Thursday, October 6, 2016

Book Review: The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner

Publish Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Aladdin
ISBN: 9781481470742
Pages: 304
Series: Book #1
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling of Hungry Heart Jennifer Weiner comes a laugh-out-loud funny and painstakingly real tale of friendship, furry creatures, and finding the place where you belong.

Alice Mayfair, twelve years old, slips through the world unseen and unnoticed. Ignored by her family and shipped off to her eighth boarding school, Alice would like a friend. And when she rescues Millie Maximus from drowning in a lake one day, she finds one.

But Millie is a Bigfoot, part of a clan who dwells deep in the woods. Most Bigfoots believe that people—NoFurs, as they call them—are dangerous, yet Millie is fascinated with the No-Fur world. She is convinced that humans will appreciate all the things about her that her Bigfoot tribe does not: her fearless nature, her lovely singing voice, and her desire to be a star.

Alice swears to protect Millie’s secret. But a league of Bigfoot hunters is on their trail, led by a lonely kid named Jeremy. And in order to survive, Alice and Millie have to put their trust in each other—and have faith in themselves—above all else.

My Review:

What a refreshing read this was! In many ways, it reminded me of how I felt reading Jason Segels Nightmares. It truly made me happy to read such a wonderful book. 

Alice is a young girl just trying to get by in life. But she's different. She's clumsy, has big messy hair, doesn't look at all like the other girls and is just plain awkward. She's been to many many schools and can't find one that suits her eccentric learning style. And honestly, reading the beginning and her troubles and turmoils at the different schools made me laugh out loud!

I love that The Littlest Bigfoot touches on the serious subjects that need to be talked about nowadays. Bullying and acceptance are huge in this novel along with friendship and how it's ok to be friends with someone who isn't exactly like you. Take Millie for example. She's curious, adventurous and not even human and the friendship that Alice and Millie create will be that of a lifetime. These are the books I wish I read in middle school. Books to teach me how to find the place where I belong, and how it's ok to be different.

I liked how the book was separated into the chapters each focusing on either Millie, Alice and Jeremy (who just really wants to catch a Bigfoot!) I enjoyed that we got to dig a little deeper into each character and see their personalities shine through a little more. This is the kind of book that all kids should read and appreciate and I myself am looking forward to sinking into the sequel that's promised at the end of Jennifer Weiners debut middle-grade fiction, The Littlest Bigfoot.

Book Review: Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Publish Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Atria / 37 INK
ISBN: 9781501133862
Pages: 384
Series: None
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Goodreads Synopsis:

The award-winning author of The Last Town on Earth delivers a riveting and elegant police procedural set in 1948 Atlanta, exploring a murder, corrupt police, and strained race relations that feels ripped from today's headlines.

Responding to orders from on high, the Atlanta Police Department is forced to hire its first black officers, including war veterans Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers; they aren’t allowed to arrest white suspects, drive squad cars, or set foot in the police headquarters.

When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up dead, Boggs and Smith suspect white cops are behind it. Their investigation sets them up against a brutal cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood as his own, and his partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines. Among shady moonshiners, duplicitous madams, crooked lawmen, and the constant restrictions of Jim Crow, Boggs and Smith will risk their new jobs, and their lives, while navigating a dangerous world—a world on the cusp of great change.
Set in the postwar, pre-civil rights South, and evoking the socially resonant and morally complex crime novels of Dennis Lehane and Walter Mosley, Darktown is a vivid, smart, intricately plotted crime saga that explores the timely issues of race, law enforcement, and the uneven scales of justice.  

My Review:

It's taken me some time to actually sit down and get this review written, just like it took me some time to sit down and finish the book. It was such a slow starter for me, that I continuously stopped and started this book over and over. I'm not too sure what the problem was exactly, but I think it was a mixture of knowing how true this book is to the actual hardships and difficulties that blacks in Atlanta had faced and the fact that the "n" word was used quite frequently (and I have a very hard time hearing / reading it). Once I got passed this, the writing was quite phenomenal and the story had great purpose. Bu it wasn't totally what I was expecting. With the little letter from the publisher at Atria / 37 INK at the beginning, I was so very eager to dive right into this book that promised to be a huge hit ( I mean, come on, they're making a film or TV show with Jamie Foxx co producing! )but it just didn't hit that high note with me.

Don't get me wrong, this novel is an exemplary work of art, and history and the whodunnit aspect will have the reader up guessing all night. And while most readers will not be able to relate the the characters personally, we can somewhat understand the hardships and perseverance that we all have to go through at some point or another.

Maybe one of these days this will be one of those books I pick up and try again, and maybe I'll appreciate it more than I did the first time around. But don't let my review stop you from enjoying Darktown, just look at the 4.26 star rating on Goodreads, and let that help you sway your decision.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Blog Tour: Burn by Paula Weston

 Would you believe it if I said that this was the final book in Paula Weston's The Rephaim Series? Well, unfortunately this is the end; the end of a 4 book series that kept readers on the edges of their seats wanting more! But good news for you, if you've stayed with me for the past 3 years and 4 blog tours or are just joining now, stay until the end of this post to see that not all endings are sad news!

