Monday, August 31, 2015

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
Release Date - August 11, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy's taken back to the emergency room and Rachel's sent back to her bed, they think they'll never see each other again.

Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.

Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they've been running toward each other all along.

With honesty, wit, and clear-eyed observations about men and women, love and fate, and the truth about happy endings, Jennifer Weiner delivers two of her most memorable characters, and a love story you'll never forget. 
Romances that make you care about the characters as individuals, rather than just as part of a couple, are often the ones that work best. Allowing the characters to grow and change on their own often allows the reader to see why they belong together. Jennifer Weiner's novel more than succeeds in pulling this off, and also provides a delightful romance with enchanting characters.

The relationship between Andy and Rachel is,  at times, a messy one. These characters are flawed in a very realistic way. They make mistakes, inadvertently hurt the ones they love, and face heartbreaks that are entirely relatable. The mistakes they make are crafted to make these characters feel all the more authentic, and you cannot help but become a little invested in their story. They come together, and break up and find their way back to each other. This pattern is one that allows them to grow as individuals and that makes any of the romance elements all the more rewarding.

Getting to see a couple at various stages of their lives, sometimes with each other and sometimes without, can be incredibly satisfying. Jennifer Weiner uses it to highlight the growth and changes that happens as people age. We see them become different people because of their experiences, decisions and the consequences of those choices. Often we don't see the why behind the romance. The reason that the couple falls in love, and the complexities that come with it. This novel examines it, and embraces that need for it to be there. You have two characters who are incredibly different. They come from different backgrounds, have different interests, and even different religious beliefs. Great lengths are taken to look at why they would be attracted to each other, and more importantly, why they may or may not chose to stay together. We see each of them go through different relationships, and different experiences. We see people and relationships that may have been a better fit, but ultimately they all lead to the same outcome. It's this experience that solidifies the story and it's outcome for me. It made me believe in the characters, even if more than a few of the coincidences take this novel into pure romantic comedy status.

This is a story we've seen told many times, and my only real issue is that there isn't that spark that makes it feel fresh and new. It's a sweet, enjoyable story that fans of this genre will appreciate, but there is nothing that sets it apart from the numerous others like it. It's the type of story we've seen and experienced plenty of times, the selling point for this one is that you'll truly root for the characters.

A romantic look what it means to love someone, and how your life is defined and shaped by the people you let in. It's the perfect read for when you're looking for the literary equivalent of a romantic comedy. You won't be disappointed if you're looking for something with heart, and that undefinable spark between the characters.

Sunday, August 30, 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).

This week I had a package of awesome from Harper Collins Canada.

Undaunted by Ronnie Douglas (goodreads)
Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley (goodreads)

The personalized copy of Worlds of Ink and Shadow was a delightful surprise! It was one of the books I was excited about after the HCC Frenzy Presents event, and I love the Dumplin' sticker! The other book was a surprise but it sounds like it could be a sexy NA read!

A huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada (and Suman in particular) for these reads!

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 29, 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.


Blood and Salt Book Trailer (goodreads)

This book trailer is highly effective. It showcases the sexiness of Kim's debut novel, and offers up a few surprises. Be sure to watch until the very end....

Insane, right? Doesn't it make you absolutely curious about this novel? Be sure to put this one on your radar because it's amazing.

This Monstrous Thing Book Trailer (goodreads)

Another book trailer that does exactly what it is supposed to and teases you just enough to make you NEED to read the novel. This one is for the Frankenstein inspired novel coming from Mackenzi Lee and it's perfect.

It captures the tone and feel of the original while offering up a taste of what makes this interpretation unique. I often don't love book trailers, but this one (and the other included here) are a very pleasant surprise.


Wicked City Key Art

I am super excited to check out this show when it airs in Oct. I have high hopes and while I've heard mixed things I am still hopefully that I'll love this anthology style show. These posters are certainly eye catching and fit the premise of the show. I've always been of a fan of the striking red/black colour scheme so this REALLY works for me.

American Horror Story: Hotel First Look

Entertainment Weekly just revealed the first look at some of the characters from this season of American Horror Story and I am in love. The is a definite 80's vibe to the wardrobe and look of the characters. I am intrigued by the 'pseudo vampires' being included in this season, and I enjoy so much of the cast.

