Saturday, February 24, 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.

BOOKS


Cover Of Michelle Hodkin's The Reckoning Of Noah Shaw (goodreads)

Michelle Hodkin's books always get stunning covers, and the Shaw Confessions trilogy is no exception. I loved the cover for the first one and how it invoked the feeling of the Mara Dyer trilogy covers but was also something entirely its own.

The cover for the second book in the series was just released and I am in love!



It is going to look amazing on my shelf next to the other books in this expanding series. I cannot wait to continue Noah's story as the first book was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Cover of Raziel Reid's Kens (goodreads)

Lainey Gossip recently revealed the cover for Raziel Reid's next novel and I have a desperate need to read it! It is being compared to Heathers and Mean Girls which would have immediately piqued my interest even if I hadn't loved Raziel's first novel, When Everything Feels Like The Movies.

The cover is amazing. Just read the synopsis on Goodreads and tell me it is not perfect!



I am keeping my fingers crossed for ARCs of this one to be available soon and that a Canadian book signing tour might happen (as the author is Canadian).

TV/MOVIE

Love, Simon

I recently was fortunate enough to attend a screening of the upcoming movie Love, Simon. It is one of my most highly anticipated movies of 2018 so to say I was excited would be an understatement.



I am going to be posting a review closer to the movie's March 16th release date, but know that it is perfection. It's one of the best book to movie adaptations I have seen and made me so entirely happy.

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Royally Endowed by Emma Chase



Royally Endowed by Emma Chase
Release Date -  August 31, 2017
Publisher Website - Everafter Romance
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  350 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**borrowed for review**

** SPOILERS FOR OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES **

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, gorgeous royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
***
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to call him hers.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love. 
The bodyguard who falls in love with the person they are supposed to be protecting trope is one of my favourites so I was thrilled when the next book in the Royally series promised this sexy sounding scenario. I was happy to discover that this book more than delivered on that premise, even if I wish some elements had been fleshed out a little more.

This novel is different than the other two as it spans over a few years of Ellie and Logan's relationship. We see it progress slowly which makes it feel more realistic. This narration style allows us to see events from the previous two books from a different perspective and it also allows the author to fill in some details that were not include in those first novels. It's pretty much a love letter to fans of the series, which I appreciated.

Logan St James is focused, determined, and loyal. He's presented as a sort of 'alpha male' who presents a tough exterior but loves fiercely. His loyalty was something that defined his character for me. It is present in every decision he makes. I typically do not enjoy the alpha male character trope. I find plenty of them problematic and infuriating, but Logan manages to walk the delicate balance between sexy and douchey. He's protective without being stifling or controlling which was my concern going into this novel. 

Ellie is the character that I felt we got to see grow and change the most. We meet her when she is just on the cusp of adulthood and see her mature into the young woman she is by the end of the novel. It is her that I predict readers will feel the most connected to as a result. She's more bubbly and outgoing than Logan which makes them an excellent match. I especially enjoyed the teasing banter that was built into their friendship and eventual relationship.

Those interested in the sexy parts of this novel will have to be patient. It is the slowest of slow burns and really only heats up in the latter part of the novel. This unresolved sexual tension is the only tension that really worked for me in the novel. It makes the eventually payoff all the sweeter and ensures that the reader is fully invested. It also allows the two characters to be on more equal footing. Ellie is technically still a teenager when she first begins to have a crush on her sexy bodyguard. She needs that extra time to grow up and become an adult herself before anything can happen. Logan also needs this time to see her has something other than the teenager who has a crush on him. The age difference is handled perfectly, and nothing really happens until they are both mature enough for it to.

