Thursday, November 30, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - I Stop Somewhere


The next book on my list deals with the incredibly timely topic of rape culture and violence against women. I have been hearing amazing things about this one and I am excited for it to start discussions and be read by book clubs so that conversations that are so necessary can be had.


The Goodreads synopsis for TE Carters I Stop Somewhere ensures that you know the serious topic this book will tackle, as well as offering up a sense of the tone the story is going to take.
Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn't need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn't the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter's stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it also reminds us what it is to be human. 
This synopsis immediately grabs your attention. It grabs a hold of you and doesn't let go. You can sense the loneliness of the 'cold days' Ellie spends waiting for someone to find her. It paints a stark picture, but one that only highlights how important this novel is.

TE Carter was kind enough to answer some questions about the book. It's even more evident after reading this how this book is going to leave a lasting impact after you've read it.

1 Describe I Stop Somewhere in three words.

Rape culture exists

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

I'm not sure it would be very appropriate given the content of the book, but I'd say peppermint stick just because I like that!

3 Your novel tackles rape culture, and other heavy topics. What was one thing that surprised you during your research for this novel?

To be totally honest, I didn't do a great deal of research. Because so much of the book came from personal experience, I unfortunately already have some insight into the legal process and experiences featured in the book. I did do a little bit of research into state laws in New York, just to confirm a few things, and beyond that, I had to fill out some specifics related to the criminal justice system and mortgage industry. Otherwise, I guess the biggest surprise was simply that it was so common to hear stories like this that it inspired the book in the first place - because it just doesn't seem to change and that frustrates me. I'm not pretending I'm the only voice to tackle these issues or that I'm even the best advocate for them, but I did need to get this out there. It's just another perspective on something that's way too prevalent. Also, the number (and even existence) of zombie homes and the negligence and greed of the banking industry is disgusting. It's just unacceptable how corrupt some things are.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

"Obstacles" by Syd Matters (which is amazing!). It's from the game Life is Strange, which I was also playing while writing. Well, not while writing but while I was working on the book in the time I wasn't actually doing the writing!

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Probably Victorian London, because I adore London and I also have a real fascination with that era. It's both creepy and awful, and also full of so many interesting historical moments.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

Full disclosure, since she's my critique partner, but I already read ART OF ESCAPING by Erin Callahan and loved it!

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of I Stop Somewhere

There are kind of two first lines, because there's a little part of the book before the actual chapters. The first line of that little bit is "They call the houses 'zombies,' and our town is full of them." The first line from Chapter 1 is "She came in here with her brand-new shoes."


I Stop Somewhere releases Feburary 27, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.

You can find out more about TE Carter by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

What do you think of books that tackle important topics like rape culture? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for a special guest post from Ashley at Harper Collins Canada!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - Ace Of Shades



The next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated list is a book that has so many of the things I like to read about in one book. A Las Vegas like setting, magic, star crossed lovers (I am guessing), and rival mafia like crime families. All of that plus it has illicit cabarets! I immediately wanted to read this the second I read the deal announcement.


Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody sounds like the type of book you can get lost in. A rich world and engaging characters. I love the idea of magic existing in a Las Vegas like setting. It's a natural fit and one I cannot wait to see explored.


The Goodreads synopsis does nothing to lessen my excitement for this novel. All of this, plus Amanda's amazing writing, should have you instantly adding it to your own list for books to read in 2018!
Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn't have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne's offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi's enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.
The last line of the synopsis is what really grabs me. It sets up the tone of the book without you even having to pick it up.

Amanda was kind enough to tease a little about Ace of Shades in this Q and A!

1 Describe Ace Of Shades in three words

Cons, corruption, cabarets

2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail  in honour of your book, what might be included?

It's funny you ask this because there are original cocktails in the book, with their own names and recipes. I won't give out their recipes (yet), but here are their names: Gambler's Ruin, Snake Eyes, and Walk of Shame. Considering the Belle Epoque glamour of the world, there is no shortage of alcoholic beverages in this story! I'm a big fan of drunken shenanigans.

3 The Ace of Shades setting has a Las Vegas feel to it. Is there anything else you can tease about this incredible sounding setting?

