Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Life Update/Semi-Hiatus

Those who have still been following my blog know that I am expecting my first child in about 8 weeks. This has slowed down my blogging substantially. I have still been reading (mostly listening to audio books), but haven't had the motivation to write any reviews/blog posts for the last little while. 

Baby S has been taking all of my energy and I have been sleeping as much as I can and getting things organized for her arrival, before my life changes dramatically. ;) My office had to move to make room for a baby room (you don't realize how many books you own until you have to move them all). I purged a ton of them by either donating, giving to friends or selling. I still have a ton on my TBR that I could not part with. I hope that I can read a bit here and there after she arrives. I'll just have to figure out when and how. 

I'm currently reading two books and have one audio book on the go. 

Bunmi Laditan's book Toddlers Are A**holes is hilarious. And I highly suggest checking out her facebook page. I will probably be writing a review on this one soon as I really am enjoying it. 

Undead and Unwary is a guilty pleasure of mine. I love the Undead series by MJD.

And yet another audio book of Kathy Riech's Temperance Brennan series. I love these books. I am finally catching up on all of the books I've missed in the series. I have another audio book of hers ready to go after I finish this one (which will probably be tomorrow). So far Bones Are Forever is a really great read - I love that it's based in Canada this time (most of her books are between Canada and US, but this one is all Canadian). I am enjoying the tidbits about real cases that have been added into this one (I have a lot of looking  things up to do after - I keep writing names and things down to learn more about). 

Anyway... I'm not disappearing all together. I'm just writing when I can and posting reviews, discussions etc when I get the chance. Hopefully after a few months I will get a schedule down so that I can write here and there more frequently while on maternity leave. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Still Mine by Amy Stuart | Review

Still Mine by Amy Stuart
Published: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 320
Received: from publisher for honest review
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon

The Girl on the Train meets The Silent Wife in this taut psychological thriller.



Clare is on the run.

From her past, from her ex, and from her own secrets. When she turns up alone in the remote mining town of Blackmore asking about Shayna Fowles, the local girl who disappeared, everyone wants to know who Clare really is and what she's hiding. As it turns out, she's hiding a lot, including what ties her to Shayna in the first place. But everyone in this place is hiding something from Jared, Shayna's golden-haired ex-husband, to Charlie, the charming small-town drug pusher, to Derek, Shayna's overly involved family doctor, to Louise and Wilfred, her distraught parents.

Did Shayna flee? Was she killed? Is it possible she's still alive?

As Clare uncovers the mysteries around Shayna's disappearance, she must confront her own demons, moving us deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of lies and making us question what it is she's really running from. Twisting and electrifying, this is a get-under-your-skin thriller that will make you question what it means to lose yourself and find yourself in the most unlikely places.

I think the thing I enjoyed most about this book was how you had to uncover more than one story - what happened to Clare and why she was in Blackmore and what happened to Shayna and why? Not only are you dealing with the mysterious disappearance, but you have a secondary mystery to unravel as well. It was very interesting to have this cross over. 

Clare's backstory was a little predictable once you found out more, but the interesting story of how she came to be in Blackmore was the intriguing part. You understand why she left her life, but not why is looking for this missing woman. It's pretty crazy and not what I would have thought at all. 

And Shayna, well her story is messed up too. I thought I had it all figured out, but then second guessed myself because I then thought my person of interest was too obvious and kept changing my ideas. Finally, I just stopped thinking and let it unravel quickly while reading it. 

I was engrossed by the stories of the town people and their way of life in such a remote place. Everyone knows one another, but not everyone gets along. There are long standing family feuds, gossips, and unemployed stragglers. The mix of people leave so many suspects and a lot of work for Clare. 

I loved that it was set in a mostly abandoned mountain town with so many colourful people. A nice change of pace from books set in cities or exotic locales. 

If you're looking for a good mystery novel for a summer read, this just might the book for you! It's engaging and a quick read.

About the author: 
Amy Stuart’s first novel, Still Mine, was recently released with Simon & Schuster Canada and is forthcoming with Touchstone Books in the US.

Currently at work on the sequel to Still Mine, Amy's writing has previously appeared in Exile Quarterly, the Vanderbilt CVC Anthology, Freefall Magazine and the Globe and Mail. She won the 2011 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Fiction Competition and was a finalist for the 2012 Vanderbilt/Exile Award. In 2012, Amy completed her MFA in Creative Writing through UBC under the mentorship of writer Lisa Moore. When not writing, she is a guidance counsellor at an alternative high school.

Amy was born in Toronto where she still lives with her husband and their three sons. Aside from writing, she loves hockey. Ice hockey. -source

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bookish People You Should Follow On Instagram

These are the Instagramers you just have to check out! They have the most beautiful bookstagram photos!
Not ten this week, only three - but they have beautiful images!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ARC Review: The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith
Published: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 384
Received: from publisher (Simon & Schuster Canada) for honest review
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Wow, what a story. I am amazed at how emotional this book made me. I knew the subject matter would be emotional in itself, but I didn't realize how much this character, Eden, would affect me. Following Eden through her high school years and trying to forget what happened to her during freshman year, is a roller coaster. A once sweet, caring girl turns into someone who hates the world and doesn't care about anything. It's like she has shut down all emotions and pushes everyone away who tries to get close. She uses sex and drinking to numb her thoughts and to make her detach from reality. It's disturbing and extremely sad to watch her spiral out of control. But in reality I can see how this could happen to someone who has been raped. 

People will say, why didn't she tell anyone. But I can see how it wouldn't  be that easy to do if you felt threatened or if it was someone everyone loved. It would be horrible to keep the secret. It's destructive, but understandable. 

It's such a heartbreaking story and I know that many female characters that have been raped are portrayed a certain way, but this does not detract from the story. I've read some reviews where people were upset that this book followed a certain "plot line", but honestly this book is written in a way that you connect with the main character, Eden, and feel everything she is feeling. I think it's an important voice to help those dealing with the issue of rape/abuse to speak out, to know they are not alone. 

I commend Ms. Smith for writing about this topic and handling in a very realistic way. Not once did I feel like this couldn't have happened or wouldn't have happened. Every scene made sense to Eden's mental state.

I do not use a star ratings on my blog anymore, but this is one of the best reads so far for 2016. 

About the Author:
Amber Smith grew up in Buffalo, NY and now lives in Charlotte, NC with her two dogs. After graduating from art school with a BFA in Painting, she earned her MA in Art History. When she’s not writing, she is working as a curator and art consultant. She has also written on the topics of art history and modern and contemporary art. The Way I Used to Be is her first novel. 

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