Finn Wittrock, my favourite part of AHS: Freakshow returns and I am all about this look. Totally hot and fits into the 80's feel of the rest of the cast photos. For more, check out the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly! Cannot wait to pick up my copy.


ALA 2016

With BEA moving to Chicago for the year, I am going to be attending ALA instead (I may attend both but that is not for sure). I just recently purchased my flight ticket to Orlando and am insanely excited. I've never been to ALA but I hear it's similar to BEA and I do look forward to seeing all the amazing bloggers, authors, and publishing professionals.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Copper Gauntlet by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The Copper Gauntlet by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
Release Date - September 1, 2015
Publisher Website - Scholastic
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for review**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -- and a whole world’s fate. 
After a stunning first book I was eager to continue the spellbinding story Holly Black and Cassandra Clare started in The Iron Trial. The first book offered up one of the best twists I've read and the sequel continues to not hold back. The authors once and more complex as the story continues and they are not afraid to take the plot into unexpected places.

After the twist of the first book I did not think the second book could pack the same punch. There are still plenty of tricks up the sleeves of these authors, and it is a delight to see them twist and flip the typical tropes that go into a story of this nature. The shock waves of the twist regarding the status of Callum's soul are something that reverberates throughout this entire book. Callum's entire journey is one of choosing what defines him. He struggles with who he is and is constantly weighing if his decisions tip the scale towards good or evil. With this it teases whether it is our decisions that make us who we are, or whether we are slaves to fate. I hope the overall story continues to play with how complex people are. That there is perhaps no good or evil, and that people can make both good and bad decisions sometimes. This storyline, as Callum continues to struggle with his identity and who he actually is, will be felt throughout the entire series, and is such a perfect basis to form the story around.

The friendship between Callum, Aaron and Tamara continues to solidify. We see them grow and change together. There is quite a bit of character development to be found within these pages. Callum, in particular, is poised to have what could be an incredible story arc if they continue down the path that is set out so far. Aaron is moulded and shaped by the weight of being the Makar. He and Cal's futures are entwined and seeing them become friends is an exquisite torture. You want the complexity that storyline creates even as it has the potential to lead to devastating heartbreak.

The stand out of the story is Havoc. The chaos-riden dog steals the spotlight and becomes a beloved character in his own right. The dog is used as not just a sidekick for the group but furthers the story as well as checking off the magical creature box for stories like this. You'll wish for some magic that will keep him safe as the danger steadily progresses and that makes all the difference. The stakes are becoming real just as these characters are working their way into your heart.

A middle grade series that continues to surprise me with both the ability to twist popular tropes, and keep me completely engaged in the story. This is one series that I am going to enjoy seeing progress as the characters age and develop and it's also one that will be joining my nieces book collection as they get a little older. Those who love middle grade will not want to miss this darkly magical series.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ...... Queen of Shadows

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 Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world. 
Pretty sure my choice this week will surprise nobody other than how long it took for me to spotlight it! I love both of Sarah's series and cannot wait to continue Calaena's story!  It's less than a week away at this point and I cannot wait to devour all 656 pages! #TeamDorian

Expected release date - September 1, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between  by Jennifer E Smith
Release Date - September 1, 2015
Publisher Website - Hachette/Poppy
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 256 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.
There is a saying that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Jennifer E Smith's books always flirt with the idea of fate, chance, and how they apply to both romance, and the decisions we make. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between celebrates the decisions life throws at us, and the unexpected realizations those decisions can lead us to. While this was not my favourite of Jennifer's novels, it is a fantastic addition to her collected works.

This novel is steeped in nostalgia. At least for me, someone removed from the experience of saying goodbye when leaving  for college. There is this perfect storm of excitement, terror, giddiness, sadness, and possibility. You are crushed to leave behind your friends, the familiar routines, places you love, and your family. You're saying goodbye to everything, all that comes along with it. There is even a pang of knowledge that you'll miss your bedroom and that things will be entirely different when you do return. Jennifer E Smith captures this complex emotional time flawlessly. It bubbles up all your fears, at the same time it leaves you dizzy with possibility. There is a bittersweetness to something that is both a beginning and an ending and that is woven into each part of this novel.

