Tags

The Fall Time Cozy Book Tag

It’s finally Fall! It’s not my favourite season, but it is my favourite reading season because the weather is starting to get cooler which means I can put on my reading socks and comfy sweater with a cup of tea and binge read! I haven’t done a book tag in a long time, and I want to start doing more so I saw this one and decided to do it! 🙂

Crunching Leaves: The world is full of color – Choose a book that has reds/oranges/yellows on the cover

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Cozy Sweater: It’s finally cold enough to wear warm cozy clothing – What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover.

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Fall Storm: The wind is howling and the rain is pounding – Choose your favorite book or genre that you like to read on a stormy day.

My favourite genre to read when it’s raining, or it’s storming outside is probably fantasy. I feel like the storm adds another layer to the reading experience.

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Cool Crisp Air: What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

I think for this one, I would have to go with Feyre from Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series. She’s a pretty strong female character throughout the series that demonstrates her independence and wit, and as a side note, she’s Rhysand’s mate which is also pretty cool.

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Hot Apple Cider: What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit.

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Coat, Scarves, and Mittens: The weather has turned cold and it’s time to cover up – What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with the cover design, but my copy is really beat up and the cover is bent in many places.

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Pumpkin Spice: What’s your favorite fall time comforts food/foods?

Tea lattes and McDonald’s Salted Caramel Apple Oat Muffin <3.

 

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Book Reviews

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover – Book Review

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    Without Merit by Colleen Hoover was published only a few days ago, but my anticipation for this book, given the fact that I’ve loved every other book by Colleen Hoover, made this one go straight to the top of my TBR pile. I basically read this book in one day, it was just that good. That being said, this is different from Colleen Hoover’s other books, in the way that it deals with a different age group (the main character being only 17).

The description of the novel in my opinion doesn’t really tell the reader the extent of what this book is really about – but to me, that’s a good thing. I went into this novel with only the foreknowledge that it dealt with family secrets, a troubled teenager who collects trophies she never won, and a little bit of romance. But the book was so much more than that description.

Colleen Hoover has done it again. I felt myself so immersed in this book, in this chaotic and dysfunctional family. Each character felt unique in a real way, each one of them flawed with their own quirks. It was interesting seeing such a vastly different perspective on identical twins portrayed in this book. Usually, twins are always portrayed as having a strong bond that no one else can understand, but in Without Merit, we see that even twins have their differences. Many people think about how cool it would be to have a twin, myself included, but this book illustrates that maybe having a twin isn’t all positive. Twin relationships can be strained, and flawed too, just like any other.

I also just have to mention Sagan in this review. Sagan was such a well developed character in this novel. I loved every single thing about him, including his epic name. He seemed so mysterious but really he wasn’t, he turned out to be someone with fears, desires, and family issues just like everyone else in the book. And can we just take a moment to appreciate that he’s also a Political Science major (just like me!). I feel like Political Science majors are so rarely mentioned in literature, so I got really excited when I learned he was studying Political Science, and he even brought in a bit of politics into the book.

On a more serious note, I think Colleen Hoover dealt with important themes throughout this book related to mental health really well. I feel like she has not only brought awareness to the fact that individuals may be suffering from mental illnesses without their own self-acknowledgement, but that mental health should be talked about within families openly.

Overall, I am really impressed with this book. I feel like I’m going to be thinking about this book and these characters for a long time even though I’m done reading it. Colleen Hoover books always leave a lasting impression on me, and that’s why I love them so much. She really captured some very real issues that many people face within their own families, and I felt like she talked about mental health in a really real way in this novel. I give it 5/5 stars!

Some of my Favourite Quotes from the novel: 

“There’s something freeing about refusing to stress over stressful situations.”

“Everyone sometimes wishes they were someone else. Someone better, With a better family.”

“If silence were a river, your tongue would be the boat.”

“I think we all just got to a point where we were waiting for someone else to initiate it, but no one ever did. Maybe that’s the root of a lot of family issues. It isn’t actually the issues people are hung up about for so long. It’s that no one has the courage to take the first step in talking about the issues.”

“So many people dream of living in a house with a white picket fence. Little do they know, there’s no such thing as a perfect family, no matter how white the picket fence is.”

 

Monthly TBR

Fall Reading Plans!

