Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday..... Rebel Belle


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 Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.
I've seen this compared to Buffy, which immediately made me want it. I can't wait to read this one. It sounds like it'll have action, humour, and romance which is a perfect combination. 

Expected release date - April 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

**YOU PICK WHAT I READ EVENT** Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein



Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Release Date – February 6, 2012
Publisher Website -  Disney Hyperion
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  332 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery.

Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in "Verity's" own words, as she writes her account for her captors.
So much has already been said about Code Name Verity. So much of it will probably be better than what I will say. Every single thing you've heard is true. It's heart wrenching, beautifully written, and transports you into the story.

So much of this novel, if given away, would be a spoiler. I am going to be careful, as I think this is one that shouldn't be spoiled at all. Embark on this journey knowing as little as possible, as it'll have the most impact that way.

Maddie and 'Verity" are the two main characters in this story. It's a story of true friendship set in a dangerous time. Romance takes a huge backseat in this novel, and is fairly non existent. A delightful change of pace as it allows the bonds of friendship to take center stage. This plot is heavy, filled with action and twists, that romance would have felt out of place. It shows that romance isn't necessary to drive a plot forward (even though I do love me some romance).

Historical novels are so dependent on the details. The research, and nuances that go into them. This novel shows the tremendous research that went into it, and that is woven throughout the story. The torture scenes are written in such a way that make you uncomfortable. Elizabeth Wein uses very little descriptions, and nothing overly graphic or explicit is described, but you feel every second of it. It's the fact that your imagination is so much worse, and the little prompting will leave images in your head and an all too vivid picture of the pain 'Verity' must be in.

'Verity' is writing her account of not only her experience as a prisoner of war, but her life leading up to the capture. It feels historically accurate, and resonates as deeply as if you are reading an actual diary account. Women's roles in the war are looked at, and how 'Verity' and Maddie both got involved. Maddie's passion is flying, and she wanted to be useful. She loved nothing more than being in the air, and this prompted her to seek out ways she could fly. 'Verity' is more socially outgoing of the two, and a natural at her job. Each of these characters come to life under Elizabeth Wein's careful plotting.

Code Name Variety took me by surprise. This is not a novel I would normally pick up, and the praise it's garnered is what drew my attention. I urge anyone who may feel that this is not the book for them to give it a chance. It's filled with heart, tears, and a touching friendship that defies everything.

Monday, July 29, 2013

* YOU PICK WHAT I READ REVIEW* The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney



The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Release Date – November 2, 2010
Publisher Website - Little Brown/Hachette Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  332 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.
The Mockingbirds is a story of choices. Choices we each make, and how we are all responsible for our own actions. It's also a hopeful, empowering message of finding yourself after being victimized.

Daisy Whitney's careful way of exploring this topic shows how close this topic is to her. Daisy's own experience gives Alex's character a realistic and truthful voice. It adds a layer that makes Alex's journey resonate a little deeper.

Alex possesses and inner strength that helps her deal with the aftermath. She stands up for herself, and instead of letting what happened to her define her, she finds a way to get back to being someone she recognizes. The event changes her, but she finds a way to make it part of her, and not the most important part. For those who have been through something like this, reading that your life can continue on and that you can work through it, is a pretty powerful message for them to take away from this.

Rape is one of those subjects that easily gets a reaction, especially date rape. Daisy Whitney makes this issue pretty black and white with her character's stance of 'anything other than a yes is a no'. Alex is incapacitated and is unable to give consent. It enrages me that often girls who are drunk are deemed to be having 'second thoughts' and are 'using it as an excuse for something they wish they didn't do'. This novel clearly shows that Alex was not capable of putting up the proper resistance, because she simply was not in control. The shades of grey that society seems to think exist in this issue are tossed aside for a clear message that this is, in fact, date rape.

Martin, Alex's friend, and someone she leans on for support was a refreshing change of pace from the usual YA 'bad boy'. He was sweet, caring, and just all around a good guy. His protectiveness came across as gentlemanly. The entire group of friends that Alex has around her are pretty fantastic. They're loyal, and understanding. It helped her feel not alone in what she was going through and made her braver. It shows that good support system goes a long way in situations like this.

