Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 306
Received: Received a copy from Ranincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 15, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

My Review:

I am recently getting more into the contemporary books, and I have felt that I absolutely needed to read a Miranda Kenneally book to really forge deeper into contemporary. So when the chance came up to get a copy of her newest story, I definitely decided to check it out, and I was in love. I flew through this book without even realizing how much I had read, I refused to put it down because I wanted more of the characters and to really see how Annie would get through.

I can say that I loved the characters Miranda created in this book, and the story of Annie really trying to work through her issues by training to run this marathon. I really loved the detail that Miranda goes into of how hard it is to train for something as big as a marathon for a non-runner, not only the physical part but the emotional as well. A lot of this book details Annie's training for the marathon, but a major part of the story is watching as Annie grows and learns to get over her loss and find her way back to friendships with other people.

Annie meets Jeremiah while training and he helps her through so many of her issues, she begins to trust other people. Jeremiah brings Annie out of her funk and even though he scares her, at the same time he helps her learn that sometimes you need to just live in the now and not be scared of what could happen. Not only is Annie going through a difficult time after losing the one person she really loved, but it is at the most difficult time as she is getting ready for college. Honestly, the way Miranda Kenneally wrote this book had me in love, and I want to go and read more of her stories if they are all like this one. If you like contemporary books with great heart to the story, I say check out Kenneally's writing!

Five Questions with Miranda Kenneally:

Q: Your main character, Annie, is training to run for a marathon.  You also provided a great deal of detail about how hard it is on your body to train for a marathon.  Did you do any background research for this?

A: Yes! In the past I ran a marathon and a half-marathon, so I used experiences from training for those races to write BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE. I also consulted "Runner's World" magazine and interviewed trainers at my gym. I also spoke to a few former pro-athletes.

Q: Running the marathon for Kyle was Annie’s way of coping with her stress and grief.  What advice would you give others in similar situations of grief or stress?

A: I would say give yourself time to heal. Recognize that everyone's healing process is different. Don't beat yourself up if you don't feel better in a certain amount of time; everyone heals in different ways. If you need to, talk to good friends, your guidance counselor, or a therapist.

Q: Recently, there has been a huge trend with dystopian YA novels. Why do you choose to write realistic fiction?

A: To tell you the truth, I would love to write sci-fi or fantasy, but I've never been all that great at world-building. I love reading write what you love reading.

Q: What are your favourite books so far this year?

A: I've loved A MAD, WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller, CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge, and THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkowski. Also, it doesn't come out until  2015, but I got a sneak peak at Trish Doller's next book THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, which is an awesome thriller.

Q: Your books take place in a small town. Is your hometown similar to the one in your books?

A: Yes, my books take place in Franklin, Tennessee, which is near where I grew up (Manchester, TN). I use real restaurants and landmarks from Franklin, Manchester, and the surrounding towns in my books. Only a couple of the schools I mention are real. Most of them are named after shopping malls in TN.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: The Shadow's Curse by Amy McCulloch

Publisher: Random House Children's
Series: Knot's Duology #2
Pages: 480
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 8, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A sequel to the action-packed The Oathbreaker's Shadow by debut Canadian YA author Amy McCulloch.

Raim is no closer to figuring out the meaning of the broken vow that sentenced him to exile for life. But with his former best friend now a tyrannical Khan who is holding the girl Raim loves captive, he finds it hard to care. Every day, he and Draikh learn more about their powers, but it quickly becomes clear that he will never be able to stop Khareh and free Wadi unless he can free himself from the ultimate taboo of his people. Reluctantly, Raim begins the long journey down to the dangerous South, to find the maker of his oath.

In Khareh's camp, Wadi is more than capable of devising her own escape plan, but she's gradually realizing she might not want to. The more she learns about Khareh, the more confused she becomes. He's done unquestionably bad things, horrific even, but he's got big dreams for Darhan that might improve their dire situation. What's more, rumours of a Southern king massing an army to invade Darhan are slowly gaining ground. Only if the Northern tribes can come together under a single ruler will they have the strength to fight the South - but what if that ruler is an impulsive (albeit brilliant) young man, barely able to control his ever-growing power, and missing the one part of him that might keep him sane?

