Saturday, February 25, 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.
A small Weekly Obsessions post this week, but some pretty exciting things!

BOOKS

Being Bonnie by Jenni L Walsh (goodreads)

I have not yet read Becoming Bonnie but I was thrilled when the sequel was announced! I am excited to read it and will be reading Becoming Bonnie soon (probably this weekend) and am looking forward to continuing her story in this sequel!

Renegades by Marissa Meyer (goodreads)

Marissa Meyer is writing a super hero/super villain story! I cannot wait. This is going to be amazing! It is the first in a series about a school for those with super powers. It sounds incredible and I am excited to pre-order it as soon as it comes available.

TV/MOVIE

Big Little Lies

I very much enjoyed the pilot episode of Big Little Lies. I am hooked on the mystery and the three main cast (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley) all deliver great performances so far. I am excited to watch the second episode this week and highly recommend it if you like sudsy murder mysteries.

OTHER

My Favorite Murder Podcast (link)


I stumbled upon this quirky podcast and immediately became obsessed. It won't be for everyone, but those who would be into it will be super into it. The hosts are hilarious and approach the topic in a very relatable way. It's a podcast about murder done through the female gaze and quite feminist. I highly recommend it if it sounds like something you would enjoy. I am currently making my way through all of the 'episodes' and I am honestly loving them.

Funko's Disney Subscription Box

Funko is known for having some pretty amazing subscription boxes for the Marvel, Star Wars, and DC fandoms. They have recently announced that they are launching a new subscription box specifically for Disney fanatics. They are calling it Disney Treasures and I am so excited.


The first theme is Pirates Cove and they've announced that the first Pop being included is Smee from Peter Pan! All the items in the box are exclusive to the box only and will offer at least one Pop figure in each box. You can learn more over at the Funko blog by reading the official announcement. You can also sign up for notifications about Disney Treasures and be one of the first to sign up for this when it goes live by visiting the Disney Treasures official site.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wonder by RJ Palacio



Wonder by RJ Palacio
Release Date -  Febuary 14, 2012
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  320 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**purchased for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.
Wonder is not a book I would typically pick up myself. I am not as well versed in middle grade novels as I perhaps should be. It happened to be selected for one of my book clubs and I was pleasantly surprised to discover a novel filled with heart, warmth, and a powerful message at its core.

This is a great discussion starter book for adults and the children in their lives. It allows for discussion on a wide range of topics and provides a safe manner in which to do so. It might be easier for the children to discuss Auggie's feelings than their own. It's a great outlet and I can see why many refer to it as a book that should be mandatory classroom reading.

Auggie is a tenacious, curious, kind young boy whose voice stands out brightly within these pages. His character not only showcases the value of taking yourself outside your comfort zone, but the idea of being kind. Auggie chooses kindness and this book encourages the reader to do the same. He also allows himself to experience new things, even if they are a little scary at first. His character growth was impressive and is especially evident towards the end of the novel as the reader gets to see the payoff to all difference experiences Auggie has throughout the novel.

This novel teaches without feeling overt about it. It does so through the characters, and the things they experience. It is not just Auggie that teaches a valuable lesson, but all of the different people we meet through Auggie's adventures. This book offers multiple points of view that may, at first glance, seem unnecessary but really do add something to the overall theme of the novel. Each of the characters learns something about kindness, acceptance, or forgiveness. We also see the impact bullying has and many of the characters experience it, or have it dealt with in some way.

In Wonder, RJ Palacio has created an unforgettable character in Auggie Pullman. His story is one that will remain with you and you'll be urged to pass it on to others. It is a book that really should be made available in every middle grade classroom. Its message of acceptance is one that is always vital and remains more important than ever. It is one that I would recommend for anyone looking for a heart warming story for themselves to enjoy or to share with a middle grade reader. I predict that they'll fall a little in love with it too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ...... Romeo, Juliet, and Jim


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 Romeo, Juliet, and Jim by Larry Schwarz and Iva-Marie Palmer


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Shakespeare meets Gossip Girl in this modern-day tale of two star-crossed lovers that soon becomes a love triangle in the first book of a trilogy.

