Monday, 29 June 2015

ARC Review: Me Being Me is Exactly the Same as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy

Book: Me Being Me is Exactly the Same as You Being You

Author: Todd Hasak Lowy

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: March 24th

Pages: 620 Pages

Format: ARC

Source: Simon and Schuster Canada

Where to Buy: Amazon CA, Book Depository, Chapters Indigo

Thanks to Simon and Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest, and my own.

A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!

Darren hasn't had an easy year.

There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.

Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.

Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy's debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:

1. painful
2. unavoidable
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.

I'm a sucker for books that are written in interesting and unusual ways. Dual perspectives? I'm in. Crossed out word? I'm there. Books written entirely in lists? Sign me up. But these books are hit or miss. They either hit their mark and get the gold, or they fall flat on their faces and you just sit there pouting because it's such a shame - You really wanted to like it! And yes. Me Being Me fell into the latter category.

I'm just going to say it. This book could have packed a punch in 250 pages. It really could have. But instead, the author wrote it in lists, making it 600 pages of a slow motion punch. It was super irritating to read as well, because in a list of 10 things, only one of them is really needed. The rest are just filler anecdotes. I know this is a bit harsh, but they're useless to the plot. I don't need to know the 12 other times you felt insecure! I want you to tell me that you feel insecure now, and why.

It was not only this that bothered me. It was the main characters. Darren and Zoe and Nate were just boring. They were written like cliches with the promise to break the mold. But they didn't Darren was still just a whiney teenager who couldn't handle change. Nate was really bad comic relief and a reality check all rolled into one. And Zoe was your classic Manic-Pixie-Dream Girl. There were no layers to this story.

I was so disappointed with this story. It absolutely had the potential to be incredible. To pack a punch and to really affect readers. But it fell flat. 1/5 Stars.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Book: Cress

Series: Lunar Chronicles #3

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Pages: 552 Pages

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased at Chapters Indigo

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

I swear, rereading Cinder last year was the best decision I can remember making. I read Cinder in August or September of 2012, and I wasn't a huge fan of it, but I had heard a ton of stuff about Scarlet, and how some people thought it was better than Cinder. That was at the same time of a read-a-thon, when I decided to read all retellings, and since I didn't have the money to spend on buying more books, and I had Scarlet and Cinder still on my shelf, I gave them both a read. And I don't know why, but I found something in Cinder that I hadn't seen before, and I just devoured the books. And I just recently devoured Cress, and oh my god Marissa Meyer can do no wrong.

Marissa has this was of writing characters that you just want to root for. They are classic underdogs without feeling like underdogs. They are strong, and amazingly compassionate, and I just remember reading these books, especially Cress, wanting to befriend all of these characters. I was rooting for them from page one, and I was just so invested in their stories.

I know that this might seem weird to some, but the Lunar Chronicles give me the same vibe and remind me so much of the Chronicles of Narnia. I just find myself so connected to the characters in the Lunar Chronicles, and they feel like old friends, just as the Pevensie Children did. The magic and fantastical elements of the story made them feel even closer in my mind. These books had this feeling of hope and love and light in dark times, and it just brought me back.

These books remain some of my favourite reads, and even thinking about the characters, and their adventures and relationships make me smile. Marissa Meyer is so great, and I cannot wait to read the rest of this series when it comes out!

5/5 Stars!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Top Ten Topics That Have Been Done in the Past

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

Top Ten Debut Novels that I'm Excited for This Year

Top Ten Favourite Secondary Characters
Top Ten Books I Wish Would Have Had Sequels
Top Ten Books/Authors That I'm Thankful For
My Top Ten Auto Buy Authors
Top Ten Books I HAD to Buy But I Still Haven't Read
Top Ten Unusual Character Names We've Encountered in Books

Top Ten Books on my Seasonal TBR

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader
Top Ten "Older" Books I Don't Want People To Forget

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

ARC Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Book: Extraordinary Means

Author: Robyn Schneider

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 

Publication Date: May 26th, 2015

Pages: 336 Pages

Format: ARC

Source: HCC Frenzy

This book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it's easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. 

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

I'm going to come right out and say it - Robyn Schneider is the Queen of Contemporary. She's got it down. She can create interesting and lovable characters, as well as fast paced, fun, and honest plotlines. And don't forget that everything she writes is just so funny and full of life. And even when she's talking about things as serious as death and tuberculosis, she still has this unbelievable sense of hope in her stories.

One of my favourite things about Robyn's writing are her characters. I saw so much of myself in Lane, and so much of myself in Sadie, that it was easy to believe them, and it was easy to understand their decision making process. In a lot of contemporary books there's a bit of a transition period where you have to get to know the narrator, and that just didn't happen in this one. I immediately slipped into both narrations, and that was something that hasn't happened in a while. I just became submerged into this story and it held onto me until the final page. Sadie was such a delight, and Lane was just so familiar, and it was these two that made the story so memorable.

Another thing Robyn Schneider does so well is write about the human condition. She sets up a story that shimmers with whimsy and is so full of life, and she grounds it. She writes about life, and about the beauty it has and the harsh realities that come hand in hand with it. She tells her readers that, yes this is a book about relationships between people, and coming to understand who you are and who you want to be, but it's also a book about sick teenagers. She never lets you for one moment forget that this story is plagued by something. And she does that seamlessly, leading you up to a heartfelt and heartbreaking finale. 