Whoever conquers the desert, wins the war. And the secret to desert survival lies in Lazar, which is set to become the heart of a great battle once again.

My Review:

I loved The Oathbreaker's Shadow when it was published last year, and after reading it I was definitely excited to see where it would go. The Shadow's Curse was such an amazing sequel and a great ending to the story. I believe that Amy McCulloch created an amazing world with characters that really stand out to readers.

This book picks up as Raim begins his journey to find out about his broken vow, he learns that finding out about this will change his life. But his main focus is to save Wadi from Khareh and stop whatever disaster will happen with him in charge. The story follows Raim's journey as he tries to save Wadi from his friend and himself from his broken oath, then we also get to see Wadi as she travels with Khareh and readers see how things have changed for him so much since he has become ruler.

Amy really wrote a story that keeps readers intrigued and wondering who will become the single ruler of all of Darhan. There is a good amount of action, but you also get to know Raim more, and see what truly matters to him. The communication between Raim and Draikh are amazing, he is the one who keeps Raim going and helps him learn more about his abilities, Draikh is the friend that Raim lost in Khareh.

As I came closer to the end, I was getting sad to see how it would end, yet I was excited to see where the story would go for Raim, and I was very surprised at what happens. I believe that Amy McCulloch ended her series perfectly and yet leaves you wanting more from all the characters (in a good way). This book brings readers deeper into the world that McCulloch created in The Oathbreaker's Shadow, and really takes us more into Raim's history. If you haven't picked up either book yet, this is the time to sit down and read through both at once. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Publisher: Harper
Series: Queen of the Tearling #1
Pages: 448
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 8, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

My Review:

There has been so much hype around this book, that I have been a little nervous about picking it up, but so many of my good friends have recommended it to me that I couldn't shy away. And to be honest I am glad I didn't, this book was such a great read, there is so much to learn about the land of the Tearling and the history behind everything, that I found myself immersed and wanting to come back to this world that Johansen has created.

The characters are all so unique and I wanted to know more about some of them, but this is mainly a book about Kelsea coming of age and really growing up during a difficult time. She has been hidden away for years and trained to learn about the Tearling kingdom, because she is destined to take over. Readers see that Kelsea has a lot to deal with when she gets to the kingdom, so much has changed and she has a lot of work to make this kingdom better and bring a lot of change. Erika Johansen takes her time introducing everything and that is what makes this book such an amazing opening to a series.

Not only is there a lot of information, but there is also some great action mixed in with the story. Kelsea seems to be a sheltered girl with no knowledge of the kingdom but she has a team of guards to help protect her, and trust me, there is a lot of danger around her. Kelsea needs to prove herself and I love how her attitude really shines and she proves that she can truly be a leader. Not only does Kelsea have to learn to rule but she has her own life to figure out, she needs to learn who she is as a person now that she is in this new position and no longer in hiding. Kelsea is unsure if she is prepared for this job, but she will try to do her best, and I am so excited to see what things she does next to really take control of the Tearling.

I will say there were a few times that I felt I lagged while reading this book, but all in all I wanted to keep coming back to it and see what else Kelsea would do. I loved watching her change over the course of this book and really come into her role as a queen. I think if you are a fan of fantasy books, this is one that you should add to you pile, it has a little bit of everything but the story takes it's time and really lets the reader get to know everything instead of just throwing you right in the middle of the story. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: Starbound #1
Pages: 374
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: December 10, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

My Review:

This was definitely an awesome book, very different from what I was expecting and yet I loved everything that was happening. I've definitely had problems explaining this book, but I will try. This is so much more than a book about a boy and girl travelling through space, it is about survival during a very difficult period and really learning how to lean on others despite the problems that may arise.

Lilac and Trevor have found themselves in a dangerous situation as they land on a planet that seems to be uninhabited when the ship they were on crashes. This is a slow going story but the way Kaufman and Spooner write everything, it is a great build up with some great creepy parts that make you wonder about what is happening around the characters. I love how this story shows that such a tragedy can bring two opposite people together like Tarver and Lilac. Their relationship really grows over the course of this story, it is slow but they really help each other through some tough situations. I believe that this story is an amazing love story, showing that being able to get through some of the hurdles that these two have done bring people closer, and Lilac and Tarver seem to dislike each other a lot in the beginning and then grow closer as they must spend so much time together.

