Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Review: Doodle Lit by Jennifer Adams & Illustrated by Alison Oliver

Doodle Lit by Jennifer Adams & Illustrated by Alison Oliver

Publishing Date: August 1, 2014
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Pages: 272 pages
Colouring/Drawing Book

The Premise: From those who made the Babylit Books, comes Doodle Lit, which is a colouring and drawing book for those that want to celebrate classical literature in ~doodle~ form. The book incorporates many literary favorites such as Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll and more. There are many pages filled with quirky designs for colouring but also crafting.

My overall thoughts and review: It seems that within the past few months, adult colouring books has just sky-rocketed. The popularity surrounding colouring books is insane. I myself have jumped on this bandwagon and I've been obsessed with colouring books as of late (I will have a full post up about this obsession at some point). When a literary agent contacted me about reviewing this book, I was instantly excited. I know about the babylit books through the grapevine and I even have a fellow colleague at school who is writing a paper on the use of babylit books, so I was quite excited that babylit has come up with a new and more interactive platform to take their work. The book is quite large, 272 pages and filled with tons of activities for your child. The instructions are clear, but also, there is a lot of freedom to ~do as you wish~ with each page. I think it is fascinating that you are introducing literary classics to a child quite earlier on, and in a way that is instructive but also playful. As a twenty-something, I definitely enjoyed looking through this book, but even more so, using it. I know that it is marketed for children, but with the new love for colouring books for adults, I think this is one that some adults would definitely enjoy as well, seeing all the literary classics incorporated. I would highly recommend this for any parent looking to add a non-traditional colouring book into their child's life (and to check out Babylit in general because they have a wide range!), but also I would like to highly recommend this to those that are adults and are loving this current colouring book phase. It will not disappoint!

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

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

Review: The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak by Brian Katcher

The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak by Brian Katcher

Publishing Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 336 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows two characters Ana and Zak, who find themselves thrown into an accidental first date at a sci-fi convention called Washingcon when Ana's brother leaves a school trip. Zak originally had plans to attend Washingcon, but because of his poor grades in Health class, he gets roped into being a member of the Quiz Bowl. Ana and her brother are original members of Quiz Bowl, but she knows that her brother leaving is a big deal because her parents are extra-controlling. Although they seem like unlikely companions, their friendship blossoms through their night adventures at Washingcon.

My overall thoughts and review: First off, let me say that I LOVE that this has a sci-fi convention involved. If you know me irl, then you know that I attend conventions yearly and I'm a big fan. It was so incredibly awesome to recognize some of the "spots" that Ana and Zak visited throughout the night. I am always a big fan of when two unlikely individuals become friends and more. It is as the title says, improbable, but somehow it works. It works in the best way, where what Katcher develops is realistic and is not rushed. Katcher weaves in their personal lives so that alone, they stand as individual characters with their own set of problems that they must solve. Zak's story about his mom, his dad and his mom's stepdad was quite interesting and I was surprised about the revelations in that. Ana's story with her parents and her sister demonstrates that there are two sides to every story, which in turn, helps her look at Zak as more than simply a slacker. I really enjoyed this contemporary read because it has everything in it: friendship, family and love. I would definitely recommend this for fans of contemporary YA reads that have a bit of a nerdy/geeky spin on things. This was my first time reading something from Brian Katcher and I definitely enjoyed his writing, so I can't wait to see what he writes next!

My rating of the book:   (4/5 stars) 

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

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by HarperCollins Publishers (HCC Frenzy) for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Book With a Color in The Title | 2015 Reading Challenge

Hi all, another reading challenge completed! It was one that I didn't even realize qualified for one of the challenges and I honestly picked it up because of all the hype surrounding it and boy did it live up to the hype! 

A Book With a Color in The Title goes to:
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Review: here! 

Have you recently completed a challenge for the #2015ReadingChallenge? If so, please let me know in the comments below because I would love to hear about your progress! 

A Funny Book | 2015 Reading Challenge

Hi All! So it really feels as if I haven't posted a Reading Challenge update in forever. I've been falling behind, but hey! I'm catching up on them now. I also decided now would be a good time since my attempt at bout of books last week was an epic fail. I found myself in a bit of a reading slump so I just kind of gave up halfway through the read-a-thon. But now, I'm feeling better and getting back into the swing of things. Anyways, to start off with these posts again, I read a funny book recently which I did not anticipate to be super funny, but in the end I really enjoyed it! 

