Thursday, May 31, 2018

Legendary by Stephanie Garber



Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Release Date - May 29, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  451 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**


**Spoilers For Caraval** 

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.
Caraval is the kind of book you could easily get lost in. It has that magical quality where you are instantly transported into the world and swept away by the story. I went into Legendary with high hopes and am thrilled to say it surpassed them. It is everything Caraval is and more. It's more magical, more seductive, and manages to pack in even more surprises.

Tella is a different narrator than Scarlet was. Tella is less careful. She is more willing to take risks, and be a little reckless. She is also, surprisingly, more guarded with her heart that Scarlet was. She may be willing to share a few kisses with any man she fancies, but falling in love is not something that she is overly interested in. She likes to keep things light and casual. She does share some similarities with her sister in that they are both fiercely loyal, and both have a fondness for Caraval itself. Her backstory is more complex than I anticipated, and there is way more going on with her than I could have guessed.

The inclusion of some new characters not only widens the world that has been created, but creates some interesting new dynamics. The journey Tella takes demands that she interact with a lot of characters we hadn't met before (and some we are familiar with) and this allows it to feel unique in a lot of ways.  Jacks is a particularly fascinating character who I immediately wanted to know more about. He has such a presence and easily is the most interesting of the new characters we meet.

The romance in this novel, and the way Stephanie Garber writes romance in general, is my favourite part of these novels. It feels more sensual than flat out sexy. It's a tease that feels more seductive than other more explicit make out scenes do. There is so much that is able to be conveyed with only a look, a touch, or a perfectly phrased piece of dialogue. Caraval had this as well but it feels dialed up in the sequel. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, and Stephanie captures this element of Caraval (the game) effortlessly. There is something inherently sexy about the game of Caraval and that fact is used to perfection within this series.

The magical world of Caraval is only beginning to reveal all of its secrets and I cannot wait to continue this journey with the Dragna sisters. There is plenty of set up here for what is sure to be a stunning finale to this series. I am quite excited about many of the possibilities and the uncertainty I felt about the direction of the story after finishing this one. This sequel kept me on my toes in the best possible way. It offers up information that makes you want to read the series again to experience it from this new perspective. I love when sequels manage the unexpected and this one more than delivers.

I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to get swept up in not just the story but the setting that has been created. I also recommend it for anyone who likes books that are addictive and almost impossible to put down. It's an enchanting sequel that more than lives up to its predecessor. It's a world you'll be reluctant to leave and filled with characters who will steal your heart.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Archenemies


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 Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

** Spoilers For The First Book In The Series **


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
The Renegades Trilogy continues, in this fiercely awaited second installment after the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other's worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City - and the world - as they know it.
It is no surprise that I am a big fan of superhero stories. I wa really excited when Marissa Meyer announced her own superhero story and could not wait to read it.

After I finished reading Renegades I immedately wanted me. I am so excited that not only is there a sequel coming out in November but that the series will be a trilogy!

I cannot wait to dive back into the world of Gatlon City!

Expected release date - November 6  2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo



The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Release Date - May 8, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.
The Way You Make Me Feel is essentially made to read in the summer. It has romance, humour, and even takes place during the summer. It's one of those feel good reads that beg to be read by a pool. It is also a character driven novel that worked for me in a lot of ways. It offers a perfect showcase for Maurene Goo's talent of creating a cast of characters that you end up loving, and the type of story that leaves you smiling. .

Clara is abrasive and sarcastic. She's cynical and closed off. She purposefully keeps people at arms length so she doesn't get hurt. She's someone who doesn't like to show when she cares about something, and doesn't take herself (or anything else) all that seriously. Everything is a joke or something to roll her eyes at. The upside to this kind of character is the growth that comes along with it. Clara's growth is one of my favourite elements of this novel and one that I predict many people will enjoy. It feels unhurried and earned by the end of the novel.

There are a few relationship dynamics that stood out for me while reading this novel. First up is the father/daughter bond that exists between Clara and her father Adrian. He's a younger father who admits he makes mistakes. He is protective and involved in her life but not in a way that felt smothering. He also goes through a bit of growth as he learns to balance being a parent with still living his life as a person outside that role.

Enemies to friends is one of my favourite type of relationship tropes and this novel had an amazing one at its core. Rose is someone who aggravates Clara for taking everything so seriously, and trying too hard. Rose cares too much and allows it to show. This puts their personality types at odds, and it causes a lot of friction between them. After being forced to work together an unlikely friendship blossoms that really changes Clara for the better. I do think both girls benefit from the friendship, but Clara is the one who especially learns from it.  They each provide something the other needs in the friendship and I appreciated that the entire novel was not them fighting the entire summer.