Publish Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Tundra Books
ISBN: 9781770498518
Pages: 448
Series: The Rephaim, #4
Source: From publisher for honest review and to participate in blog tour

Goodreads Synopsis:

Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.
For a year she believed she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.
Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass—and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.
Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it’s all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell. 
More importantly, she remembers why she’s spent the last ten years wanting to seriously hurt Rafa.

My Review:

"Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything." That's the first line on the back cover of Burn, and it is a precursor to the intensity of book #4 in Paula Weston's series, The Rephaim. 

Paul Weston did such a good job with the cliffhanger at the end of Shimmer that she needed to come in with a bang to get the reader hooked at the get go and let me tell you...she did and she did it with perfection! The prologue in Burn is powerful and I feel like it really set the pace for the rest of the book. It was captivating and Paula Weston was daring you to stop reading. And when you just couldn't stop, you find yourself immersed in the sexiest, hottest, steamiest sex scene that the whole Rephaim series has seen. (It's hot!)

Paula Weston set Burn as a "then" and "now" story and it definitely worked in her favour. It really played to the overall story telling and it's another way to keep you hooked because you need to know what's happening next, all the time! Since Burn is the finale of 4 books with still so many unanswered questions, there was a lot of information handed to us. Paula Weston did a great job of spreading it out and not dumping all of this on the reader at once. We finally get all the who's, why's, when and how's all sorted out and while it may not have been what we thought or foresaw, its a conclusion nonetheless.

The huge monumental secret, the reason Gaby and Jude went their separate ways was a little anticlimactic! It just wasn't that 'huge monumental' secret I was hoping for. I didn't feel moved by their betrayal of each other at all and I wanted to feel moved. I wanted a jaw-dropping reveal, but I didn't get it. But that aside, the second half (and more so the ending) of the book was fast-paced, the writing was what we come to expect from Paula Weston. (I still love the Aussie feel of her writing). I love that we were kept on our toes from beginning to end. Paula Weston was able to wrap up the series very clearly in a writing perspective, but I feel like she ended it with the possibility of the reader continuing their story after everything has been revealed. I think it's been made easy for the reader to resume the lives of Gaby, Rafa, and the others!

Though I'm sad that the series has been wrapped up in the 4th and final book, I'm happy that I got to read, enjoy and participate in such a great blog tour. I hope that everyone had fun following along on this blog tour! It's been a fantastic journey and I've had a lot of fun. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour. Follow us all on Twitter too!

Now, while I know you've all enjoyed reading reviews and author interviews and other fun stuff blog tour participants have posted, I know you've also been dying for your own copies of The Rephaim series to read and to cherish right? So here's the best way to end the end of a great series . . .

A Giveaway!

The lovely, LOVELY team at Tundra Books would like you to have your own set of books. That's right, the whole set!

Giveaway open to Canada and US residents only. Books will be shipped by Tundra Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Need a refresher? Click on the covers to see my blog tour posts:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Review: Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: September 9, 2014
ISBN: 9780385744256
Pages: 355
Series: Nightmares! #1
Source: Gift

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!
 Charlie Laird has several problems.  1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.3. He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.  What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed. And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.

My Review:

What a fun book! This was a gift from my daughter seeing as she knows how much I love to read and how much I love Jason Segel (mostly from How I Met Your Mother). I don't know how much of this was written by him and not Kirsten Miller but it was a fun read no matter what.
Charlie is going through a rough patch in his life right now, and on top of dealing with all of that, he cannot sleep without falling into a terrifying nightmare that eventually becomes a living nightmare. What I really liked about this book is that as a 29 year old reading this, I was taken back to my best childhood memories. I felt like a kid again! I read this book with a smile on my face, and I seriously wanted to make a fort and read it late at night with a flashlight! I think this book would appeal to so many others. Young and old alike. And maybe even for younger kids, it may be a little frightening! It had great friendships and it overcame obstacles. I can't wait to read The Sleepwalk Tonic, Nightmares #2, and I just found out in late 2016, The Lost Lullaby, Nightmares #3 is due to be published! Get ready to be spooked!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Publish Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
ISBN: 9781451621389
Pages: 266
Series: None
Source: Bought

Goodreads Synopsis:

An award-winning memoir and instant New York Timesbestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery,Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman's struggle to recapture her identity.
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she'd gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?
In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family's inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn't happen. "A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life."(People),Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

My Review:

