Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash


Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
Release Date - May 19, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She's volunteering in the medical tent. She's like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them...
Woodstock is not a setting you get to read about frequently in YA novels. Three Day Summer immediately caught my eye as a result of it being set there. The setting is indeed magical, but the characters didn't quite spark for me, which left me feeling disconnected and distant from the story.

With a setting like Woodstock, you need to get it right. Research need to be done, and attention to detail will be what brings the setting to life for the reader, or leaves them grasping to feel some kind of connection. The setting, in this case, was the most striking part of the writing. Sarvenaz Tash cares about the music, and getting it right. The three days that this book spans capture the good and bad of one of the most infamous music festivals to take place and each are given equal attention. The feeling of what it must have been like to be part of it is something that is definitely felt. It is immediately evident why this was such a defining event in history, and there is something special about it being captured in fiction.

The characters, for me, did not feel as richly developed as the setting. Michael, in particular, felt generic to me. Nothing stood out about either of them to ensure that they would be memorable in any way. They felt like characters that were there to further the setting rather than ones with their own agency. Instead of them being the focus, it felt like Woodstock was. The romance, as a result, also did not resonate with me. It was hard to be invested in them together, when I did feel anything for them as individuals. It was cute enough, and there were moments that captured the more relaxed attitude to love and sex that was prevalent in the 60's, but it never quite leapt off the page the way I wanted it to.

The political, and social issues of the 1960's, particularly around the time of Woodstock, are touched upon but this story stops just short of going as in depth as I would  have liked. It would have elevated this novel from a typical romance into something with much more heft. Those looking for a story that transports you into Woodstock will mostly walk away satisfied, but the factors that led to an event like Woodstock happening are mostly a footnote or background. Historically, there was so much going on in the 60's, and the war was a looming presence with anti-war movements happening at the event. I wish it had played a larger, more integral part of the story as I found that to be the most fascinating aspect. This is one of those novels that could have benefited from being a little longer allowing the author to flesh out these elements and the characters a little more.

The unique setting shone in this novel about peace, love and music. It's a fun, fluffy read that doesn't quite have the same lasting impact as the iconic music festival at it's heart did, but one that I found myself enjoying nonetheless. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

#ReadTheGirl


Unless you've avoided all forms of popular culture in the last few years you've heard of Lisbeth Salander. You've either experienced her first hand by devouring Stieg Larsson's Millennium series or you've had someone eager tell you all about her.

Lisbeth is one of those characters you don't easily forget. She pushes back against what you expect her to be, and she do so apologetically. She's smart, dangerous, fierce. She also happens to be one of my favourite characters ever created. She is one of the most unique characters I've ever encountered, and not just for this particular genre.

You also may have heard that there is a new book coming out in this electric series. THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB will release September 1st! What better way to celebrate than a huge global reading party, right? Join in by using the hashtag #ReadTheGirl  and share your progress and discuss the series with others. People across the world can use the hashtag to share opinions about the books, excitement about the new book, and everything in between.


Starting June 30th with THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO you can begin your (re)read of the first three novels that will end just in time for you to head to the bookstore to pick up THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB to see what's next for Lisbeth.

If you missed all the hype the first time, here is your chance to catch up in time to join in the buzz with the newest release. Join in and (re)read the books that had everyone talking before the newest in the series debuts! Fall (back) in love with Stieg Larsson's characters, and the gritty world he created for them.

#TeamLisbeth

Sunday, June 28, 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 have some fun sounding e-books that I purchased this week to share with you!



What Happens In London by Jen McConnel (goodreads)
What Happens In Paris by Jen McConnel (goodreads)
What Happens In Berlin by Jen McConnel (goodreads)
What Happens Abroad by Jen McConnel (goodreads)

These sound super cute, and I am having some major wanderlust right now so I am hoping the settings in these novels are vivid so I can live vicariously through them. Hoping to start this series soon! If you have a Kobo they are all currently $1.99 if they've caught your eye and you want to add them to your collection.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 27, 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.

BOOK

Cover of The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine

It is no secret that I have a thing for fairytale retellings. Any and all of them usually catch my eye. I was intrigued by the sound of this Snow White retelling and the cover just cemented my need to read this.


Stunning right? I love the symbolism for the Snow White tale, and the darker tone they took with the iconic apple. So excited to read this one. This is, so far, one of my favourite covers of 2016.

TV/MOVIE

Outlander

I am now 11 episodes into this show and am loving it so much! The 11th episode was by far my favourite. It's pretty much filled with all the swoons, tears, and other feelings. I am so invested in these characters now so I am going to be finishing up the season and will check out season two for sure.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Reading


It's a proven fact that summer and reading are meant for each other. There's nothing better than a great mystery while by the pool, spending a lazy day lost in a fantastic contemporary or devouring a fantasy while also devouring ice cream.

I am going to let you know what will be in my beach tote this summer, and offer up a few suggestions if you're looking for books to stash in yours!

MY PICKS FOR SUMMER READS

Here are some books you should check out if you haven't already read them! I loved all of them and any of them would make great summer reads.

1 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This is a perfect mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing. It's totally the type of book that is pretty much a sunburn waiting to happen. You'll becomes obsessed with Nick, Amy, and what really happened. Afterwards, be sure to check out the movie! One of my favourite book to movie adaptations ever.

2 Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

A sweet, fun read that has a lot of depth. This one will make you want to create some lists of your own for your friends. I totally made a "How To Have The Best Summer Ever" list for one of my friends after reading this one. You'll fall for the characters, the soundtrack (that can totally be the music of your summer) and Morgan's writing. Her other novels are just as amazing if you're looking for more after finishing this one.

