Thursday, July 31, 2014

Follow Friday

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

This weeks question is:

What is the biggest city you live near (or interesting landmark)? Show us a postcard picture.

I live in a big city - Ottawa.

You can see our Parliament buildings in the background (it's where our government holds meetings, and things like that). You can also see the canal. In the winter it freezes and becomes one of the world's largest skating rinks.

Happy Weekend!

The Bone Season Giveaway!

You may recall that I adored The Bone Season. It ended up being one of my favourite of the year and I've been looking forward to the release of The Mime Order ever since.

In order to help prep you for it's release, Bloomsbury has given me an extra paperback copy to share with someone, so I figured I would host a giveaway! I am also including a first look teaser chapter sampler of The Mime Order. I ended up with two copies, and trust me when I say you'll want to grab it immediately after finishing The Bone Season.

If you need any enticement to enter you can check out my review. The world Shannon has created is really amazing, and Paige is a compelling protagonist.

Here is what I am including in the prize pack

1 paper back copy of The Bone Season
1 chapter sampler of The Mime Order
1 Mime Order bookmark

To win simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. It is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday ........... Mr Kiss and Tell

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

My pick this week is Mr Kiss and Tell (A Veronica Mars Novel) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?
I adored the first book in this series and was thrilled when it was announced this would be a series. The second novel sounds like it'll have everything I love about Veronica Mars, and hopefully more Logan!

Expected release date - October 28, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Release Date - July 29, 2014
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
A road trip with a mysterious purpose. Four very different people linked by a chance meeting with one girl. Let's Go Lost had all the ingredients to be a fantastic summer read. It hinted at secrets, and romance, and friendships. While there is much to love within these pages, there were elements that caused me not to fall in love with it the way I had hoped to.

Al Alsaid's writing is clean, to the point, and enjoyable. It helped the flow of the novel, and made it an easy read. His writing is what will make me check out another novel by him, as I did enjoy this aspect of Let's Get Lost.

The first 'section' of the novel is Hudson's story. It didn't connect with me at all. I would say it's my least favourite out of the all 'sections' included, and sadly, it also the first one we get to read. It started the novel on the wrong note for me, and this echoed throughout the rest of the novel.

The relationship in Hudson's story is the definition of insta-love and it painted Leila as a character who exists merely to fix other characters problems, and one who has very little characterization of her own. A manic pixie dream girl if you will. Sadly, this is the case through each of the sections. She floats into each of the character's lives and is there to fix their problems, or help them in some way, and move on. She is instantly accepted, and trusted by these strangers, and it made connecting with her nearly possible. She should have drove the story forward, instead she felt like an afterthought (until she becomes the focus later on).

Bree's 'section' was a particular favourite. Her motto of seizing every Tuesday felt invigorating. Her story may have resonated the deepest because what kept her running felt plausible, and the emotions she struggles with are all too easily felt.

Elliott's journey was a rather fun, charming ode to movies and taking chances for love. His story read, and felt like the 80's movies he loved so much. It was also the first instance where Leila's insertion into his life felt realistic and rather sweet. It may have been the most enjoyable section, and I could have read an entire book of this story.

Sonia's story is one of loss, love, and grief. It could have been poignant and beautiful, but I didn't feel as connected to it as I did the previous two stories. There were bittersweet moments that kept the story together, and the message is ultimately uplifting in this one, so it does fit in with the over theme.

Each of the stories are a snapshot of different kinds of love in a variety of forms and stages. It's only when you've read the full novel can you appreciate how this theme is woven into each story, tying them all together.

The novel comes together beautifully in it's final section and it's message of how we can touch other people's lives, no matter how briefly, shines brightly. We finally get a glimpse of who Leila is, finally, as the novel reaches it's ending. Sadly, it may be a little too late. This is one that is made worth the read because of how the author brings it all together, but I am not sure it's enough to make up for the lack of connection that preceded it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Veronica Mars # 1 by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Release Date - March 25, 2014
Publisher Website - Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 324 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and movie phenomenon "Veronica Mars," comes the first book in a thrilling mystery series that picks up where the feature film left off.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person's case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

In "Veronica Mars," Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who's part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line" will keep you guessing until the very last page.
A mystery hotter than the beaches of California. A snarky, determined detective. A seedy town filled with secrets and lies that are hidden under it's shiny (and expensive) beachfront. Veronica Mars seamlessly translate from screen to novel in this first installment in the next chapter of Neptune's undercover dealings.

