Sunday, May 17, 2015

REVIEW for The Knockoff

I was lucky enough to get an e-galley of this book!  So thank you Doubleday.

TITLE:            The Knockoff

AUTHORS:     Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

GENRE:          Chick Lit


I am rating this book a 4 star but with some reservation.  I guess it should be  3.5 star.  Why?  Because this book had the potential to be amazing and it was in some areas, but in others it simply wasn't.

I loved, loved the subject matter - fashion, technology and backstabbing.

Authors Sykes and Piazza do an amazing job with most of their characters and particularly our lead character Imogen.  I also loved Ashley and Eve is deliciously conniving and beyond arrogant that you really want to see her "go down".

The plot fashion -vs- technology or should I say "old fashion - fashion" taking on technology is fun, scary and all too plausible.

What does not work for me is the tangents the authors seem to need to take.  The story is moving along at a nice clip and I am enjoying the progression of the story and of the characters and all of a sudden, I get a long, long passage on some topic or rather, it feels like they needed to fill some space or ramble on and it removes from the fun of the storyline.

Nonetheless I truly enjoyed reading this book and was sorry it ended, so I definitely do recommend it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

REVIEW for The Truth About Us

TITLE:                 The Truth About Us

AUTHOR:            Janet Gurtler

GENRE:               YA


I truly enjoy reading this author's works. She writes realistic stories that are both sad and uplifting without going over the top silly.

The Truth About Us is basically a story about two young adults from very different worlds who want to come together despite everything. This book touched on a lot of emotions for me, at times, I found myself rooting for the characters and at the same time, I kind of saw why they could not be together. Its always a good sign for me when a storyline tears me in two - challenges me to think about a situation and question "what would I do if it were me?".

Very well written - I love that Gurtler uses day to day dialogue and does not fall victim to the "high prose" that many authors tend to do - if you have dialogue or a scene to discribe - don't take 10 pages to do it in.

I also enjoyed how none of the adult characters were particularly nice or were being portrayed as "knowing everything" - especially the moms of both of these characters and I won't even get into how much I disliked the dad in this one.

Excellent reading and excellent writing. I loved it.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

REVIEW for Insatiable

I was lucky enough to get both a hard copy and Kindle copy of this book (thank you NetGalley).

TITLE:       Insatiable

AUTHOR: Shary Hauer

GENRE:    Memoir


I am a huge fan of memoirs and specifically, memoirs on addiction. I was thrilled when I discovered this book, purely by accident.

Author Hauer tackles a tough subject - one which many people will argue does not really exist. But I disagree with that - love addiction is real and my feeling is that everyone suffers from it (various degrees) at one point or another in our lives.

The author details her life - pretty much in and out of relationships that were, for some reason or other, not feeding her soul. It makes for captivating reading, almost like you are looking at her deepest secrets, while she struggles through them and there isn`t anything we can do to help her.

Hauer is very honest about her `shortcomings`in these relationships and its fascinating to see her slowly come to understand her patterns and her behaviours. 

This book was a bit short for me, but it does give a jolt.

Excellent read.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

REVIEW for Gorge

I was lucky enough to read this book through Net Galley.

TITLE:        Gorge

AUTHOR:   Kara Richardson Whitely

GENRE:      Memoir


My short review would be I LOVED THIS BOOK.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one but I was captivated by the blurb and wanted to know more.

Sure, I can honestly say that I have never had any burning desire to hike up the Kilmanjaro but I was fascinated by the premise that a woman weighing 300 lbs could do it (or even wanted to do it).

What followed was an absolutely amazing and inspiring story of Kara who faced both her body issues and her fears about what lay ahead on her journey.

This book worked so well for me because it represents Kara's connection with the mountain and her weight issues. Throughout the book you can feel that often what Kara was feeling or thinking could easily be applied to both her trek and her life at the same time - the juxtaposition of both - the reality of an overweight woman daring to tackle such a huge task, while at the same time not managing to put down the candy was a fascinating and EXTREMELY TRUE look at what food addiction is.

I loved, loved this story and felt for Kara every painful step of the way.

I also loved how Kara does not preach or tell us that she found a miracle by attempting this trek. Rather it is about a woman and her feelings and thoughts as she tries to do something that has always been a dream.

I cannot say enough good things about this book and kudos to the title - this is an inspiring read for anyone, but especially for women who think food addiction means the end of your life.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

REVIEW for We Can Work it Out

Thank you, thank you to Scholastic Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:               We Can Work it Out

AUTHOR:          Elizabeth Eulberg

GENRE:             YA


First, I have to say how much I love this cover - anyone reading the book will understand why this cover was used and all I can say is that the obsession continues in this one - making for some cute and funny moments.

Penny is an engaging character - she now has to face a new reality - is it possible to date a nice guy? and if so, what happens to the Lonely Hearts Club.  This is at the centre of this book, as Penny discovers that she now needs to move forward and start growing, instead of just retreating into the Club she created in order to get away from her emotions and her fears.

The author does an excellent job of showing us how conflicted Penny feels throughout the storyline, as she meshes normal teen angst about dating and growing up with the very real pain that Penny has had to deal with in the past.

I do agree with other reviewers who commented that at times, it feels as though the author seems to shift her writing style more towards younger teens, which does take away form the book.  A level of maturity that remained constant would have elevated this story.