DSC_0064_Fotor.jpgIt’s finally autumn, and it just so happens to be national book month, so what better time to compile a list of books that I plan on reading this season?

Lately I’ve been in a little bit of a “reading slump” probably because I find myself pushing my reading time down the line of priorities, school and work taking precedence. This being said, I have started so many novels in the last month and not finished them so I want to take the time and finish the books that I’ve started already because they really are great books I just for some reason have a hard time finishing a whole book at once these past few weeks. Also, if anyone has any suggestions for getting out of these said “reading slumps” please let me know!

I’m currently on Reading Week at university, and between doing tons of assignments and studying for midterms I intend to use this week for its intended purpose, reading. 🙂

  • The Host by Stephanie Meyer – I’ve already read a good chunk of this book. Even though I’m late to join the bandwagon on this one, I’m glad I’ve finally came around to it. One thing that I love in literature is Aliens. This is unlike any other science-fiction novel involving aliens that I’ve read before and I’m loving it so much!
  • The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A Flynn – Jane Austen is probably my   favourite classical writer of all time. So, a book based on an unpublished book of   hers and time travel is something I’m definitely excited to read this Fall!
  • Without Merit by Colleen Hoover – I bought this book right on the publishing date because I am that excited. I have read many of Colleen Hoover’s other novels, the most recent one being It Ends With Us, and I fall in love with every single one of her books. I’ve heard that this one is going to be a lot different than her other ones though, which will be very interesting to see a new perspective!
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown – I’ve heard such amazing things about this series and I’ve been meaning to get around to reading them but haven’t for some reason, so I decided that this Fall I will at least read the first one. I’ve been in the mood for the sci-fi/fantasy genre for awhile now and the world that this book is set in sounds so interesting, just from reading the back cover I want to know more.
  • Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks – A few years ago I went through a phase where I binge read every Nicholas Sparks book, but then I kind of got out of the fiction/romance genre and moved more towards fantasy but I decided that I’ll give this one a shot since it’s one of the only Sparks’ books I haven’t read yet!

If you have any Fall book suggestions for me let me know! 🙂

 

Book Reviews

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – Book Review

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“Murderess is a strong word to have attached to you. It has a smell to it, that word – musky and oppressive, like dead flowers in a vase. Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt across the floor.” – Margaret Atwood.

In light of the new show based on this novel, and the fact that it was written by Margaret Atwood, I saw this in the bookstore, and decided I had to put this at the top of my reading list. Margaret Atwood did not disappoint in this one, and kept me hooked to the 564th page. If you don’t know what this novel is about, it is a work of fiction but it is based on the famous 1800’s criminal case of the Kinnear-Montgomery murders. Grace Marks proves to be a compelling, deep and multifaceted character, and I loved the way Atwood uncovered layers of Grace throughout the novel. I would consider this novel a literary masterpiece along with many of Atwood’s other works. What sets this one apart from the popular Handmaid’s Tale, is the fact that though Atwood’s writing is still rich with complexity and darkness at times, it is founded upon a real Canadian criminal case.

Margaret Atwood’s writing is so distinctive and beautiful throughout this entire book. She describes everything with such vivid detail that the reader really understands the setting, characters and plot. Her writing I would describe as being almost poetic in a sense, which is why she has made it to one of my current favourite authors. Another element of this novel that she did really well, was she encapsulated the time period in which this murder would have been occurring and the events that follow, in the 1800’s so well, even though she is writing it in a totally different era. I feel like Atwood did an excellent job of keeping the characters realistic and the setting realistic for the time period. I loved her use of stanzas, excerpts, and poems that prefaced each new section of the book relating to the Kinnear case. I thought that made the story even stronger.

However, though Atwood’s writing itself is profound, the character depth and relationships throughout this book prove to also be notable. Grace Marks I thought was an incredibly intriguing character right from the beginning, and I love the way Atwood slowly unveils who Grace really is through her conversation with Dr. Simon Jordan. Dr. Jordan was also a really fascinating character as we get to see as the reader, his moral decline throughout the book. Even Mary Whitney to me was such an intriguing character to read about, and finding out her significance to Grace’s actions.

