Friday, 20 July 2018

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah Maclean

Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards Book 1) by Sarah Maclean 

Publishing Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Avon Books / HarperCollins
Pages: 416
Historical Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "When Wicked Comes Calling . . . When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it. The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain . . . Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy. For the Promise of Passion . . .But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted . . . and the only thing he's ever desired" (Avon).

My overall thoughts and review: So I have to admit something. This book was my first ever historical romance. :O I legit don't know why I waited so long to read historical romance. I think it's honestly feeling overwhelmed by where to start and who to read. I'm so glad that I decided to start with this one by Sarah Maclean, because 1) it's the start of a new series and 2) my good friend, Eden, recommended this and loved it. Since finishing this, I've been absolutely tearing through historical romance reads and I'm hooked! To begin with, I absolutely loved the premise of the book and how it takes place in a much darker part of London, and before Covent Garden is what it is today. We follow Felicity, who is witty, quick, strong, and brave. She agrees to make a bargain with the Devil, who promises to help her land the guy she wants, but she finds herself falling for him the process. They have an undeniable attraction and I just loved what they brought out in each other. They both saw more in each other and I loved that they were able to show the other why they loved one another.  Other things besides a beautiful and sexy relationship between the two leads that I really enjoyed about the story, was the secondary characters. I immediately liked Grace and Whit, and I just loved learning about their family and what led them to where they are today. I'm falling in love with historical romance reads because yes, it does take the reader to another time and place in history, but it deals with a lot of things that are relate-able to contemporary times. Felicity was once part of a popular friend group, and then she was an outcast. It looks at how others shape our identity, and what happens when that changes. I will say that Maclean also writes dialogue between characters really well. I feel immediately immersed into the conversation and I just love some of her quick-witted lines. All in all, I loved this book. I legit hugged it when I finished it. I've already went back to read some her backlist, but I totally see myself rereading this for years to come. Already counting down the days until the next book in the series! ;)

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

Available for purchase at:
Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Review: Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

Publishing Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Pages: 304
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Blaire has never quite gotten over Jessie Beckett, the ex–NFL star whose kisses were hot enough to ignite the entire Eastern Seaboard. When he chose work over her, Blaire was left brokenhearted. Why else would she have married a skeezy two-timer, just to divorce him less than a year later? Now Blaire is getting even by becoming one half of Dirty Exes, a PI firm fully committed to humiliating cheating jerks. If only the new jerk she’s been hired to uncover wasn’t Jessie Beckett himself. Exposing Jessie isn’t going to be easy, especially when she still daydreams about his sexy smile. Further complicating matters is Colin, Jessie’s best friend. He’s gorgeous, a little bit cunning, and willing to help Blaire get the inside scoop on Jessie—for a price. Now caught between two men—one totally right and the other totally wrong—Blaire will need to decide just how much she’s willing to risk…and whom she’s willing to risk it for" (Amazon).

My overall thoughts and review: So I do this thing, when I finish a book and I love it so much, I sit there for a few moments afterwards just hugging it. This was definitely one of those books. I've been a fan of RVD's writing for a while now, and when I heard she was coming out with a new series, I was all for it. In many ways, this reminded me of her Fraternize book, because the lead is torn between two guys, and honestly, it could go either way. This book constantly surprised me and honestly had me smiling from ear to ear. To begin with, you follow Blaire, who has been dealt a horrible hand. She caught her husband Jason, cheating on her with her ex-bestfriend. From there, she forms a type of PI firm with her new friend, Isla. Their job is essentially to catch people cheating and expose them. Unfortunately one day, her new case involves the one that got away, Jessie Beckett. They both find themselves drawn to one another again, but also add Jessie's bestfriend, Colin to the mix (who also happens to have an interest in Blaire). The reader can easily see that Blaire never fully came to terms with what happened, and she didn't really process all her anger from before with Jason, and with Jessie. I was honestly so impressed with how much growth Blaire demonstrated in the book and how she was willing to take a chance on love again. I don't want to spoil it and mention which guy she ends up picking, but let me say, I was like half-way through and I was so torn. I really liked both the guys. It's also hard because RVD gave us their perspectives as well, along with Blaire's. I will say that the ending does set it up nicely for the next book in the series, Dangerous Exes, so I'm already counting down the days for that release so I can see Blaire/The-Guy-She-Chose again, but also because Isla's HEA!! The guy Blaire does choose though, might seriously be my favorite book boyfriend yet. Overall this was a super fun and sexy book with lots of adorable and laugh out loud moments. If you love RVD, you will love this one! Before, I end the review.. I want to share a passage from the book when I decided I was definitely Team-??? (I refuse to spoil it) - I just loved how comfortable Blaire felt with this person, and that's whats really important in a relationship, finding your equal, your partner <3
"Want some cereal?"
My heart almost leaped out of my chest. "What kinds do you have?"
"Amateur." He smirked. "At least fifteen, pick your poison, then we can talk trash about your ex the rest of the night while I contemplate the positions I'm going to get you in later this week--I'm thinking we could really make a great team in the shower...naked."
"Naturally." I bit down on my lip and went with it even though I was already looking forward to the adventure. "But it all rests on this one question."
He braced his body against the kitchen table, looking so sexy I wanted to throw something at him. "Do you have Cocoa Puffs?"
My answer was a box flying at my face and a question about spoon preference.
I smiled.
A real smile.
And when we clinked our empty bowls together fifteen minutes later, I genuinely felt...happy.
(Page 179-180)  
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Blog Tour: Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather - Review & Author Guest Post

Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather

Publishing Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 336
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Sixteen-year-old Indy struggles to conceal her pregnancy while searching for a place to belong in this stunning debut novel. Indira Ferguson has done her best to live by her Grammy’s rules—to study hard in school, be respectful, and to never let a boy take advantage of her. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially while living in her mother’s shadow. When Indy is sent to live with distant relatives in Nassau, trouble follows her. Now she must hide an unwanted pregnancy from her aunt, who would rather throw Indy out onto the street than see the truth. Completely broke with only a hand-me-down pregnancy book as a resource, Indy desperately looks for a safe space to call home. After stumbling upon a yoga retreat, she wonders if perhaps she’s found the place. But Indy is about to discover that home is much bigger than just four walls and a roof—it’s about the people she chooses to share it with" (S&S).