Romeo and Juliet seem to have it all. They are heirs to the two greatest and oldest fashion houses Paris has ever seen, the House of Montague and the rival House of Capulet. They live in stunning penthouses, attend glamorous parties, count celebrities and supermodels among their closest friends. Yet the one thing they want most they can’t have—each other. Juliet is tired of a clandestine relationship. She wants to run off together and escape. Enter Jim, a mysterious rugged American who swoops in and befriends the young lovers. They don’t have to hide their romance from him—they can be themselves. But just who is Jim, really? Once Romeo and Juliet find out that their new friend has his own troubling connections within their world, all three of them have a lot to figure out. Because there’s a lot at stake. And on top of it all, Juliet and Jim are falling in love. Can Romeo win back his lover's heart? Or will Juliet and Jim rewrite the ending of the world's most famous love story?
I am a sucker for a unique sounding Romeo and Juliet retelling. This modernizes it and makes them heirs to two fashion houses. It also appears to incorporate a potential love triangle that might (based on that cover) just have OT3 potential. This could end up being a lot of fun, and deliciously sudsy. I hope it lives up to that potential. It sounds like a fun summer read either way and I am looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Expected release date - June 6, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine



The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine
Release Date - Feburary 14, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul. 
I was very excited when I heard that the follow up to CJ Redwine's fantastic The Shadow Queen was a story based on the Rumpelstiltskin tale. I don't recall having read one, especially not a young adult retelling, so that only increased my excitement. Sadly, this novel did not quite meet my expectations, even if it had plenty of potential.

The fairytale feel of the first one is not as obvious in this companion novel. The world building, and fantasy elements that felt so developed and defined in the The Shadow Queen feel like an afterthought in this sequel. I did enjoy what was given but wanted more. The idea of a seedier side to this world with drugs, theft, and a pseudo crime syndicate was interesting and it held a lot of potential but was not fleshed out to really maximize on that potential.

The characters, particularly Ari, is where this story shines. Ari is an illegitimate princess made legitimate out of circumstance. The fact that she is not a recognized princess at birth was unique for me. I cannot recall many books that feature such a character. She is also described as being more curvy than most and totally comfortable with her body. She's even presented as having a realistic dose of self confidence. She has a deep love of food, and loves to cook. She was also not afraid to get her hands dirty. She was pretty much the opposite of the usual character found within this type of story and I appreciated that fact. She is loyal, determined, and doesn't back down. Her character is what makes you want to follow the story because she is such a breathe of fresh air.

Thad, her brother who finds himself in the role of King, is equally intriguing, but we never really get to know enough about him. I wanted more from him. I would have liked to get into his head a little more, especially when he was making certain decisions. He felt like this enigma that I wanted to unravel but never really got the chance to.

Sebastian is your typical boy from the wrong side of the tracks character. He has a tortured past and his issues stem from that traumatic past. His character could have certainly been more developed, but he is endearing enough and seeing the cracks in his armour as he begins a tentative friendship with Ari is the highlight of his character. Those cracks blossom into something deeper which gives the romance a little more substance as they do start out by building that friendship first.

Perhaps the biggest hindrance to my enjoyment was the mythology. The Rumpelstiltskin tale is filled with memorable moments and these are only briefly touched upon in the story. The notion of having to guess his name is tossed in as a last minute thing without the mythology behind it being properly addressed. The way in which he is defeated felt a little too conveniently discovered as there was not a lot of build up to the mythology behind the character or the rules of his power.

This Rumpelstiltskin retelling certainly has its magical moments, but didn't quite take the mythology or characters deep enough for my liking. I wanted more from all elements of this story, but ultimately still find this one enjoyable enough to finish. I am curious enough to see which fairytale is adapted next and would certainly read another novel by CJ Redwine in the future. 