The Mockingbirds themselves are a fantastic group. Do I think they could function effectively outside of a story? I am unsure. Not in the format that they exist within this story. The tactics that they use in order to make sure the defendant will show up are fairly benign, but I am not sure if missed points and cake would actually enlist compliance.

The other issue I had was that rape, and another case we learn about, are serious issues. Issues that should involve real courts, and police. I get that Alex did not want this, but it seemed strange to have a group of teenagers judging someone for an actual crime.

A well written, thought provoking debut that handles a difficult subject with care and compassion. Alex shows that it takes strength and courage to stand up for yourself, but that gaining back your sense of security is the best thing a victim can do for themselves.

Saturday, July 27, 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). 

Another excellent week in my mailbox. Feeling incredibly fortunate to be a blogger (as I do every week).


One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker (Goodreads)
The Vow by Jessica Martinez (Goodreads)
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Goodreads)

I also received one eARC for review...


The Shadow Prince (Into The Dark #1) by Bree Despain (Goodreads)

A huge thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada, Harper Collins Canada, Egmont (via Netgalley) for all these lovely books. I can't wait to start them.

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

Bethany Griffin's newest book

Bethany Griffin announced her newest novel, another Poe inspired tale, will be released this fall. The novel, titled The Fall, sounds amazing. It is based off of Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. Needless to say I will be diving into Poe's version immediately to see where Bethany's inspiration came from.

MOVIE/TV

HBO Documentaries

I've gotten into watching HBO documentaries. I watched Love, Marilyn and I thought it was fantastic. It captured her essence and everyone was wonderful in it. I decided to check out some more, and stumbled upon Paradise Lost. A sobering look at a horrific murder case, and a trail riddled with errors and inconsistencies. I am hoping to check out more as I am fascinated by the ones I've seen so far.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 25, 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:

What do you do with your books after you are done reading them?

I tend to keep a lot of my books. Any that I don't keep either get passed along to my fellow bloggers, or donated to various schools in my city.

Happy Weekend!

If I Should Die by Amy Plum



If I Should Die by Amy Plum
Release Date – May 7, 2013
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -  405 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?
After the insanely excruciating ending of Until I Die, I knew I was going to have to talk myself into diving into this one. I wanted to finish off Kate and Vincent's story, but was anxious. Needless to say, I worried needlessly. If I Should Die has Paris, romance, and an ending that is both unexpected and exactly what I wanted at the same time. Vincent and Kate's story closes out in the only way possible, even through a few tears.

Kate's story arc in this book is the most fulfilling. She really comes into her own in a way I never saw coming. She is a young woman who is beginning to feel comfortable within this new world she finds herself. She is embracing this life and reality. She's growing up, and that is the most a reader can ask of characters they love. That they change and grow over the coarse of a series.

This novel is filled with lore and mythology. Amy Plum has saved the best for last. This novel takes the revenants back story that we know and develops it further. The introduction of the 'Champion' allows for other reveals to happen. I feel we get a full picture of revenants and it really ties everything together. Things that felt unconnected are suddenly a larger part of the mythology in ways I was not expecting. Revenants have the potential to live forever, but that notion is rather daunting. The glimpse into the not so pleasant side to having immortality, and how it could make you weary and ready to give into to relief of permanent rest. It balanced out the amazing side of being a revenant with the harsh reality that living forever does have it downsides.

I would say this is the most action packed of the three novels. A battle that's been brewing between the bardia and numa comes to the forefront in this installment. The second half of this novel kept my nerves on edge the entire time because the threats kept on coming.

Jules, and his feelings, crushed me a little. I never realized the depth of his feelings for Kate until this installment. It was obvious, but like Kate, I didn't see it until confronted with it. I really like how this was handled, and that there isn't some triangle thrown in to create drama. It's a much more realistic ending to this type of situation, and it was refreshing to see it done this way.

Not everyone gets a happy ending, and sadly we do lose some of our beloved characters. The bitter sweet ending is how this story had to end though, and I think anyone who loved the first two books will agree that this ending perfectly closes out this trilogy.

A romantic, action packed ending to the revenants story. Amy Plum has left her characters on that perfect cusp of both closure and beginning. A fantastic end to a wonderful series.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu



OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
Release Date – July 23, 2013
Publisher Website -  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating- 2.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.
Prior to reading OCD Love Story I didn't know much about  obsessive compulsive disorder. It's something that I had no experience with. After reading this well researched novel I felt I had a better understanding. Sadly, I didn't feel a connection to the plot, or the characters behind the impressive clinical information.

