Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide 2014!

Hi everyone - I know that Christmas is next week, but if you are like me and a last minute shopper, you are still looking about for ideas. I thought I'd make a bookish Christmas Gift Guide post listing my favorite books/finds from this year. I hope that there is something here for everyone! ;)

If you are looking for something new and intriguing - I recommend checking out ANYTHING by Haruki Murakami - you will not be disappointed. I recently wrote a review about his latest novel The Strange Library, which you can read here! Some of my favorite titles are: Sputnik Sweetheart, Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. 

If you are looking for a classic - here I would normally recommend my favorite book of all time - The Picture of Dorian Gray, but why not pick up something holiday related like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - it is a great holiday read and surely will get you right in the mood for the festive season. It is also something that I think everyone should have in their library. It is a staple book. 

If you are looking for a young-adult novel - definitely pick up Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho. I wrote a full review of it here. It is definitely my favorite from this year of all the young-adult that I read. It is an interesting, raw, compelling story that really pushes the boundaries of young adult. It started off similar, and contemporary like The Fault in Our Stars, but it definitely moves beyond that quite quickly. Please pick it up, read it and love it. 

If you are looking for a comic/graphic novel - I recommend Black Widow Vol 1. which I also reviewed here! It is by far my favorite graphic novel yet. The artwork is stunning and the storyline is super interesting. I really enjoyed it! And I think that this would be enjoyed even by those who aren't familiar with the marvel-verse. 

If you are looking for a bookish gift - I recommend a bookmark from the lovely shop craftedvan on etsy. They make the cutest magnet bookmarks ever! I own so many from them and they are wonderfully crafted and just stunning. They are also reasonably priced and will make any book lover incredibly happy. They also take custom orders if you can't find anything in the shop that you don't like! 

Well that's it from me this year! I hope that these suggestions are helpful! :D Happy Holidays all and happy reading! <3

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Bout of Books 12

Hi everyone. It is that time of year again - where Bout of Books is once again upon us. The last bout of books was definitely a bit of a fail for me in the summer. I was caught up with school and other things, but I will try to participate this January in bout of books. The first time I participated was in January and I actually ended up reading a lot - so I am going to try and do that again this year.

For those of you that don't know what Bout of Books is ->
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
It is low-pressure and meant to encourage more reading, so definitely not something to stress about it but there is also fun activities that you can participate in and giveaways as well. I will try and do daily updates with Bout of Books. It starts right when school starts up again, so I will try my very best.

Will you be participating in Bout of Books 12? Let me know in the comments below! :D

Bout of Books

Sunday, 14 December 2014

What is Molly Peacock’s creative process?

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. I have a really special post for you all today, it is a kind of guest post written by the lovely author Molly Peacock. I wrote an in-depth review of her book Alphabetique which I will link you to here ! Today's topic will be "What is Molly Peacock's Creative Process?" 

Molly Peacock: Well, I have a lot of creative processes, because I practice several arts.  Poetry I write by hand in my bathrobe, usually on Saturday mornings.  Decades ago, when I was a teacher, I developed a habit of writing on my only free morning.  On Friday nights, I’d shop for groceries and vacuum, and tell my boyfriend he couldn’t stay overnight.  I had to have everything, even him, out of the way for the blank page on Saturday. During the weekI’d keep the poem in my handbag and work on it in spare moments during the week—at the dentist’s, in the school cafeteria, on the bus. 

But you can’t write a big nonfiction book this way.  Prose I write directly at a computer—sometimes using Dragon Dictate to save my shoulders and hands—and always in the morning.  I have to get to a desk first thing, when my energy is fresh.  I’ve got enough in me to get from 8 am till about noon or1pm with plenty of breaks for tea, yoga stretches, snacks, water, my husband, my cat, my balcony garden—but, if I can help it, NOT email.  (Or only in my breaks, if I have to.) By noon or 1pm, I’m wasted.  Time for lunch, a shower, the gym!  My desk?  It’s my grandmother’s dining room table.

