Thursday, March 23, 2017

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase



Royally Screwed by Emma Chase
Release Date -  October 18, 2016
Publisher Website - Everafter Romance
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  276 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn't bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn't what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There's a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they've traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven't chopped anyone's head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever. 
The daydream of becoming a princess by marrying a prince that many young girls have gets a sexy overhaul in Royally Screwed. It offers a fun, sexy, and drama filled take on a prince falling for a 'commoner' and was an entirely delightful reading experience.

Nicholas is my favourite kind of 'alpha male' character archetype. He is protective without being overbearing about it. He is witty without being annoying, and uses just the right amount of sexual innuendo. All of this and there isn't a growl or possessive declaration to be seen. I normally am not a fan of characters who are 'alpha male' but I am in this particular case.

Olivia is smart, capable, and sacrificing. She is fiercely loyal to her family and has willingly put some aspects of her life on hold to help out her family. A lot of this story is her finding out what she might want, and to allow others to help out with things. She is a take charge kind of girl, and that means she would rather do things on her own. It was nice that she had things outside of Nicholas and the romance story going on.

The romance is the perfect blend of sexy and sweet. The sexy scenes are blush worthy and the sweet gestures are plentiful. The romance is, obviously, the focus but is balanced with outside storylines to create a richer, more enjoyable read. This is classic rom-com in book format though, complete with the necessary drama that the couple must work through in order to achieve their happily ever after.

The side characters are equally great. I loved Franny, the wife of Nicholas' friend Simon. She's more shrewd and calculating than Olivia is, but she is exactly the kind of person you want on your side. .Ellie, Olivia's younger sister, is all kind of hilarious and sweet. She cares about her older sister and wants what is best for her. There are plenty of other characters that help bring this story alive, and they each leave you hoping you'll see them in future novels.

Speaking of side characters, I could not complete this review without mentioning Henry. Henry is Nicholas' brother (also known as the 'wildly inappropriate spare' from the synopsis above) and the more wild of the two. His scandalous behaviour will bring to mind another Prince whose name also starts with an H. I wanted much more of Henry by the end of the novel. He is immediately loveable and his antics are anything but dull.

There are companion novels, but based on the events of this first book, they should be read in order. They would, probably, make sense read out of order but the events of this book highly impact the second in a way that is pretty spoilery.

If you're looking for some good spring/summer romance recommendations I highly recommend this one. You'll fall for Nicholas and Olivia's love story and definitely want to pick up the next novel in this companion style series. If you enjoyed The Prince and Me, and The Princess Diaries and would love something that puts a sexy twist to them, I think you'll love this book as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday .... Midnight At The Electric


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 Midnight At The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Kansas, 2065 Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before Launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own. 

Oklahoma, 1934 Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called The Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire -- and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life -- Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most. 

England, 1919 In the recovery following World War One, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself? 

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful. 
I was surprised to discover that I had not included this as a Waiting On Wednesday pick. Jodi Lynn Anderson is one of my most favourite writers and I am so excited that she has a new young adult novel coming out.

This comes out this summer so it is not even that long of a wait, and I am eager to devour my ARC as soon as I have a break in my reading schedule.

Expected release date - June 13, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Wicked Ever After Series by Nazarea Andrews



The Wicked Ever After Series by Nazarea Andrews
Release Date -  Feb 13, 2017 / Feb 20, 2017 / Feb 27, 2017
Publisher Website - self published
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  156 pages / 150 pages  / 142 pages 
**purchased**

**Adult Novel**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis for Wicked Charming
He’s at the top of the world.
He’s rich, sought after, and in control.
And he’s bored.
A string of one-night stands have left Samul Charming increasingly dissatisfied. When his mother pushes him to settle down, his best friends come up with a brilliant plan:
Audition the submissive at The Kingdom.
The problem is, Charm knows who he wants: the only girl to challenge him, while submitting as naturally as breathing.
But he can’t have her.
With the entire club watching and his parents expecting him to settle down, Charm decides to settle.
But love in the Kingdom is never simple and it is never painless.
And Charm is about to be reminded of that.
RATING: 3/5

Fairytale retellings are one of my weaknesses. I will pretty much read any fairytale retelling that catches my eye and was immediately intrigued by the premise behind this series - fairytales retold with an erotic twist, and set against a BDSM club backdrop. I was not disappointed as the entire series was an intriguing, and sexy, read.

Wicked Charming, for me, was the least developed of the trio of novellas. I felt this one could have been longer so we could have spent more time with the characters. Charming was the most cold and distant of the guys. This fits with his personality and demeanor but left me feeling disconnected.

The friendship bond between for four guys really works and only continues to grow and expand with each novellas. These really should be read back to back as it gives a greater appreciation for the complexity of these friendships and what they have been through together. The story itself is also richer when looked at as a whole instead of in parts.

