Friday, 9 November 2018

Blog Tour: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean - Review and Author Q&A

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Publishing Date: November 6th, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 384
Young Adult Historical Fantasy

The Premise from the Publisher: "In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems. Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace's enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete-all except yokai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy. Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yokai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari's fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yokai outcast. Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy" (HMH).

My overall thoughts and review: If you know me, then you will know that at school I primarily study Japanese culture. My focus is more so on contemporary material, but I simply love to read anything inspired by Japanese culture. When I read the premise of this, I was definitely intrigued because it follows various different kami and yokai. To begin with, this is a fantasy inspired by the author's Japanese heritage so I don't think it's meant to take place in a specific time with a fantasy spin. It takes place in a world where there's a palace of illusions with an emperor and every so often there's a competition where girls are thrown into various seasonal rooms, and if they are the last one to survive, then they are made empress. However, this competition is strictly for human girls. We have our main protagonist, Mari, who is a yokai, who plans to enter the competition, marry the prince, and then steal his fortune. Mari comes from a very interesting village of women whose sole purpose is to seduce men and steal their fortune, and they are "free" when they have a daughter afterwards. It's a very rigid structure in which Mari finds herself confined and at the end of the day, the anxieties she feels of wanting to be accepted for who she is and loved for who she is, is very much something that can be related to today. Sure, she resides in a village with strong, independent women, but there are also things expected of her and in a way, she feels she has no choice.

The story also follows two other perspectives: the prince, Taro, who she is supposed to win his affections, and lastly, Akira/The Son of Nightmares, who is other-than-human, with his ghostly like abilities to move. Akira has been with Mari from the beginning and and loves her, but she does not return this love. Whereas, with Taro, she finds herself wanting to actually stay with him if she wins the competition and to make change from there, especially in a world where yokai are collared and have no agency. Taro also has problems in terms of dealing with familial expectations. Though I have to say, I just loved Akira's perspectives and I could easily just read an entire book from his POV alone. I definitely enjoyed the text, but I found it hard at times to suspend my disbelief, and I think that's because it did lull at some parts in the beginning. We have great chapters establishing the character's mindset and anxieties, but then it moves incredibly quickly after that, so I think it's a matter of pacing. Overall, it was a decent fantasy and I definitely enjoyed it more going back after I finished it to reread some passages. The various mythical stories that Jean wove throughout the novel was quite nice because it reminds us that we have a choice and we are not predetermined to walk the same path as those before us.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ (3.5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Author Question and Answer
Q: This book was inspired primarily by your Japanese heritage. I was wondering if there were any particular places in Japan that you looked to for inspiration when you were world building? 
I spent a long time researching castles in Japan. In particular the Palace in Empress of all Seasons is modeled after the Heian Palace.

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

Saturday, 3 November 2018

PRHC Kids Fall-I-Day Preview | November 1, 2018


A few days ago was the annual PRHC Fall-I-Day Kids and Teen Preview for booksellers and bloggers. I always love attending events like this because it definitely helps me as a bookseller when they give you great pitches on what to sell for the holiday season, and also to share with you all as a blogger. They mentioned some highlights that were already out and also some upcoming books for 2019 to look forward to. We also had the lovely Susin Nielsen come talk to us about her two new upcoming books Princess Puffybottom ...and Darryl & No Fixed Address! She is definitely one of my favorite authors and I've had the pleasure of meeting her a few times now, so it's always so much fun to hear her talk and share her stories. I can't wait to check out her two new books!

Below are some books that I'm adding to my TBR. Some are already out in the world, some I plan on giving as gifts (so you have to read them first before you gift them ;)), and some I'm super excited for them to release early next year!

Corduroy Takes a Bow by Viola Davis - I absolutely adore Viola Davis as a human being, so if she's writing a kids book, I'm buying it and adding it to my life. 

