Thursday, February 27, 2014

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:

Change the Plot. If you could, what book would you change the ending or a plot thread? Go ahead and do it...change it.

Well I don't want to change the ENTIRE thing of any book. There are little things I wouldn't mind changing in books, and the usually deal with the fate of some of my favourite characters. If it were up to me a certain character would not have died in Mockingjay.

Happy Weekend!

I am guest posting.....




As you may know, I am part of an online book club with some other fantastic bloggers. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bookclub recently selected Endless Love to be our February selection. The people over at Harper Collins Canada asked me if I would like to contribute something to the Savvy Reader website. They are starting this new feature where bloggers and/or readers review books that have been recently turned into movies.

Savvy Reader, and HCC Frenzy (for the YA market) are amazing sites that Harper Collins Canada uses to connect with their readers. If you have time check them out! You may have also heard of their 50 Book Pledge. This not only provides a fantastic way to keep track of your reading (via their fantastic website) but is also a great way to interact with readers.

You can find my guest post about Endless Love by Scott Spencer at - http://thesavvyreader.ca/2014/the-reel-story-endless-love-by-scott-spencer/


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday ......... Even In Paradise


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 Even In Paradise by Chelsey Philpot


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.
I've been talking about this book a lot recently, and it's because it sounds awesome. The family has been called Kennedy-esque and that immediately piqued my interest. The cover reminds me of summer (which I am very much missing right now) and it just sounds like it's going to be awesome!

Expected release date - October 14, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow



The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow
Release Date - February 25, 2014
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 382 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past
Do you miss Gossip Girl? If so, meet The Diamond Sisters. This is a fun decadent look at life on the Las Vegas strip when it's filled with money, scandalous secrets, and lies. It's said that what happens in Vegas stays there, but like the book reminds us - this doesn't happen when you live there.

The point of view rotates between the three sisters, and surprisingly, mean girl-ish Madison. I felt that each girl had a distinct personality, so it was quite easy to distinguish who was narrating the chapter. Savannah who is sheltered, protected and a little naive. Peyton who headstrong, angry and a wild child. Courtney is the 'good girl' who is always responsible and rather spend her time studying (or reading a book). Madison oozes venom and is a classic high school mean girl (so basically she's delightfully awful). It was fun getting to follow these girls throughout the story and see how each progressed.

The sisters each react quite differently to being thrust into this new lifestyle. Peyton wants nothing to do with their father, and isn't afraid to show it. Savannah is thrilled, and can't wait to become part of their new world. Courtney is more cautious, but willing to hear their father out before deciding anything. I could I could relate to Courtney the most (the studious book worm who maybe wants to go a bit wild) but found myself caring about all three sisters. Each of the sister's get into their own brand of trouble, and each decision they make remains totally in character for them.

The secrets begin to unravel and it becomes clear that each potential half truth only leads to more secrets. The plot itself is light, and filled with the outlandish twists and turns you would expect. It's part of the fun, and it fits completely within the world the author has developed. It becomes evident though, that the characters are the focal point of the novel. The author effortlessly makes you care about these girls, and what happens to them. Through out the twists, turns, drama, and romance, it's the characters that keep the book grounded, and engaging.

This setting of Las Vegas is exactly what I've been looking for from a book set in this city. It's the lavish, indulgent, lifestyle that is the stuff of day dreams for most people. The book also captures the more normal side to Vegas however. We get ultra exclusive nightclubs, and black American Express cards, right along side rousing karaoke bars. It ignited my travel and had my day dreaming about my own trip to Las Vegas. It made me fall not only in love with the characters, but Vegas itself.

A sinfully decadent setting, a Gossip Girl vibe, and enough secrets to keep you burning through the pages. The Secret Diamond Sisters is flirty, fun, and tailor made to be a show on the CW network. It'll may even make you eager to have your own scandal filled adventure on the Las Vegas strip!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh



The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
Release Date - February 25, 2014
Publisher Website - Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Set on the rugged, mountainous west coast of Mallorca, this taut, sultry, brilliantly paced novel is an urgent meditation on female desire, the vicissitudes of marriage and the allure of youth.

Taking place over the course of one week, The Lemon Grove lands in the heat of Deia, a village on an island off the southeast coast of Spain. Jenn and Greg are on their annual holiday to enjoy languorous, close afternoons by the pool, and relaxed dinners overlooking the rocks. But the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of their teenage daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Nathan. Jenn, in her early forties, loves her (older) husband and her (step)daughter and is content with her life, she thinks. But when this beautiful, reckless young man comes into her world, she is caught by a sexual compulsion that she's seldom felt before. As the lines hotly blur between attraction, desire and obsession, Jenn’s world is thrown into tumult--by Nathan's side, she could be young and carefree once again, and at this stage in her life, the promise of youth is every bit as seductive as the promise of passion. Jenn struggles between the conflicting pulls of resistance and release, and the events of the next few days have the potential to put lives in jeopardy as the players carry out their roles in this unstoppably sexy and unputdownable novel from a brilliant observer of the human condition.
The Lemon Grove is a sexy look at attraction, obsession, and the allure of youth. It examines the tangled web lies weave and the true cost of being unfaithful.

