Top 5 Wednesday | Sept 26th – Favourite Covers

I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up my blog lately.  Let’s blame that on the demands of teaching teenagers?  Anyways, I thought a fun post to get back into things would be to join in on Top 5 Wednesday!  It was originally created by Lainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughtsontomes. You can find the Goodreads group, with all the weekly topics here if you want to join in the fun!

September 26th: Favorite Covers
— We’ve done this topic in the past, but with so many new, beautiful covers, it is time for an update!

I am guilty of judging books by their covers…. it’s just too hard not to!  An intriguing synopsis will always persuade me (regardless of the cover), but too often I am swindled by a GORGEOUS cover with a synopsis that leaves me thinking “hmmm, mayyyybe I’d like this story??”

Here are some of my recent Top 5 Favourite Covers. I had to narrow it down to books I’ve read/purchased/received in the last year or so:

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I had been eyeing this book up for AGES, but the only editions available at our bookstores were the movie cover and the white anniversary hardcover. I had seen this one online and FELL IN LOVE with it, so naturally I ordered it from the UK. I don’t even care how long it took to get here, just look at it!

 

 

 

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I love this cover because it is so intriguing! Full of juxtaposition and expertly designed to be thought-provoking.

 

 

 

 

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I adore this cover! Clearly set in the past, and to do with Guy Fawkes, magic, and maybe some destruction… this cover drew me right in!

 

 

 

 

 

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This cover is so perfectly eerie: the ornate Victorian gate, tree branches, birds, and love that it is in greyscale. It perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the novel.

 

 

 

 

51em3xUxHOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This anniversary edition cover of The Name of the Wind is my FAVOURITE! It incorporates so many different aspects of the story, and I love the colours used. Just perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed gazing at these interesting and beautiful covers. I’m excited to see everyone else’s choices!

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Book Review | The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

If you’re looking for a completely unique, thrilling, atmospheric, and immersive page-turner, this is it!

The book’s premise instantly intrigued me:
“At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed. Again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.”

I’ve heard this book described as “Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day/Inception,” and I’d agree, but it’s so ingeniously crafted that you really need to read it yourself. The dilapidated Georgian mansion surrounded by untamed, grim wilderness creates the perfect dark and mysterious atmosphere. From the beginning we are abruptly thrown into confusion, as the protagonist grapples with where he is, who he is, and what exactly is going on. We delve into a complex plot, guided by an ominous plague-masked man, and join Aiden in attempting to solve a murder to escape the time loop. Starting each day in a new body presents unique challenges, but each character holds secrets and keys to unlocking the perplexing puzzle. The twisted plot will have you guessing until the very end. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an exquisite, creepy, enthralling and mind-bending story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime.

This is certainly one of my top reads of 2018! It will be on sale September 18th in Canada. A huge thanks to Harper Collins Canada for giving me a first look at this!

Book Review | The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

rain watcherTatiana de Rosnay’s latest novel The Rain Watcher is a beautifully written, emotional, and atmospheric story.

Title: The Rain Watcher
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Genre: Fiction
Publication: October 23, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads Synopsis

The beginning of this novel drew me in INSTANTLY – probably because of my absolute love of trees:

“I will start with the tree. Because everything begins, and ends, with the tree. The tree is the tallest one. It was planted way before the others. I’m not sure how old it is, exactly. Perhaps three or four hundred years old. It is ancient and powerful. It has weathered terrible storms, braced against unbridled winds. It is not afraid.
The tree is not like the others. It has its own rhythm. Spring starts later for it, while all the others are already blossoming. Come late April, the new oval leaves sprout slowly, on the top and middle branches only. Otherwise, it looks dead. Gnarled, gray, and withered. It likes to pretend to be dead. That’s how clever it is. Then, suddenly, like a huge explosion, all the buds flourish. The tree triumphs with its pale green crown.”