This novel really shines in it's attention to detail. As mentioned, I am not overly familiar with obsessive compulsive disorder, but the novel felt authentic. The research Ms Haydu must have done, and the desire she had to portray it in such an honest way truly comes across in the novel.  The desire, and need that consumes someone grappling with OCD is captured, I imagine, perfectly. The single minded focus that results from having to do something comes across like a  pressure building. You have to give in before it erupts, and the relief after, even if temporary, is welcome.

The various characters in Bea's therapy group all show how OCD is more than just handwashing and other commonly thought of ticks. It's rooted much deeper. I like that she took the time to explain everything so fully. This topic is handled with compassion, and with a tenderness that shows through the writing.

We see both the people who want to get better, and those who are in denial of how bad their situation is. Beck is someone who embraces therapy and is trying to get his condition under control. Bea thinks she has it under control, and that her little 'quirks' are mild. We quickly learn that they are anything but mild. Her best friend is supportive, but eventually we see that Bea's behaviour is spiraling and everyone wants her to get help.

The novel reads a little too clinical for me. I felt like the focus was on the symptoms and various ways obsessive compulsive disorder can manifest than on telling a story. The plot is simplistic and takes a back seat to everything else. As a result, I didn't feel a sense of urgency to keep turning the pages. It was harder for me to become invested in the characters.

A novel that is important, and eye opening. I felt the clinical side to the story well fleshed out, but the actual plot side felt undeveloped, and hindered as a result. I think others may love this much more than I did. I will be curious to read this author's next novel, as I did enjoy the writing, and am curious to see what she would do with a different type of premise.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

*Cover Reveal Blog Tour* Broken by CJ Lyons


Today I have the pleasure of sharing the cover for CJ Lyons novel Broken. I also have a Q & A all about her new novel. Check out the eye catching cover, and read all about this fantastic sounding read.


Q & A with CJ Lyons



For Scarlet Killian, every day is a game of Russian roulette—she has a 1 in 5 chance of dying…



New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page.



Fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has one chance for a normal life. Only problem? It just might kill her. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, Scarlet has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. Scarlet has come to terms with the fact that despite the best efforts of her doctors and parents, she's going to die. Literally of a broken heart.  So when her parents offer her a week to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now... or never.

Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But for the first time in her life she makes real friends. She also makes new discoveries about the truth behind her illness... a truth that might just kill her before her heart does.



Q:Is Long QT a real disease?



CJ: Yes. As a pediatrician I diagnosed my niece with Long QT Syndrome when she was born. Her heart specialists believe she's the youngest person in the world diagnosed with Long QT. She's had to take medicine every day of her life and can't ever skip a day. So far that's added up to over ten thousand pills taken.


You know that feeling you get when you've run as hard and fast as you can and you stop but your heart keeps galloping along? And you wonder for a second if maybe it's not going to stop, but will keep galloping out of control? But then of course it settles back down. For people with Long QT, their heart doesn't change gears well, going from regular to galloping and back again. So they have to avoid anything that would make their heart race.


No sports or aerobic exercise. No horror films. No roller coaster rides. No jumping into cold water on a hot summer's day.


But that doesn't have to stop someone with Long QT like my niece from having a great life. Today she is a brilliant, active fourteen-year-old who gets straight A's, enjoys riding horses, archery, reading, breeding Rottweilers, and who wants to grow up to be either a fashion designer or President of the United States. Her main fashion accessory is her portable defibrillator, Phil, who goes with her everywhere, including camping, to the beach, and recently to her first Broadway show.


BROKEN is dedicated to her fearless approach to life where outwitting Death is simply part of her daily routine.

Q: What was it like working in an ER? Is it like on TV?



CJ: Definitely nothing like Grey's Anatomy, but the first few seasons of ER get it right. Working in the ER is basically about learning how to control (and live with) chaos, the art of listening, and how to quickly decide what's the most important thing you need to tackle next.


I worked three jobs to put myself through medical school and one of them was waitressing at a very busy family restaurant. Honestly, that was the best preparation I ever could have had for life in the ER.


Q: Why did you leave medicine to write books?



