Thursday, December 6, 2018

Review: Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia (ARC)

Image result for leave no trace book mindy mejiaTitle: Leave No Trace
Author: Mindy Mejia
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 319 (Paperback - ARC)
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication date: September 4th, 2018

Synopsis from Leave No Trace's Goodreads page

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later...the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.


THOUGHTS

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I loved this book! There were so many things that I loved about it.
The main character has loads of piercings and pink hair, which I adore. You don't see colourful characters like that too often, so when I read a book with them, I get super excited about it.
The entire idea of this book is amazing as well - I love the idea of someone who had gone missing years ago randomly showing up, and they seem perfectly content with the way their life was going. It makes you think about what their life was like, what they were going through, and how they lived.
This book had a lot of very small twists and turns that came out of nowhere which I also really like. You never knew what to expect next!
The entire plot was also very well done. The writing was great, the development was wonderful, and the length of the book was perfect - sometimes thrillers are a little too long or a little too short, but I really liked the length of this one - I read it in two sittings (which is the perfect length for me!)
The ending made me feel a lot of emotions as well, both good and bad. The entire book is about the son trying to get back to his father to save him, and (no spoilers!) but it was a fulfilling, but VERY sad ending. However, I couldn't really think of ending it any other way, as the entire book was leading up to it, so I think it captured the book perfectly.
Overall - ★★★★ 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Review: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent (ARC)

Image result for lying in waitTitle: Lying in Wait
Author: Liz Nugent
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 310 (Paperback - ARC)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Publication date: November 27th, 2018

Synopsis from Lying in Wait's Goodreads page

The last people who expect to be meeting with a drug-addicted prostitute are a respected judge and his reclusive wife. And they certainly don't plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden.

Yet Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons find themselves in this unfortunate situation.

While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son Laurence and their social standing, her husband begins to falls apart.

But Laurence is not as naïve as Lydia thinks. And his obsession with the dead girl's family may be the undoing of his own.



THOUGHTS

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
This is not your typical psychological thriller - the book opens with the death of a character, and the description of who killed her - two of the main characters. You know who killer her throughout the entire book, and it is a description of what happens after the girl gets killed.
Most psychological thrillers are someone stalking/trying to kill someone else, and usually ends with a death, or the entire book is a mystery of who killed someone. This book is different - we already know who killed her, and it's the story of what happens after.
This book is very twisted, which seems to me to be something that Liz Nugent is known for (I've read her other book Unraveling Oliver, my review can be found here, and I found it to be just as twisted, which I also loved). I love how the plots are very dark, twisted, and sinister, and how the characters lean into that.
Her characters are also very dark - they have secret agendas, and their minds are very dark.
Another thing I really liked about this book is how we got to see a lot of flashbacks, and hear a lot about the characters lives in the past; this really helped to see how the characters have changed as well as how they have stayed the same.
Her settings are also perfect - they match the vibes of the books perfectly, and the settings really match up with the story lines. Both of the books that I have read by Liz Nugent have both had very powerful settings, and I found that the plot, characters and the overall story line itself has been impacted by the settings.
Overall - powerful, dark and sinister, this book is a great read for those dark winter nights!
Overall - ★★★★☆ 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Blog Tour: You are the Everything by Karen Rivers

Title: You Are the Everything
Author: Karen Rivers
Genre: Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication date: October 30th, 2018

Synopsis from You Are the Everything's Goodreads page

Can you want something—or someone—so badly that it changes your destiny?
Elyse Schmidt never would have thought so, until it happened to her. When Elyse and her not-so-secret crush, Josh Harris, are the sole survivors of a plane crash, tragedy binds them together. It’s as if their love story is meant to be. Everything is perfect, as perfect as it can be when you’ve literally fallen out of the sky and landed hard on the side of a mountain—until suddenly it isn’t.

When the pieces of Elyse’s life stop fitting together, what’s left?

You Are the Everything is a story about the fates we yearn for, the fates we choose, and the fates that are chosen for us.
THOUGHTS

I received a free copy from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

Going into this book, I was prepared for a super cute, super sweet love story, mingled with a fair amount of sadness, and I got exactly what I was expecting!
This book is about two teenagers, who are the (un)fortunate survivors of a plane crash where everyone else they are with are killed. It is about suffering, survival, pain, and most importantly, love.
This book had a good amount of super cute elements, which I was very much a fan of. I loved how much Elyse is crushing on Josh (it brought back a lot of memories from when I was in high school and felt that way about someone) and I really loved how much she loved him.
I also really enjoyed how the author was able to continually remind the reader that these two, who did survive, are struggling with it. It's not easy to survive such a traumatic experience, and it for sure is not easy to survive an experience with one other person when everyone else doesn't. I liked how the author had these two struggle with survivor's guilt, how she had them struggling with their own and each other's injuries, and how she had them trying to figure out their lives not only as teenagers, but also as people who had been through something so difficult that it changed every single thing about them as individuals, and as a team.
And the ending. OH MY GOSH the ending. No spoilers, but all I can say is that I DID NOT EXPECT THAT ENDING.
Overall - ★★★☆☆.5

