Read EH thon TBR

I’m back with another readathon hosted by favorite booktuber, Lala. This is really interesting readathon because it is all about reading Canadian which is something that I have never really thought about. I usually read whatever sounds good to me but I definitely could be more intentional with how diverse my reading is. Which is one reason why I love readathons so much because the challenges usually push me to read outside my comfort zones.

Here are the challenges:

  1. Read a book with red on the cover
  2. Read a book by a Canadian woman
  3. Read a book by an indigenous author
  4. Read a book set in a province you’ve never visited
  5. Read a book with an “E” and “H” in the title

The readathon lasts from July 1-July 8. I hope to read four of the books shown above and complete all the challenges. All of the books except for The Marrow Thieves and Anne of Green Gables are already on my TBR. I have read Anne so many times in my life but I haven’t reread it recently so I might read that one with my kids. I was surprised at how many books I own that are Canadian. I think one of my reading goals for next year will be to read books from authors outside North America.

Happy Reading!

~Cassie

 

 

Her Name Is Mercie by Chris Roy

Thank you to Booktasters and Chris Roy for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

 

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Title: Her Name Is Mercie

Author: Chris Roy

Pages: 164

Genre: Fiction, Horror

Publisher: Near to the Knuckle

Publication Date: May 26, 2018

Rating: 3/5

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. All but one were horror related which is right up my alley. I don’t have a lot of experience with reading short stories and I’m happy that I had such a great experience with this collection because I definitely want to keep reading more. All the stories were very fast paced and all had interesting plots. The first story, Her Name Is Mercie, took up a little more than half the book and the other four were very short.

My favorite story was Re-pete. The story really went full circle and had the right amount of suspense to keep me hooked the whole way through. It really gave me Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween vibes (the beginning of the movie with young Michael Myers).

My least favorite story was Hunger. It had a few horror elements but it was way more of a character driven story and I really didn’t like the character. She was just so dumb to me and I didn’t feel bad for her situation at all. I did like the twist at the end and I wish the story had been more about that then her weird hallucinations.

The main story, Her Name Is Mercie, is the only non horror story in this collection. It is a very action packed story. It reminded me so much of those action movies where nothing is really that believable but it is still really entertaining because there is something exciting always happening.

I recommend this book to anyone that really enjoys reading horror books. This book is even on Kindle Unlimited if that is a service that you have. Besides the fact that I enjoyed all these stories in this book, I’m really happy that it has made me want to read more short story collections.

~Cassie

Mini Reviews #3

I have been collecting Nancy Drew books my whole life and there are about ten that I currently own that I have not read. I decided after my last read to just grab a random one off my shelf. I don’t think Nancy Drew warrants a whole review post to itself so I thought I would do another set of mini reviews.

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Nancy drew arrives in Phoenix, Arizona, eagerly looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch, but abruptly finds herself involved in a baffling mystery. The ranch is being haunted by a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enemy. Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dirk Valentine, the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch, where he had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart.

Suspecting that a treasure hidden by Valentine may be at the root of the Shadow Ranch mystery, Nancy undertakes a challenging search, aided by her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne. The first vital clue is found in an antique watch and sparks a series of clever deductions and dangerous developments. While seeking further clues, the girls’ investigation in a ghost town ends in a near disaster when Nancy is trapped inside a building that is toppled by a rockslide – a rockslide which is deliberately caused. But the pretty titian-haired detective remains undaunted in her determination to solve the mystery.

Goodreads

I will always love Nancy Drew because the mysteries are always so fun and I have never been let down by an ending. I believe this book was written in the 60’s and the age of the book is definitely starting to show. There was one glaringly inappropriate thing said about a female characters weight and there was definite misappropriation of Native American culture. But I think that’s part of the fun in reading these books since we get a good chance to see how different things used to be.

