Friday, November 24, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - A Girl Like That



The next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated list made me make this face when I read the synopsis:


The book takes place after the character the story is focused on has died in an accident. It's not a spoiler as the synopsis tells us this before we even open the book. Piecing this character's life together is the jumping off point of the story. I was immediately intrigued by this and wanted to know more. Once the STUNNING cover was released I was even more excited to get my hands on a copy.


The Goodreads synopsis should immediately make you rush to add it to your 'to be read' list.
A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal. 
The phrase "girl like that" is instantly recognizable to people. It may mean different things to different people but the gist is the same. She is someone who is looked down upon. She's trouble in some form. Unpacking this and showing that 'a girl like that' is something more is exactly the kind of book I am here for.

It  sounds like this is going to a book that is an excellent pick for book clubs, and one that will ignite conversations. I, personally, cannot wait to read this as the buzz so far has been incredibly positive.

Tanaz was kind enough to share a few secrets about A Girl Like That in a Q and A that I found to give a great tease for the novel! Oh, and Saudi champagne sounds delicious.

1 What gif do you feel represents A Girl Like That?



2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

It would have to be the very popular non-alcoholic Saudi champagne, a mixed drink of apple juice, sparkling water, cut up fruit (apples, oranges) and mint, that’s sold throughout the Kingdom.

3 Was is one surprising thing you discovered while researching any part of your novel?

Since the current version of my novel is set in 2014 and I lived in Jeddah during the 90s and early 2000s, I had to research to see how various familiar locations had changed and the differences always surprised me. But then I would come across a certain landmark or an article about Albaik still being everyone’s broasted chicken of choice and I would laugh—some things never change!

4 Your novel focuses mainly on a character who we know is dead even before we open the novel (if we've read the synopsis). Were there challenges to writing a novel whose 'main character' was dead from the beginning of the novel?

Zarin being dead did not hinder me in the least. Her voice was incredibly strong from the very first line and I knew I was going to enjoy writing her—even more so, dead. Discovery is part of the writing process for me (I get bored otherwise), and the deaths of Zarin and Porus always kept things in suspense, revealing new aspects of a world that I thought familiar.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

There are days I think that I’d maybe travel back to my childhood in the 90s for a bit because life was so much more carefree back then. (But then I think of algebra and board exams and change my mind at once!)

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

Among 2018 debuts, I had the privilege of reading NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi and fell in love with this fantastic contemporary novel about growing up female in modern America. I am also looking forward to THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton which has a fascinating premise and a crush-worthy cover.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of A Girl Like That

 “The wails Masi let out were so heartwrenching, you’d think I was her only daughter lying dead before her instead of the parasite from her sister’s womb as she had once called me."


I picture Zarin having this thought as people judged her and her actions. It, sadly, happens all too often. People think they know someone because of their reputation and the truth is often much more complex than people want to admit.

A Girl Like That releases February 27, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.



You can also find out more about Tanaz on her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Do you love the cover of A Girl Like That as much as I do? Is it already on your radar for 2018? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by Monday to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - Indecent



The next book on my list is an adult novel that deals with a very controversial subject - student/teacher relationships. They are typically dealt with in one of two ways in entertainment media: they are either romanticized (see pretty much every CW television show in history) or they are painted as the harmful, and typically illegal, thing that they are. I only say typically illegal because in some cases, like a college professor and student, everyone involved is an adult which makes it legal (at least from a law point of view). However, even if all parties involved are adults there is still has a power dynamic element that makes the relationship harmful.

I totally get where a lot of people would have this reaction to picking up a book where this was the focus of the story:


I, however, feel that when this topic is handled well it can be a great conversation starter and let you examine the different ways we look at the males and females who get romantically involved with their students. Corinne Sullivan's Indecent looks like it is going to be one of those books that is thought provoking and allows for a discussion to be had (much like Alissa Nutting's Tampa did).


The Goodreads synopsis was what first made me super curious about this book, and my need to read it was cemented by Victoria Aveyard mentioning it on her Twitter account
Shy, introverted Imogene Abney has always been fascinated by the elite world of prep schools, having secretly longed to attend one since she was a girl in Buffalo, New York. So, shortly after her college graduation, when she’s offered a teaching position at the Vandenberg School for Boys, an all-boys prep school in Westchester, New York, she immediately accepts, despite having little teaching experience—and very little experience with boys.

When Imogene meets handsome, popular Adam Kipling a few weeks into her tenure there, a student who exudes charm and status and ease, she's immediately drawn to him. Who is this boy who flirts with her without fear of being caught? Who is this boy who seems immune to consequences and worry; a boy for whom the world will always provide?

