Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday .... I Stop Somewhere

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

This week's pick is I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
THE LOVELY BONES meets ALL THE RAGE in a searing, heartbreaking story of a lost teenager, and the town she leaves behind.

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But then the unthinkable happens and Ellie is trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn't the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place. 

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture but also makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human. 
I can already tell this one is going to be hard to read. The deal announcement was a touch more spoiler filled than this synopsis and it sounds like a very difficult book to read and to write. I am curious as to how the book handles these intense and heartbreaking themes that this story seems to hold.

I am hoping it is as good as I anticipate it being, and that it prompts some thoughtful discussions after people read it.

It is schedule for winter release, and it sounds like the perfect time to curl up with a book like this (along with the tissues that sound like will be needed).

Expected release date - February 27, 2018

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Release Date -  May 30, 2017
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  380 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. 
I love a good rom-com movie. They are the equivalent of a good hug, a cozy blanket on a cold day, and a mid-afternoon nap. They make you happy. They leave you a grinning, happy sighing fool who hums love songs. When Dimple Met Rishi is exactly this in novel format. It's the kind of book that helps you break out of reading slumps, and the perfect novel to read after an emotionally heavy book due to its sheer cuteness.

This novel, at least for me, explored Indian culture (and Indian-American culture) in a way that is seamlessly woven into the story through the characters. It was shown to us through them, rather than being told to us. It made the characters backgrounds read as being something that was part of them instead of the sole thing that defined them. It was important to the story, but it is really just an epic love story at its core. It also, for me, offered the chance to get to learn things about arranged marriages that I wasn't aware of before. It offered a perspective I hadn't had before, and I predict many other readers will feel the same and that makes me excited for others to pick this up so they can have that experience for themselves. However, what |I am most excited for from people being able to read this novel is for those who share the same background as Dimple and Rishi to see themselves in this story.

The themes of falling in love, family pressure, and self doubt are all ones that are universal. Everyone experiences them. It makes the story feel recognizable, which adds to the rom-com feel. It ensures that the reader will fall into the story because we are able to sympathize with both Dimple and Rishi. This is a story that is in no way new, but feels fresh thanks to Sandhya's take on the genre.

The romance is, of course, the focus. The heart of this novel is getting to see Rishi and Dimple fall in love, and work towards being on the same page so they can (hopefully) move forward together. The romance is dependent on who each of the characters are and what they are feeling at the time. Rishi knows that he wants to get married. He is a romantic, and more traditional. Dimple is unsure of what the future holds but she knows what she doesn't want from it - anything that will hold her back from her dreams. It may seem like they are too different for a relationship to work, but they challenge each other. They balance each other out, and bring out the best in one another. This pushing outside of each other's comfort zones is what makes their relationship work so well. There is also plenty of fun banter between the two. I knew I was going to love them as a couple right from their first meeting when Dimple throws her iced coffee on Rishi. It sets the tone for this relationship that is filled with memorable moments.

While the romance is what is going to sell this novel, the secondary stories are just as interesting and well developed. Both Dimple and Rishi have story arcs outside of the romance which add dimension and nuance to their characters. It made them feel more realistic and made the story feel fleshed out. The side characters, such as family and friends, are also given the chance to shine. Care was taken with these characters, even the secondary ones, and that shows through the entire novel.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a cute, smile inducing, rom-com novel that will leave you feeling happier than when you began reading it. Sandhya Menon is a promising new voice in contemporary young adult novels and I cannot wait to see what adorableness she writes next. If you're looking for a perfect summer read I highly recommend this one.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

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 exciting titles made their way onto my book shelves this week. I purchased quite a few books this week and a few of them were impulse buys. 

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L Walsh (goodreads)
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly (goodreads)
Lord Of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (goodreads)
Lick by Kylie Scott (goodreads)
Play by Kylie Scott (goodreads)

Let me know what bookish goodies made their way on your shelves this week!

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

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.

A few things to be excited about this week!


Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker (goodreads)

I recently saw this novel announcement in Publishers Weekly and was immediately intrigued. I love both Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights retellings. Combining the two is not something that I would have initially thought of, but I am VERY curious as to how it'll work.
Pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Wuthering Heights, the YA novel follows Jules Capulet who, in a future world, is reeling from the end of her romance with a classmate called Romeo; it has left him in a coma and her as a social outcast. Enter Heathcliff Ellis, a time traveler sent on a mission to wake Romeo.
I love that it takes place in the future, and I am wondering if there will be a love triangle of sorts between Juliet, Romeo, and Heathcliff.


