Friday, 27 February 2015

A Book set in a Different Country | 2015 Reading Challenge

Hi everyone! I finished another challenge recently and this time it is a book set in a different country. This book begins in New York, which is one different country, but then moves to Singapore for the majority of the book. :D

A Book set in a Different Country goes to:
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Review: here!

Have you finished any challenges for the #2015ReadingChallenge? Let me know in the comments below! You can also track my full progress here

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Book with Non-Human Characters | 2015 Reading Challenge

Hi everyone! I finished another challenge on the list and today it is a book with non-human characters. There are human characters in the book, but I selected this one because it features "cyborgs" and also those that come from the planet Luna, the "lunars". Any guesses yet what book it is? ;)

A Book with Non-Human Characters goes to:
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Review: here!

Have you finished any challenges for the #2015ReadingChallenge? Let me know in the comments below! 

Review: Salad Love by David Bez

Salad Love: 260 Crunchy, Savoury and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day by David Bez

Publishing Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Pages: 304 pages
Healthy Cooking

The Premise: David Bez is a fellow blogger and he began his project/blog SaladPride where he made himself a personal challenge to create a new salad everyday. From SaladPride, comes Salad Love. Salad Love is not a traditional cookbook and Bez states right in the beginning that he is not a chef, but rather a designer and a food lover. He wanted to create meals that were easy to make at his desk and he happened to take photos of them before digging in. He also makes it clear in the beginning that the "pre-made" salads were just not "healthy" and from there he began reading up a lot on healthy and organic eating. Ultimately Bez started this project to find ways to make salads that were not only healthy, but also filling that gave him energy afterwards. And so, Salad Love is a total of 260 recipes of the salads he has tried and tested.

My overall thoughts and review: I don't cook often but I am starting to cook more lately and I'm finding that my biggest difficulty is finding an easy and accessible cookbook or guide. Something that is not to difficult to understand, ingredients that are easy enough to find in my local grocery store, and ultimately, something that after I've been in the kitchen for a few hours, I can finish and say I'm proud of. That is what Salad Love has brought me. To begin with, Bez begins the book "HOW" to assemble a salad. I know that this may seem easy enough: "toss it all together," but there is an actual process to it all and personally, I think not only does it look better, but the way it is made makes the process of making it so much easier. Bez also includes some pages about making homemade vinaigrettes which is awesome! It is so much healthier that way and much easier than dragging a bottle of salad dressing to work/school. Then Bez gets into "tools" - I am planning on moving next year, so now is a great time to stock up on various tools you would need, but I was really surprised to see that these tools were small and easy to store at work at your desk.

Now onto the actual recipes. The book is divided into four sections: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. With each recipe Bez simply states what ingredients are required and how to make the dressing, and he kind of puts the assembling in the reader's hands (but if you read his earlier chapters about how, it makes this easier). I really loved how for each recipe Bez included "alternatives tips" such as, if the recipe was not vegetarian, he included a vegetarian option for the recipe or a vegan alternative. That is incredibly helpful and makes this book even more accessible to a wider range of individuals.

I have only tried a few, but I really want to challenge myself to make at least a salad from the book 1-2 times a week to start off. I usually a really boring person with salad and I just need a bit of arugula and hemp seeds to make me happy. I like that this book is pushing me to simply look in my fridge and pantry for extra ingredients and make a salad the singular meal, as opposed to a side dish.

So what are some of my favorite recipes thus far?

  • Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach (34)
  • Prosciutto, Parmesan & Cherry Tomatoes (39)
  • Blackberries, Cottage Cheese, Spinach & Croutons (123)
Overall, this is a lovely book for those who already love salads and those who are planning to "spice" up their salads. I really enjoyed it and I definitely think it is a staple in kitchens! 

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

You can follow David's blog SaladPride here and on twitter here!

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

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Book with More Than 500 Pages | 2015 Reading Challenge

Hi everyone! I finished another challenge on the list and this time, it was one of the bigger ones - a book with more than 500 pages. I did choose an "Easier" read - and the book in total was 834 pages, but I think it counts for a decent one for this challenge.

A Book with More Than 500 Pages goes to:
After We Fell by Anna Todd

Have you finished any challenges for the #2015ReadingChallenge? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians - A Novel by Kevin Kwan

Publishing Date: May 20, 2014 (Trade Paperback)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 544 Pages
Family Life Fiction (Asian American)

The Premise: Rachel Chu is living a wonderful life as an economics professor with her boyfriend Nicholas Young, who is also a professor. They have regular problems like trying to get tenure and Nick is the first guy she has ever envisioned herself marrying. Nick invites her to Singapore for the summer to meet his family and what Rachel does not expect is that Nick comes from a whole different world, a very "rich" world (literally). The book follows Rachel and Nick as they deal with the aftermath of some of Nick's mother's friends meddling and the book also follows Nick's cousins and other family members.

