Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday... The Unexpected Everything


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 The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Andie had it all planned out. 

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing - if everything's planned out, you can never find the unexpected. 

And where’s the fun in that?
I love Morgan's books so much. Her covers bring to mind summer, and sunshine and I happen to love this one in particular. Who doesn't love ice cream and puppies?!

This synopsis also sounds incredibly fun and I am sure I am going to love Andie when I 'meet' her. It's too bad that the wait between now and May feels like forever.

Expected release date - May 16, 2016

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SOTTBC - When Everything Feels Like The Movies


Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club read When Everything Feels Like The Movies for our August pick. You'll find our reactions below, but we all thought this was an important, unflinching book that was extremely well written. Raziel Reid has, at least for me, become an auto-read author and I cannot wait to read whatever he writes next.

SPOILERS, OBVIOUSLY!


Here is a little about When Everything Feels Like The Movies
School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire.
Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It's a total train wreck!
But train wrecks always make the front page.
You can add it to Goodreads, and purchase from the following retailers


Here is the colour scheme so you know whose comments are whose.

Kathy
Kelly
Kim
Christy
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Note: I read this book ages ago, and so I will mostly be reacting to what you say because all that's really stuck with me is the ending.

‘I guess I am a fantasy’ - Marilyn Monroe (it should surprise nobody that I LOVE this quote). This quote usage bodes well for me loving this novel.

It's such a great quote!  And Marilyn Monroe is pretty apt for Jude, because there's such a disparity between the public persona and the actual reality.

Chapter 1 - Preproduction 

Okay so they said this was ‘racy’ ‘controversial’ whatever. Barely a chapter in and I get it. I get why the pearl clutchers would find fault with this. However… if you think there are not teenagers who are this - YOU ARE KIDDING YOURSELF. I knew people like this when I was a teen. 

I don't really get disturbed by anything anymore.  Thank you, Tampa. ;)

‘Number one, obviously’ Oh, Jude. I already kind of love you. 

Lots of foreshadowing what happens in the end (I know the real life event that inspired this book so…).

Those guys are jerkoffs, and I wish Jude wouldn’t even bother pining after someone like Luke. Sigh. We’ve all liked the asshat. Jude has a twisted sense of humour (total defense mechanism) and he’s more than a little abrasive. It’ll be interesting to see the character development.

I am sad he didn’t tell the police. :(

I didn’t realize that this was based on a true story! I don’t know how I missed that. But even without knowing what the real story is, I have a bad feeling about this.

Yeah, I feel like I’m always saying that I’m not easily shocked or whatever with books, but ok - this is definitely racy!! And these characters are much younger than I thought they were at first! But I knew people who were doing drugs, having sex, all the stuff that freaks grown ups out, when I was this age. So it’s shocking but it’s also real.

Well, that’s definitely an interesting start to the book. I have a feeling that this is not going to be the easiest book to read. 

Chapter 2 - Hair and Make Up

‘but my Grandma said Santa thought I was already too dramatic’ Sorry, but I kind of love his humour. His entirely personality is LOUD.

‘I wanted them to hate me; hate was as close to love as I thought I’d ever be’. Heartbreaking. I am teary eyed guys. This is sad. Any kind of reaction is okay because he doesn’t think he’s worthy of love. The hate is his love. *cries*

I KNOW, right?  But it's true for so many people, right?  The idea that if you can inspire any sort of feeling in someone, you're winning?

I really like the humour and the way Jude sees everything as though it’s a movie. I mean, I know they’re coping strategies and I don’t know that they’re all that effective, but it certainly makes for an interesting read! 

Chapter 3 - The Set

Him breaking down high school into a Hollywood set is kind of perfect. It really makes sense. 

So true.  And yes, it's so like Hollywood.  (Right down to the feeling that everything is life or death when it's really not.)

‘It’s amazing what a pair of heels can do’ Preach, Jude. Preach. 

It breaks my heart to read about the hate that Jude experiences. 

These kids are just in middle school? I really expected this to be high school. 

Chapter 4 - Child Star

Jude’s home life does not sound the best. However, I do agree that commercials are WAY louder than the actual show you are watching. It is annoying.