Princess Puffybottom ...and Darryl by Susin Nielsen and Olivia Chin Mueller (February 5/19) - I'm mostly a dog person, but this story sounds super adorable. I can't wait to read this and see all the illustrations. 

Narwhal's Otter Friend by Ben Clanton (February 5/19) - I love the Narwhal and Jelly books so much. They are hilarious and super cute. Can't wait to meet this new character! ;) 


The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier and Douglas Holgate - the folks at PRHC were talking about this series and how the story is really good and the art is amazing. I've always loved graphic novels but I want to read more young readers graphic novels. This apocalyptic setting sounds great! 

Hilda and the Troll by Luke Pearson - This has been adapted into a netflix show. I watched an episode when I got home from the preview and I really enjoyed it. I'm totally here for a magical girl going on adventures. 

The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray by E. Latimer - If you know me, you'll know that The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is my ALL-TIME-FAVORITE book. I own an unhealthy and ridiculous amount of copies of that book. I just love it so much. So when they told me this was a young reader's version inspired by it? I'M SO THERE. 


Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier - story about an girl and her monster in a Victorian setting? ALL. THE. YES. I love Auxier's writing and this book was recently named as a winner for the 2018 Governor General's award in young people's literature! *slow clap* 

Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan (November 6/18) - A combination of poetry, short stories, and beautiful artwork. I can't wait to see this blend of writing and surrealist art! 

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen - this story sounds like it's going to be super sweet and also heartbreaking at the same time. It follows Felix and his mother, Astrid, who after losing their apartment in Vancouver must live in a camper van and how they come to terms with that massive change in their life. I love Nielsen's writing so I'm sure this one will be no different. 


The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena (February 26/19) - I read A Girl Like That earlier this year and it is one of my favorite books from 2019. I absolutely loved it and when I heard Bhathena was coming out with a new book, I actually jumped for joy! The story follows Susan who is an artist, and she meets a friend at a fundraiser Syrian Refugees. The premise promises romance, family, and finding yourself. I can't wait to dig in to my copy and start reading it soon! 

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (February 26/19) - Jeff Zentner is definitely one of my all time favorite YA authors. The Serpent King will always have a special place in my heart forever. The folks at PRHC promise that this upcoming release by Zentner will have more laughs than tears for the reader. I love YAs that focus on senior year! Can't wait for this! 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (November 6/18) - ok, so before you come for me, please know that I have every intention to, but I just haven't. *whispers* I haven't read a Brandon Sanderson book before. *immediately runs and hides* - I will say, I'm also a bit intimidated by some of his series and just the pure length of them. I will however check this one out, because I love starting series as they come out rather than catching up afterwards. This story follows a girl who dreams of being a pilot. Sign me up!! 

Well that's it! Those are the books I've added to my TBR, started pre-ordering, and also begging my local library to stock. What books sounds like your cup of tea? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

[Release Blitz] Dangerous Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

DangerousExes-SBPRBANNER-RB.jpeg

"I was going to destroy her the same way she destroyed me, from the inside out."
Dangerous Exes, an all-new contemporary romance in the scorching series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken, is coming October 30th!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Batch Reviews #8

Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram  (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 320

My Review: This was such a lovely story about a young boy named Darius, who struggles with mental illness, and finds himself not feeling at peace, whether it's at home or at school. Because his grandfather is getting older, they decide to have a family trip over to Iran so that Darius can get to know his family over there. There, Darius meets a new friend in Sohrab. They play soccer together, and just get one another. It's a beautiful friendship, and from there, Darius begins to mend the relationships he has with his father, and his grandparents. It's lovely because it's about finding oneself and how someone can feel at home, when they aren't physically at home. It reminds us as readers that the notion of home can be more than simply the house you live in. I really enjoyed Khorram's writing and I can't wait to see what else he writes!

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo
Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. Indigo Books & Music Inc also gifted me another copy which I used for a twitter giveaway. #IndigoEmployee. All opinions are my own. 