So the original concept for this novel came from the idea of magic as currency. Once I had that, it was easy to formulate my vision: an entire city ruled by greed. New Reynes has a complicated history and political landscape: it was the first location of the world-wide revolutions to overthrow their tyrant kings, and now is the capital of the very sprawling Republic. However, the kings might be dead, but corruption still wears the crown. If you could combine post-Revolution Paris with Gilded Age/progressive era New York, you'd have something like New Reynes.

On top of this, only a few years after the Revolution, there was another war...this one in the criminal underground. It was called the Great Street War. Since then, the mafias and street gangs retain a tumultuous power over the North Side of the city, but despite all the violence in the eighteen years since this War, no one has complete control.

The story takes place twenty-five years after the Revolution, eighteen years after the War, yet all of this history is incredibly important to the central plot. The two characters, Enne Salta and Levi Glaisyer, might've teamed up to find a woman missing in this city, but they will end up caught in the center of this stormy political landscape. It's been fun for me to write, because you THINK all the history I'm throwing in is simply history...until it isn't.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

"Wicked Ones" by Dorothy has always been associated with this novel for me and a lot of my early readers. If there was a movie trailer for this book, I'd imagine this song in the background.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

To be honest, I'm not very interested in time travel. I am too attached to the rights and freedoms I have today. I'm very content to read about the past in books or twist period elements (like this one, roughly 1915) into my own worlds.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

I'm very excited for THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi!

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Ace Of Shades?

Sure thing! It hasn't changed much since the first draft :P

If I'm not home in two months, I'm dead.


I cannot wait for those drink recipes to be released! I fully intend to try out a couple while reading this book. I am intrigued by the Walk Of Shame one in particular.

Ace Of Shades releases April 10, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.

You can find out more about Amanda by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Do you love novels with magic, mafia like families, and secrets? Are Las Vegas like settings as intriguing to you as they are to me? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - These Rebel Waves



I've always been fascinated by pirates. I am pretty sure my love of Peter Pan was influenced not just by the boy who wouldn't grow up but the pirates he fought as well. There is something about pirates that is alluring and dangerous at the same time.


As a result of this fascination, I was thrilled to discover Sara Raasch was writing a novel that included 'a well-mannered lady, a tortured pirate, and an ambitious prince' I knew I needed to read it (and obviously I am firmly #TeamTorturedPirate).



The Goodreads synopsis offers up a tease for the amazingness to come. It appears we have a soldier (who may or may not be the 'well behaved lady'), the tortured pirate that I have already decided I am going to love, and a crown prince in a very precarious position. 
Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.
I love that this is going to have some magic in it, along with some characters that already stand out just from the synopsis. I am curious about so much that was revealed and it only makes me want to read the novel more than I already do.

Sara kindly took some time to let me in on some These Rebel Waves details and I am pretty sure you'll be rushing to add it to your own 'to be read' list (if you haven't already) after reading this fun interview I did with her!

1 What gif do you think best describes These Rebel Waves.



2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Jackfruit and basil in a coconut ice cream.

3 Pirates being included in a novel are often something that will make me automatically want to read it. What about pirates inspired you to write These Rebel Waves?

I love what pirates represent -- a group calling out something inherently wrong in a system/government by the very lives they lead.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

I think every write would choose to see the library of Alexandria!

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

PACIFICA by Kristen Simmons! I read an early version and OMG so intense. Kristen is amazing at reflecting our society's ills in bleak, absorbing dystopic worlds.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of These Rebel Waves.

"Benat Gallego was thirteen when he watched his uncle and cousin burn to death."


I need that ice cream. It sounds delicious. I love how Sara describes why she loves pirates. It makes me think her book is going to have EXACTLY my kind of pirates.

These Rebel Waves releases August 7, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.

You can find out more about Sarah by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Do you love novels that have pirates in them? If so, let me know what you love about them in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Monday, November 27, 2017

2018 Most Anticipate - Lizzie



Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I am a huge fan of Dawn Ius' books. You'll also know that I have been super into all things true crime recently. It should come as no surprise that when it was announced that Dawn was writing a book inspired by a very infamous true crime case that I was immediately dying to get my hands on a copy.


Lizzie offers an modern take on the Borden Murders and, naturally, focuses on Lizzie Borden (who was the main suspect in the murder of her parents). The modern slant, I feel, gives this book a unique feel as this story has been told via books, movies, and television many times before.