Nonetheless, not a bad read.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

REVIEW for A Kiss to Build a Dream On

TITLE:               A Kiss to Build a Dream On

AUTHOR:          Kim Amos

GENRE:             Romance


For those who know me, I rarely read romance novels, unless they are chick lit and are geared towards single women who get into all kinds of troubles (hence, chick lit).  However, one of my favorite authors sent me her new book  - a romance, which is a departure from her other types of books.

At first, I wasn't sure if I could do this book justice, but I instantly loved the cover (yes, I am ONE OF THOSE) and dug in.  

I really liked the plot and since it is written by one of my all time favorite authors, I KNEW that I would have no problem with the writing style.  

A Kiss to Build a Dream On is as much about home improvements as it is about discovering love, going to your past and oh, did I mention, the sexy love scenes?  As a bonus, Willa is converting her house to a B&B - which happens to have been a dream  I had in my mid thirties. Sadly unrealized, which means I also got to live "vicariously" through her.

Burk is a bit "too" everything for me and at times I thought "wow, there are no guys on this earth that are quite that perfect"LOL but then some cute and funny (challenging) dialogue would erupt and I would be right into the story again.

I have to admit I am worried though.  I really, really don't want this author to stop writing her other "type" of books though (YA), so she will have to figure out a way to "clone" herself LOL.

If you love romance novels that are not dumbed down - this is the perfect read.

Friday, March 6, 2015

REVIEW for Backlash

Thank you to the wonderful Nikole at Scholastic Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:              Backlash

AUTHOR:         Sarah Darer Littman

GENRE:           YA


In full disclosure mode, I LOVE Sarah Darer and everything she writes.  I have gone on record as saying that Want to Go Private is one of the best books I have ever read.

Backlash once again tackles difficult YA issues - related to technology.  Its always amazing to me when I think back about my youth - we had no technology to worry about, although bullying was certainly an issues.  I guess, though, it wasn't quite as easy to bully when you didn't have the ears and the eyes of the world at your disposal.

This is what Backlash tackles.  Just how one "silly", "impulse" can ruin your life and those around you.  How one click of the button can basically destroy the world of the people around you - its actually pretty scary.

The other thing this book does extremely well is expose bullying and all its dark sides.  The ease in which people (including those who should have known better) want to get into the act of bullying with you, but also the sheer destruction of it and how it haunts you.

The writing is beautiful, direct and from the heart.  Although this book is very difficult to read because, let's face it, everyone has bullied or been bullied at some point, it is also engrossing and thought provoking.

The touching friendship of the younger siblings, while everything is falling apart around them is beautiful and made me smile.  They were often more mature and the voice of reason than anyone around them.

Finally, I devoured this book and it is a must read for both parents and YA - hopefully, it can be seen as a tale of caution.

I can't wait to read Sarah's next book.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

REVIEW for Out of It

Thank you to the people at James Lorimer Company for auto approving me on Net Galley.

TITLE:             Out of It

AUTHOR:        Michelle Kadarusman

GENRE:            YA


I have read many, many books published by James Lorimer & Company and they have all been great reads.

The Sidestreets series publishes wonderful books featuring YA and current social issues that are always spot on and Out of It is another example of how incredibly important it is to print these types of books in today's world.

Author Kadarusman writes about two best friends that share everything until one of them decides to explore her inner demons by drinking, doing drugs and getting herself into a situation that she cannot get herself out of. The characters of Lacey and Suri are actually very well fleshed out, considering how short this book is.

I found the story compelling and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens to both of them. I liked that this is not your typical "mean girl" story, in fact the direction the author chose to take with this friendship was refreshing and honest. I found myself rooting for both of these girls who each have their demons to fight.

I also loved the fact that the love story (of sorts) is NOT the main focus of this book, but rather its about two young girls who find out that they are truly there for each other no matter what.

Loved it.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

REVIEW for Kiss and Tell

Thank you to HBG Canada for offering me a copy of this book through Net Galley.

TITLE:         Kiss and Tell

AUTHOR;   Jacqueline Green

GENRE:       YA


I would have loved to give this book amazing reviews, unfortunately, I just could not get into the storyline at all.

I was intrigued by this book because it sounded like a creepy whodunnit especially since the story unfolds in a tiny, remote town.   However, this book felt like it was a plot line with nowhere to go.

I think part of the problem was the author's determination in giving the story twists, which only bogged down the story.

This book is not intriguing, creepy or particularly interesting.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

REVIEW for Walking on Trampolines

Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:              Walking on Trampolines

AUTHOR:         Frances Whiting

GENRE:            Fiction

Okay, in full disclosure mode, I am NOT usually a fan of this type of fiction, however, the plot was very interesting to me - mainly because I lived something very similar when I was a young girl and a YA (minus the sleeping with the guy).

For many years, I could not get him and us out of my mind and when I read this book, it brought it all back.  The pain, suffering, emotions and ultimately the decisions that are made by Annabelle, Lulu and Josh then and now make this book a compelling read - mainly because the question kept coming to me "do we make decisions" or "are our actions and thoughts (and decisions already planned for us)??? having thought of this very often through my life, I have always believed that our lives are predestined, which means that no matter what Annabelle, Lulu and Josh did or didn't do, the end result was already determined.  

Reading this book - comparing it to my life and believing that everything is predetermined, gave me a take on this plot that was both discouraging, empowering and a tad sad.

Can friendship survive betrayal and bad choices?  Only the powers that be can answer that - unfortunately, but this book WAS a very good read, but having said that, I realize that even me reading this book was not an accident.

I know this was a bit of a weird review, but I guess this book really made me think - which is never a bad thing :) 

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