Review// The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Author: Angie Thomas
Series: The Hate U Give #1
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Book Length: 444 pages 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Review: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

My Review:

If you are going to read one book this entire year, please let it be this one.

This was a very powerful, emotional, and important story that I think everyone needs to read. This book definitely opened my eyes to so many of the injustices faced by the Black community, as well as gave me a new perspective on how these injustices affect them. As someone who really enjoys books with believable characters, I was really impressed with how real the characters felt; from the second chapter I was already getting teary, even though I barely knew them yet, and I think that says a lot. Starr went through so much in this book, and her bravery and determination to stand up for what was right was inspiring.

This is not only one of the best books I’ve ever read, but also the best audiobook I’ve ever experienced, and I can not recommend it enough.

If you want to educate yourself and read an amazing story, READ THIS BOOK.

– Catherine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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Review// White Elephant by Trish Harnetiaux

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Author: Trish Harnetiaux
Series: Standalone
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Book Length: 228 pages 
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Review: 2.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

There are only a few rules in a White Elephant gift exchange: 1) Everyone brings a wrapped, unmarked gift. 2) Numbers are drawn to decide who picks first. 3) Gifts don’t need to be pricey—and often they’re downright tacky.

But things are a little different in Aspen, Colorado, at the office holiday party for the real estate firm owned by Henry Calhoun and his wife Claudine. Each Christmas sparks a contest among the already competitive staff to see who can buy the most coveted gift: the one that will get stolen the most times, the one that will prove just how many more commissions they earned that year than their colleagues. Designer sunglasses, deluxe spa treatments, front row concert tickets—nothing is off the table. And the staff is even more competitive this year as Zara, the hottest young pop star out of Hollywood, is in town and Claudine is determined to sell her the getaway home of her dreams.

Everyone is puzzled when a strange gift shows up in the mix: an antique cowboy statue. At least the sales agents are guessing it’s an antique—otherwise it’d be a terrible present. It’s certainly not very pretty or expensive-looking. In fact, the gift makes sense only to Henry and Claudine. The statue is the weapon Henry used to commit a murder years ago, a murder that helped start his company and a murder that Claudine helped cover up. She swore that no one would ever be able to find the statue or trace it to their crime. So which of their employees did? And why did they place it in the White Elephant? What could possibly be their endgame?

Over the course of the evening, Henry and Claudine race to figure out who could have planted the weapon, and just what the night means for the secrets they’ve been harboring. Further adding to the drama is a snowstorm that closes nearby roads—preventing anyone from leaving, as well as keeping law enforcement from the scene. And by the end of this crazy night, the police will most definitely be required…

My Review:

Yay, I’m happy I finished this just in time for Christmas! I was looking forward to reading at least one festive novel.

I thought the premise of this book was extremely interesting. I love mystery/thrillers and I thought it was a great idea to combine that with a Christmas-theme (although I know this is not an original idea by any means).

I will admit that some parts were suspenseful, but I did guess a few of the main plot twists which took away the other half of the excitement. It just seemed like the plot points in this book were wrapped up all too perfectly with a little red bow, just like the one on the cover. A lot of things “conveniently” happened and after a while it seemed just too good to be true that the pieces were fitting together so seamlessly.

I also wish that the characters had a bit more personality. They seemed to be very cookie-cutter (no pun intended) and I could always predict the main characters’ next moves. In general, I think this is a little bit of an issue for me personally, but it is especially the case when I intend to read a mystery/thriller. I love being on my toes, and unfortunately with this, there were very few times that I was.

Despite all of that, the writing was enjoyable and I finished this in a few days – reading most of it in one. Not the worst book ever, but I did expect more from it. I would still recommend it if you are looking for an easy holiday read, but don’t expect to be sitting at the edge of your seat.

-Catherine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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Review// Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

 

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Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Release Date: October 17, 2011
Book Length: 316 pages 
Publisher: Tor Teen
Review: 3/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

My Review:

I thought this was a pretty good book. It was a light thriller/horror that started off strong, but in the end it kind of wavered which set my rating to a 3/5.

The protagonist, Cas, was a teenage ghost hunter and I thought the concept was interesting and unique – it kind of reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At the beginning, I thought the plot was pretty predictable as there were all the typical tropes in a YA high school that you could think of. However, even though the book did surprise me by swaying from the stereotypical, predictable ending, I thought some of it was a little cheesy. ***SPOILER AHEAD: especially the fact that Cas falls in love with Anna!  It wasn’t executed in a believable way to me, so when it happened, I honestly didn’t care and I think that is one of the main reasons this book ended up flopping for me in the end.***

What I especially liked though was that this book is set in Canada! I was shocked to find that out, because it’s not every day that I read a book set here. They mentioned the setting of Thunder Bay a bunch of times, but what I wish the author did more of was bring some Canadian culture into the plot to make it more believable. Although they kept mentioning ‘Thunder Bay’, the descriptions of the setting and life in Canada were few and far between so really, it could have been set anywhere else and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Even though this wasn’t my favourite book ever, I still think it was good. I wouldn’t go out of my way to read the sequel, but I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea either.

