Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Release Date - March 31, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.

Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.

Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end. 
The Cemetery Boys was high on my most anticipated list for this year. With shades of the movie The Lost Boys, cults, and creepy urban legends this should have been a compelling, absorbing read for me. Sadly, while all the elements are there, it didn't quite come together as I had hoped.

The biggest issue, for me, is that I don't think the novel was long enough. The back story, and character connections needed for this story type to really work just were not given enough time to form within the story. The mythology of the 'Winged Ones' and how Devon and his gang came to be felt like light brush strokes instead of the driving force they should have been. The building of romantic relationships and friendships seemed lightening quick to me with little reasoning behind them. The story needs you to believe in these connections for it to impact you and I just didn't feel invested in any of the characters.

With that said, I fully enjoyed Heather's writing. She has a humour that seems tailor made to characters like Stephen and she creates atmosphere within a scene incredibly well. Her writing makes it clear that she is very comfortable in this genre as well. It was easy to see why she has such a fan following.

One of my favourite 80's movies ever is The Lost Boys. It stars the 'Two Coreys' and is generally a campy, fun vampire movie. This novel is filled with little moments that made me think of that movie. The 'initiation' into the group felt like an homage, deadly secrets that the main character doesn't find out until it's too late is something mirrored in each. Devon, the leader, even had a very similar vibe to Kiefer Sutherland's character in the movie. These whispers of inspiration delighted me and were some of my favourite parts of the novel. The inspiration didn't feel overused, and felt natural into the story Heather was crafting.

This is a creepy, unsettling story. Particularly the elements dealing with group mentality and how easily a charismatic leader can influence. I wish more attention would have been paid to this aspect of the story. The mythology wasn't the driving force behind the scares this novel offered, it was the element of human nature and, for me, that got overlooked. There are scary moments, mostly because of Heather's skill with creating mood, but I personally wanted more from this aspect of the story. There was plenty to be explored and it felt under developed.

I think that with more expansion, a deeper background into the legend that haunts these pages, and a more believable connection between the characters that I could have enjoyed this story much more than I did. I am sure fans of Heather Brewer's previous novels will find much to love within these pages. I, personally, think it's a case of wanting more than chills and thrills from this read and not finding the deeper details that would have brought the story to life for me.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Release Date - March 31, 2015
Publisher Website - Bloomsbury/Penguin Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
Are you a Jane or an Elizabeth? Every book lover knows this question is referring to Pride and Prejudice. It also happens to be something that is delicately woven into this story of grief, friendship, moving on and finding out who you are. Emery Lord once again charms with her mix of heart, flawed characters and the perfectly imperfectness of life. It's a story that shows, as Emery writes, much we can love each other, how much we can hurt each other, and everything in between.

There is a saying that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Paige's life has run off her intended course multiple times. This novel focuses on her plan to get back to normalcy after the death of her boyfriend. As things derail from her carefully laid plan, both Paige and the reader, see that it's the journey that makes the end result so worthwhile.

There are many stages of grief. The one painted within these pages is not the raw, consuming early stages. It is not even the wistful fondness that can only be brought from time and healing. It is instead the guilt ridden, sneak up on you when you least expect it, lingering kind. Paige is removed enough that she isn't frozen in grief and wants to get back to living her life, but living feels like betrayal. Happy moments can be yanked away by the reminder that Aaron will never experience these moments. It's the kind that lingers, almost a dull ache, until you are slammed with the wave of pain again. This novel examines the 'learning to live with grief' part of losing someone. You never get over it, and it never fully goes away. It just gets easier to handle with each day that passes. Emery Lord has captured that in between stage masterfully and with tenderness.

Defining herself is a huge part of Paige's journey. Part of the struggle back from grief for her isn't returning to who she thinks she should be, but finding out who she really is now after these life altering experiences. Hence the question of whether she is an Elizabeth or a Jane. We often don't see ourselves clearly, and this novel captures that with pure honesty. It, sometimes, takes help from those we care about to help shine a light on who we are. The connections in this novel are so beautiful, complex and real that it left me aching. The group of friends that Paige has, in particular, left me wanting a group of friends who were that close. A group that knew each other that well, who would do anything for you, and who supports you implicitly. Emery Lord always leads with the friendship in her novels, rather than the romance, and this may even be a better developed friendship than the one found in Open Road Summer. You instantly believe their history, and bond. It is a friendship that is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants level of amazingness, especially in terms of their best friends forever connection.

