Thursday, 30 April 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
(Book #1 in a series)

Publishing Date: February 2, 2015
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Pages: 400 pages
Young Adult Fantasy

The Premise: In a world where everyone is divided based on their blood, Mare Barrow is thrown into the mix when a deadly game of powers take place. Mare comes from a family of Reds and in this world, those who are Reds are alive to serve the Silvers. Silvers hold a higher ranking because they have special powers. She ends up landing a job in the palace because the Prince and future King, Cal helps her. However, when she is within the palace, she is discovered to have powers which is unusual because she is a Red. The royal family go to great lengths to cover it up and essentially make her a new identity and makes her into a lost Silver princess. She is set to be married to Cal's younger brother, Maven. She gets deeper and deeper into the Silver world, all the while, learning some truths about herself and why she has qualities of both Red and Silver and what role she is to play in this battle between Reds and Silvers.

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise of the book, I thought that the concept of the country is divided based on blood quite interesting. The fact they actually bleed Silver or bleed Red is fascinating. I loved the character of Mare so much. Seeing her adapt and struggle in the Silver world really made my heart hurt. It felt as if she was a friend and I was rooting for her to take hold of her situation and cope. It is obviously that Aveyard is laying down the foundation for the following books to come in this series, but that didn't make the book any less action-packed. There was so much going on and I loved the twists and turns of the book. The book tackles the concept of betrayal in a very interesting way and it is the underlying theme of the book. You start reading almost every chapter expecting a betrayal and then when you think you are okay, it comes in and blows you away. I also loved both of the love interests so much! Cal and Maven. What a mess Mare finds herself in, feelings for both brothers but only betrothed to one. I really liked how this unfolded and although it seems pretty clear that the doors are closed on both, I still hope that can be revisited in the future books. I also loved the reveal at the end and I basically cannot wait for the next book in the series. This book was action-packed, fun and super interesting. It reminded me of Kiera Cass' The Selection and even more, Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series.

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Favorite Series Endings | Top 5 Wednesday

Hi everyone! Wow! I can't believe another month has gone by already. Time really does fly. For today's topic it is Favorite Series Endings which is nice since earlier in the month there was Worst Series Endings! Anyway, here are my choices!

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Although, I did not love this book as much as the previous one. I still thought it was a decent ending, the best possible ending in a dystopic world. I am mad about some of the choices that Collins took with some characters, but in the end, I've grown (literally - oh hey 25!) and after rereading it recently, I've come to appreciate the ending that Collins has given us. 

2. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Oh this book. LOVED this book so much. I really liked how the story wrapped up nicely and in such a unique way for every ship. I really wish it wasn't only a trilogy because I loved the world that Clare produced with such strong and lovable characters. Just writing this out makes me miss Tessa, Will and Jem! I think it is time for a reread ;) 

3. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Look at that! Cassie Clare has made it to two spots on this top 5 list! I was so happy to hear when Clare had planned for more books in this series and that it did not simply end with City of Glass. I LOVED how this ended so much. There was so much build up and I was definitely anxious for the bloodbath of it all :P But I think in the end, Clare really put together a beautiful ending for the characters we love so much! 

4. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
How could I not include this one? I remember lining up at midnight to get my copy and rushing home and sitting in one spot to read it until I finished it. I had mentally prepared myself for Harry's death, I got to the point where I would even be okay with it, and in the end [spoilers] Rowling didn't go through with it, which I was extremely grateful for. Although many character deaths did take place and those ones did break my heart, Rowling gave happy endings for a lot of the characters which I really appreciate. Sidenote however, I do not appreciate the editorial additions that came after publication. Sorry, J.K, but Hermione/Ron 5ever. 

5. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Saving the best for last.. IGNITE ME! OH goodness, this book was everything I wanted and more. I loved this book so much. I've reread it at least three times now and it never gets old for me. I love how everything develops so much and I just love the character of Warner! If you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for? Mafi has beautiful writing and builds characters that demonstrate such significant growth, it is wonderful! 

Well that is it for my choices this week. Let me know in the comments your favorite series endings! :D Thanks so much for reading and I will see you next week with another topic ;) 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bout of Books 13

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. That time of year is almost upon us again.. and it is Bout of Books 13! I can't believe we are already at 13. It feels like just yesterday when I was participating in my first read-a-thon ever for Bout of Books 9.0 - So in previous read-a-thons, I did really well and other read-a-thons, life happened and well, I wasn't able to keep up. I really hope to fully participate this time around because last time, life happened.

