Book Review: The Big Lie (Julie Mayhew) @Candlewick @JulieMayhew

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 8.42.50 PM.pngI find myself drawn to the same books continuously. When it isn’t thrillers or suspense titles, you can find me stuck in a good romance or some historical fiction. Preferably, fiction set around the Second World War, tales of human resiliency and the rebellion fascinate me. Ironically, with all my changing genres, I don’t read a lot of novels in the YA genre, but when I do, I often find myself drawn to the dystopian sort. I love getting lost in this sort of “what if” world that feels too real, too close for comfort.   Needless to say, when I stumbled across The Big Lie, the upcoming novel by Julie Mayhew, a dystopian, coming of age, YA novel set in modern day Nazi occupied England, I threw this one at the top of my TBR pile and dove in.

The novel surrounds a young girl, Jessika, who is a model citizen living in Nazi-run England. She obeys her father, she tries to impress her elders and she is loyal to her country. However, her neighbour and best friend Clementine is not the same. Clem is loud and outspoken, much to Jess’ dismay.   The louder Clem gets, the more nervous Jess becomes until she finds herself wrapped up so tightly in Clem’s world that things start to feel confusing. Jess has always thought she was doing the right thing, but what happens when the right things start to feel wrong?

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Book Review: Without Merit (Colleen Hoover) @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA @colleenhoover

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 6.33.21 AMColleen Hoover is one of those guilty pleasure authors that I pick up whenever I just need to be completely lost in a story and am not looking for anything too heavy or anything too complex.  Pure entertainment value is what I am looking for and, Without Merit, the newest novel by Colleen Hoover certainly delivers.

The novel opens and we meet the Voss family, who is anything but normal.  We meet twin sisters, Honor (who is obsessed with dating boys with terminal illnesses) and Merit (who collects trophies anytime anything bad happens to her).  They live with their father (Barnaby), their father’s mistress turned baby mama, turned wife (Victoria).  Their mother, who is agoraphobic and never leaves the basement.  Their brother, Utah, who is hiding several secrets, Honor’s newest boyfriend, Sagan and Victoria’s brother, Luck, who turns up to add another layer to the plot.

It is hard to even pinpoint what this novel is actually about.  In typical CoHo style, there is a bit of contemporary romance, some messages about family, suicide, loss, and grief.  Many hats are worn during the reading of this novel.  Personally, I felt like it read a little bit more like a YA novel then I would have liked.  I prefer something a little bit more mature, but regardless of my feelings about that, I cannot deny the completely addicting nature of this book.

I picked it up to read and consumed it in a matter of hours.  I couldn’t put it down.

If you are a fan of Colleen Hoover, then this one is a no-brainer.  If you are a fan of books that read like YA, then I think you will enjoy this one too!

4/5 stars.

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

This book was also our first #cjsreads picks for November.  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one?  Keep reading to find out!

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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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Book Review: Girl on Point (Cheryl Guerriero) @uncle_cher

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As someone who reviews book, it is no surprise to hear that sometimes books become buried on my shelves. Unfortunately for me, this means that sometimes a hidden gem can become forgotten! When I stumbled across Girl on Point, by Cheryl Guerriero, in my “to review” pile, I had one of those “HEY!” moments and I picked it up immediately. I am so glad I did.

I felt from the start that this one had an original plot.   After her sister is killed in a convenience story robbery, Alex, an athletic, straight A student, is devastated.   Upon investigation, it is noted that the act was probably one of gang violence but without any certainties, the police cannot do much. Determined to avenge her sister’s murder, Alex disguises herself and joins the gang responsible. Crossing the line into enemy territory, Alex finds herself in danger, her morals questioned, and her life at risk as she infiltrates the world of gang life and dangerous criminals.

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Book Review: The Outliers (Kimberly McCreight)

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Wylie is a good friend. She has come to the rescue time and time again for her best friend, Cassie. So, when Cassie’s mom arrives at her doorstep asking her if she has heard from Cassie, Wylie knows this time feels different. Not long after, Wylie receives a text. “Please Wylie, I need your help”. This starts a whirlwind of events that takes Wylie across state lines with Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, and as they get further from home and closer to the truth, Wylie’s instinct is telling her something is wrong. Seriously wrong.

So this one started out all fine and dandy. I have wanted to read Kimberly McCreight’s work forever but haven’t gotten around to them. I had heard awesome things about Reconstructing Amelia but hadn’t heard anything about The Outliers.  So I dove into this book without any research or reading its synopsis.

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Book Review: Quicksand (Malin Persson Giolito)

Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 3.39.45 PM.pngQuicksand, the upcoming courtroom thriller, by Malin Persson Giolito follows Maja Norberg; eighteen years old and on trial for her involvement in a mass shooting at a prep school where her best friend and boyfriend were killed.  I, for one, am a fan of any courtroom style thriller. I also really loved Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and the synopsis of this title seemed similar. Needless to say, I was very eager to read this one and was thrilled when my friend, Danielle from The Blonde Likes Books, decided to buddy read this title with me!

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Upcoming Books 2017: Book Review- Lost Girls (Merrie Destefano)

Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 10.17.16 AM.pngWhen Rachel fell asleep she was nervously preparing for her geometry final; when she wakes up she is in a ditch, bloody and bruised. A year of her life is missing.   As she begins to piece things together, she doesn’t recognize herself (her appearance and her actions).   She isn’t the only girl who has gone missing that year, but she has been the only one to return and she is desperate to find out the answers. What is happening to the lost girls?

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