29 February 2016

Review: Room

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Emma Donoghue
Format: Paperback
Pages: 321
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (Couldn't live without Goodreads: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

What I Think: I past this book on the shelves many times before I actually got around to buying it but I'm glad I did. It was not exactly how I imagined. There is a lot of focus on what happens after. I wasn't expecting that but, once I read it, it made sense. Of course the transition wouldn't be easy. I just didn't know how upsetting it would be.

It was interesting to get the story from Jack's perspective. Of course, this means that some of the language is a little off (he's a kid, give him a break). Sometimes he would say things that a young child wouldn't know to use and others it would be very childish. However, this can be overlooked due to content. If this had been written from his mother's perspective it would have been a very different book. It might have become almost unreadable for the pain she must have gone through. I'm glad that it was Jack telling the reader what happened, even if I had to work a little harder to understand what he was trying to tell me at some points. Then again, maybe I'm just slow and my reading comprehension was lacking. Either way, I managed to figure everything out.

It is a very sad story and not to be read by the faint of heart. I didn't cry exactly but I was very upset and felt strongly for the characters. This story is, thankfully, just something so outside of my realm of experience that, for a lot of the story, I wasn't sure how to respond. That said, I came to care about the characters and wanted them to end up alright. I equally had to remind myself that it was a made up story while, also, reminding myself that this happens to people more than we like to believe.

I haven't seen the movie but the awards speak for itself. I think that it reflects how good the book really is. I thought that it was outstanding and well written. It doesn't seem like a book that one might reread over and over again, and it wouldn't be because of the depressing content, but it was so good that I just might reread it anyway.

Basically, I've wanted to read this book for a while and I'm glad I did. It's definitely and adult book and be warned that the content can get pretty upsetting at times. It was worth the read though and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie now.

22 February 2016

Review: November 9

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Colleen Hoover
Format: ARC, paperback (Which Kristen stole back from me)
Pages: 310
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Summary (Thank you, Goodreads): Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

My Thoughts: I almost feel the need to apologize to every Colleen Hoover book because after Maybe Someday they really don't stand a chance. I get so excited about CoHo books that they have to do a lot to make me happy. It's an accident, I swear. 

I thought that this was a very well executed book. I was concerned that the time gaps would make me judge the characters but I really didn't. The idea intrigued me. How would people changed if they only met on day a year. Would they stay close when they were together? This part of the book required a slight suspension of disbelief because I've had friends I could keep in contact move and we weren't able to stay friends. These two must have romanticized the idea of the other so much that they could overlook a lot. That's not to say they didn't have really struggles. The whole point of the story was to see how they overcame their problems (the main one being that they only saw each other once a year). I thought that the book did a great job covering this. 

The first time the two main characters met was pretty weird. It was too much for Kristen. For me, however, it could have been worse, I guess. I guess I overlooked the fast that this situation wouldn't have happened in real or, if it did, he would have met a great deal more resistance. Either way, I was able to look past it because it was a romance novel. You will probably be able to look past it too. 

The problems these two had to overcome fascinated me but the back and forth of "can we be friends?" "yes" "no" "yes" just isn't for me and bothers me in any novel.

Whatever, basically, what I'm saying is that I liked this novel but it still isn't my favourite. I still liked in more than Confess though if that helps you understand the train wreck that is this book review. If you have any specific questions, please ask away!

Note from Kristen: I didn't steal the ARC from Kelsey, it's my ARC okay

15 February 2016

Review: Just One Day and Just One Year

I'm going to have a two for one special today on review. Let's take a look at the Just One Day series!

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Gayle Forman
Format: Paperback
Pages: 369 and 336
Ratings for each 
(Just One Day): 8 out of 10
(Just One Year): 8 out of 10

Summary (For Just One Day): Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this series. I loved being able to travel (in my mind sadly) back to places that I had been in real life (that Europe trip was totally worth it). It was incredible to see those places again but through somebody else's eyes. I was interested in the idea that a girl who never did anything could strike out on her own and do something wild. I was fascinated by Allyson and the interesting people she met along the way.

I was very passionate about Allyson's mother...as in, I really hated Allyson's mother. I didn't think that a book would be able to make my hate anybody or anything as much as this book did. I didn't think that she had any right to treat her daughter the way she did. I actually swore at her out loud (of course, this drew a lot of attention so I really worked hard to repress the desire). My mom, while reading this series, felt the same way. She used it as a reason why she was a good mother, if that convinces you to read this at all...

I enjoyed the strange characters in the diner and at the school. I think the variety of people in the world was really captured in this story. It made for many interesting scenarios. Also, her grandmother is hilarious. 

I think that I might have enjoyed Just One Year a little bit more. I was already in love with the characters and I was dying to know what happened to Willem. Even when my mom was reading Just One Day she kept asking about him. The audience really needed the second in order to understand how we felt about him. It may have changed your perspective a little bit. It was a great book too. If you read or have read Just One Day, you really need to read Just One Year. It's important to get the whole picture.