The world that Tarver and Lilac end up on is a very mysterious place that seems to play tricks on their mind, and they work to finding out what is really going on. The secret changes things for both characters, as the story continues readers get a little taste of the aftermath of their journey as well. I enjoyed seeing the two different perspectives and how Lilac and Tarver manage the situations each with their own ideas. I always love stories with dual perspectives because it lets you see two different sides to the same story.

This is definitely not an action packed story, but it is one that makes you wonder how you would react to such dire circumstances, and what kind of things you would go through to survive. I think Spooner and Kaufman are a great team and I'm interested to see what they come up with next in this series and how everything will connect. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Allies and Assassins by Justin Somper

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Enemies of the Prince #1
Pages: 496
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: May 27, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Prince Anders, the ruler of Archenfield, has been murdered, leaving his younger brother, Jared, to ascend the throne. Sixteen-year-old Jared feels unprepared to rule the kingdom and its powerful and dangerous court, yet he knows he can rely on the twelve officers of the court to advise him. He also knows he can just as easily be at their mercy-especially when it appears that one of them may be responsible for his brother's death. Unable to trust anyone, Jared takes it upon himself to hunt down his brother's killer-but the killer may be hunting him, as well. Murder, betrayal, and intrigue abound in Justin Somper's thrilling YA series debut. Exploring the political machinations of the medieval court and the lives that hang in the balance, Allies & Assassins is a gripping tale of a teen torn between duty and revenge.

My Review:

This was such a great read, I really enjoyed everything that was happening, though it was quite long, I was riveted by the mystery of what was happening. After his brother is found murdered, Jared is forced to take over the throne and rule the kingdom, but he is unsure if he is ready for this. Jared has to be aware of everything around him, knowing that he is in danger himself as well.

Not only is this a book about Jared growing and learning to rule the kingdom but it is also a mystery, trying to find out who is behind the murder of his brother. The one thing in this book is that there are many different perspectives, so readers really get a look into not  only what Jared is going through, but what those closest to him feel about the situation as well. It is hard to know who to trust in this story, everyone has a reason to be an enemy.

There are so many characters to follow, that sometimes it gets a bit confusing though they are all important to the story as a whole. It honestly felt a little like an episode of Law & Order as we try to get to the bottom of the murder, along the way there is more danger, and more people falling into trouble. I love how every character has a meaning and contributes to what is happening. It makes the story go by so much faster when you are invested in knowing about everyone, this almost 500 page book goes by fast because there are some chapters that go by quick so you get to know each of the characters better.

The world building is another awesome part of this book, the way Justin Somper describes the kingdom and everything around it really makes readers feel that they are part of this world. The intimate descriptions are what adds to the books length, I believe some of it could have possibly been left out to shorten the book and make it a little more appealing to teens, but at the same time I do feel as that it adds so much to the story that I wouldn't want any of it taken out.

If you like some intrigue with your story this would definitely be the book for you. Justin Somper keeps you guessing to the end to the point where you just want to keep going to really know what is happening. I wonder after everything that happened in this book, what more Justin will bring to his readers with the rest of the series. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond

Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages: 384
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: September 3, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

The more things change…

Ten years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke all around the world.

The more things stay the same…

This morning, seventeen-year-old Kyra Locke was late for school.

But that’s not out of the ordinary in a transformed Washington, D.C., dominated by the embassies of divine pantheons and watched over by the mysterious Society of the Sun that governs mankind’s relations with the gods. What is unusual is Kyra’s encounter with two trickster gods on her way home, one offering a threat, and the other a warning.

Kyra escapes with the aid of young operatives from the Society, who inform her that her scholarly father has disappeared from its headquarters at the Library of Congress and taken a dangerous Egyptian relic with him. The Society needs the item back, and they aren’t interested in Kyra’s protests that she knows nothing about it.

Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the help of everyone from a paranoid ex-boyfriend to scary Sumerian gods to operatives whose allegiance is first and always to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to clear her father’s name and recover the missing relic before the impending summer solstice.

What’s at stake? Just the end of the world as Kyra knows it.

My Review:

I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book while reading it, there were a lot of interesting things to it, especially the mythology behind all the gods, but I had some trouble really getting into the story. There were a lot of great ideas but I felt it needed to be thought through a little more.

