Saturday, February 28, 2015

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.

Extremely small Weekly Obsessions post this week.

BOOKS

Me Before You and the sequel by Jojo Moyes (Goodreads)



I recently read Me Before You. I am pretty sure I am one of the last people on the planet to read it as I recall it being everywhere when it was first released. I LOVED this book. Completely obsessed. I was both apprehensive and delighted to hear that a sequel would be released this September. The first one was so perfect and I am afraid for the sequel to mess with how I feel about that book, but I am equally looking forward to returning to these characters. If you haven't read Me Before You, get on it immediately.

Cover of Truly Madly Famously by Rebecca Serle (Goodreads)


You  might have heard me talk about Famous In Love, just a little bit. It was one of my favourites of last year. I have been anticipating the sequel since I finished reading it last May. The cover was just revealed and I LOVE IT! It's a little different from the first one, BUT fits with the series. Rebecca has said this is the book she wanted to write, and that makes me even more excited to read this.

Cover of Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett (Goodreads)


Creepy right? It's also a little romantic with the old fashioned dress. Those two elements together seem to fit this novel's synopsis perfectly. A blend of death and love. The tagline immediately caught my attention and it's made me even more excited about this book.

MOVIE/TV

Me Before You movie adaptation

As noted above I loved the Me Before You novel. So much. I found out that Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin have been cast as Lou and Will in the movie adaptation. It is set to start filming in April and has an anticipated release of 2016. I am happy with the casting and I cannot wait to see what these two do with these roles. They are both favourites of mine and I anticipate some pretty electric chemistry. Expect much flailing and posting of set images/trailers/movie posters/etc as they come available.

How To Get Away With Murder 

I've been obsessed with How To Get Away With Murder this season. They just had their season finale on Thursday and IT WAS PERFECTION! It was the best way for this show to end it's stellar first season and has me NEEDING to see season two. If you missed getting obsessed with this show be sure to catch up during the summer. 

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Falling For Alice Cover Reveal


Today I get to help reveal the cover for a pretty interesting sounding short story collection. Alice In Wonderland is a beloved favourite of many, and with a big anniversary coming up, I can't think of any better way to celebrate it's birthday than with this collection.

Here to introduce today's theme and kick off the reveal is one of the contributors, Dawn Dalton....

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s beloved adventure, Alice in Wonderland—and as you might imagine, a lot of literary peeps are celebrating the occasion.

This story has a special place in millions of young (and old) hearts, including those of the five Young Adult authors in the FALLING FOR ALICE anthology. Today, as we launch the awesome cover for FALLING FOR ALICE, we also celebrate our publisher’s actual birthday (Happy Birthday, Jessica Bell at Vine Leaves Press), and all of YOUR unbirthdays. We hope you get to have your cake and eat it too.

Before revealing the cover here is a little bit about the book itself....
New Alice. New Wonderland. New stories ​to love.

From ​the modern Alice dumped in the Aquarian ​Age of the late sixties, to the present day Alice, tormented by body image and emotional issues, to the Alice of the future, launched forward through time and space, FALLING FOR ALICE offers five fresh takes on ​Lewis​ Carroll’s classic tale. For 150 years, people all over the world have fallen under Alice in Wonderland’s spell. ​Now, follow five Young Adult authors down the rabbit hole to discover Alice like you’ve never seen her before. One thing is certain—this is not your mother’s Alice.
Sounds amazing right? I am definately looking forward to falling down the rabbit hole and reading some of these original sounding takes on Alice.

As part of the Birthday/Unbirthday fun all the bloggers taking part in the reveal got to ask a birthday related question.

My questions to the group involved them selecting gifts to give to some of the famous Alice In Wonderland characters.

Q - If you had to give birthday presents to the characters from Alice in Wonderland what would you give to the following....

Cady Vance answered:

1. Alice - Alice needs a nice pair of comfy jeans. Who wants to traipse around Wonderland in a frilly dress?

2. The Mad Hatter - I would definitely give The Mad Hatter another hat! Probably a striped fedora. I think it would fit his style.

3. Cheshire Cat - The Cheshire Cat needs to keep his teeth nice and pearly, so I’d give him a whitening treatment.

4. Queen of Hearts - A nice bottle of red wine. She seriously needs to chill out.

5. White Rabbit - A digital watch with an alarm clock. He’s very preoccupied with the time and is always late despite his ever-present timepiece. He needs an upgrade, stat.

Denise Jaden answered

1. Alice - A copy of our anthology, FALLING FOR ALICE. She likes adventure and the unexpected. I think she would enjoy our anthology.

2. The Mad Hatter - I have this great birthday hat that we bring out once a year for my son’s birthdays, but I would be willing to part with it for the Mad Hatter. It has bright, foamy candles sticking up from the top.

3. Cheshire Cat - I am a true cat person. My family built a tall cat post for our kitty, over four feet tall. I’d build something even bigger for the Cheshire Cat, because I know he loves to perch up high.

4 Queen of Hearts - If I HAD to give a present to the Queen of Hearts, it would be a hug. I think she needs one, and who knows, it might help.

5 White Rabbit - I would give the White Rabbit a new pocket watch, with a pre-set alarm. I think you know why.

Shari Green answered

1. Alice - a pretty notebook and pen, so she can write down some of her incredible adventures, because wouldn’t they make an amazing book?! oh…wait…

2. The Mad Hatter - a dishwasher, to help him and the March Hare keep up with all the dishes from tea

3. Cheshire Cat - a portrait session, so even if he keeps disappearing, his friends and loved ones will be able to look at the portrait when they want to see him

4. Queen of Hearts-  some proper croquet mallets (those poor flamingos!)

5. White Rabbit - perhaps some Ativan? (No, I jest…I’d get him a new pocket watch, of course!)

Kitty Keswick answered

1. Alice: A GPS system.

2. The Mad Hatter:  Several bolts of fine silk, so he could make his hats and  wouldn’t have to use felt that contained the poisonous mercury that caused his madness. (Poor guy.)

