Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom by Teresa Schapansky

Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom by Teresa Schapansky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was absolutely charming, a story of a young girl discovering the truth about herself and her family. I am an absolute sucker for stories about someone who's ordinary finding out that that's not the case at all, and this was definitely one of those stories.

Imogene has lived with her aunt since she was five years old - an aunt that she has never particularly clicked with on that level that's so important when it comes to family, especially as a young child. Luckily enough she does mesh with Sampson, the butler, and he becomes her connection in a home that is very different from what she's used to.

Then the moment comes - the moment when Imogene finds out that not all is how it seems, and that there's a lot more to her parents than what she thought. She's drawn into a new and magical world, and on top of that, an adventure - for Imogene is more important than she realizes, and not all is peaceful in the new world she's discovered, either.

I quite enjoyed this book. It's charming and engaging, and has action and adventure as well - it's sure to be enjoyed by younger readers, and a book I'd recommend.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Review: Dager of the Tasman Empire by Teresa Schapansky

Dager of the Tasman Empire Dager of the Tasman Empire by Teresa Schapansky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary: Ruthlessly torn away from his family at the tender age of three; subsequently sold as a slave, the little boy endures unbelievable brutality.

Thankful for his nightly dreams about magical, faraway places, and the constant companionship of his equally neglected farmyard friends, he survives.

Two agonizing years pass; he receives a mysterious message, and learns that he has a family that loves him. He also discovers that he has a name, and that his family has never given up hope of his eventual return. With resolve that he didn't know he had, the little boy puts up the fight of his life, to return to his home.

Review:  What a sweet little book! 3.5 stars for this one.

This year hasn't been that great for reading, so the first thing I need to do is thank Teresa for being very patient with me as she's been waiting about three months for this review, now!

This is a fun little book full of whimsy and magic and the fantastical, a book about family and surviving and the things that both separate us and bring us together. The main character, Dager, is kidnapped from his family as a young child and subjected to a difficult upbringing far away from those who love him, and the book takes us through the journey he goes on to get back to them.

I would have appreciated a bit more depth to the characters, but I could still empathize with them and what they were going through, particularly the children. There's something universal about the desire of a child to have and be with their family, I think, and that's at play here.

Although the writing could be a little more fluid at times, I really appreciated the story that the author was telling. It's engaging and sweet and also more than a bit heartwarming. This book is a great one for younger readers, along with Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom, also by the same author.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Thoughts on food + my latest book purchase!

I don't know what it is, but I just haven't had the focus for reading lately! Too busy thinking about work and food I think, haha.

Let's start off with a book related note, since that is presumably why people come here... Look what came in the mail yesterday!!

Why yes, that IS my lovely, lovey copy of A Gathering Of Shadows, which I have been excited to read for awhile! I still need to finish the first one, though... I finally got my copy back after loaning it to a friend for about six months, but I think I'm going to need to buy a hard cover version to match this one.

Another thing to note about this...


So yes, that is my latest book acquisition.

Normal people reading this are probably wondering why 'food' factors so highly on what I've been distracted with. Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I've gone mostly vegetarian! Or more correctly, mostly vegan... Which I honestly never thought that I would do. I think I'll do another post going into more detail, but since this is a bit of a change I've been pretty focused on my new eating patterns. It's not that difficult, but when you're a person who bought a lot of fast food or quick and easy meals, changing to as few animal products as possible can be more thought-consuming than you realize!

I hope to have a 'Waiting on Wednesday' post up tomorrow, and also some reviews up over the next couple of weeks... I have some review requests I need to get to, to say nothing of my Netgalley list. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 29, 2016

February Wrap-Up!

Wow. February was kind of a complete wash for me, haha.

To start off with, let's talk about the one book I read in February:

The Forest Of Hands And Teeth was a book I was actually *really* looking forward to... But it failed to live up to my expectations, unfortunately :( I wrote a review over here going into more detail - maybe I've just been spoiled by Feed by Mira Grant, which was fucking fantastic.

So what have I been doing this month? Well, I had two job interviews (didn't get either, but it was good practice and I got very encouraging feedback), and the last couple of weeks have been spent more focused on my eating habits, because I've made some rather big changes there... Namely going mostly vegetarian! I might go into that in more detail in another post.

I'm hoping to do a lot more reading in March - I have A Darker Shade Of Magic and A Gathering Of Shadows to read as soon as it arrives, plus a couple of review requests and Netgalley books... Just need to actually focus on it :) I hope everyone had an awesome February and that March gets off to a great start for you!

Monday, February 22, 2016



Guess what I just got my shipping confirmation for?

:D :D

I am excited!!! New book + signed, what could be better? Pricier than normal since I ordered it from a US site, but worth it imo.

