Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Publisher: Hogarth
Pages: 368
Received: Received a copy from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 10, 2015 (Paperback)
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city--the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village--all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

My Review:

I can totally tell why this book is an Oprah's Book Club pick, it is an emotional read but Cynthia Bond truly tugs at her readers heartstrings with these characters. Ephram Jennings was always in love with Ruby Bell but when he was younger he realized he missed his chance with her... but when she arrives back in Liberty, Ephram realizes that he has a second chance to be with her.

It took me a little bit of time to get into this story and understand what was really going on, but once I really started to get to know the characters I was hooked and I needed to know more. Slowly throughout the entire story, Cynthia Bond unravels Ruby's story and really lets us understand why she is so closed off. There is a lot of darkness in the undertone of the book, but it hits readers strong and shows how these characters are fighters in the toughest of times.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how to review this book because I found it to be an experience. The character of Ruby has fought through so much in her life to come back to more tragedy... it was hard to get through this book at times seeing what Ruby had to go through, and the deeper you get into the book, the deeper you delve into Ruby's past as well. At the same time Ephram has lived an interesting life, he has never left the town of Liberty and is blind to a lot of what is going on.

When Ruby comes back it seems like these two are meant for each other, Ruby helps open Ephram's eyes to more of what is hidden in his little hometown. While he helps Ruby learn to open up and trust someone else for once. Honestly, I felt that this was such a beautiful book, with characters that have to overcome a lot of adversity for the love they feel for one another, but you will find yourself in love quickly as well.

I will say there are a few scenes that are difficult to get through, they are disturbing and I found that it made the story hard to keep going with, but these scenes are truly important to both the past and future of Ephram and Ruby. This is one book I definitely recommend.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

DNF Review: Those Girls by Lauren Saft

Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 336
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: June 9, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can't help but stab you in it.

Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they're the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them--and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band--without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved--literally, figuratively, physically....she's not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever....or tears them apart for good?

Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl, and her debut novel is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, with a healthy dose of heart.

My Review:

This book was described as a more modern Gossip Girls type book so it had me intrigued, because I did somewhat enjoy those books when I was younger and I absolutely loved the show. I was interested at first but that diminished very quickly and I had a lot of trouble wanting to pick this up. I only made it through a couple of chapters before I finally gave up deciding that these girls were not ones I wanted to continue to get to know.

Readers come into the book believing that these girls we follow are all best friends, you follow through all their perspectives and see what is going through their head, but even those are some of the meanest thoughts anyone could have towards a friend. Everything about these girls is so unreal for high school age and it is just too over the top, but also these girls are so degrading and mean to one another that I just could not continue. I got more frustrated with these girls as I kept reading to the point where I just wanted to throw the book out the window and never look at it again.

Their actions are all so stupid and vain and these are not people I would ever want to know in real life. I can't really say if things get better between the girls at the end of the story because I just couldn't get to the halfway point to see if anything would look up. The deeper I went, the more miserable the characters seemed and the more I needed to get away from the story...

I truly believe that this story is worse than Gossip Girls was, but then again I believe if I went back and read that it is possible that it is just as bad. None of this is realistic of people that age and if it is I am just glad that I didn't have friends like that. This was just one story I just cannot stand behind at all and am glad that I stopped before it got worse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Firewalker by Josephine Angelini

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: Worldwalker #2
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!

My Review:

I was so in love with the first book of this series that I just needed to read this book as soon as I got the chance. This book begins right where we left off in Trial By Fire. Josephine Angelini totally captured my heart with her characters and this book not only brings a lot more history to readers but also brings us closer to some other side characters.

After burning herself to get back to her world, Lily has a lot to recover from and she is ready to get back to her old life but with Rowan by her side this time. As Lily is recovering she is also coming to understand her magic that much more, but it comes at a steep price. What I absolutely loved about this book in the series was how Angelini delved so much deeper into Lilian's history, readers really get to see things from her perspective. You really get to understand how she became what she is and what truly drives her.