Warcross by Marie Lu (✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 368

My Review: I had wanted to read this book for a while, and coincidentally, it was one of my book club reads a few months back. My boyfriend had selected it because he really enjoyed Ready Player One, and wanted something along the same lines of a world of gaming and hacking. I had read other things by Marie Lu before so I knew going into it, it would be fast paced. The world that Lu creates felt like an amalgamation of many other worlds we have come to know in YA. I personally don't mind that because I like being able to compare a book to other ones. I will say, I did like that this one took place primarily in Tokyo, because that city will always be my favorite city in the world. I liked how the game was set up, I liked Hideo's character so much, and I loved the dynamics between Emika and her teammates. What I didn't love is that at times, Emika, felt too much like a "special snowflake" - I know she's the protagonist, but at times I really rolled my eyes at her being able to just find the problem in a code immediately, when supposedly a series of experts and Hideo (the creator), could not see it. She wasn't as likable for me as a protagonist, and I was much more interested in seeing other characters. I will say too that the big twist wasn't all that surprising for me, and when it comes to narratives like this, I feel a tinge of disappointment if I'm able to figure it out. That being said, it was a decent read because I really enjoyed the world building.

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.

Wildcard by Marie Lu (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 352

My Review: Wildcard is the sequel and finale to Warcross, and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed Wildcard much more than the first one. It picks up right after the first book with Emika trying to uncover what's really going on with Zero and what Hideo is trying to do. She's stuck in between and torn between where to show loyalty. She finds herself back in the games of Warcross. There were MANY twists and turns that definitely surprised me, and the biggest thing about this was that the narrative demonstrated that there are consequences for certain actions. Hideo, for example, didn't simply get off Scot-free, for his actions. I really appreciated that because although, it's a YA fantasy/sci-fi novel, that takes place in a world similar to ours, that doesn't mean that various actions just get swept under the rug. As I mentioned above, Hideo is my favorite character, so I was glad to see more of him in this book, and in a more proactive role. Overall, it was a satisfying end to the duology, and it definitely made me miss Tokyo.

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.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

[Teaser] Dangerous Exes by Rachel Van Dyken


In #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel van Dyken’s scorching series, revenge is a justified pleasure…

Isla made one teeny little mistake. Now she and her PI company, Dirty Exes, are being targeted by one seriously angry and furiously sexy ex-quarterback. Jessie freakin’ Beckett. But there’s no way some NFL superhunk is going to take her business away. If only he didn’t make her so hot—and bothered.

Jessie wants payback for a ruined reputation. His plan? Top secret. His hard-to-hide arousal for Isla? Not so much. Especially when they let down their guards and sneak a kiss. Like any juicy scandal, it goes so viral, so fast, that only a good lie can combat the bad press. Mortal enemies in a fling? No way. Um…this is love!

Actually…could it be?

Isla’s not faking it. Jessie can’t. As the game of let’s pretend gets real, Jessie forgets all about revenge. That’s the problem. His plan is already out of his control. Now it could undo everything they’ve been trying to build. Coming clean may be the only thing that can save it. 

Read Today!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2kiJtYA

Disclaimer: I have signed up with Social Butterfly PR to help promote this author and her book. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Blog Tour: A Curve in the Road by Julianne Maclean - Review & Tour-Wide Giveaway!

A Curve in the Road by Julianne Maclean

Publishing Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 270
Contemporary Women's Fiction

The Premise from the Publisher: "Abbie MacIntyre is living the dream in the picturesque Nova Scotia town she calls home. She is a successful surgeon, is married to a handsome cardiologist, and has a model teenage son who is only months away from going off to college. But then one fateful night, everything changes. When a drunk driver hits her car, Abbie is rushed to the hospital. She survives, but the accident forces unimaginable secrets out into the open and plagues Abbie with nightmares so vivid that she starts to question her grip on reality. Her perfect life begins to crack, and those cracks threaten to shatter her world completely. The search for answers will test her strength in every way—as a wife, a career woman, and a mother—but it may also open the door for Abbie to move forward, beyond anger and heartbreak, to find out what she is truly made of. In learning to heal and trust again, she may just find new hope in the spaces left behind" (Lake Union).