The story is written in such a way that it allows the reader to fill in many things themselves. I've often said that your imagination is capable of conjuring up things better with only a few details, instead of having something describe in painstaking detail. Leaving room for the reader to let their imagination wander allowed me to immerse myself into the story. I never felt I was missing anything, it was just a lovely, realistic balance. It read like someone telling you the story and letting you have the juicy details, but giving enough background for you to fill in the rest.

The only exception to this would be the tension between Jenn and Nathan. I wanted a bit more build up. I wanted the tension to become unbearable for Jenn, and the reader. The bit that is explored crackles off the page, but left me wanting a little more teasing and taunting. The will she/won't she nature of the story provides some delicious torture, and I would have gladly had that last a little bit longer.

Jenn's attraction to Nathan seems grounded in both his attractiveness, but also in the allure of youth itself. She seems dissatisfied with her life, longs for a bit of a second chance at her youth. She mentions wishing she had made a few youthful indiscretions before it was too late. She wants a taste of the naughty side. It's unclear how much is actually Nathan, and how much is this desire within Jenn. It is a haunting look at the regrets you might have about the roads not taken as you get older.

The relationships in this book are all fleshed out much more than I expected them to be. The most striking is the one between Jenn and her step-daughter Emma. Fraught with stressful moments that are balanced with some touching ones.  There relationship is pretty complex and felt really authentic. Jenn feels like Emma doesn't see her as her mother, and is even unsure if that's how she sees herself. Emma appears to think that Jenn resents her a little and tests boundaries as any normal teenager does. Their relationship is a little like a tightrope walk at times, each trying to keep their balance. Each is trying to be careful of the other, and neither is really sure how to handle their relationship.

The ending made me want to immediately read the last few chapters again because it delightfully shocked me. I wasn't expecting it to go in the particular direction it did, but was almost relieved it did. The ending itself is a conversation starter, and leads you desperate to know what comes after. Your head fills in the next scenes, and words almost automatically because you want to continue the story. Each reader is left to make up their own fate for the characters, and that may have delighted me the most.

The Lemon Grove is certainly a perfect fit for beaches, summer, and poolsides. I predict this one may be in quite a few beach bags come summer. It's as dangerously addictive as it is sexy. Complex characters, and a stunning ending made me really enjoy this quick, sizzling read.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

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 had an awesome book week. I purchased a few books that I am super excited about


Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (goodreads)
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (goodreads)
Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (goodreads)
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (goodreads)

I enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a lot, and cannot wait to read Dark Places. I read Shiver and really enjoyed it, so I grabbed Linger and hope to finish off the trilogy before Sinner comes out. Dance of the Red Death is a replacement for the copy my friend destroyed (said friend is never borrowing a book from me again). Lastly, A Long Way Down is an impulse purchase because I saw the trailer for the movie, and had to read the book.

I also got two review books. A huge thank you to Raincoast Books for these. I've heard good things about both of them.


Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira (goodreads)
The Cellar by Natasha Preston (goodreads)

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

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

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I was fortunate to have gotten an advance copy of this. I read it, and needless to say LOVED it. It's a dark, twisty take on the Wizard of Oz tale, and it's a well plotted, gripping story. My full review is to come, but this one totally gave me a book hangover.

Cover for Even In Paradise by Chelsey Philpot


This cover is summer wrapped in contemporary goodness. I can't wait to read this. Epic Reads referred to the family in this as Kennedy-esque and obviously, I was sold. The Goodreads synopsis has only increased my need to read this book.

OTHER

Heathers, The Musical


Heathers is one of my favourite 80's movies. It's filled with insanely quotable lines - 'Our love is god, let's go get a slushie' being my personal favourite. The fact that they are turning this into a musical is amazing. Kelly (Kellyvision) and I will be going to see this while in NYC for Book Expo America and I am SO VERY EXCITED! #HowVery

A Long Way Down trailer


AARON PAUL! Enough said. He's adorable in this trailer. Sigh. (yes, okay, I might have a bit of a celebrity crush on him right now). Rosamund Pike and Imogen Potts are both so pretty. Super excited to see Rosamund in this because she'll be Amy in the Gone Girl movie. I just bough this book, and I am hoping to read it before the movie comes out. Yes, I totally bought the book because I want to see the movie (this surprises nobody).

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

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 was the last book that made you cry?

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. We're talking ugly crying on the bus. I can't wait for people to fall in love with this novel.

Happy Weekend!

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout



White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout  
Release Date - February 25, 2014
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
One kiss could be the last

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.
White Hot Kiss mixes romance with a twist on the classic 'where do I belong/who am I story'. The very readable writing style of Jennifer Armentrout, and some fun mythology make this one fast paced, page turning read that I couldn't put down.