I know it is a bit early, but I thought I'd share my sign up post with you all because it is better to spread the word earlier and encourage you all to sign up and join me. It is so much fun, you get to read a lot, participate in challenges and meet other bookish lovers! :D

For those of you that don't know what Bout of Books is - here is a blurb from their website:

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, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

You can sign up here! It will be taking place this year from May 11th to May 17th! Please let me know in the comments below if you are planning on signing up and participating. I'm so excited! Be sure to look out for a TBR and goals post coming soon! ;)


Bout of Books

Review: The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Publishing Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Pages: 320 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows Normandy Pale and her two best friends, Dusk and Neil. Together they make the Truth Commission. They come together and ask the truth from people at their school to uncover what is really going out behind individuals that seem guarded. The truth will set you free is essentially the message of their attempts. Things however get complicated when the truth actually hits closer to home with Normandy, when her sister, Kiera, famous older sister returns home from school and begins acting strangely. Normandy must try to be an active member of the Truth Commission with her friends, but can she really handle the truth that comes from her sister Kiera?

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise for this book, I didn't think anything of it. I was intrigued by it and I was lucky enough that one of my blogger friends shared an ARC copy that she received for the book. This book definitely surprised me. I found the structure of the text quite interesting, because it essentially is a rough draft of a project by Normandy. There is a forward, there are footnotes, there are afterwords, epigraphs, etc. It really feels as if the entire book is coming from Normandy and it feels like a book within a book. This was my first time reading something by Juby and I was pleasantly surprised. I found the pacing a bit slow in the beginning, but it really picked up half-way through. I loved what a strong voice Normandy had and how at some passages, the strong voice was still there, but her being so reserved shows the other side to her personality. The story definitely took a much darker turn that I anticipated and the ending, well, it was not exactly the happy-go-lucky cheery ending that you would expect, but that is okay. And I think ultimately, it was the best possible outcome for Normandy. Because at the end, it not only demonstrates what is right, and what happens when the truth comes out, but it demonstrates Normandy really coming to terms with the idea of the truth and what it means to her. It is quite a perplexing read and really gets you thinking about different identities, behaviours and the truth. I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for a YA contemporary novel that pushes the limits and explores something a little darker. In the words of Meredith Grey, it is definitely dark and twisty.

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from a fellow book blogger. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Review: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Publishing Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 384 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows Jude and her twin brother who are incredibly close and have an interest in the arts. They are basically connected at the hip, with Jude being the wild and free one and Noah who is isolated and falling in love with the boy next door. Everything is going well until a tragic accident happens that tears them apart. Three years later, they are no longer close. They actually barely speak to one another. The story is told from two time periods. The earlier years are told from Noah's perspective and the later years are told from Jude's perspective and together, both halves make a whole and the story wraps in a way that brings the two together again.

My overall thoughts and review: So you know how you wait for THE one. When I closed this book and finished it, I was so overwhelmed with happiness. I felt as if I've been waiting my whole life for this novel. It is by far, my favorite young adult novel I've ever read. To begin with, Jandy Nelson's writing is just phenomenal. She has a way with words that just amazes me. So many incredible beautiful passages. I've bookmarked a ton. I would share them, but I think I'll leave this quote-free because I want for you to read them and have them blow you away, like they did for me the first time I read them. The way she is able to write from Noah and Jude's perspectives and make them so distinct is wonderful. I loved the idea of the close twins and learning about the tragic accident that tears them apart, literally tore me apart. I loved how she told the story from the earlier years from Noah's perspective and then Jude's for the later years. The relationship between the twins was so beautiful and where the title comes from, of how they would split up parts of the world for each other, just made my heart sing. I find it extremely hard as I've said before to write really long reviews for books I really love. I just don't know what more to say other than I loved it so much. Everything about this story was beautiful, the relationships between Jude and Noah, Jude and Guillermo, Jude and Oscar, Noah and Brian and so many more. I also really loved the artistic side of the book and how many references to art movements were mentioned (I totally geeked out at the mention of the Impressionists and Cezanne)! If you are a fan of contemporary young adult novels, this is one you MUST read. It is my favorite YA novel EVER. So be sure to check it out. It will not disappoint.