My overall thoughts and review: I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book because I thought that it would go in a completely different direction in terms of what happens to Abbie in the car crash and the aftermath. I went in thinking that the accident was the worst of it, but in a way, it's a catalyst for so much more to unfold? I was only a few chapters in reading this book when I already started tearing up. Warning: there's a dog in the book and the dog does live (so that's good news), but the moments when he's rocky really breaks your heart. The way Maclean describes the car crash and that sinking feeling afterwards of not knowing where your family is felt so vivid and surreal, I honestly felt like I was in Abbie's shoes. Abbie's perfect world begins to shatter all the while she has to handle her grief. It's such a complex situation that Abbie is in because she's filled with not only grief but also anger. This book brings about many questions in terms of how well do you really know a person? and the realm of 'What Ifs.' This is my first time reading something by Julianne Maclean and I will say the book moves incredibly quickly in terms of pacing. The writing is highly readable and you'll find yourself flipping the pages quite quickly. I liked that it kept me on the edge of my seat in terms of what was to come next, and I appreciated how raw the feelings of everything were. If you ever lost a loved one, this book would definitely punch you in the heart. I enjoyed the book but I will say I felt that the end was quite rushed in the last thirty or forty pages with it moving in months. I would've liked those chapters to be teased out more. Overall, this was definitely a heart-wrenching read about family, marriage, grief, and how to move on after a tragic event. I think fans of Jojo Moyes would definitely enjoy this read!

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

Giveaway


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

Sunday, 21 October 2018

TeensRead Preview with Raincoast Books - Winter & Spring 2019 | October 21, 2018


Yesterday was the annual Winter/Spring TeensRead Preview hosted by Raincoast. The main one takes place in Vancouver, but we have some lovely organizers here in Toronto who put it together via livestream at a local public library. There was tea, pie, and donuts! It was the perfect atmosphere to hear about all the exciting and upcoming books. Faith Erin Hicks also came up to talk to us about her upcoming release and also her exciting collaboration with Rainbow Rowell for "Pumpkin Heads." Thanks so much to Raincoast for the invite and to the Toronto organizers for a lovely event. I went home full on sugar and with a way bigger TBR list! 

Here are some of the upcoming titles that I'm most excited for: 




You Owe Me A Murder by Eileen Cook (March 5/19) - twisty take on the classic Strangers on a Train. I love all thrillers that Eileen writes so I'm super excited for this one. I got a copy of this in my swag bag, so be sure to look out for a full review of the book early next year ;) 

The Similars by Rebecca Hanover (January 1/19) - new duology with the second book coming in 2020. You've got a boarding school setting and clones! 

Enchantee by Gita Trelease (February 5/19)  - another first in a new duology. It is being pitched as Caraval meets Marie Antoinette. The setting is Versailles during the French Revolution and the main character is present at the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. For those of you that know, Marie Antoinette, the film, is my favorite film ever. Can't wait for this! 

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway (February 5/19) - debut novel from a Canadian author. It's a historical fantasy, first in a series. It's being compared to Code Name Verity meets The Winner's Curse. We've got action-packed, missions, mystery, and of course, romance! 

The Lost by by Natasha Preston (April 2/19) - I don't think I'll ever tire of reading thrillers. I love guessing them. This however is completely new because if you are a fan of escape rooms, this is an escape room thriller! Protagonist and her friends are kidnapped and taken to a building where every room is a test :O 

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (April 2/19) - Another first in a new series. It is inspired by Joan of Arc with a peasant girl working to assassinate the mad king. There are conspiracies uncovered and the lead is stuck in between the politics of a Holy War. I have a soft spot for Joan of Arc related content. She was the first person I ever presented on in middle school, and also someone I wrote reports on frequently. I was also so fascinated by her. I'm so pumped for all this new content coming out inspired by her story! 

