Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2015 Releases I meant to get but didn’t

January 12, 2016 Top Ten Tuesday 3

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish

Hi Everyone! Hope you all had a lovely holiday season. Sorry I have been away for a few weeks now, but with family and all the festivities, I needed a little break. This week my Top Ten Tuesday is dedicated to the books I meant to get in 2015, but just didn’t quite make it to my every full Amazon cart/bookstore shopping sprees.

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

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Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

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Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

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A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

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Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

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What are some of the books that you didn’t quite get to in 2015?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

December 15, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 3

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is dedicated to the top ten books I have read this year.

The Girl on the Train- Paula Hawkins

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Hello- Liza Weimer

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Blood and Salt- Kim Liggett

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Trigger Warning- Neil Gaiman

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A Darker Shade of Magic- V. E. Schwab

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The Wrath and the Dawn- Renee Ahdieh

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The Book of Speculation- Erika Swyler

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Love Fortunes and Disasters- Kimberly Karalius

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The Art of Asking- Amanda Palmer

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Career of Evil- Robert Galbraight

(technically still reading it…but I love it)

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What were your top books for 2015? We would love to hear about them. :-)

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Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

December 8, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 1

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about the new authors I discovered in 2015. Here are my top choices:

Liza Weimer- Hello?

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Renee Ahdieh- The Wrath and the Dawn

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Victoria Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic

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Kim Liggett- Blood and Salt

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Paula Hawkins-The Girl on the Train

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Erika Swyler- The Book of Speculation

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Kimberly Karalius- Love Fortunes and Other Disasters (Grimbaud, #1)

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Amy Lukavics- Daughters Unto Devils

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Greer Macallister- The Magician’s Lie

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Holly Black- The Darkest Part of the Forest

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2016 Debuts Novels I Am Looking Forward To Reading

December 1, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 1

by #2016DebutBooks, #TopTenTuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about 2016 Debuts books. Here are the books I am most looking forward to:

1. The Fifth Avenue Artists Society: A Novel

by Joy Callaway

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Expected publication: May 31st 2016 by Harper Paperbacks


2. These Vicious Masks

by Tarun Shanker

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Expected publication: February 9th 2016 by Swoon Reads


3. Love, Lies & Spies

by Cindy Anstey

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Expected publication: April 19th 2016 by Swoon Reads


4. Sword and Verse

by Kathy MacMillan

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Expected publication: January 19th 2016 by HarperTeen


5. Beautiful Broken Things

by Sara Barnard

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Expected publication: February 11th 2016 by Macmillan Children’s Books (UK)


6. The Museum of Heartbreak

by Meg Leder

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Expected publication: June 7th 2016 by Simon Pulse


7. The Loneliness of Distant Beings

by Kate Ling

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Expected publication: June 2nd 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


8. Love & Gelato

by Jenna Evans Welch

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Expected publication: April 12th 2016 by Simon Pulse


9. Burning Glass (Burning Glass #1)

by Kathryn Purdie

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Expected publication: March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books


10. Shallow Graves

by Kali Wallace

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Expected publication: January 26th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books


What debut books are you looking forward to in 2016? 

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Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

November 30, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train Published by Riverhead Books on January 13th, 2015
Pages: 325
Format: eARC
four-stars
Goodreads