But my process for Alphabetique spun off differently, and, really, it began in my childhood.
When I was four or five years old, my grandmother sent me a letter.  My mother read the letter to me, and at the end it said, “Please write back.”  I wanted to do that, but I didn’t know how to write.  My mother, who was busy reading a book, took a pad, wrote the alphabet on the top, and said to copy the letters that she dictated. And so I began, struggling with the D she pointed out for Dear. When I started Alphabetique, I wasn’t thinking about doing an abecedarium.  I had made up a character in a story-poem, and I called him C.  The minute I called him C, he began to have the characteristics of that letter.  He put his arm around his girlfriend. He was a harbor a ship could sail into. The letter literally determined his character. I was writing a biography at the time, The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72.  Biographies require research and a commitment to what really happened, but I wanted to have a place for my imagination to roam, so one day I took a break and wrote S. The 18th-century English artist Hogarth thought that the S-curve was the most aesthetic shape an artist could draw. In fact, I wrote the story of S first as a free-verse poem, and published it that way. It was only as these pieces began to accumulate that I thought I could make them into stories and put them together.

For my in-depth review on Alphabetique, be sure to click here! :D 

Disclaimer: This option for a guest post was offered to me very kindly by Random House Canada and Molly Peacock. This does not affect my review in any way. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Review: Rethinking Normal - A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill

Rethinking Normal - A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill

Publishing Date: September 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada 
Pages: 272 pages

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The Premise: This book is young adult contemporary memoir written by Katie Rain Hill. In this novel, Katie shares her process with learning that she is transgender and catalogues the narrative from childhood to where she is today, a college student. The book not only tackles the challenges she faced when trying to be "normal" at school, but also at home and finally, the challenges she faced because of how her story circulated online. The story is also intertwined with that of another transgendered teen, Arin Andrews - who also wrote his own memoir (a review for that is to come). 

My overall thoughts and review: To begin with, let me just say, I want to commend and applaud Katie's bravery and honesty in this novel. It must have taken a lot to sit down and write out some passages, especially those that were particularly painful.. I had some experience writing a novel last month in a memoir-esque style, and it definitely is not something that is enjoyable. I really enjoyed this book and it definitely informed me a lot more about transgender and the overall process of it. It shocked me to read some of the responses Katie received growing up, not only from fellow classmates but the administration. The scenes about how the school she went to reacted to her coming back to school were just flat out insane. I just can't believe a school administration would behave in that way, and it was so lovely to read about how Katie and her mom tackled that situation. 

At the heart of this novel, it is mostly a story about how Katie wants to be "normal" especially when her situation can make it difficult to experience. Interwoven within the narrative is Katie's relationship with her mother (which was incredibly sweet) and also her relationship with Arin Andrews, another transgendered teen. I really enjoyed how honest Katie was with all relationships that she mentioned. It was a breath of fresh air, reading those passages. I also really enjoyed reading her honesty about the media and just how pressured she felt, especially when it came to Arin and certain expectations she had to live up to. 

Now, you are probably wondering why I gave the book a 3/5 stars, and that isn't anything against the story itself, because I really enjoyed it. It definitely built my understanding of transgender notions. It was mainly the writing and pacing for me, which led me to my rating. It felt in the beginning like it was going in chronological order, but there was some time jumps, which I felt could've been smoother when transitioning from story to story and the pacing of it all. I enjoyed that for mostly every section there were photos included. However, the writing of it.. at times, it was confusing and not really well developed and at times, I really felt Katie's voice coming across, and other times I didn't.. I think that is because, the novel is quite short, in my opinion for a memoir, and Katie could've definitely expanded on many other things, if the space was allocated to her (I guess that means, another book is in order? ;)) All in all, I really enjoyed it. So well done, Katie! 

My rating of the book:  (3/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Simon and Schuster Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Review: Hugs and Misses: 30 Postcards of Awkward Romances by Wilhelm Staehle

Hugs and Misses: 30 Postcards of Awkward Romances by Wilhelm Staehle

Publishing Date: December 3, 2014
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 30 postcards 

This isn't a book? Nope, it is a booklet of 30 postcards by Wilhelm Staehle. I think that is what I love most about Quirk Books, the fact that you get so much variety and you get books that are sometimes not really books at all. When I was offered the chance to review this, I immediately jumped at the chance after browsing Staehle's website for a while. If you haven't checked out his site yet, I recommend going to check it out here! There is a bunch of more humorous silhouettes on the site. This booklet of postcards is essentially, 30 postcards that were selected based on his humorous silhouettes on the theme of awkward romances. There are a bunch of hilarious ones included and if you want to get a sense of his style, the website has a good amount of his work on there with different themes as well. 

