Thursday, November 29, 2012

Follow Friday!


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:

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

Noah Shaw! He is from The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin.

He looks like Max Irons.


Happy Weekend!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Release Date – March 2, 2012
Publisher Website –  Hyperion
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Borrowed from another blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.  
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. 
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
After a love spell that goes WAY wrong (think obsession instead of smitten) Sophie is dragged off to a super exclusive reform school for all naughty witches, faeries, and the like. I was instantly pulled into the world of Hex Hall and it's secrets.

The plot for Hex Hall is not overly unique. It’s rather a mash up of other stories,  however, the delightfully enjoyable characters, and tone of the story make it feel fresh. The back story of the Prodigium and their connection to angels was a intriguing twist. The history of the school, and the Prodigium is fascinating and was one of my favourite parts of the story.

This story really is all about the characters, and your enjoyment of them will impact how you feel about the novel. Luckily, these characters are mostly funny, endearing and interesting.

Sophie is a lot of fun. An awkward teen witch, who is a little clueless when it comes to her ancestry and background, finds herself a little over her head at Hex Hall. Dealing with classic mean girls, a crush on the hottest boy in school, and unfair teachers made Sophie’s high school experience instantly recognizable to many readers.

I enjoyed Jenna a lot. Hex Hall’s resident vampire who is more Pretty in Pink than Gothic Dracula. I loved the friendship that develops between her and Sophie. Unlikely friends and roommates, their friendship some how works, and they were actually good friends to each other.

I liked the 'getting to know each other' aspect of Archer and Sophie’s budding relationship. I found myself wishing that I knew more about Archer. I hope his back story and more character traits are delved into during the next novel. He is presented as a good looking, funny, self assured guy, but otherwise he is a mystery. I do, however, like his banter with Sophie and found them cute together. Cal, a warlock with a healing touch, has already grabbed my interest as well. I expect both these boys to have a much bigger presence in the subsequent novels.

The ending is a bit of a twist, but one that isn't completely unexpected. The consequences of the reveal and how it impacts the characters is what interests me. I expect it is going to wide reaching repercussions.

A fun, almost light, read that took me by surprise. A little predictable, but it’s the characters that shine in this quick, breezy read.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday...Tarnish

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 Tarnish by Katherine Longshore


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history
I loved the first this "series" (really more companion novels) and I fangirl just a little bit over Anne Boleyn. I think this is going to be AMAZING! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Expected release date June 18, 2013

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Speechless by Hannah Harrington


Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Release Date – August 28, 2012
Publisher Website –  HarlequinTeen
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Obtained from the Ontario Blogger Meetup**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.
Can you keep a secret? For Chelsea Knot the answer has always been no. Her gossip fuelled ways come to a screeching halt when her spilling a secret causes someone to almost be killed. Speechless is a thought provoking novel that is timely and timeless in it’s message.

A horrific hate crime happens after Chelsea sees something and decides to spread the gossip. Horrified by the actions her words caused she decides to take a vow of silence.  Her character was someone who has to earn the reader’s forgiveness while forgiving herself. She was your classic mean girl, and she did not stop to think her actions could hurt others. Her growth is slow, but realistic with her not changing in an instant.

The premise of this novel caught my eye immediately. I found the idea of taking a vow of silence really unique. It’s not something I have stumbled across often. It’s used effectively in this novel to showcase how much you learn when you stop and listen. Chelsea grows as a person purely from taking the time to really get to know herself, and who she might actually be. The desire to fit in while in high school is often consuming, and standing up for something can be the bravest thing someone does.

Hannah Harrington’s first novel, Saving June, was infused with average, real characters. Speechless follows this example. The characters are easily imagined as real and that allows the story to resonate that much more. Asha, Sam, Andy are so wonderfully written and developed. There is a scene between Andy and Chelsea in the later part of the novel that is heart breaking and uplifting all at once. It’s those moments where the characters really shine.

The romance between Chelsea and Sam is rather sweet. This is the opposite of instant love. This is a foundation and friendship being built that becomes more. She, during a time when everyone is blaming her for what happened, finds real friendships with those who should be the most angry at her. The kindness offered to her by Sam, Asha and even Andy is one of the most touching things in this novel.

Speechless is a novel I would highly recommend be in every high school. A timely message of acceptance and finding yourself, it shows that one person can make a difference, all they have to do is find their voice.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Release Date – June 5, 2012
Publisher Website –  Crown/Random House
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 415 pages
My Rating- 5/5
**Borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? 
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl goes missing. Not exactly your typical fairytale romance.  Amy and Nick seemed to have a charmed life, right up until their fateful 5th year wedding anniversary. Amy goes missing and Nick’s actions make him seem suspicious. Part murder mystery, and part mind game, Gone Girl is an intense, and twisted novel that will leave you reeling.

Gone Girl is a book you don’t want to spoil for yourself. It’s also one of those books that is hard to talk about without giving anything way. It is an intense experience, made all the more rich by allowing the novel to unfold and letting the twists and turns of the story take you by surprise.