As an obsessive, illicit affair begins between them, Imogene is so lost in the haze of first love that she's unable to recognize the danger she's in. The danger of losing her job. The danger of losing herself in the wrong person. The danger of being caught doing something possibly illegal and so indecent.

Exploring issues of class, sex, and gender, this smart, sexy debut by Corinne Sullivan shatters the black-and- white nature of victimhood, taking a close look at blame and moral ambiguity.
It is the kind of book that I predict people will have strong feelings about, and I do not see much middle ground where this one is concerned. I, however, feel that really great books spark that kind of heated debate and prompt you to want to discuss them with everyone you know.

Corinne was kind enough to answer a few questions about Indecent, and her answers have definitely made me excited to see what she has done with this story.

11 What gif do you feel represents Indecent?



2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

An Indecent cocktail would likely include mezcal mixed with Cocchi Americano Aperitif, grapefruit, lime, honey, salt, and soda--an innocuous-looking pink drink with surprising bitterness

3 Your book tackles the subject of student/teacher relationships. What is your favorite book, TV show, or movie that also tackles this controversial subject?

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

"Matilda" by Alt-J

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

As uninteresting an answer as this might be, I'd like to travel back to my teenage years and meet my adolescent self. Rereading my middle school and high school diaries feels like reading the words of a stranger, and I'd love to reacquaint myself with the person I used to be.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

Clarissa Goenawan's Rainbirds

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Indecent

"There had been no major incidents—at least, nothing of the sort I imagined could happen my first week at Vandenberg School for Boys (no salmonella outbreak, no imprudently still-lit cigarette disposed in a wastebasket, no menacingly quiet freshman with a handgun). Then I caught Christopher Jordan with his hand down his pants."


This gif of Riverdale's Miss Grundy immediately came to mind when Corinne mentioned her favourite book that handles the student/teacher topic is Tampa by Alissa Nutting. Alissa's Celeste is a predator through and through and Tampa unpacks the whole "society looks at women who do this differently than men" thing so well. Miss Grundy reminded me a lot of Celeste. I am not sure who Corinne's Imogene is going to be, but I expect she'll be complex if Corinne was inspired by Tampa at all. It makes me hopeful that this is going to be a great, but unflinching and uncomfortable read.

Indecent releases March 6, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.



You can also find out more about Corinne on her website, follow her on Twitter, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Is Indecent a book you'll pick up? Are you against student/teacher relationships being portrayed in entertainment media or do you feel, like I do, that if done correctly it can be something that starts discussions? Let me know in the comments. 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2018 Most Anticipate - Heart Of Thorns



The next book in my 2018 Most Anticipated feature is one that was immediately on my radar after seeing in in a deal announcement. It was pitched as Graceling meets Pride and Prejudice and I was instantly sold.


It is totally a 'me' book. I love fantasy novels and Bree Barton's Heart Of Thorns blends fantasy with another of my favourites if that pitch is to be believed. It features magic, royalty and a reveal that is going to create some pretty delicious conflict!


The Goodreads synopsis has only intrigued me more, and made me more eager to pick this one up. 
In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia's father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.
Mia Rose is obviously going to have some inner struggle when she discovers she has the same powers as those she has sworn to hunt. It immediately makes me wonder how her new husband to be will react to this news, and what it means to be Gwyrach in this world. I figure since it is 'forbidden magic' that it would be illegal to have these powers and I wonder what comes along with that.

Bree has kindly taken the time to chat with me about Heart Of Thorns. It is a Q and A that I hope will have you wanting to check out this book in 2018.

1 Describe Heart Of Thorns using three words.

Lush, dark, whimsical.

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Snow plum ice cream. Made with pulped snow plums, almond cream, and a dash of butterfel.

3 Share something that helped inspire your main character (a movie, a picture, anything that helped form who they are)

My main character, Mia Rose, is super into human anatomy, whereas I don't know a femur from a fibula. In my research, I stumbled across The Art of Medicine: Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imagination. It's written by three women—a medical historian and two science writers—and provides an illustrated look at the human body over the last two millennia. I sat in various coffee shops, thumbing through this gigantic book, getting chills. I felt like I'd traveled back in time to see the very anatomical plates Mia studied.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel.