My overall thoughts and review: Before I begin, I just want to state some trigger warnings related to the book: rape, sexual assault, and abuse. Despite the dark subject matter, I find books like this incredibly important and needed, especially in our current time. I was really drawn to the book to begin with because I haven't read a book in a Bahamian setting before, and the premise of Indy trying to find a place called home, really resonated with me. From the very beginning, I was drawn to Indy's voice. She's one of those characters that you just want to reach out and give a big hug to. She finds herself trying to conceal a pregnancy in a home where her aunt really doesn't like her, and where her abuser lurks quite nearby. Indy happens upon a yoga retreat one day, and from there builds relationships with those that run the retreat: Joe and Dion. Despite the rocky beginnings of their meeting, they both grow to become really important figures for Indy. They are both kind of the rough around the edges, but with a heart of gold kind of characters.

As someone who started yoga a few years back, I loved seeing Indy learn about yoga, and how it was able to give her some semblance of peace during her dark times. There's one particular scene where Indy is talking to a fellow yogi about breathing during yoga, and Susan says to her: "If something's that bad, don't breathe to pretend you're not there. Breathe to make the right moves to get out" (209). I love that quotation so much because it's the turning point for Indy. It's in that moment, she is able to find her voice and agency again, and to do what she thinks is best for herself.

I don't want to say too much more without spoiling the book, but this book definitely packs a punch. In addition to writing a strong protagonist voice, Mather also does a wonderful job of writing secondary characters. Some other characters I didn't mention, but I really enjoyed reading about were Smiley (she drove me crazy at times, but she is a good cousin through and through), Churchy (he is seriously one of the good ones), and Grammy (I loved hearing Grammy talk about Indy's mother). Mather focuses on the concept of a blended family for Indy and that's really important because it emphasizes a strong support group for survivors like Indy. This is timely read that speaks to not only the #MeToo movement, but it reminds us readers that we are not confined by our past, and that we always have the option to make choices that we believe is right and that we want.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮½ (4.5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Author Guest Post
TOPIC: If you could choose which actresses, and actors could bring your characters to life on the big screen who would they be, and why?
For Indy, I see an actress along the lines of Amber Riley.  A lot of what would make the right person to play that part is the look.  It irks me when a character is supposed to have a full-figured build, but someone who’s barely past slender is cast in the role.  The same goes for details like complexion—Indy’s got a darker skin tone, so that would have to be reflected in whoever portrayed her, and reflected accurately—not by clumsy use of foundation.  The same goes for Smiley’s character; she’s lighter in complexion, and pretty spindly, so I’d want to see that reflected in a choice of actress.  
When I think of an actor playing Churchy’s character, I could see someone like Caleb McLaughlin—a few years older, and a lot taller, playing his part.  I’d pick someone who could capture Churchy’s ordinary, gangly, and sweetly awkward ways. 
Across the board, one of the most important things is voice: all the actors and actresses should to be able to accurately and authentically speak Bahamian dialect.  I’ll be a regional spokesperson and say that all of us Caribbean folks are sick in our own mouths when we hear our accents being butchered or when we’re depicted as ever-smiling hospitality industry robots or exotic and oversimplified beach trinkets that just happen to knock about the islands as part of a wider cultural experience.  Regardless of region, we all want to see ourselves, our communities, our people depicted accurately.  If I had any say at all, that would be my biggest must-have, across the board.
Thank you so much, Janice, for swinging by the blog and offering some insight on who you think would be good in a film or tv version of your book. I really hope that it can come to life in the big screen one day!


Be sure to stop by other stops on the tour for more content! ;) 

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

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Review: One and Only by Jenny Holiday

One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1) by Jenny Holiday

Publishing Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 368
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Miss Responsibility meets Mr. Reckless. With her bridezilla friend on a DIY project rampage, bridesmaid Jane Denning will do anything to escape - even if it means babysitting the groom's troublemaker brother before the wedding. It should be a piece of cake, except the "cake" is a sarcastic former soldier who is 100% wicked hotness and absolutely off-limits. Cameron MacKinnon is ready to let loose after returning from his deployment. But first he'll have to sweet talk the ultra-responsible Jane into taking a walk on the wild side. Turns out, riling her up is the best time he's had in years. But what happens when the fun and games start to turn into something real?"

My overall thoughts and review: My co-worker who introduced me to The Kiss Quotient (which I read and loved: review here!) also recommended this book to me. I picked it up from the library and I was so excited to learn that it took place in Ontario (lots of awesome references to the CN tower and Niagara Falls). This is my first time reading something by Jenny Holiday, and I just love the idea of the series focusing on the bridesmaid finding their HEA. I was instantly drawn to Jane as a character because I see a lot of myself in her, with her love for all things nerdy (she cosplays Xena for Comic Con!) and how she loves to write. She is definitely the responsible one of her friend group, and when her bestfriend/bridezilla, Elise, asks her to babysit her future brother-in-law, she doesn't hesitate. I love that despite their awkward meeting in the beginning, Jane and Cameron have such amazing chemistry. I loved learning about their backgrounds: Jane and her life as a writer, and Cameron's history of being in the army. There's also a strong focus on family and friendship as well. This book definitely emphasizes seeing people beyond what they appear to be, and also to jump fearlessly and take chances. I loved how they were able to save one another in some way, but they also demonstrated a lot of strength and growth on their own as characters. This book was simply the perfect RomCom book. It was sexy, sweet, and had a lot of LOL moments. I also loved seeing the other bridesmaids as well because it makes me excited for the next two books in the series. Overall, I really loved this book and I can't wait to read the next one (I've already picked it up.. so I will be starting it A.S.A.P)!

