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I was sent a copy of The Truth And Other Lies by Sascha Arango by Penguin Canada for review and I have to admit, I’m having a hard time crafting what to tell you about this book. I finished it about 2 weeks ago and I’m still on the fence about whether I even liked it, but I can tell you that I’m still thinking about it, which is really the mark of a good thriller.

The Truth And Other Lies is a crime thriller about a famous author named Henry Hayden who’s wife ends up mysteriously dead. This is increasingly unfortunate for Henry because his wife is the actually the person who has written all of his best selling novels – he’s simply the person who’s taken the credit for it. His wife is perfectly fine with Henry being the ‘author’ in the family since she simply enjoys writing and wants nothing to do with being the name behind the books. Just before his wife’s untimely death, Henry’s mistress reveals to him that she’s pregnant, and his life, carefully constructed of lies and secrets, begins to unfold.

The majority of the book is told from Henry’s narration. On the surface Henry has it all, but the Henry you get to know as you read the book is a complete and total sociopath and you realize that his entire image, his facade, has been carefully crafted. As his lifetime of lies and manipulation begin to unravel, as a reader there’s no way to find any sort of sympathy or redemption for Henry, yet I couldn’t stop reading to try and figure out what motivated him other than simply being deplorable. When I was sent the book I was told that ‘Henry is conniving, secretive, and devoid of any morals, but frustratingly difficult to hate.‘ Well I agree with all of that except for the ‘difficult to hate’ part. I had no issues finding him to be truly reprehensible and completely hateable.

The title is so apt for this book because there were times when I couldn’t figure out if what I were reading was a truth or a lie, and whether I was simply being manipulated by Henry Hayden or if I should trust his words. The story itself was compelling but there were times that I just couldn’t get in to this book. Maybe I enjoy a more likeable protagonist in my books, but sometimes I found the story wandering. Still reading

Regardless, even weeks after finishing this book I still find myself thinking about how this story developed and  it ended. I still can’t tell you whether I liked this book or not, but I can tell you that it will make you think, which is one of the best gifts a book can give you. This is a crime thriller, so there’s many facets of this book that fans of that genre will love, even though we’re basically given the big reveal early on in the book. It’s watching it unfold and how it reveals all the truths, and lies about Henry Hayden that will keep you turning the pages.

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I have been a fan of author J.R. Ward since cracking the spine of Dark Lover just a few short years ago. Dark Lover was the first in her bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and I was immediately hooked, scavenging bookstores to buy all other books in the series that had been published. After I caught up I found myself pre-ordering signed copies of each new book to be released or visiting the book store on release day to snatch up the latest offering. It’s safe to say I am a J.R. Ward fangirl.

Ward ventures outside of the paranormal romance world with her latest offering, The Bourbon Kings. The Bourbon Kings is an epic family saga that revolves around the Bradford family – leaders in the makers of the best Bourbon in the world. The Bradford clan hail from the South where they live in a mansion called Easterly and the staff are required to use their own entrance. Appearances are more important than family, and money is more important than blood. At least for William Baldwine, the patriarch of the Bradford family.

We quickly learn that William is not the type of man that you want to cross. Coarse, cold and lacking in any kind of emotion William is father to his 4 children in name alone. William would not hesitate to sell his own children to the devil if it benefitted him and the business. As it is his wife, the true heir to the Baldwine fortune, has been in a self-induced medicated haze for the better part of the past few years, we can only assume to avoid having to face the man that she married and what he’s done to her children and the Baldwine legacy.

Edward, Lane, Maxwell and Gin are the Bradford kids, but for all intents and purposes this is Lane’s book. If you’re a Ward fan you know that when she crafts a book she tends to focus on one person and their story while incorporating multiple characters who will eventually get their own book. As usual, Ward gives us just  enough information on all the players to make them compelling characters in the story at hand, but with just enough teaser that we can’t wait to get to read their full story, like oldest brother Edward. Edward has disowned his father and the family business after a tragedy that almost took his life, and while he might appear to be a shadow of the man whe once was, left broken and battered by the event that almost took his life, Ward has creaeted him as a characters so compelling that something tells me his story is going to be one of the best.

Then there’s the sole daughter, Gin, who’s reputation as a spoiled Southern Belle who never hesitates to indulge in whatever she wants is known by many, but especially by her father who won’t hesitate to exploit it. He basically arranges a marriage for her to secure the company more money, but when Gin refuses, she discovers the hard way what happens when you cross her father.

We never see Maxwell in this book, just slight allusions to where he is, but we know that he left because Easterly is not a place that he could stomach to live in anymore. Something tells me we’ll hear more about him in future books but it might be a while before we get his whole story.

As I said before though, this is Lane’s book, and he serves as one of the best protagonists that Ward has ever written. Lane , who has been staying with a friend in NYC for 2 years, receives a call one day that his ‘Momma’ is sick and he needs to come home to Easterly. Lane dreads the trip because that means he’s going to have to see Lizzie, the love of his life that left him 2 years earlier and who is the head horticulturalist for his family’s estate. It also means he’ll have to see his wife, Chantal, too, who he also hasn’t seen in 2 years. Yes, Ward has a way of giving you romantic angst right off the top! Lane’s return to Easterly sets in motion a series of events that will change the lives of all the Bradford clan, some for the better and some definitely not.

Ward has this ability to deliver a great story while constantly planting the seeds for future books. She excels at being able to wrap up each character’s arc before moving on to the next book so that as a reader, while there’s still a cliffhanger at the end of the book with more story to be written, there’s also a sense of closure. The story will carry on, but we’ll now focus on a different family member. As a reader this is such a satisfying way to read a book. Ward’s ability to create such vivid landscapes with her writing and dynamic characters that you really love and hate is something that not a lot of authors can do.

When it comes to writing romance, Ward is a master, easily creating sex scenes that are sexy without being overtly graphic, while creating couples that you root for even when their story is on the backburner.

The Bourbon Kings is a truly exciting new series about family and love and lust and greed and dysfunction and I couldn’t put it down. The worst part about finishing is knowing how long I’ll have to wait to pick up the next book.

The Bourbon Kings hits bookstores on July 28th but is available now to pre-order. If you’re a Ward fan like I am, you can pre-order a signed copy beginning on Friday, May 29th here.

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I was sent a copy of Slow Burn by K. Bromberg to review. It’s part of the author’s hit ‘Driven Series’ but I was told that I didn’t need to read the actual Driven series to follow this book. And that’s true, because I was able to follow along even though I had never read any of Bromberg’s books before, but something tells me I might have enjoyed this book a bit more if I had read the other books.

Slow Burn tells the story of Haddie, a young professional who is still reeling from the loss of her sister to breast cancer the year previous. The way Haddie likes to deal with her pain is in the arms of men who can provide her a bit of relief and then she can be on her way, with no strings attached. Not exactly the most healthy way to deal but I’m here to read, not judge.

After the marriage of her best friend (who I’m assuming we learned all about in the actual Driven series) Haddie sets her sights on Becks, the very hot best friend of the groom, hoping that he will be the one to take Haddie’s pain away. Haddie was having a nice day at her best friend’s wedding but slowly her mind focuses on all that she’s lost and she knows that she needs something, or someone, to dull the pain.

Becks is no match for Haddie and he soon can’t resist her, but not before she lets him know that this is a ‘no strings attached’ sort of situation.

The rest of the book goes down how you would think it would. Becks and Haddie have the best sex of both of their lives, and both of them want more but aren’t sure how to get more. Becks wants to get closer to Haddie, but Haddie can’t get closer because she’s afraid that she’ll inevitably succumb to the same disease her sister did, so better to die alone than to let someone get close to her. It’s frustrating, but  a necessary part of any good romance novel, to have something always there keeping your two main characters apart. But Haddie sometimes lets Becks in, but then she pushes him away. Then she does dumb things, and it’s hard to be sympathetic with her and it’s hard to want him to keep sticking around.

I feel like if I had read the Driven Series I might be a bit more invested in Haddie and Becks, but I wasn’t. Sure, I was rooting for them, but the formula just felt a bit ‘formulaic’ in this for me. And repetitive. There was so much back and forth between Becks and Haddie it became exhausting as a reader. I feel like this book could have been about 100 pages shorter, with a bit less back and forth and a bit more character development – but again maybe I missed most of that in the original series.

Slow Burn was a decent romantic novel – I’d say the sex scenes were probably the best part –  with a bit of a twist in the story, but now that I’ve read it I’m fine letting that be all I know about Becks and Haddie. While I’m sure they might get a book series of their own, I’m OK with not reading any more.

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It’s been a pretty horny week here on the blog. First we were dealt with new ‘Fifty Shades’ clips every day, then there was the Magic Mike XXL trailer (that one just about killed me,) and now I’m giving you my review of Sylvain Reynard’s latest romance novel ‘The Raven.’ I expect your husbands will all want to thank me after your done reading:)

I was sent an advance copy of The Raven by Sylvain Reynard when I asked a book publisher contact of mine to reccommend some post ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ reading. Reynard is the mysterious author behind the incredibly successful ‘Gabriel’s Inferno’ series, and The Raven is the first book in his new Florentine series. His books are sexy, smart and well written, and he’s also Canadian, which makes me like him even more.