I'm not ashamed to admit I listened to "Light of the Seven" (Game of Thrones S6 E10) on repeat for two months. Ramin Djawadi is a genius. Carly Comando's "Everyday" is another favorite—moody and atmospheric, perfect for writing fantasy.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Ancient Ireland! Irish mythology is peppered with female doctors, warriors, Druids, poets, and queens, women who enjoyed many of the same rights as men. Since HEART OF THORNS is a feminist fantasy, this speaks to my soul. I would miss nice hot showers and beds without fleas, but I'm willing to sacrifice those to ride a horse beside Queen Medb in the Cattle Raid of Cooley, her battle against her husband. Girl power, Celtic style.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

SEVEN DAYS OF STONE by Dana L. Davis. I just saw the cover and it is beyond stunning. A gorgeous cover for a gorgeous book!

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Heart Of Thorns

Once upon a time, in a castle carved of stone, a girl plotted murder.


That opening line is AMAZING and it fits with my initial thought that Mia Rose sort of reminds me of Sansa from Game Of Thrones. Both of them were sent off to be married and both seem to be stronger than they first appear to be. I am into it.

Heart Of Thorns releases July 31, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.



You can also find out more about Bree on her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Are you a fantasy fan? Does the tease of 'Graceling meets Pride and Prejudice' make you as excited as it makes me? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - To Kill A Kingdom



I love retellings. I especially love when those retellings have a twist of some kind. The next book to be featured definitely fits this description. It features a mermaid who has her voice stolen and is turned into a human. A familiar sounding story, right?


This retelling, however, has more in common with the original than the Disney version. Alexandra Christo's To Kill A Kingdom offers up a delightfully dark twist to the classic tale which immediately caught my attention. It is pretty much everything I have ever wanted in a retelling of The Little Mermaid and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.


The Goodreads synopsis teases a VERY different version of the little mermaid we all know and love, and a relationship with a Prince that is more antagonistic than romantic. 
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
THAT TAGLINE THOUGH! 'A Princess must have her Prince'. I am ALL about this. I love the twist that Lira hates humans. She doesn't make the deal to become human willingly. She isn't in love with the Prince. This isn't about her changing for a guy which immediately has me on board with this retelling. The synopsis also has just the right amount of creepiness with the mention of hearts being taken.

Alexandra has graciously taken the time to do a Q and A with me that I hope will have you wanting to check out this book in 2018.

1 What gif do you think best describes To Kill A Kingdom

I think this GIF sums up Lira and Elian's relationship pretty perfectly:


2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

Well, it is a book about pirates, so we'd have to have some rum in there! Lira would probably love to have something similar to a Bloody Mary in her honour - very spicy, with that bitter edge, and just the right shade of red.

3 There is a definite Little Mermaid vibe to the synopsis of this novel. How much did this classic tale inspire you while writing? 

The ending of the original story really resonated with me. It started as tragic, but then turned strangely uplifting. It didn't matter that the prince didn't love the mermaid, because in the end she found her own happiness outside of that. She was able to earn herself a soul. This led me to think about the idea of earning redemption and so the villainess Lira was born! I wanted to explore the idea of humanity, and if things like goodness are ingrained in you, or if you're shaped by the people around you. Lira's arc is all about figuring that out.

I also really loved the idea that mermaids could dissolve into foam - literally fade into nothingness - and so even if they were immortal, their lives could be fleeting, and it's even more important that they leave their mark on the world. After all, when they're gone there's nothing left to remember them by. This became a big driving force for Lira: to be remembered and revered and to feel like she had earned her place in her kingdom.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel

When I write, I'm one of those boring people who can't have music playing or the TV on in the background. BUT there were so many songs I'd be listening to while relaxing at home or heading to work, and the lyrics would suddenly set off a light bulb and I'd have to rush to get all my ideas down. To name a couple:

- Victory (The Silent Comedy)
- Hero (Family of the Year)

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Oh, definitely to the future. I'd like to know where we're going, not where we've been. (And who doesn't want a flying car?)

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert - a creepy fairytale book? Right up my street!

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of To Kill A Kingdom?

Sure! Actually, here's the opening paragraphs:

I have a heart for every year I've been alive.

There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.


The opening paragraph has given me chills. I love how Lira has seventeen hearts in her collection from the seventeen Princes she's killed. I am predicting Lira is a bad ass and that I will love her.

To Kill A Kingdom releases March 6, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.


You can also follow Alexandra on Twitter, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

What are some of your favourite books, television shows, or movies that feature mermaids? Do books that feature mermaids automatically become a must read for you like they do me? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Monday, November 20, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated Event - Winner Take All



I am thrilled to be kicking off my 2018 Most Anticipated feature today! I love getting to showcase some amazing authors and their awesome sounding upcoming books. I hope you find a few to add to your own 'to be read' list for next year during this event.