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

I loved that every single character in this book had something broken about them. To me it makes them easier to relate to, as well as making the characters feel  more “real”. As we learn more about them, and see their lives unfolding before us, we can feel for them and with them. It might not always feel pleasant, but that’s just how life is. This novel was raw, and it did not sugar coat the characters in any way. The use of the train, the train tracks and the ongoing train tips was really a fantastic way of pointing out that everyone is on different trips, to different places, or different paths, also everyone in this novel is a bit of a “train wreck” with their various issues and problems. The story is told in the perspective of Rachel our unreliable main character, Anna ( mistress/now wife of Rachel’s ex-husband Tom) and Megan who ends up murdered. After being divorced, forced out of her home, and replaced with Anna (the mistress) Rachel has been pretty down on her luck. She’s a heavy drinker, and I can’t say I blame her (especially after all she has been through). Rachel takes the train into work every day and often fantasizes about a specific happy couple she dubs “Jess and Jason” and their perfect life. It so happens to be that this couple live in the same neighborhood that Rachel once shared a house with her husband Tom. Now Tom lives there with his new wife and former mistress Anna and their baby, the one thing Rachel always wanted. Rachel is depressed, and unwilling to let go. Her drinking leads to her losing her job, and her having memory loss/black outs. Megan seems to have the perfect life from where Rachel sees her from the train cart, but Megan really isn’t happy at all. She’s bored with her life, and her surroundings. She can’t figure out what she wants and ultimately ends up murdered. The author does a wonderful job weaving together all the dates and perspective timelines as they merge and connect with one another. There were parts that lagged a bit, but mainly because I was starting to get sick of Rachel’s drinking, but mainly I was hooked from the start. I love that the author kept me guessing in regards to what really happened to Megan and who actually murdered her. I did figure it out before the reveal, but it was right at the end. An thrilling read, fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, I definitely recommend giving this debut novel a try. I know I am looking forward to the next book by Paula Hawkins. :-)

four-stars

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Book Review: Daughter Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

November 16, 2015 Reviews 1 ★★★★

Book Review: Daughter Unto Devils by  Amy LukavicsDevils Unto Daughters Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, Supernatural, Young Adult
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 29th, 2015
Pages: 231
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Goodreads

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

Me, Nicole and Elizabeth "Harlequin Teen Scream" event

Me, Nicole and Elizabeth “Harlequin Teen Scream” event (Two Slytherins and a Ravenclaw in the Center)

 

My friends Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads and Elizabeth from BookYAbber have been raving about this book for a few weeks, and when they told me they were heading to Salem, MA to attend the “Halloween Tenn Scream” event hosted by Wicked Good Books and Harlequin TEEN featuring authors Kady Cross, Gena Showalter and Amy Lukavics, I decided to tag along. The event was fantastic (with a costume contest, author signings, and lots of treats) and it gave me the opportunity to hear Amy speak about her debut novel, as well as her writing process. It also gave me a chance to meet Amy Lukavics, pick up a copy of her book, and see what the fuss was all about.

Daughters Unto Devils event

The story centers around Amanda Verner, her religious family and their relocation move to the prairie lands before the winter arrives. We are told about the previous winter and how it pretty much drove Amanda mad with cabin fever. Not only were they stuck in the cabin for months with only each other for company, her mother was also very ill and eventually gave birth to her youngest sister Hannah, who would not stop crying. Amanda just could not take it anymore and she swears that at her breaking point she saw the devil outside the cabin. We learn all this information from the recollections and memories Amanda has as she goes through her daily routine. Amanda has also taken up with a young man named Henry, and has secretly been meeting him in the woods. They have committed lustful sins, which has lead to Amanda becoming pregnant and now she fears the wrath of her family, but also fears the changes happening within her. One day her father comes home and announces that they will be moving to the prairie lands before the harsh winter arrives. The family seem to feel some concern about Amanda suffering through another winter locked up in the cabin again (at least I felt like they were sort of tiptoeing a bit around her). The prairie supposedly gives them the opportunity to find larger housing and hopefully more comforts during the winter ahead. They make the move, but Amanda feels uneasy, she’s unsure about the prairie and what awaits her there and how she will will break the news of her condition to her family. Most of all she feels like something is wrong, something sinister is lurking, and she can’t get anyone to listen or believe her.

