#BookReview Aftermath by Clara Kensie

Aftermath by Clara Kensie is a Young Adult novel following the “aftermath” of a teenage girl’s abduction.

This book was a hard read – it’s emotional, raw and enraging (at times). Clara Kensie has written one magnificent story in the form of a young adult novel. Honestly, it was written beautifully but the subject matter was so tough, serious and so full of pain.

The plot of the story is as followed: Charlotte was abducted by her “Keeper” about four years ago. Somehow, she gets lucky and gets her escape through some paramedics who found her in the “Keeper’s” attic. Suddenly, she’s thrown back into society and to a life that has changed. Her parents are divorced, her sister didn’t follow their “Dream Book” and her friends have all moved on. Her Mother wants her to go into hiding and never leave the house again while her Father wants her to become an international, superstar ambassador. All the while, Charlotte is trying to grasp how to be normal again once a man destroys your safety and sanity.

This novel is a YA. At first I struggled to figure out if it was, but it only hints and briefly talks about how painful Charlotte’s journey was. The R rated comments are very rare, and only said once or twice so the reader gets the point of what happens. I’d say this is on the higher end of YA though, because Charlotte was raped (and some more spoiler-y things happen that are some really tough pieces of content for potential thirteen year olds).

Clara made me really feel for Charlotte the entire time. I watched her journey and felt her pain. Somehow, she made me really connect with this family and understand why she did and said what she did. She made it believable, which can be very tough to do!

While the story is sad, Clara also brings hope into the story. It hides in the back like a shadow, but it’s still there. All around, this book is very powerful and a really good story to tell. It started out so rough for me and I wasn’t sure if I’d actually like it, but I did! Clara left so many bits and pieces that turned out to be clues to some of the story’s bigger plot twists. I didn’t see half of them, which is a feat all on it’s own. But it’s all there for the reader to unwind!

Overall, this book is utterly amazing! I’m impressed by Clara’s writing and by this story. It was emotional and gripping, but it is totally worth your time if you find this book. Seriously, it’s an amazing story and it’s important to hear.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Indigo
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If you enjoyed this review, check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview If We Had Known by Elise Juska
#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran
#BookReview My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

 

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#BookReview The Watchmen by Alan Moore

I bought this graphic novel a few years back as a birthday gift for myself. I had watched the Zack Snyder film and really wanted to jump into the comics. It’s safe to say I made a really smart decision, because I absolutely LOVED this graphic novel (and honestly, Zack did a good job changing the format and making it into a movie… but the comics were better, just saying).

There are superheroes and gods hidden among the everyday people of Earth. The original Watchmen are all older now and a new group of youngsters have been ushered in. Unfortunately, these superhuman, masked individuals are being killed off by someone… but why? This 12 book run dives deep into humanity and god-like powers.

This series starts out with The Comedian (Edward Blake), a former Watchman, being murdered. Rorschach (a name I have the hardest time spelling and pronouncing) decides to look into the murders and try to figure out what’s happening. Rorschach’s arc turns out to be one wild ride, and along the way we learn out a fair bit about The Comedian and his past. After Rorschach grabs a few more of the newer Watchmen, Laurie (Silk Spectre, who’s Mother was also Silk Spectre in her day) and Dan (Hawkman, but not Hawkman – he’s the NiteOwl) they decide to fight crime and try to determine what evil is affecting the world. Did I mention that Laurie goes out with both Dr. Manhattan (the naked blue man who has crazy super powers) and Dan?

These characters have lots of depth to them. The Comedian is a nasty man who rapes women and doesn’t care for children, yet he’s… funny? He felt like a Joker-esque man but almost worse. He’s more sane than the Joker… Yet he has such a strong back story that I still felt bad for him. That’s how you know this book is good. I felt bad for a man I should have hated.

Laurie and her Mother also have a very intriguing arc. The twist about Laurie’s family was easy to spot, but still hit hard.

Side note: The giant lynx was really cool – it really should have gotten some more scenes.

Dr. Manhattan, Jon, has some of the most intelligent and intriguing sets of dialogue that I’ve ever seen in graphic novels. I found his character to be very interesting and I’m curious how his story arc would have continued into the future. I am curious why he speaks so formally. Was that because of the crazy accident that turned him into a blue man? Why does he insist on being naked all of the time? He’s such a weird character but really interesting too.