The nostalgia factor is only increased by the 'this is your life' style storytelling with a trip down memory lane of their relationship. It's the greatest hits of Clare and Aidan, both the good and the bad. Following them down this path was rewarding as a reader because it felt like we truly got to experience both them falling in love, and the history that came after. One of the shining parts of a Jennifer E Smith story is the little nuances that go into the couples she creates. She creates believable relationship quirks and inside jokes that add another layer to the story and characters and this book was no exception.

The only issue I had was a lack of connection to both the main characters and the secondary characters. All the emotions I felt were due to the feelings the novel brought out in me, rather than what the characters were experiencing. I've connected with her other characters more, and as a result I wasn't as invested in the outcome of their relationship. Their friends and family, while present, were not overly developed either. I am unsure if it was the narration style, or how the novel was paced, but I never fully invested in the story, and that did leave the experience lacking a little bit of emotional connection.

The ending is a much more realistic ending that I had anticipated. It strikes a balance between the importance of learning who you and the idea that love can conquer all. While I won't reveal the ultimate decision that Clare and Aidan come to, I will say that it was an unexpected ending, and much deeper than I thought it would be.

A romance with typical Jennifer E Smith flair. It highlights that things do not necessarily have to be all or nothing - there is a huge range of things in between. Things happen how and when they are supposed to, and that is perhaps the biggest take away from this novel. If you've loved Jennifer's previous books you'll enjoy this fun, thoughtful, romantic read. Those heading off to college, or who have gone through the experience will especially get something out of it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
Release Date - August 25, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…
The synopsis of this book immediately reminded me of Friday Night Lights. As someone who loved the show this immediately piqued my interest. I had hoped that this novel would bring out the same feelings in me that watching the TV show did. While there is potential here, there were a few elements that made this one miss the mark a little bit for me.

The idea of grief, and bonding with someone that recognizes your pain is handled incredibly well. The messy, uncertain aspect of this kind of bond, and the way it can impact a budding relationship is explored and is perhaps the strongest story element in the novel. West's grief over his father and Maggie still dealing with her mother's murder pushes them together, but the raw emotion they each feel is a heartbeat that echoes through the entire story. It made me feel invested in the characters to have them have something individually that brought them together. Their story lines existed both outside of the romance, and within it and this adds texture to the story that sometimes is missing in other novels.

The story is obviously inspired by Friday Night Lights, and it is very much a football story that is really about everything but football. The characters are going to the focus, and romance will be a large part of that. Those looking for a true sports novel will not find that here, but the fact that it is a character story is what drew me to it. I hope that with each novel we'll get to see the characters grow and change and that it remains the focus of the story.

The female characters in this novel, sadly, seem to fall into one of  two categories. Maggie, who is the perfect angel, and every other girl who are, according to the male characters, there to use and discard. Maggie is treated as someone who is too pure to be subjected to these other girls, and as different. She is continuously labelled as different from the other girls and not for the reasons you might think. It would make sense if it were because of her silence, but instead it's because she's too good to hurt. She doesn't deserve it. The indication is that the other girls do deserve it. The other girls on the other hand are used by the guys and promptly discarded and are branded as 'crazy' when they take offence to being treated poorly. Even Maggie is guilty of doing this when she muses that sometimes West needed her, and other times he needed girls like Serena. This is meant to convey that sometimes he needed someone to talk to, and other times he just needed someone to have sex with. The treatment of every girl other than Maggie was basically slut shaming and made all the more glaring in light of the over praising of Maggie. It takes the notion of women being either the angel or the devil to the extreme and didn't sit well with me. There is a huge lack of respect for any girl other than Maggie, even sometimes from Maggie herself.

West uses Maggie as a crutch, to the point that it becomes unhealthy. This novel's saving grace is how this storyline is dealt with. West's character is very much the 'alpa male' stereotype found in romance novels and with that comes some behaviour that I do not find attractive. He is suffocating, and over protective even when Maggie pushes and tells him that she doesn't need it. His need for her becomes a consuming thing. Maggie calls him out on it, and even creates a distance between them in order to show West that his behaviour was inappropriate and could not continue. It was refreshing to see this happen in a young adult novel, and even more refreshing to have guy respect a female characters wishes.