Only downside is that I'm fairly sure it's not going to match my copy of A Darker Shade Of Magic, but I'll survive.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday # 6

Welcome to another week of Waiting On Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking The Spine, and is a chance for people to share those books that we're most looking forward to.


This week I have a book that's a sequel to another book that I'm in the midst of finishing... Nevertheless, I'm pretty excited as it's due out on February 23rd!

I don't want to paste in any spoilers from the summary, so instead I'll give you a snippet of the summary of the first book: 

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

I ADORE V.E. Schwab, her books are awesome. She's also the author of The Archived, which I loved, and she's written other books as well. I definitely recommend checking this book out! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #5

Welcome to another week of Waiting On Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking The Spine, and is a chance for people to share those books that we're most looking forward to.


Okay, so I wasn't sure what I was going to talk about today, but in light of a certain announcement... 


I was pretty sure that they would end up doing this, but I am so, so stoked to read this! Publishing it means that it will officially join canon (whether in book or play format), and I am super excited. Hoping it lives up to my (very high) expectations. 

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. :D

Sunday, February 7, 2016

January Wrap-Up!

Wow, I can't believe how much this month just flew by! It feels like the beginning of 2016 was just yesterday.

This month was pretty good in terms of reading - I made my way through 14 books, which I think is pretty impressive. If I did that every month of the year I'd read 168 books! Unlikely, but it's a motivating thought.

So here's a picture to give you an idea, though I'm going to run through these, of course! I'm going to link each title to either its profile over on Goodreads, or to my review of it here or there, if I did one.

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: One of the better books that I read this month! This book reminded me of what it was like to have stories told to me as a child - lyrical and fascinating, and a bit haunting as well.
2. Holiday Homecoming by Jean C. Gordon: A sweet little Christian romance. Not my usual style, but it was a cute way to start off the year - I'm a sucker for romances of all types.
3. Fearless Love by Meg Benjamin: This one was another sweet, sexy romance - though not particularly Christian at all, haha. I liked this one because of how it balanced the romance against the backdrop of a community - easier said than done, and I've always been in favour of romances that manage to do this.
4. Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: One of my first unfortunate surprises of the year. I expected to love this one but didn't, really, which was disappointing. I loved the idea of it, but the execution was lacking.
5. The Invasion Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen. This author has such an ability to weave fantasy with compelling characters, I love it. I love this series, it was one of my favourite finds last year and I can't wait until the third one comes out!
6. Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: This book was SUCH a welcome surprise, seriously. I didn't really like the first book, if I'm honest - I know a lot of people disagree on this! I just found it kind of weak. This book exceeded my expectations, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
7. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: This book was good, though not quite as mindblowing as I might have expected given the reputation of this author. I enjoyed it but with some space from when I finished reading it I find myself thinking that it hasn't impacted me as much as I would have thought.
8. An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: This book was amazing, probably one of my top two or three books this month other than The Invasion Of The Tearling and A Monster Calls. I've linked my review, but I highly, highly recommend this book!
9. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover: This book has the unique distinction of being the worst book I've read so far this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if it stays pretty far up on that list. I did it as a buddy read and honestly, it's infuriating because it had so much potential but it was just completely squandered.
10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: This was more compelling than I had expected, honestly. It's an insight into the life of a teenager, bullying and suicide, and well written considering the depth of the topics it took on.
11. A Thousand Splendi Suns by Khaled Hosseini: Not an easy read, but very powerful and moving. It's a book that you have to make time for (and should!) but a worthy read, I think.
12. Heart Conditions by Phoebe Fox: Part of a series, this is surprisingly refreshing and entertaining. I had the privilege of reading galleys for both this book and the first in the series and I'd recommend it for those who like a bit more depth and not just fluffy or smutty romance, if that makes sense.
13. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken: Another disappointment at the start of the year, though for this one it might have more to do with me than the book itself. Many seem to love it, that's for sure. The idea is compelling and interesting, it just didn't really work for me.
14. The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill: I'm still absorbing this one. Again, not an easy read. It is so very difficult to absorb at times the cruelty that people are capable of. Books like this are so important as a reminder of our history and what we need to learn from it.

So there we have it! Not a bad list, pretty varied imo - I'm proud of myself for not just having a list of pure YA or romance, to be honest. :) Here's hoping February will be a good month as well!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: As You Breathe Again

As You Breathe Again As You Breathe Again by Molli Moran
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary: Delaney Shaw isn't looking for anything complicated. After her teaching career is put on hold, she decides to spend the summer in Georgia with her best friend. Lanie lives for the here and now, and she isn't thinking past the end of the summer. She's never had any problem being unattached, because she learned a long time ago that life is safer that way.

Until Reece Walker decides to change her mind.