For all the friendship feelings to be found within this novel, there are plenty of swoons to be had as well. The connection between Max and Paige starts out as friendship first. This happens to be one of my favourite romantic tropes, and I loved the foundation this one was built upon. As a reader there is nothing more satisfying than getting to see the characters fall for each other on the page, and that is exactly what you experience in The Start of Me and You. You get to see all the sweet, cute, delicious moments that come between the friendship and the possibility of something more. There may also happen to be a pretty hot scene in a closet, just saying.

Emery Lord has cemented her status as a must read author with her second novel. The Start of Me and You is brimming with friendship, laughter, character growth, romance and a wide range of emotions. Those who adored Open Road Summer will be floored by this sophomore novel. Those who haven't read Emery Lord previously should prepare to become obsessed.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New To My Book Closet

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

A pretty exciting book week for me! I cannot wait to read some of the new books that made their way into my book closet.

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn (goodreads)
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor (goodreads)
Damage Done by Amanda Panitch (goodreads)
I Was Here by Gayle Forman (goodreads)

The first two books (Katie Finn and Melissa Cantor) are from Christy as part of my birthday present! Excited to read both of them. (Thank you, Christy!)

I received Damage Done at the two year anniversary of the bookclub I take part in at Chapters here in Ottawa! Very excited as this was one of my most anticipated reads of this year. (Thank you, Ciara)

Lastly, I have a copy of I Was Here by Gayle Forman that I was gifted from Meaghan (Thank you, Meaghan).

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

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.

Very small Weekly Obsessions post this week! There were a few amazing sounding books I've heard about recently.


Kill The Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky (goodreads)

If you like dark humour (think Heathers) and also happen to love boy bands this is going to be the book you NEED to read. Check out this *killer* Publishers Weekly announcement...
Follows a group of girls who, “accidentally kidnap their least-favorite member of their most favorite boy band” and then have to deal with the aftermath when he winds up dead.
It is slated for a 2016 release and I've already planned on stalking everything about this book

Cherry by Lindsey Rosin (goodreads)

This is being called American Pie but with girls. It sounds like it may have a strong friendship at it's core and sounds like it will be hilarious. Here is the blurb in the Publishers Weekly announcement
It's a funny look at sex, love, and friendship during four best girlfriends' last year of high school. 
It's schedule for a 2016 release as well so a bit of a wait, but it sounds like we are in for some amazing books.


Book Expo America

We are at the 2 month mark and I am SO excited. I cannot wait to be surrounded by bookish things, to eat Shake Shack, and be reunited with Kelly! I am looking forward to the autographing session information being released so I can start planning!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, March 27, 2015

TV Talk with Kelly - Bates Motel - Season 3, episode 3

You may recall that Kelly from Kellyvision and I 'recapped' Bates Motel season two on my blog. We loved doing it so much we are going to do it again for season three. You can expect these to be up on Fridays for the most part (unless we're delayed).

This isn't really a recap, more just our reactions as we watch the show. There is totally going to be SPOILERS so maybe don't read until you've watched the episode. If you haven't watched it our notes may not make a whole lot of sense anyway but still SPOILERS!

My notes are marked by this colour and Kelly's have her initials by them and are in blue.

Bates Motel - Season 3 - Episode 3 - Persuasion

Let’s see what Norma ignores this week!

Poor Norma having to identify the body. I don’t envy that. Someone checks into your hotel and the next thing you know you’re identifying the body.

KH: I can't even imagine.

Oh, poor Norma! She threw up.

KH: I probably would, too.

So it wasn’t her? WHAT?! How many dead girls are there in this town?

KH: How many of them aren't Norman's fault?

OMG. She just told the teacher to get another chair?! That is kind of hilarious. Even better it wasn’t even her class. Awkward

KH: And it's right on the board. Oh, Norma.