3. Cheshire Cat: A fancy collar with bell and tracking system.

4. Queen of Hearts: Nothing, I only gift people I like.

5. White Rabbit: A kinetic pocket watch that he wouldn’t have to wind.

And lasty, Dawn Dalton answered

1. Alice: A Moleskin notebook (black) and a fancy pen so she can record her NEW adventures. (There are four of them in FALLING FOR ALICE alone!)

2. The Mad Hatter: My husband’s ridiculous baseball cap collection—I bet he can find a place for them that isn’t on my living room wall :-/

3. Cheshire Cat: Crest Whitestrips. Gotta keep those pearly whites sparkling!

4 Queen of Hearts: New croquet mallets. (Save the flamingos!)

5 White Rabbit: an iPhone. I mean, who uses a traditional alarm clock (never mind an antique stopwatch) to keep time anymore?

A huge thank you to them for taking the time to answer our questions.

You can find out more by visiting the official website, and adding it to your Goodreads account. You can also follow the official Twitter account.

Now to unveil the cover.....


Fun, right? You can pick up a copy on April 24, 2015 and it is being published by Vine Leaves Press.

Here are the lovely authors taking part....




Each of them has a different short story inspired by Alice In Wonderland to share in the collection, and they do sound intriguing. 

There also happens to be a book trailer launching today and I am happy to reveal it along with the cover.


We also have a few prizes to give away today. Be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter below.

There is 5 prizes in total and someone will get to win a copy of Falling For Alice!

Here is the full prize list...

1 A copy of Falling For Alice (when ready)
2 An e-copy of Denise Jarden's Foreign Exchange
3 a copy of the Spirted anthology 
4 a copy of Killer Instinct by Dawn Dalton and Judith Graves
5 One of Cady Vance's books in e-book format

Good luck!



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ......... Hello, Goodbye And Everything In Between


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

My pick this week is Hello, Goodbye And Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions. 
I've loved the previous novels that Jennifer has written and this one seems like it could be just as cute. Her books are always delightful and I am already looking forward to falling for Claire and Aiden's story.

Expected release date - September 1, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik



Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik
Release Date - March 3, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 2/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

**SPOILERS**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The Secret History meets Sharp Objects in this stunning debut about murder and glamour set in the ambiguous and claustrophobic world of an exclusive New England prep school.

Death sets the plot in motion: the murder of Nica Baker, beautiful, wild, enigmatic, and only sixteen. The crime is solved, and quickly—a lonely classmate, unrequited love, a suicide note confession—but memory and instinct won’t allow Nica’s older sister, Grace, to accept the case as closed.

Dropping out of college and living at home, working at the moneyed and progressive private high school in Hartford, Connecticut, from which she recently graduated, Grace becomes increasingly obsessed with identifying and punishing the real killer.

Compulsively readable, Lili Anolik’s debut novel combines the verbal dexterity of Marisha Pessl’s Special Topic in Calamity Physics and the haunting atmospherics and hairpin plot twists of Megan Abbott’s Dare Me. 
It actually hurts me to write this review. This is probably also going to be one of the shortest reviews I've written. I went into this book really excited, and expecting a thrilling read. One that maybe could be the mystery novel that surprised me this year. Sadly, during the duration of the novel a particular story line element caused me to not enjoy this novel as much as I could have.

Before discussing what didn't work for me, I want to highlight the positive. There are plenty of elements I did enjoy. The writing was good, the mystery started out incredibly solid. The potential was definitely there. The first half of the novel is rather well done and plotted. I was engrossed in the mystery and appreciated the dark tone of the writing and atmosphere. The characters are flawed, and messy and fit into the world the author had created.

Rape culture, and how we define rape is a huge hot button issue right now. It's an element that I react strongly to. I am going to be upfront about that. In order to discuss exactly why I didn't enjoy this particular novel I do have to discuss it by including spoilers. During the novel the main character drinks and takes drugs. She ends up waking up the next day not remembering much of the night before. She later finds out she is pregnant. She is a virgin before this happened and doesn't remember having sex that night with anyone. As the story progresses we find out who the father is. They have a discussion where he says ‘I had sex with you. While you were unconscious, I had sex with you.’ and yet the main character seems to try to rationalize it away. She says she was drunk. That he was drunk (his reply is that he wasn't that drunk). He even says he went ahead and let it happen because she reminded him of her dead sister. The main character calls what happened by it's actual name, rape, once. She later mentions that what happened was foolish, but not forced. My personal opinion is that she was unconscious therefore she could not give consent. That equals rape to me. I wish this novel would have dealt with it that way, but instead we have them become a couple. At the end of the novel she is dating him. It felt weird to me that she would be dating the guy who essentially raped her. It left an sinking feeling in my stomach as I was reading because it felt like victim blaming to me. Women struggle to be taken seriously when reporting rape, and I feel that media and entertainment need to showcase this type of scenario as actually rape not some shaded grey area. I feel there were other ways this could have been presented while still keeping the mystery element of the story line in tact, but would not have painted what happened to the main character in such a light.

If this particular element had been left out of the novel, or handled differently, I could have resulted in a much different reading experience. The twists and turns the story took were satisfying, and the mixture of betrayal, family secrets was delicious. The misdirections were often smart, and neatly tied together. I, sadly, just couldn't get past that one particular element.

