Sunday, June 17, 2018

New To My Book Closet

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

I have a few ebooks to share this week that I purchased. They are mostly because they were recommended to me by people who I trust so I figured I would take a chance on them.

First up are some fairytale inspired reads that sound like a lot of fun.

At The Stroke Of Midnight by Tara Sivec (goodreads)
In Bed With The Beast by Tara Sivec (goodreads)

The first one is obviously inspired by Cinderella and the second is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. There is a third one that is releases in the fall and it is inspired by The Little Mermaid. I am hoping to read them soon to determine if I want to snag the next one when it comes out.

Next up is a Hollywood set romance that immediately caught my attention.

#Starstruck by Sariah Wilson (goodreads)

This is also part of a series and if I like the first one enough I'll pick up the second (which seems to be about a musician instead of an actor).

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

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Best I've Read In 2018 .... So Far.

As the midway point of the year is quickly approaching I figured it was time to check in with my year in reading up to this point. It's a great way to see how influential the first half of the way was to my overall reading and just a nice way to see how far I've come so far.

Sadly, I am way behind on my Goodreads reading challenge this year. I am 10 books behind schedule and I am not hopeful I'll catch up. I am going to give it my all but I am okay with possibly no making my goal this year.

I have noticed that my reading selection gets better every year and this year is no exception. I know what I like as a reader and have a better ability to pick out the books I am going to enjoy. It means my Goodreads ratings are trending really positive right now, but I am considering that a perk of the journey of discovering who I am as a reader. Does anyone else worry about being too positive sometimes, or are you just happy that you're picking books that you enjoy? Let me know.

I am reading a lot more romance than I tend to (at least for the first half the year). It's not surprising as there have been some great ones that have come out. I still think my reads lean heavily to young adult and I doubt that will ever really change.

As previously mentioned I haven't read as much as I typically have by this point in the year. This has made picking my ten favourite reads of the first half of 2018 harder in some ways and easier in others. I have less choices, but each choice feels more deliberate. Each exclusion hurts a little more than it has before.

With that said, here are my top ten of 2018 (so far) ....

*These are in no particular order* 

1 Side By Side by Jenni L Walsh

2 Royals by Rachel Hawkins

3 I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

4 The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

5 Save The Date by Morgan Matson

6 Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

7 Legendary by Stephanie Garber

8 The Kiss Quotient by by Helen Hoang

9 Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

10 You by Caroline Kepnes

Each book links to my review (except for The Kiss Quotient which I have not reviewed yet, but will be up next week).

What books would make your own best of lists at this point in the year? Let me know in the comments as I am always looking for new books to add to my to be read list. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ..... Stripped

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 Stripped by Zoey Castile

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Skilled, sculpted, and sexy, the men of adult entertainment are the kind of guys a woman reserves for her fantasies, not her reality. But is there more to these professional hotties than meets the eye?…

The day Robyn Flores meets Zac Fallon is one of those days. You know, when you’re already late for work. Mostly because you haven’t really slept since your best friend abandoned you for her fiancĂ© and her exponentially better life. The kind of day you drag yourself to the cleaners to pick up your laundry, only to discover you’ve got the wrong bag—Star Spangled sequined thong, anyone? So Robyn is definitely not ready for the ridiculously gorgeous guy at her front door, except that they have each other’s clothes. But then, is any woman ever ready to meet the love of her life?

There’s just one problem: Zac Fallon is not the love of Robyn’s life. Zac knows, despite the all-too-intimate dinner they share, he doesn’t have a shot at her. Because the next time Zac sees Robyn, he’s front and center of the male revue headlining her best friend’s bachelorette party. So much for wooing the pretty schoolteacher, much less impressing her old-fashioned family, with his upstanding lifestyle. Now he’s only got one way to win his dream girl. It’s gonna be the steamiest, most irresistible seduction she’s ever seen. And this time it will be no act…
The deal announcement compared this one to Magic Mike and I was instantly sold. I expect it'll be a great mix of romance and humour which is especially appealing.  The meet cute sounds perfectly charming and I cannot wait to read the dance scenes.