The last relationship that stood out to me was the romance. Hamlet is entirely adorable. Clara likens him to a golden retriever and that is fairly accurate. He's patient, supportive and respectful in a way that felt unique to many young adult love interests. Their relationship also pushes Clara outside her comfort zone and helps her learn a lot about herself. I expect that Hamlet will make plenty of readers swoon, but his easy going personality is probably my favourite part about him.

My only slight issue was that I didn't feel the story came together as strongly at the end as it started out. This has a really strong beginning and middle. The growth that Clara experiences captures the readers interest and propels us forward. The ending didn't offer the emotional pay off that I was expecting. I wanted to get a little deeper into some of the issues but it never quite got there for me. This, however, does keep it on tone (even it means it is not entirely satisfying).

This book is a fun, enjoyable young adult contemporary read. I do think the characters were the strongest part of the story with them shining just a little bit brighter than everything else. Those looking for something breezy and light to read will find plenty to enjoy in here. I look forward to whatever Maurene Goo writes next as I saw a lot of potential within this book. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

New To My Book Closet


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

I had some pretty exciting arrivals this week in my mailbox. First up is a book from Penguin Random House. I decided to request this for review after seeing people rave about it. I like a good rom-com and this sounds especially adorable. 


The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Penguin Random House for sending it along. It's been added to my review schedule so expect a review in the next little bit.

Next up is a new Funko Pop that I added to my collection. It's Steve from Stranger Things when they go into the tunnels in season two. The white flecks in his hair is supposed to be ash (and it sort of sparkles in real life) and his trusty bat is in his backpack!


Steve quickly became a fan favourite (and personal fave) in season two so I was happy to see him added to the newest Stranger Things wave.
 
What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Weekly Obessions


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 small Weekly Obessions post this week. 

TV/MOVIE

The Staircase Trailer

Continuing to devour everything related to true crime by adding this documentary series to my Netflix queue. It releases June 8th and I am going to watch it immediately.


This is the infamous 'owl theory' case where the defense argued that an owl made the victim fall down the stairs. It is also one of the bigger true crime cases I've heard discussed on various true crime podcasts.

What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

You by Caroline Kepnes



You by Caroline Kepnes
Release Date - September 30, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  424 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
You had been on my radar for awhile. Numerous friends had recommend it to me. It was a book that sounded like it would be something I would be into. I had it sitting on my self for years but just never picked it up. This was a mistake because, the second I finished reading it, I was angry at myself for not picking it up sooner. It is what I wanted a lot of other books to be even as they could not quite deliver on the expectations I had.

This book is compulsively readable. You'll tear through this in one sitting if you have no other commitments. It's a rapidly paced read that is a character study along with a sizzling page turner. It's that blend of solid writing, characters who pop, and a plot that draws you in and keeps you engaged right until the very end. The second person narrative works incredibly well here as it reads like I imagine Joe's thoughts would. It all just came together for me in a way that ensured I couldn't stop reading this book.

Joe is exactly what the synopsis advertises. A dangerously obsessive guy who goes to the extreme when he takes an interest in someone. He calls himself a true romantic but most people would consider him a murderous stalker. This description may feel at odds with the fact that the character is also extremely charming and funny at times. His outward appearance to the world doesn't reflect the truth underneath. He is meticulously crafted so that the reader was still able to connect to him in some way.  You're equally fascinated and disgusted by him and I found that unsettling as a reader. He's the type of character you want to discuss and dissect because he's written so well.

Beck's character is mostly only shown through Joe's point of view. We get more than a few glimpses that the 'Beck' Joe sees is not who she really is. As we see a clearer picture of her we get a woman who is clearly dealing with her own issues. She admits many of them throughout the course of the novel, and it was refreshing to see a female character admit that she's not perfect. That she doesn't have it all together. That she is messed up in her own way. She sometimes uses people, keeps people around because of how they make her feel about herself, or does things she doesn't actually want to because it is easier. I wish we had gotten her voice at some points because I expect she is equally as fascinating as Joe. It reads like she is just as messed up as Joe but in a completely different way, even if the reader cannot always be sure how much of their perspective is being shaped by Joe's own.

The side characters are also just as fascinating. Beck's best friend, Beck's therapist,  the guy who works at Joe's bookshop. They all have something about them that makes them memorable. I think any of them could be fleshed out to easily become a main character of their own story. Caroline Kepnes real talent is creating characters and voice and they are both equally on display here.

