Monday, March 23, 2015

ARC Review: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harper
Publishing Date: March 3rd, 2015
Genre: YA, Mystery, Magical Realism
Pages: 368 pgs
ISBN: 9780062317605
Source: Received from Harper Canada in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are. 

My Review:

This book got a lot of buzz over the summer and I immediately wanted to read it. It is about a girl named Roza who goes missing. She is missing from the onset of the book and we are introduced to two brothers who fell in love with Roza, in different ways. Finn is a slightly strange guy who has a hard time reading people and because of this is made fun of by his peers. Most of the book Finn is trying to figure out what happened to Roza and throughout his investigation he begins dating a friend down the road who helps out with her family's honey/bee farm. 
I had high hopes for this book and didn't really expect the magical realism aspect. I don't know why I didn't realize this before requesting this book but I didn't. Usually I'm not a huge fan of magical realism but I think that it works quite well with this book. It's not too in your face but it keeps you intrigued. It makes you want to read more to find out exactly what in the world is going on. 
I motored through this book and liked the plot line and the writing. I am a sucker for any mystery novel and I've also been really into abduction storylines lately. I think that this book would make an very creepy movie. It has such a quirky cast of characters and I'd love to see it on the big screen. 
All this said, I only gave it 3 stars. For me, this book was fun to read while I was reading it but I'm not sure that it will be one that sticks with me. I didn't feel a strong connection to any of the characters. I liked them but they just didn't pull at my heartstrings. I do think that it is worth a read because it is definitely entertaining.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Asking for Help

Well I have to admit that I am not usually one to ask for help. I have pretty much been living on my own since I was 17 and I have become very independent for that reason. From my upbringing I have learned to rely on myself and oftentimes I have trouble asking for help. This drives my husband bonkers and I have really been working hard at asking for help when it is needed.

As many of you know from reading the blog, my husband and I have been struggling to get pregnant. My eggs are just too nice and cozy in my ovaries and I suspect they have parked their asses on the couch and are currently binge watching all their fave shows (Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, Kimmy Schmidt, The L Word, etc). That being said, they are so lazy that they forget their one job- to mature and take a journey of self discovery down the fallopian tubes where they will meet their one true love, Mr. Sperm. (Too much info?) Anyhow, what I am really trying to say is that D and I are at the IVF stage of this process. This can be super costly. One round is about 10K plus thousands of dollars worth of medication. We have been saving for over a year and it is proving to be difficult.

This is where I ask for some help. As tacky as it may be we have decided to be shameless about our current predicament. If we are going to be able to afford this we are holding a fundraiser. I know not everyone can afford to donate and if this is the case I would sincerely appreciate it if you forwarded the link to our fundraiser along. That being said, if you are able to donate, regardless of the amount I would be sincerely thankful.

I do not want to pressure anyone and I hope this doesn't turn you off the blog but this has been a lifelong dream of mine.  I surround myself with children everyday as I teach first grade. I know how much joy they can be and I would like to be able to start a family with my husband.

If you are interested in donating the link can be found here.

Thank you for taking the time to listen. I know that I haven't always been around but this blog has been a great sounding board and I do feel like you have all supported me through this already by just reading/listening to me get my feelings out.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday- A Little Spring Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week we are showcasing our spring reading lists. I have quite a few so I had to narrow it down. Here they are:

99 Days by Katie Cotugno- I am lucky enough to have an ARC of this book. I really enjoyed her previous novel and who doesn't like a good contemporary read. 
None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio- This book is about an intersex teen. I like reading about novels like this and can't wait to dive in.  

Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen- Again this is another ARC which I am thankful for. This one has an LGBTQ element and is also written in verse. 
Dime by E. R. Frank- This book is again another ARC. It deals with teen prostitution and sound fantastic. 

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren- This book has been sitting on my shelf for a little bit now. I borrowed it from Emilie because she can't stop raving about it. Katie also raves about this one. They both tell me I'll be addicted and need to move on the 2nd book right away. 
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover- I read Hopeless a few months ago and couldn't put it down. I am told by my NA aficionados (Katie and Emilie) that this book is the best Hoover book. I can't wait to read this one.