3 Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

The entire Royal Circle 'series' should be on this list. Tarnish just happens to be my favourite as I adore Anne Boleyn and Katherine's portrayal of Anne is one of my favourites (EVER). Her writing is beautiful, and fans of Reign will love the Tudor court drama and romance that graces these pages.

4 Stolen by Lucy Christopher

This book will never not be on a list like this from me. It's one of my most favourite books, and one I tell everyone to read. The letter style format works wonderfully for this story of a girl writing to her kidnapper. It's a clever, well written look at what might be Stockholm Syndrome (or what could be something else entirely). One thing is for sure however, you'll never forget Gemma and Ty's story.

5 Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I feel like this should come with a warning - you will need tissues to make it through this one. The beautiful story of Will and Lou. A young man who feels he has nothing left to live for after an accident leaves him paralysed and the young woman hired to help him. It's a story that poses many thought provoking questions and is the perfect book for when you're looking for something a little different than the usual beach read.

6 The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan 

If you're obsessed with all things relating to the royal family, you'll want to devour this book. It's fun, charming, and has just the right amount of romance and drama. An often funny, but touching, love story filled with some unforgettable characters. You'll close this one praying for a companion novel that focuses on Freddie as you'll be dying to enter this world again.

7 The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

I could easily also recommend Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (so totally read both). The Start Of Me And You earns bonus points for it's clever nod to Pride and Prejudice, and the most adorable romance I've read in a while. It's a feel good read that will leave you feeling happy, and ready to try a few new things yourself.

8 Just One Day/Just One Year by Gayle Forman

This will make you want to pack your bags and head to Europe on a summer vacation. It's a lighter read mixed in with some pretty deep topics and all with the classic Gayle Forman romance. A story of a girl who agrees to spend one day in Paris with a cute guy she just meets ends up being about much more than the romance. Fall in love with Europe, and these characters as you follow first Allyson and then Willem on their journeys to where they are supposed to be.

9 Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This novel is seriously on fire. It is the next big thing in YA as evident by it's impressive debut on the New York Time's bestseller lists at number one. It's got a movie in the works, and it honestly could be the next big YA series adaptations. A novel that promises that anyone can betray anyone will leave you turning the pages (and most likely sunburned in the process) as you become engrossed in Mare's world.

10 Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Another novel that will always be on these kinds of list for me. A beautifully written take on the Peter Pan tale that asks what if before Wendy entered the picture, Peter was in love with the girl with the crow feathers in her hair (that would be Tiger Lily). An often heartbreaking story that touched me, and remains one of my favourite Peter Pan retellings ever.


WHAT I AM READING

Here are the books I am going to be enjoying in the summer sun! So excited about all of these!

1 Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Pretty much every person I know that has read this has gushed. Not just a little, but A LOT. I am hoping to get to it ASAP because I am not sure I can wait much longer.

2 Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

I am extremely curious about this one, and I am a sucker for the whole 'one magical night' aspect of the storyline, and am even more intrigued that this one seems to have a twist that perhaps it's not what it first appears. I am sure it'll be fantastic as I've heard nothing by raves about her first novel.

3 The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Described as Buffy The Vampire Slayer but from the perspective of the 'non chosen' students. It's basically the story of the kids who just want to go to prom without their school being attacked by vampires (or similar) and I think it sounds hilarious. I've never read anything by Patrick Ness before but he made me want to bump this one up during his panel at Book Con this year.

4 The Young Elites by Marie Lu

I have had this one on my list for a long time now, and I keep hearing how amazing it is. I am finally going to read it this summer. I've been told to have wine ready (and possibly chocolate) so I am going to be sure to stock up before diving in.

5 Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

I've been told I have to read this from Emilie and Katie. It sounds sexy, fun and a great beach book. I am considering binging all the books that are out right now in time for the next one.

Have you read any of the books I've mentioned? What is on your summer reading list? Read something that I simply must make time to read this summer? Let me know in the comments! I would love some suggestions.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ..... When We Collided


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 When We Collided by Emery Lord


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.
I love Emery's previous books. She's an amazing new voice in the contemporary YA genre. This novel sounds equally amazing and I LOVED her blog post about this book and the inspiration behind it.

The wait for April 5th, however, is going to be excruciating.

Expected release date - April 5, 2016

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Delicately Devoted - Blog Tour



I am excited to be part of the AMAZING blog tour to celebrate Delicate Monsters and Devoted. As part of the tour I was able to ask both Stephanie Kuehn and Jennifer Mathieu one question which was exciting. After much deliberation I decided to ask...

What one thing would your main character want others to know about them?

Getting to know a little more about the main character of a novel is always helpful before I dive in. Stephanie and Jennifer have both provided amazing answers.

Stephanie's answer:
Well, there are three main characters in Delicate Monsters, and they are all pretty different. I think Sadie wouldn’t want anyone to know anything about her at all. Emerson would want people to know how much he loves his mother. And Miles would want people to know that knowing the future doesn’t mean you can outrun your past.
Jennifer's answer:
I think at the beginning of the story Rachel is so repressed and frightened by her own feelings, she would have a difficult time answering this question. She would want her family to think she's a good girl and a model girl in her church community even though she doesn't feel like that herself. I think by the end of the book, Rachel has really grown. She would want others, like Mark and Lauren and her new classmates, to know that she is a curious person and enjoys learning. She would want others to know how much she loves reading and books. She would want others to know she is compassionate and sensitive and wants to live an authentic life, and she wants to surround herself with people who feel the same way.
Be sure to follow along with the tour as the other bloggers will be sharing answers to their questions and much more.