I am happy to kick off this year's event with a book by Laurie Devore. I was pretty much sold after reading How To Break A Boy. I was even more excited when Laurie teased that this novel was going to deal with a toxic romance. I loved how she wrote the toxic friendship that was the focus of her debut novel, so I am excited to see how she'll tackle this toxic relationship.


Winner Take All is set to deal with 'obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection' as per its synopsis and I, for one, cannot wait. When toxic relationships (friendship or otherwise) are written well they can be useful to learn from, and show the complexities of the connections we build with people.  


The Goodreads synopsis offers a pretty tantalizing tease of what you can expect from this book. It seems that Laurie is sticking with her tradition of writing complex female characters who are, dare I say it, unlikeable at times. This pleases me because I think we need more of those in media (be it books, television, movies, etc).
For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.

For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.

They both have everything to lose.

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

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

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
I expect gender roles, particularly double standards in how women and men are seen for the same behaviour, to be heavily discussed with this novel and I cannot wait for those conversations to happen.

Laurie was, once again, kind enough to agree to a Q and A that I hope will pique your curiosity about this book even further, and put it on your radar for 2018.

1 What gif sums up Winner Take All? 

This very specific Veronica Mars quote that I think is great!


2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

It would be a bitter cocktail for sure! Probably something fairly close to an Old Fashioned. I’m thinking whiskey, bitters, a cherry for a little bit sweet/sexy. Maybe make it an Old Fashioned float with some ice cream to represent the summer vibe of the book.

3 Share something that helped inspire your main character (a movie, a picture, anything that helped form who they are)

So, I’m going to cheat on this a little because my main character was pulled from a lot of different places but the number one piece on inspiration for the main relationship and feel I wanted to capture between the two characters is Taylor Swift’s music video “Style.” I love everything about it, from the song lyrics to the bizarre back and forth between the two main characters of the video - especially the way they’re clearly trying to resist something they both want.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel.

Since I already talked about Style (and the video aesthetics are very important there!), here’s a couple more:

“The Way I Loved You” by Taylor Swift - inspired the original idea of this book
“Stand Still, Look Pretty” by The Wreckers - Nell, the main character’s song
“Fallen” by Casey Donahew Band - Jackson, the love interest’s song
“You Ruin Me” by The Veronicas - the perfect plot betrayal song
“Power” by Little Mix - a friend who was reading this book sent me this song and I love it for Nell and Jackson's relationship


5 Your first book was about a toxic friendship. This novel is about a toxic relationship. What is your fave toxic relationship (or friendship) from either TV, books, or movies?

I love the complexity of toxic relationships! There’s an element of obsession in both of these relationships as well that adds a certain codependency that makes it so hard to either break out of the relationships or evolve into a healthier relationship. I also liked playing with it in a relationship between a boy and a girl this time instead to two girls.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

A couple of 2018 books I’m really looking forward to:

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Winner Take All?

“I can’t stop staring at the back of Jackson Hart’s head.”


Anyone immediately think of Taylor Swift's Getaway Car when Laurie mentioned an Old Fashion being the drink to represent this book? I totally did (even if the song doesn't really fit). Also, how great is that playlist? I love it!

Winner Take All releases January 30, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.


You can also follow Laurie on Twitter, visit her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

What are some of your favourite toxic relationships (romantic or otherwise) in books, television, or movies? What ones do you think were done right, and what ones were harmful? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

New To My Book Closet


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

I have some fun new items to share. Some are ones I got awhile ago and just did not have time share yet as things have been super busy.

The Becoming Of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (goodreads)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (goodreads)

I love my newest Funko! Zero is adorable and I am so glad to have found him in stores.

I have read both books that are featured this week and really enjoyed both. I am looking forward to continuing both stories with the sequels.

What books/bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated Event



It's that time of year again. 2017 is ending and the excitement for 2018 releases is beginning. I am once again hosting an event to highlight the novels I am most anticipating next year!

The event will kick off on the 20th of November with a different title or guest post being featured each day. There will also be a fun prize pack available at the end that will include a few goodies (and more than one winner).

I am so excited to share this year's selections. It's includes two novels inspired by infamous true crimes. It includes one inspired by The Little Mermaid. One deals with rape culture, and one features a toxic relationship. Another has a dream dinner part, and one features a Las Vegas like setting and rival families.

I think there is a little something for everyone and hope you find a new book to be excited about in the new year!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf



My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
Release Date - March 1, 2012
Publisher Website - Abrams
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  230 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer—the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper—seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, "Jeff" was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche—a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.
My Friend Dahmer is a hard book to review and rate. The author is detailing something that obviously left an enormous impact on them. It is not a fictional account of true events, but a first person account of events as they believe them. My Friend Dahmer makes you want to discuss and unpack what is within its pages, and if that was the author's goal they certainly succeeded.