Almost a year after his ex-wife's death, Reece is still reeling from her passing. He's devoted himself to raising their son and working his family's farm to keep himself grounded. Reece feels like he's lost sight of the man he used to be, and he's not sure how to find his way back.

Everything changes when the woman he's unsuccessfully tried to forget walks back into his life.

Even though she's fighting their sizzling chemistry, Lanie is losing the war. But love isn't always like it is in the movies, and they have real issues. Lanie is terrified Reece's small town won't accept their interracial relationship, and she doesn't know how to let him in.

Lanie has had years to build her defenses, but Reece isn't the sort to give up without a fight. If he can counter Lanie's fears with the future only he can offer her, maybe they can both learn to breathe again.


This book was a sometimes-odd mixture of steamy, sweet and a touch too preachy. The first bits mostly outweighed the last, but I do wish that the author had reconsidered or taken a different approach!

First, I want to acknowledge that this book is apparently the second in a series, or at least exists in a universe with other books. That's okay, though, because I didn't feel as though I was much lacking when I was reading this.

Lanie is a young teacher down on her luck, taking some time to try and get her feet under her again after she unexpectedly loses her job. She's determined not to let anything distract her... But she finds that promise to herself a bit harder to keep when Reece Walker appears back in the picture.

Reece has issues of his own - he's a single dad, and he still misses his late ex-wife. He's been reeling for the last few months, but Lanie reappearing on the scene helps him make the decision to try and pull himself together. He just hopes that she'll be willing to take a chance on him...

I picked this book in part because it sounded sweet and I can never get enough of romance, but also because the cover made it obvious that this was dealing with an interracial couple. I'm trying to read more diverse books in 2016, and this seemed like a great place to start. Overall I appreciate the effort that the author is obviously making - she draws attention to the constant awareness that a person of colour can have, and the racism and barriers that they can face just living their day to day lives.

In some areas, though, the execution left me grimacing a bit. It's a bit too much, almost - you can almost feel the author's self awareness of what she is trying to convey, and the message is overt enough that it pulled me a bit out of the story. It's difficult because it's definitely not a bad message whatsoever, but it starts to feel a bit as though you're being hit over the head with it. Still, I appreciate what the author is getting at and I think that we need more books to take on subjects like this.

That was probably my main objection to the book, other than some clunky dialogue and a touch of the characters audibly speaking to their evolution as the book progresses. While it makes sense for characters to open up to their siblings and best friends, there were times when I was just a bit too aware that the author was trying to show how the characters were changing and developing. I would have preferred to be shown more, and told less, if that makes sense.

Beyond that, however, the story was still sweet and I enjoyed reading about Lanie and Reece and the cast of characters arrayed about them. Reece's son, Jamie, is adorable, and I admired Reece's dedication to his family and the farm. Lanie is stubborn and strong and steps up to face her fears, and that makes the story all the sweeter as the two of them connect and their relationship develops.

View all my reviews

Book Haul - Illustrated Harry Potter and more!!

Okay so seriously, I wasn't planning on posting today, but then today I got the best mail of all... Book mail, of course!!

This all started due to one specific book that I saw on Book Outlet about a week or so ago, but I was good and restrained myself to only three! Pictures below... 

First up is The Forest Of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I've actually had my eye on this for awhile now, but it seemed like every time I checked the site it wasn't in stock, or some other reason prevented me from getting it. I finally have it, though, and I'm super excited to read it!

Next up is Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine. This one was actually on sale, I think? It's one that I've had my eye on, and it has pretty good reviews from people I trust on GR, too. Super excited to read this one as well, and oh god, you guys, look at that cover. It's delicious, and I love the feeling of it - it's not completely smooth, it's got a faint texture to it that makes it lovely to hold.

Then there's this, the highlight of my book mail today...

The Illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!!

I actually wanted to buy this book about two weeks ago, but it was $40, which seemed a bit much for my budget right now. (Let's not talk about how I've blown that budget on makeup and other goodies, mkay?) My friend suggested that I wait a week or two to decide if I really wanted it, and I decided that that was a good idea.

Well. My waiting paid off, because this ended up on Book Outlet for only $25.99. Why? Well, it was in their 'Scratch and Dent' section, where books are sold at a discount due to minor imperfections. Not gonna lie, I was kind of worried - but guys, all that's wrong with it is a tiny little rip in the book jacket at the top of the back cover. The book is flawless in every other way, and it's gorgeous. 

I am in love. 

I'd say that this book was definitely worth the money, and I'll likely be willing to spring for illustrated versions of the new books as they come out - either that or wait seven years and buy the inevitable set, I assume, haha. Definitely, definitely a must-have for any devoted HP fan, I think, and I'm so pleased with the way the artist depicted the world and the characters.

Now to avoid spending money for the next little while!

