Tuesday, May 31, 2016

NEW RELEASES - MAY 31

Hello everyone!

I have another week of new releases for you! Not a ton this week, but some good looking ones.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

I actually picked this book up the other day at the bookstore a little bit early, and I'm very excited to read it! I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Quick last year and it was a very unique and different story, so I am looking forward to this one!

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

I remember hearing about this book a while ago, but for the life of me can't remember when or why. Regardless, it looks very interesting, "they're" calling it a book for fans of We Were Liars, Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, I know, typical for a thriller, but hopefully this one is unique enough to stand on its own.

The Language of Stars by Louise Hawes

This is another one that I thought was already out, I've been hearing a steady stream of buzz about this book but I guess it still needs to be released. Anyways, it looks interesting.

Wanderlost by Jen Malone

So this book is pretty much my worst nightmare, getting lost in a foreign place with minimal help from other people/outside resources. But luckily, it does seem to not be too bad, putting a romantic spin on what could be a terrifying (for me!) experience!

Well, that's about it for this week, like I said, not a ton of new releases this week.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

LITJOY CRATE BOOK SUBSCRIPTION BOX - REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today I am talking about another book subscription box called LitJoy CrateLitJoy Crate offers 3 types of book boxes: board books (ages 0-2), picture books (ages 3-7), and young adult books (ages 14+). Each of their boxes come curated with 2-4 book themed products that go along with a book.

The ladies over at LitJoy Crate were sweet enough to send me a young adult box for review!



The May box was called 'Lady Bandit,' and it included:

  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, with a signed bookplate and little note from the author
  • A gorgeous copper necklace watch with a compass design (if you've read the book, you get the compass reference).
  • A lovely scarf that matches the book.
  • A tube of sand coloured (get it?) lip gloss 
  • A beautiful custom made notepad designed by ChickLit Designs




The book that is in each box will be a new release of the month, so June's box will have a June new release, but for this first box they wanted to go with a book that has been getting some great reviews.

I personally received an ARC of Rebel of the Sands and LOVED it, but hadn't quite been able to pick up a finished copy yet, so I was so glad to see it in this month's box! Here is the synopsis:


With the book there were some really awesome goodies. Each box typically comes with 2-4 and this box had a gorgeous necklace, a Arabian-inspired scarf, a custom notepad and a lip gloss, which I think is awesome because of the whole girl-disguised-as-a-boy thing!

All of these items were picked because they related to the book and you can tell that they weren't just thrown together. The boxes were curated by someone who read the book and picked up on the little details. I love how they actually relate to the book included!

I think a lot of times, some of these types of boxes are filled with bookish things, but they aren't necessarily related to the book included, or they aren't the highest quality. I was beyond impressed with this box and its contents!

Here is a close up of the watch necklace, is it not stunning?? I love it!



In addition to the amazing boxes these ladies put together, for every box sold, they donate a book to people who don't have access to books or to local libraries! The boxes have such amazing products and the one-for-one initiative makes splurging on a subscription box worth it!

LitJoy Crate has 4 different subscription options, 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month subscriptions. The month to month subscription starts at $29.99 + shipping a box, and if you select a longer-term, you save more money per box!

They are currently shipping to the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Ireland for anywhere from $14.99 - $24.99, depending on the location! These ladies are super kind and address a bunch of other questions on their FAQ page.

Every month, the boxes are shipped out around the 20th. I'm in Canada (so international for them) and I got it within a week!

If you don't want to commit to a subscription, or you want to give a fellow book nerd a subscription gift, you can do a one month gift subscription, or send a gift card with a value of $50+ to put towards a box of their choosing! I know I would love to get a subscription to LitJoy Crate for my birthday or other holiday!

I cannot recommend this box enough! If you are thinking about subscribing to a book box, LitJoy Crate is the one to get! Check them out on Instagram to see some more photos of their gorgeous boxes and their website for more info!

Overall, if you are looking for a great book box, of the ones I've seen, LitJoy Crate takes the cake in terms of coordination and quality!


Friday, May 27, 2016

THE OUTLIERS BY KIMBERLY McCREIGHT - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I have another book review today, The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight! Thanks so much to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book review. As always, all opinions are my own.



This book was so crazy! Even know, after I finished it, I have no idea what to think.

I don't know if the synopsis does the book justice. Yes, all that stuff does happen, but that really is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. I won't say to much because obviously this sort of book is better to go into not knowing much.