While I had mixed feelings on this one, over all I enjoyed it. My warm fuzzy feelings for the Friday Night Lights series could perhaps be clouding my judgement but there is something addictive about the writing and storyline that makes me want to continue with the series. I wish that the female characters had been treated differently and hope that improves in the subsequent novels to come. If you like books about small towns, football on Friday nights, and romance you'll want to give this one a try.

Sunday, August 23, 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).

Lots of amazing things to share this week.

First up is my first #otspsecretsister package! My sister, 'Hermoine', is obviously amazing. The note included was the sweetest and I am really excited to send her a reply back. It's going to be really fun. The cat treats were incredibly thoughtful and Aria is definitely enjoying them. I feel incredibly spoiled, but mostly I feel happy that someone took the time to write me a little note.

Included in the package was 2 kinds of tea, 2 packets of Rolo hot chocolate, a Lindt strawberry chocolate bar, 2 bags of cat treats, Before Sunrise DVD (!!! I love this movie and hadn't gotten myself a copy yet) and a thing of popcorn. Also included was a book I've never heard of but sounds wonderful

The Mark of the Hummingbird (Hummingbird #1) by Jessica Gollub (goodreads)

A huge thank you to 'Hermoine' for this! Looking forward to sending out a letter soon!

I received two eARCs for review

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (goodreads)
Escaping Perfect by Emma Harrison (goodreads)

Thank you to Simon and Schuster, and St Martin's Press for these review copies. I am very curious about Escaping Perfect being pitched as Gone Girl meets Nashville (two things I enjoy) and I've heard nothing but amazing things about Firsts.

Lastly, I borrowed one ebook from my public library

When Everything Feels Like The Movies by Raziel Reid (goodreads)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bookclub is reading this for our next Skype discussion. It was part of Canada Reads this year (and made it to the finals) and is a Governor General Award winner. I've been wanting to pick it up for quite a while now, so I am excited to finally read it.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
Release Date - May 13, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**borrowed from friend for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away. 
My recent experience with New Adult has reminded me why it's important not to give up on a genre or author if you don't enjoy a particular book. I have recently found quite a few New Adult reads that I've enjoyed and happily add Sweet Filthy Boy to that list. Christina Lauren's novel captures the uncertainty of the time right after college, and the big question of what happens next all while bringing some seriously sexy moments.

This novel is total wish fulfilment romance at it's most decadent. The Las Vegas and Paris settings, the extremely hot guy who creates an instant spark with our heroine, and the dream of being swept away to Paris for a whirlwind romance. The story however surprised me by going a little deeper, the characters are a little more flawed, and it creates a nice balance that makes this a truly pleasant reading experience.

Mia and her friends are the type of girls you would want to be friends with. Fun, loyal, caring, and real. They reminded me of the Sex in the City crew with their inside jokes, close knit friendship and how they bound together in times of need. While Mia is the focus, the author offers up just enough of the other girls to make you want to follow them on their own journeys. You learn just enough to be intrigued and that makes all the difference for side characters. They never felt like after thoughts. Even the other guys who are part of Ansel's group left you with enough to be intrigued and want to know more.

The novel showcases it's premise that getting out of your own head can be entirely rewarding (and satisfying) all while showing that sometimes reality is better than any fiction. The use of role play offered up something a little different from what I typically read. I've heard each novel focuses on different sexual fantasies (like role play, and bondage) and it's definitely piqued my interest as I haven't seen that be an element in other NA novels I've read and made this series stand out in a good way.

The romance is sweet and sexy. Ansel brings out something in Mia that she's struggled to find within herself. It's a confidence in her own decisions and the ability to let go. She is struggling to live the life she wants, instead of the one that others think she should have. Ansel shows her that she can make her own choices, even if she is constantly over thinking them. I appreciated that he doesn't 'change' her but rather shows her something that has always been there, it's just something she lost for a while. Their bond is really sweet, and offers up enough heat to make any beach reading session a little hotter. I predict many will be a fan of this pairing as they're effortless to root for and have some serious chemistry.

A sizzling, sexy start to what may just become one of my favourite NA series. Christina Lauren balances characters, plot, sex and drama to create a delightful (and slightly naughty) read. If you're looking to spice up your book collection I recommend trying this series. I doubt you'll be disappointed. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Legacy Of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Legacy Of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Release Date - August 18,  2015
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**obtained from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series. 
I am immediately intrigued by anything inspired by true events and people. Add in the historical element and magic and Legacy of Kings was instantly on my radar. A sprawling, splashy beginning to a series that captures a young man on the brink of greatness.