The Cinderella moments in this were perfectly blended into this story and worked rather well within this modern, and erotic, twist. I liked the replacement for the glass slipper moment, and the royal ball was transformed into an audition and does so quite easily.

All in all this was a great introduction to the world and the characters which sets up the next two novellas perfectly.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis for Wicked Beast
James “Beast” Lutz isn’t like his friends.
He doesn’t crave control the way Charm and Mal do, and he doesn’t play the games Wolf thrives on.
He lives on his knees, all of his strength bent to the will of his Domme.
He’s never regretted that, until now.
Now, when he’s trapped in an arrangement serving a Domme who can’t keep a sub.
Now, when he’s not sure how to trust a woman wrapped in mystery and less sure he wants to.
But the more he gets to know the Domme everyone knows as Beauty, the more Beast realizes everything he thought he knew was wrong.
Rating: 5/5

Wicked Beast was my personal favourite of the three novellas. Beast is much more open when compared to Charming and an easier character to connect with. His submissive nature comes through along with his willingness to please and unwavering loyalty. I think I liked and appreciated him the most out of the guys.

This novel explores the dom/submissive roles a little deeper than the other stories and earns bonus points for having a large portion of the story stress the importance of trust and after care in these types of relationships. That is not something that is always found in these types of stories and it was refreshing to see it handled this way.

This novella twists the typical Beauty and the Beast roles with ease. Beauty wears masks in more ways than one and is cold and abrasive. She acts 'beastly' and it was interesting to see this done so well. This novella proves it is possible to cleverly gender swap fairytales and I want more of them in the future.

All of this combined made for a great twist to the Beauty and the Beast tale. It was easily the one I wanted more from simply because I was sad to have finished it. I wanted more time with Beast, his Beauty and their story.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis for Wicked Wolf
Charles "Wolf" Blackwood likes the game. He likes chasing a new girl every week, loves seducing them and earning their trust. He doesn’t like to keep them.
But Scarlet is different--she always has been.
The chase has never been quite as intoxicating as it is with her, the feisty sub with an innocent streak a mile wide. He wants to keep her, but Scarlet already has a Dom, and Hunter has no intentions of giving her up.
But Wolf is in for a surprise when he realize Scarlet doesn’t want one of them.
She’s playing to keep them both. 
Rating: 4/5

Wolf's story may, surprisingly, be the most romantic of the three. This novella shows three people falling in love with each other and you fully believe it. The author does a great job of setting up the backstory to ensure you are invested immediately in the connections between these characters. You want the three of them to be together as a result.

Wolf is a perfect balance to Charming and Beast. He also happens to be the 'switch' of the groue (someone who moves between being a dominate and a submissive). This feels evident in his personality and the way he relates to those around him.

This particular novella could have used more tine to flesh out Scarlet's business storyline. That felt like it wrapped up too easily but I predict many will be fine with that because the real draw of these books is the sexy scenes which are well done in all three novellas.

A series of novellas that has sex, romance, male friendships and much more within its pages. I was left wanting more of this world and these characters and was thrilled to discover that Mal (the fourth member of the group) is getting his own story in 2018. I am excited to get my hands on this Sleeping Beauty inspired tale and unravel the most mysterious of the guys who call the Kingdom their playground.

Saturday, March 18, 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.

A small Weekly Obsessions but one filled with some pretty amazing things!

BOOK

Hunting Prince Dracula cover (goodreads)

Stalking Jack The Ripper was one of my favourite reading experiences of last year. I was very excited when it was announced that the next book would revolve around Dracula.

The cover was just released and I love it! So much!


The stake in her hands! OMG! It is perfect. I love the white outfit against the dark background. I am hoping this will be at  Book Expo America this year because I need to read it ASAP!

TV/MOVIE

Beauty and the Beast (live action)

I went to see this movie Thursday night and was completely charmed. I already want to see it again. The movie is very similar to the classic animated version and I predict anyone who LOVED the original will not be disappointed by this remake. I thought Emma Watson was a perfect Belle. Dan Stevens is wonderful as Beast (and he has an incredible singing voice). Luke Evans was charmingly evil as Gaston. Josh Gad was wonderful as LeFou. The entire cast was great and I loved the new songs they added to the movie with Evermore being a personal favourite.

Have you see the Beauty and the Beast remake yet? If so, let me know what you think in the comments.

Red Nose Day .... Actually

I was excited when it was announced that Love Actually was going to have a reunion of sorts for Red Nose Day! They recently released a trailer for the event and it is, as expected, perfect.



This teaser, of course, is a callback to Andrew Lincoln's iconic scene in the original. I wonder if Mark will be outside Juliet's house with more poster boards in this follow up. 