The tone, and voice of the show is captured perfectly. I could hear Kristen Bell's narration as I was reading. Reading something where the characters are already so ingrained was a different experience. It was easy to picture this as a movie (or another episode) because the cast has completely become these roles. It shows that the writers were able to translate those characteristics onto the page easily.

Veronica is easily one of my favourite female characters...ever. She's flawed, and her creators embrace those flaws. People often underestimate her because of her gender, but Veronica more than holds her own. She's snarky, just a little broken, and will make you fall completely in love with her.

Her supporting cast is just as impressive. As a fan of the TV show it was like a fantastic reunion to have these characters show up again (even Dick Casablancas). Part of what makes Veronica so great is the people she surrounds herself with. Her father, Keith Mars, in particular may just be the greatest dad in TV history, and it effortlessly translate into this novel. Their relationship is evolving in to one of two adults relating to each other, and seeing that progression has provided some great character development. They are finding new ways to relate to each other, and their relationship grows as a result.

This very much read like a love letter to the fans. This should be read after watching the TV show and movie for just this reason (and for spoiler related reasons). These characters are fully formed in this novel. It is expected that you already know and love them; quirks and all. It's a richer, deeper, reading experience if you go in with the emotional ties from falling in love with the world and the characters.

The mystery is classic Veronica Mars. It's filled with jaw dropping reveals, twists, turns, and everything else you would expect from the scandalous goings-on in Neptune. This ensured a fast paced, fun read that kept the pages burning. It would be a fantastic addition to your beach bag this summer, and is sure to provide a sun burn as the mystery is all encompassing and will keep you riveted. 

A mystery befitting the iconic TV show that is filled with all the thing fans fell in love with originally. After the final reveal is unveiled fans will immediately look for more, and luckily, another novel is on it's way. Will people who haven't seen the show like this novel? Sure, but they will miss out on a lot of it's charm. I, personally, can't wait to revisit Neptune when Mr. Kiss and Tell is released. My only request? More Logan (and Veronica/Logan making out) please. I also wouldn't complain if Deputy Leo stopped by.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New To My Book Closet

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

I had two amazing sounding reads make their way into my mailbox this past week. I am very excited to get to both of this as soon as possible.

Unteachable by Leah Raeder (goodreads) *adult novel*
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (goodreads)

Simon and Schuster Canada kindly sent me a copy of Unteachable by Leah Raeder. I hear it's amazingly written, a little taboo and a whole lot sexy. I am looking forward to finally reading it. I remember hearing a lot about it a little while back from other bloggers.

Bloomsbury Kids was having a promotion where they had some bloggers 'give away' a few copies of Open Road Summer. Jamie (from The Perpetual Page Turner/Broke and Bookish) gave a few away and I happened to be online at the time and was able to score a copy. I am very excited to start #MyOpenRoadSummer and fall in love with the swoony boy I hear is in this! A huge thank you to Jamie and Bloomsbury Kids for the chance to read this.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week.


Vendetta by Catherine Doyle (goodreads)

I stumbled across this while browsing some catalogs and after I read the synopsis I was hooked. It's Romeo and Juliet meets the mafia so basically I need it immediately.
Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

For Sophie, it starts as just another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill. Then a new family moves into the long-abandoned mansion across the street: the Falcone family, with its five mysterious brothers. Unable to resist bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him--and into his world. But just as the dark secrets of the Falcones begin to come to light, the skeletons of her own family, the Gracewells, rise to the surface, too. And soon Sophie is torn between the desires of two warring dynasties: the one she was born into and the one she's now in love with. But she'll have to choose between passion and honor. And when she does, blood will spill and hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, loyalty can mean the difference between life and death.
I am a sucker for a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but mixing it with mafia families and I am all in.