Gillian Flynn takes a magnifying glass to marriage (or even dating someone) and ended up causing me to squirm a little. She heightens everything, obviously, for dramatic purposes but the gritty truth is apparent underneath. Some of what haunts Nick and Amy’s relationship is a all to recognizable. Often people expect their partners to read their minds, and instinctively know what they want and need. Often this leads to anger, because our partner doesn’t know us as well as we think they did. People tend to put their best selves forward when initially getting together, and slowly fade into their true natures as time progresses. It shows how important communication and honesty are in a relationship. However, most of these are done without thinking. It reflected a disillusionment that sometimes accompanies falling out of love. Everything you loved about someone is now the thing that drives you crazy. She also highlights the good stuff though. The inside jokes, the bonds that are ever present, the realization that you really do know your partner if you think about it. All of that is shown as well. The ups and downs of a relationships are beautifully written. The extremes in which love can drive us are also shown with utter realism.

Gillian Flynn’s ability to make me switch my view point each chapter was brilliant. I was caught up in each version of the truth. There really are two sides to every story, and the narrator gets to put their own spin on it. This dual narration makes this even more evident and sifting through the motivations and truths starts to feel like being caught in a spider’s web. The narrators are also so vastly different that each voice is crystal clear.

Neither Nick or Amy are blameless or perfect for many things in the novel. Each is flawed, and messed up in their own way. Nick’s driving desire to be liked, and Amy’s spoiled tendencies are just the tip of the iceberg in the dysfunction that is this relationship. However, each of them captured my attention and I was instantly drawn into their story. They are complex, and human.

I also wanted to point out the delightful nod to Nancy Grace. The character was brilliantly catty and wonderful. It provided some humour in an otherwise tense plot.

There is so much else I would love to say but so much is a spoiler, so I will just say READ IT. Enjoy the ride, and relish each twisted, delicious, demented second of it.

A novel that is meant to be an experience, Gone Girl packs plenty of thrilling twists, and turns. Just when you think you know what happened to Amy (and to the relationship) another delicious twist is revealed. An unsettling, tragic, and yet perfectly fitting ending that ensures the characters, and the story, stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

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).

This week's mailbox is a book club book. I am just going to post the Goodreads cover image as it's late, and I am too lazy to get my camera out.


The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (goodreads)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 23, 2012

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:

BOOKS

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I can't believe I have not read this earlier. It is dark, twisty, and f#@cked up in the best ways. This novel is most likely making it on my "Top Reads of 2012" list that is coming in December. If you haven't read it - DO SO! Just be sure to not spoiler yourself ANYTHING. It's a book that you need to experience as things unfold.

OTHER

DisneyWorld

On December 8th I will be leaving to head to Florida for a week holiday with my family. We are introducing my little nieces to the magical world of Disney. I am so excited for them to meet Cinderella especially. It's going to be a wonderful experience!

Christmas Holidays

As the end of the November comes near I start to get really excited about Christmas. I am WAY behind in shopping this year (blame Disney) and I am looking forward to getting some gifts out of the way soon. I love spending the holidays with my family and it really is one of my favourite times of the year.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Follow Friday


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:

Q: What blog are you thankful for?

Lots!

Bookish (ran by Evie, who is amazing), Me on Books (ran by the awesome Lindsay), Eleusinian Mysteries (ran by the delightful Brodie), The Reader Bee (ran by the fabulous Christy) and lastly KellyVision (ran by the awesome Kelly).

I also want to have a special shout out to the Ottawa Blogettes who I adore! Ciara (Lost at Midnight Reviews), Katie (Bookishly Yours), Meaghan (Feeling A Little Bookish) and Emilie (Emilie's Book World). You lovely ladies make this whole blogging adventure even more fun, and I LOVE chatting books with you all.

Please check out all of the blogs I have mentioned. All of them write fantastic, smart, and insightful reviews. All are ran by amazing women.  I am thankful to have all of them has friends, and blogging buddies!

Happy Weekend!

On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves


On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Release Date – July 17, 2012
Publisher Website –  Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 319 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Provided from the publisher and Netgalley for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Two people stranded on an island struggle to survive—and slowly fall in love—in the runaway New York Times bestseller from the author of the forthcoming novel COVET. 
Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J. 
T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year. 
Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan’s summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island. 
At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.
My first thought after reading the synopsis was that it sounded interesting, followed by apprehension. I wasn't sure how this relationship was going to work or how it would be presented. Upon finishing the last page, I was happy to have been wrong. This is a story of survival against crushing odds. It’s a story of two people who go through something life changing with each other, and come out bonded in a way that is inexplicable.

