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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bookish Spotlight: The Unprotected by Kelly Sokal



They say motherhood changes you.

As a driven advertising executive, Lara James has always put her career before any plans for a family, preferring professional chic to stay-at-home style. But after her father’s death, she realizes she’s ready. More than ready, in fact. Yet pregnancy—something other women seem to accomplish effortlessly, even accidentally—doesn’t come easily to Lara. What began as an adventure quickly becomes a nightmare as she and her husband endure endless IVF treatments, hormone therapy, and devastating miscarriages.

When Lara at last becomes pregnant and gives birth to a daughter, Auden, she believes their determination has paid off. But Auden cries day and night, ear-shattering screams that strip Lara of her nerves and energy. Her life as a sleep-deprived new mother is unrelenting, and, guiltily, Lara can’t help but mourn for what she once had. With her marriage crumbling, Lara is increasingly driven to alarming thoughts and destructive actions she would never have imagined possible before now. Hanging on by a thread, it’s only in her darkest moment that Lara will discover the true depths of her love and devotion—and what she’s willing to face for the family she’s so desperately sought.

Hello Everyone!

I don't often do this pick a book out and feature it her eon the blog, but in the spirit of change, I thought I'd give it a go.

I don't think I have seen many books out there that focus on postpartum depression (that may be just be me and my little bubble though). When I saw talk of Kelly Sokal's debut, The Unprotected, on Twitter,  I knew it was something I wanted to explore. Mental health is a much discussed topic right now (as it should be), and I really appreciate it's presence in fiction. Postpartum depression is a very real condition and it appears in up to 20% of new moms, yet it still carries such a stigma.

So, I will be reading The Unprotected soon, and I would encourage any of you to join me. We can coordinate and maybe have a virtual book club of sorts.

I was lucky enough to grab a little sneak peak into the book- which I get to share with you all below. Enjoy



At thirty-nine years old, all Lara James wanted was a baby. The last two years of baby lust overpowered the previous thirty-seven of pleased childlessness. Her old self would be ashamed of her. Lara didn't care. She doubted the doctor behind the heavy doors, her husband, God, the universe, knew how much she wanted a child, what she was willing to offer in return. The defined curve of her bicep went underused. Her calves could bounce and dance. Unbidden, her hand curved into a loose cup, ready to support the warm, pulsing weight of a newborn skull. Iterations of the word baby or child tickled the soft inner flesh of her lips, waiting to be flung out into the world.

Lara still would not admit how desperate she was for motherhood, not out loud, even sitting quietly in the lobby of the One Hope Fertility Clinic. The calendar on her phone blocked out two hours for an "off-site meeting." Between Lara and Kathy, off-site meant anything from a lunch to woo potential clients, to Pilates, maybe a bikini wax. The dog-eared paper planner inside Lara's smooth briefcase read only: O.H. blood draw and intro. Her bank statements and health insurance forms, the step-by-step guide to filing fertility treatment reimbursement requests spoke the truth: $647 for six months of Clomid; ten ovulation test kits; eight double-pack home-pregnancy tests; co-pays to her ob-gyn; then the $275 out-of-pocket fertility consultation fee. A baby? Priceless. Will wouldn't look for those expenses; finance was Lara's domain. Nonetheless, she alternated between paying with credit and debit cards and handing the pharmacist cash.

Buy the Book:

Chapters/Indigo
Barnes and Noble

There you have it, a look into what I am looking forward to reading. I hope you will join me.

~Happy Reading Everyone 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly



Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.


Hi everyone,

We all know about my Beauty and the Beast obsession, and when I saw this book at the library I knew I had to read it. I mean look at that cover! I always wanted that library from the movie!

It was so great to be back in this world; it felt like this book was a continuation to the animated made-for-DVD sequels Disney produced way back when (all of which I own of course ;) the Christmas one was my childhood favourite). It was really great to see the enchanted creatures get more of a staring role in this, we find out more about the secondary characters like Plumette (can someone write her own book already?!!).

The prologue felt maybe a little out of place at the beginning, but it all makes sense when you finish reading. I actually thought maybe I was reading the wrong book when I finished the prologue, but it didn't fit into any traditional Beauty and the Beast world that I know about.

I enjoyed that this book was able to give us another peek into Belle's and the Beast's relationship and we got to see it grow and come together more. The Beast seemed a bit more toned down in here than the abrasive nature he has in both movies (although, side note: I felt he was more rude in the animated and a bit nicer in the live action) and he seemed to act more human (cue music for Human Again!). It was nice to see their friendship blossom in a different context.