Rating: 4/5

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What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

Goodreads

This is a coming of age story about characters who are at the end of high school (one has just finished high school) and their struggles with figuring themselves out. This book does such a great job of portraying how truly difficult it can be to be 17/18. You are learning about yourself and have to figure out your future while also dealing with some heavy duty life stuff. I also felt that Oseman is an amazing writer and she had such a honest way of writing. A lot of characters in this book are struggling with their sexuality and I think the author went about it in a really authentic way. The mystery and podcast elements were really secondary to everything else happening in the book.

*This book is set in the England so I believe they are in secondary school which is the American equivalent of high school. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Rating: 4/5

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After a string of violent murders occur in their town, the senior class of Redwood High School is terrorized by a masked killer. Charlene Sanchez, a popular senior, believes everyone is a target—and everyone is a suspect. When videos of the murders begin to surface on social media, Charlene enlists the help of her closest friends and races to find the serial killer. Can she stop the killer before he stops her?

Jon Athan, author of Butcher Road and Camp Blaze, brings you another violent slasher inspired by the classics.

WARNING: This book contains scenes of graphic violence. This book is not intended for those easily offended or appalled. Please enjoy at your own discretion.

Goodreads

I found this book on Kindle Unlimited one day and it was a pretty quick fun read. The writing is not the best and I didn’t understand why Charlene cared so much about finding out who the killer was. The whole motive of the killings didn’t even really involve her and there was a few random things thrown in (like a teacher-student romance) that weren’t necessary to the plot. This book was like a graphic version of a Fear Street novel.

Rating: 2/5

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Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her shattered life and she has no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to become deeply attracted to the studio’s enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is hiding a huge secret. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it—but can she do it?

Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book. I love the romance between Auburn and Owen. This book is told through both of their perspectives and I really liked seeing the same scene through both of their eyes. I was annoyed with both of them throughout different parts of the book though because I wish they had more of a backbone. They would just let stuff happen and not really say anything, Auburn especially. The ending was really full circle and I enjoyed how all the pieces came together.

Rating: 4/5

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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Goodreads

I think almost everyone knows how good this series is. I love how dark and gothic this story was. I was annoyed by Jack and Jill’s parents but thats obviously the point of them so that’s definitely not a negative. I gave this four stars because the beginning, before they go through their door, dragged on a little bit too long for me.

Rating: 4/5

~Cassie

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

I received this book for free on Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

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Title: The Last Time I Lied

Author: Riley Sager

Pages: 336

Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 5/5

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

Goodreads

My favorite book of the year! This was a masterfully crafted thriller that I know I will reread multiple times during my life. The characters, setting and story are so well written and so well done. Riley Sager is now firmly established as one of my favorite authors.

The setting was so brilliantly done that I could see it vividly in my head. I am a lover of horror movies and this book made me nostalgic for Friday the 13th (obviously) but I also kept getting Scream vibes from it. There was one scene toward that end where Sager so perfectly captured Emma’s surroundings that I felt myself tense up and hold my breath.

Speaking of Emma, the characters in this book were amazing. There were so many characters that were suspicious that I couldn’t wait to get to the end and figure it all out. I loved the enigma of Vivan, the mystery of Franny, the intrigue of Theo. Not a single character felt flat and they were all useful at propelling the story forward at a good pace.

The book is told through present day narrative and also flashbacks of 15 years before. The flashbacks fit so well into the story and the slow reveal of what really happened then is so good. Also, the twists. Oh my gosh, the twists. So good and so well done. I’m usually pretty good at picking up on where a story is leading to but all but one were complete shocks to me. I finished this book and actually laid on my bed and just marveled at what an amazing job Sager did at constructing this story.

So, this was obviously the most fan girl book review ever but I am seriously so in love with this book. My favorite thriller of all time. My favorite book of the year. Please read this. If you enjoy thrillers at all (or even just a little bit) this is a book that I cannot (obviously) recommend to you enough. Please read it. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do. Also, since this book doesn’t come out until July 3 and if I have at all intrigued you as to the greatness of this book, consider reading Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls. It is another amazing thriller and definitely in my top five favorites of all time.