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

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Monday, 25 June 2018

Review: Rough & Tumble by Rhenna Morgan

Rough & Tumble (Men of Haven #1) by Rhenna Morgan

Publishing Date: May 29, 2018 (MMP)
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 432
Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Live hard, love harder and make your own rules. Those are the cornerstones the Men of Haven bleed by. Heaven help the poor bastards who get between them and the women they’ve claimed as their own. Jace Kennedy lives for the challenge. He sees Vivienne Moore’s hidden wild side and knows she’s his perfect match, if only he can break it free. Earning her trust is a task unlike any he’s faced so far, but Jace didn’t get where he is by giving up.Vivienne’s determined to ditch her past, even if that means hiding her true self behind a bland socialite veneer. Dragging her party-hound sister out of a club was not how she wanted to ring in the New Year, but Viv knows the drill. Get in, get her sister and get back to the safe, stable life she’s built for herself as fast as humanly possible. Those plans are derailed when she meets the club’s seriously sexy owner. Jace is everything Vivienne swore she never wanted, but he loves just as fiercely as he fights. He’s proud of who he is and where he came from, and he’ll be damned if he lets Vivienne go before showing her the safest place of all is in his arms" (Carina Press).

My overall thoughts and review: I've been on a huge romance kick lately, and I remember seeing the IndigoTeen twitter mention a contemporary romance with a bit of an edge. I instantly added the first two books of this series to my cart. I didn't know what to expect when I first jumped into the book. It's clear from the beginning that Jace Kennedy lives by a certain code and shows extreme loyalty to his brothers of the Haven. On the flip side, you have Viv, who is down on her luck trying to land a good job for her event planning, while juggling calls from her drunken sister, Callie, who is always begging for a ride home from some place sketchy. They meet in a sort of an interesting way because Jace owns a club that Viv is hired to do some promotional work for. Jace is immediately drawn to Viv and I really liked seeing her let loose and open up more. She's definitely hidden because of her past, and it was nice to see her relax around Jace. I will say when I first started reading it, it was driving me a bit crazy with Jace and him constantly having a toothpick and the author drawing attention to that. But by the end, I was like "Yup! I'm on board. Can Jace also call me Sugar?" :D I got over my qualms about his toothpick thing. They both have rough pasts and despite it all, you really see them value the importance of family and friendship. I loved seeing Jace bring Viv into his world, and how he just took care of her. I also loved seeing the other brothers interact with Viv, and I honestly can't wait to keep reading the series to learn more about each of them. Overall, I really enjoyed the first book to the series. It's a contemporary romance, with a hint of mystery, and characters that are rough around the edges - Definitely check it out! ;)

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮½ (4.5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Review: All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

Publishing Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pages: 444
Contemporary New Adult

The Premise: "The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town. Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship...and her heart. Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left." 

My overall thoughts and review: This is my first time reading a book by Jamie McGuire and after finishing this, I'm definitely keen on picking up her other books. This story follows Elliott and Catherine who meet one summer and instantly become fast friends. However, a horrible tragedy happens one day to Catherine and her family, and at the same time, Elliott is forced to leave town without an explanation. He returns their senior year, trying to earn back Catherine's trust and to rekindle their relationship. However, things have drastically changed for Catherine. She is now helping her mother run the Juniper, a bed and breakfast, with strange guests. She also has distanced herself from her old friends, and sadly, she is still the target of some school bullies. I liked that it focused on more than just Elliott and Catherine's relationship. We see aspects of family dynamics, grief, bullying, racism, and small town practices. There were a few twists and turns, which I was excited to see because my friend, Ambur (@ Burning Impossibly Bright) pitched it to me as a mystery as well. I finished the book and texted Ambur because I did not see one of the twists coming! (As someone who reads a turn of mysteries and thrillers, this does not happen very often haha ;)) Overall, I really enjoyed it! I had a hard time putting the book down since it's quite accessible and addictive in the writing. I loved both characters very much, but goodness, Elliott is the absolute sweetest. He is the epitome of good high-school boyfriends. If you are looking for a new adult with a bit of mystery and suspense, this is one to  definitely check out!

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

Available for purchase at:
Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, 15 June 2018

Review: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Publishing Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 480
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can't seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed-and then coughed on-her at a party the night before. Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he's out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby's dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet." 