Red Nose Day Actually

Love Actually is one of my favourite movies to watch around Christmas. It is a must watch for me at that time of year. I was thrilled when I heard the cast was reuniting for a short sequel for Red Nose Day this year.

It is perfect. And adorable.

I am not sure which catch up I love more, but I am so happy this is a thing. It has made me want a proper sequel though. I want to follow up with the others now.

Wonder Trailer

I read Wonder for one of my book clubs, and it instantly became a book I want to get my nieces to read. I was really curious about them turning it into a movie, and the first trailer was just released.

Jacob Tremblay is going to be a fantastic Auggie and I am so excited to see this in theatres. I may see if I can take my nieces as well!


Book Expo

Book Expo is this upcoming week! I am so excited for it to finally be here! If you're going to be in NYC let me know!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Expo Excitement

It is that time of year again. Book Expo is upon us next week and I am thrilled to be attending again this year.

The event is always a fun time and there is nothing quite like being surrounded by a bunch of fellow book nerds. I tend to return from Book Expo both exhausted, but excited to get blogging again.

The event will be held in New York City again this year, and I am excitedly counting down the days until I leave! I love New York City and am so glad it is being held there again.

I am looking forward to eating at Shake Shack again, and visiting The Strand to do some book shopping. There is something special about the biggest book event being held where all the publishers are located, and I missed that feeling last year.

On of the exciting parts of Book Expo is getting your hands on some of your most anticipated reads of the autumn season. This year has some pretty exciting titles being featured and there are a few I am particularly excited about:

1 - There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

I am pretty sure EVERYONE is excited about this Scream inspired novel by Stephanie. She may have won our hearts with her adorable contemporary novels, but I am eager to see what she has done with her first horror novel. Stephanie is a huge fan of the horror genre so I anticipate this one will be perfection. I tortured myself with the teaser that was released online, and it only made me more excited to get my hands on this.

2 - Genuine Fraud by E.Lockhart

I LOVED We Were Liars when I read it back in 2014. It was one of my favourites of that year. There tends to be minimal synopsis details for E. Lockhart's books and Genuine Fraud is no exception. I expect it to be a well written, twisty read that I fall in love with and I cannot wait to find out its secrets. 

3 - The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton 

I have been excited about this one since the book deal announcement. I love the idea of, what sounds like, a New Orleans inspired setting. The royal court aspect intrigues me. I read the sneak peak that was released along with the cover and it only cemented my need to read this. I am looking forward to meeting Camellia and the rest of the Belles.

4- They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera 

I am 100% certain this book is going to make me cry. I mean, it is right in the title. We cannot say we were not warned, but this premise intrigues me. It looks at what people would do if they had advance warning of their death. In this case it is only a day, but what would you do with that day if you knew?I cannot wait to see how these characters answer that question.

5 -  Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

I really enjoyed Stalking Jack The Ripper when I read it last year, and have been anticipating the second novel in this series ever since. I fangirled when I found out it was going to have a Dracula twist to it and am now even more excited to read it. I anticipate more adorable banter, and for Audrey Rose to continue to be done with men telling her what to do.

Those are just a few of the books I am excited to learn more about, and hopefully secure an ARC of, at Book Expo. It is sure to be an exciting two days!

The blog will mostly run as normal while I am gone with things set to auto publisher, so there will still be reviews and such while I am away. I'll share all the Book Expo details when I return!

Are you going to Book Expo? What books are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd

The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd
Release Date - May 23, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the final novel in the gripping and romantic Cage series, about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race.

Cora and her friends have escaped the Kindred station and landed at Armstrong—a supposed safe haven on a small moon—where they plan to regroup and figure out how to win the Gauntlet, the challenging competition to prove humanity’s intelligence and set them free. But Armstrong is no paradise; ruled by a power-hungry sheriff, it’s a violent world where the teens are enslaved and put to work in mines. As Nok’s due date grows closer, and Mali and Leon journey across space to rescue Cassian, the former inhabitants of the cage are up against impossible odds.

