Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday ..... What Light


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 What Light by Jay Asher


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.
I was immediately sold on this with the mention of Christmas tree farm. This is probably going to be a perfect read for the winter season and I cannot wait. I hope this romance is everything the synopsis is promising and more! It seems like the perfect book to curl up with on a stormy winter day with some hot chocolate and that is pretty much what I am going to do when I get my hands on this one.

Expected release date - October 11, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How To Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler



How To Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
Release Date - June 14, 2016
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.

Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything...until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.

Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.

As Nicolette and Jack race to outsmart each other, tensions—and attractions—run high. Told in alternating voices, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.
I am a huge fan of novels with unreliable narrators. I went in expecting How To Disappear to feature one such character. Nicolette loosely fits that descriptor, but it was the other elements to this mystery that caught my attention.

It is hard to review a mystery novel. You cannot really discuss what makes it so engaging without giving away plot points that should be discovered by the reader. This is true of How To Disappear. It is the type of book that is made enjoyable by following the story as it progresses and discovering the secrets of both the characters and novel itself.

There is a tension that is taunt almost from the moment you start reading. The opening pages are designed to grab you and keep you hooked. It works and works incredibly well. This is a fast paced read that has its 400+ page count flying by. Everything is timed and spaced evenly so that the beginning, middle and end all feel equally compelling. It's hard to do in a mystery novel while making the mystery last and Anne Redisch Stampler has pulled it off wonderfully here.

This is a fun book to read, as odd as the subject matter may make that sound. There is something addictive about not only the mystery but the writing style. The addition of crime family elements, blackmail, secrets, lies and murder only serve to increase the reader's consuming need to finish the story to get to the truth. A mystery should be the definition of a page turner and this one was. The reader will want to unravel every last secret of this plot.

Nicolette and Jack are combustible together. There is this instant attraction that feels purely sexual at first. The author allows smaller moments for us to see walls coming down and a real connection being made, but the sparks that fly at first are purely physical. The secrets between them, and the fact that they are very much the product of their parentage, creates a tension between them that definitely makes this a potentially dangerous relationship. While they are not spies there was something very Mr and Mrs Smith about their relationship and that worked for the story being told.

The ending, for me, was a little hit and miss. I appreciated the direction the ending took us in and the light it shined on the previous events, but I don't know if it felt like the ending to this story. It was the only element that, for me, felt a little disjointed even as I enjoyed the story on the whole.

A fast paced, twisty murder mystery that boasts a ton of sexually charged chemistry. If you're in need of a book for the beach this summer and don't want your standard contemporary romance, this will certainly satisfy. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

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)

Some fun things from Raincoast arrived before I left for ALA! I'll be sharing anything that came while I was away (along with my ALA haul) next weekend!

I also ordered myself a mug from Society6. It was from the Book Worm Boutique shop and I love it so much. It's a must get for any fangirl. Excited to have some tea or hot chocolate in it once it cools down a bit!


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (goodreads)
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig (goodreads)

A huge thank you to the lovely people at Raincoast for these! I cannot wait to read both of them.

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

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.

This Weekly Obsessions post will not including everything that I am excited about from this week because it only includes things that were released before I left for ALA (so it is totally missing the title of the third Red Queen book for example) but anything else will be included next weekend.

BOOK

Cover for The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (goodreads)

I am pretty sure almost everyone adored Becky's first book (which if you don't know is Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda). We've all be eagerly anticipating her next book and we have a cover!!



Becky has called this a love letter to all those who don't get love letters which has made me want to read it even more! I am really looking forward to this and how cute is that cover?! It matches the one for her first book in a way while being its own thing. I cannot wait to meet Molly!

OTHER

Apollo Peak Cat Wine

This amazingness was brought to my attention thanks to Twitter. Aria is already way too interested in my wine so I have may to pick this up as a treat for her.

The Apollo Peak Company makes all natural wine that is good for your cat. That's right - wine for your cat!! It is made from beets, and catnip and it sounds like something my cat would REALLY love. I am going to have to get her some and try it and report back on the blog.

First up they have The Pinot Meow which is their take on a red wine:


Next up is MosCATo which is their take on a white wine


It's seriously too cute! I also love that it is basically just catnip and beets (which are apparently good for cats) so it sounds healthy for them. It is something cat lovers may want to try if you enjoy wine like I do and want your feline friend to enjoy a treat too!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Girls by Emma Cline



The Girls by Emma Cline
Release Date - June 14, 2016
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Girls—their vulnerability, strength, and passion to belong—are at the heart of this stunning first novel for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction—and an indelible portrait of girls, and of the women they become. 
Every so often a crop of books based on Charles Manson and his followers will crop up. This summer Emma Cline's The Girls is on a whole lot of must read lists and I was instantly curious as a result. I went in expecting the same old story, instead I was treated to a different perspective that took a well trodden story in new directions.