About the author:
Karen Rivers' books have been nominated for a wide range of literacy awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she's not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usually be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny old house in Victoria, British Columbia,, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, and two birds. Find her online at karenrivers.com and on Twitter: @karenrivers and Goodreads

Q&A with Karen Rivers!
  1. What is your favourite place to write?
I have four place in my house where I technically write: In bed, at my desk, at the dining room table, and on the couch. But most of my "writing" takes place when I walk in the woods behind my house. That's where my ideas are untangled and smooth out and become fully formed. The rest is just typing.
  1. How many books do you read in a year?
Between 100 and 150. More in the summer (in vacation) and in the winter (cozy, in front of the fire!) I read every day. Best part of the day!
  1. What do you hope readers will take away from You are the Everything?
I hope they know that love is always the point, in whatever form: friends, family, romantic partners. Love is the reason. <3

TOUR-WIDE GIVEAWAY
The winner will receive 1 copy of You Are the Everything (Hardcover) by Karen Rivers.
Giveaway details:
  • Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
  • Giveaway ends on Wednesday, November 28th @ 11:59 pm EST
  • Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize
Get your copy today!


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review: Vengeful (Villains #2) by V. E. Schwab

Image result for vengefulTitle: Vengeful (Villains #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 480 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Tor
Publication date: September 25th, 2018

Synopsis from Vengeful's Goodreads page

Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then---Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought---but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?


THOUGHTS

 Victoria Schwab has always been, and always will be, one of my all time favourite authors. That has unquestionably been cemented with this book.
I really enjoyed every single thing about this book, which isn't something I say often.
Her characters, new and old, are absolutely perfect. I loved being able to see the growth from her older characters, and being able to have new characters come in and still be able to grow as heroes and villains in such a fast-paced book.
I loved how evil her characters have become - in the first book we see two university students that unquestionably have evil in them, but they still have some good at heart. I loved seeing how them, and other characters, grew into more evil, more dark characters, and that made them feel even more real (even though, well, they're evil).
I also loved how this story jumped between time periods. I normally hate it when a novel does that, but honestly there is not other way that this could have worked as well as it did had that not been a part of the story. I loved being able to see so much more about these characters through looking at their backstories, and that allowed me to see them as more real (well, as real as people with ExtraOrdinary abilities can be).
I also loved the feeling of this story. It was so dark and twisted, and it was the perfect read for this time of the year. I loved the spookiness of it and the darkness that was hidden around every corner.
Another thing that V.E. Schwab does so well is pull you into a story. You can pick up one of her huge books and start reading it, and the next thing you know you've devoured the whole book and still want more (I know I BEGGED for a second book but I need a third one NOW).
Her books are so amazing, from her characters, to her settings, plot, and just everything in between. Even the words she chooses, and the way she writes, and just the feeling you get while you read her books, is absolutely amazing. Please read anything and everything by her that you can get your hands on.
Overall - ★ 
Find my review of Vicious (Villains #1) here!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Review: Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab


Image result for vicious book
Title: Vicious (Villains #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Tor
Publication date: September 24th, 2013

Synopsis from Vicious' Goodreads page

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. 

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?



Image result for vicious book
THOUGHTS

This book is one of my all time favourite books. Ever. I thought that the first time I read this book four years ago, and I still feel that it will be one of the best books I will ever read in my life.
The entire book is so well done, there is not one single thing that I would change if I had the opportunity.
Firstly, the characters. Victor Vale is so dark, evil, and malicious, but not in an evil way - if that makes sense. He doesn't want to kill people for no reason, but the viciousness (see what I did there?) does come out when they hurt him.
Victor is the type of person that when his roommate comes up with a theoretical idea that if they kill themselves in specific ways and then save themselves, they will get powers, and become ExtraOrdinary, he does it, no questions asked. He is not afraid of death, if he can get what he wants. He is so malicious and evil, but he doesn't see himself that way, and that's the thing that I love most about him. He does evil things, but he does them for the right reasons. He gets out of jail and wants to kill his old roommate - but it's not only because he has a vendetta against him - it's because that roommate is killing people and Victor knows he needs to stop that.
The other characters in this book are also so amazing, so creepy and strange, that it's impossible to not love them. They are all messed up, they all have something wrong with them, and they have all been through such horrible, awful things, that the people they've become seem reasonable when faced with their pasts. They are all amazing, and I love every single one of them.
The setting as well is perfect. There is not a lot of descriptions of places, because there are really only a few main places that this book takes place in, but they are all perfect for what is happening during that chapter, that they are all perfect.
The entire plot itself is also absolutely amazing. Everything about it is dark and vicious, and it all runs together so seamlessly. I usually am not one to like it when a book jumps back and forth between a few times, but this book could not work without it. The way this book jumps the way it does is absolutely perfect, because you find out something about the character in the present, and then we get to see the backstory and see why they are the way they are, and what made them that way.
I have nothing but praise for this book, and V.E. Schwab is honestly one of my heroes because of how much I love this book and how perfect every single thing in this book is.
Overall - ★ (the easiest 5 stars I have ever given)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Image result for an absolutely remarkable thingTitle: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Author: Hank Green
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Dutton
Publication date: September 25th, 2018