A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson (April 2/19) - It is being pitched as Code Name Verity meets Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It takes place in the late 90s and it is an #ownvoices historical YA thriller. Also Jeff Zentner blurbed this book. That's enough for me. 

Finale by Stephanie Garber (May 28/19) - The third and finale book in the Caraval series. You all know that I loved the first book in that series. I still need to get around to reading the second one.. whoops. But omg, Entertainment Weekly released the cover for this book and it looks stunning! I can't wait to see how it all ends for Tella and Scarlett! 

Voices by David Elliott (March 26/19) - Another book that I got in my swag bag and I actually started reading it on my commute home yesterday. Again, the subject matter is Joan of Arc (hooray).. but the unique thing about this book is that it is told in verses. There's also passages from the trial documents. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and I'm really enjoying this. This is something super unique and I can't wait to read the rest of it! 

What books are you most excited for that is coming out next year? Let me know in the comments! 

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Review: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

Publishing Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 352
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Lilah isn't sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she's no longer that same girl and never wants to be again. Ethan wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that. Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let Ethan in, though, she finds out their reunion might have nothing to do with love and everything to do with improving his game. But Ethan's already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he'll do anything to keep from losing her again" (GCP).

My overall thoughts and review: If you've been following me for a while, you will know that Helena Hunting is one of my favorite romance authors ever. I fell in love with her writing when I first read Hooking Up (Sexy Lexy is one of my book boyfriends and will be forever), and so it's no brainer that when she had a new book coming out, I had to read it. No surprise here, but I also loved this book a lot. The thing about Helena is that she is able to combine sexy moments, with laugh out loud moments, and like a perfect dash of all the angst. This book was heavier on the angst side in comparison to her Shacking Up series books. The book opens with Ethan and Lilah being reunited because Ethan's dad recently had a stroke. Lilah and Ethan were high school sweethearts, but he made the decision to end their relationship when he got drafted into the NHL. Lilah never fully got over that relationship, but she still maintained a strong relationship with Ethan's family. Ethan's dad getting sick really affected her as well. I liked that through this awful experience, they were able to really clear the air about what happened eight years ago, and find a way to fall in love again, but also learn from their past mistakes. They have this all-consuming intense love and the book also tackles how they work around work commitments and school commitments as well, which I find often not mentioned sometimes in romance stories. I'm definitely a sucker for second chance romances and Helena does a great job with this one. This had me tearing up, laughing, and also hugging my book. I'm totally holding out for a follow up that follows Lilah's sister, Carmen, and a certain Doctor ;)

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

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

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



Friday, 19 October 2018

[Teaser] Dangerous Exes by Rachel Van Dyken


In #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel van Dyken’s scorching series, revenge is a justified pleasure…

Isla made one teeny little mistake. Now she and her PI company, Dirty Exes, are being targeted by one seriously angry and furiously sexy ex-quarterback. Jessie freakin’ Beckett. But there’s no way some NFL superhunk is going to take her business away. If only he didn’t make her so hot—and bothered.

Jessie wants payback for a ruined reputation. His plan? Top secret. His hard-to-hide arousal for Isla? Not so much. Especially when they let down their guards and sneak a kiss. Like any juicy scandal, it goes so viral, so fast, that only a good lie can combat the bad press. Mortal enemies in a fling? No way. Um…this is love!

Actually…could it be?

Isla’s not faking it. Jessie can’t. As the game of let’s pretend gets real, Jessie forgets all about revenge. That’s the problem. His plan is already out of his control. Now it could undo everything they’ve been trying to build. Coming clean may be the only thing that can save it. 