The Raven tells the story of Raven Wook, an art restorer working at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. But Raven isn’t your typical romance book heroine. She’s attractive, but not ‘drop dead gorgeous with a banging body’ attractive. She relies on a cane to walk as an accident when she was young has left her leg and foot permanently damaged, she’s slightly fuller figured, and she seems to resigned to the fact that those things render her almost invisible to the opposite sex.  OK, so maybe that is one of the romance book stereotypes we often see when it comes to our heroines, but fortunately for us Raven is smart and good and independent and not easily intimidated, making her unique.

The Prince is very much what we expect from a romance book. He’s handsome, strong, sexy, and a vampire who’s used to getting his own way. I have no problem with this because that’s everything I want and need from my romance books. I have reality surrounding me every day, when I read a book I want to escape to a world where the men are all of these things and none of them are asking me what I’m making for dinner. I also really enjoy when author’s decide to take on Vampires, because it’s always interesting to see what ‘spin’ they’ll take. Fortuntely The Prince doesn’t sparkle.

While on her way home from work one night Raven encounters a group of men attacking a local homeless man, and because Raven is just so good, she intervenes. Of course, this isn’t going to end well for poor Raven, who quickly becomes the target of the attackers. Fortunately for Raven, The Prince happens to be watching and saves her.

Raven wakes with no knowledge of what happened to her, and no clue as to why she suddenly looks so different that no one recognizes her, not even her closest friends. She returns to work to learn she’s been gone a week, and during that time a major theft has occured at the museum where she works. All eyes shift towards the woman who was inexplicably missing for a week and who’s appearance has mysteriously changed.

Raven becomes intent on clearing her name, leading her down a path that will change things, forever.

I love me a good vampire romance novel and this definitely didn’t disappoint. I found the beginning a bit slow, but once I was about a quarter of the way in I couldn’t put it down. This is a lot of book, and I finished it in a few days simply because I found myself carving out time in my day just to read.

Reynard is a good writer – something that’s often lacking in romance books – which makes it that much more pleasureable to read. If you’re a fan of his ‘Gabriel’ series you’ll be happy with how he’s managed to link the two series together, but if you haven’t read the ‘Gabriel’ series, there’s enough backstory given that you won’t be lost. This is the first book in this series, and when I finished I immediately messaged my publicist contact asking when I could get my hands on the next book – that’s how much I enjoyed it.

This book gives you a very hot, sexy leading man, a likeable and endearing leading lady, a couple you will root hard for, plenty of mystery and enough well written sex scenes to keep you warm during this very, very cold winter. I’d say that’s a win all around.

The Raven is available now.

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You know when you start reading a book, and before you even finish the prologue you know you’re going to love it? That’s exactly how I felt about Walking on Trampolines, by Australian author Frances Whiting. This was a book that made me want to curl up in one of those beautiful, pinterest-y type reading nooks with a cup of hot chocolate and a cozy knit blanket and do nothing but read and read and read. It felt indulgent and decadent to read a book like this, eating up the characters and the story and trying to decide who’s side I was on, if there were indeed sides to be taken.

Walking on Trampolines is a story of the intense kind of friendship only two young girls that were destined to find each other could have, and it’s a story of young first love that is so passionate it hurts right down in your gut. This book has family issues, friend issues, betrayal, hurt, and the desperate need to move on from it all while trying to figure out if that’s even possible. This is a book about love, and loyalty, and family, and friends, and everything that holds all of that together and I couldn’t get enough.

Walking on Trampolines is beautifully written, with Whiting painting all of her characters in such a way that you love them all, even when you’re so angry at them for being young and foolish and destructive and self-pitying. She creates real people, not just caricatures, and it’s their realness that makes them so appealing.

Because I don’t like to give too much of a book away in my reviews, here’s the official synopsis of the book;

Tallulah de Longland,’ she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgement. ‘That,’ she announced, ‘is a seriously glamorgeous name.’

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah ‘Lulu’ de Longland is bewitched by Annabelle, by her family, and their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small, coastal town of Juniper Bay. Their lives become as entwined as Annabelle’s initials engraved beneath the de Longland kitchen table.

But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgiveable.

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

This was the first book of 2015 that I’ve read, and I’m not sure I’ll find another that I enjoyed quite so much. Walking on Trampolines is available on February 3rd and is definitely worth picking up and enjoying.

I give Walking on Trampolines 5 stars.

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Full confession – I am not a Jodi Picoult super fan.  I have read two of her books in the past – My Sister’s Keeper, which I absolutely loved but left me a sobby, snotty mess, and House Rules, which I didn’t really care for. Because I read House Rules last and I didn’t enjoy it, I wasn’t in any hurry to rush out and buy any more Jodi Picoult books. Which is why, after Random House Canada sent me a copy of Jodi’s latest book ‘Leaving Time’, I pushed it to the bottom of my ‘to be read’ pile and almost forgot about it.

First of all, before I write any more, let me just say that I loved this book and it’s position at the bottom of my ‘to be read’ pile was a terrible error on my part.  I think I had some kind of preconceived notion that Jodi Picoult just wrote more ‘chick lit’ fare – and I’m not sure why I thought that – but this book really, truly surprised me with how much I loved it.

The story centres around 13 year old Jenna who is actively searching for her mother Alice, who went missing when Jenna was only 3 years old. Alice was a scientist and animal researcher who studied elephants, and she, with her husband Thomas and their daughter Jenna all lived together on the elephant sanctuary that Thomas, also a scientist founded. Alice went missing after a tragic accident happened on the sanctuary, and now Thomas is in a psychiatric hospital and Jenna lives with her grandmother who refuses to even talk about her missing mother.  Jenna decides she’s old enough to search for her mother and that it’s time to take matters in to her own hands.

She enlists the help of Serenity Jones -a disgraced former psychic to the stars who now gives readings out of her  tiny apartment and Virgil Stanhope, the detective who was working the case when Jenna’s mother disappeared.  They’re an odd team, but together the tree of them try to piece together the puzzle of what happened to Jenna’s mother the night, 10 years earlier, when she vanished.

With Alice and Thomas both being scientists who focus on animal behaviour, specifically elephants, there is a lot of information about these animals in this book.  Which, to be honest, is one of the reasons I loved it so much.  Not only was the information relevant to the plot, but I actually finished this book feeling like I knew a lot more about elephants and their behaviour – specifically how they deal with grief, than I did before I started reading. And I kind of loved that. The story is told in alternating narratives, with Jenna, Serenity, Virgil and even Alice taking turns telling their side of the story.

We see Jenna’s desperation in hoping to find out what actually happened to her mother the night of the accident; Serenity’s own internal struggle with wanting to help Jenna, but fearing that all of her real psychic ability has abandoned her and Virgil’s need to make right the sloppy investigation that he was pressured to close10 years earlier, even though he knew that he left loose ends.

I’m not going to say anything more because this is the kind of book that you have to pick up knowing the bare minimum about to truly enjoy it. Let’s just say that by the end of it my jaw was left wide open and I quickly started flipping back through the book, re-reading section after section. It’s definitely the kind of book that I can see myself reading again. If you like a good story infused with some humour and mystery with some elephant education thrown in, you absolutely need to read Leaving Time.

Leaving Time hit bookshelves on October 14 and it’s definitely the kind of book you should pick up for a nice weekend read!

I give Leaving Time 4 out of 5 stars.

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Sometimes, when I finish a book, I sit back for a few minutes and just think about how unbelievably happy I am that I was sent that book to review.  That’s how I felt when I finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. There was a sort of sense of glee, and happiness and sheer satisfaction when I finished this book that I just had to sit for a while and enjoy it. Now I just tell everyone who asks for a book recommendation to read this book!

Back in the summer I posted a ‘Hot Summer Reads’ article and I asked my publisher friends to give me their suggestions for books to include. Penguin Canada sent me a few suggestions including One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, Virgin by Radhika Sanhani and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  Big Little Lies was the last of the 3 that I read, which was probably good because  as soon as I finished I immediately went and downloaded some of Moriarty’s other books including The Husband’s Secret’ and ‘The Last Anniversary’. So far I’ve only read The Husband’s Secret but I really liked that one as well.

Here’s the Goodreads summary of the plot of Big Little Lies;

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .  A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?  What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?  Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:   Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.   New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

The book starts out with a murder, but we don’t know who has died or any of the circumstances surrounding the death. The story then begins 6 months prior to the big event, telling the stories of 3 women, Madeline, Celeste and Jane who all have children who attend kindergarten together.  Madeline and Celeste are friends, but Jane is new to town and quickly makes enemies of the wrong mom on the playground. Madeline, not being the kind of person to let anyone make another person feel left out,  decides to befriend Jane (mostly to spite those who have labelled her and her son the town outcasts) and the relationship that develops is really quite endearing.