The Goodreads synopsis offers up plenty to ponder, including revealing the lesbian love story that seems to be at the centre of this novel. 
Seventeen-year-old Lizzie Borden has never been kissed. Polite but painfully shy, Lizzie prefers to stay in the kitchen, where she can dream of becoming a chef and escape her reality. With tyrannical parents who force her to work at the family’s B&B and her blackout episodes—a medical condition that has plagued her since her first menstrual cycle—Lizzie longs for a life of freedom, the time and space to just figure out who she is and what she wants.

Enter the effervescent, unpredictable Bridget Sullivan. Bridget has joined the B&B’s staff as the new maid, and Lizzie is instantly drawn to her artistic style and free spirit—even her Star Wars obsession is kind of cute. The two of them forge bonds that quickly turn into something that’s maybe more than friendship.

But when her parents try to restrain Lizzie from living the life she wants, it sparks something in her that she can’t quite figure out. Her blackout episodes start getting worse, her instincts less and less reliable. Lizzie is angry, certainly, but she also feels like she’s going mad…
This makes it seem very dark, which is exactly what I want (and expect) from this kind of novel. I can imagine that being inside Lizzie's head will be unsettling but a rewarding reading experience.

Dawn was kind enough to take some time and share some more details about Lizzie, and it only served to make me more desperate to sit down and read it.

1. What gif do you feel describes Lizzie?​ 

Either this one:


or this one:


2. What part of Lizzie Borden's story inspired you to write LIzzie?​ 

I've always been fascinated by true crime, particularly unsolved mysteries, and Lizzie's story is perhaps one of the most infamous in U.S. history. My gut suggests that she was guilty, but I loved following the trail of evidence—or perhaps lack of evidence—that led to her acquittal, and exploring some of the theories that have emerged over the years. Many of these theories are explored in the book in varying depth and fictionalization.

3. Did you feel any pressure adapting a historical figure that is so infamous? 

Ironically, I felt less pressure writing about Lizzie Borden than I did when writing the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII in Anne & Henry. Maybe because while writing Anne & Henry, I fell in love with the process of weaving historical facts into fiction. For some reason, Lizzie's story was easier to translate to young adult. The biggest challenge for me was creating a sympathetic character who was, in all probability, guilty of a heinous crime.

4. If a signature cocktail were to made for Lizzie, what would be included in it?​ 

Lizzie loves to cook with spices, so I think it might be something like a Ginger Pear Snap—spiced pear vodka, ginger, rosemary, lemon juice, Rhubarb bitters and ginger liqueur. Though Lizzie would likely add extra lemon juice because she loves to use her neon citrus peeler.

5 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel? 

For some reason, I listened to a lot of Lorde while writing this book, but the song that resonates most is Sia's Alive, which was on constant loop during the scenes between Lizzie and Bridget.  ​

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?​ 

So tough to narrow it down to just one, but I am super excited for T.E. Carter's, I STOP SOMEWHERE.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Lizzie​. 

I'm dying. ​


That is a simple, but effective opening line! It is interesting that there is no resolution to the case. Going into this novel the reader is aware that nobody was ever convicted of these murders. This immediately makes me wonder what ending this novel has in store for us and I cannot wait to find out. I am also curious to see how much sympathy readers are able to have for Dawn's Lizzie as they follow her story. I am also excited to see Dawn's take on the 'media circus' that this case ingnited and what that might look like under a modern lense.

Lizzie releases April 10, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.

You can find out more about Dawn by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Are you into true crime? Do you like books that are 'inspired' by true events? Let me know in the comments. 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Weekly Obsessions


The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

This was supposed to actually post last week and I did not notice until way too late that it didn't. I am going to post it this week and do a catch up post next week with anything that has caught my eye since.

BOOK

Cover for Becky Albertalli's Leigh On The Offbeat (goodreads)

I love this cover. So much. It's eye catching and everything I wanted it to be.



I am even more excited for this book to be released next year!

TV/MOVIE 

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace Trailer

The full length trailer for the upcoming season of American Crime Story is here and I love it. Darren Criss is giving me chills and the trailer has me very excited for what is to come!


I am excited to see everyone in this. I predict that some of the performances are going to be amazing. The only question is if it'll be as high caliber as the previous season. I hope so.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, November 24, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - A Girl Like That



The next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated list made me make this face when I read the synopsis:


The book takes place after the character the story is focused on has died in an accident. It's not a spoiler as the synopsis tells us this before we even open the book. Piecing this character's life together is the jumping off point of the story. I was immediately intrigued by this and wanted to know more. Once the STUNNING cover was released I was even more excited to get my hands on a copy.