Read Today!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2kiJtYA

Disclaimer: I have signed up with Social Butterfly PR to help promote this author and her book. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

[Cover Reveal] BEDTIME READS SERIES by Kennedy Fox

     
Cover design by Outlined with Love Designs
Photographers: FuriousFotog and Wander Aguiar
Models: Joey Berry, Chase Ketron, & Andrew Biernat

Friday, 5 October 2018

Penguin Random House Canada Fall Preview | October 2, 2018

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well. The lovely folks at PRHC had their Fall Preview again earlier this week for booksellers and bloggers. I was so excited to attend because they always put together a great presentation showcasing all the great books for the holiday season. This helps so much for someone who is a bookseller, but also someone who has no self-restraint and loves adding more to their TBR pile ;)


They mentioned a ton of books that have been recently released and are coming soon, and I can't wait to read so many of them. Here are the ones I'm most excited for: 


 

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally sounds absolutely hilarious and charming. It's basically a conversation between the two about life and all things love. I saw them read an excerpt on a late night show and I immediately added it to Audible. 

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking is his final book to us which is going to be published posthumously. The foreword is by Eddie Redmayne who played Hawking in a movie and the afterword is by his daughter. I loved Hawkings writing so much and I'm sure this one will be a bittersweet read. 

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele is pitched as a modern day Rebecca (by Daphne du Maurier) and also compared to Curtis Sittenfield's Eligible. I loved both books so I'm totally here for this. Also can we talk about the cover? It's stunning! 

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami - I mean, are you surprised that I'm excited for this one? I am over the moon excited for this to release and I will drop everything to read it. I've been eagerly awaiting this and I already know I'm going to love it. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama - I don't read a lot of non-fiction and usually when I do, it's often memoirs or essays. I'm so excited for this one because I just admire Michelle so much as an individual and all the work that she has accomplished. I'm also longing for a time when she was our First Lady so much. I can't wait to read this and I think I'll definitely opt for an audible version if she's going to narrate it! 

The Kingfisher Secret by Anonymous - the details for this book are still very vague and the author will remain anonymous. All I know is that it's a fun spy thriller and it takes place in the White House. There may or may not be some links to factual stuff, but I think it will be fun trying to decipher things as I read along ;) 

Are you excited for any of the titles mentioned above? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! :) 

Friday, 28 September 2018

Giller Light Bash 2018


It's that time of year again where the Giller Light Bash is quickly approaching. For those of you who don't know what the GLB is, it is a fun bookish night where people come together celebrate Canadian literature and the Giller Nominees and Winner. The special night works to raise money for the Frontier College which promotes and offers literacy support. So not only are you participating in some bookish fun, you are supporting a great cause!

This year is also the 25th Giller so they will be celebrating in style with a Literary Masquerade! There will be tarot card readings, lollipop draws, and a mask-making station. All of this comes with amazing raffle prizes, swag bags, delicious food, and much more. Included in each ticket is one free Guess the Giller entry for a chance to win a signed set of the Giller Prize shortlisted books.

I've already got my ticket and I'm counting down the days, so I wanted to share with you all the EARLY BIRD special pricing of $35.00 - You can buy tickets here! The price will go up October 1st, so if you want to take advantage of this special pricing, do so soon! 

I''ll have a post discussing the Giller shortlist once that's out so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that ;) Let me know in the comments if you are attending this special literary night! I'd love to see some familiar faces :)

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with GLB. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 24 September 2018

Batch Reviews #7

Hard Sell by Lauren Layne (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Amazon Publishing - Montlake Romance
Pages: 252

My Review: I read the first book in this series: Hot Asset last month and I knew I instantly wanted to read the other books in the series. The next story is the haters to lovers trope and I'm always a sucker for that trope. This story follows Matt, who is also in the same Wall Street firm as Ian from the previously book. It was clear from the previous book that Matt and Ian's other best friend, Sabrina, had some tension between them. They are thrown together when Sabrina takes on Matt as a PR client and she has to fix his image. She is able to do this by pretending to be his girlfriend. However, not everything is for pretend. I loved seeing them come to terms with what was happening with their feelings, and just learning more about both characters. I loved seeing how they slowly began to fall in love with each other despite their rocky start. Again, the secondary characters made a big impact in the book and we got to see Ian and Lara again! I'm so excited for the next book because I definitely want more of this friendship and this world. I loved Hot Asset, but I loved Hard Sell so much more. *heart eyes*

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. 

