Friday, April 29, 2016

Wild Swans Blog Tour - Q and A

Today I am thrilled to take part in the blog tour for Jessica Spotswood's Wild Swans. I loved Jessica's other series and cannot wait to check out her new book.

If you haven't been check out the tour, be sure to visit all of the tour stops for even more great content!

Week 1:
4/25: Adventures of a Book Junkie - Q&A
4/26: YA Bibliophile - Review
4/27: Fiction Fare - Guest Post
4/28: Here's to Happy Endings - Review
4/29: A Glass of Wine - Q&A

Week 2:
5/2: Once Upon A Twilight - Review
5/3: The Irish Banana Review - Top 10
5/4: Ex Libris - Review
5/5: Such a Novel Idea - Playlist
5/6: Jenuine Cupcakes - Review

For my stop I got to ask Jessica some questions for a fun Q and A post. She dishes on ice cream, and some inspiration behind her book and more.
The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….

I am very excited to share this Q and A! A huge thank you to Jessica for taking the time to answer these questions for me and to Hannah for making it happen.

 Twitter pitch Wild Swans (140 characters or less)

WILD SWANS is a contemporary, feminist YA about a complicated family, fierce friendships, & first love, set onthe Chesapeake Bay.

If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Ivy & her little sister Gracie bake together in the book; one afternoon they make chocolate-chip cookie sandwiches with vanilla ice cream. But strawberry ice cream is their favorite. So I think for the signature ice cream, I’d go with strawberry ice cream with chunks of chocolate chip cookie-dough.

Can you share a secret about the setting of your novel?

WILD SWANS takes place in Cecil, a small college town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. And Cecil is a total mash-up of two Maryland towns that I love: Chestertown, the small college town on the Chester River where I lived for four years while I attended Washington College, and St. Michael’s, a small touristy town on the Chesapeake Bay where I’ve vacationed half a dozen times.

 What 3 things do you need while revising?

My Macbook Air, a lot of Earl Grey (tea or iced tea, depending on the weather), and an app that will keep me off social media (Forest is my new favorite).

 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Agh, this is so hard! Right now I’d love to time-travel back to 1826 New Orleans, which is the setting of my short story in A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS. I love New Orleans, and in the 1820s it was a fascinating blend of cultures: Spanish, French, Creole, American, free people of color from Saint-Domingue, African slaves. But I’d also love to experience World War II on the homefront to see what it was like when my grandmothers were teenage girls.

If you listen to music while you write, is there a song that you listened to while writing Wild Swans?

I listened to “The Mother We Share” by Chvrches about a billion times while writing


I heart books, board games, tea, the color pink, theatre, twirly dresses, and bells chiming the hour. I live in Washington, DC with my playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. I work part-time as a children's library associate for the DC Public Library. I'm frighteningly enthusiastic.

I use GR to keep track of what I read and to recommend books that I really love.

If you're interested in interviews or guest posts, please contact me at cahillwitch (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!
You can learn more about Jessica and her books by visiting the following links

Now that you're intrigued by this awesome sounding book, how about the chance to win a copy? Be sure to enter the giveaway below and you could win one of three copies of Wild Swans! Just fill out the Rafflecopter. The contest is US ONLY, however.

Thanks again to Jessica, Hannah and Sourcebooks. Be sure to follow along all next week for even more reviews, guest posts and interviews.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

The Outliers (The Outliers #1) by Kimberly McCreight
Release Date - May 3, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia comes a fast-paced teen series where one girl learns that in a world of intrigue, betrayal, and deeply buried secrets, it is vital to trust your instincts.

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything. 
I've read Kimberly McCreight's adult titles and was extremely curious about her first foray into YA literature. I was thrilled to discover that there would be a mystery at the heart of this novel as she's proven herself to be an exciting new voice in the mystery genre. The Outliers proves that she can move between fiction categories with ease and that her talent in the mystery genre easily translate to young adult works.

Kimberly McCreight is a master at revealing plot points at just the right moment. She uses the story to push the mystery forward and in tandem uses the mystery to propel the story. The result is a high tension, rapidly paced read that is engrossing. Once you're swept away into the story the reminder of the book will soar by with the reader desperately turning the pages to find out what happens next. It's a skill that makes saying 'just one more page/chapter' nearly impossible. It's the kind of story you'll devour in one sitting.

The mystery, and the truth behind what is going on with Cassie, is more complex and larger than I anticipated. It's the type of story where the answers only lead to more questions. I spent most of the novel with my brain racing to unravel the clues, and theorizing what would happen next. It's the kind of story that you'll want to theorize about and each theory only gets more outlandish. I was thrilled that this story was not at all what I expected it to be. It allowed me to be generally surprised by things as they happened. It goes without saying that the less you know about what happens within these pages the more enjoyable your reading experience will be. Those looking for a satisfying ending, however, should be warned that this is the beginning of the series. As a result of this, only some of the questions you have will be answered, and you'll be left hoping the next book releases soon. Kimberly McCreight has only just begun to reveal her secrets and I cannot wait to discover what unravels next.

