Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Recommendations

Happy Halloween! If you're anything like me you might be debating what to do tonight. Halloween is on a weekday this year so most parties or events happened on the weekend. You might be looking forward to a nice evening in watching a scary movie, or reading a scary book between passing out candy to the trick-or-treaters that come to your door.

I am offering up a few of my personal recommendations for last minute Halloween entertainment.

If You're In The Mood For Something Not At All Scary I Recommend .... 

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It's a classic and perfect family viewing fun! It captures the spirit of Halloween without being scary.


I am specifically talking about the 1995 version that stars Christina Ricci. It's sweet, surprisingly romantic, and has plenty of humour.

If You're Looking For Something More Scary I Recommend .... 

Practical Magic

A story of magic, sisterly bonds, and offers up the best use of the song 'This Kiss' in a movie ever. It's perfect for those wanting something a little bit darker but not really scary.


My favourite scary movie. It's fun, scary, and is basically a love letter to the genre. It is one I make sure to watch every October because I love it that much.

The Craft

While may not scary in the traditional sense, this is a darker option for those wanting something with witches this Halloween. It's delightfully campy and is one of my favourite witch movies.

Stranger Things

This Netflix series is family friend, but with a darker vibe (maybe older children). It's filled with characters you'll fall in love with, 80s nostalgia, and is entirely charming. If you haven't watched this I highly recommend it.

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (goodreads)

Scream in book format is how I pretty much describe this one. It's both fun and unsettling. It's a great one to pick up if you're looking for something with the same vibe as Scream but with Stephanie's addictive writing.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (goodreads)

A boy worries that he'll end up being exactly like his serial killer father in this creepy, and entirely addictive read. It's a three book series which means you'll have something to look forward to during the dreary month of November if you start this series on Halloween.

If You (like me) Are More Scared By Real Events Than Anything Hollywood Could Come Up With I I Recommend .....


This Netflix show focuses on the start of what we now call criminal profiling. Two detectives begin to interview jailed serial killers when they realized the information from these interviews could provide scientific merit. It's a great character study of both the detectives and the serial killers. It's also a book (for those who would rather read)

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (goodreads)

This is a fast read that focuses on Jeffrey Dahmer as a middle school/ high school student told through the perspective of someone who was friendly with Jeffrey during this time. It's graphic novel format would also be perfect for constant interruptions (to answer the door).

Those are my picks for your Halloween entertainment this evening. What are some of yours? Let me know in the comments as I am always excited to find more spooky books, movies, and television shows to add to my list.

Sunday, October 29, 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)

My mailbox this week was filled with amazing goodies that I cannot wait to share.

First up is the Stranger Things inspired candle I ordered from Novelly Yours.

 The packaging this comes in was super cute! I love the little bookmark, and the candle smells amazing. I used it while binge watching the second season and it was the perfect choice.  I highly recommend this candle shop if you're looking for a fandom inspired scent.

Next is a book I purchased thanks to my current obsession with My Favorite Murder, and Mindhunter (and all things true crime to be honest).

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (goodreads)

This graphic novel looks at a young Jeffrey Dahmer through the eyes of someone who went to middle school/ high school with him. It's an interesting, conversation starting read. It paired nicely with my wine and bath bomb as well.

Lastly, I also received a package that made me squeal with happiness. I was sent an early copy of a book that I am VERY excited about (and it fits the who true crime vibe I have going on this week).

Lizzie by Dawn Ius (goodreads)

I am beyond excited to dive into this one. It is going to be my next read right after I finish the one I am currently reading. It is going to be perfect for the current spooky season. I'll probably live tweet my reading progress with non-spoilerly reactions if you're curious!

What goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know!

 Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 28, 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.

This week's Weekly Obsessions post is very Stranger Things focused. I am so happy season two has released!


Stranger Things Season 2

I have already finished watching the second season of Stranger Things and I loved every second of it. I am already wanting season three!

I am also very eager to discuss this season with other people as they start to finish it!


Stranger Things Funko Pops (Wave 3)

The third wave of Stranger Things Funko Pops have been revealed!

I especially love the Max in costume one and the boys in their Ghostbusters outfits. A few of these will be making their way into my collection once they are released.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday .... Sea Witch

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 Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Everyone knows what happens in the end.
A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.
But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.
One feared, one royal, and one already dead.


Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch. 

When a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. 

The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.
I was sold on this right from the deal announcement. I love villain origin stories and I was especially intrigued about what the origin story for the sea witch from The Little Mermaid would look like. Now that a full synopsis and cover has been revealed I am even more excited to read it!

It's going to be a long wait for this one as it doesn't come out until summer of 2018 but we can always watch Disney's version of the classic tale while we wait. We can only hope that there is a character half as charming as Prince Eric in Sarah Henning's version. 

Expected release date - July 31, 2018

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
Release Date - October 24, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 389 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she'd become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn't.

And then she died.

Now she's stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge--as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly's afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .
A selfish, egotistical person is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve who warn them to change their ways before it's too late. Sounds familiar right? A Christmas Carol is given a whimsical twist in this modern retelling by Cynthia Hand that is as heart warming as the original and just as festive.

Holly is a unlikeable female protagonist and she isn't apologizing for it. She is, in fact, proud of it. She's the girl who instead of changing her ways when given the opportunity merely shrugs and continues on. She's someone that is just undeniably herself. That never changes. She's always who she says is and I love that about this story. Holly's growth, and it is there, feels more authentic because she doesn't magically become someone else. She's still Holly. It is a more subtle change that happens within her and it was beautiful to see unfold.

Project Scrooge is incredible, as are the people who work there. It's what gives this book its heart, and adds an extra dose of f holiday spirit to the story. Those who know A Christmas Carol will delight in the nods to the classic found within these pages, and those who don't will rejoice at the twists, and the modern take Cynthia Hand has given the tale. It's easily a world that could become silly and overdone, but there is something about the writing that keeps it grounded and filled with the spirit of the holidays. The emotional element of the story, and the human connections are felt the most strongly in the relationships between the people at Project Scrooge.

The romance is exactly what you would expect from a book like this. I totally found myself shipping this cute relationship. There is a lot of banter and humour to the romance which I really enjoyed. It also helped that even though Holly's story felt 'magical' because she is, after all, technically dead the romance felt very contemporary and untouched by the paranormal elements (in terms of their interactions). This may seem odd to say, but this added an extra layer of realism to this story that worked for me.

The ending, for me, is perfection. It's just as satisfying as the ending to the classic tale. It makes you feel the warm fuzzies. It leaves you with a smile on your face. It's the ending that is perfect for Holly's story and made me glad it didn't end the way I anticipated it would. A certain famous line is uttered, but I promise that this is the only aspect you'll recognize; even as it leaves you with that expanding heart, feel good feeling.

This is the kind of story I wish I had saved for the middle of the holiday rush. It's a pleasure to read and I could think of nothing better than curling up with this to de-stress after a hectic day of holiday shopping. Consider it a sweet holiday treat that will pair perfect with some candy canes and hot chocolate. It's a magical holiday read that I highly recommend, even for you Scrooges out there.

Sunday, October 22, 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 goodies made their way into my mailbox this week!

First up, my October #otspsecretsister package arrived and it is filled with AMAZING goodies.

A huge thank you to 'Buffy' for the fun and Halloween themed package! I will be wearing the socks to work on Halloween for sure!

Next is up some magazines I purchased. I am totally that person who buys three copies of the same magazine because they have different covers.


Lastly, Thomas Allan sent me some books and I was excited to discover this one in the package!

Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by Carrie Ann DiRisio / illustrated by Linnea Gear (goodreads)

What goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know!

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 21, 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.

So many covers have been revealed as the cover season for books releasing in summer of 2018 has arrived! There have also been a ton of movie and tv show trailers that have released.


Cover of Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody (goodreads)

I have been excited about this book since the moment I read the deal announcement. It has a Las Vegas like setting, and what sounds like gangsters which sound make for an interesting read.

I love the cover. It matches the synopsis perfectly.I love the way the cards are incorporated and the colour scheme. It only makes me even more excited for this to be released.

Cover of Katie Cotugno's 9 Days and 9 Nights (goodreads)

Katie Cotugno's covers are always adorable, and her newest is no exception.

I love that it takes plan while the characters are on a European trip. I love that is a sequel of sorts to 99 Days. I am really excited to see what is next for these characters and just to have another Katie Cotugno book to look forward to.