I usually don’t read books that are too scary or that could possibly cause nightmares (because I’m a scaredy cat), but every now and then I will pick up a story or book to read if it sounds interesting enough or comes well recommended. Being near Halloween and wanting something different to read, I decided to take up my friends recommendation/suggestion and started to read Daughters Unto Devils. The first half of the book was really slow, I was seriously begging for something to jump out at me (I normally would never ask for that), but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I realized that my issue with the story at this point was that I was looking at it with the perspective of a woman in 2015, and that if I stepped back and looked at in the perspective of a young woman in the 1800’s I would be pretty scared for my life and well being too. Premarital sex and pregnancies were a huge “no-no” back in those days. It was and still is a huge deal within most religions to this very day. No wonder Amanda was so concerned with what her overly religious family would do to her! She had every reason to be scared, and to think that her body’s natural yearnings and desires were brought on by the devil and the evil inside her (probably due to her family/church rules/religion bombarding her with their opinions that such feelings were impure and ungodly). Once I sort of reminded myself of this, it was easier to continue and be as frustrated with the pace of the story or with the “old fashioned-ness” of the dialogue and character personalities. Thankfully, the story did pick up and soon things were happening so quickly I actually wanted it to slow down a bit so I could catch my breath. The ending was definitely creep-tastic and scared me enough to make all the slowness of the beginning worth it. It was hard to sleep for a few nights after finishing this book and not think I would hear crying babies in the woods, eerie violin music and  tapping noises on windows and doors.

I really do wish that we would have been shown things, instead of being told them a little more. This goes for showing how religious Amanda’s family really were, or why Amanda all of a sudden decided to start sleeping with Henry the post boy, or the sisterly bond between Amanda and her sister Emily as well as a few other things. As much as the beginning lagged, the ending was very fast. Everything went from pretty dull, to mysterious, to OMG WHAT IS GOING ON? far too quickly without really explaining why the prairie filled with evil and where it came from.  Maybe one day we will know these answers, maybe they were meant to be left mysterious so that our imaginations could run wild coming up with answers. Maybe that’s what you are suppose to think about when you are awoken by a loud “SMACK” against your bedroom window in the middle of the night. Because seriously…how else are you going to get back to sleep after that?

I would definitely say give this book a try if you are looking for a creepy read, and are patient with how long the story takes to develop. The ending of this book will not disappoint and will probably make you want to sleep with a nightlight on. Amy Lukavics can definitely put together a disturbing story, and I do look forward to reading what she will come up with next.

four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To

November 10, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 5

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish

Today’s Topic: Top Ten Book to Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To. Here are my picks:

1. Beauty and The Beast– Emma Watson= Perfect Belle. This is my favorite fairy tale of all time, and I am so excited to see it finally come to life.

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2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern– The rights were purchased ages ago…but still no movie in sight…maybe if one wishes with all their heart long enough, it will come to be. Keeping my fingers crossed, because this has so much potential, and should be a work of art visually. Also…dear book/movie gods…DO NOT let Kristen Stewart be cast in this, or anyone unworthy of such a beautiful story.

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3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them-by J.K. Rowling…Can’t wait to re-live the magic in a whole new way.

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4. The Name of The Wind/The Wise Man’s Fears/The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss– Rumors are all around that this series will not only be turned into a movie/s, but also a tv series. Hopefully they will do the books  proper justice and capture every brilliant moment of it.

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5. Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll – Yes…more Johnny Depp…being ever so weird…and fantastic costumes.

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6. Fortunately The Milk by Neil Gaiman– Neil’s kids book, about a dad that goes out to get milk and experiences all sorts of adventures…even better now that Johnny Depp will be definitely in it.

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7. Vicious by V.E. Schwab – Haven’t read this yet, but I have heard fantastic things about it, and looking forward to reading it and seeing the movie.

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8. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II by Suzanne Collins– The end of an era is here….there will be tears.

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9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs– Just heard about this, and super excited that Tim Burton will be directing this one. Hopefully it will be especially peculiar and dark.

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10. The Cormoran Strike Mysteries by Robert Galbraith…aka J.K. Rowling– This has been confirmed, and still waiting to hear more about the details. Reading the newest book (3rd) in the series right now, and I just love it.

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Are we looking forward to any of the same movies? Let’s fangirl/fanboy together. :-) Leave us a comment below and tell us what books are you looking forward to seeing the movie/tv adaptations of. 