The characters, including Wylie, are all unreliable. There are so many secrets being kept, and half truths being told. You don't know who to trust, and with a main character who suffers from panic attacks, everything ends up being murky. You believe Wylie feels the way she does about situations and people, but it's hard to believe in those feelings when she herself doesn't know what to believe. It puts the reader on equal footing with Wylie as we have to work through the lies to get to the truth and figure out who to trust as the story progresses. It makes it easy to relate to Wylie and creates a connection with a character that may be hard for people to connect to.

Perhaps my favourite part of this novel is that the parents of these teenage characters do not disappear into the background. There are worried texts, frantic phone calls, and demands for the kids to return home. It's made clear that the parents are very involved in their children's lives. They are present and very much part of the story. Usually we're left to wonder what the parents think while the main characters are off in dangerous situations. It was refreshing to see them represented in a more logical way.

You won't want to miss this book if you are a fan of mysteries where the answers lead to more questions. The breakneck pacing, the increasing tension and it's addictive quality all make this a must read. Kimberly McCreight continues to showcase her talent for crafting entirely engrossing mysteries, and I am desperate for book two in this promising series. If you haven't yet discovered this author make it your summer goal to do just that. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday ....... Caraval

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 Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
I have been obsessed with this one since the deal announcement. A novel that revolves around sisters, magic and romance? Sigh me up! I's a bit of a wait for this one as it does not come out until January but I am pretty certain it is going to be well worth the wait.

Expected release date - January 10, 2017

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date - April 5, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.
I am not overly familiar with A Tale Of Two Cities. I read it in highschool and recall that I enjoyed it. I was intrigued when I heard that Sarah Rees Brennan was writing a novel inspired by the classic but mixed with magic. While I cannot speak to the influence A Tale Of Two Cities had on this novel, or the emotion impact on someone who adores the source material, I found this to be a well written read filled with fascinating characters.

The writing within these pages invokes a feeling of classic literature. There is something timeless about it. The story feels like a mix of historical and futuristic and that is a result of the writing. Its prose easily whisks you into the story, and the emotional journey that this group of characters takes. It's the writing and crafting of the characters that makes this story such an engrossing read.

One of the more appealing elements of this story are the characters and how they are created. They are complicated, complex characters whose backgrounds and actions have turned them into who they are. These choices and backgrounds have molded them and that creates some very life-like characters. There are no heroes, or villains. There are varying degrees of each in all the characters, and every single decision they make is one you can understand because you understand the characters. I comment a lot on characters who walk the moral grey area. These characters don't quite fit that description because they just feel authentic and real. They are the product of what has happened to them and that is true for every person.

The magic in this novel feels both familiar and new all at once. There is something comforting and easy about the world Sarah Rees Brennan has created, and yet there is a touch of wonder as well. Everything in this novel is tinged in sadness and a sense of inescapable tragedy. That manifests itself into the magic within this world as well. There is light, but with the light comes shadows and that is built into the very foundation of the story.

The story deals with segregation, fear, and prejudices. Light versus dark. There is no right or wrong side. The story within these pages adeptly shows that each side harbours their own problematic viewpoints and that each side is not without sin. Neither side is better than the other. In fact, opposing sides in cases like this are usually not that different. The situation may not look that different regardless of who is in power, and that just highlights one of the major themes in the book.

This novel examines what it means to be human. It looks a the potential in all of us to do both selfless and selfish acts. People are capable of acts of goodness but are, in the right situations, also capable of great cruelty and evil. A story of segregation and the murky greyness that exists in us all. It's a story that asks what it means to be human and humane. It's a must read if you enjoy the classics and magic.

Sunday, April 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).

Lots of amazing things arrived in my mailbox this week!

First, I got my pre-order postcards from Bloomsbury for their When We Collided pre-order campaign. They are amazing and I intend on framing them to hang in my apartment.

When We Collided by Emery Lord (goodreads)

Next, I received my April #otspsecretsister box. It was filled with 80's candy, an amazing feather pen, and a book I am super curious about along with some fun post-it notes. A huge thank you to 'Tink' for this!

A Night In With Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday (goodreads)

This is a book I already owned, but I had to get the movie-tie in edition, obviously. I cannot wait to see this movie and I love the movie poster.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (goodreads)

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 23, 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 Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri M  (goodreads)

This book immediately caught my eye as I've always had a sort of fascination with the Jack The Ripper case. That fact that it remains unsolved has kept it in the public eye all these years later. Not only does the premise sound amazing but the story, from what I understand, incorporates photographs as well. I have high expectations for this one and cannot wait to try to snag a copy at BEA.

The cover is perfect for the synopsis and I love that it immediately sets a tone for the story!