Emma getting all pretty for her date! Cute. Oh! She’s dressed like that for her shift at work?! I love her. She knows what she wants and is totally getting Norman’s attention. Will her overt sexiness bring out ‘mother’ though? Highly likely.

KH: oh, Emma. I love you and I don't want you to meet Mother.

‘I am not here to pass judgement on your sex parties’ Romero is my favourite. The girl was one of the ‘questionable women’ from the party from what it sounds like. (also, NEVER letting that go, btw).

KH: me either! And yes, best line ever. And such a creepy scene. I hope Romero doesn't die.

Caleb, Dylan does not want your money. Stop. It’s probably dirty money anyways.

Oh! I had hoped that Romero was there to flirt with Norma. He’s just there to interrogate Norman about the new dead girl.

KH: oh, poor Norma. I am cringing for her.

Look at Norman being all  ‘I am capable of handling this mother, now go’.

KH: "I want my dinner, Mom."

Romero doesn’t seem to buying any of this. I am getting the impression he thinks Norman is a little punk kid.

KH: "I didn't think she was a magician." Wow, Norman. But yeah, Romero is not buying this.

‘There is no we’ Norman is starting to assert his independence. Perhaps dating Emma is causing this?

KH: ha, probably.

Good question, Norman. However, I am Team Norma on this one.  I think that being honest with the police is a good thing. Things would have been worse if the police found out later.

KH: absolutely. Tell the police everything.

Norman, both of you have problems. BOTH. End of story.

Dylan just purchased a whole lot of pot plants. OMG! Emma. I am laughing. If the police see your car you are screwed. Haha. Dylan owes her BIG.

Yes, Dylan’s pot farm is very quaint.

Emma is like “WHY IS THIS ASSHAT HERE?!”. I just don’t understand why Dylan is even bothering to hide him. Make the jerk leave town.

KH: Emma, stay away from him. :(

So basically every guy is going to make me go “Is it him that dates Norma? Is this the beginning of the end?” I am not having those thoughts about this teacher guy (even though I still want her and Romero to make out).

KH: He was one of the guys from the Blair Witch Project. I love all the horror movie things.

Oh, so less romantic and more ‘let me be your shrink’ for them. Norma and Norman could benefit from therapy. I am glad she kept the card, even if it won’t ever be used.

KH: I really like this guy. Also, poor Norma's car. Maybe get that bumper fixed.

I wonder if the election for sheriff is going to be as intense as everything else in this town.

Freddie Highmore is fantastic in these unravelling scenes. He is perfect in these moments where Norman’s sanity is shifting.

KH: he's lucky to have Emma but he needs help.

This entire thing is so intense.  *gives Freddie Highmore all the awards* I have shivers right now.

KH: no kidding. Just WOW, you know?

Oh, no. ‘Mother’ is making an appearance. Norman just admitted he is unsure if he killed Annika.

Is Norman going to try to try this? ‘Mother’ is basically attempting to get him to kill himself. Also, it was VERY creepy seeing ‘Norma’ take off Norman’s shirt (even it was just a sweater). Her undressing him at all is just….no.

KH: fake Mother is so creepy.

There is little urgency or drama to these scenes because we know Norman doesn't die. I wish we had seen if he had killed Annika or not.

KH: agreed. We know Norman lives and Norma dies. Anything else is up for debate, but we know that.

Norma, how you answer this questions is VERY important. ‘I’ll be right back’ is not the correct response to your son asking you what would happen if he did kill someone. Her break down however is the correct response. I get why she didn't let Norman see, but GET HIM HELP! He needs to be in therapy.

KH: everything would be better if she got him help. I mean, obviously she doesn't but still.

OMG! Is this car Annika? That would make me laugh. OMG! It is Annika! Norma is all relieved that she is alive, never mind that Annika is obviously hurt. So, now Annika is really dead. She gave Norma something? I think it’s money. Was it money? She told Norma to use it. Oh, it looks like a computer flash drive thing. She also told Norma that someone was going to come for her and her son, right? Is what what she said?

