Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 310
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 8, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

My Review:

I will say this again and again when a new Rainbow Rowell book comes out, she has my heart and I will love anything that she writes, young adult or adult, all her books are adorable and I just want to curl up with the story. Landline is no different, this is a great book about looking back on past mistakes and trying to fix them, seeing where things have gone wrong.

This book really made me think about the things I would be able to do if I could contact someone from my past. How would things change for me now if I could change an old relationship? I really love how Rainbow Rowell shows that by going back, a person can realize their mistakes and try to work through their problems.

Georgie really has the chance to reflect on one of the most difficult times of her life and it makes her wonder if her life would have been better if things ended up differently. There are a lot of great flashback scenes to when Georgie and Neal first meet, and readers really get to see how their relationship grows. The flashbacks to their first meeting and Georgie trying to get Neal's attention really were my favourite parts of this book, because it gives us a deeper look into their relationship.

This story is a great way to be able to reflect on the past and wonder what route would be the best for both parties. Honestly, I love that Rainbow's adult books are different than her YA, these books deal with such different topics and yet it is still a great book about relationships, and in a way growing up. If you haven't experienced Rainbow Rowell's adult writing I think this is a great one to start with, though you definitely should also pick up all of her backlist titles, just to see how she grows with each book she writes. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Giveaway: Omens and Visions by Kelley Armstrong (CA only)

Kelley Armstrong is an amazing Canadian writer and if you haven't had the chance to check out her newest adult series The Cainsville Series, you should definitely start. Today the second book in the series (Visions) comes out in hardcover, and the first book, Omens (which I was lucky enough to review last year) is available in paperback.

Thanks to the amazing people over at Random House of Canada, I am giving away a copy of Omens in paperback and a hardcover copy of Visions. This contest is available only for Canadians. So if you want to start the series, here is your chance with the first two books. You can enter the contest below. Check out more information below on both books.

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancĂ©, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.

I'm already starting book two, because I am so excited to see more of these characters and reimmerse myself in the creepy world that Kelley has so expertly created. Once again this contest is only open to Canadian residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 400
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 12, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine', and Oumi, ‘blue sea', while the girls' names were Shirane, ‘white root', and Kurono, ‘black field'. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.

One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.

Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

My Review:

This book came to me as a surprise, and I cannot express how excited I was when I found out that I received it. Murakami has been a favourite author of mine for awhile and I actually started my blog reviewing one of his earlier books (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). I am still working through his backlist but learning that there was a new story coming out, I really had trouble holding off and waiting a little bit to really dig into it because I really wanted to devote all my time to reading it. I'm happy that this book has finally come out, I remember being excited about it when I heard he wrote a new one and I was eagerly waiting for it to be translated.

What I have loved about every Murakami book I have read is that his stories really make you think, they are the type of story that you need to devote your time to because you don't want to miss any little thing. This story really takes the idea of how your past affects your future to another level. Tsukuru had this very close group of friends when he was in high school, their lives revolved around one another and then one day he is excommunicated without knowing why. This event has really affected him in his life, as he moves away and attempts to make connections with other people. This is a story of going back and working through some past issues to help Tsukuru get his life back together where something as big as this event is not hanging over his head anymore.

I really enjoyed following Tsukuru's journey as he goes back to find his old friends and find out what happened. It is interesting to see what has happened to these other characters after everything happened, and to truly find out what the cause of the event was. I always wondered why Tsukuru never dug deeper when everything blew up, but as you learn more about his character you see that he just seems to have something happen and just lets it go even though it kills him on the inside. Sara is a great character who brings Tsukuru out of his somewhat introverted personality and really pushes him to confront the past to fix his future.

The only small thing that got me about this book was the ending, there is so much left open-ended, I wanted to know what happened with Tsukuru and know if this journey into the past really does help his future. I felt like there is more to this story and it just abruptly ended on me. Yet even though this bugs me, it also makes me think that Murakmi is ending his book like this to let his audience come up with their own ending, and I do have my own ideas of what happens. I believe it is in how you read the story to how you will decipher the ending.

Honestly, despite this one little issue, Haruki Murakmi will always have a spot on my shelf because his books are so intriguing and very deep, making readers truly think about what is going on in this world. If you do pick up any of his books, I advise you to dedicate a lot of time because you will not want to stop in case you forget or miss something that will affect your reading of the story. Definitely check out any of his books if you haven't yet. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Interference by Michelle Berry

Publisher: ECW Press
Pages: 282
Received: Received a copy from ECW Press in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 12, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

From fall to spring, the inhabitants of Edgewood Drive in the small town of Parkville prove that the simplest lives can be intricate and complicated. The interwoven, layered narrative of Michelle Berry’s Interference moves between Senior Ladies Leisure League hockey, the unsure and awkward life of pre-teens and teens, suspected pedophilia, disfigurement, and cancer. In Interference, there is always someone watching, biding their time — and as this suspense builds the vivaciousness of a congenial neighbourhood, full of life and happiness as well as fear and sorrow, becomes at once more humorous, frightening, and real.

My Review:

This is a bit of a difficult book for me to review, in a way I was interested in the story but I also felt that there was too much going on for me to really follow the story. In my opinion this story had too many characters that made the story difficult to follow at times, and yet I enjoyed the way Michelle Berry connects everyone together even though they all have their own stories. 

This book really shows readers something about small neighbourhoods, I really liked that each of the characters lived in the same neighbourhood and knew each other in one way or another. What this story gives readers is a look into each of the houses, showing us that how things are on the outside are not always what happens behind closed doors. There are so many different emotions running through this book, each of the characters have things to be happy about, and also scared for.

My biggest issue with the book was that because there were so many characters to follow, I felt like many of the stories were left open-ended. I wanted more from some of the stories, to see where they would go, not everything was wrapped up (and I understand it represents real life, but I just wanted a bit of closure with these people). I thought it was interesting how Michelle Berry writes about different characters of all ages, but for the length of this book, there was too much happening. It would have been better if she focused on a few less people, that would have helped the story move along more.

What kept me going through this book was how in a way the neighbourhood of Edgewood Drive reminded me a little bit of where I grew up. I lived in a smaller town, and everyone on the street knew each other and kept an eye on what was going on. Thinking back sometimes I found it weird, but also safe, knowing there are people out there watching your house to see who is around. I'm very back and forth on how I feel about this book, thinking back it was difficult to keep track of who was who, but it was an interesting story about people and the difference between a public face and a private one. 


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