With the whole universe at stake, Cora will do whatever it takes, including pushing her body and mind to the breaking point, to escape Armstrong and run the Gauntlet. But it isn’t just a deranged sheriff she has to overcome: the other intelligent species—the Axion, Kindred, Gatherers, and Mosca—all have their own reasons to stop her. Not knowing who to trust, Cora must rely on her own instincts to win the competition, which could change the world—though it might destroy her in the process.
The Cage series started out as a story of an alien species experimenting on humans and has evolved into one of survival and destiny. It has become deeper and more complex that I imagined when I picked up the first novel, and manged to surpass any expectations I had of it going in. The finale offers a thought provoking, satisfying conclusion to a series that always manged to surprise, and shock me.

I always forget how dark these novel are. Megan Shepherd is not afraid to let the darkest parts of humans (and other otherwordly species) be enough to send a chill through you. Everything from the initial premise of caging people for scientific experimentation, to allowing humans to be hunted for sport, to forcing people to be 'wives' is looked at and used to increase the feeling of unease. It is a thought provoking read because it challenges you to examine your own feelings about some complex issues and is used to highlight some of the very real issues that plague humans today (albeit just in very heightened, sci-fi lite way). This is all done using the 'less is more' approach which makes it even more impressive. It never gets too graphic but still manages to be unsettling. Your brain is more than capable of coming up with the worst possible scenarios with what is presented to you which, I find, is more effective.

I was afraid that Lucky would be a footnote in the story since his death in the second novel. I was much more curious about the potential between Cora and Lucky than I was about any possible romance between Cassian and Cora. I was pleasantly surprised to find he was still very much part of Cora's story. It was in a very bittersweet way, but he is on her mind and still gives her strength. I loved how the author managed to include him, even after his death, in such a vital way. Cora's journey this time is all about having a support system to see you through the tough times, and having him still be part of that was the perfect way to close out his story.

The biggest twists and surprises were saved for this finale installment of Cora's story. Plenty of them make you view the events of previous novels in a new light. One of the reveals, however, didn't quite work as it made the characters look less intelligent than they are presented as. Once a piece of information is revealed it takes far too long for the other characters to realize what is going on. Someone should have suspected something much earlier, even if they couldn't put the entire thing together. Funnily, this reveal also provides a twist I didn't see coming so they really end up canceling each other out. There are plenty of surprises left in this story and they show how well plotted this series actually was.

The ending Megan Shepherd offers fans is one that is a perfect mix of hope and sadness. This is an ending that had to be earned with its body count, and sacrifice. There was never going to be some perfect scenario where everyone lived happily ever after. There is so much hope at the end of this story that even just that little sliver is enough compared with the darkness that preceded it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday .... The Becoming Of Noah Shaw

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

This week's pick is The Becoming Of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right. 
I loved the Mara Dyer trilogy so much. I loved everything about it, but mostly how much it went against what I was expecting it to be.

When Michelle announced that there would be a follow up trilogy from Noah's point of view, I pretty much freaked out. I am not going to lie, I am a little scare thanks to the synopsis and the end of the previous series. I can see this not going well for Mara and Noah as a couple, but I am going to love every single minute of it.

I am already counting down the days until I can have this in my hands! Why does November feel so far away?!

Expected release date - November 7, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall by Amy Plum
Release Date - May 2, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.
The idea of being trapped inside a nightmare has always been terrifying to me. The thought of not being able to wake from one is blood curling. The fear it induces is exactly what caught my eye when the synopsis for Dreamfall was released. While this novel does provide plenty of chills, and atmosphere, but doesn't quite deliver in the character department.

The characters feel like they could be plucked from a horror movie. There isn't much growth or development to them. This works for this specific genre, especially when done via visual media (movies or television for example) but is much more noticeable when adapted into a novel. There isn't an attachment formed that makes the body count meaningful. There isn't that desire to root for the characters. Those who enjoy a more plot based read will delight in the minimal characterization, but those who need to connect with the characters may have a harder time doing so.

Each of the characters do have a little something of their background revealed. They are all dealing with insomnia for various reasons. All of them have issues of some form or another. These reveals offer a small taste of what these characters could be, it just wasn't followed through on to its fullest potential. The information we are given about a few of the characters towards the end are especially intriguing and I hope they are followed through on in the sequel.