Fans of everything dark and twisty will devour this one and immediately want to grab the sequel. It reads like a highly heightened cautionary tale. It hits a little closer to home because it is all to easy  to imagine someone like Joe and how easy it would be to be drawn to them. It what makes the book all the more unsettling. I highly recommend picking this one up and packing it in your beach bag this summer!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Waiting On Wed ... Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating


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 Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Roomies, Beautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?
I always enjoy books by Christina Lauren. They are pretty much my go to for romance reads. This one sounds adorable. I am looking forward to laughing at all the horrible blind dates they send each other on and for them to eventually realize they are perfect for each other.

This one comes out in September so it'll be a bit of a wait, but it does come out just in time for pumpkin spice season!
Expected release date - September 4,  2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Royals by Rachel Hawkins



Royals by Rachel Hawkins
Release Date - May 1, 2018
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  296 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.
Thanks to the recent royal wedding the fascination with all things royal is at a fever pitch. If you're anything like me you'll be wanting to get your hands on any book that has any sort of royal family connection in it. Rachel Hawkins' Royals was already on my radar, but it was exactly the book I was looking for when I picked it up. It is a book that more than lives up to what its synopsis promises and will leave you instantly wanting more.

This story focuses on a unique perspective by having it be told primarily through the lens of Daisy instead of her sister Ellie. It's like having a secondary view of what a royal wedding would be like, and this novel is all the better for it. I've never thought about the family of the person marrying into royalty. Through Daisy we see the spotlight that would come along with this. We see how invasive it would be to have that spotlight thrust upon you. It's this invasion of privacy, and a set of expectations, that you never directly signed up for. It's an interesting dynamic because you get that Daisy wants her sister to be happy and marry the guy she loves, but there is also this frustration that her life is now impacted by the choices her sister has made. The tension that is created from this really worked for me. I am a sucker for family dynamics and this has a lot of family focus.

Daisy is a typical teen. She's a fangirl who likes to read. She's a bit of a mess sometimes, but is also funny, snarky, and loyal. She isn't what anyone would consider regal or polished. She is not perfect and that imperfection shows itself on the outside. I loved the connections she had to those she surrounded herself with. Her family bonds, and friendships felt natural to me because I was invested in Daisy.

Sebastian, the younger brother of the prince Daisy's sister is marrying, is also a fascinating character. He's the more scandalous brother. He's the one who breaks hearts and finds his way into the tabloids. He's easily one of the more interesting characters and pretty unforgettable (especially when compared to his brother).

Part of Daisy's journey is realizing that the members of the royal family are not as perfect as they appear to be. This also applies to those they surround themselves with. It was refreshing to have them seem like human beings instead of these bland, characterless personas.

The romance within this one is enchanting. It's the stuff of fairytales, just a much more realistic feeling one. It's not all castles, tiaras, and grand gestures and that is exactly what makes it work. Daisy isn't looking for her prince charming. She isn't interested in the life her sister is living and wants to create her own path. All of this makes the ending of the novel all the sweeter.

The wide cast of characters ensures that this could easily be extended with a series of companion novels focusing on other characters. There are so many fascinating characters that grace these pages that it would be a travesty if we didn't see them again in some format. It's a world that is built to be expanded upon and I cannot wait to see that happen.

A book whose humour and charm sparkles as bright as any tiara. It's a perfect blend of fun, spit your beverage out  humour, and romance. It's the sot of book that is able to break you out of a reading slump. If you're a fan of contemporary young adult novels that seem made for a happily ever after I would highly recommend spending some time devouring this one.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

New To My Book Closet


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

I had a lot of amazing arrivals this week! First up are two bookmarks that I love from HappyHello (Etsy shop link). They are adorable and I am happy to add them to my collection.


They are obviously Elio and Oliver from Call Me By Your Name. I've fangirled about this shop before, but you should check it out if you love cute bookmarks. A ton of different fandoms are offered and they make great gifts.

Next up was my Indigo Book Box which featured War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. The box contained a signed copy of the book, a candle, a note from Victoria, and a Scarlet Guard pin.


War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (goodreads)

The pin is so amazing that I had to include a close up of it! It's a perfect addition to my pin collection and a wonderful bit of swag to celebrate the end of the series with.


What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

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.

Trailers for the fall movies are begun to be released and it looks like there are some amazing upcoming movies to look forward to.

TV/Movie

Bohemian Rhapsody Trailer

This movie has been in the news for the behind the scenes drama that has surrounded it. Multiple directors and numerous delays have plagued this movie. I wasn't quite sure what to expect as a result. If the first trailer is any indication we are in for something pretty amazing.