A Funny Book goes to:
Galgorithm by Aaron Karo
Review: Here!

Have you finished any challenges recently for the #2015ReadingChallenge? If so, let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear about your progress so far :) 

Review: Elena Vanishing by Elena and Clare B. Dunkle

Elena Vanishing - A Memoir by Elena and Clare B. Dunkle 

Publishing Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 288 pages

The premise: From Elena and her mother Clare, comes a memoir about Elena's battle with anorexia nervosa and mental illness. The story documents Elena's struggle with this eating disorder and Elena attempts to demonstrate the mindset behind this disorder and how complex the road to recovery is.

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read this premise, I was instantly intrigued. I only know about anorexia nervosa from learning about it in highschool and from media depictions. I've always believed that the idea of anorexia nervosa was associated to thought of simply "wanting to be skinny" and reading this memoir definitely offered up a more in-depth look into the disorder. Elena's story is incredibly raw and open and there were moments of the book where I definitely had to put it down and revisit it. The pain that kind of exuberates from the pages definitely were heartbreaking. Also knowing that the story was co-written with Elena's mother is incredibly touching that they have found a way to compile both their experiences into a book together. Side note: Clare also has a book that also speaks about Elena's experiences titled Hope & Other Luxuries.

One thing that Elena is clear on emphasizing in her book that this is not a novel about 'how to cure anorexia nervosa and a guide on how to recover from it.' Instead what Elena offers is an accurate depiction of her mindset through various journal entries and working with her mom, on how she was mentally during this state of her life. She also goes on to speak about how difficult recovery was for her and that it is not a simple process. Reading about her experiences in school and how hard Elena had worked and what a struggle it was for her definitely broke my heart. But I was also incredibly amazed at the strength and bravery that came across in the book because Elena was able to stand up and speak about her experiences very openly. For some circumstances, when people have problems like this, they may often turn away, but Elena took this experience and put it into book form to help her grow from it. That is definitely something to admire.

Lastly, the topic of eating disorders in general are often glamourized or highly elaborated upon in our culture and media and on top of that, it is also a topic of taboo. It is at times a topic that is avoided and glossed over and I think having a book like this in the YA community is great because it gets the discussion moving for those that may be suffering through this as well. Elena mentions in a Q&A (which you can read more about here), that she hopes that her book may be used by family members, teachers, counsellors and possibly even doctors to help bring attention to anorexia nervosa.

If you are looking for an incredibly well-written, raw and open memoir on the topic of anorexia nervosa, this is definitely the read for you. And if, like me, you don't know much about anorexia nervosa to begin with, you should still pick this book up because it is important to be informed on the topic and I think bringing the subject of how complex eating disorders and the road to recovery is, really is something that is much needed in our society today.

My rating of the book:   (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase 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. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Colin Campbell's "Free Days with George" Launch at Ben McNally Books | May 13, 2015

Hi everyone! Happy Friday. I hope that you are all doing well. I thought I'd share an event recap of a book launch I recently attended. I was lucky enough to be invited to Colin Campbell's "Free Days with George" Book launch on Wednesday night at Ben McNally Books in Toronto. If you have been reading my blog, you'll know that I LOVED this book so much. You can check out my full review, author Q&A with Colin AND a Giveaway here!

I've been to this bookstore twice now for book launches and I am just blown away by how beautiful it is inside! I think it is a lovely place for book events and I love going and exploring all the titles that they have. 

Colin gave a beautiful speech about the book and he even took the time to thank his brother, who is a principal who found time to fly down for the launch. There were some tears definitely in the audience because his speech was just so sweet. He also some kind words to say about his editor and of course, the man of the hour: George! 

I attended the event with my best friend and fellow book blogger, Nikki from NikkitheKnack (she also reviewed the book recently and you can read her awesome review here). We got to speak to Colin for a bit and he was incredibly sweet and nice and showed so much gratitude for book bloggers which was awesome. There was also a cake for the book which was awesome, but Nikki and I spent most of the evening following George around who is an absolute sweetie. 