It's true! And I keep hearing that they're going to regulate it so that everything gets the same volume, but I haven't noticed a different.  (And the volume can even vary from commercial to commercial.

This entire chapter is just making me feel bad for Jude. :(

It feels like wherever Jude is - home, school - there’s no respite from people making him feel like there’s something wrong with him. My heart goes out to him, and I know there are kids really experiencing this on a daily basis in real life.

Eh, he really has some interesting parents there. Sigh. I am so not a fan of bad parents.

Chapter 5 - The Small Screen

Abel, Jude and Angela are holding 3 different conversations basically. Abel is discussing pills, Angela is dissing Marilyn and Jude is musing on the sex skills of Kennedys. Haha.

Hm. I wonder if Abel really does like him. Jude is extremely bold. I am the totally opposite. If I like someone I barely even can talk to them, and Jude doesn’t even really like Abel.

I'm the same way.  I get some sort of selective mutism when around a crush.  Except involuntary.

There is a sort of detached, dreamy quality to this because Jude is either high or pretending things are different than what they actually are. I really like Raziel Reid’s writing.

These kids make me sad. Are they seriously just 8th graders?

Chapter 6 - Rehab

Keefer is automatically my favourite for punching out a kid for saying things about Jude. Love that. 

I feel like there is so much about Jude’s life I could be sad about, but that he would hate that. He’d want to be seen as fabulous. The fact that he thinks of his room as a ‘trendy rehab’ so he’d have some hope of getting out is sad though.

I think a lot of times, you don't really see your life as it actually is because you're too close.  

This book is a really quick read. There’s something about the writing and story that kind of makes me feel compelled to keep reading. This is a bleak book, and I don’t think there’s going to be a happy end to Jude’s story, but I can’t put the book down.

I love Jude’s love for his brother.

“I never wanted to be home. It made me mental. But I never wanted to be anywhere, really” - this makes me so sad! And again, I know it’s true for so many people and that makes it heartbreaking.

I seriously love his little brother. He sounds awesome.

Chapter 7 - Rehab

Sometimes Jude’s mother isn’t all bad, but other times I am like “Whoa, lady. Parenting skills not so much, huh?”. I do like that she was not surprised when Jude told her that he was gay. She (at least for now) seems accepting. 

I had to laugh at Jude’s “I hope Kayne isn’t gay. Straight people can keep him”.

And Tobey seems like classic case of denial. Sorry Tobey, you’re at least bi-sexual.


“It’s not racket. It’s Britney, bitch”- I love this line!

Chapter 8 - Movie Poster

1 - YES! Rocky Horror Picture Show.
2- Mr Dawson is kind of awesome. 

I cheered so hard for the RHPS part.

Although, I am not sure anyone got any hand jobs in any of the classes I was in.
‘I didn’t know that having it all is boring.When you have nothing, you have dreams’. Love this line and it fits Jude perfectly.

That really is a great line.  And also true.

Jude makes me laugh most of the time.. He’s witty and has killer comebacks.

I don’t know, there’s something about this teacher that makes me uneasy.

So his teacher seems nice, but also kind of weird. Is that just me??

Chapter 9 - Flashback

I predict this party will go horribly. It’s most likely a very bad decision to go.

I, too, am obsessed with River Phoenix and love that movie.

Jude is actually nice to Keefer. Loved him telling him not to swear because it was for “trashy degenerates” and Keefer’s reply of “you swear” and Jude’s “exactly”. Nice ‘brother’ stuff.

I love Jude and Keefer.  So, so much.

Jude has some seriously father issues he needs to work through.

Can i just mention again how insane it is that these kids are MIDDLE SCHOOLERS?!?! 

Chapter 10 - Sex Scene

Matthew Shepherd. His story breaks my heart. :(

This party is in fact as awkward for Jude as I expected it to be. 

Yup, the party was basically as awful as I expected. I don’t even understand why Jude would waste his time on someone like Luke. Seriously. I guess it’s because I am not in high school anymore and Luke is the definition of high school boy. I seriously doubt Madison got anything out of that ‘sex scene’.

I don't get the Luke thing either, but I will admit to having really bad taste in girls when I was younger so I can't fault Jude for the same.