~Cassie

 

Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver

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Title: Dodging and Burning

Author: John Copenhaver

Pages: 288

Publisher: Pegasus Books

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, LGBT

Rating: 3/5

A lurid crime scene photo of a beautiful woman arrives on mystery writer Bunny Prescott’s doorstep with no return address—and it’s not the first time she’s seen it. The reemergence of the photo, taken fifty-five years earlier, sets her on a journey to reconstruct the vicious summer that changed her life.

In the summer of 1945, Ceola Bliss is a lonely twelve-year-old tomboy, mourning the loss of her brother, Robbie, who was declared missing in the Pacific. She tries to piece together his life by rereading his favorite pulp detective story “A Date with Death” and spending time with his best friend, Jay Greenwood, in Royal Oak, VA. One unforgettable August day, Jay leads Ceola and Bunny to a stretch of woods where he found a dead woman, but when they arrive, the body is gone. They soon discover a local woman named Lily Vellum is missing and begin to piece together the threads of her murder, starting with the photograph Jay took of her abandoned body.

As Ceola gets swept up playing girl detective, Bunny becomes increasingly skeptical of Jay, and begins her own investigation into the connection between Jay and Lily. She discovers a series of clues that place doubt on the identity of the corpse and Jay’s story of how he found it, and journeys to Washington, D.C. in search of Lily. In D.C., Bunny is forced to recognize the brutal truth about her dear friend, and sets off a series of events that will bring tragedy to Jay and decades of estrangement between her and Ceola.

Goodreads

This was in my Paige Habit box and I’m happy that I received it from them because I never would have picked it up on my own. This is advertised as a mystery about a dead girl but it is really a story about Jay, Bunny and Ceola. The book is told through the perspectives of Bunny and Ceola and is about their relationship with Jay. This book has a lot of intrigue concerning Jay and it is truly a wild twisty ride of a story.

The first half of this book took me a long time to read. The blurbs on the back of the book told me that this was about gay characters so I assumed that would be something that is a part of the book early on. And while it is definitely alluded to it is not a prominent part of the book until the second half on. The LGBT aspect of this book is so huge and really the driving force for a lot of different things happening. It was rewarding to finally reach that point of the book because it got a lot better from then on. I flew through the second half because it was so much more fast paced and so much was happening every chapter.

I also really enjoyed the historical side of this book. I felt like I learned a lot about a very marginalized group of people in our history and how it related to WW2. My heart broke for how badly treated LGBT people were during that time. It’s also sad to me to realize how far society still has to go even roughly eighty years after the time period this book is set in.

This book is definitely more of a historical fiction and less of a mystery. There was a really good story inside a story that was slowly told at the end of some chapters. This short story mirrored things that were happening in the main story and was a really cool addition. During the first half I was motivated to keep reading to get to another part of the short story. I really loved the twist in the short story and the whole thing was just really well done.

~Cassie

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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Title: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Pages: 339

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: April 24, 2012

Genre: YA dystopian, romance

Rating: 4/5

I was scrolling through my Kindle Unlimited last month and I saw this and decided that it was a sign that I finally had to read this. I don’t read a lot of YA anymore but this book was everything that I love in a YA dystopian. I thought I would be disappointed because I’ve heard such mixed reviews but it was everything I wanted to be. I have even reached the point in my life that when the book neared the end and we had the cliche love triangle come into play I found the joy in it while I was reading. (Which is just another way of saying that I laughed and cringed all at the same time.) I loved the world building in this book. I really hope that the world continues to get flushed out in the remainder of the series.

The two main characters were really enjoyable and I was so into their romance. I love how slow paced it all was. I definitely ship America and Maxon so we can just forget all about her old boyfriend, Aspen. I enjoyed reading about the other girls and I look forward to finding out what Marlee’s big secret is. I hope the payoff is worth the build up of this secret. Celeste was another character that I like because she is so vastly different than America and she brings so much drama to the scenes she’s in.

I am on the waiting list for the next book at my library but as soon as it is available to me I will be reading it. I seriously can’t wait to find out what happens next! This book also makes me want to read some more YA dystopian because it used to be one of my favorite genres but I’ve gotten away from that in recent years. If you have any recommendations for me I would love to hear them 🙂

~Cassie

May Book Haul

I can’t believe May is already over! My boys only have a few more days left of school and summer will be here. Summer is my favorite time of the year and I definitely enjoy the more relaxed pace of life after a hectic school year. I hope you all had an awesome May and have an even better June!