The Shadow Boys Are Breaking by Mackenzi Lee (goodreads)

Frankenstein retellings seems to be a thing in 2015. This one was brought to my attention and sounds like an interesting take on the classic tale.
Pitched as a reimagining of Frankenstein set in an industrialized 1818 Geneva, where a teenage mechanic must rediscover the line between man and monster after he uses clockwork to bring his murdered brother back from the dead.
I like the twist of using clockwork to bring his brother back. I am definitely curious about this one and am delighted I stumbled across it on my Twitter feed.


Nightcrawler trailer

Jake Gyllenhaal lost a whole bunch of weight for a movie role a little while back. If you're into Hollywood gossip you may recall seeing some photos of him on gossip sites looking pretty gaunt. Nightcrawler is the movie he was doing it for, and it appears those efforts paid off. The trailer is INTENSE and Jake is riveting, even in this brief glimpse.

Incredible, right? I will be counting down the days until this one is in theaters. It's already getting some Oscar buzz, and I think, based on this trailer, it might be warranted. So the only question left is - are you going to buy a ticket?

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Follow Friday

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

This weeks question is:

What is your favorite tv series that you can watch over and over again on Netflix?

I don't have Netflix, but my favourite series that I could watch over and over again are Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Breaking Bad.

Happy Weekend!

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date - July 15, 2014
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 306 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.
Breathe, Annie, Breathe is one of those books that is both heart crushing and healing all at once. A beautifully touching novel of how those we lose never really leave us, and how we learn to let someone else in after a devastating loss, one little step at a time.

Annie's guilt is crippling. It feels like an oppressive force holding her down. It trickles from the pages until I could almost feel it myself. Losing someone is never easy, and blaming yourself is even worse. Her character heaps on more guilt as she begins to let someone else into her heart. Her journey is one filled with remorse, determination, and eventual understanding. All of Miranda Kenneally's characters are wonderfully flawed, and Annie has her share of them. Part of her journey is forgiving herself, and others for things in her past. It's all about making amends and learning what it means to truly live life.

It's hard to get into a new relationship when a significant other dies. Miranda Kenneally delicately shows that letting someone new in doesn't lessen the previous love. The way Kyle is woven into everything is achingly beautiful. It evident that he'll always be in Annie's heart. The relationship that blossoms with Jeremiah is separate and different, but no less important. The author manages to make of these boys both vital to Annie's story without diminishing either of them.

Running becomes a character in it's own right over the course of this novel. It's such a force within Annie's story that it becomes all encompassing. The author obviously loves running, particularly distance training, and it shows. Seeing it through Annie's eyes, and the rush she gets from it, you begin to see it in a new light. The good, the bad, and the ugly parts of it are all lovingly splayed out and dissected.  It's like a wonderful love letter to running. One that even fully embraces those ugly parts.

Annie and Jeremiah balance each other. He helps her loosen up a bit. He gets her to take some risks. He helps her see what it's like to live again. She helps calm his recklessness, and centers him a little. It's this balance that made their relationship work. I immediately understood why they would be attracted to each other, and what being together gave each of them. I admit that in novels like this I tend to get attached to the wrong relationship. I have a hard time connecting with the new love interest. I stubbornly hold on to the one who died. In this case, as much as I liked Kyle, it just made sense that Jeremiah would be in her life.

Jeremiah is crafted as the perfect compliment to Annie's character. Fans of Miranda's previous novels know that her boys are always pretty incredible, and he is no exception. Flawed, endearing, and supportive. He's exactly what Annie needs.

The brief cameos that pepper these novels make me feel like I am reuniting with old friends. Getting a chance to check in on characters we've grown to love in previous novels is the icing on an already awesome cake. It's always a thrill when one of those characters makes an appearance, and it's one of the most endearing aspects of the novel. Every author cares about her characters, but Miranda knows her readers do too.

A delightful addition to this series, and one of the best out of these companion novels that started with Catching Jordan. It offers a realistic look at guilt, loss, and moving forward. Breathe, Annie, Breathe captures the heartbreak of losing someone, and the bittersweetness of learning to love again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday ....... I Was Here

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

My pick this week is I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.
I have loved all of Gayle Forman's other books. It's always exciting when a new release from her is in the Penguin catalog. I am counting down the days until this one is in my hands! It sounds like there may be a few twists and surprises during this one!

