Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I finished this book in 3 days, not because I’m a super fast reader, but because I literally could not put it down! This hasn’t happened to me in a long time… but there’s really nothing I disliked about this book.

Reading on the GO Train on the way to a concert

The writing wasn’t the best I’ve ever read, but something about the structure of the book kept me addicted. The format used flashbacks throughout to develop characters and give background on what was happening in the present.

The basic plot involves two friends making a startling and disturbing discovery while doing research for a college paper. The effects of this new knowledge tears them apart and one of them spends years in jail planning his revenge.

Eli and Victor are the two best friends, turned enemies, after a literal matter of life and death destroys their friendship. While Eli has a god-complex, Victor is very logical and scientific, but both make decisions based on their emotions and hatred of each other. During his time in jail, Victor picks up a friend named Mitch, and these two come across an unfortunate young girl named Sydney. Meanwhile, Eli gets a sidekick of his own, who just happens to be Sydney’s older sister.

The essential themes throughout this book are good versus evil, or, depending on who you ask, evil versus evil. I found it to be very interesting how Schwab wove in these themes without making them seem obvious or forced in any way.

One question I asked myself continuously throughout the reading was how interesting it is that we can justify our actions as being morally “right” when the opposite side feels the exact same way about their position. It lead me to realize that there are two sides to every story, and sometimes there is not necessarily one right answer and one wrong answer (unless you’re Donald Trump, in which case, everything you do and say is the wrong answer).

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” – Schwab exposes the dichotomous nature of human beings.

There were a lot of parallels between this book and what’s happening in the real world. For example, how misguided ideologies can lead people to believe or justify their actions, even when they’re bad. It seems all too familiar with what’s happening in both the United States, and abroad.

Another parallel can be drawn between the influential power that Serena, Eli’s sidekick, holds over people and how society is being brainwashed by misinformation. Serena can literally compel people to do what she says. When this much power is held in the wrong hands, the consequences can be fatal.

Overall, this was a perfect book! I cannot wait for the sequel and look forward to reading A Darker Shade of Magic and Our Dark Duet. V.E. Schwab is my favourite contemporary author!

 

A visit to the new Ancaster Indigo & mini book haul

What better thing is there to do on a lazy, rainy, Sunday afternoon than visit your newly renovated local bookstore? Evidently  nothing, because that is exactly what everyone decided to do today! 

My brother Ryan standing outside of Indigo in Ancaster

If you didn’t know, the Chapters in Ancaster recently underwent a renovation and became an Indigo. So it’s still the same chain, just under a different name and completely different look. 

The first sight you see upon entering the new Indigo

I brought my brother to check out the new store with me, but we ran into quite a few people we know. Apparently great minds really do think alike because not only did my brother run into his friend Adriano, I also ran into my friend and fellow book lover, Sara. (PS – Sara is also an amazing blogger and writer. If you want to check out her website click here).

Inside the renovated Indigo

As I explored the discounted YA fiction, I heard a quiet but familiar voice almost whisper, “Chelsey?” I turned and to my pleasant surprise, there was Sara and her family out celebrating Father’s Day. 

Sara and I in front of the Game of Thrones Fantasy section 🙂

Needless to say, we immediately started talking about the new store and all the books we want to read over the next 10,000 years that it would take to read them. 

Then I ran into my favourite Ancaster Indigo employee, Will. We’ve probably been bookstore friends for over a year now because every time I go I see him and we start chatting. He always has great recommendations and when I showed him that I was getting one of the books he suggested today, we high-fived in the middle of the fiction section. 

I ended up getting three books, although I probably would have gotten more if I spent more time there, but I’m super happy about these picks. 

Victoria Schwab, or V.E. Schwab, is quickly becoming one of my favourite writers. I’m currently reading Vicious but decided to pick up A Darker Shade of Magic today. 

I also ended up getting a Heather’s Pick, because you can’t go wrong with those, and this one is called Everybody’s Son. 

Lastly, I got a book that Will recommended to me, and I wasn’t sure about it because there’s been some controversy, but I decided to see what it’s all about for myself  and grabbed 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. 


Overall, it was a fabulous day, filled with wonderful surprises and great friends. I feel refreshed and ready to keep reading. I loved to see how books can bring people together so today was very special and I’m grateful for it all. Until next time, keep reading. 

How to choose a book

You’ve just finished a book you’ve been reading for the last month and you loved it! You didn’t want it to end, but like all good things, it had to. It’s time to move on. But how!?! And why?!?

Choosing what book to read next can seem challenging, daunting, and might even dissuade you from picking up a new book so soon. Luckily, I’ve learned some helpful tips over the years that keep me reaching for that next great read. So stick around if you’re facing an inevitable case of “can’t decide what I want” syndrome. Continue reading

Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

As Atwood says so eloquently in The Handmaid’s Tale, there are two types of freedom: Freedom to and freedom from. Freedom to do what ever you want, or freedom from women being shouted at in the streets. I’d argue that you cannot have both at the same time. There is, however, a fine line in between these two types of freedom that we, as a society, must walk. The Handmaid’s Tale provides a fascinating examination of the intersection of these two types of freedom, and left me questioning whether good will win in the end.

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Book Review: How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

You sit down on a big, comfy couch with your best friend, grab a cup of coffee and start to talk about your day. Your friend shares advice about life, love and work. It’s friendly and fun, because it’s familiar and you trust your friend’s advice but don’t take it too seriously. This is exactly what it was like to read “How to be a Bawse” by Lilly Singh. The anecdotal examples and beyond ordinary situations that lend themselves to the advice contained within are simultaneously the book’s biggest assets and greatest weaknesses.

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Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

IMG_0496What started out as what I thought was just going to be another piece of historical fiction set in Germany during WW2 turned out to be one of the most beautifully written pieces of prose I have ever read. It’s not until you get about halfway through the book that you begin to realize just how much thought and careful planning went into the writing of this novel. Every sentence is carefully crafted to evoke a sense of imagery and immerse you in the world of Liesel Meminger.

Plot Summary:

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