Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday ........... Mr Kiss and Tell


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 Mr Kiss and Tell (A Veronica Mars Novel) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?
I adored the first book in this series and was thrilled when it was announced this would be a series. The second novel sounds like it'll have everything I love about Veronica Mars, and hopefully more Logan!

Expected release date - October 28, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid



Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Release Date - July 29, 2014
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
A road trip with a mysterious purpose. Four very different people linked by a chance meeting with one girl. Let's Go Lost had all the ingredients to be a fantastic summer read. It hinted at secrets, and romance, and friendships. While there is much to love within these pages, there were elements that caused me not to fall in love with it the way I had hoped to.

Al Alsaid's writing is clean, to the point, and enjoyable. It helped the flow of the novel, and made it an easy read. His writing is what will make me check out another novel by him, as I did enjoy this aspect of Let's Get Lost.

The first 'section' of the novel is Hudson's story. It didn't connect with me at all. I would say it's my least favourite out of the all 'sections' included, and sadly, it also the first one we get to read. It started the novel on the wrong note for me, and this echoed throughout the rest of the novel.

The relationship in Hudson's story is the definition of insta-love and it painted Leila as a character who exists merely to fix other characters problems, and one who has very little characterization of her own. A manic pixie dream girl if you will. Sadly, this is the case through each of the sections. She floats into each of the character's lives and is there to fix their problems, or help them in some way, and move on. She is instantly accepted, and trusted by these strangers, and it made connecting with her nearly possible. She should have drove the story forward, instead she felt like an afterthought (until she becomes the focus later on).

Bree's 'section' was a particular favourite. Her motto of seizing every Tuesday felt invigorating. Her story may have resonated the deepest because what kept her running felt plausible, and the emotions she struggles with are all too easily felt.

Elliott's journey was a rather fun, charming ode to movies and taking chances for love. His story read, and felt like the 80's movies he loved so much. It was also the first instance where Leila's insertion into his life felt realistic and rather sweet. It may have been the most enjoyable section, and I could have read an entire book of this story.

Sonia's story is one of loss, love, and grief. It could have been poignant and beautiful, but I didn't feel as connected to it as I did the previous two stories. There were bittersweet moments that kept the story together, and the message is ultimately uplifting in this one, so it does fit in with the over theme.

Each of the stories are a snapshot of different kinds of love in a variety of forms and stages. It's only when you've read the full novel can you appreciate how this theme is woven into each story, tying them all together.

The novel comes together beautifully in it's final section and it's message of how we can touch other people's lives, no matter how briefly, shines brightly. We finally get a glimpse of who Leila is, finally, as the novel reaches it's ending. Sadly, it may be a little too late. This is one that is made worth the read because of how the author brings it all together, but I am not sure it's enough to make up for the lack of connection that preceded it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Veronica Mars # 1 by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham



Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Release Date - March 25, 2014
Publisher Website - Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 324 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and movie phenomenon "Veronica Mars," comes the first book in a thrilling mystery series that picks up where the feature film left off.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person's case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

In "Veronica Mars," Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who's part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line" will keep you guessing until the very last page.
A mystery hotter than the beaches of California. A snarky, determined detective. A seedy town filled with secrets and lies that are hidden under it's shiny (and expensive) beachfront. Veronica Mars seamlessly translate from screen to novel in this first installment in the next chapter of Neptune's undercover dealings.

The tone, and voice of the show is captured perfectly. I could hear Kristen Bell's narration as I was reading. Reading something where the characters are already so ingrained was a different experience. It was easy to picture this as a movie (or another episode) because the cast has completely become these roles. It shows that the writers were able to translate those characteristics onto the page easily.

Veronica is easily one of my favourite female characters...ever. She's flawed, and her creators embrace those flaws. People often underestimate her because of her gender, but Veronica more than holds her own. She's snarky, just a little broken, and will make you fall completely in love with her.

Her supporting cast is just as impressive. As a fan of the TV show it was like a fantastic reunion to have these characters show up again (even Dick Casablancas). Part of what makes Veronica so great is the people she surrounds herself with. Her father, Keith Mars, in particular may just be the greatest dad in TV history, and it effortlessly translate into this novel. Their relationship is evolving in to one of two adults relating to each other, and seeing that progression has provided some great character development. They are finding new ways to relate to each other, and their relationship grows as a result.

This very much read like a love letter to the fans. This should be read after watching the TV show and movie for just this reason (and for spoiler related reasons). These characters are fully formed in this novel. It is expected that you already know and love them; quirks and all. It's a richer, deeper, reading experience if you go in with the emotional ties from falling in love with the world and the characters.

The mystery is classic Veronica Mars. It's filled with jaw dropping reveals, twists, turns, and everything else you would expect from the scandalous goings-on in Neptune. This ensured a fast paced, fun read that kept the pages burning. It would be a fantastic addition to your beach bag this summer, and is sure to provide a sun burn as the mystery is all encompassing and will keep you riveted. 

A mystery befitting the iconic TV show that is filled with all the thing fans fell in love with originally. After the final reveal is unveiled fans will immediately look for more, and luckily, another novel is on it's way. Will people who haven't seen the show like this novel? Sure, but they will miss out on a lot of it's charm. I, personally, can't wait to revisit Neptune when Mr. Kiss and Tell is released. My only request? More Logan (and Veronica/Logan making out) please. I also wouldn't complain if Deputy Leo stopped by.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New To My Book Closet


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

I had two amazing sounding reads make their way into my mailbox this past week. I am very excited to get to both of this as soon as possible.


