Saturday, 22 July 2017

Blog Tour: Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn - Review and Author Q&A

Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

Publishing Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 256
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Quinn is having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a nursing home, her dad's gambling addiction has flared back up, and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend and life ruiner. So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England-themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn's going to do is forgive and forget. She's determined to remove him from her life and even the score for once and for all-by getting him fired. But getting rid of Wesley isn't as easy as she'd hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to get the boy" (Swoon Reads).

My overall thoughts and review: I first heard about this book at the Raincoast Preview and we got to hear Jennifer talk about her book a bit. I was immediately interested because I loved the idea of working at a medieval English-themed restaurant, and I love ~enemies~ to lovers narratives. I will say that you don't learn how Wesley ruined her life (according to her) immediately, so the pacing of that was a bit interesting. I liked how there was build up for it and it was revealed at a good moment in the text. Also back to the setting: Tudor Tymes is basically Medieval Times and I'm not going to lie, I had a desire to go to Medieval Times the entire time I was reading this. Quinn's big obsession with all things England and her desire to work hard and save up for a trip to England stems from her relationship with her Gran. I really appreciated learning about the moments they shared together. For example, when Quinn spoke about them staying up to watch the royal wedding together, it definitely reminded me of my relationship with my mom and aunt. Wesley also had a relationship with Quinn's grandma and they kept in touch, so it was nice learning how big of a role Gran had in both their lives. Other family members included, Quinn's father and he has a gambling problem. I know that it was more about Quinn & Wesley, but I would've liked to see that addressed a bit more. Especially how to handle that since it just seemed like he was ~getting better~ but then not. I also didn't really enjoy the introduction of Wesley's girlfriend, Jolie,  which was definitely strange and came out of no where. I feel like the book could've worked fine without that added drama. Quinn was definitely frustrating at moments putting so much emphasis on what Wesley did, but I'm glad that Wesley persevered through for the sake of their friendship. He's such a dorky character and I have to say he is definitely my favorite from the book. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I'm glad the cover choice of the food truck finally made sense towards the end of the book. I was so confused from the get-go going how does food trucks fit with Tudor Tymes (LOL). I would highly recommend this adorable, summer read to anyone who is a fan of Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell. Honeybourn writes similarly to them with strong female protagonists, a swoony romantic interest, with the perfect amount of family and friendship themes included. I can't wait to see what she writes next!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Author Question and Answer
1. Which character are you most like? Quinn or Wesley?
I am definitely more like Quinn. She and I share some similar personality traits, although I’d like to think that I don’t hold a grudge as long as she does. And I wouldn’t plot to actually get someone fired. I did give her my love of London and I was also close with my grandmother.

I wish I was more like Wesley, however — laid back, lets things roll off his shoulders, doesn’t really stress about much. I aspire to be more like him. 
Links for Jennifer: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

Thank you so much, Jennifer, for taking the time to answer my question. I definitely feel more like Quinn as well! Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour to check out more awesome reviews of this book and to see what other questions other bloggers have asked Jennifer. 

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Review: Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

Publishing Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Gallery
Pages: 368
Adult Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire. But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it? Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love-hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, readers will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest" (SS).

My overall thoughts and review: So if you follow me on goodreads or twitter, you will know that I've been on such a romance kick lately. I devoured the Beautiful series by Christina Lauren and I have one more book left in the Wild Seasons series by Christina Lauren as well. Christina Lauren is the combined pen-name of two awesome writers: Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. I have to say that are my favorite romance writing-duo because they write such strong and empowering female protagonists with male interests that are just swoon-worthy. I love that they have just the right amount of sexy and romantic scenes but also bigger themes like friendship, family, and work. When I learned that they were coming out with a stand-alone romance book, I knew I instantly had to read it. The premise of this story follows Carter and Evie, who hit it off at a Halloween party (they both dressed up as Harry and Hermione! HP references FTW!) but soon realize that they are competing for the same job which complicates their blossoming relationship. They pull some hilarious pranks on one another. The coffee keurig cups being swapped as one of my favorite moments. I laughed so much at the scenarios of Carter without coffee. There were a few sexy moments which Christina Lauren really know how to write, but Carter simply didn't make me swoon as much as the other CL male leads (he is no Will or Ansel unfortunately). That being said, I really enjoyed that CL gave us an inside look into the ugly business of Hollywood drama and the competitiveness that took place in firms of agents. The character of Brad was so horrible, and I wouldn't be surprised of people like him actually existed in real life. I loved that other characters stood up to his misogynistic ways! I also really loved how the characters engaged in text message chats and emails and the reader got to see those. Overall, I just loved seeing Carter and Evie find their path together, but also alone. They found what worked for them relationship wise, but also career wise. You can have both, and you shouldn't have to choose one or the other. I love that CL made this point clear in this book. I really enjoyed this summer read and it had me laughing out loud in many moments. I also want to take a moment to swoon over the adorable couple of Steph and Mike, they are #couplegoals. If you are a fan of other CL books, you will definitely enjoy this one!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Review: I Found You by Lisa Jewell