Madeline comes off as having it all together, with a loving husband and 2 beautiful daughters, but she’s grappling with a teenager who seems to want to spend more time with her father and her much younger step-mother, causing Madeline to wonder where she went wrong.  Celeste is that woman that we all want to be like, with her perfect husband and perfect life and perfect body – of course we all know that when things look perfect, they very rarely are.  And then Jane comes along – young, a bit lost, and quickly labelled the mother of the class bully.  Madeline and Celeste decide to befriend Jane, and as their stories are revealed and intersect you won’t be able to put this book down.

Big Little Lies is a story of love, friendship, forgiveness, tolerance and deception all wrapped up in this hugely entertaining and smart book. Moriarty perfectly intersects the lives of these characters so that you learn to love them and empathize with them and root for them more and more as you continue reading. When the murder and murderer is revealed, with all the circumstances leading up to it neatly unfolding, I’m not sure anyone would have seen it coming, making for a completely satisfying ending that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Big Little Lies was a truly entertaining read and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

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One Plus One is the first book by Jojo Moyes that I’ve read, which means that it sat on my bedside table for longer than it probably would have had I read any of her previous work.  This book was sent to me by the publisher as part of their recommendations for my ‘hot summer reads’ list and while I had heard good things about Moyes’ previous books, I was hesitant to pick it up. Let’s face it, my taste in literature runs a bit on the juvenile side (I tend to like YA fiction and books that involve a good vampire love story) so I was afraid that I wouldn’t appreciate this book like so many of my peers did.

I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by One Plus One.  The book tells the story of one down on her luck mom who just can’t seem to catch a break, her two children – one of whom is being bullied thanks to his penchant for wearing eyeliner, and one who’s a serious math prodigy who loves her sequins.  The story is about how, due to the unlikliest of circumstances, they end up connected to a  wealthy techy geek turned business owner who’s in his own heap of trouble but who ends up being possibly everything this very non typical family needs.   Throw in one very smelly dog and you have a delightful read.

Moyes paints her characters with a realistic paintbrush – they’re not just the ‘down on her luck’ heroine’ and the leading man ‘who needs saving’ – they’re real-ish people who have faults and do some not so good things.  I didn’t always like the characters, which I like in a book. I like that it challenged me to see their faults and root for their redemption.  This book is lovely and touching with just the right amount of romance and teen angst and drama and retribution to make it a very enjoyable read.

I give One Plus One 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

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Do you remember when you were younger and the book ‘Wifey’ by Judy Blume made the rounds?  Blume – the same Blume who wrote the classic  tween drama’s  ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ and ‘Tiger Eyes’  as well as countless other books that became bibles for young girls everywhere, expanded her repertoire and wrote her first adult novel about a New Jersey housewife who, bored with her life, decides to have an affair with an ex-boyfriend.

To be honest I couldn’t even remember the plot of the book, but I do remember, vividly, this book being secretly passed between me and my sister, and to our friend who lived down the road, and the dog eared pages and ripped cover being passed covertly back and forth between all of our tweenage friends.  Wifey was a dirty book to us – one that talked about sex (and that’s really all I remember, except for one tampon scene that seems to stand out in my mind) and one that was definitely not something we should have been reading.  I have a feeling that ‘Virgin’ might be to this generation of young girls what Wifey was to mine.

Virgin is classic chic lit.  This is the kind of book that yougrab for a quick read poolside or by the beach when you’re on vacation.  It’s a quick read and doesn’t require any deep thoughts, but it does deliver it’s fair share of funny and cringe worthy moments.  It tells the story of 21 year old Ellie;  a college student who comes from a pretty strict Greek family who also happens to be a virgin.  Ellie isn’t a virgin by choice however, it’s just that after a particularly humiliating experience when she was 17 the opportunity hasn’t presented itself since.  Ellie finds herself at the age of 21 an unwilling virgin who is almost ashamed that she can’t take the chlamydia test at her doctor’s office.

The book follows Ellie as she attempts to lose her virginity, obviously. Ellie wants to be rid of her ‘v-plates’ as she calls it more than anything, and even contemplates a one night stand as the solution to her problem.  As the book progresses Ellie and her friend Emma (dear authors – STOP naming your two main characters almost the same name – it’s bloody confusing!) who happens to be a very sexually active 21 year old who makes no apologies about it,  decide that there isn’t enough information online for young women to get real information about things like being a virgin, waxing, bodily functions etc, so they decide to start their own blog called ‘Vlog’ .  This confused me repeatedly because while I realize that the author called the blog ‘Vlog’ because it was the ‘Vagina Blog’ I just kept thinking they were referring to a video blog.  Also – there’s probably a billion web sites and blogs online that discuss the same issues that Ellie  and Emma discuss so that part was a bit unrealistic.  However, and this is where I think that ‘Virgin’ will follow the same path as ‘Wifey’ – this ‘Vlog’ actually answered questions that real young women might ask, about topics that they might be too afraid to ask their friends or google.  I actually laughed out loud a bit at some of the information given, remembering being a young girl myself who was infinitely curious about sexuality and puberty and all things in between.

Maybe I enjoyed this book because it made me a bit nostalgic when I read it, but I also liked that virginity was looked at as a burden to Ellie.  Sure, in this day and age of ‘girl power’ and owning your own sexuality we sometimes fail to realize that young people still feel a lot of pressure about their virginity and the prospect of losing it.  A a society we’ve put virginity up on this pedestal that it doesn’t deserve to be on.  I hope to raise my daughter to look at sex as something that should be shared between two people who understand what they’re doing as well as the ramifications  that can come along with it as opposed to something sacred that must be worshipped and treated as such .  I liked that the book addressed std’s and that just because you have multiple sexual partners doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you, it just means that you can be a woman in charge of your own sexuality.

The writing in the book was average, but for a debut novel I think that Sanghani did a good job in putting together an enjoyable and funny summer read, which Virgin was if you don’t think too hard about it.

I give ‘Virgin by Radhka Sanghani 3 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

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Beautiful Oblivion is the 3rd (or 4th?!) book in Jamie McGuire’s ‘Beautiful’ series and the first of her spin-off ‘Maddox’ brothers series. I’ve only read Beautiful Disaster but I really liked it so I was excited to read this one.  I also liked that we would be getting a different character vs her other Beautiful books that basically all focused on Travis and Abby’s relationship.  I get that people like them, but do they really need 3 books?!

Beautiful Oblivion is the story of Trenton Maddox and his love interest Cami Camlin.  Trenton, oldest Maddox brother, is a tattoo artist who is a bit softer than his brother Travis but still enjoys drinking and bringing ladies home.  Cami is a bartender at the bar and the object of Trenton’s affection.  Cami wants nothing to do with Trenton because he’s a Maddox and she already has a boyfriend.  If this plot sounds familiar it’s because it’s almost the exact same as Beautiful Disaster.  In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell any of the main characters apart.  Trent/Travis and Cami/Abby are almost interchangeable, as is their story line.

Cami has a boyfriend named TJ and there’s some secret that they share that the author doesn’t tell us but we’re to believe it’s a really big one.  But TJ lives in California for his work and while he loves Cami she’s not his priority, so while he’s away she finds herself growing closer to Trenton who is working very hard to win her over.  She spends just about every waking moment with him and justifies it by saying they’re ‘just friends.’

The plot of this book is thin, but the writing is thinner.  I  might almost call it lazy.  McGuire, like I said, basically took the formula for how to write a New Adult romance book and half assed it through this story (obviously just my opinion).  There’s literally zero chemistry between Trenton and Cami, and neither character are even very likeable.  The writing is choppy and there’s a bunch of supporting characters who – I think – are only there in case McGuire wants to spin them off into their own series.  In fact I couldn’t even quite understand the point of having them in the book since they didn’t really lend anything to the story.

Now let’s talk about the ‘secret’.  I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that throughout the book we’re teased about this big ‘secret’ that Cami has, and that TJ has, but it was so poorly teased that half the time I had to stop and think if there really was a ‘secret’ or if I missed something. While I enjoyed what the big ‘secret’ or twist was, I still found myself having to go back and read entire chapters to try and figure out how this could even be a secret!?!  It also made me completely rethink the book, and made me dislike the characters even more.

I am a huge fan of the New Adult genre when done right.  Colleen Hoover is so good at creating characters that you can fall in love with, and K.A. Tucker’s ‘ Four Seconds to Lose’ series is really great at creating a book per character that you actually care about. I think Jamie McGuire has been trying too hard to recapture the glory she got with Beautiful Disaster.  I just wasn’t feeling it at all this time.

I give Beautiful Oblivion 2 out of 5 stars.

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So, I think some of us might be fighting after I post this review.  A little while ago I wrote about the 19 books that you must read this summer and included my own personal recommendations as well as those of my publisher friends.  All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner was reco’d by the publisher and after my post was published I heard from a lot of you that that was the book you were currently reading, and loving. Naturally I decided to pick that book up first and read it, and now I feel bad because I didn’t love it. I’m not sure I even liked it.

All Fall Down is the story of Allison Weiss, an overstressed wife of one increasingly detached husband and one incredibly irritating child who’s reliance on pain pills to get her through the day increases as the book progresses, culminating in a trip to rehab.  There’s a lot that many of us will relate to with Allison, like how she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders.  I don’t know one stay at home mom who breezes through her day while her spouse is at work without feeling like they might lose it at any moment.  I think many of us who stay at home while our spouse works can totally relate to that feeling of having to do ‘everything else’ while our spouse thinks that just ‘going to work’ is enough.  Yes, I related in the beginning to Allison, but then once her coping mechanisms kicked in, she lost me.