This story is not interested in Russell and men like him. We know the why in his story. That story has been told countless times and is, quite frankly, boring. It's a story of madness, ego, and not at all what Emma Cline decided to focus on. Her focus is, instead, on the girls who follow a man like Russell and the why behind it. It is the story of a specific girl and the why behind her involvement which made it easier to connect to the story. This isn't the easiest of stories to read, especially because you know the true events behind it, but Evie's character manages to break through and resonate a little with the reader.

It's no secret that this novel, obviously, ends in murder. The real life inspiration tells us to expect this. Emma Cline succinctly navigates these events and doesn't allow it to be the focus. We are not in the midst of it, because Evie isn't in the midst of it. We are told, by Evie, what she has heard and knows. This puts the focus back where the author truly wants it to be - the girls in this story. The novel doesn't allow the crime to take centre stage and the novel is all the better for it, in my opinion. It is done in a way that highlights the main character, while still allowing the horror of what happened to resonate. It's a fine line for an author to navigate and Emma Cline does it flawlessly.

There is, for Evie, a thin line that separated her from being one of the ones with blood on their hands. The thinnest of lines. Evie herself wonders, years later, what would have been her role if she had gone. She isn't sure and that is the entire crux of the novel. Evie could be any of them and if we understand Evie, it might not be such a stretch to understand the rest.

The surprising inclusion of making Evie not be fascinated with Russell, but with Suzanne instead, added another layer of deliberate distance to the story. Emma Cline ensured that the focus was who she wanted it to be on at all times. It allowed her to space to create something entirely her own, even if it was inspired by real events.

This novel makes you examine how you perceive these girls and questions the reasons behind their involvement. It, refreshingly, doesn't make excuses for the choices they made, but showcases how it might be possible for someone to make those bad choices. It lingers in that thin space in the in between and walks that edge with precision. Emma Cline is certainly an up and coming voice in fiction and I look forward to reading whatever she writes next.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood



Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
Release Date - May 3, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….
There have been plenty of novels written about growing into yourself and finding your own path. Wild Swans is one such story. It's a contemporary novel whose voice adds something extra to its familiarity and ensures the reader is captivated by this recognizable story.

Jessica Spotswood's characterization is the sharpest element of her story. She crafts these amazingly complex characters. She has a way of ensuring her female characters are especially vivid and fleshed out. She wants to create these nuanced female characters and it shows in this novel as much as it did in her previous series.

There is a dreamy, almost sleepy quality to the setting and prose of this story. The writing matches the beachy setting Ivy calls home. It creates an atmosphere of long summer days that are bright yet hazy. The atmosphere comes completely from the novel's setting and that comes to life because of Jessica's spot on writing.

Ivy is a girl who doesn't give herself enough credit. She is used to constantly striving to be better, always pushing herself. She never feels like she lives up to the expectations she feels are put on her. Her family legacy, her Grandfather, and her own insecurities put pressure on her. It's an all encompassing pressure that shapes her perception of herself and what she wants. Ivy's journey to who she is, and what that means is the heartbeat of the story and one that keeps just as steady of a pace. The change within her feels believeable because it is gradual and filled with second guessing. Ivy is the type of character we've seen many times before - a young woman finding her voice and her own future - but Jessica makes sure she feels unique.

This really is a story of mothers and daughters. Ivy's mother returns and upends what was to be the summer Ivy takes time for herself. Erica is a fascinating character. She is, often, unlikeable. Jessica balances it out by showing us how Erica came to be how she is, and she does it so subtly that you're left with an understanding of who this character is. The complicated relationship Ivy has with Erica and what it means that Erica came back really is the backbone of the novel. We see exactly what being left behind has done to Ivy and that is something Ivy has to work though. These relationships are messy, and sometimes hurtful but ultimately worth the effort. This rings to of all mother/daughter relationships and is something Jessica Spotswoods tackles with, what appears to be, the utmost ease.

Claire, who is Ivy's best friend is the best friend everyone should have. She doesn't allow Ivy to put herself down. She calls out people and is a feminist. This novel tackles body issues, slut shaming and more in the side stories and does so very subtle. Claire is the voice for many of these and often said what I, as a reader, was thinking.