 

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Book Review: Hello? By Liza Wiemer

November 6, 2015 Reviews 2 ★★★★★

Book Review: Hello? By Liza WiemerHello? by Liza Wiemer
Genres: Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on 2015-11-10
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
five-stars
Goodreads

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One HELLO? can change a life. One HELLO? can save a life.

Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.

Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.

Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian)..

There is a saying/belief that certain people or things come into our lives for a reason. I believe that in the case of this novel, that belief completely applies. Not just for the characters within the story, but also for the reader. Hello? is the embodiment of all the many ups, downs, and life changing moments we all have experienced in our lives. Especially the transition as we cross that very unstable threshold between teen and adulthood. There are so many of us that have suffered through grief at an early age, and many others that have been hurt by those we should most be able to trust. Other times we have been in so much pain that we don’t know how to handle it. Everything begins to lose meaning and life has no purpose. We spiral out of control and into total darkness, we feel alone, scared, confused, unwanted, unloved, devastated and so many other emotions. It is upon moments and fractions of life like these that Hello? touches on, as well as the possibility of finding ourselves again, and of being happy with the help of our family, friends or something as simple as one “Hello”.

Hello? is the story of 5 high school seniors, whose lives are intertwined without any of them really knowing it yet. Tricia has already suffered the loss of her parents, and now an even bigger blow with the loss of her dear grandmother. Her boyfriend Brian has been trying his hardest to be a constant source of support for Tricia, but he doesn’t truly know how to deal with Tricia’s grief or understand that his way of trying to comfort her isn’t what Tricia needs at this moment. Tricia keeps pushing him away, resulting in both of them feeling confused, alone and empty. Emerson is dealing with his own inner demons. He is constantly trying to be perfect and worthy of having been given a second chance in life (he was almost killed when he was a small child). He is also struggling with his relationship with his girlfriend Angie. Angie is in desperate need of some self-love. There is plenty of family drama for Angie to deal with too especially because of her abusive father who is in jail. Angie doesn’t trust people and pretty much only confides in her best friend Brenda. Brenda is tortured by what happened to her when she was younger, something that is directly linked to Angie leaving Brenda unable trust or open herself up to anyone because of what she endured. 

The book is written in the prospective of these 5 characters. I really liked the unique way Liza gives each of them their own voice and bit of personality by how she structures their individual chapters. Tricia and Emerson’s chapters are written the most traditionally, but you get artwork with Brian (he’s a sculptor/potter), poetry with Angie and a playwright format with Brenda’s chapters. I think that this allows for a deeper perspective on what maybe mere words on a page might not get through to a reader. For example, Brenda writes about her life as a play, as if she is a stranger looking in. She is distancing herself from her own reality. Angie writes free form poetry,  giving her a depth that you might not think she has from how she is portrayed and spoken of by other characters. The story really starts to bloom for me when  Tricia just can’t take it anymore and is about to go down a very dark path. She decides to make a phone call in her desperation, a call to her deceased grandmother’s cellphone. She wants a “sign”, guidance, a glimmer of light. The person that answers is Emerson. That phone call not only saves, but changes Tricia’s life. It also causes  a domino affect that impacts everyone else in the story.

Liza Wiemer really captured the raw emotions of growing up. Liza writes from the heart, and creates a deeply emotional and unforgettable story about friendship, heartache, grief and everything in-between. I could not put this book down. The connections between all the characters reminded me very much of theories regarding how humans are all somehow connected, as well as the idea of soul-mates or past lives. Sometimes we might even walk by someone, be connected to them but only find out much further in the future, or sometimes we feel such a strong urge/draw to certain people and can’t hold back wanting to reach out and connect with them. I am a big believer in soul mates (not just in love, but also in friendship) and I can definitely say I have experienced this theory and sensation in my own life. It’s quite a beautiful thing to find people you connect with so deeply that it feels like you have known them all your life, like you are “coming home”. This is how I think Tricia and Emerson felt when they started talking during that fated phone call, probably one of my favorite parts of the book.