I think it’s reasonable to see how a woman with the pressure that Allison had might turn to pain pills to deal with everyday stress, but the plot got to be so unbelievable to me, and all of the characters so incredibly unlikeable to me, that I started to tune out.  I started to not be able to sympathize with Allison and I started to resent her and her selfish choices.  Also the fact that she was a ‘part time blogger’ who managed to make enough money to support growing and incredibly expensive prescription drug habit was the icing on the ‘unbelievable’ cake for me.

I’m OK reading books where I don’t always like the characters and I realize that every opinion regarding books is highly subjective, but for me, the annoyance I felt with the characters coupled with what I felt was a half assed ending made this book less than a ‘must read’ for me.  However, I did manage to read it in only about 3-4 days which means it kept my attention – so that’s a plus in my book.

I give All Fall Down 3 out of 5 stars.  Have you read it yet? I’d love to know what you thought.

18050175rom Goodreads;

London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society, and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Unnerved, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine city that greets her, she uncovers a secret world at the margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of one of the country’s preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, men in England.

Well that sounds like just my kind of book.  Sadly, it took over 500 pages and many, many different parts to the whole story to come to a lacklustre conclusion that just had me shaking my head, angry that I had persevered through this book to finally be disappointed in the end.

Last month Random House sent me a selection of upcoming new releases to read. I chose to read The Quick first because I had heard many good things about it.  I really want to tell you that I loved this book, but I would be lying.

This book took me over a month to read because every  time I picked it up it made me want to fall asleep.  That should have been my first clue that this book just wasn’t for me, but I wanted to stick it out and see if the ending would justify the muddled middle, but for me, it didn’t.  Owen is a gifted writer with words, but she lacked the ability to keep me engaged throughout this story.  And every time I found myself invested in a part of the storyline, that storyline would shift and we would be introduced to a new storyline and new characters that I didn’t care about. It was honestly one of the  most frustrating books I’ve read in a long time.

I found the book lacked focus and was too ambitious because while all the parts had pieces that were interesting, the sum of them was just a big mess.

I gave The Quick 2 out of 5 stars.

 

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Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

Caution, this review will contain spoilers.

I was sent a copy of Sea of Shadows by Random House to review.  First off, let me start by saying I am a big fan of the YA Paranormal genre and would argue that it is highly under rated, so I was quite excited to read this book.  Then I will say that I’m getting a bit tired of this whole ‘trilogy’ formula that seems to have become the norm with YA Paranormal books.

I enjoyed Sea of Shadows but I found it a slow in parts – something I blame on the author having to stretch the story out enough to cover 3 books .  I liked that the main characters in this book aren’t just women, but sisters and that they’re not weak nor powerless, but I did have a hard time telling them apart during the story.  We’ve seen a rise in female protagonists in recent books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but in Sea of Shadows it’s different. The sisters are born into their position as Seeker and Keeper and are just coming of age when an ancient evil threatens to destroy life as they know it.  It’s a formula we’ve seen before, but rarely with girls as the protagonists.

Every year the Seeker and the Keeper must enter the Forest of the Dead where they will find the bodies of the exiled criminals and encourage their spirits to leave peacefully.  During their annual trip into the Forest (and their first going alone now that they are 16) something goes very wrong and Moria and Ashyn are separated.  When they finally make their way out of the Forest and find each other, they discover that their entire village has been murdered and that all of the children have been taken.  They get separated again and Moria must team up with Gavril, a surviving guard who has his own secrets and Ashyn with Ronan, a young exiled criminal who managed to survive his year in the Forest of the Dead.  Separately they embark on a journey to warn the Emperor while battling their own share of monsters along the way.  Basically there’s your heroes, then the big bad thing happens, then the heroes must team up with some dudes (because there always needs to be the potential for love interests) and then they must overcome some really bad shit before they can get to where they’re going. When more really bad shit happens.  Cliffhanger!

I liked this book and I liked the characters in this book but I would say that my biggest complaint was that it was a bit slow through the middle and the plot seemed to get lost a bit.  I would’ve liked to see more character development and the developing relationships between the sisters and their travel mates Gavril and Ronan.  I’ll say it again, because this is a trilogy, I feel like the author held back in giving us a lot of the ‘meat’ of the story so that there could be a cliff hanger and a plot for book 2.

It’s not the strongest book 1 of a trilogy that I’ve read, but it did finish strong enough to make me look forward to reading the second book.

18339631 (1)Elaine Lui is the genius behind the  ridiculously successful celebrity gossip blog Lainey Gossip, a correspondent on ETalk and most recently one of the hosts of the very successful CTV daytime talk show The Social.  Lui now gets to add ‘author’ to that list of accomplishments with the release of her first book titled ‘Listen To The Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What’s A Daughter To Do? A Memoir (Sort of)’.  Random House sent me an advance copy of the book for review and I’m happy to say that I whipped through it pretty quickly even though it has nothing to do with celebrity gossip.

When I heard that Lainey was writing a book I was thrilled, envisioning some kind of Gossip Bible that I would read over and over again until all the pages were dogeared and the cover was destroyed from being carried around with me relentlessly.  Imagine my surprise when I heard that the book wouldn’t be about gossip, but instead about her mother, affectionately referred to on her site as ‘The Chinese Squawking Chicken’.

Readers of Lainey’s site are all too familiar with The Chinese Squawking Chicken because Lainey would often infuse stories of her Ma’s antics into her blog posts.  Readers feel almost as much of a kinship to Lainey’s mother as they do to Lainey herself, often waiting for her to post her Ma’s advice on how to best prepare for Chinese New Year and other random musings.  So even though she didn’t write about her in depth knowledge of the celebrity gossip world and about her mother instead, I was excited to read.

I would best describe Lui’s book as a love letter to her Ma, even though her Ma would probably dismiss that notion and tell you that she deserved to have this book written about her because she did give her daughter life and the least she could do is to write about how amazing she is in return.  In this book Lui tells the story of what it was like to grow up with a mother who earned the nickname “Squawking Chicken” at a young age while negotiating the Triads in Hong Kong and holding her own in the often male dominated Mah Jong dens that she frequented.  She details the tragedies and triumphs that her mother endured as a young woman growing up in Hong Kong, to how she met, married, divorced and re-married Lainey’s father, and how her experiences helped shape the mother she became, which of course shaped the woman that Lainey is.

You might disagree with the Squawking Chicken’s methods, but there can be no doubt that it works, because Lainey is one of the most successful Canadian media personalities today, and her star is just beginning to rise.   I haven’t figured out through reading this book if Lainey’s relationship with her mother is one of the most beautiful and special Mother/Daughter relationships I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about, or whether it’s the most co-dependant and dysfunctional ones?   What I do know is that it works for them, and even though you might not agree with how her mother likes to publicly shame Lainey in order to teach her important life lessons, or how she insists on inserting herself, even now, in every facet of Lainey’s life, there is not doubt Lainey needs her mother to be meddling and shameful as much as her mother needs to be meddling and shaming.

If you’re a reader of Lainey Gossip this book will fill in many blanks about Lainey’s Ma, including details about her tragic youth and how she came to marry, divorce and then remarry her father.  Lainey details her Ma’s health issues but also gives some pretty hilarious insights into how, even at the age of 40, her mother can still pull out some good old Feng Shui blackmail on Lainey.  Fans of Lainey will love this book for the more intimate details of her life that they can glean from the pages, while those not as familiar with her blog will simply enjoy a book tells the story of a mother/daughter bond like no other.

‘Listen To The Squawking Chicken; When Mother Knows Best What’s A Daughter To Do? A Memoir (Sort Of)’ is a brilliantly written ode to the amazingly complex mother/daughter relationship that any mother or daughter can relate to, even if they don’t have a Squawking Chicken in their life.

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As a rule, I don’t read memoirs.  To be honest, when I first picked up Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail I had no clue it was a memoir, I just knew that it was a book a lot of my book loving friends liked (and some who didn’t like it) and that it was being made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.  I did a segment on my local CTV morning show on books being made into movies and I included Wild so I decided I should read it for myself and when I flipped it open to the first page I realized that like it or not, I was reading a memoir.

The good news is I liked it. A lot. I might even say I loved it.  Aside from being amazingly well written, Wild is just a compelling story.  When Cheryl was 22 her mother died of cancer and a few years later her marriage fell apart and ended in divorce.  Throw in some self destructive behaviour including drugs and cheating and cross it with a chance run in with a tour book on the Pacific Crest Trail at a local store and you have all the makings for the soul searching adventure that became Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail.

At 26 Cheryl Strayed found herself newly divorced and self admittedly devastated with her life and feeling lost, so she decided to embark on an 1100 mile hike through the PCT, from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to the border with Washington State. Alone.

