Thursday, 28 February 2019

Blog Tour: Chicken Girl by Heather Smith - Review and Author Guest Post

Chicken Girl by Heather Smith

Publishing Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: PRH Canada Young Readers
Pages: 240
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "Poppy used to be an optimist. But after a photo of her dressed as Rosie the Riveter is mocked online, she's having trouble seeing the good in the world. As a result, Poppy trades her beloved vintage clothes for a feathered chicken costume and accepts a job as an anonymous sign waver outside a restaurant. There, Poppy meets six-year-old girl Miracle, who helps Poppy see beyond her own pain, opening her eyes to the people around her: Cam, her twin brother, who is adjusting to life as an openly gay teen; Buck, a charming photographer with a cute British accent and a not-so-cute mean-streak; and Lewis a teen caring for an ailing parent, while struggling to reach the final stages of his gender transition. As the summer unfolds, Poppy stops glorifying the past and starts focusing on the present. But just as she comes to terms with the fact that there is good and bad in everyone, she is tested by a deep betrayal" (PRH).

My overall thoughts and review: This was my first time reading something from Heather Smith, and I can definitely say, she now has a fan for life. I love her writing. There's more emphasis on dialogue and the character's internal thoughts, but I still found the world building quite good. I could easily picture the school, the restaurant of Chen's Chicken, the bridge, and the houses. The story follows Poppy, who used to be a big 40s lover, but when someone photoshops a hamburger on her Rosie the Riveter photo as part of a fat-shaming subreddit, she loses her confidence, and even quits derby, which was her passion. While working outside of Chen's Chicken, as the chicken who holds the sign, she meets a young eccentric girl named Miracle, and Miracle introduces Poppy to some people who live under the bridge, homeless people. There, she meets Buck, Thumper, and Lewis. She's immediately drawn to Buck, and they form a relationship, but she learns quickly, that he can be quite mean when he drinks. She also finds herself drawn to Lewis as well, who walks her home from the bridge time and time again. In a way, the relationships she forms with these people, brings out her old self again. All the while, she's finding herself struggle with her twin brother, Cam, and how she thinks he should be. I really loved their relationship and their cute little puns. I think it felt really authentic in terms of the struggles you may face with your siblings (this coming from an only child, but I grew up with cousins, so I can relate), and what happens when you do something you think is right for the people you love, but you may end up hurting them instead. This book is on the shorter side, but it's highly readable. I found myself unable to put it down and finishing it in one sitting. It definitely packs a punch. There's so much present here in terms of themes, but the big focuses are on anxiety, body image, and sexuality. As someone who regularly struggles with body image, this book felt like a good friend reminding me that it's not what others think of you, but rather what you think of yourself, and what makes you as a person feel comfortable. That comfort can be found in many ways, but it's also a firm reminder that it can be found in the people you love, and that love you. If you are in the mood for a wonderful YA contemporary read that focuses on identity, friendship, family, and love, this is definitely the one for you!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars

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

Author Guest Post - On Writing 
My writing process involves the three M’s: motivation, music, and movement. 
Motivation: The first thing step to any writing process is finding motivation.  For me, motivation comes from within. When I have a story brewing I get antsy and the only way I feel settled is when I’m writing my ideas onto the page. That said, sometimes procrastination is stronger than motivation and getting myself into my writing chair can be a challenge. That’s when routine comes into play.   Every morning, once my house is empty, I sit down to write.  Enforcing this self-imposed rule was tricky at first – there always seemed to be other things that needed to be settled away before I started my work day. To combat this I gave myself a start time –10 am. This simple decision did the trick. My writing day starts at 10 am and that’s all there is to it. I’ve been doing it for so long now it’s a well-established routine – I’d be lost without it.  
Music: Some people need silence to write but my creativity is greatly improved by music. Plugging in my earbuds puts me in “the zone.” Each project has a different soundtrack and each soundtrack is curated with songs that move me in some way. Music churns up a variety of emotions, and writing while being moved emotionally can churn up a lot of interesting things in your storytelling.  
Movement: As with music, my creativity is greatly improved by movement. Breaking up my writing day with a walk or a run always sparks a new idea or two. I don’t know how many stories I have “written” while out in the fresh air.  Just as different soundtracks can affect the creativity of my ideas, so can the weather. I like to get out in all conditions – whether it’s windy, rainy, snowy, or sunny. Like music, the weather can churn up different emotions that can impact storytelling. Sometimes, the most miserable days can spark the most interesting ideas.  
Thanks so much for swinging by and sharing that, Heather! Music is definitely a big aspect just for getting work done and it's cool to learn how soundtracks played into your work. 