The Malegarde family arrives in Paris for a family celebration. Linden, a successful _Travel is never predictable. That's how adventure shows up._ (1).pngphotographer, has traveled from America to join his sister and parents in celebrating his father’s 70th birthday. As they begin their celebrations, the River Seine rises at an alarming rate each day, due to unprecedented rainfall. Family relationships are strained as drama unfolds amidst the flooding. Their holiday is certainly not going at all as anticipated. As the flooding worsens and wreaks havoc throughout Paris, complicated family dynamics and secrets come to light. Linden’s experience in present-day Paris conjures vivid memories of his past – often painful and emotional. The suspense of the family drama is perfectly paralleled with the dramatic natural disaster. As the Seine rises beyond its banks, the Malegarde family’s secrets and issues that have been held below surface begin to rise as well – demanding to be dealt with.

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The excerpts at the beginning of each chapter (above) add an air of mystery to the already building suspense. Why does everything start with the tree? Whose memories are we reliving? What do they have to do with the present day? She knows what she’s doing…

Tatiana de Rosnay certainly has a distinct style, expertly capturing the setting and atmosphere through vivid descriptions. Although you could describe this as a slow, emotional read, the events unfolded in such a way that kept me constantly wondering and anticipating. She also created realistic and well-developed characters. I just loved Linden as the protagonist! He had such a strong voice throughout the novel, and I felt increasingly connected to him as each part of his past was revealed. The scene with his father – near the end of the novel – had me in TEARS! Not one glistening tear in my eye, but SOBS!

_Travel is never predictable. That's how adventure shows up._ (2).pngThe Rain Watcher highlights how intricately places are connected to memories and emotions. We are transported to the gorgeous, idyllic settings of Paris and Vénozan, which are contrasted with the dark memories attached to those places. It also shows how people are able to survive through challenging times, and accept one another, as well as oneself. And of course, this story is yet another testament to the power of nature. As much as we’d love to be able to control it (or anything else in life…) you just have to accept reality, mitigate the damage, and move on!

This is definitely not a light read, but if you love character-driven, emotional, atmospheric reads, I’d suggest waiting for a rainy day to snuggle up with a blanket, coffee/tea, and this beautiful novel.

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Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Tatiana de Rosnay for a digital Advanced Readers Copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

Top Ten Tuesday | Binge-worthy TV Shows

Here’s a last minute Top Ten Tuesday post for you (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl)! This week’s topic – “Binge-worthy TV Shows” just seemed like too much fun to pass up. One of my guilty pleasures is certainly binge-watching shows, and I love seeing which TV shows other booknerds adore.

So here we go… these are my ALL-TIME TOP TEN BINGE-WORTHY TV SHOWS (in no particular order):

  • Outlander: who doesn’t enjoy swooning over Jamie Fraser on page and on screen 😉
  • Peaky Blinders: because my life is so far removed from theirs in every way possible – it’s fascinating! (plus swoon…again…)
  • Departures: this is how I satisfy my inner travel bug throughout the year while anticipating my next adventures.
  • The Big Bang Theory: I enjoy laughing, and this show makes me laugh.
  • Les Revenants: It is SO CREEPY, mysterious and atmospheric. I haven’t checked whether the third season has been released, but the first two were AMAZING!
  • This Is Us: I don’t know if I’ve ever cried so often watching a show… but I do love an emotional rollercoaster.
  • Downton Abbey: this is a classic in my eyes! I have watched the full series through countless times, and will continue to do so! Still mad that they killed my favourite character off so soon, but whatever….
  • Modern Family: preparing myself for the chaos of family life? Probably not, but it’s very entertaining!
  • Friends: AWAYS AND FOREVER!
  • Orange is the New Black: completely unique and filled with memorable characters.

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AND I have to include my favourite binge-worthy movie: LEAP YEAR

A super cheesy but absolutely adorable romantic comedy set in Ireland’s countryside – THE BEST! I also visited quite a few of the filming locations on the Aran Islands, which makes watching it that much more enjoyable!