So besides actually using them as postcards and mailing them out to friends, what else can you do? The funny thing is, I love them too much that I am going to be quite selfish and not want to actually mail them out. They come on pretty good quality paper, so I'm thinking that you can use them as ~prints~ and actually frame them for your house. There's a bunch that I plan to put up on my walls. 

Ultimately, I think this makes a nice little edition for the holidays. Whether you will use it as it is, postcards to mail out, or as art prints.. I think it would be a great stocking stuffer for book lovers this holiday season. 

Have you checked out some of Wilhelm Staehle's work? If you have, let me know in the comments below what you thought of it! 

Now available for purchase at: 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me from Quirk Books for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Review: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami; Translated by Ted Goossen

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami; Translated by Ted Goossen

Publishing Date: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Pages: 96 pages

The Premise: Without giving away the plot and details, it is a small novel from the internationally acclaimed famous author, Haruki Murakami, about a boy and a very strange library. The book is a paperback novel and composed with illustrations on almost every page. The story follows this boy who has an interest in the library and one night, he ventures further into the library and discovers some fantastical, yet unsettling secrets. 

My overall thoughts and review: If you are a fan of Haruki  Murakami, you will not be disappointed. It is very Murakami-esque in the sense that it is unsettling and there is a shifting of reality and imagination in the narrative. It is best to go into this without knowing anything. My professor at university is actually the translator of the text and when I brought the book in to show him (and ask him to sign), he mentioned that although it ~looks~ childlike, with the illustrations, it is actually a really sad and deep book (spoilers btw! When I was reading this, I kept hearing what my prof was saying, so in a way, I was prepared for the outcome of the novel). All in all, I LOVED it. It was super intriguing and dark and the diagrams/illustrations made it even more interesting. Even if you are not familiar with Haruki Murakami, I think this would be a good introductory novel to dive into his works. 

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at: 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me from Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Sisterhood of the World Book Bloggers Tag

Hi everyone! Hope you are all doing well. Today I have a book tag post for you all. I was tagged by the lovely Nicole at Nicole's Novel Reads - so thank you, Nicole! Onto the tag:

Rules of the tag:
1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their website. 
2. Post the award’s logo on your blog. 
3. Answer the ten questions you have been asked. 
4. Nominate ten other bloggers and ask them ten other questions. 

Ten questions I've been asked:

1. What book would you recommend to your fellow book lovers? If the book is part of a series, you can include the series.

I am going to recommend a graphic novel I recently read and really loved: In Real Life! I will have a review for that up soon but if you haven't heard about it, trust me, it's awesome. GO GET IT. 

2. Who is your favorite author?

Oscar Wilde. 

3. Who is your most read author? Also, how many books have you read by the author?

I would have to say Virginia Woolf. I have read almost every book, the only book I haven't read from her is Between the ActsI have also read a lot from Melissa De La Cruz, J.K. Rowling and Cassandra Clare! 

4. Name 3 fictional places you would like to visit. 

Hogwarts, Middle Earth, King's Landing. 

5. What quote from a book will you never forget and why? 

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” - Oscar Wilde from the Importance of Being Earnest. 
It has always stuck with me and I just think it speaks volumes. 

6. What book can you read over and over again and never get tired of?

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. 

7. What book made you cry?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. 

8. List three book confessions.  

I don't always read the book before watching the movie. *gasp* 

I did not enjoy Paper Towns by John Green and I know it's one of his best and a lot of people's favorites but it just did not really resonate with me. Sorry! 

There are a ton of classics that I have not read yet. :O 

9. When and why did you start blogging?  

I used to beauty blog in the past, and I really enjoyed that at the time. But of course, I realized that I don't need that much make-up and it was becoming more of a job than a hobby, so I stopped. I decided to start book blogging, because it is something that I am incredibly passionate about: reading and writing and I have loved it ever since! 

10. What are some of your favorite hobbies besides reading and blogging?

Watching lots of films and television and since I'm a foodie, I will say.. eating cupcakes! 

Ten Questions for the Ten Bloggers Tagged:
1. What is your favorite thing about book blogging?
2. Coolest bookish experience you've had yet? 
3. What is one book that you can read over and over again and not get bored of?
4. What book IS worth the hype?
5. What book have you read recently that unfortunately disappointed you?
6. Favorite author and why? 
7. Where do you read? 
8. If you could trade places with any fictional character, who would it be?
9. What hogwarts house would you be sorted into?
10. Which author would you like to meet one day? 