OTHER

Book Expo America

I received notification that my press pass application was approved for BEA this year which means I'll be traveling to New York City in May for the annual event again this year! I am so excited to see everyone, meet some authors, and basically fangirl over books in general. It is one big bookish party and I am so excited to be a part of it again this year.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy



The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Release Date -  May 6, 2015
Publisher Website - CreateSpace Independant Publishing
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  296 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild. 
After finishing The Deal I knew I wanted to continue the Off Campus series. The Deal left me with high expectations for The Mistake and, luckily, they were met. Even though I still think The Deal is my favourite from the series (so far at least), The Mistake offers a read that is a wonderful blend of funny and romantic and fully enjoyable.

Companion novels are one of my favourite formats for series. It allows that feeling of returning to favourite characters while leaving the ones from the previous books to be happy in the background. We have already met the guys that each of the subsequent books will focus on and that means we already have some kind of connection to them. It makes falling to the story easier and Elle Kennedy takes full advantage of this fact. She uses each book to set up the next by giving us a glimpse of the guy who will be the focus of the next book, while still letting the main guy have his moment.

John Logan is someone not looking for commitment. He is going to be tied down to the family business soon enough and that is more than enough of a commitment for him. He meets Grace and that all changes. Their romance is fun. There isn't any other way to describe it. There are funny, lighter moments like the list of 'romantic gestures' John must complete to win a date with Grace. There are also deeper moments as each of the begins to open up and share things about themselves.

The comradery that exists between the group of hockey players who are the focus of this series is, once again, heavily featured. The bond that exists between these guys feels so natural. Their banter is amazing, and they way the tease each other feels incredibly authentic. It really feels like you're getting a glimpse at what male friendship is like (even if I cannot vouch for how accurate it is).

Grace and John both have storylines outside of their relationship that added an extra layer to this novel. I liked that they had things outside of each other that were important to the plot and helped progress things. I think a book is stronger when the relationship isn't the sole focus and that is the case here. I felt like we go to know John and Grace because of what these 'side plots' showed us of their character. It was important to like the individually so that we would want them to be together.

This series is fun, sexy and  filled with some great humourous moments. If you're looking for a New Adult novel that blends great characters with romance this is the series for you. It's impossible not to love this group of hockey players and the ladies who win their hearts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ..... This Darkness Mine


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 This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.
I am a huge fan of Mindy McGinnis' writing and completely loved The Female Of The Species. This sounds like another dark and twisty read from her and I cannot wait. This has been teased as a 'split-personality love triangle' which intrigues me. It also brings up some pretty big issues that I have no doubt will be handled by Mindy with great care.

This is a autumn release so there is quite a wait for this to be in bookstores, but I predict it will be more than worth the wait.

Expected release date - October 10, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Seven Days Of You by Cecilia Vinesse



Seven Days Of You by Cecilia Vinesse
Release Date -  March 7, 2017
Publisher Website - Hachette/Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?
Seven Days Of You is pitched as Anna and the French Kiss meets Before Sunrise which immediately meant I had to read it. I was expecting something cute and sweet with a little drama mixed in and I was not disappointed. This romance set against the backdrop of Tokyo manages to be both familiar and fresh.

Sophia is a hard character to describe. She has most likely been referred to as reading 'younger than her years' by others who have read this book. I felt she read as a sheltered teenager. She read as someone unused to stepping outside their comfort zone. She was resistant to change, and felt anxious with a sense of stability. She may have read younger than her years, but it feels right for her character. She is growing, and changing during the events of the novel. A large part of this story is her finding herself, and finding out what home really means to her. It is Sophia's journey that is the focus and the character growth is there by the end of the novel.

The setting of this book could, sadly, almost be anywhere. This was the only draw back for me of the story. I left the book with a vague impression of Tokyo, but I wanted something more. I wanted to feel immersed in the setting, particularly because it was different that the typical contemporary settings. The where in this novel was not important to the overall story. This is a story of a girl feeling anchored as a result of moving around a lot. She never really felt like she belonged until her family settled in Tokyo and she always knew it had an end date. Sophia's journey was not dependent on the novel taking place in Tokyo as it really could have been any city, and that meant the setting didn't shine as brightly. There are some things about the setting that will inspire some travel lust, and the descriptions of the snack food in Tokyo will ignite serious cravings and for those elements I am thankful.

The romance is one that starts when the two characters already have an established connection. They were friends first. This makes the quick nature of their romance feel more authentic and real. There is a backstory and history that these characters share and that comes through on the page. It's not something that is just told to the reader, but shown. The overall feel is one that is pretty realistic considering the idea is pure rom com fantasy.