My overall thoughts and review: As always, it is always hard for me to write a premise for a novel w/o spoiling it, so I apologize now if from reading my premise, it does not sound all that intriguing. This book was seriously a ton of fun. I remember passing by it on the tables at chapters a while back, but it never intrigued me. I always thought it was a non-fiction piece with tips and things. I did not expect such a hilarious and fun book. My friend Lynne raved about it, so I knew I had to pick it up instantly. This book starts off with some history and context for Nick's family and I just loved the first part so much. It really sets the tone for the entire book. It was a lot of fun going from different perspectives, such as Rachel, Nick, Nick's mom Eleanor and his cousin Astrid. I particularly enjoyed reading about Astrid! She is my favourite character. All in all, this was a wonderful book. I would not say it was predictable, well maybe with Rachel and Nick, but in the end, there were a lot of twists and turns, which I would say was quite brave of the author to tackle. All in all, it was a really fun book and I recommend it for fans of "Shopaholic" because the tone. Also, my final point: the book has footnotes!! I just loved this extra bit so much. It helped me connect with the world so much and by the end of it, has only made me want to visit Singapore even more! There is also a sequel coming out later this year, and it can be a stand alone if you want it to be, but it will follow Nick and Rachel again. I am so excited for it!

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at: 

And for those who have read it and LOVED it, you can now PRE-ORDER the second book titled "China Rich Girlfriend" -> here

Monday, 23 February 2015

Review: Fairest - The Lunar Chronicles: Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer

Fairest - The Lunar Chronicles: Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer
(#0.5 in The Lunar Chronicles)

Publishing Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 272 pages
Young Adult

The Premise: Fans of the Lunar Chronicles will know Queen Levana as the antagonist of the series who has been fighting Cinder, Scarlet and Cress at every turn. Before she was Queen though, she was simply Levana. This short story is told from the perspective of Levana and offers up more background to her story and who she really is without the glamour.

My overall thoughts and review: Being a huge fan of the Lunar Chronicles series, I was incredibly excited when I first heard about this becoming a book. I am not a fan of Levana at all in the series, but one thing that kind of bugged me was, I did not really understand her reasons, so I was curious to learn more. I am always intrigued to see if an author can make you kind of side with "both" sides of the story (i.e. Philippa Gregory's The White Queen and The Red Queen does this nicely). In the beginning, I really empathized with Levana so much and her upbringing reminded me of other narratives. I enjoyed learning about her family and her "first-love" so to speak. What I did not anticipate was how "twisted" she was to become. I was really rooting for her, so in the end, when I really did not "feel" for her at all, I did not feel conflicted that Meyer did not show that she was good underneath it all, I was quite happy because Meyer reaffirmed why Levana is such a strong villain for me. All in all, this was a nice companion piece to the Lunar Chronicles. I would definitely say to read this in order of publication date because there are spoilers in the text for somethings that are mentioned in Cress. Finishing this has also made me want the final book even more. This was a nice addition (beautiful artwork on the front and back of the book) - and I would definitely say it is a must read for those who are reading the series! 

My rating of the book: ✮ (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Thursday, 12 February 2015

#RHCBloggerPreview - Most Anticipated 2015 Releases!

Hi all! I hope that you are all doing well. I have a super exciting post for you all today. Yesterday I was invited by the lovely ladies over at Random House of Canada (Aliya, Lindsey and Jess) to add the #RHCBloggerPreview. It was a great time with pizza, candy, books and meeting fellow book bloggers. We got some sneak peaks for some upcoming releases this year and I wanted to share with you all my most anticipated releases from the selection we were shown!

1. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
On Sale: March 3, 2015

Ishiguro is seriously one of my favorite authors. His works Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day seriously make my heart swell. He is also making a visit to Toronto soon so I really hope I get the chance to meet him. The girls at RHC said that this one was vastly different from his previous works, but like his previous ones, his books are truly a gift that fully immerse the reader into the world that he creates. It follows an older couple that searches for their son. 

2. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
On Sale: June 9, 2015

Kinsella is also another author who I really love. You might recognize her from the ever-so-popular Shopaholic series. This is Kinsella's newest and first debut in the world of YA. It follows a girl named Audrey who has an anxiety disorder but she finds that she is able to connect with her brother's gaming friend, Linus. It is a bit of a YA romance, but the girls at RHC said that what Kinsella does to the YA genre is really quite different. This sounds amazing! 