Expected release date - January 27, 2015

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dissonance by Erika O'Rourke

Dissonance by Erika O'Rourke
Release Date - July 22, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 498 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.
The tease of 'what if'. The wistfulness of the path not taken. Everyone wonders what would have happened if they made a different choice. Dissonance plays with that idea, and creates a vivid world where each of those possibilities plays out in alternate worlds. It's a dizzying, unique novel that does have a few elements I didn't connect with.

The world building is by far the most stunning aspect of this story. Intricate, complex, and imaginative. It's easy to get lost in the parallel worlds Delancy loves exploring. This aspect of the novel is laid out in a way that, while confusing at first, is fairly easy to follow once you're immersed in the story. There are a few moments of information overload, but it's rewarding if you stick with it.

Delancy is stubborn, disregards rules like they are not even there, and is filled with attitude. She'll be a hit with most readers, and it was easy to be charmed by her. Her easy banter with her grandfather was another delightful aspect to her development. The thing I appreciated most about her was that she didn't back down. She went after things, and did things, because she felt they were the right decision.

Little teases of things not being what they seem, and slow unraveling of everything Delancy thought was true provided a tense, thrilling atmosphere. These elements will ensure readers turn the pages late into the night, even if the other elements don't quite mesh. The careful world building, and it's deconstruction is done with plenty of forethought. It's something I am looking forward seeing expanded on in further installments.

The romance is a large part of the story. It even sometimes takes over the story a little. Del's crushed on Simon from a distance for a while. To everyone but Delancy it's evident that her best friend Eliot is in love with her. The main issue with the romance is that you get to know Eliot so much more than you do Simon. Connecting with Eliot is easy. I predict that plenty of readers will want him to be with Del. Simon is a bit of a mystery. Time is spent with his echoes which makes it feel like we're getting to know many different Simons, and as a result feeling connected to none of them. Even with Delancy's laser focus on Simon, the novel itself practically screams love triangle.

Questions of morality, and what makes us human are lightly teased throughout. This novel gives plenty to discuss and doesn't force feed an answer. The author allows the reader to decide what they want, much like the characters themselves. There are multiple view points given, and each reader will get something different out of it.  The governing body, the Council of Walkers, adds another mysterious layer to the story that definitely will ensure readers are back for the sequel. The questions left from this book will make it nearly impossible to not follow through with the second.

A unique premise, and well built world were enough to keep me turning the pages. It's romance let a little to be desired, and more character growth would have pushed an intriguing idea even further. It's one that may not be for everyone, but those who love complex, layered worlds, and rich back story will find plenty of that here, if they can overlook the minor issues.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
Release Date - June 17, 2014
Publisher Website - Disney/Hyperion 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.
Zombies, magic, and secrets. Dark Metropolis offers up a rather enjoyable twist on the usual zombie lore and, in the process, provides a rather thrilling, fun read that has plenty of potential. A few minor things prevented me from fully connecting to the story, but otherwise it was fairly enjoyable read.

A little more world building would have helped elevate this novel as it didn't quite come together. It has an intriguing premise, characters that fit within the world they inhabit, and the previously mentioned  unique on 'zombies' is enough to captivate. Everything lacked just a little more detail that would have brought it all together. The inclusion of magic, without being fleshed out, still manages to work, but I just wanted something more from the world building. The novel's setting has a glitzy 1920's feel, but I am unsure of exactly when this would take place as it felt both historical and contemporary. I think the novel tries to include everything, instead of focusing on it's most prominent, and promising elements.

I didn't get fully invested in the characters, or the outcomes of their story because I was not full immersed into their world. I recognized that there were heart breaking scenes and how they should have impacted the characters, but I didn't feel it. The characters themselves were not the issue. I think, for me, it was just a lack of connection to everything. I certainly enjoyed many of the characters, and did want to get to know more of their story.

