7/17/18

All Your Perfects - Colleen Hoover

It's been three weeks since I finished this book, and I'm still struggling to find the words to talk about my thoughts.  First of all, let me say that I have a bit of a complicated relationship with Colleen Hoover.  I've reviewed several egalleys of her books, and borrowed the rest of her books from the library.  I've loved some, and could barely force myself to finish some of her other books.  For this reason, her books are not ones that I would run to the bookstore to buy, simply because I never know what I'm going to find between the covers.  Even those that I've enjoyed are ones that I won't reread.  For example, I thought Hopeless was a wild ride, with tons of twists and turns, but there were moments where the dramatics of the relationship reminded me too much of the Edward-Bella dynamic.  Although I thoroughly enjoy the reading experience with most of Colleen Hoover's books, there's always something problematic between the covers that prevents me from loving the book unconditionally.

Then I read All Your Perfects and I fell in love.  Perhaps it's because this is Colleen's first adult novel, rather than new adult, like the rest of her books, but this book BLEW ME AWAY.  All Your Perfects is the story of a couple struggling with infertility.  Quinn and Graham's relationship begins in an unconventional manner (but what a "how we met" story!) and is in danger of falling apart completely because of the strains that their struggles to conceive has placed on their marriage.  While I was lucky to get pregnant very quickly once we started trying, I know that the struggles in this book are real and have touched the lives of several close friends.  I cried alongside Quinn during her journey and this book absolutely tore me to pieces.  Despite what I mentioned above about not rushing to buy Colleen's books, I finished reading this book and immediately preordered a copy for my shelves because this is the type of book that I need to hug in person.  And my ereader doesn't quite do the trick.

If you've struggled with Colleen's books in the past, like me, definitely give this book a chance.  If you've struggled with infertility, this book will likely tear your heart out, and even if you haven't been through a journey similar to Quinn's, this book will still wreck you emotionally.  As I said at the beginning of this review, it's been weeks since I finished it and I still feel a bit vulnerable emotionally and unsure of how to put my thoughts into words.  Let me just end by saying this: this is Colleen's best work to date and if she continues along this path, she will be my next auto-buy author.  I can scarcely express how much this book touched my heart and I can't wait to reread it when my copy arrives.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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7/10/18

Top 10 Best Books of 2018 (So Far!)

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  This week's topic is the ten best books of the year (so far!)  I shared my third round of the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag last month (check it out here) so this will be a bit repetitive, but I can't stop sharing my love for these books...

1. The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
This was one of the very first books I read this year and I feel like it set the stage for sweeping adult contemporaries.

2. When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A.J. Steiger
I will keep singing this book's praises from the top of every pedestal -- this book deserves WAY more bookish hype than it has seen so far.  It's young adult contemporary PERFECTION.

3. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
Another one that I will not stop talking about.  I've already bought four copies of this book: originally one for myself, followed by two more for friends and one for my sister-in-law.  It's THAT GOOD.

4. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
I read this in February (I think?) and immediately preordered a copy.  I'll be rereading it as soon as it arrives ... if I can stop hugging it first.

5. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
I enjoyed some of Kristin's other books, including The Nightingale, but I was fully unprepared for how much I loved this book.  It BLEW ME AWAY.

6. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
One of my best friends recommended this book to me years ago and it took me just as long before I finally picked up a copy.  Boy oh boy was it worth the wait!  Sweeping, epic, historical and just the right amount of fantasy.

7. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
I loved Marissa before picking up this book and now she has firmly cemented herself on my favourite authors of all time list.

8. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
A coworker loaned me her copy of this book.  She told me that she didn't read much but she gobbled up this book in two days.  That was high praise but the book delivered -- I couldn't put it down!  I promptly ordered more of her books ... it was this book that prompted me to place my first Book Outlet order in YEARS.

9. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Holy smokes, Lisa can write a heartwrenching story.  This one didn't start out as my favourite of hers because the characters were hard to love but I was sobbing by the end.

10. Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino
Besides Kristin Hannah, this is the most surprising book on this list.  I didn't expect to love this one as much as I did, but holy did I love this book.  I was in tears three separate times!

How about you?  Which books have blown you away this year?  Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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7/5/18

Us Against You - Fredrik Backman

I read, and really enjoyed, A Man Called Ove last summer and I've had my eye on another of Backman's novels since then.  I requested Us Against You on a whim from Netgalley and didn't expect to be approved.  When I received the approval email, I quickly realized that I needed to read Beartown before I dove into this new one.

Beartown is described as Friday Night Lights but hockey and that description fits the book PERFECTLY.  I love Friday Night Lights (although I've only watched two seasons thus far) but as a Canadian I do have a tough time understanding how a town can be that passionate about football.  BUT, with hockey I GET IT.  I've cheered on a hockey team through Stanley Cup playoffs, cried tears of joy and tears of sorrow at medal games in the Olympics and I GET IT.

I can't talk about Us Against You without spoiling the events of Beartown since it's the second in a series, so let's just talk about both books in general.  Frederik Backman chooses each word, each phrase with such purpose and intention.  Some of his phrases absolutely took my breath away.  His characterization is the strongest part of these novels.  Although the plot is excellent as well, there are moments where the storyline isn't progressing because we have to take the time to really get into the characters' heads and unpack how they're feeling.  His character development is AMAZING and unlike any other author that I've read.  If you've read Ove, just think about how much you came to love his character by the end of the story -- you'll feel the same way about each and every character in Beartown.

If you're Canadian and you love hockey, read this book.  If you've ever cheered for any type of sports team, read this book.  If you love a story that'll tug at your heart strings, read this book.  If you can place your hand on your chest and feel your heart beating, READ THIS BOOK. 

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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7/2/18

July TBR - Readathons, Oh My!

I am SO PUMPED to read ALL OF THE THINGS this summer.  I shared my reading plans for my summer TBR, basically I'm giving myself ten challenges to complete over the summer rather than a specific list of books.

  

But then, because I am SO PUMPED, I decided that Tome Topple would be fun to join, especially because my July project this year is Loneseome Dove.  I really enjoyed tackling Shantaram last year in July and Lonesome Dove seems like a good July read.  I'm breaking it up into 31 instalments just like I did with Shantaram.  Lonesome Dove is one of my husband's all-time favourite books and he's been bugging me to read it for YEARS.  So I'll be starting this on July 1st, two days into Tome Topple.  I'm also hoping to read/listen to Strange the Dreamer, which is one of my 18 books to read in 2018 (Lonesome Dove is as well).  Or possibly The Good Daughter?  So indecisive -- ha ha!

 

Then I saw that there's a Read-Eh-Thon running for the first week of July.  I'm Canadian and you know I gotta do my country proud and help to promote some CanLit and #readthenorth.  So I've decided to also dive into Alias Grace, another of my 18 books to read in 2018.  I'm allowing myself to extend this reading experience into the rest of July as I'd also like to pick up The Birth House.  It's a favourite of my bookish friend Lauren and I've been eying it on my shelves for a while now.

In addition, I also want to devour ALL OF THE STANDALONES.  There are so many adult books that I want to read and a few YA contemporaries too.  I want to read all of the thrillers but I'm also starting to think about which ones I want to read during Spookathon again.  Holy smokes I just want to read ALL OF THE THINGS, but I gotta take it one book at a time because sometimes when I feel like this it gets overwhelming and then I end up on BookTube or scrolling through Instagram and reading NOTHING. 

What are your reading plans for July?  Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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