Girls Need Not Apply: Field Notes from the Forces

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Girls Need Not Apply: Field Notes from the Forces by Kelly S. Thompson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 20th, 2019
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Military, Coming of Age, Feminism


REVIEW:

I have such mixed feelings about this memoir. I was very excited to read it because I don’t recall ever reading a memoir from someone who served in the army, let alone a woman, and because I could feel it in my bones that it would be impactful. I enjoy both light and heavy stories so I was ready for an arrow to pierce my heart. Continue reading

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House of Salt and Sorrows – Erin A. Craig

39679076House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 6th, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance, Family


REVIEW:

This is an exciting YA fantasy driven by a compelling atmosphere and a dark mystery case. I was pulled in pretty quickly and was curious to see how this author would retell one of my all time favourite fairy tales. When I was a kid, all I wanted to watch was Barbie’s adaptation of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. I have fond memories of sitting in my room and gazing in adoration at the different dresses and shoes. Fashion is not an important component of this story and you won’t find any Barbies in it either. It’s a dark story with death creeping around every corner. The heroine—Annaleigh—is doing her best to shed light on the darkness but there are powerful forces at play so it will take courage, strength and determination to unveil the mystery. Continue reading

The Garden of Small Beginnings – Abbi Waxman

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The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Realistic Fiction, Grief, Contemporary, Romance, Siblings


REVIEW:

I jumped on the chance of reading this book after finishing The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and absolutely loving everything about it. The Garden of Small Beginnings is a whole other interesting beast, but a flawed one despite its entertaining elements. It deals with grief, but because the main character has a dry humour and prefers to bury her real emotions for the sake of her children and her own psyche, I had difficulty understanding what Lilian was feeling at times. Continue reading

How It Feels to Float – Helena Fox

41454344How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Dial Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mental Health, LGBTQIA+, Family Death, Friendship


REVIEW:

I will not always remember what happened in this book but I will always remember how this book made me feel. It is so lyrical I can remember clearly how it increased my heartbeat during stressful scenes and reduced it during really comfortable moments between Biz and the new people she meets. Everything Biz felt, I felt, which was heavy at times because she is not in a right space of mind right now. Her father’s death affects her tremendously even if it was a while ago. I can relate to that because my own father passed away when I was a baby and even if my heart doesn’t squeeze when I think of him I still wonder oh so many times what it would have been like to get to know him. Yet this book never got too overwhelming. Biz is drowning in her own mind—or floating out of it rather—but has people in her life who help her stay grounded. But you can’t always depend on others to feel sane and so Biz is losing herself more and more. Continue reading

Scars Like Wings – Erin Stewart

39353216Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: October 1st 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mental Health, Romance, Death, Friendship, High School


REVIEW:

This is such a realistic story that I had no problem picturing everything happening and understanding what the characters were feeling. As someone who enjoyed the book Wonder but wished it had been about a more mature protagonist, this was pretty perfect for me and a wonderful reading experience. The poems included had a huge impact on me because I strongly connected with the heroine whose heart was shattered into a million pieces when her parents and best friend died in a fire that she was the only one to survive. Everyone has scares but some scars, like Ava’s, are impossible to miss. This, of course, affects the way she sees herself and other people see her. Continue reading

Field Notes on Love – Jennifer E. Smith

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Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: March 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Road Trip, College, Family, Passions


REVIEW:

Everything about this book is cute: the characters, story, writing, themes and even the conflicts. It was my first book from this author and I regret not having tried her sooner. She gets what it’s like to be a teenager in love and someone who is lost and in need of finding themselves. The premise is also extremely cute: Hugo’s girlfriend breaks up with him after having planned a whole trip they were supposed to leave on together and Hugo is left with two choices: he either forgets everything about this trip or he finds someone with the same name as his ex to unlock all the reservations made under her name. Continue reading

Gravemaidens – Kelly Coon

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Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: October 29th, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Family, Death


REVIEW:

This is the kind of commercial fantasy that you read, enjoy and then completely forget about. But I guess in this particular case I’m not allowed to forget about it because there will be a second and final book that will wrap up the story and decide Kammani’s fate once and for all. Continue reading