For my stop I am also going to include mini reviews for both of these books! I enjoyed both of them for very different reasons.


Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
Release Date - June 9, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 240 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.
I've heard plenty about Stephanie Kuehn's books. I've heard glowing things about her writing and how she weaves everything together. Delicate Monsters was my first experience with both her writing and the fluid morality her characters often exhibit. Everything I've heard about Stephanie's writing is true, and this novel only made me want to read the rest of her backlist all the more.

Delicate Monsters is a hard book to review. So much of the experience is based on going in with little to no knowledge of what unravels. A story that plays with how we perceive people, the lies we tell even to ourselves, and what dark truths lay hidden underneath. This is one that is more about the characters than the plot. It's a true character study that looks into the minds of three unstable teenagers, one or more of which may be well on their way to a psychopathy diagnosis.

Stephanie Kuehn's writing elevates the story and holds your interest until the very final page. These characters are fascinating, but this could have easily read like a psychiatry textbook. Instead, it's a nuanced, well crafted read that is filled with sensational prose. Her writing manages to allow you to build a connection to these characters even as you're repulsed by their actions and thoughts.

Those looking for a nicely packaged ending will not find that here. There is just enough for the reader to fill in what happens next, and that is more than enough for your subconscious to run with. This story wouldn't work with a nicely wrapped up ending, and it feels like it was given the ending that it needed.

A dark look three twisted minds that captivates and ensnares even as it repulses. It's an unputdownable journey into the darker impulses people hide, and the even darker ones that lay underneath the surface. It's as chilling as it is well written, and that should tell you everything you need to know.


Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
Release Date - June 2, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.
I was hesitant to pick up Devoted. I normally shy way from novels that have a religious element to them, particularly those that seem to have it at it's focus. After turning the final page of this novel I was left with a feeling of happiness that I had given it a chance.

Rachel Walker is struggling. She struggles with being a good Christian, the kind her family says she must be. She struggles to quiet the inquisitive thoughts that plague her mind. She, most of all, struggles to say what she is really thinking, and what she wants. Strip away the religious background and these are all things people can relate to. We've all felt as if our voice wasn't worthy of being heard, or that it wouldn't be. We've all felt the pressure to please others. It made Rachel immediately sympathetic.

This novel had feminist undertones. The interpretation Rachel's church and family takes on the bible is rigid and unflinching. There is no room for questions. Women are to be good 'helpmeets' for their husbands and not wish for more education or a career of their own. Rachel is desperate to learn and is haunted by the contradictions that she sees all around her. She's made to feel broken or not worthy because of her 'flaws' and that ties into current day issues that women still face.

Religion can mean different things to different people. Jennifer Mathieu wants to celebrate the beauty in finding religion and embracing it. The feeling that it should bring you peace and joy, and not suffocate or restrict your spirit is woven into every page. She showcases that many different interpretations exist and that there is many different ways to give thanks to whichever spiritual being you happen to pray to. I embrace the idea that you don't have to belong to anything organized to be spiritual, and I love that there are many different religions out there (and just as many sectors of those religions). Everyone is unique, and that is something that should be celebrated. Rachel discovering that she can still have a relationship with God, even if it's not how she originally pictured it is one of the more beautiful aspects of the novel. What she goes through could have hardened her, instead it sets her free.

A thoughtful look at religion, and the strength that comes from making your own decisions. It's a novel that seems to be about religion from the outside, but is actually much more complex when you dive into it's pages.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn



Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn
Release Date - June 16, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 360 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the second novel in bestselling author Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dreams series, a country rock band and its members embark on the rocky road to fame and find love along the way.

Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.

Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.

When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.
Leaving Amarillo is one of my favourite New Adult novels that I've ever read. I went into Loving Dallas with some pretty high expectations and Caisey Quinn did not disappoint. The Neon Dreams series is an addictive roller coaster ride through the music industry, seediness and all.

Caisey Quinn adeptly balances her plot with the sexy elements that are found in the genre. She allows her characters to take centre stage, and the plot to carry them forward. The focus isn't on the sex scenes, and that makes a huge difference in terms of character development and connection. I think I connected with this series as much as I did because of this choice with the writing. It meshes everything nicely so that they all combine to create a delicious drama filled, sexy read.

I expected to love Dallas. His protectiveness of Dixie was charming and I was eager to learn more about him. Robyn, surprisingly, was the one that ended up stealing the spotlight. She's driven, focused, funny, quick witted, and imperfect. She's the type of girl you wish you had for a friend. Her sense of humour really stood out to me as I found myself laughing out loud a lot while reading. The ease in which I cared for her so early on in the novel shows Caisey's talent in creating characters. You'll leave the novel knowing exactly why Dallas couldn't forget Robyn, and that's probably the point. Caisey Quinn obviously recognizes that for a love story to work you have to make the readers fall a little in love with the love interest as well.

The dynamic between Dallas and Robyn is totally different from Dixie and Gavin. This novel is all about second chances and what you would do differently. While the wait for Gavin's story to close out the series will be nearly unbearable there was something endearing about the chemistry in this sequel. The relationship Robyn and Dallas have is one of second nature. Falling back into old patterns comes naturally and Caisey Quinn captures that familiarity and history without unnecessary flashbacks. You immediately believe their connection and that these two characters have a past. Their interaction and banter seem effortless.