I Found You by Lisa Jewell 

Publishing Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 352
Family Life & Suspense

The Premise from the Publisher: "A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama. In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside. Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed. Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother. Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel" (Atria Books).

My overall thoughts and review: I love a good thrilling read especially with a family dynamic. So many of the books today are focused on a love relationship, and while that's nice, I like seeing family dynamics at work as well. When I first read the premise of this book, I knew I wanted to read it since it had similar elements to Broadchurch (one of my favorite shows ever) with a mystery to be solved and of course, a seaside town setting. I was also really intrigued by three story-lines happening at once, and like I said, there seemed to be a focus on family with the story-line of Kirsty and Gray. I must admit that in the beginning, it was a bit hard to follow all the different narratives (I think that's why it took me so long to finish, since I read it super slowly to catch all the details), but soon it became evident that somehow each story had a mystery: who was the man sitting outside her house, for Alice - Lily was missing her husband, and the siblings, Gray and Kirsty, were trying to figure out what this mystery character, Mark, really wanted. I really liked that the story of the two siblings took place 23 years earlier, so whatever had happened to them is linked to the present time. Even though it comes down to two possible outcomes for the ending, I really did enjoy it and I have to admit, I thought the ~other~ outcome was going to happen for the most part. I was genuinely surprised but also sad to learn of the truth of everything since it's absolutely heartbreaking what happened. I will say that the story resolves itself quite nicely and it's a nice departure from the regular open endings of thriller novels. It was also paced nicely, but unfortunately the reason why this book only gets 4 stars from me is simply because I wasn't too invested in the story-line of Lily. I just was not interested and did not really care much for the character, and I think because in contrast to Alice, she was in a way, too dependent on another character (she begins to rely on her husbands friend and it just becomes too much imo). My favorite character was definitely Alice and seeing her dynamics with her kids. She is genuinely a good person and I really liked that she owned her flaws in a really empowering way. I really enjoyed this book and it is in the same vein as Clare Mackintosh's I Let You Go; so if you loved that, you will love this one! It's my first time reading something by Lisa Jewell, but it surely won't be the last :)

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Aberfoyle Antique Market - #Canada150 Long Weekend


So this is definitely a departure from my regular posts. I mentioned a while back about wanting to add more personal posts on my blog to go along with bookish things. I also really love seeing blogs that format photos and very minimal text, and posts that highlight travel adventures. So here is my first one: during the Canada150 long weekend, Jeremy and I headed up to Guelph with his parents and we stopped by the Aberfoyle Antique Market. I haven't visited an antique market in what feels like forever, but I felt like I was back to being little and exploring the St. Lawrence Market stalls looking for skeleton keys. I didn't end up purchasing anything but a lemonade, but it was a beautiful day and we saw a lot (including some adorable pooches in strollers). I highly recommend giving this place a look if you want to find some old vintage finds and be sure to bring good shoes (because you will be walking a lot) and pack on that sunscreen if you go on a sunny day! 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Review: The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

Publishing Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 320
Young Adult Fiction/Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa's perfect summer falls apart. Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn't have to do it alone. With her friend Miller's support, she's determined to prove that she's more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she's finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she's ready for something real" (FF).