It was such a fun evening and George is seriously the coolest dog ever. Colin had asked us when he was signing our books what we thought of George and it honestly felt like the epilogue or last chapter of the book seeing him in person and just seeing his growth. There is so much love that you can see from Colin and George for each other and it really is heartwarming to see how much it has shaped their lives. It was beautiful to finally meet the both of them and see how they are together. I truly hope that I'll be able to give George a massive hug again in the near future! :D 

Congratulations again, Colin and George, on a wonderful read. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Susin Nielsen and Susan Juby Reception | May 12, 2015

Hi everyone! Today I have an event recap for an book reception I was recently invited to. I got the wonderful chance from the lovely folks at Penguin Random House Canada to meet Susin Nielsen and Susan Juby! :D 

The event was held at the Penguin Random House offices in the Board Room and there was delicious cheese and crackers and cupcakes from Prairie Girl Bakery - yum! I was early with a fellow book blogger, Lynne and when Susin and Susan arrived, they both took the time to speak to us bloggers individually which was incredibly sweet. They recognized me and the reviews that I had written and it was incredibly awesome that they remembered some things that I wrote. It means the world when authors take the time to extend gratitude to bloggers - it is just so sweet!

I had such a lovely time speaking with both of them so much. They are just lovely individuals and the lovely Susan Juby confirmed for me that there will be another book taking place in the world of The Truth Commission which is super exciting! Susan Juby also really nicely gave me a footnote in my book and Susin Nielsen said some really wonderful remarks about book bloggers in general. 

For my full reviews on both books, you can refer to We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen: Review Here And The Truth Commission by Susan Juby: Review Here

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Bout of Books 13 | Day 2 Update

Books I read today:
  • Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Number of pages read today: 128 pages

Books I completed reading overall: 
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Total # of pages read overall: 258 pages

So yesterday's progress, I was able to complete a graphic novel, one that I've been meaning to read for a while. You can expect a review for that soon. I really hope to read more of the Katie Finn novel today and hopefully finish it since yesterday I wasn't able to! 

How are you doing so far on boutofbooks? Let me know in the comments below! 

Bout of Books

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bout of Books 13 | Day 1 Update

Good morning everyone! I hope that your #boutofbooks is all going well. It started yesterday but I was away all day at a conference. I only got a teensy bit of reading done right at midnight the night before and then a bit last night. I hope to finish more today. Here is my progress for day 1:

Books I read today:
  • Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn

Number of pages read today: 130 pages

Total # of pages read overall: 130 pages

I am enjoying the sequel a lot more than the first one and the storylines are picking up nicely. I hope to finish this one by today! :D 

How is your progress so far for Bout of Books? Let me know in the comments below! 

Bout of Books

Review: Free Days with George by Colin Campbell and Author Q&A (GIVEAWAY INCLUDED)

Free Days with George: Learning Life's Lessons from One Very Big Dog by Colin Campbell 

Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 224 pages

The Premise: Colin Campbell was married to Jane who he considered to be the love of his life. Unfortunately, when he returns home from a business trip, he learns that she has decided to leave him. Spiralling into heartbreak and depression, he takes advice from a friend who encourages him to adopt a dog. This is the story of how he met George, a 140lb Newfoundland Lasseer breed who is a rescue dog. Together, they overcome their past and this is the story of how their relationship develops.

My overall thoughts and review: As a dog lover, when I first heard about this book at the RHC Blogger Preview, I knew instantly then and there that it was going to be a must-read for me. They also mentioned to us at the preview that George surfs and I thought that was so fascinating. To begin with, Colin begins his story with defining what he means by a "Free Day" - a free day is doing something with someone you love and on that day, you don't grow old, it is a free day. I love this concept so much because the book definitely encourages you to make more time to have these type of free days. The story begins with Colin laying the foundation with how his marriage fell apart and how he learned to find ways to deal with it. I was surprised with how open Colin was with everything, especially explaining his visits to a therapist which I really empathized with. The story of how they first met and how shy George was in the beginning, honestly made me want to crawl into the book and give George a big hug. I was away from home when I was reading it and I instantly wanted to go home and hug my dogs. This was such an incredibly beautiful story about Colin and George's relationship and it really transcends the traditional 'pet-owner' relationship, and it comes through so much in the text, just how much they mean to one another. I think that as a dog lover, this book definitely resonated with me a lot. I loved it and it definitely made me reconsider what significant roles animals play in my life specifically. I think even if you aren't a dog lover per say, this is an incredibly heartwarming and touching story and I think the concept of a free day will definitely draw you into the book. This is Colin's first book and he has such a wonderful way with words that I really hope he continues writing and I am so excited to see what upcoming projects he has. I highly recommend checking this book out because it really does share some life lessons and it also depicts a beautiful friendship between Colin and George.