3. Boo by Neil Smith
On Sale: May 12, 2015

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this a while back and I have yet to read it, but after hearing about it yesterday.. I am starting it immediately. The girls at RHC said that this book was really "Lord of the Flies" meets "The Lovely Bones" - I love both books so that well, just sells it for me right off the bat. It follows the character of Boo who is murdered in highschool, but he was murdered from behind so he doesn't see who did it. Boo is in heaven and he is attempting to unravel the mystery behind his murder. While he is there, another student murdered at the same school, Johnny ends up heaven and together they both form a friendship and as they try to find "their place." This definitely has YA feel to it, but it sounds just amazing. 

4. Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali; illustrated by Raphaelle Barbanegre
On Sale: April 14, 2015

I love how Tundra is releasing such gorgeous picture books. I've always been a fan and I have acquired quite the collection over the years. When Jess first introduced this book to us, she said it was similar to the story of The TRUE story of the Three Little Pigs. If any of you have read that one, you will know it is a complete hoot. I studied it in my undergrad at university and I loved how it took a new spin on the original story. This new book follows that same process, where they take a new spin on the original snow white story - the other side of it. It focuses on how one would feel overwhelmed in a situation with not 7 dwarfs, but 77 dwarfs! It sounds so wonderful and I can't wait to add it to my collection. 

5. We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen
On Sale: May 12, 2015

Karen from OnePageBlog actually spoke about this a while back, so I was already intrigued by it because I find we have very similar reading interests. It is a YA novel from Nielsen and it deals with an awkward boy and a not-so-sweet girl. The girls at RHC said it deals with the "bully chatter" and how their worlds collide when their parents end up in a relationship together. And not colliding in the Brady Bunch sense at all. I am so excited for this! 

6. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
On Sale: August 4, 2015

I was actually able to snag an ARC of this last night, so I will be reading it soon. I am so excited to read this. When they first described it, a blogger said that it was as if "Up" met "Wall-e" = UHM YES. Sign me up please. It follows an unemployed 34 year old named Ben and he meets a robot Tang, who is like a toddler and they form this very charming, quirky and heartwarming friendship. They also mentioned that it has a very "Rosie Project" feel to it, which I haven't read myself, but I keep hearing good things about it. I can't wait to read this, it sounds so fun and I really think it will give you the warm, fuzzy feelings that you would get from Wall-E. :D 

7. Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
On Sale: March 17, 2015

I was also able to snag an ARC of this last night and it is being released next month. So you can bet I will have a review post for it up soon. Rubin is the author of the famous book, The Happiness Project and the new book really takes on that perspective again and how we have these habits of our everyday life that we should examine. Rubin encourages the reader to examine what kind of person you are and hinges on components such as exercising, eating, reading, etc - things that affect your lifestyle. I also hear that there will be a possible stationary bit with Indigo coming out with the book.. so perhaps highlighters?! Anything that has stationary with it, sign me up please! 

8. Free Days with George - Learning Life's Little Lessons From One Very Big Dog by Colin Campbell
On Sale: May 12, 2015

This book is about a rescue dog George, who has helped Campbell through his life events such as divorce. It is a quirky book about George and it has been called by the girls at RHC, "eat, pray, love" meets "Marley & Me" - This just sounds so emotional and I can't wait to read it. Also fun fact, George can surf! Like seriously. He is a part of a dog surfing championship. How awesome is that? 

9. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
On Sale: June 16, 2015

The lovely Lynne over at WordsofMystery raved so much about the first book Crazy Rich Asians that I picked it up recently. I am halfway through and I already love this world that Kwan has framed his narrative around. It is so much fun and really reminds me of the Shopaholic series and the Devil Wears Prada. This new release can be a stand alone if you want to read it as so, but it follows Nick and Rachel again. I am loving the first book so far, so I can't wait to dig into this! 

10. The Wild Oats Project by Robin Rinaldi
On Sale: March 17, 2015

So this book is basically a memoir about a woman in her 40's. Her husband doesn't want children, so before "settling down" they decide on an open marriage, where she has days spent with him and other days, where she spends on her own. The girls at RHC said that it has a very Sex and the City meets Girls kind of feel, and since I love both, I can't wait to read this. 

11. In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
On Sale: June 2, 2015

Okay how can you not be excited about this one?! It is by JUDY BLUME. There is also news that she is coming to Toronto later this year, so I am over the moon at that. I've loved her books growing up and so I am incredibly excited for a new release from her. It is based on the true events in Judy's life as a teenager and it is surrounded around these plane crashes. I don't really need to know more than that, because with Blume, I just know she will spin a narrative that will tug at my heart strings. I can't wait! 