From some of the reviews this book has gotten, it seems like its a cliche, stereotypical teen crime/mystery. Maybe I just don't read a ton of the genre, because it sucked me way in. I started it at about 10 pm and could not put it down to go to bed until I finished it at 1 am. And I didn't really find it very cliched. The friend disappearing wasn't the most original plot in the world but with all the twists and turns in the storyline, and the PACING, you didn't get any time to relax.

This book has a lot of twists, and as some of the author reviews on the cover and back say, this book is fast-paced, addictive and that ending... AH I know this book just came out but I NEED book two now.

Normally, I talk a bit about the characters, but in this novel, there's not a lot to say. I think its just because the story focuses on the plot and storyline and not so much character development. Wylie, the main character, was likeable and battled her own demons. She suffers from severe anxiety and agoraphobia, since her mother died in a car accident three months before. Throughout this book, she has to overcome these fears to help Cassie.

I did find that after a while, it seemed like Wylie kind of forgot about her issues. She does some things that I don't see as being very characteristic of someone with these illnesses, but that might be she just sets those things aside to help find Cassie.

As I am reading through some other reviews, this book isn't getting the greatest of reviews. I can't really say why those people didn't like it, but I will say why I did. The pacing here was on pointe. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time the book was going on and I. COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN. There were also so many moments where I got goosebumps and the shivers, and that never happens.

Overall, the consensus I'm seeing is that if you are new to the teen crime genre, give this one a go, I think you'll enjoy it. But if this isn't your first rodeo, you may find it a little stereotypical (BUT I would still recommend it)!


Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE VOODOO KILLINGS BY KRISTI CHARISH - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish. Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.



Well, what do I even say about this book? For starters, it wasn't my favourite. I thought it was fun at the beginning, but I just found that the supernatural elements were too much and I wasn't a fan. That being said, I still finished the book.

I think that there is a specific group of readers who would enjoy this book. If you liked City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and the Mortal Instruments series, you may like this one, although I only read City of Bones and no others in the series so I can't be 100% sure. Or if you liked The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, I got a lot of similar vibes from this one. Urban fantasy, secret underground world, outlawed job description, kind of crazy but still loveable old man mentor, that sort of thing.

But you see, for me personally, I didn't love either of those books. I don't know, maybe I just like my fantasy a little bit higher. I enjoyed the setting of Seattle, but I think that the urban fantasy aspect just rubbed me the wrong way.

Character wise, I enjoyed them. I felt like the main character Kincaid was a good, solid character. She definitely held her own and didn't need anyone to help her. I loved her relationship with Nate, he was so hilarious and I think their friendship was very sweet, even when they were occasionally a little frosty with one another, they were always loyal.

Cameron, the zombie was a weird character for me. Everything was told from Kincaid's perspective, so we never really got what he was thinking inside. I feel like I don't really know him as a character, because there's so much of his life that he doesn't remember, and some of the things we learn about aren't super important. A lot of his actions were also affected because of him being a zombie, you didn't know if his emotions and reactions were from his personality or came on because he was a zombie.

I feel like there were a lot of different storylines going on at once, and we only got to see a couple of them end. I suppose that's where the sequel comes in, but I just felt a little let down.

I do have to stress though, these opinions are coming from someone who doesn't read books about zombies, and doesn't love urban fantasy. So take these comments with a grain of salt, because I have heard some great things about this book.

The ending as good, although it was a little cliff-hangery. It didn't kill me, but the author sets up the ending for a sequel. Unfortunately, because I didn't love the book, the ending didn't really have the same punch as it would have if I enjoyed the book more.

Ok, this is starting to sound very negative. Let me break it down and you can decide for yourself. Basically, if you like zombies and/or urban fantasy, go for it. If you don't love these things, by all means, still read it, but these elements are so integral to the story, you will be seeing them a lot.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

NEW RELEASES - MAY 24

Hello everyone!

There aren't a ton of new books out this week, but some that look interesting, including a finale and a sequel!

Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims

I've had my eye on this book for a long time, since I heard about it coming out, and I CANNOT wait to read it! It's a thriller with what I am assuming will be an unreliable narrator, two things I love! Definitely picking this one up!

26 Kisses by Anna Michaels

This book seems like a really cute, fluffy summer read! I can just imagine sitting by the beach, soaking up some sun reading about Veda and her journey!

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

I haven't really heard too much about this book, but looking at some of the Goodreads reviews, it's going to be good! Both reviewers and well known authors are RAVING about it, so if this sounds like your thing, pick it up!

Incriminated by M.G. Reyes

So I have had Emancipated sitting on my shelf to be read for, oh probably 6+ months now... It looks so good, I just haven't had the time to pick it up. Both these books look spectacular, so I'm sure once I read book one, I will pick this one up!