This party sounds terrible, btw.

The cruelty of people like these guys at the party always shocks me, even though in a way it doesn’t surprise me, because sometimes people are the worst. But I will never understand the mindset of someone who can be so awful to another human.

Chapter 11 - Train Wreck

I was kind of waiting to find out Jude cut himself. I am not even sure why but it was in the back of mind. Again, he’d probably hate it but I feel sad for him.

I go from feeling sad to laughing at him referencing throwing bottles of perfume at the walls because he liked to pretend they are his personal assistants. Haha.

I couldn’t imagine being stared at the way Jude is all the time. Just for being himself. It’s no wonder he tends to skew things into a better reality (the whole Hollywood thing).

I would hate it. It definitely explains why he ends up reframing everything in his own mind.

I wonder how much of their Walmart drug trip was imagined or not. 

‘Train wrecks always make the front page’ Kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

Like I said before, I’m in the dark about which story this is based on, but I’m really getting a bad feeling now.

It sounds like will definitely make you a train wreck. 

Chapter 12 - Sunset Boulevard 

Jude really is brazen and sadly, I am not surprised his mouth gets him into trouble. You can see what a front this all is though. It’s his armour that he is using to deflect everything else. His entire thing is a defense mechanism

The teacher is giving me weird vibes, but it might just be how Jude is portraying him. I do love that he told Jude that it was better to be hated for being himself than loved for someone he’s not. 

It's bad advice, even though it's true.  Because no one wants to be hated and that's especially true when you're a teenager.

Jude’s dream to go to Hollywood is heartbreaking...even more so because you know from the very first chapter that he’s never going to make it there. 

Yeah definitely getting a creepy vibe from this teacher.

Oh no. When people make plan to leave, things usually end up going terribly wrong. This book is giving me so much anxiety.

Ok, This teacher is kind of creeping me out. 

Chapter 13 - Shoot-Out

Everyone is kind of self destructive in this novel. Angela especially. This gun scene is unsettling.

I liked Angela so much at first and by this point, my opinion had totally changed.

I would be upset if someone ruined my wedding dress. Angelina’s mother should be upset. Oh, and not to mention SHOOTING OUT THE WINDOW!

Jude telling Angela he’d die if he stayed that was some dark foreshadowing (even though he told us in Chapter 1).

Every single decision these characters make is heartbreaking. You want them to do well, and you want things to be different. 

WHAT THE WHAT, ANGELA. Guns?? No! Not okay! 

Russian roulette is not cool, people. Seriously?

Chapter 14 - Fight Sequence

‘Sometimes you just have to keep fooling yourself or you’ll never survive’ This sentence basically sums up Jude’s entire Hollywood fantasy. He does it to protect himself.

It's so true.  It's like how sometimes you have to laugh at your life because otherwise you'd never stop crying.

Jude’s home life...awful. How perceptive is Keef though? He knew that it was bad. I feel really bad for Keef. His fish died. :(

Yeah. The mom’s boyfriend is not someone that should be around kids.

So terrible. Ray needs to go but I have a bad feeling that he’ll be back. 

Ray is such an ass. Also, I feel so bad for Keefer. Poor kid. 

Chapter 15 - 9021-Opiates

Best chapter title EVER.

If only Jude could feel the way he does about Luke for Abel. Abel may not know what he wants or admit to himself that he obviously is at least bi-sexual but he is at least nice to Jude. 

There's a line in the movie Broadcast News that goes something like, "Wouldn't it be great if desperation and insecurity made us more attractive?"   And wouldn't it be even better if we could only be attracted to people who were good for us?

Ugh, his father is back isn’t he? The worst. His mom has the worst taste in guys. 

Haha Schrodinger’s cat.

Chapter 16 - Typecast

The hospital scene? Where he says that was the first time he remembered his dad telling him that he loved him and he might of made it up? Heartbreaking. 

That made me cry.

Dorian Gray joke. Kind of perfect, actually. Of course Jude would be an Oscar Wilde fan.

The fact that his dad gave him money, probably enough money to leave, is going to make whatever happens in the end more heartbreaking right?