Cover of Side by Side by Jenni L Walsh (goodreads)

It is no secret that I loved Jenni L Walsh's Becoming Bonnie. The sequel (which can be read as a stand alone) has a cover and it is awesome!

It instantly fits the Bonnie Parker that Jenni L Walsh has created. It also hints at the tragic ending to Bonnie and Clyde's story. I am beyond excited to both read this and add it to my bookshelf.


New Stranger Things Season Two Trailer

IT IS ALMOST HERE! We are less than a week away from the second season of Stranger Things. It's been a long wait but this new trailer has me thinking it is going to be more than worth that wait.

The scene where Mike is telling Will that Eleven would 'understand' because she always did. My heart is already breaking at the thought of Mike telling Will about this girl that Will never met. A girl that was so important to Mike and was such a large part of Will's story. I cannot wait for Will and Eleven to eventually meet. They have a lot to discuss. I also love the perfect scene that shows the return of Steve's baseball bat! 

Trailer for My Friend Dahmer (full length)

A teaser trailer for this movie was released and I was hooked. The full length trailer has been revealed and I am even more interested in checking it out.

The buzz is that Ross Lynch gives an incredible and chill inducing performance. The movie is based off a graphic name by the same name written by guy who was friends with Jeffrey Dahmer in high school (played by Alex Wolff in the movie). The book is by Derf Backderf for those wanting to check it out.

I, Tonya teaser trailer

The Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan story is infamous. We've all heard about it even if we're not huge figure skating fans. A new movie is set to release, based of a book also titled I, Tonya, and the first teaser trailer has been released.

It immediately sets the tone of the movie. I feel like I know exactly what I am gong to get with this movie and I am excited to see a full length trailer soon!


I have finished binge watching this series and cannot praise it enough. It's a slow burn that feels like it had the exact payoff that I wanted it to at the end of the season. The characters are all rich and complex. Holden Ford, Jonathan Groff's character, in particular stands out to me. You could have lengthy discussions about the journey his character takes, and the changes that happen over the season. 

There is a chilling set up for the second season (I read that they have plans for 5 with detailed story arcs for all 5 seasons) that has me already counting down the days until I can watch it. There is another serial killer for them to hunt, and plenty more for them to interview.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night
Release Date -  July 21, 2017
Publisher Website - Stories Untold
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  320 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret...

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.
A book about a young girl who gets to go to a magic school. Sounds familiar right? The Crowns Of Croswald is heavily inspired by the Harry Potter series. It's filled with magic, wonder at the discovery of a new world, and a chosen one who is thrust into the unknown. It manages to branch off enough to avoid feeling like a direct copy, and is filled with some twists that make it worth the read.

The fact that we have a female protagonist is wonderful. She is our chosen one, and I appreciated how resilient and self reliant she is. We also have an antagonist that is female. It will be amazing to see these two battle it out, especially as Ivy continues to grow her powers. The finale, if done right, could be a stunning battle between two bad ass female characters which has me entirely on board. The female characters have the opportunity to grow and become more complex. I hope they next few books focus not just on the world building, but character development. I am interested in them, but want to see some depth from them.

My only character complaint is the ages they are given. We're told that Ivy is sixteen throughout the novel. The character, however, doesn't read that way. I would have put her around 12 or 13 years old based on her characterization. It feels like a novel meant for older middle grade readers, and so perhaps it is just that element being present throughout, but it is the one misstep I had with the characters as they all read younger than their presented ages.

The world building is one of the more fleshed out aspect of the story. There is a complex system of royals, scrivenerists, and magic. That combined with the Halls of Ivy school create a setting that easily entertains. It's a world that feels pretty complex already with it offering up an overview of more than just the school that Ivy attends. We get to see towns, hidden places, and much more as Ivy begins her journey.

The romance that is only beginning to be hinted at during this first chapter of Ivy's story is adorable. It's tentative, and sweet. There is just something innocent about their budding romance that works for the story being told. The other relationships being built are equally enjoyable, especially the friendship between Ivy and Rebecca. There is a whole cast of secondary characters that I am curious about and I cannot wait to see what roles they'll play going forward.

The biggest surprise in this novel was the fact that it moved much faster than I anticipated. There are things revealed that, while I guessed them, I didn't expect to be revealed into subsequent novels. It sets up this series to be unexpected than I anticipated and perhaps not quite as 'by the book' as I feared. It has the potential to be a series that only continues to improve as it progresses and I am excited to continue Ivy's journey.