My overall thoughts and review: So I definitely read these books out of order. It's not necessary to since they are technically standalones. They just occupy the same world and you'll see familiar faces pop up. This is the first one from the get-go and I quite liked seeing Amie from Hooking Up in it.. and seeing the beginning of her relationship with Armstrong (despite it driving me nuts and wanting as much Lex as possible). This story follows Ruby Scott, who is Amie's best friend, who finds herself a pet-sitter to Bancroft Mills, who also happens to be the guy that randomly kissed her one night and made her sick, LOL. In true Helena Hunting fashion, this book brought on all the LOLs while providing the perfect amount of sexy and swoony scenes. What I really loved about this book was the fact that they weren't physically around each other for almost five weeks and a lot of their relationship blossomed during phone calls, video chats, and text messages. You got to see them really fall for one another, but also learn to be comfortable around each other. I also find a lot of the time in romances where the male protagonist is more financially stable than the female protagonist, that the female just ends up depending on the male. That isn't the case at all with Ruby and Bancroft and I feel like Ruby really demonstrated what her worth when it came to things money and career related. She's such a badass female character and she inspires you to pursue your dreams despite the roadblocks along the way. I also loved how supportive Bancroft was of her, no matter what the situation was. There are so many awesome moments in the book and I also just loved learning more about the Mills family in general. I'm definitely part of the Mills brothers fanclub because they are such both lovely male leads. I would definitely recommend picking this one up first and reading the series in order unlike me. Also, if you end up loving this book like I did, you should also check out the Getting Down e-book which features a fun halloween short story that features Ruby and Bancroft! ;)

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

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo 

Publishing Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Pages: 336
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad's business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?" 

My overall thoughts and review: I've been dying to read a book by Maurene Goo for a while now and when I saw this was available at my local library, I decided to pick it up. Clara is such a hilarious character and from the very first page, she is already getting up to some trouble. She lives for pranks and she's encouraged by her two friends, Felix and Patrick. Her hi-jinks are often directed at her arch-enemy,  Rose. Unfortunately on the night of prom, one of Clara's pranks goes to far and she finds herself having to work the summer on her dad's food truck with Rose, when she has plans to visit her mom/social media-influencer in Tulum. I really like that despite their rocky start, Rose and Clara end up becoming really good friends with one another. I love stories of unexpected friendships and I really liked how they still had their bickering, but it moved towards a more friendly tone. There's also a sweet love interest, Hamlet. Clara isn't often serious about boys but Hamlet is able to push down her boundaries. Most of all though, I really liked Clara's relationship with her father, Pai. They definitely have some rocky moments but Pai is a really wonderful dad to her. I won't give too much away, but I really liked how the story included not only friendship, but how families work and the diverse range of families (We get insight into Clara's family, but also Rose's and Hamlet's). Some things I will say of why this doesn't get the full five stars for me is that Clara was incredibly frustrating at times (I seriously wanted to yank her through the book and shake her!) and I would've liked to see some resolution with Felix and Patrick in the story. Overall though, I really enjoyed this book and I honestly couldn't put it down. It had me laughing, swooning, and also grinning a lot! If you are looking for something similar to Gloria Chao's American Panda, definitely check this book out! In the meantime... I'm going to go check out other books by Goo! ;)

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮½ (4.5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Review: I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting

I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting

Publishing Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Rian Sutter grew up with the finer things in life. Spending summers in the Hamptons was a normal occurrence for her until her parents lost everything years ago. Now Rian and her sister are getting their life, and finances, back on track through real estate. Not only do they buy and sell houses to the rich and famous but they finally have the capital to flip their very own beachfront property. But when she catches the attention of a sexy stranger who snaps up every house from under her, all bets are off. Pierce Whitfield doesn't normally demo kitchens, install dry wall, or tear apart a beautiful woman's dreams. He's just a down-on-his-luck lawyer who needed a break from the city and agreed to help his brother work on a few homes in the Hamptons. When he first meets Rian, the attraction is undeniable. But when they start competing for the same pieces of prime real estate, the early sparks turn into full-blown fireworks. Can these passionate rivals turn up the heat on their budding romance-without burning down the house?" 

My overall thoughts and review: Helena Hunting is definitely one of my favorite romance authors. I read Hooking Up by her last fall and I still go back and read it from time to time. I just love how funny and down-to-earth her stories are, but also super steamy! When I learned that she was writing another one that took place in the same world, but now it follows Amie's brother, I immediately picked up a copy. For starters, I love the title and with how much HGTV my partner and I watch, I'm all for a book about flipping houses ;) Hunting gives us two very charismatic leads. We have Rian who has a twin sister and she is the more level-headed numbers one between the two. We also have Pierce, who is a lawyer, but just wants to spend his time working on something more hands on and decides to work with his brother in real estate in the Hamptons. They meet in the most hilarious of circumstances and they keep meeting. They are obviously unable to deny their attraction to one another and sparks fly immediately. I loved all the cute and swoony moments, but I also loved the hilarious moments like the incident with the gnomes. It goes deeper with issues of family and trust, and I loved learning more about their backstories. Overall, I loved this book and I finished it in about two sittings. I couldn't put it down! If you haven't read Helena Hunting before, you definitely need to because she writes amazing contemporary romances. I've also read Shacking Up recently by her so expect a review on that very soon! ;)

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

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Blog Tour: Save the Date by Morgan Matson - Review and Author Q&A

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Publishing Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect. Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future" (SS).

My overall thoughts and review: If there's one book that I always recommend without fail in YA.. it is Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson. It was the first book that I read by Matson and the first book that has made me absolutely fall in love with her writing. When I learned another book was coming out by her, I actually squealed. This time, for this book, the setting is a wedding and it also tackles the anxieties of senior year, graduation, and deciding which post-secondary school to choose afterwards. Similar to the other books Matson has written, there is an aspect of romance, but the emphasis lies primarily on friendship and family. I really like this because it feels more authentic, and also makes the character more likable and down-to-earth. I really liked the idea of a big family coming together for a wedding, but also they've had a comic strip loosely based off them that they were celebrating the end of. Charlie, our protagonist, wants this weekend to be absolutely perfect for her sister, Linnie. She is so excited to see her brothers J.J. and Danny again, and to have everyone in the same place. Obviously what you think could go wrong goes wrong for a wedding, and even more side stuff that is out of their control (like two evil neighbors causing grief, a dog that is on loan and barking non-stop, and more). On top of that, her estranged brother, Mike, who distanced himself from the family, shows up and brings Charlie's crush, Jesse, as a plus one. It all seems to be a super stressful moment for the Grant family, but they are able to come together and make the most of certain circumstances. I loved that it focused on strained family relationships and how to work through those, that isn't addressed often and if it is, I find it is used as a plot device, rather than showing how to work through strained family relationships. The book also touched on love relationships and not settling for something just because it's there, but also what happens when we see those we like through rose-tinted glasses only. So many themes were included in the book, and overall, it was just a feel-good sweet and funny contemporary novel. I loved it a lot and I especially loved the little comic strip drawings that were included as well. If you loved Matson's other books, this one will not disappoint!