The Goodreads synopsis should immediately make you rush to add it to your 'to be read' list.
A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal. 
The phrase "girl like that" is instantly recognizable to people. It may mean different things to different people but the gist is the same. She is someone who is looked down upon. She's trouble in some form. Unpacking this and showing that 'a girl like that' is something more is exactly the kind of book I am here for.

It  sounds like this is going to a book that is an excellent pick for book clubs, and one that will ignite conversations. I, personally, cannot wait to read this as the buzz so far has been incredibly positive.

Tanaz was kind enough to share a few secrets about A Girl Like That in a Q and A that I found to give a great tease for the novel! Oh, and Saudi champagne sounds delicious.

1 What gif do you feel represents A Girl Like That?



2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

It would have to be the very popular non-alcoholic Saudi champagne, a mixed drink of apple juice, sparkling water, cut up fruit (apples, oranges) and mint, that’s sold throughout the Kingdom.

3 Was is one surprising thing you discovered while researching any part of your novel?

Since the current version of my novel is set in 2014 and I lived in Jeddah during the 90s and early 2000s, I had to research to see how various familiar locations had changed and the differences always surprised me. But then I would come across a certain landmark or an article about Albaik still being everyone’s broasted chicken of choice and I would laugh—some things never change!

4 Your novel focuses mainly on a character who we know is dead even before we open the novel (if we've read the synopsis). Were there challenges to writing a novel whose 'main character' was dead from the beginning of the novel?

Zarin being dead did not hinder me in the least. Her voice was incredibly strong from the very first line and I knew I was going to enjoy writing her—even more so, dead. Discovery is part of the writing process for me (I get bored otherwise), and the deaths of Zarin and Porus always kept things in suspense, revealing new aspects of a world that I thought familiar.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

There are days I think that I’d maybe travel back to my childhood in the 90s for a bit because life was so much more carefree back then. (But then I think of algebra and board exams and change my mind at once!)

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

Among 2018 debuts, I had the privilege of reading NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi and fell in love with this fantastic contemporary novel about growing up female in modern America. I am also looking forward to THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton which has a fascinating premise and a crush-worthy cover.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of A Girl Like That

 “The wails Masi let out were so heartwrenching, you’d think I was her only daughter lying dead before her instead of the parasite from her sister’s womb as she had once called me."


I picture Zarin having this thought as people judged her and her actions. It, sadly, happens all too often. People think they know someone because of their reputation and the truth is often much more complex than people want to admit.

A Girl Like That releases February 27, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.



You can also find out more about Tanaz on her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Do you love the cover of A Girl Like That as much as I do? Is it already on your radar for 2018? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by Monday to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - Indecent



The next book on my list is an adult novel that deals with a very controversial subject - student/teacher relationships. They are typically dealt with in one of two ways in entertainment media: they are either romanticized (see pretty much every CW television show in history) or they are painted as the harmful, and typically illegal, thing that they are. I only say typically illegal because in some cases, like a college professor and student, everyone involved is an adult which makes it legal (at least from a law point of view). However, even if all parties involved are adults there is still has a power dynamic element that makes the relationship harmful.

I totally get where a lot of people would have this reaction to picking up a book where this was the focus of the story:


I, however, feel that when this topic is handled well it can be a great conversation starter and let you examine the different ways we look at the males and females who get romantically involved with their students. Corinne Sullivan's Indecent looks like it is going to be one of those books that is thought provoking and allows for a discussion to be had (much like Alissa Nutting's Tampa did).


The Goodreads synopsis was what first made me super curious about this book, and my need to read it was cemented by Victoria Aveyard mentioning it on her Twitter account
Shy, introverted Imogene Abney has always been fascinated by the elite world of prep schools, having secretly longed to attend one since she was a girl in Buffalo, New York. So, shortly after her college graduation, when she’s offered a teaching position at the Vandenberg School for Boys, an all-boys prep school in Westchester, New York, she immediately accepts, despite having little teaching experience—and very little experience with boys.

