Sunday, January 31, 2016

New To My Book Closet

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

Only one book to share this week! It was a surprise one from Harper Collins Canada. A huge thank you to them for sending this one along.

Be Frank With Me by Julie Claiborne Johnson (goodreads)

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

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.


Cover for Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige (goodreads)


Bates Motel Season 4 Promo Poster

Each season gets us closer and closer to the events of Psycho and this promo showcases exactly how close we are getting, and how far gone Norman's sanity is.

The tagline, the pearls, and the smirk?! Please. It's perfect, and I am counting down the days until March 7th. I am also looking forward to checking out Damien!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Unhooked Blog Tour - Interview

Those who have visited my blog previously are already aware of my Peter Pan obsession. Obviously, any book that pulls inspiration from Peter Pan is going to be high on my must read list. Lisa Maxwell's UNHOOKED obviously caught my attention when I read the blurb and I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour to help celebrate it's upcoming release.

Here is a little about the book (in case it's not already on your radar)...
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Pages: 352
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover & eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks

From “talented wordsmith” (Publishers Weekly) Lisa Maxwell comes a lush, atmospheric fantasy novel filled with twists and turns about a girl who is kidnapped and brought to an island inhabited by fairies, a roguish ship captain, and bloodthirsty beasts.

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.
But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…

Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.

Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?
Amazing right? I can confirm that the book is as good as that synopsis sounds.

I got to interview Pan and he shared a little about his Neverland, and so much more!

1 Tell us something unique about your Neverland.

In your world, the stories make it seem like anyone can come to Neverland. Well, I suppose they can come, but staying is another thing altogether. Children do well enough here, because this world is a place for the wild, unruly desires of innocence. But once human children begin to get older… Let’s just say things get a bit fragile.

2 What is your favourite spot in all of Neverland?

My favourite place in all of Neverland is the falls. Its beauty is unparalleled, and there I feel most at home, most at peace.

3 What is one thing you would actually want people to know about you?

I’m not particularly interested in people knowing much of anything about me, but perhaps you can tell them this: I’ve fought long and hard to scrape out a place in this world, and there’s very little I wouldn’t do to protect it—especially when it comes to the likes of the Captain.

4 You're kind of a legend in my world. How do you feel about this?

Am I? Do tell… I quite like the idea, actually. Very much.

5 If you could have one person live in Neverland with you, who would it be?

What do you mean, one person? I can have whomever I like live with me here…for however long they last.

Thanks for stopping by Pan!

Be sure to not miss any of the other stops on this tour! You can find guests posts, interviews and reviews at various stops. Lots of Unhooked goodness to be had, so be sure to follow along.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/25/2016- Supernatural Snark - Interview

1/26/2016- Seeing Double In Neverland - Review

1/27/2016- Please Feed the Bookworm - Guest Post

1/28/2016- Stories & Sweeties - Review

1/29/2016- A Glass Of Wine - Interview

Week Two:

2/1/2016- A Reader Under The Sea - Review

2/2/2016- Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post

2/3/2016- Owl Always Be Reading - Review

2/4/2016- Lili's Reflections - Interview

2/5/2016- Mundie Moms - Review

Lisa is offering up a fantastic giveaway for this blog tour. The prize is seriously amazing, especially for a Peter Pan fanatic like myself.

(1) winner will receive a signed finished copy of UNHOOKED, a large Neverland map, and a Funko Pop Captain Hook, US Only.

(5) winners will receive a swag pack containing a NVR sticker, bookmark, postcard, other stickers, US only.

To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Be sure to stop by the blog on Monday for my review of Unhooked (spoiler alert I loved it). 

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep (Flux, Fall 2015) and Unhooked  (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

Find Lisa: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Release Date - January 5, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Macmillan
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
We've all heard the saying that there are three sides to every story - theirs, yours and the truth. This can generally be applied to any situation. It should come as no surprise that a lot of gossip is just one version of the story. Firsts takes the idea of THAT girl - the one you probably heard about in highschool - and makes you reconsider everything you think you know about her.

This is a book that is brutally honest. It wears it's honesty loudly and with pride. Every single aspect of this novel feels unflinchingly authentic. It takes you into the life of a girl who isn't perfect. A character that some will not relate to or even like at first. This fact is exactly why this novel is important. As you read Mercedes' story, as you get to see the cracks in her armour, and the reason behind her actions, it becomes impossible for your viewpoint not to shift. She becomes something other than THAT girl. She becomes EVERY girl. That is the magic of this book. Ms Flynn turns Mercedes into someone you cannot help but see in those around you, and that makes her story resonate all the more.