Layla grew on me immediately. Torn between two different sides of herself, she is a very sympathetic character. Warden or demon. She is both, and yet neither. She flits between the two while fully belonging to neither. This ties in nicely with the overall theme of the novel. You quickly see that good and bad are relative terms. Things are not always how you see them, and you can't generalize a whole group of people (or in this case demons/wardens). It just doesn't work that way, and the grey area is what begins to weigh on Layla as she's pulled deeper into her demon world, and learns secrets she never expected were being kept from her.

The mythology is the driving force of the novel. It's well done, and offers a few twists and turns. The secrets Layla uncovers, and as she begins to learn her ancestry, and what it means for herself, her place, and the world in general, was gripping. It provides a balance to the romance so that the plot is moving forward , and compelling you to keep reading. I can not wait to unravel the rest of the secrets, and find out if all the required elements to bring out the apocalypse will ever be completed.

The sexy Warden she excruciatingly can't kiss, and the irresistible demon who makes her want to be oh so bad. Layla certainly find herself in some deliciously sexy situations. The romance is steamy, and a huge focus of the novel. However, it's smartly tied directly into the plot. What better way to test someone who sucks souls than put two very different guys in front of her and make it so she can touch one but not the other? It instant tension and it works.

Roth is exactly the type of bad boy I've been missing in YA novels. He's the kind of bad boy that makes me nostalgic for a time when the bad boy equaled smoking a cigarette while wearing a leather jacket. In other words, he's more of a rebel than truly bad. We see that Roth has many different sides to him, and while he is a demon, he's also quite caring towards Layla. He proves himself loyal, and more than once puts Layla's safety before his own. Zayne is the obviously choice for Layla (minus that whole 'kiss and she'd take his soul' thing). He's loyal, kind, and all around perfect. This results in a pretty evenly matched triangle with each side on pretty equal footing.

Another sexy page turner from Jennifer Armentrout. Fans of her addictive writing will devour this, and immediately want the sequel. It's fun, breezy, and entertaining. The only question left is Team Roth or Team Zane, and luckily we have two other books to make that decision.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday ....... All Lined Up


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 All Lined Up by Cora Carmack


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

When your dad is a coaching legend in Texas high school football, your life isn’t your own. That’s why Dallas Cole can’t wait to get to Rusk University and finally get out of her father’s shadow. But when he makes the jump to college ball—at her school no less—it’s déjà vu all over again.

Now, half the team (and all their groupies) avoid her like the plague, convinced she’ll tattle to her notoriously hardass father about a frat party or a bent curfew. The other half just wants to use her to get closer to the coach.

And then there’s Carson McClain, the supremely hot, newly transferred second-string quarterback. Oblivious of her identity, he approaches her at a party, and for once in her life Dallas decides to kiss first and ask questions later.

While the heat between them is undeniable, Dallas and Carson have more than a few issues to tackle. He’s a football player with a lot to prove. She’s the coach’s daughter who just wants a life of her own. How can they possibly win when they’ve both got so much to lose?
This immediately brought to mind Julie Taylor, Matt Saracen and Coach Taylor. Anyone else? If you don't know who Julie, Matt and Coach Taylor are - watch Friday Night Lights immediately. I've heard nothing but amazing things about Cora's previous books, and this seems like it'll be perfect for me (because of my Friday Night Lights obsession). Needless to say, I can't wait to get my hands on this New Adult book.

Expected release date - May 13, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Unforgotten by Jessica Brody



Unforgotten by Jessica Brody    
Release Date - February 25, 2014
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Some memories are better left forgotten...

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.
Imagine losing all your memories over and over again. Not knowing who to trust, or what's real. Not having a clear sense of your past, and how that would impact your future. Seraphina lives this, and she also happens to created by scientists in a laboratory. Unforgotten looks at what makes someone human, and what it means to have free will.

I found this book's pacing a little slow at first. Everything we find out, all the secrets and reveals that will impact the next book, come mostly at the end. It made the beginning feel a little dragged out. The middle, and end are a much stronger, and fast paced. There is interesting developments and enough is revealed to keep me coming back for the third. I just wished this had been a little tighter in the beginning.

An intriguing premise made me pick up the first novel in this series. A promising first novel ensured I would pick up the sequel. Unforgotten delves a little deeper into the themes of the first book, without veering from them. The main focus of this one is free will. What it means to have it, and in Seraphina's case, can she ever be sure she has it? I found this aspect fascinating, especially since Seraphina is grappling with what Diotech wants from her, and what they expect her to do.

Diotech, and their agenda, are only starting to be revealed. We learn quite a bit about them, and their motivations in the later half of the novel. We learn how important certain events, and people are to Seraphina's creation, and ultimately we begin to learn why she was created. These answers, and the promise of more, is what kept me immersed into the story. Seraphina, and her struggle for identity, is the heart of this novel, and it's what drives it forward.

Zen, as the synopsis reveals, spends most of the novel ill. As a result, there is almost no character progression for him. We know he loves Seraphina, and will do anything to protect her. We also learn a few of his secrets, but he remain rather illusive. Kaelen, a new character that is introduced, provides the potential for a love triangle. Kaelen is fascinating. Exploring what he means for Seraphina and the story in general is only beginning in this installment. I expect the aftershock of his introduction will still be felt in the last installment.