When Imogene meets handsome, popular Adam Kipling a few weeks into her tenure there, a student who exudes charm and status and ease, she's immediately drawn to him. Who is this boy who flirts with her without fear of being caught? Who is this boy who seems immune to consequences and worry; a boy for whom the world will always provide?

As an obsessive, illicit affair begins between them, Imogene is so lost in the haze of first love that she's unable to recognize the danger she's in. The danger of losing her job. The danger of losing herself in the wrong person. The danger of being caught doing something possibly illegal and so indecent.

Exploring issues of class, sex, and gender, this smart, sexy debut by Corinne Sullivan shatters the black-and- white nature of victimhood, taking a close look at blame and moral ambiguity.
It is the kind of book that I predict people will have strong feelings about, and I do not see much middle ground where this one is concerned. I, however, feel that really great books spark that kind of heated debate and prompt you to want to discuss them with everyone you know.

Corinne was kind enough to answer a few questions about Indecent, and her answers have definitely made me excited to see what she has done with this story.

11 What gif do you feel represents Indecent?



2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

An Indecent cocktail would likely include mezcal mixed with Cocchi Americano Aperitif, grapefruit, lime, honey, salt, and soda--an innocuous-looking pink drink with surprising bitterness

3 Your book tackles the subject of student/teacher relationships. What is your favorite book, TV show, or movie that also tackles this controversial subject?

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

"Matilda" by Alt-J

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

As uninteresting an answer as this might be, I'd like to travel back to my teenage years and meet my adolescent self. Rereading my middle school and high school diaries feels like reading the words of a stranger, and I'd love to reacquaint myself with the person I used to be.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

Clarissa Goenawan's Rainbirds

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Indecent

"There had been no major incidents—at least, nothing of the sort I imagined could happen my first week at Vandenberg School for Boys (no salmonella outbreak, no imprudently still-lit cigarette disposed in a wastebasket, no menacingly quiet freshman with a handgun). Then I caught Christopher Jordan with his hand down his pants."


This gif of Riverdale's Miss Grundy immediately came to mind when Corinne mentioned her favourite book that handles the student/teacher topic is Tampa by Alissa Nutting. Alissa's Celeste is a predator through and through and Tampa unpacks the whole "society looks at women who do this differently than men" thing so well. Miss Grundy reminded me a lot of Celeste. I am not sure who Corinne's Imogene is going to be, but I expect she'll be complex if Corinne was inspired by Tampa at all. It makes me hopeful that this is going to be a great, but unflinching and uncomfortable read.

Indecent releases March 6, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.



You can also find out more about Corinne on her website, follow her on Twitter, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Is Indecent a book you'll pick up? Are you against student/teacher relationships being portrayed in entertainment media or do you feel, like I do, that if done correctly it can be something that starts discussions? Let me know in the comments. 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2018 Most Anticipate - Heart Of Thorns



The next book in my 2018 Most Anticipated feature is one that was immediately on my radar after seeing in in a deal announcement. It was pitched as Graceling meets Pride and Prejudice and I was instantly sold.


It is totally a 'me' book. I love fantasy novels and Bree Barton's Heart Of Thorns blends fantasy with another of my favourites if that pitch is to be believed. It features magic, royalty and a reveal that is going to create some pretty delicious conflict!


The Goodreads synopsis has only intrigued me more, and made me more eager to pick this one up. 
In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia's father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.
Mia Rose is obviously going to have some inner struggle when she discovers she has the same powers as those she has sworn to hunt. It immediately makes me wonder how her new husband to be will react to this news, and what it means to be Gwyrach in this world. I figure since it is 'forbidden magic' that it would be illegal to have these powers and I wonder what comes along with that.

Bree has kindly taken the time to chat with me about Heart Of Thorns. It is a Q and A that I hope will have you wanting to check out this book in 2018.

1 Describe Heart Of Thorns using three words.

Lush, dark, whimsical.

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Snow plum ice cream. Made with pulped snow plums, almond cream, and a dash of butterfel.

3 Share something that helped inspire your main character (a movie, a picture, anything that helped form who they are)

My main character, Mia Rose, is super into human anatomy, whereas I don't know a femur from a fibula. In my research, I stumbled across The Art of Medicine: Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imagination. It's written by three women—a medical historian and two science writers—and provides an illustrated look at the human body over the last two millennia. I sat in various coffee shops, thumbing through this gigantic book, getting chills. I felt like I'd traveled back in time to see the very anatomical plates Mia studied.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel.