Mercedes makes some bad choices. She's a complex, messy, true to life character who does not always make the same choices you would make. She's a girl who makes mistakes, but everything about this books screams at us that those mistakes should not define her worth. Sex is often tied to the perceived worth of someone, particularly for females, and this novel pushes against that notion. The mistake is not her having sex, but her making decisions that don't make her happy. Mercedes' choices are her choices, and she is entitled to them. She struggles with how she feels about what she does, and that makes all the difference. You, as a reader, ache for her. She is hurting herself, even if she doesn't fully recognize it at first. There will be those who will judge Mercedes for her actions, but if you judge anything be it the pain she is causing herself, and the reason she accepts it.

One of the most heartbreaking parts of Mercedes' story is the fact that none of the guys have their reputation impacted by their choices. Double standards do exist, and this is subtly (and masterfully) woven into the story. Mercedes is the one that has whispers following her, insulting things written about her, and has to wade through the fallout. It's enraging and maddening and absolutely what would happen in real life.

Firsts is the type of book that belongs in highschool English classes. It's the type of book you wish you would have been able to read in highschool. It offers an important, vital message and includes more than enough prompts for meaningful discussions. Mercedes' story will linger with you long after you've finished and it's the type of book that you immediately want to force others to read. This book will make you look at THAT girl in a completely different light, and if this is the only thing it accomplishes it can be considered a success. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday ..... A Court Of Mist and Fury

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 A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. 
I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses. LOVED. Feyre is amazing and I love the romance between her and Tamlin. I am really excited to visit the Night Court in this sequel, and learn more about Rhysand (and obviously have Sarah smash my heart in a billion pieces because that is what she does).

Expected release date - May 3, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Other Broken Things by Christa Desir

Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
Release Date - January 12, 2016
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 256 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the author of Bleed Like Me, which Booklist called edgy, dark, and turbulent with passion comes another compelling and gritty novel about addiction and forbidden romance, starring a fearless, unforgettable heroine.

Natalie's not an alcoholic. She doesn't have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like getting in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.

Unfortunately, her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.

But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat's life, and things start looking up. Joe is funny, he's smart, and he calls her out in a way no one ever has.

He's also older. A lot older.

Nat's connection to Joe is overwhelming, but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she's been desperate to forget.

Now, in order to make a different kind of life, Nat must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself.
Other Broken Things is a book that is honest. It's honest in it's description, characters, and portrayal of addiction. This honesty translates into a thoughtful look at addiction, and those who struggle with it.

The heart of this story is Nat. She's what pulls this story together. She's nuanced, and flawed. Her struggles are what makes this story riveting and I wish we had seen more of her journey. I felt that she was the most developed out of all of the characters, and that she had a complexity that the secondary characters just did not possess. This is entirely Nat's story and this fact both hindered and helped the story. I walked away from this book feeling like I knew Nat, but didn't connect to the rest of the characters or the romance elements of the story the way I could have as a result.

Addiction is painted with a realistic brush. Natalie has setbacks, makes mistakes, and stumbles. It's shown to be a life long struggle, not something you officially are 'cured' from. Sobriety is something you have to work at, and it's shown to be just that - work. There is no easy fix, and the person has to be willing to put in the work in order to succeed. This portrayal is easily one of the strongest elements of the novel. I do not have first hand experience, but it read as very authentic to me. It seemed like the author made every attempt to showcase the reality of living with this, and also capturing the perspective of those loving someone going through it.

The romance is also treated very realistically. This isn't painted like some epic romance, nor is it a fix all for the problems that these characters have. This novel very clearly makes the point that you are not responsible for someone else's happiness, or the decisions that they make. Someone else cannot be responsible for your sobriety and the fact that the novel hammers home these points is refreshing. The age gap between the characters also doesn't feel insurmountable, simply because it quickly becomes evident that Nat is not a typical almost 18 year old. She's aged well beyond her years due to her life experience. This is portrayed differently than most love stories, and it's done in a way that honours the characters and the story the author is telling.

The only real issue I had was the pacing. It felt like it started out perfectly, but ended up rushing towards the ending. It felt like there was more to tell of these character's stories. I wanted more time with Nat finding her footing, instead of the love story. I wanted more boxing and her struggle with that. It, instead, felt that the focus was on the romance, and that distracted from the true heart of the story - Nat.