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Friday, 24 April 2015

Lori Lansens & Sara Gruen Reception at Duke of York | April 21, 2015

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. I recently was invited to a lovely bookseller and blogger reception for two very wonderful authors: Lori Lansens and Sara Gruen. The event was at the Duke of York, in the Cellar. I hadn't been there before and I loved it. It is a nice pub close to St. George Station. When I arrived, I found other book bloggers there: Michele from JustaLilLost, Shilpa from SukasaReads, Orie from Lets Take a Shelfie and Lauren from Some Bookish Things


The launch was for the both authors recent releases: Sara Gruen's At The Water's Edge which I read and LOVED! You can read my full review for the book here! And for Lori Lansens' The Mountain Story, which I received at the event and will be starting shortly. I've heard so many good things about it and I can't wait!  


The Mountain Story Cake! 
There was some good food and a drink inspired by Sara Gruen's book. There was even a cake for Lori's book which was actually shaped like a mountain. It was so awesome and so incredibly delicious! 


Before the event really started, Lori made her rounds and said hi to everyone and she was so incredibly sweet! My bestfriend finished the book recently and that has made me so excited to read it! Sara came and I was able to talk to her a bit and sing my praises for the book. They are both such sweet authors and it really was a great opportunity meeting them and talking to them for a bit :)

I had a wonderful evening and I want to say thank you again to the gals at RHC for the invite! :D 

Be sure to be on the lookout for a review of The Mountain Story in a few weeks ;)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Books That Feature Travelling | Top 5 Wednesday

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all well. My apologies for missing last week's topic - I was sick AND I don't like writing negative things on my blog to begin with, and last week was most frustrating characters. Anyways, I'm back with this week's topic and it is top 5 books that feature travelling. I am including a variation of "travelling" = road trips, vacations, etc, etc. 

1. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
This one is a must for me. I loved reading about Mim's travel to see her mom and her encounters along the way and how she learns to discover some truths about herself.
Full Review located: here

2. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson 
Travelling isn't a huge portion of the book, but it occurs mostly towards the end of the novel. I loved this book so much and I just loved the journey that the characters took and the relationships that came out of it. It is definitely one of my favorite YA novels ever. 
Full Review located: here!

3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
AHHH! This book follows the protagonist and her boyfriend from New York to Singapore. What a funny and incredibly fun book. I loved this so much and when I finished it, I only wanted to visit Asia even more (I've never been). The sequel for it is coming out soon and I can't wait to start reading that as well! 
Full Review located: here!

4. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Oh this book left me in tears. What a book indeed. This book features some travelling for the main characters Violet and Finch and the places that they visited were not traditional and I just loved following along on their journey. 
Full review located: here!

5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I feel like this choice is pretty much self-explanatory. I mean how could I not include this one when it comes to travelling? ;)

Well that's it for this Wednesday's topic. Let me know in the comments below your choices for books that feature travelling. Thanks so much for reading! 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Review: Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady

Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by Tara O'Brady

Publishing Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Pages: 296 pages
Food & Drink

The Premise: Seven Spoons comes from Blogger and Food writer Tara O'Brady from the blog Seven Spoons. Comprised of everyday recipes organized by meals and beautiful photography, Tara has created a book full of the beautiful recipes similar to the ones she has put together online and more! In her introduction, Tara talks about how she started cooking and the process and progress of hear learning how to cook. She has definitely encouraged me because I feel like we cook in the same way a little, through "memory, advice, magazines, books, the Internet and television shows" (5). The book also includes amazing tips for stocking the pantry. There is a literally a bit of everything for everyone in this book!