A familiar story about finding your own path, discovering your voice, and finding out that sometimes what your parents want for you is not what you want for yourself. It's a story that is relatable no matter how many times it is told, and this one offers up its own unique take on it. Fans of Jessica Spotswoods previous work will delight in this new read, and it'll certainly encourage new fans to check out her previous works. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday .... One Was Lost


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 One Was Lost by Natalie D Richards



Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Are they labels or a warning? The answer could cost Sera everything.

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.

Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.

Suddenly it's clear; they're being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…
I've been excited about this one since I heard the lovely people at Raincoast Books describe it as The Breakfast Club meets The Blair Witch Project. Amazing, right? It sounds like it'll be a perfect all read and it is released right in time for anyone planning their Halloween read. I am definitely looking forward to reading it once the weather turns cooler.

Expected release date - October 4, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I am ALA 2016 bound!



I am leaving soon to head to Orlando, Florida for this year's ALA conference. I am set for a week of fun in the sunshine state complete with a trip to Disney World. I am looking forward to meeting some authors, especially Emery Lord (that is going to include one embarrassing level of fangirling). I am beyond excited to spend the day at Disney World. I want to eat Shake Shack and catch up with my friend Kelly whom I haven't seen in a year. It's going to be lots of fun!

I am, also, excited about the books that might be there. I am hoping to get a copy of Jay Asher's What Light. I am also hoping Aprilynne Pike's Glitter is there along with Flower by Shea Olsen and Elizabeth Craft. I am keeping ALA low key since I also went to BEA this year. It's going to be fun to see how different the two events are and what might be at ALA that wasn't at BEA.

There will be little to no disruption to the blog so I hope you'll still stop by while I am gone. Reviews will go up as scheduled as will some other posts. I am going to do my best to tweet about them when I am able.

Please say hi if you see me there. I am super shy but love chatting with fellow book nerds when I get a chance. You can follow me on Twitter, and Instagram as I will be tweeting and sharing photos while there!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

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)

Some pretty exciting things arrived in my mailbox this week!

First up is a Funko Pop I knew I immediately wanted. I have resisted collecting them but I am now the owner of two so I guess this is a thing that is happening.


I am super excited to see Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn in this summer's Suicide Squad! I love the little details including the tattoos that have been painted on.

Next up are two books I am pretty excited to read! I purchased one and one was sent for review. A huge thank you to Harlequin Teen for sending along Empire Of Dust. I am excited to continue this story. I've heard amazing things about Wonder so I am looking forward to starting it!


Empire Of Dust by Eleanor Herman (goodreads)
Wonder by RJ Palacio (goodreads)

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, June 17, 2016

American Girls by Alison Umminger



American Girls by Alison Umminger
Release Date - June 7, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
She was looking for a place to land.

Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she's had it with her life at home. So Anna "borrows" her stepmom's credit card an runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn't quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.

As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls—and although the violence in her own life isn't the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.

In Anna's singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America—in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, sex, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn't, in a way not often seen in YA fiction.
Many books have been written about the Manson girls, and I predict there will be many more. This, however, is not one of them. This novel is not about their crimes, nor is it really about them at its heart. This is, instead, the story of one girl that quickly becomes a story about every girl.

Alison Umminger's writing is razor sharp and filled with nuance. She's crafted a voice for Anna that is so resonate, so vivid that Anna becomes more than just a character. You feel as though Anna is telling you her story because her voice is that authentic. Characters like this allow you to be pulled into the story so fully that you becomes entranced. It is not often that I leave a novel knowing I will remember its distinct voice and this is one of the few.

The backdrop of Los Angeles for this story provided a striking setting, and added some additional depth to the story. There is something fitting about this particular story being told against the city where so many girls run away to in order to live their dreams only for them to face harsh realities. It is a city that can devour you and Alison Umminger shows its gritty underside that is there among the glitter. Even the setting has texture and there is a ethereal quality to how the settings and characters come together.

Anna is as sharp tongued as Alison's writing. She's cynical, and blunt. She uses her sarcasm as a defence and portrays this outer image of being less impacted by things than she truly is. There is a fragility to her, however, that sharpens her hard edges. I personally loved Anna and all her flaws. I predict, however, that like any well crafted, nuanced character that people will either love or hate her. She dares to be unlikeable at times, and that made her all the more real for me.

I've never thought of the Manson girls as anything other than the crimes they committed. Never wondered who they might have been before those horrific events. This novels show that some of them may have been lost girls. Girls who were broken and easily preyed upon. These girls were looking for love, validation and a feeling of belonging. Alison Umminger shows how easily, in different circumstances, girls could be lead down this path. We see various characters who share commonalities with these Manson girls, along with the subtle ways society leaves it mark on these girls. It shows the prevalent culture of being female being equated with being 'less than' allows for a sort of culture where women are subtly violated every day.

