epilogue, oh that epilogue killed me. I know the author is writing another book, but apparently it isn't a sequel, but that epilogue needs an epilogue. I've got a sneaking suspicion that even though it isn't a sequel, that perhaps they are somehow related... Because how can you end a book like that? Are we just supposed to think she is paranoid? Because the body was never recovered...

Overall, I Let You Go is a spectacular debut dealing with a myriad of issues from domestic abuse, marital issues, loss and grief.


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Saturday, June 11, 2016

WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER BY AMY JONES - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is We're All in This Together by Amy Jones. Thanks so much to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Going into this book, I had no really idea what to expect. I knew it was about a family of which the matriarch, mother, wife, etc. goes over a waterfall in a barrel. That and the author is Canadian and the book was set in Canada. At it's bare bones, I suppose that is what this book is about, but their is also so much more to the story.

There are quite a few perspectives that we get, although the first, and main one is of one of the twin daughters, Serafina, or Finn. Finn is the one who 'got out,' leaving behind her family for the big city. After Finn hears that her mom, Kate, was in an accident, she begrudgingly goes home for a few days. Finn was an interesting character, she is pretty much at the point in her life where nothing makes her happy anymore, not her family and not her life away. She does grow quite a bit thoughout the novel, and sees that life in the Parker house is never 'normal.'

We also get to know Finn's twin sister, Nicki, who is pretty much her polar opposite. After becoming a teen mom, Nicki stayed up north with her parents, eventually having a set of twin girls herself, and a little boy, all with different fathers. Although Nicki was portrayed as your typical "white-trash," she was also a little bit endearing and she actually ends up being a better sister than Finn originally thought. There's a lot of anger in Nicki, but I think there's a lot of emotion in general in her character, everything she does, it is with all she has.

Another one of the 'children' is Shawn. Technically, he is just a boy Kate took in when he was a teenager, riding the rails, getting into trouble, but he is practically a Parker. Out of all the characters in the book, I think he was my least favourite. He is married and has two boys, but seems to care more about the Parkers, than his own family.

We also get quite a bit of the story told in the perspective of Shawn's wife, Katriina, who I think was my favourite character. In an attempt to save their marriage from the dullness, they decide to have another baby. Unfortunately, Katriina ends up having three miscarriages, the last of which occurs on the day Kate goes over the falls. Katriina has a hard time being the steady constant that Shawn needs, and ends up driving herself to the brink trying to be perfect. At one point, she takes a box cutter to her calves because she can't deal with it anymore. I loved how raw and real Katriina's chapters felt, and part of me almost wishes that this book was more about her and Shawn's life, with Kate's accident more of a side story. This little family fascinated me, and I was always excited to read Katriina's chapters and get back to the 'good' part.

There are also a couple other POV's, Kate herself, Walter, Kate's husband, and London, Kate's granddaughter and Nicki's daughter. Walter's chapters were interesting enough, but I didn't feel they added much. London's side story was a little bit, I think, unnecessary, but I suppose it did have some point in the end.

Storywise, I enjoyed this book. I think I would have preferred if there was one main storyline, I guess it was supposed to be the waterfall incident, but I just felt, because Kate was in a coma and not really mentally stable, we didn't really get a lot of details on the event. I think if one of the other stories was a main one, like Katriina and Shawn, and Kate's was more secondary, that would have been better. Although I do get that the author was trying to show that yes, this crazy thing happened, but there's also crazy 'normal' issues going on as well, i.e. marital issues, meeting strange men online, cheating boyfriends, having to choose between work and family, all things people can relate to, because most can't relate to going over a waterfall in a barrel.

I think this book was very well written. It is told over the course of four days, and the writing style really made it enjoyable. You really felt like you were in the character's heads.

Overall, I think this is a great summer read, perfect for the beach, that deals with family issues that are easily relatable.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

THE CROWN'S GAME BY EVELYN SKYE - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here with another book review, today I am reviewing The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye. Thanks so much to HarperCollins Canada for sending an ARC of this book to me for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


So the synopsis of this book doesn't really go to into detail of what it will be like, it just kind of makes it sound like a bunch of other books that are a little bit similar, and while I get that is to get more people to read the book, I think it does a great disservice to the book and the author.