It comes out at the end of summer which mean it's the perfect way to end your summer reading. It'll pair nicely with a drink by the pool (and make a fun book club read I imagine).

Expected release date - August 28, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Side by Side by Jenni L Walsh

Side by Side by Jenni L Walsh
Release Date - June 5, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  320 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Texas: 1931. It’s the height of the Great Depression, and Bonnie is miles from Clyde. He’s locked up, and she’s left waiting, their dreams of a life together dwindling every day.

When Clyde returns from prison damaged and distant, unable to keep a job, and dogged by the cops, Bonnie knows the law will soon come for him. But there’s only one road forward for her.

If the world won't give them their American Dream, they'll just have to take it.
The story of Bonnie and Clyde is infamous. Everyone knows how they lived and died. Their cross country crime spree is the stuff of legend. Jenni L Walsh first dove into what made a woman like Bonnelyn turn to a life of crime with Clyde Barrow in Becoming Bonnie. In Side by Side she shines that same spotlight on their crime spree and ultimately humanizes them in the process.

The research that went into this novel is evident in every meticulous detail. It's like a snapshot of what Bonnie and Clyde's life on the run would have been like, and what that era in general was like for people living in it. It's setting at times feels disjointed as a result of the duo crisscrossing the country to evade police. This, however, fit the tone perfectly and ensure that the reader felt as disoriented as Bonnie did sometimes. These elements are all a testament to the strong writing that is within this book. Jenni L Walsh makes you feel like you are there experiencing it with the characters.

Many portrayals of Bonnie and Clyde treated their crime spree in a glamorous manner. They tend to gloss over the realities that would have come with the lifestyle they were living. The sleepless nights on the road. The constant worry that would have plagued them. The injuries that were never tended to properly. This portrayal makes it sound exhausting and horrific. It never erases what they've done, but makes you feel sympathy in a way that I am not sure other adaptations of managed quite so effectively.

The bond between Bonnie and Clyde must have been strong for them to have stood by each other during everything that happened. Jenni L Walsh weaves in the love they had for each other into every decision that is made. It's evident in every part of their journey. It makes your connection to the characters stronger because you become invested in ther connection to each other. 

We all know how the story of Bonnie and Clyde ends. It's an ending that always haunted me. I think it is a large part of why their infamy remains long after their lives ended. It's a tragic ending to an already tragic story. Their ending is handled perfectly within this book, as is the betrayal that facilitates it. It resonates in a way that ensures you feel it, and allows it to linger. It is, perhaps, one of my favourite parts of this well crafted read.

Jenni L Walsh weaves a heart tugging, gripping, and realistic portrait of two people who become criminals out of circumstance. It  is a perfect follow up to Becoming Bonnie and a must read for anyone interested in Bonnie and Clyde, or just wants a really great historical read. It, once again, boasts a strong character voice and ensures that I'll be reading anything else Jenni L Walsh writes next. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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 had some amazing books show up this week in my mailbox (and other goodies). First up are two books that I preordered and had arrived.

Save The Date by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
Legendary by Stephanie Garber (goodreads)

I have read both of these and they are both wonderful. Morgan's newest is perfect for the summer and beach reading. Stephanie's newest is magical and whimsical and such a great sequel. Be sure to look for both of my reviews that were posted on the blog.

Next up is something I was really excited to get. I had joined the My Favorite Murder fan cult and it comes with this awesome t-shirt and pin!

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

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

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.

I am going to apologize in advance because literally the only thing I care about this week is the trailer for A Star Is Born. I am obsessed. OBSESSED. With that said, here is everything that made me excited this week.


A Star Is Born Trailer

As mentioned above this movie trailer has basically taken my attention from everthing else this week. It's so freaking good. I get goosebumps everytime I watch it.