Cheryl writes about her personal demons in a way that doesn’t make you feel sorry for her because she fully owns the fact that most of her decisions were bad, but it also makes you understand why a woman who absolutely no hiking experience would decided to embark on this sort of trip long.  But the more I read the more I wanted to hear about her adventures and misadventures and about her hiking boots and her poor, destroyed feet and all the people she met along the way.  And you wonder why you end up liking her when she makes such vapid and poor decisions, and writes about them with little remorse.  Sometimes I was surprised by her candidness about her generally selfish and self destructive behaviour,  but it also made her a bit more real to me.  No one is perfect, and we can often excuse our life mistakes but for the most part Cheryl owns hers.

I think I loved this book the most because I felt that I could relate to Cheryl.  Not that our lives are even remotely similar, and I’ve never done heroin nor have I ever cheated on my husband, but who wouldn’t want to just pack up and leave everything behind and see what you can learn about yourself when it’s just you and your wits for a few months?  Most of us could do with a bit more self-discovery in our lives.

I really, really loved this book and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

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It has been a very, very long time since I have sat down with a book in the middle of the morning because I needed – absolutely needed to finish it RIGHT NOW.  But that’s what I did with this book.  I left my kitchen a mess and abandoned all other responsibilities because I was thisclose to finishing Red Rising and I needed to know all the things about this book!

I was sent a copy of Red Rising by Random House Canada and was immediate intrigued when one of the endorsement quotes on the jacket cover read ‘Ender, Katniss and now Darrow’. Well, if you follow my book reviews you know that Ender’s Game is one of my absolute favourite books of all time, and we all know how I feel about The Hunger Games (at least the first book, anyway).  Needless to say I was excited to pick up this book, but also a bit hesitant out of fear of being let down, visions of the Divergent trilogy in my head.  Well, the good news is I was not disappointed.

Red Rising is the debut novel by Pierce Brown and immediately I want to draw a similarity between him and ‘Divergent’ author Veronica Roth mostly because both are young and both have thrown down epically amazing first books.  I hope this is where the similarities end however because I was increasingly disappointed with both Insurgent and finally Allegiant (let’s face it, I fucking hated Allegiant) and Red Rising has the makings of one mind blowing trilogy.  Let’s hope Brown can maintain the awesomeness that was Red Rising for two more books, please.

Red Rising reminds me a little of Ender’s Game meets Divergent meets The Hunger Games.  You have Darrow, similar to Ender, who is the boy chosen to defeat the all powerful enemy.  Like Divergent’s factioned society, the world in Red Rising is divided into colours, with Gold being for the higher borns and Red being the lessers, with many colours in between and each colour having a purpose in society. Similar to The Hunger Games there is a secret group of people who are plotting to create their own leader that will eventually rebel against the status quo and bring their own brand of justice down on the ruling society.  And that secret group has pegged Darrow as the person who will be the one to lead the rebellion.

The thing I loved best about this book is the world that Brown has created.  I don’t know about you, but often when I’m reading  a book I can’t help but be amazed that there is actually someone out there who can think all of this up, and that makes me enjoy reading the book even more.

Set in a futuristic society that exists on Mars and surrounding planets, Red Rising tells the story of Darrow, a 16 year old Helldiver who is a member of the Red society – the lowest colour on the totem pole.  After witnessing an event (no spoilers, I promise) that literally made my heart ache along with Darrow’s, the young Red is inspired to seek justice and vengeance.

Darrow is recruited by a secret group of people who, like Darrow, seek equality and justice against the oppressive government that Darrow learns has basically lied to the entire Red population and is keeping them as slaves without their knowledge.  All hopes are set on Darrow to infiltrate the elusive Gold society and one day be able to exact his vengeance from within.  Darrow undergoes an extreme physical transformation to fit in and is eventually accepted into Gold’s University system.

The thing is, this isn’t a University unlike any other.  Darrow and the rest of his fellow students are throw into a ‘game’ that will be the ultimate test of survival.  As it said on the Goodreads description, this is basically the ultimate game of Capture the Flag, only the stakes are much, much higher.  The Gold’s are a ruthless people and Darrow quickly learns that if he wants to succeed and ultimately win at a game where all the stakes are levelled against him he will have to control his rage and not only be physically strong but mentally strong too.

Red Rising not only creates a character that you will absolutely love and cheer for in Darrow, but it also creates and incredible cast of supporting characters.  I’m not going to lie, there is a lot going on in this book.  There were times when I would have to flip back a few pages to figure out who Darrow was talking to because there were so many characters introduced and so many different scenarios at play but as I continued to read I became more and more familiar with them all.  Brown paints such a vivid picture of his world that it’s hard not to get lost in it. This was a book I would pick up as I was getting ready to head out the door or before I made dinner just so I could read one  more chapter.

I’m not sure if Red Rising is labelled as YA but if it is I think that might be doing it a disservice.  While the central characters range in age from 16 – 18 years old, the story is very much non-YA.  There is a lot of violence in this book – violence that is justified in the name of vengeance and fair play, but as a reader I took as just part of the book.  The characters are much older than their years and even those that I hated at one point I found to be redeemable at another.

This is a great story of love and loss and loyalty and justice and vengeance and I can’t wait to see what the next book will bring. Anyone who enjoys a great futuristic, dystopian society style read will enjoy this book.   I highly recommend Red Rising.

 

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All The Truth That’s In Me is a novel by Julie Berry and tells the story of a young woman named Judith who re-appears two years after she and her best friend, Lottie, disappeared from their small town.   Lottie’s body was found shortly after the girls disappeared and when Judith finally returned, she was mutilated and unable to speak.   As a result she is shunned by her family and friends and forced to live a life of solitude and loneliness even though she silently pines after the one boy she wishes she could talk to, named Lucas.

I would describe this book as YA meets historical fiction.  There’s obviously a huge YA appeal to the book, as it tells the story through teenager Judith’s eyes,  but it also has a historical fiction edge to it as it’s based in a time when people travelled by wagons and dowries were paid for marriages arranged.  I am a big fan of YA books but not so big a fan of historical fiction. That being said I still enjoyed the book.

Judith seems to have accepted the fact that because of what happened to her, people won’t talk to her, or look at her or even really consider her as a human being.  Her own mother won’t call her by her own name, almost punishing her for having been abducted, even though we know that poor Judith had no control over that.

When Roswell Station, where Judith and her family  live, comes under attack, Judith has to make a decision – is she happy to live her life as a shadow in silence, or if she will finally find her voice and use it to save those she loves?  Of course, her actions will spur on a series of reactions that has the power to destroy not just her own life, but Lucas’s as well.  In fact, Judith’s decision effects almost everyone in Roswell Station.

I was very surprised by this book, pleasantly, I think.  I don’t know what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but it certainly wasn’t what I read.  And I liked that.  There’s a certain appeal to not knowing every plot point to a book before you pick it up, which is why I don’t give any in my reviews.

I was sympathetic to Judith because of how she was treated by those in her small village, but especially by her mother.  Even though it’s explained why, I still can’t wrap my head around how a mother could treat her daughter the way Judith was treated.  I can’t even wrap my head around why she was treated the way she was by her entire village!  It was like she had the ‘scarlett letter’ attached to her dress and she was forced to live with the guilt and shame of being a victim even though it wasn’t her fault, which is why the ‘historical fiction’ aspect of this book worked so well. People were treated much differently during that time and not only was it ok but it was the norm.  It was really frustrating to read this book at times.   The book is written in a sort of ‘pinhole’ narrative, described as ‘you start out looking through a tiny hole that allows you to see only a fraction of Judith’s world, and as the story goes on, the pinhole widens and widens until you can see a bigger picture.’  I would say that describes this book perfectly.

In the beginning we’re treated to small glimpses as to what happened to Judith on that fateful day that she disappeared, and as the book goes on we discover more and more about how she lived and what really happened to her all that time.  During the book we learn more about her feelings for Lucas and you can’t help but root for them to find each other, even though Judith is basically reviled by everyone in her village.

The ending did deliver a solid surprise that I really didn’t see coming, which is always a treat.  If you enjoy YA books and historical fiction, All The Truth That’s In Me is a great book to read.

 

 

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Four Seconds to Lose is the third book in K.A. Tucker’s series of books that began with Ten Tiny Breaths when we were first introduced to Kacey and her sister Livvie.  Somewhere in between is the book One Tiny Lie that I apparently completely missed reading because I had no idea it was released already!  Fortunately for us Tucker ensures that all of her books in the Ten Tiny Breaths series are related –  but they can also be read as standalone books if you haven’t read the series and you won’t be lost at all.  I will, however, be picking up One Tiny Lie because I like this kind of series.   In fact, this might be my favourite kind of series to read – one in which a different character has their ‘story’ told in each book.

In Four Seconds to Lose we are re-introduced to strip club owner Cain, who we met first in Ten Tiny Breaths.  Cain has a troubled past but a heart of gold, and even though he owns a strip club he has nothing but the best intentions for the girls who work for him. In fact, he goes out of his way to make sure that they’re safe and has a strict ‘no dating/sex/contact’ rule with all of his employees.  Of course we learn pretty quickly why Cain has such a soft spot for troubled women as we’re told snippets of his back story throughout the book, painting us a vivid picture of who Cain is and why he’s the way he is.