 

 


What are some of your favourite binge-worthy TV shows or movies?? Do we have any in common? Let me know in the comments below!

Janice

August Wrap-up

Total Number of Books: 3
Total Number of Pages: 739
Average Pages per Book: 246
Average Rating: 4

This was far from my best reading month, but I have legitimate excuses!  At the beginning of August, Ryan’s family and friends arrived in Vancouver from England. We spent some time touring around Vancouver, then WE GOT MARRIED at the gorgeous Lac Le Jeune Wilderness Resort. It was an absolutely PERFECT day, and an amazing time spent with family and friends celebrating!

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Here are the books I read in August:

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Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth    ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

I was ecstatic to win this book in a giveaway by Raincoast books, as it had been on my radar! A Black Police Detective infiltrating the KKK!?!?!? The premise instantly intrigued me. While I found the book absolutely fascinating, the writing was not overly captivating. Interesting, but not “wow” for me. I feel like this COULD have been one of those amazing, mind-blowing books, but it just fell a little flat.

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay    ★★★★☆

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A moody and atmospheric read, delving into family relationships and the dark secrets and memories that lay beneath the surface of the beautiful and iconic setting. I don’t want to say too much, as I’m in the process of writing a full review. I will say that it’s the perfect autumn read (expected to be published October 23), and I love love loved the main character Linden.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows    ★★★★★

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I made myself read this (or rather listen to it via audiobook) before watching the movie. I ADORED it!!!! At first it was a bit difficult to keep track of all the characters, but I completely fell in love with each and every one of them – well, maybe not Mark. If epistolary novels are not your thing, then you probably won’t enjoy this; however, I found the letters incredibly entertaining, and they allowed the authentic voice of each character to shine through. While reading it, I kept wondering, “How on earth are they going to make this into a movie?” I think they did an excellent job! I’m definitely buying the book and reading it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book OR movie.

Now that summer holidays are over, I am hoping to get more reading done! I am currently reading A Storm of Swords, A Place for Us, and Educated. I also just received The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and it sounds like such a good one that I am being swayed to start it, even though I already have enough books on the go. Ahhhh!!!!


Have you read any of these books? Thoughts?

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Sunday #Shelfie Feature | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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My living room bookshelf contains exactly 107 books. Some are books I’ve read, and others I have yet to read (my book buying is out of control at this point…).

Each Sunday, I use a random number generator, and feature the book that corresponds to that number.

If you want to join in the fun and start your own Sunday Shelfie Feature, please do!

This week’s feature is number 63 on my shelf. I have an entire shelf dedicated to the Harry Potter series, and I am running out of room! So here we go with book #63:


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Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publication date: May 1, 2004
My Rating: ★★★★★

 

Goodreads Synopsis:
Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he’s after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can’t imagine that Sirius or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair. Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry’s success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father. Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem. Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

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I have a lot of love for the Harry Potter series. I grew up reading the series, and they will always have a very special place in my heart. I’ve re-read them over and over again, and I still enjoy them each time. The Prisoner of Azkaban is definitely one of my favourites of the series. The mood darkens, the characters become more complex, and we’re introduced to some new characters (*cough*SiriusandLupin*cough*) who become some of my favourites. With each book, we unearth more about the fantastic creatures and enchanting aspects of the wizarding world. I will always delight in stepping through the pages into Harry’s magical journey.

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(from page 63 – the number I pulled)

“Crabbe and Goyle seemed to exist to do Malfoy’s bidding. They were both wide and muscly; Crabbe was was the taller, with a pudding-basin haircut and a very thick neck; Goyle had short, bristly hair and long, gorilla arms.

‘Well, look who it is,’ said Malfoy in his usual lazy drawl, pulling open the compartment door. ‘Potty and the Weasel.’

Crabbe and Goyle chuckled trollishly.


Hope you’ve enjoyed this book feature. Which book from the Harry Potter series is your favourite!?

If any book bloggers out there want to join in on the Sunday Shelfie Feature fun, just tag me in your posts – I’d love to see them!

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