This is an ambitious novel, and Eleanor Herman executes it masterfully. She uses the multiple points of view to her advantage and the third person narrative to widen the story, something a different writing choice would have limited. It's a story that is larger in scope, and one that is going to unravel at a slower pace to allow the rich details, and character development to happen. It is a writing style that requires patience while you get used to it, but the story is enough to suck you in and offers a rewarding reading experience in the end.

The large cast of characters is a blessing and a curse. The large scope story requires it, but allowing the reader to get to know these characters is much harder. I hope that character development, motivation, and story arc are the focus going forward in the series. There was enough here to hold my interest, but I felt some of the characters could benefit from expanding them further. The writing style itself doesn't lend itself to connecting with the characters, but Eleanor manages to make you care about a lot of them which speaks to her talent.

Alexander shines brightly in the spotlight. The golden boy who will eventually become Alexander the Great. Sparks of his military cunning are evident in this novel and it will be fascinating to see his character manoeuvre into the man we know he becomes. This connections he forges are the sharpest emotional parts of the story. Those who love the romance aspect will find plenty of 'ship worthy' moments and may find yourself shipping the less obvious choices more than a little (totally looking at you Hephastian and Alexander). Romance, however, is not the focus of this story. The ever pressing danger to Macedon, and the increasing stakes, don't allow for much breathing room and that is where the focus is. The other characters, particularly the female ones, are fierce, flawed, and mesmerizing. I appreciated the attention paid to fleshing out the female characters of the story who have an urgency all their own.

The story itself is engaging. You have romance, betrayal, politics, and war all happening at once. Swirling around it all is magic and the tantalizing promise of what it could do. It's a true fantasy in that many of the tropes are there and used to great affect. It's been compared to Game of Thrones and that comparison stands in my opinion. It's a fight for a crown in a magic infused setting and filled with characters who are just beginning their epic journey. Those who love these larger, slower burn, but entirely rewarding stories will devour this. This will be their new obsession and I count myself part of this group.

Offering up a delicious blend of a historical setting and fantasy, this novel is only a tease of what this series could be. A brilliant premise that is only going to get better as the world and it's characters continue to grow. Expect to hear lots about this buzzy novel because I have a feeling it's going to be one everybody is talking about.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ........ Glass Sword

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 Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The thrilling second book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen trilogy follows Mare Barrow on her mission to defeat the traitorous Maven.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? 

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness of her own heart.
Kneel or bleed. Best tag line ever, right? Of course it is. I am excited to read the follow up to Red Queen which I loved. There is plenty of potential for this to become a really intense series and I cannot wait to see what direction Victoria takes the story in. Buzz for this one is going to continue to grow as movie rights have been snapped up and Elizabeth Banks is set to direct.

Expected release date - February 9, 2016

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Release Date - August 18, 2015
Publisher Website - Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For fans of We Were Liars and How I Live Now comes a haunting, sexy, magically realistic debut about a family caught between a violent history, a taboo romance, and the mysteries lurking in their own backyard.

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it's bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season-when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17-is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.

Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she'll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she'll uncover the dark origins of the accident season-whether she's ready or not. 
Magical realism when done right blurs the edges between what is real and fantasy seamlessly. It creates a transparent line that feels dreamy, and almost fever like in nature. The Accident Season nails the subtlety this genre requires and blends everything together to create a spooky, atmospheric, romantic read that is all together unique.

This is a quieter, complex novel that unravels at it's own pace. A novel that delights in the moments that exist in between the larger ones, and allowing itself time to breathe. It's a slower, much more character driven story. It's strengths are in the writing, character development and lush descriptions. It is not filled with action filled fireworks, but instead offers up a deeper reflection on the characters, and examines actions and the consequences that result from them.

Part of this novel's allure is unraveling the truth. The questions that plague the characters are the ones also haunting the readers. The truth behind the 'accident season' and the secrets it holds are, like everything else in the novel, deeper and richer than what appears at first glance. This novel is like an ocean, hiding it's truths at the very bottom. It remains a little elusive, even after revealing it's secrets to you, but that elusiveness is what makes it so compelling. An excellent magical realism novel walks the tightrope between diving too far into the fantasy and rigidly staying attached to the real and tangible. This novel expertly walks that tightrope leaving just enough magic to make the novel memorable, while dishing out enough realism to break your heart.