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise of the book, I was all for it, since I love the idea of the theme park as the setting. The theme park is of course a nod to Disneyworld and instead of Disney, you get the Dominion/Enchanted, but the same characters seem to make an appearance. The main protagonist, Alyssa, plays Cinderella at the theme park. Cozzo speaks about "look-overs" which I'm not sure actually happens irl, but how each employee has to have a look-over to make sure they are in perfect condition for their role (i.e. weight), really made me cringe and the fact that Alyssa took it so incredibly to heart made me sad. I understand that Alyssa loved her job and at the end of the day, she found something she is passionate about and pursued which is great, but it's just so messed up, the entire concept of "look-overs." I also felt that Alyssa's calorie counting and constant need to work-out were red flags, despite her saying time and time again, that she did not have an eating disorder. I did like that a character named Miller, did intervene at one point and brought it up and offered his support (there should be more people like Miller in the world), but still, I felt it was handled really poorly in terms of how body image issues and the possibility of an eating disorder was woven into the plot. Towards the end of the book, Alyssa finds her footing, so to speak, where she works out because she wants to, not because she has to, and actually eats full, hearty meals without feeling the guilt. But a part of me wishes that her body image issues were addressed more fully and weren't simply: she met Miller and her brought out the best in her, so now she is all good. I know this is a Swoons Read title, so obviously, even when her original prince charming, Jake, becomes awful, another love interest does step in. I appreciate when characters grow not because of a love interest, but rather are able to pick up the pieces on their own. But goodness, what Jake did was completely awful and he really did owe Alyssa a proper apology. I did like that Harper gave her the truth and attempted to make amends with her. But Harper kept saying 'it was like fate' was bringing her and Jake together really made me cringe. Sorry, but that's just an excuse to make herself feel better for the entire situation. I don't usually take this long to read YA novels, but I think the reason why it took me forever was I just really disliked Jake and how he handled things and I would get so frustrated reading anything with him.

Despite what I've said earlier, there are parts that I really did enjoy about the book. I really did like Alyssa as a character despite all her faults, and it was nice seeing her come into herself in a way. She demonstrates a ton of strength throughout the book and I just really appreciated her resilience. I also really loved how friendship was a strong component of the book. Miller had Yael, and Alyssa had her princess girls and sorority girls. She had an amazing support system, even from people that are 'prickly' at times. One character, named Camilla, although harsh, tried to go out of her comfort zone at times and was the voice of reason in some scenarios. I really liked her and wish that there were more scenes for her. Also back to the love interest: Miller. He is such a sweet character and an all around good guy. He is just a lovely character and how he seems to lighten up a room definitely made me swoon. I enjoyed the book at the end of the day. I think the parts that got me excited before reading, ended up disappointing me, but other things that I was not expecting, genuinely surprised me (in a good way). Overall, if you are a fan of Disney and want something fuzzy in the romance department, this read is definitely for you!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮.5 (3.5 stars) 

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Book Bloggers Recommend Summer Reads | 2017 Edition

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all enjoying the beautiful warm weather we are having in Toronto right now. I felt like it was time for another Book Bloggers Recommend post, since the last one was really fun to collaborate on! If you haven't seen the other post, I asked a few of my bookish friends to recommend some good Valentines Read here! This time around we are recommending summer reads/books you'd read by the beach/lake, or simply something you'd read outside (or inside) during the sunshine!

Michele at Just A Lil' Lost recommends...
"When Christine asked me to be part of another blogger collab, this time about beach/summer books, I immediately thought of On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. It's been 5 years since I first read this novel but the story had stayed with me. On the Island is about Anna, a 30-year-old teacher who gets stranded on an island with T.J., her teenage student. When rescue seems less and less likely as the days, months and years go by, Anna realizes that the boy she first washed ashore with is becoming a man. The pairing may seem a bit shocking or taboo but the way their circumstances form their companionship is a compelling story."

 Michelle at Musing Wallflower recommends.. 
"When I think about summer reading, I think about picking up a book and sitting under my favourite tree at the park and enjoying the fresh air. And the book I'm recommending you bring to the park with you is Lost & Found by Brooke Davis.Very reminiscent of Pixar's Up, Lost & Found follows three protagonists - Millie, Agatha and Karl - who are all coping with a serious loss in their lives. Agatha and Karl, both having lost their spouses, accompany seven-year-old Millie on her adventure to find the mother who abandoned her at a department store, but the three of them end up finding companionship with one another. Despite the dark themes, the book is very funny and quite sweet. A light, uplifting read to bring along on a quiet, breezy day!"
(Michelle has also written a full-review on her blog here!)


Amanda at Brains, Books and Brawn recommends... 
"The honour of my being named my favourite beach/pool/park side summer read is a toss up between Morgan Matson's The Unexpected Everything and Laura Silverman's Girl Out of Water. They're both set in the summer (easy points won here) and capture the vibe of the season so well it almost hurts. I loved the stories and main characters in both as well. Of course there are also adorable summer romances to make you swoon and ship and fail. What's summer without cute stories?! Not to mention that the covers are so beautiful for outdoor bookstagram...if you can stop reading long enough to take a picture!"

