Monday, 21 July 2014

Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes - Road trip anyone?

One Plus One
Title: One Plus One 

Author: Jojo Moyes 
Publisher: Penguin Canada 
Publication date: July 1, 2014
Genre(s): Chick Lit 
Source: Publisher
Format: Finished Copy 
Pages: 384
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.
One Plus One was fabulous, a perfect book with a well written plot line. I don't think I've ever read a chick lit road trip book. This is my first try at Jojo Moyes's writing and it is definitely not my last. The plot was refreshing and definitely unique in the way that the romance was presented as well as the issues the characters face and the relationship between them. It was told from multiple POVs that included the main protagonist, Jess, the love interest, tech millionaire Ed, Jess's math genius daughter and bullied step son. 
Jess is trying to make ends meet with working two jobs and trying to keep her family afloat. Her husband left her two years ago and hasn't helped with child support because of his "illness" which is apparently depression? anyways, that's not where Jesse's problems end. Her step son is being bullied and beaten up on a weekly basis and her young daughter just got the best opportunity of her life, to go to a private school with a 90% scholarship. However the 10% is still too much money for Jess. The struggle she goes through, trying to figure out a way to make it work, the desperate feeling she experiences is very sad. I really felt sad for Jess, she really was a good mom. She wants the best for both her children, even though one of them isn't even her biological son and was dumped on her, something people that she meets always find confusing. Still, she treats them both equally and with so much love, it makes me teary eyed thinking about it. 
Ed however, is in deep trouble. He did something stupid and is now being investigated and banned from getting near his company or touching any work related material. One night Ed was driving, trying to occupy his time before he goes full on crazy when he sees Jess and her kids on the side of the road, car not working, and police talking to them. Next thing we know, Ed is driving the whole family to Scotland. What's hilarious is that Tanzie, Jess's daughter, will throw up if she's in a car that's at a speed higher than 40 mile/hr. Also, another someone worth mentioning was the family dog. Even though he doesn't speak (obviously) he had a very big presence in this book and I loved him! The road trip was all kinds of hilarious scenes but witnessing all the people getting closer together, forming connections, trust, and leaning on each other really made me teary eyed multiple times. The relationship between Ed and the kids was especially sweet. 
One Plus One was more about the people, their issues, and how leaning on each other and trusting each other and opening up your heart to them is sometimes what is missing in your life. Of course a romance in a chick lit is inevitable but I felt that Jojo Moyes focused more on each individual. Not that the romance wasn't good, because it was really well done. I Truly loved her writing and her storytelling style. I already own Me Before You and I am excited to pick it up. I'm definitely going to make it a goal of mine to go through her bibliography and read all her books. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

June and Mid July Epic Haul

Hello fellow readers! Finally another book haul! We haven't done one in a while (6 weeks) so this is going to contain a massive amount of books! We are now officially on a book buying ban because we bought too many books in June (even though they were cheap). We need to read more books on our bookshelves before we can buy any more books.. hehe.. let's see how long that lasts. There are 64 books in this haul. *hides away* For my book hauls, I'm following the format of Carina @ Carina Books because they seem to be the most informative plus I like seeing the covers of all the books.

Review Books
Hexed was pretty good. Gave it 3.5/5 stars. It was sent by Random House Canada. Review Here. I am currently int he middle of One Plus One (Thanks Penguin Canada!) and I'm really enjoying it! Next books were all sent by Random House Canada. Farah loved Toxic Heart and totally recommends this dystopian series by Theo Lawrence. Review Here. We were also sent two copies of We Were Liars. I already read it and loved it. Review Here. I've already read Longbourn and Reckoning (which was sent by Raincoast) and did a joint review here. The Jewel, Don't Touch, Rites of Passage, and The Death of Us all came from Harper Collins Canada and I am SO excited for each one!! Blazed was an unsolicited copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Sinner… oh Sinner. How I loved you. This was a perfect book and you can know why in my review here. I already read Some Boys, thanks Raincoast!, but I was a bit disappointed by it. I'm so excited for The Art of Getting Stared At! It sounds so deep and emotional! Thanks Penguin Canada. #Scandal was SO SO good. It was an unsolicited copy from Simon & Schuster Canada but I DEVOURED it the second I got it. My 5 star review is here. Then and Always was sent by Penguin Canada and it is a chick lit standalone, I enjoyed it. Here is my review. Midnight Thief was sent from HBG Canada and I already read it. Review here. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover was sent by Simon & Schuster Canada. Already read it and it was pretty good. 4 stars. Chasing Before is another unsolicited copy from Simon & Schuster Canada. Lastly, Breathe, Annie, Breathe was sent to me by the author herself and it is signed *happy dance*. I already read it and LOVED it. Review here. 