The Last Star by Rick Yancey

And finally, the book that prehaps thousands of people have been anticipating, the final book in the 5th Wave series. I haven't read this series personally, so I can't really comment on it, but I have yet to hear a bad thing!

Anyways, that is it for new releases this week! See you next week!


Monday, May 23, 2016

I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS BY IAIN REID - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today, I am reviewing a crazy book I was send for review, I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


I don't even know where to start with this book. I loved it, but at the same time, I'm so beyond confused. If you've been reading my reviews for awhile, you will know that the only reason I don't give a book a star rating is when I either DNF'd it, or if I was so enthrallingly confused by it. In the case of this book, it is the latter.

Usually, I start with the characters, but in a way, the writing was so much more important than the characters. This really is a story driven by the atmospheric writing, and while it was a unique aspect that I personally found refreshing, I feel like some people won't love it.

At just over 200 pages, this book is a quick read, in terms of length and pacing. I started it before bed, which was also a minor error on my part, I knew it would be creepy, but not this creepy, and kept telling myself to go to bed, but I needed to know what happened at the end. Next thing I knew, it was 1 am and I was too afraid to turn out the light.

This book reads more like a short story than a novel, which is good because your body will be on edge THE. WHOLE. TIME. Even the flashbacks to previous months were creepy.

I think the scariest part for me was the high school. This is pretty much the major climax point, and because the writing is so detailed, you were right there with the girlfriend (who, as far as I can recall, isn't named).

I do have to say, the ending really messed me up. I'm still not sure what happened, even after reading some other peoples reactions. I don't want to spoil anything but I'm so confused. Who was the man? Did Jake actually have a brother? The narrator was so unreliable, you couldn't tell at all what was going on once they got to the farm. And what was up with the parents?

I think this is a very unique book, that some may not like as much as others. It's not so much a thriller or mystery but, as one reviewer called it, psychological horror. I think that perfectly sums up this book because it messes with your head and terrifies you.

Overall, a crazy whirlwind of a book that you should definitely check out if you want a fresh twist on the usual thriller.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

VINYL BY SOPHIA ELAINE HANSON - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Vinyl by Sophia Elaine Hanson. Thanks so much to the author for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.



I really enjoyed this book. Vinyl ended up being a really great, classical dystopian novel that was able to stand apart and be unique in a fairly saturated genre.

The book follows primarily the main character, Ronja, who lives in a world where people have devices implanted called "Singers" that distribute the "Music." There is the Day Song, the Night Song and the Quiet Song, each counteracting the emotions and feelings that the citizens feel, such as the desire to rebel. Those who have be able to overcome the Music are captured and turned into "Mutts," mutants who die slowly and painfully, becoming addicted to substances, are unable to control their emotions and ultimately passing on the mutant genes to their offspring, as sort of a warning for others. Ronja's mother is a Mutt, and Ronja feels the effects of this through isolation and prejudice.

Anyways, one thing leads to another, and Ronja is captured by the rebellious group against the Conductor, called the Anthem. One of the important members of this group is Roark. There is a bit of romance between Ronja and Roark, and I appreciated how while it was an element of the story, it wasn't the main focus. I also liked how it wasn't insta-love. Ronja is way to headstrong to jump into a relationship like that. Although there isn't much of a chance to develop it in this book, I'm hoping the next book expands more on it.

Being a dystopian novel, there was some overlap with other books I've read, but at this point, there isn't much that hasn't been done. The rag-tag team on an adventure to save family reminded me a little of The Darkest Minds, the Singer devices reminded me of Under the Never Sky and the dark, industrial, underground city of the Anthem was reminiscent of The City of Ember as well as the sass of characters in Shatter Me. That being said, this book stood out and stood on its own. The use of music was a different element than I am used to, and I really loved the concept of the Singers.

I also really loved the writing style of this book. There were times when I just had step back and appreciate the writing. You can tell that the author put a lot of work into choosing each and every word in the story, and was well aware of the weight behind them. Another interesting writing quirk was that while most of the characters were eighteen, nineteen, and older, they were often referred to as "the boy" or "the girl," never "the man" or "the woman." I don't know if it was intentional or not, but I found that these descriptions helped remind me that these characters were young, they weren't men and women hardened by life, but rather children who were forced to grow up way too fast.

Overall, this was a great dystopian with all the classic elements of the genre, but with a twist.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

THE LONG ROAD HOME BY ALEC JOHN BELLE - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review! Today, I am reviewing The Long Road Home by Alec John Belle. Thanks so much to the author for sending me an eGalley of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.