There are many other stops on the blog tour, so be sure to stop by the other blogs for more content from Heather! 
Monday, February 25
Vicky at Vicky Who Reads
Lisa at Remarkablylisa
Jaaron at Worn Pages and Ink

Tuesday, February 26
Chelsea at Twirling Pages

Wednesday, February 27

Thursday, February 28
Summer at Butter My Books
Christine at Padfoot’s Library
Olivia at The Candid Cover

Friday, March 1
Zuhra at Venus Reads

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

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Blog Tour: You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook - Review and Author Q&A

You Owe Me A Murder by Eileen Cook

Publishing Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 368
Young Adult Contemporary Thriller

The Premise from the Publisher: "17-year-old Kim never expected to plot a murder. But that was before her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. Now, Kim's stuck on a class trip to London with him and his new soulmate and she can't help wishing he was a little bit dead, even if she'd never really do that. But when Kim meets Nicki, a stranger on the plane who's more than willing to listen to Kim's woes, things start to look up. Nicki's got a great sense of humor, and when she jokes about swapping murders, Kim plays along-that is, until Kim's ex-boyfriend mysteriously dies. Blackmailed by Nicki to fulfill her end of the deal, Kim will have to commit a murder or take the fall for one" (HMH).

My overall thoughts and review: I've been a fan of Eileen Cook's writing for a while now. I can always count on her to deliver on really interesting contemporary mystery/thrillers. This one is no different, and it's a modern take on the classic Strangers on a Train. The story follows Kim, who is stuck going on a class trip to London with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. Feeling alone and still hurt by their breakup, Kim finds an friend at the airport named Nicki. They both hit it off straight away and they joke about if Nicki killed Connor (the ex bf) for Kim, Kim could kill Nicki's mother in return. It seems like harmless fun, and once Kim arrives in London, she feels better and ready to leave Connor in her past. She even begins a relationship with a guy named Alex (I really liked this character!!). However, things get complicated when Connor ends up dead, and Nicki comes to collect on their supposed deal. It becomes dark and twisty, and you really see how far Nicki is willing to push Kim, and how far Kim is willing to go to protect the ones she loves. I really liked that Kim deeply struggled with this, and that she didn't just abide by everything Nicki put forth. Despite the dark context, I quite enjoyed the back and forth between the two characters and how they both see the world. I did find some of the plot things predictable, in terms of how Nicki was threatening Kim, but I thought the pacing of the novel was good and it wrapped up quite nicely in the end. Although the text begins in Vancouver (I loved all the references since I was recently there), the novel moves across the pond. London makes a great backdrop for the story and I liked that places were named along the way. All in all, a great twisty thriller that I was able to devour quite quickly, and a really adorable love interest! Would definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you are a fan of Eileen's previous books, The Hanging Girl and With Malice.

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

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

Author Question & Answer
Q: Between Nicki and Kim, which character do you relate to most, and which character did you have the most fun writing? 
A: I relate most to Kim. Growing up I was insecure and tended to rely WAY too much on what others thought of me. I determined my value by other’s opinions instead of my own. I needed other people to think I was kind, or funny, or creative, in order to believe it was true. It’s Kim’s insecurity that gets her into a lot of the trouble that she finds herself in. It’s only when she’s pushed that she begins to grow and believe in herself. I wished I could have learned that lesson earlier in life, but I’m glad I never had to get through a murder investigation to do it! 
However, hands-down the most fun character to write was Nicki. She’s so delightfully evil and bad. I like to think that in real life I’m a good person and kind, but I will admit then when writing it’s fun to let out all the not-so-nice side. It was interesting to see what she would do or say in situations.

Don't forget to stop by the other blogs for more content from Eileen! :D

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. 

Friday, 15 February 2019

#SuperSexyBookClub #SuperSexyGalentines Week 2 Challenge

Hi everyone! Back again for week 2 of the #SuperSexyGalentines challenge. This week, we were to share our top 4 favorite female leads. I had a lot of fun picking out my choices. If you've already seen my post on instagram, I'm going to add some runner-ups that I considered for this week! ;)

♥ Bree from Mia Sheridan's Archer's Voice - she is incredibly sweet and thoughtful, and you can totally see why Archer fell for her! 

♥ Jude from LJ Shen's Dirty Headlines - what an awesome and strong heroine who stands up for herself. She's so family oriented, but also super dedicated to her work. (My full review for DH can be found here!) 