Simon and Schuster Canada's #ThreeScoopsOfSummer blog tour

I am thrilled to be part of this amazing blog tour highlighting some of Simon and Schuster's contemporary summer reads. The tour will feature Morgan Matson's The Unexpected Everything, Siobhan Vivian's The Last Boy and Girl In The World, and Meg Leder's The Museum of Heartbreak.

Here are all the details of the tour. Be sure to follow along for interviews, guest posts, reviews and so much more! I am very excited to be hosting Morgan and Meg on this blog during my stops.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (goodreads)

I was fortunate to receive a VERY early copy of this book and pretty much devoured it. It is EVERYTHING I wanted it to be. It's whimsical, romantic, and captures the essence of the original effortlessly. It's a heartbreaking read but one that is classic Marissa. Be sure to pre-order it because you won't want to miss it.


Mr Robot Season 2

We have a premiere date for season 2 of Mr Robot and I am so excited for it to return. July 13th is the day we'll finally find out #WhoIsAtTheDoor!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Summer Reading Suggestions (& what I am up to this summer)

This may be a little early this year, but that's because I am so looking forward to summer and all the reading time it brings.

It's a proven fact that summer and reading are meant for each other. There's nothing better than a great mystery while by the pool, spending a lazy day lost in a fantastic contemporary or devouring a fantasy while also devouring ice cream.

I am going to let you know what will be in my beach tote this summer, and offer up a few suggestions if you're looking for books to stash in yours.


1. When We Collided by Emery Lord

A story about a boy and girl and their summer romance. A realistic look at mental illness, grief and all that it entails. This novel is not only set during the summer, it may just give you a few fun ideas for your own summer. It also pairs nicely with ice cream, just saying.

2. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Her books are summer. Whenever I think of summer reads I immediately think of Morgan's books. You can honestly read any of them, but The Unexpected Everything is her most current. I haven't read it myself (but that is changing VERY soon) but I know it's going to be great. If you haven't read Morgan before, I suggest you start with Since You've Been Gone! I am pretty sure it's illegal to not eat ice cream while reading one of her books so be sure to grab some before reading.

3. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The last post I did like this I had recommended Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. If you haven't read that yet, do that first. If you have and are looking for another great mystery, you need to pick up The Girl On The Train. It'll soon be a movie so you can read it before you see it. Just be careful though - you'll be so engrossed that it could cause a sunburn.

4. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

If you're wanting something a little hotter from your beach read I recommend this one. It was on my own summer reading last last year and I really enjoyed it. I haven't read the rest of the series (yet) but I have heard they are just as good, if not better, than Sweet Filthy Boy. This book not only offers plenty of sexy, but has great friendships and plot as well.

** I recommended it last time, but if you haven't read Jojo Moynes' Me Before You - GET ON THAT **


1. Paper Princess by Erin Watt

I have seen this described as Cruel Intentions meets Gossip Girl and I am so in! I cannot wait to dive into this series and hope to love it as much as I think I am going to.

2. Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren

This book has been sitting on my shelf long enough! I have heard that this is going to (most likely) be my favourite of the series and I am really excited to read it by the pool this summer.

3. A Night In With Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday

I am obsessed with Classic Hollywood. Obsessed. I heard about this series of books and knew I was going to need to read them. The first novel focuses on Audrey Hepburn, the second Marilyn Monroe and the last Grace Kelly. I predict I'll be watching a movie starring each lady after finishing their respective books.

4 Finding Fraser by KC Dyer

I have become obsessed with the TV show Outlander, and when my friend Emilie pointed out this book to me I was immediately intrigued. This story revolves around a woman going to Scotland to find her own Jamie Fraser! I predict lots of funny, and hopefully sweet, moments from this rom-com sounding read. Sound be perfect with some slushie drinks.

5 Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

This one might be a little bit of wishing on my part. This will only come true if I manage to snag an ARC of this amazing sounding read at BEA or ALA. This has been called Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette and that is all I needed to know to be 100% obsessed.

** I would have also included Stephanie Garber's Caraval, which again would be possible only if I snag an ARC at BEA or ALA, but this one would not last until summer. If I am lucky enough to get an ARC I am going to devour it immediately **


Here are some other fun things I intend to get up to this summer

1. seeing the Me Before You movie 

I am going to take my tissues, and prepare to sob my way through most of this movie. The trailer gets me crying so I am pretty sure I have zero hope of making it through the movie dry eyed. Sam Claflin and Emila Clarke have already sold me on their performances and I cannot wait to see them as Will and Lou.

2. Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

I've lived in Ottawa for a whole lot of years now and have never gone to see this summer show. This is the year that changes. I figure a dinner with some friends followed by this show is the perfect way to spend a summer evening!

3. seeing the Suicide Squad movie

The trailers for this are AMAZING! I am so excited to see Jared Leto's take on the Joker, and to see Margot Robbie slay as Harley Quinn. It is going to be a fun movie experience and I have high hopes for everything about this.