This book is so rich in Russian, I want to say mythology, and culture, it really was enchanting. Before I get too far into the review, I want to talk about some of the similarities to other books, because that seems to be a bit of an issue for a lot of people. Personally, I felt some parallels to Shadow and Bone, both in terms of the like calls to like and Russian aspects, as well as Throne of Glass regarding the 'game' and sort-of-but-not-really love triangle elements with the prince and the best friend.

I do also want to touch on a few other things, because reading over some other reviews, I think it needs to be addressed. I would not consider this book historical fiction. Yes, it takes place in a time before the author was born, 1820s, but it is not historically accurate. Therefore, I would consider it a fantasy novel, set in a country called Russia, similar to 'real' Russia, but not HISTORICALLY accurate to Russia. People are slamming this book because of nit-picky little things that don't really effect the story. Also, I didn't really find it insta-lovey. They develop feelings early on, but I think the reason they don't all out murder each other in the first 15 seconds of meeting is because they are semi-decent human beings, not madly in love. The characters each have 5 rounds to impress the tsar and eliminate the opponent. Notice how I mentioned IMPRESS THE TSAR. I kind of feel like automatically wiping out the competition right away doesn't really impress anyone. So the tactics they use each round aren't really deadly, so what? It's not all about killing the opponent.

While there are some similarities, this book does stand on it's own. I found the writing style was very entrancing, even in some of the slower parts, I still wanted to keep reading. I also really loved the characters of the book. Especially Nikolai and Vika. Nikolai is an orphan who fought his way to the top, even with the odds stacked against him. I enjoyed his and Pavel "Pasha"'s friendship, it was never political, it was just two boys who needed one another. I think Vika was my favourite character, she deals with so much in the book, and she is such a strong female lead. I know we are getting a lot of those lately, the good ones tend to get lost in the shuffle. But truly, even in her emotions, Vika puts everything into her decisions.

I do also want to talk briefly about the pacing and layout of this book, because it is pretty much the one aspect that, unfortunately, didn't come up to my expectations and was the reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5. I just found that the first third or so a little too slow. There was some backstory to cover, I get that, but I just thought that not much was happening in terms of the game. However, things did start to pick up, and by the halfway point, I was hooked. In a 400 page book though, I'm not sure it should take me 150-175 to get into it.

I will say that for a debut, this is a pretty spectacular story. Skye was able to set up a whole world filled with magic, and have it be exciting and full of twists, all in one book. I know that there is going to be at least another book, maybe more, and I am very excited about those to come. The deaths that occur in this book are insane, and I am almost afraid to say, Skye may prove to be a little like George R.R. Martin in the sense that no character is safe from death.

The ending of this book is not at all what I was expecting. I'm still a little confused as to what happened, if things are real or not, but let me just say, this book does not end like The Hunger Games.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

WITH MALICE BY EILEEN COOK - BLOG TOUR & BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here with another blog tour, this time it is for With Malice by Eileen Cook! I really enjoyed this book, and was so pumped to be working again with Raincoast Books on this blog tour!



Once again, I was able to ask the author a question about the book, and because the thing about this book that intrigued me the most about this book was the ending, I decided to ask her about it.



Without spoiling anything for those who haven't read it yet, at the end of the book, two verdicts are reached, Jill's sort of internal realization and the judge's ruling. Why did you decide to have this opposing ending and how did you come to the conclusion you wanted the book to end this way?

I tried out different options for the ending, but one of the things that was the most interesting to me when writing this book was exploring the idea of “what am I really capable of doing?” The main character Jill has to really think about what kind of person she wants to be, what kind of person she is, and what kind of person other people view her to be. Because Jill has lost her memory of what happened she doesn’t have an easy answer—but I believe even for people who haven’t lost their memory—it’s very common to remember things inaccurately. We tend to remember the bits that match with how we want to see the world and forget the parts that don’t fit. Reality is in part a matter of perspective. Any time you’ve discussed something that happened with the past and been shocked to realize that someone else remembers the situation completely differently you’re confronting this fact.

