Night by Elie Wiesel // A Heartbreaking Holocaust Story

Friday 19 July 2019 0 comments
Night (The Night Trilogy #1), by Elie Wiesel
Publication: January 16, 2006, by Hill and Wang
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Pages: 115
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted

Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel's memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. This new translation by his wife and most frequent translator, Marion Wiesel, corrects important details and presents the most accurate rendering in English of Elie Wiesel's testimony to what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.

My Thoughts:

Night was a beautiful read. It was heartbreaking, of course, but Elie Wiesel's writing was beautiful. It made me emotional, depressed, and experience such a broad variety of emotions that I can't simply comprehend it. After visiting Auschwitz and seeing it in person, imagining the suffering that was held within its walls, reading this book was even more emotional. I shed some tears, and left my heart with this story. It's a special one, and what I love about reading Holocaust stories is that each is different. You can't possibly ever get tired of reading these kinds of books.

I read this book a while ago, so I cannot really summarize it (and it's too emotional to do so), but let's just say that it's a must-read. I honestly feel like like it's a book that everyone should be required to read.

Night was stunning and a special read that should be implemented in more schools (preferably high schools). I am so happy that Elie was honoured with so many prizes for his work, including a Nobel Peace Prize.

I, Witness by Niki Mackay // Not My Kind of Mystery Tale

Thursday 18 July 2019 0 comments
I, Witness (Madison Attallee #1), by Niki Mackay
Publication: April 19, 2018, by Orion
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

They say I'm a murderer.
Six years ago, Kate Reynolds was found holding the body of her best friend; covered in blood, and clutching the knife that killed her.
I plead guilty.

Kate has been in prison ever since, but now her sentence is up. She is being released.
But the truth is, I didn't do it.

There's only one person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attalee, the first officer on the scene all those years ago.
But there's someone out there who doesn't want Kate digging up the past. Someone who is willing to keep the truth buried at any cost.

My Thoughts:

I personally was not a fan of I, Witness. This was a boring, slow novel that took a lot of willpower to plow through. I found it quite predictable and uninteresting; I wasn't able to form a connection with the characters and novel to the extent that I hoped for and often do when I read mystery novels. I can't really comprehend or explain why, but this book was not my cup of tea.

I did not despise it; I found myself really liking the characters, but there was a lack of realness to them. I didn't see them as real characters who I could imagine walking in this world at this moment. You see, I probably initially imagined this book to be a psychological thriller, which is why I was intrigued with its premise, as psychological thrillers are my favourite. I put this book down about seven months ago, and have yet to write a review until now, so you can only imagine that I have a spotty memory of what the book was about and what the plot included.

I, Witness was lacking. I wish I enjoyed it more and found a reason to enjoy it. It might be a good read for you if you're the type of person who enjoys reading adult mysteries.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur // Simply Gorgeous.

Wednesday 17 July 2019 0 comments
The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
Publication: October 3, 2017, by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.
Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

My Thoughts

The Sun and Her Flowers was absolutely gorgeous. If I could use any word to describe this book as a whole, I would choose gorgeous. I never really understood the hype surrounding Rupi Kaur and her writing, but that suddenly changed once I read this story. Her poems are stunning, and cover so many precious, interesting topics, including feminism, love, family and self-love. I have so many favourite poems, and I found myself constantly bookmarking pages to save and to come back to when I need a refresher. This is a compilation of poems that will make you second-guess your entire existence, and will cause you to think about life a little more deeply.

Rupi Kaur writes about really sensitive topics. It's something you have to prepare yourself for when you pick this one up. These sensitive topics often are sad topics, and it might cause you to shed a tear or two. I picked this up while I spent time in Hawaii, in the midst of a tropical road trip through the mountains, and let me say: there was no better setting to read this book in. I definitely feel like this is the type of collection that you can constantly go back to; it contains poems that can treat different moods of yours and make a difference in your life/days.

The Sun and Her Flowers is stunning and so memorable that I know that I'll remember its impact on me for years to come. I cannot wait to see what else Rupi Kaur has in store for her readers.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman // Not As Good As the Movie

Tuesday 16 July 2019 0 comments
Bird Box (Bird Box #1), by Josh Malerman
Publication: May 13, 2014, by Ecco
Genre: Adult Fiction, Thriller, Dystopian
Pages: 262
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it's time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

My Thoughts:

I've owned Bird Box for years, probably since the book was initially released, however, from my eyes, it didn't gain any hype until the Netflix movie was about to be released. And for one of the first times in history (for me), the book was not as good as the movie. This could be because of the mistake I made of watching the movie first, but nevertheless, this was a little more disappointing. Some chapters/moments dragged on a little too long, and I felt like Malorie's character was really different from Sandra Bullock's take on her in the film.

You see, in the movie, Malorie was an angry, definitely not light-hearted character. In the book, she didn't quite have the same attitude. Instead, she was more kind and it was more easy to read her. But I honestly appreciate when characters have their own complexities and aren't too easy to crack. The story was told from her perspective at times, however, I still feel like I didn't to get to know her and her struggles that well. Additionally, I must admit that this book did not frighten me as much as the movie did. This lacked a sort of eerie feel that I would have appreciated much more.

In general, thrillers tend to have a different kind of writing that keeps me interested and going for the whole time. With Bird Box, I felt the constant ability to put the book down and return to it in a few days; it did not keep me interested. For the most part, I was just not able to form connections to the characters. Oh well.

Bird Box was lacking, but not terrible, as I have always been in love with the concept and what the story has to share. Maybe if you haven't seen the movie yet, you'll fall in love with this. But as someone who went crazy over the film and the connections I formed to the characters, this became underwhelming.

