August 2017: #WrapUp

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Hallelujah!  August is over!  I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t “do” summer.  I don’t like the heat.  I don’t like the beach.  I am not a fan.  This August Wrap Up post is potentially my favourite post because that means we are closer to my favourite season, the season that rules them all- FALLLLL!

Pumpkin everything.  Boots.  Sweaters.  Yes. Please.

This month, I felt like I had a really terrible month for reading.  I didn’t feel like I was reading a whole ton.  I had my wedding shower, was feeling pretty sick, and had to deal with a flood in my basement. But, apparently, I was mistaken because I read 31 books this month.  Not my best month but not my worst month either!

Keep reading to see which books I read, which books I loved, which books I liked and which books I had to add to my DNF pile.

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#ThrowbackThursday After I Do (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by book blogger extraordinaire, Renee at It’s Book Talk. She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favourites and read books that have already been published.

I have mentioned before that I belong to a book club that contains a group of teachers I have known since teacher’s college. We meet once a month, we discuss the book and we eat snacks.   What more is there to want, ya know? This past month, after some careful deliberation, we decided to turn our attention to After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, since three of our book club members (including myself) are getting married this fall. What better way to prepare for marriage than to read a book about a marriage falling apart? We had some mixed feelings during our book club discussion and it became quite clear that this was either a “love it or hate it book”. Personally, I loved the book.

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Sitting Down With Robyn Harding: Author of The Party @SimonSchusterCA

Earlier this summer, I read The Party a novel written by Canadian author, Robyn Harding. I was completely blown away by this novel (if you missed it, my review is here). From the eloquent story telling to the intricate prose, I found this read completely unputdownable; it was not the traditional thriller that I am often drawn to but I found it completely unputdownable and quickly gave it a 5-star review!

Today, I am so excited to have Robyn Harding on Clues and Reviews answering my questions about the book, the writing process, and some serious Canadian business….oh, and there may or may not be a giveaway opportunity!!

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Book Review: Someone You Love Is Gone (Gurjinder Basran) @RandomHouseCA @VikingBooks

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 9.55.33 PM.pngI am always looking to discover Canadian novelists to add to my repertoire, so when I discovered Gurjinder Basran and found out her newest novel, Someone You Love Is Gone, was publishing this month (yesterday, in fact!), I added it to the top of my TBR pile.

Initially, I was finding this story downright depressing.   Simran, the lead character and whose narrative voice is most heard throughout the story, has just lost her mother and is still grieving over the disintegration of her marriage and the loss of her child.   As her life is unraveling, she begins to question all sorts of incidents in her child, especially those involving her younger brother, and the past comes flooding back.

Told through alternating time periods, the present (dealing with her mother’s funeral, family relationships and her own grief) and remembering the past (her brother being sent away, talk of arranged marriage and trying to balance a patriarchal culture with what teenaged Simran wants) the author is able to delve into and dissect so many issues within very few pages. Someone You Love Is Gone packed a serious punch!

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Book Review: We All Love the Beautiful Girls (Joanne Proulx) @JoanneVProulx @RandomHouseCA

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 9.55.24 PM.pngWe All Love the Beautiful Girls, by Joanne Proulx, is a very different story from what I normally read and what I am attracted to. However, the synopsis intrigued me and, given the fact that she is a Canadian author, I added it to the top of my TBR pile.  I am so glad I did. From Proulx’s strong prose to the different narrative voices that are portrayed, I found myself hanging on to every word.

The novel opens and builds slowly with the introduction of several different characters that all have a point of view within the story. Mia (the family matriarch) Michael (her husband who has just been cheated by his business partner) and Finn (their teenaged son, who is in love with a girl he cannot have). After an evening with a terrible accident and some personal revelations, they find their relationships tested and their boundaries pushed as each character deals with the loss in a different way.

One of the main things that drew me into the story, pretty much immediately, was how real, dark and raw Proulx’s story telling is. There is no sugar coating or dramatic flourish within these pages. There is heartache, there is loss and there is the undeniable feeling that this could potentially happen to anyone.   As their family unit unravels, I felt emotionally compelled to continue reading.   I have read other reviews that state this story is too slow, I, however, felt the complete opposite. I felt like I settled into this story easily and was completely entranced throughout. I couldn’t put it down.

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Book Review: Sunshine is Forever (Kyle T. Cowan) @KyleTCowan #SunshineisForever @Inkshares

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After an “incident” and a suicide attempt, Hunter finds himself heading to Camp Sunshine, the happiest place on earth and haven for depressed teens. Once he arrives, he meets fellow camper, Corin, who hatches a plan to break out of camp.   In helping with the plan, Hunter ends up going deep within himself to figure out if he plans to run from the incident that got him to the camp in the first place or if he wants to stay and face it head on.

This is a totally different book from what the #cjsreads crew typically reads and, I’ll have to admit, when I first read the synopsis, I was hesitant.  I had some serious issues with Thirteen Reasons Why and that whole craze earlier this year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect as I delved into a book about teen suicide.    However, the tagline for this book stated it was The Bell Jar meets Chuck Palahniuk.  I was intrigued but a little bit confused.  “What a combination that would be”, I thought to myself.   So, my curiosity got the best of me and I dived in.  Now that I have finished Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan, I totally get it.

Given the subject matter, it is no surprise that this narrative is raw and honest but it is also, ironically, pretty funny.  Using dark humour, Cowan’s narrative prose completely stood out using Hunter’s narrative voice.  As he discussed his insecurities, his feelings, and his everyday life, I found myself accepting the information as if he was an old friend.  I don’t usually read YA, simply because I don’t usually enjoy it nor can I relate.  However, I found something different about this one.  Perhaps the subject matter made it seem more mature?  I’m not sure but I had no issues flying through the pages.

In my line of work, I often come across teens with suicidal ideations and I found the perspective of this book incredibly eye opening.  You can read textbooks for days on the subject but this account felt so honest and real, it actually felt like it gave me a better understanding.

4/5 stars from me!

Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Want to see if the other #cjsreads book appreciated this book as much as I did?  Keep reading to see what they thought about Sunshine Is Forever.

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Cover Reveal: If You Only Knew (Cynthia Clark) @Aria_Fiction @cynthiaNYC

Good morning and happy Tuesday!  Ah!  I am bursting with excitement and  am thrilled to be bringing you a cover reveal for the newest psychological thriller being published by Aria books!

If You Only Knew, the debut thriller by Cynthia Clark, follows a student named Elizabeth who, after a terrifying night, ends up with a stark choice.  Kill or be killed.

Say what???!!

I don’t know about you but within reading the first few lines of the description, I was already all about this book.  I have a full synopsis below but I cannot keep you in suspense any longer!  Want to see the gorgeous cover?  It’s a beauty!!

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