Saturday, June 29, 2013

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). 

Small but awesome mailbox this week consisting of two review copies


Tampa by Alissa Nutting (Goodreads)
Belladonna by Fiona Paul (Goodreads)

Huge thank you to Penguin Canada for the copy of Belladonna. I am part of the Canadian blog tour and will be posting my stop within the next 2 weeks.

A huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for the review copy of Tampa. I've heard good things, so I am looking forward to seeing how I feel once I've read the book.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

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 Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before


Cute, and a fun sounding (seriously, read the synopsis) contemporary. Pretty sure the main character is going to be awesome, and I love the tones/colours used for the cover.

Cover of Lauren DeStefano's Perfect Ruin


Lauren's covers usually offer major clues to the plot of the novels. I love the synopsis of this Utopian novel and can't wait to read my copy. The cover is eye catching, and I expect is offers a few hidden clues about what is in store for the characters.

TV

Friday Night Lights

This is a running theme, obviously. If you haven't met Tim Riggins, Matt Saracen, and the Taylors - YOU NEED TO FIX THIS IMMEDIATELY. It's one of those shows that inspires you to write, but at the same time, makes you realize you will never write something that beautiful EVER. I've become so invested in these characters that the littlest things make me cry. If you've been putting off watching this, DO IT!

Dexter

The final season of Dexter starts this Sunday. It's strange, but I am going to have a hard time saying goodbye to Dex, Deb, and the rest. I hope Deb finally finds a happy ending. I hope little Harrison ends up safe and loved (whatever happens to Dexter). A part of me even hopes for a happy ending for Dexter himself (even if unrealistic).

OTHER

Secret Blog Things

So Christy (from The Reader Bee), Kelly (from KellyVision) and I are working on something that I think is pretty awesome. Details are coming soon and expect the first installment of this new feature to take place in August. I am really looking forward to this!

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Follow Friday


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

Q: What is your preferred reading format? Hardcover, eBooks, paperback etc?

My preferred reading format is physical books. I don't have a preference between hardback and paper. There is just something about the feel of an actual book that an ereader doesn't have. Plus, I love the smell of old books. They have a history.

Happy Weekend!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date – Feburary 26, 2013
Publisher Website -  St Martin's Press/Raincoast Books Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 325 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
Outcasts, romance, and mixed tapes. Eleanor and Park seems to have everything of a cute 80's romance movie. However, there is a dark undertone to this touching story about finding yourself, falling in love, and discovering things for the first time. 

The nostalgia factor is high for anyone who grew up in the 80's (or had a sibling who was a teen in the 80's). It creates a warm, fuzzy feeling that endeared me to the characters right away. I was heavily influenced by my older sister, as I was quite young in the 80's, so the feeling reminded me of growing up. It created instant familiarity. I think the themes in the story are timeless though, and will very much appeal to today's teens as well.

Rainbow Rowell's writing is full of heart. She infuses that into her characters. It's them that shine the brightest in this story. Every single amount of praise you've heard about Rainbow's writing is fully deserved, and I have  a feeling her fan base is only going to continue to grow as more books are released.

Mixed with the nostalgia of the 80's was reminder of being a teenager. It brought to mind whispered conversations on the phone with boys while I was babysitting, that initial intoxication of first love, and the rush of discovering yourself. It captures this part of a being a teenager effortlessly and in a way that I haven't felt in a book in a long time. It's the first time you felt that emotional 'click' with someone that understood you in a way that nobody had before.

A lot is made out of the fact that these two characters are not the typical of ones that you find in this genre. They are both awkward, outcasts, and different. If not for the fact that they share a seat together on the bus it's debatable whether or not they would have even interacted with each other in the first place. Coming together broadens their worlds and allows them to step into themselves in a way that they were scared of before. It puts them on a path to discover who they are, even if it's just in that moment.

I swooned at the adorable swap of mix tapes, and the tenderness in which Park cares for Eleanor. He is her rock in the chaotic mess that is her home life. Eleanor's living situation is heartbreaking, and intense. The story is darker than expected and portrays everything with a realism that is crushing. Park has his own issues with family, and his are dealt with with the same carefulness that Eleanor's situation is handled.

A great mixture of romance, humour, coming of age, and two outcasts helping each other and falling in love. While I may not have fangirled as hard as other reviews, this one is a more introspective, nostalgic read with characters who work their way into your heart.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday... Cruel Beauty


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 Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge



Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom—all because of a reckless bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.

Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her. As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. But even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, could she refuse her duty to kill him?

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
I love fairytale retellings, and this synopsis sounds amazing. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favourites, so this book can not be released quick enough. On a side note - how amazing is that cover?!

Expected release date - January 28, 2014

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Event Recap - The Oathbreaker's Shadow Launch Party


It's not often that Ottawa gets to host any bookish events. Myself, and the other Ottawa blogettes were really excited to hear that Amy McCulloch would be hosting a launch event to celebrate her book.

The event was held at a local frozen yogurt lounge called Spoon.


Upon arrival we were treated to some frozen yogurt and plenty of cupcakes and champagne. Amy had made the cupcakes and they each had a little picture of the book cover on them.


Amy read a quick passage from her novel to kick off the event and then got busy signing books. She also took a moment and came over to talk to our group. She was very sweet, and kind. The event had a rather impressive turn out, and I may have found my new favourite frozen yogurt place!

Amy reading from her novel

The decorations included a larger version of the map included in the beginning of the book, which was amazingly well done. 

Some of the Ottawa Blogettes
I hope this means good things for other bookish events in the city. It was a fantastic night spent with friends, books, and frozen yogurt.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Reading Suggestions



It's summer! That means long days at the beach, ice cold fruity drinks, and, of course, amazing reads. I am going to offer up my suggestions on what to toss into your beach bag before the end of the gorgeous summer weather arrives.

Books That Are Already Out

These are novels I loved, and would recommend for your summer reading enjoyment. You can find all of them in bookstores now.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

One of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. It's heart wrenching, and just surpassed all my expectations. I fell in love with the writing, and the characters within the pages. Any Peter Pan fan MUST read this one, but even the non Pan fanatic will fall in love with this one.