4 Disney Fun

I am headed to Orlando for ALA and while I am there I intend to spend a day at Disney. This is going to be SO MUCH FUN and I cannot wait to go back and experience the magic of Disney World again.

5. Travelling Book Club

I've always wanted to try to have a sort of travelling bookclub. I would send a book and a notebook to a friend and have them read it. They can make any notes in the book and notebook they want. After they are done they would send it to one of their friends and so on until eventually it would make it's way back to me. I think this summer is the perfect time to try this experiment. Now I just have to select the perfect book ...

What do you have planned this summer? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Release Date - April 19, 2016
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 512 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the “wickedly entertaining” (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today. 
Two words, for me, sum up Eligible: Hate. Sex. These words should tell you everything you need to know about this Pride and Prejudice retelling set in modern times. Filled with brash humour, insightful, and filled with characters that you'll either love or hate. This satire may not appeal to everyone, but I predict Pride and Prejudice fans will be curious enough to want to check it out.

This is not Jane Austen's version of Pride and Prejudice. Her subtly is lost in favour of a more in your face style of writing. This modernization is loud, and so current that it'll easily date itself in a few years. The nuance that you come to expect from Pride and Prejudice is there, it's just found in different places. The tone of this novel skews more toward comedic than romantic, and that may not work for everyone.

I adore this version of Liz. She, like the character who inspired her, takes control of her own future. She is strong willed, and that makes her engaging. She's someone who does things her own way and I've always loved that about her. I've always considered myself more like Jane, but I've always wanted to be more like Liz and this version is no exception. She's flawed, and  real. This characterization is something Curtis Sittenfeld writes with accuracy. The little flaws and quirks of human nature. Be it prejudices of Mrs Bennet, or the unfiltered declarations of Mr Bennet and everything in between.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is just as swoon worthy as his counterpart. He's shown to be handsome, broody, and to have a surprisingly kind-heart. These are all characteristics he shares with his namesake. The author obviously wanted to retain that allure of mystery that Mr Darcy has. I, however, wanted the opportunity to explore his character a little more and update him for the modern age. Chip Bingley also suffers this fate. He feels very similar to his namesake. He's shown to be a very kind, easily swayed young man. I would have loved some updates to his character as well, but this was, perhaps, the right choice as the tone and feel of the original are retained.

Plenty of the updates to the story work rather well and feel natural. Some of them, however, feel jarring. The update to Wickam's character, for me, did not retain the spirit of the original character. The entire Wickam storyline did not work for me in this. The Lydia updates, however, were fantastic. Her storyline is perhaps the most surprising because it's the one that is the most different from the source material.

The sisterly bond is something I've always loved about the original and that spirit is retained here. The relationship between Jane and Liz especially worked for me. I found their bond charming and real. I believed that they cared about each other. Their bond with their younger sisters was filled with equal parts love and exasperation. It's the strongest carry over from the source material. You believe that this family loves each other even when they don't like each other very much.

The romance, which is the thing everyone will be most interested in, was one of my favourite parts of the story. The longing, and tension between Liz and Darcy is captured here. You will become invested in the outcome of their relationship and the twists and turns it takes along the way. Even Chip and Jane's romance is sweet enough for you to become invested.

Pride and Prejudice for the modern age complete with reality television shows, crossfit and modern prejudices. Part of this novel's charm is the nostalgia factor, and this novel is sure to hit those notes time and time again. This may not be the book for everyone but those who do enjoy it will certainly look forward to whatever Curtis Sittenfeld writes next. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M Parker

The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M Parker
Release Date - March 01, 2016
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
High school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense and volatile relationship—by the new boy in school.

His obsession.
Her fall.

Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.
But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and … terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.
Love is capable of many things. It can be patient, kind and unconditional. It is also used by people as a weapon. It can hurt. The Girl Who Fell looks at what love actually is and, more importantly, what it is not. This is not a romance novel, even if some of the elements in it may seem familiar.

This novel shines a bright light on behaviour that is often romanticized or overlooked, especially in various forms of entertainment. Stalking, obsessive behaviour, alienating from family and friends, and using guilt to manipulate the situation are just some of the examples found within these pages. The subtle ways in which someone controls and manipulates another were especially highlighted. The unnerving thing is plenty of what happens in this novel has been presented as romantic at some point. The slow escalation, particularly in the first half, is something this novel does incredibly well. At first everything seems great, but there are uncomfortable moments that build on top of each other until the red flags are too loud to ignore.

