Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Before I go to SleepImage
S.J. Watson
Adult, Crime thriller
published: June 14th, 2011
3/4

 

                Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man.
                She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.
                But it’s a phone call from Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities – tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life – and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before the accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?
                Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past and the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.
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                I’m not going to lie, I was one of those people who went into this book fearful it was going to be some strange re-write of fifty first dates because in all honestly it sounds a lot like fifty first dates. Before I go to Sleep however, is most assuredly NOT anything like fifty first dates and I kind of wish it was.
                “Before I Go to Sleep” was crazy, a whole big train of crazy. It was tantalizing and deliciously creepy. I honestly sat down on a beautiful sunny afternoon and devoured it. It’s a very easy read for the most part. The chapters mainly consist of her waking up and starting fresh again, which did drag on a big and did become quite daunting.
                There were a few aspects of the book that I didn’t enjoy and I think that it was mostly because this story was drawn out and in the end that made things rather predictable. In my opinion this would have made an awesome short story.
                I can give S.J. Watson big props for writing an original story however, at least it was to me. I’ve never read anything quite like it. The effort that was put into Christine’s life story was pretty intense. The Lies, the deception, the twists and turns were all fantastic and great, however there were a few moments that gave away the ending.
                Despite not having enjoyed this book a lot, it was a good read and I mostly enjoyed it. I don’t think it’s a book I’d ever read again, but if you like Crime Thrillers with an original story like I believe “Before I Go to Sleep.” Would make a great addition to your collection.Image

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
John GreenImage
Contemporary YA
Published: January 10th, 2012
4/5

                Diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumour in her lungs… for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends, and post-normalcy. Even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means) Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Agustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly, to her interested in Hazel. Being with Agustus is both an unexpected destination and a long needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and healthy, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

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                The Fault in our Stars by John Green has been raved about for what seems like eons now. As I’ve grown a bit older from when looking for Alaska was originally released (and that’s the year I first read it) I’ve found some of his other work has left me wanting. I find his characters have been replayed over again. The soft spoken geeky boy just trying to fall in love with the girl of his dreams. What I enjoyed in terms of fiction then and what I enjoy now has greatly changed, HOWEVER, the fault in our stars re-sparked my joy in reading John Green’s work.
                The Fault in our Stars is funny, honest, brutally harsh, and brilliantly heartbreaking. It wasn’t a cliché love story, it wasn’t a cliché anything really. It just was. I could spend time telling you what I’ve liked about the book, however if you’re reading this and you’ve already read it, stop here this review isn’t for you.
                This book review is for all the people who too scared to take the leap, this review is for the people who scoff at the very idea of reading something so trendy and so young. The Fault in our stars is a great work because it can be read by everyone and most everyone will be touched. It’s not a happy story, it will rip out your heartstrings and then stomp on them. This is a story about second chances, appreciating the time you do have and the people that are around you.
               I am a strong believer that people are put into our lives to shape and mold it, to change who we are and to help us grow and see our own potential by pushing us through all the battles of heartbreak, love, sorrow and joy.
                The Fault in our stars isn’t just a story about cancer, or just a story about a boy and a girl. The Fault in our Stars is about accepting what we cannot change, and how we move on from tragedy and grow.Image

Book Review: Wedding Night

Wedding NightImage
Sophia Kinsella
Chick-lit, Romance
Publish Date: April 23rd, 2013
4/5

                Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad – not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married… right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. Lottie, however, is determined to say “I do.” For better, or for worse.