I would read another book by this author, but this one just wasn't for me. It left a unpleasant feeling behind which I could not shake and set aside to enjoy the story.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes



Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Release Date - December 31, 2012
Publisher Website - Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 369 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from library**


**POTENTIAL SPOILERS**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
After closing the final pages of Me Before You I knew it was going to be one of the hardest reviews I had ever written. How to convey what this book made me feel adequately when I was barely able to be coherent after. Me Before You is a love story. It is also so much more than that. It's smart, unrelenting, and shines a bright light on the quality of life for disabled people in the process. A story that stole my heart, and left me an ugly sobbing mess in it's wake, but also infused with me an appreciation for this life I get to live.

This is the first novel I've read by Jojo Moyes and it certainly will not be my last. Her talent is in creating characters, and crafting emotions with her words. She makes you fall effortlessly in love with her characters, and in a novel of this nature, that is key. Even her secondary characters are written as incredibly life like and complex.

The moments of humour are so wonderfully woven into this plot. They are bright lights in an otherwise murky setting. They contrast the darker moments and create a realistic balanced portrayal that really brings the characters to life. You are thankful for these happy moments because they allow you to breathe in between the moments of crushing sadness. They are timed perfect, and add to the novel's pacing.

The romance in this was a lot like John Green's classic line of falling slowly and then all at once for me. I fell for Will and Lou slowly, but when it happened it was all consuming. I was enthralled by their connection and love story. They are the type of couple that becomes iconic because you feel their chemistry through the pages. Their little moments show that a romantic, swoon worthy connection can be effectively capture with minimal physical interaction. It's their words, banter, and actions that define and create their love story.

This novel deals with how the disabled are treated, their role in society and the hot button issue of assisted suicide. The author doesn't take a strong stance but instead, through the characters, lets you see all sides of this complex issue. She allows you to sympathize with those who are in Will's position, while still feeling for those who care about them. While she doesn't tackle the political and legal aspects with as much depth, she chooses to focus on the personal elements. The novel wants you to see a view point that is perhaps not your own. It will encourage conversation, and that is perhaps this novel's greatest achievement.

A novel that makes you see things in many different aways. A story that embraces the many complexities around the issue of assisted suicide, and shouts the notion of living your life to it's fullest from every page. A romantic, heart crushing, inspiring story I will not soon forget. It's one with an important message at it's heart, and it just so happens it'll also leave you feeling everything all at once.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

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 had two books make their way into my mailbox this week.

First up is a book from Simon and Schuster Canada


Dime by E.R. Frank (goodreads)

This sounded interesting and I am not sure I've read a book dealing with this subject matter before. A big thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for the chance to review this.

The second book is from The Studio (A Paper Latern Lit publishing imprint) and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cover. It's fun and brings to mind California.


Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins (goodreads)

A big thank you to The Studio/Paper Lantern Lit for the chance to review this one. It sounds like a book I am going to really enjoy.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

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.

Extremely small Weekly Obsessions post this week.

BOOKS

Cover reveal for This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee (goodreads)


This brings to mind Frankenstein immediately. It captures it's essence perfectly. It's one of my most anticipated books of this year and I am even more excited now that I've seen the cover.

Cover Reveal for Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson (goodreads)


This cover kind of sneaked up on me. I wasn't sure what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to read this book because of it's synopsis. The cover though..is amazing. I love the use of gold. It fits the synopsis perfectly.

MOVIE/TV

The Last Five Years movie

If you love Anna Kendrick (and why wouldn't you? She's amazing) you NEED to check out The Last Five Years. Particularly if you love musicals. It's sad and crushing but so worth it if you enjoy this type of movie. The two leads are great, and the chemistry is there. It's heavy on the singing so it might not appeal to everyone, but I urge everyone to at least try it.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fifty Shades of Shaming


This post started out as a review of the 50 Shades of Grey movie. Truly it did. I was going to talk about what I liked and disliked. I was going to talk about how much I adored Dakota Johnson. I was going to gush about the attractiveness of Jamie Dornan. I was going to tell you that it was funnier than I anticipated. How the changes from the book were good changes (the way Laters, Baby was incorporated for instance, or Anastasia's lip biting). I wanted to debate the effectiveness of Ana saying "stop" vs. "red" in the final scene of the movie (I think 'red' would have been way more striking and powerful). I wanted to discuss how if you strip everything away it's a Beauty and the Beast archetype at it's core. Sadly, that post is not what this is going to be.

Instead of discussing Jamie Dornan's backside, I am instead going to rant a little bit. Pretty sure this is the most I've ever expressed an opinion this vocally on this blog, and I am pretty nervous about it. I've seen something that has truly troubled me in the book community recently and had to vent a little.

Since the movie's release (and subsequent success) there has been a constant stream of shaming flooding the internet. There are those accusing people who enjoyed the book or movie of supporting abusive relationships. I am not here to debate whether or not it does (from the movie perspective, Anastasia consents to everything that happens to her, and I cannot speak for the book). I've seen this shaming creep into my 'offline' life recently, and knew that this post needed to go in a totally different direction. A girl I know was reduced to tears because someone decided to express their (quite vocal) opinion on what they thought of her for reading 50 Shades of Grey. Someone literally made her cry for reading a book. I personally get shamed all the time for reading young adult books. People ask me if I cannot handle adult novels (never mind the fact that I read those too),  or if I am stuck in adolescence because there is no other reason I would read this genre. I know women who get shamed for reading romance novels, or novels deemed 'chick lit'.