The ending is what the novel has be building towards, but it didn't hold quite the power I expect it was supposed to. The earlier part of the book was more tightly paced and engaging. Getting to see Ellie and Logan's novel story evolve through the years he was her guard was endearing and ensured that we cared about both of them. The love story wasn't the issue. There is a side plot that is meant to provide the  main stakes of the story and it doesn't quite have the payoff I wanted because it wasn't spread out enough throughout the book. The raising tension that should be felt just is not there as a result. It could have been woven in better and it would have resonated a little more. The good thing is that the rest of the novel is done really well that it was only a minor blip in my enjoyment of this novel.

The Royally series is perfect for those wanting their reads to be both sexy and fun. They are also perfect for fans of books that feature royalty and everything that ensues from being related to, or falling in love with, one. I can only hope that Emma Chase plans to return to these characters again in the future, because I don't think I am ready to fully leave them behind just yet.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Waiting On Wed ... The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein


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 The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness. 
I have always been fascinated by the Frankenstein story and am immediately interested in any retelling that I become aware of. Kiersten White has written one from the perspective of Elizabeth, the woman who loved Victor Frankenstein. This has so much potential because her character has always fascinated me and I am eager to have a story that has her as its center focus.

This book pretty much demands to be read in October as it seems like a perfect read for the Halloween season. Its end of September release means it'll be out just in time to enjoy with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, a cozy blanket, and the doors locked.

Expected release date - September 25, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Score by Elle Kennedy




The Score by Elle Kennedy (Off-Campus #3)
Release Date -  January 11, 2016
Publisher Website - Createspace Independant Publishing Platform
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 360 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from a friend**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.
I like to venture into the New Adult genre from time to time. I had devoured the first two books in Elle Kennedy's Off Campus series and was eagerly anticipating the third. Dean Di Laurentis' story did not disappoint. This novel has some scorching chemistry, some perfectly paced angst, and a guy who proves himself to have a heart of gold under all his cocky swagger.

These novels are really good at balancing the plot elements along with the sexy scenes. These are really steamy novels, but they are done in a way that still keeps the focus on the plot. These books would be a good litmus test for those unsure if this genre is for them. It balances everything pretty evenly even if this one felt a little more sex focused than the others.

I always forget how hilarious these books are. There are definite laugh out loud moments in this that rival the blush worthy ones. From coded song choices at a bar to a hilariously awkward near miss, this book has plenty of lighter moments to help balance the darker ones within it.

Dean is the character that surprised me the most in this series so far. He is almost nothing like what you would expect. We've seen Dean through the viewpoint of others in the previous novels in this series and I feel that only gave us a surface level understanding of who Dean is. He is plenty of things you would expect him to be, but is also a lot of things you wouldn't. I expect that Dean even surprises himself at various points in this novel and that is one of my favourite things about The Score.

Allie is Dean's opposite in so many ways and that is exactly why their relationship works. Dean brings out a more adventurous side to Allie, and Allie grounds Dean in a lot of ways. They bring out the best in each other, while never wanting to change the other person. I love this kind of romance because it shows that someone cannot make you change, but they can encourage you and help you thrive.

There is a underlying commentary in this novel about slut shaming and the ways that society views men who enjoy sex versus women who enjoy sex. Allie feels guilty after her sex filled night with Dean. She judges herself a little bit which, for me, perfectly showcased how women internalize this narrative. We see people reassure her, and we see those who judge her just as harshly as she judges herself. There is a particularly brutal scene between Allie and her ex-boyfriend that felt like a gut punch. The books overall message of sexual empowerment is made extremely clear and that is something worth mentioning. I especially liked the 'erase the word slut from your vocabulary' advice that Allie is given. I wish the book had examined this a little more deeply, but I do applaud what it did manage to convey.

The Score is pretty much tied with The Deal for my favourite novel in the Off Campus series. It's a fun mix of everything I like in my New Adult reads. I highly recommend this book (and series in general) for anyone who wants some sexy sports themed reads. 

Sunday, February 18, 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)

A few bookish goodies made their way into my mailbox this week. First up is a book from Penguin Random House that sounds like so much fun!