Before I Die by Jenny Downham // A Little Overhyped

Monday 15 July 2019 0 comments
Before I Die, by Jenny Downham
Publication: May 26, 2009, by Ember
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 327
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex.

Released from the constraints of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time runs out.

My Thoughts:

Before I Die was kind of a bummer. I waited YEARS to pick this book up, mainly because I've been lazy and going to read my advanced readers copies instead of books that I've actually purchased and have been excited to read. Maybe my fourteen/fifteen year-old self would have enjoyed this book, but I can surely say that my eighteen year-old self was not a fan of this boring story with a severe lack of depth. 

I read this book at the end of last year, and I can hardly remember what it was about, but let's just say that the plot is not promising, and it only might appeal to some teenagers who are obsessed with the idea of being desperate to find love. Unlike other stories featuring characters with an illness, which tend to feature some sort of learning experience for readers and an actual nice tale, Before I Die was underwhelming. I found myself really despising our main character, Tessa, who, obviously, is in a state of depression and isolation as she realizes that she does not have much time to live. 

Don't get me wrong: I didn't hate reading this story. I got my way through it without DNFing it, however, it wasn't promising and really memorable. You could definitely be better off reading some other contemporary romances with less-annoying protagonists. 

Go ahead and pick up another book, but just know that Before I Die is an underwhelming book that could easily be forgotten about. If you're in a desperate need of a contemporary romance story, you might as well pick this up, but otherwise, just walk on by it at your bookstore.

Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch // I Now WANT to Go to Ireland

Tuesday 26 February 2019 2 comments
Love and Luck, by Jenna Evans Welch
Publication: May 8, 2018, by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 303
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.
So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.
And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.
That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

My Thoughts:

Love and Luck is a book I have been anticipating for over a year. After practically devouring Love and Gelato, I instantly sought more from Jenna Evans Welch, queen and master of writing chick-lit books that stem away from the rest and just leave readers feeling all giddy inside. This was such an entertaining read that I cannot stop thinking about to this day. The author's choice of writing this book in the setting of Ireland was honestly so smart; I do not know much about the country and its culture aside from pubs, greenery and four-leaf clovers, however, this book just opened my wanderlust and made me discover that I want to head on a similar road-trip that the characters went on. 

What made this book so special is the fact that it was not about the romance. It was more than that; it was about family and forming relationships that will last a lifetime, and learning about who we are, instead of kissing and making the 'most of the summer' in that way. Love and Luck was beautiful, and the best part was the relationship between Addie, our protagonist, and her brother, Ian, and the fact that the two of them had severe issues with each other, but spent the summer attempting to work it out in the best way possible: a good old-fashioned road trip across a foreign country, not knowing anything about the path that they are on. And of course, this was also a book about dealing with heartbreak and moving on after someone you once trusted broke that trust.

I also loved seeing an appearance by Leena and Ren, and the fact that this book did not take place during the same time as the first book. This was just a burst of entertainment and happiness for me. I am praying deep down inside that this series will continue; imagine if Addie's brothers will have their own stories coming up really soon!

Love and Luck was such a lovely read. There was just the right amount of drama, bits of romance, and moments that created a lovely story that every teen should pick up.

What books have the best settings around the world?

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian // The BEST Summer Read

Thursday 14 February 2019 2 comments
Stay Sweet, by Siobhan Vivian
Publication: April 24, 2018, by Simon Schuster Books FYR
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

My Thoughts:

Stay Sweet was adorable, beautiful, scrumptious and practically everything I could've ever wanted in a summer read. For the entire summer, I have been reading contemporary book after contemporary book, searching for that perfect read that I will never forget about and make my summer, however, prior to reading this newbie by Siobhan Vivian, I had not found it. In the midst of springtime, the cover for this book was released and I fell in love instantly, knowing that there's no better book to describe summer than one about ice cream and falling in love. Additionally, it's about friendship and family, and a mix of all of those topics that are sure to leave you shedding some tears.

What is extra special about this story is the fact that it includes a historical aspect; the founder of Meade Creamery, Molly Meade, lived during the WWII era, and we readers get to take a look into her life and discover her greatest secrets through her diary entries (which, not to be picky about, but were difficult to read due to the font choice) which were a delight nevertheless. I saw many relations between Amelia, our protagonist, and Molly, showing that one's passions and ambitions can carry from one generation to another. *dabs at the tears streaming down my face*

Essentially, this novel is about Amelia, who is spending her last summer in her small town, Sand Lake, before she heads out to university far away. As she has done every summer in high school, Amelia is working as a scooper for Meade Creamery, an ice cream stand set up by Molly Meade, a woman who decided to make ice cream for her and her friends to forget about the fact that their boyfriends and fiancees were fighting in the Second World War. This year, Amelia has gotten promoted to Head Girl, giving her all of the major responsibilities it takes to work in the stand. Before the stand even opens for the summer, Molly passes away and Amelia is left unsure if the stand will continue, until Molly's grandnephew, Grady, comes into their lives, wanting to use the stand as a business investment.

This book just screamed out 'feminism,' and it's a perfect time and age to show it. I loved the fact that Vivian used such a clever idea and job for the girls in the book: ice cream scooping, to show a message: that everyone has the capability to do anything, even girls. In the novel, we get to see our protagonist, Amelia, managing a business and earning respect from Molly's grandnephew. And the romance was A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E. I cannot digress how much I adored Grady and Amelia. It was one of the most respected relationships ever.

Stay Sweet was gorgeous. I certainly will never forget about it due to its memorable characters, setting, and ending. I have never read anything like it; it truly changed my life. This was certainly Siobhan Vivian's best.

What is the best summer book you've read this year?