The music industry once again feels like a character in this novel. The seedier aspects get a bright spotlight in this installment with Dallas struggling to find his way in this new world he's being thrown into. We see the temptation, and regret that a lifestyle like this can offer through various characters and it feels like something that will arc over all three books. The industry being such a big focus and the drama that it causes swirls around the characters causing havoc like a tornado.

A novel about how the journey we take to our dreams may not be quite what we expected, and how sometimes our dreams change into something else entirely from what we expected. It's the best kind of love story - the that makes you believe in second chances. Caisey Quinn once again writes a fun and sexy New Adult novel that puts the emphasis on characters and the plot. I'll be breathlessly waiting for the final novel in this series!

Sunday, June 21, 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 got a few fun things in my mailbox this week.

First up, Liza Wiemer was running a contest for her debut novel Hello?. You may recall seeing #HelloFrom tweets around Twitter with fun pictures. I had taken two different photos for the event, and ended up winning one of her prizes. It was a lovely piece of pottery that my cat promptly decided was hers.


Huge thank you to Liza for the prize. If Aria ever lets me have it, I'll probably fill it with something fun like flowers or something.

I also received one book in the mail this week from Raincoast Books.


A huge thank you to Raincoast Books for this! I am part of the blog tour that kicks off next week so be sure to stop by to see what I thought of this one!

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn (goodreads)

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 20, 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.

BOOK

Sequel to Red Queen (goodreads)

Epic Reads revealed the title for the sequel of Red Queen. If you've read this blog you are already aware how much I loved Victoria Aveyard's debut. I've been desperate for the sequel since I finished  and have been ravenous for ANY details about it.

The title for the sequel is ......


Amazing right? Whose sword is it? Why is it glass? Is it not a physical sword? So many questions and those answers will not be provided until Feb 9th. I'll be desperately trying to get my hands on an ARC in the meantime.

Black Rose by Bree Barton announcement (goodreads)

This is being called Pride and Prejudice meets Graceling and I am already VERY excited about this one. Here is the official announcement found on the author's twitter page with more details.

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This sounds AMAZING. The wait for this one is going to be long however as it doesn't come out until 2017!

TV

Outlander

I decided to check out the first episode of Outlander and I am hooked. I've only seen two episodes so far but I am loving Claire's outfits and am totally shipping her and Jamie. I am hoping to get to watch more episodes soon. Anyone else seen it?

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil



Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil
Release Date - June 16, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The members of Don’t Get Mad aren’t just mad anymore . . . they’re afraid. And with Margot in a coma and Bree stuck in juvie, it’s up to Olivia and Kitty to try to catch their deadly tormentor. But just as the girls are about to go on the offensive, Ed the Head reveals a shocking secret that turns all their theories upside down. The killer could be anyone, and this time he—or she—is out for more than just revenge.

The girls desperately try to discover the killer’s identity as their personal lives are falling apart: Donté is pulling away from Kitty and seems to be hiding a secret of his own, Bree is under house arrest, and Olivia’s mother is on an emotional downward spiral. The killer is closing in, the threats are becoming more personal, and when the police refuse to listen, the girls have no choice but to confront their anonymous friend . . . or die trying.
Get Even was a bit of a departure from Gretchen McNeil's previous novels. It's didn't have the darker, horror filled atmosphere that the others did. It read as more of a thriller. Get Dirty shows, however, that this series is just as intricately plotted as anything else Gretchen has written, and comes loaded with it's own chills. A novel that is part John Hughes movie, part murder mystery. Which is basically to say that it is completely unputdownable and engrossing.

The humour infuses this story with texture. It's just enough to break the tension and provide much needed laughs without overpowering the story. The addition of Olaf, the bodyguard Bree's mother brings around, is hilarious. Combined with Ed (whom you'll definitely recall from the first book) it creates more than few laughs that are timed with a precision that cuts the tension just when you need it. It adds to the 'John Hughes movie' atmosphere that is done so well.

The novel has a large cast and while Gretchen does a fantastic job in balancing the characters, and keeping all the chess pieces in play, it's at the detriment to the characters. There is a bit of character development but overall, I felt they could have been fleshed out more. It's a minor thing, and one that Gretchen's abilities made less evident and glaring.

There is a surprising amount of layers to this story, and the girls learn that perhaps revenge isn't always the best answer. That perhaps there is more going on underneath and that they should think before they act. Gretchen paints a much more complex picture of not only the girls of DGM but also those they seek revenge upon. Neither side is shown to be innocent, but neither are they fully vilified. It's one of the most well done elements of the novel, and adds some depth to what could have been a one dimensional plot point.

This mystery comes with plenty of potential suspects, and as the truth unravels you'll begin to suspect everyone. This tension is something Gretchen creates in spades, and is much more palpable in this instalment than it was in Get Even. The stakes felt raised in very real ways, and there are plenty of secrets left be revealed. It ends up being a well plotted, engaging thriller that comes with a satisfying ending.

A taunt thriller that will keep you on your toes, and one that is just as fun as it is unpredictable. Gretchen McNeil once again showcases her talent with this sure to please sequel that manages to be even better than the first.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday .... A Madness So Discreet


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 A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us. 
This had me sold with the words historical thriller. A young woman helping to hunt a killer while confronting her own demons. Yes, sign me up. I basically became obsessed after this was announced and I cannot wait to read it.