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

Anne Boleyn's story is familiar to most people who've studied British history. Her story has never been told quite like this. A novel that focuses on her life, rather than her death, paints a much different picture of the doomed queen. It's romance is steamy enough to incite your own summer romance wishes, and it's deeper than your normal beach read.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Travel, romance, a swoon worthy guy, and a story of finding yourself. This book will leave you desperate to get Just One Year, and will ignite a travel lust that will have you day dreaming of a Paris getaway. Reading it while at the beach, with a nice fruity drink in hand, is pretty much the prefect way to spend a summer afternoon.

Masque of the Red Death/Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I LOVE this series. The final part of Araby's story is out now, and it would make a perfect beach read. Romance, danger, and beautiful prose make this one of my favourite series. The characters are flawed, and that makes them all the more human.

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

If after all those light beachy reads, you're looking for something a little heavier to read I suggest picking up this amazingly written, and gripping novel. It's an adult book with lots of cross over appeal, so even older YA readers can give it a try. The wonderful characters will stay with you long after the last page. It'll leave you questioning how you view gender, and it's importance to who a person is.

Books Coming Out This Summer

Here are some books that aren't released yet, but before summer ends you'll see them make an appearance on many beach towels. 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Prepare to become obsessed with Stalias Cordova, and his beautiful daughter Ashley. The mystery surrounding Ashley's apparent suicide is second only to the mystery of the infamous director himself. Who exactly is Cordva? That questions haunts our main character, and the reader themselves. The novel is rich is character, descriptions, and left me looking forward to anything else she may write. 

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Sure to be a huge international hit, this intriguing novel has some amazing characters, and stunning world building in it. The complex political layers will pique a more adult audience, while the character of Paige will appeal to those readers who love YA novels.

What I Am Packing In My Beach Tote

I've told you what books I think you should read. Here is the list of books I will be devouring while lounging by my sister's pool in July and August.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

This one sounds controversial, and thought provoking. It's one of those books that is going to garner strong reactions from people. The fact that it's being called a female voiced Lolita is also intriguing. Either way, I expect this one to make a big splashy entrance this summer.

Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivan

Okay, so this technically isn't out until the fall, but I was fortunate enough to snag a copy well in NYC for Book Expo, and fully intend on devouring this with some ice cream by the pool. It's a perfect fit for summer reading with the betrayals, romance, and secrets.  I loved Burn for Burn and can't wait to see what is going on with Mary!  

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Another novel that doesn't come out until the fall, but I am not going to be able to hold off. I really enjoyed the Chemical Gardens trilogy and can't wait to see what this new series is like.

What books will be joining you at the beach this summer? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

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). 

My mailbox was awesome again this week! I have some borrowed books, some gifted, and a book I got for a launch event held here in Ottawa.


Borrowed

Sloppy First by Megan McCafferty (Goodreads)
Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout (Goodreads)
If I Should Die by Amy Plum (Goodreads)






Gifted

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore (Goodreads)

Purchased

The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch (Goodreads)

I will be posting an event recap for the Oathbreaker's Shadow launch Monday so look for that. It was nice to have an event here in Ottawa for once, and I had so much fun with the other Ottawa blogettes.

A huge thank you to Katherine Longshore for sending me a copy of Tarnish that was signed. She also included a little card. I cried because of her kind words, and consider myself very lucky to work with amazing authors like her.

A big thank you to Ciara and Katie for lending me the other books. Looking forward to some summer reading.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

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

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

I have to admit I am super curious about this one. Just read the Goodreads synopsis. It's being called a female narrated Lolita, and that immediately piqued my interest. Is it controversial? OF COURSE. It's supposed to make you uncomfortable, and repulsed. It sounds like one of those books that will invoke strong opinions, and that excites me. I love novels that make you think, feel, and yes, even squirm a little. Needless to say, I am most likely going to check this one out. I might see what others thing first, because there is a potential for this to be a bit of a mess, but something tells me it's going to be an intense, and well written read.

cover of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge



I.Can't.Even. This cover is so pretty. It's one of those covers you immediately want to hang on your walls because it's so striking. The synopsis also sounds amazing. If you follow my blog you're well aware of my fairytale obsession, so this seems perfect.

TV

Friday Night Lights

If you haven't watched this incredible series, please do it immediately. I LOVE it so much. I am hoping to binge the rest of the series that I have left really soon.

OTHER

Vacation Dreaming

As usual, I tend to start day dreaming about vacation this time of year. Sadly I won't be going on any kind of vacation until after BEA 2014 but that doesn't mean I am not already in planning mode. I am debating either Disney World again, Los Angeles/Las Vegas trip, or perhaps even going to Europe again (I have been dying to to go to Italy). Each of them have huge drawing points, and I am in full research mode.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Follow Friday


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

Q: Share your favorite literary quote!

I have so many favourite quotes from books. I think that's what this refers to. I'll share three of my favourites, but really I could quote a bunch.

First up is a quote from Stephanie Perkin's Lola And The Boy Next Door. One of the most romantic speeches ever. The line "The boy did. By thinking about the girl" gets me EVERY single time.
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated.

One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn't bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he'd look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name.

At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he'd wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who'd turned on the floodlights.

The boy did. By thinking about the girl.”
Next up is a quote from Gayle Forman's Just One Day. So many quotes from this novel are amazing. I love this one in particular because everyone wants that life changing kiss. The kiss that just feels RIGHT.
“We kiss again. This next kiss is the kind that breaks open the sky. It steals my breath and gives it back. It shows me that every other kiss I've had in my life has been wrong.”
Last, a simple one from Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It's heartbreakingly true. It's one of those lines that is both sad, and beautiful at the same time, and I can't think of a truer statement.
“we accept the love we think we deserve.” 
What are some of your favourites? Link me so I can stop by!

Happy Weekend!

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson



Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Release Date – June 14, 2011 (paperback edition)
Publisher Website - HarperCollins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 358 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**Kobo gift card purchase/Gift card given from Kobo Canada**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
"As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . ."

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.
Christine wakes up each morning without her memories. She doesn't recognize the man beside her, the house she wakes up in, or even her reflection in the mirror. S.J. Watson takes a chilling concept and laces it with tension, and lies to create a fast paced thriller.

