Thursday, 27 December 2018

The Bookish Year in Review - 2018

Hi everyone! I don't think I've ever done a year in review post before but I wanted to make a special one that included all the bookish things in my life besides actually reading (I plan to do a top books of 2018 as well in a few days so look out for that). 2018 has been an amazing year for me book wise because I feel like often times reading is such a solitary act, and to have the opportunity to share that with others is really lovely. 

I started not one but two book clubs this year! I have one with besties I've known since highschool and university days called #smrtkidsreadinclub and we meet monthly to read a book over drinks or food. Each person gets a designated month so it's been great discovering new genres and also changing up where we meet. I love these meetings so much because it's not only a time to discuss the book of the month, but also a time to catch up with my friends. I also find that I often change perspectives too after hearing how my friends read a book and it's so fascinating to see what everyone takes from a book. In addition to that, I have another book club with three very lovely fellow bloggers, and we started the #supersexybookclub, where we read two romance novels a month! It's been so much fun reading and then going out for dinner and drinks once a month with them. I feel like this year I really embraced my romance reading side and to have a solid group of friends to share that with is very special. 

Our first #smrtkidsreadinclub meeting at the Famous Last Words Bar and second photo is our first #supersexybookclub meeting at Terroni's

Also wanted to share photos from a super fun christmas party for #smrtkidsreadinclub where we had a fun bookish swap and one of the members, Liane, made us very beautiful custom bookmarks ;) They look amazing! (be sure to check her work out here

I attended a few book previews this year with the Indigo Fall Preview and the PRHC Fall Preview being my favorites. I always love attending these events because as a blogger and bookseller, it's so helpful to learn what's coming out and how to pitch the books. Also a good time to catch up with fellow blogger friends. I love the Toronto #bookfam and I'm so glad to know such wonderful, creative, and supportive people! 

Jess & Michele hosted a really fun screening for To All The Boys I've Loved Before and it was filled with lots of cookies! ^^ 

#supersexybookclub took a field trip to Chapters Brampton to meet Helena Hunting! <3 

#bookmas dinner this year with the gang at Kelly's Landing! So much fun! <3 

I got engaged last month and it's been super exciting times. I wanted to share this special bit since the proposal did include a book and it's just been really fun wedding planning (hello wedding books and magazines), but also reading lots of wedding related stories (bless romance novels). 

It's been a great bookish year and I can't wait to see what next year has in store! :D 

Friday, 14 December 2018

Most Anticipated Releases for 2019 | Romance Edition

I've seen these kinds of posts and youtube videos around for a while and they are always my favorite because I get informed about books that are coming out that I didn't know about, and then I can add them to my goodreads TBR ;) I have so many books in 2019 that I want to read so I wanted to break this down into posts by genre. First up (as always) is Romance! ;) 

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
PUB DATE: APRIL 9, 2019 

The New York Times bestselling author of Pucked and The Good Luck Charm delivers a Hollywood happily-ever-after where a famous heartthrob falls for his ultimate fangirl in this sexy standalone romantic comedy. Kailyn Flowers was always calm, rational, and controlled-until she ended up sprawled all over Daxton Hughes, the former actor she totally crushed on as a teenager. Then she did the unthinkable: She became a mortifying fangirl in five seconds flat, which may or may not have included professing her undying love. And oddly, he didn't run away. In fact, their meet cute led to a friendship she never saw coming. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming, either...Now Dax needs her help. As guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister, he's in way over his head. And though Kailyn hasn't forgiven Dax, she isn't heartless enough to make him fend for himself, either. Soon their friendly meetings turn into flirty dinner dates, and Kailyn can feel their chemistry is as explosive as ever. But how can she possibly let down her guard again to a guy who has heartbreak written all over him?

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang 
PUB DATE: MAY 7, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart... Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection. With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love.

Fumbled by Alexa Martin 
PUB DATE: APRIL 23, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

A second chance doesn't guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted. Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she's built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it's all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person. T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he's moved on. When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they've suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they'll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen
PRE-ORDER: Not Available Yet

They say your first kiss should be earned. Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky. They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred. Mine were broken before we left church. They say your heart only beats for one man. Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end. I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit. Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage. They say that all great love stories have a happy ending. I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter. One kiss. Two men. Three lives. Entwined together. And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

Huge Deal by Lauren Layne 
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne. An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits. Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother. It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Brazen and the Beast by Sarah Maclean
PUB DATE: JULY 30, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

The Lady’s Plan - When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans. Plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune and to live her own life. But first, she has plans to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. She does not, however, plan to find the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin The Year of Hattie before it's even begun. The Bastard’s Proposal - When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie's feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him--especially when he discovers her plans for a night of pleasure…on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires...for a price. An Unexpected Passion - Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure: she won't give up her plans; he won't give up his power...but neither of them see that if they're not careful, they'll have no choice but to give up everything...including their hearts.

Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces none other than West Ravenel. West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England. Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past? Only the devil’s daughter knows…

Say No To The Duke by Eloisa James
PUB DATE: JUNE 25, 2019
PRE-ORDER: Chapters/Indigo - Amazon - Kindle - Kobo - Book Depository

One little wager will determine their fate—a daring escape or falling into temptation with a rakish lord. Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure. No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches. If he wins…she is his, for one wild night. But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.

I've only selected a few, but I have a lot more that I want to read in 2019. Let me know in the comments which romance titles you are most excited for in the new year! 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Christmas Gift Guide | Non-Fiction Edition (2018)

Hi everyone! I'm back again with some Christmas Gift Guide recommendations. A lot of non-fiction, biography picks often come out at this time of year, so I have for you a non-fiction edition specifically. Here are some of the books I've read recently and what I thought of them!

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman (✮✮✮✮½ - 4.5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Pages: 288

My Review: I've been a fan of both Megan and Nick for a while now. I'm not a massive Will&Grace or Parks&Rec fan, but I just really enjoyed their work in movies. I honestly didn't even know they were married until I saw this book come out, and to learn they've been together for 18 years is pretty amazing. I opted for the audiobook version (secret bonus chapter) and it really felt like they were having a conversation the entire time. There were bits of childhood, so some history for them both, but mostly, it was about their relationship and some little essays/lessons sprinkled throughout. I also LOVE the photos included in the book because they dressed up and posed for a bunch of stuff. They are both very funny and down-to-earth individuals, and learning about how they make it work after all this time is not only encouraging, it's beautiful. You go from laughing a ton and to also swooning, because Nick is so incredibly sweet with Megan. Even if you are not familiar with their work, hearing them talk candidly about relationships and the business is really fascinating. Definitely recommend!!

Available for Purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - AudibleKindle - Book Depository

Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, & Baking Biscuits by Reese Witherspoon (✮✮✮✮½ - 4.5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 304

My Review: I also opted for the audiobook of this and if you are wondering about the cookbook aspect, when you purchase something like this on audible, they also include a PDF with all the photos and recipes. I much prefer hearing a book from the person who wrote it, so it was nice to hear Reese narrate it. The recipes included are so sweet too because they are linked to her roots. I especially loved learning about her grandmother Dorothea and from there we got the recipes for Sun Tea and Tea Punch. There's a section called Southern Dinner Party, and I definitely want to get together with my best friend and cook some of the recipes. It's such a beautiful looking book, with easy to follow recipes, and stories about how those recipes came about. You learn snippets of Reese along the way and with cute anecdotal bits too, like her adorable Ode to Quilts. There's also music playlists mixed in, and she even has as section recommending books by Southern authors! She also has a book club menu, which I'm totally going to do at some point with either of my two bookclubs.  I've been a fan of Reese for a while, so I'm glad to add this to my collection (I've already ordered a physical copy because it's just too beautiful!). I think fans of Reese who want lovely recipes with a bit of Southern charm will definitely enjoy this!

Available for Purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - AudibleKindle - Book Depository

Becoming by Michelle Obama (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 448

My Review: I definitely think this is THE book of the holiday season. I've been in at work a few times and this book literally flies off the shelves. I opted for the audiobook version of this because I just really miss hearing her speeches, and I'm so glad I picked this version. Michelle has always been such an inspiring and genuine individual and I was over the moon to learn that she was going to come out with a book. This book is more than just her time as First Lady, but it's about her childhood, her relationship with Barack, and how things are now. I particularly enjoy her talking about her education. I mean, it's Michelle Obama! You really don't need to say more than that. This book is everything you'd expect from her: classy, intelligent, humble, and funny, but it's also all of that and much, much, more. It's just so incredibly inspiring and heartwarming. I'm definitely getting this book for a few people in my life for Christmas because it's just so lovely. And I'm going to try my hardest to get tickets to see her talk about it next May in Toronto! *fingers crossed*

Available for Purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - AudibleKindle - Book Depository

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Christmas Gift Guide | YA Edition (2018)

I'm back again with another Christmas gift guide and this time it will be all things YA! I primarily read YA contemporary so my recommendations will be heavier on that side, but I will include the few Sci-Fi/Fantasy that I did read and loved this year. At the end, I'm going to include oldies but goodies, so books that have been around for a while, but they make awesome gifts for any occasion and for any reader!