A story that studies addiction, and the harsh truth behind it through a character's eyes. It's one that is incredibly readable, and will have you breezing through it's 256 pages. It's gritty, harsh but always felt truthful. Those looking for a quick, but thought provoking read, will want to pick this one up.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Exquisite Captive Giveaway!

The Blogger Caravan is getting REALLY excited for Blood Passage, the second book in the Dark Caravan Cycle series, to release (which happens on March 1st). Before it's release, however, the paperback of Exquisite Captive will be available and to make sure you're prepared for it's sequel Heather is giving away 10 copies!

Here is a little bit about Exquisite Captive in case you've forgotten how amazing it sounds
Forced to obey her master.

Compelled to help her enemy.

Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.
You can also learn more by visiting Heather's website. Also be sure to check out my own review of the book!

Heather also wrote an amazing post that I shared on my blog about human trafficking and how it inspired so much of what is found within the pages of this book. It's worth a read. It's eye opening and important and I am so happy to have a chance to share it again.

The paperback of Exquisite Captive releases Feb 2nd and I am really excited to share more about it's sequel, Blood Passage, as it's release draws near.

Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 24, 2016

New To My Book Closet

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

My last (for this round) #otspsecretsister package arrived this week! Amanda treated me to some amazing goodies! The book is one I had wanted to read so I am excited to get to it when I have a chance.

Lola Carlyle's 12-Step Romance by Danielle Younge (goodreads)

The mug is from David's Tea and it is AMAZING. I also really love the cute little Tinkerbell Pop keychain.

A huge thank you to Amanda for everything! I am excited about the next round as well. I cannot wait to see who my new 'sister' is.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Worlds Of Ink And Shadow by Lena Coakley

Worlds Of Ink And Shadow by Lena Coakley
Release Date - January 5, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.
There are some books that should be read by everyone. Worlds of Ink and Shadow is one of those books. It has a little something for everyone regardless of what you're looking for. If you're a fan of classic literature, fantasy, mystery, forbidden romance or well crafted worlds this is a book you should read. You'll find all of this, and much more, within it's pages.

This novel is a celebration of the Brontës in a very fitting fashion. There is the ethereal, mystical quality to the writing that a lot of their novels had. It's atmospheric and vivid. The settings of the Brontë's novels inspired the settings in this story. From the moors that would becomes the setting for Wuthering Heights, to the beautiful city of Verdopolis, they can be found within these pages. The Brontës themselves had short lives that are often viewed as tragic. It's that same ethereal quality that hovers around the Brontës that lends itself naturally to this blending of fantasy elements with real life inspiration from their lives. This is what grounds the novel and cements the reader within it's pages. There is an attention to detail, and research, that allows the more fantastical elements to blend seamlessly into the narrative.

The mysteries of the fantasy elements of the story are what pulls you into this world. The hows and whys of the Brontë's ability to cross over into their created worlds is something that not only is explored, but is the central focus of the story. It may not be a mystery in the truest sense of the word but it is a captivating part of the story and the one I felt was the most well developed.

The most striking part of the story is how it'll speak to all readers. Who hasn't fantasized about stepping into a created world? Who hasn't gotten lost within the pages of a book, captivated by a world so life like that it implausible for it not to really exist? This novel embraces that notion and offers up wish fulfillment reading for those of us who have ever wondered what if. In so many ways this is a story of not just the Brontës but reading itself, and the power words have to transport people into different, breathtaking, magical worlds. Words really are magic, and Lena Coakley reminds us of that within these pages.

This novel gives a love story fit for the Brontës. Tragic with it's longing, heartache, and doomed ending. The kind that a hopeless romantic like me could not help but swoon over. Plenty of readers have been captivated by characters and put themselves into the story. This element again offers a sort of delicious wish fulfillment while never distracting from the main story. The romance is only a secondary plot, but it's one that captivated me.

A novel that is infused with as magic, wonder, and atmosphere. It sweeps you away into it's world effortlessly. It's a love letter to the Brontës, readers, and the power books have to transcend the page and speak to us on a deeper level. It's a novel that celebrates stories and those who love them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday .... Heartless

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 Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
Marissa Meyer is basically the queen of fairytale retellings. In Heartless she turns her talents to an origin story for the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Rumour is that some of the characters from the classic tale will make appearances in this and I am very excited to see Marissa's twist on them.

The wait for this one is REALLY long so it'll be a torturous wait but one I am sure will be worth every agonizing minute of it.

Expected release date - November 8, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker

Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker
Release Date - January 12, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Macmillan
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
High school meets classic horror in this groundbreaking new series.