For a novel that appears to be science fiction heavy, it's surprising light on this element. It's developed enough to follow, and provides a jumping point for the character interactions more than anything. This story revolves around the romance between Zen and Seraphina and them trying to constantly find their way back to each other. As someone who doesn't mind romance heavy plots, this allowed me to become absorbed into the story easily. If someone is looking for a more science fiction heavy plot, they might be disappointed.

Fans of the first book will find much to love in this sequel. A romantic, sweeping story of how our memories define us, and how the connections we form make us human. It's slow unravel of the plot left me a little lukewarm, but overall I am enjoying this series as a whole.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White



Perfect Lies by Kiersten White    
Release Date - February 18, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 232 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them
How far would you go to protect your family? How much would you sacrifice? For Fia and Annie the answer is everything. Fia and Annie are willing to kill to protect each other. Mind Games showed us the strength of their bond. Perfect Lies tests it. A compelling conclusion to this duology that delivered fantastic character development, but left me desperate for more backstory.

Annie changes quite a bit in this installment. As she learns to live for herself, and not be dependent on Fia, a strength emerges. It's something that was always there, but was unleashed when she realized it was within her. I felt like I got to know her character in a way that I didn't in the first one. She quickly became one of my favourites as we were let into her world.

Fia retains the qualities that endeared her to me in the first one. She's someone who follows her instincts, and worries about the consequences later. Seeing her hit rock bottom is crushing. The main thing you want for Fia is for her to depend on herself. She depends on others to keep herself together. Fia, and James are both used a crutch. The pain, and guilt she feels are just barely kept at bay with the coping mechanisms she uses. Fia's story is one that doesn't lend itself to a happily ever after, even if you wish she could have one, and her character captures this perfectly.

The romance in this novel is just as broken as you would expect. When secrets and lies dictate your life, any romance will be shrouded in the same. Fia and James exist on a knife's edge. Annie's tepid, and careful nature shows itself in her romance as well. Seeing Annie fall in love was one of my favourite parts of the story, because it helps her on the path to independence.

The school founded by the Keane Foundation, and the foundation itself, are still a tantalizing mystery. I wanted more details. I wanted to learn more about James' mother and her part in everything. I wanted to learn the beginnings of this school, and how it quickly grew into what it is for Annie and Fia. This was the only aspect that didn't quite meet my expectations. I just wanted so much more from this part of the story.

The ending is perfectly imperfect. It's an ending that fits not only the characters, but the story itself. It provides enough closure that you're content with it, but doesn't shove these characters into any boxes. If anything is clear, it's that these characters defy categories, and the ending keeps in line with that.

A novel that focuses on the strengths of sisterly bonds, and provides us with two broken, and compelling female characters. It provided enough character development to satisfy, but left me begging for more from the world building. Perfect Lies provides a fitting in to this duology, but left many questions unanswered.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

New To My Book Closet


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

Another amazing week at my mailbox. Very excited to read all these wonderful sounding books.


This Star Won't Go Out by Ester Earl w/ John Green (goodreads)
Prototype by M.D. Waters (goodreads)
Killer Instinct by S.E. Green (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Penguin Canada/Razorbill Canada for This Star Won't Go Out, and Prototype. I also want to thank S.E. Green for the contest that allowed me to win a copy of Killer Instinct. I am hoping to get to these as soon as possible.

I was also approved for one e-galley this week, and it's one I am pretty excited about.


Sublime by Christina Lauren (goodreads)

A ghost girl, and the boy who loves her? YES PLEASE! I hope to get to this one soon as well.


I also had to get myself the second season of Breaking Bad (which should surprise nobody)!

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

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. It's heavy on the pretty covers because it's cover reveal time!

BOOKS

This was the week of cover reveals because Harper unveiled almost all of their Fall 2014 title's covers.

Cover for Amy Ewing's The Jewel


It reminds me a lot of the covers for The Selection. However, the synopsis makes it sound like an ever darker world. I do love this cover though. It's really pretty.

Cover for Anna Carey's Blackbird


The premise for this sounds really intriguing. It's told in second person which, from all accounts, makes you fully immersed in this story. The cover is okay, but the tagline immediately has me saying "whoa!".

Cover for Caroline Pignat's Unspeakable


I always love underwater photos/art/etc and this is no exception. I think it's really pretty. The synopsis has me wanting to read this immediately though! It not only takes place in Canada, but has a heartbreaking romance at it's center. Totally intrigued. 

Cover of Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White


Oh! I love this. It's beautiful. The mixture of magic with a touch of historical has me really intrigued. Plus Kiersten White mentioned there would be kissing. I enjoy kissing in books. Add it to your Goodreads if you haven't already.