Liza Wiemer has written a gorgeous debut novel. It left me in total awe and wonder. She managed to perfectly keep all the perspectives interlaced and smoothly coming in and out of one another allowing the story to glide. I was moved to tears but also laughed and rejoiced with her characters as they each faced the darkest parts of themselves,  pushed on ahead and conquered their own individual demons. This novel filled me with hope, it reminded me of my own personal struggles that I have experienced and also conquered. I loved reading Hello? and I if I could I would buy everyone a copy so they too could experience the journey that I went on while reading it. My love for this book is probably what made this review so hard to write. There just doesn’t seem to be enough words (or words that are worthy enough) to express how much I enjoyed this book. Hello? touches upon everything a person could want in a study of human emotion and connectivity. It shows us the power of human connection, friendship, family and love. It is honest and true. It doesn’t sugar coat anything and will cause the reader to FEEL, and I don’t mean like “the Feels” but actual gut-wrenching true FEELS. There is at least one subject matter if not many that at one point or another every reader has experienced in their own lives. It will TOUCH your soul in so many different ways.I love that the story inspires us to reach out to one another more, to check in with friends and family, to make that much-needed phone call. You never know what it could lead to, what it could stop or bring forth. The power and potential of one simple Hello.

five-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

November 3, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 5

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish

Today’s Topic: Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Us Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel (because when you love a debut, you just Can’t wait to get your hands on the author’s second book). Here are my Top Ten picks:

 

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I think I have mentioned this book and this author on this blog and to everyone I know more times than I can keep track of. I have re-read The Night Circus at least a dozen times over by now and I can not wait to read what Morgenstern will create in the future.

 

The Night Circus

 


 

2. Hello? By Liza Weimer – I was so excited to read this book, that I started the minute I got my hands on it at BEA. I read it the whole ride home on the bus and loved every single moment of it. A beautifully written story about the heart aches of life, human connection and how one simple “Hello” can change your life.

 

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3.The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler- I just started this, and I already know I want more….sometimes just a few chapters can already lure you in for good.

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4.Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett- This book made corn mazes, corn fields and just the idea of corn scary. It just gave me chills from the very first sentence.

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5.The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton- One of the most hauntingly beautiful and tragic books I have ever read. It just dripped with atmosphere and emotion.

 

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6. In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware -Another one I just started reading, but I can already tell will be brilliant and that I must have the next book asap!

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7. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins -I could not put this book down. I just had to know what was going to happen next and I hope Hawkins next book will be even better.

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8. Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics – Just finishing this book today, and I want more scary goodness from Amy Lukavics right now!

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9. The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister -Really enjoyed the story, and the characters in this book. I hope that Greer Macallister will continue to write books filled with magic and history.

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10. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I adored reading this story, it just completely took me to another place and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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What Are You Reading Wednesday #1: Daughters Unto Devils

October 28, 2015 What Are You Reading Wednesdays 4

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What Are You Reading Wednesdays #WAYRW is a weekly feature on It’s A Reading Thing. It’s really easy to join and link up. Answer a few simple questions about the book you are currently reading and the post. Once you have your post, make sure to link up at It’s A Reading Thing.  If you use the image above, please make sure you link it back to It’s A Reading Thing.

How to participate:
Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:

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1. What’s the name of your current read?

Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.

” With a racing heart and trembling lips, I turn to face the noise. My fists are clenched, although I don’t intend to fight. I open my eyes, ready to be devoured.

Oh, this is a reckoning, all right. Because it’s not a wolf, or a bear or the devil standing on the opposite side of the clearing, staring at me with completely wild eyes and an open mouth.

It’s Emily. “

3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not? 

I just started reading this book, but from what I have read so far I don’t think I would ever want to live in the same world where this book takes place/ time period. I don’t want to have to deal with the wilderness, and the lack of electricity, the creepiness of this story or the cabins.

Please check back soon for a review of this book. :-)

 

 

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