Four Seconds to Lose by K. A. Tucker- I LOVED Tucker's other books and I'm not sure why it has taken me this long to read the rest. This one is definitely next on the list. 
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica- I recently picked this one up at the store, started reading and knew that it would right up my alley. I can't wait to pick this one up. It's about a kidnapping. 

Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald- I pre-ordered this because MacDonald is one of my faves. Why oh why has this been sitting on my shelf unread? I need to get to it. 
Second Life by S. J. Watson- This is by the author of Before I Go To Sleep which I loved! I'm happy to have the ARC of this one sitting on my tablet. 

Well there you have my picks for this week. I'm interested in seeing what is on your lists. Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My Faves of the Past 3 Years

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week we are talking about our favourite books of the past 3 years. This was a difficult one to do because I have read so many good books over the past few years. It's weird because I would say that I read a lot of YA over the past few years but my all time faves are mostly adult. I'm not sure how to interpret this. Regardless here are my picks.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- So many people have read this and there is so  much hype about this book but I can assure you that the hype is all real. The movie was quite good too but not as good as the book. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline- This was my first read of the year and I loved it. It had some many social issues and so many 80s pop culture references that it couldn't help but be epic. 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth- This book is about a young girl grappling with the fact that she is a lesbian in a very religious household. When her family finds out they send her to a camp to help "reform" her. This book is touching and deals with an important issue.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult- I shamelessly love her books and this book has got to be the best she's written. It also deals with WWII history which is right in my wheelhouse.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover- This book brought me out of a reading slump. I stayed up all damn night to finish it and I would do it all over again if I could. 

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin- This book is so powerful and disturbing and thought provoking. It is about someone who is intersex and identifies as male. An incident happens which makes him question his entire identity. 

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid- This book is just so good. I really felt I could identify with it. It's essentially about a married couple who decide to take a break for an entire year because things aren't going well. 

The Dreams Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater- This book is my fave of the Raven Cycle but I love that series in general. If you haven't read Raven Boys please do it now. 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty- I would say anything by this author is good. I have read 3 of her novels now and I have loved every one. I just finished this book on the weekend and it kept me entertained the entire time. It's multiple points of view and there is a mystery involved.

The Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga- This whole series is like crack. Once you start reading you need to continue. The narrator is the son of an infamous serial killer. It's raw and gritty and so so awesome. 

Well these are my 10 picks. It was difficult to narrow it down but that's what I'm sticking with. Can't wait to read yours. Happy Reading! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date: January 13th, 2015
Genre: Adult Thriller, Psychological, Mystery
Pages: 336 pgs
ISBN: 9781594633669
Source: Borrowed from a friend

Summary from Goodreads:
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

My Review:

I kept seeing this on the shelves at Chapters over the holiday season and I kept picking it up and then putting it back down. I knew I wanted to read it but I was hesitant to get it because so many books are compared to Gone Girl now. I just thought that it would be another one of those books that has a misguided comparison to one of my favourite books. Curiosity got the better of me when my friend Kathy from A Glass of Wine read it and then offered to lend it to me. I'm glad that I got a chance to read this one. It was really quite enjoyable and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book. It centers around Rachel, an alcoholic, who takes the same train to and from work everyday. This train just so happens to pass by her old neighbourhood which is where her ex-husband and new wife still live. Rachel is the quintessential unreliable narrator. She is not even a functioning alcoholic as she lost her job from drinking. She is not fooling anyone and she often blacks out from drinking too much. While riding the train Rachel believes she sees something happen to the couple a few doors down from her ex-husband's house. The problem is that she isn't quite sure what she saw because she was entirely too intoxicated to even know what occurred. Most of the story is told in Rachel's perspective and I found it to be fascinating. Kudos to Hawkins because I'm not sure I could really attempt to get into the mind of an alcoholic. This may be because it's too close to home for me and thus causes me great frustration. You are piecing together the mystery as the narrator pieces it together and this really worked for me. 
The novel is also narrated by the woman who goes missing as well as Rachel's ex-husband's new wife. None of the characters is entirely likable and usually this doesn't work for me. If I can't like a character then it is difficult to be invested in the storyline. In this case that wasn't a problem. The story is intriguing and you want to know what happened. You can't help but turning the pages well into the wee hours of the morning. This book is slightly less addictive than crack but not by much. I couldn't put it down. 
The only reason this book is not getting a 5 star review is because I figured out who the culprit was. I'm pretty good at figuring things out so if you can keep me guessing til the end then I figure out deserve a 5 star and this book just missed the cut. I'd say it's more of a 4.5 than a 4 but still this book is great. You can believe the hype for this book even though the comparisons aren't quite accurate. The rave is there for a reason. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Coffee Date

So Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner had this post that I really liked titled If We Were Having Coffee..

She came up with the idea from Ashely at Your Super Awesome Life and I have to say that I really loved reading it.  I will be posting from time to time an if we were having coffee post just to let you all know what is going on in my life at the moment.

It's been over a year since I last did one of these and thought that it's been quite overdue. 

If we were having coffee...
I'd tell you that 2014 was full of ups and downs for me. We continued to try to conceive a baby and found out that IVF is our only option. IVF is incredibly expensive and we have been slowly saving. I am not going to lie, we are going to be shameless and fundraise. I don't know if this is considered tacky but if it gets me my dream then I'm willing to give it a go. We also had a few deaths in my husband's family. His younger cousin tragically died in August in a motorcycle accident. He was only 24 and it was quite a shock to all of us. Shortly after that, his grandfather went into the hospital and never made it home. To top this off, we found out my niece was not actually my brother's child. It is an extremely weird thing to be an aunt and then to not be an aunt. I have loved that little girl like you wouldn't believe since before she came into the world 2 years ago. There were a lot of legal things that went on and in the end my brother is now not involved with her. It was pretty unnerving but it's been since the end of September and slowly we are all healing. It's remarkable what people can go through and come out the other side. I keep thinking that while it doesn't make it easier in the moment, I know that I will be better for all of this. Don't get me wrong I'm not a very zen person and do my fair share of bitching and moaning but I am trying to learn how to enjoy the little moments a lot more. 

If we were having coffee... 
I'd tell you that my husband and I have been enjoying simple date nights again. What better way to enjoy each other's company than with a little Harry Potter movie marathon. For the last two weeks and into the next coming weeks, one weekend night is devoted to snuggling on the couch by the fire with some Kernels popcorn and watching one Harry Potter movie. I love introducing people to Hogwarts and I haven't seen the movies in ages. It's fun seeing the cast when they were so little. I mean look at Daniel Radcliffe now. It's also nice that we don't have to go out and spend a tonne of money to spend time together. 

If we were having coffee... 
I'd tell you that I have been struggling with friendships in my 30s. It's not that I don't have any friends or that I don't feel like I have enough. I would say that I have 3 main group of friends- my old high school girls, my husband's high school buddies (we went to the same high school but were in different groups) and my bookish peeps. When I was growing up I had a BFF. She was the bestest of friends and we spent so much time together. Probably too much time but at the time we didn't care. When I moved to Ottawa with only a year and half left of school left, we slowly drifted apart. This is one of the things I regret the most- losing touch with her- but it happens. Then I got a pretty close group of friends when I moved up here. As the years went on I found myself withdrawing at times because of my struggle with depression. And now that I am in the 30s everyone seems to have children which takes up a lot of time. That being said, I feel like I don't have a BFF, a good girlfriend that I can confide in. I feel like as you get older, friendships change and it's hard sometimes to come to terms with this. I find myself getting irrationally jealous of certain relationships that form around me. In turn, I feel insecure. As if there was something wrong with me for not being able to maintain something like this. Rationally I know that it doesn't mean my friends love me any less or that I'm any less valuable. It's just funny how these little nagging feelings can keep popping up. My bookish people, though many are much younger than me, are people that I truly enjoy spending time with. Having a shared passion for something can really bring people together. 