So much of this novel is a spoiler. It's laid out in a certain way because it allows the reader to unravel things with the narrator, and full immerse themselves. It works better if you know as little as possible about the storyline other than what is in the above synopsis.

Things in Christine's life quickly take a sinister turn when it becomes clear that someone in her life is lying to her. Is it the man she wakes up to each day? The doctor who is helping Christine keep her own secrets? With each growing realization it becomes evident that nobody is free from suspicion, and trust is hard to come by. It creates an atmosphere where the tension is high, and danger could be lurking everywhere. It could also be a product of Christine's illness, and her mind filling in unpleasant gaps. The plot twists, and turns keep the reader on their toes until the very final reveal.

Taking out the fantastic thriller element the novel still provides plenty to send shivers down your spine. The entire notion of Christine's reality is crushing. It would be excruciatingly frustrating to wake up each morning with little memories, and Christine's character sharply reflects this. It's our experiences that define and shape us. Without them, who are we? It's a daunting prospect to consider.

Christine's narrative voice is, of course, unreliable. It shapes the stories viewpoint in a very specific way. It's like looking at something really close up with a telescope and slowly pulling back to see the larger picture. It's murky and unclear at first what is going on but each pieces creates a clearer picture. It reminded me a lot of the movie Momento, where memory loss also played a big part. Her lack of true identity made character an easy one to 'step into' in terms of placing yourself in their position. It wasn't hard to imagine yourself in a similar situation, and that's what made the story work so wonderfully.

A pulse pounding, gripping mystery in which everyone is suspect, the truth is more dangerous than expected, and the heroine is unreliable. A page turner that will certainly keep you up at night, and leave you second guessing everything.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday.... The Killing Woods


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 Killing Wood by Lucy Christopher

 
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.
I loved Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It was one of the first books I reviewed on this little blog. It resonated and still sticks with me. I consider it one of my favourite that I've reviewed here, and I can't wait to read another from Lucy. It sounds amazing, and twisty and dark. SO EXCITED!

Expected release date - September 2, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore



Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Release Date – June 18, 2013
Publisher Website -  Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating- ALL THE STARS
**obtained for review from publisher**

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.
History is unyielding. It's concrete. There is no escaping it. Anne Boleyn's fate is known before you even open the first page of Tarnish. What I loved most about this novel is that it took the unique premise of focusing not on her death, but instead her life.

Katherine Longshore brings Anne Boleyn effortlessly to life. Her voice is so clear, and it resonates so deeply, if almost read as an autobiography. This Anne is human, flawed, and most of importantly, REAL. This Anne is driven, and just wants her voice to be heard. She has opinions and think that they matter. Her voice is one of my favourites of the year, because you can see how richly layered she is. Katherine Longshore took great care in bringing an iconic queen to life within her pages, and it shows.

Katherine's novels always, even though they are historical, are relevant and current. Anne's desire to share her opinions, have her voice count are still struggles that women face today. It ties in nicely with the entire notion of equality and shows that while we've come along way, it's still an important issue worth talking about.

Tarnish doesn't shy away from Anne's ambition. It is evident, and prominently so. She wants to be seen and heard. Throughout history she's been portrayed as having high goals and opinions. It's often shown as playing a part in her downfall. In Tarnish, however,  it's shown as a part of her like any other trait. For this she's neither vilified of martyred, it simply is.

The romance in Tarnish was rather delicious. The fun, flirty banter between Anne and Thomas Wyatt provided humour, sexual tension, and a fascinating 'what if'. I couldn't stop myself from wondering 'what if' the entire novel. The tantalizing part of historical novels are the moments where the people involved might have escaped their fate by taking another path, and this is full explored in Tarnish. The interactions between Anne and Henry are also laced with flirty banter. I found myself enthralled with both Wyatt and Henry for different reasons.

Even as I wished for Anne to escape history and run away with Thomas Wyatt, I could see the allure of Henry whenever he was on the page. His powerful presence, and the way he made Anne feel were incredibly intoxicating. Mix this with Anne's desire for something more and it's easy to see how history caught up with her. I could see how she would take the risk, and strive for the King's heart. He was fascinated with her not just for her looks, but her intelligence, and wit. As someone who wanted to be taken seriously, this would have enthralled and captivated her.

The ending is both joyous, and drenched in sadness. The Anne we leave is full of hope, and optimism about her future and love. As a reader we are all too aware that the steps she is taking will eventually lead to her death. Anne's fate, one of the most compelling aspects of her story, is beautiful foreshadowed and captured. It's woven throughout the story, and the ending brings it into stark reality.

A stunningly vivid portrayal of one of the most fascinating of Henry's wives. A sensuous, and at time bitter sweet, novel that made me admire Anne more than I already did. Fans of historical fiction will not want to miss this, and those who normally shy away from historical will find much to love between these pages as well.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Interview with Katherine Longshore


Today I have the lovely Katherine Longshore stopping by for an interview. We discuss her new book, Anne Boleyn, and wanting to change history.

Huge thank you to Katherine for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of Tarnish.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Anne has been written about, and studied in depth. While doing your own research was there anything you discovered that surprised you about her or her life?

Two things, really.  One was that she inspires such strong—and often diametrically opposed—opinions.  Of course, I knew this already, but in trying to form my own ideas and in trying to build my own version of her character, it was sometimes difficult to get past the emotional language often used to describe her and her life.

The other thing that struck me was how much time she spent away from England as a young person.  Anne’s birthdate was unmarked, so it’s debatable how old she was when her father sent her to live with Margaret of Austria in the Low Countries (now the Netherlands).  Because I chose a later possible birthdate to work with, she would have been seven when she left home.  And she was gone for almost eight years.  How can that not affect a little girl?

2 The voice you've given the character is so distinct. It defines the character and allows her to leap off the page. How did you come up with the tone and voice for Anne's character?

It may sound a bit mad, but the voice just came to me.  I was only playing with the idea of writing a young Anne Boleyn—in the very early stages of creation.  I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about her—as you mentioned, so much has already been said, and so well.  But I was brainstorming, doing a little research, wondering how and where to set the stage.  I had a long car journey over one Thanksgiving and as I was driving, my mind started writing.  Broken paragraphs, ideas, images.  Judgments on the differences between the French and English courts.  This voice was brash and opinionated, but also vulnerable and genuine.  And it was so strong, and so wonderful to work with, I couldn’t deny it.  So really, I didn’t come up with the voice, it came up with me.