Unteachable by Leah Raeder (goodreads) *adult novel*
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (goodreads)

Simon and Schuster Canada kindly sent me a copy of Unteachable by Leah Raeder. I hear it's amazingly written, a little taboo and a whole lot sexy. I am looking forward to finally reading it. I remember hearing a lot about it a little while back from other bloggers.

Bloomsbury Kids was having a promotion where they had some bloggers 'give away' a few copies of Open Road Summer. Jamie (from The Perpetual Page Turner/Broke and Bookish) gave a few away and I happened to be online at the time and was able to score a copy. I am very excited to start #MyOpenRoadSummer and fall in love with the swoony boy I hear is in this! A huge thank you to Jamie and Bloomsbury Kids for the chance to read this.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

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.

Here are my obsessions this week.

BOOK

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle (goodreads)

I stumbled across this while browsing some catalogs and after I read the synopsis I was hooked. It's Romeo and Juliet meets the mafia so basically I need it immediately.
Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

For Sophie, it starts as just another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill. Then a new family moves into the long-abandoned mansion across the street: the Falcone family, with its five mysterious brothers. Unable to resist bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him--and into his world. But just as the dark secrets of the Falcones begin to come to light, the skeletons of her own family, the Gracewells, rise to the surface, too. And soon Sophie is torn between the desires of two warring dynasties: the one she was born into and the one she's now in love with. But she'll have to choose between passion and honor. And when she does, blood will spill and hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, loyalty can mean the difference between life and death.
I am a sucker for a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but mixing it with mafia families and I am all in.

The Shadow Boys Are Breaking by Mackenzi Lee (goodreads)

Frankenstein retellings seems to be a thing in 2015. This one was brought to my attention and sounds like an interesting take on the classic tale.
Pitched as a reimagining of Frankenstein set in an industrialized 1818 Geneva, where a teenage mechanic must rediscover the line between man and monster after he uses clockwork to bring his murdered brother back from the dead.
I like the twist of using clockwork to bring his brother back. I am definitely curious about this one and am delighted I stumbled across it on my Twitter feed.

TV/MOVIE

Nightcrawler trailer


Jake Gyllenhaal lost a whole bunch of weight for a movie role a little while back. If you're into Hollywood gossip you may recall seeing some photos of him on gossip sites looking pretty gaunt. Nightcrawler is the movie he was doing it for, and it appears those efforts paid off. The trailer is INTENSE and Jake is riveting, even in this brief glimpse.


Incredible, right? I will be counting down the days until this one is in theaters. It's already getting some Oscar buzz, and I think, based on this trailer, it might be warranted. So the only question left is - are you going to buy a ticket?

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Follow Friday


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends.

This weeks question is:

What is your favorite tv series that you can watch over and over again on Netflix?

I don't have Netflix, but my favourite series that I could watch over and over again are Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Breaking Bad.

Happy Weekend!

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally



Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date - July 15, 2014
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 306 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.
Breathe, Annie, Breathe is one of those books that is both heart crushing and healing all at once. A beautifully touching novel of how those we lose never really leave us, and how we learn to let someone else in after a devastating loss, one little step at a time.

Annie's guilt is crippling. It feels like an oppressive force holding her down. It trickles from the pages until I could almost feel it myself. Losing someone is never easy, and blaming yourself is even worse. Her character heaps on more guilt as she begins to let someone else into her heart. Her journey is one filled with remorse, determination, and eventual understanding. All of Miranda Kenneally's characters are wonderfully flawed, and Annie has her share of them. Part of her journey is forgiving herself, and others for things in her past. It's all about making amends and learning what it means to truly live life.

It's hard to get into a new relationship when a significant other dies. Miranda Kenneally delicately shows that letting someone new in doesn't lessen the previous love. The way Kyle is woven into everything is achingly beautiful. It evident that he'll always be in Annie's heart. The relationship that blossoms with Jeremiah is separate and different, but no less important. The author manages to make of these boys both vital to Annie's story without diminishing either of them.

Running becomes a character in it's own right over the course of this novel. It's such a force within Annie's story that it becomes all encompassing. The author obviously loves running, particularly distance training, and it shows. Seeing it through Annie's eyes, and the rush she gets from it, you begin to see it in a new light. The good, the bad, and the ugly parts of it are all lovingly splayed out and dissected.  It's like a wonderful love letter to running. One that even fully embraces those ugly parts.

Annie and Jeremiah balance each other. He helps her loosen up a bit. He gets her to take some risks. He helps her see what it's like to live again. She helps calm his recklessness, and centers him a little. It's this balance that made their relationship work. I immediately understood why they would be attracted to each other, and what being together gave each of them. I admit that in novels like this I tend to get attached to the wrong relationship. I have a hard time connecting with the new love interest. I stubbornly hold on to the one who died. In this case, as much as I liked Kyle, it just made sense that Jeremiah would be in her life.

Jeremiah is crafted as the perfect compliment to Annie's character. Fans of Miranda's previous novels know that her boys are always pretty incredible, and he is no exception. Flawed, endearing, and supportive. He's exactly what Annie needs.

The brief cameos that pepper these novels make me feel like I am reuniting with old friends. Getting a chance to check in on characters we've grown to love in previous novels is the icing on an already awesome cake. It's always a thrill when one of those characters makes an appearance, and it's one of the most endearing aspects of the novel. Every author cares about her characters, but Miranda knows her readers do too.

A delightful addition to this series, and one of the best out of these companion novels that started with Catching Jordan. It offers a realistic look at guilt, loss, and moving forward. Breathe, Annie, Breathe captures the heartbreak of losing someone, and the bittersweetness of learning to love again.

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