This novel is creepy and unsettling but it does so subtly. The author embraces the less is more approach in favour of letting our imaginations conjure up the worst. It casts a dizzying spell that allows the chills to creep up on you but in a restrained manor.  The unsettled feeling is cultivated through clever writing and atmosphere is where Moira Fowley-Doyle's talent truly shines. She makes even romance feel like it's tinged with a quiet darkness, and that leaves a lasting impression.

A lyrical novel that reads like an Irish folk tale. It is an effortless blend of magic and realism that combines into a spelling binding read. This may be Moira Fowley-Doyle's debut, but I anticipate much more from her in the future. 

Sunday, August 16, 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).

Excited for everything that made it's way into my mailbox this week!

First up is a review book from Simon and Schuster Canada that sounds really fun.

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for the chance to review it.

Second, I had the chance to attend Frenzy Presents at the Harper Collins Canada office. We were gifted an amazing swag bag as we were leaving!

The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett (goodreads)
The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (goodreads)
Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook (goodreads)

Thank you to all the ladies at Harper Collins Canada for the lovely event, and Suman for her general awesomeness. If you missed my recap, be sure to check it out.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 15, 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.


Glass Sword ARCs

Picture proof that these beauties exist. They lovely people at HCC Frenzy posted this photo on their Twitter account which caused much fangirling and vaguely human noises to be made.

Photo Rights @HCCFrenzy. Taken from the @HCCFrenzy Twitter account

I desperately want to get my hands on one of these so that I can devour it immediately, but I have a feeling they'll be limited and harder to come by.

The Forbidden Wish ARCs

All of the Winter 2016 ARCs are being printed right now and seeing them all is extremely exciting. I have been all about this Aladdin retelling since it was announced so I am very excited that it's one step closer to me being able to read it.

Photo Rights - Jessica Khoury. Taken from Jessica's Instagram account

Pretty, right? I love the the cover so these ARCs are amazing. This photo was shared by Jessica Khoury on her Instgram account and it immediately ignited a need to read this book ASAP!


Disney Designer Dolls - Peter Pan and Captain Hook

Disney has these collectible, limited edition dolls that are truly eye catching. This photo recently popped up in my Twitter feed (thanks to the lovely Wendy) and I immediately became obsessed.

They are hard to get from what I understand, and on the expensive side, but the want is fierce. I would just keep in them in the box forever. I love that they made it seem like Peter is flying. LOVE!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Missing Dixie Cover Reveal

Today I am helping to 'reveal' the cover for the final Neon Dreams book, Missing Dixie. It's no secret that I've loved the other two novels in this series that blends music, romance, and drama into an incredibly entertaining storyline.

USA Today had the exclusive reveal earlier this week, and also had Caisey Quinn chatting with Sophie Jordan and Cora Cormack about all things New Adult. Be sure to check out the 'interview' as it's a fantastic read.

Here is the synopsis (spoilers for the previous books in the series)
Fighting for redemption…
I’ve lived most of my life in darkness, beneath the shadows of secrets and addictions. The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt the only girl I’d ever loved—the one who brought me into the light. In my entire life I’d made one promise—a promise I’d intended to keep. I’ve broken that promise and now I have to live with the fallout. Dixie Lark hates me, and I have to tell her that I love her. I also have to tell her a truth that might destroy us forever.
Can she love me even if she can’t forgive me?
Learning to move on…
Gavin Garrison broke his promise to my brother and he broke my heart in the process. I may never love anyone the way I’ve loved him, but at least I won’t spend my life wondering what if. We had our one night and he walked away. I’m finally beginning to move on when my brother’s wedding and a battle of the bands brings us back together.
Our band is getting a second chance, but I don’t know if I can give him one. How do you hand your heart back to the person who set it on fire once already?
And now here is the sexylicious cover!

Hello, Gavin! Be sure to check out both Leaving Armarillo and Loving Dallas before Missing Dixie goes on sale on October 27th. 

If you haven't gotten yourself a copy already be sure to enter the contest below to win a set! If you're a fan of New Adult novels this series is not be missed.