3 Your Anne is different than most people might expect. What do you think will surprise people the most about your version of this iconic character?

It’s very difficult for me to say.  Some may be surprised by her compassion, others by her occasional lack of it.  Certain readers might wonder why I gave her strong feelings for the men in her life and others might question who she has them for.  And perhaps some will be surprised by her youth.  At fifteen, Anne would have been considered an “adult” by Tudor standards, but I think that doesn’t make a difference.  She was still a teenager, and emotionally, psychologically and physically would have been going through very similar experiences to those of teenagers today.

4 Henry made monumental changes in order to be with Anne. What do you think it was that drew him to her, and made him so intent on making her his wife?

Henry had a passion for things that were new and different.  He collected maps and studied the stars, took interest in reading and science and ethics and alchemy.  Anne was different.  She had her own opinions and wasn’t afraid to voice them.  She was vivacious and graceful and unusual and probably quite brilliant.  She wouldn’t give him exactly what he wanted when he wanted it—and he wasn’t used to that.  He had to work for it, which made her even more enticing.

5 Anne is a well known historical figure. Did you have any concerns or fears when giving her a voice as a result?

Constantly! Not only are there many people out there who know much more about Anne Boleyn than I do, there are almost as many opinions about her as there are readers.  I think most people would agree that she had a strong personality and strong opinions and wasn’t shy about vocalizing them.  So I tried to create a character who has all these traits, but also sensitivity and warmth.  And I discovered that the longer I wrote, and the harder I tried to find a voice that was real, the more I wanted to do her justice.  My concerns became less about what others would think of my interpretation and more about getting it right.


6.Historically Anne married Henry before Catherine Howard did. However, you wrote about Catherine first. If Catherine could have provided any advice to Anne what do you think she might have said to her?

I hate to say it, but I think my version of Cat Howard would have sat by and smirked without saying a word.  But Kitty Tylney—by the end of GILT—knew enough not to stand by while someone ruined her life, and would have warned Anne of the man Henry was to become.  I’m just not sure if Anne would have listened.

7 We sadly know Anne's fate, and yet this story focuses on an earlier time in her life. What drew you to this moment of her life to write about? 

Hope and possibility.  We are so lucky that we can’t see where exactly our lives are leading.  We don’t know what tragedy or lucky strike will be around the next corner.  Neither could Anne.  I didn’t want to write the story of a doomed queen.  I wanted to write the story of a confident, hopeful girl who couldn’t help but become the woman Henry would marry and then cease to love.

8 Are you able to tease anything that you are working on that is upcoming? Any new projects in the works?

I’m working on a third book about Henry’s court.  It’s set during the years in between TARNISH and GILT and is quite possibly the hardest book I’ve ever had to write.  It’s difficult to keep the world-building fresh and bring new characters to life while mourning the loss of others.  But I also love the characters I’m working with—a group of girls and boys who believe in love and dreams and independence.

I’m also writing a story set in a completely different time period with completely fictional characters—so I’m branching out and having fun with it!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New To My Book Closet


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

I've had a pretty insane mailbox this week. I got some amazing bookmarks from Bethany Griffin (Thanks Bethany, so much!) and a bunch of fantastic books.


Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (Goodreads)
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker (Goodreads)
Teardrop by Lauren Kate (Goodreads)
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Goodreads)
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (Goodreads)
Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne (Goodreads)

I purchased a copy of Dance of the Red Death and it looks so beautiful next to Masque! Ten Tiny Breaths sounds like it'll be really good. I am also so excited to be able to read Truly, Madly, Deadly. I was surprised to get the Random House Vault package with Teardrop, Steelheart, and The Eye of Minds. Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada, Random House, and Raincoast for the review copies this week.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

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

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Just finished this late last night, and words cannot even describe how good it is. The writing, the plot, the way everything unfolds. I will not say too much (want to save it for my review) but this book is going to be on a lot of beaches come it's August release date. 

Cover of Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd



I thought The Madman's Daughter had a pretty cover, but Her Dark Curiosity has outdone even that. It's the dress, the London backdrop, and the way the model stands out against everything. It automatically catches your eye. Needless to say after reading the INTRIGUING synopsis I am dying to get my hands on this book.

Cover of Perfect Lies by Kiersten White



 The sequel to Mind Games has a cover that matches, and is also awesome. I loved the Mind Games cover, and this one is equally eye catching. The synopsis was also released, and it sounds like it'll be an exciting conclusion to this duology.

Cover of Defy by Sara B Larson


The premise of this one caught my attention. Just read the synopsis and you'll be pining too! I love that she disguises herself as a boy to be part of the Prince's guard. The love triangle mention has me a little leery, but if done well they can be a fantastic plot point. I love the mixture of rose with the sword imagery this title uses. It's a nod to the main character, and it's genre.

Cover of Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore


I have loved all of Katherine's previous novels, and I can't wait to get my hands on this one. It's been compared to Downton Abbey and I do love historical fiction, especially with a fantastic sounding synopsis. I think this is going to be a fun read.

TV


Primetime Emmy Awards pre-nomination voting

 The ballots to determine who will be nominated at this year's Emmy Awards were made available this past week. I become obsessed with the actual nomination themselves, but this year the pre-nomination voting has caught my attention. There are so many amazing performances that deserved to be recognized. High up on that list for me is Freddie Highmore for his performance as Norman Bates in Bates Motel. He, surprisingly, was put forward in the supporting category. I do think this helps his chances of getting a nomination, but it's a weird choice as his role is pretty much the lead in the series. I can't wait until the official nominations are announced in July.


So what are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dance of the Red Death Week - Exclusive Scene Reveal


As Dance of the Red Death week comes to an end, I have something incredibly special to share. An exclusive scene from Will's perspective that takes place during Masque of the Red Death. I am honoured to be sharing it, and as someone who ADORES Will, this just made me love him even more.