Overall, I really appreciated the brilliance that came with creatively piecing together bits and pieces of the real criminal Kinnear case, with imagination, and creating deep and complex characters throughout the novel. I give this book a definite 5/5 stars, and now I can finally start watching the show to see how the adaptation compares! I recommend this to any Margaret Atwood fan, or if you just want to read a very creative twist on a real-life criminal case!

Some of my favourite Quotes from the novel: 

“If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged.”

“The small details of life often hide a great significance.”

“Murderess, murderess, he whispers to himself. It has an allure, a scent almost. Hothouse gardenias. Lurid, but also furtive. He imagines himself breathing it as he draws Grace towards him, pressing his mouth against her. Murderess. He applies it to her throat like a brand.”

“On the edge of sleep I thought: It’s as if I never existed, because no trace of me remains, I have left no marks. And that way I cannot be followed. It is almost the same as being innocent.
And then I slept.”

 

 

Book Reviews

FrostBlood by Elly Blake – Book Review

Hello! I finished FrostBlood a few days ago, but with school starting I’ve been a little bit behind schedule on posting my reviews!

If you haven’t heard of FrostBlood you can check out the official synopsis on Goodreads here: FrostBlood Synopsis. 

27827203.jpgThis book is basically a fantasy novel that features two types of people: the Firebloods and the Frostbloods. Ruby, the main character, is a Fireblood and she gets captured and is determined to end the reign of the tyrannical Frostblood king. She gets once again captured this time not by the rebels, but by men of the king and she is forced to compete in the King’s tournaments which consists of brutal physical combat.

In general, I really did enjoy this book. It did remind me a lot of Red Queen and even a little bit of Valiant by Leslie Livingston in the way that the physical combats that occurred in the king’s tournament really in my mind resembled Gladiator fights and how they would fight to the death.

Another aspect of this novel that I really liked was the romance! It was kind of a forbidden romance because one of them was a Frostblood and the other a Fireblood which added another dimension to the novel.

The only drawback that I would say this book has, is the fact that is was a little bit predictable and it had a lot of YA fantasy tropes interwoven into it. It was the typical storyline of two categories of people at odds with each other, girl refines her ability through training, has a troubled past which makes her want to seek revenge on the current government, and she has to fight for what she believes in.

But that being said, sometimes it’s nice to have an easy fast-paced read that encompasses all of our favourite elements, and for me that is what I was looking for! For some reason, even though most of the YA fantasy novels that I read follow a similar plot line I still cannot get enough of these types of novels! I think my fascination with the YA fantasy genre kind of derives from the fact that they are always so political in nature. As a Political Science major, I love novels that can have political undertones especially in this book the emphasis on tyranny!

This book was action-packed and the characters were really interesting. I really liked Arcus as a character and I was so glad when I found out that this is part of a series, because I want to read the next books to see where Ruby goes from here.

Overall, I give this novel 4/5 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves typical YA fantasy novels. It’s a fast-paced read that will grab your attention until the last page.

Some of my favourite quotes from the novel:

“Ruthlessness is not power. Tyranny is not strength.”

“Once again, all doubt, all sense of right and wrong, faded. There was only the target, his darkly beating heart, and my fire. There was no fear, no anger, no shame, no regret. Just power, surging through me…”

“Frostbloods are fully capable of feeling in every way. The danger is that those emotions, while powerful and deep, may be covered with a layer of ice that prevents the natural expression of them.”

 

Book Reviews

Before Now by Norah Olson – Book Review

I was kindly sent an Advanced Reader Copy of Before Now by Norah Olson by Harper Collins. I have just finished reading this really quick and fast paced book and I wanted to share my thoughts on it before it hits the book stores.

** This novel has an expected publishing date of December 26th 2017. **

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Firstly I just wanted to say that I have not personally read anything by this author before. Though I am aware of one other novel that she has written titled Twisted Fate, I am not overly familiar with Norah Olson or her writing. Therefore, I didn’t really have many expectations going into this. However, I can say that after reading this short book, I am considering reading some of Norah Olson’s other work as well.

Before Now is written as journal entries from the main character Atty. This is a very interesting novel as it has some very dark themes. The book is told from a sort of reverse timeline, where the most recent and current events are at the forefront, and then the reader gets the insights to how the characters ended up where they did in the beginning of the novel. I thought that this choice in the way the story was told really fit the context and kept the reader interested in learning more about these deep characters. their pasts, and what led to their devastating predicament in the book’s opening.