Those with even a passing interest in following true crime media (shows, podcasts, etc) will have heard of Jeffrey Dahmer and the horrific crimes he committed. This graphic novel is not interested in telling you the story you already know. It doesn't want to rehash the details of his crimes. It, instead, wants to look at his childhood and the path Jeffrey took to becoming a serial killer.

I don't typically read graphic novels, but was glad to have picked this one up when I finished. The art style is captivating and adds another layer to the story being told. The ability to convey emotions with a single image and little to no words is, to me, breathtaking. The story being told lends itself to this style of storytelling. I found myself lingering over images and having to close the book to fully process what was happening, especially as the story grew increasingly dark. It is unsettling in a way that stays with you. It has also made me more willing to check out other graphic novels as I really appreciated the detail and thought that went into telling this story.

The heart of this novel, for me, was a few different things. It reads like Derf Backderf trying to, in his own way, digest and process the reality of someone he, at one point, considered a sort of friend being a serial killer. It also asks the question of whether Jeffrey Dahmer could have gone down a different path. The answer, maybe surprisingly, is yes. Derf Backderf paints a, sometimes, sympathetic portrait of a young man who was quickly being lost to the growing urges inside him. A young man who displayed signs of needing help that were mostly ignored. It never makes apologies or excuses what Jeffrey Dahmer went on to do, but simply highlights the ways in which the adults around him failed to pay attention. Many of the warning signs, like his alcohol abuse, were brushed aside because they were not looked at in the same way they are now. Other warning signs, however, were inexplicably ignored. It, to me, felt clear that he does blame the adults in Jeffrey's life for not paying more attention, and it paints a convincing argument. It was interesting to see this gradual progress and spiral contrasted with what Derf and his friends were doing during this time. It offers this dual narrative that made the story feel surreal at times. It's a great narrative tool, and one that serves this story well.

The novel's ending lingers with you and ensures that you are both unsettled and stripped of any possible sympathy you had felt towards Jeffrey during the novel. It brilliantly lays out a juxtaposition of before and after. There is no going back for Jeffrey from the events that this novel leaves off on, and that is sort of the point. This novel asked if the path taken could have ever diverged onto a new one, and any chance of that happening is lost as the novel ends. It's where this particular story should end for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is that it is the only ending that fits the story being told. The graphic novel format used is successful in creating apprehension and tension in these final moments and perhaps says more than words ever could.

My Friend Dahmer is a fascinating read for those interested in true crime. It offers up a dark coming of age story and asks some pretty thought provoking questions. It offers a different perspective than the usual true crime story, and does it well. It's certainly an unforgettable read, and one I highly recommend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ... Save The Date


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

This week's pick is Save The Date by Morgan Matson


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Father of the Bride meets Sixteen Candles in the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Matson.

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
Morgan Matson is a must read author for me. I always love her books and look forward to having one to read in the summer.
 
Save The Date has been called Sixteen Candles at a wedding and I am so here for this. The cover is adorable, the synopsis is amazing, and I am currently lamenting the fact that this book is so far away.
 
Join me in eagerly anticipating this June release, and we can distract ourselves by reading Morgan's other novels again while we wait.
 
Expected release date - June 5, 2018

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Becoming Of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin



The Becoming Of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
Release Date -  November 7, 2017
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.
As a huge fan of the Mara Dyer trilogy I was thrilled to find out that Michelle Hodkin was writing a trilogy from Noah's point of view. Noah was going to get this own story, and that excited me. The first chapter of Noah's story not only met the very high expectations I had, but surpassed them. It's a dark, mind twist of a read that continues to build on the plot laid out in the Mara Dyer trilogy.

Noah's story begins with a warning to the reader. A very Noah like warning. A warning that should be heeded. Being inside Noah Shaw's head is exactly what you would expect it would be like. His voice is snarky, but there is pain found in equal measure within him. This is a story, and point of view, that is hard to read at times, but one that is important. If Mara is a bad girl (like the dedication says), Noah is a lost boy and that comes with a lot of baggage and darkness. This novel deals with suicide, murder, paranoia, and trust. It unravels Noah's psyche and shows you just what kind of boy could love a girl like Mara.

The writing is beautiful and poetic. There are so many passages that I immediately wanted to underline and quote people. There is a clear difference between the style and voice in this novel, and those found in the Mara Dyer trilogy. These differences bring the two characters vividly to life, and speak to the talent Michelle Hodkin possess. Her characters are always the strongest part of her novels, and that makes you care just a little bit more.