Ten Bloggers that I tag: 
1. Michelle from Musings of a Writer 
2. Nikki from Nikkitheknack
3. Karen from One More Page...
4. Evie from Prescription Fiction
5. Melissa from In a Bookish World
6. Jessica from Tea and Tidbits
7. Vicky from Books, Biscuits and Tea

I am also going to tag some of my booktube friends, since this tag can be transformed for youtube as well! ;)
8. Alysia from exlibris
9. Jules from julesshaun
10. Marina from amakeshiftlibrary

That's it folks! Hope you enjoyed the tag :D 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Review: Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers by Magaret C. Sullivan

Jane Austen: Cover to Cover - 200 Years of Classic Covers by Margaret C. Sullivan 

Publishing Date: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 208 pages

The Premise: The title says it all. The book follows the many different and various covers ever produced for Jane Austen's books. The book has beautiful visual images that showcase the vintage books to movie adaptation covers and the book includes lovely and charming commentary from Sullivan herself.

My overall thoughts and review: If you follow me on twitter, then you will know that I brought this book to class during one of my presentations and brought up to talk about the present day book trade and how its influence the social history of the common reader. My professor and fellow colleagues loved it and few others expressed interest in how fascinating it was. I was incredibly happy with that.. and that's not all folks. I have a course next semester solely devoted to Jane Austen, so you know I will be bringing this book in with me. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and when I saw that Quirk was publishing this, I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. But I will have to say that I owe a lot of my interest in the overall concept of the book to my book culture course that I'm currently taking. I really appreciated the entire history of the book, where it follows in such great detail the many different variants of covers, even the special edition ones. It was nice to spot ones that I own, but also see the ones that are no longer available (which really did bring a tear to my eye, because the hoarder/collector in me wants them all). I just really enjoyed this book and it is a true homage to Austen herself and it is just lovely to see everything in chronological order with visual examples. Overall, if you are a big Jane Austen fan, this is definitely one book worth keeping on your shelves!

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at: 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me from Quirk Books for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Couples & Rebellion Groups | Top 5 Wednesday

So.. I know I missed last week. My apologies. I was incredibly swamped with work and school that it completely did not even cross my mind, but to make up for it.. today's post will be a double whammy featuring the topic I missed last week and this week's topic. I hope that is alright with you all!

So starting off.. top 5 favorite couples.. 

1. Hermione & Ron from Harry Potter
I am choosing to ignore the recent edits to the canon. I refuse to go against what I've read and watched for the past ten years. I love these two together and always will. 

2. Elizabeth & Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
How can you have a favorite couples list and not mention these two?

3. Eleanor & Park from Eleanor & Park 
Seriously one of my favorite couples. So sweet. 

4. Katniss & Peeta from The Hunger Games
How can you not ship them? I don't really love the movie version of Peeta a lot but I really loved this pairing in the books and I loved the history of it and watching it develop over the course of the books.

5. Luna & Neville from Harry Potter
So not technically canon (well in the movies, it is hinted).. but I love them together and I will basically go down with this ship. I refuse to see these two with other people. 

Next topic is Rebellion Groups.. I am assuming that this has to deal with Rebellion groups that frequent the YA genre? I hope I'm tackling this topic right.. 

1. Dumbledore's Army from Harry Potter
How can you mention Rebellious groups and not mention Dumbledore's Army who met in the Room of Requirement often to plan and strategize and learn techniques?

2. Katniss & Rebels from The Hunger Games
The rebel groups that ban together against the Capitol count right?

3. Gladers from The Maze Runner
I loved this group coming together to tackle the problems with W.I.C.K.E.D. 

4. Tris, Four & Co. from Divergent
I am going to count Tris and her members who try and fight back against the system to figure out and stop the corruption that is happening within the narrative (primarily with Erudite). 

5. The Starks from A Song of Fire and Ice Series
I am kind of stumped for the final one.. so you get the Starks, who can definitely be viewed as a sort of rebellion group because every single member rebels against the crown and the Lannisters. 

That's it from me on this Wednesday. I hope you enjoyed the double post from today. Let me know in the comments below, your top 5 couples and rebellion groups. I would love to know! 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review: My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins (& Contributions from Various Authors)

My True Love Gave To Me (Twelve Holiday Stories) written by and edited by Stephanie Perkins (and contributions from Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt De La Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor and Kiersten White) 

Publishing Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 336 pages
Contemporary Young Adult

The Premise: The book is a collection of twelve holiday stories written by various authors, many of whom are famous YA successful authors. When I saw that Raincoast offered me a chance to review this book, I immediately jumped at it, because it features a lot of my favorite authors, including the editor herself: Perkins, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor and David Levithan. Whether you want to read about stories about Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah or simply, the holidays and colder weather, there is something in this book for YOU.