I really loved this book. I wasn't too sure what to expect going in, but once I got into it, I knew I was hooked.

Similar to It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, this book takes place in a psychiatric hospital after the main character, Brooke, tries to commit suicide for the second time. By the way, I'm just going to warn you know, this book deals with very serious topics and triggers, such as suicide, and self-harm, such as cutting and overdosing, so if any of these affect you, maybe turn away now.

When this book first starts, you can tell that Brooke does not want to continue living. This was her second attempt and she's adamant on getting out to, in her words, "finish the job." The thing that is most important in this and other books dealing with suicide or mental illness is working through these tough topics, and incorporating hope as well. This was one of the truly grittiest novels on teen mental illness I have ever read, and the author works to bring in hope for the future.

I think what struck me most in this book was the writing style. It was so descriptive and when we were given insight to what was going through Brooke's head, you felt like you were in there with her. The struggles she was going through were your struggles. The writing style was so immersive, you felt like you were Brooke.

I really enjoyed the romantic elements of this book, and how Matt and Brooke interacted. You could just feel the connection between them, and along with Brooke's history with her past crushes, you could really see what was at stake for her if things went bad. Even when they just had daily banter, I could feel the tension between them.

Brooke for me was an interesting character. As someone who has never truly been in her shoes, and is not very familiar with cutting or the motives behind it, I was intrigued by her. Her descriptions were extremely vivid and I guess I never fully saw the extent of self-harm in this way. I really appreciated her growth, even though it was only for a week.

One of the other characters, Jennifer, a sort of antagonist with her own problems also ends up at the same hospital as Brooke. Through the THEN flashbacks, we see she has bullied Brooke non-stop for years, for no apparent reason. I disliked Jennifer from the beginning, but bad people aren't necessarily born, they are shaped that way. When the truth behind Jennifer is finally revealed, I was in shock. I definitely did not see any of that coming and pretty much sat in shock for a few minutes. My heart was broken for her after the end of the book, but that just shows that not everyone can beat their demons, no matter how hard they try.

I also appreciated the fact that this book was realistic and that not every ending is a happy one for every person.

I don't think I can give this book a full 5 stars just because of the timing. Brooke was only in the hospital for a week, but the story felt so much longer. It seemed like it went on for weeks, at least maybe that was because of the flashbacks to THEN. The other reason I didn't love this book as much as I could have was because of the flashbacks. Yes, they were helpful for backstory, and definitely necessary in some points, but it just felt too structured. NOW chapter, THEN chapter, NOW chapter, etc. There were points that I just wanted the NOW chapters, because I was so invested in the story, and it felt a little disjointed.

Overall, however, I very much enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to any and all. It deals with some LGBTQA+ issues as well as mental illness and is a book that I think many today could benefit from reading.


Monday, May 16, 2016

THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER BY HARRIET REUTER HAPGOOD - BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW

Hello everyone!!

I am so excited to be working with the amazing people over at Raincoast Books and be a part of the blog tour for what might be one of my favourite books of the year, The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood.



Each blogger got to ask one question to Harriet, and because I am randomly obsessed with names, and there are some really interesting ones in the book, I asked her about them!

How did you come up with the names of the characters in the book?
Slowly! Few of the names from the first draft made it through – they’re just placeholders while I explore who the characters are, and they really come together as people for me once I find the right name. (Or borrow a name from a friend or relative.) Gottie started out as Mallory Reynolds – a Firefly reference – then Mallory Kreutz once I decided she’d be half-German like my mum. Once I realized I was writing about family, she became Margot Kreutz (a shoutout to my auntie) and I figured an older brother like Ned would conjure a weird nickname like Gottie. Thomas’s surname was actually Oppenheimer til my agent pointed out that was two German families in one English book, so I switched his surname to Gottie’s and Gottie H. Oppenheimer was born (H for Hella, my great-aunt). Ned is short for Edzard, another family name. Ms Adewunmi is for a Twitter friend; Megumi is also a friend. A lot of it is just pure thievery – I know a lot of people with great names!


In addition to the Q&A, I had the opportunity to read an eGalley of this book for an honest review, thanks so much Raincoast Books! As always, all opinions are my own.

Gah! I loved this book. LOVED. IT. I don't know why, but it felt like home. No, I'm not insane, I just don't know how to describe it. This was just a genuinely fantastic book.

If you are scared of this book because there's math and science and physics or whatever, don't be. Does it get a little science-y? Yes. Did some of it go a bit over my head? Yes. Does it take away from the book? No, definitely not. Even though there's wormholes and blackholes and equations and whatever, there are enough other things going on in the book to break it up so you don't feel like you are in a science class at school.