Have you guys bought anything recently? Let me know if you have and leave me links so I can check it out!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #4!

Welcome to another week of Waiting On Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking The Spine, and is a chance for people to share those books that we're most looking forward to.


 This week I have a book that has a GORGEOUS cover, and also sounds pretty damn interesting, too. 

I mean, just look at that. *wants* The Reader is due out in September of 2016, and here's the summary:

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive.
The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society.
With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.
An illiterate society! Intrigue and mystery! Yes very much please. :D It sounds fascinating and unique, so I am hoping that it will live up to its potential. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Heart Conditions by Phoebe Fox

Heart Conditions Heart Conditions by Phoebe Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden has spent the last year sifting through the fallout from the disastrous decision that led to her unconscious uncoupling with boyfriend Ben Garrett. Despite advising her clients you can’t be friends with an ex, she and Ben have somehow begun to stitch together a friendship—one Brook hopes is slowly turning into more. That is, until Ben introduces his new girlfriend, Perfect Pamela, a paragon of womanly virtues who is everything Brook is not.

While Brook navigates her newly volatile emotional life, an unwelcome surprise shows up on her doorstep: the ex-fiancé who broke her heart two years ago—one month before their wedding. Between her ex’s desire to rekindle their attachment, her best friend Sasha’s unexpected crisis, and her own unsquelchable feelings for Ben, Brook finds herself questioning the personal progress she’s made in the last two years—and threatened with the highest-stakes Breakup Doctor failures she’s ever faced.

Review: What a fun addition to this series!

When I read the first book (aptly called The Breakup Doctor) two years ago, I enjoyed it but found that my squeamishness due to self-inserting with the main character got in my way. Ultimately that lead me to dock the rating a bit, simply because I wanted to be honest about my enjoyment of the book.

Thankfully that was *much* less of an issue with this addition to the series, and I quite enjoyed it!

I actually haven't read the second book in this series, but in spite of that I thoroughly enjoyed this one - which means there's something to be said about the way the author has written the characters, I think. Having read the first book, however, I can tell you that there's a lot of genuine growth and development that has taken place on the part of our main characters, and I like that. I find sometimes in books it's hard to find that sort of change - so often it feels as though the author has had to force it, or that it's not quite right, doesn't fit the characters. That's not the case, here.

I think one of the biggest things I enjoyed here was the heart involved. I can empathise with these characters and what they go through. Job issues, romance, family worries, life decisions, break-ups, emotional crises... This book touches on it all, and in a way that's very real and understandable, and drew me in. We've all had bad break-ups, and we all have our worries about our friends, families, romantic entanglements and our future lives, and this series weaves those things together with the threads of true friendship, family connections and a hint of comedy, too.

The cast of supporting characters is awesome, and although you might expect a lot of sexual tension and build-up, this series relies more on conversation and the exploration of emotions - something that I find a bit unique in the flooded romance marketplace, to be honest, and something I really enjoyed.

I'm not sure whether or not this book is the last in the series, but I definitely enjoyed it and I will be keeping my eye out for future books from this author!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

What's Making Me Happy - Beauty and Books!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I wasn't going to make a post today, buuuut I bought some new stuff yesterday that I want to post about, and a book that I'm intrigued about just released, so here we are.

First of all, I'd just like to take a moment to celebrate the fact that my noisy neighbour from hell FINALLY moved out. This girl, honestly... I don't begrudge people an active sex life, but when the walls are as thin as they are in my place and her bedroom was right next to mine, it made for some unpleasant times. She also made a habit of coming home and being really loud at 2-3am, and in December I woke up to hear her screaming at a friend of hers. Just so much drama, omfg. Hopefully she's moving into a house or an apartment building with thicker walls, haha.

Secondly! I spent way too much money yesterday because I suddenly decided that I needed to expand my lipstick collection. Here's what I picked up:

This is the Covergirl Oh Sugar! Lip Balm in the colour Jelly. This looks super dark but it's actually more of a gloss, which is great because I'm pretty wary of having my lipstick look *too* obvious, if that makes sense. I'm just not sure if I can pull it off, though that's probably a confidence issue.

I almost actually *forgot* to buy this... It's the Rimmel Stay Matte powder in translucent. I have very determinedly oily skin (I'm going to be mad if oily skin doesn't actually age better, for the record) and this was recommended over on Reddit as a good translucent powder to help with that. Going to try it out today, wish me luck!

I also picked up the colour 'Iced Amethyst' in Revlon's Super Lustrous line, which is supposed to be very hydrating, and I got two other glosses, one by Covergirl and one by Maybelline (I'll grab the names later if I think of it. All of them are sort of berry/mauvey tones - I definitely have a comfort zone when it comes to lipstick!