Alec makes Zephyr feel unworthy just by using his words. He makes her feel like his demands for her to not see her friends, and for her to give up dreams she has had for years, are reasonable. He uses coercion and guilt to make feel that she would lose him if she doesn't comply. It's used to dictate their relationship in so many ways. He makes her feel unworthy. Unworthy of him and his love. The novel's subtlety adeptly crafts a narrative where you see how Zephyr would be vulnerable to this sort of relationship. The most striking moments are ones where Zephyr says no and Alec not only doesn't respect her voice, he flat out rejects it. He silences her voice, and makes it feel like her idea. This novel makes it clear to all readers that love shouldn't come with conditions. It's price shouldn't be your voice and your dreams. That this kind of relationship isn't love. Zephyr's journey allows the reader to see these actions in a very different perspective.

The later pacing, and escalation of Alec's abusive behaviour, in the back part of the novel is what didn't work for me. I appreciated the more subtle beginning simply because of it's importance. Plenty of people don't even register Alec's actions as abusive or problematic until it becomes more obvious, but Alec is flashing warning signs all over the place in the beginning. The later part of the novel, for me, felt too rapid and rushed. I cannot say it's  impossible for someone to escalate this way because I am sure this depicts someone's experience, but the first half gets those warning signs so right that I wanted more from the ending. I think experiencing that progression in this instance was needed. I wanted to be sucker-punched and that just never happened.

A novel that shines by highlighting that not all abuse is physical. It showcases a more subtle abusive relationship, and it's one that people may not even see as problematic at first. While the back half of the novel did not feel as strong to me, I do feel this is an important and necessary read, particularly for teenagers. It is a novel that will facilitate conversation, and that in itself makes it worthy of the read.

Sunday, April 17, 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).

I had some pretty squeal worthy goodies make their way into my mailbox this week!

First up is one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. I have been obsessed with this title ever since Marissa announced it and I am THRILLED to have received a review copy.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (goodreads)

A HUGE thank you to Raincoast for sending this along! I couldn't resist reading it immediately! 

I also received my pre-order of Emery Lord's When We Collided. Vivi and Jonah's love story is perhaps my favourite of Emery's novels so I knew I needed a hardcover copy of my own.

When We Collided by Emery Lord (goodreads)

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 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 of Caraval by Stephanie Garber (goodreads)

I have been obsessed with this book since I first heard of it. It sounds like a wonderful book filled with magic, sisters, romance and a dangerous but fantastic game.

Amazing cover, right? It is eye catching and fits the story (especially after reading the first 2 chapters over at Entertainment Weekly). If this one is not already on your autumn radar be sure to add it. I have a feeling it is going to be one of the hottest titles at BEA as well.


Disney Live Action Peter Pan 

Entertainment Weekly announced that Disney has a live action Peter Pan movie in the works. I want this to be amazing. I need this to be amazing. I need a perfectly cast Peter and Wendy. I need it to make my Peter Pan fangirl heart swell with happiness. I am excited to hear more details and see what casting choices they make.

iZombie Season 2 Finale

iZombie delivered another jaw dropping, game changing season two finale that left me impatient for the third season. Filled with clever puns (including a Rob Thomas - the musician, not the writer - cameo) and lots of action. There was romance, death, and plenty of set up for an exciting third season. If you haven't checked out this show yet DO SO IMMEDIATELY. You have time to catch up before the new season starts. It's got some of the most smartly written dialogue and a very addicting plot.


Book Expo America

Three weeks from today my vacation will start and a few days after that I will be headed to Chicago for Book Expo America. Be sure to let me know if you are going in the comments.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Broken Crown by Lauren DeStefano

Broken Crown by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date - March 22, 2016
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 272 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

**spoilers for previous books in the series**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
War rages everywhere and Morgan is caught in the middle in the haunting conclusion of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.

The city is falling out of the sky…

Morgan always thought it was just a saying. A metaphor. The words of the dying. But as they look up at the floating island that was their home, Pen and Morgan make a horrible discovery—Internment is sinking.

And it’s all Morgan’s fault.

Corrupted from the inside by one terrible king and assailed from the outside for precious resources by another, Internment could be destroyed because Morgan couldn’t keep a secret. As two wars become one, Morgan must find a way to bring her two worlds together to stop the kings that wage them…

Or face the furthest fall yet.
Finding your place in the world as a teenager is hard. Leaving your home behind and discovering some place new can be exciting and scary. Broken Crowns may be about war, and its cost. It may be about discovering the hidden truths behind things, but it is also about the eye opening and heavy rush of seeing the world outside your little piece of it for the first time... even if it is taken to this extremes in this case.

Lauren DeStefano is known for her simple, but beautiful writing. It's laced with lyrical quality that throws you into the story effortlessly. It is her writing that usually shines brightest in her novels. Characterization, along with her beautiful prose, is the selling feature of The Internment Chronicles series. This ending, especially, reminded me of that bittersweet time where everything is changing and people are going off in different directions.

The novel revolves around the war that is on the ground, and what Internment has that could be useful in the war. We quickly see that perhaps none of the rulers involved are good people and that this war could prove disastrous for not only the ground, but the city in the sky as well. The casualties of war are shown in the second book, and this third instalment deals with the fallout of that.