The world in this story is an interesting one where gods roam the Earth among humans, though people try very hard to avoid these spirits, and there is one group that works to keep the peace, the Society of the Sun. I wanted to learn a little bit more of the Society, I felt like this was one area that fell behind to the story of Kyra. The Society is a place where people collect ruins from the gods, and are trained to protect humans from the evil that these divine creatures can cause, and readers learn that people are brought into this place through family ties. But I wanted a little more history to understand everything that they do.

I sometimes enjoyed Kyra's characteristics and sometimes found her to get on my nerves, she has a lot of secrets that she holds close, really changing who she is as a person. I had a problem getting around her attitude sometimes, but as I learned more about her and her situation (especially with her family) I can understand why she keeps things to herself so much. Kyra definitely has a fire to her that makes her ready to fight for her family and what she believes in. I respected Kyra's thoughts that even though she has had issues with her family, she will do anything for them.

Honestly, this was a fun book with an interesting storyline, but I just felt like it needed a little more to amp it up. I am sad to see Strange Chemistry closed down because I think Gwenda Bond can add more to this story with more books to come and I hope to see her write more with someone else. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: Ghost Moth by Michele Forbes


Publisher: Penguin Canada
Pages: 240
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: October 29, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

During the hot Irish summer of 1969, tensions rise in Belfast, where Katherine, a former actress, and George, a firefighter, struggle to keep buried secrets from destroying their marriage. In this emotionally acute debut novel, Michèle Forbes immerses the reader in a colourful tapestry of life. Throughout the book’s care­fully woven story, the bonds of family are tested and forgiveness is made possible through two parents’ indomitable love for their children.

An exploration of memory, childhood, illicit love, and loss, Ghost Moth portrays ordinary experiences as portals to rich internal landscapes: a summer fair held by children in a backyard garden exposes the pangs and confusion of a first crush; a lonely tailor who is hired by an amateur theatre production of Bizet’s Carmen puts so much careful attention into the creation of a costume for his lover that it’s as if his desire for her can be seen sewn into the fabric. All the while, Northern Ireland moves to the brink of civil war. As Catholic Republicans and Protestant Loyalists clash during the “Troubles,” the lines between private anguish and public outrage disintegrate in this exceptional tale about a family—and country—seeking freedom from ghosts of the past.

My Review:

This is a book that I remember being very interested in, but when it came time to reading it, I didn't remember much of what it was about, and I really enjoyed that fact. Though I will say that I still had some difficulties understanding exactly what was going on,  the setting of the tensions in Belfast confused for me for the first bit of the book, until I started getting actual details on what was going on (but it took a bit too much time to get into that information).

This story was definitely a colorful one, where readers see the trouble that two people can work through when they are truly in love. This story is told through the voice of Katherine, as she remembers a time in her past when she fell in love and how that experience affected her future. Michele Forbes definitely has an interesting picture to portray of showing how love can surprise us at the most unsuspecting of times. I will say I wanted to see a little more of George and see how he really felt about everything that was happening, he seemed to be out of the picture a little too much for my liking.

The one thing that would have been interesting to see more of (though may not necessarily have added that much to the story) was of the civil war in Ireland. After reading the synopsis I would have expected that to have a little more impact on the story of Katherine, but it was very much on the sidelines to the story of her past. I think the children's lives were impacted a lot by these "Troubles" but that it was not shown to readers as much.

In all honesty, this story could have been longer and had a bit more added in to really make the story, though it was still a beautiful read. I enjoyed the characters and seeing how one tiny thing can change the future in such a large way. Yet these two characters, Katherine and George have been through so much and their love really shines through. This story is truly a testament to who will truly be there for you when you are going through your toughest moments, and how love does conquer all. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

Publisher: Hogarth
Pages: 387
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 3, 2014
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Synopsis from publisher website:

The blistering, compulsively readable new novel from Herman Koch, author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Dinner.

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.