This book is 100% an R-rated read, but it’s well worth it. The blood, the gore and the insanity of this comic series just feels right. I couldn’t see a story this honest and brutal be anything less than an R rating. There’s also sex scenes, a naked blue man and rape. It’s definitely a strong R but it felt like it fit the narrative. Although, Dan and Laurie’s sex scenes just felt… awkward?

To move onto the illustrations themselves – they’re classic. The story is colourful, felt like a real comic book and didn’t feel wasted. Yes, the series is a little bit older, but it still felt just as real as an updated comic book. Overall, it really packed it’s punch.

My final notes: I suggest reading the entire graphic novel. The comics don’t stand alone by themselves and it’d be a real waste to only read half. To get the full impact, read all twelve. It’s worth it! There are some slower comics in this mix, but all together they make for a really great story. The entire story is a real gem if you give it a chance. I have to say I did really enjoy it and I’d read it again in the future. The ending left it a little ambiguous yet it left me wanting to find out more about the characters who made it to the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel! It’s a shame I didn’t pick it up earlier because it was truly marvelous and one of the greats.

Five out of five stars.

 

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Indigo

Here’s some other comics featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin
#BookReview Batman:Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison
#BookReview Gotham City Sirens: Book One by Paul Dini

 

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#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson

Christmas in July! That is what this book felt like reading, and boy did I need a little Christmas spirit in my life!

Miss Kane’s Christmas is a cute, short tale about Carol Kane and her magical abilities. She is sent to help Ben and his two children, Hillary and Patrick, fall in love with Christmas again. Along the way, Christmas isn’t the only thing these guys start to love…

Ben is a massive Scrooge for most of the book and it’s Carol’s job to fix it! He’s writing a novel that Santa doesn’t want written and he’s not spending as much time with his children as he should! Especially since their mother is no longer in the picture. Carol is super sweet, slightly innocent and utterly adorable. Ben has a heart that might grow five sizes bigger or turn into gold, you’ll have to read to find out!

This book felt goofy (in such a good way!) and I absolutely loved it! This book screams Hallmark or Netflix movie with all of the romantic talk, Christmas references and adorable plot lines. Hillary and Patrick want a dog, Ben and Carol start falling for one another, a brother named Nick – there are so many fun aspects of this book. I am SO glad I picked this book up “on accident”- also known as forgetting a book and finding a free one on Bookbub to pass the time by.

If you like contemporary drama, a splash of romance and Christmas, this book will be for you! It reminds me of Harlequin and Hallmark, but it was super fun! It’s not a book you’ll want to take too seriously since it is founded on Christmas magic and love. It can easily standalone and doesn’t end on one of those horrible cliffhangers that drive me mad. This book is rated PG for sure – it’s sweet, has a little kissing but doesn’t hint at much more.

I did have one negative – this book moves WAY to fast. Relationship statuses, beliefs in traditions and much more happen so suddenly it doesn’t feel real. I feel like it could have been solved with a time jump or a few more pages thrown in, but it’s not that much of an issue. The rush might bug me, but it won’t bug most readers.

I would love to continue reading this series. It seems like it’ll be an enjoyable read and there are more books around!

Four out of five stars!

I found this book for free on Bookbub!

P.S. What type of puppy did they did?!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin
#BookReview The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
#BookReview Once Upon an Ever After by Angela N. Blount

 

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#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase

Christmas in Silver Bell Falls is a lovely Christmas love story full of snowy cheer!

This book has:
A female grinch-y writer
An “evil” grandmother leaving her granddaughter a property near Canada
Snow (it’s near Canada, obviously there would be snow)
A Christmas obsessed town
A sexy hunk
A love story
Some conflict
HEA

I love Samantha Chase’s writing ever since I discovered her a few years back. She has a smooth writing style that is easy to read and easy to get lost in. I found myself devouring this book in one sitting (when I finally had time to sit down and read it).

This book follows the typical Hallmark-style romance story that is seen throughout the holiday romance subgenre. A grinch-y person gets forced to a cute town, meets someone who is Christmas-y, falls in love, they have some source of conflict, discover something personal and share bad stories and then everyone has Christmas cheer. If you’re looking for a book that breaks the mold, this book isn’t for you. I didn’t mind it at all since I want to be in a Christmas-y mood (and I’ve been watching way too many romantic Christmas movies).