First, I haven't read the books. I attempted to and found the writing not for me. I was curious about the movie and did go and see it. I do not think the relationship between Anastasia and Christian is a healthy one, but that is MY opinion. I am entitled to it, just as others are entitled to have a different one.

To be clear, I am not talking about expressing your opinion of something. That we all have different opinions is a wonderful thing. It is anyone's right to express those opinions on their social media, blog, or where ever else they chose to. It creates a healthy area for discussion. What does not sit right with me people not respecting other opinions than their own. Messaging someone on Twitter telling them that they are going to hell for enjoying a book is not acceptable behaviour. Neither is teasing someone to the point that they cry because they dared to be curious about the hype surrounding a book (or, shocker, enjoying said book). The second it changes from having an opinion that you are voicing to actively seeking people out to message it becomes counter productive. People get hurt and it makes any kind of rational discussion impossible. Instead of trying to understand each other's view points (or agreeing to disagree) we have someone who will now be afraid to express their opinions on something for fear of being ridiculed and attacked.

My heart aches to see people being shamed for reading something, anything, for pleasure. I am positive I read some where that the average person reads five books a year. FIVE BOOKS A YEAR. Let that sink in. That is less than one per month. Literacy is still an issue, and anything that gets people reading is a good thing in my opinion. That book may open them up to more reading experiences. Many people bemoan Twilight, but it cannot be ignored that it brought in a wave of young adult novels that have people reading more than ever before. You may not agree with their reading choices, but there are better ways to get someone to read something else than shaming them for a selection they have made.

Book publishing is a business and as such they need to make money. A friend pointed out to me that 50 Shades of Grey's success most likely allowed that publisher to publish other books with the money made from it's success. Some of those books may even be your favourites. Books that have a smaller fan base were able to find it's way into the hands of those who love it because the publisher made money off other books. I am pretty thankful for this as I love the variety and choice we have in our entertainment in general.

I anticipate that people will read this and come to the conclusion that I support unhealthy relationships, and only read badly written books. Not at all true. I am a strong believer in thinking critically about the media/entertainment we consume. I also think it's possible to think something has flaws and still enjoy it. It is possible to appreciate a darker romance, or themes without supporting them. There are plenty of books that deal with murders, rapes, and abusive relationships, but reading and enjoying them doesn't automatically mean you support it. The author doesn't even have to support what they are writing. They can be two entirely separate things. You can, for instance, write a novel about a killer without supporting murder. Same would be said for writing an unhealthy romance (or enjoying a novel written about one). Are there elements of 50 Shades of Grey that are problematic? Of course. Does it romanticize some troubling behaviors? Of course. So does Beauty and the Beast and many other fairytales. We as consumers can ask questions, and that doesn't mean everyone who reads it, or likes it, is going to hell, is immoral, or any of the other things I've seen tossed around recently.

I, personally, would like to see more love spread than shaming and ridicule (and sometimes outright hate). Next time you see someone reading a book that you don't consider up to your 'literary standards' might I suggest one of a few options (this works for movies, and TV shows too)....

1. Ignore it. It's not your business what they are reading. We all have our opinions and are entitled to them, but taking those opinions and using them to hurt someone else is not okay.

2. Kindly suggest they check out a book of a similar nature that you enjoyed. Simply saying something like "Hey, I see you're reading (fill in the name of book). I recently read (fill in name of other book you consider better) and it's similar. Maybe you'd enjoy it too." You might just end up broadening their reading horizons and might help them find the next book they fall in love with. I think that is a much better way to get the book in their hands and they might even thank you for it (instead of feeling awful because you've made them feel ashamed for reading or enjoying something).

3. Ask them questions. Someone reading 50 Shades of Grey, YA books, etc will (most likely) happily discuss it with you. Before you say something negative, maybe have a discussion with them. Ask questions like "Oh, I hear that some people think this portrays an unhealthy relationship, what do you think?" or "What elements of  Young Adult novels do you enjoy?" This only works if you are capable of having a rational, adult conversation. Their answer might just surprise you though, and that would be a good thing.

If there are books that you feel strongly send a bad message, maybe do something positive as a means of counteracting that. Volunteer somewhere (like a women's shelter, for example) if you feel strongly about the portrayal abusive relationships in books. Spread the word (and love) about a book you feel sends a good message - gift it to people, make sure your local library has a copy, review it on websites like Amazon. This will not only make you happier, but could also benefit someone else.

In conclusion, I think everyone should read, watch, and enjoy whatever they want to. Being made to feel ashamed that you're a fan of something is awful. We need to own what we love, and not be apologetic. Strike 'guilty pleasure' from your vocabulary. Anything that makes you happy is something good in my opinion and we need more good and happy in this world. Thinking critically about something is important, but that doesn't mean that it cannot still be enjoyed, flaws and all. It also doesn't mean that the person supports the unhealthy aspects of the particular book/show/movie/etc in question. I mean, you can consume entertainment about killing people (like the TV show Dexter for instance), and I'am pretty sure you don't support that, right?

What do you think? Have you ever been shamed for something you enjoy reading/watching/etc?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ..... Anne and Henry


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

My pick this week is Anne and Henry by Dawn Ius


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Anne
Wild, brazen, mischievous, bewitching

Henry
Driven, haunted, charming, magnetic

Apart, they are bound to destroy themselves. Together, they are bound to destroy each other.

Henry Tudor's life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father's. But ever since the death of Henry's brother—perfect, high-achieving Arthur—his family has been twice as demanding. And now Henry's trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who's not Tudor approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Anne is wild, brash and outspoken. She is everything Henry is not allowed to be—or to want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, yet his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her. But once he has her, their romance could destroy them both.

