Saturday, May 30, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 316
Received: Received a copy from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 6, 2015
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Three women, three men, connected through marriage or infidelity. Each is to blame for something. But only one is a killer in this nail-biting, stealthy psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession.

Just what goes on in the houses you pass by every day? 

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared.

Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan's body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.

A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.

My Review:

Every day Rachel takes the same train into town and the same train back, and every day she stares at the houses that she passes and dreams about what is happening inside and what the people are like. Rachel has made a life for these people and then all of a sudden, the woman disappears, Rachel finds herself intrigued and needing to find out what truly happened to "Jess".

Rachel begins getting deeper and deeper into the lives of this couple and through this investigation of a woman's disappearance, Rachel inevitably begins to confront her own life and the mistakes she has made. As you learn more about Rachel and her life, you wonder what is really happening, and readers are truly taken into a dark circle where you can't tell which way is up.

This is really one of those books that not much can truly be said about it, or else the entire story is given away. It is the book that readers really need to experience for themselves and then just pass on to others, it was a book that stayed up reading late into the night because I really wanted to find out not only what happened to Megan, but also what would happen to Rachel and the rest of the characters as the mystery continued to deepen.

I honestly was nervous about reading it because of all the hype this book has gotten, but I did really love the mystery Paula Hawkins gave me in this story.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Publisher: Tor Books
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Pages: 400
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 24, 2015
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

My Review:

Oh my gosh, V.E. Schwab will never fail me with her writing, I have yet to find something of hers that I don't love. It almost seems that they continually get better and better as she writes more, A Darker Shade of Magic definitely does not fail in entertaining anyone who reads it. This book was such an amazing book and I can't wait to get more from these characters.

This book was very dark with all the different worlds and the history of how each of these worlds are different and yet in a way the same. V.E. Schwab is able to bring to life everything about her stories, her characters and the world they each live in are very intriguing and it is a world you never want to leave. Kell is a "Traveler" and he is the last of his kind, a special type of magician that can get in between the different Londons, each London has a different view of magic, and very different royals watching over the city.

Kell has a dangerous hobby that if caught can get him in trouble, and yet it gives him a thrill and helps people get a taste of each of the different worlds that they will never see. I really enjoyed Kell's character because it is almost like he has something to prove in each of the worlds and that's why he does what he does. Then all of a sudden Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a very spunky girl from a different world.... This is when the story truly starts, as these two develop together over the course of the novel, yet also have some very amusing exchanges because they are both very sarcastic people and it really brings them closer.

There is so much danger as these two travel through the different worlds to save everyone, and this is just the adventure that Lila is looking for in her life. And I can say this was just the adventure I was looking for to get me back into reading after a bit of a slump. As the book continues, you slowly learn some history of Kell and how he got to where he is in life, and you see that Lila is not necessarily the hard person that she fronts for everyone around her... there is definitely a soft side to her, and I believe that there is so much for readers to learn about these two and so many more places for them to go in coming stories.

I honestly have to say that if you have not experienced a V.E. Schwab novel yet, than you must get on the train and pick up ALL of her books because she is a master storyteller that drags you right into the story and will never let go of your heart. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 336
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: June 10, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

My Review:

This book was a little confusing in the beginning, it took me some time to really get into it and truly understand where Quinn was taking this story. But once I got into the story, it was hard to quit, you really need to keep attention to what is happening to Skylar. The story goes back and forth from the present to past events, as Skylar is trying to remember Piper and everything they did together as children.

Gardnerville is a special town, no one really gets sick, it is almost like those that live there are immortal... almost. Strange things seem to happen in Gardnerville, and every four years those strange things take a turn for the worse. Every fourth year is when the worst things happen and the people that are responsible for these events are locked away. Readers slowly learn about how the town of Gardnerville works and how the prison in a way saves those that caused some major accidents.

What really made this book was how Quinn went back and forth from past to present to really show the relationship between Skylar and her sister Piper, how those two had such a friendship and then to see the after-effects of Piper's fourth year. I truly loved seeing how Skylar really had to grow on her own and how scared she was of life. Despite Skylar being so scared, she eventually begins to fight and tries to remember what has really happened over the past few years. Each and every one of the characters has a large part to play in this story but it truly is all about Piper and Skylar and how in a way saving Piper will save all of Gardnerville.

Honestly, Quinn brings to life a scary world that shows that not everything is perfect and that there is always a cost for perfection. I loved how each chapter title was the name of a song and if you look closely they each have a meaning to the story and a reason for starting the chapters they do. This was a book that kept me in circles and when the ending came, I really had to think about what I had just read, Kate Karyus Quinn keeps her readers on their toes and will shock you with every written word that you read.


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