Synopsis from An Absolutely Remarkable Thing's Goodreads page

In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green--cocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow--spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she's part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship--like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor--April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world--everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires--and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight. 

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye.


THOUGHTS

Thank you so much to the wonderful team at Penguin Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!

I have been looking forward to this book coming out since Hank announced it however many months ago - and after months and months of (very impatiently) waiting, I FINALLY GOT MY HANDS ON IT!
After all that waiting, I had VERY high hopes for this book. And I can honestly say - it reached the bar, and then went WELL beyond it. (Sorry for all the caps guys, but I'M OBSESSED).
This book takes place in modern NYC, with the main character stumbling across 'Carl' on her early morning walk home from work. She calls her best friend, and he comes and the two of them make a video about Carl. What they didn't know, was that there were dozens of Carls placed around the world, and he doesn't seem...normal.
The entire premise of this book is absolutely fantastic. I loved how Carl started out as an art statement, but he turned into so much more over the course of the book. It shows how something that some people see as insignificant others can see as extremely important, and how that same thing can change the world.
I loved the characters in this book as well. They all had something about them that I adored, and something that drove me crazy, but that's what great characters are like. They have good things and bad things about them, and that's what makes them seem more realistic and relate-able, and that was done wonderfully in this book.
The setting was also awesome, and I loved how dynamic and changing it was over the course of the book, as well as the descriptions.
The entire book was absolutely wonderful, and I loved every second of it. The only reason that it doesn't get a solid 5/5 from me is because that ending murdered my soul and I cannot wait for another book to find out what in the world is going to happen!
If you take anything from me about this book, just know this - This book is ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE.
Overall - ★★★.5

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Review: The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Image result for saturday night ghost club bookTitle: The Saturday Night Ghost Club
Author: Craig Davidson
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Publication date: August 14th, 2018

Synopsis from The Saturday Night Ghost Club's Goodreads page

When neurosurgeon Jake Breaker operates, he knows he's handling more than a patient's delicate brain tissue--he's altering their seat of consciousness, their golden vault of memory. And memory, Jake knows well, can be a tricky thing.

When growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls, a.k.a. Cataract City--a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place--one of Jake's closest confidantes was his uncle Calvin, a sweet but eccentric misfit enamored of occult artefacts and outlandish conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turned twelve, Calvin invited him to join the "Saturday Night Ghost Club"--a seemingly light-hearted project to investigate some of Cataract City's more macabre urban myths. Over the course of that life-altering summer, Jake not only fell in love and began to imagine his future, he slowly, painfully came to realize that his uncle's preoccupation with chilling legends sprang from something buried so deep in his past that Calvin himself was unaware of it.



THOUGHTS

Thank you so much to the wonderful team at Penguin Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!

Getting into October and reading spooky Halloween reads is my cup of tea! I was especially looking forward to this one - it takes place in Niagara Falls Canada, which isn't TOO far from where I live, but it is a good distance. It's always super nice to be able to read a book that takes place somewhere where you've been to and absolutely loved.
With that being said - I really loved the setting of this book. Niagara Falls is an amazing place, and I love everything about it. The touristy parts and non touristy parts, and it was awesome to be able to see how it possibly looked in the past.
I also loved the spooky feel to this book - it is very much a fall, Halloween read. I really liked how the title is absolutely perfect for the book as well; very descriptive, and very accurate. I loved the ghost hunts, and the spookyness of the whole thing.
The characters were also interesting, but I found them to be just okay overall. I found that there was no true character development - they all just carried their flaws with them, and just grew up with them. I would have liked to have seen some more growth from all of them, and some more changes as they got older.
I also found that this book was much...sadder than I had anticipated. When I got to the end and read about Uncle Calvin's life and what he had gone through.....that was painful. It was so sad, and I personally felt that it wasn't sad in an enjoyable way, more of a sad as in a difficult to read, feeling so bad for the character and wanting to just give them a hug way.
However, I did find the ghost stories that Calvin came up with absolutely amazing. They were sad and creepy at the same time, and they were my favourite part of the book.
Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I feel like it is a perfect time of the year to give it a go.
Overall - ★★★☆.5