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time. 
I've been fangirling about this for quite some time now and am definitely pining waiting for it's release. It's no secret that I am kind of obsessed with Tudor history and this retelling sounds rather fun (and hopefully sexy, heartbreaking and maybe a little scandalous!). I'll be a long summer pining for this one as it doesn't come out until the autumn.

Expected release date - September, 2015 (exact date to be announced)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Love, Lucy by April Lindner



Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Release Date - January 27, 2015
Publisher Website - Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.
I picked up Love, Lucy because it seemed to have all the elements I would love. Backpacking through Europe. A cute romance. I was hoping for a main character I adored. A swoon worthy romance that swept me away. While Love, Lucy was a mostly enjoyable read, I didn't end up loving it as much as I expected to.

The main take away after reading this novel is a fierce wanderlust. You will be swept away by the descriptions of Italy and be entirely smitten. Do not be surprised if hours are spent researching a hypothetical trip after turning the last page. This is one element that April Lindner captures perfectly, and the strongest element in the novel. The setting is everything you could hope for from the synopsis and more.

This is a type of novel where character connection is vital. Most contemporaries rely on character development as the plot typically deals with internal, emotional elements. The connection, for me, just wasn't there with these characters. I didn't feel anything more than indifference to them. I wasn't invested in their story because they didn't feel multi-dimensional to me. The use of third person may have created another barrier as I didn't get a sense of what the characters were feeling.

The romance itself is cute, if predictable. There are a few instances where things are drawn out for dramatic purposes but it could have been quite enjoyable if it had that connection. The spark that made you feel everything and feel invested in the outcome. You want to be able to root for the main couple. You want to care whether or not they get their happily ever after.

There are friendships formed in the novel that I really enjoyed. Lucy's roommate at college in particular seemed to have potential, as did the characters she befriends later on in the novel. I would love to have learned more about these characters, and seen the friendship play a more central focus in the story. It could have rounded it out more and created a richer character experience.

There are morsels of potential throughout the novel. There is an underlying theme of making your own choices, and standing up for what you want. It's a theme that is common in young adult novels, but one that is always welcome. It could have been a deeper more interesting read if it had been developed more.

With all that being said, I did enjoy Love, Lucy for what it is. A light, fun contemporary read that would be perfect after a more emotional read. It'll leave you more than a little in love with Italy and with the strong desire to have a vacation flirtation of your own. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor



Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
Release Date - February 17, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.

But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be?

Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.
Perfection, perception, and reality all collide in this well written novel. A story about the pressure to be perfect, the truth we attempt to hide, and the moment we realize nothing is quite what we though it was, including ourselves.

Better Than Perfect is filled with flawed characters, inadvisable choices, and yet I found myself wanting the best for everyone involved. A hot button issue is at the heart of this novel, and it may end up being a polarizing factor for many readers, but I think the novel is one that you should stick with regardless of personal opinions. The whys of what happens and the aftermath make everything less black and white than you might expect. I appreciate characters who own their mistakes and I think Juliet eventually does.

Juliet isn't perfect. In fact, she makes plenty of mistakes. She even makes awful choices sometimes. In struggling to be perfect, she realizes that it's an impossible standard she's held herself up to. As a reader, you will not agree with all of her choices. The choices she makes, however, are within character. It fits perfectly with who the character is, and what we know about her. Juliet has much of what she thought was true pulled away from her as she struggles to deal with her parents separation, and it's aftermath.

Perception and reality has been represented in literature and other forms of entertainment plenty of times. The idea that you never really know someone underneath what they present to the world is a common theme. Juliet goes through something everyone does while growing up during this novel. There comes a moment where you stop viewing your parents as Mom and Dad and start seeing them as people with their own flaws, and problems. You see through that comforting notion of Mom and Dad to the individual underneath. As children we often view our parents are perfect. We are either too young, or are shielded from the reality. Juliet learns that her parents make mistakes just like anyone else. That they are still figuring things out. That they have secrets of their own. It's not something I had seen tackled in a young adult novel before and the inclusion of the family in such a prominent way was a welcome change.

The romance is going to be hit or miss. Plenty of people will not be fans of this love story. Without giving spoilers, there is plenty of drama, baggage, bad choices, and angst to complicate the situation. However, it feels like something Juliet needed to go through. The romance, however, is a back drop to the real issues facing Juliet. Through the romance we see her change, and realize things about herself, and those around her. It's something that assists the plot rather than being the plot, which isn't really clear until the end of the novel.

The ending of the novel once again hinges on choices. The choices that we all make and why we are making them. Too often we might make the choices others expect or want. The freedom of making a choice because YOU choose it is liberating and it's something we all have to learn. That's Juliet's journey as much as any other discovery she makes along the way. Owing and making those choices is what ultimately makes us who we are, so we have to make the most of them.

A novel that explores the idea of being who other people think you are. The exhausting pressure that puts someone under, and the freedom of breaking free. Melissa Kantor has written a messy, imperfect, flawed character who doesn't always make the best choices. If you enjoy this type of character and this type of story, you'll find much to love in Better Than Perfect.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

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).

A few amazing sounding books made their way into my mailbox this week. One in particular made me fangirl when I opened the package and discovered it had arrived.


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (goodreads)

My friend Christy was kind enough to lend me her copy of this! I cannot wait to read it and hope to sneak it into the schedule ASAP!


The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (goodreads)

This is a re-telling of The Little Mermaid! I immediately was intrigued when I read the synopsis and I think the cover is adorable. Seems like it might be a fun summer read.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Heartbreakers Tour - Day Six


Today is the final day of the Heartbreakers tour for 2015! It's a week filled with Valentine's Day goodness from some amazing authors! Visit each stop as each of the bloggers will be highlighting different authors and asking different questions! Also be sure to enter the giveaway that will be located at the bottom of each tour stop.