KH: I can't wait to learn about this next week. She said you have to use it. Use it for you and your son. I think.

Now that Norman is obviously off the suspect list for this murder the question is… who killed Annika and why. Also who killed the OTHER girl (Norman still a suspect in that one, you think?)

KH: I feel like yes, but how?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Diamond Sisters Book Blitz

The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1)
Release Date: 02/25/14
Harlequin Teen
381 pages

Summary from Goodreads:

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite.

Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Buy Links:
Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository | iBookstore

"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps."

"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." 
--RT Book Reviews

Book Two:

Diamonds in the Rough (The Secret Diamond Sisters #2)
Release Date: 10/28/14
Harlequin Teen
488 pages

Summary from Goodreads:

All-access doesn't mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository |  iBookstore

Here is a sneak peek of a sexy scene from the book to entice you! Just remember though... “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas ... but that doesn’t matter when you live there.”


“Which lovely Diamond sister are you?” he asked, his lips close to her ear.

“How do you know I’m one of the Diamond sisters?” She leaned back and looked up at him, trying to sound mysterious. Word sure did travel fast around here.

“Lucky guess.” He ran his thumb down her back, and she shivered at his touch. “Actually, I saw you walk in with Adrian earlier. Sort of gave it away.”

“Oh,” she said, although she was happy he’d noticed her. “I’m Peyton.”

“Peyton,” he repeated. “Pretty name. I like it.”

“Thanks.” She had never had anyone tell her that before. “And you are...”

“Oliver,” he answered with a haughtiness that made her think he assumed most people already knew his name. “Oliver Prescott.”

“Nice to meet you, Oliver,” she said, smiling seductively up at him—the same look she’d given Jackson earlier. But unlike with Jackson, it made Oliver move closer to her. The music changed to a remix of a popular song, and she wound her arms tighter around him. “Your girlfriend didn’t look happy that you left her to dance with me.”

“Girlfriend?” Oliver laughed. “Madison’s just a friend.”

“Good.” Peyton had dated many guys, but the ones with girlfriends were out of the question. She refused to risk getting hurt, or make an enemy in the wrong place.

“Do I seem like the type of guy who would tell my girlfriend to disappear while I danced with another girl?” He looked amused, but Peyton believed he was serious.

“Going off the few minutes I’ve known you...?” She quirked an eyebrow. “It never hurts to check. But I believe you.”

“And you would trust me that easily?”

“Mainly because Madison doesn’t look like the sort of girl who would allow a boyfriend of hers to do that,” Peyton said.

“You sure got that right.” He trailed a finger down her arm, like he was taking in every inch of her. Peyton reveled in his touch. The back of his neck was moist with sweat, and she ran her fingers through his hair, enjoying the silkiness of it.

“Do you live in the hotel, too?” she asked.

“Not at the Diamond,” he replied. “I live across the street at the Gates. My father owns it, along with a few other hotels on the Strip.”

“Does that mean your family is in competition with mine?”

“Not in competition, he said, pulling her closer. “But our father’s businesses aren’t important right now.”

“No,” Peyton breathed. “They’re not.”

About the Author
Michelle Madow was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters series while walking through her favorite hotel in Las Vegas. The next book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, launches in October. Prior to The Secret Diamond Sisters, she successfully self-published The Transcend Time Saga. A tireless promoter of her work, Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. A graduate of Rollins College, Michelle lives in Florida ... but she loves going to Vegas.

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook

Author Links:

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ......... Damage Done

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 Damage Done by Amanada Panitch

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .
This book has been on my radar for a while and it's been called the YA Gone Girl, so I was (obviously) immediately intrigued. Luckily we don't have long to wait now before it's in stores.

Expected release date - July 21, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes

Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes
Release Date - March 24, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV's How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.
Who killed Preston DeWitt? That is the question that starts off one killer mystery in Liars, Inc. Paula Stokes masterfully weaves a tale of murder, lies, revenge and romance to create an immensely enjoyable read.