CJ: I've been a storyteller all my life—a fact that used to get me placed in time-out a lot as a kid. But writing stories has always been my way of making sense of the chaos that goes on in the world around us. I wrote my first novel in college and wrote two more science fiction novels in medical school.


Then, while I was an intern at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of my close friends was murdered. Dealing with that grief and trauma while still working seventy hours a week and trying to save lives—I wasn't prepared for that. So I turned to my writing and that's when I wrote my first thriller. I never thought about actually making a career of it until years later when friends who were published authors encouraged me to enter a national writing contest and I was a finalist. This led to several publishing contracts and I realized that as much as I loved being a doctor, here was a chance for a second dream come true: being a full time writer.


It was a huge leap of faith leaving my job (and my patients—I missed them, a lot!) but I've always believed that if you're going to dream, you should dream big, so I went for it. Since then I've published twenty books, hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, won awards for my writing, and most importantly, have had the chance to impact millions of people through my novels. Talk about a dream come true!


Q: What's your best advice for someone who wants to be a writer?



CJ: Never surrender, never give up. Writing is hard work, it takes years to master the craft, so you need to stick with it. And read, read, read…pay attention to what makes the books you like work as well as why the books you don't like fail. You never stop learning in this job, but that's also what makes it so much fun.


About CJ Lyons
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge thrillers with heart. CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine), and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday). The author of thrillers such as the Lucy Guardino FBI series, she has sold over 1 million books in the last year.


When not writing, she can be found walking the beaches near her South Carolina Lowcountry home in Columbia, SC, listening to the voices in her head and plotting new and devious ways to create mayhem for her characters. To learn more about her Thrillers with Heart go to www.CJLyons.net.

Be sure to add Broken to your Goodreads shelf.

Monday, July 22, 2013

*blog tour* Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne


Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne
Release Date – July 2, 2013
Publisher Website -  Sourcebooks Fire
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  262 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
They Said It Was An Accident...

Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:

You're welcome.

Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren't the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer's every move....
It's shiver inducing premise is what initially drew me to read Truly, Madly, Deadly. I was hooked by the clever synopsis, and was hoping for an engrossing mystery. This novel was a little different than I expected, and actually brought forth some nostalgia along with the thrills. 

This felt like a throwback to titles I read in Grade 8, or early Grade 9. I am referring to titles by Christopher Pike, and a slew of others that came out around that time. They were fun, sometimes creepy, and never took themselves too seriously. They were meant to be fun reads, while still sending shivers down your spine. This book had that. It was creepy, but also just plain fun. 

Sawyer is a girl dealing with the loss of a boyfriend. A boyfriend who abused her. I felt this storyline wasn't fleshed out enough, considering the reasoning behind the killer's motives seems to be keeping Sawyer safe. It would have benefited to know a little more about their relationship, and Kevin himself. 

The scariest part of the story is the killer's motivation. They appear (as to not give anything away) to be under the assumption that Sawyer will want to thank them for Kevin's death. This notion of 'protection' is terrifying because it means those closest to you are not safe. Sawyer's grapple with this is well done, and show realistically. She pushes people away when she realizes what is going on, and even harbours some guilt.

Multiple times throughout the novel I want to scream and shake Sawyer. I get that she was scared, but I wanted her to TELL someone. She has a few opportunities to reach out and tell an adult what is going on, and yet doesn't act. Fear drives her, and not wanting to endanger someone else but it became frustrating. The only upside to this? Her father is involved in her life, teachers and the police are present as well. This is a more believable story, in this aspect, because she has these people concerned and questioning what is going on as she begins to unraveled under the stress of being stalked.

There are plenty of red herrings to lead you astray while reading. Some of them are obvious false leads and became a little overdone, but others are masterfully incorporated to create some viable suspects. The mystery element isn't lacking in the novel. It's builds at an appropriate pace, and things escalate nicely. It allows the story to lead you along and for the rest of the background stuff to not interfere as much.

I felt the ending of the book didn't match up with it's strong first half. The ending felt uneven to me, and disjointed from the rest of the story. Our protagonist has a hard time believing this person to be the stalker when their identity is unveiled, and it felt like it the reveal came out of nowhere for me as well. A little more development in this department would have helped immerse myself into this part of the story more.

While it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, it was still a fun, fast paced thriller that kept me guessing until it's conclusion.  

Sunday, July 21, 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). 