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena - Review Here!
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan - Review Here!
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi - Review Here!

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman - Review Here!
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo - Review Here!
Save the Date by Morgan Matson - Review Here! 

Everless by Sara Holland - Review Here!
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman - Review Here!
Sanctuary by Caryn Lix - Review Here! 

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart - Review Here!
Wildcard by Marie Lu - Review Here!
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi - Review Here! 

Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - Review Here!
To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - Review Here!
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - Review Here!

Let me know in the comments below what were some of your favorite YA reads this year that you'd recommend for having a spot under the tree! 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Review: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren 

Publishing Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 384
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic. But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever" (Gallery).

My overall thoughts and review: Christina Lauren are one two of my favorite romance authors ever, and their books are always a must-read for me. I first fell in love with the writing with the Beautiful series, and then the Wild Seasons series, and since then, they've written primarily standalones. I still miss the days of their series because CL writes friend groups so well! They introduce such a strong couple, but also the support system, the friend group is equally as strong, and I really want to see everyone else get their HEA too. (Please CL, consider books for the other guys in this book! ;)) This book was such a nice treat. I immediately empathized with both Millie and Reid because they are both academics like me, and I loved how there was mentions of writing papers, teaching, and doing research = all of which is my every day life. Friends-to-lovers is a trope I really often enjoy, and I loved the dynamic of Millie and Reid. There are three others in the friend group: Ed, Chris, and Alex. Seeing the five of them together was just so much fun. The story also has chat logs, emails, and texts, and I loved the banter and dialogue between all of them. It's clear to see from the beginning that Millie and Reid have a special friendship because they are so comfortable with one another. Millie does hold her cards close to heart, and Reid wants more emotionally, and they both had to work to find a happy medium, where they can be the person they want to be for the other person. I liked seeing how Millie was able to break free of her fears with the persona of Catherine in the online chat, despite it being problematic of course. I also loved that there was a period where they actually had to work through everything to enter the relationship in a healthy way as opposed to an immediate HEA. All in all, I really enjoyed the book! It was lots of fun, I loved the dialogue, and I loved the friendship groups. I will say though, CL books aren't as "sexy" as they used to be, so I do hope they bring more of that back in the future ;)

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

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Christmas Gift Guide | Romance Edition (2018)

I've always read a bit of romance here and there in the past, but I feel like this year, I really jumped into the romance genre head on. I've met so many amazing people from the romance readers community and this year, I even started up a romance book club with some girlfriends. I primarily read contemporary romance, but I've read a bit of historical that I really loved (I also went on a crazy binge of buying a lot of historical, so my reading backlist is huge). Anyways, please see below some of my favorites that I've read this year that I think would make great gifting options for the romance reader in your life! Also, not all of these books were released this year, as some include ones I read this year and were published earlier.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang - Review Here! 
I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting - Review Here! 
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward - Review Here!

Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken - Review Here!
The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting - Review Here!
Do You Feel It Too? by Nicola Rendell - Review Here!

Scandal & Scoundrel Series by Sarah Maclean - I binged this series earlier this year on a camping trip with friends and my goodness, Maclean is the first historical romance author I've read and she was such a great starting point. I love her writing so much! She is able to weave such fun and sexy stories, but also demonstrate such strong values in the protagonist and their chosen love interest. I can't say enough good things about this series. The last book is definitely my favorite though because it deals with such a complicated matter of cheating, and this is the best I've seen it handled in a romance book context. It's about falling out of love, and falling in love again. 

The Wildes of Lindow Castle Series by Eloisa James - another series that I found myself absolutely devouring. There's a planned fourth book to come next year, so it's a great time to start this. I must admit, despite one of my favorites raving about the series, what really drew me in was the fact that all the male leads had the last name Wilde ;) This is the only series I've read by Eloisa James and I absolutely loved it! There's a big focus on family which is quite nice, but the books are so incredibly sweet and sexy. Too Wilde to Wed is my favorite so far because similar to Maclean's book, it's about falling in love again, and I really appreciate that because it focuses on what can happen after HEA. 

I've read a lot more romance this past year, but these are my absolute favorites that I think a seasoned romance reader AND someone who doesn't read romance often can enjoy. Let me know in the comments below what were some of your favorite romance reads of the year!