The side characters (which include Sophia's friends and family) are all equally important to the story. I appreciated the time taken to expand upon all of Sophia's relationships and how they relate to what she is going through during this one week. Her friendships stand as a marker of those she is leaving  behind, and her past family issues are a large part of why she feels so unsettled. All of the relationships make Sophia who she is, and it was nice to see that reflected in the writing. There are plenty of subplots outside of the romance, and I appreciated each of them and the fact that time was given to flesh them out within the plot.

An undeniably cute story of a girl finding out that home can sometimes be a person (or people) and not a place. It's a story of making the moments you have count and ensuring you make the most of the time you do have. I think young adult contemporary fans will enjoy it for the cute fluffy read that it is and recommend it for a lighter read after something especially dark and heavy.

Saturday, March 11, 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.

A small Weekly Obsessions but one filled with some pretty amazing things!

BOOK

Cover Of A Line In The Dark By Malinda Lo (goodreads)

The darkness of this cover compliments the darkness hinted at in the synopsis perfectly. There is something vivid and striking about this cover. It stands out and makes you want to take a closer look.


The title almost looks like it is carved into the skin in a way (or like veins). This novel sounds incredible as well so the pretty cover is a bonus.

Third Book In The Me Before You Series 

It was announced this week that Jojo Moyes will be releasing another book about Louisa Clark to make the Me Before You series a trilogy. I had mixed views about After You, and I have mixed opinions about another book about Lou but I will totally read it. I adore Lou and want to continue her story even if it crushes my heart with the looming absence of what made these books special (ie the bond between Will and Lou).

TV/MOVIE

Beauty And The Beast

IT IS SO SOON!! I am going this upcoming Thursday and I already have tickets. I am beyond excited and hope it is as good as I anticipate it being. They released the official soundtrack yesterday and I spent most of the day listening to the songs on repeat!

Mr Robot Season Three Announcement

Mr Robot is moving from its usual summer time slot for season three. It will instead have an Oct premiere date which basically ensures Oct is going to be an epic month for television. As part of the announcement they revealed that BD Wong will be promoted to series regular which is very exciting. I, however, just want more Tyrell Wellick in my life (and on my TV screen) so I am curious about Martin Wallström's presence in the third season. It is going to be a really long wait, but something tells me it will be more than worth it.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins



The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins
Release Date - March 7, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  512 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**


**SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In The Great Pursuit, the dramatic sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Great Hunt, Wendy Higgins delivers another thrilling fantasy filled with dangerous enemies, political intrigue, searing romance, and a princess who is willing to do everything to protect her kingdom.

One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.

The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.

Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.

Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger—especially when her parents are kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.
I was lukewarm about the first book in this series, but was curious enough to check out the final book in this duology. I enjoyed the second book more than the first in this series, but still felt something lacking from the series overall.

Aerity had a more central role in this novel. She wasn't just something to be won. Her character had more urgency and was making her own choices. It really helped bring something to her character that was missing from the first installment. The female characters in general benefited from more character development. It was one of the elements I appreciated most in this sequel.

Also missing from the first novel was a true villain to balance the protagonists. Rosaria comes into the story only briefly in the first novel and is not used nearly as much as she should have been. The creature was the primary focus and the shift in this novel to a true villain was welcome. If she had been developed more it would have been even better. She could have been a formidable foe for Aerity and it could have been interesting to see the two go toe to toe.

The story is immensely readable. I found myself flying through the 500+ page count of this one rather quickly. The story itself also has some great moments. I appreciated the clever way some of the romances worked out and how the author wrapped up the story itself. It is an ending that will please a majority of the readers.

This series felt like it was attempting to pack too much into a duology. It leaves everything feeling underdeveloped in a way that hinders the story. The expansion of the villains motivations, a slower burn with some of the romances, and a deeper look into the mythology of the magic used in the novel could have made this into an enjoyable fantasy series.

I believe that this will appeal to fans of Wendy Higgin's previous novels. There are certainly some delightful elements within these pages, but not quite enough to make me fully love this novel. I wanted more from the characters, the plot, and pretty much every other aspect. It is a fast, charming read however, and one that I anticipate others will enjoy much more than I did.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard



King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Release Date - February 7, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  528 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**purchased**

**SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down. 
Three books into a series it can be hard to find something new to say about the world, the characters, and the plot. This is especially true if you are attempting to avoid spoilers. Victoria Aveyard makes this task easy by having her third installment expand the world, the characters, and the plot in ways that are completely unexpected. King's Cage takes the novel even further down the path to war, and blazes a scorching trail on its way there.

Three books into the series and it is clear that Victoria Aveyard knows her characters. She knows what makes them tick, and is able to make you understand their choices (even if you don't agree with them). The story is propelled forward in a way that shows she trusts us to be as comfortable with these characters and this world as she is. It makes the story progress in a realistic way and in a way that is very reminiscent of television show seasons or movie sequels.