Robyn Schneider has won my heart, and with this book, she'll win yours. She has one of the wittiest and realistic voices in print, and she deserves every miracle and sunny day. Thank you, Robyn. For allowing me to be apart of Lane and Sadie's journey. I won't easily forget it.

6/5 Stars. This is one for the history books.

Also! I did the Extraordinary Means book tag! Check it out!

Monday, 15 June 2015

ARC Review: One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Book: One Thing Stolen

Author: Beth Kephart

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Publication Date: April 14th, 2015

Pages: 272 Pages

Format: ARC 

Source: Raincoast Books

Where to Buy: Amazon CA, Book Depository, Chapters Indigo

Thanks to Raincoast Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Something is not right with Nadia Cara. She’s become a thief. She has secrets she can’t tell. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. In Florence, Italy, with her epicurean brother, professor father, and mother who helps at-risk teens, Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom no one but herself has seen. While her father researches a flood that nearly destroyed Florence in 1966, Nadia wonders if she herself can be rescued—or will she disappear?

Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art, and a rare neurological disorder. It is about language and beauty, imagining and knowing, and the deep salvation of love.

I was really unsure of this book, because while the synopsis sounded really intriguing, I just couldn't grasp onto the concept. Nadia, our narrator, is one of the most unreliable characters that I've ever read. And it was so hard to actually get the story when you spend most of the time reading trying to decipher riddles, only to see that the riddle wasn't actually important. She was all over the place, having one identity crisis after the other, and nothing is explained until about half way though. Nothing. Is. Explained. 

If you want to drive a reader nuts, give them an info dump. If you want to make a reader bat shit crazy, give them next to nothing to go on. It was so difficult to read this story, because I had no idea what was going on, until about a hundred pages in. And as soon as you figure out what's going on, the perspective switches - and not for the better.

While the change of narrators was necessary, I hated it. I hated having to completely drop one character, who was really unreliable, and move to a character that was ready to lay everything out on the table. To be honest? It gave me whiplash. The book had another identity crisis, right in front of my eyes, and it was getting old. 

I have no doubt that this is the book that caused my reading slump, and it might be because of that that i'm so bitter in hindsight. But I just didn't like this book. It didn't know what it was, and it just couldn't get it together. 

1/5 stars. One of my least favourites of the year.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

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

Monday, 1 June 2015

ARC Review: Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

Book: Hit

Author: Delilah S. Dawson

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: April 14th, 2015

Pages: 336 Pages

Format: ARC 

Source: Simon Pulse

Thanks to Simon Pulse for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks to Delilah S. Dawson for being awesome.


The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that we were bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift and silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to Valor voicemail, they’re unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.

Patsy didn’t have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her own mother die?

Patsy is forced to take on a five-day mission to complete a hit list of ten names. Each name on Patsy's list has only three choices: pay the debt on the spot, agree to work as a bounty hunter, or die. And Patsy has to kill them personally, or else her mom takes a bullet of her own.

Since yarn bombing is the only rebellion in Patsy's past, she’s horrified and overwhelmed, especially as she realizes that most of the ten people on her list aren't strangers. Things get even more complicated when a moment of mercy lands her with a sidekick: a hot rich kid named Wyatt whose brother is the last name on Patsy's list. The two share an intense chemistry even as every tick of the clock draws them closer to an impossible choice.

Delilah S. Dawson offers an absorbing, frightening glimpse at a reality just steps away from ours—a taut, suspenseful thriller that absolutely mesmerizes from start to finish.

Delilah S. Dawson is my literal favourite. I'm honestly girl crushing so hard. Servants of the Storm was one of my favourite reads in 2014, so when I got the chance to read her new book, Hit, I knew I had to pick it up. And oh my god. Can she get any more perfect?

Hit was so incredible. I loved every minute of it. First of all, the premise is so great. It's almost like a pre-dystopian, but it's not contemporary. The setting is so great, and Delilah makes it so that it's believable. She creates a world around it that seems legitimate, and one that you can easily picture and comprehend. I mean, in this world? Of course the bank is employing teenagers to go out and assassinate people with credit card debt! Duuhh.

Delilah S. Dawson is also great at creating characters that I actually relate to. Patsy is such a great character. I mean, she makes bad decisions, and she lets things get to her, and while she doesn't actually agree with what she's doing, she knows that she has to do it. I saw a lot of myself within her - unsure about almost everything, but absolute about some things. She was honest, and relatable, and her humanity really allowed me to connect with her. I don't think that the book would have had the same impact if she had gone all 'stereo typical dystopian heroine' and started a revolution. She didn't know what she was doing, and she did what she had to do. 

This book was really fast paced, fun, quick witted, and just utterly heartbreaking. The story does such a great job of making you fall in love with Patsy and Wyatt so quickly, that everything that happens subsequently makes your heart crack. This book was filled with heart racing scenes, and it really is the definition of a page turner.

I absolutely loved this, and if anything, this solidified my love for Delilah S. Dawson. I just want to watch Netflix with her and eat pizza. Is that too much to ask?

5/5 Stars.