Obviously, there are spoilers if you haven't read Masque, so proceed with caution. Also, please remember to check out the giveaway going to win a copy of Dance of the Red Death (and other goodies).
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     He watched the girl flounce across the courtyard, raising her silk skirts to avoid the mud, seemingly unfazed by the violence they’d just witnessed, flipping her blonde hair. April. She’d been a patron at the club for as long as he could remember. He focused on her because it was less painful than watching Araby climb into the gilded carriage. The last few days, insulated in the tiny apartment, had been idyllic. And now she was leaving.
     Elise’s fingers clawed at his arm, desperate with fear, she wouldn’t interrupt his reverie.  
     He’d been the first to walk away, defeated from the attack, defeated by the knowledge that she would be safer with her friends. But now, he and the children stood in the shadows. Elise was terrified, the way she clutched his arm told him all he needed to know about her state of mind.
    Henry had begun to sob a little, delayed shock from the attack. Will wrapped them in his arm, but didn’t look away from the retreating backs…he let his eyes wander over to Araby, just for a moment.
     That morning, after she’d climbed from his bed, she’d pulled her hair up into a simple twist, but after the excitement of the fight and fire, most of the strands had escaped to her shoulders. Shot through with purple, her dark hair accentuated the delicate line of her neck. She was the sort of girl who drew him, and yet, more than that.
     She was the girl who drew him. Moth style, he wanted to be near her. Wanted her to return to finish their interrupted kiss.
      “I don’t want her to go,” Henry said in a small voice. Will held him even closer.
     “Neither do I,” he said. “But she isn’t safe here.”
      And neither are we. The unspoken words, that they weren’t safe either, remained unsaid, and the children realized that the three of them had been abandoned on the wrong side of town, they gave no sign.
     Elliott handed Araby up into the carriage, his hands lingering too long at her waist. Will waited for her to turn, for her eyes to search for him, the way she’d sought him out at the club. He’d known she was attracted to him. Thought they could get to know one another at a leisurely pace, as leisurely as things could be in a world where disease and death were constant companions. Instead tensions in the city had escalated and swept her away from him.
     Sighing, he led Henry and Elise across a boulevard strewn with broken glass, down a tired street lined with buildings that leaned drunkenly over the sidewalk. Their building, at least, still looked comforting and safe.
     “Will, I left my ball!” Henry’s voice rose as he realized the magnitude of his loss.
     Will turned. The sky was overcast, darker than it should be at this time of day—a lethal combination of arson and gathering clouds. They had to get inside, to safety. Henry was scraping his feet along, stubborn enough to try to pull his older brother all the way back to the park.
     Stopping in the doorway, Will searched for the words to tell Henry that the ball was lost. To promise a new one. Before he could say anything Elise, who was two steps ahead, screamed.
     Will leapt forward, but before he could reach Elise, he was shoved into the wall. For a moment Henry’s hand was still in his own, and then the warmth of it was gone. Henry yelped. Will closed his eyes, trying to make sense of the attack. Two men were holding him. Cold hands held his face to the bricks while more hands were on his shoulders. At least two for him. One for each of the children.
     When the pressure of the hands didn’t ease, he gave in to his first instinct, trying to reach the children. He fought, kicking, elbowing, dropping to the ground to try to dislodge the implacable unseen hands, but then Elise screamed. The fight drained out of him.
     “Don’t hurt her,” he gasped.
     One of the attackers laughed.
     “We won’t hurt them. Not much. Not yet. We want a certain girl. Scientist’s daughter. I think you know her. You’ll bring her to us, tonight. Or else.” As if to emphasize the threat, the man’s fist connected with Will’s chin. The blow was unexpected and his face hit the bricks hard.
     The metallic taste of blood flooded Will’s mouth.
     The pain was better than the realization.
     They wanted Araby.
     The girl he had imagined he was falling in love with.
     “Don’t damage him,” the man holding Elise warned. “Not where it’ll show. We don’t want her to suspect anything.” The attacker contented himself with kicking viciously. The pain wasn’t so bad, but each time the boot connected with his side, he heard one, perhaps both, of the children gasp.
     Will fell back to the floor, shielding himself with his arms, until the attack ended. Raising his head, he realized that he was alone with the original attacker. The children were gone.
     “Bring her,” the man commanded. He leaned close to Will to whisper an address and his hood slid back, just enough to expose a creeping rash on his collarbone. Diseased men had stolen the children. Will slumped to the floor.
     “It’s not so bad as all that. We’ll give them back, if you bring the girl. If you try to follow or find us without the girl, we’ll kill the children.” The diseased man’s bulk takes up the doorway for a moment, cutting off the light. “My master is brutal, he won’t kill them quickly.” And then he’s gone.
      Alone, Will stumbled upstairs. His neighbor’s doors stood open, belongings spilling into the hallway. In his own apartment he changed his shirt, running his fingers over his ribs, almost certain they weren’t broken. He took a knife from the kitchen and a cudgel that he often carried on his trek to the Debauchery Club.
     She’ll help me, he thought. She made her way across town to bring Henry a mask. She’ll help me. We can do this together.
     The walk to the Debauchery Club felt longer than usual, and he felt more alone. His home was empty, as was the part of his chest that should’ve been his heart. He felt numb, cold. Reconsidering his initial plan.
     She’d left him, after all. He stepped around a body, keeping vigilant for black cloaked figures. Smoke rose from inside several buildings, more profuse than if it had been from even an entire row of chimneys. The lower city was under attack. He doubted conditions were so bad in the upper city. The Debauchery District lay between the two.
      It was a long walk, but not long enough to make an impossible decision any easier.
    Will entered the club through a side door. He had all of the keys, after all.
     One way or another, he had to take Araby to the address he’d been given. Once he’d been to the location, he could get Kent, possibly Elliott, and return. He’d rescue her. But Elise and Henry…they were too young to be in the hands of a lunatic. Unaccustomed to masks, Henry was prone to taking his off, to playing an elaborate game of  hiding behind the mask and then pulling it away from his face. Being in the presence of diseased men would be particularly dangerous for them. Araby, at least had the sense to keep her mask on.
      Except when she was about to kiss someone. He felt himself flushing.
     The thought of abandoning her made him ill. He couldn’t trust her completely, not with the risk that she would revert to the spoiled rich girl that he’d seen over the last few months, that she’d refuse to help and then forget the guilt with drugs and alcohol. The fact that he was attracted to her made it worse. No, he couldn’t trust her.
     But he couldn’t leave her completely unprepared. She was too fragile. Too burdened by the guilt of her brother’s death. Somehow, he had to communicate with her, to let her know that life was worth living. To wait for him to return for her. He had to find a way to give her strength. Squaring his shoulders, he prepared himself to betray the girl who had captured his heart.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin



Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Release Date –  June 11, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating- 5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death. 
In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city. 
Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero. 
With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.
Endings to a series are hard. Saying goodbye is never easy. Along with them comes hopes, and expectations. I started Dance of the Red Death with excitement, but cautious. I am happy to say that it shattered my expectations, and ended this tale with breathless beauty and sorrow.