It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hit someone with her car. And killed him. But all is not lost--Tor, being the scientific genius she is, brings him back to life...

Thus begins a twisty, turn-y take on a familiar tale, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.
It's a dark and stormy night when Tor accidentally hits someone with her car, and brings him back to life. This recognizable setting and plot is giving new life with Chandler Baker's fresh spin on this classic tale. An atmospheric, enjoyable read that allows it's main character to be deeply flawed, and unapologetic for it.

Tor is the stand out in this novel. She's unapologetic for her faults, and her laser like focus. She is, at time, abrasive, and puts the science ahead of those around her. She may not endear herself to you, but she fascinates you. She's the type of character that makes you wish you could go a little deeper, and delve a little more into her psyche. The fact that her worldview skews a little darker, all in the name of science, and that she is willing to be a little ruthless to achieve her goals is my favourite part of the character. Chandler Baker lets the character be who Tor Frankenstein is supposed to be, and doesn't flinch away from the fact that she's flawed and, at times, uncaring. The twist of having the creator be female makes this story fresh, and Chandler didn't compromise the creator role and made Tor everything that character should be.

There is plenty of humour woven into this story and it offers as many laughs as it does chills. Adam, the young man Tor resurrects is the surprising cause of some of that humour. There is an endearing, child like quality to him at first that lends itself to some humour before things get scary. The rest come from Tor's sidekick and friend. He's the voice of reason who sometimes gets in over his head while helping out his friend. The humour is never without the darkness however, and that atmosphere and tone is always present in every single part of this story.

The chills in this story come more from being unsettled than truly terrified. There is plenty of gory descriptions to set you on edge, and some tension filled passages that will leave you clutching the book with white knuckles. This feels like a modern homage to the classic story that is well known for it's unsettling tone, and 'less is more' approach of scaring you. The novel offers up plenty of gory scenes, but also allows the reader's imagination to create the monster who haunts these pages. This, for me, is always more impactful as your imagination can always create something even more unsettling in my opinion.

This series, even after the first novel, reads like a show or a movie. It would make an incredible television series. I could see it being at home on the CW or Freeform networks. There is an edgy, current vibe that lends itself to a stylish TV show.

The next books will feature other classic horror tales revamped into more modern fare. I cannot wait to see the twist on Dracula in particular. Rumour has it that some of the side characters will step into the forefront for the 'companion' novels and the set up is certainly there.

Teen Frankenstein offers a fun, unsettling start to a new horror centric series. It's a novel that is entirely fun to read. It's a quick, enjoyable take on the Frankenstein tale, and one that Chandler Baker puts her own gory twist on. I eagerly await the second novel in this series set in a town where high school really is the stuff of nightmares.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

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.


Cover for Sarah J Maas' A Court Of Mist and Fury (goodreads)

I've been excited to see the cover for A Court of Mist and Fury since finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses. That book was one of my favourites of 2015 and I am VERY excited to get my hands on this sequel.

My eyes are immediately drawn to the tattoo on Feyre's hand. Those who read the first book will know the significance of those markings and what it means for Feyre in this sequel. I am really excited to see the expansion of this world, and that little glimpse of (what I assume is) the Night Court has me really excited.


Penny Dreadful Season 3 Trailer

It's no secret that I love Penny Dreadful. It's one of my favourite shows. The acting is some of the best on television right now, and the storyline is consistently sharp and mesmerizing.

This trailer has me on edge waiting for May 1st when it premieres. This trailer also gives me plenty of #Ethanessa feelings. The whole "you seek my soul,  you my body but both are promised to another" feels like she would mean Ethan (at least for me). He would be the 'other' that she refers to ... at least I hope. The end gave me chills with Vanessa stating "you think you know evil". This season cannot come fast enough.

The Path Trailer

Aaron Paul is one of my favourite actors. He was incredible as Jesse in Breaking Bad. Now, he and Hugh Dancy (who is also insanely talented) have been cast in a Hulu show about being inside a religious cult. This goosebumps inducing trailer has my full attention.

Hugh Dancy's delivery of the end line about them letting him lead them into the light is the perfect note to end it on. It gave me shivers and sets an unsettling tone for the series. I'll definitely be watching this. Those in Canada will be happy to know that Shomi has secured rights, but there is no word yet on when they may air the series.