No good new adult book is complete without a romantic element of course, so when mysterious Charlie Rourke walks into Cain’s club looking for a job, we know that we’ve met the girl who will turn Cain’s world upside down.  Cain hasn’t met anyone like Charlie in a long time, and finds himself drawn to her immediately because she reminds him of someone he was once very close to, but Charlie has her own secrets to deal with.

I read this book fast because I had a hard time putting it down.  I wanted to know what would happen to Cain and I wanted to know what would happen to Charlie and I really wanted to know what would happen to Cain and Charlie.  There were some plot twists that I found a bit reaching, and after a lengthy build up to the book’s climax, I wish that it would have played out a bit longer, but I also think that it’s the author’s right to write their book their way.  And seeing as I couldn’t put it down Tucker must have done something right.

What I liked a lot about this book is that the main characters aren’t portrayed as perfect.  There were moments in the book that I almost didn’t like Cain, which made me like the book more because it meant that his character was portrayed more realistic than it might have been in the hands of a different author.  And I liked that it’s a very sexy and erotic book without that being the focus of the book.  I mean, I love a good sex scene in a book, and the scenes in Four Seconds to Lose definitely delivered while managing to not be the sole focus of the story.

We still got to see snippets of the characters we met in Ten Tiny Breaths and how their lives are all intermingled as well as seeing how future books might involve them as well.   I really enjoyed Four Seconds to Lose and I very much like this series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment.  Now I’m off to hunt down One Tiny Lie so I can catch up!

 

 

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Perfect is the second novel by author Rachel Joyce and the follow up to her highly successful debut novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

 

Perfect tells the story of young Byron Hemming. It’s 1972 and Byron’s best friend James tells him that 2 seconds need to be added to the clock but no one will know exactly when it’s going to happen. Byron is a curious 11 year old and he thinks that James is the smartest child he knows, so of course he believes everything he says. While his mother, Diana, is driving to Byron and his sister to school one day he notices his watch stop and is convinced that this is when the seconds are being added. At that exact moment something happens that will change the course of Byron’s, life.

 

Perfect is one of those novels that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go very easily, even though at some points I was almost ready to put it down, although I’m glad I stuck it out. Diana, as the mother to Bryon and his younger sister , is the perfect wife and mother. Married to a man who is mostly absent and controlling when he’s present, she’s a tragic character that you can’t help but feel for and sympathize with. Unfortunately I found myself incredibly frustrated by some of the decisions she makes throughout the book. Byron is a doting son who only wants to protect his mother from anything bad that might happen which sometimes only serves to make matters worse. And worse it gets.

 

The novel is told in alternating narratives juggling between an adult James (now called Jim) and a childhood Byron and will constantly make you think but will also frustrate you. My main problem with this book was that the topic was a bit heavy for too long. I like some happy in my books, but this novel was a whole lot of bleak. Just as I was about to put it down, done with the sadness and tragedy, there was a plot twist that drew my right back in and redeemed the book for me.
Rachel Joyce creates vivid characters and writes in a such a compelling way that you really feel like you can see yourself in the book.

 

Perfect isn’t a happy, lighthearted kind of book – it’s sometimes dark, and often bleak but will always make you think. Definitely worth the read.

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S.E.C.R.E.T Shared is the highly anticipated sequel to the book S.E.C.R.E.T by L. Marie Adeline.  If you haven’t read S.E.C.R.E.T you can read my review here.   I don’t normally request books to review – I just take what ever the publishers send me – but in this case I requested this sequel because I thought the first book had a lot of promise and I wanted to see what would happen next to Cassie and her S.E.C.R.E.T. journey, as well as what would become of her and Will’s relationship.

This book follows Cassie after her journey through S.E.C.R.E.T and what is next for her.  And what’s next includes recruiting a local vintage store owner named Dauphine into the S.E.C.R.E.T society, so we basically get alternating chapters told from each woman’s perspective.  I liked the new characters and how they intertwined with the existing ones, but I will say that I have a similar complaint with this book as I did with the first, and that was that I found the fantasy sequences to be a bit rushed.  Dauphine had a lot of issues and phobias that seemed to be solved all too quickly and conveniently.  Without giving any spoilers it would have been nice to have seen a bit more of Dauphine’s S.E.C.R.E.T experiences even though Cassie still is the main character.

So we get to watch Cassie and her newfound confidence navigate the world now that she’s a S.E.C.R.E.T. ‘graduate’ and now that she is forced to work with Will and the pregnant Tracina even though she still harbours feelings for Will and vice versa.  I like the new Cassie much more than I liked the old Cassie and found myself rooting for her much more than in the first book.  I liked the plot of this book and the plot twists, but I still don’t feel like the author is completely comfortable writing the erotic scenes.  She does excel at telling a good story and creating compelling characters, so hopefully the ease at which writing the sex scenes will come (no pun intended:)).  For example – the word ‘gussett’ should never, ever, EVER be used in an erotic scene. Ever.  I can’t help but think that erotica is a bit of a tough genre to write because you have to make it sexy without making it sound cheesy.  S.E.C.R.E.T Shared isn’t cheesy, but sometimes I think that less is more when writing a sex scene.   I would honestly call this book more of a romance novel with sex in it than I would erotica, if that makes sense.

Once again we’re faced with a surprise ending that to be honest rather shocked me.  I don’t like to post spoilers in my reviews but let’s just say that the actions of some characters just didn’t seem to add up and that left me feeling a little confused.   It does however set up for the next book and leave me wanting to read it – S.E.C.R.E.T Revealed – that will be released in 2014.

 

 

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When Simon and Schuster asked me if they could send me The Light Between Oceans, the debut novel by M.L. Stedman, I agreed.  After all they told me that since it’s July 2012 release it had become a Heather’s Pick, a GoodReads Mover & Shaker, a NYT bestseller, and a Walmart Read of the Month. The plot intrigued me so I decided to give it a try even though I always worry that I won’t like a book nearly as much as everyone else does.

The Light Between Oceans tells the story of Tom Sherbourne, who, after serving 4 years on the Western Front, returns to Australia to serve as lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, an isolated island a half a day’s distance from the coast.  During one of his leaves Tom meets Isabel and before you know it the two are married and Isabel joins Tom on Janus Rock.  The two have a loving and honest relationship until a series of tragedies lead up to a decision that will change both their lives forever.  I know that you can read more about the plot of this book on other sites like Goodreads, but I always prefer to leave you with knowing less about the plot and more about how I felt about the book, so I’m not going to give you any more specifics than this.  I feel that when you read the book yourself you are more able to fully feel the impact of the decisions made if you’re unaware going in.

This book, while a captivating and heartbreaking story, started out a bit slow for me, although now that I’m done I realize that there was a purpose for such detail.   By the time I reached second half of the book I could not put it down and finished it in one sitting, while tears streamed down my face.   I was literally doing the ugly cry at 2am in my bed, unable to put the book down, not even sure I knew what I wanted to happen.  This is the story of impossible choices and the ramifications that come from those. When you think you want one outcome, the author presents another point of view and then you’re torn again.  By the end of the book I didn’t know what I wanted to happen, and I loved that the author thoroughly presented each and every character’s point of view so that there was no absolute ‘right’ decision. The Light Between Oceans is a thought provoking and emotional read that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.  Definitely worth picking up.

I give The Light Between Oceans 4 out of 5 daisies.

 

 

 

 

the firebird by susanna kearsley

Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley in January and as I was unfamiliar with the author I wasn’t dying to read it, so I put it on my ‘to be read’ pile.  Thankfully I decided to pick it up shortly after because I absolutely loved this book and can’t say enough good things about it.

The Firebird is a companion piece to Kearsley’s The Winter Sea, which I haven’t read but will be picking up soon given how much I loved The Firebird.  The book is about a young woman named Nicola Marter, who possesses a psychic talent that she wishes she didn’t.  Sometimes when Nicola touches an object she can see it’s history – who has owned it and how it came to be.  Nicola works at an art gallery where a woman brings an old family heirloom –  The Firebird –  in for appraisal.  Since the owner of the gallery can’t authenticate The Firebird he has no choice but to turn the woman away, disappointed.  However, Nicola held the carving and saw that it did indeed belong to Russia’s Empress Catherine as the owner thought, and decides that she must help this woman however she can.

Nicola can’t do it alone however, so she turns to Rob McMorran, a former flame who’s own psychic abilities are even more powerful than Nicola’s.  Together they embark on a journey through the past to prove the origin and worth of The Firebird, and throughout their journey learn a thing or two about themselves.

Their journey to discover the origins of the carving have them following a young girl from the past named Anna as she travels from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia.  Anna’s story is just as captivating and intriguing as Nicola and Rob’s and at times I couldn’t decide who I wanted to read more about!

This book captured my attention from the very first page, and made it very hard for me to put down.   This is the kind of book that makes me absolutely envious of authors and their incredible ability to bring their words to life.  I found myself up until the wee hours of the night on more than one occasion completely immersed in this book.   It has adventure and mystery and romance and is simply a beautifully told story.  I honestly can’t say enough good things about it.  Read it!!!