Belle was just as book loving as always and talked about books throughout. Her friendship with Chip was explored some more in here and I just loved her and Chip's scenes together.

Then we come across Nevermore, a place that feels like Narnia mixed with Wonderland. Nevermore is a place where nothing is as it seems and the tale of Persephone comes into the mix. I think I loved Nevermore the best because it wasn't just a textbook world; it was dark and scary and unpredictable. It was different than a Disney tale world, filled with twists and unexpected turns.

The only negative would be how rushed the ending felt, maybe everyone was wrapped up a little too much...I won't give any spoilers away though so I'll end it at that.

However, I loved the short chapters and I basically read this whole thing in one setting. It made me feel like I was back to being a child and I can't lie, I was two when the animated got released. I'm so happy I was able to read this and enjoy the world of Beauty and the Beast again.

A solid 4 star read here and I highly recommend it for any Beauty and the Beast fans. Fairy tales will always be a book love of mine!

Until my next review,

Stefanie

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sara's Thoughts: I Found You by Lisa


A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.


**Review copy received from Simon and Schuster Canada for my honest review***

Guys, mysteries and thrillers have been my jam lately. I have been finding them SO much fun to read. I love trying to figure out what's happening, who did what, I love it. So when I saw Lisa Jewell's newest thriller I Found You available for review, I jumped on the opportunity- I was pretty excited to get this one read.

I Found You is my kind of book- The story is really a three in one- which is something I love. I really enjoy these intricate, multi-layered stories- trying to figure where they connect, because you know they do, somewhere and somehow.  In this particular story we have a man who has forgotten everything, he doesn't know his name, where he comes from or how he got to the tiny seaside town. Than there is Alice, the single mother with a bleeding heart, who can't help but be drawn to this nameless man. Finally, Lily, the young bride new to the country, whose husband has recently disappeared. Three stories with three narrators and in some way all three are connected.

While Lisa Jewell has a number of novels under her belt, I Found You is the first book I read of her and I am pretty sure I will be checking out her other books, I really enjoyed this read. Sometimes with any type of thriller or mystery novel, they can end up being very predictable and cliche, a been there done that, kind of thing. I did not experience that with I Found You- there were a few times I would assume I had everything figured out and would continue reading through that lens and bam- something would happen and I would be second guessing my theories. This made for a very fun reading experience. I also appreciated that the story was told from the past and the present and trying to figure out how that was also connected. One would think this would become convoluted and confusing, but it was pretty clear what was happening and when.

I Found You is a pretty character based story, and is very much told through the characters and their experiences and feelings. Because of this, you really get to know them and start rooting for them all. I am a fan of stories that are pretty character focused seeing things unfold through their eyes.

Overall, I Found You was a solid read and I am excited to read more from Jewell as soon as I can. I think if you're new to the genre this is a good place to start, it's not to overwhelming (plot wise), but it's still completely engaging and a really enjoyable read.

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Stefanie's March Wrap Up



Hi everyone,

I feel like I was kind of absent on the blog this month; with moving and getting sick, life just seemed to get in the way of blogging and reading. I really didn’t read that much this much either; I fell into a reading slump and nothing I read seemed to be the right book for me. I haven’t really experienced a reading slump that bad before. Thankfully I was able to break it by reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and continuing into my obsession of British reality shows by reading Charlotte Crosby’s book. She’s from Geordie Shore and I loved it, so I followed it up by reading two more biographies from my all-time favourite group Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh and Cheryl Cole. I don't tend to read biographies of well-known people and it's rare for me to actually enjoy them, so this was a big moment for my reading.

What I Watched: 

I was able to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie with my sister during this month. It was actually pretty good. I know I’ll be in arguments about this movie with people because I am obsessed with the animated one. The new song Evermore by Dan Stevens is the highlight from the movie; his version was so good and he has such a great singing voice. The visuals were great too and I loved the inclusion of the feather duster (who I felt needed a bigger role in the animated version). I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Power Rangers on the other hand, not so much.... I've been binge watching Imposters trying to catch up and enjoying the return of Prison Break!