Ambur at Burning Impossibly Bright recommends...
"I have a few books summery books that I absolutely adore, but the one that I always turn to is Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Prior to reading it, I mostly read paranormal and fantasy YA, but Amy and Roger opened me up to the wonderful world of contemporary, and I haven’t looked back since! I also just love that it’s the perfect catch-all summer book. You’ve got a road trip, a summer romance, great playlists, camping, and some crazy shenanigans! What’s not to love?! Other honourable mentions include: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt, and because I can’t talk about books lately without bringing up romance, I’d also recommend Sweet Cheeks by K. Bromberg!"

Sarena & Sasha at The Writing Duo recommends...
"Our summer pick is a new YA by a great Canadian author, SK Ali. Saints and Misfits is both light-hearted and deals with heavy subject matter; but like the author says, it shows the humanity in Muslims, and also shows the woes of romance and being a 15-year-old, something most people can relate to. I loved reading Janna's journey to finding her own kind of empowerment among her family and friends. Seriously, this cover SCREAMS summer--and you want to read this book with a cone of ice cream, enjoying the summer breeze!" 

Jessica at The Paper Trail Diary recommends..
"I am not really a re-reader – my TBR pile is too big, watching over me, and I feel like it would judge me if I went back and spent more time on books. I know this is absolutely silly, but at least the books that I would re-read keep a special shelf of love in my heart. So when I think of a book that I would read outdoors in the summer, I think of The Museum of Heartbreak. It’s an adorable YA novel about a girl who has some growing up to do, and I think back on it fondly. When I think of it, I think of walking around Central Park and taking a moment to lie down in the grass in the shade. And because it is so sweet, it feels like sunshine. I also do like it when I read books in the summer that take place in the summer, for some reason that feels like a tall glass of lemonade (even when YA books that take place in the summer mean the MC is about to go through some life changes). In the past, I’ve recommended it as a great palette-cleanser read, especially after a string of darker books. It’s light, airy, and fun, and sweet like a ginormous ice cream cone. This kind of book is exactly the kind of thing I like to read in the summer."

Tiff at Mostly YA Lit recommends...
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"For me, the perfect beach or summer read has to have that sense of slow, hot days and nights, but also be captivating and sweet enough to hold my interest against the gorgeous outdoors. The two books that always put me in a summer mood are Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (actually read in a cabin by the lake in British Columbia), and Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. While both these authors have written other summery books, the road trippy, swoony feelings that these books embody - along with just the right amount of healing, friendship, and transformation - make them perfect to whip through in a summer afternoon by the beach or lake."

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I want to take a moment and thank all these fantastic bloggers for participating in this collaboration. They've recommended some amazing titles that I haven't read yet and that I'm already adding to my ever-growing TBR pile. I hope that you will find something enjoyable from their recs to pick up during this sunny and warm weather! Please be sure to show them some love on their blogs and check out their other social media links. 

Do you have any summer reads that you simply love and are perfect for a read in the sun?
Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, 23 June 2017

The New Disney Princess Book Tag

I haven't done a book tag in what feels like forever, so it was a nice surprise when the lovely Flavia of Flavia The Bibliophile Blog tagged me in a Disney Princess Book Tag. I'm a big Disney fan and this book tag is simply amazing. I love seeing everyone's unique answers and seeing the newer princesses included in the content. 

The Rules 
1) Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you (Thanks, Flavia!) 
2) Tag Zuky’s and Mandy’s posts so they can check out the wonderful Princess fun throughout the blog world (Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews & Zuky @ Book Bum)
3) Play a game of tag at the end!

The Tag: 

SNOW WHITE
THIS BOOK (LIKE THE MOVIE) STARTED IT ALL
Favorite Debut Book From an Author 

This is really hard for me to choose because I've read so many incredible debut books from various authors. So is it ok if I list more than one? I definitely loved Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali, which I have a full review of here! I also really loved Our Little Secret by Roz Nay, which I also wrote a full review for here! Both were simply amazing debut novels and I'm honestly so excited to see what both actors write next! 


CINDERELLA
A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of This Character in the Beginning But Turned Out to Be a Total Gem 

I've got to say Kitty Pong from the Crazy Rich Asians series. I was not in love with her when she was first introduced, but I loved how much her character grew in the second book. I kind of flip-flopped with her again in the final book, but in the end, she did turn out to be a total gem and did something  redeeming which I admire! Full review for: China Rich Girlfriend & Rich People Problems


AURORA
SLEEPING BEAUTY
A Book That Makes You Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention

This book is definitely going to be The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. I did not enjoy this book one bit. It made me so sleepy and bored at a lot of moments, but also made me incredibly angry. I listened to it on audiobook and I definitely slogged through it for months. I do not recommend this book at all. It's a shame. I do hope that Yanagihara's other books are better. 