Maven continues to be the worst in this installment. After taking Mare captive and literally putting her on a leash, there wasn't much further he could fall. This broken prince is a product of his upbringing and that has created a cold, calculating young man who is obsessed with Mare. I find Maven fascinating because he is unapologetic about his actions. He reminds me a lot of the characters in Game of Thrones. He's morally grey, and the scariest part is that he thinks he is justified in his actions. He believes he is doing the right thing. I want to know more of what makes him tick, and this novel does shine a light on the darker workings of Maven's mind.

 Mare's head space for most of this novel is not the greatest (understandably) but I admire her resilience and her determination. She has this inner strength that is readily apparent in this part of her journey. She may be selfish, a little whiny at times, but she does have strong convictions and doesn't give in easily. There are choices she has to make in this installment that change the direction of her journey and these decisions change her as a character. I find she has grown so much in this novel and is vastly changed from the young woman we meet in Red Queen.

Cal, the fire Prince who finds himself a tool in the rebellion is steadfastly Cal in this novel. He has a good heart, and that is going to be tested going forward. He may be the character who has to make the bigger sacrifices for the great good going forward. I hope that Victoria continues to explore how much power entices the young prince and how much he actually wants to rule. This element of  power corrupts, especially when it comes to someone as inherently good as Cal, would be fascinating and it is something that has only been teased so far.

 The connection between Mare and Cal is felt even when they are not together. There were plenty of moments where Mare thinking or talking about Cal left me swooning. They really are each others rock in this storm and hopefully they find a happily ever after that works for them at the end of this series. I am not hopeful, as I expect Victoria to be as brutal as possible even while delivering an ending that is not entirely bleak. This novel sets up a perhaps bittersweet finale for everyone involved, and I trust that all of them romances being built will be no exception.

There are many huge moves and strikes within this novel. If the other novels were setting up the chessboard, this novel was the game. Each move plotted and deliberated for maximum impact. This is a war and each side is prepared to win. There are many different sides to this fight, and each have their own agenda. Loyalties are tested even more in this novel and Victoria Aveyard handles this part of the novel masterfully. We understand each of the characters more by the end of this novel, and because of that the decisions being made are felt all the more.

Once again we're left on the edge waiting for the next novel. Victoria Aveyard is the queen of crushing, heart-ripping endings and this is no exception. King's Cage takes Mare's story to a much grander scale, and one that I expect will have dire consequences in the last novel. There are so many questions to be answered with who will ultimately be sitting on the throne in the end just one of them.

Victoria Aveyard's series continues to impress and expand the world she built in Red Queen. This breathtaking, pulse pounding installment sets up an epic conclusion where it feels like nobody is safe and rebellion may have a higher price than expected.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Woman's Day


It is International Woman's Day today and I thought I would celebrate by sharing a few of my favourite female characters from TV, movies, and books! They tend to not get as much love and today felt like a perfect day to spotlight them!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and not in any order. I am just going to highlight just a small portion of the awesome ladies in our entertainment. These are ones that resonated with me for various reasons.

1. Amy Dunne from Gone Girl

This character is, hands down, one of my favourites. Both the book and movie version are both equally amazing. I adore Gillian Flynn for creating Amy in all her messed up glory.


She really is unique in terms of female characters and one that gives me hope for a wide range of representation in the future.

2. Eleven from Stranger Things

Though she is young, Eleven more than earned her spot on this list. She's a perfect blend of fierce and vulnerable. She is the type of character that remains with you long after you've finished your binge watch.


I love how loyal she is, and how imperfect she is allowed to be at a young age. 

3. Jessica Jones from Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones remains my favourite of the Netflix Marvel offerings. She's broken, damaged, but not a victim. She takes back her strength and it is inspiring to watch.


The show itself is feminist and actually discusses consent in a real way that I've found missing from shows like this. Jessica may not want to be a hero, but she is one to me.

5. Mare Barrow from the Red Queen series

People have called her a 'whiny Pikachu' which may be accurate, but I, once again, appreciate that she is a female character allowed to be imperfect. She makes mistakes, she is selfish sometimes. She is also resilient, and a survivor. All of the ladies I've included are complex, and Mare definitely fits.

4. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

I may relate more to Jane, but I have always admired Elizabeth. She shares my love of reading and the conviction of making her own path and choices.


She is someone who carved her own path regardless of what her family (or others) may have wanted for her and grew as a person as a result. 

5. Liv Moore from iZombie

Liv is compassionate person driven to atone for the monster she feels she has become. She may be tiny and adorable, but she is also entirely capable of kicking ass. She is a mix of soft and strong that shows that women are capable of caring about injustice and lipstick and be educated about both. 


Liv is a character retains her convictions and that is admirable. 