I give The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley 5 daisies out of 5 (go get this book!)

 

life after life a book review

I have delayed writing this book review for a long time because I’m still not sure what I want to tell you.  Because I liked this book, a lot, but I also didn’t like it.  See, even I confuse myself sometimes.

 

Life After Life tells the story of Ursula Todd, a young woman born to wealthy parents in 1910 England.  The book follows Ursula as she lives her life over and over again as her country finds itself on the edge of the Second World War.  Ursula dies many times over the course of the book, only to be reborn with some kind of innate sense that she must change the direction of her life in order to impact her future. Sometimes those changes will affect only her, sometimes those she loves.

 

Life After Life is one of those books that left me truly awed by the end.  Kate Atkinson does a magnificent job of painting such a vivid picture with words that you can’t help but be drawn in by her characters.  Every time Ursula would die, I would be left wondering what she would change the next time she lived, and what impact that change would have on the rest of her life.  Sometimes it changed her life for the better, and sometimes for the worse.  There were times I  found the story confusing as it jumped around a lot.  I found myself having to flip back to find out what year the story was taking place in to try and figure out what had happened already, and whether Ursula’s rebirth was before a certain event or after.

 

I devoured the first half of this book, even finding myself staying up to all hours one night unable to put it down, but by the end I wasn’t as enamored.   Life After Life is an amazingly written, complex story of a young woman who has the ability to keep living until she gets it right, but I didn’t love it. I appreciated how well it was written and the painstaking effort that went in to creating such a rich story full of so many characters, but by the end I found myself drained.  I wanted more for Ursula and was often frustrated at how her rebirth would impact her future.

 

Life After Life is wonderfully written and a complex story, but a light read it is not.  This is the first Kate Atkinson novel I have read and I’m eager to read more, but I’m still not sure how I feel about this book.  Like I said, I really loved this book, but the ending left me a bit flat.  I give this book 3.5 daisies out of 5.

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Back in December I received a preview of a new novel called S.E.C.R.E.T from Random House that basically promised a highly charged erotic piece of fiction that would be Canada’s answer to 50 Shades of Grey. Obviously I was intrigued and read the sneak preview quickly and enjoyed it – but anxiously waited for the rest of the novel,

First of all let me answer the question of whether S.E.C.R.E.T is the next 50 Shades of Grey – no, it isn’t. Simply because if you enjoyed the sheer erotica of 50 you might be disappointed in S.E.C.R.E.T. S.E.C.R.E.T relies more on subtle erotica than 50’s more graphic and detailed sex scenes.

In S.E.C.R.E.T, Cassie Robichaud is a young widowed waitress who works in a cafe in New Orleans. Five years after the death of her husband, Cassie finds herself lonely and celibate. While working one day at the cafe she discovers a notebook left behind by one of her favourite customers. Cassie of course can’t resist taking a peek, and discovers this woman has written down all some pretty steamy stuff. It turns out the notebook is this woman’s journal detailing her involvement with a secret society aptly named S.E.C.R.E.T.

Before she knows it Cassie is recruited by a mysterious woman to join S.E.C.R.E.T – a secret society dedicated to helping women discover their inner sexuality. Cassie must reveal her inner sexual fantasies to S.E.C.R.E.T and in turn, they will make them come to life, helping Cassie become more confident and aware of herself.

I loved the premise of this book, a lot. A book that follows a young woman who becomes more empowered and discovers her inner strength through fulfilling her sexual fantasies – I mean who wouldn’t enjoy that?! But I couldn’t shake the feeling as I was reading that there could be more. This was the first erotic novel for L. Marie Adeline (the pen name for Canadian author Lisa Gabriele) and you can tell that she wasn’t completely comfortable writing some of the sex scenes. The erotic scenes were quite tame, which is great if you thought 50 Shades of Grey or Bared to You was too much for you, but I think the publishers did this book a disservice by trying to market it as the next 50 Shades of Grey. These set my expectations a little higher on the ‘erotica’ scale when I started reading and I honestly expected more sex. I would have enjoyed it a bit more if the author gave us more erotica instead of feeling a bit short changed after each encounter. My reaction, more often than not, was ‘that’s it?!’

The book was a quick read, and maybe a little too quick. For each fantasy, Cassie had accept a different ‘step’ and as I was reading I felt like each step was a bit rushed. Since agreeing to the steps were what led to Cassie’s self discovery, more time spent on them would have helped develop the character more, making me develop more of a relationship with her. At the end I didn’t really know if I liked Cassie or if I was just indifferent to her. I can’t even talk about the ending, because without providing any spoilers I honestly found myself shaking my head, wondering what just happened!

S.E.C.R.E.T is a fun, quick read, but if you were expecting erotic scenes that would rival 50 or Bared to You, you might be disappointed. It does hold promise though, and if it becomes a series, my hope is that Adeline will break out of her shell a bit and give us more in the erotica department. After all, what good is having a S.E.C.R.E.T if it isn’t perfectly scandalous?

I give S.E.C.R.E.T 3.5 daisies out of 5.

 

wild girls by mary stewart atwell

Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell

4 daisies out of 5

Random House Canada recently sent me Wild Girls, the debut novel by Mary Stewart Atwell. I can’t really explain the thrill I get when I receive a book from a publisher that I’ve never heard of. I get super excited to read it but I also get a little bit nervous that I won’t like it and then I stress about what I will write since while I might not like it someone else might love it and I always hate to write negatively about any book. Fortunately Wild Girls was a very pleasant surprise.

Wild Girls tells the story of Kate Riordan, a young teen girl living in the small Appalachian town of Swan River. Swan River isn’t your typical backwoods town though – it’s home to the Wild Girls. The Wild Girls are what young girls between the ages of 16 and 18 who can mystically throw fire from their hands and who wreak destruction and commit murder wherever they go are called. No one knows why or how a girl mysteriously turns into Wild Girl, but Kate lives in constant fear that one day she’ll become one herself.

Kate attends the posh Swan River Academy (because her mom works there) and none of the wealthy girls who attend the school worry about turning into a Wild Girl. In fact, for most of them, the Wild Girls are nothing more than urban legends and stories told around campfires, but Kate knows better. Kate lives in a constant state of fear and paranoia because she knows some of the girls who have turned into Wild Girls and knows the stories are true. The book tells a very clever and creative tale of growing up where things aren’t always as simple as they appear. This book is basically a kind of coming of age story mixed with a supernatural thriller. Because growing up and being a teenage girl isn’t hard enough without worrying if you’re going to turn into a crazed murderer who sets people on fire.

Wild Girls really surprised me with how much I liked it. Atwell is a very talented writer in that she paints an incredible picture with her words. Previous to reading Wild Girls I read another YA/Supernatural style book called Swoon, and my main complaint about that book was the lack of character development. The main characters are much more developed in Wild Girls – I had a very clear picture in my head of what I thought the entire story looked like as well. My one complaint would be that I would have liked Atwell to go more into the story of the actual Wild Girls. I felt that the climax of the story was told a bit too quickly and was too vague and without giving anything away I felt like there was more to the story that should have been told. However I always respect an author’s right to tell the story they want to tell and if we’re left asking questions that’s always a good thing. If you like the YA genre and books with a supernatural flair I think you’ll really enjoy reading Wild Girls. I give Wild Girls 4 daisies out of 5.

 

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

4 daisies out of 5

A few weeks ago Simon & Schuster Canada contacted me to see if they could send me a copy of a new novel they described as ’50 Shades meets Twilight’. Well clearly if you know me at all you know I jumped all over that opportunity, but when Beautiful Disaster arrived and I started reading, I really didn’t see any similarities to ’50 Shades’ nor to ‘Twilight’. In fact I think that they might be doing this book a disservice by trying to market it as such, because Beautiful Disaster is a great book that while may appeal to the same audiences that 50 Shades and Twilight does, that’s kind of where the similarities end.

I returned home from my family vacation late last week find Beautiful Disaster waiting for me in my mailbox and even though I was exhausted that night I decided to start reading. I ended up reading over 230 pages until well past 2 am because I just couldn’t put the story down. I finished the book the next day, ignoring my kids while I camped out on my couch completely consumed by the story. I love a book that I can’t put down!

Beautiful Disaster tells the story of Abby Abernathy – an 18 year old college student who meets her campus’s resident badboy/womanizer Travis Maddox when her best friend America brings her to an underground fighting ring where Travis is the main attraction. Travis is instantly attracted to Abby and does everything he can to spend time with her, while Abby does everything in her power to keep Travis at a distance, with no intentions of being another notch on his bedpost. At its surface this is a very basic ‘boy meets girl/ girl plays hard to get out of fear of getting hurt’ story. Author Jamie McGuire is so talented at depicting both these characters pros and cons that you find yourself completely engulfed in the story and changing your mind about what you want to happen as much as the characters do.

Without giving you any spoilers, because it really is a great book and I don’t want to give any of the plot points away, Beautiful Disaster is just the kind of book that you can’t put down. I guess for me it was similar in that way to 50 Shades and Twilight where I found myself very much invested in the main characters that I couldn’t wait to see how their relationship would develop. But trust me that is where the similarities end (definitely no red room of pain in this book:) ) I’ve read a lot of books this summer and there’s even a few that I’m still struggling to get through, but Beautiful Disaster was definitely one of those books worth the investment of my time. I have a feeling that once you’ve read it you’ll pass it along to your girlfriends so they can read it too.