ARIEL
UNDER THE SEA
A Book With a Water/Ocean Setting

I'm going to say Salt to The Sea by Ruta Sepetys. This book takes place on a boat and is incredibly heartbreaking. I had all the emotions and more while reading this book. It takes place in WW2 setting and introduces the reader to a story that many are not familiar with. I loved it so much and I  immediately went out to buy Sepetys' other books.Would highly recommend if you are looking for something historical fiction.



BELLE
BEAUTY AND THE BOOKS
Name a Book With the Best Bookworm/Book Lover

Ok, I think this one is obvious, but how could I not choose Hermione from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series? She is the obvious choice and heck, Emma Watson went on to play Belle in the new live-action version which is some inception if you ask me ;) She made reading cool again, and I loved that she always had her head in a book. Another would be Henry in Words in Deep Blue


JASMINE
THE THIEF AND THE PRINCESS
Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either in Terms of Romance or a Book You Didn’t Expect to Love So Much)

For this one I'm going to say Taylor Jenkins Reid's The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I won't say too much but this book definitely fulfills both categories: there is an unlikely love story which I did not see coming at all and I absolutely loved. I also knew that her books were popular, but I did not know just how much I would love it. I'm still swooning over it and I'm itching to sit down and reread it this instant! 


POCAHONTAS
THE REAL LIFE PRINCESS
Name a Book that is Based on a Real Life Person You Want to Read/Have Read

I read a ton of Non-Fiction and I always love a good memoir/biography. I often pick up these usually knowing a bit about them before hand. My most recent one that I've read and loved is digital influencer/Youtuber: Anna Akana's So Much I want to Tell You: Letters to my little sister. I knew I wanted to get it right away because I've been a fan of Anna's for a long time and reading this only reaffirmed my admiration for her as a human being and content creator. 


MULAN
THE PRINCESS THAT SAVED HER COUNTRY
Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know

This one is easy! I will definitely say Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - she is so incredibly badass and I just love how fierce she is. She's a train assassin and does not back down easily. Another character created by Maas is definitely Feyre in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I loved her seeing her come into herself and really transform into a strong individual.


TIANA
THE PRINCESS WITH THE COOLEST AND MOST DIVERSE CREW
Name a diverse book whether it is a diverse set of characters (like Tiana’s group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, and more) or just diverse in general

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas! This book is not only incredibly diverse, but just such an important read for our time. The characters are amazing and I just love the dynamic of the entire group. There's Starr (the protagonist), Chris (the boyfriend), Maya (one of the bestfriends), Seven (her brother).. and more! I loved those characters in particular but the other family members were also really lovely and made a huge part of the book.


RAPUNZEL
LET YOUR LONGGGGGG HAIR DOWN
Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read

I really can't name the longest book I've ever read off the top of my head, and I don't have my full book collection with my currently. From what I can remember, I believe Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest one, coming in at 816 pages and for school, I've read James Joyce's Ulysses a few times, and that is about 1056 pages (depending on which edition). For more recent, going on what I've read in the past few years, Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Mist and Fury was quite long, coming in at 656 pages. 


MERIDA
I DETERMINE MY OWN FATE
A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed

So I have two Victoria Schwab titles for this category. First is Vicious, there isn't a love story in this book at all. It is simply about two incredibly evil individuals and their rivalry with one another. Sure, you can ship characters, but it isn't explicit in canon. I really liked that it focused more on the questions of good and evil, and did not force a love story in there somewhere. Another book by Schwab that follows this is This Savage Song. Imagine Romeo and Juliet, but without the romance. The boy and girl are from opposite sides and it's really interesting to see the dynamic between the two. There's a possibility for romance, but the narrative does not hinge on that and can stand on it's own. I really admire Schwab's writing because she doesn't require a love story to make her books. She is so amazing at character building and world building that it is simply all you need and all you want.