‘Like I had to deal with so much hate just to make my skin thick enough so that the spotlight wouldn’t burn’ Ugh *sobs*

Oh, Jude. I bet you’re going to regret staying for the Valentine’s Day dance (he did warn us after all).

I feel like his dad has so much potential to be a good dad. Seriously, I WANT him to be a good dad, because Jude really, really needs him to be. Sigh.

Chapter 17 - Hidden Feature

‘I don’t want to get killed before I get there - my stalker would be so disappointed’ Raziel Reid totally put some massive foreshadowing into these little off handed quips.

I figured Angela had hooked up with Luke after she had stopped hooking up with his brother. Been there, Jude. It sucks when your friend hooks up with the guy you like (even worse when it’s the guy you’re dating...trust me).

I’m a little confused about the stalker stuff...like was that a thing that really happened to Jude? Or will it all be clear in the end? Definitely getting the sense that going back over this once I finish might clarify some things.

Yeah sadly I was not surprised that Angela hooked up with Luke.

Oh, Angela... So not cool, at all.

Chapter 18 - Rewrite

Burning photos. Hahaha. Been there. Done that.

See this is why high school kids are the worst. Luke went back and did the decent thing and they are acting like he committed some crime.

Kenny, Colin and Matt are asshats. That was seriously disgusting. Poor Jude.

Oh Mr Dawson. You had me until you kissed Jude. 

SO MUCH WRONG IN THIS CHAPTER.

I hate what happens in this chapter so much. Matt and his friends are assholes. Also, I knew something was up with that teacher.

Chapter 19 - Hollywood Ending

Jude asking the cat to take care of Keef … *cries* 

It feels like we’re racing towards the ending of this ‘movie’ and I am legit scared because of what Jude told us and what I know from the inspiration behind this book.

Side note  - am unsurprised that Jude’s mom is taking douchebag back.

As I thought, Ray is back.

Chapter 20 - Director’s Cut

Of course they videotaped the bathroom thing. Gross.

I knew it was coming and yet it still hurts. It hurts even more that Angela said “I almost hope he does it”. If you don't know … this was inspired by a true story of a young high school guy who asked a guy to be his Valentine and was shot by the boy he asked.

‘I didn’t want to star in this cheap fucking movie anymore’ *sobs* 

OMG! Keef putting on his makeup because ‘he wouldn’t go anywhere like this’. Why is this book determined to make me ugly cry? 

That legit made me bawl.

Of course it would be ‘poor Luke’. He was being sexually harassed and couldn’t deal with Jude’s shocking advances. *rolls eyes*

Have you heard of the "twinkie defense"?  That was from the guy who murdered Harvey Milk.  He blamed gay panic but also his tendency to eat junk food for killing Harvey Milk.  I hate people.

So….. I like this. A lot. I know not all of you will but I did. What Raziel Reid did was amazing. If, even after everything Jude does to push you away and repulse you, there is enough empathy left to say what happened to him is wrong - that is the entire point. He wasn’t ‘asking for it’ and he didn’t deserve it. No matter what. 

I liked it.  And yes, I definitely think that it's absolutely shocking.  It's so easy to think that this doesn't happen anymore, but it absolutely does

I actually like that he made Jude as shocking, and vibrant as he did. It means you have to try harder. If this novel makes even one person think twice, it’s done it’s job.

Now I am going to go finish ugly crying.

Side note - we need to talk reality vs Jude’s reality because some of the stuff at the end… made it seem like a lot of it happened differently.

No do not go to the school this will not be good. 

Okay from the outset I had no clue that this was based on a real story. Now that I know what it’s based on, I do recall reading about that. Everything about this makes me sad. And the defence they’re talking about for Luke is enraging.

Yes Kathy Keef putting the makeup on Jude was where I nearly lost it!! So so sad.

I am a little confused by the ending…

So I don’t think I can honestly say that I liked or enjoyed this book. But I didn’t dislike it. I don’t know if that makes any sense...I feel like the book has an important message and can spark much-needed discussion and hopefully open people’s eyes, but what a tough read.  

Wow, I totally didn't see that coming. I think I expected Matt and his bully friends to do something, but not Luke. Also, Angela is such a douchebag. Some friend she is, seriously?? Ugh.