Cover of Bethany Griffin's The Fall


I helped reveal this on this blog this week. However, I LOVE it. It captures the haunting, creepy vibe of the synopsis perfectly. Bethany's previous books are some of my favourites so I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

OTHER

Book Expo America

Tickets are purchased. Apartment is booked. Things are happening. Why is it not May yet? The big news that was announced is that Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, and Alan Cumming are the Master of Ceremonies for the annual breakfasts BEA hosts. This is obviously awesome! I am looking forward to the autographing schedule being released so I can attempt to plan my days.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cover Reveal..... The Fall by Bethany Griffin


Today I get to help reveal the cover for one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. I loved Bethany Griffin's previous series, and can not wait to get my hands on her new stand alone - The Fall, a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of Usher.

Here's the synopsis to get you excited
Madeline Usher is doomed. 

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.
 Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.
 In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.
Bethany is celebrating her cover unveiling with a giveaway! The prize is an Edgar Allan Poe Collection, and an Edgar Allen Poe Library candle.

In order to win, you'll have to email Bethany the answer to the following trivia question -
What sort of body of water (lake, stream, inlet- none of these are the answer, just examples!) stands before the house, creating an illusion that there are two unsettlingly horrible houses as the House of Usher is reflected.
Once you've found the answer, email it to info@bethanygriffin.com. You have until Feb 20th to submit your entry. Good luck.

Now, for the pretty! I LOVE this cover. It fits the synopsis perfectly, and it is certainly eye catching.


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Be sure to add the book to your Goodreads account, and you can find other places to find Bethany in the links below

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18241263-the-fall 
Bethany on Twitter https://twitter.com/_bethanygriffin
Website www.bethanygriffin.com 
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bethanygriffinauthor

So what do you think of the cover? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday ........ Famous In Love


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 Famous In Love by Rebecca Serle


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When seventeen-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is -- and who she wants -- while the whole world watches.
This is totally my newest obsession. I need this book...IMMEDIATELY. If you love celebrity gossip, shows on the CW, and books this should already be on your radar. It's like Rebecca took one of my bookish wishes and made it a reality. Oh, and it's going to be a series. The only question you should be asking yourself at this point is - Team Rainer or Team Jordan (because you've already added it to your TBR list). *looks at release date and cries*. I may pray for an advance copy of this one.

Expected release date - October 21, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Be With Me by J Lynn



Be With Me by J Lynn    
Release Date - February 4, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not…
It's official. I think I love this whole New Adult thing. Capturing the seductive nature of New Adult, and blending it with her completely addictive writing, Jennifer Armentrout had me flying through the pages of Be With Me.

The first novel in this series, Wait for You, had me excited to read Teresa's story. While I liked Avery, I ended up loving Teresa. Teresa is instantly sympathetic. Part of this novel's charm is that we feel like we already know Teresa because we're introduced to her previously. We know her baggage, and her secrets. The pre-awareness made her seem like a friend already, and it was easy to become immersed into her story.

These books only work if you care about what happens to these characters, and the author does more than make you care. You come to love these characters. You want Teresa's story to have a happy ending. You want Jase to work through his issues and stop pushing her away. The potential for this happy ending is what makes you fly through these pages. These characters resonate, and it pulls you in effortlessly.

It goes without saying that the romance in this novel is sizzling hot. Jase and Teresa have scorching chemistry, and there is just enough hot and cold to tantalize without being aggravating. The support, and genuine friendship that is built between them may have been my favourite aspect of their relationship. They are friends first and foremost. Having this strong foundation only made their chemistry more rich, and those hot scenes even more meaningful.

The issue of domestic violence and violence against women was presented with just the right balance. The harsh realities were accompanied by some wonderful insights in why someone would stay in this type of relationship. Teresa's shame, while heartbreaking, rang all too real. The stark reminder of what these relationships can lead to was jarring, but unflinchingly, brutally honest. I wish we had spent a little more time on this aspect of the story, even if it would have meant a slightly different book.

After dealing with violence against women in such a straight forward, and fairly realistic feeling manner, the ending veers away from this approach. I was a little disappointed because everything else was so wonderfully done. It's a minor thing, that some may not even notice, but I feel it did lessen the impact of the message as a result.

Be With Me is yet another engrossing New Adult novel from Jennifer Armentrout. The mixture of actual plot and character growth along with the sexiness New Adult is known for, creates a perfectly engrossing read. If you want your New Adult with substances and swoon worthy guys, this series certainly delivers.

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Third Blogiversary


Another blogging year has come and gone. This one sort of surprised me because my 'blogiversary' was technically at the end of January.

I debated not posting anything, but wanted to use this as a chance to thank a few people.

First, thank you to ALL OF YOU! Those reading this. I never anticipated having a lot of followers, the fact that I am now over 1000 is pretty mind blowing to me. A huge thank you to every single person who stops by to read my blog. It means a lot to me.

The Ottawa blogettes. - We've certainly grown since last year. A huge thank you to all of you! Emilie, Katie, Meghan, Ciara, Jess, Kim and Katherine. You ladies make doing this even more fun. Thanks for the bookish chats, book swaps, rants and general awesomeness. You ladies are one of the best perks of this whole blogging thing.

Christy (The Reader Bee) - I can not even begin to thank you for all the banners, chats, and your general awesomeness. I love that we met through this whole blogging thing. We still need to have our Magic Mike/wine night (I haven't forgotten by the way). Also, thank you for catching up on Once Upon A Time. I love chatting about it with you. Thanks for being an amazing friend.