My overall thoughts and review: I mentioned in the premise that most of the authors are some of my favorites, so I will have to say, I was most excited to read those ones and they did not disappoint. The David Levithan story and the Gayle Forman ones were definitely my favorites from the bunch and I also really enjoyed that they did not entirely focus on the young adults in highschool, but mentioned undergraduate students and graduate students as well. There was even a mention of a TA (which I felt empathized with on a personal level). Overall, I really enjoyed it and I wasn't sure what to expect because so many authors were featured. But it was like meeting all your favorite friends again at a coffee shop, but they brought something new, yet familiar to share. I loved all the stories and I found that they not only reaffirmed the reasons why I loved those authors, but also made me love them more. I really enjoyed how many authors came out for this and I really enjoyed the authors, who I was not previously familiar with but now am curious to find out more about. It really put me in the holiday spirit as well, and I'm thinking I will have to add the hardcover copy of this to my christmas wishlist because it looks stunning. If you want a lovely holiday read featuring some lovely authors, then this is definitely for you!

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: A digital galley of this book was sent to me by Raincoast Books Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Toronto International Book Fair - INSPIRE!

Hi everyone. Happy Monday! Today, I have a recap post for you all from the past weekend, where I attended the Toronto International Book Fair. I was originally planning on attending all three days, but I was feeling (and still feeling) quite poorly yesterday, so I ended up only going two days which is still a lot! If you follow me on twitter/instagram, I have posted some photos on there as well, but I took some photos with my nice camera and thought I'd share them with you all.

I believe this was the first year the event was held, so although I had a wonderful time with friends and meeting fellow book lovers, there are some things that should be improved upon for future shows!

The bigger booths like Penguin Random House and Simon Schuster were stunning. They had beautiful rooms decorated and seating area. There was so many lovely books on display! 

Entangled Publishing did it right the entire weekend. Everyday they were giving out a minimum of six free books and they had authors sitting there signing their books as well. What a lovely group the staff was! :D 

"I don't give a damsel" panel - featuring Meg Wolitzer, Gayle Forman, Sarah Mllynowski and E. Lockhart! 

Anne Rice on the Main Stage 

I received many books and not pictured are my autographs and event photos from E.Lockhart and Chris Hadfield, but that will come in a separate post! 

So what are the overall pros and cons? 

  • Great venue (I go there for conventions yearly) 
  • Affordable pricing 
  • Many great authors were present and they had wonderful panels 
  • There was a lot of freebies from Entangled Publishing - more publishing houses should have offered this! 
  • Lines were properly organized for the signings - especially the Chris Hadfield which I really appreciated. 
  • If you couldn't attend all three days and missed a signing, there was signed stock available for purchase. 
  • If there was an author on the main stage, and you wanted his/her signature, you had to purchase the book from the chapters kiosk there and they were not accepting books from home to sign which is unfortunate. As a book blogger, I not only receive many books but I buy many books as well and it really doesn't make sense to buy another one, simply to get an autograph. I know that it is all about supporting the author and what have you, but if an author for example has a series, it would be really expensive to have to buy the entire series again, solely for a signature. I know you can simply opt out to not get a signature, but it should be fair for everyone, especially if they have supported, bought the book, but simply not at the venue. 
  • The re-admit pass process was a bit time consuming. I think if someone wanted to go the entire weekend, a simple wristband would have been a lot easier to manage, or a lanyard. 
  • There should have been some sort of book blogger / book tube community opportunity. Obviously a lot of bookish people attended, but it would have been easier if TIBF organized a type of meet-up or meet and greet. And it would've been lovely with say, a famous author leading it all! 
  • Food choices - the food choices were incredibly slim! So maybe broaden that a bit next year? 
Overall, for it's first run, I thought it ran really well. I had a lovely time with my friends and meeting fellow book lovers and I walked away with some great gifts and lovely new reads. 

Did you attend Inspire - Toronto International Book Fair? If so, let me know in the comments below what you thought of it! 

And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for my Chris Hadfield and E.Lockhart signing posts! ;)