Sunday, February 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)

Lots of exciting things made their way into my mailbox this week.

First up, the lovely people at Harper Collins Canada sent me some book that made me squeal with happiness. A huge thank you to them for sending these to me.


Midnight At The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (goodreads)
The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (goodreads)

Jodi Lynn Anderson is one of my most favourite authors so I am really excited to have a new book by her and I am very excited about Mackenzi Lee's newest!

The awesome people at Bloomsbury sent me a set of the buttons available as a pre-order perk for Samantha Shannon's The Song Rising. Expect some fun photos between now and when the pre-order campaign ends.


A huge thank you to Bloomsbury for these! I am excited to share some photos and help with the countdown to The Song Rising's release.

Lastly, I purchsed some new Funkos for my collection! I am very excited to have added two different versions of Eleven from Stranger Things to my collection.


I love that she has Eggos! I have pretty much the whole set pre-ordered so expect to see more soon.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 18, 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.
 
A small Weekly Obsessions post this week, but some pretty exciting things!

BOOKS

Toil & Trouble by Various (goodreads)

This sounds like incredible.short story collection. The authors alone are enough to entice me to pick it up as it includes some of my favourites (such as Emery Lord and Jessica Spotswood). The hook, however, is really the theme. This is a collection of short stories about witches! I am so excited to see what each of these authors do with this theme.

Cover of The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand (goodreads)

This retelling of A Christmas Carol not only sounds amazing, but has a very festive cover. 


It has a holiday feel while still capturing the tone of the original. This is a story with ghosts after all. I am so excited to read this. It's quickly become one of my most anticipated of the fall season.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne



The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Release Date - August 9, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  363 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from friend**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
I am immediately a fan of books that make me snort laugh within the first chapter. I am also a fan of sexy books with relationships that are imperfect. Combine that with some delicious game playing, some racy (and dark) banter and you have an instant favourite. Sally Throne has crafted a wickedly enjoyable read that demands to be read with a glass of wine (or two).

Sally Thorne's writing is pitch perfect for this genre. She can make you laugh as easily as she can craft some of the hottest kisses I've ever read. She crafts an entirely spellbinding romance that is imperfect enough to feel entirely perfect. Her characters are rich and vibrant and larger than life. It read like a movie, and is basically a rom com in book format. I would love to see Josh and Lucy get the big screen treatment and that is a testament to how addicting this story is.

This book is funny. I mean snort while laughing funny. Everything from Lucy's hilarious passwords, to their socially awkward interactions, made me laugh. The only thing more intoxicating than this book's humour is its sexiness. It has both in spades, and is not afraid to charm you with both. It's the type of book that you'll want to read again and again while underlining favourite passages simply because of the happiness it leaves you with.

Fans of banter between couples will immediately ship Joshua and Lucy. Their sharp tongues are only rivaled by the death glares they shoot each other across the office. This is all a mask for the fact that they really want to rip each other's clothes off (of course) but provides a slow burn relationship that feels earned.

The sexiness in this novel comes not only from the steamy make out scenes, but the delayed gratification. The teasing, taunting, and steamy elevator kisses are all an electric form of foreplay that is entirely delicious. The reader becomes invested in this couple, and their happiness, because of this incredibly built tension. Each of the characters have flaws but their flaws make them so well suited to each other. They both like to play games. They are both a little socially awkward. They both have trouble admitting their true feelings. This all just adds to their charm and makes it so that they feel like friends by the time the novel is finished.

A fun, sexy page turner that is a delight to read. Sally Thorne is instantly an auto buy author after reading this banter filled, wickedly charming debut. It's the perfect book to help chase away the winter blues, or throw in your beach bag for the summer. I highly recommend The Hating Game. It may even leave you wanting to play a few games of your own.

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