Expected release date - October 6, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Courtney Stevens and Madcap Retreats


You may have seen Courtney Stevens (author of Faking Normal, and Lies About The Truth) talking about MadCap retreats over Twitter. As bloggers we love the books authors release and eagerly devour them. Many of us follow them on social media platforms and we're 'involved' enough in the industry in a way that we know that writing a book is work. Hard work. Fear, self doubt, writer's block are all things that can plague writers. Sometimes a support group, knowledge, and critic partners can help. Courtney has written an incredible post about the benefits of taking part in an educational retreat and the story behind the retreat she is hosting to help other writers (and offering up some prizes in the process!). Be sure to check out her post and enter the contest and find out more about these retreats. Stop by the Madcap Retreats website as well to learn more about their services (especially if you're writing a book, or are just interested in writing in general).

Courtney wanted to share some insight on writing, marketing and the side of being an author most of us don't consider. She graciously answered three of my questions relating to these topics.

1 What do you find to be the most surprising part, as an author, of the marketing aspect of publishing a novel?

This might be an unusual answer, but ... the cost. The dollars I spend to sell books and launch a platform have added up to thousands. I didn't see that coming, which is ridiculous in many ways. I am a small business of one, and most small business models have several years of deficit prior to profit. It's not unusual; it's just expensive. I never anticipated how much it would cost to put myself out there. 

For instance, I'll break down one thing I chose to do as part of the Faking Normal campaign. I printed Channel Your Brave silicone bracelets. 
Bracelet-  .25 a unit --if I order 2000 at a time
(If I hand that out at a school visit, sometimes by the hundreds, it's cheaper and worth it.)
If I have to mail it:
.10 envelope
.49 stamp + .30 extra stamp, because the package isn't flat
Every bracelet I mail, (before I add bookmarks and additional swag) cost roughly the exact same amount that I earn per book.
So I know every time I mail swag to someone, I am doing it a) out of generosity and genuine thanks and b) with semi-hopes that they'll buy my next book.

2 What one piece of advice do you wish you had prior to publishing your first book?

The book two curse is a real thing. BOOK TWO IS HARD. Be prepared to struggle with having an audience.

3 As an author what do you feel was most beneficial in terms of marketing? (pre-order campaigns, Twitter contests, blog tours, etc)

I think pre-order campaigns are awesome, but I've never run one. 
I've done a few Twitter contest, but they mostly cost me money and time and when I measure the result, I think I'm failing.
This is my first true time to work with a group of bloggers, and it's not even to sell my book.
So... I don't know that any of these things have been my bread and butter, although I've seen several of my buddies with much larger platforms rock them. 

The most beneficial thing I do is get eyeball to eyeball with someone and share about why I write what I do, and that means traveling.

A huge thank you to Courtney for taking the time to answer these questions, and for letting me help spread the word about these amazing resources for authors and writers of all kinds.

If you want to help spread the word be sure to visit Courtney's post as she is offering up some AMAZING prizes which include

3- $300 coupons to this Madcap Retreat:
1- 50 page manuscript critique by me (Courtney C. Stevens)
3- signed copies of Faking Normal
1- ARC of The Lies About Truth
5 - electronic copies of The Blue Haired Boy

Would you ever take part in a writing retreat? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Joyride by Anna Banks



Joyride by Anna Banks
Release Date - June 2, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.
Opposites attracting, diversity and the promise of some laughs made me want to grab Anna Banks' newest novel. While there is plenty to love within these pages, there were also a few minor issues that kept this novel from truly resonating with me.

Carly's character is, without a doubt, the strongest element of the story. Anna Banks carefully constructs a character who deals with an insane amount of pressure from her family, and herself. She adeptly weaves in racism and makes both these storylines feel realistic. My heart ached for what Carly was putting herself through, while still recognizing the why behind her drive to do it. Both sides are given equal weight and you get to see the good and bad behind Carly's single minded obsession to get her parents back into the United States. The guilt she felt around doing anything for herself, and taking time to be a child was crushing. You wanted both scenarios for her - for her to help her family, and still get to have a childhood.

The racism found within these pages is also heartbreaking. There are stereotypes that Carly is judged upon and we're shown how inaccurate those assumptions are. Carly has a backbone and I delighted in every single instance where she stood up for herself. She had pride in who she was, and what she was doing for her family. Anna Banks also sneaks in judgement and how we view others into Arden's story. Carly misjudges Arden. She's heard the playboy rumours and accepts them at face value. Arden is more than the rumours, and perhaps not all of them are true. It's a positive message of not believing everything you hear, and getting to know someone before you make decisions about who they are. It's all done in a way that feels organic to the story, instead of being a 'lesson' that a story was built around.

The romance is very sweet, and actually read like a highschool relationship. Arden and Carly are both so well developed and fleshed out that the relationship works well between the characters. You see why each of them would be attracted to the other and why it would develop into something more. The pranks they pull are hilarious and silly but felt true to who the characters are. You can easily see them doing these things together, and that is what pulls the story together. It's the characters that allow any kind of connection and their relationships to each other.

The 'villain' of the story - Arden's racist father - starts out promising. There is some hint of motivation and depth to the character. Sadly, he becomes one dimensional and a caricature. It's the only real misstep in the story but it's one that I couldn't ignore. His actions drive a lot of the story (particularly later on) and the aftermath felt rushed and undeveloped. I would have liked to have the characters react more to what happened. To have the consequences of what happen resonate with them, rather than rushing through it. In other words, allowing the characters time to process, and breathe. This novel could have benefited with 25-50 more pages to flesh out the ending and it could have pulled it from a decent novel, to a fantastic one.