The zombie aspect of the novel was done brilliantly. This seemed to be the most complete element and the one with the most details. Clear ground work had been laid on how they would work within this world, and the impact they would have. There are some chilling, spine tingling scenes that worked rather well within the confines of this story. I don't normally enjoy zombie stories, but this one felt different.

A novel that holds plenty of potential, and dishes out plenty of chills. It didn't quite spark with me, however, due to minor elements. I am curious enough to pick up the sequel and continue the story. I think those who look for more plot driven novels, rather than character driven ones, will find plenty to enjoy in this one.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New To My Book Closet

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

I was sort of spoiled with all the awesome book that made their way into my book closet this week

Ashes To Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (goodreads)
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan (goodreads)
 Brazen by Katherine Longshore (goodreads)
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Kelly for snagging me Ashes to Ashes! I have already read it, and felt it was an enjoyable end to the season.

A big thank you also goes out to Simon and Schuster Canada for The Bane Chronicles. I adore Magnus (he's my favourite character in these books) and cannot wait to read more about him.

And I got one e-galley that I am VERY excited about. If you haven't read Dangerous Girls make it your top read of the summer.

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas (goodreads)

I want to think Abigail for the opportunity to help promote this book in August! After Dangerous Girls I am obsessed with starting this book immediately.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week.


Joyride by Anna Banks (goodreads)

I came across this recently It's been described as Bonnie and Clyde meets Pretty In Pink. So obviously I need it. I am very excited to read this.

The Queen of the Tearling (goodreads)

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this since I finished reading it. I am dying to discuss it with people, so if you've read it let me know on Twitter or something and we can discuss! I have feelings about The Fetch in particular.


Gotham Teaser Trailer #2

Loving everything I've seen so far from this movie. It might be wishful thinking but that Welcome Home message written across that newspaper screams of The Joker, no? I am very excited to see what they do with the show, but everything seems very promising so far.


2015 Most Anticipated Event

I am busy planning my 2015 Most Anticipated Event. I tend to plan things really early, and get things set well in advance. I am in the process of contacting authors and publishers and such. I am really excited to share these titles with you though in Nov and Dec.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Behind The Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Behind The Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Release Date - June 24, 2014
Publisher Website - Spencer Hill Press
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 328 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally's ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors' publicist arranges for Van and Liam to "date" for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
Anyone with a Hollywood fixation has wondered 'what if'. What if your best friend was famous? What if they became the star of a CW type show? Behind The Scenes plays with this daydream with plenty of swoon worthy, and drama filled moments.

A pleasant mix of romance, humour, drama, and seriousness the novel read and felt like a teen show on the CW. It capture the 'entertainment' world version of behind the scenes Hollywood, and wove in some easily believable scenarios that could be lifted from the pages of gossip magazines. This light and fun element will certainly please any Hollywood gossip obsessed reader.

Ally's flaws and mistakes are front and center in this novel. She often assumes things, and puts her own feelings onto others. She is stubborn, makes mistakes, and that's embraced by the author. She felt honest, and well developed. I feel like I got to know her character and could see the whys behind her actions (even if I didn't agree with them).  It's because of this that I wanted more from Liam, Vanessa and the other characters. I feel we got to know Ally so well, but the others are little more than surface characters. Ally needed the other characters to be her equals in terms of development but instead it felt like the entire focus was on her.

The romance alluded me because I didn't feel the connection with Liam. I understood Ally and her quirks perfectly. The why behind her and Liam getting together didn't feel developed enough for me. There are a few moments of shared grief that could have blossomed into something deeper, but it didn't happen. There is plenty of sexual chemistry, and lots of cute moments, but the magical element of what draws them together remains illusive. It wasn't enough that they were attracted to each other, I wanted more.

The friendship between Vanessa and Ally was portrayed much the same. I had a hard time with the relationships because the character developement outside of Ally felt thin, and I didn't feel the connection. Vanessa and Ally have been friends for practically ever, and it didn't come across the way I expected it to. It's a novel that has a rather enjoyable plot, but as a character driven reader it didn't quite captivate me.

