Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publishing Date: April 2nd 2013
Genre: Adult Literature
Pages: 400 pgs
ISBN: 9780062225436
Source: Bought at Chapters

Summary from Goodreads:
In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter--now. But Kate's stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it's already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that's the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn't jump.

Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it's the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn't save.

Fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will find Reconstructing Amelia just as gripping and surprising.

My Review: 

This is the first book I read in 2014 and I have to say that it was a quick read.  I couldn't put this book down. It is told in two different perspectives: the mother Kate and the dead daughter Amelia. Amelia's portion of the story is from the past, before her "suicide" and Kate's story is told after Amelia's "suicide".  McCreight also throws in a few Facebook status updates and blog entries. This book grips you from the very beginning. You can't help but want to know what is going on while reading this story. The circumstances behind Amelia's death are quite suspect but for some reason in the beginning Kate is getting some push back from the local police in charge of the investigation. As a result she decides to take matters into her own hands. 
We find out that Amelia may have gotten involved with a very volatile group of girls at her school.  She begins to pull away from her best friend and becomes more involved in a secret club. She is also texting some mysterious boy.  All of this is unknown to her mother. 
I think this book really explores the relationship between a mother and a daughter.  I really liked their relationship but you can see that there is a lot that Amelia keeps from her mother. I think this is a part of being a teenager. Regardless of how close you are with your mother when you start to get older you try to figure out who you are. A part of that is experimentation and trying to fit in and I think that this is precisely what Amelia is doing. 
The writing in this novel is quite good. It is well done and as I said before I couldn't put this book down. She makes you feel for each of the characters in a very real day. The blurb compares this novel with Gone Girl in the sense that it is surprising but I would say that there were some things that I guessed along the way.  The very ending though was something that I did not predict. I was shocked to find out what actually happened to Amelia.   
I think that you should go out and get this book as soon as you can.  It is an adult novel but it does have some cross-over appeal for YA lovers. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WoW: The Bees

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:
The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut. Born into the lowest class of a restrictive, class-based society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, an Untouchable fit only to clean and remove the bodies of the dead in her ancient orchard hive. As part of the collective, she is taught to Accept, Obey, Serve-to work and sacrifice for her sisters and her beloved holy mother, the Queen. She is forbidden to question; her thoughts belong to the Hive Mind. But Flora is not like other bees-a difference that holds profound consequences. While mutant bees are instantly destroyed, circumstances threatening the hive's survival have forced exceptions to the hierarchy, sparing Flora and offering her unexpected opportunities. Removed from sanitation duty, she is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous. But enemies are everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police who diligently guard against mutation and deformity; to the high priestesses, bees born of highest kin who jealously guard the Hive Mind; to the Drones, loutish royal knights whose sole purpose is to mate. And when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all-daring to challenge the Queen's TK-her instinct to serve and sacrifice is overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will lead to the unthinkable ...Part parable, part coming-of-age story, Laline Paull's chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world that is simultaneously foreign and utterly familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, The Bees is the story of a strong-willed heroine who, in the face of an increasingly desperate struggle for survival, changes her destiny and her world.
 This book sounds quite good and I'm really looking forward to reading it. It comes out May 6th, 2014 which is a long way to wait but that's okay. 

What are you looking forward to? 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Debuts

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

This week we are talking 2014 debuts. My list comprises all YA novels.  I am not as well versed with upcoming adult books.  If you know of any that should be on my radar please let me know. 

In no particular order, here they are: 

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings- This book has been on my radar for literally years. Cummings is a fellow blogger who I have been following for quite some time so I am really looking forward to this one.

Half Bad by Sally Green- This is a book about witches. Enough said. Also, look how beautiful this cover is.

 Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman- The main character of this novel is Hitler's niece. I love WWII stories and this one has a different take. 

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige- A unique re-telling of the Wizard of Oz? Yes, please. 

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell- The main character of this novel is a killer.  I like twisted books like this. 

Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney- This novel is about a woman who is 25 and has never had a boyfriend. This book looks cute and quirky.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy- This about a girl who is diagnosed with leukemia.  The prognosis is not good and as a result she goes around righting wrongs but not in a good way.  When she goes into remission it changes everything. 

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens- A girl with a secret that is eating her up inside. This sounds like a good one for me. 

Learning not to Drown by Anna Shinoda- This is about a girl whose brother is in and out of jail for drug related charges. I like a good book about family drama. 

Sekret by Lindsay Smith- This book is about Russian espionage and the KGB. I have never read anything like that so this one looks interesting. 

I'm looking forward to seeing your lists. 

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

ARC Review: No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: January 7th, 2014
Genre: YA, Mystery
Pages: 384 pgs
ISBN: 9780062211194
Source: Received for review from Edelweiss and Harper Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

My Review:  

I have to say this book has been getting a lot of hype thus far and I was excited to be able to download this for review from Edelweiss. I have to admit that the hype is warranted for many reasons. I really liked the main character Kippy a lot.  She is reeling from the murder of her best friend Ruth. She wants to try to find out who exactly is responsible for this brutal act. While she is on the hunt she gets herself into the most ridiculous situations.  So while this book is about something dark and twisted, it is also quite funny.  Kippy says exactly what is on her mind at all times.  She is quirky and I loved everything about her. I have to admit that there were some things that made this book a 3.5/5 for me rather than a 5.  I felt like some of the things that happened in this novel are a little far fetched which made things a little less believable. That being said the shenanigans are what make this book funny. I also think that the mystery part of this novel is slightly obvious.  I had the murderer figured out within the first few chapters.  I think this may have something to do with the fact that I often read adult mystery novels which tend to be a little more complex.