ANNA/ELSA
FROZEN HEARTS
A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting

This one was quite hard. I believe one of the Tahereh Mafi books took place in the winter and if I'm remembering correctly, it was Unravel Me? I also think of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, which I read growing up, and C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I also think of holiday & Christmas books when I think of a Winter setting so basically any book that mentions Christmas or snow ever :P


MOANA
HOW FAR I’LL GO
A Character That Goes on a Journey

For this one, I'm going to choose Stephanie Garber's Caraval. In this book, the main character, Scarlett, and her sister, Tella go on a journey to Caraval, a once-in-a-lifetime performance/experience. They have to go on a boat and once there, it is like another journey throughout Caraval itself. This trip really allows Scarlett to explore her strengths as a character but also uncover the hidden secrets of the mysterious Legend. I loved following along with both characters as they embarked on their journey and make through this strange wonderland/circus world. I found myself wanting to travel to Caraval as well as I was reading and I think that is a sign of a good journey in the book, if the reader wants to come along as well on the trip ;) 

Well, we've reached the end! Thanks for sticking around and reading all my picks for each category. It was definitely hard to choose for some of these, so I hope you don't mind that I may have put multiple answers for some categories. I definitely feel like I need to go sit down and watch Disney movies on loop for a while now after doing this tag and I must admit, I haven't watched Moana yet, so I must rectify that situation. Thanks again to Flavia for tagging me! It was a ton of fun. And before I go, I just want to play the game of tag, so.... 

I'm tagging: 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Publishing Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 288
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough" (RHCB).

My overall thoughts and review: I was definitely intrigued by the premise of the book because I love stories that take place in a bookshop. Howling Books is quite unique in that it is a second hand bookstore, but so much more than that. It is a place that is home to Henry and his sister, George. It used to be a flower shop, and it is a place that many people have fallen in love. The bookshop also has a letter library which is particularly special because letters are a big part of the book.
"It's called the Letter Library because a lot of people write more than a note in the margin--they write whole letters and put them between the pages of books. Letters to the poets, to their thief ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend who stole their copy of High Fidelity. Mostly people write to strangers who love the same books as them--and some stranger, somewhere, writes back" (27)
The story is told from two perspectives: Henry & Rachel. Rachel moved away three years ago, but before that, she wrote Henry a letter professing her love for him and saying how he deserves better than his current girlfriend, Amy. Flashforward to the present, Rachel finds herself returning to Gracetown after the sudden death of her brother, Cal. She is in deep depression and her life plans have simply fallen apart. Life in general is difficult for Rachel, as her and Cal were extremely close, and this death has shaken not only her, but her mother as well. She finds herself moving in with her aunt Rose to find a job for the year because she has failed year 12. She knows that coming back to Gracetown means seeing Henry again, but she is sure that she is in fact over him and angry about him not acknowledging her letter years back. Henry, on the otherhand, has just recently been dumped by Amy, soon after they made promises to travel the world together. His parents are also thinking of selling Howling Books because it is not making enough, and he's determined to befriend Rachel once again. I really liked how their story developed. Crowley wove together their past in a really nice way, and I loved their dynamic. I will say that Henry did drive me insane a bit for how hung up and whiny he was when it came to Amy. But I really liked Henry as a brother to his sister, George, and just how he was in general to other characters. He was quite sweet and tried his best. Rachel, I just loved. I empathized with her so much in her grieving and mourning, since I know what it feels like to lose a loved one. You feel cheated in time and memories, and she really conveyed that. I loved seeing her not overcome her grief, but coming to terms with it, and learning to live with it.

The part of the book that I loved the most is definitely George's story. She started receiving letters from this mysterious 'Pytheas' and a beautiful friendship blossomed from that. It was so pure and special and it made me swoon reading the letters. I really loved George as a character and seeing how she has built up a shield overtime, but it was slowly breaking as she found herself opening up to Pytheas, Rachel, and even Martin. I don't want to say more than that because of spoilers, but I cried my eyes out at some parts. In the words of my co-worker Kim, it was the big tears and ugly crying that happened. The book touches on memory, and how one's memory lives on in the margins and this just reaffirms how special books are for me as a reader. I am one of those readers that will occasionally underline things, and I love when people address the first page to me when giving me a book as a gift, and more. This book is about the relationship we have with words. I loved that so much, but most importantly, it's a great book about memory and life/death. This gave me a different outlook on how to approach grief, and that death is not the end but rather a form of transmigration: "..the transmigration of memory that happens all the time--saving people the only way we can--holding the dead here with their stories, with their marks on the page, with their histories. It's a very beautiful idea.." (232). It also touches on how there will be things in life that will hurt, and completely break us, but that it can also be what makes us: "It will be fine and it won't be. It will be terrible and good" (269). The immense strength that these characters have in this book is simply outstanding and an inspiration. I can't say enough good things about this book. It is a short read, but it just hits all the notes. Please go pick up a copy and annotate the passages you love, and pass it on. It's the kind of book that will make you fall in love with characters, but also making you fall in love with reading all over again.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Review: Romancing The Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Publishing Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "For the first time ever, the Weston sisters are at the same boarding school. After an administration scandal at Libby’s all-girls school threatens her chances at a top university, she decides to join Charlotte at posh and picturesque Sussex Park. Social-climbing Charlotte considers it her sisterly duty to bring Libby into her circle: Britain’s young elites, glamorous teens who vacation in Hong Kong and the South of France and are just as comfortable at a polo match as they are at a party. It’s a social circle that just so happens to include handsome seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, heir to Britain’s throne. If there are any rules of sisterhood, “Don’t fall for the same guy” should be one of them. But sometimes chemistry—even love—grows where you least expect it. In the end, there may be a price to pay for romancing the throne...and more than one path to happily ever after" (HC).