I'm not ashamed to admit I listened to "Light of the Seven" (Game of Thrones S6 E10) on repeat for two months. Ramin Djawadi is a genius. Carly Comando's "Everyday" is another favorite—moody and atmospheric, perfect for writing fantasy.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Ancient Ireland! Irish mythology is peppered with female doctors, warriors, Druids, poets, and queens, women who enjoyed many of the same rights as men. Since HEART OF THORNS is a feminist fantasy, this speaks to my soul. I would miss nice hot showers and beds without fleas, but I'm willing to sacrifice those to ride a horse beside Queen Medb in the Cattle Raid of Cooley, her battle against her husband. Girl power, Celtic style.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

SEVEN DAYS OF STONE by Dana L. Davis. I just saw the cover and it is beyond stunning. A gorgeous cover for a gorgeous book!

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Heart Of Thorns

Once upon a time, in a castle carved of stone, a girl plotted murder.


That opening line is AMAZING and it fits with my initial thought that Mia Rose sort of reminds me of Sansa from Game Of Thrones. Both of them were sent off to be married and both seem to be stronger than they first appear to be. I am into it.

Heart Of Thorns releases July 31, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.



You can also find out more about Bree on her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Are you a fantasy fan? Does the tease of 'Graceling meets Pride and Prejudice' make you as excited as it makes me? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated - To Kill A Kingdom



I love retellings. I especially love when those retellings have a twist of some kind. The next book to be featured definitely fits this description. It features a mermaid who has her voice stolen and is turned into a human. A familiar sounding story, right?


This retelling, however, has more in common with the original than the Disney version. Alexandra Christo's To Kill A Kingdom offers up a delightfully dark twist to the classic tale which immediately caught my attention. It is pretty much everything I have ever wanted in a retelling of The Little Mermaid and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.


The Goodreads synopsis teases a VERY different version of the little mermaid we all know and love, and a relationship with a Prince that is more antagonistic than romantic. 
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
THAT TAGLINE THOUGH! 'A Princess must have her Prince'. I am ALL about this. I love the twist that Lira hates humans. She doesn't make the deal to become human willingly. She isn't in love with the Prince. This isn't about her changing for a guy which immediately has me on board with this retelling. The synopsis also has just the right amount of creepiness with the mention of hearts being taken.

Alexandra has graciously taken the time to do a Q and A with me that I hope will have you wanting to check out this book in 2018.

1 What gif do you think best describes To Kill A Kingdom

I think this GIF sums up Lira and Elian's relationship pretty perfectly:


2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

Well, it is a book about pirates, so we'd have to have some rum in there! Lira would probably love to have something similar to a Bloody Mary in her honour - very spicy, with that bitter edge, and just the right shade of red.

3 There is a definite Little Mermaid vibe to the synopsis of this novel. How much did this classic tale inspire you while writing? 

The ending of the original story really resonated with me. It started as tragic, but then turned strangely uplifting. It didn't matter that the prince didn't love the mermaid, because in the end she found her own happiness outside of that. She was able to earn herself a soul. This led me to think about the idea of earning redemption and so the villainess Lira was born! I wanted to explore the idea of humanity, and if things like goodness are ingrained in you, or if you're shaped by the people around you. Lira's arc is all about figuring that out.

I also really loved the idea that mermaids could dissolve into foam - literally fade into nothingness - and so even if they were immortal, their lives could be fleeting, and it's even more important that they leave their mark on the world. After all, when they're gone there's nothing left to remember them by. This became a big driving force for Lira: to be remembered and revered and to feel like she had earned her place in her kingdom.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel

When I write, I'm one of those boring people who can't have music playing or the TV on in the background. BUT there were so many songs I'd be listening to while relaxing at home or heading to work, and the lyrics would suddenly set off a light bulb and I'd have to rush to get all my ideas down. To name a couple:

- Victory (The Silent Comedy)
- Hero (Family of the Year)

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Oh, definitely to the future. I'd like to know where we're going, not where we've been. (And who doesn't want a flying car?)

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert - a creepy fairytale book? Right up my street!

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of To Kill A Kingdom?

Sure! Actually, here's the opening paragraphs:

I have a heart for every year I've been alive.

There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.