Amy Plum is a natural at atmosphere and tone. All of her novels have such strong, vivid settings and this is no exception. Her ability to do this ensures that this premise works. It allows the reader to feel a connection to the world she has created, which anchors the reader to something. It also makes the novel incredibly readable as it has such a strong visual element to the writing. You can easily finish this novel in one sitting and that is also a testament to its fast pace.

The most vivid part of the story are the nightmares the characters find themselves trapped in. They easily get your pulse pounding, and are filled with crisp imagery that leaves them begging to be adapted into a movie. This is the most well crafted part of the story, and easily recognizable as the idea that drew the author to write this novel.

The ending packs a cliffhanger punch that will ensure you want to check out the sequel. It indicates that their dreams may not be the only danger these characters are facing, and seems to hint at a more character focused sequel. It is the type of cliffhanger that will cause much lamenting, simply because the reader will want to know what happens next.

A creepy, atmospheric read that I wish was just a little bit longer so that we could have gotten to know the characters more. I recommend this one for those looking for more than a few chills, and a book that reads like it is tailor made to be a movie or television series.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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)

Some fun additions to my shelves this week (it still feels weird to have shelves).

First up is a book that I absolutely adore. Emery Lord is a must read and auto buy author for me and I am so happy to have a hardcover of her newest added to my shelves,

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (goodreads)

Next up is the newest addition to my Funko Pop collection. I have only recently gotten introduced to Death Note but I love L (and his obsession with sweets). He is my favourite.

Anything exciting arrive in your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Release Date -  May 16, 2017
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review**

**quotes take from an advance reader copy of this novel**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both. 
Early on in The Love Interest we're treated to this quote ...
"A particularly important young woman has shown signs that she’s ready to select a partner, so two of you have to be sent in right away. We’re looking for a boy-next-door Nice and a mysterious, tortured-soul Bad.”

"Aren’t they always?" 
I feel this perfectly sets up what you can expect from this novel. It's filled with tropes. It exists because of tropes, but it also decimates them. It twists them, and makes a strong commentary about them at the same time. This satire-ish novel is smart, creative, and undeniably different.

The story may feel familiar. Two boys. One girl. An epic love triangle with the highest stakes possible. That is not all this novel is though. It read as both a love letter to the tropes we're so familiar with in young adult novels, and as something setting out to create its own path. Cale Dietrich has created something not just unique but fun to read. The humour and warmth within the pages are matched only by its cleverness and I was hooked right from the first chapter.

Our narrator, Caden, may feel like a trope at times, but that is because he should. He is meant to point out the class young adult love interest character and be an homage to them. He, however, does end up becoming a character all on his own. Great care is taken to ensure that Cale isn't just one thing. He's not simply a "Nice" and he 's not quite a "Bad" either. He's a complex character that are a mix of different wants, needs, and emotions. It may sound strange, but it makes you question what the love interests in plenty of young adult novels actually want. We often do not get their point of view so they remain mysterious, but this makes you want to scratch that surface and get to know those characters better.

The stakes are high in this novel, and the reader is never allowed to forget that. Death is the consequences of stepping out of line, and that remains true until the final pages of the novel. I appreciated that the danger felt real while I was reading. Actions are not without consequences and that is a relief. Often there isn't a price for freedom in these novels, and in this case there is which felt more authentic.

The romance in this novel is tentative and starts out as a sort of friendship. It is built a little more slowly, which actually contrasts the "instalove" type of narrative the guy are supposed to be having with Juliet. This is something that builds as they spend time together and get to know each other. I came to care about all of these characters, and much like Caden, found myself surprised by it. It sneaks up on you, much like Caden's feelings for Dyl sneak up on him.

There is a quote that stood out to me while I was reading. One that I feel sums up not only the theme of the novel but as feels like the entire point the story is striving to make
Even though I had been through hell, even though I've been told I'm worthless my whole life, even though I'm gay, even though the world wants me to bow down and accept that who I am makes me insignificant, the following is true:

"I'm the protagonist, fucker!"
It shows gay characters as something other than the sidekick. It allows them to see themselves as the protagonist of their own story. We all should be the protagonist in our own stories, and this novel loudly embraces that fact. It also announces a shift from Caden thinking he is just a part of Juliet's story. He considered his feelings unimportant because it was HER story. This is him claiming his narrative for himself. He is deeming his wants and needs as important and that is the heart of this story.