ALA 2016

I am going to Orlando to join my fellow book nerds at ALA. Registration opens this week and I am so excited to be registered. After registering all I have left to do is secure my transfers to and from the airport and work out a schedule for the days I'll be going to Disney (or Universal Studios). I am so excited to meet up with Kelly (from Kellyvision) and to see what authors might be there. I am also insanely excited for BEA 2016 in Chicago (which I am already registered for).

Friday, January 15, 2016

American Horror Story: Hotel - Be Our Guest

One last night in the Hotel Cortez before we leave it behind for new adventures. This finale offered up a few surprises, with the most surprising part of all being how touching and uplifting it managed to be ... while still being American Horror Story. I'll start this recap with the usual warnings that.... there will be spoilers. Now let's talk Be Our Guest.

We begin this episode with an ominous opening. Liz is laying on a bed, and in voice over, detailing the hopes and dreams she and Iris had for the Cortez. They want to remodel the hotel and turn it into a place of acceptance for all the misfits out there. It sounds like things didn't exactly turn out that way though, and that suspicion only increases as Liz's throat is slashed (apparently by her own hand) and blood begins to seep out onto the mattress.

We flashback to shortly after Iris and Liz had remodelled their hotel using the proceeds from selling off some of Countess' art pieces. They had two reviewers checking in with the hopes of increasing their Yelp star ratings. Sadly, things quickly took a turn for the gory pretty much as soon as Liz showed them to their room. Seems Sally isn't happy with all the changes or the fact that she's still hanging around the Cortez. She says that all the upgrades couldn't get rid of the pain that haunts the hotel. Sally stabs the male reviewer with a needle which was filled with something that makes the guy start foaming at the mouth (drugs I assume). The female reviewer runs into the hall screaming and bumps into Will Drake who stabs her instead of helping her. Liz and Iris lament the stains on their new carpet and discuss the fact that if the killings don't stop they are going to end up with zero stars. Liz declares it's time to have a sit down with the ghosts about all the murdering. A meeting that included a majority of the murdered guests (the Swedes, the 'lumberjack', Mr Wu, Marcy, Sally, and Will). It was nice to see (almost) everyone back.

Liz explains that they would love for the murdering to stop. Some of the ghosts get insulted as they are not the ones doing the killing. Sally is not impressed and tells them to just be honest and admit they are talking about her and Will. She is not enthused by the idea of no longer killing and makes her disgust known. She points out that the others are too busy doing their own thing to be killing the guests (including that 'hipster couple who trips around moaning about the kale'). Her and Will refuse to stop killing. Mr March arrives though and puts his foot down. He tells them all that the killing must stop. This makes Sally laugh. She tells him that him telling them not to kill is like Colonel Sanders telling people not to eat chicken.

Mr March however remains firm in his decision. It turns out that he only agrees because he wants the Cortez to reach it's 100 year anniversary (which is 10 years away) so it can be declared a historical landmark and therefore restricted from being torn down. Mr March has a point. They don't know what will happen to them if the hotel is torn down, and nothing would get it torn down faster than it being discovered as a murder site. Will says his design company must make enough to pay for the hotel and it's upkeep. Iris points out that since Will was so controlling of his image there was nobody to continue on after his death. His company is floundering and it won't be long before the money runs out. Sally is the only one not on board with this plan, so Mr March threatens her with the Addiction Demon. The season's only real plot hole. We know Mr March controls it, but the how and why has never been explained. Sally is pissed and says that going to hell can't be any worse than being stuck the way they are and storms out.

This next scene is one of my favourites of the season. Iris brings Sally some champagne and a gift. She tells Sally that she wants to help her. Sally snarkily reminds Iris of the fact that she pushed Sally out the window. Seems that Sally hasn't been the same since John left, and Iris thinks that she needs a new kind of connection. She's gifted Sally an iPhone and introduces her to the wonders of WiFi and the internet. The fact that the Cortez now has WiFi might be the most shocking development of the finale. Sally, naturally, becomes an internet sensation. Her very first Instagram picture is of a drug needle and lipstick (obviously). She amasses a ton of followers, and actually smiles over something that is not murder. Turns out all Sally wanted was to be adored. She wants to be part of the world now, not numb to it, so she tosses away her drugs. Seems like Sally is well on her way to a happily ever after (ghost version anyway).

With Sally looked after, it was time for Will's energy to be redirected. Liz reminded Will of his company and how much he loved designing. Will lamented the fact that he is unable to attend meetings and has no muse. Liz offers to take care of both. She'll be his muse, and go run his company. They'll turn Will into a recluse who never leaves the hotel and his infamy will only grow. Since Will has only been dead for a year, they can still do enough to keep the business afloat. We also learn that Lachlan is off at boarding school so that is at least one child who is going to get a happy ending away from the blood and murder. Turns out Liz is a natural and it's not long before they are hosting fashion shows at the Cortez with the ghosts and vamps who haunt it's halls as the models (no camera allowed, obviously).