And the last thing that's making me happy? This book that I just nabbed!

A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly is out today, and it sounds really intriguing! It's 1926 and magic has been outlawed, but the black market is thriving. The book follows Joan, a young sorceror who ends up working for a gang when her house is repossessed, and Alex, a young trainee who's supposed to infiltrate the gang.

Sounds awesome and it was only $2.99 on Kindle so I grabbed it. :D

So that's how my week is starting off! Now someone take my credit card away for my own good.

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Monday - What Are You Reading?

Hello hello!

It's that time again - time for the What Are You Reading meme. It's hosted by Kathryn over at The Book Date - feel free to hop on over there to check out what other people are reading!

This was a slower week for me, though I'm pretty proud of the reading that I accomplished this month! I'm going to have my January Wrap-Up posted in the next few days.

Here's what I'm working on right now:

Still on my 'Currently Reading' shelf is Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. I'm quite torn over this book, so I'm probably going to have a lot to say about it when I finish it.

Next is Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. I actually bought this on Book Outlet along with A Little Princess and The Secret Garden - they're sweet little hardcovers, and the covers are designs that don't immediately make the age of the book obvious, if that makes sense. Surprisingly enough, I actually haven't read Peter Pan, so I decided to change that! It's quite adorable, and I'm enjoying it.

I also just picked up The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak, and so far the style really intrigues me. I haven't finished All The Light We Cannot See yet, but it's kind of on hold so that's why it's not on here - I think it just isn't fitting my mood at the moment.

What's Up Next: 

 1. A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab. I know, I know. Why haven't I read this yet? Honestly, I think it's partly because my copy of it seems to have vanished, I'm not sure what I did with it. I'm wondering if I loaned it to someone at work - I'm going to be sad if it's missing, because I got the UK cover that I adore.

2. A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Haven't read this one either! The sequel to it is due out in May, and I really need to read this one so that I'll be ready when the next one comes out.

I think I'm going to leave the list at that, for now - hoping that I get some reading accomplished this week instead of being so distractable. (Is that even a word? I guess it is now!)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Totally Should Have Book Tag!

Hello hello!

I kinda love tag posts. Now, I wasn't tagged for this, but I just love the idea of them - when bloggers/booktubers are all talking about the same things, or discussing the same concepts, etc. It's kinda fun!

So today I have the 'Totally Should Have' book tag. This is inspired by Emma over at Emma's Books, which I came across because Sasha from Book Utopia happened to do the tag the other day.

So without further ado, here we go!

1. Totally should've gotten a sequel
Ordinary Magic by Colleen Rubino-Bradway was the first book that came to mind for this question. This was just such an adorable book, kind of the reverse of Harry Potter - instead of a character finding out that she has magic, she finds out that she doesn't, and the book goes from there. It came out in 2012 and I thought that it should have a sequel at the time, but sadly that still hasn't happened.

2. Totally should've had a spin off series

Ugh, I just had a moment of sadness where I realized that once I would have said Divergent, before that series crashed and burned.

But honestly, with that out of the way, can there be any other answer? Harry Potter, of course!

Now, I'm going to be honest here for a moment - I'm really not a fan of the idea of the play that JKR is doing.And I suppose the Fantastic Beasts might sort of be considered a spin-off, but the book is completely different so I'm not counting it.

I loved this series so much. I know - wildly popular, of course people love it, you're thinking. But this one is truly special for me. It got me through university, it's how I met so many people, including one of my best friends, it basically was my introduction to the internet in general! So, yes - I would be ecstatic if JKR eventually decided to write a spin-off.

3. An author who totally should write more books

For this my go-to thought would be Peg Kerr. She's best known for The Wild Swans, an absolutely gorgeous book that I adore. It's a mixture of fantasy and contemporary fiction, and it's heartbreaking and beautiful. If she ever writes another book I would definitely pick it up just because this book was so amazing.

4. A character who totally should've ended up with someone else

Going to have to go with Nymphadora Tonks for this one! Ugh, don't get me wrong, I adore Tonks and I adore Remus, too. But I don't think that they were a good fit in canon - it wasn't fleshed out enough for me to buy it, and honestly I think Charlie would have been a better fit for her! As for Remus... well, I have to admit that I love him with Sirius, even if I knew that was never going to happen in the books.

5. Totally should've ended differently

 This book was such a gigantic disappointment. It's not just about the events of the book, which admittedly did not make me happy. It's about how poorly they were written, and how I ended the book feeling pissed off and confused instead of dazed and breathless like I'd thought I would be.

I probably should have taken a hint from how my opinion went throughout the book - I loved the first one, liked the second one, and, well, you guessed it - hated the third one. I actively regret reading this series and giving Roth any of my money, though I will tentatively give her another chance if she ever writes another series.