The end had me tearing up, especially with his mom and brother in the hospital room, and then later with the dad. Sooooo sad.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus



Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus
Release Date - Oct 6, 2015
Publisher Website - St Martin's Griffin/Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on the right track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer's behavior manage to alienate everyone, even Moony, she's forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that'll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.
I was unsure of what to expect when picking up Romancing The Dark In The City Of Light. The synopsis hinted at either a dark contemporary or something laced with a paranormal twist. This novel, like it's synopsis, is not easily defined and is actually a mix of different things. It is a dark contemporary, there is also a subtle paranormal element at play, against a backdrop of a more gritty Paris than typically found.

This is a novel that examines darkness. The darkness of addiction, depression, and suicide. It's a novel that would be a fantastic tool to begin discussions and would be effective as a jumping point for further education.

Ann Jacobus gives shape to the intangible qualities of depression, suicide and addiction. We especially see this with Kurt. He is these issues brought to life in a way that is highly symbolic and jarring. It brings forth, with crystal clarity the struggle someone suffering with these crippling issues, and how hard it is to recover from them. You see how hard it's grip can be, and how it's something that will always be part of you, even in the good times. It showcases why it's so important to get help, and constantly reach out to those who can help, and how vital a support system can be. Kurt gives a face to all of these faceless struggles, and its one of the elements that was superbly done in this novel.

My main issue was the lack of connection to any of the characters. This is the type of story where that connection is vital because you're experiencing the characters make these mistakes, and seeing them make progress only to backslide. The connection would have created an investment in the outcome, and would have ensured you were rooting for the characters to overcome the demons that are haunting them. This would have been more effective as a first person narrative as I felt I was kept at a distance from the story.

A novel that examines depression, alcoholism, self harm, and more in a unique but insightful light. The message of the novel is an important one, and something that reflects strongly in the novel. As a tool for communication it is incredibly effective, however the story itself didn't come together the way I hoped it would and the connection to the characters just never happened for me.

Sunday, September 27, 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).

This week was a busy one in mailbox and I have lots to share this week.

First up, the amazing people at Penguin Random House Canada (RazorbillCA) sent me the following amazingness this week


When We Collided by Emery Lord (goodreads)
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (goodreads)

Yes, there was flailing and screaming involved. Cannot wait to start the newest Emery Lord novel, and Jessica Khoury's Aladdin retelling is one I am very much anticipating. Thank you Penguin Random House Canada.

Next up, the lovely people at Simon and Schuster Canada sent me a copy of one of my favourite author's newest novel so I was quite excited to find it in my mailbox.


Cam Girl by Leah Raeder (goodreads)

I love how gritty, real and complex Leah's novels are and I am expecting this one to be no exception. Excited to start it. Thanks, Simon and Schuster!

I obviously pre-ordered Queen of Shadows and claimed the amazing pre-order campaign that Bloomsbury had offered.


This button set is AMAZING and the I HEART DORIAN button is my favourite. A huge thank you to Bloomsbury for the pre-order campaign.

Next up is a prize I won from Paper Lantern Lit in a Twitter contest they hosted. The prize is pretty awesome and I am excited to have a hardcover of this one.


Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman (goodreads)

Thanks to Paper Lantern Lit for hosting the giveaway and the notebook is adorable! Love the royal purple colour.

Last, but certainly not least, is my #otspsecretsister package for September. My 'sister' sent me a fall themed package and I love every single thing in it! I didn't have the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them book, so that was amazing. I love the little 'additions' that Harry, Ron and Hermoine added to the textbook. The Harry Potter necklace promptly found it's away onto my neck and I love the adorable little bookmark that reminds me of England.


A huge thank you to 'Hermoine' and I look forward to getting that free cup of tea on a cold fall day! Hope your September was just as amazing.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 26, 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 for The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
9781481404549
This is so incredibly cute and I pretty much need to read this immediately. There is something about Morgan's books (and covers) that remind me of summer and everything sunshine. I am sure this one will be no exception as the cover is already off to a great start. Why is it not May 2016 already?!