My overall thoughts and review: So when I first heard about this book, people were saying it was inspired by Kate and Pippa, and it takes place in a boarding school setting. I was quite interested since I have to admit, I have a small fascination with the royals. So a book about fictional royals? I'm in! The story is told from Charlotte's POV, so I feel like already you are kind of meant to empathize more with her character. It was cool to see someone talk about their love for participating in sports (in Charlotte's case, it was hockey), but I will say some moments when she was talking about "perfecting your looks" and constantly instagramming/snapchatting selfies, I was a bit 'blegh' about it all. I understand that is the culture we live in today, but it just felt like overkill with how obsessive Charlotte was with it. So I did not immediately take to her and I was more fascinated to hear about Libby's character. One of my favorite scenes was when Libby first meets Edward and just speaks her mind. Things get complicated when both sisters have feelings for the same person, and personally, I wasn't too keen on the narrative of Edward going from sister to sister. The way both of the sisters ended up acting over a guy was really disappointing because they let that come between their relationship. I understand that it was the author's intention to demonstrate that the sisters can overcome that, but even when they did, I still felt like in many ways that their characters were defined by a romantic interest. It was nice to see Charlotte find her footing even after Edward, but then another love-interest is thrown into the loop, which in my opinion, downplays her other achievements (like doing well in school, sports, and even developing an app). Sure the new romantic interest is sweet, but it felt predictable, and I feel it would've meant more if she simply didn't have another relationship. With Libby on the other hand, although she comes to terms with Edward in regards to tradition and fame, I really feel like the Libby we initially met was lost towards the end of the book. Every time Libby or Charlotte moved one step forward, it also felt like they were taking two steps backwards. There was also some diversity, as one of the characters, India, identified herself as LGBTQ. But I really felt like we barely got any of India's story at all. Overall, it was a decent read, but I feel like I spent most of the book being annoyed with certain characters. Some moments with Flossie had me rubbing my temples because she was just so awful! I will say it was fun to read a boarding school setting book, and dive into the world of royalty for a bit. So if you are looking for something light and fluffy, then this is definitely the read for you!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮ (3/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by HCC Frenzy/HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Review: Twisted by Joseph Jomo Pierre & Charlotte Corbeil Coleman

Twisted by Joseph Jomo Pierre & Charlotte Corbeil Coleman

Publishing Date: June 19, 2017
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Pages: 96
Drama

The Premise from the Publisher: "Growing up, Nancy believed in magic despite a hand-me-down life in a small town. So it’s no wonder the buzzing excitement of Toronto and its allure of freedom was a likely choice for her new home, the place she finds herself years later selling her body for drugs. Nancy is further from freedom than ever under the wings of Sikes, a drug dealer and pimp. When she meets Oliver, a seventeen-year-old who lands at Sikes’s feet after a life of foster care and shelters, the two find unlikely solace in each other. As text messages are exchanged by the instant, and truths are revealed, Nancy and Oliver form an unbreakable bond in order to write a new story together" (PCP).