The book is organized into 7 sections:
1) Breads & Breakfasts
2) Lunches
3) Soups, Starters & Snacks
4) Suppers
5) Vegetables & Sides
6) Sweets, Treats and Sips
7) Staples

I actually made a few of the recipes recently on my own and together during a cooking day with my fellow blogger friends:



Some of the recipes that I tried were: 

  • Roasted Red Pepper, Almond and Feta Salad (PG. 186)- I made this one for dinner one night as a side to some chicken and it was such an amazing recipe to put together! I left out the parsley because I am not a big of of parsley, but it worked out really well. I loved it and it was an incredibly filling salad. :D 
  • Mushrooms and Greens with Toast (PG. 91) - This has got to be my favorite recipe that I've tried so far. It was so delicious and easy to make and we used spinach in our recipe for the greens. I had it with a few other bits but I definitely think that it can work as a main dish or a side dish to steak or chicken. Just delicious! 
  • Salad Rolls (PG. 75) - Nikki picked this recipe and it was so much fun putting these rolls together. I volunteered to roll them since I have experience with wrapping rice paper rolls from some vietnamese dishes we often make at home. I loved how simple it was and it incorporated so many vegetables. We made both of the sauces and although, Nikki preferred the Sesame dressing, I definitely preferred the Tamari dipping sauce. Both were great and I loved that Tara included so many options to choose from! 

My overall thoughts and review: I think it is pretty clear from the recipes that I've mentioned and what I thought of them, that I just LOVED everything. This cookbook is definitely going to be a staple in my kitchen because it has a bit of everything for everyone. There are so many meals that can be adapted for many different meals and reasons and a lot of the ingredients were easy to find at my local grocery store, which I really appreciated. Tara is incredibly clear in the beginning of each recipe with tips and tricks on how she thinks the recipe can be cooked and the perfect setting for having them. Tara also has a lot of alternatives for the reader as well and notes which is awesome if you can't find a certain ingredient. I loved this cookbook so much and I think it truly is a good cookbook for any and every day. Be sure to check it out because you definitely will not be disappointed! 

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 


Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 


Tara O'Brady's "Seven Spoons" Book Launch at Ben McNally Books | April 20, 2015

Good morning everyone! I hope that you are all having a lovely day. Today is a wonderful day for book releases and I just wanted to share with you a book launch that I recently had the pleasure of attending! The book also launches today, so be sure to run out and get your copy of it! ;) A review post will be going up immediately after this post, so be on the look out for that as well! 


I was invited to attend Tara O'Brady's Seven Spoons book launch at Ben McNally Books. My bestfriend, Nikki, who is also a blogger attend as well and you can read her recap for the event here! Another blogger and friend that attended was Shilpa from SukasaReads! It was such a fun evening chatting about recipes with wine, cheese and cookies! I've never been to that bookstore before, but another friend of mine mentioned how lovely it was so I was super excited to attend. 

The cookies were from the cookbook and omg they were AMAZING!
Tara gave a wonderful speech that definitely sparked some tears in the audience. It was so inspiring to hear about her journey as a blogger and now, a writer. I was so incredibly proud of Tara for all of her accomplishments and after attempting some of the recipes from her cookbook, it has truly become a favorite in my kitchen. Tara has produced such a wonderful cookbook, that is easy, accessible and of course, has delicious and fun recipes! 

When Nikki and I went up to meet her, she recognized us from instagram/twitter and our cooking days which was incredibly sweet! She even recognized which sauce Nikki preferred in the salad rolls recipe (so awesome)! 

Tara O'Brady giving her opening speech and signing a copy of Seven Spoons. 

What an incredibly awesome evening! My review for the book will be up shortly, but in the mean time, if you haven't had the chance to pick up a copy of Seven Spoons, it is released today and you can purchase it at: Chapters/Indigo or Book Depository (Free International Shipping)

Monday, 20 April 2015

Review: At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

Publishing Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 368 pages
Historical Fiction

The Premise: Maddie Hyde and her husband, Ellis, decide after an embarrassing encounter on New Years to set sail from Philadelphia with Ellis' bestfriend, Hank in search for the Loch Ness monster. Maddie and Ellis have also been cut off financially from Ellis' father, a former war colonel because of Ellis' inability to serve in the war. Ellis is colorblind and Hank is flat-footed, and they both encouraged Maddie to go with them across the pond to Scotland, while the very real monster, Hitler, is waging war. The story follows Maddie as she follows her husband and friend, during wartime into an uncharted territory. Once in Scotland, the story unfolds where Maddie begins to learn about herself, her husband, and a type of awakening occurs within her through the newfound friendships and relationships.