A large mailbox this week. Random House Canada surprised me with a HUGE box of various ARCs this past week. Included in the box are


Written in Stone by Rosanne Parry (Goodreads)
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Goodreads)
Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (Goodreads)
Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier (Goodreads)
Golden Girl by Sarah Zettel (Goodreads)
Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub (Goodreads)
Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario (Goodreads)
The Morning Star by Robin Bridges (Goodreads)
Love Me by Rachel Shukert (Goodreads)
Gated by Amy Christine Parker (Goodreads)
Only Ever Always by Penni Russon (Goodreads)
Who Needs Magic? by Kathy McCullough (Goodreads)
The Dark Between by Sonia Grensler (Goodreads)
Burning by Elana K Arnold (Goodreads)
Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur (Goodreads)
Every Day After by Laura Golden (Goodreads)
A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer (Goodreads)

A HUGE thank you to Random House Canada. I feel super lucky and have a ton of fantastic reading ahead of me. I can't wait to die into Still Star-Crossed especially.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013

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

Second Star by Alyssa Sheinmel

Pretty sure my love of Peter Pan is well known. I've loved it since I first saw the Disney cartoon. There is something magical about the entire notion of Neverland. I stumbled across this book in the Publisher Weekly Spring 2014 preview. It was mentioned it revolves around a Peter/Wendy/Hook triangle and I was immediately sold. I haven't seen that done before and I can't wait to read this. Not a lot of details are known yet, but it's apparently more a contemporary twist on it. It means less magic, but it STILL sounds awesome. Peter as a surfer?! It has potential.

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Phantom of the Opera inspired, and it takes place in a slaughterhouse? SIGN ME UP! Read the synopsis and tell me that you don't want this. I can't wait for this. Phantom is one of those stories that I never thought of in terms of a YA novel being inspired by it, but it totally works.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Who wasn't TOTALLY shocked by the new that JK Rowling had stealthily released a crime novel under a pen name. It's fantastic news and I can't wait to fit it into my review schedule ASAP! In case you missed it you can find all the details about JK Rowling's newest novel on Goodreads.

Bethany Griffin announcement

If you follow Bethany on twitter you would have seen a particular tweet that announced she has a new book announcement coming up... SOON! As in it'll be out in 2014 by the sounds of her mysterious tweet. I can't wait for the official details, and see what she has in store for us next. I LOVED the Masque duology and can't wait to read something else from Bethany.

OTHER

Comic Con

If you follow me on Twitter you've most likely seen me deliriously jealous of all those attending this year's Sand Diego Comic Con. There are so many amazing panels. I would LOVE to attend one year. The upside for everyone, even those not attending, is that there is a huge amount of really cool entertainment stuff released during this event. First looks, special footage, posters, and spoilers are some of my favourites.

Out of all the panel that have been held so far (not including Sat or Sunday events) the Spiderman one has me curious. First, Andrew Garfield is ADORABLE and he literally made me fall just a little more in awe of him. Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn intrigues me. The guy is a phenomenal actor and I can't see what he brings to this role.

The other big panal? The Mortal Instruments. I had way too much fun watching the cast interviews. They all seem really great, and fun. Can not wait for this movie to come out. I'll be glued to coverage again today (Saturday) because the Once Upon A Time panel is today!

So what are yo obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 18, 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:

Book Vacay: Where is the best destination reading spot for you? (Where do you like to go to read other then your home)

Well, if I could be anywhere in the entire world I would love to be reading at this hotel I visited in Paris. It had a lovely balcony that overlooked the Eiffel Tower. Sitting there in the morning with a tea and a book was seriously the best EVER.

If somewhere realistic, I love reading by the pool at my sister's house, or down by the Ottawa Canal on nice breezy days.

Happy Weekend!

Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout



Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout
Release Date – November 23, 2011
Publisher Website -  Entangled
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  361 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Starting over sucks

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.
I resisted reading anything by Jennifer L Armentrout for a long time. I figured there was no way the book could live up to the hype. I was terrified of being the only one to not LOVE this book. Luckily, my fears were unfounded. Obsidian is a fun, page turning read that left me wanting more.

Jennifer Armentrout's storytelling is addictive. There are some books that you simply can not stop reading, and Obsidian has this. It's the narrative, and the way the story comes together more than the writing. It's a tried and true formula that captivates and pulls you in. The story itself compels and overtakes the writing, but you're so engrossed in what's happening that the pages fly by.