7. Starr Carter from The Hate U Give

Starr is, like many of the above characters, allowed to be many things at once. Her character is multi dimensional and complex. She is given all of these characteristics while being allowed to be a teen. Her age is something that comes through and is something that makes her a great character for teens to see themselves in. She's apologetically  given all of these emotions, from anger, happiness, fear, love, and everything in between. She's amazing and hopefully an indicator of more diverse female characters to come.

8. Vanessa Ives from Penny Dreadful 

My list would not be complete without Vanessa Ives. Her strength in resisting the darkness threatening to consume her is admirable. Her steadfast devotion to her beliefs is also admirable. I appreciate her desire to do what she wants when she wants to without apology.


She is vulnerable, broken, fierce, and entirely captivating. I want more characters like her in so many ways.

Let me know in the comments which ladies from books, TV, and movies you would include in your own list! I would love to discover more amazing female characters.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon



The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
Release Date -  March 7, 2012
Publisher Website - Raincoast / Bloomsbury
Publisher Social Media - Twitter / Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for honest review from publisher**


**SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The hotly anticipated third book in the bestselling Bone Season series – a ground-breaking, dystopian fantasy of extraordinary imagination

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London's criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…
When the release date for The Song Rising was announced I know plenty of fans bemoaned the wait for the next chapter in Paige's story. It was agonizing, but Samantha Shannon has delivered a novel that was not only worth the wait, but surpassed any and all expectations that I had.

Each new novel in this series leads Paige to some place unexpected. These novels do not feel predictable, and often pace events much quicker than I would have guessed for a longer series. Plot points are not dragged out and that leaves the novel feeling tightly plotted. This novel, especially, showcases why this series is going to be a larger one with pushing everyone, including the reader, outside the comfort zones we've come to love. I delight in the fact that I cannot predict what will happen in this series. It allows me to experience the magic of Paige's journey as she does, and makes the emotions I feel while reading resonate all the more.

Paige is such a wonderful character. She's nuanced, and complex. I feel like after three novels we really know who she is and why she makes the choices she does. The introduction of her becoming Underqueen and walking away Jaxon sets the stage for her to continue to grow. She's quickly becoming one of my favourite female protagonists. I admire her determination, loyalty and the fact that she sometimes makes the wrong decisions (even if she is making them for the right reasons). She is a force and I cannot wait to see how she progresses in the future novels.

It is easy to get attached to all these characters, particularly the other members of the Seven Seals, as the story progresses. How attached I have grown to all these characters really sneaked up on my during this novel. That emotional attachment has been firmly cemented because Samantha has taken her time and allowed these characters to earn their spot in our heats.

I cannot discuss the major plot points without giving away too many spoilers, but this novel is a thrill ride from start to finish. It grabs your entire attention from the beginning and doesn't let up until the final page. The entire novel is well plotted with things being revealed at just the right time. The set up of the early chapters is well worth the pay off towards the end. This feels like the book that major shifts Paige's story and opens our view to a much larger, and more complex world.

The ending packs an emotional punch as we shit Paige's story once again. This novel opens up so many exciting possibilities and ensures that waiting for the forth is going to be exquisite torture. The ending was bittersweet for me, as I anticipate it will be for a lot of readers, filled with both tears and excitement. This kind of hook is something Samantha does incredibly well and has ensured I will be a life long fan.

An action packed series that only continues to impress with each passing installment. Paige's journey continues to surprise and delight as her world widens, and the connections deepen. This Song Rising will please fans of the series immensely and have you itching to get your hands on the forth installment of this breathtaking series. 

Sunday, March 5, 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)

This week was filled with a bunch of packages!

First up are two new additions to my Funko collection. My Stranger Things collection continues with Mike and Barb. I love the little freckles that each of these Pops have!


They are seriously so cute! I am now just missing Lucas, Joyce, and Dustin.

Next are two books that came in for review. I am really excited about both of these!


Umberland by Wendy Spinale (goodreads)
Dear Reader by Mary O'Connell (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Scholastic Canada and Raincoast for both of these titles. I cannot wait to read and review them! 

Next up was some goodies I received while attending the #FrenzyPresents event at Harper Collins. You can check out my full review of the event if you want to know which titles were featured. 

A huge thank you to Frenzy for the review copies, and all of the rest of the goodies! 


Romancing The Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney (goodreads)
I See London I See France by Sarah Mlynowski (goodreads)
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (goodreads)
Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau (goodreads)


I loved all of the postcards and buttons that were included!


This Red Queen map is amazing! I need to frame it and hang it on my wall!

I also received by set of tattoos for The Song Rising release! I am so excited for this to be released on Tuesday! I love this series and cannot wait to share my review of The Song Rising.


A huge thank you to Bloomsbury for sending these along. Be sure to snag your own set of buttons and tattoos when you pre-order your copy!