Ok, let's start with the characters! First, the main character, Margot "Gottie" H. Oppenheimer. I just love her name. Gottie is such an incredible character. She is smart, but also fairly in tune with her ability to socialize and interact with other people. She's not your typical "nerd" character.

In fact, I think what I love most about this book is that it is so unique. Maybe it's just because I don't really read a ton of books that deal with time travel, but this book was so different from what I usually read.

Gottie does have her flaws though. She lies fairly compulsively and she doesn't always see how her actions will affect other people. But it's those flaws that make her so real. None of these characters are perfect, and they shouldn't be.

There are a bunch of other supporting characters, Gottie's brother Ned, their father who just goes by Papa, a group of friends, including Gottie's best friend, Sof and Ned's bandmates Jason and Niall.

One other character, Thomas, comes into the story fairly early on, and pops up a bit in Gottie's flashbacks/time travel, because he was their old neighbour before he and his parents moved to Canada (<-- YEAH represent! Also, sidenote, the Canadian stereotypes in this story were GREAT). Anyways, I really loved Thomas's character. He was sweet and very boy-next-door-ish. After his parents get divorced, his mom decides to move back to England and Thomas spends the summer at Gottie and Ned's house.

This story is set in the English countryside, and you really get that small town feel. Grey, Gottie's grandfather owned a bookstore in town and after he died, Papa took it over. Between scenes there, a cafe that closes whenever it wants, Gottie's tree house room and the small high school, the small town charm is real.

Time travel is a major part of this book, like I mentioned, but I really loved how it was done. For people like me who know next to nothing about it, the author made it really easy to follow. Still, at the same time, if that sort of thing interests you, you will get the scientific descriptions, and there's even some diagrams to help explain! (I really nerded out over those diagrams!). Usually when Gottie was describing something science-y to someone, she would tell them in science words and then they would be all, "Umm, English please?" and she would describe things in a way that the average person would understand.

There is also some romance in this book, and while, like the time travel, it was an important component of the story, it was well done and not forced. I really loved how even though this book had other elements, the story really is about Gottie and the reasoning behind her ability to time travel. Once you get to the end, and see what happened to cause everything, it really is heartbreaking. Even though the book quite clinically describes what happens as time travel, and a perfectly normal situation, one could even suggest that the events are a result of a mental illness and hallucinations, which makes me love this story even more!

I think the important thing to remember here is that yes there is romance and time travel, but this is a story about grief. About old wounds of losing her mother at birth, her best friend five years ago, and now losing her beloved second father, her grandfather. Say what you will about how the story is told, but this is the brass tacks, bare bones reality, and I think it is so important to remember what this book is about on a base level.

Overall, I highly, highly recommend this book. Whether you are a science lover or not, whether you are a homeless romantic or not, READ IT!

Thanks again to Harriet Reuter Hapgood and Raincoast Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS BY SARAH JUDE - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review,w, today I am reviewing The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. All opinions are my own.



Where do I start? This book truly was a whirlwind.

When I first read the synopsis, I thought I was getting a story of a small town with a couple of murders. What I ended up with was a crazy, twisted story of a cult-like community (using cult in the sense of a small group of people with similar beliefs, not in a necessarily negative sense).

Storywise, I enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting and the writing was good.

I just feel like it could have been better. I feel like for the first 100 or so pages in this under-300 page book weren't really all that important. Yes, there was backstory, but the real mystery didn't really start until after that. Once everything picked up, I enjoyed it. But I just felt like for a book that's only 286 pages, the first third shouldn't be poorly done.

In terms of the characters, I enjoyed them for the most part. Ivy and her family were interesting enough, but I felt like her codependence on first Heather and later Rook was annoying. I understand that they were close, but without Heather, Ivy didn't know how to be a person.

I think the main thing I enjoyed about this book was the ending. Everything was built towards one person being guilty and I was so sure. But then that theory was disproved and a new one came to light. That happened a couple times and I don't know if it was because not much happened in the first half or what but I didn't mind being jerked around.

In the end, this was an interesting book, but not one I personally will be picking up for my library.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

NEW RELEASES - MAY 10

Hello everyone!

I am back with another week of new releases! There's a few less than last week, but still lots of great reads! Let's get into the books!

Even If The Sky Falls by Mia Garcia 

Ahh this sounds like the perfect summer read! It's cute and romantic, with a little bit of realistic fiction thrown in there! Plus that cover is just classically beautiful!

Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn

This is the final book in the Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend trilogy. So far I've only read the first one, but I own the second one as well. These books are fairly light, they mostly deal with trivial issues, but they are still good books. And in case you didn't know, Katie Finn is a pseudonym for Morgan Matson, the author of a bunch of really great books like Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, and The Unexpected Everything!


I am so excited for this book!! I have only read one book by this author, Where Things Come Back but I really enjoyed it. This books sounds really great, and I'm hoping to pick it up at BookCon this weekend!

Love Blind by C. Desir and Jolene Perry 

This is another book that sounds like a really touching, summer read. I haven't heard much about this book, but it seems quite interesting!

The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes 

I read Portes's debut novel The Anatomy of a Misfit last year, when it first came out and the story was interesting, but the writing was even better. This book sounds so good, I can't wait to pick it up. Plus THAT COVER!

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

Ahh! I only just found out about this book a couple of weeks ago and it sounds SO GOOD! It sounds like a really great contemporary semi-thriller with some romance, so I am PUMPED!

This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer 

I feel like this is just the sort of magical realism book I have been craving. I'm not even 100% sure its MR, it just has that vibe. Again, not one I've heard much about, but it looks interesting!

The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

I actually just got an ARC of this book last week (thanks Penguin Random House!) and I quickly read the first page (something I never do) and I was immediately hooked! It sounds so hilarious and based on that page I read, I can't wait to get to it!

So, that's it for this weeks new releases! Hopefully you found a book that interested you!


Monday, May 9, 2016

MANNHEIM REX BY ROBERT POBI - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

This week I am back with a review of Mannheim Rex by Rob Pobi. Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.



Ok, so before I get into the review, I just want to say that I'm not sure that this book was written for someone like me.

I was hoping, based on the synopsis that, yes there would be a hunt for a lake monster, but the book would mainly focus on the characters and their issues. I suppose in the end it did, but I just thought there was too much monster/fishing and not enough stuff that the average person would enjoy. If you like monsters or fishing and that sort of thing, you will enjoy it. If you don't, you may have a harder time getting through this one.

The fact that this book wasn't for me isn't the author's fault. I tried to get out of my comfort zone, and it wasn't something I enjoyed. That doesn't mean that you won't like the book, or that it's a bad book.

Now that I have that out of the way, let's talk about the characters.

Gavin was probably my favourite character in the book. He is a widower with, what I would say is an alcohol abuse problem, although once he moves out of New York City, he drinks much less. I really enjoyed how the author portrayed Gavin. Even though he is set up to be this stereotypical, drunk, recluse writer who has millions of dollars, he comes across as a guy who writes but has his own demons. I really enjoyed how, even when he had a good reason, Gavin battled his demons and was able to push through them.

A couple of times throughout the book, he thinks of committing suicide, because he can't stand the reminders of all he has lost. I felt like Gavin's struggles were reasonable and believable. He got upset at, I don't know, the 'right' things, and not the insignificant little details. And for the most part, his reactions were accurate to the issue at hand.

I also really enjoyed Finn's character. He was a lovable 13 year old boy who, even though he hasn't been dealt the best cards, he makes the most out of every situation. Perhaps because he is a sick kid, he is mature and quite wise for his age. He is always helping others, and making sure they feel important.

The character I absolutely could not stand was the Sheriff. At the beginning of the book, he is cordial enough, but he turns into one of the most despicable human beings in the book, and possibly I have ever read. I do think that it is interesting that we have to males, about the same age, who for the most part are unhappy. I think that the Sheriff shows what City Gavin could turn into if he doesn't move on and get away from it all, a drug and alcohol addicted, power-hungry creep. But instead, City Gavin choses happiness, or at least a different path than that of his previous destruction.

I didn't this book for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the whole fishing/monster hunting thing was too over the top for me. It makes sense in this book, but like I said earlier, it was just too much for me. Secondly, I wasn't really a fan of the very thinly veiled idea that there are monsters everywhere, in the lake, in life, etc. It seemed a little cheesy and cliche to me personally. And finally, and probably most importantly, in this almost 450 page book, the plot didn't really pick up until close to 300 pages in. There is A LOT of backstory covered, some of which is necessary, others, probably not. I almost DNF'd a couple of times, either because of lack of interest, or the fact that the story was going over my head with the fishing and things.

Overall, I made it through the book. I'm not sure I really enjoyed it a ton, but I could see how others could and there are some strong themes throughout.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING BY MORGAN MATSON - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson! Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me this book for and honest review. All opinions are my own.


Well, I think Morgan Matson has redeemed herself from Since You've Been Gone. I really, really enjoyed this book. Like a lot.

