Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday .... Winner Take All


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick is Winner Take All by Laurie Devore


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
I loved Laurie Devore's debut novel. It was filled with messy, complex female characters and toxic friendships.

I was immediately on board with her second novel when it was evident she was taking those complex themes and applying them to relationships. It has a Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl vibe, and I am curious to see how Laurie will handle a toxic romance.This synopsis has only made me even more excited to get my hands on this one!

It is going to be a long wait as this doesn't release until early 2018 but it gives people the chance to read How To Break A Boy in the meantime.

Expected release date - January 30, 2018

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee



The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Release Date - June 27, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 528 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.
I love books that are based around some kind of journey or trip. Especially ones set in Europe. I also love romances, and stories filled with adventure. Luckily, The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue has all of this and more. It's the kind of novel you'll want to immediately push onto others, and the type that makes you want to read it again once you've turned that last page.

This story is less fluffy than I anticipated. I didn't expect it to have the levity and weight that the story has. It's much more thoughtful and thought provoking than it might appear at first glance. It is still a whole lot of fun with some epic adventures within these pages, but it also tackles deeper issues with equal skill. It is the type of book you'll to discuss with others, because of the topics handled within these pages, as well as the feel good feeling it leaves you with.

Monty is a charming rogue who you will spend equal time wanting to smack and kiss. He both infuriates and invokes sympathy in equal measure. I appreciated how complex Mackenzi Lee made this character. He could have easily been a caricature, but instead we have a great example of character growth without losing what makes the character special. Monty never looses his spark, even as he comes to terms with his faults.

Percy is a character that I wish I had gotten to know a little more. We learn quite a bit about him, but I find his part of the story arc to be something I really wanted more of. Race, racism, and class structure are all examined through this character and the ways in which others view and treat him. His character is so incredibly sweet that you instantly feel protective of him because he really is just a decent young man.

Felicity ends up stealing every scene she is in. She's determined, focused, and caring. She is just so vivid, and her voice really jumps off the page. She is a character who follows the path they choose, even when it seems impossible to do so. I predict many readers will love her just as much as I do.

The romance is everything I hoped it would be. It is grin inducting, and swoon worthy. It has a delightful tension to it. There is the push and pull that exists in large part due to the 'will they/won't they' nature of the romance. It ultimately leaves you rooting for them both as a couple, and own their own. It really is the heart of the novel, and I anticipate plenty of people will feel the same way I do. They're really easy to ship together, and the relationship is one of the sweetest payoffs of the story.

There are so many action adventure type scenes within the novel. I was surprised at the amount of these scenes within this novel.  It could easily be a movie with it's blend of action, humour, romance and strong characters. The action scenes add an element of danger, and risk to the story that is definitely welcome. It really makes this a grand adventure in all meaning of the word, and it is (perhaps) the most eventful Grand Tour that has even been written.

My slight issue with the novel was that I would have preferred this to be a series. There is so much more I want from this novel that I wish we had more time with this story. I wanted some characters to be explored more, I wanted some plot points to have more details. It really is a testament to how wonderfully this novel is written that it left me wanting more.

This is the book that I never knew I wanted. It's filled with fantastic characters, big adventures, and wonderful character development. It's left me eager to return to this world and I can only hope that Mackenzi Lee will return to this world, and these characters again and again. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

New To My Book Closet


It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews)

I have some ebooks and the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly to share with you this week!

I am a huge fan of all the shows Ryan Murphy has created (the ones on the FX network at least).

The newest season of American Crime Story is coming up and it is the focus of this week's Entertainment Weekly. I already adore the casting choices, and I cannot wait to see this season!


I love so much of this article, and how they are approaching the story. An official premiere date has not been announced, but I am hoping it is soon!

Next up I have some ebooks that I purchased recently. Some romance novels to enjoy by the pool this summer! These book sound really good, and I have my friend Emilie to thank for bringing one of them to my attention (so thank you Emilie).


Wilder by Rebecca Yarros (goodreads)
The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia Macintosh (goodreads)

Let me know what bookish goodies made their way on your shelves this week!

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekly Obsessions


The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday

Summer is officially here, but I am already missing the weather that allows me to curl up with a cup of tea, a blanket and a good book. I guess it is time for outside reading, ice cream and fruity wine beverages.

Lots of exciting things were announced this week, and here are the ones I have been most excited about.

BOOK

Marisha Pessl's YA Debut

It was announced that Marissa Pessl will be releasing her first young adult novel. I love Night Film by her so I was excited to hear she'd be releasing another book, and even more excited by the news that it would be young adult.

The title of the upcoming release is Neverworld Wake and the synopsis is basically everything I want in a book.
A group of teens who all attended the same elite prep school reunite a year after graduation. After a night on the town, the teens are faced with an impossible choice—only one of them can live and the decision must be unanimous.
That is not a choice ANYONE wants to make, but it instantly makes me want to ask a million questions. Mainly, why? Why do they have to make this choice? Who or what is making them? How long to do they have to choose? I can just tell it is going to be a discussion starting read and I cannot wait. There are also sci-fi elements to the story which isn't immediately evident from the synopsis.

TV/MOVIE

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

I am so excited for the second season of American Crime Story. It will focus on the assassination of Gianni Versace and looks to be just as well crafted as the first season (which focused on the trial of OJ Simpson).

This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly has a feature story on the upcoming season and it is PERFECT. I always love the casting in Ryan Murphy's shows and this is no exception.


It was also just revealed that Finn Wittrock will be joining the cast in a minor role (he is playing a friend of the guy who murdered Gianni Versace) and that news has only increased my excitement level (which surprises nobody who has read this blog).

