Sunday, January 31, 2016

Review: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

Publisher: Swoon Reads
Series: These Vicious Masks #1
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 9, 2016
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

My Review:

Well this was one of the most intense books I've read in awhile... so much action and adventure, and I definitely love the comparison of Jane Austen meets X-Men, it's kind of almost perfect. I was so taken with this story and I could not put it down, I really loved the characters and the action in the book just keeps readers on their toes.

It is a hard story to describe, it is one of those kind of books that you just want to say look at how beautiful the cover is, it's a great book to base off of just that fact alone. But there is so much more to this story, this is a beautiful book about a girl who is determined to find and save her sister. Evelyn is the only one who can truly tell that something is off with how her sister, Rose just ups and disappears one night.

I absolutely love Evelyn, she is very different and wants to get away from the whole society aspect of life, she is her own person and she loves doing things for herself. I absolutely loved how tough Evelyn is and how she fought with all she had to find her sister. As the story goes on, many special powers are revealed that help these people fight to get out of danger. It took some time to really understand what was happening with Evelyn, but these two authors really set the scene for a great series with this book. I can only see it getting better and more intense as the series continues on in the future.

This book is full of action, intrigue and some great romance, but the best part is that it has a main character who defies ideals and is someone who dreams of bigger things. She is not about the romance because she wants to be able to pursue her own dreams of becoming a nurse and really helping people. This is a story with a main character to really look up to and that really brought the story up in my eyes. All together this was such a fun book and I'm so excited for more to come in the future with everyone involved!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Review: The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 12, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…

My Review:

Wow, I was first taken in by the cover of this book, but once I started with this story I could not put it down. Kenna has a secret that has scared her since she was a child, she has a very dangerous power that will harm anyone she comes in contact with. Kenna has spent her life trying to keep this power at bay but when her mother and sister are attacked, this power comes out stronger than anyone could imagine.

Following this outburst, her mother decides that it is time to tell Kenna the truth about her family history, and the things that she learns will change her life forever. The synopsis of this story does not give you a lot to go on, which I actually really enjoyed because I was able to enjoy the book without too much information being given away. And I don't want to spoil this story either with this review... Kenna wants to keep everyone at a distance because she is scared of hurting them, but as time goes on she can't seem to keep her feelings locked away. Then when danger strikes, Kenna must leave those closest to her to learn about this mysterious power, and in the end she must choose between those she loves and those who can truly keep her safe.

Jennifer Bosworth really made this story one that you needed to keep going to understand everything. The secret behind Kenna's power is slowly revealed in pieces, the people at Eclipse don't want to give her everything before they know that she can be trusted, even though as she walks in she is treated almost as family. But the history behind this power is interesting, and something very different which is what I really enjoyed about this story, it's something that I haven't really seen before. She also knew how to hide in some very creepy and disturbing moments that really make you wonder about people and what they would do for certain things.

As the story continues, readers get to understand the strained relationship between Kenna and her mother a little more, but what I really loved was the relationship between Kenna and her twin sister, and how close they are. Kenna truly wants to protect her sister because of the hurt she is already going through, and you can really see the love Kenna has for her sister. As Kenna becomes more comfortable at Eclipse (a place that definitely has an interesting feel to it) she starts to pull away from her family more, but what she discovers not only about herself but Eclipse has a huge impact on her life.

Definitely an amazing story, with a lot of great creepy moments that had me shivering and looking over my shoulders... 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 304
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: December 1, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the tradition of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher, a heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love

When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora’s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?

My Review:

This was truly an interesting story to me. This is a beautiful story of family overcoming things and forgiving each other for secrets. But it is also a love story between two people who are torn apart from one another for reasons that are not always obvious. After a disastrous time in Japan, a woman loses some people close to her, but even though she believes they died in the bombings, a small part of her never gives up hope of them coming home to her.

What I really enjoyed about this story was the family closeness, how one day someone shows up on Ama's doorstep claiming to be her grandson that was caught in the bombings years ago. Though Ama does not believe this man, she still spends time with him to see if he could be, and in the process she opens up a box of secrets that she always thought would remain hidden. These secrets tell a lot about the past and how it affected the present.

There were a few times where I felt like the story dragged on and I was confused as to what was happening because of the back and forth from past to present. But once my mind focused a little more on the story, I was intrigued to read about a mother who is determined to save her daughter from mistakes that she made in the past as well. Ama confides in this mysterious man because he seems to have many secrets with him that she thought were long gone, and as time goes on Ama begins to believe that this man could actually be her long lost grandson back from the dead.

This is a beautiful story about family secrets that can tear people apart, and yet forgiveness can help bring things back together again as well. Ama has a very soft heart and even though it was what broke her in the past, it can also bring miracles back to her. I truly enjoyed how this book brought about the idea of family being there for each other even in the toughest times and how if you truly believe, maybe miracles can happen...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake HousePublisher: Atria Books
Pages: 593
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 20, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

My Review:

Wow, Kate Morton truly knows how to bring two different storylines together to make an intriguing book with a mystery that will keep you wondering. I know that Kate Morton is able to bring together an intricately plotted story, but The Lake House was even more than I was expecting from this book.

The synopsis of the story truly does not nearly explain everything that happens in this heap of a book. I did have a few problems in the beginning really getting into the story, I just found that there was quite a lot happening right away. But I found there was a point in the story where all of a sudden I was invested in this mystery. So much happens throughout this story but everything and everyone is so intertwined with one another that the story is truly amazing.