Last day of the tour and it's a big one! FOUR authors are stopping by today to close out the tour. I have Dawn Ius, Eileen Cook, Brenda Hiatt, and Jen McConnel dishing on their books, and romance.


Dawn is spotlighting her novel Anne and Henry!


A novel that may have been mentioned her before (okay, so a couple of times or whatever) Check out the Goodreads synopsis
ANNE

Wild, brazen, mischievous, bewitching

HENRY

Driven, haunted, charming, magnetic

ANNE & HENRY

Apart they are bound to destroy themselves. Together, they are bound to destroy
each other.

HENRY TUDOR’S LIFE HAS BEEN mapped out since the day he was born: student president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s.

But ever since the death of Henry’s brother—perfect, high-achieving Arthur—his family has been twice as demanding. And now Henry’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who’s not Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Anne is wild, brash, and outspoken. She is everything Henry is not allowed to be—or to want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, yet his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her. But once he has her, their romance could destroy them both.

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, ANNE & HENRY reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time. 
A modern take on the story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry?! All over it.

Dawn took the time to answer my Valentine themed questions. Her heartbreak cure is the best ever.

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak?

Chocolate, hot bath, and wine — preferably all at once.

2. What literary couple is your favourite?

Diana Gabaldon’s JAMIE & CLAIRE (from Outlander) own that place in my heart. Jamie was my first book BF. #swoon

DAWN IUS is a short-story author, novelist, screenwriter, professional editor, and communications specialist. She is the Assistant Managing Editor of the International Thriller Writers Association’s monthly magazine, THE BIG THRILL, co-founder and senior editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the author of ten educational graphic novels published by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. When she’s not slaying fictional monsters, she’s geeking out over fairy tales, Jack Bauer,Halloween, sports cars, and all things that go bump in the night. Dawn lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Jeff, and their giant English Mastiff, Roarke. 


Next up, Sarah Hantz sharing details about her novel!


Her  novel is the conclusion to her Starstruck series. Be sure to check out the other novels.


You can check out this Goodreads synopsis
The electrifying conclusion to the Starstruck series!

M, no longer a nerdy nobody, has finally been acclaimed Sovereign Emileia, ruler of the Martian colony Nuath. But at what cost? Without her soulmate Rigel, life seems pointless but she’s expected to shake off her heartbreak and assume her responsibilities. Reluctantly, M does what she must until an unexpected discovery restores a glimmer of hope for the future. Now she is determined to do whatever she can to salvage her longed-for happy ending—if it’s not already too late. 
She also answers my questions and Elizabeth and Darcy are winning this thing (I approve, obviously).

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak?

Eat a quart of Rocky Road ice cream and read lots of romance novels.

2. What literary couple is your favourite?

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, of course!



Brenda Hiatt is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty novels (so far), including traditional Regency romance, time travel romance, historical romance, and humorous mystery. She is as excited about her STARSTRUCK series as she's ever been about any of her books. In addition to writing, Brenda is passionate about embracing life to the fullest, to include scuba diving (she has over 60 dives to her credit), Taekwondo (where she is currently pursuing her 3rd degree black belt),hiking, traveling, and pursuing new experiences and skills.



Next up is Eileen Cook sharing detail about her newest novel.


Ashley is spotlighting Remember. One I've seen floating around blogs already.


Check out the Goodreads synopsis
A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protestors. Her father runs the company that trademarked the “Memtex” procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn’t be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life… 
This sounds mysterious, and like an excellent, fast paced thriller.

Eileen took the time to answer my Valentine themed questions. Score another one for Elizabeth and Darcy!

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak?

A great music playlist, chocolate, and good friends

2. What literary couple is your favourite?

Pride and Prejudice junkie so Elizabeth and Darcy

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Eileen lives in Vancouver Canada with her husband and one naughty dog and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Website // Twitter // Facebook 

To close out the tour, we have Jen McConnel dishing on her latest novel


A sequel to the previous book in the Isobel Key series, be sure to check out the first novel The Secret of Isobel Key.


You can check out this Goodreads synopsis
Five years after the trip to Scotland that changed her life, Lou is back in the misty,magical country. But this time, she’s not on vacation.

When Brian, her old Highland fling, turns up at the scene of some depressing familybusiness, tension mounts between the former lovers. But dealing with Brian is onlypart of the problem; something wicked is stirring in Scotland. Lou must use all her strength to handle the increasingly desperate situation, but will she be strong enough to battle both a vengeful ghost and her heart?

Lou may have thought that she was finished with the witch Isobel Key, but some secrets can’t stay buried forever. This story is the sequel to THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY. 
She also answers my questions and she chose another iconic couple.

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak?

Chocolate, loud music, and time.

2. What literary couple is your favourite?

Twisted and dysfunctional as they are, I still swoon for Scarlet O’Hara and Rhett Butler.

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is out now from Bloomsbury Spark. She also writes YA and nonfiction. Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.
| Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Blog | Website |



Thank you to all of them for stopping by. Be sure to enter the contest before leaving (and add all of the books to your Goodreads.

Here is a list of other bloggers taking part in the tour if you want to visit their stops:

Reading is My Treasure
YA Yeah! Yeah!
A Glass of Wine
Little Library Muse
Jennzah.dot.net
Tales of Yesterday
The Reader Bee
Words of Mystery

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Heartbreakers Tour - Day Five


Today continues the Heartbreakers tour for 2015! It's a week filled with Valentine's Day goodness from some amazing authors! Visit each stop as each of the bloggers will be highlighting different authors and asking different questions! Also be sure to enter the giveaway that will be located at the bottom of each tour stop.