To give context to this kind of complex and deep plot line without giving away too many spoilers, this novel is primarily about a teen forbidden romance, where Atty’s father is a police officer and her mother is very religious. Her father being a police officer comes with its own set of tensions, as he has the inside information about Cole, her love interest. His mother Jennifer, struggles heavily with addiction issues and Atty’s father doesn’t want her to associate herself with a someone who comes from that kind of background. Therefore, her father overlooks the kind of person Cole is on the inside, and misjudges him completely.

I thought that the themes of this book were really deep and emotional because many people struggle with these types of issues, and it really highlights how relationships can be so strained with negative external factors surrounding them.

If I had to critique this book on anything, it would be that it was kind of short. I would have liked it to be slightly longer. Though I think that the author did a pretty good job of giving the reader a lot of context of the background of Atty and Cole and what they went through, it would have been better to get to know them just a little bit more. I felt like the only thing that I really knew about the both of them and why they loved each other was their common interest in science and EDM music. I would have liked a little bit more depth to their relationship which could have been more fully portrayed I think, if the novel was a bit longer.

Other than that, I really did like the book! I’ve actually been in a reading slump lately and it seems that every book I pick up I’ll read the first few pages and just set it down, but the one book that I continued to read and be intrigued by was this one. So for me right now to even finish this book says a lot about how good it is really is.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars! I recommend that you guys definitely look for it in stores and pick it up in December when it comes out!

 

Book Reviews

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen – Book Review

The dead aren’t the only ones who vanish: you, too, can disappear in plain sight if enough is taken from you. I was still missing, in many ways. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to be found

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Hello! I just got done reading Once and For All by Sarah Dessen and I have mixed feelings on this one. I haven’t read a summer contemporary romance novel in ages, lately I’ve been really into fantasy and everything but contemporary romances, but this one caught my attention admittedly by the cover and because Sarah Dessen is a familiar author to me. I’ve read most of her other books and loved them as they all seem to have good takeaways and life lessons interwoven in them. This novel does seem to deal with a lot more heavy topics than what one would expect from a summery contemporary romance novel. Death and tragedy are laced into the plot line, giving the novel a more emotionally-charged appeal which is one aspect about this book that I did like. I started veering away from contemporary awhile back because it all seemed the same to me and it was predictable but adding diversity into YA contemporary is definitely a positive element that Sarah Dessen brings. Though I did enjoy the book it’s not without some minor flaws. The first thing that I didn’t really love about the novel is that it was very predictable to me, I think most people know who Louna is going to end up dating in the end, this is made clear basically from the beginning. This book follows the typical plot line of meeting someone at first and disliking them, getting to know them better, and discovering you have feelings for them. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is one of the major things that is overdone in contemporary YA books. Another thing that I felt could have been done slightly better was character development. There was some development in the characters, but it seemed like there definitely could have been more growth and perhaps over a longer time period, this would have added to making the novel more realistic. Some things did seem rushed to me, like Louna’s first relationship with Ethan.

However, one of the biggest problems I had with this book was just that I couldn’t really bring myself to get overly attached to Ambrose. There was just something about his personality that I found a little bit annoying I’m not 100% sure as to what that is about him that irritates me. Perhaps it’s the fact that he seems to get away with everything and still get his way, including stealing a dog with no consequences, getting a job after making a horrible first impression to his future boss, and getting the girl he wanted after flirting with many, many other girls in the process. I would have liked to see Ambrose’s character development a little bit more defined and openly recognized by the end of the novel which is one area that this book fell short.

Overall though, I did enjoy the book and of course it has valuable take-aways about love and not closing your heart off too soon. It was a good summer read and I loved the wedding planning business and getting a sneak peek inside the world of weddings and the drama and stress that comes with it! Therefore, I give this novel 3.5/5 stars.

Some of my favourite Quotes from the Book: 

“It’s about the courage to go for what you want, not just what you think you need. Sometimes we don’t even know what that is.”

“But you never know what you can do until you try, and if you’re lucky, what you love will always be waiting for you”

“You can’t measure love by time put in, but the weight of those moments. Some in life are light, like a touch. Others, you can’t help but stagger beneath.”