My overall thoughts and review: I know that it is only April and it is probably too early to say, but I have to say that this has got to be my FAVORITE read of 2015 thus far. I've been a big fan of Sara Gruen for a while now and I loved her previous book, Water for Elephants. I was pretty much over the moon happy when I heard about this new book from Gruen. Scotland, WWII, the loch ness monster, what more could you ask for? Having the focus shift to Scotland is definitely something new for me, since I am used to most WWII books being situated in France or England, so this was quite a nice change. I was reading some reviews of the book and one of the criticisms was the pacing of the book and how some found the beginning a bit slow. For me though, it was the complete opposite. I love how Gruen paces the story and really lays the foundation. She gives a little in earlier chapters, and then unfolds and gives the entire picture in later chapters. I LOVED the character of Maddie so much and I loved seeing her journey and her growth as a character. I was so incredibly proud of Maddie by the end of the book for how much she achieved and just how self-aware she was of her circumstances. The story was also woven with another character's story, Angus Grant and I found how that played out to be really sweet. Even the secondary characters were so well-rounded and multi-dimensional. I loved the characters of Meg and Anna so much and at times, I found myself liking Ellis and Hank as well. All in all, this is a wonderful read for those who are fans of historical fiction. I always find it most difficult to comprise a long review for the books I really love, and trying to find more things to say than simply saying, I loved it over and over again. But seriously, I really did love it. It had everything that I would want in a historical fiction book and more so, Gruen's beautiful prose and imaginative storytelling really shined in this one. I have to say, I like it even more than Water for Elephants, and that is saying a lot considering I loved that one!

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book at the RHC Blogger Preview event for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Sabrina Ramnanan's "Nothing Like Love" Book Launch at Rhum Corner | April 14, 2015

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all having a lovely day. If you are in Toronto or the GTA area, I hope you are enjoying the lovely weather we've been having. I've unfortunately have been hit with a wave of sickness. *sigh* But I recently went to a blog event that I can't wait to share with you all about. I was invited to attend the "Nothing Like Love" Launch by Sabrina Ramnanan at Rhum Corner. 


If you've been following me on twitter, you'll know that I've been talking about this book non-stop! In fact, I've recently posted a giveaway on twitter for a chance to win a copy of the book which ends on April 18th, but there is still some time to enter, so be sure to check it out here! 

The event was at Rhum Corner and I've never been there before, but it was such a lovely venue. They provided some really awesome snacks for us before hand such as patties and deep fried plantains. Sabrina gave such a lovely speech that definitely sparked some tears in the audience. I loved the book so much and I was so happy I got to finish it before I met her because listening to her talk about the process of writing it gave me even more appreciation for the text. She gives me hope as an aspiring writer to try my best to keep at my writing no matter what. And to also be brave when it comes to content, because sometimes it just works. 


After the speeches, I got to meet Sabrina for a bit and it made me so happy that she recognized me (from online) and talked about my review. I got to sing my praises to her and she was seriously the sweetest person ever. It makes me so excited just thinking about her future projects! 

What a lovely evening it was! To wrap up, I want to direct you to my full review of Sabrina's Book, which you can read more about here! I definitely encourage you to go pick up a book if you have the chance to because it definitely will not disappoint! :) 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review: Snow White & The 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali & Raphaëlle Barbanègre

Snow White & The 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali & Raphaëlle Barbanègre 

Publishing Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 32 pages
Picture Book/Storybook

The Premise: This story is a retelling of the classic tale of Snow White and the 7 dwarfs but instead this one Snow White encounters not 7 dwarfs, but 77 dwarfs! She is on the run from the evil Queen like in the original story, but she soon realizes that she has taken on more than she can handle with the 77 dwarfs.

My overall thoughts and review: I believe that this is my first time ever reviewing a picture book on my blog and I really should review more of those because I am a huge fan and I actually have quite the collection. I LOVED this picture book so much. When I was at the RHC blogger event, one of the gals pitched this as similar to the story of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, which I read in my undergrad and loved. They take a classic story and put an interesting twist on it. This one did exactly that. The artwork to begin with, is simply stunning. It was incredibly vibrant and the detail on every page keeps you lingering on for much longer than a typical picture book. I loved how this ended and it was simply hilarious. I think this would be a great and fun read and I think it is definitely one to add to one's library!