You can connect with Caisey Quinn via Twitter, Facebook, her website, and add Missing Dixie to your Goodreads.

You can per-order Missing Dixie from the publisher website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Chapters.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date - August 18, 2015
Publisher Website - Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.
I love companion novels. I love that they allow you to glimpse characters you know and love while allowing you to fall in love with new characters in the process. It's rare, however, when I love a companion novel more than I love the starting book in the 'series'. The Boy Most Likely To is one of those rare companion novels that surpassed my expectations in every way and cements Huntley Fitzpatrick as a must read author for those who love contemporary young adult novels.

The character development is the crux of this novel. It's the strongest, and most fulfilling, element of the story. Tim's transformation from the hot mess we meet in My Life Next Door, to the young man at the end of this novel is staggering and a delight to experience. Characters are Huntley Fitzpatrick's niche and her talent truly shines with Tim. We get complex, messy characters to go with the complex, messy situations she puts them in. The complexities of humans, family dynamics, and feelings are all explored in her novels with great success.

Getting to know more about the Garretts was a pleasant surprise of this novel. Patsy, once again, steals the limelight with her cute attachment to Tim, and her adorable nicname for him (which happens to be 'hon'). Any scene with her is a delight as she provides a light touch of comic relief  that balances out the more heavy plot. This family is so filled with love, and their acceptance of both Tim and Samantha only proves how big their hearts are. Family doesn't always mean blood relatives. Sometimes your family is the one you make for yourself, and Huntley Fitzpatrick embraces this truth in her writing.

Those expecting the swoon worthy romance of My Life Next Door may be a touch disappointed. There is romance in this novel. Tim and Alice have quite a spark, but it's not the focus of the novel the way that Jase and Sam's romance was in My Life Next Door. This novel instead offers up an unexpected love story. One that is too spoilery to fully discuss, but this love story is vital to Tim's character growth, and the plot. This storyline may not be surprising, or all that new, but Huntly Fitzpatrick uses it to great impact.

Alice and Tim share the spotlight with each of them getting to tell their story. This story belongs to Alice as much as it does Tim. Alice struggles with responsibility. After the events in the first novel, Alice feels like she needs to be strong for her family. The weight of that presses down on her as she deals with trying to be everything for everyone. Asking for help is a foreign concept to her, as she doesn't want to impose on anyone else. Seeing her grapple with that, and stealing moments that are just for her was eye opening. I can relate to Alice in many ways, and seeing her realize that she can make herself happy sometimes, instead of sacrificing for everyone else all the time, was inspiring.

This book is a lot of things. It's the book most likely to hold the most unexpected love story. It's the book most likely to make you laugh, swoon and cry. It also happens to be the book most likely to turn you into a Huntley Fitzpatrick fan for life. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday ...... The Forbidden Wish

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 The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world... 

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Arabian Nights from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
Two words - Aladdin. Retelling. This one has been on my radar since it was first announced. The genie being in love with Aladdin while helping him win the hand of the princess? Yes. Totally all about it. The Pinterest board for this is amazing and only increases my need to devour this one.

Expected release date - February 23, 2016

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

@HCCFrenzy Presents Event - Fall 2015/Winter 2016

I was recently invited to the Harper Collins office in Toronto to attend a blogger event where they'd be spotlighting some of their upcoming fall and winter titles. The event was hosted by the lovely ladies behind HCC Frenzy, which handles the young adult titles for Harper Collins Canada. Be sure to follow them on Twitter, and Tumblr as they are awesome!-*

Amazing Glass Sword decorations

It was beyond surreal to be invited to an event like this, and I am extremely thankful to all of the ladies who made the event possible, and Suman for her general awesomeness.

My favourite part of an event like this is touching base with the publishing contacts I've worked with, and getting to mingle with other bloggers. There are always lots of hugs, excited fangirling and general excitement at an event like this. You can't help but feel lucky to be part of this community.

Of course, the other part I love is getting hear about the upcoming titles that the publisher is excited to tell us about. They highlighted eleven upcoming titles that should be one everyone's radar and I am excited to share a little more about each of them with you.

1. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (goodreads)

We were told that this one will make you want to listen to Dolly Parton, leave you dying to tell everyone you know about this book, and that it's ever better than Julie's debut novel. Needless to say the Harper ladies love this one and I cannot wait to read it for myself. There was also a little cameo by Julie Murphy via recorded video where she talked about the inspiration behind this novel - it sounds so uplifting and inspiring!

