If you've read anything by Clare Macintosh (I See You, Let You Go, Let Me Lie), you immediately associate her writing with the mystery and thriller genre. I have loved all three of these books and highly recommend them. Her books are captivating page-turning, and stay-up-all-night kind of reads. After the End was a surprisingly emotional read, that explores love, marriage, and commitment. This is the perfect Book Club choice, because this book encourages discussion from an ethics/morality standpoint, the challenges of marriage, and how each person encounters and deals with grief. I LOVED how this book is written in two parts. I found the first half depressing, and actually took a break before starting the second part, probably due to the fact that I recently had a child, and the content really hit home for me. The second part however, gets all the stars, and it is so uniquely written, with an incredible take on the Robert Frost poem 'The Road Not Taken'. One defining moment, and the path you choose to take... Highly recommend this one!
Almost Famous, meets Nashville & A Star Is Born.
Daisy Jones & The Six has quickly become one of my favourite books this year. It’s chronicles the life of a rock and roll band in the 70’s, and the events that led to their tragic break-up. Told from alternating views, and recounting their experiences through interviews, you’re quickly pulled into the ups and downs of life on the road, music tours, partying, drugs, and the music that defined the 70’s. It was immediately picked up for film rights with Reese Witherspoon, so you know it’s going to be good. It really reminded me of Almost Famous, with Kate Hudson, where a boy was given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine, about an up-and-coming rock band. You literally feel like you’re accompanying the group on the tour. My favourite character, hands-down, was Camilla. In telling my friend this, I read one of the quotes describing her – “You know, people think of Camila as following Billy everywhere, taking care of Billy all the time, but it wasn’t like that. She was a force to be reckoned with. She got what she wanted. Almost all the time. She was persuasive and kind of pushy – although, you never really realized you were being pushed. But she was opinionated and knew how to get her way”…and my friend said, but that’s you! (maybe that’s why I liked her so much J). This one was emotionally charged, raw, honest, and filled with spectacular characters. So uniquely different from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but equally enjoyable.
My favourite quotes:
Daisy: “There’s just as much to hate about you as there is to like about you. And that’s annoying.”
Camila: “It’s not my place to say what happened that day. All I will say is that you show up for your friends on their hardest days. And you hold their hand through the roughest parts. Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”
Thank you @booksparks for sending me this ARC. It’s a definite collector!
“When you don't know what to do for yourself, do something for somebody else.” I adored this book, both deep and complex, I smiled through the entirety. It’s rare that I give a book 5 stars, especially when it’s not a psychological thriller, but I loved the message of this book: We are not our circumstances. What a great feel-good novel about overcoming adversities. “I know better than to look backward. I know how to try, and how to fail, and how to try again. I know how to live from the inside out. I know to savor every snuggle, every morning swim, every tickle, every meal, every warm bath, every moment when somebody makes you laugh. More than anything, I know that you just have to choose to make the best of things. You get one life, and it only goes forward. And there really are all kinds of happy endings”.
“We don’t fix everything, but we sure do make things better. That’s really become my whole guiding philosophy. I would never tell you that the life you wanted couldn’t have been exactly as great as you planned. But you have to live the life you have. You have to find inspiration in the struggle, and pull joy out of hardship. That’s what we try to do – counterbalance the suffering with laughter, fuzzy blankets, hugs, sing-alongs, sunny-day picnics, chocolate chip cookies, and wildflowers. Because that’s all we can do: carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely savor the joy we can.” For fans of 'Me Before You'.
I just finished Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella.
“Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating. And so…not an achievement, my dear. Rather, a privilege.”
Witty, emotional, and extremely entertaining, I loved the message at the heart of this story: marriage is work, marriage is commitment, and marriage is putting your spouse before yourself. I laughed, I got emotional, and I smiled…a lot. This is the perfect Spring/Summer read, and as I’ve found, Kinsella never disappoints. Let me know what you think! Thank you @penguinrandomhouseand @netgalley for this ARC.