Condemned by Amy Brashear (goodreads)

I saw this deal announced in Publishers Weekly and it immediately caught my attention because it sounds amazing. The deal has this novel pitched as...
A retelling of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood from the point of view of Carly, best friend to Nancy Clutter.
This sounds amazing and has a lot of potential to be REALLY interesting. In Cold Blood is a classic and I am always curious about how retellings are reworked to create something new.

TV/MOVIE

American Horror Story: Hotel key art


I basically love everything about this. EVERYTHING. If you click on this it should be high resolution and you can see all the little details. The cast looks fantastic and this season cannot start soon enough. #FinnWittrockThough #swoon

Throne of Glass TV news

No secret that I am a bit* of a Sarah J Maas fangirl. You can imagine my excitement when it was announced that her Throne of Glass series has been optioned for TV! Getting to see this epic story (and world) come to life on screen will be amazing if done right, and I have every faith that it's going to be a fantastic adaptation. I will be most curious about casting, and hope that they go for mostly unknowns, as that is going to be the key part of the show. Here is hoping we don't have to wait too long for some more news, and that it's on our television screens very soon.

*okay, so perhaps HUGE fangirl is more accurate.

OTHER

BEA and ALA 2016

I just purchased my flight ticket to Chicago for BEA 2016! I am super excited to be attending both ALA and BEA this year. It'll be my first time attending ALA and I cannot wait to see what authors will be in attendance and meet up with all my fellow bloggers again.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo



Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date - September 29, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast/Macmillan
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  480 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first. 
Six of Crows is a story that feels both completely different than Leigh Bardugo's previous series and yet is entirely familiar. This daring heist novel uses the captivating world Leigh created in a new and exciting way while widening the scope of her world. It's a thrilling start to a series that will leave you wanting a heist squad of your very own (minus any illegal activities, of course).

The magic of this world that Leigh Bardugo has created was the central focus of her previous series. It had a fantasy tone and feel. Six of Crows has this magic. That same world is found within the pages of this novel, but it feels more like a brush stroke than the focus. It certainly drives the politics, and some of the characters are capable of using the magic that exists in this world, but the feel is more of a heist/spy novel than a fantasy one. This story could be the same without magic, but it's better for the inclusion of it. The action sequences are more daring, the consequences more dire, and it allows for some plot twists that add to the fun of the story. The fact that you could turn this into a novel without a speck of magic just showcases how talented Leigh actually is. She's combined these two genres into one seamlessly written narrative.

The plot may be enthralling but it's the characters that win over your heart and soul. These characters will linger long after you've finished their story. You'll ache to return to them and bemoan the fact that the sequel is so far away. These characters are the definition of damaged, but you love them for all their damaged beauty. You'll experience a large array of emotions for each of these characters and that is what makes them so special. They make mistakes, they do things that cause you to hate them, however they are always just on the verge of redemption and that makes all the difference. The group has an interesting dynamic that is just as complex as the people within it. They're a dysfunctional 'family' that doesn't always like each other, and betrayal is always an acknowledged possibility. Loyalty among thieves is not something that typically happens, and Kaz's group is no exception. The added danger of their group self destructing mixed with the outside threats while pulling off the heist only adds to the tension that courses through the novel.

The potential for romance, and the romantic entanglements that are part of this plot are deliciously subtle but cause quite the emotional reaction. This is a book that will leave you desperate to have certain characters together and Leigh creates tension and obstacles that feel natural and not forced. Those who like their romance as subplots will be happy to find that here, but know that even without it being the focus it makes quite the impression.

The heist part of this novel is extremely well executed. Filled with heart stopping moments, fun twists, and whiplash pacing, this book is simply fun to read. It's enjoyable and engrossing in the best ways. It's one of those rare books that hits the sweet spot of being well written and entirely commercial. This will appeal to pretty much everyone because of it's ability to pull you into the story and the thrill ride it takes you on.

Leigh Bardugo has created a crime caper that is brimming with unforgettable characters, delicious pacing, and a world that feels both familiar and unknown all at once. This is the start of a series that has proven to be even more stunning than Leigh's previous work, and I cannot wait to follow Kaz and the gang into their next high octane adventure.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Harlequin....Not Just Books Anymore


Today I excited to help share a VERY exciting announcement that is a PERFECT match with the site. We all know that I think books and wine pair naturally together, and it appears that Harlequin happens to agree! They are pleased to announce that they've joined with Vintage Wine Estates to offer some Harlequin branded wines that sound absolutely delicious! With three kinds to try there is, at least one, that is poised to become a new favourite (but obviously you'll want to try all three).



