Home       About Me       Review Index

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Thoughts: The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams (DNF)

For the teens at The Haven, the outside world, just beyond the towering stone wall that surrounds the premises, is a dangerous unknown. It has always been this way, ever since the hospital was established in the year 2020. But The Haven is more than just a hospital; it is their home. It is all they know. Everything is strictly monitored: education, exercise, food, and rest. The rules must be followed to keep the children healthy, to help control the Disease that has cast them as Terminals, the Disease that claims limbs and lungs—and memories.

But Shiloh is different; she remembers everything. Gideon is different, too. He dreams of a cure, of rebellion against the status quo. What if everything they’ve been told is a lie? What if The Haven is not the safe place it claims to be? And what will happen if Shiloh starts asking dangerous questions?

ARC received from publisher. 

Picture this...

You're snuggling down, getting cozy, ready to start reading that new book that you are really excited about and are hoping for a really great experience. Then you start it and it doesn't start out the way that you had anticipated. But you keep going, thinking hoping that it will get better. But it doesn't, and as you go it gets bad, really bad. This is what happened to me as I read The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams. I was excited to read this one. It sounded interesting and I was eager to step out of my comfort zone with The Haven. But I just did not enjoy this one at all.

The next bit is going to be a bit spoiler-y so beware.

Now in all fairness I only got sixty pages into this one before I gave up. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't stand the protagonist- Shiloh, I thought she as incredibly annoying. She had no spunk, she was scared and I get that, but I couldn't get passed it. She was to cautious and unwilling to take chances. I found that I need more in my main characters. They need to be independent and have a unique thought. In the pages that I read, I did not get this from Shiloh.

What really irritated me about The Haven, was the fact that it felt like a plot that had been done before. The whole thing was very much like the movie The Island (starring Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor), or the book Never Let Me go by Kazuo Ishiguro. For me, this novel did not feature an original idea- which would have been fine had it not been so painfully obvious. I knew what was happening ten pages in.

In the end I chose not to finish The Haven. I found that I had no desire to read it, and that meant that I didn't read at all. It took me a full week to read the first sixty pages and it totally put me in a slump.

I don't think that The Haven is a bad book, it just wasn't for me. I think it would be a great read for young readers, ages 10-12. I am not sure if that is the targeted audience, however, I think that's who should read it.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

I don't have many favourites for you this month. I think I may start doing these every other month. Maybe interchange them with monthly wrap ups. We shall see. But here we go. 


Call the Midwife

I am pretty obsessed with British Television. It's kind of insane. Anywho.. I had already seen one season of Call the Midwife when it showed up on Netflix. and I gobbled it up. I love that this one is a period drama and there are babies. Season three premiered in January and I have been keeping up with the show since that time. This really is as fantastic show.


There is a story behind this... I watched the first season of Nashville at the end of last year. Like what is usual for me, I marathoned it and watched the season in about three days. I really did like the show, but chose not to watch it regularly once it returned to tv. But my sister was staying with me for a few days and found the show on Netflix she started watching it. All of a sudden I was hooked again, and I have since caught up on season two and can't wait to keep watching. I am totally waiting for Scarlet and Gunner to get back together.


City and Colour - The Hurry and the Harm

I have been a fan of City and Colour (Dallas Green) for a looooong time. I own all four of this albums and I love every one. I have been fortunate enough to see him three times live (it's amazing, if you ever get the opportunity to see his shows, you must go) He's on Tour now, and in Winnipeg on May 17th and I am dying to go, I just need to find someone who wants to go with me. I think he's a brilliant musician.

Anywho, this past month I found that I was playing The Hurry and the Harm exclusively. I was basically obsessed with this album this month. My favourite songs have been Two Coins, Ladies and Gentlemen, and the recent single, The Lonely Life (video featured below).


Body Butters from the Body Shop 

So, it has been brutally cold this winter- and pretty dry. SO my skin suffers, and it has been particularly bad this winter. I generally moisturise every time I get out of the shower, but my regular body lotion just wasn't cutting it. I needed something better. And voila-  Body Butter. I am telling you, if you are suffering from dry skin, The Body Shop body butters are a miracle. They have different textures depending on the the level of hydration your skin needs. 

My two favourites have been the Shea Body Butter- which is for very dry skin, and has a thicker more greasy consistency (and has a beautiful fragrance), and Olive Body Butter- which is for dry skin. It still has a thicker consistency, but not as thick, and is not as greasy as the shea (this is by far, my favourite scent of the two).  

FYI- The Body Shop is having a pretty epic sale right now on all their body butters (they're half off). So instead of $20.00 for a container, it's only $10.00. 


Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder 

I just finished this book and I really, really liked it. It was my book club book for the month, and we all seemed to enjoy reading it. It sort of reminded me of Shadow and Bone a bit (although this one came first). I think I'll keep going with the series, but you know me. I always seem to start a series- never finish them. 

Those are my favourites for the month. I hope you enjoy. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Thoughts: My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

Sixteen-year-old Jackie Howard is devastated when her parents are killed in a car accident. She has no one to turn to except for her mom's best friend Katherine Walter. Jackie quickly discovers that Katherine is no stranger to being a mom-she's got twelve boys! And every single one is a handful...

Adjusting to life with the Walter boys is not going to be easy, especially when two of them start to show an interest that definitely goes beyond brotherly.