This is a story that touches many topics from racism, immigration, and everything in between. A story that went much deeper than I was anticipating, but didn't quite follow through on the potential that was there. An enjoyable read that I predict many will love more than I did and one that shows Anna Banks is comfortable in a variety of genres and her growth as an author.

Sunday, June 14, 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).

One book made it's way into my mailbox this week. I didn't have time to take a photo this week so I am just going to share the cover art instead.


Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Raincoast Books! Cannot wait to read and review this!

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 13, 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.

BOOK

Cover of The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (goodreads)

I've been waiting for an awesome Aladdin retelling and this immediately piqued my interest when I read the pitch. It's Aladdin with a female genie and she falls in love with Aladdin while helping him court the Princess! Amazing right?


I love the colour scheme. It's whimsical, and the detail on the lamp is amazing. I pretty much need this book immediately.

TV

Wicked City

I've basically been obsessed with this since I heard the premise, and the trailer only solidified my obsession. It was recently announced that they would be moving up this show from mid-season to the Fall season. It means I get to see this much sooner than I anticipated and I could not be happier. Keeping my fingers crossed that they'll let the pilot be viewed early!

OTHER

2016 Most Anticipated Feature

I am busily planning my 2016 Most Anticipated feature. It's going to be even bigger than last year and I cannot wait to share everything with you when the event actually starts!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen



Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Release Date - June 9, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 480 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
A strongly crafted, intricately spun story of political intrigue, magic, and the price of power. The Invasion of the Tearling takes this series to spellbinding heights in what is certainly no middle syndrome sequel. After the incredible first novel, I had high expectations for it's follow up, and Erika Johansen did not disappoint.

This reads like two stories wrapped together as one. It's the perilous, early stages of Kelsea's reign with war steadily approaching. It's also the story of a woman whose story, and fate may entwine with Kelsea's own in unexpected ways. These stories, and their link, complimented each other, and the narrative used to mesh them was done effectively. The widening of the world, and the history found within Lily's story offers a rich pay off for fans of the first book. The mythology is richer, and more complex than first glance, and there are more than a few unexpected revelations.

Women and how they are viewed in society is the soul of this novel. Lily's story, in particular, is harrowing and chilling. A world where a married woman is little more than property for her husband to control. Her worth is determined by her ability to reproduce, and everything she does reflects back on her husband. Kelsea's own story offer glimpses of better circumstances, but still a world where women are underestimated. It's a sharp, cutting commentary that still feels valid and poignant today. It's a gritty, darker story and that is reflected in every aspect from the characters to the writing.

Kelsea is hunted by darkness. She's haunted by the deaths she has on her hands. She's also haunted by the fact that she sometimes doesn't care as much as she should about those she hurts. Power is a darkly seductive force, and Kelsea battles who she is in contrast with who she is becoming and whether she likes that person. Her character undergoes striking, but realistic, changes during this novel, and it's fascinating to experience. She's a character who doesn't apologize or make excuses for her faults, but owns them.

Romance is, once again, a secondary element to the story. Kelsea is too focused on the oncoming war, and setting things right that it's barely on her radar. However, the author paints her as a healthy, sexually curious, young woman who seeks out a purely physical relationship. The characterization of Kelsea is done so beautifully. She's flawed, powerful, weak, and many other things, often all at once. She's allowed to do and say things that may not be the best decisions. She is allowed to flounder and mess up. She's also one hell of a Queen. The female characters in this novel are breathtaking in their complexity and inability to conform to what is expected, particularly in fantasy style novels. It's a trend that is starting with characters like Kelsea, and Celaena Sardothien and it's one that is most welcome.

A sweeping, engrossing sequel to what is turning into a stunning fantasy series. Filled with complex female characters, and thought provoking plot points, it's a series that only continues to improve as more of the story is revealed. Those who loved the first book will devour the secrets this books shares, and those who aren't believers yet may just be converts praising the Queen by the end. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ....... Winter


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 Winter by Marissa Meyer


**SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?
It's no surprise that this would be my pick. I adore the series and am excited to see how it ends. With the announcement that we are getting a collection of short stories to cap off the series I thought this was an appropriate pick. Stars Above (the short story collection title) will be released in Feburary, 2016.

Expected release date - November 10, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler



The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Release Date - June 2, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer, a talented singer loses her ability to speak after a tragic accident, leading her to a postcard-perfect seaside town to find romance.

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .
There are things we feel define us, and make us who we are. Something so vital that we do not feel like ourselves without it. Elyse was defined by her voice. It was her ticket to seeing the world, and what she known for. This story is about floundering when you have lost that which we think defines us, and finding the ability to dream a new dream. Sarah Ockler paints an uplifting tale of finding yourself again in the aftermath of a tragedy in this twist on The Little Mermaid lore.

This contemporary take, on arguably the most well known mermaid story in the world, is breathtakingly done. Sarah Ockler captures the magic of the story, while keeping every single moment grounded in reality. Everything from it's beach town setting, to the perilous seas ties back into the tale. This is the tale of the little mermaid without any mermaids and it not only works, but it adds an unexpected layer to the story, one of voices and the impact they can have if we use them.

There is so much going on under the surface of this novel.  Beliefs and standing up for what you believe in is woven into every single part of this story. Every story line has this theme at it's core. A boy who just wants to march in the mermaid parade instead of being a pirate, another who wants to make his own decisions about his future, and a girl who needs to face her fear of the sea and the truth about her future. Each of them is silenced in some way, and each of them needs to learn to push back. A powerful message that is done with finesse and doesn't come across as heavy handed. Elyse's voice is literally taken away from her in a tragic accident, but this book highlights the other ways voices can be silenced and also shouts about the power that can be harnessed in fighting to be heard.