The accident that happens, and their subsequent time on the island was nerve racking. Each excruciating moment while on the island set me on edge. The storms, animals, illness, and various other complications show how quickly circumstances can change. I can safely say that being stranded is one of my worst fears, and the author brings this to life in chilling detail. There were many pulse pounding situations where I literally held my breath because the fate of these two characters hung in the balance. The tension is only heightened by the will they/won’t they tension between T.J. and Anna. This taunt feeling kept the pages turning and the pacing was a nice balance of action and romance.

The taboo aspect of the relationship between T.J. and Anna is not handled lightly. The author tastefully handles the more intimate aspects of the relationship, and equally shows the realities of this type of coupling. Is this relationship unconventional? Absolutely. The author doesn't hide the scrutiny and the hardships that may face two people in this situation. It’s something that tests the characters, and the unshakable bond they have developed. The way their relationship builds is quite natural, and seeing them grow together will make you want a happy outcome for them.

These characters, and their story, will move you. Filled with romance, love and ultimately hope this novel sent me on a tailspin of emotions. Emotions I wasn't expecting to feel. A touching novel that I would urge people to read.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday....Dance of the Red Death

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 Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE. 
Araby Worth’s city is being torn apart by death, disease, and corrupt forces wanting to claim it for their own. She has lost her home. Her best friend is dying. Her mother has been kidnapped. The boy who made her feel something again has betrayed her. And her father may be a murderer. 
But Araby has found herself. 
Despite the death and destruction all around her, she will fight for herself, for her friends, for her city. Her rebellion will take her, finally, to the mad prince’s palace, for the decadent –and sinister—masked ball. It could be a trap. It could be the end of them all. Or it could be the moment that Araby becomes the kind of hero she never dreamed she could be. 
The tragic, dark, and steamy conclusion to Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death saga
The first novel is one of my favourite reads of this year. I can't wait to read the sequeal. I happen to love the inclusion of "steamy" in the description and hope it applies to Will and Araby. 

Expected release date April 23, 2013

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill



Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
Release Date – November 13, 2012
Publisher Website –  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**review copy provided by Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.  
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be"). 
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love. 
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
A perfect setting, a romantic sounding plot, and a premise that promised much sigh inducing happiness. Meant To Be is pretty much the definition of ‘what you see is what you get’.  It reads like an homage to the classic 80’s  teen romantic comedies and is filled with fun and flirty romance.

The setting could not be more perfect. A wild chase through London is the perfect backdrop for romance.  I fell in love with the city of London again. This book made me nostalgic and wanting to go back. Combine this with some humour and excellent pacing and the novel reads rather quickly.

Julia’s rule following, control freak tendencies were hilarious. She was over the top sometimes but rather endearing. Breaking a few rules is exactly what she needs to change her tightly wound reputation. This is character who really does go through changes in the novel as she experiences new things.

Jason is your typical high school class clown. A touch immature,  however, he really does have a sweet side under it all. The romance in the novel worked for me because I felt it made the two main characters better people. I was not invested in either of them outside of the romance. They seemed to better each other, and challenge each other, which made them more interesting together. The banter between these two was often funny, and felt authentic to their ages.

The plot of the novel was predictable. The characters end up exactly where you expect them to be by the end of the novel. The ending is satisfying, even if a little cliché, but those who long for the happily ever after will be delighted.

The mystery surrounding the romantic texts and who sent them is revealed with a little bit of a pleasant surprise. I was leaning in a totally different direction, so the reveal did pack a little thrill.

A cute light hearted read that leaves you with the message that love isn’t perfect, and neither are people. It reminds us to take that chance on love and people…flaws and all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey


The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
Release Date – January 24, 2012
Publisher Website –  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 447 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When her widower father drowns at sea, Gemma Hardy is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland to live with her kind uncle and his family. But the death of her doting guardian leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and it soon becomes clear that she is nothing more than an unwelcome guest at Yew House. When she receives a scholarship to a private school, ten-year-old Gemma believes she's found the perfect solution and eagerly sets out again to a new home. However, at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant. 
To Gemma's delight, the school goes bankrupt, and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. Sinclair, a London businessman; his eight-year-old niece is Gemma's charge. Even before their first meeting, Gemma is, like everyone on the island, intrigued by Mr. Sinclair. Rich (by Gemma's standards), single, flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. An unlikely couple, the two are drawn to each other, but Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin: a journey of passion and betrayal, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life of which she's never dreamed. 
Set in Scotland and Iceland in the 1950s and '60s, The Flight of Gemma Hardy—a captivating homage to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre—is a sweeping saga that resurrects the timeless themes of the original but is destined to become a classic all its own.
This story may be inspiried by Jane Eyre, and there are many similarities to be found, but this story stands on it’s own. A sweeping homage to the classics, it’s filled with vivid imagery, a driven main character, and a story that is simple, but timeless.

The descriptions of Scotland and Iceland were dynamic. I was instantly transported into the setting. It’s immediately clear how much research went into the setting itself. The Iceland portion made the country sound beautiful, with dramatic scenery.