Julie Murphy discussing Dolly Parton concerts as research!

2. A Step Towards Falling by Cammie McGovern (goodreads)

This novel stood out because of the potential for discussion that it seems to hint it. Two teens witness something horrible happening, and stand by while it happens instead of helping. Through their punishment they learn about themselves, and about others. It sounds like it could be a novel filled with character growth and the potential for tears!

3. Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch (goodreads)

I haven't read the first novel in this series, and not too much was teased out of respect for spoilers, but this sounds like an incredible series. The world building and set up was praised, and it sounds really intriguing. This sequel promises an action packed follow up to the events in book one, and I am curious enough to check out the first one in the series.

4. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (goodreads)

Asylums, murder, and Mindy's writing. That was all I needed to be told in order to be completely sold on this one. A young woman finds herself helping a doctor as an assistant at crime scenes while dealing with personal issues in her past. This historically set novel takes place in one of the most creepiest settings, and promises chills and thrills. One of my personal most anticipated reads of the fall season.

5. This May Sound Crazy by Abigail Breslin (goodreads)

This one sounds like it'll be a big hit with teens. Actress Abigain Breslin offers up advice for teens of the modern age. Written as "essays" she'll cover everything from dating in the time of selfies, loss, Tumblr, and so much more. This was also talked up as one stunning book as the look, layout and many of the other design elements are promising to be very eye catching.

6. The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett (goodreads)

Sci-Fi fans may want to add this one to their reading list. It was mentioned as being for fans of Orphan Black, Fringe and Never Let Me Go. It involves parallel universes, assassins, and murder. It seems like a creepy, unsettling novel and I am definitely intrigued.

7. The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (goodreads)

This has been compared to Buffy but from the perspective of the random kid in the cafeteria. The one who just wants to pass Math class, maybe get their crush to go to the school dance with them, and not have the school blow up before English. In other words, it's the story of the non chosen ones. The people who are average. I got to hear Patrick Ness talk about this one at Book Con this year and left immediately wanting to devour it. It sounds incredible, and poignant. It reminds us that even if we don't end up in the spotlight we still have a story worth telling.

8. Worlds Of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley (goodreads)

Lena Coakley was there to tell us a little about the novel, and the inspiration behind it, as well as having the Harper ladies talk it up. One of them referred to it as the best book she's ever read. If you're a fan of the Bronte sisters this one has to go on your reading list immediately. It blends real life with the fantastical as it examines what it would be like to have your literary creations become real, and is said to offer up a fascinating sibling dynamic.

Who should read this book? Everyone, basically

9. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (goodreads)

The title I am most excited about! This is the sequel to Red Queen, and offers up an action packed follow up of the events in book one. Betrayal, rebellion, decisions, and consequences all await in what I hope is a dynamite follow up to one of my favourite reads of this year. Fun fact - Movie options have already been snapped up and Elizabeth Banks is set to direct.

Best Tag Line Ever. Yes.

10. The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks (goodreads)

This seems like a mix of everything - comedy, drama, survival story. A girl goes to a party with her crush, and her ex-best friend. Awkward, right? A tsunami hits and she survives and is stranded in a life boat with said crush and ex-best friend. The humour is tongue in cheek, and was said to be a little reminiscent of Libba Bray's Beauty Queens. A satire that sounds like it could be a really fun reading experience.

11. This Is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang (goodreads)

Amy Zhang's writing was a huge selling point here. She wrote this book while attending college classes (her debut was written while she was in high school) which is just impressive. It focuses on two friends, and the aftermath of when one of them goes missing. Sounds like it could be a potentially compelling mystery surrounding what really happened, and if Amy's first book is any indication, one that should definitely be picked up.

What did you do in college? (Side note - LOVE the FNL reference)

The bloggers who attended were gifted some of these amazing titles in swag bags as we left. They were such a nice surprise, and I loved the bags they came in!

A huge thank you to everyone who made them possible. I love, love, love the buttons and my Glass Sword swag in particular.

Which of these titles caught your eye? Any you're dying to read? Any new to you titles that you now want to pick up? Let me know in the comments.

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