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

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Author Question and Answer
1. What was your favorite scene to write in the book and why?
I feel I can’t share my favorite scene in the book without spoilers, since it takes place toward the end! But there was one scene I absolutely loved to write, and that was the Capture the Flag scene. I loved any scene that was all the Grant siblings together, with all their banter and inside jokes.  And that scene was just that vibe, but turned way up.  It reminded me a little of writing one of my favorite scenes in The Unexpected Everything, the scavenger hunt scene. The Capture the Flag scene was such a blast to write – so much so that the early versions of it were way too long – but I just wanted to keep hanging out with these characters!
2. What was the inspiration for Save the Date?
The original idea came from a number of things.  I was thinking about writing a book that didn’t take place over a whole summer, as the last three of my books have – but over a shorter time period.  I wanted to write a book that didn’t end with a kiss, as a number of my other books have done, but began with one. I wanted to write a book about a big family. And finally, I was inspired by the newspaper comics I’d grown up reading, like FoxTrot and For Better or For Worse.  All these things coming together helped form the initial idea for Save the Date.
3. What message do you hope your readers take away from the book?
I feel like one of the biggest messages is about learning to let go of things – that you can’t move into the future if you’re clinging tightly to the past.  But in addition, letting go of views of people that might not actually be true.  Whether this is an idealized version of your family history, or of a person – or maybe you’ve just judged someone wrong, and too quickly.  I feel like so many of the lessons that Charlie learns in this book are about rethinking and re-examining views of people and things that might not be accurate.
4. What are your working on Post-Save The Date? 
I’m working on something new, and I’m so excited about it…but I’m not quite ready to share details about it just yet.  It’s going to be a bit of a departure for me, which is scary, but also a really great challenge. 
5. I love that you always have a dog in your stories as a dog lover myself. This is a silly question, but can you share a cute and funny tidbit about your dog? 
Not a silly question at all! Ever since I got my dog, Murphy, dogs have been playing a more and more central role in my books – because I have so much inspiration right there in front of me! I put a lot of Murph’s personality into Waffles the dog in Save the Date. Like Waffles, Murph has a total poker face. He never lets you know what he’s thinking – until his tale starts wagging! 
Thank you so much, Morgan, for stopping by and answering these questions! I look forward to seeing your next project with much excitement! <3 


Disclaimer: An advanced e-reader's copy of the book was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang 

Publishing Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Pages: 336
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position... Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic..." (Penguin).

My overall thoughts and review: Earlier last week, one of my co-workers came up to me and mentioned that she was going to lend me a book that I would love. She mentioned it being an #ownvoices narrative and representation of Vietnamese in a contemporary romance novel. Just from that alone, I was sold. I immediately started reading the book when I got home that day, and I could not put it down. I stayed up into the early hours of the night reading it and I'm still thinking about it now. As someone who mostly reads contemporary romance novels, I find at times, it can be quite formulaic, and although it's predictable that there will be a HEA, what really stuck with me was the Vietnamese cultural references and Stella's Asperger's. I haven't read much in terms of Asperger's representation in novels, but I feel like I have a bit of a better understanding after reading this. I liked that it kind of educates the reader as you read along. As for the Vietnamese cultural references, as someone who is part-Vietnamese, this made my heart swell. I loved learning about Michael's family and how much it closely resembled my own. Mẹ was such a lovely character as well and reminded me a lot of my mom. All the food references was great too... I've already told my mom that the next time I visit I want her to cook me Bún ;) This book was everything I could ever want in a romance novel and more. It was sexy, but sweet. It delved into deeper aspects such as anxieties of certain societal expectations: when you should get married, what job you should have, how you should behave, etc. I finished this book with a bit of sadness because I really loved Michael and Stella, as a couple, but also as individuals. Hoang's writing is enticing and this is definitely something unique and inspiring for the romance genre. I would highly recommend it, even if you aren't regularly a romance reader, this is just a lovely story. I'm already counting down the days until Hoang's next book comes out!

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

Available for purchase at:
Amazon, Kindle, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, and Book Depository

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Review: Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell

Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell

Publishing Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 336
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she's been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it's time to evacuate. Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey--and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks's dark past come to light, Audrey can't help but wonder if there's danger in the pull she feels--both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance (Penguin).

My overall thoughts and review: I just finished reading this a book about an hour ago now and when I closed the book, I sat there for a few moments trying to process and digest it all. I knew I wanted to write my review shortly after that while everything is still fresh in my mind, but damn, I`m still having a time trying to wrap my head around everything. I feel like I will be thinking about this book for a while. I will say one thing and if you have been following me on twitter you`ll know.. this book surprised me. I thought I knew where the story was going and it completely pulled the rug out from under me. From the premise alone, I thought this would be following Audrey and her life, as she comes to terms with possibly losing her home to a wildfire. What you get in addition to that is the intensity of first love and a destructive first love at that. It reminded me a lot of Roz Nay`s Our Little Secret in some ways and gosh, I really loved that book as well. The book is told in two timelines: one with flashbacks and learning more about Audrey and her relationship with Brooks, and then the really current time of the morning when firefighters knock on her door asking her to evacuate. Ezell writes in a really unique way where there is a heavier emphasis on dialogue, but she gives you just the right amount of information you require to follow along the story, but also want to turn the pages quicker and quicker to find out what really happened. This book covers so many topics such as family relationships, first loves, death of a loved one, and grieving. It surprised me in many ways and if you are looking for a fast-paced interesting YA book, this is definitely the one for you.