Morgan isn't going to save the world by fighting. She's not physically strong. There is a strength within her all the same. She's resilient, and leads with her heart. She has a taste for adventure and exploring. She's rebellious in her own ways. I love that Lauren DeStefano decided to create a heroine that is different from the typically physically strong trope that we've seen in abundance recently. Morgan never wanted to be involved in the situation she finds herself in, but she does what she can to protect those she loves and that is admirable.

Pen is such a fascinating character. Intelligent, cautious, and someone who has built walls around herself. The truth behind the reason for Pen's distrustful, and cold, demeanour is heartbreaking  and rage inducing. Her character is a direct contrast to Morgan who is an open book with her heart on her sleeve. The friendship between the two is my favourite relationship in the novel. It is the type of bond that is unshakeable. It is instinctual. Each of them know immediately what the other needs.

The romance between Basil and Morgan is one of my favourites. Kindness, patience, and understanding are the themes of their romance. Basil is such a sweet guy. There is plenty of uncertainty with a forbidden kiss between Morgan and Judas looming between them and the possibility that perhaps Morgan's heart may lead her in a different direction. There is not really a love triangle here however, and the status of their relationship at the end of the novel is one of the most realistic I've ever read in YA.

Ending a series is tricky and Lauren DeStefano has shown twice now that she capable of offering surprising and satisfying ends to her series. Broken Crowns is heartbreaking, hopeful and beautiful just like her previous series. Those looking for a thought provoking read that has some incredible characters will want to check out this series.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Escaping Perfect by Emma Harrison

Escaping Perfect by Emma Harrison
Release Date - March 29, 2016
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 2.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

**mild spoilers**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Gone Girl meets the TV show Nashville in this sultry summer read about a girl who runs away from her high-profile past to live the normal life she’s always wanted.

Cecilia Montgomery has been America’s sweetheart since the day she was born. A member of the prestigious Montgomery family—the US equivalent of royalty—her childhood was cut short after she was nearly kidnapped. Since then, Cecilia has been hidden away, her adolescence spent at an exclusive boarding school.

Her dreams of becoming a professional violinist—dashed.

Her desire to be a normal teenager—not possible.

Her relationship with her once-loving parents—bitter and strained.

Nothing about Cecilia’s life is what she would have planned for herself. So when an opportune moment presents itself, Cecilia seizes the chance to become someone else. To escape. To disappear. To have the life she always dreamed about, far away from her mother’s biting remarks and her sheltered upbringing.

Cecilia says goodbye to the Montgomery name and legacy to become Lia Washington: relaxed, wild, in love, free, and living on her own terms for the very first time. But being on your own isn’t always as easy as it seems…
Contemporary novels, for me, are built on characters. There is no complex world, magical fantasy elements, or other devices for the reader to get lost in. It's the characters that grab your heart and make a contemporary novel go from an okay read to one that stays with you. Sadly, Escaping Perfect was not a novel that ended up being for me and it was mostly due to the characters and their development.

There are definitely some enjoyable parts of this novel. The writing is a perfect fit for the contemporary genre, and there are some genuinely cute moments between some of the characters. The friendships, in particular, held a lot of promise as Cecilia started to let people in. These elements are well done enough that I might try something by this author again if the premise caught my attention.

Cecilia's motivations were hard for me to grasp. I didn't understand her as a character, and therefore her choices didn't resonate with me. This feels like a situation where what we are told about a character and what we are shown don't add up and that left me feeling disconnected. Most of the secondary characters never really progress past surface level characterization, at least for me, and that also impacted the way in which I related to the story.

Jasper is considered the heartbreaker of his town. His reputation proceeds him, and that reputation is one that doesn't lend itself to someone wanting a serious relationship. I enjoy a 'bad boy' redemption story (especially if the guy in question really is a bad boy and not actually psychotic or abusive) and Jasper could have easily been 'redeemed' but I never felt the romance was given the attention it needed for this to happen. I never fully understood what drew him and Cecilia together. There wasn't a deeper exploration of their relationship. Drama outweighed substance in their relationship, and I never felt that their issues were fully dealt with. Jealousy, mistrust, and secrets rule these pages, and their romance, which may be exciting, but only if there is an attachment and investment to the characters and their romance.

There is so much I wanted this novel to delve into. Particularly Cecilia and her relationship with her family. The reasons she ran away are given to the reader in brief brushstrokes, but it would have been beneficial to have been shown. I feel that more time with her family was necessary to feel sympathy for Cecilia's situation. This element, for me, was imperative to be included in the story. Combining this with a disjointedly rushed ending and the novel feels uneven. This is the type of ending that demands a sequel simply because you're left with too many unanswered questions. I do not see any definitive news of a sequel anywhere, and this ending would be most unsatisfying if there is not one in the works.