Featuring the razor-sharp humor and acute psychological insight that made The Dinner an international phenomenon, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a controversial, thought-provoking novel that showcases Herman Koch at his finest.
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My Review:

I remember hearing everyone talk about Herman Koch's The Dinner when it came out last year, it was one of those books that you wanted to talk about to everyone but they needed to read it or else you would give too much away. So when I heard that another one of his books was being translated, I knew I would jump at the chance to read it. Summer House with Swimming Pool, is another book that will leave readers reeling and wanting to talk about it with anyone that has already read it.

This book is a lot like the first one, where there is an event that is alluded to and as a reader you see some of the fallout from this event, and then the story goes back to the past and shows what leads up to this drastic thing. This is another story that really needs to be experienced and is hard to review because I don't want to give away major plot spoilers.

I can say that Herman Koch is amazing at creating characters that you are meant to dislike, each one of them has their own issues and really do not have redeeming characteristics. But these are the things that really make the story so intriguing and had me picking up the book whenever I could. This book is very controversial and makes you think about what path you would take if you were in that situation, it is one of those things a person can judge but can never really say what it is like until they experience it for themselves.

If you haven't read anything by Koch yet I definitely suggest a binge read (hopefully more of his books will be translated over the next few years).  They deal with disturbing subject matter, but the way Koch writes pulls readers into the story and keeps a strong hold on you until the very end. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Save the Date for an Amazing New Book


I am really excited to share information about a new book coming out from Random House of Canada on August 12, 2014, The Table of Less Valued Knights. Some of you may know Marie Phillips from her earlier book Gods Behaving Badly (I have not read it yet, but plan to get to it ASAP), her new book sounds so charming and funny, and I can say that I am extremely excited to read it!

Here's the synopsis:

From Marie Phillips, author of the #1 national and international bestseller Gods Behaving Badly, comes a charming, funny story about a down-on-his-luck knight of Camelot, his eccentric band of misfits and their madcap quest to restore order to their lives, and the realm. 

Sir Humphrey du Val has had enough. Relegated to the Table of Less Valued Knights–Camelot’s least prestigious spot, boringly rectangular in shape and with one leg shorter than the other so that it has to be propped up with a folded napkin to stop it from rocking–he has been banned by King Arthur from going on quests, and hasn’t left the castle in 15 years. After a chance meeting with Elaine, a young maiden in search of her kidnapped fiancĂ©, Sir Humphrey, along with his squire Conrad (an undersized giant) and Jemima (Conrad’s elephant), sets off on a journey to find the distressed damsel’s betrothed, hoping to restore himself to a place of honour at the Round Table.

Meanwhile, Martha, an errant queen on the run from her new power-hungry husband, is in disguise and on a quest of her own to find her long-lost brother, the true ruler of her realm. Martha soon runs–literally–into Humphrey’s eccentric group, who take the incognito queen captive, believing her to be a boy. As they journey through countryside, castles and villages, they gather unlikely friends and enemies along the way. While each member of the party secretly harbours their own ambitions for the quest, their collective success, and the fate of the realm, rests on their grudging cooperation and unexpectedly interconnected lives. 

The Princess Bride meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail in this funny, charming, and delightful tale about lesser-known heroes in Arthurian England.

I mean how can you say no to something that is described as The Princess Bride meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail? You can also check out an excerpt below and try to tell me that you are not excited for this awesome book. Let me know your thoughts on this book!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 337
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 15, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

My Review:

Oh how I love everything Jennifer E. Smith writes, I feel like she can do no wrong with her stories. I always feel so happy and warm when I read a book by Smith, she just knows how to make a cute romantic story that will be loved by many readers. The story is told from alternating perspectives, which really gives readers a great glimpse as to how each of the two sides feel and what they do.

In this story, two people meet in an elevator when the power goes out all over the city and from there, both of their lives change so drastically and we how a long distance relationship can happen. I love how Smith shows the difference between the two characters, their lives are very different and you see that in the way the communicate with one another as well. Owen is about handwritten notes and he really takes the time to search out the perfect postcard to send Lucy so she can see his adventures and where he is travelling. Lucy is different and wants to be able to tell Owen about her life in detail and have him receive it immediately, so she works through sending emails and instant messages when possible, thus highlighting a big difference between the two.

What really made this book different is that it is not all about the relationship between Lucy and Owen, but about their lives apart with their families and the people they meet all over the place. Owen is travelling with his father and they have a very close relationship, it is just the two of them and you can tell they are helping each other out as much as possible. I absolutely loved their interactions and really seeing a great father-son relationship, I find that these types of things get left out and it has such a huge impact on the story and of who Owen is as a person.