      


What I Read: 

Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling

Bookman Dead Style by Paige Shelton

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

Me Me Me by Charlotte Crosby

A Whole Lot of History by Kimberley Walsh

Healthy Is the New Skinny: Your Guide to Self-Love in a "Picture Perfect" World by Katie H. Willcox

The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

Archie Vol. 2 by Mark Waid


Total: 11


Books of the Month:

        

Fantastic Beasts and Bookman Dead Style (cozy mystery)
I had a hard time choosing between the two of them so I decided to just pick both, shout out to The Possessions for being one of the weirdest books I have read in a long time.

I kind of fell off the re-read challenge I had given myself; I think I’ll be able to pick back up on that in the summertime when all of TV is in repeats and I read like a madwoman. I feel like after I moved and displayed all my books I have so many more books I want to read and re-read. I wish I could read as fast as Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds and then my tbr would be completed and I could just focused on reading as many random books as possible. I’m bad for that when I go to the library and just walk into the fiction section and leave with a bag full of books I hadn’t heard of before.


I hope April will be more eventful in the book department and I hope I can read more. I hope everyone had a great March!


Stefanie

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sara's March Wrap Up




Whoa. What a month March was. If you read my last wrap up, you would have seen that I was giving up to TV for Lent. So, no binge watching Netflix/CraveTV or anything for that matter- Until April 17th. This has left me A LOT Of time to read and contemplate life. I actually have been really enjoyed the no TV and I think once this fast is over, I may take on a more restricted TV schedule- I'm toying with the idea of no TV on weekdays. We'll see when we get there. 

March was pretty uneventful for me. Spent some time with a few local bloggers at a board game cafe here in the city, it was fun. I got a new tattoo - you'll need to check out my Instagram if you want to see it (shameless plug).  Had my nephew over for the night last weekend, which was great. He's six, and full of so much energy- we went on an field trip to the bookstore and it was fun walking around with him and talking to him about books. The remainder of the time was spent reading.


The Books:

Number of Books Completed
 11

Physical Books
7

Audiobooks
4

Physical Books: 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (2 Stars)
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (3.5 Stars)
Dirty Doctor by Whitney G (3 Stars)
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (4.5 Stars)
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (3 Stars)
I Found You by Lisa Jewell (4 Stars)
Nocturne by Syrie James (2.5 Stars) 


Favourite Read of the Month

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The only other novel by Jojo Moyes was Me Before You, which I enjoyed, but it broke my heart. One Plus One is SO different. It's charming and lovely. I've pushed it onto a number of my friends already.

Audiobooks 

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (4.5 Stars)
The Empire State Series by Louise Bay (4 Stars)
Love Unexpected by Louise Bay (3 Stars) 
Forbidden by CD Reiss (1 Star) 

Favourite Listen of the Month



I finally did it guys, I finally read listened to Truly Madly Guilty and I loved it. I have seen a number of reviews that claim this book is a little slow and boring- while I can totally see where they are coming from I think this is just a custom Moriarty trait. She writes about the most mundane things in a way that makes them seem exciting. I really appreciate this.  I want to give major props to the narrator Caroline Lee- of the four books I have completed by Moriarty, I have read two and listened to two. Lee narrated Big Little Lies and did such a fantastic job that it made me want to listen to everything else she's narrated, I loved her rendition of Truly Madly Guilty so much. She has such a knack for giving every character their own voice- it was great experience. 


2017 Resolutions Update: 

If you want to check out my actual resolutions/goals for the year, check them out here
 
Woah betty, March was good month for me. I have 11 books under my belt- 7 of which I physically read.  I am on track for my 100 book goal- I am actually one book ahead. I read more books than I listened to- which is great- because overall for this year I have read more books than listened to, which wasn't the case last month. I read three 2017 releases (go me) - Behind Her Eyes, We Are Okay and I Found You, I also read book three in the Percy Jackson series- so I am one stop closer there. However, I have not made a dent in the audiobooks sitting in my audible library- sigh. I haven't listened to a single book on my back list. I think for April I am going on an audiobook buying band, and every single book I listen to has to be from my back list.  I have 17 to chose from. Wish my luck. 

We still have two weeks of Lent to go, so I still plan on doing lots of reading. I want to try and push myself to read 8 books, but I don't think that will happen this month, so I'll be happy with 6 physical books. I am going away Easter Weekend, and I don't think I'll read a lot during that time. Otherwise, not a lot planned for April.

This Month of the Blog: 



That's it for me and March, I hope you all had a great month. 

~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