2016 Recap

2016 has been a crap year for the most part.. but on the reading front – my number of books read has gone up (not by a lot but I am still pretty proud of it.)

Here is a little recap of my year in reading..

Some of my favourite books read in 2016:

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Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

If you are a Gilmore Girls fan and a Lauren Graham fan then this book is a MUST read! It was fun, quirky, and real. It felt like Lauren was talking directly to me. My only gripe – not enough Gilmore Girls in this book. I wanted moreeeee.

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The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

This was a quick read but the story was sooo impressive. It was a strange and magical story that shared a message that nothing is perfect. I don’t know.. this book was kind of perfect 😉

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Wenjack by Joseph Boyden

This one is a heart breaker. It’s a short story that packs so much truth and emotion in to it. I couldn’t put it down. Ugh 😦 It sheds light on Canada’s seedy past. The past that we try to avoid but really should be made to see and hear it. This should be mandatory reading for all Canadians. </3

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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

If you are looking for a messed up book that will leave you drained from its intense story telling..then this is the book for you. What a wild ride this was! So dark and twisted.. I wanted to skip work and read this in one sitting (but I am a responsible adult..so I didn’t do that. lol)

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I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Another great psychological thriller. This one wasn’t like any I had read before. Did not see that ending coming or the direction of this book!! I cannot wait to read more by this author (I picked up her newest book! Need to get around to that asap)

 

Some of my not-so-favourite books of 2016:

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Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley

I wanted to like this one. It was recommended by a coworker who adores this author/series so I really wanted to like this too. We have the best book chats at work (she reads a lot) but we read very different books.. this was my attempt to read books from her fave genre. I just couldn’t get in to it. The main character was so annoying and just DUMB. How many times can you put yourself in danger before common sense kicks in and tells you to stop being a stupid f*ck and take better care of your life?? Ugh. The main guy was hot..but not really my type I guess. I’ve heard the series gets better.. I may have to pick up the second book and see if I can enjoy it..

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Breathe by Abbi Glines

This was another recommended book and another one that I didn’t really enjoy. It was WAY better than Rock Chick but I found it kind of annoying for the following reasons: insta-love, kind of unbelievable, characters were too young. Who falls that quickly for someone?? And really..you just happen to work for this this mega hot superstar and he falls for you hard? The issue with the age has more to do with my age than the characters. I just couldn’t get in to a 17-year-old’s relationship. I am told to try the other books in this series. The characters are older and the authors story-telling improves. I definitely will check out the next book!

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My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors

This one makes me sad! I’ve heard great things about this book of short stories. It is always recommended as a MUST-READ this time of year… but omg. NO. I adored the first story in the book (by the fabulous Rainbow Rowell) but the rest were so ‘meh.’ Even the stories by some of my other fave YA authors were boring (I am talking about you Jenny Han, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins..) I think my expectations were a little too high for this book. I just couldn’t get in to it. Can Rainbow write a whole book around her story please? I would buy it and read it every year around the holidays ❤

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2016 brought some amazing books in to my life and some not-so-amazing books. If you want to creep the other books I’ve read you can find them on my Goodreads or Instagram account. I don’t really review anymore (I am so lazy now haha) but I star rate all of the books on my GR account. So check it out!

What were some of your favourite books of 2016? Least favourite?

xox

Shannon

October <3

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Carrie by Stephen King

Happy October!! My absolute favourite month (aside from May..’cause wedding anniversary!)

October is the greatest because it is full of fall weather, pumpkins, rust coloured leaves, warm drinks, sweaters, scarves, and the feeling of cozy comfort when you are decked out in fall attire.

The air is fresh and crisp. Not too cold as the later months bring but cool enough to cleanse the soul. I seriously love this month! AND it always brings out the urge to read dark and creepy books, watch movies about witches (The Craft, Practical Magic..) and watch those awesome Disney channel movies about Halloween that we all grew up on (HALLOWEENTOWN!)

I am hoping to get back in to blogging (as I say time and time again.) I kind of miss it. It has always been a great outlet to purge all of my book related thoughts and opinions. Here is hoping I can stick with it.