Kelly (Kellyvision) - Thank you for introducing me to Breaking Bad (and for the still fragile state of my heart after watching it). Thank you for letting me rant, vent, and basically clog you with direct messages on Twitter (and generally being awesome). You're an awesome sounding board for blog ideas and I am so glad we met that first year at BEA (and even more glad we became friends).

To the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club -  We survived Tampa. We can survive anything. Can't wait to Skype with you ladies again. I adore each of you, and our Google doc chats.

A huge thank you to all the authors and publishers I worked with last year. I look forward to many more to come.

Bethany Griffin and Katherine Longshore who NEVER fail to amaze me with their awesomeness. Thank you both for writing books that make me want to shout at everyone to read them. Thank you both for your kindness, and support of my blog events for your amazing novels. I can't wait to read what you both write next.

To all the authors whose books have made me cry, laugh, and everything in between - THANK YOU! Sharing my love of books is why I started blogging, and you're responsible for that.

I am going to have a quick giveaway. It'll be a thank you to to anyone who follows my blog. I am going to give away one of my favourite novels, and the winner will get to select from this list.....

1 Stolen by Lucy Christopher
2 Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
3 Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
4 Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
5 Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. Contest is international as long as Book Depository ships to you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 9, 2014

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 pretty amazing week in my mailbox. I may have had a freakout when some of these arrived.


Wings by Elizabeth Richard (goodreads)
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (goodreads)
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Elizabeth Richards for the surprise package of awesome. A huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for the epicness that is Dorothy Must Die. Christy, from The Reader Bee, is my favourite for sending me Second Star. My Peter Pan fangirl flailed just a little (okay, maybe it flailed a lot).


Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews (goodreads)

 Thank you to Giselle from Book Nerd Canada and Lifetime Network/Shaw Media for the amazing Flowers in the Attic prize pack. I am looking forward to getting the copy of Bonnie and Clyde that is to be shipped soon!


Breaking Bad (season one)

So, if you've read my blog before, you are well aware of my Breaking Bad obsession. I NEED to own the entire series, and took steps to accomplish this by getting the first season. A re-watch is totally happening, and I expect I'll do a blog event around it.

Let me know what you got in your mailbox this week!

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

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. It's heavy on the pretty covers because it's cover reveal time!

BOOKS

Cover for Rebecca Serle's Famous In Love



Everything about this sounds like a CW watching, Hollywood gossip addicted, book lover's dream. Seriously, check out the synopsis and tell me you don't want this in your hands immediately. The cover is cute too. I shall be stalking Simon and Schuster's booth at BEA to try to get my hands on this! 

Cover for Mary McCoy's Dead To You


The blood on the corner of the cover. That immediately sold me (that, and this awesome synopsis). It's totally old Hollywood glamour, meets murder mystery and I AM IN!

Cover for Natalie C. Parker's Beware The Wild

D

I love that the water reflects the 'wild' in the title. It's creepy, and fits the synopsis perfectly. It's another one I can't wait to get hands on and the awesome cover is just icing on the cake.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Interview with M.D. Waters and Giveaway!


So you may have read my gushing review of Archetype by M.D. Waters yesterday. Hopefully it made you want to get a copy of your own. I am giving one away and also have M.D. Waters stopping by for an interview.

First up, let me remind you of the awesomeness that is Archetype

Introducing a breathtakingly inventive futuristic suspense novel about one woman who rebels against everything she is told to believe.

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

The first novel in a two-part series, Archetype heralds the arrival of a truly memorable character—and the talented author who created her.
Sounds awesome right?! It totally is. So compelling, and addictive. You won't be able to put it down. Here is the interview I did with the author. I want to thank M.D. for taking the time to answer these questions.

1 Describe Archetype in 3 words: 

Emotional. Shocking. Oppressive.

2 How would Emma describe Declan and Noah? 

I think she would describe Declan as a loving, powerful man who would do anything in the world to protect her. And with as little as she knows about Noah, he’s frightening and intriguing all at the same time. But both are sexy attractive. Very very sexy attractive.

3 What sort of research did you do for this novel? 

I did very little, actually. I had to hunt for a symbol to brand fertile women showing they’re spoken for, or married, which turned out to be the luckenbooth. I also had to read up on the migration pattern of seagulls for a very small part of the novel, which turned out to be an ongoing issue throughout the editing process. I needed a very specific breed, with a very specific look, and I found one pretty quickly, but making the details clear was a lot more difficult than it should have been. I pretty much wanted to go to war with every seagull on the planet by the time it was over.

4 What three things do you need while revising? 

Coffee. Music. Coffee refill.

5 Are you able to tease anything about your next project after this series? 

During the course of writing the sequel, Prototype, I was able to really blow up the world and show how truly different things are. A few things surprised even me, including the addition of some great characters, which led to ideas for a spin-off. I immediately tried working in details (very small ones) that would lead to a new story featuring a woman named Nicoleigh (Leigh) Bennett, and so far, she’s making my life pretty easy. It helps that she remembers her past…and that the hero is smoking hot.