A novel that is as dangerously dark as it's words are beautiful. Bethany's writing captivated me in her first novel, and doesn't disappoint in this one. The lush descriptions of Araby's world make it effortlessly come to life. Her characters are only helped by her wonderful talent of making even the most conflicted and flawed characters mesmerizing.

Araby’s world is just a bleak as in Masque. The disease is spreading, conditions are worsening, and the rebellion is just heating up. This side of the novel is taunt with action, and leaves some devastating casualties in it’s wake before the final bell tolls.

Araby Worth has changed from the shallow young woman from Masque of the Red Death. In her place is someone who makes her own decisions, doesn't sit by and let things happens to her, and shows she's much braver than she ever thought. Her growth is organic and not out of character. It's a natural, easy, progression to this more heroic figure. Araby's someone whose imperfections make her all the more real.

The big choice of Will or Elliott is answered in this installment. It's a choice between a lion and a tiger. Both dangerous, beautiful, and majestic. Elliott's fixation on salvaging the city, and being the saviour. Will's utter devotion to his siblings. Each of them has an agenda and Araby may not be the motivating factor in any of their plans. Elliott keeps you guessing and never let's Araby or the reader fully in. Will has a huge betrayal to make up for, and Araby's not so easily swayed.

The romance is as delicious as you would expect after reading Masque. It's tinged with a bit of desperation and darkness as the world crumbles. It's all the more intense when you're grabbing on to someone in the midst of chaos and ruin. Bethany captures this, and manages to weave in the guilt over indulging in some steamy make out sessions while everything is falling apart. In the end, this love 'triangle (for lack of a better term) ends the only way it could have. The chosen guy is who it's always been for Araby. He's the one who considers her in his actions. The one who always wanted to protect her.

The inclusion of the coloured rooms from the Edgar Allen Poe play is done seamlessly. It ties into the story rather brilliantly. It also give the reader a unique perspective on just how far Araby's character has come from the first novel.

Seductive and dark, Dance of the Red Death provides the most realistic ending to Araby's story. An ending that's murky, with just a hint of hope on the horizon. It's both heartbreaking, and affirming. I am sad to say goodbye, but cannot wait to see what Bethany has in store for us with future novels.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dance of the Red Death Week Giveaway


Now that you've heard Bethany talk about Dance of the Red Death, you probably want to get your hands on a copy. Luckily I have 2 fantastic contests going on.

First Harper Collins Canada has kindly offered a set (the full duology) as a giveaway. You'll get a copy of Masque and Dance, plus some fun swag. International entrants can win a copy of Dance, and some swag.

There will be 4 winners total as two other winners will be selected for some swag only.


So be sure to enter using the Rafflecopter forms below. There is a Canada only giveaway form, and an International form so be sure you're entering under the correct one.

Thanks and Good Luck!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for my review of Dance of the Red Death.

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dance Of The Red Death Week - Interview With Bethany Griffin



Today I have the lovely Bethany Griffin, author of Masque of the Red Death, and it's sequel Dance of the Red Death stopping by for some insightful Q & A. Huge thank you to Bethany for taking the time to answer these.
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1 Describe Dance of the Red Death in three words

dark, action-packed

2 Now that the series is over, is there a character that surprised you by having a larger part than you imagined they would? 

Not...really. I guess in the beginning I didn't realize what a big role Elliott would play, but by the end of book 1, it was obvious that he was going to be a main character. And even though the children aren't a huge part of Dance, they did make it into the story more than I originally anticipated. I wanted so badly to keep them safe and out of the action! 

3 Was there anything specific you researched for the sequel?

No. I kind of just use images and ideas and go from there. I re-read Poe's Masque many times, and for some reason I couldn't keep the order of the rooms straight in my head. And then I'd go, wait, there's a violet room and a purple room, what? And then I revised the ball scenes and got them all out of order, so that was sort of research, if reading Poe is research! I have a good friend who helps me out with some research, and he sent me a three page explanation on what would happen to the steering mechanism of an airship if shot by a musket. But...he sent it to me right when I was in a drafting frenzy, so I didn't even read what he wrote. He sighed and helped me out with these details in revisions. I have good friends/critique partners! 

4 How do you think Araby would describe Will and Elliott at the beginning of Dance of the Red Death? 

At the beginning of Dance, Araby feels completely betrayed by Will. She does understand his reasons for the betrayal, but that doesn't make it less painful. She's leaning heavily on Elliott at the beginning of the book, prepared to help him retake the city. She feels he is the savior that the city needs. 

5 Did you find the sequel harder to write than the first novel in the series? 

Yes. Much much much harder. Mainly because it is really a continuation of book one, and I've realized since writing this book, that I get major writing joy from writing openings and introducing characters, which didn't happen in this book. 

6 You've written a novella titled Glitter and Doom. How would you say it ties into Dance of the Red Death?

Glitter and Doom tells the story that happens behind the scenes during Masque, basically what happens to April when she disappears. 

7 Is there anything that you wrote for either Masque or Dance, and REALLY loved but it ended up getting cut out? 

There was a...makeout scene that sort of interrupted the action. I ended up writing a scene that I liked better, but having to drop that scene was sort of painful. There were a lot of scenes that happened in tunnels under the city in Dance of the Red Death, but as much as I love tunnels and underground scenes, they weren't doing that much for the story and had to be cut. 

8 What inspired you while writing Dance of the Red Death? (e.g. a particular song, a piece of art, etc)

I listened to entire Portishead albums and sometimes The Beginning is the End is the Beginning by the Smashing Pumpkins. 