One hope I have for the book is that when people finish reading it they are compelled to call a friend and ask them what they think “really happened.” It’s the discussion that I find interesting.


As part of this blog tour, I read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for providing me with that eARC. As always, all opinions are my own.

Wow. I was not expecting that ending to turn out the way it did. I am still sort of in shock.

Let's start at the beginning of this book, Jill wakes up in a hospital after a car accident in Italy that killed her best friend and badly injured herself. She has no memory of these last 6 weeks, including any of the events that happened in Italy. The book is about her trying to piece together what happened as well as battle against her parents and overbearing lawyer to avoid being sent to jail in Italy for murder.

I'm calling it The Lizzie McGuire Movie gone wrong.

Jill was a very interesting character. I got a vague, unreliable narrator vibe from her, because many times in the book she and her doctors mention how she can't trust that the things she thinks are memories to be memories, and not just images planted by a picture or statement someone makes. Because of these characteristics, it is hard to fully determine when Jill is lying and when she is actually telling the truth.

Throughout this book, interwoven with Jill's perspective, are news articles, interview transcripts and talk show scripts of various outside sources on the fairly well know story of Simone and Jill. I really enjoyed these elements, I always love some non-traditional additions to a novel, but these were especially interesting in seeing an outsiders opinion (whether it was agreeing with or disagreeing with Jill's innocence). Because of her unreliability, you have to use these interviews and articles to figure out for yourself whether or not Jill killed Simone.

I really enjoyed the premise of this story, and I think it is one that people, especially those who are loving the thrillers like I am, will enjoy. It is a bit of a slower burn, there are twists along the way but for the most part you don't find out until the very last chapter if Jill is guilty or innocent. And believe me, when you get to that ending, you will be in shock. I still can't believe how it ended. Without saying too much to spoil anything, in a way, it ended just as I thought it would, and also simultaneously, completely differently than what I could ever have imagined.

This story, in addition to the major issue of the crime, dealt with some other common topics, such as domestic abuse, physical rehabilitation and hospital experiences as well as divorce and remarriage. These ideas were interwoven into the story and helped break up the mystery, and provide some background.

I didn't give this book a full 5 stars because of a few reasons. Perhaps the biggest is the ending. Yes, there is a definitive answer as to if she is guilty or not, but I think this book could have benefited from a epilogue, to show where Jill was 6 months, or even a year later. Yes, we find out the result, but I feel like we can't see how that affects her or her family's lives longer term. I also felt like some characters were made out to be more negative than they needed to be. Dr. Weeks in particular was a kind person in the beginning, but later Jill felt she couldn't trust her, or perhaps didn't want to tell her anything, for fear of letting her down. These negative thoughts, however, could be a result of the unreliable narration. Perhaps Jill's perception of the doctor changes because of what she learns and recalls.

Overall, I still very much enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it if it seems up your ally. Plus, the cover is gorgeous!!


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NEW RELEASES - JUNE 7

Hello everyone!

Today, I am back with another week of new releases! There's lots of new books this week, so get that Goodreads page open and start adding some books to that never-ending TBR ;)

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
I'm getting a bit of a The Winner's Curse meets Legend vibe here, I'm not too sure why. This book is blurbed as "a prehistoric fantasy - with allusions to Pride and Prejudice" though I'm not sure how I feel about that. From the few reviews I've seen, this book has the potential to be great!

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

This book sounds really bizarre, yet kind of wonderful. There is a lot of controversy, especially right now over doctor-assisted suicide for those who are terminally ill. I'm not going to go into my opinions, but I think this book is going to be very unique, tackling a topic that is often not touched on in most books, particularly YA.