Lies are the foundation, building blocks, and decoration of this novel. It makes you question the lies you tell, the ones you might be told, and the ones we tell ourselves. Trust and where it is placed is something that you'll leave this novel pondering. It is rather thought provoking and will leave you questioning connections and how well we know those around us, even those we might be close to.

With Liars, Inc Paula Stokes shows that she can move easily from one genre to another. While mystery appears to be her calling, it seems that she is comfortable in any of them. Her versatile writing manages to retain the tone and feel that are her trademark while embracing the particular genre that she is writing at the same time. The banter of The Art Of Lainey is found within these pages. The attention to detail from Venom is there as well. The meticulous plotting of the Venom series serves her well in relation to the mystery elements. She grows with each novel and only gets better. This adaptability, along with her talent, means that fans can eagerly anticipate a wide variety of books to come from this impressive talent.

The voice in this novel, that of main character Max, is one of the stand out elements. Max as a character comes to life. He was easy to picture, and Paula captured his voice perfectly. It, to me, came across as the way real teenage boys would talk and think. Characters are one of the strongest aspects of Paula's novels, and Max was no exception.

The character that will win your heart, however, is Parvati. She is intelligent, a total liar, and an incredible bad ass. I loved her, and how she was written. She felt like a character in her own right and not just there as an extension of the plot, or a character created only to further Max's story. A story from her point of view would be most welcome as I feel this novel only scratched the surface of the depth of her character and her complexities.

A mystery novel is only as good as it's core mystery and Liars, Inc delivers in more ways than one. I expect that more than a few harden mystery lovers will be pleasantly surprised by the who, why and how of this nuanced plot. It blind sided me, and yet made complete sense within the story. There are subtle clues if you know where to look for them, but the framework of the story allowed for a pretty impressive final act. One that is not only smartly planned out but felt logical and plausible.

A gripping mystery, a believeable voice, and surprising romance all make Liars, Inc a must read. It's one that mystery fans will not want to miss with it's sharp, and smart unraveling and outcome. Paula adeptly showcases that she's one to watch in this genre and I cannot wait to see what she releases next.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Burning Kingdom by Lauren DeStefano

Burning Kingdom by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date - March 10, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.

After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.

The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.

It is also a land at war.

Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?
After the events of Perfect Ruin, I was eager to continue this intriguing series.It was a fast paced, jarring beginning to a series that promises to be filled with surprises. Burning Kingdoms offers up a sequel filled with beautiful, lyrical writing, a strong second novel in a series, and more the characters we came to love.

The first novel advanced the plot much faster than I anticipated. I did not expect the characters to reach the ground until the last installment of the series. This surprise left me eager to see what Lauren had in store for the plot as it meant it was going in a completely different direction than I anticipated. Burning Kingdoms proved once again that there are plenty of surprises still in store with this series. From it's pacing, setting and twists it moved the plot to places I didn't expect for THIS chapter in Morgan's story. This created a feeling of unexpectedness and an unpreparedness that became a vital part of the tone of the story.

The setting both feels like the 1920's and also something completely different. It's a mix of the scientific and the fantastical that blend together rather well. We learn more secrets about Internment even as we are discovering the secrets of those on the ground. This new setting and the characters we meet provided a fresh feel to the story and adeptly helped avoid the second book slump that can sometimes weigh down a series. This is not a rehash of the events in book one. This opens the world these characters inhabit and with it new connections and stories form.

The 'fish out of water' element to Morgan and the others from Interment was charming at times, and provided some much needed comic relief. This particular element of the story is rather well done, with the contrast and comparisons adding to the story rather than taking it over. The novel balances those funny moments with some truly insightful and beautiful moments. The ache of missing Internment and home is softly felt throughout the pages. The friendship between Morgan and Pen is especially endearing. These two are devoted friends and it feels true and fully realized. Their connection is a strong as any romance and incredibly nuanced.

This novel is a quieter, more pensive novel that the first. The first was all about the allure of the mystery and the quick pacing that offered. This novel feels like a game of chess where all the players are being put into positions and moves are tactically made for what is to come. This style fit the atmosphere of the book with everyone planning, plotting and the war that is ever brewing.