NON REVIEW BOOKS (95% form Bookoutlet)
AH! We bought SO many books we've been wanting for ages. I got Me Before You because I need more adult contemporary in my life and this has raving reviews. Golden, In Honor (Review here), and Reunited are all contemporary road trip books I've wanted even before they came out. Since You've Been Gone is a book I won and I'm so excited to read it. Farah's review is hereRuin and Rising.. do you even need to ask? Live Through This is a book I read an excerpt of from a blog before it was released and I've wanted it ever since! For Darkness Shows the Stars is a book I wanted to buy ever since a booktuber read it and loved it. Two copies of The Distance Between Us because one of them is slightly damaged. Farah had to buy the movie cover of The Fault in Our Stars because we don't own a single copy and we both love the movie cover edition. My review can be found here.

If You Find Me is a book Farah wanted ever since Judith @ Paperiot raved about it. Out of Reach is another book Farah wanted to buy ever since the cover and synopsis were revealed. I read Wanderlove as an eARC and I wanted to own it ever since. My review is here. Just Flirt looks like a cute contemporary! Psych Major Syndrome is one of those books I discovered when I started blogging and I wanted it ever since. Because Farah read Mystic City as an eARC and she got a finished copy of Toxic Heart for review, she needed to buy it. Farah's raving review is here. The Sharp Time looks like a short contemporary. My Name is Mina was a total cover buy.. I admit it. Farah already has an ARC of The Ruining but needed a finished copy because she loves it so much. Her rare 5 star review is here. It's a psychological thriller so I NEED to read it soon! Burning Blue sounds SO interesting and a potentially emotional contemporary! 

I needed to buy more chick lit and adult contemporary books so I bought Persuading Annie and Recipe for disaster! I won Dangerous Creatures from Chapters. Another Little Piece is a book I loved when I read it as an eARC (Review here) so Farah wanted to buy a copy. FINALLY I managed to buy Let the Sky Fall! I am dying to read it! Crash is short, and my sister loved it when she read it as an eARC (Review here) so I had to buy it. Jellicoe Road is one of those books that you need to read. The Memory of After. Farah bought it because we received an ARC of the sequel and she liked the synopsis of it. The Karma Club and Where it Began are both contemporaries I want to read for the summer. Speak is a book Farah loved and wanted to own. Origin is the fourth book in the Lux series and I need to read it before Opposition is out. The Farm is the last book in this haul. Farah loves the sound of it and had to buy it. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Review: You Only Live Once by Bridie Clark

Title: You Only Live Once (Snap Decisions, #2)
Author: Bridie Clark 
Publication date:  April 15, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 224
You survived your freshman year at Kings Academy, the prestigious prep school in the New Hampshire hills, but hold the slow clap—turns out sophomore year’s the real grinder. You’ll have to deal with the stress of keeping up with the soul-crushing homework. Not to mention your glam classmates are throwing glitzy sweet sixteen parties this year and you’ll need a job if you want to join.

Will you take that babysitting job in town (and pretend not to notice Hot Dad’s flirtatious ways)? Will you bribe your way to a New York Times internship and land a college guy? Filled to the brim with twisting paths and turns, this may end up being the best year of your life . . . or it may send you home to Hope Falls in tears. Whatever snap decisions you make, it’s going to be an unforgettable year.
You Only Live Once is the somewhat sequel to Maybe Tonight? by Bridie Clark. I said somewhat, because it's kind of confusing as to which story is the continuation to which. In case you might not already know, Snap Decisions are the type of books that require your decision making in order to go to the next chapter or part of the story. At the end of each chapter, there is a question, with 2 choices. The reader then gets to choose one of the choices, and turns to a specific page. It's already a very short book, but because of choosing specific choices and whatnot, it's becomes even shorter and a very fast read. 
You Only Live Once was definitely more fun that Maybe Tonight?. I loved going back and forth and reading the different outcomes of each choices. In this book, the story is pretty interesting and more fun to play around with. My only problem with this series is it lacks characters and I'm unable to connect with anything. Maybe it's because of how short the stories are, but I just can't seem to personally get fully immersed in the story. 
Overall, if you're looking for a fun, short, and fast read, then the Snap Decisions are great books to read for some good fun. It's not a book full of complicated characters and plot, but just a read someone can breeze through.
More from Bridie Clark 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Blog tour: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Hello lovely readers and welcome to today's blog tour stop of Breathe, Annie, Breathe, hosted by Raincoast! I'm so glad to be part of this blog tour, because I love this whole series and Miranda Kenneally's writing. Breathe, Annie, Breathe is now officially my favorite book from this series and I love it so much. Find out why in my review below! 

Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks, #5)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Raincoast
Publication year: July 15, 2014
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Author
Format: ARC
Pages: 306

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.
Follow Kenneally on her: Website || Goodreads || Twitter || FB

1)      Your books take place in a small town. Is your hometown similar to the one in your books?

A: Yes, my books take place in Franklin, Tennessee, which is near where I grew up (Manchester, TN). I use real restaurants and landmarks from Franklin, Manchester, and the surrounding towns in my books. Only a couple of the schools I mention are real. Most of them are named after shopping malls in TN.

2)   Your characters often crossover in your novels.  Is this your way of giving your characters a sequel or a happy ending?

A: Yes, I chose to write companion novels rather than sequels, because to write a sequel, you have to create drama. If I've already given my characters a happy ending at the end of a book and they have grown and developed, I don't want to take that away from them by creating unnecessary drama. I also loved the idea of creating a community in which kids influence each other in different ways throughout the books. 

3)      You tend to write strong characters who are also athletic. Were you considered a jock in high school?

A: Not at all! If anything, I was a chorus geek. I played soccer, but I wasn't very good at it. I also managed the boys soccer team, but that was really just an excuse to hang around hot guys after school.

4)      Your main character, Annie, is training to run for a marathon.  You also provided a great deal of detail about how hard it is on your body to train for a marathon.  Did you do any background research for this?

A: Yes! In the past I ran a marathon and a half-marathon, so I used experiences from training for those races to write BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE. I also consulted "Runner's World" magazine and interviewed trainers at my gym. I also spoke to a few former pro-athletes. 

5)      What are your favourite books so far this year?

A: I've loved A MAD, WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller, CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge, and THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkowski. Also, it doesn't come out until 2015, but I got a sneak peak at Trish Doller's next book THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, which is an awesome thriller. 
I absolutely loved Breathe, Annie, Breathe. It is now my favorite book by Miranda Kenneally. The writing in Breathe, Annie, Breathe, the plot line, and the emotional depth had me so invested in this book, I chocked up and teared up several times while reading it. Briefly, this book is about Annie and she's training to run a 26.2 mile marathon on behalf of her boyfriend who passed away. Her boyfriend was training to run for it before he passed away and she felt that she needed to do this for him, to finish what he wasn't able to finish. I just.. Annie felt so much and in turn I felt so much through this book. We get flashbacks of their past and I was pretty much teary eyed through every flashback. I loved this idea so much; it isn't just a fluffy contemporary, it really is much more. 
I loved Annie, that is a given. I felt all of Kenneally's characters in this book to be so realistic and very developed. It is hard to love a character that never really showed up in a book but I did. I loved Kyle so much to the point that I had my own little crying fest about wishing that I knew him before he died (I pretty much turned them into real life people). Also, the plot was very realistic. Annie's boyfriend passed away, but when she met someone new, no one gave her dirty looks or called her unfaithful. I've read more than a book that did just that and I was perplexed as to what did the people expect of the girl? to turn into a nun? Which is where Jeremiah enters (not to further the nun idea, but the new love interest one). Their first encounter was hilarious! It was in the excerpt that I read months ago and it pretty much made this book one of my most anticipated books of 2014. He is so funny, hilarious, charming, cocky, but at the same time he wasn't perfect. He was a guy and sometimes said things that he really shouldn't have. I still liked him. I sometimes felt that I was betraying Kyle by liking him but I was able to get past that, alongside Annie. They started out as friends and I loved their progression as friends to something more. It was natural and not rushed.
I feel like I need a whole paragraph dedicated to Annie and her running. The dedication this girl had was unbeatable. Also, it showed that Kenneally really did her research when it came to training and running for a marathon and the struggles someone doing that would generally get. I especially loved the logs at the end of each chapter and just the whole training process. It really made me want to try running a marathon (not a 26 mile one!). It was also nice seeing Matt as her trainer as well as all the other characters from the previous four books. One thing worth mentioning is that Breathe, Annie, Breather is more mature than her other books in that the love interest is in his 20s. I loved that because now I don't seem weird since I won't be crushing on a minor (haha). This is my favorite book by Miranda Kenneally and it is very emotional, deep, and raw. I recommend it to all contemporary fans out there.