**Review Copy received from publisher.

Ali Novak's debut My Life with the Walter Boys was an incredibly fast read. I think I had in done in a day. Which is pretty quick for me- I am the slowest reader ever! When I first read the synopsis of the story, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. But at the same time, I was pretty apprehensive. This was a story that I was pretty sure could get kind of corny. Having read it, and stewed over it some, I have to say, that I really liked it. It did get corny, and eye rolling at some points, but for the most part, it was enjoyable. However, there are a couple of things that I was unsure about.

The story begins with Jackie moving from her New York Home to a ranch in Colorado after the death of her family. She is off to live with a friend of her mother's who is mother to twelve of her own kids. My Life With the Walter Boys is essentially about Jackie adjusting to her new life. But wait... her new life now consists of eleven boys and a love triangle.

Let me just get this off my chest straight away. I hate love triangles. I have always hated love triangles. This is no exception. Specifically because this one is SO freaking stupid! I don't even think I am going to talk about it. Other than, it's dumb and shouldn't have even been part of the story. The whole romance aspect of this novel was little pathetic. Sorry to say. I think it all happened to fast. One second the boys were indifferent to Jackie, and the next they were in love with her. The same goes with her as well.

What also kind of bothered me about the romance love triangle was the circumstances. Jackie was living with the family, for all intents and purposes she was now part of said family. I know that there was no biological relationship between them at all, however, it felt weird to me that the first instinct for some of the boys was attraction, and that they felt it was appropriate, almost normal, to act on this attraction. What I guess I am trying to say is, there was no internal struggle, not fighting the lust, no guilt for the situation. If there had been some of that, I am pretty sure I would have appreciated this aspect of the book more.

In my last review of Something Real- another story about a large family, I mentioned that I was disappointed with how the author approached the relationships between the siblings. I am pleased to say that in the case of My Life with the Walter Boys, Ali Novak did a great job. I loved the relationship the brothers (and one sister) had with one another. They each had their own unique identities and personalities and they all got along (for the most part) with one another. I really loved seeing them all interact with each other and I could see the familial bond.

Overall, despite what I have said, I really did enjoy My Life with the Walter Boys. I just wanted more. I think, had the author hashed out some of the details more it would have been a stronger story. There were just a few things missing that kept the book from being great. Apparently Ali Novak was fifteen when she wrote this story, and posted it on Wattpad- now I have no idea what Wattpad is (well I sort of do) . Which explains a lot about the content of the story. I did like the book, and I will probably (most definitely) be reading the sequel, My Life as a Walter Boy.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday- Books that made me Swoon!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish!

This week's topic...

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon

1) Unearthly by Cynthia Hand- Slow burn romance. Hands down one of the best romances I have ever read. 

2) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick- SO good! But Jase is SO sweet. And I loved this book. I was smiling like crazy throughout the majority of the story. 

3) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer- Scarlet and Wolf- Nuff said. 

4) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin- Noah Shaw... who betty! 

5) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins- Cricket!!! 

6) Incarnate by Jodi Meadows- This book is SO underrated I think. I loved Sam and I loved the relationship between him and Ana. *Sigh* 

7) Crash Into You by Katie McGarry- Isaiah and Rachel... Hello... 

8) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo- This may be an odd choice, but the Darkling was hawt! What can I say- The scene with Alina and him in the closet (or was it a hallway, maybe an empty room... whatever) was totally swoon worthy. 

9) The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han- I know I sound like a broken record.. but seriously. This is one of my most favourite books out there. I love it. And I love the romance. 

10) Altered by Jennifer Rush- Again, I know that I sound like a broken record, but this book was full of smexy! Sam (another one), was all kinds of swoony. What can I say. 

That's my list for this week. I hope you enjoyed! 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday- Books That Made Me Cry

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

This Week's Topic. I am pretty easy to cry when it comes to books. But the following are ones that really hit me where it hurts. I believe 80% of the books featured this week I have talked about a lot... so maybe I like reading books that make me cry. I hope you enjoy! 

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

1) Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma- This book killed me. There is one particular scene that broke my heart and I tear up thinking about it now.

2) If I Stay by Gayle Forman- This whole books is sad. How can it not be. How do you chose whether to live or die. I remember listening to the audiobook at work, and having to blink a bunch of times to clear my eyes, and then take a bathroom break to get myself together. 

3) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak- If you follow me on Twitter- and have been since the beginning of January, you will have seen me fall apart over this book. Just read it. It's a beautiful story. 

4) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- Uhhh... A book about two kids who are battling cancer falling in love. 

5) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta- This book is full of misunderstandings and missed chances. It's cause for a lot of really sad realizations. Heartbreaking. 

6) Change of Heart by Jodie Picoult-  I have a hard time with injustices and when people make sacrifices due to certain these injustices. Change of Heart is full of this. And well- I cried. 

7) Dreamland by Sarah Dessen- This story is sad in general. But there is a pretty intense moment between the protagonist and her mother that has me bawling every time. 

8) Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart- My heart hurts when kids are hurt and then they turn into adult who are so incredibly broken. This is what Precious and Fragile Things is all about. The whole time all I could keep saying "that poor boy. that poor poor boy."

9) Lullabies for Little Criminal by Heather O'Neill- Again, this story is about a little girl who makes some disastrous decisions at such a young age. Again, there is a moment between her and her father that had me inconsolable. It's a very powerful story. 

10) My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi- Another sad story. But what got to me about this one was once again, the relationship between the girl and her dad. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 
"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl