Book Review #6 – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Hey there,

I just finished reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I started it this morning and have been reading it during breaks and reading periods at work and I have finished it. I finished it at 2pm. I read this book from front to back in a few hours (it shouldn’t even have taken that long). I didn’t want to put this book down. I didn’t want  to come to the end and yet I was longing for it to end, for the weight of the Monster to lift.

This book was all too familiar to me at this moment in time. And if it’s not familiar to you, you will instantly think of those you love and it will become familiar. You too will know the monster. And you will cry as I have cried. And you will feel Conor’s struggles as I felt his struggles.

This book was heartbreaking, moving, life-questioning, and left me broken. It left me truly lost and truly broken. It brought about self-reflection, and I am left to wonder about my own Monsters which I have called.

I can’t say anything else. I can’t expand upon the vague review I have given because I don’t want to spoil this book for you. Read it before you watch it. And do read it.

“Belief is half of all healing. Belief in the cure, belief in the future that awaits.”

Rating: 5/5
Pros: VERY easy read (a couple hours), beautiful dialogue, powerful content that causes self-reflection
Cons: Heavy subject matter, leaves you broken, you WILL cry in public if you read this in a public space

Take a Step Into a Bibliophile’s Paradise: James Street Bookseller is a Wonder to Behold!

Hey there,

If you’re a reader/book lover from Hamilton Ontario, let me tell you about this gem I just discovered.


The James Street Bookseller. Now, me having just discovered it doesn’t mean it’s new by any means! Monique, the lovely owner of the shop, told me that they’ve been there for six years!



Where has it been hiding!? I have spent so many days walking that street (James Street South, to be a little bit more specific) and I never noticed this absolute slice of heaven before?! Blasphemy! I drove by today (while heading to park for my doctor’s appointment) and had to do a double-take. I literally ran to check it out from the parking lot and, sticking my head against the window with my jaw dropped, made the vow to visit when it opened (it opens at 1pm from Tues-Friday).


As soon as you walk in, it’s an overload to a bibliophile’s senses. I was literally shaking, my heart pounding like a woman in love, as my wide eyes took in all the beauty that surrounded me. Walls, floor to ceiling, packed with books. The most gorgeous library ladder I’ve ever seen.  Beautiful vintage details, all around. Antique books with such exquisite character. Slightly used books with life, with an eagerness that draws you to pull them off the shelves, to dive right in. I. Was. In. HEAVEN!



Not only was the environment warm, inviting, and beyond stunning, but Monique, the book seller who was there to greet me (and who asked if I wanted my picture taken on the library stares – UM, YES PLEASE!) was beyond lovely, and clearly shared a passion for this amazing space she created for fellow bibliophiles.


This bookstore also supports local artists. The basement – which is gorgeous in and of itself – is an “art space” where art shows happen on special evenings at the shop. I love supporting local businesses, and I love supporting them, even more, when they support the local arts scene as it plays an important role in my life since Mr. J is an actor. Perhaps when I’ve finally completed my sexual assault survivor project, maybe I will reach out to Monique for using the space for spreading project word and having a fundraising event…


I wish I wandered into this bookshop without an appointment to attend to. If I didn’t have to run off to an appointment, I would have spent hours and hours there, overwhelmed and so in love with all that surrounded me. I was in my happy place.


I left with an amazing vintage book to add to my collection: a 1950s edition of Lord of the Rings! Can you believe it?!

I can’t wait to head back and spend more glorious moments in this wonderful little bookstore! It is, without question, the most beautiful little bookstore in the GTA. And take my word on that! I’m one to frequent bookshops wherever I go, and the close second for me is a bookshop in Stratford (and it’s WAY behind this one!).


If you live anywhere close to downtown Hamilton and you’re a bibliophile, this shop is not to be missed! Make the trip. But check hours online, first! Trust me when I say that you’ll be standing on the outside, looking in, and disappointed beyond belief if you can’t get in!

Oh — and these pictures do NO JUSTICE to the James Street Bookseller!


Book Review #7 – The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Hey there,

Let me start this post by saying that if you’re reading this because you’re considering reading The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron, stop what you’re doing and  go buy it immediately. Stop considering. Do it. Do it now. 

What if all you knew about yourself and your life would be erased, every twelve years? What if every person carried a book with them, and only what they wrote in that book was what they would remember when they awoke from The Forgetting? What would you write in your book? And what if you were the only person who still remembered details of your life from before The Forgetting? You saw people try to erase parts of their lives, you saw people try and get away with chaos, you saw people cross names and memories out of their books, knowing it would all be Forgotten and no one would remember you doing this. You saw people you love erasing you from their story… This is the concept of The Forgetting.

And yet it is SO MUCH MORE than that! Oh, I can’t even begin to describe it!

The main character is wonderful. This young woman who still remembers, her name is Nadia. Nadia lives in a city called Canaan and this city is surrounded by walls and the human fears of Forgetting. Nadia remembers, and Nadia also climbs those walls and explores beyond. She is this fearless, powerful female character that I absolutely adored.

All of the characters in this novel were really well developed, all of them could easily be visualized, and my feelings towards each character were very clear. There was no character I was indifferent towards. I wanted insight into every life introduced in this book. And I got that insight! I wasn’t left wanting more, at all.

The book was easy to read and flowed really well. There were no points where I felt parts were unnecessary as they all added bits and pieces to plot twists along the way. Parts that maybe seemed excessive early on became necessary to plot points later in the book.

Chapters ended in ways that made me want to read more, and each chapter started with a passage from Nadia’s “Book” – the one each person owns and writes their memories in. Being able to have a peek at this very sacred part of Nadia’s life helped her become an even more valuable and wonderful character to me.

There were numerous plot twists throughout this book; some completely unexpected, none too predictable ahead of time (at least not for me). I couldn’t wait to get to the end but also dreaded finishing this story because it was so exciting. I laughed out loud, I had my mouth gaping wide for many parts, and I cried at other parts as well.

I really don’t want to spoil anything with this novel, because it was an exciting surprise at every turn and I loved it so much that I’m thrilled at the prospect of re-reading it! Think The Giver meets more Sci-Fi with a dash of Thriller… Go get it right now. Seriously. Go!

Rating: 5/5 without question
Pros: Amazing world, amazing characters, exciting plot twists, easy to read, so creative, great dialogue
Cons: THAT THIS UNIVERSE DOESN’T CONTINUE, that I read it too quickly because I wanted it to last forever! Seriously, there are no cons.

Now, I’m currently reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, but I am also waiting on book mail. So because of the length of Fingersmith (even though I’m excited to read it), I may save this more difficult read for the holidays as I am rather busy with work at the moment.

October Book Stack – Spooky Tales, Heroic Stories, & Books of Wonderment

Hey there,

It’s time to round up all the books I read in October!

At the end of September, I anticipated that novels would take centre stage and I wasn’t wrong. While last month was about empowerment, this month lacked a thorough theme, but I’m going to go with escape. 

Keep in mind that a few books are not featured in the photo (my friend is borrowing one), and that I’m holding my KOBO because I read two books on there, this month. This was the first time in about five or six years that I started using my Kobo again and I actually really like it. Sometimes books are significantly cheaper in digital format, and it’s also really easy to transport. I also like the visual: it gives a percentage of what you read, and lays out how many pages are in each chapter. While I do have an older one which doesn’t allow me to see beautiful covers in colour, I don’t care at all. It’s a great tool and I see myself using it more, from here on.

So as I mentioned, the theme for this month was escape. Some of my books helped me through my grief of my grandmother’s passing (I started them in September but re-read them again in October), some had me imagining a world perfect for someone with wanderlust, and my novels were spooky and intriguing and suspenseful.

Here’s  a run-down and rating/summary of what I read in October:

(Not featured/Kobo):
How to Heal a Grieving Heart by Doreen Virtue – I’m immensely spiritual and a bit of a hippie, so this was right up my alley. It’s a “flip through” book with messages of support and love when you’re dealing with a loss. (3/5)
The Miniaturist by  Jessie Burton – An easy read that isn’t worth your time unless you’ve got nothing else on your plate. A disappointment for me. (2/5)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – Didn’t scare me though I think it meant to, hated the characters, was pretty bored (2.5/5)