All the success should have made Liz happy but the fashion shows only served to remind her of Tristan and how much she misses him. Iris, knowing her bff was sad, went and hired a psychic to help try and reach Tristan. That psychic? Billie Dean Howard from season one (and also played Sarah Paulson). Fun touch to tie the seasons together even more. I was so happy that this storyline was part of this episode. I wanted answers as to why we haven't seen Tristan and I am so happy they cleared up this potential plot hole. Billie Dean contacts Tristan asking if he has a message for Liz. Tristan, however, does not want to talk to Liz. Rude much, Tristan? This is not happy making. Before Billie Dean leaves she gets another message. This one is from Donovan for Iris. Donovan tells them that he is some place peaceful that smells like the pancakes Iris used to make for him when he was kid. He wants Iris to know he loves her. This is also the first time that this episode made me ugly cry. I am happy Donovan has peace.

While Liz was sad about Tristan, she had plenty to be happy about. Her son and daughter in law had a baby. That's right - Liz is a grandmother. Liz was happy, so naturally something bad had to happen. Liz finds out she has cancer. Cancer that is untreatable. She tells Ramona first, who offers to turn her. Liz has another plan however. One that includes dying in the hotel so she can be with her dysfunctional 'family' forever. She gathers the resident ghosts and delivers the news. Will immediately offers all the money needed for the best doctors (which is the sweetest thing, really). Liz tells them it's too late to save her. She fills them in on her plan to die in the hotel, and she wants them to kill her. The ghosts love Liz so they are not exactly willing but Liz tells them that she wants to be with them forever. As everyone is picking up a weapon (which Liz has so thoughtfully provided) Liz lays back on the hotel bed. The beginning of the episode makes much more sense now. The Countess walks in just before the killing starts, and she tenderly tells Liz that she was always her favourite creation and that she wants to help Liz through the transition. She lovingly slashes Liz's throat as tears stream down my face.

And because I haven't cried enough this episode, Ryan Murphy decided to give me the most AMAZING gift to end the season. As Liz, a newly minted ghost, overlooks her body while smoking a cigarette she hears someone say "those things will kill you" and I immediately lose it because it's Finn Wittrock's Tristan voice and I am ugly crying from happiness.

Turns out Tristan only ignored Liz because he wanted her to continue living. I am so glad these two are reunited! I am also very glad that Ryan Murphy brought back Finn for the finale. He's forgiven for taking away my Christmas present of Valentino. Look at his smile! *swoon* Seems everyone is getting a happy ending (or at least happy-ish).

After making contact with Tristan and Donovan, Billie Dean decided to do a whole bunch of television specials from the hotel. 'Fans' are starting to check into the Cortez in droves. One guest arrives and has paid to secure the room Mr Wu died in after seeing one of Billie Dean's specials. Nobody seems very happy with the reason the hotel has all this notoriety. Iris says it's bad for the brand to be known as the place to go for ghost sex. It also happens to be Devil's Night and John is now a ghost, I guess? I don't even know. He, also, is not thrilled that Billie Dean is all up in the hotel's business. He especially doesn't like that she's obsessed with contacting him. It appears that John is one of those ghosts that only gets to come out to play on Devil's Night. John tells Iris to call Billie Dean and check her into his room.

Billie Dean wants a sit down interview with John. Death has been good to John as he seems very relaxed and chill. During the interview John fills in the gaps we're missing. The Lowes tried hard to adjust to life outside the hotel, but they ended up back there anyway. Seems John found it harder and harder to secure blood for Alex and Holden. Scarlet is the one who told him to take them home (wich meant back to the Cortez). The rest of the family would stay there but Scarlet would go off to the same boarding school that Lachlan attends. These two falling in love and being happy together is my new head cannon and I need for it to be thing. It breaks my heart to think of these two adrift all by themselves, at least let them cling to each other. It feels fitting that the two 'orphans' would find comfort in being near each other.

John's death happened one night while he was out on a blood run. The cops had tracked him down, figuring out he was the Ten Commandments Killer and it resulted in a shoot out. John's only concern was making it back to the hotel as he rushed to the curb to make sure he died on the hotel property. He just missed the mark, sadly, and that is how he became a ghost that can only appear on Devil's Night. Billie Dean inquires about Alex and Holden and John says he doesn't want talk about them. He instead offers to show her the significance of Devil's Night in the Cortez (but only if she leaves her camera crew behind). There is this calm exterior to John that is more terrifying than unhinged John.