Let's for a minute look at the cover appeal of this book.  I love the sweater with the hanging moose.  It fits the book so well and I think that many will pick up this book on cover appeal alone.  It's gorgeous and I know that I may have first been attracted to this book based on the cover.  

Overall this is a well written book with a fun and unique character that I loved. It is definitely worth a read. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Best of 2013

Well I know this is slightly late but I wanted to give you my favourite novels of the year.  I have 14 of them and I'm going to divide them as YA and Adult.  This year was a pretty tame reading year for me.  I only read 91 books and I usually read closer to 120.  That being said there were some great books in there.

In no particular order here they are.

Shine by Lauren Myracle- I can't believe it took me so long to read this book.  It was quite good and deals with so many issues all in one story. 

Just One Day by Gayle Forman- Well Forman made me fall in love with a fictional character and then made me question that.  I quite enjoyed this story and loved reading every minute of it. 

The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater- This is my favourite series of all time right now. Stiefvater's writing is incredible and I can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series. 

Cress by Marissa Meyer- I just read this recently and I think it's the best of the series so far.  I love these books and I think Cress may be my favourite character to date.  I also love Thorne just a little bit. 

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley- Whoa! That is all I can say about this book.  It took me for surprise and I couldn't put it down.  This is definitely one you should check out. 

 Allegiant by Veronica Roth- I know a lot of people were disappointed in the ending but I think it was fitting.  It was the only thing Roth could really do. I will admit to maybe wanting to yell a bit but I got over that pretty quickly.  It was a fitting end to a great trilogy. 


The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult- This book is her best yet! It is incredibly well written and different from her normal narratives. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell- This is quite funny and I loved reading every word of this book.

One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker- I also read Tucker's other novel Ten Tiny Breaths this year but I liked One Tiny Lie just a little bit more. It was fun but it also dealt with some issues. 

Tampa by Alissa Nutting- This is not a book for the faint of heart but it is very well written.  It is about a woman who seduces young boys.

 Night Film by Marisha Pessl- This book is super creepy and super well written.  Her previous work is on my TBR list for 2014. 

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin- This book is amazing! I don't think it got enough recognition but it is well written and deals with a subject matter that is difficult to write about. 

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham- Well last but not least was a book from none other than Miss Lorelai Gilmore.  I really liked the quirky writing in this story and I am curious to see if Ms. Graham writes anything else. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

If we were having coffee...

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.

So here we go...

If we were having coffee....
I'd tell you that I am incredibly happy that 2014 is here.  2013 has been an incredibly difficult year for me and my husband.  We started the year off with 2 big car repairs (right after buying and moving into a home). It continued with my husband losing a part of his finger and being on disability for 3 months. D also started a new job shortly after that and his anxiety was through the roof.  This coupled with some fertility issues has caused some tough times in our marriage.  I am using 2014 as a fresh start and looking forward to more positivity this year.

If we were having coffee...
I'd tell you that I am having a very difficult time with my fertility lately.  I just finished round 6 of clomid (a drug that helps me ovulate) and I am currently waiting to see if I actually got pregnant. We have been trying to conceive for a year and half now.  Out of 6 rounds on clomid, I have ovulated a grand total of 3 times.  In the beginning while I was frustrated about the situation I felt like I was handling things well.  I have to admit that right now, I am not in the best of spirits.  Every month I get my period is a huge disappointment.  I also have a fairly tight knit group of friends that I've known since high school.  There are 10 women in this group and there are currently 4 of them who are pregnant.  I love these girls and I am genuinely happy for them but I have to admit to being slightly jealous. It's been quite difficult remaining positive but I will keep on trucking on. Hopefully there will be good news in the new year.

If we were having coffee...
I'd tell you that I am loving being back at my school this year teaching grade 1.  I am truly blessed to be surrounded by some amazing people.  The people that I work with have been so supportive and really are good friends.  After a pretty rough week I came back to work and found a Starbucks coffee on my desk with a sweet note.  I also found a KitKat bar to "give me a break" and I was given several hugs. I am fortunate enough to really enjoy going to work every day and some days I actually have to pinch myself because I can't believe I actually get paid to do what I do. The students make me smile every day and I love the staff I work with.  I am also excited to be involved in our musical this year.  We are performing The Little Mermaid Jr. and we spent the last few weeks before the break sitting in on auditions for the students. I am jointly in charge of the set and I'm really looking forward to it.

If we were having coffee..
I'd tell you that I am dedicated to improving my blogging and reading this year.  Last year was a tough year and I kind of lost my lust for life.  As a result my reading was down and so was my blogging.  This year is a new year and I hope to make the blog a little better.

Well, I hope this post wasn't too boring or too negative. I look forward to hearing what is going on in your lives too. 

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ottawa Blogger Meetup

Well it's that time of year again where the Ottawa Blogettes start planning our annual meet up.  It's always great to meet new people and especially people who love books as much as we do. 

The meet up will be held on Sunday March 30 at 1pm but the location is to be determined. 

So please join us for lot of talk about books and blogging. 

If you are interested in attending please send an e-mail to no later than January 15th. Please include your name, your blog name, a link to your blog and if you tweet, your Twitter handle. Also it would be helpful if you put OTTAWA BLOGGER MEET UP 2014 in the subject line. 

I look forward to meeting everyone and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Happy Reading!