Alright, so by now you totally want to win a copy for yourself. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. A huge thank you to Penguin USA for donating the prize. Good luck!

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

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:

If you could read a book for the “first time” again, which book would it be? Why? 

I predict this will be a very popular choice, but The Harry Potter series. The entire series again. I fell in love with it, and while I enjoy reading it again, nothing compares to that first time falling in love with a series feeling.

Happy Weekend and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Archetype by M.D. Waters



Archetype by M.D. Waters  
Release Date - February 6, 2014 (or February 11, 2014 depending on market)
Publisher Website - Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Introducing a breathtakingly inventive futuristic suspense novel about one woman who rebels against everything she is told to believe.

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

The first novel in a two-part series, Archetype heralds the arrival of a truly memorable character—and the talented author who created her.
What if you had no memories? What if you didn't remember the person you were married to? What if you had dreams that contradicted everything you had been lead to believe? What would you do if you could not even trust yourself? This is the reality Emma wakes up to in this thrilling debut novel. Archetype is not only a pulse pounding read but an intelligent look at memories and how they define us.

M.D. Waters, a debut novelist, has given me the New Adult novel I've been dreaming of. As the New Adult genre changes and grows, I can only hope that more novels like this will be the result. A strong plot driven novel that weaves in the sexy stuff without making it be the focus. A step away from the usual contemporary that has been the main focus of New Adult, Archetype, was like a breath of fresh air. This, along with M.D. Waters' compulsively readable writing, made putting down this novel nearly impossible. I was instantly captivated by Emma, and her story.

This story is one that begs to be read without being spoiled. It's one that you need to experience along with Emma, and take that journey with her. Part of this novel's appeal is the piecing together of Emma's past right along with her. The confusion she feels is felt by the reader, and allows the reader to step into her shoes.

Memories and how they define us is the question at the heart of Archetype. Our past and our life experiences make us who we are. Without that history, and those memories, who are you? Emma struggles with this through the whole novel. She's trying to piece together her life, and it's jarring to see how lost one would be without these memories. Our sense of self is wrapped up in the little details of our lives, and not having that would be crippling.

As the story unravels, and as Emma's past becomes more clear, the world building M.D. Waters laid out pays off. A world where women are scarce is shiver inducing enough, but the added detail of the bride camps is decidedly terrifying. M.D. Waters manages to create a world that is both alluring, and alarming all at once.

The science fiction elements were wonderfully woven into the story. As someone who is not proficient in sci-fi, I found these elements were laid out logically, and clearly. This aspect of the story was not overwhelming, and served to add to the world, and plot instead of distracting from it. I can not speak to it's authenticity, but I believed it. Being able to immerse myself into the story is the most important aspect for me, and this allowed that in spades.

Emma is pulled toward two scorchingly sexy, but different men. Declan, the man who claims to be her husband, and Noah, the man who haunts her dreams. Each of them could be dangerous. Each has their own motivations, and agenda The notion of who she should trust is a huge part of the unraveling of the mystery surrounding Emma. Which man is telling her the truth, and who can she trust? This is something that is tantalizingly teased. It's filled with some thrilling twists and turns that directly relate to who Emma is. Both of these men are just a little untrustworthy, and it makes stakes just a little higher for Emma.

A riveting, intensely readable debut that electrifies and demands to not be spoiled. Once you pick up Archetype, prepare to clear the rest of your day, because it will consume you. M.D. Waters is an author to watch, and the sequel to Emma's story can not come quickly enough.

Waiting on Wednesday .......... Conversion


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 Conversion by Katherine Howe


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .

Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?
The Crucible meets Prep is teased and I am sold. This creepy, and suspenseful and just awesome. Is it July yet?

Expected release date - July 1, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore



Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore      
Release Date - January 28, 2014
Publisher Website - Scholastic
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.
An author's talent can be displayed in many ways. My favourite is when an author writes something a little different than their previous works, and still manages to captivate the reader. With Manor of Secrets, Katherine Longshore, manages to entertain with a much more lighthearted, fun read that is filled with delicious secrets.

Katherine's knack for creating a setting that perfectly captures the time frame of the story is once again spot on. She effortlessly brings every aspect of the manor to life. She manages to make the novel feel both timeless, and historical. Part of it's charm is that has modern feel while still completely capturing the history.

This novel hinges on it's characters. It's a character driven plot, and all of the characters are wonderfully captured. With a plot that revolves around family, it was wonderful to see parents play such an active role in a young adult novel. The blending of friendship, family, and romance was perfectly managed. There is just enough of each to satisfy without any aspect of the novel taking over. It allows a balance that keeps the novel moving, and prevents the focus from wearing thin.

Both Charlotte and Janie want to create their own path. They both want something more than what they currently have. It's this yearning for betterment that grounds the story as relevant today. Finding yourself, determining who you are, is part of growing up. Following your own heart, rather than the wishes of someone else, is something everyone grapples with. Disappointing others, feeling selfish, scared, and unsure. All these feelings are part of leaving your teen years behind and setting off down your own path. It reminds us that even historical novels can shine a light on current social issues.