John takes Billie Dean up to Mr March's annual serial killer dinner party and the whole gang is back. Except this time around John is very much at ease with the serial killers. Jeffrey Dahmer blushes when John walks into the room which prompts John Wayne Gacy to tell him that he if likes a guy he has to talk to him. Serial killer dating advice. This show.

Billie Dean quickly puts together who everyone is and is pretty much overwhelmed as Aileen Wuornos and Richard Ramirez show up (who both try to hit on her). John points out the Zodiac sitting on a chair. Mr March is the last to arrive and Billie Dean says she can sense all the spirits of those he has killed. The group of killers grab Billie Dean and act like they are going to kill her. They tie her to a chair, and try to frighten her. It quickly becomes evident that this has been John's plan the whole time. He wants Billie Dean to leave them alone but her disappearance would cause too much attention for the hotel. He instead planned to threaten her into never coming back. Their secret weapon is Ramona who can still leave the hotel and promises to track down Billie Dean if she so much as whispers the name Hotel Cortez. Bille Dean, smartly, promises and rushes out of the hotel.

Having dealt with Billie Dean, John wants to spend the last of his remaining time with his family. A very grown up Scarlet is there with Alex and Holden (who are sleeping). John kisses Alex and Holden and has a very touching goodbye with Scarlet. The fact that he only sees his family once a year is heart breaking. I, obviously, cried my way through this whole scene. It's a sad ending for the Lowes but one that is almost happier than I anticipated.

We end this season with the Countess, of course. She's sitting alone in the hotel bar and a good looking man catches her eye. Countess saunters over to him and this exchange happens after a bit of small talk.

Of course Countess is still a seductress who appreciates a really good jawline. Of course. This is the perfect way to end this season. So fitting that she would have the last word, and it be THIS.

Only American Horror Story could make me cry over serial killers, ghosts, and pseudo vampires. While some of these characters may not have deserved the happy (ish) ending they got, it was no less welcome. This show hides it's soft side underneath a brutal, bloody veneer but it is there. As we check out of the Hotel Cortez there is some comfort in our beloved characters still being there, and still being that dysfunctional family we've come to care about.

I hope you enjoyed your stay because I certainly have. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Release Date - January 5, 2016
Publisher Website - Disney-Hyperion
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 496 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever
Many books start their protagonist's journey with an awakening of sorts. They often find hidden powers within themselves and family secrets long buried. It is a call to adventure that is eagerly answered. Alexandra Bracken takes this immediately recognizable premise, and puts her own delightful twist on time travel to create a romantic, and addicting read.

The romance in this novel is what hooks you. It compels you to keep reading. It's deeply passionate and it's instantly memorable. The pull and connection these two characters have is undeniable to the reader, even as the characters try to deny it to themselves. Their romance is epic feeling, and easily to lose yourself in. The romance, at times, overshadows the plot, but this is the rare instance where it is welcome.

Time travel novels are not new. There are plenty of them out there for readers to enjoy. Passenger sets itself apart from them due to Alexandra Bracken's own unique take on it. She has created a mythology behind her version of time travel, and with it come her own set of rules. This along with her knack for characterization make the world come to life. The story works because of her characters, and they in turn make her premise feel plausible. The most striking part of her created world are the consequences that lay in wait. The idea of time travel is tempting, but this novel is sure to point out the devastating consequences that would come along with it. The risks are very present, and deadly.

The settings are so vivid that they immediately come to life. The research that must have been done to bring not only the locations, but time periods time life is staggering. The inclusion of the characters being a product of their time was also a nice touch. Each of them retain something of the era they were born in, regardless of how much they travel.  Alexandra Bracken weaves in prejudices, racism, and freedom into the plot and makes it feels organic. The plot leaps through various locations and time periods but does so with an apparent ease. This ease is, obviously, the result of a carefully crafted plot and that is a testament to Alexandra Bracken's ability and talent. The novel could have easily felt clunky and disjointed leaving the reader confused, instead it feels seamless. It is time travel for everyone, even those who don't normally venture into this genre.

The ending is delightfully torturous set up for the next part of their journey. This novels has it's share of surprises and the ending is no exception. It masterfully makes you need to read the next book, and takes the storyline in a very interesting direction. It ensures your investment into the remainder of the story and that ties back to Alexandra Bracken's pitch perfect character development.