Fans of unhurried romances will delight in the slowly built relationship between Christian and Elyse. A heroine with no voice provides many delicious moments where Christian has to make the effort to get to know her. It's dizzying, romantic, and feels earned in the end. While attraction may spark the connection, it's the meaningful conversations, the letting down of walls, and the mutual support they offer that makes the romance one of the bright spots of the story. Christian never sees Elyse as broken. He sees her a the independent, complicated women she is. The relationships in the book also offer up plenty of sex positive messages with women being in control of their sexuality and not being judged for consensual sexual relationships, or their desire for sexual gratification. It's a healthy romance built on earned trust, with an even healthier message at it's core.

The story can either happen to the characters, or because of the characters, and I think that the latter scenario works better. This is a story that happens because of the characters. It's a truly character driven story in every sense, and one that is propelled by their actions, and consequences. The minor characters shine just as brightly as Elyse. Sebastian, in particular, will be a favourite of many as he is completely adorable. The women that Elyse surrounds herself with are just as flawed, and nuanced as she is and it made it very easy to follow their journey with them.

A  beautifully written and magical story of a girl who learns to find her metaphorical voice. Fans of The Little Mermaid tale will delight in the many nods to the classic story (especially the Disney version) but find a story that is powerful all on it's own. A summer read with filled depth, and insight. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Proof Of Forever by Lexa Hillyer



Proof Of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Release Date - June 2, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From debut author and poet Lexa Hillyer comes the lyrical story of four seventeen-year-old friends who receive an unlikely chance to relive the perfect summer . . . and the devastating secret that could unravel it all. Elegant and evocative, Proof of Forever is one of those first novels that hooks you from the beginning and builds toward a stunning--and unexpected--end, calling to mind Gayle Forman and Ann Brashares.

Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe were once best friends. Now they barely speak. That is, until the fateful flash of a photo-booth camera transports them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen--the summer everything changed. Photos fade. Friendships dissolve. Summers end. But this one will change the girls forever . . . again.

Wendy Wunder calls Proof of Forever "The Sisterhood of the (Time) Traveling Pants for a new generation!"
Novels that have friendships at their core are some of my favourite to read. I am still in love with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and hoped Proof of Forever would deliver similar feelings of sisterhood. While I was enchanted by the premise, and Lexa's writing, I couldn't connect to the characters enough to make the story resonate.

Lexa Hillyer's writing has a poetic, lyrical quality to it. The fact that she's published poetry before is not in the least surprising. Her writing style is indicative of this. Her descriptions, in particular, are lush and evocative. It's the writing that made this story capture my interest in any manner, and I look forward to seeing what she might write next.

I wanted a deep, complex look at a close knit group of female friends. I wanted the friendship to be the brightest element of the story, something that shone from the pages effortlessly. While there are certainly aspects of the friendship and how it impacts the each of the girls, especially in terms of their reconnection, it's the romances that overtakes the story. It changes the tone and feel of the story immensely. It's all hormones, and intense feelings, and heightened experiences. The aspect of the romance that feels true is the intensity of it all. Every single emotion, particularly in relationships, as a teen is felt just a little more deeply. Each crush feels immense. Each heartbreak is the most excruciating.  This felt like what Lexa Hillyer was going for with the romances in this novel. While romances can be a vital part of any novel, I was disappointed that it seemed to feel like it was at the cost of the friendship element in this case.

Each of the girls learns something from their trip back in time. Mostly that what we think we want most may not be what we need, and that the things we think are important now may not matter later. There is a message about being yourself, and doing things because you want to instead of doing them because you think you should. The notion that our choices make us who we are is also touched upon because these girls would not have seen things with fresh eyes if they hadn't had the experiences they had. The novel adeptly showcases that we'll all make mistakes, it's learning from them and growing as a result that is important.

This novel favours plot over the characters. Sadly, the characters themselves are not overly memorable. It felt like a cohesion of stories I had read before, and nothing stood out to make it linger after I finished the book. It's filled with pretty writing, and an interesting storyline, but the deeper connection just wasn't there for me. It reminded me of the candy the girls devoured - delicious, but immediately forgotten afterwards.

The ending, for me, did not have the impact it was supposed to. The rushed pacing felt like the characters didn't get a chance to breathe and process what happens, and therefore the reader doesn't get a chance to either. The lack of connection to the characters, coupled with this, left me feeling a lack of urgency or investment in the outcome.

A fluffy, sweet read that will bring to mind long summer days, cotton candy and the feeling you had as a teen of being invincible. While it didn't hold quite the impact I was hoping, Lexa  Hillyer's poetic writing, kept me pulled in. 

Sunday, June 7, 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 have a lot of books that I got this week due to BEA. Those are available to view in my BEA recap posts. If you'd like to see them, here are the recap posts I've posted this week..

Pre-BEA and BEA Day One
BEA Day Two and Three
Book Con and Other Events

I have two books this one. One is a review book and the other was a purchase I made because the book had caught my eye.


21 Stolen Kisses by Lauren Blakely (goodreads)
Soundless by Richelle Mead (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of Soundless. I am very excited to check it out.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 6, 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.

A very small post this week for my Weekly Obsession. A fantastic cover was revealed that I just had to share!

BOOK

Cover of When We Collided by Emery Lord (goodreads)

This cover is so different than the current trend, and I love it. It's eye catching and the colour scheme really works. More importantly it fits the synopsis.