If we were having coffee... 
I'd tell you that I got a FitBit from my husband as a delayed Christmas gift. I am loving it. It's only been a week but it's definitely motivated me to get my ass outta the nice warm house and into some sub-arctic temperations. (Sidenote- WTF Mother Nature?!? What kind of sorcery is this -43 degree weather on a daily basis? My students need their outdoor recess so please figure out your shit. End rant.) I've been walking a lot more to try to get my goal of 10,000 steps each day. Last week I tipped the scales at 201 lbs. I HATE that I have let myself get to this weight and I want to do something about it. Since getting the FitBit I've lost 3 lbs so it's coming along slowly but surely. In high school was known as the skinny girl. I was 110 lbs (obviously not a healthy weight for a girl at 5'6) and so to me it's weird to be this big. I've never thought of myself as the big girl but it's getting to be that way. So,  I am making a change. If I know any of you and you have a FitBit let me know. I'd love to add you as a friend to help keep each other motivated. I need lots of prompting and support so I'm hoping this will keep me accountable. 

Well that's it's for now. I hope it wasn't too depressing. I have to admit that this time of year has always been a difficult one. It's when I seem to get my blahs the most and I need to remember to stay positive. I'd love to hear from you so don't forget to comment. 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

ARC Review: Her by Harriet Lane

Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publishing Date: January 6th, 2015
Genre: Adult, Suspense, Contemporary
Pages: 272 pgs
ISBN: 9780316369879
Source: received for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
You don't remember her--but she remembers you.
On the face of it, Emma and Nina have very little in common. Isolated and exhausted by early motherhood, Emma finds her confidence is fading fast. Nina--sophisticated, generous, effortlessly in control--seems to have all the answers.
It's easy to see why Emma is drawn to Nina. But what does Nina see in her?
A seemingly innocent friendship slowly develops into a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Nina eases her way into Emma's life. Soon, it becomes clear that Nina wants something from the unwitting Emma--something that might just destroy her.

My Review:

*** This book contains spoilers because I really don't know how to write this without truly discussing what happens ***

I am going to preface this review by saying that I very rarely give 1 star reviews. I usually try to keep an open mind about the book but I am finding it very difficult to do with this book. My friend Kim got me this book at BEA last June and the premise was intriguing. It is about a woman, Nina, who develops an unhealthy fascination with a young mother of two named Emma. It turns out that Nina knows Emma from a long time ago. Emma doesn't seem to recall Nina at all. 
Nina acts all creepazoid and starts doing some slightly inappropriate things like temporarily kidnap Emma's son in order to become to hero when she returns .
It is all kinds of bizarre and unsettling. 
Nina then goes on to befriend Emma in order to further try to fuck with her. Poor unsuspecting Emma is a mother of 2 who is exhausted and a little desperate for a new sparkling friend. This allows Nina to swoop in and cause drama. 
While all this is going on it is entertaining but you are left thinking- what horrible thing has Emma done to Nina to make Nina so nutso. What struck me as odd was that if Emma did something so bad then wouldn't she remember Nina? I mean I have people I haven't seen since high school and I still recognize them when I see them. It was just a little odd. 
It was entertaining to read and the book kept you reading because you wanted to find out what the catalyst in the relationship between the two was. Imagine my surprise when we find out the reason Nina hates Emma so much is so miniscule and ludicrous that it just didn't make any sense. To top it all off the book just ends in the middle of the climax. Psycho Nina decides to try to drown Emma's child. Like are you freaking kidding me? It ends with the insinuation that Emma's little boy is in the pool. Maybe dead? Maybe not? Did Nina do it? It just ends. I literally threw this book across the room. You can't end a book like this!! The whole thing just felt so odd and nothing is resolved. I say skip this book. It is not worth the $30 hardcover price that's for sure.