There are plenty of more serious elements and themes peppered in with the Hollywood fun. Ally struggles to fit into Liam's world, and to find her own footing, all while dealing with a family member's illness. The less fun side to dating a Hollywood heartthrob are glaringly obvious in this novel, and allow for some juicy plot points. It allowed me to see different sides to the main character, which ultimately ended up saving the novel for me.

A glitzy, drama filled behind the scenes look at Hollywood. There is plenty of fun, but I didn't quite connect to the story, or it's characters, the way I wanted to. It's tone compliments summer reading though, and would be solid choice for your beach bag.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday .......... Tear You Apart

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

My pick this week is Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
An edgy fairy tale retelling of "Snow White" set in the world of Kill Me Softly for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Faced with a possible loophole to her "Snow White" curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who's fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrficing the love that might kill her?
I loved Kill Me Softly. LOVED. After finishing I was ready to pretty much beg to have Viv's story told. Honestly, BEG. I am beyond excited to see what Sarah does with the Snow White myth, and how it all unravels. If you haven't picked up Kill Me Softly, it's out in paperback and a perfect way to prepare for this awesomeness that will be coming out early 2015!

Expected release date - January 27, 2015

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
Release Date - April  8, 2014
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Macmillan
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 373 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.

Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy BenoĆ®t, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights—and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story.
On the surface Plus One may seem like a novel about civil rights with a twist. It is. However, it is also so much more. Undeniably moving, and incredibly touching, it's a novel about family, first loves, and seeing the beauty of something through the eyes of someone else.

We take for granted the beauty of both the day and the night. In Sol's world the beauty of each is vividly expressed through Elizabeth Fama's stunning writing. Daylight through Sol's eyes is vibrant, and drenched in colour. The stars and contours from the shadows of night offer their own stunning beauty when viewed through D'Arcy's unaccustomed eyes. It reminds you that our world is filled with beauty that we overlook everyday, simply because we have become immune.

Sol's defining characteristic is her single minded determination. Her entire focus is to kidnap her niece so that her grandfather can see the baby before he dies. Her motivation is pure, even if her actions are not. All of her actions are prompted by and defined by her family. It's these relationships, not the romance, shone the brightest.

Elizabeth Fama's stunning prose not only captured the beauty of night and day, she also invokes the feelings of falling in love within these pages. There are moments of aching realism, and a great twist to the romance that makes it feel not only plausible, but inevitable. Sol and D'Arcy feel just as destined as any other star crossed pair.

This novel is rapidly paced. It takes place over a fairly short amount of time and everything seems to happen extremely quickly; the romance included. Normally it would bother me how quickly the connection between Sol and D'Arcy happens. In this case the rushed frenzy feels right. It feels like two people seizing the moment and falling in love. Stealing a moment that is not meant to be theirs. A whisper of possibility that they both know will be gone too soon. All of this is heartbreakingly realized. Due to the circumstances, and Sol's fugitive status, everything is heightened, including the characters feelings, so it ends up feeling romantic and natural.

The story that Elizabeth Fama has spun will leave you entranced, and when it has reached it's satisfying conclusion you will immediately want more. More of these characters, more of this world, and more of their story. The ending is perfect though, and I am hesitant to have anything taint it's bittersweetness. There is plenty of potential to continue the story, or even a companion novel, and that is the calling card of a well constructed world.

Plus One may seem like it would be all about the world it's characters inhabit. However, the heart of the story is it's characters, and the very human aspects of their story. The setting itself is secondary to the emotional elements and that makes it all the more gut wrenching. A bittersweet story of love, and how one single moment can change you forever.

Monday, July 14, 2014

1,001 Exquisite Readers

As a member of the Blogger Caravan I get to share a lot of awesome things about Heather Demetrios' upcoming novel, Exquisite Captive! I am excited to share details of a fantastic pre-order campaign.

If you pre-order from one of the participating bookstores you will receive some exclusive goodies along with your book!  If you are looking for a list of participating bookstores, or just more details, visit the Dark Caravan official website. Heather is working on getting more bookstore signed up, and you can always mention it to your local indie and see if they are able to take part!

I am fortunate enough to have already read this, and it's certainly one to be anticipating this fall. It's filled with wonderful world building, and some seriously sexy chemistry. You'll love Nalia, and her story.