6. Totally should've had a movie franchise

 Okay, okay, so this question says 'franchise' which means that I should be thinking of a series, probably. However I'm going to be going with this book anyway since it was my first thought!

This book was awesome - action and an intriguing premise, a hint of dystopia and incredibly well written. I loved it, and I would watch the hell out of a movie based on this book.

7. Totally should've had a TV show

I'm actually blanking on this one because it takes a special sort of book series to lend itself well to a tv show, imo. Buuut probably this one:

C'mon, you just KNOW that this would be an awesome TV series. Even the first book, which is arguably the weakest, would translate well to the small screen. I'd probably want HBO to take it on, since they'd give it the budget it deserves.

8. Totally should've had only one point of view

Hmm, honestly, my first thought? Game of Thrones. People will probably want to yell at me for this one but the different point of views and meandering storylines just bore the hell out of me. If I could just read everything from Dany's point of view I would be all over that. :D

9. Totally should have a cover change

 I haven't even read this yet, but the cover makes me head-tilt everytime I see it. It's just kind of confusing and distracting, and I don't think it really does the book any favours. So yeah, I'd definitely vote for this one to get a different cover. (Oh, and any cover that whitewashes its characters, which is sadly far more common than it should be.)

10. Totally should've kept the original covers

I can't really think of anything for this one, to be honest. Although I hate it when books are republished with the actors from the TV show/movie slapped on them, usually the original covers are much much better.

11. Totally should've stopped at book one

 I should probably more correctly say 'series one' for this one, but I'm going to use it anyway.

Funnily enough, I used to be a huge, huge fan of Cassie. That was back in her HP fandom days, and sadly, City of Bones is far too much like her fanfic for my tastes. I gave this a try and didn't really care for it because I'd basically already read it, and I've seen that even a lot of people who adored her earlier books feel as though her later books are just rehashing the same plot she wrote earlier. I can sympathise with that feeling!

I guess I just wish that Cassie would write a new world and new characters. Maybe I'd actually give her books a try again. It's not that she's not talented - she is! It just seems that she has certain plots/tropes/characters that she goes to over and over, and that doesn't work for me.

So there we go! That was actually pretty fun. Anyone reading this can feel free to do it themselves - or not! I don't like making people feel as though they have to do anything. :D

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary: In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever


Well, unfortunately this was a bit of a 'blah' book for me.

I really wanted to love this book, I really did. The concept sounds absolutely fascinating - I've always wanted to travel through time, and shows like Road To Avonlea and books like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle just helped to fuel that fascination with past eras and what it would be like to live in them.

Unfortunately this book just didn't really have much of a spark for me. It didn't hold my attention. I found myself skimming much of the book because I just wanted it to get *on* with it already, which unfortunately is not so good in a book that is the start of a series.

It felt like much of this book was spent moving towards one goal, and that can get a bit tiresome unless you're reading a book that is well plotted and has rich characterization. In theory I should have been very interested in what was going on, because there was a lot of time spent on the run, escaping from other people, going into other times. Yet I just found it a bit lackluster.

The book also suffers from a rather heavy info-dump towards the beginning of the novel. This is trouble that a lot of authors run into when introducing a new world or a new concept - trying to convey all of the details without sort of dumping it all on you. Too little information and readers will be confused, too much information and you get an info-dump where it's pretty obvious that the author is just trying to give you the low-down on this world they're trying to immerse you in.

Unfortunately, the latter is what happened in this book and I found it a bit tiresome. I think with some further drafts and tweaking of the plot this could have been avoided, so it stood out to me as evidence of the writing not being quite as polished as it could have been.

I actually found the main male character - Nicholas - to be far more interesting than Etta. His past is interesting, his motivations are conflicted, he's obviously had to get used to thinking on his feet and taking care of himself. It's just too bad that he ended up overshadowing the main character we're supposed to be rooting for.

In addition to him overshadowing Etta, I also didn't really care all that much for the burgeoning romance between the two of them. I knew it was going to be there, it proceeded as expected, and that was about it, really. There was nothing that moved me, nothing that made my heart surge or even lift a little. It was just your standard YA romance, to be honest.

Now, that's not to say that this book is all bad - it's definitely not. It has a lot of fascinating settings, and the concept is unique and quite engaging. There is a lot of potential here for future books, so I think I'd probably check out a sequel to see if there's been some improvement. This one is just solidly in the 'okay' category, however.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #3!

Welcome to another week of Waiting On Wednesday! (Okay, it's an hour early, but I'm sleepy and want to drop the link off at the round-up!)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking The Spine, and is a chance for people to share those books that we're most looking forward to.