Today I have Ashley Poston and Sara Hantz visiting the blog and answering some very important Valentine Day themed questions!


Ashley is spotlighting her novel The Sound Of Us


A novel that sounds like it's going to be perfect for me. Check out the Goodreads synopsis
America's favorite pop band, Roman Holiday, is done, dead, and so totally last year. For eighteen-year-old rockoholic Junie Baltimore, this is music to her ears. But when she discovers their sexy ex-lead singer hiding out on the boardwalk, her summer vacation becomes the cover story of the year.

She's willing to keep him a secret, but when a sleazy paparazzo offers her the cash she needs to save the bar her father left behind, could she sell out for the chance to save her future? Who is she kidding? That's a no-brainer...but she never planned on falling head over heels for the lead singer. 
A rock star hiding out. A summer romance. Plenty of drama. Heck, yes!

Ashley took the time to answer my Valentine themed questions

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak?

Chocolate! And a good book. A very good book. A very swoony good book. With rippling abs. Deep blue eyes. Back muscles you could
climb on. Sigh.

2. What literary couple is your favourite? 

I absolutely adore Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. They constantly bicker, snap, and bite at each other, but at the end of the day they cook bacon over their fire demon and watch the sun set.

Ashley Poston is a fangirl at heart. Inspired by everything from Sailor Moon to Firefly to Harry Potter, she began writing at a very young age and never stopped. Her play, MOTHLIGHT, won best direction, best actor/actress, and best stage play at SCTA's 2008 conference. Since then, she's written for Quirk and ThoughtCatolog, apprenticed under a Hollywood screenwriter, spoke at Anime Expo's Academic Conference, interned at Random House, and somehow found herself a book contract. She currently lives in South Carolina with her cat and a plethora of books. When not writing, she hangs around on Twitter fangirling about all the feels. THE SOUND OF US, from Bloomsbury Spark, is her first novel. Tweet her at @ashposton and read her inner-most rambles at casuallybeingweird.com.

Next up, Sarah Hantz sharing details about her novel!


Her  novel sound like a lot of fun....


You can check out this Goodreads synopsis
Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up

Abi Saunders might be a kickboxing champion, but when it comes to being the center of attention, she’d rather take a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus any day. So when her trainer convinces her to audition to be the stunt double for hot teen starlet Tilly Watson, Abi is shocked—and a little freaked out—when she gets the job.

Being a stunt double is overwhelming, but once the wig and makeup are on, Abi feels like a different person. Tilly Watson, to be exact. And when Tilly’s gorgeous boyfriend, Jon, mistakes Abi for the real star, Abi's completely smitten. In fact, she’s so in love with her new life, it isn’t long before she doesn’t have time for her old one.

But when the cameras are turned off, will she discover running with the Hollywood A-list isn’t quite the glamorous existence she thought it was? 
A stunt double in Hollywood, and a sexy guy was all I really needed to know to be excited.

She also answers my questions and Elizabeth and Darcy are certainly a popular choice!

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak? 

A big bar of chocolate, a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and my favourite song on repeat.

2. What literary couple is your favourite?

Lizzie and Darcy


Sara Hantz comes from the UK and now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Australia (via 10 years in New Zealand). She lectured for many years before deciding to devote more time to her writing and working in the family business. She has two grown-up children and when not writing or working she spends more time than most people she knows watching TV - in fact if TV watching was an Olympic sport she'd win gold.


Thank you to both of them for stopping by. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the final day of the tour!

Be sure to enter the contest below if you haven't had the chance already!

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Heartbreakers Tour ..... Day Four


Today continues the Heartbreakers tour for 2015! It's a week filled with Valentine's Day goodness from some amazing authors! Visit each stop as each of the bloggers will be highlighting different authors and asking different questions! Also be sure to enter the giveaway that will be located at the bottom of each tour stop.


Today I have L.S. Murphy and Laurie J. Edwards (writing as Erin Johnson) stopping by the blog!


L.S. Murphy is spotlighting her novel Reaper and sharing a bit about her next title Pixelated!


A novel that promises romance and heart! Check out the Goodreads synopsis
There's no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

She's supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future that Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn't take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.

Like when she's reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who's returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy's goes down like the Titanic.

Maybe ... just maybe ... that's okay.

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn't just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy's priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

Her upcoming YA novel, PIXELATED, about a high school senior whose ambitious life plan is jeopardized by her parents' divorce and a move to Nowheresville, and who can't help falling for the small town golden boy with a secret, was acquired by Bloomsbury Spark. PIXELATED is expected to be published in Spring 2015. 
A paranormal that has a contemporary twist I am told. You can also add PIXELATED to your Goodreads while you're there.

She also answered my Valentine's Day themed questions. Obviously, Darcy and Elizabeth are a fave of mine, too.

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak?

Doing something that makes you feel good about yourself.

2. What literary couple is your favourite?

Totally team Darcy and Elizabeth.



L.S. Murphy obsesses about St. Louis Cardinals baseball, fangirls over her favorite authors, and watches every episode of Doctor Who like it's the first time. When she's not doing those time-consuming things, the former farm-girl turned city slicker turned suburbanite writes sweet romances for teens and adults. Visit her online at lsmurphy.com and follow her on Twitter @LSMurphy

Next up, as part of the tour, I have Laurie J Edwards (writing as Erin Johnson) dishing details about her novel!


She is talking about the second book in her new series.....