Here is the official press release with all the details about the type of wine that will be available, and where you can purchase them. 
NEW YORK, September 24, 2015 - Harlequin, one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, today announced the launch of Vintages by Harlequin, a new line of three wine varietals, with vintage Harlequin branding.

Vintages by Harlequin wines were developed in close collaboration with Vintage Wine Estates, a small group of vintner families who share a love of wines from the North Coast of California and who have assembled a collection of fine wineries and wine brands from the region. Their award-winning wines are sold in fine restaurants and retailers worldwide.

“We are very excited about this business development and partnership. Harlequin has a deep history of creating experiences for women, and we are thrilled to bring this new opportunity to market,” said Craig Swinwood, Publisher and CEO of Harlequin. “As a company, we strategically seek out partnerships with top quality brands that fit our vision for success. Vintage Wine Estates produces superior products and we’re proud to affix our brand to these carefully selected wines.”

“It’s been great working with Harlequin on this exciting new venture, and we couldn't be happier to be producing the first range of wines bearing the Harlequin brand,” said Terry Wheatley, ExecutiveVice President, Sales and Marketing for Vintage Wine Estates. “It’s a special experience to sit down with a good book and glass of wine. We look forward to offering Harlequin readers that moment of everyday indulgence.”

Vintages by Harlequin features three varietals: a bright and delicate chardonnay, a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and a juicy and complex red wine blend. Available exclusively on Amazon.com now, the wines have a retail price of $14.95 and are available to US customers only.

Nancy Walker, a winemaker at Vintage Wine Estates, is a master blender who has won Best of Class accolades and gold medals internationally, including 22 golds for Middle Sister Wines. Nancy passionately crafts Vintages by Harlequin wines to showcase their varietals’ individual styles as well as the nuances of the regions they are harvested from.
This is a partnership that makes this wine loving book nerd VERY happy and I cannot wait to see what else may come from this. Sadly, the wines are currently only available in the USA, but this will be something I pick up next time I visit.



About Harlequin

Harlequin (Harlequin.com) is one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in 34 languages and sold in 102 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, itself a subsidiary of News Corp and one of the largest English-language publishers in the world. Harlequin has offices in 14 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information, please visit Harlequin.com and Facebook.com/HarlequinBooks. Follow Harlequin on Twitter: @HarlequinBooks.

About Vintage Wine Estates

Vintage Wine Estates is a privately held wine company owned by a group of vintner families with deep roots in the wine business. The families own a collection of winery estates and brands, which include Clos Pegase Winery, Cosentino Winery, Girard Winery, B.R. Cohn Winery, Swanson Vineyards, Viansa Winery, Windsor Vineyards, Cartlidge & Browne, Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Ray’s Station, Middle Sister, Wine Sisterhood, PromisQous, Monogamy, Girl & Dragon and Purple Cowboy. Vintage Wine Estates is also the exclusive vintner for a number of wine brands, including Vintages by Harlequin. An industry leader across all sales channels and dedicated to providing wine consumers with a range of wines from $10 to $100 dollars and at many price points in between, Vintage Wine Estates produces outstanding wines from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and other premium California winegrowing regions. Learn more at VintageWineEstates.com.


Tell me fellow book lovers, what is your go to beverage when curled up with a good book? Does wine make your list? If so, which of these wines have caught your eye, and will you be trying these new offerings from Harlequin and Vintage Wines Estates? Do let me know in the comments. If you try them feel free to leave your opinions below as well, as I am very curious! Expect a review whenever I can get my hands on them but all of them have piqued my interest. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Marvel-ous Giveaway!


Today I have a truly Marvel-ous Giveaway for you courtesy of Scholastic Canada!

Brian Selznick is back this fall with an extraordinary new illustrated book!