Gemma’s journey from a young orphan living with her Aunt to the woman we leave at the end of the novel is one that resonates. Determined, intelligent and rather resilient, Gemma makes you want to root for her happiness.  In taking the time to present Gemma’s childhood her character growth is given that much more weight in the story. We see the changes in her, and the story arc revolves around her changing views and circumstances.

Her ability to “dust herself off” each time she falls is a trait that is shown throughout the novel. Her tenacity makes her endearing and as such I enjoyed the novel much more as I felt invested in her outcome.

The romance is quite light, with Mr Sinclair being dashing, but not present very much. Those looking for an epic love story might be disappointed, but there is still some sweetness to be found in their coupling. The big secret that Mr Sinclair is hiding felt less shocking than that revealed in Jane Eyre, but it’s the outcome of that secret that plays a more important role in the second half of the novel. It just showcases that the romance is secondary to Gemma’s own journey of finding out where she can from and who she is today.

The second half of the novel is, for me, not as strong as the first. Gemma’s time with her Aunt, and subsequent shipping off to an all girls boarding school to be a working girl, were filled with wonderful moments that were character driven. The second half of the novel felt more plot driven. A few plot points felt out of character for Gemma. However, these two minor things did not distract from my enjoyment of the story.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy is many things, however, at the core it is a story about a girl becoming a woman. A tale of finding yourself, and ultimately taking flight and learning to soar. A few plot points I wish had been more full developed did not detract from a wonderful retelling that will appeal to even those who have not read Jane Eyre.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

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).

This week's mailbox is beyond awesome. There was squealing and freaking out at the mailbox.


The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (goodreads)
Just One Day by Gayle Forman (goodreads)

A BIG thank you to Harper Collins Canada and Penguin Canada for these amazing sounding reads. I am having a hard time not starting them both right away.

I want to say thank you to Megan Shepherd for sending me some swag. The tea was a pleasant surprise, and I LOVE tea so I will be trying this out when I read the book.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 16, 2012

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:

BOOKS

Marie Antoinette: Serial Killer by Katie Alender

I know NOTHING about this book or what it's about, but I want to. I am quite excited to find out more as I am already intrigued. It's a Fall 2013 release from Scholastic so I will be on the look out for more information in the new year. If you are curious, you can add it to Goodreads already.

MOVIE

The City of Bones teaser trailer



Words can not describe how much I LOVE everything about this trailer. Robert Sheehan is going to be fantastic as Simon. I am already looking forward to having my heart broken by him when certain events happen in books two and three (no spoilers!). The line at the end "Welcome to the City of Bones".... SHIVERS. Everything about it gives me chills. The book fangirl in me is reacting to a series I love being turned into a movie, and the way Jamie Campbell Bower says that line... ARGH! It's perfect.

Everything I see in the this teaser gives me hope that the movie is going to be amazing.

Mortal Instruments movie posters



I am in awe of these posters. They suit the feel of the novel so well. Everything they have been releasing so far has made me quite happy. Can it just be August already? A warning...expect this movie to show up in this post A LOT between now and August.

TV

Once Upon A Time

This should maybe be titled "obsessing about Once Upon A Time with Brodie from Eleusinian Mysteries". Brodie and I get really into this show. REALLY into it. We spent much time last season discussing who August was. This year it's all about Neal Cassady and who he might be. We send epically long emails back and forth and dissect everything. I couldn't ask for a more awesome person to do this with. If you haven't checked out the this show yet, you are missing out! Tons of hotties, and a great storyline.

OTHER

City of Bones Read Along

In the new year I will be putting together a fun read along for anyone who want to read this (or read it again) before the movie comes out in August. I am hoping to have everything up sometime in January. Looking forward to hopefully having a fantastic conversation with the Ottawa Blogettes about the book, too.

Magic Mike trading cards

Apparently in Target stores in the USA the DVD of Magic Mike comes with collector trading cards. My first reaction was to freak out and, of course, immediately want them. Christy from The Reader Bee is trying to hook me up by visiting her local Targets for me. I pretty much adore her!

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Kiss 'N' Tell Tour

Today I have Janet Gurtler stopping by with a guest post about media and it's impact on us in society. The role of the media in Who I Kissed showcases how our society has turned into a news centered culture. We are used to have up to the minute updates on everything.

An intereresting guest post topic, and I thank Janet for stopping by!

Media Crazy: In the book, Samantha is troubled with guilt and watching the news is not helping.  Janet Gurtler explores the effect media can have on teens in tough situations.

In the book, Who I Kissed, when a boy dies from kissing a girl who ate peanut butter, it’s a sensational death and all forms of media cover the tragedy. A peanut butter kiss and Alex is gone. It sounds almost comical, except it’s not.  It’s a story that the papers and the online community want to talk about.  Samantha is the girl who kissed a boy and made him die.  Not only does she have to deal with her own guilt and horror, she has to deal with the worlds. All she has to do is turn on the television to see highlights and updates about what happened. 