Daemon and Katy's banter is electric. You feel the sexual tension. It was refreshing to have this be a sexual attraction/lust type of connection. Katy sure isn't thinking love, and Daemon is barely civil to her most of the time. This type of rude bad boy normally isn't appealing but mixing Daemon's obvious softer underneath with Katy's ability to dish it right back made for an interesting dynamic. Their fun, snappy dialog provided some humorous moments, and plenty of quotable lines for fans to freak out over.

I instantly liked Katy. I could relate to Katy. She's very much a typical girl. She's resourceful, fun, and stands up for herself. She doesn't back down, even against the prettiest, meanest girl in school. There was something about her that was 'every gir'. I think part of her appeal is it's so easy to 'walk in her shoes'. The only part of her that sometimes felt forced was the fact that she was a book blogger. I loved the cute little nods to bloggers, but felt non bloggers may not get them, and it didn't mesh with her personality some of the time.

Daemon's a fascinating character. He has secrets and these secrets cause him to push way people. He uses the familiar tactic of rudeness and hurtful words to drive the wedge. Katy claws her way in, even if she isn't realizing she's doing it. The reader can see those walls slowly starting to come down, but Katy often remains clueless. Daemon's relationship with his sister shines a little bit of light on the true Daemon. He's fiercely protective, and will do anything to keep her safe. It's noble, and rather endearing. He made me want to discover all his secrets, and what's behind that cocky, infuriating grin.

The alien mythology is just started to be unraveled. I didn't get as much information about them as I would have liked, but it works for this series. I sense that we are going to unravel it slowly, and allow the alien backstory to take center stage in the plot. I can accept this if the answers are coming, and it would appear that they will be given.

Exceptionally addictive storytelling combined with some entertaining characters made this a quick read that I can easily see becoming an obsession. I am eager to dive into the subsequent novels in this series, and dive further into the alien mythology. If you've held off on reading this like I did... it's time to finally give in.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday.... The Lonesome Young


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 Lonesome Young by Lucy Connors



Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Get swept away in the first book of the sensational romantic drama that is Romeo & Juliet meets Justified.

WHAT HAPPENS when the teenage heirs of two bitterly FEUDING FAMILIES can’t stay away from each other?

The Rhodales and the Whitfields have been sworn enemies for close on a hundred years, with a whole slew of adulterous affairs, financial backstabbing, and blackmailing that’s escalated the rivalry to its current state of tense ceasefire.

IT’S TIME TO LIGHT THE FUSE . . .

And now a meth lab explosion in rural Whitfield County is set to reignite the feud more viciously than ever before. Especially when the toxic fire that results throws together two unlikely spectators—proper good girl Victoria Whitfield, exiled from boarding school after her father’s real estate business melts down in disgrace, and town motorcycle rebel Mickey Rhodale, too late as always to thwart his older brothers’ dangerous drug deals.

Victoria and Mickey are about to find out the most passionate romances are the forbidden ones.

. . . ON A POWDER KEG FULL OF PENT-UP DESIRE, risk-taking daredevilry, and the desperate actions that erupt when a generation of teens inherits nothing but hate.
I love the comparison to Justified, and I am a total sucker for anything compared to Romeo and Juliet.  I am super excited for this one!

Expected release date - April 15, 2014

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March



Finding Colin Firth by Mia March
Release Date - July 9, 2013
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher via Edelweiss**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, a “heart-warming,  spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season” (Kirkus Reviews), comes a new novel about three women, connected in secret and surprising ways, who are  in for a life-changing summer when rumor has it that actor Colin Firth  is coming to their Maine town to film a movie.  
After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy.  
These three women will discover more than they ever imagined in this coastal Maine town, buzzing with hopes of Colin Firth. Even the conjecture of his arrival inspires daydreams, amplifies complicated lives, and gives incentive to find their own romantic endings.
Mia March's novels are sweet, romantic, and character driven. The quaint Boothbay Harbor provides a wonderful backdrop for these heartfelt novels and becomes a character itself. These books are comforting and make a perfect read for when you need something a little lighter.