Getting to see Mara from Noah's point of view is fascinating. As is seeing Noah from his own. It offers a different perspective on these characters that is refreshing and adds something to the larger story being told. This chapter needs to be told through Noah's point of view for reasons that quickly become evident. It just also has the bonus of allowing the characters to grow through perspective.

The world continues to widen as this story progresses and answers become more clear. We meet quite a few new characters and they are intriguing. I left the Mara Dyer trilogy wanting to know more about the experiments, and path that Mara and Noah were deemed fated to walk down. This novel begins to explore these questions, and adds a few more wild cards to the mix that have already drastically changed things.

There are plenty of sexy, and swoon worthy moments within these pages. It wouldn't be a Michelle Hodkin novel without them. There is something electric in the way that Michelle writes these scenes that ensures they leave a lasting impressing. The descriptions of not just these scenes, but everything, are so vivid and descriptive. Those who loved Mara and Noah's relationship will continue shipping them, even as the relationship continues into rougher waters, which is no surprise based on where the first trilogy leaves all the characters. This next chapter is necessary, and that is evident based on the progression of the Mara/Noah relationship.

The ending packs multiple punches and sets up the remainder of the series. If you read Mara's story, you will see the events in this novel coming. It won't make anything easier, because it is still brutal, but the hints are there. Michelle, in her own way, warned us before we even picked up the book, and warns us again before we start for good measure. It leaves me both exhilarated and terrified to continue this journey. It also leaves me with a million more questions than when I started.

There is an ache and a guttural reaction that is at the heart of this book. It's one that causes you to want to dissect and talk about it long after you've finished reading. It's a story that is a must read for fans of the original Mara Dyer trilogy as it continues the story we've fallen in love with in a very beautiful, twisted way.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Weekly Obsessions


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

BOOK

Cover for Siobhan Vivian's Stay Sweet (goodreads)

Siobhan's newest book not only sounds cute, but has an adorable cover!


A book about ice cream, feminism, and first love? Sign me up! It's going to be a great summer read!

TV/MOVIE 

OTHER

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Funko Pops

Funko will be releasing new Buffy The Vampire Slayer Funko Pops for the 20th anniversary, and they are pretty amazing!


I am going to need the Buffy and Giles Pops! They are perfect. I was so sad that I missed all the earlier Buffy Pops but this was worth the wait.

Taylor Swift's Reputation

I have been listening to this on repeat since I picked up my copy yesterday. I am already in love with New Year's Eve, I Did Something Bad, and Dress so much.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday .... 9 Days and 9 Nights


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

This week's pick is 9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
The irresistible sequel to the bestselling 99 Days.

Molly Barlow isn’t that girl anymore. A business major at her college in Boston, she’s reinvented herself after everything that went down a year ago . . . after all the people she hurt and the family she tore apart.

Slowly, life is getting back to normal. Molly has just said “I love you” to her new boyfriend, Ian, and they are off on a romantic European vacation together, starting with scenic London. But there on a Tube platform, the past catches up to her in the form of Gabe, her ex, traveling on his own parallel vacation with new girlfriend Sadie.

After comparing itineraries, Ian ends up extending an invite for Gabe and Sadie to join them on the next leg of their trip, to Ireland. Sadie, who’s dying to go there, jumps at the prospect. And Molly and Gabe can’t bring themselves to tell the truth about who they once were to each other to their new significant others.

Now Molly has to spend nine days and nine nights with the boy she once loved, the boy whose heart she shredded, without Ian knowing. Will she make it through as new, improved Molly, or will everything that happened between her and Gabe come rushing back?
I love Katie Cotugno's books and especailly love that 99 Days is getting a sequel.

I love the idea of this being a Eurotrip novel! I love that Gabe and Molly will reunite. I am so excited to get my hands on this next spring!

Expected release date - May 1, 2018

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Renegades by Marrisa Meyer


I am thrilled to be part of the Canadian blog tour for Marissa Meyer's newest novel, Renegades. I am even more excited to be posting on the release day! You can pick up your copy in stores today!


Be sure to stop by the other stops for Q and A and other fun things with Marissa as well as some great reviews from my fellow bloggers.


I get to share a question Marissa answered about finding inspiration while writing Renegades. Her answer should not come as a surprise for those who know what Renegades is about.

Q: While writing Renegades, where did you turn for inspiration? For distraction?