The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

This book made it on my top 5 books of the year list, and I'm really hoping it will be as good as it sounds! It's been pitched as for fans of We Were Liars and if you've been around a while, you know my love for that book. Hopefully it lives up to these expectations.

With Malice by Eileen Cook
I got the opportunity to read an e-ARC of this book, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! I am actually participating in the blog tour for this book as well, you can check out my post on that tomorrow here. Overall, this is a crazy book that I think a lot of people will be entranced with.

Frayed by Kara Terzis
I believe this book was originally published on Wattpad, but it was picked up by Sourcebooks Fire and sounds really interesting! I love a good thriller, and this one is promising to be a good one!


I was also able to read an ARC of this book and my review actually just went up yesterday! I really enjoyed this book, and while it was my first by Taylor Jenkins Reid, it won't be my last!

Well, that's all for this week folks! Hopefully you found some books that sound interesting!


Monday, June 6, 2016

ONE TRUE LOVES BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, this week I am very excited to share my thoughts on a new book coming out tomorrow, One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid! Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Let me just start this review off by saying that this was my first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I can guarantee you, it will not be my last. One True Loves is phenomenal.

This is the story of a woman named Emma, who, after her husband, Jesse, is presumed lost at sea, finally finds love almost four years after Jesse's disappearance, and gets engaged to a friend from her past, Sam. Then, she gets a phone call from Jesse, saying he is alive and coming home to her. Can you say CRAZY?

Through some very seamless flashbacks, we learn more of Emma's past as a teenager growing up, Jesse being her first crush and high school sweetheart, and Sam being the boy who loved her from afar, after being friend zoned. Honestly, I had no idea how Emma was going to decide who to be with.

I really loved how Reid doesn't make it obvious. She gives an even, sort of pros and cons "list" of each man. Emma loved Jesse for years, they are married, he was her sole mate. Sam knows the "after" Emma, not the "before" Emma, and helped her get through her tragic loss.

I got about halfway through, and knew who she was going to pick. And then bam, I think its the other guy. It goes back and forth like this for a little, and you can really see inside Emma's head, her uncertainty and struggles on who to choose. I really loved Reid's writing style, it was so immersive. You really felt like you were in Emma's shoes, which are not really easy shoes to be in.

In terms of characters, they were all really interesting and unique. I think its safe to say that being the only survivor of a helicopter crash over the Northern Pacific Ocean and being stranded on a pile of rocks for over three years is any sane persons worst nightmare. Part of me was glad that Jesse was okay, but the other part of me was thinking that perhaps mentally, he wasn't in the best place to be making such important decisions. The after Jesse still had some of the before Jesse's free spirit but you could tell that the after Jesse was a shell of the man he used to be.

I really liked Sam. I don't know if it's just because we tend to root for the underdog, but Sam was who I wanted Emma to end up with. I didn't always have that mindset, but it came eventually. Sam helped Emma move on, he knew all of her quirks, her favourite snacks, what she did when she was nervous, her life aspirations. Some of these had changed since Jesse left, so I can't fault him for not really knowing them, but I just felt like each man knew a different Emma, Jesse knew Emma before, and Sam knew Emma after. And you can't fault either for this.

Emma herself was a very interesting character for me. She was very unsure about a lot of things in her life, and I think that echoes the feelings of many readers. She really grew from the time Jesse left, to the time he returned, and I think she was made better for it. Not even in regards to how her life with Sam shaped her, but just her overall outlook and goals in life. Sure, it's fun to travel the world, but in the end, I don't think she was ready for the life that lifestyle was going to give her. She realized what was important to her, and she went for it. I think a lot of people in her situation would just shut down, and not be able to live again afterwards. But Emma begins to find joy in life again, and I think she inspires the reader to believe in the bright side. Bad things happen all the time, but it truly is how you deal with them that counts.

Overall, this was just really well organized and written. This is one of those books that everyone needs to read, because the themes of grief, loss, and later finding happiness and peace are applicable to almost all situations, whether or not your husband gets lost at sea.

I cannot recommend it enough!