I recommend The Love Interest if you're looking for something thrilling, entirely unique, and something that both embraces and dismantles common young adult tropes. Cale Dietrich has marked himself as a new young adult voice to watch with this novel, and I cannot wait to read what he writes next.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han

PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Release Date -  May 26, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  337 pages
My Rating - 4/5


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing
I loved Jenny Han's To All The Boys I Loved Before. I loved it so much that I was hesitant to pick up the sequel because I didn't want it to change how I felt about the series. After devouring PS I Still Love You, I am happy to say that I love the series even more. Jenny Han continues to make you smile, and swoon with her story of a young girl growing up and falling in love along the way.

The Lara Jean we leave at the end of this novel is not the Lara Jean we meet in To All The Boys I've Loved Before. She is still Lara Jean, but she's grown, or at least taken the first steps down that path. The events of the novels have shaped her, which is something I always appreciate when an author does. Your character should be marked by what they go through in some way, and for Lara Jean it means growing up. She's experiencing so many things for the first time, and that shifts something in you.

I appreciated the feminist slant to Lara Jean's storyline in this book. There is a particular double standard that gets called out when something embarrassing happens to Lara Jean that made me cheer. This novel addressed the fact that girls think about sex, and that they enjoy making out with people just as much as boys do. It also addressed that slut shaming them for it is gross. I love how Jenny Han handled this plot point as it really showed how differently boys and girls are treated for the same behaviour.

Lara Jean's love of fashion, and baking are once again on full display in this novel. You'll immediately want a few of her cookie recipes and crave sugary sweetness as you are reading. These two elements are so ingrained in Lara Jean's character that the novel would feel strange without them. They add a charm to both Lara Jean and the book that almost gives it a classic, old time feel. There are a few nods to the throw back nature of both Lara Jean and the book within these pages while still making this feel entirely modern. It is a skill that Jenny Han masters within this novel, and will provide you with a warm, nostalgic feeling even though the book is not set in the past.

Love triangles are always a tricky thing. I hesitate to call this a full triangle, but there is definite
potential for romance with both boys in the synopsis. I was prepared to hate John, the boy who returns (and the recipient of letter Lara Jean never got back). I was, in fact, so hesitant that it took me forever to pick up this book. It turns out that I shouldn't have worried. I adore John. He's perfectly swoony and an excellent match for Lara Jean. I actually found myself wanting Lara Jean to end up with him instead of Peter (unpopular opinion, I know) and found that Jenny Han handled the feelings Lara Jean was having perfectly and realistically. Neither boy is a bad choice for Lara Jean, and those tend to be my favourite triangles. If I am able to see either couple as a viable option, it makes the agony of the choice have even more of an impact.

The sister bond in this novel is, once again, the heart of the series. It captured the reality of loving your sister, but sometimes being exasperated with her too. It showed that fierce loyalty and yet addressed that you can hurt each other. These relationships, combined with the father-daughter bond, ensured that family was the centre of the story in a way that complimented the romance. Lara Jean needs those anchors as she navigates her journey and it made her story feel more authentic to have them all be such  big parts of her story.

This review would not be complete without a special mention of Lara Jean's sister Kitty. I think she could star in her own series in a couple years if Jenny Han wanted to return to the Song sisters. She's spunky, and wise for her age. She'd be the perfect heroine and it would be nice to check in on them again. For now though, I will content myself with continuing Lara Jean's story and picking up the third (and final) chapter much sooner than I picked up this one.

This book is the perfect blend of romance, character growth, and family bonds. Jenny Han captures that time of becoming a young adult versus being a child in Lara Jean perfectly, and offers up a lot of swoons along the way. If you haven't already picked up this series I highly recommend doing so.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ... Indecent

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

This week's pick is Indecent by Corinne Sullivan

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Shy, introverted Imogene Abney has always been fascinated by the elite world of prep schools, having secretly longed to attend one since she was a girl in Buffalo, New York. So, shortly after her college graduation, when she’s offered a teaching position at the Vandenberg School for Boys, an all-boys prep school in Westchester, New York, she immediately accepts, despite having little teaching experience—and very little experience with boys. 

When Imogene meets handsome, popular Adam Kipling a few weeks into her tenure there, a student who exudes charm and status and ease, she's immediately drawn to him. Who is this boy who flirts with her without fear of being caught? Who is this boy who seems immune to consequences and worry; a boy for whom the world will always provide?