9 What are three things you need while revising? 

I have to go for long walks, I need outside--I sit on my deck a lot, and I need time. I can write if I have ten minutes. Can't do that with revising, I need chunks of time to focus and think and reread. 

10 Can you share any details of what you might be working on next? 

No details. I'm working on several projects, excited about both, and both are dark and atmospheric/would appeal to readers of Masque and Dance. I don't know what will come next, BUT I'll be happy to talk about it with you as soon as I know! 

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I can't wait to see what Bethany is working on next! Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a Dance of the Red Death giveaway!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dance of the Red Death Week - Mini Review - Glitter and Doom



Glitter and Doom by Bethany Griffin
Release Date – March 26, 2013
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -  50 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**Purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A 50-page, digital-only novella set in the world of Bethany Griffin's dark and haunting retelling of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story Masque of the Red Death. When a rich teenage girl who spends her nights in the most desirable club and a smart, young inventor meet, they might have more in common than they know.

April, niece to the dying city's cruel dictator, is Araby Worth's glittery and frivolous best friend. But she's more than she appears. And when she disappeared in Masque of the Red Death, where did she go? This short novella answers that question, taking us deep underneath the crumbling city, where April crosses paths with Kent, the serious young inventor who is key to rebellion. Glitter & Doom is a story of chilling action, of spies, and of surprising love. Can love be anything but doomed is a city that's burning down around its survivors?

A dark, unnerving story about two of the most fascinating characters from Masque of the Red Death.
A 50 page novella doesn't seem like a lot of time to unravel a character,  and expand on plot but Bethany Griffin does just that with Glitter and Doom.

As rich in prose a Masque of the Red Death was, this novella offers something most do not - a perspective, and part of the story not found in the actual novel it compliments. Typically these use a different perspective to tell the same story, offering a different layer. Bethany chose to give us part of the story we're not privy to by making it from April's perspective. Araby, as our main narrator from the main novels, is not aware of what is going on, and neither is the reader. This glimpse into what happened to April is not only captivating, but illuminates a shallow seeming character in the most brilliant way.

My opinion of April changed dramatically after reading this. Her exterior hides a much more vulnerable side that is underneath. Bethany brings this out subtlety and beautifully. April's character doesn't change, but rather a layer is added that makes her more complex.

Doom takes us into Kent's world. A young scientist we briefly touch upon in Masque. It was nice to dive a little deeper into his character, and get a feel for who he was. The brief time we spend with him in this novella, surprisingly, provides quite a bit of characterization.

The tentative connection between April and Kent is, as the synopsis states, a surprising one. The build up is rather organic and sweet. It's one that I can only hope will grow in Dance of the Red Death.

A perfect bridge between the two novels that make up this duology, and a unique perspective that differs from the novels themselves make this a novella not to be missed.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

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 'New To My Book Closet' post will only feature books I got while away at BEA. If you want to check out what titles I got at BEA you'll find those in my recaps. 

Pre BEA
Day One
Days Two and Three


Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (Goodreads)
Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin (Goodreads)
You Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer Castle (Goodreads)
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston (Goodreads)

Lindsay from Me on Books sent me You Look Different and Rules for Disappearing. Super excited to start both of these. I also love the little City of Fallen Angels pin she sent as well.

The lovely people at Hachette Canada sent me Rules of Summer and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. Both sound fantastic, and I can't wait to wait them. Thank you so much Kaitlin.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

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


Suzanne Collins Writing New Teen Series

At Book Expo America 2013 Suzanne Collins announced that she'll be writing a new teen series. Super excited for more details. Hypable has a fantastic write up with details that have been released if you are looking for more information.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Finished this recently and loved it. I will save most of gushing for my review, but suffice to say, it's brilliant. Smart, complex and her world building left me breathless. I NEED book two immediately. I think this is going to by a mighty popular series come August when it's officially released. So thankful to be an advocate of this amazing book/series.

MOVIE

Now You See Me

I got to see this while in NYC for Book Expo and LOVED it. It's fun, and completely what a summer movie should be. It's entertaining and doesn't take itself seriously. Jesse Eisenburg and Mark Ruffalo's interigation scene is PERFECT and totally my favourite. Also, those of you already crushing on Dave Franco...you'll walk way with a summer obsession.

TV

Summer TV

I am always sad to see my Fall TV faves end. However, I am getting super excited about the shows that will be back this summer. The Killing, Dexter, and True Blood all start (or recently started) and I am very much looking forward to them. True Blood was a bit of a disappointment last season but I am hopeful that this season will be better (plus I can never say no to watching Ryan Kwanten). I have high expectations for the final season of Dexter. The Killing is a smart, slowly paced (meaning VERY realistic) crime drama and I personally loved the first two season. I can't wait to see what case Linden and Holder will be working on this time.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards



Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards
Release Date – June 4, 2013
Publisher Website -  Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**won from giveaway**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.

When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn’t like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.

But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.
Black City surprised me when I read it, so I was especially eager to get my hands on Phoenix. The second installment satisfied and continued with the storylines that drew me in.

These novels move at a rapid pace. They are filled with page turning developments. Betrayals, reveals, and sweet romance. The pacing is a little uneven at first, but once it gets going you’ll be hard pressed to put this down until you’ve finished.

The novel is split between the perspectives of both Ash and Natalie. It’s Ash’s voice that stands out between the two. His voice comes to life, and left me with a clear picture of what the character would look like. He, as a character, is brought to life by Elizabeth’s writing.

The political aspects of this series continue to be my favourite. They are captivating and are the cause of most of the tension in the novel. Things spiral from bad to worse for the Darklings and quickly escalate to a point where a stand off is inevitable. I predict the culmination of this will be an explosive third novel.  The atmosphere sets the stage for upheaval, and betrayals. There is more than one double cross, and one is particularly cutting to our main characters.

I like the increasing support of the rebellion and that everything is so close to erupting. It challenges the characters, and keeps the novel’s plot moving forward.

Purian Rose is exactly what I want a villain to be. He makes good on his horrific threats, and sends shivers down my spine. Elizabeth Richards uses him to the fullest potential and doesn’t shy away from having him follow through. It creates an interesting dynamic where, as a reader, I am kept on my toes. It allows for fear for the characters to seep in, and no happy outcome is guaranteed.  His focus is not just on the Darklings, but the newly introduced Lupines, and anyone who sympathizes with them.