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:
Also I thought I'd share this since I think it fits perfectly with the book. I thought I'd share some pictures of my precious fur baby, Kaile. She is a Shih Tzu breed and she is 8 years old now. Kaile came from a farm and she was incredibly sickly when she was little, but she is doing better than ever now :) She has grown so much over the years but she still feels like a puppy most days to me. She immediately bonded with my entire family and my aunt adores her! She has about 4-5 beds in our entire house which is insane, because ultimately Kaile prefers sleeping at the end of one of our beds.  She is seriously the sweetest dog and she loves belly rubs. I don't know what I would do without her. I love spending time with her whenever I can and she honestly brightens my day everyday. I truly feel like the time spent with Kaile is most definitely what Colin Campbell describes as a free day. <3

Author Q&A with Colin Campbell
Can you tell us a fun fact about George that you don’t mention in the book? A quirk? For example, my dog, Kaile, really likes to eat steamed veggies like carrots. 
George likes to hide dog bones that I have given him. He doesn’t chew them right away - he hides them! He will take them and quietly, and meticulously, hide them someplace so he can access them later. I have found bones underneath my pillow, behind cushions on the sofa and his favorite  - in the dirty laundry hamper. He also loves to eat strawberries – he loves them. 

This book is partly your story and partly George’s story. Do you see yourself writing another book in the future about George again?  
I would like to – there are many other life lessons that I didn’t get into detail in this book that would make for a complete new book. At present, I am getting some inquiries from movie producers about his story and we are exploring that. There has also been some discussion on a “George Children’s book”  like Clifford, except George is a real dog….

What do you think readers who aren’t necessarily “dog-lovers” can take away from the book? 
The premise of ‘Free Days’ is pretty universal and is not tied into dog ownership. To be able to have moments in life when you recognize joy and happiness in what you are doing, and who your are doing it with, is very special. As my grandfather says in the book, when that happens, you don’t get old, its a ‘free day’ on earth. I have had many people who don’t own dogs, but have read the book tell me how much they loved that part of the book, and how it has made an impact in their life.

What is the one central message you hope your readers walk away with when they finish the book?  
Love. The book is about love. I hope they will walk away with the example that love can help overcome almost anything – whether you are homeless, abandoned, suffering from an unexpected loss, or even dealing with darkness and depression - even a small sliver of love can help make things better, and even surpass your expectations. The book illustrates how this happened to both George and I individually, and collectively.

What do you set out to achieve when you write? 
This was my first book, so I sort of learned as I went along, but the biggest thing I tried to do was convey what was in my heart and in my head so that it made sense on the pages. I wanted readers to feel that emotion and feel part of those experiences, as if the challenges were their own, and George was their own dog. I hope they were able to feel the same connection that I made with him… if I managed to do that, the book should make you happy inside and stay with you for a very long time.

And now for a giveaway, if you would like a chance to win a copy of the book, please enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below. For this giveaway it will be CANADA ONLY (my apologies to my dear international readers)! You must follow the blog and leave a blog comment answering "What a Perfect Free Day" is to you! Good luck and thank you for entering! :D

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Random House Canada for consideration/review. The book for the giveaway is also provided by Random House Canada. All opinions are my own. 

Review: We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

We Are All Made of Molecules - A Novel by Susin Nielsen

Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 256 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows thirteen year-old Stewart Inkster, who is gifted and brilliant, but faces challenges socially. His world collides with Ashley Anderson when his dad and her mom move in together. Stewart lost his mom and he was being supportive of his dad and actually excited at the prospect of having a sister. Ashley on the other hand, is still mad about her parents splitting up and worried about what her 'friends' might say when they found out the reason her parents split up was because her dad is gay. Ashley also is not ecstatic about her new step-brother and she is in a way the complete opposite of Stewart: faces challenges academically but is incredibly sociable. The story is told from both of their perspectives as they come together in this quirky and lovable contemporary read.