 

Rami Malek is electric. He's giving me serious Oscar vibes and I fully expect him to be part of the conversation leading up to awards season. All of the negative background noise doesn't seem to have impacted the performance of story so my expectations are still pretty high for this one.

Teaser Trailer For Beautiful Boy

All eyes will once again be on Timothee Chalamet this upcoming awards season if this teaser trailer is any indication of the performance within this movie. 

  

This teaser has only made me want a full trailer all the more. It is on the top of my must see list for Oscar season! I expect it is going to be both heartbreaking and uplifting (it's based on a true story of a father trying to help his son who has an opioid addiction).

Destination Wedding Trailer

Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves spark in this romantic comedy trailer that has instantly made me want to see this movie. I am a huge fan of both of them and this trailer is a good showcase for each of them.

   

I love their banter and the connection that is evident even in this trailer. It's going to be a fun one to watch and I am very much looking forward to it!
What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, May 18, 2018

All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor



All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor
Release Date - May 15,  2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .
A secret. A famous author. A group of teen fans clamoring to be in her inner circle. The truth between fiction and reality become blurred in Lygia Day Penaflor's captivating, well written, and addicting novel.

This novel is compulsively readable. It's almost impossible to put down. The different narration formats used also make for a quick, easily digestible read  that many will finish in a sitting. It's the novel equivalent of a CW show - splashy, filled with a lot of drama and beautiful people. It also has an amazing hook and the author uses this to great impact. The story is told via transcripts, interviews, articles, and passages from a novel. It all comes together to create a book whose writing alone is worthy of praise.

This novel's tension really comes down to differing perspectives. It's multiple characters giving their account of events and how their personalities and biases impact how they see those events. These differing recollections allow the reader a much broader scope of the story. It allows the reader to sift through each of the accounts and draw their own conclusions. These characters are not deliberately misleading and that makes the story all the more fascinating.

All of the characters are fascinating in their own way. I, however, found the character of Fatima Ro to be the most fascinating out of the group. She is also one of the main characters who never give their own account of the story. She is shown to the reader through the lens of other characters. Her motives are at the crux of this novel. The why behind her actions is always on the reader's minds. I found how she used he art to 'rewrite' things in her life interesting and wish we could have explored her more. She's this larger than life figure whose made even more mythical thanks to the media circus that surrounds her in this book.

Where the book falters a little, at least for me, was the ending. The build up to the big reveal felt anticlimactic because it is evident early on what exactly the situation was. It was a case of the set up being more captivating than the reveal and the story just didn't come together as fully as I felt it was going to in the beginning. Something was missing to bring it all together and that especially became evident for me as I neared the ending of the story.

This is a book that will make for some pretty deep discussions. The characters of both Jonah and Fatima are enough to provide book club fodder all on their own, but the novel also dives into other elements that are worthy of discussion. The idea of trust and if it was broken in this particular case is certainly ripe for discussion, but so is the entire notion of fan culture and frenzy that surrounds it. It would be a good pick for anyone wanting to ignite a healthy debate at their next book club.

All Of This Is True will definitely be devoured by certain people. It is tailor made to appeal to the hardcore book lovers who dream about getting close to one of their favourite authors. It certainly boasts a tantalizing premise and has solid writing behind it, but it didn't quite come together for me the way I had hoped. I enjoyed my time reading it but wanted just a little bit more of a payoff to this incredibly set up premise. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Kens


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 Kens by Raziel Reid


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Heterosexuality is so last season: Kens is the gay Heathers meets Mean Girls, a shocking parody for a whole new generation.

Every high school has the archetypical Queen B and her minions. In Kens, the high school hierarchy has been reimagined. Willows High is led by Ken Hilton, and he makes Regina George from Mean Girls look like a saint. Ken Hilton rules Willows High with his carbon-copies, Ken Roberts and Ken Carson, standing next to his throne. It can be hard to tell the Kens apart. There are minor differences in each edition, but all Kens are created from the same mold, straight out of Satan's doll factory. Soul sold separately.

Tommy Rawlins can't help but compare himself to these shimmering images of perfection that glide through the halls. He's desperate to fit in, but in a school where the Kens are queens who are treated like Queens, Tommy is the uncool gay kid. A once-in-a-lifetime chance at becoming a Ken changes everything for Tommy, just as his eye is caught by the tall, dark, handsome new boy, Blaine. Has Blaine arrived in time to save him from the Kens? Tommy has high hopes for their future together, but when their shared desire to overthrow Ken Hilton takes a shocking turn, Tommy must decide how willing he is to reinvent himself -- inside and out. Is this new version of Tommy everything he's always wanted to be, or has he become an unknowing and submissive puppet in a sadistic plan? 
I enjoyed Raziel Reid's first book quite a bit. I especially loved the discussion my book club had after reading it. I was excited to see that he has another book coming out and that it is inspired by Heathers and Means (both of which I love).
 