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                Wedding Night is the first book by Sophia Kinsella that I’ve ever read completely through. I was delightfully surprised by the witty dialogue and her use of dual character chapters. I thought that both Lottie, and her sister Fliss had distinctive voices; which is something that is not always concrete in fiction. I believe that this type of writing style has grown on me greatly; I believe that ‘Wedding Night’ inspired me enough to believe that it is a possible plot progression point and that it adds value in terms of the story.
                I thought the heroines were both sweet and very honest in terms of their personalities. I definitely enjoyed Fliss’ character quite a bit more however, as I believe she was more grounded in reality and not desperate enough to eagerly reach other and grab whomever would help her attain the next chapter in her life. I thought that Lottie’s ideals of who she wanted to be were not relevant to how her life had turned out. I can however, identify with this quality as I believe when we’re all younger we have ideals that we’ve set in stone before there is any chance of knowing what the outcome might possibly be in reality.
                I really enjoyed Lorcan (despite thinking that this name is absolutely ridiculous) he had to grow on me however, much like Richard did, but in the end they were great supporting characters with believable personality traits and agreeable story lines. What I thought was mostly great about them was how completely and utterly human they were. I loved their flaws and they added so much in terms of the story, it made the romance and interactions more believable.
                I don’t read a lot of ‘chick-lit’ books anymore, and when I do I have some authors that I tend to stick too but ‘Wedding Night’ has allowed me to cautiously branch out and perhaps discover some more great writers and perhaps in the future I’ll even read a few more by Sophia Kinsella despite my initial reservations regarding her work.
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Book Review: Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)Image
Kelley Armstrong
YA Fantasy
Publish Date: April 8th 2014
*Received an Advanced Reader Copy in good reads giveaway
** This Opinion is 100% my own.

            In the Forest of the Dead, where the Empires worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

            Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

            Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sister’s journey to find each other sends them far from the only home that they have ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls’ cross a once empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court – one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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            I’ve only recently started reading Kelley Armstrong’s work. I’ve already invested in her new series Cainsville and was really excited to try her young adult fiction. I definitely was not disappointed with Sea of Shadows!
            I really, really, really enjoyed the backstory and all the lore. The whole concept of the Keeper and Seeker, and even the Forest of the Dead really drew me into the story and hooked me. I’ve been getting into fantasy novels a lot in the past year or so, largely in thanks to my Husband and I am super pleased to be adding this series to my collection!
            It’s dark, edgy and has a strong sense of purpose. There is a point and reason as to why each scene in is in this novel and I find that extremely refreshing and uplifting that there were no needless fillers. The main characters each have their own voices and strongly defined personalities. There is personal growth for each character in Sea of Shadows which doesn’t always happen with series, so it was great to see that already taking off.
            The romance aspect is great and seems really natural. It never seems too forced or too rushed for me to find it awkward and unrealistic. I definitely have a favorite couple and a favorite character at this point in the story but will reserve on ‘fan-girling’ all over this book review.
            I’ve noticed that this book isn’t getting the best reviews currently and am hoping that will soon change as I think this series has a whole lot of potential and has a very fascinating story and cast of characters that I personally cannot wait to get to know even better. I love it when things are revealed over time and when you’re not bombarded with information and I think Kelley Armstrong’s writing style is really suited to my reading style and what I want from out of a novel.
            I am looking forward to the second part of this story and am deeply saddened by how long it is I’ll have to wait for it. Thank goodness Kelley Armstrong has many more books and series for me to try out while I wait!
           

Check out of Goodreads Page Here!

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & ParkImage
Rainbow Rowell
Young adult Contemporary
Published: 2013
5/5

                Two Misfits.
                One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough… Eleanor.

Park… He know she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs as her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-old – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

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                It’s not often that a book touches me in the way that Eleanor & Park has. The simplest and realistic nature of their relationship was both heartwarming and beautiful. Rainbow Rowell has managed to deliver a love story that is timeless in its content and in its tenderness. Despite not having been born when this book took place, it easily reminded me of my first love, and all the heartbreak and confusion that came with it when I was sixteen.
                Rowell has delivered realistic characters with realistic obstacles. The beginning middle and end made perfect sense and I personally wouldn’t have wanted to see it written any differently. I liked the open ending, because life is open ended. Just because something happens or someone leaves or comes back doesn’t mean that’s how it’s always going to be. Even if someone has hurt you in the past that doesn’t mean that person won’t be your best friend someday or maybe even the person you marry of course the story won’t always end perfectly either. I’ve seen this story happen so many times in my life with my friends and of course, with my own life. This story is truly heartwarming and heartbreaking.
                Worth all the hype, completely and with honesty.    