Sam is compelled to watch and almost treats the news as her just punishment, watching and seeing snippets about the boy and his life and knowing she’s the cause of the person he’ll never become.  When I wrote the book, I consulted some journalism friends to see if in a case like this whether or not the traditional forms of news coverage would name the girl who caused the death. The unanimous opinion was that, no, they wouldn’t because the death was accidental and a tragedy. 


The flip side of this world we live in today though is social media. There aren’t any hard and fast rules in place. In Sam’s world her name and the story is very much public knowledge. The teens even use social media to bully Sam. She’s taunted on Facebook and because of her overwhelming guilt, she doesn’t even try to report it or fight back.  Online bullying is a problem that is becoming larger and is often difficult to manage.  Sam is hurt but unable to answer to or unwilling to report or respond to it except internally.


Our society is so inundated with information coming from so many different forms of media. It seems like we expect to know the details when there’s a tragedy like a teen’s accidental death. As a public we want or the juicy behind the scenes. We’re a society growing up with reality television where we know intimate details about stranger’s lives.  Teens post pictures of themselves on-line or their parents post their pictures online for the whole world to see. 


I’m sure television reporters and shows feel tremendous pressure to get something different to show a different angle of a story.  The media seems much more intrusive and the public seems to support and expect it.  In many ways, it’s an unhealthy sense of entitlement and a willingness to peer inside people’s windows and see things we’re not always entitled inside to see. 


We want to know everything but what is the price for the people who have to deal not only with the tragedy but also with the consequences of being so exposed in the media?
Where are ethics, and social responsibilities going when our traditional media outlets are competing against media not governed or concerned with the same moralities?

Many teens today grow up with their lives completely connected to technology which usually includes being online.  Media really does take on a much broader scope and sometimes it’s hard not to have the lines blurred between social media and news.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Friday Hops!


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:

Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?

I have always thought that the movie The Craft would make a great YA series, and also Heathers. They are both two of my favourite movies, and I would enjoy a series based off them.

Happy Weekend!

Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
Release Date – October 1, 2012
Publisher Website –  Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 312 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**Provided by publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . . 
Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team. She’s been flirting with one of her teammates, Zee, who invites her to a party and just as quickly dumps her for another girl. Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss. And he dies—right in her arms. Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party. She didn’t know. Overnight, Samantha turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she will have to find the inner-strength to forgive herself for the tragedy.
Samantha has always been a “good girl”. She gets good grades, is one of the top swimmers in her school, and doesn’t kiss random boys. One night changes everything for her when in a moment of anger she decides to kiss a boy she just started talking to. Samantha’s life quickly changes when the boy dies after kissing her from an allergic reaction/asthma attack. Her journey of self forgiveness is touching, but more light hearted than I was expecting.

The character of Samantha is well written. She is relatable and always felt like a real teenager. The crippling grief that consumes her after Alex’s death is understandable. Samantha’s self hatred, and need to be punished for what she sees as unforgivable leads to a downward spiral of destructive behaviour. I felt connected to her, and wanted to see her a reach a place of forgiveness for herself.

The entire cast of characters is pretty realistic. The anger, grief, and disbelief resonated deeply. Each of the characters deals with the loss in their own way, and each takes their own journey out of the darkness.  The notion of self forgiveness is handled beautifully, and the significance of that step is shown.

The comedic relief comes from Samantha’s Aunt Allie. A spiritual free spirit with a sweet Chiwawa. She’s spunky, and funny.

The relationship between Samantha and her father was wonderful. A relationship that showed each as an individual who makes mistakes, while showing that love that knits families together. It was refreshing in YA to see such a strong portrayal of a father/daughter dynamic.

This novel does come off much lighter than you might expect. The over all message is not one of sadness, but rather education and working through grief.  However, this lightness caused a bit of a disconnect with me. The events of the story are so crushing for the main character, that the lighter tone took me out of the feelings I was having. It’s a small thing and may not distract for others, but I found it noticeable.

The author’s main goal, through this novel, is to raise awareness. The danger of a potential second hand reaction is scary, and I would bet it doesn’t cross a lot of people’s minds. Those not living with a serve allergy (either themselves or someone close to them) may not recognize this as a risk in public places. The novel is successful in making you think, and consider this type of situation.

A thought provoking novel that shines light on a danger that is given very little attention. The story was ultimately touching, but just didn’t resonate as strongly as I wished it would have.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday...Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

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 Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand… 
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it. 
Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

This sounds amazing! I am already very excited to meet River and Violet and read their story. It sounds romantic, and terrifying and awesome.

Expected release date August 15, 2013

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Black City by Elizabeth Richards


Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Release Date – November 13, 2012
Publisher Website –  Razorbill/Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Provided by publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. 
When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
A futuristic world where vampires (called Darklings) are segregated from the human population, Black City is a lushly romantic, vividly captivating and intense read.

The descriptions in the novel read like a movie. Every character, and every detail is described vividly. The writing is it's strongest in it’s descriptions. The novel itself is well plotted, and the pacing will keep you turning the pages. It was, for me, a rather quick read as I was invested right from the beginning.