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

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

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sarah Britton's "My New Roots" Book Launch at Good Egg | April 12, 2015

Hi everyone! I hope that you all had a lovely weekend. Today's weather was absolutely wonderful and I spent the morning/early afternoon downtown Toronto at Kensington Market for Sarah Britton's My New Roots Book Launch at Good Egg. 

Publishing Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Pages: 256 pages
Healthy Cooking

Sarah Britton signing copies of My New Roots
Britton's My New Roots is a cookbook comprised of everyday recipes that are plant-based. Britton is a nutritionist and a blogger (yay fellow blogger love) and this book is her first release ever. Britton inspires her readers to make healthy choices everyday and she actually catalogues many recipes on her blog, which you can check out over at http://www.mynewroots.org/ - The recipe book includes 100 seasonal recipes and encourages a diet based on whole foods. All of the recipes include organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lentils, nuts and seeds. Each recipe has nutritional and health information so you are aware of the benefits for each recipe! There is something for everyone in this book! 
Michele and me with Troian! 
The launch for the book was held at the very lovely bookshop Good Egg right in the heart of Kensington on Augusta. Good Egg primarily features cookbooks and kitchenware stuff, but they also carry a wide range of books. It is such a cute and quirky little shop and I definitely recommend visiting if you are ever in the area! It was a full house with many lining up to buy their book and get it signed.  We literally couldn't move at some point - so that is saying something of how busy the launch was! Sarah even made and brought in some homemade sesame brittle for everyone, which was DELICIOUS! While we were in the bookshop chatting about the book, we saw some familiar faces: Troian Bellisario and Patrick J. Adams, who came out to support their friend Sarah Britton. Michele from JustALilLost and my bestfriend, Nikki from nikkitheknack were able to chat with Troian for a bit and say hi to Patrick which was a cool moment! 

Overall it was a lovely Sunday afternoon spent with my bestfriend and fellow bookish bloggers AND the lovely gals at Random House! I can't wait to start cooking some recipes from the book and many congratulations to Sarah for such a wonderful achievement! I will be posting a full review of the book on the blog soon and I will include my attempt at a recipe or two (with photos included). So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that to go up later this month! 

The book is now available for purchase at Chapters/Indigo and/or Book Depository!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Review: Nothing Like Love by Sabrina Ramnanan

Nothing Like Love by Sabrina Ramnanan 

Publishing Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 432 pages
General Fiction

The Premise: The story takes place in 1974 in the town of Chance, Trinidad. It follows the small group of neighbours: farmers, seamstresses, gossipers but the central story line revolves around an eighteen year old named Vimla Narine. Vimla is at the top of her class and she has recently been offered a teaching post at a local school. Everything gets derailed however one night when Vimla is caught at night holding hands with Krishna Govind. Overnight things absolutely take a turn for the worse. Vimla's offer to the teaching post is rescinded and the Govinds are quickly looking for someone to marry their son off to. Vimla and her neighbour and friend Minty band together to try and find a way to stop Krishna from marrying Chalisa, while Krishna is simultaneously trying to find his way back to Vimla. The entire story unravels over how their relationship changes through these events.

 "Krishna? Vimla Narine, what the ass make you think Krishna go marry you now?"
"He love me."
Chandani flinched. "It ain't have nothing like love here!" She gestured to the sunlit hallway. Vimla wasn't sure if her mother meant this house or Trinidad, but she didn't dare ask. "Your reputation ruined, girl. The Govind family ain't go want Krishna to marry you now."
Vimla stared, dumbstruck, at her mother, who sucked her teeth, stomped into her bedroom and slammed the door. (pg. 40-41)  
My overall thoughts and review: I just could not put this book down. I was in love with it from the very start. What Ramnanan does is weave many different perspectives into the story and you feel like you are getting a bit of everyone equally, although really, Vimla and Krishna are at the centre of it. The story is written phonetically and I really felt was if I was transported to Chance, Trinidad. The dialogue bits were my favorite because of that, but even if some sections were heavy on the dialogue, Ramnanan somehow is able to build the world so wonderfully. Just the overall structure of the book and how everything unfolds between the Govinds and Narines was so incredibly fascinating. I found myself laughing a lot because of the silliness from some characters and I also found myself getting incredibly frustrated at some characters like Sangita, but that just goes to show just how well written this book is! There is a bit of every character and every character is so well-rounded. This is a wonderful story and the title is just perfect, because there's nothing like love. Love is not perfect, love is complicated and this story depicts not only romantic love, but love in friendships (Vimla & Minty // Krishna & Dutchie), love in family (Vimla and her parents, Krishna and his parents and Krishna and his aunt), love in neighbors (even when they don't deserve it), and also, finding love again (Sangita and Rajesh). This was an incredibly fun, laugh out loud, charming book. I just loved it and I would highly recommend it to those looking for a fun read this summer. This is Ramnanan's debut novel and I am incredibly excited to see what she writes next!