This is a story of girls. Girls who are lost. Girls who are found. Girls and the harm they can do to others and to themselves. Girls and the harm they have done to them by others, and society. Girls and their relationships with their families, friends and, most importantly, themselves. Pick this up for the splashy hook but stay for the brilliant writing and the exceptionally executed character development and voice.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

All The Feels by Danika Stone



All The Feels by Danika Stone
Release Date - June 7, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Swoon Reads
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.
Every fangirl can relate to that all encompassing obsession that your favourite TV show, book, movie or video game can instill. All The Feels not only a look at fandoms, but celebrates the power fans hold. It celebrates passion behind them as a momentous thing. Danika Stone has written a love letter to both fandoms and the people within it and it's a joy to read.

It becomes evident early on that Danika Stone is a fangirl herself. She cares deeply about some of the pop culture references and has experienced the various sides of fandom first hand. It's a book that leaves you feeling happier than before you read it, and a large part of that is a direct result of the way Danika has written her story. She has combined likeable characters, a sweet plot, and a feeling of belonging to something and whipped it into a novel with a realistic love story at its core.

The various highs and lows of belonging to a fandom are explored within these pages to perfection. The excruciating pain when a beloved character dies, the feeling of rage when someone dares tell you 'but it is just a movie (book/TV show/etc)', the delirious high of awaiting a new release, and the feeling of not being understood by those not in the fandom. Danika uses relationships to flesh out these various elements to great impact. The relationship between Liv and her mother was especially well explored. Liv's mother is not supportive but instead of painting her as one dimensional the author gave her reasons and had those concerns come from good intentions. She made it easy to see it both from Liv's point of view and from her mother's standpoint.

Liv is your average fangirl who doesn't feel like she quite fits in. She is often more comfortable talking to people online than in real life. She is immediately recognizable and that makes the reader instantly connect with her. Fangirls know what it is like to connect with like minded people over something we love. Liv dreams big and puts her heart and soul into something when she really cares, and that embodies the theme of this novel. Do not stop striving and dreaming because sometimes you can initiate change. If you want something bad enough, work for it. This may, on the surface, be about fandoms, but the message could easily be applied to anything.

Xander is a charming, and loyal, best friend. The sparks between Liv and Xander are immediately evident and those who love the best friends to more trope will be swooning with every interaction they share. The relationship is paced well though, so be prepared to wait for the spark to ignite even though it is more than worth it when it finally does.

Fangirls everywhere will recognize a little of themselves within this novel. It truly is a sweet celebration of all things fandom and the relationships we form within them. It's a quick, delightful summer read that will leave you eager to read some fanfiction and explore your favourite tumblr tags. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Blog Tour - All The Feels by Danika Stone



I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for a book that I am sure all book nerd are going to love. Danika Stone's ALL THE FEELS is a must read for anyone who has ever been part of a fandom and I am so excited to be able to share a fantastic guest post from her today along with an AMAZING giveway.

Here is Danika's guest post on the different kinds of relationships within All The Feels.

Not (Just) Friends

I have an admission: I hate romantic tropes in YA. Wait, wait! Before you yell at me, I want to explain. It’s not that those tried and true plots are bad. They aren’t. But—if you’ve read enough of them—they can feel contrived.

When I wrote All the Feels, I wanted a story that went beyond the brooding YA hero trope into a realistic story of friends and falling in love. I wanted Liv and Xander to be my end game, but I also wanted the story of their friendship to stand on its own.

 photo BroodingYA_zpsisunkgi4.gif

All the Feels follows the ups and downs of friendship rather than just finding ‘the one’. In writing it, I explored the various facets of interactions, for both same-sex and opposite-sex characters. Here are some of my favorite non-romantic relationships in the book.

1. Liv and her mother: Mother-Daughter Friendship. One of the nicest parts of writing All the Feels was finding the right voice for Liv’s mother. She has a genuine love for her daughter, and Liv for her. Even though they don’t always see eye to eye, they still support one another throughout the ups and downs of life.

2. Liv and Hank: Crush/Friendship. The one-sided attraction of a crush is something that every reader will be able to identify with. In All the Feels, Liv’s attraction to Hank, and his complete obliviousness to her burgeoning feelings, is cringe-worthy, but definitely true to life.