Lucy has a different type of relationship with her parents, they are always off travelling and she is usually left to her own devices, but with the move you see this relationship grow more as well. I really enjoyed seeing the characters and their families, especially how each of their parents takes to this so-called relationship.

Honestly, I find I love Smith's books more and more as I continue to read her newest books, her stories and characters will always have a place in my heart.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: The Twixt #1
Pages: 384
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: July 30, 2013
Buy From Amazon.ca / Buy From Chapters.ca /
Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future...and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT

My Review:

I was so excited for this book, everything about it sounded so intriguing and the cover is just so gorgeous. Sadly, I had a really difficult time getting through this book, I found myself trudging through the story and not really caring about what was happening. The biggest thing for me with this book were the characters, I really could not connect with any of them at all.

Joy was someone I did not understand at all, she was very sullen and I wanted to kick her so many times with the way she acted not only with her father and brother but even with her best friend. In my opinion, Joy just kept getting herself into the worst situations and then she would complain about how she is always in danger. And then Ink and his sister, Inq, were two characters that just confused me all the time, nothing about them is truly explained and it really makes it difficult to understand the story.

Another thing about this book that made it hard for me to get through was the formatting (it may have just been my e-copy, which is an advanced version) but there were no chapter breaks so it felt like a much longer book because I had no place to stop. I am the type of person that needs a break in stories because I stop and think about what has happened so far, it almost enhances my reading in a weird way.

I am glad that I kept going and finished the story because I found the ending to be interesting, especially with the way Joy grows (even just a little bit). There is definitely an ending that will have many readers coming back to learn more about Ink and Joy I just did not enjoy it enough for me to try and read more of the series. There are many people who will enjoy this type of book but it just was not one story for me. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler

Publisher: Riverhead
Pages: 304
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 1, 2014
Buy From Amazon.ca / Buy From Chapters.ca /
Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

The windswept moors of England, a grand rustic estate, and a love story of one woman caught between two men who love her powerfully—all inspired by Emily Bronte’s beloved classic, Wuthering HeightsSolsbury Hill brings the legend of Catherine and Heathcliff, and that of their mysterious creator herself, into a contemporary love story that unlocks the past.

When a surprise call from a dying aunt brings twenty-something New Yorker Eleanor Abbott to the Yorkshire moors, and the family estate she is about to inherit, she finds a world beyond anything she might have expected. Having left behind an American fiance, here Eleanor meets Meadowscarp MacLeod—a young man who challenges and changes her. Here too she encounters the presence of Bronte herself and discovers a family legacy they may share.

With winds powerful enough to carve stone and bend trees, the moors are another world where time and space work differently. Remanants of the past are just around a craggy, windswept corner. For Eleanor, this means ancestors and a devastating romantic history that bears on her own life, on the history of the novel Wuthering Heights, and on the destinies of all who live in its shadow.

My Review:

This book stuck out to me because of it's connection to Wuthering Heights, I really loved that book when I read it years ago. I will say that other than a few little things, this wasn't exactly Wuthering Heights, but there was some great history surrounding the story that leads to the idea of Emily Bronte's famous story.

After a phone call telling her about a dying aunt, Eleanor decides to fly out to see this woman and learn more about not only her history but her family's as well. Eleanor meets many new people and she begins to see her life in a different way as she explores this old family home. Eleanor encounters many secrets that this house holds, and the ghosts that come with those, as you read on you want to find out more about what all the secrets are.

Eleanor was an interesting character at times, though I felt at times that she gave in too easily to certain people. I wanted to see her grow up a little more and take control of her own life, instead of letting other people push her into things. I felt like Eleanor's life really revolved around the men that were in her life, and they were the ones who she bases her decisions on. As the novel moves forward, Eleanor learns that history is something that will often repeat itself and you wonder if this is the time it will change.

The end of this story left me wondering about a few things, the ghosts of the house felt a little unfinished, and even Eleanor's story should have had a bit more of an ending. Though despite all this, I did enjoy the book and was interested in everything that was happening with Eleanor. I think Wyler did a great job of showing how important family history is to someone's life. 

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