Up In Flames by Jennifer Blackwood  (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: Amazon Publishing - Montlake Romance
Pages: 300

My Review: This is also a second book in a series! Clearly.. I like series that focus on multiple friend groups ;) When I finished Burning Up last month, I liked it but I didn't love it. I found the ending quite rushed and all of the protagonist's constant back and forth really annoyed me in some aspects. This book was totally what I wanted though! This story follows Erin's best friend, Sloane, and her relationship with Erin's brother, Reece. You got to see a bit of them in the previous book. You knew that Reece was protective of both his sister, and his bestfriend, Jake.. but you didn't really learn a lot about him. I loved learning his back story in this one, and learning that he is an awesome older brother to both Reece and Andie. He was able to support Andie in her difficult time of figuring out what to do in terms of college. You also see Reece having a difficult time at work, despite working with his bestfriends. The chief of their department clearly has it out for Reece and one of the many ways he has to make amends is volunteer to be auctioned off. The person that ends up bidding on him and winning is, Sloane. Sloane has always had an attraction to Reece, but something happens one night which makes her absolutely hate him. Again, here I am loving the haters to lovers trope. I loved their back and forth so much, because despite everything, you know that they deeply care for one another underneath it all. I especially loved their text message exchanges. There's also a few funny moments seeing Sloane navigate the online app dating world, and seeing what crazy tasks she gets Reece to do because of the auction. There is also a super awesome character named Peaches! She's a cute dog that Reece fosters for a bit and she made their story so much more special. Overall, I loved this book and I could not put it down. I loved their relationship so much that I didn't want the book to end. Again, if you like firefighters, a good friendship group, and some swoooony moments mixed with banter, definitely check this one out!

Available for pre-order at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced e-readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Intercepted by Alexa Martin (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 11, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Pages: 320

My Review: This is Alexa Martin's debut novel and one of the books I read with my #supersexybookclub gals this past month. I'm definitely growing to love contemporary sports romances a lot and this one follows Marlee, who has been with long time boyfriend, Chris. She's been waiting for him to finally pop the question, and she's been with him through thick and thin. However, she learns that Chris has actually been cheating on her. They've had rough patches in the past, and they actually broke up at one point (this point also coincides with a hot night she had with Gavin Pope), but there's really no coming back from it this time. Things become more complicated when Gavin (yes, the one she had the hot one night stand with), ends up being drafted to be on the same team as her ex, Chris. I liked seeing their relationship grow, but certain things about Gavin definitely bothered me. There are so many great moments where he stands up for Marlee, but he sometimes doesn't let her fight her own battles. Those moments came across as controlling in my opinion, and it felt like he didn't truly learn his lesson after everything was said and done. That being said, it was quite nice seeing how a relationship functioned over the course of a few months, since some romance novels often end once the couple finally gets together. Also as funny as some moments were, I found the hashtags to be a bit much. I get that they can be sprinkled throughout and it's definitely something that's part of Marlee's personality, but I found them to be quite annoying and I ended up trying my best to ignore the hashtags. Despite that, like I said, for a debut novel, it's definitely a strong one. I look forward to the next book in the series!