Enjoy the beautiful weather today! I shall be back soon (hopefully with a review to post. haha)

xox,

Shannon

 

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

  • Title: Dare Me
  • Author: Megan Abbott
  • Genre: Young Adult – Mystery
  • Publication Date: July 31, 2012
  • Format: Physical copy of the book. I own it.

From Goodreads:

“Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls — until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” — both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death — and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

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My Review:

When I think of cheerleaders I associate them with fun things like: cheering, boys, parties, best friends, carefree, etc. This book carried me on a dark roller-coaster ride of bullying, anorexia, bulimia, obsession, sexuality, and murder. Not at all what I was expecting but I was sooo intrigued. This sinister book had all the drama and “WTFs” to keep me hooked from the very beginning. And seriously – this book is a fast and mean roller-coaster ride! One minute you love the characters and next minute you cant wait to get far away from them. It is a battle between innocence and the consequences of growing up too fast. So dark. So entertaining.

This is my first Megan Abbott book but not my last!

I highly recommend if you are looking for something dark, mean, & ugly..yet still addictive.

Rating: 4/5

The Other Widow by Susan Crawford

  • Title: The Other Widow
  • Author: Susan Crawford
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery
  • Publication Date: expected April 26, 2016
  • Format: Uncorrected Proof from HarperCollins Canada #HCCFirstLook

From Goodreads:

“The author of The Pocket Wife explores the dark side of love, marriage, and infidelity in this sizzling novel of psychological suspense.

Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.”

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My Review:

My feelings towards this book are very mixed. I’ve been on a ‘Psychological Thriller/Mystery’ kick lately.. and I think that played a role in my mixed feelings towards The Other Widow.

Let’s start with the aspects I didn’t enjoy:
– I felt like there wasn’t anything original here. That might not be the fault of this book in particular but the genre itself is lacking originality.
– I found the story moved slow and then the end was like “BANG! Here is EVERYTHING!” The slow build up made it hard to want to pick the book up. And the ending felt rushed. Like there weren’t enough pages left to really get in to it.
– The cheating. Is this a requirement for mysteries/thrillers? It is boring and very been-there-done-that. Also – this is more of a personal reaction but I find it hard to feel sympathetic towards disloyal people.
– The dialogue felt awkward at times. The way it cut off/shifted/jumped all over the place was kind of annoying. It just didn’t flow nicely.

Now for the GOOD:
– I loved Maggie! She was the only character I actually felt genuinely interested in. Her story could stand alone (perhaps a book that follows her? I’m down for that!)
– I did enjoy the glimpse into the other characters personal lives. Seeing the way the lies and deceit affects those around the characters felt Real.
– Although I suspected one part of the ending I did not figure THAT out. Nice twist! People are not always what they seem…

Recommendation: If you’re in to mysteries that feel familiar then this book is perfect for you.

Rating: 2.5 to 3 / 5. I can’t decide…

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

  • Title: You Were Here
  • Author: Cori McCarthy
  • Genre: Young Adult + mixed media (comics)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2016
  • Format: eARC from netgalley

From Goodreads:

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother’s exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn’t bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

My Review:

What a surprise! This book is so much more than I thought it would be. Not a typical YA story. You Were Here deals with grief, friendship, falling in love, and falling out of love. It presents an honest look at the different ways people react to tragic events.. everyone grieves differently.

The characters are not perfect. They can be extremely immature at times. Isn’t this what being a teenager is all about though? Not wanting to completely grow up? I find the banter between them fun and true to the teenage language of today. There are cuss words, sex , booze, regrets, parties, etc etc. This isn’t the main focus of the story though. The core of the book has the reader follow the characters on a journey of reconnecting with someone they lost, rekindling friendships, and finding romance.

Side note – let’s talk about the visual aspects of this book. That cover! ❤ It’s eye-catching. Simple yet gorgeous. AND THE COMICS! I love mixed media formats. Throw in pictures, or comics, or links to interactive tools and I am HOOKED. The comics are fun! A nice way to compliment the story. This is a page-turner for sure! If you are looking for a quick read that isn’t quite like the others then I recommend checking this book out.

Rating: 4/5

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

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  • Title: Don’t You Cry
  • Author: Mary Kubica
  • Genre: Psychological thriller
  • Publication Date: May 17, 2016
  • Format: eARC from netgalley

From Goodreads:

“In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.”