Angelini makes amazing connections in both worlds, that really show readers there are similarities and yet the smallest difference has such a large impact on the world. As Lily learns more about this other world she wonders if she can truly stay in her own world or if she should let Lilian persuade her to come back and fight for what she believes in. This book is just as fast-paced as the last one was and it is truly a ride that you do not want to get off.

There is still so much to learn about the different worlds and I am interested to know what Lily is going to do next, she has a lot of decisions to make as she becomes a stronger witch. Lily wants to save those that she loves and you see she is the type of person who will do anything to keep her family safe. Trust me, you will fall in love with these characters and it makes the story interesting having this alternate reality where there are people you know but there are still differences.

Everything happens so quickly in this book, but there is so much history as well that this is a great sequel, really giving readers more of the story little by little. I am excited to learn more about the Woven (hopefully there is more about them in the next book), because I think there is definitely a lot that people of Alternate Salem don't know about these monsters, and Lily is slowly finding out more about this new world. This is a great series to check out for sure!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Review: Survive the Night by Danielle Vega

Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 263
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

We're all gonna die down here. . . .

Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.

In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse . . .

. . . until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.

Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.

They’re being hunted.

Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to her friend’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here. . . .” in this bone-chilling sophmore novel by the acclaimed author of The Merciless.

My Review:

I've heard a lot of interesting things about Danielle Vega's writing style so I thought I should check it out myself. This was definitely a quick read, it's a small book that seems to go by fast and before you know it, you've finished the story. Vega brings out a creepy story for sure, but I found that this was a bit short and that there needed to be a bit more depth to the story.

Casey has just gotten out of rehab and is taken right back into this dark world with her so-called friends. These kids have gotten themselves trapped underground for this party "Survive the Night", the creepiest things are hidden in the sewers and Casey and her friends must race to get out alive. I can definitely say that this book creeped me out quite a bit, Vega brings out creatures that made me want to close the book and had me shivering imagining them coming at me.

Things begin to happen faster and faster as this group of teens try to get out of the sewers, and every escape plan is thwarted. I'm not too sure how to talk about the book, it was a great story, but for me at times it seemed that it was a little short and that it was over before things even got started. But I will say the ending really threw me, and you just have to read it to find out.

I really felt that I didn't get to spend enough time with the characters to really learn about them, I'm not sure how much character development there was (but I don't think it's the type of story that focuses on that aspect at all). I can see Casey learning about how she got herself in trouble and that her friends may not be the most perfect people around.

Definitely an intriguing story at times, and a good read for a bit of a scare for some readers. I say give it a try and see what you think. It's not necessarily at the top of my list but I will remember this book.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons for Young Readers
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Pages: 388
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: May 12, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

My Review:

Oh my gosh, what to say about this book other than how utterly spectacular it was!! I went into this book knowing it was going to be good just reading reviews on it, but when I opened it and truly started reading I never realized how sucked in I would get. Right away the book will pull readers in and I found myself wanting to know what will happen with Shahrzad next.

After so many females have been murdered after marrying Khalid, and the last one being Shahrzad's best friend, she decides that it is time to fight back, all she needs to do is get through each night. To survive, Shahrzad weaves together stories that keeps Khalid enthralled until morning and slowly she learns more about the Caliph and somehow she begins to fall for this monster. There are so many secrets hidden behind the walls of this kingdom and Shahrzad is slowly able to gain the trust of Khalid and learn what is behind these mysterious deaths.

I absolutely loved Shahrzad's character, she is strong and feisty, yet she has such a strong heart and when she loves she truly loves with all her heart. Shahrzad begins to understand Khalid in a different way and she wants to defend him and stick around longer so that she can learn that much more and have Khalid open up that much more to her. I have to say that Renee Ahdieh has an amazing way with words, everything about this story keeps you drawn in as Shahrzad's stories begin to connect with what is happening between her and Khalid.

Honestly, I don't know what else to say other than go out and get this book, it is a magical story, with mystery and romance to really connect to all readers. It is even better that this book is inspired by such a classic story as A Thousand and One Nights, with everything that happens with these characters I cannot wait for more from this series.


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