I am a HUGE fan of Mary Kubica. I have a copy of all of her books, and was so excited to receive an ARC from @netgalley and @harlequinbooks. I was immediately invested in When The Lights Go Out. I really enjoyed Pretty Baby, which came out in 2015, and this story follows the same theme of motherhood. I loved the plot, and the unreliable narrator, which provided the same riveting suspense and stress that The Woman in the Window and Girl on the Train provided. The storyline was amazing, with alternating POV’s which kept me furiously flipping pages well into the night, trying to uncover the “bizarre case of stolen identity.” When I finally got to the ‘twist’ I was really disappointed, and actually flipped back to re-read because I was so surprised and unsure if I read incorrectly. I felt that my questions were never answered and wish the ending had gone in a different direction. I’ve read some very positive reviews with 5 stars, so maybe I am in the minority here. Excited to see what the bookstagram community thinks!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A woman is plunged into a bizarre case of stolen identity in this ambitious and riveting thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that forces her to question everything she’s ever known.
Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key.
Circe, in one word, was spectacular. Madeline Miller's first novel, 'The Song of Achilles' was the winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction, and splashed across the bestselling charts. As a fan of mythology, I'm surprised I haven't read it. Circe was one of Book Of The Month's April picks, and it sounded intriguing, so I chose this, alongside The Girl Who Smiled Beads. I started it last week on a sunny afternoon, taking full advantage of my patio for the first time this year. Before I knew it, the sun was setting, and I was half-way through this masterpiece. For a story that spans a thousand years, this one does not disappoint, or cause you to feign interest. I loved the character of Circe, who is strong-willed, determined, and fiercely loyal. This book is intricately woven, providing an in-depth look at many mythology characters, and the myths that sealed their fate. Growing up, my sister and I were enamoured with the many approaches to mythology, specifically the Xena and Hercules plot lines. Circe blew my memories out of the water, providing intensely visual depictions of famous battles, character transformations, and prophetic utterances. This one is not to be missed!
Twist, after twist, after twist! I can't stop raving about this book, and I am thrilled that Booksparks included this in their Spring Reading Challenge #src2018. I would categorize this as a domestic drama, but there is mystery and thriller woven throughout. I gave this one a solid 5 stars because of the character development, moral dilemmas, and plot development. I love that you get to see things from different points of view, making each characters decisions more and more complex. I was completely absorbed in a whirlwind of emotion. A problematic love affair, a car crash, and the rollercoaster of grief, makes life more complicated for the neighbours of this street. I highly recommend this book!
I have seen this book all over Instagram and in everyone's hands in passing this month. I've read a few of John Green's books including Finding Alaska and The Fault in our Stars. I know I'm not the targeted audience for YA, however I do love this genre. I listened to this on Audible, so it may have impacted by opinion, as the multiple voices were read vastly different than I would read on my own. The main character suffers from an anxiety disorder. Listening to the narrator gave me anxiety, which proves Green's ability to force the reader into the characters shoes in a compelling and powerful way. At the heart of this story is the mystery of a billionaire, which Aza and Daisy attempt to solve in order to earn the large reward. I didn't think the two themes blended at all. I found the story to lack a solid plot line. Events were unrealistic, characters were self-absorbed and narcissistic, and the unending references to Star Wars was enough to make close this one and never return. Sadly, I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone. For some of my favourite Young Adult reads, check out the link.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy of A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor. I absolutely love young adult literature (YA), and I think only recently it became mainstream for this genre to allure adults as well. I think it's the escapist appeal and how it evokes nostalgia. What drew me to this book initially was the relationship between the two sisters. This is a tale of survival and love, and the cataclysmic event that ripped their bond apart. As an older sister, I had a hard time reading and trying to understand how they could treat each other the way they do. It almost seems artificial at times, until you realize what lies at the complexity of one bad decision. What I love about this book is the element of suspense. It had me turning pages well into the night.
I am thrilled with BookSparks summer reading challenge selections, and so thankful for all the books I've received this year. Last week I boarded a flight to Los Angeles at 8 am with multiple books in tow. My plan was to sleep for the duration of the flight before a bachelorette weekend. Shortly before take off I was immersed in this story, and two hours later, I was finished and desperately wanting more. 'Hello, Sunshine' is the story of Sunshine Mackenzie, a culinary celebrity, who built her fame and fortune on a disintegrating pile of lies. What I liked most about this story was its relevance. Social media has become a platform in which you can build a facade, highlighting the 'flawless' and 'effortless' way we go about life. What's missing is the vulnerability and honesty. This story shines a light on Sunshine's life after she gets hacked, as she scrambles to find out who and why. It's rare to find a book that's honest, emotional, and refreshing, that focuses on repairing relationships. This thought-provoking novel is at the top of my list for our book club's September pick. I can't wait to hear what you think!
Photographing books, one day at a time.