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

Cooper's Charm by Lori Foster (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: HQN
Pages: 352

My Review: Another one of the books we read last month for #supersexybookclub and it's actually my second Lori Foster read ever. My good friend, Patty, is a big fan of hers and I honestly didn't realize how many books she had out. I really enjoyed Under Pressure - I love books with strong alpha male types and just by the description, Cooper sounded just like that. I'll admit too that the cover definitely drew me in because I am a big dog lover and I'm all for a dog being part of the story somehow ;) Anyways, back to the review. The story follows Phoenix Rose, who is trying to start her life over again after being attacked during a burglary. She finds solace at Cooper's Charm, a resort where people can also camp and RV. She takes on the job of groundskeeper and finds herself instantly attracted to Cooper, the owner of the resort. Cooper is also dealing with something dark from his past with the recent loss of his wife. I love that they both came together and were able to 'live' again after their tragic experiences. The definitely take front and center stage in the story. What is unique about this story is that there's two love stories at the same time. You also follow Ridley Rose, Phoenix's sister, who out of concern of her sister's well-being comes to Cooper's Charm and ends up taking the position of the housekeeper. There she's there to support her sister, but also find reprieve from her recent divorce. She finds herself drawn to the scuba instructor, Baxter. Their relationship seems purely sexual at first, but it's clear they've grown to care for one another. I loved seeing how they met and I instantly liked their dynamic. I will say that they didn't have as much in the book, since it was a lot about Phoenix and Cooper, so I kind of wish we got more of Ridley and Baxter. I also felt things were quite rushed towards the end and the pacing felt a bit off with how fast things resolved. I'm happy for HEA, but I guess, I would've liked more, especially for Ridley and Baxter. All in all, it was a good book! It had TWO swoony male leads and it definitely made me want to go away to a resort to just relax. I think there will be more in this series and I can't wait to read the next story! I hope it's about Maris and Daron ;)

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

Monday, 17 September 2018

Blog Tour: Body Swap by Sylvia McNicoll - Review & Excerpt

Body Swap by Sylvia McNicoll

Publishing Date: September 15, 2018
Publisher: Dundurn
Pages: 248
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "A fatal collision - who's to blame? Two bodies, two souls switch in search of justice. When fifteen-year-old Hallie gets knocked flying by a Hurricane SUV, her life ends without her ever having kissed a boy. At an otherworldly carnival, she meets and argues with the eighty-two-year-old driver, Susan. Both return to life, only with one catch - they've swapped bodies. Now Hallie has wrinkled skin and achy joints while Susan deals with a forehead zit and a crush on a guy who's a player. Hallie faces a life in a long-term care residence. Susan gets picked up for shoplifting. As they struggle with technology, medications, and each other's fashion foibles, they start to understand and maybe even like each other. But can they work together to prove that a defect in the Hurricane caused the deadly crash? Or will their time run out?" (Dundurn).

My overall thoughts and review: From the beginning of the book, I liked Susan's character. She was instantly likable and she really felt young at heart which I appreciated. I wasn't completely over the moon with Hallie to begin with because she felt a bit annoying and superficial since her concerns were solely getting a boyfriend and texting. Also her first concern after the near death experience wasn't about how she had so much to do, but she would've died not having kissed a boy. She felt incredibly vapid and self involved but I'm happy to say that through the concept of the #BodySwap, things change for Hallie. She was much more likable towards the second half of the book and I liked seeing her grow as a character. It takes place in Burlington and I liked seeing how they both came to help one another out. Susan wanted to help Hallie get a boyfriend and Hallie wanted to make sure that Susan was able to keep her freedom and not end up in a retirement home. There's a mystery/investigative aspect of the book involving what really led to the accident that happened in terms of the defect on the car. There's also an unexpected twist in regards to Hallie's quest for a boyfriend. The book is on the shorter side but it deals with body image and ageism, and overall, I really enjoyed it. It also has a Christmas/winter setting which was nice too. I really liked the idea of Freaky Friday but with a complete stranger, and it just goes to show how putting yourself in another person's shoes (quite literally) can alter your perspective on many things.

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

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

Excerpt from the Author - Carpe Diem


Be sure to drop by the other stops on the tour for more content about #BodySwap! 


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