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Roar by Cora Carmack (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2017 at 6:41pm

I am always wary going into a new fantasy read because sometimes the first in a series can fail. Sometimes readers experience a textbook and it can ruin their experience for the rest of the book. Roar is not one of these books. The characters are well-developed and the story itself is very well written. Cora Carmack does a great job showcasing this first book in the Stormheart series.

This is my first book by Cora Carmack and it really did introduce me to her unique writing style. The pace of this story is a good fit for what's going on and everything that takes place. It has a well-developed theme throughout the novel and I was enthused throughout my whole read. Never was I ever bored or confused with what direction the story was going in. Another great aspect to this read are the characters who were all entertaining and easy to relate to.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this read to those who enjoy the YA fantasy genre, and for those who have enjoy Carmack's writing in the past. This book is an excellent start to a well-written fantasy series. I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars

- Sabrina, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Roar will be available June 13.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Monday, Jun 05, 2017 at 5:44pm

Louna also doesn't believe in true love. Her mother and godfather are partners in the business and thus she has witnessed all sort of weddings; even their behind-the-scenes. This, alongside an emotional scar of her own, makes her extremely cynical about the existence of happily-ever-after. That is until Ambrose shows up, a flirty, charming temptation that just may make her think otherwise.

Once and For All is a humorous yet bittersweet contemporary, with a surprising depth of reality that had me fall in love with it since page one. I found myself so heavily invested in the story that the few flaws I encountered hardly affected how much I adored this book. Sarah Dessen does a wonderful job introducing the reader to the wedding planning business, how stressful it is and the ironic reality of how weddings are often far from the presentation of true love that we thought them to be. Louna herself undergoes a major character development, from being entirely cynical to becoming more understanding and acceptance. Ambrose is admittedly my favourite character in the book, sure, the guy is joking and flirting around a lot but "there is a method in his madness", so to speak. And he rescues a dog! It would be impossible for one to not love him then. May I add that the bickering between these two is just too cute for words.

There are also some moment in this book had me clutching my heart, especially the flashback to Louna's first love. It was really bittersweet, but I'm glad that she is able to grow and become stronger due to it. Louna's mother and godfather, William are surprisingly fun to read about. Besides them being supportive toward Louna, their humorous tones and jokes sure brighten the mood for me. All in all, Once and For All is yet another perfect summer read, I'm guilty to say that it was my first Sarah Dessen book, but it was definitely not the last. I give this book a 5/5 Stars.

- Phuong, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Once and for All will be available June 6.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 6:12pm

Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and never had a B. There's one thing missing - she's never had a boyfriend. In fact, she's a known disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet. When the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides it's time to tackle her flirting failures. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has watched obsessively for years - in which the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. Armed with her K Drama Rules for True Love," Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos. But when the fun and games turn to feelings, Desi finds out that real-life love is about way more than just drama.

Maurene Goo's I Believe in a Thing Called Love had my heart racing and emotions everywhere. Based on the description on the back and after reading the first chapter, I was thoroughly weirded out by Desi's insane and widely humiliating experiences with guys. They grossed me out (especially the one you read at the beginning) and had me embarrassed for her after just meeting her.

This novel is quite hard to describe with its continuously moving plot and weird scenes, but I guess the best words to describe it would be: bizarre yet interesting. I don't mean interesting as in It-was-just-okay, but rather that it was thought-provoking and easy to follow along with. Desi, the main character, was very complex. I felt like there were three different sides to her personality: how she acted around her dad, how she acted around her friends, and how she acted around boys. She would become a completely different person! When with her friends, she'd become this slightly bossy but funny and friendly overachiever. This side of herself was the one that came up with the Korean Drama Plan. This plan was what has my head spinning. Some steps made sense while others were creepy, self-centered and dangerous. Unlike Desi, her father was my favourite character. Appa was free-spirited, funny, and knew how to act in all situations. He is the ideal father that everyone wishes they have and just gets you completely. Scenes with him in it were never a dull moment, and, like I said, quite hilarious. Overall, it was s fun yet maddening read that left me a mess and at odds. If give it a 7/10.

- Lauren, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 12:03pm

"Remember to keep your head up in the sky; otherwise, you’ll miss the stars."

Reading If Birds Fly Back is like having a breeze dancing off your cheeks while the ocean waves gently crashing into your heart. It is not outstanding in comparison to others in its genre by any means, but it is a refreshing and perfect summer read.

I specifically enjoyed how the author handles Linny and Sebastian's duel POVs. Linny is an aspiring film director whose sister ran away, while Sebastian is an astrophysics nerd whose dad's identity is unknown. Circumstances bring them together at Silver Spring, a senior home, which happens to have answers for them both. The reader feels Linny's insecurity and grief through her voice, and Sebastian's uncertainty and awkwardness are wonderfully embedded in his character as well. Although the POVs alternate between both protagonists, they are done seamlessly. The author just knows when to let her characters speak. Oh, and I absolutely adore the fact that Linny's POV has a script in it (beautifully written) and Sebastian's is totally flooded with physics quotes and equations (they are more interesting than boring, I promised!).

A clear set back for me was Linny and Sebastian's somewhat instant attraction. Their relationship was my favourite kind, awkward and cute, but unfortunately this "love at first sight trope" makes me less invested in them being together. Granted, it is more like both of them crushing on each other at the same time, but something like that simply bothers me. Sebastian also keeps repeating that he finds Linny hot, which annoyed me after a while. However, the mysteries and the relationship between our protagonists and other people around them were what keep the plot entertaining for me.

Overall, If Birds Fly Back is a 3.5/5 stars read for me. It is certainly less eventful, and may come off as dull or daunting, but keep to it if you are still feeling intrigued because you will be rewarded with so many wonderful feelings by the end.

- Phuong, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

If Birds Fly Back will be available June 27.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 7:25pm

When @EricThornSucks sets out to troll @TessaHeartsEric, things don’t go quite as planned. An unexpected friendship forms, and late-night messages evolve into a deep connection. But online secrets have a way of coming out IRL. And with pop star Eric Thorn himself involved, it won’t be long before fandom turns to obsession... and a single stroke of the follow button turns deadly.

I first read Follow Me Back by A. V. Geiger when it was being written on Wattpad, a site for reading and sharing stories. I loved it and read it a couple more times as the author was editing and rewriting. It was really cool getting to see the changes and improvements between the online and published version, especially because I like the characters and story so much. Even having read this book before, I absolutely could not put it down. The characters are so intriguing, you just have to know what is going to happen to them next. Simultaneously, it makes you think about how ingrained social medial is in our society and the sometimes terrifying results of that. The plot has so many layers it's impossible to predict the ending. I would highly recommend reading this book, especially for thriller lovers.

- Lilja, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Follow Me Back will be available June 6.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
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