I anticipate that this will be just as thought provoking and discussion worthy as his first. I expect it is going to be just as buzz worthy as his first.

Expected release date - September 18,  2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Puddin' by Julie Murphy



Puddin' by Julie Murphy
Release Date - May 8,  2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
It is a companion novel to Dumplin', which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean's star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined. 
It is a rare occasion that I love a companion novel more than the original. Julie Murphy has accomplished not only creating a satisfying contemporary novel, but one that accomplishes this elusive goal. She manages to make Puddin' stand on its own merits while still gifting fans of Dumplin' with a return to the characters they fell in love with.

It is the female friendship that is the heart and soul of this story. The entire tone of the novel is one of girl power, the importance of friendships, and supporting each other. The group of girls who bonded during the pageant in Dumplin' are there for each other in a way that just makes your heart swell. They have their differences and disagreements, but they are always there when they need each other. It was refreshing to see friendships where there was no drama due to romantic interest in the same person. That story arc is the typical go to in female friendships and I was relieved it was not included within these pages. Anyone looking for a story that allows these friendships be the focus will find this read a delight.

Callie is a fascinating character. Many will remember her from Dumplin' and probably have a set expectation of who she is. Julie Murphy manages to create a complex, at times infuriating character who is so much more than you think. She may make awful decisions and mistakes, but she is never shown to be unworthy because of it. She is someone who has a lot of growing to do and changes she needs to make but you root for her to see the error of her ways. All of these feelings are simply a result of how well written the character is. Julie Murphy makes it easy to understand Callie even if you don't always like her actions.

Millie is someone figuring out who she is and what she wants. She is finding her voice for the first time and taking the tentative first steps of independence from her parents. It's a journey every person takes and while Millie's is unique to her circumstances there is something relatable at its core. Part of the book's charm is seeing Millie and Callie form a strong friendship, and how they influence each other. Millie grows just as much as Callie does as the story progresses. She just does it in a vastly different way.

The romance that is in the novel is not quite in the background, but definitely not the main focus. They are very sweet and tentative in way that I found charming. There is something to be said for that giddy crush feeling and the blushes that come along with it. Julie Murphy is a pro at creating these relationships that feel filled with potential and very much grounded in reality. They start as friendships and that very much feels like the most important aspect to any romance that Julie writes.

A story filled with friendships, sleepovers, first loves, and learning to stand up for what you want. Puddin' is, perhaps, even more charming than Dumplin' and provides a feel good read that is all heart. Julie Murphy continues to write novels that are simply a delight to read. It's one I highly recommend when you need a fun read that will make you laugh. It's one that you'll immediately want to share with your friends. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

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 huge thank you to Raincoast Books for the very exciting package that arrived in my mailbox. I am looking forward to Legendary and Furyborn and cannot wait to dive into them. I basically hugged the package when it was handed to me because I knew what I would find in it!


Legendary by Stephanie Garber (goodreads
Furyborn by Claire Legrand (goodreads)

What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

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 fun things to share this week! I am also excited about spring finally being here. It's been nice to go out with a sweater instead of a winter jacket and the sunshine has been really nice!

BOOKS

American Royals by Katharine McGee (goodreads)

I was immediately intrigued by this book just from the deal announcement. It sounds like a perfect fit for anyone who is obsessed with royalty and the idea of 'what if'.

The deal announcement describes it as
A reimagining of modern-day America as a monarchy, the book tells the tale of the American royal family: the most famous family in the world, who play out their dramas on the greatest stage of all.
I look forward to hearing more about this as the fall 2019 release date gets closer.

OTHER

HappyHello Bookmarks (link)

I have raved about the bookmarks from this Etsy shop a bunch of times. I was so excited when I saw that some new ones had been added and immediately purchased the Call Me By Your Name set!

How cute are these?! They are perfect. I am (im)patiently waiting for my set to arrive in the mail.

photo copyright Vivi @ HappyHello Co
The photo is taken from the Etsy shop and belongs to Vivi who is the owner. Please check out the shop. There are a ton of different fandoms represented and she even does amazing custom orders!