You can add Exquisite Captive on Goodreads, and follow Heather on Twitter

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New To My Book Closet

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

Only one book for me this week. It's a good one though!

Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano (goodreads)

I am very excited to continue this story. I am sad about the cover change because I loved the other covers so much more. I really enjoyed Perfect Ruin though so I can't wait to start this one. A big thank you to Simon and Schuster (and Edelweiss) for this.

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week.


Cover of Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

Kill Me Softly was one of my favourites the year that I read it. It really surprised me. I loved the world Sarah Cross built, and wanted more of the 'Snow White' story in particular. This expands the story of one of the characters we met in Kill Me Softly, and I am very much looking forward to owning this! The cover is also fantastic and matches the Kill Me Softly one perfectly.


Gone Girl's amazing promo campaign

These amazing promo posters were to advertise the new trailer that was released on July 7th. These made their way online on July 5 which fans of the book know is Nick and Amy's wedding/anniversary date (and the date Amy goes missing). A fantastic marketing touch that I especially liked.

The trailer itself is amazing. I, personally, think it's even better than the first trailer. It's certainly chill inducing. I pretty much need it to be October already so I can see this movie. Ben Affleck is perfectly cast as Nick

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Follow Friday

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

This weeks question is:

If you had a time machine (i.e. a TARDIS), where would you go?

This is a tough questions. So many amazing historical moments I would like to go back and see.

I think I would like to go back to King Henry the 8th's court. Maybe to see the coronation of one of his wives. I certainly would want to be able to leave though. I like my head attached to my body.

I would also be interested in seeing a performance at the Globe Theatre during Shakespeare's time.

Happy Weekend!

The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz

The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz
Release Date - May 27, 2014
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Paige Kelly is used to weird--in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.
Success of novels like The Dark World depend highly on their world building. A well constructed world is just as integral as compelling characters to the cohesiveness of a paranormal novel. The Dark World has an absorbing world, delightful characters and is laced with a sense of fun and action.

The world Cara Lynn Shultz has created may not be overly complex but it is one that you become fully immersed in. Easily imagined due to the author's vivid descriptions, it allows for a fully realized back drop for her characters to inhabit. It's introduction is such that it allows for more expansion and reveals in further installments of the series. 

Paige's immersion into this world known as the 'dark world', is done brilliantly. Already partially familiar with it due to her connection with Dottie (and other spirits) makes the transition feel smooth. Too often there is a lack of reaction from the main character upon discovery of a hidden world. This novel avoids that because this world is already part of Paige's life when we meet her. She just doesn't know how far it reaches. It makes her easy acceptance feel more authentic. Add to this a lack of 'instant abilities' and a focus instead on the need for training to use weapons and you have a grounded take on this genre. 

The relationships in this novel are all delightfully developed. Paige's friendship with Dottie, in particular, was sweet and it made me ache for Dottie to be alive. Logan and Paige's relationship develops at a realistic pace. It may have been because that the characters themselves felt developed and engaging. They were all charming in their own way, and you immediately embraced them. While the love story felt cliche, it was saved by the natural progression and the characters themselves.

Humour is such a strong element to this story. I wasn't expecting for it to make me laugh as much as it did. From Paige's one liners, to Dottie's adorable cluelessness there are plenty charmingly funny moments. Part of the connection with Paige is her status as the 'class crazy' at her school, and that she takes it in stride. She even jokes about it, and it only serves to make you warm up to her more. This novel would not have that character connection without it's humour. Fans who like their paranormal on the lighter side will adore this aspect of the novel.

A fun, humourous novel that is infused with a large dose of action and excitement. A read that may feel familiar, but one that has a few twists that make it completely it's own.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday ....... Red Queen

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

My pick this week is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own--an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard--the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince--and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
That cover! Stunning doesn't even begin to describe it. It's certainly eye catching, and I love it's simplicity. After reading the synopsis it immediately jumped up on my "MUST READ NOW" list and I am looking forward to this one in 2015. *cries over the long wait*

Expected release date - February 10, 2015

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Release Date - July 8, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.
Just by reading the synopsis it's easy to see that The Queen of the Tearling has a lot to live up to. That's not even taking news of Emma Watson being lined up to headline the movie adaptation into account. Needless to say there was definitely some high expectations going into this novel. Those expectations were surpassed by this novel's wonderfully constructed world, and the enthralling story found within it's pages.

