Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

Publisher: Viking Adult
Pages: 534
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: November 6, 2014
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year - touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side - she's back to normality with a bang. And she's got writer's block.

Stella wants a clean break as she didn't exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?

My Review:

I have been a fan of Marian Keyes for quite a few years, I was introduced to her writing after finding Cecelia Ahern (one of my favourite authors of all time). So when I was offered the chance to pick up a new one from Marian, I couldn't say no. This was definitely an interesting story, I liked the back and forth from past to present, it really shows how Stella's life was completely changed with one relatively small event. The book opens up with Stella talking about her life now, how she has moved back to Dublin, and there is a whole story she is trying to keep hidden from everyone, slowly everything unravels about how she became a self-help writer.

I found this to be a cute story, and at the same time a story about perseverance. One day Stella wakes up and cannot move and finds herself in a hospital because of a rare disease she has that has completely kept her from functioning, the only way that Stella can communicate is by blinking. Stella is close to giving up but day by day she finds the courage to keep trying. What I really thought was interesting about the before and after scenarios is how readers get to see how the disease affected Stella's family as a whole. Her relationships with her children, her sister, parents, and her husband all change significantly because of her time in the hospital.

This is the type of book that you have to be careful what you mention, because it can give a lot away about the story and I hate doing that. Stella's life has been completely changed and it really makes her rethink a lot about the past and where her future will lead. It's the type of book that will make you think about how you would act if in opportunity is thrown at you, would you jump at the chance, especially when there are many other people in your life that the decision will affect.

I will admit that there were a few times I was confused as to where in Stella's life the story was. There wasn't always a clear distinction (that I could tell) as to what was happening and if I was reading part of Stella's past or her present, it took me some time to figure out where in Stella's life I was. The only clear distinction was the part of the story when Stella was in the hospital and how she coped, those were the parts I really loved, because you got to see her truly scared and unsure of what her future would be.

Honestly, this is a large book but it is hard to put down. If you are a fan of those cute romantic comedies, and you like your chick-lit, I definitely think this is a book to pick up. Give it a try because there is a lot more to the story than the underlying love story, this is a story about fighting for what you believe in, and persevering through tough times. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia Block

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Series: Love in the Time of Global Warming #2
Pages: 224
Received: Received an e-copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Pen has lost her parents. She’s lost her eye. But she has fought Kronen; she has won back her fragile friends and her beloved brother. Now Pen, Hex, Ash, Ez, and Venice are living in the pink house by the sea, getting by on hard work, companionship, and dreams. Until the day a foreboding ship appears in the harbor across from their home. As soon as the ship arrives, they all start having strange visions of destruction and violence. Trance-like, they head for the ship and their new battles begin.

This companion to Love in the Time of Global Warming follows Pen as she searches for love among the ruins, this time using Virgil’s epic Aeneidas her guide. A powerful and stunning book filled with Francesca Lia Block’s beautiful language and inspiring characters.

My Review:

I remember when Love in the Time of Global Warming came out last year, the writing style that Francesca Lia Block had enraptured me. So when I found out that a new book to the series was coming out I wanted more. I truly believe that this book was just as amazing as the first one. Francesca Lia Block has a way with words that she captures your attention and you don't realize how quickly time flies as you read the book.

After everything that happened in the first book, Pen is on a new mission when this ship arrives at their home and changes how the characters perceive what is happening around them. What I really love about these stories is how Francesca Lia Block uses a classic story to parallel what is happening to Pen and her friends. In this book, the story of Aeneidas is used and you see how Pen constantly refers back to what she remembers from the story.

The one thing about these books are that they are very short, before you know it you have become engrossed in the story and then all of a sudden it ends. That is my one small complaint, I wish that Francesca could extend the story just a little more, without going overboard. There is a lot of information to these stories that you really need to pay attention, and I think they would be enjoyed even more reading them one after another.

This book gives us so much more of Pen and her friends, and I loved getting to know them a little better, and truly seeing inside their minds when they are on this mysterious ship. There are a lot of new hurdles that Pen must overcome, one of those is searching for love in this dangerous world she has found herself in. These are characters that you will come to remember and love, Francesca Lia Block truly knows how to inspire her readers. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review: Trial by Fire by Jospehine Angelini

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy #1
Pages: 374
Received: Received an e-copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

My Review:

I have to say that I have a thing for witch books for some reason, and reading about this book had me interested. I really liked the idea behind this book, Lily mysteriously finds herself in alternate universe, similar to hers in ways but still so different. I felt that Josephine Angelini took the idea of multiple universes to a great level, Lily travels to this new Salem and finds that her self in this world is a completely different person.

Lily finds herself in a dark universe, but her life truly changes when she is brought into New Salem, whereas in her old universe, her health was life-threatening, she is a strong character in the new universe. Lily has a lot to learn about this new place she has fallen into, she is taught about the magical abilities of the Crucibles and how they rule this universe. I really liked the slow world building that Angelini has going, Lily slowly learns who has the power in this world and how everything is controlled. She quickly learns that she has been placed in the middle of a war and that she must choose which side she will work with. I really liked Lily's character, she is tough and yet you can see that she is scared about being in this new place, but she is very determined to do anything she can to get home.

I am interested to know more about the group of rebels that take Lily under their wing and help her learn her magical potential. Readers slowly get a bit of their history of how they came together and why they chose this path. I truly enjoyed the build up, especially between Lily and Rowan, they have a great dynamic with one another, and I really liked how their relationship grew and they began to truly trust one another.

Angelini has created a very dark world where no one is safe no matter where you are, there is danger lurking around every corner. This book opens up a new world and has readers on the edge of their seat by the end, Angelini leaves you wanting more, the ending leaves many unanswered questions about Lily and what she will do now that she has done so much. 
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