Lastly, a huge thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for the next exciting title to make its way into my book closet this week. This came in a very shiny envelope and caused much fangirling. 


The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (goodreads)

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 4, 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.

A Movie/TV heavy addition of Weekly Obsessions this week!

TV/MOVIE

Gaston Clip from the new live action Beauty and the Beast

It is pretty much common knowledge that I am beyond excited for the new Beauty and the Beast movie. I have tickets purchased and am counting down the days.

This new clip was revealed, and I basically love everything about it.


Luke Evan's facial expressions are perfection for Gaston. I love that they have LeFou slyly paying off the tavern patrons to sing along. It's all perfect. I have a feeling I am going to leave the movie completely smitten with Luke's version of Gaston simply because of the way he portrays him.

Mindhunter Trailer

You may recall I mentioned a David Fincher directed TV show coming to Netflix. They recently just released the trailer for this show and it is awesome. October is going to be one of the best TV months ever because of this and the second season of Stranger Things.


Jonathan Groff is going to be amazing in this. I cannot wait to devour this as soon as it drops on Netflix.

Feud Season Two

Season one has not even started airing yet (but does this weekend) but I am already so excited for season two.

Many news outlets have announced that the second season will focus on the Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorce. Sarah Paulson is totally going to play Diana, right? I mean, she would be perfect. I am excited to see who is cast and how that season unfolds.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, March 3, 2017

#FrenzyPresents Spring/Summer Edition Recap


I was recently invited to attend a bookish event at Harper Collins Canada. It was the #FrenzyPresents Spring/Summer blogger preview. 


I trekked to Toronto and the Harper Collins office for an afternoon of book nerd heaven. The lovely people at Harper discussed the spring/summer titles they were excited about and made all of the bloggers to be read lists grow considerably by the end of the afternoon.

These events are always fun because you get to mee fellow book lovers, and talk about your favourites. It is always a fun, and informative afternoon and this was no exception.


There were plenty of books discussed and I am going to highlight each of them here. They all link to their Goodreads page for easy addition to your to be read list!

The discussed three non fiction books at the event. These included ...

Unfiltered by Lily Collins
Almost Adulting by Arden Rose
How Dare The Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

The other novels were all varying young adult genres (dystopian, contemporary, horror, etc).

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

A fairytale retelling (Sleeping Beauty) that sounds really awesome!

The Black Witch by  Laurie Forest 

I love witch stories and this one has an amazing cover (and also happens to be over 600 pages!)

Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

A ton of people are excited for this series continuation. I haven't read the first ones, but it piqued by interest. 

Avenged by Amy Tintera 

This is one of many sequels. The Harper girls did not want to spoil so they just lightly teased each of these books. 

The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight

I am super excited about this one. I read the first one and it was such a fun thrill ride. It was unexpected in the best possible way.

The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye

Another sequel that just got lightly teased. These novels have incredible covers!

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

This is another one of my most anticipated. I loved This Savage Song and these books where humans can be monsters, and monsters want to be human is classic Victoria Schwab (this means it is well written, heartbreaking, and wonderful).

Midnight At The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Jodi Lynn Anderson is one of my favourite authors. Her wiritng is lush and beautiful. Tiger Lily is one of my all time favourite novels and I am so excited to dive into this story of three girls across different timelines whose stories interconnect. 

The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

This is the big gay historical road trip that you never knew you wanted. This book caused quite the buzz and I cannot wait to devour my copy!

House of Furies by  Madeleine Roux

The lone horror title of the group. It was mentioned as being for fans of Penny Dreadful and American Horror Story so I was, obviously, intrigued.

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

This was the lone dystopian on the list. People looking for their dystopian fix will want to check out this title. 

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau 

Pitched as being for fans of Red Queen, this is the story of twins who end up having to complete for the crown when they unexpectedly find themselves in the position of having to rule. It sounds great, and has an amazing cover.

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Badass ladies in space! This is one I feel has been getting a lot of buzz recently and sounds really fun.

Romancing The Throne by  Nadine Jolie Courtney 

This is basically Kate and Pippa Middleton if Pippa had dated Prince William first. Two sisters meet a Prince at their school and drama ensues when they each fall for him.

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

A fun Eurotrip read that sounds perfect for summer. Two friends go on a trip through Europe that is filled with romance, drama and more. 

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Pretty sure this is another title that everyone is anticipating. It sounds incredible and is probably on your to be read list already.

Grit by Gillian French 

The story of a girl who has earned herself as reputation as 'that' girl in her town. Her best friend goes missing and there are plenty of secrets to unravel in this one. It sounds great!

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia 

A story of a girl who anonymously writes a very popular webcomic series and the aftermath of what happens we her identity is revealed.