3. Liv and Arden: Acquaintance Friendship. One of the pricklier relationships in the book is Liv’s interaction with Xander’s girlfriend, Arden. There’s a hint of jealousy in Liv, even though Arden’s efforts to help her are genuine. That sort of female competitiveness is something many young women will recognize. Arden supports Liv despite the difficulties they have.

4. Liv and Xander: Best Friends. Liv and Xander’s friendship shifts throughout the book, but one part element the same, their complete devotion to one another. Xander never balks at helping Liv and she provides him with the same support. The tone of their relationship is malleable, but their core love for one another—as friends—never wavers. And that’s even before the romance begins!

 photo BestFriends_zpsb4xeh1ob.gif 

In the end, writing a realistic experience of friendship is more important to me than giving readers an unrealistic perception of the perfect person waiting to sweep you off your feet. Because who in the end is more perfect than a friend who totally gets you?

A huge thank you to Danika for taking the time to stop by the blog and for writing a fun post that offers a glimpse into the writing of the book and the characters within it. I can attest that ALL THE FEELS does a wonderful job at portraying these different types of relationships within it's pages. It is a feel good book and one that I truly believe everyone will finish with a smile on their face.

Danika and Raincoast Books have kindly offered up a prize pack for each stop of this tour. It's filled with AMAZING goodies that fit the book perfectly. 


I need a 'Just Ship It' button so much! How cute are those paper dolls?! The prize also contains your very own copy of All The Feels so you can experience this delightful read for yourself.

To win you simply need to fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The contest is open to
CANADIAN residents only.

Be sure to add All The Feels to your Goodreads account, and follow Danika on Twitter.

You can purchase All The Feels at the following retails



Stop by the blog on Thursday when I share my review of All The Feels! In the meantime be sure to enter the giveaway below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 13, 2016

By Invitation Only by Geneva Lee



By Invitation Only by Geneva Lee
Release Date - May 31, 2016
Publisher Website - Ivy Estate
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 300 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In a world with too much money and not enough rules, anything goes. Welcome to Belle Mère, the most exclusive zip code outside the Las Vegas Strip. It's every sinner's fantasy and every good parent's worst nightmare.

Emma Southerly doesn't belong at Belle Mère Prep despite her new stepfather's money. Not after she shunned her invite to the popular table, and especially not after what happened last summer. So when her best friend begs her to crash an invite-only, end of the year party, she should say no with a capitol H-E-L-L.

It's just a party. What could go wrong?
Getting kicked out to start. Running into the man who destroyed your family.
Everything.

Until she meets Jamie, who's also hiding from the in-crowd. After spending the night with the cute stranger, Emma barely makes it home before news hits Belle Mère's brunch tables. A body's been found on the West estate, and Jamie is the number one suspect. But he couldn't have done it…right?

Emma isn't sure she can trust him or the rest of Belle Mère. After all, no one is safe when everyone is a liar.
I have a weakness for books set in Las Vegas, especially if the people within them are being scandalous. If you're a fan of CW shows, novels filled with beautiful people doing bad things, and books that heat up your summer this is one you'll not want to miss. It, like its setting, is filled with sin and its characters are intriguing enough to capture your interest.

Secrets and lies are the currency of this novel. Everyone has something to hide, and therefore it's impossible to trust any of the characters. This kept me, as a reader, on my toes. The break neck speed pacing of the plot, along with the engrossing mystery ensures that this novel's 300 page count flies by in record time. The mystery is the heart of this novel, and it is only heating up as we close the first chapter of this story.

The setting pairs perfectly with the plot and Las Vegas' scandalous side is definitely brought to life within these pages. We're treated to exclusive private schools, penthouse parties on the strip, and even Mt. Charleston serve as a backdrop to heighten the story. The setting also sets the story with a cinematic vibe. It is easy to envision this as a television show or movie. All the elements of an addictive series are there and Geneva Lee makes sure that is captured with her writing.

This novel has more than its fair share of sexual chemistry and tension. Jamie and Emma heat up the pages (including one very sexy elevator scene) even as deception plague their potential romance. Gambling with your heart is ill advised  but Jamie is just the right mix of bad boy who is, hopefully, hiding a heart of gold. It's tricky having your romantic lead be the prime suspect in a murder case, and still manages to make your readers swoon for him. Geneva Lee pulls it off flawlessly and makes sure her reader lose their heart to him in the process.

A novel that is as sinfully decadent as its setting and twice as captivating. It is just as juicy, just as sexy, and just as twisty as you hope it'll be. I turned the final page desperate for book two as Geneva Lee leaves you begging for more. This series does for Las Vegas what Gossip Girl did for New York and I for one cannot wait to see what secrets unravel next.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

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 purchased two ebooks this week and I am super excited about both of them!