Marissa Meyer: Lucky for me, there is a new superhero movie coming out in theaters every couple of months these days (at least, so it seems!), so I made excellent use of Hollywood’s generosity while writing this book. I usually set myself a series of goals—such as turning in the next draft or finishing a round of revisions—with the reward of a superhero movie at the end of it. From X-Men to Spider-Man, I’ve had plenty to motivate me the past couple of years.



Renegades by Marrisa Meyer
Release Date -  November 7, 2017
Publisher Website - Raincoast
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  576 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
I was thrilled when I heard that Marissa Meyer would be writing a superhero / super villain novel as her next release. I anticipated a fun, thrilling read that captured what I love about about this genre. Renegades has everything I could want from a superhero story - action scenes, romance, over the top villains, and larger than life heroes.

Renegade vs Anarchist. Good vs Evil. Hero vs Villain. You may think that you know which side you are on but this story makes each side feel justified in their beliefs, even if it doesn't justify their actions. The reader is easily able to understand each point of view that is presented. The conflict, like many in this genre, is morally grey. There is no clear good or bad on either side. They each have legitimate reasons for what they are doing, even if the methods are not always advisable ones. The strongest stand out is the complexity of the characters. The heroes are flawed, and the villains perhaps have some truth behind their message, and horrible deeds. It makes for a rich story where your allegiances are not so much to a 'side' or 'team' but to characters and their journeys.

Many of the heroes and villains found within this story are reminiscent of characters we have already grown to love in other incarnations. This novel offers up Marissa Meyer's take on the superhero genre, tropes and all. What makes this story shine are the characters that we get to know the most. As the story unfolds you cannot help but come to care about Adrian and Nova. These two characters are written so well that they connect to the reader easily. The side characters are not as developed but there are more than a few standouts that offer up plenty of potential. I hope they are fleshed out more in subsequent books even if this is Adrian and Nova's story.

The world of Gatlon feels both familiar and new. It's every crumbling city in a superhero story and it's entirely its own. It is, in my opinion, a clever mix that works as the perfect backdrop to this story. Having to create a mythology for not just the characters, but the world around them is especially important in this genre. Where would Batman be without Gothmas? What is Spider-man without New York City? These settings are characters themselves in this genre. I feel there is a lot of potential in Gatlon and the backstory being woven. I cannot wait to dive further into it's mythology now that the ground work has been done.

As this is a Marissa Meyer book, I am sure it will not be a surprise to learn that there is romance. The romance in this particular book is filled with all the things that make for great drama. An Anarchist and a Renegade falling for each other is pretty much the basis for an epic romance, add in hidden identities and secrets and I was hooked. It's a very slow burn romance, and one that may never have the chance to fully get started, which is a large part of it's allure.

The ending, in typical fashion, offers up a jaw dropping moment that brings with it plenty of questions to be explored in the upcoming sequel. It sets the stage for an explosive follow up that should be entirely plot focused now that the world and the characters are set up. It's a dizzying ending that both excited and terrified for me for what is to come.

Marissa Meyer, once again, has crafted an entirely addicting read that I could not put down. It was everything I hoped it would be, and more. I predict that even those who are not fans of the superhero genre will find plenty to love within these pages, while those who do will delight in the winks and nods found throughout the story. It is the perfect book to tide you over between superhero movies, and I personally am already counting down the days until the sequel and cannot wait to experience the next twists in this thrilling story.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Roomies by Christina Lauren



Roomies by Christina Lauren
Release Date -  December 5, 2017
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
This book has all the buzz words that pique my interest. It's set in New York, has an Irish love interest, and features the fauxmance to realmance trope. Add in the Broadway elements, and I immediately wanted to read it. I went into this novel expecting to love it, and it surpassed those expectations.

Christina Lauren has quickly become the Queen of Romance Books for me. They're always fluffy reads that have just the perfect ratio of plot to steamy scenes. Roomies is no exception to this. It's pretty much written to leave you with a smile on your face. Fluffy novels are often sneered at by those outside the romance genre, but they are not as easy to write as they might appear. There is a skill to crafting them, and especially to doing them well and Christina Lauren hits all the right buttons.

Holland is one of my favourite Chrstina Lauren heroines. She's someone who doesn't have it all figured out. She's almost paused in her life in a way. A secondary character in her own story. This felt so related to me. I think a lot of readers will connect with her because they'll see shades of themselves or those they know in her. She's a character you root for because you want her to succeed and feel she deserves it.

Calvin is pretty much the most perfect book boyfriend. It is like he was written to appeal to my specifically. His sexy accent, incredible talent, and kind personality all make him the stuff of book boyfriend legend. I like that even though he's written as this 'god among men' character he still feels down to earth. He also doesn't make me bristle like a lot of romance novel love interests can. He is not an aggressive alpha male which made him all the more appealing.