Quelque Chose Ice Cream With Macarons (link)

I stumbled across this new ice cream offering in downtown Ottawa. The place is called Quelque Chose and they are mainly a macaron place, but have added these delicious looking ice cream treats to their menu for the summer.



The S'more and Cotton Candy ones are a must try for me, but the rest of them look just as amazing. Check out their website, and if you live in the Ottawa area be sure to check them out this summer.

What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Our Kind Of Cruelty by Araminta Hall



Our Kind Of Cruelty by Araminta Hall
Release Date - May 8, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
This is a love story. Mike’s love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…

A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.
I settled into Our Kind Of Cruelty expecting a taunt psychological thriller. One filled with plot twits and jaw dropping reveals. That is not at all what this book is. It's a rage inducing read that will make you want to get your friends to read it just so you have someone to discuss it with and scream about how society judges women for their sexuality.

The synopsis teases that this is Mike's love story and I cannot think of a more accurate description. This is a novel of obsession and perception. Women like Verity, who enjoy playing games as part of sex, are viewed as certain way. Men like Mike, strong and handsome, are also viewed a certain way. That perception is part of what makes this story work even as it dismantles it. The author had a clear message she wanted this book to convey and I feel that she more than succeeded in that endeavour.

The narration is split into two sections. We have the beginning that is essentially a character study of Mike. It's fascinating and ensures you're pulled into the story. The latter half is a tense courtroom drama that is probably, in my opinion, the stronger of the two sections. The first is necessary to the second but the story arc payoff is all in the back part of the story. It means the pacing feels slower at first but increases as the story nears its conclusion. It creates the effect of a really readable novel because I flew through it once the pacing picked up.

I don't want to get too much into the characters or the plot. There is not a real mystery that needs to be unraveled but it still manages to be taunt with tension and I feel that needs to be experienced with as little spoilers as possible. The fact that so much the story is shared through a narrator who is unreliable means that it makes the reader think and follow along a little more closely. We're depending on the other characters to provide hints and clues to what is really going on. I went in thinking this story was going to be one thing, but it quickly morphed into something else entirely and I think it works more if you experience it the way the author intended it to be.

A story that makes a strong statement about the ways in which society blames women for the behaviour of men. A story that shows how women are punished for their sexuality in a way that men are not. It reflects a society that chooses to vilify women for the same actions they rationalize in men. The later part of this novel is especially hard to read as Verity is held accountable for things that were not in her control. We tell women to speak out, fight back, and do what they need to in order to survive if attacked in one breath, but belittle or judge in another when they do. This book captures this so acutely that I would recommend it for this alone.

This story will appeal to readers who want a fascinating character study. It doesn't really work as a mystery or suspense novel, but rather as something else all together. It's a book that is holding up a mirror to the way society views women like Verity. It works incredibly well as a commentary piece wrapped in a compelling narrative. I predict it'll be a favourite of many summer reading lists and bookclubs. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... All Of This Is True


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 All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .
This sounds like the type of book that is going to appeal to all book lovers out there. The idea of blending a mystery around meeting your favourite author is clever and such an intriguing premise.

The wait for this one won't even be that long as it comes out NEXT WEEK! I am so excited that this will be available so soon and intend to read it as soon as possible.

Expected release date - May 15,  2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno



9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno
Release Date - May 1, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  272 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**


**potential spoilers for 99 Days**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The irresistible sequel to the bestselling 99 Days.

Molly Barlow isn’t that girl anymore. A business major at her college in Boston, she’s reinvented herself after everything that went down a year ago . . . after all the people she hurt and the family she tore apart.

Slowly, life is getting back to normal. Molly has just said “I love you” to her new boyfriend, Ian, and they are off on a romantic European vacation together, starting with scenic London. But there on a Tube platform, the past catches up to her in the form of Gabe, her ex, traveling on his own parallel vacation with new girlfriend Sadie.

After comparing itineraries, Ian ends up extending an invite for Gabe and Sadie to join them on the next leg of their trip, to Ireland. Sadie, who’s dying to go there, jumps at the prospect. And Molly and Gabe can’t bring themselves to tell the truth about who they once were to each other to their new significant others.

Now Molly has to spend nine days and nine nights with the boy she once loved, the boy whose heart she shredded, without Ian knowing. Will she make it through as new, improved Molly, or will everything that happened between her and Gabe come rushing back?
Having a sequel to a book you thought was a standalone always comes with mixed feelings. There is excitement to be returning to the world and characters you love, but also some nervousness that it won't live up to the original. I had these exact feelings when it was announced that Katie Cotugno would be releasing a follow up to 99 Days. It turns out that I need not have worried. It's a story that embraces its characters and more than pays tribute to the book that came before it.