In this book, Melanie’s Grandmother who didn’t like her at all, left her a cabin up near Canada in Silver Bell Falls. Melanie is a writer and is having major writers block since she has to write about Christmas (and when you hear all about her past, you’ll understand why she’s a bit of a grinch). When she gets there, Josiah is in her house! Turns out he knew her Grandmother and the little incident is brushed off (with some pizza, of course). The two grow close to each other, learn some deep dark secrets and a motive they weren’t aware of, and develop Christmas cheer. Yay!

It’s a cute book and it’s a short read. It clocked in just over 140 pages so it wasn’t all that hard to read. Josiah and Melanie are also a cute couple (even if their romance developed very quickly – it’s definitely not a slow burn book). I’d like to read more in this series whether it’s full of merry holiday cheer or not.

I didn’t relate to the character all that much. Either way, I love happily ever after books like these. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Three out of five stars.

I found this book for free via Bookbub.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo

 

If you love love stories, grab one of these books:
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner
#BookReview Return to You by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams

 

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#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan was a pleasant surprise!

I love books that let me inside another person’s life and culture, and I am Thunder met the bill! This book welcomes the reader into a Muslim and Pakistani lifestyle which is something totally new to me. I’ve seen the headlines, I’ve had classmates, but I’ve never been able to learn this much about a culture in one sitting. While this book is only ONE view in a Young Adult (and slightly dramatic) book, it was still truly intriguing. Hats off to Muhammad Khan, seriously.

This book does cause some waves in the reading community though – I’ve seen lots of praises and lots of criticism. So, I’ll just share my thoughts.

I like that this book follows one young woman’s story. Yes, it’s like a soap opera and slightly dramatic at times but isn’t all YA? Muzna’s story gives some fabulous insight into her culture (for example, the difference between a religion and the actual practices someone follows). Her family life, her thoughts, her trouble deciding what to do with her life and the effect it has on everyone felt very REAL. It felt like I was reading a book made for and by a teen – she wants to meet boys, she wants to impress people, she wants to try to have a life but do what’s best for her family too. I could totally relate to her in that aspect. She struggles with being a teenage girl trying to just BE a teenage girl.

Are there parts of this book that were rough and tough? Yes. I don’t fully know what this woman’s culture would be in an accurate depiction, so maybe this is all my views as a reader. Buuuut… her parents are HARSH. It seemed like no matter what this girl did that they weren’t proud of her. It’s no wonder that Muzna “acted out” because there was no way she’d ever please those parents. It was borderline abusive. I don’t think it was a culture thing… honestly, I’m certain it’s not supposed to be a reflection of their culture. Those parents were borderline abusive if not actually abusive. Like, show a little familial love? Or at least, don’t be cruel at all times of the day?

Extreme religion was also apart of this book, so let there be a trigger warning for those who might be bothered by this topic. I found it interesting to read, but at times it felt like everyone were quite extreme with their religious practices. I know there’s only so many pages in a book, but there could have been some “softer” practices or realistic ones. I know many lovely people who study and follow various religions who aren’t as “crazy” or as extreme as some of these characters.

If I had to list the good things about this book, they’d be the following:
1. This book showcases a different religion and a different point of view in a largely read genre. I like that YA has diverse books like this one floating around so readers can learn more about the world. Difficult topics like religion and politics should be brought into books (especially YA) so more people can learn and experience the world.

2. Muzna felt like a real character with real struggles. She didn’t feel out of place or goofy. She made me really feel for her story and want to know more about her.

3. This book can start wonderful discussions. It’s the type of book I wish we read back in high school. I could have picked apart this book and had some really great discussions with my classmates and teachers. Just think of a diverse class discussing their points of views on topics like these! Oh, it’d be an interesting time!

Overall, this book is a really well written book! Muhammad Khan has written a beautiful story that will introduce you to Muzna’s world.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check this book out on Goodreads!

Or check out another book you might enjoy:
#BookReview Gods in Oslo by John Plaski
#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

 

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#BookReview The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I’m so torn on this book!

The Hypnotist’s Love Story is a marvelous stand alone by the author of Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. This book is full of deceit, stalkers, a very strange love story, and life lessons. Oh, and did I mention a little hypnotherapy? It’s kind of obvious, since it is in the title, but it’s one of the biggest parts of this novel!