Today I have something from one of my absolute favourite authors ever, Seanan McGuire:

 Every Heart A Doorway is due out on April the 5th, 2016, and here is the summary:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

UGH, it sounds so good!! I put in an ARC request for this on Netgalley and I'm crossing my fingers so hard, but regardless, I am going to be reading this book as soon as it comes out!

Seanan is one of those authors where you wonder how on earth she does it. First, she is amazing versatile - she writes contemporary fantasy under Seanan McGuire, but then she also writes zombies and science-fictiony stuff under the name Mira Grant. She currently has...three series on the go, last count, and she usually has 1-2 books release a year.

She is amazingly talented and all around awesome, and I highly suggest all of you check out her October Daye series as well as her Newsflesh series under Mira Grant. I'm super excited for this book to come out!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Monday - What Are You Reading?

Hello hello!

I was looking back over my blog recently and found that it was mostly reviews. Which is fine, because I think reviews are great and a way to share thoughts and think critically about books. I want to lighten things up a bit, though, and also *share* more, if that makes sense - so another weekly meme that caught my eye is the What Are You Reading meme. It's hosted by Kathryn over at The Book Date - feel free to shimmy on over there to check out what other people are reading!

So, this is what I'm reading right now!

First up is Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon! I'm actually quite liking this, it's not as fluffy and dramatic as I was expecting. Starts off a bit slow but I can appreciate the effort to immerse us in the world!

Also on the go is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This one is interesting. The writing is very...lyrical, I guess you could say? I have a feeling it's one of those books that is slowly building up to the pay-off at the end. It completely draws you into the world that's been created, which I like.

And this is the one other book I'm starting - The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. The way that this is written is so far not at all what I was expecting, but I'm hoping that I will like it! Also, I literally *just* realized what was going on on the cover - for some reason I completely missed that those were dice lined up.

Recently Read:

     Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken. Unfortunately this one disappointed me. I have my review already up on GR, but I'll have it up over here in the next little while.

     The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. This book hits home - a very difficult read, but an important one all the same, I think. I don't have my reviews up anywhere but I'll be posting something on GR and over here in the next week or so.

Up Next:

 The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey. I know, I know... I somehow haven't read this yet! I actually bought it about a year ago and just haven't picked it up. I have it sitting out at home so that I won't forget to read it.

I'll See You In Paris, by Michelle Gable. This one is actually an ARC, due out on February 6th - I need to get on this to have it read in time!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:  Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

3.5 to this one, I think. I actually finished this book a couple of days ago but decided to let it sit while I decided what I wanted to write about it.

I also wanted to see if my opinion would shift on it, since the reviews from people on my friends list have been a bit mixed.

I found this to be a solid book, very lyrical and moving. It tells the story of two women in Afghanistan, a generation apart, and how their lives are brought together - whether you regard it by chance or by fate, they change each other's lives and this is their story.

This isn't what I would call a happy book, though I found it to be tinged with hope, infused with the strength of the human spirit. It's a book you read to learn more about the world and the cultures that fill it, and perhaps do some reflecting on how different our lives would be if we'd happened to be born into a different family, a different culture. This was another reminder for myself of just how lucky I was to be born in Canada. The experiences in this book are far removed from what most of us on here have ever gone through ourselves, and surpass our understanding - the grief, the oppression, the poverty, the struggle to survive. It's something to sit with and reflect on, and consider all the ways that we could and should be trying to change it.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the cast of characters in it, and the spectrum that they covered. For all that we sympathise with certain characters, their flaws are also readily apparent - from the selfishness of Mariam's mother and her choices and her father's cowardice, to the cruelty of women who had the chance to give her a different life, to the home life of Laila's mother, a woman we first see through Mariam's eyes.

I've seen some criticism of how men are portrayed in this book, and while I understand where those criticisms are coming from, I think they were offset by certain characters within the book. It's not that all of the men are evil or bad, merely that the story that's being told is very much shaped by men and the poor or perhaps misguided decisions they make, and the actions they consider 'right' which very clearly are not. I think there needs to be room for that kind of story. I also think it's important to remember that every story has a point of view or a perspective that it is trying to show, and that not all books can show all perspectives - and that's okay. I think the story that this book is trying to convey is extremely important and that certain changes would have taken away from what it was.

This book also delves into Afghan history, and for that I think I'll have to reread it at some point - on this read I was more focused on the plot and the characters, and on a second read I think I'd have more awareness of the political backdrop, and absorbing the events that are happening and connecting them to research. I enjoy when a book makes that possible, since this isn't a country that I know much about.

This isn't a book that is an easy or a fun read, as fair warning. It's not the sort of book that you'll want to pick up to read for a bit of fun distraction or 'light reading. It's definitely worthwhile, however, and one I'm glad I picked up. I'm also going to add it to my list of diverse books!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #2:

Welcome to another week of Waiting On Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking The Spine, and is a chance for people to share those books that we're most looking forward to.