My Lady's Choosing by by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris (goodreads)

It sounds like a fun 'choose your own adventure' style book with a romance twist. I am excited to review it on the blog closer to release! Huge thank you to them for sending it along for me to review.

Next up is my February #otspsecretsister package! I love all of the pink! The button is perfect, the chocolate may already be eaten, and I am excited to use the rock sugar in some tea!


Misadventures Of A City Girl by Meredith Wild and  Chelle Bliss (goodreads)

This book sounds like a fun read and is entirely new to me so I am excited to give it a try when I can fit it into my review schedule! A huge thank you to whoever has me this round. Excited to get to know you!

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

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 17, 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.

BOOKS

Cover Of Courtney Summer's Sadie (goodreads)

People have raved about Courtney Summer's novels to me before. I have not read nearly as many of them as I should but I have read enough of them to know that her books are powerful, and her newest sounds like no exception.

Courtney's newest novel is being compared to the Serial podcast and sounds like it has a great murder mystery hook that will (most likely) also examine missing girls in general.


I also happen to love this cover. It's striking and eye catching while being very simple. I am super excited for this one as I think it is going to be one of the must reads of fall 2018 for a lot of people.

When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen (goodreads)

Publisher's Weekly recently posted their Children's Books Fall 2018 Sneak Peek and this title caught my eye. It is described as "relating the fictional story of the love triangle that started Chicago’s Great Fire" which immediately intrigued me. I am looking forward to hearing more about this one when the Fall catalog is released.

Cover of The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (goodreads)

A creepy sounding book deserves a creepy cover and Kiersten White's newest has got one of the creepiest covers I've seen in a long time.

This Frankenstein retelling has a cover that looks, chillingly, like sewn skin  (even if it is pink velvet). It instantly brings to mind the classic story of Frankenstein while the title tells you that it's something all together different.



I am excited to see what this version of Frankenstein does to twist and reimagine the story. I am so excited to get my hands on this one, and that amazing cover is just one of the reasons.

Cover of The Lady's Guide To Petticoats And Piracy (goodreads)

I loved The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue. I especially loved Monty's sister, Felicity, and was thrilled that she was getting her own novel!

The cover of that novel has recently been revealed, and it is amazing!



I love that it is both similar to Monty's cover and yet uniquely Felicity's at the same time. I cannot wait to see what adventures await Felicity and the new characters we are to meet!

TV/MOVIE

Jessica Jones Season Two Trailer

My love for Jessica Jones is well documented and I am very (im)patiently counting down the days until I can binge watch season two.

This newest trailer is doing nothing to make the wait any easier. It's even better than the first trailer that was released. It pretty much filled with everything I love about Jessica Jones - Jessica's snarky one liners, Trish being the kind of best friend we all want, and Jessica calling men out on their shit.




I love that this show calls out rape culture the way that it does. It was vital to season one because of the plot, but it is nice to see that it is still part of the show for its second season. March 8th isn't that far away right? *cries*

OTHER

Grease Funko Pops 

I am a huge fan of classic movies, and Grease is one of my favourites. It is a movie I remember vividly from my childhood and is one I still watch when I am feeling nostalgic.

I was excited when Funko announced during their huge batch of Toy Fair announcements that they would be making some Grease Funko Pops!



We get two different versions of Sandy and Danny and I am pretty sure I am going to need both of them. I also really want to see the back of the yellow dress Sandy as I am sure her hair is amazing.

More Stranger Things Funkos

Along with the above mentioned Grease announcement, Funko also announced some new Stranger Things Funko Pops that have me already clearing some room on my shelves.


I am, for sure, going to need both of the Steve Funkos, and that Eleven is pretty awesome. I may also have to add Billy to my collection, and who could resist Bob dressed a vampire (it certainly doesn't suck)? The details on these Funko Pops keep getting better and these are some of the best I have seen yet.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Traitor Prince by CJ Redwine



The Traitor Prince by CJ Redwine
Release Date - February 13,  2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Javan Najafai, crown prince of Akram, has spent the last ten years at an elite boarding school, far away from his kingdom. But his eagerly awaited return home is cut short when a mysterious imposter takes his place—and no one believes Javan is the true prince.

