When Breath Becomes Air

25899336When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: January 19th, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Medicine, Philosophy, Life


BLURB:

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. Continue reading

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

27833670Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: July 26th, 2016
Publisher: Crown
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction, Action, Life, Family, Love Story

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BLURB:

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe. Continue reading

Must-Read Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

27161846The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Family, First Love, Adventure, Life and Death, Humour

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BLURB:

It’s a summer for first love, last wishes, and letting go.

Maddie has big plans to spend the last months before college tying up high school “loose ends” alongside her best friends. Then her beloved grandmother drops two bombshells: (1) Gram is dying. (2) She’s taking her entire family on a round-the-world cruise of dreams come true—but at the end, Gram won’t be returning home.

With a promise to live in the now without regrets, Maddie boards the Wishwell determined to make every moment count. She finds new friends in her fellow Wishwellians, takes advantage of the trip’s many luxuries, gets even closer to her quirky family, and falls for painfully gorgeous Enzo. But despite the copious laughter, headiness of first love, and wonder of the glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram, and she struggles to find the strength to let go in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, grief, and laughter. Continue reading

Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

12232938The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: 2002
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Point of View: 1st Person & 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Very Slow
Genres &  Themes: Adult, Death, Family, Ghosts, Life, Love

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BLURB:

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished. Continue reading

Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

26245098Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st & 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Romance, Life, Society, Individualism

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BLURB:

Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bugglegum Reaper–a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic–the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price. Continue reading

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

11870085The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: January 10th 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Summer, Cancer, Ilness, Romance, Friendship, Family, Life, Dreams

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BLURB:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. Continue reading

Review: The Stranger by Albert Camus

49552The Stranger by Albert Camus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: 1942
Publisher: Vintage International
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 16+
Genres &  Themes: Adulr, Classic, Life, Psychological

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BLURB:

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.”
Continue reading