I have read By Invitation Only and it was EXACTLY what I wanted and expected it to be. I am super excited to get to Idol because the premise sounds totally like a book I would enjoy.

By Invitation Only by Geneva Lee (goodreads)
Idol by Kristen Callihan (goodreads)

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

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.

Super small Weekly Obsessions post this week because there hasn't been much announced or revealed (and everyone already knows that I am excited about ALA 2016!).

OTHER

Club Villain 

I had not heard of Club Villain until recently but now that I have I am entirely obsessed. This is basically nightclubbing done Disney style. They offer up a place for you to dance the night away with Disney villains along with offering themed cocktails, deserts and a delicious sounding meal.

Photo @ Walt Disney World

The decor is visually stunning and also takes inspiration from the villains in attendance. I am particularly fond of the poisoned apple being used as a disco ball. It is certainly eye catching.

Photo @ Walt Disney World

This attraction is only open select times of the year and is currently closed for the season but you can bet I have plans to go next time it opens! A separate ticket is required for this event on top of your theme park entrance and it is located within Hollywood Studios.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sing by Vivi Greene



Sing by Vivi Greene
Release Date - May 31, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
America’s most famous pop star flees the spotlight to recover from her latest break-up in Maine—only to fall for a local boy and be faced with an impossible choice at the end of the summer: her new guy, or her music.

Multiplatinum pop icon Lily Ross’s biggest hits and biggest heartbreaks (because they are one and the same):

1. AGONY. (That feeling when her ex ripped her heart out of her chest and she never saw it coming.)
2. GHOSTS. (Because even famous people are ghosted by guys sometimes. And it sucks just as much.)
3. ONCE BITTEN. (As in: twice shy. Also, she’s never dating an actor or a musician ever again.)

But this summer’s going to be different. After getting her heart shattered, Lily is taking herself out of the spotlight and heading to a small island in middle-of-nowhere Maine with her closest friends. She has three months until her fall tour starts-three months to focus on herself, her music, her new album. Anything but guys.

That is . . . until Lily meets sweet, down-to-earth local Noel Bradley, who is so different from anyone she’s ever dated. Suddenly, Lily’s “summer of me” takes an unexpected turn, and she finds herself falling deeper and harder than ever before. But Noel isn’t interested in the limelight. She loves Noel-but she loves her fans, too. And come August, she may be forced to choose. 
If you're a fan of Taylor Swift this book is probably already on your radar. It's eye catching cover and premise ensured this one had a lot of buzz behind it. Lucky, Vivi Green provides us with a endearingly sweet read that anyone can enjoy. This is the perfect read for your summer beach bag if you're looking for something a little fluffy with an endearing main character.

The obvious hook of a Taylor Swift inspired main character may be what draws you on the surface. There are certainly some similarities between Lily and Taylor Swift, but it doesn't go much beyond the obvious. Both girls like to use their personal experiences to formulate and drive their art. If there is any of Taylor within these pages it would be the girl who first started out in the business. The one who was more of a country girl and hadn't yet become the business savvy, smart young woman who currently dominates the charts. Lily still feels like she's learning her way in this new world she's found herself in. Those hesitant to pick up this book due to this particular hook will be thrilled to discover that it doesn't dominate the novel, and Lily quickly becomes her own character instead of a stand in. Those who are drawn because of the hook will find enough within these pages to satisfy.

Lily and her personal growth and discovery is the most developed and honest part of the novel. The emotional connection is made because you quickly come to care about her. She's flawed, and often makes rash and ill advised decisions, but those choices feel authentic to her character. She is impulsive and is definitely a product of her environment. She's been moulded, for better and worse, by her fame. I appreciated that the author did not make her perfect, and had the character address those imperfections in a light hearted, but resonate way.

It should be no surprise that romance plays a large factor in this story. It's a prevalent plot focus and one that does drive the story forward. It also becomes so much more than just a novel about romance because it dives into how the characters relate to their romances. It questions the impact those romances have on their lives, and them as a person. It doesn't exist in a vacuum and that is entirely refreshing.

The friendship elements of this novel were also well crafted. We see how easily distance can creep into a friendship. Friendships are just as much work as any other relationship. The require effort, and care. The benefit and of putting in that effort is celebrated within the pages. The tension that comes as a result of these bonds is just as dynamic as any of the romantic tension in this case. The nuanced way these relationships and their complexities were written really stood out for me.