The twists, and secrets that come out are incredibly fun. There is one that, while I expected it, came about in the most unexpected way. The exact nature of the secret, and connection, manged to surprise me. It creates a dizzying, giddy last part to the novel that left a smile on my face.

Fans of Downton Abbey will immediately adore this book, but I think anyone will fall for it's charms. A well written, quaint tale of friendship, standing up for yourself, and taking that leap faith. It left me happy, content, and I eagerly anticipate any future novels Katherine Longshore writes as her skill only continues to improve.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Manor of Secrets Blog Tour




Today as part of the blog tour for Manor of Secrets I have Katherine Longshore stopping by with a guest post. Be sure to enter the US ONLY giveaway at the bottom as well! 

First here is a little about Manor of Secrets


Release Date: January 28, 2014

Pages: 320

Publisher: Point (Scholastic)

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.
Accuracy in historical fiction is something that is normally discussed when reviewing. I always wondered if remaining historically accurate helped or hurt while writing/plotting a novel. I got to ask Katherine that exact question and here is her amazing answer:

Here’s a secret: people who write historical fiction are a little obsessive.
 
Historical accuracy is important to us.

I once heard that Hilary Mantel (author of WOLF HALL, and BRING UP THE BODIES) claimed that she would invent the thoughts in a character’s head, but would research the color of his wallpaper.  (This is not a direct quote, and I can’t remember where I read it, but you get the gist).  With that level of obsession, how does one ever write a book?

Research is, of course, the foundation.  Events, important historical figures, societal dictates and attitudes, basic daily structures.  But once you start researching, the rest becomes important, too.  What was the weather like on a certain day?  How did one travel by train from Romney Marsh to Penshust Station in 1911?  What kind of car would a duke’s son drive?  And what color could it be?  And what word would they use to describe that color?

Next thing you know, five hours have passed and you’ve written one sentence.

One.

During the next round of revisions, that sentence gets cut because it’s extraneous.

Now, some people might throw up their hands in disgust and cry, “What a waste of time!”  But we don’t see it that way.  Because in the course of all that research and all that extraneous detail, we also got a better idea of what life was like for our characters. How much it would cost and what kind of effort it would take to buy that make, model and color of car.  Which might give us an idea of the kind of person who would buy it.

My Tudor novels (GILT, TARNISH and BRAZEN) are all about real people living through real events.  Historical accuracy is absolutely essential in these stories because, as we all know, history cannot be changed.  Anne Boleyn has to marry Henry VIII, and then she has to die.  There is no way around it.  But even with that knowledge, those events are not what drives the stories forward in my Tudor books.  The stories are about the characters—their choices move the story forward.

MANOR OF SECRETS was, in some ways, a little easier.  The historical events are background.  During the summer of 1911, King George V was crowned, the Ballets Russes came to London and caused a sensation, dockworkers went on strike and an extended period of record-breaking temperatures pushed the country into drought.  All of these events are mentioned in MANOR, but again, none of them are the impetus behind the stories of these two girls.

What affects these characters are societal dictates.  What’s expected of them.  What their communities have said they can and cannot do.  And again, historical accuracy is key.  Lady Charlotte doesn’t have the freedom to wander off on her own, to go to university or even to get her hands dirty.  Janie is not allowed to see three quarters of the house she lives in, have a boyfriend or take a day off work.

These are the rules of the story world.  But part of the fun of writing fiction is having characters break a few rules (because, obviously, if they just did what they were told all the time, the story would be quite boring).  Perhaps it’s not historically accurate for a lady of the house to befriend a servant.  But it makes for a good story, because therein the tension lies.

However, you can only break the rules of the story world once they’ve been established—once you’ve done the research.  So even when dedication to historical accuracy can seem like a hindrance (having to cut a sentence that took five hours to write), it’s still really a help.  Because every single detail—used or unused—cements the author and the reader further into the story world, and can be used to propel the story forward.

Katherine Longshore grew up on the northern California coast. At university, she created her own major in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications, planning to travel and write. Forever. Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years and discovered history. She now lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog.

Website/Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

Here are the rest of the Manor of Secrets tour stops! Please, do check them out!

Week One:

1/27/2014- Fiktshun- Guest Post

1/28/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post

1/29/2014- Good Books and Good Wine- Review

1/30/2014- Hobbitsies- Review

1/31/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Interview

Week Two:

2/3/2014- A Glass Of Wine- Guest Post

2/4/2014- Mundie Moms- Interview & Review

2/5/2014- Read My Breath Away- Guest Post

2/6/2014- Page Turners- Review

2/7/2014- Tales of a Ravenous Reader- Guest Post

Do not forget to enter the giveaway below. FIVE copies of Manor of Secrets are up for grabs, so be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter, and good luck!

A huge thank you to both Katherine, and the Rockstar Book Tours ladies for organizing this (and letting me take part). My review will go up tomorrow (spoiler, I LOVED this novel) so stop by to check it out.

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