I loved how throughout the story there are both of these storylines with many mysteries and it seems like when you guess one thing there is still so much more happening that will always keep readers on their toes. This mysterious property has so much to do and it really brings back many memories for both Alice and Sadie. I loved how putting these two women together helps them each get through some problems that they have been holding on to. The one thing that Kate Morton really shows in this book many times over is the power of family, and how supportive and helpful families are in tough times.

There are so many great moments in this story and I honestly was curious as to everything that was happening and I needed to know more of this mystery of the missing child and what actually happened that evening years ago. This story is definitely intriguing and you can tell that Kate Morton knows how to write a very enthralling and entertaining story. If you are looking for a story that will leave you satisfied in the end and you know these characters have truly found themselves, this is definitely the type of book for you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Review: The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 340
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 13, 2015
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

My Review:

How do I even put this review into words without spoiling this book?! WOW, that is what I felt like when I finished reading this... I almost wanted to re-read it because I think I would have found new information the second time around. Kelley Armstrong is such a masterful storyteller, for both adults and teenagers. Her stories truly capture your attention, and you absolutely cannot stop reading. I know with this book I put it down at times and then looked at it and had to pick it up again because I couldn't stop thinking about it and the characters.

Honestly, this book truly drags you deep into it's pages and you absolutely need to continue to find out what will happen to these kids. I can truly say that I could not predict the things that happened in this story and I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what was going on. This is the type of book that you will want to take a day where you have nothing to do and just binge read it (though I feel like that with most of Kelley's books).

The cover depicts the creepiness of this book so perfectly, And yet there is so much more to this book than just the kidnapping. This is also a story about recovering from such a traumatic incident... and having people around to help you through such tough times. I loved the relationships that are developed in this story as well, Riley and Max help each other through things despite the secrets hanging between them.

Honestly, I can't say much more about this book other than please read it! Kelley Armstrong is an absolutely amazing storyteller, and I can't wait to keep reading what she gives me!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts

Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Pages: 304
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: November 10, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Tamsen Baird didn’t set out to become a teenage widow. All she did was fall in love and get married. But when her nineteen-year-old husband, Noah, dies suddenly in the middle of the night, her whole life changes. Now Tam is forced to return to the existence she thought she’d left behind—beginning with moving back home and finishing high school. But in order to overcome her loss and find her way forward, she’ll need to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined. She’ll need to open herself up to living—and even loving—again.

In Young Widows Club, Alexandra Coutts depicts a teenager whose struggle with grief and disappointment is heartbreakingly real and, in the end, powerfully uplifting.

My Review:

I wish I had this book when I was a teenager, it was such a beautiful book that really shows how to grieve for a lost loved one, it doesn't necessarily have to be the love of your life that you married when you were young. Alexandra Coutts touches the hearts of her readers in Young Widows Club and shows that life can go on after a heartbreaking loss.

Tamsen fell in love at an early age and gave up so much to be with Noah, they decided to get married at a young age and when he dies all of a sudden, Tamsen doesn't know how to restart life. Tamsen has to learn to live without the one person she thought would always be there, and she truly learns a hard lesson at an early age. Tamsen has to go back to people she thought she had left behind and learns how hard it is to go back again, but if you work at it, anything can be possible.

What I really loved is how realistic this book is in many ways, this book shows that it can be possible to pick up the pieces and learn to love again after losing someone close to you. Tamsen loses herself when she loses Noah, and begins to get herself into trouble just to be able to feel something again. This book is about finding yourself again, but also it's almost like a warning... you can't let yourself get lost completely in love, you still need to be yourself when you are in a relationship.

Tam definitely grows a lot in this book, when I first met her, I didn't really like her, she has an air about her that makes her feel better than people around her... especially when she joins her widows group. But Tam slowly has friends that even though she left them for Noah, they invite her back and want to help her get through her tough times. The other thing is the family values in this story, Tam is very close to Noah's parents and she feels like she may lose them as well because she isn't as close to her family... Yet her family is also there and wants to really help her bring herself back from this grief.

This is definitely an emotional book, because you see Tam go through the many stages of grief, and you as a reader want to grieve with her, especially because it is such different circumstances. But I love the scenes with the widows group, because it is such an interesting take on working through the stages of grieving, and it adds some nice humour to a rather emotional story. I definitely think this is an amazing book for anyone who has lost someone they loved in their life.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!!!

First I want to wish all my readers a very happy new year!!!! Hope the holidays were good, and I want to thank you for sticking by, even though I know this blog has dwindled a little over the last year. I am definitely trying to catch up and get back into being more active here. 

Well it is a new year and I am excited to start anew with 2016. I went through quite a bit in the last year or so and I've been disappointed in myself... This year I'm going to really start getting back to doing more things for myself. 

I definitely let a lot of things get in the way, and found that I didn't truly leave enough time for myself and to do the things I really love (like reading). This year I am hoping that I can find more of that precious time where I was on my own and just relaxing. 

Last year I found myself getting stressed out too often and bringing work stress home with me, it really made it hard to focus on the important things. Switching locations for my job did a lot of great things for me, and I made some new and amazing friends through the change, but it also brought about a few new stresses, which hopefully I can change this year. 

This year I really want to go by the saying "New year, new me". I'm looking forward to some new adventures this year and focusing more on being back in the blogging world, I have missed some old friends that I met when I started this adventure and I want to get back in touch with those people as well.

Image result for cheers

So here's to a new year and some new fun with old friends and new family!!! CHEERS!


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