A solid follow up to a wonderful start to a series. Fans of the first novel will eagerly devour this one and (im)patiently wait for the finale. Lauren DeStefano shows, once again, that she is unafraid to make bold choices with her characters. There are casualties in any war, and with that nobody's safety is guaranteed going into the final part of Internment's story.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New To My Book Closet

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

A fantastic surprise book this week!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Random House Canada for this book! I am excited to read it as it sounds wonderful.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

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.

Extremely small Weekly Obsessions post this week.


The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee (goodreads)

This caught my attention as it sounds like a futuristic Gossip Girl sort of. Here is the synopsis...
Set in 2118, the trilogy follows the scandalous lives of teens in Manhattan's new 1000-story skyscraper. 
I am hoping for scandal, debauchery, and lots of kissing. This is quite far away as it is slated for a 2017 release but I am very excited to hear more as it gets closer.


Famous In Love TV Show

Rebecca Serle just announced recently that Famous In Love is becoming a TV Show. Marlene King, who is part of the Pretty Little Liars creative team/writing team, is behind the show and Bella Throne has been cast as Paige. Deadline released the announcement and I cannot wait for more casting news! Here is hoping the pilot is fantastic and it gets a series pick up!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, March 20, 2015

TV Talk With Kelly - Bates Motel, Season 3, Episode 2

You may recall that Kelly from Kellyvision and I 'recapped' Bates Motel season two on my blog. We loved doing it so much we are going to do it again for season three. You can expect these to be up on Fridays for the most part (unless we're delayed).

This isn't really a recap, more just our reactions as we watch the show. There is totally going to be SPOILERS so maybe don't read until you've watched the episode. If you haven't watched it our notes may not make a whole lot of sense anyway but still SPOILERS!

My notes are marked by this colour and Kelly's have her initials by them and are in blue.

Bates Motel - Season 3 - Episode 2 - The Arcanum Club

Episode two! Let’s see how Norma ignores the obvious this week.

KH: Norma and the window shade! Love it.

Norma is trying to find the now missing lady. This cannot end well. She is going to accuse Norman isn’t she?

Hahaha ‘to show you that you received it but there was no charge’ I HAVE THAT EXACT CONVERSATION SO MANY TIMES AT WORK. Also, I love Emma.

Norman is doing his taxidermy. I am guessing this means bad things. I love Norma’s reaction to the fact he’s keeping dead animals in their freezer and Norman’s ‘Well, get me a freezer down here then’. Haha. She’s thinly veiling asking him questions, huh? Do you think she suspects him already?

KH: ewwww, Team Norma there. Dead animals do not belong in the freezer. And I love that she's still concerned about the window shade.

Oh, Norman you lying liar. She is not fine. I am pretty sure he killed her. Or knows something. It could be that I am just very suspicious of Norman.

Ugh, why did you let him stay Dylan? Ugh.

KH: if Caleb doesn't end up dead, I'm going to be so mad!

So, if Norma didn’t have suspicions before she does now. Emma just told her they were together last, so she’s obviously going to jump to conclusions.

KH: is she suspicious or pissed that he's hanging with a cute lady?  (Ohhhhh, sounds like both.) I love the faces Norma's making.

Norma asking Norman some tough questions (finally). ‘You can’t keep getting into cars with questionable women’. Oh, Norma. These ‘questionable’ women are the least of your worries. She’s trying to pin it on THEM though. They are attracted to Norman. They are causing the issues. Sorry Norma, that’s all NORMAN!

Oh! I didn’t even pick up on the fact that he said ‘was’. Norma did though!

KH: I didn't either!! Well done, Norma! God, she is just defeated. Poor Norma.

You can tell she thinks her son did this and she’s flustered and broken and just DONE.

KH: Caleb with a gun is bad news. I hope he shot the scary dog.

Caleb is the worst. UGH!

KH: Oh, Norman, we're all worried about you. But YAY for dating Emma! Norms doesn't seem okay but at least she isn't "questionable." I am totally going to start using that when I'm being bitchy about people. THIS IS THE BEST! Haha.

Yes, YAY for dating Emma, but Norman, things are not okay. Sorry. Also, Norma and her ‘questionable women’. Haha. At least we know Norman’s version of mother isn’t that far off.