Here’s the books I bought in May:

I bought these to have the whole trilogy of The Girl In 6E by A.R. Torre. Although I’m still not 100% sure that Torre isn’t going to come out with more books in the series. I read the first one earlier this month and I enjoyed it so much I bought the other two.

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I’m super excited to read this one. I will definitely be reading this next month.

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I have already read and reviewed this book.

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I received this book yesterday in my PaigeHabit box. I also really want to pick this one up soon. It’s only 200 pages and it’s and Irish ghost story which just sounds so amazing.

That’s the end of my book haul. I don’t track my ebooks because I get a lot of them for free or extremely cheap and I honestly get them knowing that I won’t be reading them for awhile. Which is terrible I know but I have a need to just own all the books. I should also add that I bought more books then this but they are all preorders so I will just share those the months they come out.

~Cassie

Mini Reviews #2

Hello again everybody! I was inspired to do another round of mini reviews because I recently finished a book I received for review and I just did not like it. There is no way I could do a full review of the book when I only need a few sentences to say how I feel about it. I will also be reviewing four books I have read earlier in the year.

THANK YOU TO BOOKTASTERS AND THE RIAN HARRISON FOR ALLOWING ME TO READ THIS BOOK FOR FREE IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST REVIEW.

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Dr. Cylus Pine, an experimental psychologist takes in serial criminals to rehabilitate through group therapy.

Remus enters Dr. Pines facility after exacting revenge of his abusive father. He begins his therapy with a serial killer, a mother, a bomber, and rape victim. Through the course of their therapy they discover the true effects of their crimes.The cause though is up to their interpretation of their own truth.

PROGENY is the first of six novels.

Goodreads

I have no doubt that there is an audience for this book but it is definitely not me. Progeny is very graphic in its details of abuse, rape and murder but it was the writing style that turned me off. I have discovered through reading this that I very much like structure to the books I read. This was very flow of thought and constant switching between stories and time periods. Nothing felt real and none of it felt very believable.

Rating: 1/5

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Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

Goodreads

This book is a classic for a reason. I think everyone knows what this about because of the tv show. I recently started watching it with my husband and we are enjoying it a lot. I subtracted a star from the book because some parts got a little dry and boring for me.

Rating: 4/5

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From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful and haunting novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read.

Goodreads

This is my second Ruth Ware book and I am happy that I own all four of her books because they are such compelling thrillers. I can so easily see in my head the world that she is describing.  I did find myself becoming a little bored with the main character and I saw the twists coming but overall this was really well done mystery.

Rating: 3/5

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Colleen Hoover, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe Someday brilliantly brings to life the story of the wonderfully hilarious and charismatic Warren in a new novella, Maybe Not.

When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Goodreads

This was a really fun side novella to Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover. I love that it was written to take place the same time as things that happened in Maybe Someday. It was like reading the behind the scenes stuff from that book and I really loved Maybe Someday so this book was a wonderful bonus. I also really like the character of Warren and it was nice to hear things from his point of view.

Rating: 4/5

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When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper’s isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it’s the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it’s just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done.

For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of victims–women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them–has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she’s losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens.

But the murders at the Cooper farmhouse didn’t quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena’s ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more dangerous than what she’s running from.

In this extraordinary, pulse-pounding debut, Saul Black takes us deep into the mind of a psychopath, and into the troubled heart of the woman determined to stop him.

Goodreads

This was a really interesting crime thriller because we get to read from the perspectives of the detective, the killers, and the victims. It helped to give a really well rounded story and added more intensity to the story. I really did not like the character of the FBI agent. Her interactions with detective Hart where annoying and completely unnecessary to the story. If you enjoy crime thrillers then I definitely recommend this book to you.

Rating: 3/5

That’s all for today. If you know of any books that you think I might be interested in don’t hesitate to let me know!

~Cassie