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

Available for purchase at:
Amazon, Kindle, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, and Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Penguin Teen Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Batch Reviews #5

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Pages: 560

My Review: I was stuck in an airport in Pittsburgh last month and I had finished reading the book I bought with me, so this was definitely an impulse purchase. I had previously read Truly, Madly, Guilty by Moriarty, but I didn't love it. I thought it was just OK, but the premise of this was definitely more up my alley. It's a twisty love story that involves an ex that is a stalker. I really liked that the book switched perspectives between the hypnotist and the stalker, and how it tackles the ending of relationships. There is a lot of books on falling in love, and staying in love, but what happens when we simply fall out of love? We got to see how the situation affected Ellen, Patrick's ex, but also Patrick, as the one being stalked. Overall, I really enjoyed this and upon finishing this, I put holds on the rest of Moriarty's books at my local library ;)

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, and Book Depository


The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante (✮✮✮ - 3/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 11, 2005
Publisher: Europa Editions
Pages: 192

My Review: So my oldest best friend and I decided to start a book club. I've wanted to be a part of a book club for so long and I love that I get to discuss books monthly with some of my closest friends. This was the first book of our book club. I've read My Brilliant Friend by Ferrante and I quite enjoyed it, but I didn't continue on with the series, which I need to do at some point. This book was something else. Similar to Moriarty's book, it tackles the ending of relationships. Mario decides one day to leave Olga. Olga is left alone with their dog and two children and she falls into deep despair. You see how her calm demeanor begins to change as the days past. I really empathized with her in the beginning, but then towards the end, the characters became very unlikable. I do like Ferrante's writing though and her way of describing things through beautiful metaphors. It was also quite interesting to see the split opinions at book club on this book. It was definitely some loved it, and some hated it.

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, and Book Depository


I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Pages: 304

My Review: I used to be absolutely youtube obsessed, but now I mainly watch book videos or gaming videos. But there are some youtubers, I have loved from the start, and will always love and support. One of those people is Mamrie Hart. I fell in love with her content when she first made the YDAD: Harry Potter drink. She is hilarious, spunky, down-to-earth, and honest. I always look forward to her videos and when I heard she was coming out with another book, I knew I had to have it. This book follows Mamrie as she tells various stories about how she comes to terms with ending a long term relationship, the various adventures with dating, and her most favorite moments with her friends. There are a lot of lovely hidden messages in the story, but ultimately, what I walked away with was the importance of learning to love yourself, and becoming comfortable with yourself. I opted for the audiobook version and I'm so glad I did! I loved this book and I can't wait for Mamrie to write another one ;)

Available for purchase:
AudibleChapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, and Book Depository

Monday, 21 May 2018

Book Bloggers Recommend Summer Reads | 2018 Edition

Hi everyone! I'm back again with another collaboration post with some lovely bookish friends of mine. Since we are basically nearing summer, I thought it'd be a good idea to do what I did last year and put together a post of recommended reads for the summer/beach reads. If you want to see what was featured last year, take a look here! Those recommendations still stand ;) Let's get started!

Wendy at A Cupcake and a Latte recommends... 
"Rachel Hawkins is the brilliant mind behind one of my favorite paranormal YA series with a school setting. The Hex Hall series had completely blown me away, and it was a series that I, too, binged during the summer holidays. So when I think of summer reading, I definitely think of Rachel Hawkins'  latest, ROYALS. Royals, the first of a new series by Rachel Hawkins, focuses on Daisy Winters, your average 16 year old girl with a sister who's nearly engaged to a crown prince. Daisy immediately finds the new found publicity unwelcome, and is forced to join her sister in seclusion at the castle.  Royals features snarky characters, handsome love interests, and all the teen drama one could possibly ever want. Additionally, it's arrival is perfectly timed with the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle!  It's the perfect breezy read for a warm day under the sun, and one I can certainly see becoming a much beloved teen series." 

Tiff at Mostly YA Lit recommends...
"This year, my perfect beach read is Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian. It's got everything you would want in a summer read - ice cream, girl friendships, a romance - plus tons of feminist themes! It's the story of Amelia, a girl boss who manages an all-female staffed ice cream stand during the summers, and what happens when the owner dies and leaves the stand to her great nephew. What I love about this book is that it seems fluffy and light, but it's not at all predictable. The ice cream descriptions are delectable, the friendships complicated, and the work ethic inspiring. It's extra in the best possible way - I felt both happy and empowered by the end of the book, and you will, too!"

Jenn at Lost in a Great Book recommends... 
"I loved this book because it immediately brought back all the old feelings and emotions (good, bad and ugly) that I used to have about attending summer camp, but with a much more somber outcome. This book is about five girls who slowly begin to bond at camp, doing all the usual camp things, until the day they set out on their very first overnight kayaking trip. Something goes horribly wrong, and the girls are left without adults to guide them or to help them to survive. Told in alternating PO and in flash forwards and flashbacks, the reader slowly begins to piece together what exactly happened on that fateful night, and just how profoundly one formative memory can affect several people so differently over their life. The combination of the familiar sense memory identifiers of summer, mixed with the suspenseful storyline and alternating POVs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will definitely spark discussion around the campfire."