My overall thoughts and review: A fellow blogger friend of mine read this book a few months back and when I heard about it at the RHC blogger preview, I knew instantly that this was going to be a must-read for me. The premise sounded amazing and I was pleasantly surprised to find out when I read it that a love story was not central to the story. There is the love between Stewart's dad and Ashley's mom, yes. But I'm glad that Nielsen focused on Ashley's and Stewart's relationship as step brother/ step sister. It was so sweet to see how that all developed. The book also tackled issues of homophobia and bullying and did it in such a wonderful way. I'm really glad that Nielsen chose to go over such important topics and she did not lightly brush over them either. It is extremely important to speak about them and the way she handled it, tying it into character development and growth was amazing. Stewart was by far my favourite character. Seeing him grow as a character but also be comfortable as him made me extremely happy. I loved seeing how mature he was and his attempts constantly at a relationship with Ashley really made my heart sing. As an only child, I'm not sure how it feels like to go through what Ashley and Stewart went through, but it made me extremely envious of not having a step-brother quite like Stewart :P I was also incredibly curious about how the concept of ~molecules~ was going to work into the story and I loved all the scientific tie-ins, like Stewart's cat, but I just loved how sweet the molecules bit was. All in all, this was a beautiful young adult contemporary novel that focuses on friendship and family and tackles the issues that teens Stewart and Ashley's age would face in school. This is definitely one to add to your must-read list because it will not disappoint. It reminded me of Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You The Sun & Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. :D

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. 

Review: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive - A Novel by Jessica Knoll

Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 352 pages

The Premise: The tag line of this book is: "Her perfect life is a perfect lie." When I was first pitched this book, I have to say I was instantly intrigued by the blurb by Gillian Flynn. I loved the Gone Girl book so much so hearing about another book that is similar in a sense that it is a contemporary suspense novel, I was definitely intrigued. The story follows Ani FaNelli, who has the perfect life. She has a wonderful job at a magazine company, she is engaged to her handsome fiance and she is on her way to a wonderful future. However, Ani has a very dark past and she has the opportunity to set the record straight about the past and give her side of the events. However, this revelation and her coming forward might just bring down the perfect world that she has tried so hard to create.

My overall thoughts and review: WOW. Let me just begin by saying that. I feel like there are two sides of this book, just like there are two sides of Ani. There is the perfect Ani that she is now, and then there is the fourteen year old Ani, or in this case, TifAni. The story moves from present day to the past and it begins to unravel the true events of what happened to Ani, that led to the drastic change in her life and well, her name change as well. It was incredibly chilling from the beginning of the book reading from her perspective and realizing how "ice cold" she was underneath the pretty image that was presented. As the truth unravelled, I just couldn't believe the revelations. I was constantly blown away and every time I thought I figured out where the story was going Knoll definitely surprised me. To avoid spoilers, Knoll tackles some very taboo topics all at once and she does it in a way that kind of shows all sides of the story. A blurb about the book stated that the book primarily deals with: reinvention, retribution and redemption and that is definitely true - in that order too! Ani's journey is just so twisted and raw and seeing how it all unfolds and seeing WHY she is the way she is and how she can be so cold/distant and shut off, really makes you feel for her even in moments when she really scares you. I think that Knoll painted for the reader an incredibly wonderful chilling and suspenseful read. It definitely reminded me Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Not everything is as it seems is basically the red thread throughout the novel. If you are into suspense thrillers and mysteries, this is definitely one to check out!

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Review: Boo by Neil Smith

Boo by Neil Smith

Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Pages: 320 pages
Fiction/Coming of Age

The Premise: The story follows Oliver Dalrymple, who wakes up one day in a town after a tragic accident that is only populated by 13 year olds. This town is basically heaven because Oliver arrives to this town because he is dead. He learns that he has arrived to this town after a tragic accident because of his faulty heart and he learns that he died from a "holey heart." Things start to change however, when a student from the same school as him, arrives in town who was also killed shortly after Oliver. Together, Oliver and Johnny and the rest of the townspeople attempt to unravel the murder mystery and locate the "Gunboy" that targeted both Oliver and Johnny. It is a coming of age story that comes together to unravel the mystery but also to help Oliver and Johnny discover the truth about themselves.