A wildly romantic, thrilling journey through time that will leave you hooked, and itching to continue Etta and Nicholas' story. Alexandra Bracken has created an incredibly unique twist on the time travel trope which equates to a delightful reading experience.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday ...... Overdrive

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 Overdrive by Dawn Ius

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Jules Parish has screwed up.

After three years of boosting cars, she got caught. She's too good to get caught, but she let her (ex)-boyfriend talk her into a questionable job. And now, she and her little sister, Emma, will be kicked out of their foster home, left to survive on the unforgiving streets of Las Vegas alone.


Eccentric, wealthy Roger Montgomery wants to open up his mansion to Jules and Emma. The only catch? Jules must steal seven of the rarest, most valuable muscle cars in the world—in seven weeks. Even worse, she’s forced to put her trust in three complete strangers to help her do it.

First there’s Chelsea, the gorgeous redhead with a sharp tongue and love for picking locks. Then there’s Mat, who hasn’t met a system he couldn’t hack. And finally there’s the impossibly sexy car thief Nick, whose bad attitude and mysterious past drive Jules crazy.

With nothing in common and everything to lose, can Jules and her amateur crew pull off what could be the biggest car heist in history? Or will things spin out of control faster than a Nevada dust devil?
Ever since I read Anne and Henry I've been eagerly awaiting whatever Dawn wrote next. Turns out what she wrote next is a sexy car heist novel so YES PLEASE! This sounds amazing and like so much fun. I hear it's really sexy, too. Off the charts sexy, so that is something to look forward to. It'll be a bit of a wait for this one because it doesn't come out until Sept of 2016.

Expected release date - September 1, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas
Release Date - September 1, 2015
Publisher Website - Bloomsbury
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  648 pages
My Rating - 5/5


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The queen has returned.

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 has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. 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.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
As a series progresses, particularly those with more than 3 books in them, it would seem natural to have less and less to say about it. The things that make the series great continue to do so. The characters you love are still engaging. The plot you fell in love with is still present. The mark of a good author is making you still want to talk about it and still making that excitement feel as fresh as book one. Sarah J Maas has mastered this as the Throne of Glass series continues to leave me spellbound.

The biggest strength of this series is character progression. Aelin is no longer Celaena and that shows in every aspect of Queen of Shadows. She embraced her birthright and is on the path to reclaiming her throne. Queen of Shadows offers both us and her the chance to say goodbye to Celaena. It shows Aelin putting her past behind her and embracing her future. There is a particular scene that reflects this beautifully and really showcases this novel as one of transition. Actions and events have consequences and those consequences have a lasting impact on the story narration and characters.

The most delightful surprise of Queen of Shadows was, for me, Manon. A character to whom I had lukewarm feelings toward after meeting her in Heir of Fire has evolved into an integral, nuanced part of the plot. I've come to love her fiercely and cannot wait to see how she develops over the last two books in this series. She is one of many impressive female characters who lead this series, and the events that transpire.

Romance is something Sarah excels at. She writes multiple possible ships with ease and makes each of them seem plausible. She also manages to create a delicious sexual tension in surprising places and I am excited to see where she takes a few of the possible romances next. I enjoy that there is something for everyone in terms of the romance, even if you don't particularly ship one couple there is always another that will ignite some kind of response.

This series really does have an 'epic' feeling to it, and it's expanding world only ensures that feeling remains. This novel surprises you by revealing another layer to the world, characters and plot as the story continues. It's scope is larger than the first book hints at and that has turned this series from a potentially good one to a phenomenal one.

A series that only continues to expand, and deepen not only it's world but it's characters. Sarah's strength is in the tiny details and the meticulous plotting that is evident as the series continues. It's not surprise that readers, including myself, are obsessed with this series and I cannot wait to follow Aelin on the last parts of her journey.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

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 fun goodies made their way into my mailbox this week! Super excited for everything.

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard (goodreads)

First up I received my pre-order goodies for Winter. The gloves are super cute and I intend to put some of the tattoos on my nieces.

I also purchased Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard which is a bind up of two short stories that take place in the Red Queen world. Very excited to read them.

I also was approved for some egalleys from the publishers.

Leave Me by Gayle Forman (goodreads)
26 Kisses by Anna Michels (goodreads)
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (goodreads)
Walk The Edge by Katie McGarry (goodreads)

A huge thank you to all the publishers for the chance to review these amazing sounding titles.

What books made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

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