As an obsessive, illicit affair begins between them, Imogene is so lost in the haze of first love that she's unable to recognize the danger she's in. The danger of losing her job. The danger of losing herself in the wrong person. The danger of being caught doing something possibly illegal and so indecent. 

Exploring issues of class, sex, and gender, this smart, sexy debut by Corinne Sullivan shatters the black-and- white nature of victimhood, taking a close look at blame and moral ambiguity. 
I was sold on this novel when I read the deal announcement and am so excited it has an official release date now! I am so curious about it because I think it will spark much debate, and be thought provoking. I am excited to maybe suggest it for one of my book clubs as I anticipate the discussion will be as intense as this book sounds.

The wait for this one is going to be excruciating as it does not come out until Spring 2018.

Expected release date - March 6, 2018

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Another Postcard Release Day Blitz!


Brooklyn Hawk is an enigma. Highly sought after for her incredible voice, her talent shines bright in the studio. But a dark past and a secret she holds close to her heart keep her from permanently stepping into the limelight.

Until her favorite band offers her the chance to chase her dreams.

As the lead singer for rock sensation Stone Butterfly, Levi Matthews is wary of bringing in new talent. But he has heard just how amazing Brooklyn is and when the need for another singer arises, he’s confident that she is the perfect addition.

However, he doesn’t count on laying his heart at her feet.

But the world of music can be as dangerous as it is thrilling. Joining Stone Butterfly on tour was hard enough for Brooklyn, but when she finally succumbs to Levi’s charms, the rock ‘n’ roll life turns deadly.

Will Levi and Brooklyn keep their voices and their hearts entwined? Or will the music prove too hard to survive?  


Just inside the door, I put my hand on her arm to halt her exit. 
“Lunch tomorrow?”
Brooklynn sighed and turned to walk away, but there was a smile flirting around her mouth. 
I grabbed her arm to stop her again, pulled her inside and shoved the door shut. Walking her backward, I crowded her up against a wall. Having caught her by surprise, she didn’t protest when I dove my fingers into her hair and angled her head. I didn’t give her any time for her mind to catch up, covering her mouth with my own. She gasped, and I took advantage of the moment, my tongue entering her mouth to lick and tangle with hers. I groaned at her taste, it was fucking incredible, and I knew I was instantly addicted. Her hands had been at her sides but they slowly crept up over my chest, to hold on to my shoulders as though they were the only thing holding her up. 
I combed my fingers through her hair and then they traveled down to splay across her back, pressing her body forward and flush with mine. Fuck, she felt good. My erection was on the brink of exploding, so hard it was almost painful to breathe. I had to stop before I reached a point of no return. I knew I could seduce her right out of her clothes at that moment, but she’d never forgive me. No, we’d fuck when she wanted it with a clear mind. I backed off of the kiss and then slowly withdrew completely. She was dazed and mussed up, looking like she’d just been thoroughly kissed. It was a look I hoped to see on her more often.
I cupped her face and waited until the fog dissipated from her chocolate orbs. “How about I cook you breakfast?” I grinned roguishly and winked.
“Are you kidding me?” she scoffed at my cheesy line.

I just shrugged and grinned. It was worth a shot.

 I’m a love of all things books, a hopeless romantic, and have always had a passion for writing. Between being a sappy romantic, my love of an HEA, my crazy imagination, and ok, let’s be real, my dirty mind, I fell easily into writing romance.

I’m a huge baseball fan and yet, a complete girly, girl. I’m an obsessive reader and have a slight (hahaha! Slight? Yeah, right) addiction to signed books.

I’m married to my very own book boyfriend, an alpha male with a sexy, sweet side. He is the best inspiration, my biggest supporter, and the love of my life. He is also incredibly patient and understanding about the fact that he has to fight the voices in my head for attention.

I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them!   



Elle is hosting a giveaway of a $25 dollar gift card to the ebook retailer of the winner's choice. Enter using the Rafflecopter below!

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Monday, May 15, 2017

*Blog Tour* The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

I am thrilled to be kicking off the Canadian blog tour for Emery Lord's The Names They Gave Us. This incredible book will be in stores tomorrow and I am so excited to help celebrate its release.

As part of the tour we each got to ask Emery a question so be sure to stop by the other tour stops to see what everyone asked her (and, of course, more reviews of this wonderful novel).

My question for Emery was ...