My overall thoughts and review: When I was first sent this book, I was intrigued by the cover and the description on the back. Shortly after, the gals at RHC pitched this book at their Blogger Conference and stated that it was as if The Lovely Bones and Lord of the Flies had a baby. I love both those books so I was incredibly excited to start reading this. I love how each chapter begins with an element from the periodic table because that is the last thing that Oliver remembers at his locker before he "meets his maker." Oliver is such an interesting character. There is a lot of mystery to Oliver, but at the same time he reads like an open book. He is such a strong character and you can see the growth in his character (not appearance, since they do not age. They stay the age that they died as) with each passing chapter. I was incredibly fascinated by the story and I was quite surprised with the twists and turns. Just when you think you have it figured out and you are satisfied with the turn of events, Neil Smith takes you down another road and surprises you yet again. I think it has quite a powerful narrative tackling the topic of school shootings and it attempts to show the problem from all different angles which I really appreciated. My only criticisms would be that at times, I found myself a bit confused with the time jumps and certain passages, I had to go back and read over a couple times again. Other than that, I think the subject matter and just the writing itself was wonderful. I can't say too much without spoiling it, but trust me when I say that this one is a definite must-read if you are interested in contemporary coming of age stories. This is my first time reading anything by Neil Smith and I was super impressed and I can't wait to read more from him!

My rating of the book:  (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Bout of Books 13 Goals & TBR!

Hi everyone! So here we are on the eve of Bout of Books 13! I am so incredibly for this week to begin. I have quite a busy week but I am actually setting aside time later this week to have a bout of books hangout/read session with a friend too, so I hope I can accomplish a lot! With the usual tradition of Bout of Books, this post will include my goals and my To-Be-Read pile of books.

Bout of Books 13 Goals
  • Finish a minimum of three books. 
  • Participate in at least two of the challenges. 
  • Post a daily update everyday or every other day. 
  • Try to read for at least an hour a day. 

Bout of Books To-Be-Read Pile
So first off, I have The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak by Brian Katcher, which comes out next week. I also have another YA read and that is the second book in a series by Katie Finn: Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold. I am also going to include Chuck Palahniuk's newest release which is a book of short stories titled Make Something Up. And lastly, I have two graphic novels, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson and Super Mutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki. 

This is a rough TBR pile and things can change depending on my mood and I will more than likely add a few comic issues to the mix, but I think this sounds like a pretty decent list so far. I am quite excited to start reading these ones! 

Anyways, that is it for me today. I will try and read a bit right at midnight, but I have to be up early tomorrow for a conference presentation out of town. I hope that everyone has a good start to Bout of Books, and please share with me below your goals and TBR, I would love to know! ;)

Bout of Books

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Sam Maggs' "The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls" Launch at the Pilot | May 6, 2015

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. Today, I wanted to share with you all an event recap for a launch I recently attended. It was to celebrate the release of The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls! My review for this super awesome book went live recently and you can read all about it here

I was incredibly excited to meet Sam Maggs because I enjoyed the book so much and I even planned to dress up nerdy for the day. I came with a doctor who t-shirt, tardis backpack and even a Jayne hat! I attended the event with a few bookish blogger friends: Nikki from NikkitheKnack, Michele from Just a Lil Lost, Lynne from Words of Mystery and Michelle from Musings of a Writer.

They were giving out the posters for free and I was super pumped about this because I just love it so much! It is now on my wall hanging proudly. 

Sam began signing pretty early on when she arrived. She was so incredibly sweet and we got to talk a bit about what I was wearing for the event and I got to sing my praises for my favorite parts of the book. It was so nice to meet her and speak to her for a little bit. She really is wonderful! 

Sam went up on stage for a little bit too and said her thank yous. Her partner had a really sweet introduction for her and there were many "Awwws" all around. It is so awesome to see a really sweet, down to earth, humble person have such a great turn out for her book launch. 

All in all, it was a wonderful evening spent with bookish friends talking about nerdy things! :D Please be sure to check out the book, there is something in it for everyone! 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Review: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy - A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy - A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs 

Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 208 pages
Social & Cultural Studies

The Premise: Written by the associate editor of The Mary Sue, comes a guide book for all components of the geek culture, celebration of fandoms and more for the female geek. There are a wide range of topics from tv shows to gaming to how to survive conventions. The book includes chapters such as: "It's Good to Be a Geek", "Fandom Intensifies: Geek Girls Online", "Geronimo! How to Survive Conventions", and "Aim to Misbehave: Geek Girl Feminism." In between all of the chapters there are also interviews with various fangirls who offer some advice and thoughts on the geek culture and they offer to the reader what the believe is a fangirl. Some of these awesome interviews are from Erin Morgenstern, Victoria Schwab and more!