As a last note - those looking for the Gone Girl comparison will not find that within these pages. There is no mystery to speak of, and this comparison left me more than a little confused. This fact did not impact my review, but some readers may go into this expecting something other than what is within these pages and that could impact their enjoyment (even if a book should be judged on what it is, rather than what the reader expects it to be).

This is a story that held a lot of potential but just never quite reached it for me. There wasn't a moment that made the characters or the story click for me. I didn't connect with the characters, the romance or the story in general. While this one wasn't for me I do encourage you to check out other reviews before deciding to read it or not.

Monday, April 11, 2016

His Country Bride Release Blast

Today I get to share details of a fun sounding romance novel. If you're a romance novel fan be sure to check this one out. It's releasing today so you won't have to wait to get your hands on it either!

Here is a little about His Country Bride
"Sheriff's Department! Raise your hands above your head and don't move."

She’s a runaway bride who left her two-timing fiance at the altar. He’s a county sheriff determined to keep the peace in his country and leave city girls alone after his own fiance left him for the bright lights of the city. Neither of them planned on running straight into each other...over a burning wedding dress.

Ellie and Lucas planned on never trusting their hearts to love again. When danger follows her from the city, the sheriff must do his duty to protect her. However, it isn’t long before he discovers the real danger may be to his heart. Ellie just might teach him that even a city girl can be a country girl at heart.
Sounds fun, right? I have it on good authority that it's a sweet read as well, so if you're looking for a cute romance this may be just the thing.

Here is the book trailer that was recently released if you need further convincing.

You can visit the author's website for more information, add the book to your Goodreads, and purchase it today over at Amazon.

Sunday, April 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).

I have had lots of amazing goodies make their way into my mailbox this week.

First up is my birthday gift from my lovely friend Christy (aka The Reader Bee). She sent me something that is so ME. I love it so much I may need to get a matching one for my couch.

This Peter Pan pillow is designed by the equally lovely Evie Seo. Be sure to check out her Society6 shop where this was purchased. I need a mug, and a set of the carry all pouches with this design. It's seriously my favourite. Thank you again, Christy! So much!

Next are two review copies that made their way into my mailbox. I may have squealed when the new Morgan Matson arrived. I cannot wait to dive into this one and fall in love with these new characters.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (goodreads)
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (goodreads)

PS I Like You just looks super cute and fun! Thanks to Simon and Schuster and Scholastic for these pretties! I cannot wait to review them.

My lovely #otspsecretsister (aka Tink) sent me a fantastic birthday package! It's basically a birthday in a box and I love it so much! I cannot wait to try the cake. I am saving it for a special occasion (perhaps the Outlander season 2 premiere here in Canada tomorrow!).

It's super fun, and I want to say thank you to 'Tink' again! It brightened my day! It was incredibly thoughtful of you and it made this birthday extra special.

Lastly, a book I ordered came! I have been dying to read this one. It sounds like Cruel Intentions meets Gossip Girl and I am SO IN! I am hoping to fit it in my very packed schedule soon!

Paper Princess by Erin Watt (goodreads)

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 9, 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.


Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L Walsh (goodreads)

I've been waiting for this to go up on Goodreads since I saw the deal announcement. I cannot wait for this. I've been looking for a really well done Bonnie and Clyde story and I have high hopes that this will be it. Go add it and join me in pining away for it from now until it's May 2017 release.


Guilt TV Show

This Amanda Knox inspired TV show caught my eye recently because Anthony Stewart  Head was recently cast. It'll air on Disney's new Freeform network (home of Pretty Little Liars and Shadowhunters) and it sounds like it could be pretty good if done right. It is shooting in London which already means I'll love the backdrop to this murder mystery. The premise is that an American goes to school overseas and is accused of killing her roommate. Anthony Stewart Head is playing the stepfather of the accused from what I understand. You can find out more on the Freeform website.

Lucifer Season 2 Renewal

I was thrilled when it was announced that Lucifer would be getting a second season. The cast is my favourite part of this show, along with it's humour and willingness to not take itself seriously. I cannot wait for more Chloe and Lucifer scenes!


1 month until BEA

We are a month away from BEA! I am really excited to meet everyone. Will you be at BEA? Let me know in the comments!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
Release Date - April 5, 2016
Publisher Website -  Hachette Canada (Quercus)
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Emma O’Donovan is eighteen, beautiful, and fearless. It’s the beginning of summer in a quiet Irish town and tonight she and her friends have dressed to impress. Everyone is at the big party, but all eyes are on Emma.

The next morning Emma’s parents discover her in a heap on the doorstop of their home, unconscious. She is disheveled, bleeding, and disoriented, looking as if she had been dumped there in a hurry. She remembers nothing from the party.

That day several devastating photos from the party are posted online and go viral, eventually launching a criminal investigation and sending the community into tumult. The media descends, neighbors chose sides, and people from all over the world want to talk about her story. Everyone has something to say about Emma, whose life has been changed forever by an unthinkable and all-too-common act of sexual violence, but all she wants is to disappear. 
'She has no face. She is just a body, a life-size doll to play with. She is an It. She is a thing.'