Much like it's previous companion novel The Meryl Streep Movie Club, Finding Colin Firth focuses on three women. Gemma, Bea and Veronica. We get to know each of them in equal measure as they deal with conflicts and issues in their lives. The idea of family, especially the bond between mother and child is a huge focus of the novel. We get to see different women reacting to these relationships in a way that all interconnects. It's one of the things Mia March does well - connecting these different story arcs into one overall theme in the story.

If you've read The Meryl Streep Movie Club there are little cameos that will delight you. I enjoyed getting a peek at those characters again and seeing where they currently are during their journey. It's nice to get that brief glimpse because it creates a familiarity that is comforting as a reader.

Hope, faith, and belief are touched upon in all three women's journeys. The main one being Veronica and her pies. It was endearing to see these home made pies do so much good for the people in the town. It shows that positive thinking, wishful thinking and a little faith can sometimes create your own luck. Seeing yourself through a hard situation is better if you feel supported, and have faith in yourself. Veronica's pies allow a little bit of 'magic' to happen, and it was a perfect touch to this already sweet story. The only downside was that I found myself with a huge pie craving after.

Colin Firth is a character unto himself for the entire novel. The humorous 'sightings' and the way he brought the girls together through the Three Captain's infamous movie nights created a nice thread to weave the plots together.

The characters are all so wonderful. Each one was distinct, and had personality. Bea the woman who finds out she was adopted and is searching for her birth mother. Veronica, the woman who gave her up for adoption and is dealing with the aftermath even years later. Gemma a career minded woman who finds herself pregnant and asking if she can have it all, and if not what she wants more. Gemma's story felt to be the one I most related. Her back and forth felt realistic and honest for someone who was so unsure. The Bea/Veronica storyline was done exceptionally well. Bea's desire to both know and not know her biological mother felt authentic.

The romance was woven in, and less the focus than perhaps The Meryl Streep Movie Club. It was done in just the right amount, but the focus is clearly on the bonds between parents and children and what exactly makes the bonds. It was refreshing to see a story revolve around something and that allowed romance to take the back seat in such a believable way.

A heartwarming, feel good book whose characters are touching. If you enjoyed The Meryl Streep Movie Club, you'll definitely want to check out this companion novel. Don't be surprised, however, if you end up eating pie while watching Pride and Prejudice.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cover Reveal - Wings by Elizabeth Richards



Today we are super excited to share the cover to WINGS, the third and final book in author's Elizabeth Richard's BLACK CITY series!


Check out this beauty! 


Wings (Black City #3) by Elizabeth Richards


Get the first two books in the series! 




OPEN INTERNATIONAL!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tampa by Alissa Nutting




Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Release Date – July 2, 2013
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -  272 pages
My Rating- 5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

**ADULT CONTENT AND POSSIBLE SPOILERS**

**All Quotes Taken From Advance Reader Copy**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She's undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste's devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste's terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack's father's own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.
Lolita meets American Psycho. Those are what comes to mind whenever someone asks me to describe Tampa. It's an uncomfortable narration from the mind of someone who not only is aware of their misdeeds, but takes pleasure in them. This novel is as graphic as warned, as controversial as you're expecting, and yet surprising as well.

Alissa Nutting's debut stunned me simply because it didn't read like a debut for me. It's carefully crafted, intelligent and woven in a complex way that brings the layers of the story together perfectly. The subtle satire, commentary and the fact that she makes you examine your own reactions to the story are just some of what makes Alissa's talent immediately evident.

Celeste is one of the most developed characters I've read in a while. Her voice is so resonate that she easily leaps off the page. I've read that people are made even more uncomfortable by Celeste because of how real she appears. I totally believe this. Alissa Nutting's depiction is distressing because Celeste causes us to examine things in society that we want to rationalize.

Even more distressing are those brief moments where Celeste shows you she's someone other than the monster inside. The brief moments where she makes you laugh. She has a dark sense of humor that will undoubtedly cause you to laugh uncomfortably. She also is keenly aware of her desires and the wrongness that exists in her. "At times, I wished that my genitals were prosthetic, something I could slip out of" she confesses at one point. It's this stark realization that offers a brief glimpse at a more complex, fully realized character that prevent her from becoming a caricature.