My overall thoughts and review: Never has there ever been a book that speaks to the centre of my soul like this one. This book encompasses everything that I believe I am and even more. When I first heard about this book, I was over the moon ecstatic because there was a few Doctor Who references. If you don't know btw, I am a massive whovian. I am a whovian first, human after. I was incredibly excited about the concept about a book on fan culture and more so, a guide! Although it may seem easier to interact and socialize online and find people with common interests, in real life, it is a lot harder. I have found many awesome friends through the internet and those were mainly through fandoms. I also started going to conventions more often in the past few years. I've also braved wearing a DW dress while at grad school and I'm slowly showing my fangirl side outwardly more often, and reading this book I just had a permanent smile on my face the entire time. I loved this book and so many moments in the book, I just kept saying to myself: "Sam Maggs gets me. She knows." and it was such an awesome feeling.

My favorite section of the book definitely has to be the Geek Girl feminism section and where she speaks about online interactions and how to behave at conventions. She goes over the struggles that geek girls face when it comes to fandoms and geek culture and furthermore, she offers tips on how to cope/handle those situations and trolls. Literally, she has a chapter naming all the different kinds of trolls on the internet. It's amazing. She lists reasons of why being a feminist is a good thing which should definitely be more of a topic of discussion. She also gives so many awesome examples of heroines in tv, anime, movies and more.

Lastly, I LOVED the author interviews. I was so excited when I first saw that Erin Morgenstern was listed, but then I was "I lost the ability to can" when I saw that one of my all-time favorite authors Victoria Schwab was featured!! *SQUEEEEEE* The interviews are a nice touch because you get different perspectives of what it means to be a fangirl, and also you are introduced to really awesome people, you might not already know. That goes with a lot of the stuff in the book because Sam Maggs basically introduces you to a bunch of amazing things and it really feels as if a good friend has come over and told you about all of her latest interests in films, tv shows, anime and offers a big list of recommendations. Also, before I go on *squeeing* even more, I want to say that the artwork in this book is just stunning. I love how the hardback looks especially with the cartoons of the tardis, sherlock's hat, a laptop and more. It is BEAUTIFUL! I think this is a great book and a must-have for every fangirl's library. It is truly wonderful and it will not disappoint. There are so many great tips and suggestions and also, for those already familiar with some of the content (like fandoms and how to host a marathon party), it is always fun and awesome to find out that there is someone out there that enjoys the same things like you do. So well done, Sam Maggs! What a wonderful and fun read. This book is literally bigger on the inside (pun intended).

My rating of the book: ✮ (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

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

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Books You'd Want to See as TV Shows | Top 5 Wednesday

Hi everyone! A new month is upon us. For today's post the topic is: Books You'd Want to See as TV Shows - so not movies! I used to read many books and think what a wonderful movie this would be, but now for series, I am seeing more and more that they are much better off as television shows that can be developed over a longer period of time. One of my favorite book series was made into one of my favorite tv shows: Game of Thrones! I would love to see that for the following five series as well! ;) 

1. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Currently a 2-book series. I really love this series a lot and I think that a TV platform would be great for the story to develop. :D (Ps. I really hope there will be more books in this series!)

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
This actually was a series that had a pilot on hulu and it was going to be made into a TV show but it never made it through. I really hope that someone will revisit this and consider making it into a TV show because I really enjoyed Lena's story. 

3. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
There will be that new Shadowhunters series coming out soon, but I really hope that they will tackle TID series as well. I loved Tessa, Jem and Will's story so much and seeing it as a TV show would be awesome! 

4. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
This story would be AWESOME as a tv series. I love the setting and the characters and I think a movie just wouldn't be enough for character building and world building. 

5. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I know there is a lot of mixed feelings towards the movie adaptation of this book but I really liked it and I was incredibly sad to hear that there wasn't going to be a sequel for it. So, I really hope someone will decide to pick this up and turn it into a TV show. There is so much material in the books. It is not a typical vampire story and I really hope that someone will give it a chance! 