Here is a little about the book
The Marvels tells two stories – one in pictures, and one in words. The pictures tell the remarkable story of the Marvels, a notorious family of actors in a London theatre—their struggles, their successes, and their mysteries. The text tells the story of a young boy who has come to London with the hopes of healing his broken heart, but who instead, stumbles on the history of the Marvels, a discovery that will change him, and his understanding of life, loss, love, family, and the power and meaning of art.

For fans of the bestselling The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck—The Marvels is completely unique experience, which will leave readers with the understanding that “you either see it, or you don’t”.
Amazing right?! Scholastic Canada is celebrating the release of this new book with a special giveaway

I am offering up two amazing prize packs for CANADIAN MAILING ADDRESSES ONLY including

1 copy of The Marvels
1 copy of a Collector’s Edition of Wonderstruck
1 signed lithograph art piece from the book
1 map of London, inspired by The Marvels


If that isn't enough to entice you to enter, here is the lovely book trailer to pique your interest



You can also visit The Globe and Mail to find out what inspired Brian Selznick to write this amazing sounding book!

To enter the giveway just fill out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brianna Shrum's NEVER NEVER Dream Cast


If you read my review of Brianna Shrum's NEVER NEVER you know that I enjoyed this dark twist on the Peter Pan tale. Today, I am very excited to get to share with you Brianna's dream cast list! Lots of interesting choices (and her James Hook selection is pure perfection).

Here is a little about NEVER NEVER before we get to the dream casting!



Title: Never Never
Author: Brianna Shrum
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Synopsis: James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.
When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.
But grow up he does.                     
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.
Except one.

Be sure to check out my review and add it to your Goodreads as well! It's a must read for Peter Pan fans!

COME ON, PINTEREST. This is what we’ve been TRAINING FOR!

PETER PAN



So the fact that I’m going with Jack Gleeson, -aka- Joffrey Baratheon, possibly the most hated character in TV history….like ALL of TV history should give you some indication as to how I feel about Peter. ;D But this is always how I picture him: innocent-looking, a beautiful boy really, but sinisterrrrrr.

TIGER LILY



For real. Could Q’orianka Kilcher actually BE any more gorgeous? (The answer is no. No she could not.) She just looks *exactly* the way I picture Tiger Lily to look in my head. Strong and beautiful and amazing. I found a picture of her and I couldn’t BELIEVE how perfect she was.

BILL JUKES



“…and Bill Jukes, every inch of him tattooed…” –J. M. Barrie

Hafthor Bjornsson could not BE more Bill Jukes if he tried. He’s this mountain of a man (snicker, snicker. Cause you know, he’s The Mountain on Game of Thrones. Snicker, snicker) and those tats! But, like, apart from when he’s crushing people’s face and stuff, in REAL life he actually seems kind of adorable and gentle. Which is totally Bill.

STARKEY



Starkey is James’ tough, weathered, no-nonsense right-hand man. I actually had such a specific picture in my mind for Starkey that I thought it would be impossible to dreamcast him. And thennnnn I saw Outlander, and Murtagh. And BOOM. Duncan Lacroix.

Annnnnnd…..*drum rollllll*

THE HONORABLE CAPTAIN JAMES HOOK

He has gone through several incarnations in my head. I flirted with the idea of Tom Hiddleston. Because HELLO.


And I considered Ian Somerhalder for a while. SMOLDER, SIR. YOU JUST SMOLDER ONNNN.


But right now, the James Hook in my head is Cillin Murphy. That growly, gorgeous accent, and his utter elegance, and he’s just so darn sexy. But in this understated way. AND THOSE CORNFLOWER BLUE EYES THOUGH. (I’ll just keep Cillian-ing forever if you let me so I should stop now.) CAPTAIN JAMES, BABY.


I CAN’T.

A huge thank you to Brianna Shrum for taking the time to share her dream cast with us. Now if you excuse me, I am going to go stare at Cillian Murphy photos. For research. 

You can purchase NEVER NEVER from your fave local bookstore or any of the following links



You can find out more about NEVER NEVER and Brianna herself by visiting her at these links


Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband, two boys, and two big, floppy hound dogs. She thinks chai tea is proof of magic in the world, and loves all things kissy, magical, and strange. She'd totally love to connect with you. You can find her saying ridiculous things on Twitter @briannashrum

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