The lovely ladies at RHC also shared some upcoming Fall 2015 releases as well, which I am so excited for: 

1. Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg 
(yes THE Jesse Eisenberg) 

2. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

3. Butter Celebrates by Rosie Daykin

4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
(a YA debut)

5. The Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
(a book for book lovers) 

To conclude, how awesome do some of these books sound?? If you haven't already started, I suggest adding some of these as Pre-Orders to your carts ;) I can't wait to read all of these and I will be for sure featuring them on my blog. 

Please let me know in the comments below which ones you are most excited to read, I would love to hear your thoughts on it! 

Happy Reading.. or in this case, Happy Shopping! ;) 

Monday, 9 February 2015

A Book by a Female Author | 2015 Reading Challenge

Hi everyone! So I have another book to add to the list for this year's reading challenge and that is A Book by a Female Author! I could've chosen any since I read a lot of books by female authors, but I really enjoyed this book, so I wanted to include it on my list for this year.

A Book by a Female Author goes to:
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios 
Review: here! 

Have you finished any challenges for the #2015ReadingChallenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Author Reception for Connie Gault, Jane Urquhart and Alix Hawley

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. Last week, the lovely staff at Random House Canada invited me to an Author Reception for Connie Gault, Jane Urquhart and Alix Hawley. I was so incredibly excited to attend because they are authors I have heard of, but never read anything from before. I have only heard praises when speaking about these authors and I also learned that they had some upcoming releases which they spoke at length about. 

The three new releases: All True Not A Lie In It, A Beauty & The Night Stages
Pictured above is the lovely set-up at the boardroom at RHC and the three authors pictured.

So let's talk about their books shall we? 

Alix Hawley's All True Not A Lie In It 
Hawley's book follows the story of Daniel Boone, an important figure of the Revolutionary War. Hawley told the audience that the story may be essentially about Boone, but she attempts to weave many narratives throughout the story, beginning with the pivotal moment of Boone dealing with the death (murder) of his son. Hawley also mentions that within this narrative, she looks at Boone's relationship with his wife and at the heart of it all, really tries to answer the question of Who was Daniel Boone? Alix actually has a lovely blog section on her website which I would recommend reading to catch up with her during her blog tour, which you can read more of here

Connie Gault's A Beauty
Gault's story follows the main character Elena. Gault started her speech by quoting the lovely Henry James and stated "all life belongs to you" and she said that it really resonated with her when putting the story together. The setting of Southern Saskatchewan has always been a place of myth for Gault, so she wanted to explore it further. The novel is set in the depression era and specifically in the summertime and focuses on two girls who were deserted by their father. The notion of how people wait in vain for what they want is what Gault really wanted to explore further. The main character of Elena crosses paths with another character Ruth and from there the story really unravels. Gault also mentioned a small tidbit that her family actually originated from that area so that is a part of the reason why she wanted to write the novel: to in a way, bring life to that area again. 

Jane Urquhart's The Night Stages
Before Urquhart spoke to the audience, the lovely editor introduced the story to us and mentioned that the content was quite dark and faced a lot of psychological components. It was accessible, but it was also quite tough with the subject matter and that was what she admired most about it. That it wasn't pretty and in fact, it was quite human. It takes place in a remote village in the 1940s in Ireland and it follows two brothers who are in conflict with one another and the woman that centres them. The editor stated that "you won't have a dry eye" when reading it and this really intrigued me because although it can be tough, I really enjoy emotionally charged subject matter. Jane went on to say that she found it quite difficult to kind of summarize this piece entirely for us and instead spoke about her inspirations for it. She stated that she found herself obsessed by an Irish bicycle race and the notion of things disappearing and loss and the idea of how to make them live again and to share them. For Jane, she wanted to explore a world that is disappearing and in a way bring it back to life - to reconstruct the house, the landscape, the cultural components. For her, she wanted to emphasize that the setting plays a significant role in the text. 

In conclusion, when looking at these three authors together, it was quite fitting that RHC decided to have a reception with all of them together. They take what is in a sense "lost" and bring new life to it and completely bring about a new "translation", so to speak. I am quite excited to explore more Canadian literature because all of these sound just wonderful. The authors were incredibly lovely as well, who took some time to meet me and other fellow bloggers. Lastly, many thanks again to RHC for hosting a lovely author reception! 

I cannot wait to dig into these books. You can expect a full review on the blog for these!

Let me know below in the comments if you've read anything from any of these authors and what did you think?