Fun fact - they are filming at house Gianni Versace lived in at the time of the murder. This is going to add a layer of realism to the show, but also sends shivers up my spine. Not sure I could do it myself.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake



How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
Release Date -  May 2, 2017
Publisher Website - Raincoast
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.

 One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again.    How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time. 
How To Make A Wish's synopsis promises a love story between two girls who are dealing with difficult things at this point in their lives. It is also so much more than that.  Ashley Herring Blake delivers a novel that looks at the complexity of relationships, both healing and toxic, and the strength in accepting the reality of both.

I love when the main character and love interest each have story arcs outside of the romance. How To Make A Wish excels at this. Ashley Herring Blake has given each girl their own issues, and comple stories outside of falling in love. This, for me, made them seem even more nuanced and real. It made their story seem more fleshed out, and this allowed the characters to grow outside of the relationship so that the relationship could work. It made them better characters, and as this is a character driven novel, it made all the difference.

The romance in this is rather adorable. It contains a lot of my favourite things - secrets, inside jokes, well written kissing scenes, and characters who are actually good for each other. It was nice to read a love story between two girls where discovering their sexuality, or coming out was not the focus. Those stories are necessary and vital, but so are stories like this one. Stories that focus on relationships and the giddiness of falling in love. Stories in which both girls know who they are, even if one (or both) are still testing the language that feels comfortable to define themselves with. It showcases the need for different kinds of stories for all kinds of representation.

The adult characters that populate this story are both utilized and woven into the story arcs seamlessly. There are complex relationships shown between the teen characters and the adult characters. The complexity mostly comes from the adult characters being complex themselves. The adults in this novel are imperfect, but not vilified. They are shown to make mistakes, but that those mistakes are not all they are. These mistakes do not make them beyond redemption. There are examples of both healthy and unhealthy examples of parent/child like relationships within this novel, and none of them veer into cliche territory.

This story doesn't wrap itself up in a happily ever after bow at the end. That doesn't mean there isn't happy things at the end, but the themes of this story are such that a 'perfect' ending would have felt false. The ending we get feels true. Repairing ourselves, and relationships take time. It is a longer journey filled with stumbles and set backs. Ashley Herring Blake acknowledges this with this story, and it makes this story feel very realistic. It is both satisfying and hopeful, while remaining true to the story being told. Those, in my opinion, are the best kind of endings.

If you're looking for a summer read that is a romance, but with something extra, I recommend picking this one up. I am looking forward to reading whatever Ashley Herring Blake writes next as she's proven herself to be an author to follow in the young adult contemporary genre.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ... A Line In The Dark


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick is A Line In The Dark by Malinda Lo


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.

Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.

“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.”

A Line in the Dark is a story of love, loyalty, and murder.
This sounds so incredibly dark and twisty and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I love how you immediately know the tone of this novel when you look at the cover, and I love that it appears to have complex female characters within it.

It's release day makes me think it'll be a perfect spooky read for the Halloween season.

Expected release date - October 17, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Midnight At The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson



Midnight At The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date - June 13, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 272 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Divided by time. Ignited by a spark.

Kansas, 2065. Adri has secured a slot as a Colonist—one of the lucky few handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine fantasizes about her family’s farmhand, and longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called the Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire—and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life—Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919. In the recovery following the First World War, Lenore struggles with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked up Midnight At The Electric. The synopsis really doesn't tell you much about the story with it giving you the minimalist of details. All I really knew was that it consisted of three stories set in different time periods that interconnect. I am so glad this is all I knew as this is a story that needs to be experienced and felt.

This is Jodi Lynn Anderson at her best. It's romantic, poignant, thought provoking and exquisitely written. It has that breathtaking prose that readers have come to expect from this author. It's filled with lush descriptions, wonderful character development, and unraveled at just the right pace. It's the type of story you want to savor, but end up devouring because you're transported into the story and need to keep reading.

There are really three main characters to this story. Adri, the closed off woman who keeps people at arms length. Catherine, the dreamer who wants the best for her family. Lenore, the grieving woman who wants adventure. They all have distinct voices that make them come to life. Each of them have self contained journeys that could be fascinating stories all on their own, but create something even more magical when woven together. The most impressive thing is how each character is allowed her own agency and story. It is handled so well, and I really enjoyed getting to know each of them.

Along with three main characters comes three unique settings for each of them. The futuristic world Adri lives in. The post First World War London that Lenore is navigating. The storm ridden Oklahoma of the 1930s that Catherine calls home. Each of these is vividly painted with the lush descriptions that are found within these pages. The settings truly do come to life and they are the perfect backdrop for this story.

The three stories end up interconnecting rather beautifully. While some of the connections are immediately clear, others unravel slowly and end up being a pleasant surprise. This story really is one of connections. It focuses on the connections we share, and how those don't necessarily stop mattering when we die.

This is, in my opinion, the most romantic novel Jodi Lynn Anderson has written. It's done with her classic flair of bittersweetness, but the relationships are some of my absolute favourites. From slowly building tension, to literal sparks when people touch, there is something special about how the love stories are written and how captivating they are. It mirrors the theme of the novel, and makes each of the stories engrossing. It's not just romantic love that gets to shine. The love between family members and friends also gets it's chance at the spotlight and is equally well crafted. The bonds of sisterhood that thrum this story are some of my favourite elements, especially as it looks at sisterhood as not just being those who are blood related.

A lovely story about the ties that bond us together, what we leave behind after we die, and way our stories interconnect. This happens to now be my second favourite Jodi Lynn Anderson novel, after Tiger Lily, and I am sure it'll be one I read again and again. I urge anyone who loves having their heart punched and healed in equal measure pick this well crafted story.

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