Both Just One Day and Just One Year are full of wild adventures and moments that capture your heart. The characters are funny and hold nothing back. You will be happy with Allyson and you will be sad with her too. You will find yourself wanting to do something crazy, to travel the world, to try something new. I already suffered from all of these sad conditions and these books just made it all worse...but a good idea of worse. I mean, if Allyson can do all that she did, you can sign up for that race or say hi to someone new or apply for that job, whatever it was. Maybe I'm making up inspiration where it doesn't exist but I guess you will just have to read the series and find out if I'm crazy or not. 

So, basically, I think that if you like love stories, adventure stories, or stories that you can relate to than you should read this series. You will cheer on the characters and groan at their embarrassing moments but you will want to be right there in the action with them. I related to this series, especially Just One Day, too much. I already want to reread them.

6 February 2016

The Look Book by Simon & Schuster

From the Simon & Schuster CA websiteComplete with new beginnings and the promise of satisfying endings, The Look Book sampler offers the best in fiction from across the Simon & Schuster Canada Spring 2016 list. This array of debut authors and perennial favourites will allow you to step back in time with our historical fiction, time travel with our fantasy writers, fall in love with our inspirational romance, marvel at our literary stylists, and be enthralled by our dark thrillers. 
With chapter excerpts from the following Spring 2016 new releases:
Dark Territory, by Susan Philpott
He Will Be My Ruin, by K.A. Tucker 
Owl and the City of Angels, by Kristi Charish 
Black Apple, by Joan Crate 
Still Mine, by Amy Stuart 
Glory Over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom 
The Rivals of Versailles, by Sally Christie 
Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, by Ann Y.K. Choi 
Nightfall, by Richard B. Wright 
Mannheim Rex, by Rob Pobi 
Umbrella Man, by Peggy Blair

This comes as a free to download e-book, and I think it's a fantastic idea! It's a great way to learn about books you may not have heard of otherwise, and it's basically a catalogue for books. Who else remembers the grade school days? You guys should definitely check this out, S&S have a bunch of great releases this year! 

5 February 2016

Review: The Flood Girls

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Richard Fifield
Pages: 336
Format: ARC - thank you so so much Simon & Schuster Canada! 
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (you da best, Goodreads): This snappy, sassy redemption story set in small-town Montana is “a wild and crazy debut novel by a talented young writer” (Jackie Collins), filled with an uproarious and unforgettable cast of characters you won’t want to leave behind.

Welcome to Quinn, Montana, population: 956. A town where nearly all of the volunteer firemen are named Jim, where The Dirty Shame—the only bar in town—refuses to serve mixed drinks (too much work), where the locals hate the newcomers (then again, they hate the locals, too), and where the town softball team has never even come close to having a winning season. Until now.

Rachel Flood has snuck back into town after leaving behind a trail of chaos nine years prior. She’s here to make amends, but nobody wants to hear it, especially her mother, Laverna. But with the help of a local boy named Jake and a little soul-searching, she just might make things right.

In the spirit of Empire Falls and A League of Their Own, with the caustic wit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette thrown in for good measure, Richard Fifield’s hilarious and heartwarming debut will have you laughing through tears.

My Thoughts: I've literally just finished this novel, and I'm a little scatter-brained because it made me feel all the things, so I'm just going to tell you whatever comes to mind. The gist: I freaking loved this book. So much. It was honest and powerful and funny. It was unexpected and relatable and I can't say good enough things about it.  I've decided that going into books blindly is the best way to go. I honestly didn't know much about this book before I dived in - and I'm so glad that I read it this way. It dealt with some pretty big issues (like alcoholism) in such a smart way, and it really illuminated the lives of everyone in Quinn. A super small town, where everyone knows everyone, and Richard Fifield made me feel like I lived there too. I could totally be a fly on the wall of The Dirty Shame - the bar that one of the main characters own.  

The characters were so rich and, I don't want to be cheesy, but three dimensional, that you felt like you literally knew them. I would absolutely love it if the author did little spin offs of other characters that we are briefly introduced to in The Flood Girls. These characters take on everything. They are so realistic and fascinating that you literally cannot put the book down once you've started it - believe me. I neglected my school readings to finish this because I just could not get the story out of my head. 

That ending, by the way? Yeah. It killed me. I'm writing this from beyond the grave. The wi-fi here is surprisingly fantastic.

Final Thoughts: This book is definitely going to be one of my favourite books of the year. It's a small town populated by bad-ass women who continually took me by surprise. I need you to go pick this bad boy up so I can talk about it with someone! 

Annnnnd, because I read #KickAssWomen, I thought that I should introduce you, Bad-Blood style, to Red Mabel! 

She was one of my favourite characters to read in The Flood Girls! She is definitely bad-ass, and you should get to know her better! Flood girls was a fantastic read, and you should definitely definitely definitely check it out! 

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