Emery Lord wrote an amazing blog post about this book, and how much it means to her, and why this cover is pure perfect. I urge you to check it out as it's truly a beautiful post worthy of sharing.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Con and Other BEA Week Events



Last year's Book Con was a mess. Describing it as a mess may in fact be putting it lightly. This year, from what I understand, was no different. My experience this year, however, was of a much more relaxed Book Con.

My primary goal in going to Book Con was to see both Gayle Forman, and Marissa Meyer's panels. I didn't want to venture too much on the show floor, or attempt the autographing area.

I took a quick browse of the floor before venturing into the panels. The morning allowed me a quick peek at what was being promoted without a huge crowd. Most people were in line to get wristbands for the bigger panels being held in the Special Events Hall so I was able to move around freely.

I ended up getting some pretty amazing samplers! Ones for books I was really excited about.

They were handing out Lady Midnight teasers for Cassandra Clare's new Shadowhunter series. I was also able to score a copy of On The Merits Of Unnaturalness by Jaxon Hall (Samantha Shannon).

I have been DYING to learn ANYTHING about - Marissa Meyer's Heartless. I need this book. Seriously NEED. This sampler was handed out during her panel though. Not on the floor.


After taking a quick browse I went and sat in on the panel featuring Gayle Forman, Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen. These three ladies are all smart, insightful, and wonderful. They discussed friendships mostly, particularly in how they related to the books they had just written. Jenny Han's mention of her own 'bff' Siobhan Vivian was sweet, and each of them had plenty to say about friendship breakups and how they are just as devastating as romantic ones. They expressed the importance of friendships, and how female friendships tend to be more intense than those of their male counterparts.

If you want to check out the full panel, you can do so thanks to Penguin Random House putting them up online.


I decided to stay to check out the next few panels (after a quick lunch break) so that I could be front row for Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo's panel.

The next panel was offering up a sneak peek at the Star Wars books that are coming out. On the panel there were 

Alexandra Bracken - The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy (A New Hope)
Adam Giowitz - So You Want To Be A Jedi? (The Empire Strikes Back)
Tom Angleberger - Beware The Power Of The Dark Side (Return Of The Jedi)

It was a pleasant surprise to see Alexandra there as I was very excited about Passenger. The panel ended up being funny, and was a great choice. I am a casual fan of Star Wars, but I found this panel to be a lot of fun. Tom Angleberger's comments on Leia and how she should have been given more respect for her contribution to the rebellion were a particular favourite.

The last panel had Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo playing Truth Or Dare. Both ladies were incredibly funny and charming. Highlights were Leigh Bardugo rapping while pretending to be the Darkling, Marissa Meyer acting like Carswell Thorne and tons more. If a video of this pops up I will link to it, but I do not believe it was recorded. Getting to hear a little bit about Heartless was amazing. I am already dying to meet Catherine, Jest (I believe that is his name), and the King of Hearts after Marissa's little tease. My heart is probably going to be crushed as this is the origin story of the Queen Of Hearts (and we know what happens to her). The chapter in the sampler is STUNNING and has made me ravenous for the rest of the book. 

Pretty much Book Con only increased my need to actually meet Gayle Forman and Marissa Meyer some day.

I also had the chance to say a quick hello to Mackenzi Lee. She was working during BEA but we got a few minutes to discuss her book and other fun things. Not nearly enough time, but that is the nature of BEA. She also gifted me with some AMAZING swag for her book!


Speaking of amazing swag, the Spencer Hill Press booth had the most amazing buttons! I love them and immediately grabbed some while walking the exhibit hall.


The other events I took part in while in New York City were a blogger dinner and the celebration of the release of Proof Of Forever and Paper Lantern Lit's anniversary.

The blogger dinner, which Tiff from Mostly YA Lit organized, was TONS of fun. I mostly got to chat with Nikki from There Were Books Involved. It was great to meet a new blogger, and we fangirled over Sarah J Maas quite a bit (Dorian in particular). This was one of my favourite things about BEA week as I got to see how excited everyone was to be surrounded by fellow book lovers, and it was just a nice way to spend part of the evening.

The Paper Lantern Lit event was just as fun. I got to fangirl over Rebecca Serle and discuss the upcoming TV show (and how great I think Bella Thorne is going to be). Rebecca is seriously the kindest person, and I was happy I had finished Truly Madly Famously so I could gush in person. I wish we had talked more about Vampire Diaries but mingling had to be done.

I also got to say hello to Eleanor Herman who wrote Legacy Of Kings. She's lovely. I told her how much I enjoyed the book and that I was definitely on Team Hephaestion and Alexander kissing! If you haven't checked out Legacy of Kings, DO IT!

I cannot wait to go to BEA next year (it may end up being ALA instead because of the fact it's in Orlando! Universal Studios Blogger Day!!) as it only invigorates and inspires me to do better on my blog. 

Lastly, before ending my recaps, I got to meet the awesome blogger behind a Sarah J Maas Philippines Twitter/fansite. Her Twitter handle is @ThroneofGlassPH and she made these AMAZING bookmarks.


A huge thank you to her for them. They are AMAZING! Be sure to follow her Tumblr and her Twitter!

All said and done I had an amazing BEA/Book Con. I am sad that I did not get to meet Sarah J Maas again (hopefully next BEA or she does an event in Canada) as I would love to gush in person again. Her panel at Book Con was one of the things I was incredibly sad to miss by leaving NYC on Sunday.

Let me know in the comments if you'll be attending either BEA or ALA next year! 

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