Whatever Bradly Cooper is doing in this trailer really works for me. I love every single thing about this and cannot wait to see it on Oct 5th and get super emotional. There has been some Oscar nomination talk just from the trailer so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Side note that should also surprise nobody who knows me: I melt when he says "I just wanted to take another look at you". The chemistry is OFF THE CHARTS. The spark is totally there and I am here for it. Expect me to be obnoxious about this one as it gets closer.

A Star Is Born Movie Poster

Some official posters were released along with the amazing trailer. I specifically love this one.

The other posters are just single shots of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. It is going to be interesting to follow this one and see which film festivals it appears at.

Cover of Slayer by Kiersten White (goodreads)

I am a huge fan of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer television series. I was pretty excited when it was announced that Kiersten White was going to be writing a series about a new vampire slayer. The cover was recently unveiled and I really like it!

It screams Buffy to me and immediately makes it clear that it is part of that same word, but still obviously not Buffy herself. I am so excited to meet this new slayer and follow her on her own journey.

What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Save The Date by Morgan Matson

Save The Date by Morgan Matson
Release Date - June 5, 2018
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
There are a few things that will happen after finishing Save The Date. You'll immediately want to call your family, blast Make Me Lose Control by Eric Carmen, and eat some donuts. You'll also probably want to instantly start reading it again. This cute, wedding season read about a girl discovering that the saying about life being what happens when your busy making other plans is absolutely true.

Morgan Matson's novels always feel like a warm hug. They have a nostalgia factor built into them. They are synonyms with summer for me. This feels especially true in this novel. Anyone who has read and loved the For Better Or For Worse cartoon strip will see the inspiration for Grant Central Station (the comic that exists in this novel). It invokes a particular feeling, even if you're not familiar with the comic strip, that weaves itself into the other elements of the story. You connect with the characters because it is so easy to. The way the story unfolds through memories, comic strip sections, and input from those outside of the family all come together to create a real sense of not just the characters but of the tone of the story.

The family relationships, instead of the romance, are what will cause you to have a ton of feelings while reading this one. The romance typically shine brightly in Morgan's books, but it takes a backseat to the family dynamics for this one. The time frame doesn't lend itself to a properly fleshed out romance, and Charlie is dealing with so much family drama that it feels really natural to have it be only a minor subplot. The Grants are a family you will love, and probably wish to be part of, even if they don't always get along. I appreciated how developed all of the family members felt. They each had their own distinct personalities. There were relationships that existed between certain members that existed outside of the one that existed between the whole family.

There is romance within the story for those looking for it. The theme of this one would definitely be potential. There is a spark that could ignite into something more. There are plenty of great moments between her and the two potential boys who have caught her attention. For those needing those romance swoon I promise that you'll find them in here. Some of my favourites include the spontaneity of dancing in grocery story, and the dizzying feeling of a boy you like finally noticing you back. The romance is framed more in reference of Charlie, and I think that fits really well with the rest of the story.

A large part of the story revolves around Charlie wanting everything to be perfect for the wedding. It, of course, goes comically wrong at every opportunity. Her expectations are so high that there is no way that the reality could ever live up to it. Part of her story arc is learning that those moments you don't expect can be the ones that are most rewarding. They can be the ones that sear themselves into the fabric of who you are and be exactly what you needed. She also has to struggle with the reality that everything is not necessarily as she perceives it to be. She has to grow a lot as she discovers things about her family and reconcile the fact that she may have seen things how she thought they were instead of how they really are.

If you're a fan of Morgan's previous novels you'll delight in a few cameos that are within these pages. I was so charmed by one in particular. It is basically the example for why I love novels that are set within the same world like these are. These cameos also added to the nostalgia factor and immediately made it feel like something included for the fans. It's nice to check in on these characters we already love and just hammers home that family feeling.

Morgan Matson, once again, nails that summer book feeling with this feel good contemporary read. It is one I think people will want to read multiple times because of how connected they'll feel to the characters. I highly recommend saving a spot in your summer reading schedule for this one and it is the perfect accessory for the upcoming wedding season.

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