Sebastian continues to leave me seething with rage. He does something so despicable, so unforgivable, so maddening, that I hope Natalie gets to enact some sort of revenge. Along with Purian Rose, Sebastian is the main focus of the rebellion going forward after what happens.

If, like me, you were nervous about the “the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others’ part of that above synopsis let me assure you that the author manages to pull this off.  It’s more of a ’what if’ scenario as we are shown potentials. This, for me, just proved how deeply Ash and Natalie care about each other, and how right the characters are for each other.  Communication is important in any relationship and often is the cause of problems for Natalie and Ash. There were times where I wanted to shake both of them and FORCE them to talk to each other openly.

The romance leads me to one of the biggest twists in the novel.  Something is revealed that has the potent ional to rip Ash and Natalie apart. It puts a ticking clock on their relationship and opens up other questions for the series. It’s something I am expecting to see fully developed in the next installment, but the impact could be huge, not just for our main characters, but the world they inhabit. The ending creates an even more perilous situation, and is a fantastic starting point to a tension filled finale that is sure to please.

A smart, tense, and romantic second installment to a series that has depth and a surprisingly complex political aspect to it. It’s a YA series that begs to be made into a movie…preferably one staring Ezra Miller as Ash.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Follow Friday


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

Q: Have you broken up with a series? If so which one and why?

I have yet to fully break up with a series. I have series that I haven't finished yet, but will eventually. I have this strange need to finish something once I have started. I think they only one that comes close is the Vampire Diaries series. I haven't read the last 3 books, and don't exactly have the desire to pick them up right now. I won't say never, but it'll be quite awhile before I do.

Happy Weekend!

Book Expo Days 2 and 3


Days two and three were less intense for me than day one. I had less signings I wanted to attend, and things felt a little calmer on the floor as well.

DAY TWO

The main signing I wanted to attend was for Vicious by Victoria Schwab. It was honestly the most intense signing I had attended. The line was long, and it started much earlier than expected. I believe they ended up not having enough books for everyone who wanted to line up. Victoria was delightful and super friendly. We talked about Wesley's guyliner and even got talking about Captain Hook from Once Upon A Time! She's lovely, and I would love to just sit and have tea with her and discuss books.

The line ups in the autographing area were handled much better this year than last. All in all, it was a much smoother process than previous years. Everything was organized and it kept everything running smoothly.

I also managed to make the Cristin Terrill signing for All Our Yesterdays. Highlight was getting to see the new cover of the book via awesome postcards that she gave out at the signing. I LOVE the new cover and if you haven't seen it, be sure to check out Goodreads.

There was some confusion regarding the Cassandra Clare signing that I was hoping to attend. I had inquired and was told that they only had a certain number of books, and that they had reached their limit of people in line. I decided to head over to the Realistic/Contemporary Fiction panel instead. It turned out that I could have stayed and got a book signed by Cassandra, but I ended up loving the panel.

The panelists included Robyn Schneider, Katie Cotugno, Suzanne Young, Cat Patrick, Corey Ann Haydu, and was moderated by Margo from Epic Reads.

Robyn Schneider, Katie Cotugno, Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young, Corey Ann Haydu and Margo
The panel was fantastic. I loved how they described realistic vs contemporary. Contemporary is set in the here and now. Eleanor and Park was presented as realistic fiction since it was set in the 80's. This differential between the two made so much sense, and is a perfect way to describe them.

All of the ladies were funny, and insightful. However, I left the panel desperate to read The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. She was rather sweet and HILARIOUS. Her main character Ezra sounds adorable, and hello....it has a roller coaster accident in it. Luckily I managed to snag a copy at the panel.

At the end of the day fellow blogger Kelly (from KellyVision) was off to meet Samantha Shannon at the Bloomsbury booth as she had won some kind of contest. I had wanted to say hello to Shannon so I tagged along and inquired about joining the meet up. The lovely people at Bloomsbury were happy to let me crash along with Kelly.

Samantha and I had 'met' over Twitter, and she's just as lovely in person. After getting all of our ARCs signed, and some photo ops later, we said goodbye. We were all sympathizing over Samantha's poor feet! She wore high heels and as cute as the shoes were, her feet definitely were not thanking her. Samantha has a fantastic recap on her blog that I urge you to check out.


Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Goodreads)
How To Love by Katie Cotugno (Goodreads)
Altered by Gennifer Albin (Goodreads)
The Infinite Moment of Us (Goodreads)
Rags and Bones by Various (Goodreads)
Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Goodreads)
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (Goodreads)
Rose Under Fire by Elizbeth Wein (Goodreads)
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (Goodreads)

I ended this day in New York by meeting Kelly and Gae Polisner (along with Emilie, of course) for dinner and drinks. It was a lovely evening and I hope to meet up with Kelly again next year.

DAY THREE

I only had a few things I wanted to do the last day. Mainly go to the Robin Wasserman signing, and attend a fantastic sounding panel.

The YA/Adult Cross-over Panel was a big draw for me since I tend to read both YA and Adult novels. The panel discussed the reasons novels become popular with both age categories among other things. The panelists included Samantha Shannon and Sarah J Maas. 

Sarah J Maas and Samantha Shannon
I found it interesting that Sarah kept her younger readers in mind while writing her Throne of Glass series. Samantha mentioned being delighted by the fact that Bloomsbury categorized her novel as adult as it gave her room to expand on some elements she had wanted to explore in more depth.

The notion that fantasy bridges the gap a little easier than other genres was discussed, and there were many thoughts as to why, but most could agree that since it was dealing with 'true life' experiences one would have during a certain age bracket, it opens it up a little more. Everyone can sort of relate a little bit easier to fantasy novels, because we can imagine ourselves in this fantastical world.


Pretenders by Lisi Harrison (Goodreads)
Charming by Elliott James (Goodreads)
The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman (Godreads)
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken (Goodreads)
The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr (Goodreads)

That's a wrap on Book Expo American 2013. I can't wait to do it all again for Book Expo America 2014. 

Any titles you're curious about and want me to read right away? Leave them in the comments and I will do my best to get to the ASAP! Looking forward to sharing my reviews of all these titles closer to release dates.

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