From the first time I saw this book and read a quick exerpt, I knew it was something I needed to read. I don't read a lot of memoirs or biographies and because of this, I didn't want to spend the $20+ for the book. I kept waiting and looking for it at garage sales or thrift stores and one lucky day I found it! It was time for me to finally sink into Brain on Fire - My Month of Madness.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed after I read it. It's a memoir as I mentioned, so it's hard to say it was a bad book, because it wasn't but it just wasn't as exciting as I had expected it to be. Let's clear this up a little. When I read the little chapter, I was intrigued because Susannah had no idea who she was or where she was. But there's a lot more behind this than I had thought. Without giving away too much of the book, she had her family and her boyfriend there with her at all times helping her along the way. In my mind, I pictured this poor woman waking up alone, all by herself with no one. I think that's what I wanted. More mystery with who she was overall and I wanted to come along on a journey with her as she finds herself. We do get the mystery while figuring out what caused Susannah to have a "month of madness" and it's an interesting read, and we definitely follow along as she finds herself and rediscovers her life before this all happens.
Brain on Fire was an okay book to read, it's hard to believe that our bodies and minds are so fragile and anything can happen to anyone at any given time. I'd recommend this read to anyone who enjoys memoirs and/or medical suspense reads.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Blog Tour: Shimmer by Paula Weston

Once again, I am proud to take part in Paula Weston's Rephaim Book Tour. I enjoyed Book #1 and Book #2, so of course I'm thrilled to share with you my thoughts on Book #3. Follow along with the rest of the blog tour!

Publish Date: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Tundra Books
ISBN: 9781770498488
Pages: 393
Series: The Rephaim, #3
Source: From publisher for honest review and participation in blog tour.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Gaby thought her life couldn’t get more complicated.
She’s almost used to the idea that she’s not the nineteen-year-old backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim - a 140-year-old half-angel - whose memories have been stolen. She’s even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she’s mourned for a year, didn’t die at all.
But now Rafa—sexy, infuriating Rafa—is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all.
It’s a race against time - and history. And it may already be too late.

My Review:

I was so excited to get the email announcing the blog tour for book #3. And when the book arrived in the mail, I was eager to pick it up, and start back into Gaby and Rafa's adventures. Then I realized that it had been a while since reading Haze, and lo and behold Gaby and Rafa are separated! What?! I had forgot this crucial part, and while it made me sad for just a moment, I was eager to see some ass-kicking to get Rafa back! (And we know from the first two books, that ass-kicking is a HUGE part of Paula Weston's series.)

Thankfully, we're given a character cheat-sheet at the beginning of the book, and I admit I found myself using it more than I thought I would. A few times I found it a little confusing with the plethora of  Rephaim and Outcasts and characters in general. But by the middle of the book, I was more comfortable and aware of who's who.

Throughout Shimmer, the main focus seems to be getting Rafa and Taya out of the Iron room they're locked in but we also get to learn a lot about some characters and a little more into the mystery that is Gaby and Jude and their memories. Becuase of this, Rafa is not in the book as much as most of us were hoping (I know, right!? We all love Rafa) but this is important to the series. We see that while Gaby does rely (just a little) on Rafa, she can and certainly does hold her own when it comes to basically everything. She is definitely a YA heroine that sticks out and Paula Weston can be applauded for making such a strong, independent female protagonist.   

There's never a dull moment, with twists and turns and captivating scenes. To be honest, I did find Shimmer to be lacking in overall thrill and excitement compared to Shadows and Haze, but I feel it was a crucial part in the series, and the cliff hanger we are left with at the end?! Woah. I cannot wait to see what happens in the final installment of Paula Weston's Rephaim Series, Burn (which you can except to come back sometime in June and see what I thought of it!)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Review: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 9780312321192
Pages: Paperback, 322
Series: Darcy & Rachel, #1
Source: Bought 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet Rachel White, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan. Rachel has always been the consummate good girl--until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend Darcy throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy's fiance'. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. In her wildest dreams (or worst nightmare?) this is the last thing on earth Rachel could ever have imagined happening. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness. 'Something Borrowed' is a phenomenal debut novel that will have you laughing, crying, and calling your best friend.

My Review:
I love this book, and keep coming back to read it again and again. Everything about it screams perfection and excellence. 
Giffin is such a creative writer and the humor and the dialogue is so spot on that you'll read Something Borrowed in no time at all and be begging for more. You want more? Well lucky for you, there is Something Blue, book # 2, and if you're up for it you can re-live Something Borrowed in the form of a movie! And trust me, while the movie is, well you know, an adaptation of the book, it's still totally worth the watch.
Something Borrowed is best read on a beach during summer or on vacation. Or curled up under a blanket on a cold winters evening. While the book focuses on the terrible acts of infidelity, you'll laugh, cry and picks sides. It's an easy book to fly through and you'll be glad you did. Rachel, Darcy, Dex and Ethan are characters that you can easily relate to some way or another and you'll find yourself picking them out in your own group of friends. 
I can't say enough good things about Something Borrowed, and after reading this for the first time ages ago, Emily Giffin has become one of my favourite authors. Her chick-lit is a blast to read!

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