My overall thought and review: This play has been pitched as "part Dickens, part Drake," both which I like. It was nice seeing some Drake aspects pop up, and seeing the setting of Toronto. In this play, Dicken's Oliver is re-imagined as Ollie and he becomes intertwined with Nancy, who sells her body for drugs. They find a connection together and what the viewer sees is a series of text messages. Apparently when the play is performed live, the text messages are shown on screen, which is a nice touch and I would definitely like to see live. I liked these text messages because they seemed as if Ollie and Nancy inhabited a world where it was just the two of them. They both want to 'escape' this life of drugs and pimps, and they want more to life, together. Things change when Nancy asks Ollie to help her 'save' someone and start a new beginning. Things get complicated because of Sikes and Dodger, who do not take kindly to snitches. Both playwrights each took to writing one character, and I liked seeing that each character was quite distinct in their voices and actions. They stood on their own. However, where this play falls short for me is that it didn't feel quite cohesive. I didn't feel like it was Dicken's Oliver Twist being re-imagined, but rather just a character named Ollie. I actually found Nancy to have more OT characteristics. The play does touch on addiction with Nancy, and as the viewer/reader, you really see towards the end of the play how much it controls her. That being said, I didn't feel like it was fully explored and I would've liked to see more about that. This is really Nancy's story in my opinion, and I personally would've liked to see more about Nancy than Ollie. Overall, it was a nice play, but it touches on big topics ever so slightly. I would be curious to see if seeing it performed live would have a different effect as opposed to reading the play.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮ (3/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Playwrights Canada Press, Chapters/Indigo, and Amazon

Disclaimer: A copy of the play was sent by Playwrights Canada Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publishing Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster Canada
Pages: 400
Fiction

The Premise from the Publisher: "Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways" (Atria).

My overall thoughts and review: I have been seeing so many people raving about this book recently and it was on offer, so I decided to finally pick it up. I am ashamed to admit that this is my first read by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which is awful since I know a lot of people have been pushing me to read them. After I finished this one, I immediately downloaded all her other books onto my kobo at 2:00am the other night. This book absolutely BLEW ME AWAY. I honestly could not put it down and I was so immersed in it. I went in expecting a bit of Hollywood glam, and I had heard from others that it was inspired by Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. The reader learns about the seven husbands that Evelyn Hugo had and her life story. I immediately fell in love with Reid's writing style because I felt as if I was in that world, experiencing everything first hand. The reader is introduced to two characters: Monique and Evelyn. Monique has been chosen specifically by Evelyn to record her life story. Monique is determined to get up the ladder at her job, but she is also struggling with the failure of her marriage and pending divorce. Monique's anxieties surrounding being alone really spoke to me and I really enjoyed seeing how Evelyn influenced her and pushed her to stand her ground.

Evelyn, on the other hand, is such a remarkable character. The book described various men falling in love with her for her body, but I fell in love with her as a reader simply because of her personality. Evelyn knows she has faults and that she has made mistakes, and the way she acknowledges it is quite impressive. She decides to finally break free of the stories of her and what the press has built up over the years and finally speak HER truth: "Everyone I loved is dead now. There's no one left to protect. No one left to life for but me. People have so closely followed the most intricate details of the fake story of my life. But it's not... I don't... I want them to know the real story. The real me" (38). For every thing we 'think' we know about Evelyn, there always seems to be another layer. It was quite nice that Reid included newspaper articles alongside the chapters. She really hit home how the media can misinterpret content sometimes: "The truth had been there for them to grab if they'd paid attention... But of course, they got it wrong. They never did care about getting it right. The media are going to tell whatever story they want to tell. They always have. They always will" (357). It is incredibly hard to write this review or even go into great details about the people in Evelyn's life without spoiling major things, but I will say, I loved how distinct every character was in their voice and their actions. You saw how every character influenced Evelyn and you got an inside look into the movie-making business and how cutthroat it could be. My favorite characters are definitely Evelyn, Harry, and Celia (despite all their faults). I was honestly so sad when the book came to an ending and I definitely cried at a few moments. Reid presents such a raw representation of someone recounting everything that has happened in their life, regardless of good or bad. I love that regardless of the content, Evelyn makes it incredibly clear in her meetings with Monique that she does not regret her past one bit: "...of all the things I did to protect my family, I would do every one again. And I would have done more, would have behaved even uglier, if I thought it could have saved them" (362). I'm honestly so impressed with Evelyn's strength and tenacity. This book has the setting of Hollywood glam, but it is so much more than that. It is seriously one of my favorite books from this year. It tackles identity, family, friendship, love, and sexuality. and Reid's writing is simply divine. Please pick up this book, you won't regret it. I loved it so much and I'm already itching to re-read it (and if you know me, re-reads are rare so that's saying something!)

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/IndigoKobo BooksAmazon and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)