The Wander Society by Keri Smith – Ummm. Yes. This instilled a wanderlust inside my soul. This had me wondering all about the magic of the Wander Society (which really does exist!). And this had me strolling through a forest shortly after reading it. (3.5/5)
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis – This was a re-read. Lewis and I shared a lot of same feelings shortly after my grandmother passed, and I was glad to feel understood. (3/5)
We Have Always Lived in This Castle by Shirley Jackson  – Yep. All kinds of awesome. Easy read, highly recommended. Except I hated the ending. (4/5)
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Holy baloney. I can’t wait to dive right back into this series. My favourite read of the month, by far. (4.5/5)
The Little Book of Feminism by Harriet Dyer – If feminism is something you want to learn more about, and you want some insight into the women that started the various waves and movements of it, this is recommended. There are also some awesome quotes. My rating is based off the fact that this wasn’t informative for me. (2/5)

There are a few things with this month’s book stack that I am most proud of:
1. There were more novels. I’m really happy to get back into them; and a wide variety of them, at that.
2. It was larger than last month’s book stack! Hurray! Hopefully I can keep this trend up.

November will be busy but perhaps December will see a large stack over the holidays.

Did you read any outstanding books this month? Do you plan to read any of the books I listed, here? Let me know in the comments!


Book Review #5 – The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Hey there,

If I could have dedicated more time to this book and read it a little faster than I did, I would have. Because, oh my God… let’s get to this review of The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

Our main character is Mare Barrow and she lives in a new world that is separated by blood. If you have red blood, you’re a lowly pleb like myself. You serve, you live in poverty, you face many challenges, your family can get sent to war in an instant, and you’re a plain old human. If you have silver blood, you could be royalty, you’re definitely Lords and Ladies, you are taken care of by Red Bloods, you are given quality jobs and work, and you have powers.  Think Hunger Games world with X-Men abilities.

That’s the initial issues I had with the first chapters of this book: here’s another Katniss watching an arena game of torture, while hanging out with her fellow poor Red Blood male friend who she probably likes more than a friend. I’m also one of those weirdos who didn’t like Hunger Games the book (I didn’t like Katniss at all and didn’t care if she lived or died; she read so boring), so I was hoping not to get another Hunger Games.

Thankfully after a few chapters, the story developed into its own creative genius. It wasn’t just Hunger Games anymore; it was so much more complicated than that.

Mare is on that precipice for me of being a Katniss to me, and being a Lyra (The Golden Compass), who I do like. She’s a bit of a self-centred punk, but she has good and just intentions. Also, she should learn to trust her intuition a little more, because foolish female characters anger me. Don’t worry – she wasn’t foolish in the least. I actually found her to be a very strong and powerful female lead, but I had to remind myself that she’s just a teenager as well. She was clearly a feminist force to be reckoned with, and you know  I dig that! I feel like this book didn’t really give me a perfectly rounded picture of who this girl is, and I’m hoping the next books in the series might do that. I can’t fully imagine her, but I do know that I like her.

But I don’t like the arena fights. Every time there was an arena fight in this book, I was bored and counting the remainder of the pages to the next chapter. I know that’s strange considering the focus on those fights is to emphasize the powers of the Silvers, but meh. They read “bored” to me. They read too slow.

The arena scenes were most definitely the only slow parts of the book. Every chapter ended with something exciting that had me wanting to read on. This is bad if you’re trying to savour a book, or if you have a lot to do in your day – haha! I  was constantly excited to read on. The book had me hooked at every chapter, right until the last line of the epilogue.

Let’s talk about those endings, spoiler free (but not hint free… so careful).

First, there was one twist that  I actually anticipated from the very beginning and that’s because of the way Aveyard wrote the character. She was trying to be honest and descriptive, but it came off as silly, and that’s where I got the impression that Mare was a little foolish. I didn’t like that image of her, and I certainly think she’s smarter than that.

There were three other twists at the end of this book (omg twist central!) that I didn’t expect, and some even had my mouth drop and my eyes well up with tears. Like I said: this book has you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book but now I’m in trouble, because I want to dive into the next books in the series! And then the world will disappear in an instant! I always do that with series I love…

Rating: 9/10
Pros: powerful feminist female lead, not typical stupid love-triangle, love the magic powers, had me on the edge of  my seat until the end, great writing
Cons: unnecessary foolishness of Mare at times, slow beginning, boring arena matches


I think I’ll make myself sit tight with continuing the series until I finish those other books I bought (which I’m also really looking forward to reading) and I got my first book from an independent writer to review, so that’s extremely exciting! It’s called Melody’s Key by Dalas Coryell.  I will be reading it along side The Forgetting by Cameron.

What did you think of Red Queen? Or if you haven’t read it, has my review coaxed you into doing so? Let me know in the comments!