The opening paragraph has given me chills. I love how Lira has seventeen hearts in her collection from the seventeen Princes she's killed. I am predicting Lira is a bad ass and that I will love her.

To Kill A Kingdom releases March 6, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.


You can also follow Alexandra on Twitter, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

What are some of your favourite books, television shows, or movies that feature mermaids? Do books that feature mermaids automatically become a must read for you like they do me? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Monday, November 20, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated Event - Winner Take All



I am thrilled to be kicking off my 2018 Most Anticipated feature today! I love getting to showcase some amazing authors and their awesome sounding upcoming books. I hope you find a few to add to your own 'to be read' list for next year during this event.

I am happy to kick off this year's event with a book by Laurie Devore. I was pretty much sold after reading How To Break A Boy. I was even more excited when Laurie teased that this novel was going to deal with a toxic romance. I loved how she wrote the toxic friendship that was the focus of her debut novel, so I am excited to see how she'll tackle this toxic relationship.


Winner Take All is set to deal with 'obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection' as per its synopsis and I, for one, cannot wait. When toxic relationships (friendship or otherwise) are written well they can be useful to learn from, and show the complexities of the connections we build with people.  


The Goodreads synopsis offers a pretty tantalizing tease of what you can expect from this book. It seems that Laurie is sticking with her tradition of writing complex female characters who are, dare I say it, unlikeable at times. This pleases me because I think we need more of those in media (be it books, television, movies, etc).
For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.

For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.

They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
I expect gender roles, particularly double standards in how women and men are seen for the same behaviour, to be heavily discussed with this novel and I cannot wait for those conversations to happen.

Laurie was, once again, kind enough to agree to a Q and A that I hope will pique your curiosity about this book even further, and put it on your radar for 2018.

1 What gif sums up Winner Take All? 

This very specific Veronica Mars quote that I think is great!


2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

It would be a bitter cocktail for sure! Probably something fairly close to an Old Fashioned. I’m thinking whiskey, bitters, a cherry for a little bit sweet/sexy. Maybe make it an Old Fashioned float with some ice cream to represent the summer vibe of the book.

3 Share something that helped inspire your main character (a movie, a picture, anything that helped form who they are)

So, I’m going to cheat on this a little because my main character was pulled from a lot of different places but the number one piece on inspiration for the main relationship and feel I wanted to capture between the two characters is Taylor Swift’s music video “Style.” I love everything about it, from the song lyrics to the bizarre back and forth between the two main characters of the video - especially the way they’re clearly trying to resist something they both want.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel.

Since I already talked about Style (and the video aesthetics are very important there!), here’s a couple more:

“The Way I Loved You” by Taylor Swift - inspired the original idea of this book
“Stand Still, Look Pretty” by The Wreckers - Nell, the main character’s song
“Fallen” by Casey Donahew Band - Jackson, the love interest’s song
“You Ruin Me” by The Veronicas - the perfect plot betrayal song
“Power” by Little Mix - a friend who was reading this book sent me this song and I love it for Nell and Jackson's relationship


5 Your first book was about a toxic friendship. This novel is about a toxic relationship. What is your fave toxic relationship (or friendship) from either TV, books, or movies?

I love the complexity of toxic relationships! There’s an element of obsession in both of these relationships as well that adds a certain codependency that makes it so hard to either break out of the relationships or evolve into a healthier relationship. I also liked playing with it in a relationship between a boy and a girl this time instead to two girls.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

A couple of 2018 books I’m really looking forward to:

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Winner Take All?

“I can’t stop staring at the back of Jackson Hart’s head.”


Anyone immediately think of Taylor Swift's Getaway Car when Laurie mentioned an Old Fashion being the drink to represent this book? I totally did (even if the song doesn't really fit). Also, how great is that playlist? I love it!

Winner Take All releases January 30, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.


You can also follow Laurie on Twitter, visit her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

What are some of your favourite toxic relationships (romantic or otherwise) in books, television, or movies? What ones do you think were done right, and what ones were harmful? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

New To My Book Closet


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

I have some fun new items to share. Some are ones I got awhile ago and just did not have time share yet as things have been super busy.

The Becoming Of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (goodreads)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (goodreads)

I love my newest Funko! Zero is adorable and I am so glad to have found him in stores.