So while this a commercial… I was thinking do we want them to give us a season that is Psycho? Like the movie basically in TV season format? I kind of want that. As much as I would miss Vera Farmiga I kind of want that payoff in the end. I want to see Freddie Highmore tackle that part. I want the final shot of him sitting in the police station, ya know?

KH: I would love that. And we'd still have her; he sees Mother, so we'd have Mother-Norma, not Norma-Norma. It'd have to be final season, probably but Psycho 2 would be good, too. Excellent sequel.

Emma, if you only knew why they are worried.

KH: I can see how ramen would be a bad date food.

KH: OMG, Emma, you TOTALLY tell Norma everything!

She really does!

Dylan is just always surrounded by shady people. If it makes it out of this show alive it’ll be because of pure luck, not any kind of survival instinct on his part. Oh, geez. They shot this guy’s dog.


Hahah, ‘have you thought of looking in her room?’ Why, no they haven’t Emma because that would be LOGICAL. Also, Norma is a little busy freaking out because she thinks Norman killed the ‘questionable’ lady.

OMG! This girl’s room is like 50 Shades of Grey.

KH: RIGHT?! Welcome to my adult shop, says the questionable lady.

I kind of want Norma and Romero to date! He has really pretty eyes.

KH: ME TOO! I love them.

Except every single time she gets a boyfriend I am going to be like “IS NORMAN GOING TO KILL HER NOW?!”

KH: I know! Like, is this what sets him off?

KH: ...well, that was awkward.

You can see Norma struggling to say goodbye. He made her feel safe! Awww.

Oh, you’ll see a different side to Norman for sure, Emma. Sadly, it’s not one that is going to make you want to keep dating him.

Interesting. Emma is asking him directly if he feels bad after sex. This is a conversation that perhaps Norman should be having with a therapist.

KH: agreed. "We're just close." No, honey. Close isn't it.

Emma is perceptive and smart. She is almost better than a therapist.

‘Do you want to be Peter Pan?’ ‘Maybe, if you’ll be Wendy’ STOP! I cannot with the cute! Also, Emma’s brazen flirting right there? LOVE IT. She’s a woman who knows what she wants.

KH: I LOVED THAT! They're so sweet and then questionably not-sweet. (I am not letting that go.)

KH: Oh crapballs, Norma's going to an Eyes Wide Shut party.

Norma is about to meet a whole lot of ‘questionable’ women.

KH: Norma's going questionable herself.

Caleb comes on the screen and I legit scream “DIE ALREADY”.

KH: right? Why hasn't Norman killed you yet?

Um, this guy doesn’t even have a dog? What? Huh? Also, DYLAN STOP MAKING PEOPLE WANT TO KILL YOU! He just told him that they shot his dog. That could have pissed him off.

KH: that is a lot of guns. A LOT. Opie is so scary now.

Shut up, Caleb. SHUT UP! Why are you antagonizing the scary man? If Dylan dies because of you…..

KH: creeper.

HAHA! Romero is at this party. I am laughing so hard.

Norma telling Romero is actually a smart thing. Maybe not if Norman killed her, BUT still….

KH: "She's a really lovely, lovely girl. I'm just afraid that she might be dead." That cracked me up.

What happened to ‘questionable’ Norma?! Haha. Now she’s lovely.

KH: oh Lord, Norma. Just don't get caught.

KH: I love Norma. Love her.

Oh, you’re worried about Norma are you Norman? That is kind of hilarious. Have you been paying attention the last 2 years?

EEEP! THIS CANNOT NOT BE GOOD! Of course it ends there. Of course it does.

KH: oh shit. Hi, Annika.

I get chills every time they show the preview where Norma is screaming “You’re going to kill me, Norman” CHILLS.

KH: same.

So I am not convinced Norman killed her. I say I am but really, I think it’s too easy. I think it is what they want us to think. I thought that with Blair Watson too though.

KH: also same. I mean, maybe...and he does dump people in the swamp but...I don't buy it.

I just feel like they are leading us to that conclusion.

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