Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: The Regulars by Georgia Clark

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 394
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 2, 2016
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

A fierce and feisty debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular girls who suddenly have their fantasies come true... or do they?

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well... gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left: What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

My Review:

I was really excited for this book when I first heard about it, it sounded like an interesting premise and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. After finishing this book, I found my expectations were too high and this book did not deliver what I thought I would get out of it. In the end this book just disappointed me and I had a lot of trouble actually finishing it.

The one good thing that I did take out of this story was how these three characters truly learn to love themselves for who they are in the end. What I really disliked about this book is how a lot of issues come across, these three girls are made to be undesirable women (or at least two out of the three are). I understand that these girls are self-conscious (many women are with how the media portrays people).

Once the "Pretty" is introduced and the girls change who they are and their attitudes completely change, they become the worst sort of people (at least that is how it seems). The way they believe that if they look good they can change things because pretty people are taken more seriously. I did enjoy that they get a good harsh dose of reality and see that "pretty" people are actually treated the same if not worse at times.

This is a really hard book for me to review just because I had so much trouble getting through the story. I could not connect with the characters at all and I just did not like how people were treated throughout the book, even the way the girls saw themselves and acted after the became "pretty". All in all this was a difficult book that I sadly cannot recommend.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Review: Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

Betrayals (Cainsville, #4)Publisher: Random House Canada
Series: Cainsville #4
Pages: 400
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 9, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Olivia's life exploded--after she found out she was not the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers--she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois. Working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer with links to the town, she discovered the truth about her parents' crimes in an investigation that also revealed the darker forces at work in the place that had offered her a haven. As if that wasn't enough, she also found out that she, Gabriel and her biker boyfriend Ricky were not caught in an ordinary sort of love triangle, but were hereditary actors in an ancient drama in which the elders of Cainsville and the mysterious Huntsmen who opposed them had a huge stake.

Now someone is killing street kids in the city, and the police have tied Ricky to the crimes. Setting out with Gabriel's help to clear Ricky's name, Olivia once again finds her own life at risk. Soon the three are tangled in a web of betrayals that threatens their uneasy equilibrium and is pushing them toward a hard choice: either they fulfill their destinies by trusting each other and staying true to their real bonds, or they succumb to the extraordinary forces trying to win an eternal war by tearing them apart.

My Review:

How I always love coming back to Cainsville year after year!! I was so happy when this book came that I read it almost right away (though I am reviewing it quite awhile after). This series is top of my love list, Armstrong has really brought everyone to life in her writing and each book gives readers new information. It is impossible to guess where she will go next with the story. As readers get deeper into the story, we find out more about Olivia's past, but even more so there is a deeper past that she is a part of as well, and this has caused a fight between two different mythical groups. Honestly, the deeper I go into Olivia's story, the faster I read through these books, they are all impossible to put down, but as soon as I get another one I need to binge the whole story.

Now that Olivia, Ricky and Gabriel have found out that they are incarnations of a past trio, they need to find out if they will allow history to rewrite itself or if they will follow in the path that has already happened. What I love about this story is how each book has a new problem, and yet Kelley still has the main story going behind these new issues that arise. As the story continues, readers get to learn even more information about Olivia's parents. It is great to continue and find more secrets hidden, there are always more surprises around every corner.

This is the fourth book in the series, and each one gets more intense for Olivia. She dives deeper into her visions as the story continues to learn more about her past and what has happened to past incarnations of this love triangle. This book truly shows that things are quickly coming to a head and there are many decisions that need to be made.

What is truly amazing about this series is how strong Olivia is, but also Gabriel and Ricky are very different characters who are both always there to help Olivia. As the books continue, readers can see that though Ricky and Gabriel are supposed to be at odds with one another, they work to stay away from the past and they will be there for one another, they both have the same end goal (to keep Olivia safe).

I can definitely say that the ending of this book (like that of all the others) has me needing more of this series, there are a lot of decisions that are being made that will change everyone's lives and I for one can't wait to see how this will all turn out. Truly this has been one of the most intense series I have read in awhile and the best one at that, it is one that will continue to get better and to keep bringing out surprises to keep all readers on their toes no matter what.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

The Madwoman UpstairsPublisher: Touchstone
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: March 1, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family's long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind.

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she's rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë's literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that's never been shown outside of the family.

But Samantha has never seen this rumored estate, and as far as she knows, it doesn't exist. She has no interest in acknowledging what the rest of the world has come to find so irresistible; namely, the sudden and untimely death of her eccentric father, or the cryptic estate he has bequeathed to her.

But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and bits and pieces of her past start mysteriously arriving at her doorstep, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father's handwriting. As more and more bizarre clues arrive, Samantha soon realizes that her father has left her an elaborate scavenger hunt using the world's greatest literature. With the aid of a handsome and elusive Oxford professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontë's own writing.

A fast-paced adventure from start to finish, this vibrant and original novel is a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.

My Review:

Wow, this book was a lot more fun than I had expected it to be. I have always been a fan of the novels of the Bronte sisters so the fact that this book held some of that in it really interested me. What I did not expect from it was the amount of history that is really given. This book was a great adventure and a great read that keeps readers on their toes.

Samantha has grown up knowing the history of the Bronte sisters, being the last descendant of that family, but as Samantha embarks on a quest left to her by her late father, she realizes that there may be more about her family history than even she knew. Samantha has come to Oxford to get away from her history but no matter where she goes, the Bronte family continually follows her. What this story turns into is a hunt for Samantha to find out the truth of her family and to finally come to terms with who she is.

I will say as much as I did enjoy the scavenger hunt that this book gives readers and the history of the Bronte's, I felt that something was missing. To me Samantha did not seem to have much character and she felt a bit one-dimensional. As I was reading this book, I felt myself more interested in the mystery of what happened to the estate of the Bronte sisters and the way the history of the sisters was hidden in the stories, but I could not connect with Samantha. I believe what this story needed was more character development to really give it the edge over other stories.

There was a lot of interesting details and it is very obvious that Catherine Lowell truly researched this story, but I think the story of Samantha got lost in the history of the Brontes and this is a story of her trying to get away from that past. I think this was a very fun book and I felt that there were many interesting parts, but it just needed a little more to it.


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