The novel hinges on the set up of segregation. The political propaganda, demonstrations, and corrupt government officials kept the tension taunt and the action coming. It’s not hard to see the similarities to any group that has ever been discriminated against, and it was all too easily imagined. The public crucifixions were especially uncomfortable.  Purian Rose and the Sentry are chilling, and calculating.

The vampires in this novel come with a serious bite.There is a seductive, sexual quality to everything they do. Add in the fact that their venom provides an exhilarating high and it’s easy to see how one would be tempted. Sexuality and vampires are so intricately linked that it’s hard to make it feel fresh. Elizabeth Richards manages to do that, and make it insanely sexy.

Ash is half darkling, and half human. Belonging to neither group weighs heavily on Ash, and he is achingly lonely. His bad boy persona (complete with selling himself as a drug) mixed with his desire to belong made him quite swoon worthy. He cares passionately and deeply about those in his life, and packs a delicious bite.

Natalie, a government officials daughter, and I got off to a rough start. High maintenance and snobby were words that first came to mind. She quickly won me over. She proves herself to be brave, selfless, and fiercely protective over her sister. She shows that she is not as easily manipulated as others would like.

Day, a classmate who becomes Natalie’s best friend, was awesome. The friendship that blossoms between these two was one of my favourite parts of the story. I also enjoyed the friendship between Ash and Beetle.

The romance in the novel may come off as rushed, but the explanation behind this felt logical within the story. The hint of a potential love triangle grabbed my interest because it’s such a unique situation.  The parties involved, and how it comes to fruition were well plotted and the result of a few surprising twists.

A sensual, intense, and engrossing read that will leave you in a haze. Phoenix can not get here quickly enough as the ending leaves you eagerly awaiting the second installment to Ash and Natalie’s love story.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling


The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
Release Date – September 27, 2012
Publisher Website –  Little, Brown and Company
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -503 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Provided by publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. 
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. 
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems. 
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
When it was announced that JK Rowling was going to release another book I, like most people, immediately freaked out. My thoughts quickly turned to what an adult novel by JK Rowling might be like. The Casual Vacancy is a unflinchingly real, sometimes darkly funny, and well written novel that showcases why JK Rowling is a true talent.

Those looking for magic and wizards might be disappointed, however this novel is one clearly written by Rowling. The writing is pitch perfect for the genre, and similarities in how the story unravels can be found in both. Rowling’s talent is that she can write and make us care. We cared about Harry, Hermoine and Ron, and ultimately we come to care about the town of Pagford, The Fields, and it’s residents.

The characters in this novel are fully fleshed out. They are achingly real, and raw. They are as deeply rich and complex as real people. People are flawed, and sometimes messy. Rowling’s ability to observe and recreate this in her novels so vividly stunned me. This story is one completely about the characters, rather than the plot.

Using the characters and plot Rowling is willing to shine an uncomfortable light on society. The reader will most likely identify with someone or something in the novel, admitted or not. I can see this novel making people squirm due to it’s unflinching honesty about people and the ways in which we hurt ourselves and others. Some readers may find it too grounded in the realities of life. This novel doesn't shy away from the dark aspects of life, just as it celebrates the things worth living for at the same time. A novel that deals with rape, drug use, child neglect, and yet also has gossip fueled housewives, declarations of love, and humour.

The writing is strongest when focusing on the teen aged characters. The wrenching portrayal of a teenager spiraling deeper into depression and self harm is especially effective.  Each of the teenagers stay with you long after you've read the final pages.

The ending, while very sad, is fitting. It shows that life moves on in the face of unbearable loss. The Casual Vacancy may present itself as a dark comedy but it really is a character driven look at society. The truth behind the notion that what goes on behind closed doors is hidden from the rest of society is examined. It’s these hidden truths that Rowling has put front and center by tearing off the curtains and allowing us to peek into the windows.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

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).

Another amazing week of awesome books making their way into my already cramped book closet. I had a wonderful time at the Ontario Blogger Meet Up (see my recap) and these novels made their way back from Toronto with me. A huge thank you to all the publishers, and the lovely bloggers who organized the event.



Magnified Word by Grace O'Connell (goodreads)
Speechless by Hannah Harrington (goodreads)
Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens (goodreads)
Fuse by Julianna Boggot (goodreads)
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy (goodreads)
Sever by Lauren DeStefano (goodreads)
Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (goodreads)
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (goodreads)
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (goodreads)
Envy by Elizabeth Miles (goodreads)

Next up is a review book from Netgalley


The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter (goodreads)

A big thank you to HarlequinTeen and Netgalley for this. I can't wait to read it and find out how Kate and Henry's story ends.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 9, 2012

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:

BOOKS

Cover of Tarnish by Katherine Longshore


I unveiled this earlier this week and can't wait to read it! Anne Boleyn has always captivated me and I am looking forward to see what Katherine does with her story.

Penguin Summer catalog

Much squealing was had while flipping though this catalog. First, I squealed over the fact that Isla and the Happily Ever After was in it. This means we get it this summer. THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY! Seeing the cover for Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood was also happy making. I am beyond excited for some of these summer titles.

TV

The Following 'All Audience' Trailer



I am slightly obsessed with the thought of this show. I think it's going to be awesome. They just released two trailers. One that is 'all audiences" and one they are calling "rated intense". Sadly, because I do not live in the USA I am blocked from viewing said "intense" trailer, but the "all audiences" one is pretty insane. Side note - I love that Edgar Alan Poe's works are woven into this story too.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Follow Friday


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:

Q: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic?

No, not really. I think most ideas are a modification of some other idea anyways. Everything is inspired by, or influenced by something. I think that if an author can take it, twist it and make it their own is what matters.

A direct copy of something with minor changes would be a turn off, but otherwise it's all about how the author approaches it.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

*Exclusive* Tarnish by Katherine Longshore cover reveal

I have the great honour of releasing the cover to Katherine Longshore's Tarnish. The second installment in the Royal Circle series.

There is also a fantastic giveaway up for grabs. You can win a pre-order of Tarnish and a signed copy of the first novel, Gilt.

The synopsis of Tarnish was also released and I am so excited to share it!
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to teach her how to shine at court—and to convince everyone they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.
Now, let's unveil the pretty!

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Stunning right? This cover really is quite pretty and I love the green background. It really makes everything stand out. I am beyond excited that it's Anne's story. She's always been my favourite of Henry's Queens and her story is fascinating.

You can add Tarnish to your Goodreads if you haven't already and it is available to pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to enter the giveaway and spread the news.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday.....The Elite

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 The Elite by Kiera Cass


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide. 
Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
I enjoyed The Selection quite a bit, and was intrigued by some of the political aspects in the novel. It sounds like it might be taking a darker turn, so I am excited to see what is next.

Expected release date April 23, 2013

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi


Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi
Release Date – October 2, 2012
Publisher Website –  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 111 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45. 
In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . . 
Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow. 
Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.
Those who read Shatter Me know that Warner is anything but a typical villain. A complex character that left you certain his back story would be explosive.  Destroy Me lets us into his head. He is just as calculating, and self serving as expected. There is, however, cracks in his facade that are strangely softening. The lighter moments we glimpse into this wounded, yet chilling, character are enough to make you re-consider exactly how you feel about him.
Warner’s unraveling sanity comes as a result of his obsession with Juliette. It is entirely evident that she has shaken him, and he unsure what to handle this. His detachment is something he enjoys and Juliette has broken through that. He can no longer pretend to not care, especially when it comes to her.

Warner’s father is a man who demands obedience and takes pleasure in  punishment. Warner’s upbringing was not nurturing and his father’s presence gives a lot of insight into how Warner was molded. It also brings light to some of Warner's behaviour.

The more steamier parts of Tahereh Mafi’s writing always intrigued me, and Warner’s growing interest in Juliette provides some blush worthy moments that left me breathless.
“I want her clothes off, and the lights on and I want to study her. I want to unzip her out of this dress and take my time with every inch of her. I can’t help my need to just stare; to know her and her features: the slope of her nose, the curve of her lips, the line of her jaw. I want to run my fingertips across the soft skin of her neck and trace it all the way down. I want to feel the weight of her pressed against me, wrapped around me.”
His preoccupation with Juliette allows insight into her character as well. Tahereh’s ability to deepen a character I found quite complex already is awe inspiring. An author who can use a character to tell you something about another character, and do so masterfully, is one with a clear gift.

The writing in Destroy Me is solid, emotionally impacting and filled with angst. Warner's brilliant descent into possible madness left me breathless and anxious to read Unravel Me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ontario Blog Squad Meet Up Recap

This past weekend a bunch of Ottawa bloggers and I were fortunate enough to attend the annual event put on by the ladies at Ontario Blog Squad. Having not been able to attend the first event, I wasn't really sure what to expect. It ended up being a fabulous day filled with laughter, book talk, and meeting some wonderful people.

Katie from Bookishly Yours, Emilie from Emilie's Book World, Ciara from Lost at Midnight, and Meaghan from Feeling A Little Bookish traveled to Toronto for the weekend.

The location was a great choice. The food was excellent, and the waterfront was really pretty setting. The amount of planning and preparation that the Ontario Blog Squad members put into the event was evident. The fun little trivia games, and taking the time to introduce themselves really made a difference. It was set up to allow us to mingle and really talk to the other bloggers, publishers and authors in attendance.

The atmosphere was what really made the event. So much excitement about books, and just getting to meet the bloggers behind some of the blogs we frequent. My favourite part, by far, was getting to mingle and say hello to everyone.

My book haul from the event


I think our entire table squealed with happiness when we saw Sever. I am also very excited to read the rest, and must say that Etiquette and Espionage looks really good.