Eden at The Required Reading List recommends...
"The Wedding Date was so incredibly enjoyable & fun. On top of that, the heroine is a badass taking names, but still has those niggling self doubts that even the most confident women can. The Wedding Date shows it’s okay to be both. And the hero is flawed in such an incredibly realistic and lovely way. I laughed, chuckled, sighed, and screamed at the book. Got a beach bag? Put this book in it. Got a backpack? Put this book in it. Got a briefcase? Put this book in it. Got a moderately sized purse? Put this book in it. Got a tiny purse? Get a bigger purse so you can put this book in it." 

Lynne at Words of Mystery recommends... 
Blog | Twitter | Instagram
"I rarely get asked to be part of blogger collaborations, so I was happy to join in on to this one, especially since it's for a summer/beach read recommendation. My pick is pretty obvious for anyone who knows me even a bit, and it's Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asian series! The movie of the first book is out on August 17th of year, which makes it an even more perfect read for the summer. For those of you looking for some deeper plot or a thought-provoking story, Crazy Rich Asians may not be for you. Instead Crazy Rich Asians is pure escapism at its best as we follow all the crazy spending, drama and juicy gossip of the some of Singapore's wealthiest (fictional) families. Of course at its heart, Crazy Rich Asians is also a love story and who doesn't love a good rom-com during the summer months?" 

Marina at A Makeshift Library recommends...
"Hello all! This is Marina from A Makeshift Library. I'm excited to recommend you a quick but powerful summer read! Exit West by Mohsin Hamid will be a great companion for an afternoon under the sun. The story follows a young couple displaced from their home country by a senseless civil war as they cope with the loss of family, their sense of identity, and mementos from simpler times. Hamid infuses the story with beautiful love anecdotes and presents this heart-wrenching journey in a world where a simple doorway may transport you across the globe. Great for fans of Khaled Hosseini and Neil Gaiman (this book was a wonderful mix of the two!). A beautiful book if you're in the mood for something a bit more dense but don't want to commit to a door-stopper. An incredibly beautiful, raw, and magical story."

Ambur at Burning Impossibly Bright recommends...
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
"I'm terrible at limiting myself when it comes to book recommendations, but I managed to cut my list of summer beach read recs down to two of my favourite romances! These recs aren’t really beachy or super summery, but they do take place (at least partially) in California, and for a Canadian girl that’s usually beachy enough for me. :P 

#1 for romance readers who like lighter rather than steamier reads: #STARSTRUCK by Sariah Wilson — Oh my! I read #Starstruck a couple of months ago and loved it! Zoe and Chase’s Twitter meet-cute was utterly adorable! I loved how their relationship bloomed, and I really loved all of their interactions on Twitter. Soooo cute! :D This book gave me all the feels and had me giggling like crazy! 

#2 for romance readers who like their books racy: VICIOUS by LJ Shen — Vicious is on the darker side romance-wise and it’s super steamy. Sometimes you need a book that’s going to wrench at your heart and tear at your feelings, and sometimes the summer is the best time to read books like that…so if you’re in the mood for a book that’s going to make you super conflicted about your feelings and that’s going to probably make you blush and maybe even make you cry…then it’s time for you to meet Vicious and Emilia. ;) Vicious was my favourite book from 2017, and I’m still absolutely obsessed with it to this day! Read it, read it, read it!

I’m always up for chatting about romance books, so thank you for letting me share some of favourites on your blog, Christine! Happy summer reading everyone! ;)" 

-----------------------------------

I just want to take a quite moment and thank all the great bloggers for participating this time around. I've added quite a few of these books to my TBR and I was pleased to see some books I've read in the past and loved as well on the list. Please be sure to jump over to their social media pages and show them so love.

Let me know in the comments below what books are your favorite for this summer time? Or if you are not one for re-reading, what would be your most anticipated read this summer? 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Review: A Prom to Remember by Sandy Hall

A Prom to Remember by Sandy Hall

Publishing Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 320
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Love it or hate it, you'll never forget it. In this heart-warming novel, Swoon Reads star, Sandy Hall, explores a classic high school celebration, capturing every relatable and hilarious teen milestone along the way. A Prom to Remember is a funny and cinematic look at the biggest dance of every high schooler's life" (F&F).

My overall thoughts and review: Prom is a huge milestone whether you love it or not, and I feel like a lot of it occupies your senior year of high-school. Even though I had my prom ten years ago and way before prom-posals were a thing, I remember the stress of finding a dress and how it just consumed my thoughts for months. When I saw that this book was going to tackle multiple perspectives (7 in total!), I was definitely intrigued. I've read YA books before where prom happens in the book at some point because it takes place in senior year, but it isn't the focal point that links everything together. I was a bit worried in the beginning that I would get confused by the multiple perspectives, but it quickly became easy to identify who was who, and how their stories linked together. I loved that there were a lot of anxieties expressed in the book. Cameron and Lizzie have been talking to each other via a shared laptop over the course of the year and don't know each others real identities and the book explored the anxieties of both preparing to meet in real life. But the portrayal I enjoyed most was Henry's  because he has social anxiety and the whole prospect of prom itself is nauseating to him. I believe he demonstrated the most growth out of all the characters because at the end, he realizes that he can go to things for however long he feels comfortable and he can leave whenever he wants. I just loved that self-realization that happened at the end. Other story-lines that I really enjoyed were Cora and Jamie's. Here, Hall tackles the notion of high-school sweethearts and what happens when you go to college. I remember being of the same mindset and thinking that high-school romances were meant to be forever. Sometimes it works for some people, but other times, it only puts constraints on the individuals to not fully explore and learn more about themselves. There was also great LGBTQ+ representation in the book which I'm pleased with. Overall, this was a really fun read and I loved all the different perspectives. I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for a feel-good book that you can read with the lovely weather outside.