Your books always make me think of summer. Since this one takes place at a summer camp, what books are on your summer camp reading list?

and her answer was ...

I actually haven’t read a TON of summer camp books. One that I thought was quiet and so thoughtful was BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME. This quote from it isn’t about summer camp, but isn’t it so great?

“I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you can love a book not so much because of what it's about or what happens in it, but because it belongs to a certain time or person in your life- like you'll always remember where you were when you read it for the first time, or who gave it to you, or what season it was, or who you were before you read it and how you were different when it was over.” 

That is a fantastic quote, and now I immediately want to pick up Breakfast Served Anytime.

I also have an excerpt to share which hopefully makes you want to rush out and get yourself a copy when the bookstores open tomorrow.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Release Date -  May 16, 2017
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?
When I first read the synopsis of Emery Lord's newest novel two things stayed with me - the word 'cancer' and the word 'religion'. Both are things that make me hesitant to pick up a novel. However, since it was Emery writing it, and she is an auto buy author for me, I knew I was going to take a chance with this one. This ended up being one of the best reading decisions I have ever made. The Names They Gave Us is a cancer book. It is also a book about religion. It also happens to be neither of these things. What you do have is a novel that is a mix of tears, summer, wishes on stars, perfectly made s'mores, and (obviously) more tears.

Cancer and religion are a large part of who Lucy is, but it is not all she is. There is a perfect balance between all the elements within the novel. There isn't too much of any one thing. As a result, Lucy is a well rounded, and well crafted character. Those concerned that cancer or religious elements may overshadow the story can rest assured that this is not the case. It is handed brilliantly, and only in relation to Lucy's experience with both of these things.  As her mom's cancer returns, her faith in the religion she has always sought solace in is shaken. Her journey through regaining some of that faith, and what form that may take, is threaded throughout the whole story but it isn't THE story. This really is a story of a girl learning to define things for herself at its heart. She is discovering who is she, and that will resonate with everyone.

Emery always crafts these incredible friendships as the core of her novels. She creates the kind of friendships that you wish to be part of. They tend to be established before the events of the novel and that has always made me a little envious of her characters. In Lucy we see someone who has not had those deep friendships either. We get to see her bond with people and create those lasting friendships. It is a friendship that is made from summer nights by the bonfire, secrets shared while drinking moonshine, and new experiences. It is one of the most satisfying elements of the story. I always finish Emery's novels thinking the friendships were even more important than the romance, and that is not always the case with contemporary novels. Her friendships are so complex and developed that they are a love story all on their own.

The romance is pretty swoon worthy though. It is perfectly paced with a friendship that builds to something more. It had me with the little moments they spend together where not much happens, except you can feel them growing closer. Music is a large part of what bonds them and it is the pulse for many of their most romantic moments. Emery always writes these wonderful love interests who are decent guys and it is something I am thankful for. Her novels have given very different examples of supportive, caring love interests which is such a great example for teens readers to have.

A novel that breaks your heart, but heals it too. A novel that will make you cry, but in a cathartic way. It is a story filled with hope, even when everything seems dark. Emery Lord has once again slayed me with her beautiful writing and characters. If you are a contemporary young adult reader and are not reading her novels you need to fix this immediately. She is consistently providing novels that have a strong emotional impact and just a little bit of magic within their pages. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

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 arrival in my mailbox, but some new additions to my home that I am VERY excited about. First up.. I have new shelves!

My cat was a book eating monster when she was younger. I could not display anything. The last few months I have noticed she has zero interest in my books. She basically ignores them. I decided to test out getting some shelves and see how she reacts. I LOVE THEM!

I especially love having a place to display my Funko Pops. I am so happy with how they look and I cannot wait to decorate them more. 

I did get one new book this week. A huge thank you to Penguin Random House or this newest arrival. I am very excited to check out this mystery novel as I loved The Girl On The Train. 

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (goodreads)

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

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 The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (goodreads)

I loved the Mara Dyer trilogy fiercely, and was very excited when Michelle announced that she would be writing a sequel trilogy from Noah Shaw's point of view.

The cover was just released and it is as beautiful as the ones for original trilogy.

Stunning, right? I love that they have a similar tone and feel to the Mara covers, but are unique as well. I am so excited for this to be released, and have pre-ordered my copy!

Cover for Marissa Meyer's Renegades

I am so excited for this new series from Marissa Meyer and the cover is super fun!