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)


Disclaimer: A finished copy of this book was sent to me by Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Review: The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow

The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow

Publishing Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows a boy named Francis who comes from a broken family because his dad left and his older brother has moved out. Despite all this and not having as many friends, he somehow makes it work. Until one day he is diagnosed with leukaemia. While in the hospital for his treatments, he meets another patient in the cancer ward, Amber. Amber is fierce and tough and he falls in love with her instantly. He considers Amber his first truly best friend and even more than that. However as luck would have it, as their friendship blossoms and Francis seems to be recovering, Amber is not and the story unfolds with how Francis comes to deal with this.

My overall thoughts and review: To begin with, I must say, I really, really, really enjoyed this book. I was kind of off "TFiOS-like" books for a little, but this was one that really surprised me. Francis is an incredibly lovable character. For someone quite young, he takes the news of his illness in such stride and he sounds like a fifteen year old, which is something that can sometimes not sound realistic in some YA novels which would be off-putting for me. Crow does it perfectly. I just loved seeing the process of Francis fall in love with Amber and Amber fall in love with Francis. I loved how they just became so much more with their relationship, but their character development was not contingent on their relationship. Despite the outcome of the novel, they both still shined even after the outcome. The book also handles sickness in a really good way and although the central plot of the novel is the love story, it really focuses on how to deal with a child with Francis' and Amber's condition and how significant family is during a time like this. Francis' interactions with his brother, his mother and grandma were just lovely to read and I really looked forward to those scenes. All in all, this book had a really cute love story, it tackled issues of sickness and how to see the bright side in dark matters and mostly, emphasized the significance of family. The beginning chapters reminded me of a TV show that I quite like, "My Mad Fat Diary" and I think that people who were fans of Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story will really enjoy this story! I highly recommend it and I think it is definitely something that contemporary lovers will enjoy!

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)


Disclaimer: An advanced readers copy of this book was sent to me by Simon and Schuster Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Books You Wanted to Start Yesterday | Top 5 Wednesday

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. I'm sorry I missed last week's Top 5 Wednesday. School and work recently started up again that day for me so I was swamped with getting back into the swing of things. Anyways, I'm back this week! I love the topic for this week because it basically will list the top 5 books that I really want to start reading asap, so basically the ones on my TBR list at the very top at the moment! Let's get started!

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 
I feel like I'm the last person on earth to read this book. I own this one and the second one and it's been on my shelf for so long! I will start it this month though because it is the next read for Chapters/Indigo's #WorldsBiggestBookClub read! 

2. The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons
I've also had this sitting on my shelf for so long and I keep meaning to start it. Every time I think about picking it up again, I hear another rave review about it! I need to start this! 

3. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
The final book in the Bloodlines series. I keep wanting to start this and finish it but deep down, I'm not ready to part with this series just yet. That is probably why it's taken me so long to get around to it!

4. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Another book that I wanted to start yesterday and it just so happens it is also a final book in a series as well. I loved the first two very much so I really need to get around to finishing this! 

5. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
I've picked this up and put it down a few times, not because I didn't enjoy it but because ARCs came in and school work added up and I couldn't find the time. I am dying to read this and find out what happens next in the story so I really hope I can start it soon! 

Well those are my top 5 books of books I wanted to start yesterday. Let me know your picks below in the comments! 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Review: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

Publishing Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 336 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows Sage Czinski who is trying really hard to be perfect. Perfect so that no one will ever really get under the surface to learn about her dark past. She is also know as the Queen of Bright and Shiny Things because every so often when she feels someone needs cheering up, she leaves a sticky note on their locker hoping that will cheer them up. Everything changes for Sage when she meets Shane, who is a shy guy that plays guitar and this highschool is his last chance at normalcy. He simply wants to graduate and move on with the rest of his life, but as the story would have it, Sage and Shane will cross paths and the story follows how that relationship unfolds.