With those haunting words Louise O'Neill's Asking For It jumped onto my fave list, and made Louise a must read author for me. This is a story of a girl who goes through one of the most horrific violations, and is made into a victim again and again with people's words, actions, and stares. This is an examination of a society that perpetuates rape culture simply by assuming the victim did something to bring this on themselves, 

Louise O'Neill's writing is razor sharp. It's unflinching, uncomfortable, and it demands you pay attention. Her writing made me feel nauseous as Emma horrifically discovers photographic proof of what happened to her. The way in which Louise is able to invoke the feeling of being used, of being erased is stomach twisting. She captures the feeling of being turned into an object, instead of a human, with crystal clarity. That line I used in the opening of my review is exactly the feeling the reader is left with after finding out the details of what happened to Emma. Her abusers turned her into an object because they stole her voice. They stole her agency, and right to make her own choices. They took something from her, and the saddest part is that they didn't even realize it. Consent is still something that seems to mystify people and that is something this book demands we talk about and educate people on.

Everyone judges Emma. Family, friends and perfect strangers alike. She becomes THAT girl. The girl who drank too much. The girl who was too wild. The girl who was promiscuous.The girl that is beautiful and therefore what could she expect. She became the girl who did something she regretted and was ruining these young men's futures because of it. After all these are 'good lads' and 'things just got out of control'. It's rage inducing because it's entirely realistic. This IS someone's experience and that makes this story all the more crushing. The most heart shattering is part is the comments that slip out from her family. On the surface they support her but there are moments where they let words like why, how could you, what were you thinking slip past. We're a society that tells women they must be vigilant and not put themselves into situations where they could be raped instead of telling men not to rape.

The impact this event has on Emma is life altering. We see has she changes from a bubbly, outgoing young woman to a shell of herself. She goes from feeling confident to feeling like nothing more than a piece of skin. She is asked once, after the attack, how connected she feels to her body. Her response is to draw herself as far away from her body as she can. She feels like nothing more than a body to be used. Even the news reports, who cannot use her name for legal reasons, continue this feeling of being an object by referring to her as simply 'Ballinatoom Girl'. We see the impact these changes in her, and the public reaction have on her family. 

Louise uses a girl like Emma to hammer home her point. Emma is a lot of things, and not all of them are good qualities. She is not always a good friend. She makes mistakes. She does things that some people would judge her for. She likes attention from boys. The entire point of the novel is getting the reader to the point where they see what happened is not Emma's fault. That she wasn't asking for it. If this novel makes one person look at consent, and victims of sexual assault differently it would have done what it set out to do.

This novel heartbreakingly details why a victim would not come forward or why a victim would withdraw their statement. It all too realistically details how society not only doesn't support these victims, but instead makes them feel culpable. Be a good girl. Why were you wearing that? Why did you drink so much? This novel demands that we do better for the Emma's of the world, and challenges us to follow through on this demand.

"They are all innocent until proven guilty. Not me, I am a liar until I am proven honest."

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Listen To Me by Kristen Proby

Listen To Me by Kristen Proby
Release Date - April 12, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?
Five best friends. A hot restaurant. Lots of romance. This series immediately caught my eye with its promise of a friendship focused story. While there were certain elements that just didn't work for me, but this ended up being an enjoyable read that has me curious enough to check out the companion novels to come.

There is a Sex and the City vibe to this novel. A group of friends who would do anything for each other. 5 very different, but compelling women who are as gorgeous as they are fabulous. Those missing Carrie Bradshaw and the gang will instantly feel at home with these characters. There is something special about the chemistry and bond between these women. I hope future novels have much more of them interacting together.

The romance, sadly, is the only element that I didn't connect with. The story takes place over an longer period of time than what the pacing indicates. It feels rapid and continuous, but we're told that time jumps are happening without really feeling them. It makes the relationship feel super sped up, when in actually it has taken months to unfold. This disconnect made it so that I wasn't invested in the relationship or its outcome. I wanted more insight into their connection and what made them attracted to each other than just the physical. It's a case of where I liked both of the characters on their own, but I am not so sure I liked them together.

The obstacle that Addie and Jake have to overcome is, predictably, past events and relationships. Kristen Proby writes a woman with her walls up very well. Addie has been hurt before, and has gone into protection mode. Jake is struggling with his own issues, and each of these serves to throw obstacles in the path of their romance. This novel absolutely follows a typical romance trajectory but it's done in such a sweet way. I would have enjoyed it more if I was more invested in the romance, but I predict those who are will devour every page of this story.

The main element of a romance novel is, obviously, the romance. It's the core of the story. While I may not have become fully invested in this particular romance, I did love the set up for the next book, the friendship between the women, and the Sex and the City vibe of the entire series. It's a fun and light read for when you're looking for something to pair with a great glass of wine.

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