Me (and) Me by  Alice Kuipers 

A story of 'sliding doors' story where a girl has to decide between saving two different people and the aftermath/consequences of each choice. 

That Thing We Call A Heart by Sheba Karim 

A story of a Pakistani-American girl who is falling in love while her and her best friend are drifting apart. It seems like there might be some secrets in this one and the main character is not often found in young adult novels.

It's Not Like It's A Secret by Misa Sugiura

This story seems to have a lot going on in it. There are family secrets. The main character is discovering that she is attracted to other girls, and lots more.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I reviewed this one recently on the blog and can vouch for its amazingness. An important, and timely, book that is incredibly well written. Starr's story is one that stays with you and I urge you to pick this one up!

The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I feel like everyone is super excited for this. Becky's first novel was a huge hit with readers and I anticipate this one will be just as well received.

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

If you were a fan of boy bands (or girl bands) of the 90s this is the book for you. Two friends complete to be part of a girl band that is being formed with plenty of drama arising as a result.

After hearing about all these incredible sounding upcoming books we all got to mingle and chat. I love getting to chat with Suman (who is the main contact for bloggers reviewing young adult novels). I also loved getting to see some of the Toronto bloggers I am friends with!

We were all gifted a goodie bag filled with amazing presents.



Some amazing buttons, and a few fun postcards (among other goodies). I love the button especially!


Each bag had 4 ARCs included. My batch had Romancing The Throne, I See London I See France, Ramona Blue and Dividing Eden. These were high on my to be read list so I was very happy with my choice of goodie bag. I cannot wait to read all of these.

Also included was this incredible Red Queen map!


I am going to have to get this framed and hang it up on my wall. I love it so much. 

It was a whirlwind trip to Toronto but so worth it. I am eagerly awaiting the next #FrenzyPresents event. I cannot wait to see everyone again and hear all about the upcoming titles.

Thank you to Suman, the rest of the Harper Collins staff, and all the bloggers who made it a fun (and bookish) afternoon!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas



The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Release Date - February 28, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  464 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
The announcement and buzz around The Hate U Give immediately drew a lot of attention to this novel. It is not only a vital, important read but a timely one as well. I was eager to read it to see if could possibly live up to the buzz that was surrounding it, and it does. It also holds so much more than this between its pages.

The writing in this novel is so sharp, and reads as effortless. It is easy, at times, to forget that this is a debut novel. It has a polish that indicates the talent the author has to create a story you immediately fall into. You're pulled into Starr's story right from the beginning and your attention is held right to the very last word.

This story is achingly realistic. It is also gut wrenching. It packs a heavy emotional impact, and demands to be discussed. This is a novel that will prompt conversations and perhaps even change the narrative of those discussions. It's one that I recommend to everyone, but is vital reading for any black teen out there. It really is a game changer of a novel, and one that hopefully is the first of many to come.

Starr's voice is so vibrant that she easily leaps off the page. She is someone torn between what she sees as two versions of herself. The notion that she was one way at school, but another at home felt relatable in many ways, even if my personal experience could not possibly be on the level that Starr's was. I feel teenagers, in general, have that duality in varying degrees. Starr also read as nuanced, and realistic. She will easily be one of my favourite characters of 2017, simply because of how well crafted she is. Her character is also a fantastic portrayal of a scared young girl haunted by the horrific event she went through. Her fear, anger, sadness and frustration are all captured with precision. Her entire character is brilliantly written and I am so happy to have read her story.

The level of involvement of Starr's parents in the story was something unique to many of the young adult novels I've read previously. They are not only present, but accountable. Starr does not get away with doing anything. Her parents are aware of her actions, and react accordingly when she acts out the way teenagers tend to do. It was refreshing to see them be such a large part of the story, and that we spent time with the family throughout the entire story. These character details made the story resonate all the more, and feel achingly realistic. All of the side characters have their own storylines which adds a little something extra to the story. I felt like I really got to know each of them, and not just Starr.

The romance in this novel is really sweet. Chris and Starr's relationship is not perfect, but the fact that they love and support each other is never in question. They work through their problems in healthy ways. I appreciated that they called each other on things when they had hurt each other. I've read my share of unhealthy examples of relationships in young adult novels, and it was a delight to read one that is the opposite.

This novel is for every black teen that will see themselves in Starr. It is every black teen who will seem themselves in any character within this book. It is for the entire black community who has had to live with this type of injustice time and time again. While this may not have been written for me, I am thankful to be able to experience this story and to have had the opportunity to read it. I also am glad to have the opportunity to encourage others to read it. I predict that this book will be one that is talked about long after people have finished and that it will make many Best Of lists at the end of the year. It announces Angie Thomas as a voice to watch in young adult literature and I cannot wait to read whatever she writes next.

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