♥ Pandora from Lisa Kleypas' Devil in Spring - I've only dabbled a bit in historical fiction, but I knew I instantly liked Pandora when you learn of her ambitions to make board games. She's so relatable and I loved reading her story.

♥ Kayla from Kennedy Fox's This is Dangerous+This is Beautiful - how could I not include this dog-loving & donut-loving female lead! She's so relatable, down-to-earth, and I just loved seeing her get her HEA! (My full reviews for TiD and TiB can be found here and here!) 

Some runner-ups: Emilia from LJ Shen's Vicious // Presley from Kennedy Fox's Falling for the Cowboy // Amie from Helena Hunting's Hooking Up // Charlotte from Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward's Hate Notes // Felicity from Sarah Maclean's Wicked and the Wallflower! 

It's not too late to join in on the fun! If you decide to participate, please tag us and use our hashtags so we can see your posts easily. We have two more weeks left in the challenge and we'd love to see what favorite romance reads and also favorite romance tropes/genres~! 

My lovely co-hosts: 
Ambur from Burning Impossibly Bright - Twitter | Instagram | Blog 
Eden from The Required Reading List - Twitter | Instagram | Blog
Patty from Simply Patty - Twitter | Instagram | Blog

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Blog Tour: Motion by Penny Reid - Review


Motion, the first in the all-new Laws of Physics Trilogy from Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid, is available now!

Monday, 11 February 2019

[Release Blitz] Motion by Penny Reid


Motion, the first in the all-new Laws of Physics Trilogy from Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid, is available now!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

#SuperSexyBookClub #SuperSexyGalentines Week 1 Challenge

Hi everyone! Welcome to Week 1 of the #SuperSexyGalentines challenge. This week we are to share our Top 4 Sexiest male leads!! I had a tough time deciding this list and I almost ended up adding a few more :$ I hope you'll enjoy my picks, and let me know in the comments below, who are some of your top 4 sexiest male leads in romance reads.

♥ Baron Spencer AKA "Vicious" from LJ Shen's Vicious - I've read this book so many times now, and Vicious, to this day is still my favorite male lead. He has a tough time figuring out his feelings for Emilia, and he can definitely be cruel. But goodness, he waits out in the rain/cold for her 😭😭 I just love him to bits. My favorite lead Shen has written! (My full review for Vicious can be found here)

♥ Will from Christina Lauren's Beautiful Player - I enjoyed the first two books in this series, but something about Will was like a breath of fresh air. He's such an interesting character who surprises you all the time, and I loved how much emotional depth we got from him. Also, I still think this is CLo's steamiest book to date 😉

♥ Lex from Helena Hunting's Hooking Up. So I totally read these books out of order, and surprisingly Lex's book was the first one I read. I knew I liked him from the very beginning of the book when he introduced himself to Amie. And then when they were at the resort, he just treated her with so much love and respect. I just adored him! 😍 (My full review for Hooking Up can be found here)

♥ Archer from Mia Sheridan's Archer's Voice! We only recently read this book and it's going to be a favorite of mine for a long time to come. Archer is such a complex character with a tragic past. I just loved the overall process of him coming into his own skin through learning and experience. He's so special, because alone as a character, he's wonderful, but how he is with Bree is incredibly lovely.

We are doing this reading challenge throughout the month of February, so be sure to join us and use our hashtags. We would love to see others participating as well :D 

My lovely co-hosts: 
Ambur from Burning Impossibly Bright - Twitter | Instagram | Blog 
Eden from The Required Reading List - Twitter | Instagram | Blog
Patty from Simply Patty - Twitter | Instagram | Blog

Friday, 1 February 2019

#SuperSexyBookClub Celebrates #SuperSexyGalentines During February! ♥♥

Hi everyone! Happy February. So you may or may not know, but I'm part of a romance reading book club. We've been a book club since July, and it's so awesome that we get together each month to read two romance books and discuss them. We decided that for February, we would celebrate all things romance on our instagrams and blogs. There will be weekly challenges, so expect a post from each of us once per week. I will share a longer post here on the blog, and a shortened version on instagram. If you'd like to participate as well, be sure to use our hashtag #SuperSexyGalentines so that we can follow your posts, but also be sure to tag us as well! ;)

My lovely co-hosts: 
Ambur from Burning Impossibly Bright - Twitter | Instagram | Blog 
Eden from The Required Reading List - Twitter | Instagram | Blog
Patty from Simply Patty - Twitter | Instagram | Blog