A cute fantasy novel for the older middle grade reader in your life. It's also perfect for those missing the Harry Potter series. It's a fun start to a series that I hope continues to grown and darken as the series continues. I recommend it to Harry Potter fans missing that rush, those who love stories filled with secrets, and who don't mind the chosen one trope.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ... Ace Of Shades

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 Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn't have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne's offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. 

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi's enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.
I was immediately sold on this novel from the deal announcement. It sounds like it has a Las Vegas like setting and is filled with mafia, casinos, and sexiness. I am a sucker for books that are set in Sin City so I am really looking forward to getting my hands on this one.

The wait for this one will be long as it doesn't come out until April, but you can read Amanda's first novel, Daughter Of The Burning City, in the meantime. 

Expected release date - April 10, 2018

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
Release Date - October 10, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.
Mindy McGinnis is an author who is capable of jumping from genre to genre. Her writing is versatile and bends to suit the genre she is writing. It's one of the skills that has made Mindy McGinnis and auto read author for me. This Darkness Mine is a psychological thriller that has a lot to digest and unpack once you've finished reading. Sadly, for me, the book didn't quite work for me even though Mindy's classic sharp writing was on display.

The writing is, perhaps, the element that makes this story work. Mindy McGinnis' addictive prose is more than evident in this page turning read. It compels you to keep reading and is what draws you in. The atmosphere is the second stand out from this novel. It's perfectly unsettling and creeping. You are kept on your toes as the story unravels. It's one of Mindy's greatest strengths as a writer, and it works especially well here.  The setting, atmosphere and building tension are all staples of a good thriller and Mindy's writing showcases all of these.

The biggest problem for me was remaining in the story. I would be pulled in and engaged with what was happening for something to jarringly pull me back out. There are elements that just didn't work for me because they didn't feel plausible within the story presented, or natural to the characters as I saw them. It made it harder to invest in the story and Sasha herself. It made it so I was constantly reminded I was reading a story, rather than experiencing it.

Sasha Stone is an unreliable narrator. We are meant to not trust her. We are provided different reasons that might explain what is happening to Sasha and it is never explicitly proven either way. I tend to love novels like this, and love coming up with my own theories. These types of books always make for great discussions and this is no exception. There is plenty to examine and talk through. The story really works on this level, even if the ending does hint as the truth behind what is happening (at least in my opinion).

There is something here about the privileged 'good girl' who is acting out that I wish had been expanded upon. We spend so much of the novel unsure if Sasha has a mental illness, or if these things are actually happening the way she says they are and as a result I feel this aspect gets a little lost in the noise. This would be my favourite element to explore because it grounds the story in a way. If you strip away the weirdness or strangeness of this novel it becomes very recognizable. Sasha Stone could be Mindy McGinnis' version of Laura Palmer. A spoiled teen rebelling against her parents. A 'nice girl' barely hiding a vicious facade. She becomes someone we all have known at some point. I wish this aspect hadn't been upstaged by everything else because it is where the fascination in the character and story reside for me.

This book was a mixed read for me, and is my least favourite of all the books Mindy has released. It just didn't come together the way I wanted it to, and story didn't resonate as much I had hoped it would. I predict there will be others who love this more than I did, and if this sounds like something you would enjoy I recommend it for for Halloween season as the unsettling atmosphere is something the story does incredibly well. It's perfect for those who like their psychological thrillers with a large side of weird. 

Sunday, October 15, 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)

A few fun things made their way into my mailbox this week that I am super excited about!

First, my sister surprised me with this movie!

I am so excited to re-watch these this month! Scream is my favourite horror movie and I am happy to finally own a copy of it.

I also have received some books from Raincoast for review!

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz (goodreads)
Meet Cute by Various Authors (goodreads)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (goodreads)

I am especially excited to dive into Renegades! Look for reviews of these closer to their release dates.

What goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know!

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 14, 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.


The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle (goodreads)

Rebecca Serle just announced her new novel and I am so excited! It is an adult novel, and revolves around a woman who enters her birthday dinner party to discover everyone on her dream dinner list (ie which famous people dead or alive would you like to have at a dinner party) is at the party. I am super into this idea and cannot wait to see what Rebecca does with this story!