This week I have something a little different, and I'm very intrigued... 

Blackhearts, written by Nicole Castroman, is due out on February 9th, 2016, and here's a taste of what it's about: 

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

I love books like this, so I really hope that this one is awesome! I love it when people take the time to think about what a famous character or person could have been like before they were famous... It reminds me of this amazing fic I once read about Voldemort back when he was Tom Riddle, and it was amazing. Love stuff like that.

So that's it for another week! I'm enjoying this - I might not post every week, but I think it's something I'm going to keep in mind from week to week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: Counterfeit Conspiracies by Ritter Ames

Counterfeit Conspiracies Counterfeit Conspiracies by Ritter Ames
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genres: Mysteries, action, suspense

Summary: Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces.

The latest assignment, however, may be her undoing. Using every ounce of luck and larceny she possesses, Laurel must locate a priceless art icon and rescue a co-worker (and ex-lover) from a master criminal, all the while matching wits with a charming new nemesis. Unfortunately, he seems to know where the bodies are buried—and she prefers hers isn’t next.

Review: Oh, this was fun!

If you like mysteries mixed with action and a hint of James Bond glamour, then this book is for you.

Mysteries are touch and go, with me. Too slow, and I lose interest or end up flipping to the end to try and figure out what's going on. But action scenes also need to be well written, or else you're just left trying to figure out what's going on. Plus you need a bit of lightness and humour to balance everything out, otherwise things can get a bit heavy and bogged down.

Counterfeit Conspiracies is a book that manages balance these things pretty well. Our main heroine is stubborn, quick thinking and independent - but she's also very real, with vulnerabilities, mistakes and emotions that shine throughout the course of the novel.

Now, our main male character - he's an interesting one. Utterly infuriating at times, and pretty much the main reason I ended up lowering the star count a little bit. I get the urge to have a hero who is charming but prickly, a mystery and a bit infuriating - but he crossed the line into being a bit too controlling a couple of times, which rubbed me the wrong way.

Still, this book is fast paced and flew by, and the banter and balance between Laurel and Jack mostly offset the moments where I had to grit my teeth a bit. This is the sort of book that is perfect to pick up on a weekend when you want to be spirited away and imagine yourself living a wild and intriguing life - minus the danger, of course!

A copy of this book was provided for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Haul!

Before Christmas my work had a Christmas party and something miraculous happened - I won something!!

That something was a $50 gift card for the local mall. So of course I was stoked - though makeup and clothes were my first thoughts, I had to admit. But deciding to spend some of my Shoppers Optimum points took care of the makeup, and then going to Walmart + iGigi screwing up and having to give me a $40 gift card took care of the second...

So of course, I did what any reasonable book lover in my position would do - I considered it fate, and decided to spend the gift card on books.

In total I came home with five, and I'm pretty happy with my choices, honestly.

I don't have pictures of all of them, unfortunately - I would love to do a pretty little picture with them all stacked or whatever, to show you them. However two of them are now at home with me and the rest are at work, so a mixture of pictures and book covers from Goodreads will have to do!

So, here are the books I got today!

First up are The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff.

I actually went into this trip hoping to pick up The Buried Giant, and I'm really happy with this purchase. First, it was on sale - score! Second, the cover is absolutely beautiful, and I like it much better than the other one that's available for this. The second book just happened to catch my eye and was also on sale, so I decided to pick it up - it sounds intriguing, so I hope I like it!

Next is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This one caught my eye on a shelf, and I was debating whether or not to purchase it when I took a look at the Goodreads ratings, which made up my mind for me. I know, it says Winner Of The Pulitzer Prize right on the front.. But awards aren't everything! I trust the overall view of the people I have on GR.

Next up is an epic fantasy that I've been contemplating for awhile, though I must admit that I haven't finished the last epic fantasy book that I picked up by this author... Nevertheless, I present:

Gardens Of The Moon, by Steven Erikson. This baby is 700+ pages and is part of a series that seems to currently have...nine books? Ohgod, what did I get myself into. Anyway! We'll see - I've had this recommended to me by a couple of people, and I keep trying my hand at epic fantasy to see if I'll ever find a series that I can finish.

And lastly, for something completely different we have a book that I've heard a lot about, for which the hype never quite drew me in... I just finally decided to take the plunge and finally find out what the fuss is about:

I'm kind of annoyed that I had to choose between this cover or a big clunky hardcover for this one, but ah well, that's the way it goes. I'm interested to see if this lives up to the reputation and good reviews for me, or whether I'm turned off.

So there we go, five books for today's book haul! I'm excited, I've already started in on one of them and might start in on a second since I left All The Light We Cannot See at work to be the one I read there.