It was lovely to meet Michele from Just A Lil Lost, Shannon and Vickie from Harper Collins Canada, Amy from Penguin Canada, Nicole from Nicole About Town, Angel from Mermaid Vision Books, Jen from Storytime with Jen, The Cupcake Queen Wendy, Christa from Hooked on Books, Lesley Livingston, Lindsey from A Storm of Words and many more. To anyone I met and didn't single out - SORRY! It was a whirlwind and everyone was so lovely.

To my fellow Ottawa Blogettes (and road trip partners) all I want to say is THANK YOU! You ladies are awesome and I am so glad we have our little group.

I just want to thank all the ladies behind the Ontario Blog Squad for a wonderful event. Your hard work and planning is greatly appreciated. The publishers and authors who came to mingle with us, and of course, my fellow bloggers for being rockstars. I am so happy to be a part of this fun, crazy and wonderful community.

See you all next year!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

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 small mailbox this week. I am out of town (in Toronto) so this will be schedule to go up on Sunday. Anything from Thursday onward will be included in next weeks post.


The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (goodreads)

As I read Burn for Burn and really enjoyed it I decided to give Jenny Han's other series a try. I will eventually fit this one into my already huge reading pile.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

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

Glitter and Doom by Bethany Griffin



I stumbled upon this whlie looking at the Harper Collins summer catalog. A e-novella coming between Masque of the Red Death and Dance of the Red Death. Super excited to read it and find out who it's about. Does it feature someone else's point of view other than Araby?

Cover of Josephine Angelini's Goddess


These covers are rather striking, and I think I like this one the most out of all of them. I am curious to find out how Helen's story ends (and if she ends up with Orion).

Cover for Belladonna by Fiona Paul


I really enjoyed Venom and can't wait to read the follow up. This cover is just as pretty as the first in the series.

Cover for Towering by Alex Flinn


I didn't know this was even being released. I LOVE fairytale re-tellings and this one about Rapunzel sounds awesome.

TV

Once Upon A Time's Killian Jones (AKA Hook)


Yup...totally smitten. Devilish charm, a stunning accent and the guyliner. It all worked, and I hope he stays forever.

OTHER

Ontario Blogger Meet Up 

This event takes place TODAY! I am beyond excited to meet so many people that I talk to over twitter. It is going to be an amazing afternoon filled with books and book chat. I am also really looking forward to the Cassandra Clare signing right after that we are all heading to. It is going to be a incredible but busy day.

So what you are obsessed with this week?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Follow Friday


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:

Q: What is a deal breaker for you in a book? For example, do you abhor love triangles? Or can't deal with bad editing?

Not really. I can handle anything if done properly. I think it depends on the writer, and how they go about certain things.

I will have a hard time if there are obvious consistency errors, but normally I can keep reading if I am enjoying the story.

Happy Weekend!

Venom by Fiona Paul



Venom by Fiona Paul
Release Date – October 30, 2012
Publisher Website –  Philomel/Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained from publisher via BEA for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape. 
When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco? 
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
Romance, a historical setting, fabulous masquerades and mystery. What more could you look for? Venom weaves these together to create a highly readable, and engaging story.

Rich, vibrant descriptions bring the setting to life. The lapping water, the smells, and even the fabrics all play a part in creating the scene. Fiona Paul’s strength is how much research went into getting the little details right, and as a result is able to transport the reader into the story.

Cassandra is a privileged young woman. A little naive, and sheltered when she first appears, but her character is quick to change. She ends up having a lot of drive, and is very curious. She is also quite intelligent and proves herself much more capable that she first appears.

Falco, the charming and mysterious artist that Cass meets is certainly enthralling. His motivations are never clear, and this makes him a captivating. Should we trust him? Should Cass? These questions kept me up late into the night turning the pages. His influence on Cass opens a whole new world to her, and it’s one she may not want to leave behind.

The other man in Cassandra’s life, her finance, Luca  is equally captivating. I immediately wanted to know more about him. He seems loyal, and much more progressive in his treatment of women than other males of that time. He, like everyone, has his own secrets, and I look forward to see more of them unravel.

The romance in this novel is lushly sensual. There are some blush worthy scenes, and quite racy descriptions. The attraction between the characters is instantaneous, but it is describe as such. Love doesn’t come into the picture, and instead we get to see a courtship take place. A gradual build of feelings that stems from a sexual attraction.

Creepy, and at times shiver inducing, the atmosphere is filled with chills. The set up of the murders, and the mysterious Eternal Rose society is wonderful paced. The clues are dropped exactly when they need to in order to progress the plot and keep the tension taunt. We learn enough to satisfy and yet enough is held back to make us eagerly await the sequel.

A complex mystery infused with realism, sexy chemistry and captivating characters make for an excellent start to a promising trilogy. The mysteries left to unravel will keep my head spinning until I get my hands on the second installment. Those who love a well researched novel will enjoy this immensely.

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