First Movie Poster For Love, Simon

Becky Albertalli's debut novel is being turned into a movie, and the first movie poster has been revealed. It is perfect.

I adore the tagline. It's perfect and adorable!

Ian and Mickey From Shameless

Ian and Mickey are, by far, my favourite part of Shameless. I have been binge watching and have just reached the REALLY good part of their relationship. Things like this are happening:

I know the bad stuff is coming but OMG it is so good right now. They better be together at the very end of the series is all I am saying. I ship them so much.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday ... These Rebel Waves

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 These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Inspired by the Spanish Inquisition, Raasch's duology takes place on the magic-rich island of Grace Loray, which five years ago overthrew its oppressor country, Argrid. Argrid is a country ruled by religion and has an inherent fear of Grace Loray's enchanted properties. So, when an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks, the country quickly places blame on Grace Loray's people and their magic.

Trapped in the middle of this reinvigorated war are three teenagers: There's Adeluna, a soldier who helped overthrew Argrid; Devereux, a pirate, or "Stream Raider," who deals in magic and becomes a target in the Argridian diplomat's abduction; and Benat, the Crown Prince of Argrid and a heretic, who is obsessed with Grace Loray's magic. 
I was sold when I heard this was about pirates. I didn't need to know anything else. Now that I have a full description I am even more excited to read this. It's going to be a long wait since this doesn't come out until next summer, but I predict it'll be worth it.

Expected release date - July 3, 2018

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
Release Date - October 3, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?
Katie Cotugno's novels always offer up great romance and incredible friendships. Top Ten combines the two to create a complex look at the special bond that exists between two delightful characters. She looks at whether these particular characters are better off as friends or if they could be something more. Their story is told in a unique and heartfelt way that adds an extra layer to this novel.

The story is told in sections counting down the top ten moments of Ryan and Gabby's friendship. This creates a non linear format for telling the story. It pieces the story together in a way that fills in all the gaps, but not in the order you necessary expect. It provides glimpses at how their relationship morphed and changed during their high school years, and the impact these events had on them as individuals. It was an interesting way of telling the story, and ensured that I kept reading. I wanted to discover what the next moment was and how it fit into the story of Ryan and Gabby.

I found myself both rooting for Ryan and Gabby's relationship to remain strictly a friendship as much as I wanted them to become something more. They are each other's 'person'. They are the most important people to each other and there is something very special about their friendship. They love each other and seeing that take any form feels satisfying. The only thing I wanted by the end of the novel was for their relationship to be intact, no matter what form that may take. It's a testament to the chemistry that Katie Cotugno was able to create between these two characters.

The story focuses as much on Ryan and Gabby as individuals as it does them as a unit. There are secondary story arcs of Gabby's anxiety and Ryan's hockey that flesh out the characters and the story. Gabby's anxiety, to me, was especially well done. It felt very real in a way that was natural to the character. This was very much Gabby dealing with anxiety and not just a simplification of everyone with anxiety. Ryan's story arc is one that I am less familiar with, but I felt the pressure he would be under, and the scary realization that something could prevent you from following the path you assumed you would take. It was woven into the story really well, and used a catalyst to further the relationship between the main characters.

Gabby is bisexual and her bisexuality is expressly stated and shown on the page. We see her have interest in both guys and girls equally. This part of her character is also not the driving force for her story arc. It is simply part of who she is and is represented in her interactions without being all that her character is.

Most people want to know what Ryan and Gabby decide in terms of their friendship/perhaps more relationship. That has to be discovered by reading the story. The ending, for me, was exactly how this story should end. It's emotional in the best way, and felt exactly perfect for Gabby and Ryan's story. It is something that needs to be experienced as part of the story, as I felt it had more of an impact because I took the journey with these characters.

This novel is classic Katie Cotugno. She makes you care about her characters, and their relationships so effortlessly. If you enjoyed her previous novels this is a must read for you. Ryan and Gabby's story isn't just a story of friendship, or romance. It's about those special relationships and how they help us in both good and bad times.

Sunday, October 8, 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 goodies made their way into my mailbox this week!

First up, my Sept #otspsecretsister package arrived and I have not had a chance to share it yet. I love everything! Thank you so much, 'Buffy'.

The Peter Pan pillow case will go well with the other pillow case I have and I may have already eaten the M&Ms! I was also thrilled to add this Christina Lauren book to my collection.