I have read both books that are featured this week and really enjoyed both. I am looking forward to continuing both stories with the sequels.

What books/bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated Event



It's that time of year again. 2017 is ending and the excitement for 2018 releases is beginning. I am once again hosting an event to highlight the novels I am most anticipating next year!

The event will kick off on the 20th of November with a different title or guest post being featured each day. There will also be a fun prize pack available at the end that will include a few goodies (and more than one winner).

I am so excited to share this year's selections. It's includes two novels inspired by infamous true crimes. It includes one inspired by The Little Mermaid. One deals with rape culture, and one features a toxic relationship. Another has a dream dinner part, and one features a Las Vegas like setting and rival families.

I think there is a little something for everyone and hope you find a new book to be excited about in the new year!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf



My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
Release Date - March 1, 2012
Publisher Website - Abrams
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  230 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer—the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper—seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, "Jeff" was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche—a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.
My Friend Dahmer is a hard book to review and rate. The author is detailing something that obviously left an enormous impact on them. It is not a fictional account of true events, but a first person account of events as they believe them. My Friend Dahmer makes you want to discuss and unpack what is within its pages, and if that was the author's goal they certainly succeeded.

Those with even a passing interest in following true crime media (shows, podcasts, etc) will have heard of Jeffrey Dahmer and the horrific crimes he committed. This graphic novel is not interested in telling you the story you already know. It doesn't want to rehash the details of his crimes. It, instead, wants to look at his childhood and the path Jeffrey took to becoming a serial killer.

I don't typically read graphic novels, but was glad to have picked this one up when I finished. The art style is captivating and adds another layer to the story being told. The ability to convey emotions with a single image and little to no words is, to me, breathtaking. The story being told lends itself to this style of storytelling. I found myself lingering over images and having to close the book to fully process what was happening, especially as the story grew increasingly dark. It is unsettling in a way that stays with you. It has also made me more willing to check out other graphic novels as I really appreciated the detail and thought that went into telling this story.

The heart of this novel, for me, was a few different things. It reads like Derf Backderf trying to, in his own way, digest and process the reality of someone he, at one point, considered a sort of friend being a serial killer. It also asks the question of whether Jeffrey Dahmer could have gone down a different path. The answer, maybe surprisingly, is yes. Derf Backderf paints a, sometimes, sympathetic portrait of a young man who was quickly being lost to the growing urges inside him. A young man who displayed signs of needing help that were mostly ignored. It never makes apologies or excuses what Jeffrey Dahmer went on to do, but simply highlights the ways in which the adults around him failed to pay attention. Many of the warning signs, like his alcohol abuse, were brushed aside because they were not looked at in the same way they are now. Other warning signs, however, were inexplicably ignored. It, to me, felt clear that he does blame the adults in Jeffrey's life for not paying more attention, and it paints a convincing argument. It was interesting to see this gradual progress and spiral contrasted with what Derf and his friends were doing during this time. It offers this dual narrative that made the story feel surreal at times. It's a great narrative tool, and one that serves this story well.

The novel's ending lingers with you and ensures that you are both unsettled and stripped of any possible sympathy you had felt towards Jeffrey during the novel. It brilliantly lays out a juxtaposition of before and after. There is no going back for Jeffrey from the events that this novel leaves off on, and that is sort of the point. This novel asked if the path taken could have ever diverged onto a new one, and any chance of that happening is lost as the novel ends. It's where this particular story should end for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is that it is the only ending that fits the story being told. The graphic novel format used is successful in creating apprehension and tension in these final moments and perhaps says more than words ever could.

My Friend Dahmer is a fascinating read for those interested in true crime. It offers up a dark coming of age story and asks some pretty thought provoking questions. It offers a different perspective than the usual true crime story, and does it well. It's certainly an unforgettable read, and one I highly recommend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ... Save The Date


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick is Save The Date by Morgan Matson


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Father of the Bride meets Sixteen Candles in the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Matson.

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
Morgan Matson is a must read author for me. I always love her books and look forward to having one to read in the summer.
 
Save The Date has been called Sixteen Candles at a wedding and I am so here for this. The cover is adorable, the synopsis is amazing, and I am currently lamenting the fact that this book is so far away.
 
Join me in eagerly anticipating this June release, and we can distract ourselves by reading Morgan's other novels again while we wait.
 
Expected release date - June 5, 2018

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