From the synopsis, I was afraid this was going to be a book similar to Matson's writing as Katie Finn with Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend because it was another book about politics and a politicians daughter. I am happy to report this book was VERY different from that one.

As a character, I really enjoyed the main protagonist, Andie. She was a bit of a goody-two-shoes at the beginning of the book, but loosened up as things went along. I really feel like she and her father, and especially their relationship had grown from the beginning of the book to the end. Her father seems kind of like a jerk at the beginning, but as the book progresses, you feel more for him and everything he and Andie have been through.

The other characters, the three other female friends, and their respective man-friends were also great. There was a lot of humour in this book, a lot of deep conversations, and I just felt like their relationship was very natural and easygoing.

This is a long book, but there is a whole summer packed in here. Andie having to completely redo her summer plans, a GREAT scavenger hunt, and just a lot of fun moments. It makes me feel nostalgic for summers when you just hang out with your friends all the time. The dynamic of all the friends was just so well done. You really felt like you were in the book with them.

I also really loved Clark and Andie's relationship. I won't spoil anything but I just loved how well they clicked and got along. And I was so sure that the major conflict in the book was going to revolve around their relationship, I was almost glad at the conflict because it wasn't.

That brings me to my next point. Without saying too much, I really loved the conflict. And I feel like I shouldn't be saying that, because it is not a great event for any of the characters. But I was just so sure that it was going to be a romantic issue, and then it wasn't, I was so relieved. I feel like the issue, while it could have been avoided if ANDIE HADN'T COME UP WITH THAT "GENIUS" IDEA, was well planned and thought out. The girls relationship with one another is so crucial to this book and their lives, that it only made sense for the conflict to be about something that impacted that. And honestly, even though it sucks and wrecked things, hindsight is always 20/20 and I almost think they are better off because of it. I think that [spoilers] makes a good point, that [spoilers] and [spoilers] were so used to being together, they didn't know who they were as people. They had always been [spoilers] and they needed to be their own people for once in their lives.

Anyways, the ONLY reason I am dropping a star from this book is because I felt like the major issue could have been avoided if, you guessed it, my biggest pet peeve, THEY HAD TALKED TO EACH OTHER. I do realize that if things didn't go like that, this would be a totally different, probably very boring, anti-climatic story, but COMMUNICATION PEOPLE.

Overall, a hilarious, heartwarming and heartbreaking read, perfect for summer. I highly recommend!


Friday, May 6, 2016

WILD SWANS BY JESSICA SPOTSWOOD - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

This week's review is on Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood! Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me an eARC of this book for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


This was such a great book. It dealt with a loss so tragic, having your mother walk away, leaving you're behind, never to be heard from again for 15 years. I can't even imagine what that would be like.

Following a family line of gifted artists and writers, this book shows that you don't have to have an outward talent to be extraordinary. For all intents and purposes, Ivy is ordinary. She's good at poetry and swimming, but not medal worthy.

Living under the shadow of her great grandmother and grandmother and their iconic deaths, her own mother, Erica has struggles of her own. Erica was a fascinating character, she tried to be a good mother to some of her daughters, but her tongue was lethal and she had a mean, negative outlook on life. If she hadn't been born into the life of extraordinary, would she have turned out differently? Who knows. For most of the book, I wanted to hate Erica. But I use couldn't get past the sadness I felt for her. Her mother was depressed and committed suicide when she was a teenager, and that really messed with her own ability to be a mother.

Ivy's granddad was another interesting character. He tries to push his granddaughters into the typical life of their family, finding their talent. Even though Erica makes som good points about his motives, deep down he still just wants what's best for his girls.

I also loved how, even though there was a romance in this story, it didn't take over the plot line. The story was still about Ivy reconciling her past with her mother and living with her new sisters, and her quest for the her granddad's approval. The romance was there to add a little lightness, to show that even in the darkest of times, when nothing is going right, love can prevail.

Ivy's friends were fantastic, Claire, a very clear feminist makes some really great points and made me think. Plus she's hilarious. Abby is a little more reserved, but she is dealing with her own issues, the possibility of her six year old brother being transgender. And in a small beach town, where conservative values rule, this book tackles the topic with tact.

In fact, this book deals with a lot of heavy issues, especially for a small town, including bisexuality and being transgendered, alcoholism, depression and suicide, and racism and multiracial relationships.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It taught me a lot of things about myself, how you don't need to be perfect, how no matter how bad life seems, you can still make it.

And that may just be the longest review I have ever written! See you next week for another post!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NEW RELEASES - MAY 3

Hello everyone!