After barely escaping the imposter’s assassins, Javan is thrown into Maqbara, the kingdom’s most dangerous prison. The only way to gain an audience with the king — and reveal Javan’s identity — is to fight in Maqbara’s yearly tournament. But winning is much harder than acing competitions at school, and soon Javan finds himself beset not just by the terrifying creatures in the arena, but also a band of prisoners allied against him, and even the warden herself.

The only person who can help him is Sajda, who has been enslaved by Maqbara’s warden since she was a child, and whose guarded demeanor and powerful right hook keep the prisoners in check. Working with Sajda might be the only way Javan can escape alive — but she has dangerous secrets.

Together, Javan and Sajda have to outwit the vicious warden, outfight the deadly creatures, and outlast the murderous prisoners intent on killing Javan. If they fail, they’ll be trapped in Maqbara for good—and the secret Sajda’s been hiding will bury them both. 
The next novel in the Ravenspire series offers up a fantasy twist to The Prince And The Pauper tale It is a story that I am not overly familiar with (other than some vague memory of Mickey Mouse cartoon) but one that grabbed my interest immediately due to my love of retellings. It offers a story about identity, freedom, and the responsibility a leader has to those they serve.

The world that CJ Redwine has built over the course of the three novels within the Ravenspire series is breathtaking. There are so many details that make you want to dig deeper. There is a richness to the overall world that entices you to discover more. It's a series that could easily continue for countless books simply because of the vastness of stories that could be told. It's the world that shines the brightest within these stories and that fact is used to its fullest.

Javan, the rightful prince of Akram, is filled with honour and noble intentions. He wants nothing more than to make his father, and his kingdom, proud. He is so kind and caring that, at times, it is hard to believe him capable of the violence he has to commit to survive the deadly tournament he finds himself in. He is, at times, selfless to his own determent.

Sajda is the character who I found the most fascinating. An enslaved young woman who has had to learn to protect herself. She wants nothing more than her freedom. Freedom from her captors. Freedom from the harsh reality that is her life. The freedom to live her life the way she wants to. She is Javan's polar opposite in that she is jaded, bitter, and guarded. Her story is one of the more heartbreaking elements of this novel, and one I found myself really invested in.

This novel benefits from a decent villain in Rahim. It is easy to understand his motivations. He acts in his own self interest at all times which makes for an interesting dynamic as the story progresses. He is not overused and the author does not rely on this character to carry the conflict in this story. The secondary threats, such as the prison warden, do a lot of the heavy lifting, but Rahim is perfectly used as someone pulling the strings in the background.

There is some romance lightly sprinkled within the story. A romance that worked for me because of the sparseness in which it was used. The romance only carried the plot when necessary, and ensured that both characters grew because of the connection growing between them.

The nods to the original tale of The Prince And The Pauper are sprinkled throughout the story. The item that reveals the true identity of the prince is found, along with idea that there is much to learn from having to walk in someone else's shoes. A large part of the story revolves around Javan having his eyes opened to the realities of the kingdom he is desperate to save. It makes him realize things that his privilege may have prevented him from seeing.

The ending of this story, while satisfying, felt a little rushed for me. I wish it had taken a little more time to allow the events that occur during the novel to really be felt. The adjustment that would happen due to the events that transpire did not feel as jarring as I anticipate it would. It felt a little too neatly wrapped up, but I expect many will be happy with an ending that feels as hopeful as this one does.

If you're a fan of retellings and are looking for one that feels a little more unique, I recommend this series and this particular book in particular. The Prince And The Pauper is not an inspiration for many YA retellings, so this one really felt fresh to me while I reading it. It's a welcome addition to the Ravenspire series, one that I hope sets up many more to come.

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