My Review:

I loved The Good Girl.. so when I came across this book on netgalley I put in a request for an eARC because I MUST HAVE IT. The reviews for Don’t You Cry on Goodreads are all pretty positive. Based on my previous Kubica read and the positive reviews – I had high expectations for this book.

Unfortunately it fell a bit flat for me. There were parts/aspects of the book that I enjoyed and other parts that I didn’t enjoy.  I liked the side-by-side storylines of two very different characters that came together in the end to reveal a somewhat-shocking ending. It is only “somewhat” shocking because I definitely didn’t guess that this was how the story would end but I wasn’t blown away by the reveal either. My biggest beef with this book was how slow it moved (at least to me..) I was never on the edge of my seat.. I sometimes found myself bored. AND Quinn kind of got on my nerves. Her naiveté got a lot of eye rolls. She seemed quite dumbed-down for someone her age. On the other hand,  Alex was great. I found myself much more interested in his storyline.

All in all – This was a decent read. I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy this genre.. but it isn’t the best I have read. I’ve heard AH-MAZING things about Pretty Baby and plan on reading it soon (and I hope it doesn’t disappoint!)

What did you think of this book?

Rating: 3/5

Free Time Fridays (Mar 4)

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Free Time Fridays is a weekly meme created and hosted by eatupmyfreetime.

On Fridays we will recap how we spent our free time during the week + our plans for the weekend! ie. Did you read? If so, what books? Did you shop? Listen to any cool tunes? Binge watch any cool TV shows? Take any trips lately? I want to hear all about it!! You can either mention ALL of the ways you spent your free time that week or focus on one activity. Whatever your heart desires!

My Free time:

 

Weekend Plans

Happy Friday! I am at work for the day.. counting down the hours until tomorrow morning when I will be heading to the lovely Montreal to celebrate the husbands birthday! CANNOT WAIT! We will be dining at our favourite restaurant (L’usine de spaghetti) and shopping in Old Montreal. Always loads of fun ❤

Life

Life is busy with work. I am still trying to adjust to the evening shifts. I don’t think my body will ever get used to it. I am loving this contract though and will be sad when it ends.

Reading

I am slowly getting back in to my reading groove. It’s been SO long. On top of that – I am reviewing again! This makes me so happy. I have had zero interest in reviewing books over the past couple of years so this is a big deal. I think Goodreads has helped. I had to switch over from Shelfari (damn you for closing) and people are way more active on GR. I love browsing reviews on there.. and it has inspired a couple of my own!

 

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I scored an eARC of Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider. I enjoyed it! Check out my review.

I am currently reading another eARC – Don’t you cry by Mary Kubica. Hoping to get that finished and reviewed soon!

I also found time to review All Lined Up by Cora Carmack. Another fun read!

 

 

 

On top of the reading – there was some shopping! I picked up a few books at a local thrift store. Made out with some awesome titles.

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AND I keep adding more and more to my TBR pile. Ugh.. this is an addiction. Seriously.

Television

Most of you probably did the same thing: binged watched Fuller House! Oh man, so many childhood memories. It was good. Not great.. but entertaining. Tried too hard to be funny that it ended up being kind of lame. However, seeing the old characters grown up was awesome. P.s. Are the Tanners cursed? Both Danny and DJ lost a spouse?? How crazy!

The end

Hope you had a great week full of books and funtimes. Happy Reading!

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xox

Shannon

I want to hear about your free time!! Post here or link up!

If you want to take part just save the graphic (right-click + save) and copy the blurb and make sure you link it to https://eatupmyfreetime.wordpress.com. Don’t forget to add your link with your answer by commenting below! If you do not have a blog, please feel free to answer through the “comments” option as well! Anyone can take part in this meme!

Booking Through Thursday – Multiples

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Do you own multiple copies of any books? Why? Is it the format? Size? Just because you love it?

There are a few books that I own multiple copies of for various reasons: I forgot I already owned it, I loved more than one edition so I had to purchase both, combined both mine and my husbands books, and gifted books already in my collection. 1984 by George Orwell is one of the books I purposely purchased two copies of because I loved both covers! AND I was gifted a hardcover edition too! SO I have 3 copies. #crazyobsessed