Molly Barlow is a character that ignited some strong reactions. She's a flawed female character who made some pretty large mistakes and she was certainly judged for them by both the other characters in the book and readers. Society judges women more harshly for their mistakes and this fact was showcased in 99 Days. Gabe is treated quite differently for the same actions that Molly committed. She is vilified while his transgression garners not much more than a shrug. This sequel shows how Molly keeps paying for the mistakes she made and having to face the unbalanced consequences of those actions.

This novel looks at learning to accept all parts of yourself, including the messy parts you may not be proud of all of the time. It is about being comfortable with being yourself. If this story has a message at its heart it is the beauty of being yourself. Molly has grown, but that doesn't mean she has to be someone she isn't to be worthy. It's a message that I found uplifting and affirming because it tells everyone that they are enough. They can be exactly who they are and be accepted.

There is a background element of wanderlust that thrums throughout the novel. The book makes you itch to create some memories of your own while trekking around Europe. There is something romantic and whimsical about some of the places Molly's journey takes her to. I appreciated that this is a travel book that doesn't always feel like one. It is background element to the story and it is the characters that are the main focus. It doesn't let the destinations drive the story, bur rather allows the characters to.

The awkwardness of the love square that Katie Cotugno has set up is pitch perfect. The secrets being held create this bond between Gabe and Molly that is undeniable. The fact that both Ian and Sadie are decent people make the situation even more uncomfortable. The entire situation showcases the growth that Molly has gone through while still acknowledging the mistakes she still needs to learn from. It's a well written look at a situation filled with complex relationships. It could have easily been written in a way that made it not work, but Katie Cotugno's writing ensures it comes together perfectly.

This feels like a much more fitting ending to Molly and Gabe's story. It's a bittersweet look at forgiveness and the hope of second chances. It's just as complex, messy, and thought provoking as Katie Cotugno's other books and one that I predict her fans will love. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

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 huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for the amazing book mail I received this week. I have been super excited about this one since I first heard about it and cannot read to read it.

I also have received a postcard from Becky Albertalli as a thank you for pre-ordering Leah On The Offbeat. It's super cute and is in fact a scene from the book!


Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (goodreads)

What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

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 very small Weekly Obsessions post this week. I am really into podcasts recently so the fact that one of my favourites is coming back for their third season has me very excited.

OTHER

Hollywood and Crime Season Three (link)

I don't know much about this case. I vaugely recall seeing a movie adaptation years ago about this case but I am excited to dive into the real stoy.


Hollywood and Crime always does an amazing job with their research and production. The work that goes into the podcast is clearly evident as you listen. I am counting down the days until the 17th of May when the first episode of this season will launch.


What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli



Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Release Date - April 24,  2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
If you're anything like me you read and loved Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda when it came out. You probably also wanted a sequel almost immediately upon finishing. When it was announced that we were getting a follow up in the form of a companion novel from Leah's point of view I was very excited. I loved Leah and was eager for her to have her own story. My expectations were high and Leah On The Offbeat shattered them. It's a feel good read that will leave you smiling as you hug your book. It's a fitting send off for these characters, and one that readers will want to return to again and again.

Fans of the first book will delight in the return of many beloved characters. We are given the opportunity to say goodbye to so many of our favourites. They have substantial roles within Leah's story in ways that charmed me completely. There is a ton of adorable Simon interactions in this book simply because he's one of Leah's best friends. I was surprised that even minor characters were given their due in this finale. It's a love letter to the fans of that first book in so many ways and I am confident it'll make readers emotional just for that perspective.

Readers fell in love with Simon while following him on his journey and they can expect to fall in love with Leah during hers. Being inside Leah's head is different than viewing her through Simon's perspective. She's snarky, loyal, fiercely protective of both herself and those she cares about, and complicated. She's imperfect and unsure at times and that makes her so interesting. I can see people labeling her with the 'unlikeable female character' moniker but I feel that's inaccurate and a disservice to her character. She's abrasive at times but that doesn't make her unworthy. She makes mistakes, but that just makes her feel all the more real as a character. I instantly loved her and the journey she navigates in her story.

Leah On The Offbeat, like Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, is a sort of coming out story. Leah knows who she is but just hasn't shared it with anyone outside of her family. Her bisexuality is addressed on the page in a really plot centric way. Leah is presented as noticing both male and female characters as attractive. There are two characters who could potentially be the love interest, even though it isn't what I would call a love triangle. It is, in my opinion, clear pretty early on who the true love interest is but it clearly showcases Leah's version of bisexuality in a way that suits her character. It's never up for debate, and is something Leah labels herself as throughout the book. It's very much presented as part of her character without being the only thing about her character.