Well that is it for me this week. Let me know in the comments below what books you'd want to see as a TV show! I would love to know! :) 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Review: Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

Mad Miss Mimic - A Novel by Sarah Henstra

Publishing Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Pages: 272 pages
Young Adult Historical Fiction

The Premise: The story takes place in London in 1872 and follows seventeen year old Leonora Somerville. She is incredibly beautiful and about to make her debut to society, but she has one problem that makes everything a little bit more difficult than it should be. She has a speech disorder that causes her to stutter and also curiously, allows her to mimic the voices of others without the stutter. She has been nicknamed 'Mad Miss Mimic' by fellow servants and even her family. During this time, London is dealing with opium fever and there is a mysterious gang called The Black Glove who is setting off explosions around the city. Leonora must come to terms with how her family begins to prepare to set her up with the famous Francis Thornfax during such a time in London. On top of all of this, Leo, also finds herself beginning to care for her brother in law's worker, Tom Rampling. The story essentially follows Leo on her journey to find her voice and her sense of self.

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise for this book I was instantly intrigued. I love books that take place in Victorian London and the idea of Leo with a curious speech disorder, where she can mimic the voices of others perfectly definitely sounded promising. To begin with, Henstra builds a wonderful world. Often some authors focus so heavily on the character that they forget to build the world that the character occupies. I loved how Henstra takes the reader to the Victorian London that most would be familiar with, but also brings the reader to areas that are new and different and within them really demonstrates how a character can flourish. Leo was a wonderful protagonist. She was incredibly self-aware and reading from her perspective was particularly interesting. You got to see Leo, as Leo and from there the many different versions of her depending on her company, and then you got to see Leo with another mask, so to speak, for when she mimicked the voices of others. I loved how the story unfolded and the character of Tom was so incredibly lovable. I loved how his relationship with Leo developed overtime and how things were unraveled to the reader. I guess I kind of called how it was going to unravel from the beginning, but that did not really hinder the reading experience for me. I LOVED how it unfolded and when the book ended, I only wanted more of Leonora's story. If you are a fan of historical fiction and you love Victorian London, this is a great young adult read for you! It definitely reminded me of Sherlock Holmes in a way, and that is definitely a good thing! ;) All in all, an astounding YA read!

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from Penguin Canada. All opinions are my own. 

Review: Galgorithm by Aaron Karo

Galgorithm by Aaron Karo

Publishing Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 320 pages
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise: The story follows Shane Chambliss, a highschool student with a bestfriend named Jak. Shane and Jak have known each other since they were children and their moms are bestfriends. They tell each other everything. Except Shane doesn't share "Galgorithm" - Shane helps the hopeless romantics with tips and a guide (Gal + Algorithm) to help them land the girl that they are interested in. Shane has one rule if you enlist his services: "Deny until you die." Of course, as it is with most stories, drama ensues and things unravel for Shane and all the while he is helping other people find happiness, the biggest problem lies in front of him as he tries to gain some closure from a previous breakup, contemplate his friendship with Jak and figure things with his current girlfriend, Tristen.

My overall thoughts and review: This was my first time reading something from Aaron Karo and from my understanding, he is also a stand-up comedian on top of being a writer. That aspect really shined through in this book. I was laughing like crazy. Let me pitch it like this, remember the movie Hitch? With Will Smith? Where he attempts to help men woo certain woman. This book is definitely similar to that, but so much better. Karo has a way with words that really makes it feel as if you are actually there watching all of the events and conversations unfold. Each character is so well-developed and carefully crafted with such depth. I loved every single character in this book, even the ones where it was tough to like them at times :P But I think the main reason why I enjoyed this book so much was that the central messages was not at all what I was expecting. Hearing Shane actually explain the galgorithm and the reasonings behind it and just how it all unfolded really made me proud as a reader because the central message was about confidence and building self-confidence. Shane was such a wonderful character to read from because not only was he funny, he was compassionate and seriously a hopeless romantic. He offered his services in the name of love and as cheesy as that sounds, it really made this book enjoyable for me. I felt like I was Shane during some moments, rooting for the couples he put together, but also I really rooted for Shane. I loved how much character growth was done for Shane. This is an incredibly fun, hilarious, and charming young adult contemporary novel that I think will definitely surprise you. There are also a few nerdy little surprises/easter eggs that I loved, like well done on the mention to Full Metal Alchemist, Aaron! ;) It was such a fun book and I definitely recommend checking it out if you are interested in the premise!

My rating of the book: ✮ (4/5 stars) 

Now available for purchase at:

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.