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren (goodreads)

Lastly, the New York City Comic Con exclusives were released this week and I managed to get my hands on the two that I wanted. 

These are Goofy and Donald from the video game Kingdom Hearts. It is their Halloweentown outfits and I am in a little in awe of how great they look. I just need the Halloweentown Sora to complete the collection so I'll be on the look out for him to arrive at my local Hot Topic.

So cute, right? I love everything about them and love that they released for the Halloween season.

What goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know!

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 7, 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.

Just one thing caught my attention this week, but it is a very exciting thing.


Cover of  These Rebel Waves by (goodreads)

This cover, for me, is perfect. It's eye catching, and sets the tone I expect from this pirate story. 

I am even more excited for this series now!

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Raincoast Books Winter/Spring 2018 preview

I always look forward to Raincoast Books blogger previews. They always offer a fun bookish afternoon. They manage to make you feel like you were in attendance even when you're participating online.

This year had a great line up of books that were discussed including the following (including some notes on the ones that caught my eye):

Busted by Gina Ciocca (goodreads)

This immediately caught my attention because it was called Veronica Mars meets Ten Things I Hate About You. Sounds fun! 

Reign The Earth by AC Gaughen (goodreads)
Between The Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking (goodreads)
Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp (goodreads)
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann (goodreads)

This has a fantastic cover, and sounds like a good choice for those who love contemporary books. It has an asexual main character who works in a library. 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (goodreads)
You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston (goodreads)

A Valentine's Day set read that is scary instead of romantic. A group of friends decide to play pranks on each other instead of celebrating Valentine's Day. It takes a deadly turn when they start to receive letters from a secret admirer. 

Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson/illustrated by Emily Carroll (goodreads)
Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay (goodreads)
Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia (goodreads)
A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena (goodreads)

The more I hear about this book the more excited I am to read it. I am thrilled it is going to be part of my 2018 Most Anticipated event and cannot wait to talk more about it. 

Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (goodreads)
Brazen by Penelope Bagieu (goodreads)
In Search Of by Ava Dellaira (goodreads)

One of my personal must reads from this event. I loved Love Letters To The Dead and cannot wait to see what Ava has written next. 

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau (goodreads)
Miles Away From You by AB Rutledge (goodreads)
Zombie Abbey by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (goodreads)

Downton Abbey with zombies is how this was pitched. It sounds like a ton of fun and, surprising, seems to include a lot of romance from the description given. 

As She Fades by Abbi Glines (goodreads)
Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey (goodreads)
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne (goodreads)

Jane Eyre set in space. That is all. 

How I Resist by Tim Frederle and Maureen Johnson (goodreads)
Girl Made Of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (goodreads)
Furyborn by Claire LeGrand (goodreads)
The Universe Is Expanding And So Am I by Carolyn Mackler (goodreads)
Under The Same Stars by Rose Christo (goodreads)

I had never heard of the My Immortal fanfiction before. It was brought to my attention thanks to this book deal announcement. I, sadly, think this one has been cancelled since the Raincoast event but included it as it was discussed. 

They also spent some time discussing some upcoming sequels that people are highly anticipating. These included:

Sightwitch by Susan Dennard (goodreads)
Wires and Nerve, Volume 2 by Marissa Meyer/illustrated by Stephen Gilpin (goodreads)
The Greed by Scott Bergstrom (goodreads)
Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (goodreads)
To Right The Wrongs by Sheryl Scarborough (goodreads)
The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco (goodreads)
Circle Unbroken by Zoraida Cordova (goodreads)
A Court Of Thorns And Roses novella by Sarah J Maas (goodreads)
True Storm by L.E. Sterling (goodreads)
The Edge Of Everything 2 by Jeff Giles (goodreads)

There were also some middle grade novels that were presented that sounded perfect for young readers in your life (or fans of middle grade reads in general). There are a few that I think my nieces would be totally interested in. The ones discussed are:

Snow Lane by Josie Angelini (goodreads)
Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly (goodreads)
Playing Atari With Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy and Ali Fadhil (goodreads)
The Language Of Spells by Garret Weyr/illustred by Katie Harnett (goodreads)
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (goodreads)

Lastly, they had Lianne Oelke come discuss her novel Nice Try, Jane Sinner! It was great to hear her discussed the process of writing this book, and share some of her experience getting it published.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke (goodreads)

Raincoast also always sends a fun swag pack as part of their preview. Included in mine were one of my most anticipated reads of this preview and a book that sounds pretty intriguing.