I found this book to be an interesting mix of chick lit, drama and contemporary fiction. There were times I was laughing, there were times when I was cringing, and at the end I felt like I was missing something. I wanted just a little more of Ellen and Patrick’s story instead of the abrupt ending. There was so much strange insanity in this book (Patrick having a stalker, Ellen being a hypnotherapist, Patrick’s former wife Colleen, Saskia’s past…) that I was left feeling slightly empty. All of these story lines were epic, but none of them had the big follow through I was hoping for (especially in a book as long as this one!).

Ellen starts dating Patrick and their relationship moves very fast. Soon enough, she learns that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend Saskia is stalking him and that he is a widower. He idolized Colleen and the son, Jack, that they shared together. Ellen gets the feeling she doesn’t live up to Colleen and she seems to be intrigued by this stalker. All throughout the book we follow some of Ellen’s hypnotizing shenanigans and meet some of the clients. Of course, that doesn’t go too well either.

This book has the best concepts – all of that paragraph makes me really excited! To me, I just wanted more follow through. Why does Saskia feel the need to stalk? Why does Patrick feel like the type of guy Ellen should have just dumped? How did Ellen become a hypnotherapist? Why was hypnotherapy working on certain clients?

All of that being said, this book was still a real treat. If you love drama and a splash of romance, this book would be perfect for your shelf. Not every book can be utterly perfect in a reader’s eye and I do expect a lot (I grew up watching soap operas, so I kind of expect the real dramatics). Liane also has a wonderful writing style that makes the book fluid and easy to read (and man, having a 400 page book as an easy read is a real feat, so don’t underestimate this woman!). I will one hundred percent be reading more books by Liane Moriarty. Her ideas are incredible, her writing style is flawless and she writes realistic, believable characters REALLY well!

Three out of five stars!

P.S. “Knit, don’t stalk” is the most solid life advice I’ve ever read from a book. It is also now my favourite line I’ve ever read and I’m going to live by it.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy!
#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

 

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#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

City of Friends is a lovely story by Joanna Trollope following the interconnecting lives of women.

This book focuses on the trials and errors of middle aged women being women. Lost jobs, children to take care of, parents to take care of, struggling romantic relationships, family drama and friendship drama all mash together into one well written tale. It’s everything you’d expect from a contemporary, women’s fiction novel!

There are four women who were once friends and now all of them are middle aged. Each of them have their own struggles to deal with, and somehow all of their problems relate to each other’s problems. As with most female centered books, there is a pinch of feminine drama that makes me question if women are just bound to be dramatic and gossip (as a woman, I haven’t seen too much of that as an adult – maybe it’s just me though). Examples of this drama: One woman offers her friend’s “mistress” or new lover a job but not her best friend, two of the women’s children start seeing each other, a husband tells a woman to pick between their relationships or her mother’s health. Yeah… this book felt petty at times.

Even with some of these interesting plot lines, I did enjoy this book. Buuuuuut… it wasn’t a hit out of the park for me. I found it was a lovely, soft read that wasn’t hard to jump in and out of. The worst part was that it got very slow at times. There were entire chapters that could have been left out and the story still would have progressed. I also didn’t feel like there was a real “end” to this book, it just stopped. That’s how life stories go there – there never is an “end”, something just “stops”.

There are some really strong parts of this book, for those looking for my positives! There are strong women characters who are facing realistic problems. I know many girls and women who have faced some of these troubles – like a sick parent, dealing with a lost job, and trying to balance work and family life. I like seeing books like this that bring about real issues so people realize that everyone goes through this stuff. Our lives aren’t what we see on Instagram – life isn’t perfect.

It may be because I’ve read a lot of women’s fiction lately (on accident) or maybe it is just the plot of this book – I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. The synopsis sounds awesome, the cover is gorgeous and the first half of the book really peaked me interest. At half, I kind of just wandered off in my brain and had trouble getting through it.

That being said, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary novels and women’s fiction. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not a good book for me – mainly because it couldn’t hold my attention the way other women’s fiction has. I think Joanna Trollope has a fantastic, easy reading, writing style and I want to read more books by her! This is just a blip on the book radar!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus
#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel
#BookReview Tempting Faith by Susan Mallery

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