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Book Review: The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds (Darkest Minds #1)Image
Alexandra Bracken
Paranormal YA (Dystopian)
Published: 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
4/5

                When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp”. She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
                Now Sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
                When the truth comes out Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her – East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby but no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
                When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
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                Going into the ‘Darkest Minds’ I was not really sure what I was going to be getting myself into. When most movies, books, etc., are over hyped I usually find it hard to really give myself fully to the experience. However, I was easily immersed in the effortless writing and progressive plot.
                Many of the things that Ruby experiences generally hurt my heart, I couldn’t imagine being a child and having been rejected by everyone and everything I had ever known and loved.  Knowing nothing about your situation or why you’re in that particular situation would be terrifying and I found that part of Ruby relatable in the sense that her reactions seemed genuine, they seemed similar to how I would have expected myself to react.
                One thing I really loved about the ‘Darkest Minds’ was all the unanswered questions, which may seem a little strange to you but to me it was refreshing. There is nothing I find more annoying than having all the answers before the story even really begins or has started to settle in.  Despite the story having been told by Ruby`s point of view, any information relating to her past is very secretive to the point where you wonder if she`s hiding it from herself. She seems to be just as much of a mystery to herself as she does to me.
                All of the characters really are shrouded in mystery and again that’s what makes this book so fascinating and why you find yourself without the ability to put the book down.
                Mind reading, mind control, telekinesis, etc., has always been fascinating to me. I couldn`t imagine a world where these things exist and if they do exist I hope it`s not such a brutal awakening as it were in this book. I thought that Alexandra Bracken did a marvelous and engaging job portraying these abilities and explaining them in how they pertain to the book.
                If you’re looking for earth shattering romance however, you’re not going to find it here. Obviously there is a little bit of lovey dovey stuff going between Liam and Ruby but it’s extremely mild, and yet very tender and realistic. Perhaps the other novels will have more of a thrilling romance but I don’t have high hopes for that as it seems to be that this book is definitely not a romance dystopian in the way that Delirium was.
                At any rate The “Darkest Minds” was a great success for me, I quite enjoyed myself and am looking forward to eventually diving into the next book in the series that’ll probably end on a terrible gut wrenching cliff hanger, because it seems to me that’s the way trilogies work these days.

Book Review: This is Not a Test

This is not a TestImage
Courtney Summers
Young Adult
Published: 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
4/5

 

                It’s the end of the world…
                Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is of little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
                To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
                As the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in a startling way and soon the groups fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more, and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life – and death – inside.
                When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

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               This is not a test reads more like a contemporary novel than zombie fiction. You never really find yourself too worried about the threat of the zombie hordes outside of the school, your concern really lies within the confines of the school. You learn really quickly how fast what you believed in can fall when your life is at risk and your survival is at stake. What you’re capable of, is truly unknown until you’re faced with the unknown.
                Sloane Price is a deeply wounded character. She is probably one of the most damaged and broken characters I’ve ever read in a young adult novel. She’s just so sad and you feel her despair pouring out of the pages, bleeding form chapter to chapter and even when she’s happy or seems better you can’t actually be sure.
                This is not a Test calls this into question, “What do you do when you survive something when you never wanted to exist at all?” This is an extremely fascinating character study. Who could imagine surviving the zombie apocalypse and not because you’ve been trying to but because fate seems to want to keep you around for a little bit longer.  Sloane actually went out of her way many times throughout the novel to succumb to the zombie plague and each time she is saved or it plain does not work out.      
                All of the characters are great, they all have unique voices and each give something valuable to the plot. None of them are who they seem to be, and I’m sure none of them are who they thought they were either.
                For such a small novel it is action packed, it’s not dull and everything rushes by quickly. It isn’t in a bad way, but in a good way because you get down to the nitty gritty and you don’t have to wade through useless fluff/filler.  
                This is Not a Test also has one of the most intense endings that I’ve ever read in a young adult stand-alone novel! It almost felt incomplete because the ending was rather left up to interpretation. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who ‘writes off’ young adult fiction and to those who enjoy it. I guarantee you’d be happily surprised by the quality and depth of this story.