Contrasting this however is the side of her that doesn't care. Her predator side that runs on desire and instinct. Her reference to never having children because she didn't want to put herself in a position of having to resist if she had a son, the chillingly blunt declaration that closes out the novel, and the systematic way she goes about fulfilling her desires. To Celeste the only one who matters IS Celeste and everyone else is either in her way, or something to use and discard when no longer wanted.

Her narcissistic nature displays itself in her desire to be a yard stick of sorts for these young boys sexual future. She states
Like a tollbooth in his memory, every partner he'd have afterwards would have to pass through the gate of my comparison, and it would be a losing equation. The numbers could never be as favorable as they were right now, when his naivety would be subtracted from my experience to produce the largest sum of astonishment possible.
She wants to be something they compare others to. She wants to stand out, be remembered. She says it would be a losing equation for the other girls. It's this narcissism that flows through the entire novel. The side characters, especially Jack Patrick, lack any definition. We barely learn anything about him or others. To Celeste he's simply a means to scratch her itch. She'll dispose of him once he's worn out his usefulness. It's this aspect that is brilliantly done by the author and reads like a deliberate choice considering the narrator. She lets you into Celeste's head, and every single detail is written what that in mind.

Society views this type of abuse a certain way. Female perpetrators are viewed different than male. The victims are also treated differently based on gender. Male teachers who abuse young female victims are immediately vilified. They are deemed to be exactly what they are - guilty of a crime. The wrongness of their actions is without question. The female victim is offered support, told that what happened was wrong and not her fault. It's a different story when reversed. Turn on any news report, view any online article dealing with female perpetrated crimes of this nature and you'll see a glaring difference. The male victim is often deemed "lucky" or something similar. Lascivious comments are made and often a refrain of "If she were my teacher I wouldn't be able to stay away either". The onus is put on the victim, the offender is almost made out to be a victim herself. This typically corresponds with declarations that she 'fell in love' and 'couldn't help herself'. Society expects that a female would only act this way out of some attachment and feelings. The entire notion of a female like Celeste doesn't cross many people's minds. This novel turns this idea on it's head, and makes you confront the reality head on. Female abusers do as much damage to their victims as male, and the male victims are just as violated as the young female victims. We as a society just haven't learned that yet.

There is also an undercurrent statement on women and how society views them. Celeste realizes that as she ages her desires are going to harder to sate.
There was no way for women, for anyone, to gracefully age. After a certain point, any detail like the woman's cheerleader hairstyle that implied youth simply looked ridiculous. Despite her athletic prowess, the jogger's cratered thighs seemed more like something that would die one day than something that would not. I didn't know how long I had before this window slammed down on my fingers as well - with diligence, and avoiding children, perhaps a decade. The older I became, the harder it would be to get what I wanted, but that was probably true of everyone with everything.
This underlying sub commentary also ties in with the reaction to these types of cases. A young beautiful woman is desirable to men, therefore it's not considered abuse because what straight man wouldn't want to have sex with a beautiful, experienced woman. This fails to keep in mind that these are BOYS who are being taken advantage of by someone in a position of power. Her beauty should have nothing to do with it. I am curious, and this novel made me consider it, how society would react if the perpetrator was a woman who wasn't conventionally attractive.

Is this novel for everyone? No, of course not. I do think that anyone who thinks they'll be okay with the subject matter should pick it up. Alissa Nutting has made an immediate fan out of me. Tampa is controversial, hard to read, and will make you squirm. The message it delivers is an important one however, and any conversation it brings forth is definitely needed. A brilliantly written, unflinching look inside the mind of a female sociopath who stays with you long after you've read this short, unputdownable book.

Saturday, July 13, 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). 


A few borrowed books this week and some ebooks for review!



Endless by Jessica Shirvington (Goodreads)
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (Goodreads)
Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout (Goodreads)

I also snagged this via ebook after the news broke



The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK ROWLING!!!!) (Goodreads)

So if you missed the news JK Rowling has written a crime novel under a pen name that released in April of this year. It was announced late Saturday (or that's when I stumbled upon the news) that she is indeed the writer. I can't wait to read this.

I am also going to be part of the Endless blog tour. Super excited to read this as I've enjoyed the previous installments of this series. Huge thank you to Sourcebooks for the chance to review.

Big thank you to Ciara (from Lost At Midnight) for lending me Incarnate and Onyx. After Obsidian, I am dying to read Onyx and will hopefully be starting it soon.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

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