The romance itself is pretty swoon worthy, but just as complicated as you would expect for a character like Leah. There are some delightful moments that exist between the two characters that are filled with flirty undercurrents and the potential for something more. It's a romance that fits who Leah's character is and that means it isn't without its bumps. Those bumps just make the pay off all the most rewarding. I also think the type of journey you should take with Leah, and not know too many spoilers going in.

Becky Albertalli once again crafts a story that is filled with humour, heart, and a swoony romance that is just charming as its predecessor. It'll have fans excited for whatever Becky Albertalli writes next even as they bid farewell to these beloved characters. It hits both the cozy notes of familiarity for those invested in these characters, but also allows Leah's story to be something all its own. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Waiting On Wed ... Josh And Hazel's Guide To Not Dating


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 Josh And Hazel's Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
The New York Times bestselling “romance It Girls” (Kirkus) bring you a hilarious, sexy romance about love perpetually unrequited (and denied), in the vein of their Roomies and Beautiful Bastard.

Foul-mouthed, quirky, sharp-as-a-whip Hazel never thought she would win the heart of her gorgeous college TA, Josh. And, in fact, she didn’t. But what a difference ten years can make. Well...ten years, and a lot of legwork. 
Christina Lauren books are pretty much my go to for romance. They are always fun, sexy, and enjoyable reads that always deliver what they promise.

This one sounds like it is going to feature a cute romance with different timelines (as I assume we'll see Hazel and Josh in both college and 10 years later). I am excited to learn more about this and love that it has been compared to Roomies which is one of my favourites.

Expected release date - October 9,  2018

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody



Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Release Date - April 10,  2018
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

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.
Amanda Foody's debut novel originally came to my attention because of the deal announcement for her second book. I was instantly spellbound by its premise and was even more excited to dive into it after loving her writing style upon reading her first novel. Ace of Shades offers up a dazzling start to a series where secrets can be dangerous and gambling can cost you much more than money.

Amanda Foody's writing feels effortless. It's descriptive, captivating, and alluring. Its descriptive ability to conjure the most vivid pictures is tailor made for the style of novels she seems to favor. There is something whimsical but dark at the center of the worlds she creates, and that is showcased in her writing as well.

The world that these characters inhabit is so well developed and unique. It's a mix of 1920's mobster, Las Vegas, and something all its own. Everything from the history of the city, the hierarchy that exists for the people who inhabit it, and the sort of magic that thrums through everything is complex and intricately crafted. It makes for a world you can easy slip into while reading and one that is hard to leave.

This is a world where all of the characters exist on some sliding scale of moral ambiguity. It's a world where many of them are, to some extent, criminals and that made all of them feel just as complicated and fleshed out as the world. There are some truly awful people within these pages, but others are just trying to survive the only way they know how. In a world that is inherently dangerous it's something they cannot really be faulted for. It also makes Enne's character arc feel more authentic and realistic when you consider the world she is in and who she is surrounded by.

Enne is the kind of character I love. She comes into her own at the series progresses and learns so much about who she is because of what happens to her. It's very much a journey she is taking and that directly impacts who she is becoming. She proves herself to be quite capable under stress, and much stronger than I think she gives herself credit for. She slips into this world of sin much quicker than she would like, but I felt the reader could feel this part of her lurking under the surface almost immediately.

Levi's bravado hides a caring young man who just wants to do right by the people who are counting on him. His world is quickly unraveling and Enne comes in like a whirlwind to complicate it even further. He's a character who is treading water, but who knows he could be sucked under at any moment. There's something interesting about him as a character and it makes the chapters from his point of view shine just a little brighter.

The romance in this one is scorching. There is a ton of unresolved sexual tension between the characters and it is palpable. It is nothing overtly explicit, but Amanda Foody does so much with just a look or a light touch. The act of wanting is potent when done right, and this book has it in spades. The delayed gratification of these two characters is going to make the eventual payoff all the more rewarding.

The plot is a pulse pounding, rapid paced jaunt through this vivid world that has been created. It's quite obviously the first part in a larger story and it is one that I predict readers will be more than happy to continue. The reveals and twists found within these pages only serve to ramp up tension and ensure that the reader is entirely hooked.

New Reynes is a world you'll quickly become charmed by, along with the characters that call the city home. Amanda Foody has once again crafted a darkly tantalizing read that will instantly have you wishing for its sequel, and probably make you add this author to your auto buy list.

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