In Search Of by Ava Dellaira (goodreads)
#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid (goodreads)

I also loved the inclusion of some pins for Marrisa Meyers new novel, Renegades. I am so excited to read both of these books. You can expect review of them next year as we get closer to release.

A huge thank you to Raincoast Books for the invite, and for the review copies. I look forward to the next one!

Which of these books are on your own must read lists? Any catch your eye? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday .... Ozland

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 Ozland by Wendy Spinale

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
With Everland and Umberland both destroyed, the survivors have taken refuge in a small village tucked within the shadows of the Bloodred Queen's castle. Doc has found an actual cure for the Horologia virus, while Gwen, Pete, and Alyssa begin plotting the assassination of the queen with the help of Gail, an excellent huntress. But killing the queen won't be enough. The world has been destroyed and its needs a ruler to set things right again. A ruler who is good, kind, and fair. Someone like the former king of Germany. But he's dead ... or is he?

There's a rumor that the king has been hidden away in a secret land, where only the worthiest can find him. Desperate to end the war, a plan is hatched that could put everything right again, only before it's set in motion, the village is burned to the ground, all survivors taken prisoner to the castle. Except Gail.

But is one girl enough to find a long-dead king, kill the wicked queen, and save the world?
I loved Everland and Umberland in this series that mixes classic tales with steampunk. This last one is a twist on the Wizard Of Oz story and I cannot wait to see how this story ends. 

It is quite a long wait, but that just gives you enough time to read the first two novels in this fun, and addictive series!

Expected release date - April 24, 2018

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Release Date -  September 12, 2017
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
Christina Lauren is one of my favourite romance authors. Their books are sexy, romantic, and usually come with a plot that is not just about the sexytimes (even though those scenes are pretty great). They had previously only done paranormal young adult novels, so I was thrilled for them to branch out into more contemporary stories in the young adult genre. Autoboyography was everything expected from this author which means I got a cute, heartfelt romance story that left me smiling.

This novel features a bisexual main character who develops a crush on a Morman guy he meets through a prestigious program at his school. Tanner is a laid back guy who tends to have things go his way. He was an interesting main character for me because I think Sebastian actually has the more obvious story arc. Tanner still has a lot of character growth, even if he may not seem like the obvious character to follow in this story. We see him struggle with what falling in love with Sebastian means for both of them, and how that impacts  his family and his outlook on things. It's a more subtle story but an enjoyable one in its own right.

Sebastian is, obviously, struggling with his sexuality, his religion and how that all fits together. He's part of a religion that isn't welcoming to who he is, so he resists and internalizes a lot of things until he simply can't do it any longer. In may ways he would be the obviously narrator of this story, but allowing Tanner to be the voice of the story made the religions elements feel more distant. It is still a large part of the story, but in a more abstract way. I am not overly familiar with the Morman religion but I felt like this story present a balanced look at the good elements of faith, along with the more intolerant elements found within it.

Family plays a large role within the story. It is just as vital to the story as the romance. We see Tanner's family who is supportive and loving. They repeatedly shower him with reassurance, and understanding. It doesn't mean they are perfect, but it does make you feel that everything they do comes from a place of love. Tanner's parents would not ostracize him from their lives. Sebastian has no such assurances of his own family. Their religion ensures that there would be disappointment, and possible irreparable fractures to their relationships. I feel Sebastian's family dynamic is shown to be more complex than I anticipated it would be, but still left me feeling anger at the whole situation the treatment of members of the LGBTQ+ community by this religion.

The ending of the novel is sort of a beginning of sorts. It offers the potential for future happiness with a long, bumpy road as the path to get there. It's the most realistic ending this story could of offered, and I think it was the perfect way to send the story. You're left smiling, but it doesn't discount the obvious struggles that will be ahead of Tanner and Sebastian regardless of whether they are together or apart when the story ends.

If you're looking for a cute romance story that has some depth within it, I highly recommend this one.  It's perfect for those wanting a story that is about finding out where you fit, discovering your own path, falling in love, and fighting to live life the way that makes you happy.

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