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

Available for purchase at:
Audible, Amazon, Kindle, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, and Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Batch Reviews #4

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart (✮✮✮ - 3/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 288

My Review: I read We Were Liars a few years back and really loved that book. I was so excited to hear that Lockhart was coming out with a new book. I'll be honest, it took me a few times to really get into this book and read a chunk of it. I wasn't enjoying it from the beginning and one of my co-workers convinced me that it was really good and to give it another shot. I really wanted to like it and while the premise is interesting, and with elements of The Talented Mr. Ripley, I didn't love it. I didn't find it shocking the way I did WWL, and at times, I found Jules and Imogen really difficult to empathize with. I will say Lockhart's writing is wonderful and she's great at writing the unreliable narrator. I just didn't love this one like WWL. In short, if you aren't familiar with the original story of Mr. Ripley, you might really enjoy this because there will be twists and turns that you don't see coming, and if you are a fan of Lockhart's writing in general, you'll enjoy this!

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 272

My Review: What a stunning book. I have read a few books in the past by Gayle Forman and they always hit me right in the feels and made me cry. This one did the same thing but I think this is my favorite one by hers yet! It follows three perspectives: Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel, and how three broken people come together and find each other at the right time in New York one day. Freya is a singer who has lost her voice, Harun is a boy who lost the boy he loved, and Nathaniel has nothing to lose. I just loved how they came together and I loved how their back stories were slowly revealed to the reader. This book touches on so many topics like family expectations and doing what others want you to do, instead of what you want, and how loving someone/something can really hurt, but it's worth it? There's just so much in this book and I would highly recommend you pick it up. There's something in it for everyone!

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Batch Reviews #3 - Poetry Edition

Hi everyone! I'm back again with another batch reviews. This time I've decided to feature some poetry books I've read recently. I've always been a fan of poetry since I took many poetry classes in my undergrad and I've dabbled a bit with writing my own poetry too. I also am the poetry editor for Rambutan Literary. I also feel like in the past six months, poetry has really exploded and I love seeing so many debut releases. Let's get started! 

Dreampad by Jeff Latosik (✮✮✮ - 3/5 stars)
Publishing Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Pages: 128

My Review: I liked learning that the title of the book and the epigraph for the poem by the same name was inspired by a customer review of the Dreampad item; since when I first heard of this book, I was like 'is he talking about the pillow?' haha. When I was reading Latosik's poems, I definitely felt like they inhabited liminal and ephemeral spaces, he touches on the in-between and the thoughts that linger there. Latosik's pieces get into detail and I'm not always a big fan of poetry that does that. I much prefer pieces that tell the story, but allow the reader to locate a connection in a much broader way. That being said, there were some pieces that I really enjoyed. In particular, I enjoyed "The Bright Note" and "Dear Listener."

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo - Kobo - Amazon - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada. All opinions are my own.


I Left Nothing Inside on Purpose by Stevie Howell (✮✮✮ - 3/5 stars)
Publishing Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Pages: 80

My Review: Howell's collection focuses on many topics such as love, identity, and relationships. There were some poems in particular that I found incredibly timely and easy to relate to: "Talking w/ humans is my only way to learn" and "Life is not about what you learn, really, but what you remember" -- the both stress the significance of human relationships and learning, and the anxieties surrounding it. I also want to highlight "Notes on not being able to have a baby" - which was an incredibly beautiful, tragic, and heart-wrenching poem. Overall, Howell's type of poetry isn't something I would usually gravitate towards, but I was pleasantly surprised with the pieces and I'm keen to check out the first poetry collection Howell has out.

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo - Kobo - Amazon - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada. All opinions are my own.


On Blank Pages by Giuliano Enciso (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: December 2, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 238

My Review: I have the great pleasure of knowing the author IRL and when he mentioned that he was going to be publishing his poetry collection, I couldn't be happier for him! He started sharing some of his pieces on instagram @GiulianoEnciso and it's so nice to see the collection as a whole. The collection is divided into seven sections and for the most part, the focus is on relationships, falling in love, heartbreak, and putting yourself back together again. There are many sweet pieces in the collection, such as "Kings", "Origami Love", and "Queen of Hearts II" which are incredibly romantic. However, my favorite pieces  are the ones that simply linger with you long after you finish reading. The ones that make you ponder for more, but also the ones that Enciso so perfectly encapsulates with words you wish you had yourself. Those ones for me are: "Celestial Envy", "Giants", and "Fear" - these three are definitely the strongest pieces in his collection and you should buy a copy just so you can read those ones. I'm proud of Enciso for his lovely collection and I can't wait to see what else he writes next.

Available for purchase:
Amazon


The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pages: 208

My Review: I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read Lovelace's first book, but I did immediately buy it upon completion of this one (so review for that to come soon)! I loved each and every single poem in this collection, and I really want to highlight the coven rules poems. The book touches on so many topics from abuse, assault, toxic relationships, to independence, identity, and more.  I felt so many emotions reading this collection, ranging from all over the spectrum. I even cried at some parts, but it only reminds me of how much work still needs to be done as a woman. Her words are a rallying cry and incredibly timely. This collection is perfect with all the latest #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Lovelace's second book is one of my favorite feminist reads of this year. It burns a fire in me. It reminds me to always stand up for myself. It makes me damn proud to be a woman.

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo - Kobo - Amazon - Book Depository