If you're looking for summery read whose hook is only part of its charm, look no further. Sing offers a sweet look at a summer romance, but ultimately is about a girl learning about herself. It truly offers it's main character a chance to shine, and that adds just a little more sparkle to a familiar story.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Thousandth Floor


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 Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall...
It's no secret that I've been excited for this book. I love the futuristic Gossip Girl vibe that this seems to have and I am already excited to read it by the pool this summer (thanks to the ARC I was lucky to get at BEA). It seems to be a perfect read for the summer and comes out just in time for you to devour it before the end of summer.

Expected release date - August 30, 2016

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Bookish Wishlist


I have had a disastrous week with real life stuff getting in the way of reading/blogging. I had planned to put up a review but my time has been spent getting my apartment back in order (or trying to at least) after a flood. I am, instead, going to talk about what books I WISH were available to read. The books that I would immediately add to my most anticipated list based on their synopsis alone.

Regular reviews and things should resume tomorrow!

MY BOOKISH WISHLIST

You may have seen (or taken part in) a Twitter hashtag that was used for readers and bloggers to express their bookish wishlist in hopes that putting it out there may spark suggestions for books that fit, or inspire an author to maybe write the books we're dying to read. This post is heavily inspired by that. I m unsure who started the hashtag, but it was fantastic and I hope another one is scheduled soon.

Here are the books I wish I could be reading ...

1 Gender swapped fairytales - Give me a princess who has to wake the prince. Make the girl the Beast instead of a Beauty. We've retold and twisted these fairytales so many times that I want something truly unique if we're going to have another.

2 A novel (or series) inspired by The Craft - How is this not a thing already? I want a dark YA witch series that captivates me as much as the movie did. 

3 A novel (or series) inspired by The Crow - This movie has always been one of my favourites and there is something tragically romantic about coming back to life to avenge the death of yourself and your love. I am already in love with the idea of what a complex, messy main character this series could have (bonus points if you make it a woman who comes back instead).

4 An amazing Bonnie and Clyde inspired novel - 2017 may have this covered, but I am still including it on the list. I have always been deeply fascinated by this and I would love a story that gives Bonnie her own agency instead of painting her as a woman who just followed along. 

5 A Black Dahlia inspired YA novel (or one written by Gillian Flynn if adult) - As you can see from this list my tastes skew a little darker. I have wanted this book forever and nobody (that I am aware of) has written it. My dream scenario would be if Gillian Flynn decided to write this (because that would be an AMAZING novel) but I would devour anything anyone wrote. 

6 More villain origin stories - 2017 sort of already has this covered, but I am not above asking for more. I've read Marissa Meyer's Heartless which imagines what turned a young woman into the Queen of Hearts and I was completely captivated. I want more villains to be given this treatment in the future. Bonus points if their back story doesn't try to portray them in an entirely sympathetic light.

7 A Jack Frost origin story -  This is entirely inspired by the AMAZING back story that Rise of the Guardians gave him. It was tragic, and perfect and I could see one heck of a book series about this character.

8 A road trip novel that is based on iconic Hollywood settings -  A group of friends road tripping to visit iconic places relating to Hollywood icons (Graceland for Elvis Presley as an example). You could make it a cute contemporary or even go darker.

9 Pirates - Mermaids, Davy Jones' Locker, and hot swashbuckling pirates! Create a deep mythology and give me some female characters just as ruthless as their male counterparts and I will be entirely happy.

10 Penny Dreadful in book form - It's not secret that I love this series. The most recent season gave me chills when Doctor Frankenstein and Doctor Jekyll first interacted with each other. Seeing these iconic characters twist together in new and exciting ways has made me ravenous for more. 

11 Paranormal - I miss this genre so much! I want vampires, werewolves, and all types of monsters. I feel there is still plenty of stories to tell in this genre and am desperate for something new and exciting. 

Anything you're dying to see in novels? Is there a premise you really want to read? Agree with any of the suggestions on my wishlist? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

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)

Lots of amazing goodies made their way into my book closet this week!

At the advance screening of Me Before You that I attended we were given a gift bag as we left. that included some amazing things. First up a tissue box that had the movie poster on it, a small movie poster, and some red lipstick in a shade similar to what Emilia Clarke wears in the movie.


So fun! It would have been great to get the tissues before the movie though. Haha.

Thanks to Raincoast Books I have a copy of this fun sounding read! A large majority of us book nerds are also fangirls/fanboys and this novel sounds perfect for those of us who are.