The road blocks that this couple face are also very realistic. They are mostly based in lack of communication and deep rooted issues that each of them have to deal with. Holland, especially, has to work through her own existing issues before she can move forward, and I love that this was acknowledged. She couldn't be with someone else until she was happy with herself. This is something that I had not seen addressed in a novel before, and I loved that it was, especially in this way.

There is a side plot dealing with Holland and her relationship with her best friend. It was, at times, a toxic relationship. In relationships we often don't see them as being unhealthy and it can take seeing those relationships through someone else's perspective to see them clearly. This relationship, to me, was written especially well. It's another part of Holland's journey, and a necessary one at that. It fits into the theme of loving and respecting yourself first, and I am here for that message.

I highly recommend this one for those looking for a book that features a beyond swoon worthy love interest, and an entirely relatable heroine. Purchase this one as an early holiday gift to yourself and you'll thank me later. It's a perfect way to escape all the holiday stress and is basically made to be enjoyed with a bubble bath and your favourite beverage. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Weekly Obsessions


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

BOOK

Cover of One Small Thing by Erin Watt (goodreads)

 I love Erin Watt's novels and was so excited to see that another one would be releasing in 2018! The cover is amazing (as usual) and it sounds like a must read for contemporary young adult fans.

 

So pretty, right? They really do get the most amazing covers.

TV/MOVIE  

I, Tonya trailer (R rated trailer for language)

The teaser trailer for I, Tonya was released just a week or so ago and now the full length trailer has been revealed and it is perfect. 



There is some breaking of the fourth wall that happens and it is filled with the dark humour I expected this movie to have. It's going to be quirky and a lot of fun. 

Entertainment Weekly's First Look at Love, Simon (link)

I was going to put the video clip they released here, but everything they revealed is so good that I am going to just tell you to go visit the Entertainment Weekly website to view everything. There are some photos that offer us the first look at the cast, but the video clip is pure perfection. You will pretty much want to see this movie immediately once you watch it.
American Crime Story: Versace trailer

Now that a premiere day of January 17th has been announced, I expect to see advertisements for the newest American Crime Story season everywhere.

This one offers up our real first look at the characters in this chilly, creepy trailer.



I anticipate that many will be surrpised at Darren Criss' performance. I predict he'll be amazing.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart



Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart
Release Date -  Sept 5, 2017
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  264 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
Genuine Fraud is a fun, rapid paced read. It is also a gender swapped novel version of a movie whose title I cannot reveal because it is too spoilerly. The major plot points of Genuine Fraud would be instantly ruined if you knew which movie it resembles, and that is part of why this novel didn't work as well as I wanted it to.

There is the potential in this story for a discussion about gender swapping, and how that would change the story being told. A discussion about girls and how they interact with each other.This author is known for the feminist slant she often puts on her writing, and I felt this element could have shone a little more. It could have distanced itself from its inspiration and should have been the way this author's mark was left on this story. I felt like E Lockhart's spin was missing from this story and that is what I so desperately wanted to read.

The sharp writing I have come to expect from E Lockhart is definitely present. Her writing is always pitch perfect and is what makes this novel such a joy to read. The clever story narration device of telling the events in reverse also allows for the story to unravel in a way that feels fresh enough, even when it invokes its obvious inspiration. The tone is perfect for this type of novel, and switches perfectly as the twists are revealed. It grows darker as the story progressions and the tension starts to creep in.

The characters of Imogen and Jule are both so fascinating. I wish more time would have been spent on characterization. This novel, because of what it is, is very plot driven. The pacing of the plot, and the way it unravels almost doesn't allow us to get to know the characters, especially one of them in particular, but I think it would have resonated more if there was more of an investment in the characters. These female characters are (among other things) complex, messy, and unapologetic in their actions. I wanted to get inside their heads a little more because these are the characters I want to see more of. I wanted this book to say something about these character types in this genre of story and I felt that opportunity was missed.

I think readers who are unfamilar with the movie this book so clearly pays homage to will end up enjoying this one much more than those who are familiar. The plot is gripping, the pacing wonderful, and the revealations shocking. It is everything it needs it to be for the story and writing style to work. Where it faulters is in the lack of surprise. The plot depends on that surprise and it is lost the minute you reconginize this story.

A book that had so much potential and just didn't quite deliver as fully as I wanted it to. It is an engaging and tension filled story, however it feels like one that should have had something more to say. There wasn't anything new that was dissected or revealed in this story, and this missed potential is perhaps what remains with me the most after turning the final page. 

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