My overall thoughts and review: Having read and enjoyed a series from Ann Aguirre in the past, I was quite excited to learn that she had a new Young Adult contemporary read coming out. This was a wonderful YA read in my opinion. I really liked how the story was paced and it wasn't instalove like some YA series. I loved Sage as a protagonist, there was so much to her and she was such a strong character who wanted to change and be the best she could be. Her relationship with Shane was beautiful and down right swoon-worthy. The mystery between both of their pasts were intriguing as well and there was the drama/antagonist in the book which really helped move the plot along. All in all, I really enjoyed this YA contemporary read and I think it would be a great read for those that are fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and Morgan Matson.

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)


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

Monday, 6 April 2015

Review: The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler

The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler

Publishing Date: March 26, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 320 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows Jess who pretends that everything in her life is fine. When really, she's made some big mistakes like betraying her bestfriend, drinking when she shouldn't and hanging out with people she shouldn't. One day when things get quite out of hand, her father takes away her phone privileges and makes her spend the summer "volunteering" at a local soup kitchen. There she meets staff members like Wilf who she finds an unlikely friend in and Flynn. Although to the outside world and to the people of the local soup kitchen Jess and her life appears basically perfect, it really isn't. There was an accident that occurred with her mom and things with her family have never been right and Jess has felt quite alone, until she meets Flynn.

My overall thoughts and review: This is my first time reading something by Janet Gurtler and I can already see myself adding her books to my shopping cart on Chapters/Indigo. This book was a wonderful YA contemporary read that had characters that demonstrated significant growth and really had the reader rooting for them towards the end of the book. I really enjoy it when authors create characters that "are-not-all-they-seem-to-be-but-in-fact-are-more" - Jess was not exactly likeable in the beginning of the book and I kept cringing at the beginning scenes wanting to shake her and tell her to smarten up! I'm glad for those beginning scenes with Nance because it only serves to prove how much Jess has grown. This book's central storyline is the love story between Flynn and Jess which developed at a nice pace and was quite cute. It reminded me of Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook because it tackles the two lovers from opposite sides of the train tracks. I also loved the relationship that Jess had with Flynn's younger brother, who is all kinds of adorable! Although the main storyline is the love story that I mentioned, the book deals a lot with families and how different they can be beneath the surface. It also has a lot to deal with friendships and I think the central message of the book is to fight for what you love, but also do what is best for you. The book really speaks to making healthy friendships and relationships and striving to keep those and to know when certain people are just not good for you. And lastly to accept that those who may seem unlikely in being good for you, turn out being so. I really enjoyed this read by Gurtler and I can't wait to read more from her in the future! I would definitely recommend this to fans of Sarah Dessen, Morgan Matson and Rainbow Rowell!

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for preorder at:
Chapters/Indigo and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)


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

Sunday, 5 April 2015

April 2015 TBR

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. I haven't done a TBR post in a while and I thought I would get back into doing one because it really helps keep my reading on track (with meeting arc deadlines) and also making sure I am reading what I really want to read (it keeps me accountable). Anyways, I thought I would start off small and have four books! I really want to finish all of these this month and if there are any other books I plan to read, I will read them after I finish these!


1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - It is the Chapters/Indigo #WorldsBiggestBookClub pick for this month and the discussion and twitter chat for it is on the 29th. I will definitely get started soon because it is quite a big read! 

2. The Truth Commission by Susan Juby - Susan is actually going to be in Toronto next month and I really hope to have this read for then but I want to read it this month because it is released this month and I was lucky enough to get an arc copy from my lovely friend Lynne. 

3. Galgorithm by Aaron Karo - This book sounds just right up my alley. When I read the synposis on goodreads, I knew I had to read it! I can't wait to get started on this! 

4. Nothing Like Love by Sabrina Ramnanan - I recently got this from Random House for review last week and this sounds just wonderful. It was one of the pick's from the RHC girls and it sounds like a super interesting contemporary read. I can't wait to start this! 

What is on your TBR pile for April? Let me know in the comments below!