Apparently today is the day that every publisher decided to publish eight thousand books. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but instead of the usual 8-9 new releases and me picking 5-6 to feature, there is 30 and I have to pare that down so this post doesn't give you a hand cramp scrolling though.

SO in an effort to save both your time and mine, I am picking (my) top 6 books to feature with the synopsis and my thoughts, like usual, and the rest I will list at the bottom, with a link to the Goodreads page, so you can still check them out!

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight 

Lately, I've been loving the mystery/thriller books, and I have high hopes for this one! This is the first in a series of three books, and it sounds like what I wanted The Last Place on Earth to be about! One friend who leaves cryptic messages and needs help from their friend (not a DOOMSDAY NOVEL - no, I'm not still bitter about The Last Place on Earth AT ALL).

A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

I've seen this book floating around on Instagram and it looks hilarious! It sounds right up my alley, and the perfect summery read to break up some of the more serious books I've been reading!

Invisible Fault Lines by Kristen-Paige Madonia

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that some of my love for this book is related directly to the cover. I just really love it. But, the story DOES sound good as well! Again, I'm loving the mysteries so I'm hoping to enjoy this one!

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

This may or may not be another cover love book, BUT the story itself also sounds really good. I don't LOVE the original Alice in Wonderland, it's good but not my favourite story. Nevertheless, this retelling looks good, despite the mixed reviews it has on Goodreads.

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

I've had my eye on this book for a while, it sounds like a cute, summer read, with a mini road trip everyday - BRING ON THE ROAD TRIP NOVELS! Ahem. It looks cute, a little bit cheesy and all kinds of wonderful!

Ahh! I've also had my eye on this book and I. CANNOT. WAIT. I haven't even read the book and I'm already intrigued, trying to figure out who the killer is! Definitely picking this one up!!

Monday, May 2, 2016

DYING TO LIVE BY VINCENT J. MONTELEONE - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone,

I am back with another book review. Today, I will be reviewing Dying to Live by Vincent J. Monteleone. Thanks so much to the author for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


This was a very... different book for me. In terms of storyline and in terms of the way it is written.

Basically, a man is diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and given 6-18 months to live. He's 43. Premise wise, this book sounded interesting and it was, for the most part.

Because the main character, Brendon, is a businessman/entrepreneur, a lot of the story deals with living to make money and how money isn't the most important thing, especially when you are given a diagnosis like his. There were some numbers and business references thrown throughout the book, but they weren't too advanced that they went over my head.

This book also talked about choices in life, anything from falling in love to taking your kid to dance class or going to university to spending life making meaningful relationships.

In that regard, I think this is a very important book for people of any age to read. Everyone struggles with wasting their time and focusing on the wrong things, and this book explores those issues and helps guide you to do what makes you happy, because at the end of the day, really, that's all you've got.

This book was also different for me in terms of its style and how it is written. Everything is told in the past tense, so you get the feeling you are sitting on a park bench somewhere with Brendon while he tells you his story. It is only told from his perspective and you don't really feel a passage of time, there are a few references to time passing, but it just feels like you are an outsider being told a story. And in this case, I think the author pulled it off and it worked out beautifully. I really enjoyed the way everything was presented, although I feel like some people may have a hard time getting used to it, and being such a short book, may not enjoy it as much as I did.

The main reason I am docking this book some stars is that while it is an important story, I felt like Brendon may not have been the best person to tell this story. I understand that he was set as such a wealthy individual to show that money can't buy happiness and even the rich aren't immune to catastrophe, but I just felt like his wealth was a little exaggerated. I think I would have preferred to hear the story from someone in a middle class bracket, who works just as hard and still makes a decent amount of money, but isn't able to pay for treatments like chemo or experimental drugs, like Brendon is. I think that the message still would have come across the same and Brendon could have been a little more relatable.

That leads into another one of my issues with this book, I didn't really connect with any of the characters. Maybe it was just the perspective or the way it was written, but I felt detached from Brendon, and I didn't really care. Don't get me wrong, he's not an evil businessman or a corrupt multi-millionaire who deserved to die, but he's definitely not a person that I would say is easily relatable.

I think perhaps the main issue I had in this book was the ending. I won't spoil anything but I just felt it was very anticlimactic and a little unbelievable. And not good unbelievable, like there's no way that can happen after stage four lung cancer unbelievable. And maybe I'm a little bitter and angry because I've lost so many people to less severe cancers, or maybe it's because of the disconnect I felt with Brendon, but I just didn't like how things ended.

Overall, a solid book that has some good quotes and eye opening points that I think are important for people to read, but not a whole lot of connection to the characters, especially the main character.