It’s hard for me to tell you why I loved the book so much. I didn’t particularly love either of the main characters all the time and I definitely had moments where I actually disliked them. But both were written so well that even though I loved them and hated them and struggled with the decisions they made throughout the novel I found myself invested in the decisions they did make and couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. I loved the supporting characters more, with both Abby’s best friend America and her boyfriend Shepley, who was also Travis’s cousin being some of the most well developed supporting characters I’ve seen in a long time.

Beautiful Disaster is the perfect end of summer read – a book that you’ll devour in a days because you’ll be unable to put it down. I also checked out author Jamie McGuire’s website and discovered that she’s working on a new book titled Walking Disaster which tells the same story but from Travis’s point of view. Can’t wait to read that too!

Beautiful Disaster is available from Simon and Schuster Canada today, August 14th. If you pick it up please let me know what you think.

 

When Penguin Canada first contacted me to see if they could send me a copy of Bared To You they told me to be prepared for something #fiftyshadeshotter. I am a huge fan of the Fifty Shades trilogy and had a hard time picturing anything that could be #fiftyshadeshotter than that trio of books! But I was wrong because Bared To You definitely had me blushing while turning the pages (very, very quickly).

At first glance Bared To You looks a whole lot like Fifty Shades of Grey. I mean, even the names of the lead characters are similar – instead of Christian GreyBared To You gives us Gideon Cross, and instead of Anastasia Steele we have Eva Tramell. And while both books tell the stories of impossibly good looking young, uber-wealthy men with control issues, it’s who they fall for that sets the two apart.

Bared To You tells the story of young professional Eva Tramell who’s chance meeting with the uber sexy, young and powerful Gideon Cross turns into a very hot and steamy relationship that plays out beautifully and erotically on the pages. So while the premise of Bared and Fifty Shades is very similar, the main difference is the lead female character. While Ana Steele was a young, inexperienced woman lacking any kind of scandal in her life, Eva Tramell is the opposite. Which makes you kind of like her but not at the same time.

Eva is just as young and beautiful as Gideon Cross. She’s wealthy and confident and successful but she’s not without her own issues, which are alluded to from the onset of the book and finally revealed as Eva and Gideon’s relationship heats up. And heat up it does. If you thought Fifty was graphic in its sex scenes, Bared is downright explicit. Which, let’s be clear,  I’m totally ok with, but even I was somewhat shocked during some of scenes. And while the relationship between Eva and Gideon is very different from Christian and Ana’s, the formula seems to be very similar – be prepared to see a lot of similarities between Bared and Fifty.

With that being said I still enjoyed Bared To You a lot. It was a fun, erotic beach read that I whipped through in less than two days. The sequel, Deeper Into You is due out in October (the cover art was revealed today on Sylvia Day’s facebook page) with a third installment due next year. And make no mistake I will read them, oh yes I will. Because I loved Fifty Shades of Grey and I loved Bared To You.  And even though they are similar I’m looking forward to seeing Gideon and Eva’s relationship develop, and how the author will have it play out. Fifty Shades is a highly successful trilogy and I wonder if Bared will follow the formula or if books 2 and 3 will bring us something different. I just started reading erotic novels this year and I’m not gonna lie, I can’t get enough! And while these books have their critics, I’m not one of them.

So if you’re sad that you’ve finished the Fifty Shades trilogy and are looking for what could possibly follow them up I would definitely suggest picking up Bared To You.  I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  And make sure you come back and tell me what you think.  I’ll also have an interview with the author of Bared To YouSylvia Day, to post soon. Looking forward to it!

 

 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth –  A Book Review

3 daisies out of 5

Caution – This review may contain spoilers.

Last week I rushed down to my local Chapters to pick up my copy of Insurgent the morning it came out. A twitter friend had recommended that I read Divergent a few months ago, after finishing The Hunger Games, and after starting out a bit slow I couldn’t put it down. Needless to say I couldn’t wait for its sequel, Insurgent to be released.

I didn’t love Insurgent like I loved Divergent. But that’s not to say that I didn’t like it, I just found myself a bit confused by it. Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off (my review of Divergent is here), with Tris and Tobias dealing with the aftermath of the uprising arranged by the Erudite and Dauntless leaders. In fact the entire book dealt with the aftermath of the uprising and how they were going to proceed. Too much for my liking.

I found Insurgent to be a lot like Mockingjay for me – in that it wasn’t that it wasn’t a good story, it was just that it was more detail than I felt that I needed to know. Too much narrative, not enough action. So much of what we learned in Insurgent didn’t seem to be relevant to the story and I kind of wanted Veronica Roth to get on with it. But, I realize that this is Roth’s story to tell, and not mine, so I get it. Just because I didn’t want to know about it doesn’t mean it isn’t important to know. But it kind of lost me in some places.

I also found that, same as Divergent, there was a lot to take in and keep straight. In Divergent I kept having to refer back to distinguish between the different factions and in Insurgent I kept having to refer back to distinguish between the characters. There were lots of new characters in Insurgent to keep straight, when all I really cared about was Tris and Tobias. And that worries me, knowing that there’s going to be about a year wait for the third installment – that I won’t remember who is who once it finally comes out.

There were also a few inconsistencies in the story – like parts where Tris doesn’t have a gun because she can’t bring herself to hold one again after Will, but then she’s shooting doors open, with a gun, that she’s doesn’t have. I honestly read the same passage about 10 times trying to figure out where I missed her getting a gun. This happened more than once.

I did like that Roth tried to give more dimension to the main characters, with both Tris and Tobias acting and reacting the way that should, and not necessarily the way that you wanted them to. But I was surprised at home often I found myself not liking them which in turn made me not like the direction of the story.

So while I didn’t love Insurgent as much as I did Divergent, I am looking forward to the third book, and I do realize that this is Roth’s story to tell and that story won’t necessarily please everyone. The book ended with enough (was it enough – not sure) of a cliff hanger to get me to hang on until book 3 is released, but I would have appreciated a bit more clarity in the writing. I give Insurgent 3 out of 5.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

4 daisies out of 5

I have decided that I am going to introduce a new book review section to my blog since so many of us are always looking for something good to read. I’m new to this whole reading for pleasure thing, which I know sounds odd, but when you have 4 small children finding the time to pick up a book is a bit of rarity. I had heard people raving about The Hunger Games trilogy so I bought them for myself for Christmas and devoured all three of them in less than a week. After reading them I searched for my next addiction, and after reading four other books that were good (but not Hunger Games good) a twitter friend suggested I pick up Divergent. Thankfully I did. And yes, I know I’m late to this game but I wanted to give you my review in case you haven’t read it yet.

Divergent is the story of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior – a 16 year old girl who is living in a futuristic Dystopian Chicago that sees society divided into 5 factions. There is Abnegation – the selfless society, Candor – the brutally honest society, Amity – the peaceful, Erudite – the incredibly intelligent, and Dauntless – the brave. Upon turning 16 each person is assessed to tell them what their ideal faction is. They are then given the choice to change factions or remain in the faction that they were born into.

The story follows Beatrice as she makes her faction choice and the training that she has to go through as well as the initiation rites (each faction – regardless of whether you’re born into it or choose has an initiation ritual that all initiates must go through) she must endure. But in the midst of the initiation is also the typical teenage angst that even those growing up in a Dystopian society can’t get away from. There’s a boy and a new best friend and glimpses of typical teenager-dom but there’s also inner conflict and sacrifice and teenagers forced to grow up too fast. Without giving too much away the story then follows what happens when you segregate society and try to force people to fit into a specific faction.

The book started a bit slow for me – it took me a while to get to the point where I couldn’t put it down, but once I got there I had to pace myself because I knew that the sequel, Insurgent, isn’t out until May. I don’t want to wait until May to find out what happens next. Roth was only 22 when she wrote Divergent and I think that you can see a bit of in her writing style. Parts of the description were a bit choppy for me like the factions and how they were described. I found myself in critical parts of the book having to look back so refresh my memory on what faction had what trait. The same went for her description of Beatrice. I found myself not feeling like I understood her motives or why she made the decisions she made – almost like Roth skipped over giving us enough back story.

Obviously there are inevitable comparisons to The Hunger Games given that both are stories of young girls who face unbelievable events in their lives and have to basically fight for their survival. But Beatrice Prior is not Katniss Everdeen. I actually think I might like Beatrice Prior a bit more than Katniss. Beatrice, like Katniss, understands that while what happens to her isn’t fair she there is no time to sulk and she must make hard choices. Mind you we’re only one book in and my opinion could change depending on how the story unfolds. I think I liked Katniss a lot more in The Hunger Games than I did in Mockingjay.

So while I found Divergent slow to start it finished as a page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens in Insurgent, although I’m already dreading the wait between reading Insurgent and then the final chapter which will be released God knows when. I give Divergent 4 daisies out of 5.

 

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