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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The Television Tag!

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Hello! Okay so I don’t normally talk about this on my blog, but I thought it would be fun to do something different. This tag was adapted to blogs by Sam @ Fictionally Sam and I was tagged by one of my favourite people, Kelly, over @ Struggling Bookaholic to participate in it! So thank you to both of them, you should definitely check out the content over on their blogs as well 🙂

1. Favorite shows?

Alright, I’m going to be super basic with this right off the bat and say that Friends is definitely up there. Watching it just feels like being rolled up in a blanket burrito in bed – comforting, warm, and really stupidly funny. Some other shows I love are How I Met Your Mother, Queer Eye, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Black Mirror, Nailed It, This is Us, and How to Get Away with Murder.

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2. Favorite genre?

I like sitcoms a lot! I really enjoy following a story-line and becoming attached to characters and how they develop as the seasons progress. I also really like drama – especially if it has a criminal or sci-fi theme to it.

3. Least favorite show?

I can’t even think of what my least favourite show is. If I’m not feeling something, I usually stop watching it before it has a chance to develop into something I hate. I kind of just allow myself to become indifferent to it, which is probably why I can’t think of any examples right now.

4. Most re-watched show/favorite show to binge watch?

Although I haven’t re-watched it the whole way through chronologically more than once, I like watching random episodes of Friends. My favourite shows to binge watch though are usually reality shows like Are You the One? or RuPaul’s Drag Race something where each season is its own separate thing that’s super light and entertaining where I don’t have to focus too much.

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5. Do you prefer watching things week-by-week or binge-watching?

Binge watching for sure because watching an episode week-by-week sometimes starts to feel like a chore and I stress myself out thinking about having to watch it in time for the following week. I would rather watch TV at my leisure

6. Favorite television characters?

Monica and Chandler from Friends; Barney from How I Met Your Mother; Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder; Will from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

7. Favorite television ships?

Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother; Jesse and Becky from Full House; Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World and others that I can’t say because I think they would be spoilers for people if they are currently/decided to watch those shows.

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8. Show you could never get into?

There was a lot of hype around this show at the time that I tried getting into it, but I could never get into Suits. I don’t even remember there being anything wrong with it, I just remember having very little interest in continuing after a few episodes so I never watched again.

9. Show you fell out of love with?

I wouldn’t say I fell out of love with it because if I picked it back up again, I know I would enjoy it, but my answer for this one is Nashville. At the time, I knew that some very serious plot moves were on the horizon that I didn’t want to see happen, so I stalled for as long as I could until I eventually stopped watching altogether (oops), but I would still recommend it as an awesome drama.

10. Cancelled too soon?

Thankfully I’ve never really had a problem with this because most of the shows I get into have been around for a while prior and have a foreseeable closure.

11. Guilty pleasure show?

Nailed It has been a guilty pleasure show for a while. It’s about amateur bakers trying to replicate really intricate desserts and it is hilarious!

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12. What are you currently watching?

Right now I am watching Queer Eye, slowly making my way through Season 3 through a film of tears.

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I’m not going to tag anyone because I just wanted to do it for fun, but if you do want to participate feel free to ping back my post so I can check your answers out!

– Catherine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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The Emoji Challenge Tag

I saw this tag over on Sara’s blog and thought it looked fun so I decided to give it a go!

From her post, I learned that she speaks 3 languages – English, Spanish, & Portuguese 🙂

Rules:

  • tag the creators @bookprincessreviews
  • share one thing you learned about the person who tagged you
  • for each prompt, you can use a maximum of three emojis
  • tag at least two other bloggers you want to get to know better

[1] What country do you live in?

🇨🇦

[2] What was your dream job growing up?

🕵🏻‍♀️

[3] How many siblings do you have (if any)?

👩🏼👨🏼

[4] What are your top three favourite activities?

🎧💃📚

[5] What is something you’re very good at?

🎨

[6] What is something you’d like to become better at?

☯️✌️

[7] How many languages do you speak?

🇬🇧 👌🇮🇹

[8] What is something you could talk about for hours? (non-book related if possible)

👻👽⁉️

[9] What’s your favourite book genre?

1️⃣👩🏻💭

[10] What is your favourite season of the year?

🌸🌱🌹

[11] If you had to describe yourself as an animal, what animal would you be?

🐈

I tag Books By The Cup & Suziey, but if you want to give this a go and I didn’t tag you, I would still love to see your answers!

Catherine


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