You can check out this Goodreads synopsis
Grace and the Guiltless

The first book in YA series set in the Wild West…

After her family is slaughtered by outlaws, sixteen-year-old Grace Milton goes on a
vendetta to capture the gang who did it. But once she meets a rugged range rider,
she’s torn between revenge and love.

“Packed with action, drama, and, yes, a little romance, this book is sure to draw in
readers from the first sentence and hold them there until the last.” ~TeenReads
“A budding romance, clues to a possible conspiracy, and a cliffhanger ending promise
exciting adventures ahead.” ~VOYA

“The descriptions give me the chills. I love the character. She’s so brave and practical
and so mature.” ~Wattpad reader

Book Two

WANTED, a new YA series set in the Wild West…

After her family is slaughtered by outlaws, sixteen-year-old Grace Milton goes on
a vendetta to capture the gang who did it. But once she meets a rugged range
rider, she’s torn between revenge and love.

In WANTED Book 2, HER COLD REVENGE, Grace’s saga continues as she
singlehandedly tracks down train robbers and fugitives in her quest for justice. 
Laurie also answers my questions and she speaks to my Disney loving heart with her couple choice!

1. What do you think is the best way to get over a heartbreak?

Believing that if this one didn’t work out, the Universe has someone even better waiting for me.

2. What literary couple is your favourite?

Beauty and the Beast. I’m a sucker for stories about the transformative power of love.

Erin Johnson grew up watching classic western movies with her father, which fueled her lifelong love of horseback riding. She's always dreamed of being a fierce-talking cowgirl, but writing about one seemed like the next best thing. She loves traveling,painting, riding motorcycles, and teaching, and lives in North Carolina. You can find out more about her and her books, which are written under the name Laurie J. Edwards, at https://lje1.wordpress.com/. Another recent release,Cyber Self-Defense, co-written with Alexis Moore, gives tips for coping with cyberbullying and othercyberabuse. To read about her humorous, true-life romance, watch for the anthology Love & Profanity coming from Capstone in March 2015.



Thank you to both of them for stopping by. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the next day of the tour!

Be sure to enter the giveaway below for an e-reader and gift card if you haven't already.

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The Secrets Between You and Me by Shana Norris



The Secrets Between You and Me by Shana Norris
Release Date - February 10, 2015
Publisher Website - The Studio, A Paper Lantern Lit imprint
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 247 pages
My Rating - 4/5
Companion Novel To - The Boyfriend Thief 
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

4 wheels on a rusty truck * 2 gray eyes * 1 secret that could ruin everything...

All Hannah wanted was a summer break from being “perfect Hannah Cohen” and a chance to forget about the devastating family secret that could ruin her seemingly perfect life. So when she takes off for her eccentric aunt’s house in the mountains of North Carolina and everyone makes one big (wrong) assumption about her past, Hannah figures that it’s easier to live a lie than have to face the truth.

She never expected to make any real friends, like the hilarious and spontaneous Kate and Ashton, who drag her to late night bonfires and ice cream marathons. And she especially never counted on meeting Jude Westmore, the brooding bad boy next door with gray eyes and permanent oil smudges on his fingers, or that he would ever take an interest in her.

Between moonlit movie nights in the bed of Jude’s truck and nearly romantic Ferris Wheel rides, Hannah’s old life seems father away then ever, but can she keep her secret, or is the truth worth the risk of losing everything, including Jude?

The Secrets Between You and Me is a companion novel to The Boyfriend Thief and the second book in Shana Norris’s Stolen Kiss series 
A girl running from the truth. A summer to find her way. A romance that was unexpected. Shana Norris' takes a character that I didn't think had a story to tell, and delights in this feel good, sweet summer-y read.

This book, and it's writing, bring to mind lazy summer days. Ones filled with ice cream, sand, and campfires. You'll immediately want to be curled up with someone watching fireworks as heat from the day slowly cools. It's a tranquil setting that serves the story, and it's characters well. It's the place Hannah needs and that is captured through the writing.

The pressure to be perfect, and need to be who everyone else thinks you should be, haunts Hannah. She's weighed down, exhausted, by the stress and constant struggle. Her life is not perfect, and the more she tries to fake it, the more cracks begin to show. Her life is a set of rigidly controlled rules, and Hannah is frozen, unable to break free. I think everyone, at some point, has felt this way. As you grow into the person you are, you may feel you're letting people down. Choices you make may not be the choices others hoped you would make, and you may be led down a different path than expected. Hannah's growing pains is something that everyone struggles with overcoming and that makes it instantly recognizable.

The bonds that Hannah makes with Jude, Kate and Ashton are refreshing. She feels like they know her for herself and that she doesn't have to pretend all the time. These relationships give her the strength and courage to start making choices for herself, rather than having them made for her. It's her growth that surprised me. It may not be a new story, but it's one that never stops being relevant and Shana puts on her twist on it, to make sure the impact is felt. It's really her character's journey that does this, as you do grow to care about them.

My favourite types of romances are ones where the people involve help to better the other. I am not talking about the notion of 'fixing' someone. I am talking about providing emotional support and being there for someone though a change. Being someone they can depend on during unstable times. Hannah and Jude are this for each other. Each of them have issues to work through, and together they push support and listen to each other. Combine this with some fun banter and swoon worthy scenes and I was easily swept up in their romance.

A novel that I enjoyed even more than the first one in this companion series. Hannah's character growth made her easy to root for. A sweet romance that makes for an enjoyable, light read and will leave you smiling.

Be sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win one of three iBook copies of The Secrets Between You and Me. These copies are meant to be read on Mac, iPhones, or iPads.

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