A school for superheros and supervillains? Sounds amazing! I really like the comic book feel of the cover, it fits the description perfectly.


iZombie renewed for season 4

The fact that this news caused me squeal with happiness should surprise nobody. I love this show, and feel it is so underrated. The cast is perfection and it has some of the smartest writing on television right now. It's so charming! Needless to say,  I am thrilled that Liv and the gang will be back for another season.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Release Date - May 9, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem. 
I expect a few things from a Julie Murphy novel - great characters, a realistic tone, and some great romance. Ramona Blue is no exception. It may, in fact, be my favourite Julie Murphy novel for so many reasons.

Julie Murphy, once again, charms with a character who is larger than the novel that contains her. Ramona is character that is a joy to get to know. So much of her story is about growing and changing. It is about having those changes redefine how you see yourself. In Ramona's case it is everything from her sexuality, her role within her family dynamic, what she wants out of the future, and what she sees herself as being capable of. It's about opening her viewpoint to life outside her safe zone and not settling into the future she thought she was stuck with. She is a character that is effortless to root for. She is frustrating at times as you want her to see the potential within herself much sooner than she does. Her journey is made all the more poignant as her growth is the core of this story.

Ramona and her family are poor. Hurricane Katrina decimated their home and their lives and things never really got back on track for them. Ramona works multiple jobs just to help out her family and this speaks volumes about her character. I felt Julie Murphy did a fantastic job of showing what life after a severe weather incident could be like. The slow progress of rebuilding what you lost. The adjustment to new circumstances. The shifting definition of what is truly important. This background is vital to all of the characters, especially Ramona, as it makes them who they are. This is woven into the fabric of the story perfectly, and really is felt in all aspects of the story.

The other thing that Julie Murphy nails in this novel is the weight of expectation and responsibility. Ramona expects that her whole life will be lived in Eulogy. She expects that she'll always live in the trailer she lives in now. She expects she'll help her sister take care of the baby she is about to have. All of the create a feeling of responsibility that catches up to Ramona when she tries to do too much on her own. She feels unable to take any opportunities that may arise for herself, simply because she either feels it is a luxury she can't afford, or it is something she never thought of as being possible for herself.

Family is so important to this story. I am loving this new trend of having parents be so present and important to the story. Ramona's family means everything to her. She's willing to do anything to support and take care of them. She puts her family before herself a lot of the time in a very unselfish way. She doesn't feel burdened by it. It is something she is happy to do. Something she needs to do, even. This very loving family is presented as being imperfect but so filled with patience and understanding. Their bond will warm your heart, even if at times you wish Ramona would take care of herself as well.

There is some controversy surrounding this novel and the bisexual representation found within. While I cannot speak to the quality of the representation found within as I am not bisexual, I did read quite a few reviews written by bisexual reviewers. I urge you to read some of those reviews as plenty of them have smart, insightful things to say and seem to feel the representation found within was respectful. I understand the initial worry of Ramona falling for a boy and the potential for a problematic storyline where she is 'magically turned straight'. This is addressed in the novel, with Ramona even expressing that her relationship with Freddie doesn't mean she is not attracted to girls any longer. Everyone, I think, can relate to figuring out their sexuality and that is what this read like for me. It read as a girl discovering a new part of herself, which is something everyone can relate to, and this discovery does not discount all the other parts of herself that she's already claimed. If anything, the story presents the idea that it is okay to still be figuring out who you (in many ways and areas) and that you don't have to put a label on anything about yourself until you're ready to do so.

The romances in Julie Murphy's novels are always stellar and this is no exception. There is a history between Freddie and Ramona that instantly makes their friendship reignite when he moves back. That friendship is the perfect foundation for feelings to grow and turn into something more. The relationship, like everything else in this book, is complex. Nothing is easy or simple. There is a strong case made of offering patience within a relationship, and allowing the other person to grow and change. It does the same for forgiveness. I loved how supportive they were of each other, and how they accepted the other for who they are. It's a healthy portrayal of a relationship where communication is key.

Ramona Blue will delight fans of Julie Murphy's previous novels, and have them reading it in one sitting. A story of a girl finding her way in this messy, ever changing thing we call life. It is a serious contender for one of my top reads of the year, and I urge you to pick it up and give it a chance to charm you like it did me.

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