All The Feels by Danika Stone (goodreads)

I am part of the Raincoast Books blog tour and will be sharing a guest post for my stop. You can also expect a review that same week! So excited to dive into this one.

It's no secret that I am a huge Sarah J Maas fangirl so when Bloomsbury offered up a pre-order incentive for A Court Of Mist and Fury I jumped on the chance.


The tote is amazing! I am going to bring it to ALA with me in a couple weeks! 

I had ordered a set of these lovely carry-alls from Evie's Society6 shop. You may recall that I did not get the correct middle sized pouch. Society6 was fantastic in helping fix the situation and I now have a full set! They're amazing and I intend on using them frequently.


A huge thank you to Society6's customer service who were great and fixed the situation promptly and went above and beyond to do so.

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

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 Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee (goodreads)

First go read this synopsis and tell me that this book isn't begging to be read with a glass of champagne (or some kind of frozen fruity alcohol beverage) by the pool? It is basically the reason sudsy summer reading is a thing. 

Now, take a look at this STUNNING cover! It's incredibly pretty.


Obviously I can already see this being a show on the CW. It is pretty much a futuristic Gossip Girl and I am already excited to check out the inevitable TV show.

TV/MOVIE

The Space Between Us trailer

Watch this trailer and tell me that this wouldn't make an amazing YA novel. I am really sad it's not a YA novel because it would be something I would immediately devour.


This looks AMAZING! I am a sucker for the romance aspect of this. The guy is FROM A DIFFERENT PLANET! This just screams YA romance and I am absolutely going to see this opening night.

Me Before You

I was lucky enough to get to see an advance screening of this and loved it immensely. If you are a fan of the novel you absolutely need to go see it. A lot of the really big moments from the novel are captured perfectly, and the casting was flawless. Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke not only have chemistry together but both of them deliver pitch perfect performances as Will and Lou. You'll laugh, cry and immediately want to watch it again.

Guilt

I have been intrigued since I heard that this show was coming to Freeform. It's a murder mystery that has echoes of the Amanda Knox case in it's synopsis. This promotional art only has me more excited to check it out.


There is something really eye catching about the bloody footprints and it sounds like perfect twisty summer drama. It's too bad that Canada doesn't have Freeform, but I am hoping another network has picked it up for Canadian distribution or that it'll end up like Shadowhunters and be loaded into Netflix.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims



Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims
Release Date - May 24, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 2.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong. 
Ever have a book seem like an absolutely perfect read for you, until you pick it up and discover it's just not for you? That's exactly what happened for me with Please Don't Tell. A fantastic premise that, for me, just wasn't executed to it's fullest potential.

There are two narrations that unravel this story for the reader. The first is set in present day and is told from Joy's perspective. The other details the events leading up to the present, including the night that changed Grace and the night Adam died. These flashbacks are told from Gace's point of view. The narrations felt, for me, very disjointed. There wasn't anything to really differentiate between the two and it left me not feeling connected to either story.

The mystery of who the blackmailer is obvious pretty early on in the novel. If the rest of the story had held my interest it would not have been an issue, but this element was the most interesting and this early certainty hindered the story a little bit. It made everything feel like just another step to revealing what we already knew, instead of allowing us to enjoy the journey to the answer.

The story is tried up in a satisfying way. There is plenty of closure without wrapping everything up into a nice little bow. This worked for the story and is perhaps it's strongest element. The ending makes everything that came before it mean something and adds a layer that was otherwise missing. I wish we had felt the emotional impact of what Adam did to Grace. I felt we were told it's impact rather than shown. The emotional element of the novel was what was missing for me. It could have taken this book to a deeper, more thought provoking place. It's especially necessary as this is a story that has been told before, and seems to be the premise of a few books coming out in the next little bit.

I would give another book by this author a chance, if only to see if this writing style is her usual or something she tried for this specific book. I, sadly, don't think it quite worked in this case. The plot itself was interesting and had a lot of potential but ended up not quite hitting the mark, at least for me. It didn't feel quite as nuanced, and developed as I would have liked. I am sure there are plenty of others who will enjoy this mystery much more than I did, but this is one that just didn't work for me at all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday .... Crooked Kingdom


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 Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

**SPOILERS FOR SIX OF CROWS IN SYNOPSIS** 


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.
I loved Six of Crows even more than Leigh's first Grisha series. These characters are incredible and the world she's created is so vivid. I am sad this is only a duology as I would have loved one more book with Kaz and the gang. I fully expect this to be a brutal, but fitting, end to their story and cannot wait to devour this.

Expected release date - September 27, 2016

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