The novel's strongest element, in a novel filled with stunning characterization and world building, is it's protagonist. Kelsea is girl who was groomed to be queen, even if it's not something she would have chosen on her own. She finds this perilous throne thrust upon her and she fiercely rises to the challenge. She is driven, determined, and intelligent. Her character is woven so that there are many layers to her. She's someone who will rule rigidly but still do what is best for her people. She's a mixture of hardness and understanding. Her treatment of her country's people show her caring side, while her desire to better the country via education shows her intellect and forethought. The character growth from the beginning of this novel to it's conclusion is staggering, and I breathlessly awaiting seeing how she grows next.

The beginning of the novel is a little slow, but once you allow the book to get into it's stride, it becomes consumingly addictive. You're immersed into the story, and it grips you. I easily tore through 3/4 of this novel because I was compelled to continue the story. I needed to see how it would end.

The characters, from Kelsea right down to the more minor ones, grow on you. It's a slow process, but one that is worth the time it takes. Without giving spoilers, there is a moment when everything the novel has been building towards finally happens, and it's heart crushing. Horrible things are going to happen, and it's devastating because you realize how much these characters have endeared themselves to you. You ache for Kelsea as she has to do something that crushes her. This moment of anguish shows the strength she has inside though, and is such a powerful character moment that will be felt throughout the entire series, I predict.

The romance is more a quiet simmer with potential suitors being introduced. Within the confines of this story we have a woman who is finding her footing, and everyone wants to use her a chess piece. Allegiances are still being determined. Hidden agendas are still a possibility. This scenario creates the potential for heartbreak and betrayal. This still will not stop the potential romances from being a delicious part of the story, and I will relish the journey to finding out who will fit into Kelsea's life as she builds her reign on the throne.

The Fetch, a scandalously handsome thief makes a case for being the character that steals every scene he's in. He's compelling, and even if we got off to a rocky start, a character I wanted more of. The mystery of who he is, and his past, only serves to fuel the fascination. I predict this role, when it comes to movie casting time, will be a huge get for Hollywood's young actors.

The most striking aspect of the story is the suffering the Tear people have endured. We hear many stories of slave trade, murder, and other unspeakable crimes. These are often followed by drug and alcohol addictions. The believably of this world, and it's inhabitants, is part of what draws you into the story. Kelsea's determination to make things better is mirrored by the reader.

The fantasy elements of the story are intriguing, and that aspect is still being built and unraveled. However, it's the more human elements that I found myself connecting to. I think this novel, while having fantasy elements is a very human story. A guard learning to trust his new queen, a young woman learning to trust herself, and the flaws that are within us all.

A stunning debut that for all it's fantasy elements has a very human heart to it's story. Erika Johansen easily held me under her spell, and Kelsea is a protagonist you won't soon forget.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Spice Up Your Reads With Simon and Schuster Canada!

The New Adult genre is certainly taking off with more and more titles being released from publishers. Simon and Schuster Canada is heating up the month of July with giveaways being held every day to celebrate this new and exciting genre.

You can enter by visiting (and liking) the new SPICED UP READS Facebook page for Simon and Schuster Canada. The contests are for Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec) and all the other rules/regulations can be found on the Facebook page.

They even have a fun 'heat meter' that will help you determine the level of spice you want in your novel, and if the novel in question would be a good fit! Check it out, and be sure to enter some of the giveaways (and check back daily for the new giveaways!).

Are you a fan of New Adult? If so what are some books you've read and loved?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New To My Book Closet

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

My mailbox is SUPER small this week, only two books. My 'to be read' pile is insanely happy about this though.

First up is a book I borrowed from Emilie at Emilie's Book World

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (goodreads)

I also received an e-ARC of a novel from Raincoast Books. A huge thank you to them for setting me up with one of my recent Waiting on Wednesday choices.

Beyond The Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block (goodreads)

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

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