Saturday, November 12, 2016

Blog Tour: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 464
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: November 8, 2016
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

My Review:

First off I would love to thank Raincoast Books for allowing me to be a part of this tour. Marissa Meyer is such an amazing storyteller and I am so glad to be able to shout out from the rooftops how amazing her books are!! The cover of this book is so different from what is out there lately, it's so simple and yet very effective of drawing people in.

Now on to the review... what to say about this book, it is amazing with characters that are truly brought to life. You don't need to have read Alice in Wonderland to know anything about this book, it is a great introduction to the story though. Everyone always wondered how The Queen of Hearts got to be how she is, well Marissa really brings her story to light and shows that at one time she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love and she had dreams of her own.

Cath has big dreams of becoming a baker and opening her own store but her family has other ideas for her, and poor Cath has trouble fighting for what she really wants if that means disappointing her parents. Cath's parents are quite interesting secondary characters, they are polar opposites, her mother is a very opinionated person who takes over and forces Cath's hand in certain situations, whereas her father is the one who shows affection but is very quiet and withdrawn. It is understandable to see where Cath comes from to see who she is younger and who she becomes as well.

I can absolutely say that while reading this book, even though knowing how things would end for Cath, I still had hope that everything would change and she would get everything that she wished for so that she could truly live happily ever after. Marissa Meyer's writing makes you forget about the story that you already know and love and it feels like a completely different story that you hold out hope for all the characters to find what they are looking for.

Just like Alice in Wonderland, this book has all the fun and magic to it with the darkness hiding underneath everything, you can see how the darkness and terror of Wonderland is truly unleashed and why it becomes what we all know it as. I actually adored the King of Hearts in this book though, he is quirky and shy and he stumbles to let how he feels be known, I truly did imagine the cartoon version of him throughout the book and it made me love him that much more.

Then we have the Jest, and what a character he is, he truly brings out the best in Cath, and helps her realize how strong she can be. Jest is someone that I fell in love with right away, he has an air of mystery about him but he is fun and witty as well. And his role in this book is a huge one, I don't think Cath would be who she is, or would she turn into what we know her as The Queen of Hearts if it wasn't for Jest.

For those who love the classic Alice in Wonderland or even for those readers who don't know it but are always looking for adventure and magic, Marissa Meyer delivers for all in her newest book!!!

Check out the other blogs on this tour as well!!

I am lucky enough to be able to show you a little more about Cath's father The Marquess, as well. The Marquess is known through the land for his amazing storytelling abilities, it is a skill that sadly does not get passed down to his daughter (though she does have other amazing skills). Readers can just imagine a sparkle in his eye as he tells his stories and revels audiences with them.

Heartless Excerpt: The Marquess

“That is hardly an excuse. You know now. You knew today. I am marvelously disappointed, Catherine. I know you can do better than this.”
Cath looked at her father, hoping for defense. “Is this how you feel too?”
He turned his head up, the slices of roast beef and pumpkin on his plate already three-quarters eaten. His expression, though bewildered at first, quickly softened, and he reached for Cath, settling his hand on her wrist.
“Of course, dear,” he said. “You can do anything you put your mind to.”
Cath sighed. “Thanks, Papa.”
He gave her a loving pat before returning his attention to his plate. Shifting in her seat, Cath resigned herself to her mother’s disappointment and focused on cutting her meat into very tiny pieces.
“I was so hopeful for those macarons too,” the Marchioness continued. “I realize it isn’t ladylike to slave away in the kitchen all day, but he does fancy your desserts and I thought, once he tastes them, he’ll remember why he meant to propose in the first place. How could you have failed at such a simple task?” She scowled at Catherine’s plate. “You’ve eaten enough now, Catherine.”
Catherine looked up. At her mother’s twisted mouth, at the top of her father’s lowered head, at Mary Ann and Abigail pretending to not be listening. She set down her knife and fork. “Yes, Mother.”
With a snap of her mother’s fingers, the plates were taken away, even her father’s, though he was still clutching his fork. He soon slumped with resignation.
Before the awkwardness could stretch on, the Marquess perked up. “I heard the most delightful tale at the party today,” he said, dabbing his napkin at the corners of his mustache, “about a little girl who discovered an upward-falling rabbit hole just off the Crossroads, and when she started to climb, her body fell up and up and—”
“Not now, dear,” said his wife. “Can’t you see we’re discussing our daughter’s prospects?” Then she grumbled, “If she has any left at all, that is.”
The Marquess deflated, and set his napkin on the table. “Of course, my dear. You always know just the right thing to talk about.”

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: The Regulars by Georgia Clark

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 394
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 2, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A fierce and feisty debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular girls who suddenly have their fantasies come true... or do they?

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well... gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left: What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

My Review:

I was really excited for this book when I first heard about it, it sounded like an interesting premise and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. After finishing this book, I found my expectations were too high and this book did not deliver what I thought I would get out of it. In the end this book just disappointed me and I had a lot of trouble actually finishing it.

The one good thing that I did take out of this story was how these three characters truly learn to love themselves for who they are in the end. What I really disliked about this book is how a lot of issues come across, these three girls are made to be undesirable women (or at least two out of the three are). I understand that these girls are self-conscious (many women are with how the media portrays people).

Once the "Pretty" is introduced and the girls change who they are and their attitudes completely change, they become the worst sort of people (at least that is how it seems). The way they believe that if they look good they can change things because pretty people are taken more seriously. I did enjoy that they get a good harsh dose of reality and see that "pretty" people are actually treated the same if not worse at times.

This is a really hard book for me to review just because I had so much trouble getting through the story. I could not connect with the characters at all and I just did not like how people were treated throughout the book, even the way the girls saw themselves and acted after the became "pretty". All in all this was a difficult book that I sadly cannot recommend.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Review: Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

Betrayals (Cainsville, #4)Publisher: Random House Canada
Series: Cainsville #4
Pages: 400
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 9, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Olivia's life exploded--after she found out she was not the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers--she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois. Working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer with links to the town, she discovered the truth about her parents' crimes in an investigation that also revealed the darker forces at work in the place that had offered her a haven. As if that wasn't enough, she also found out that she, Gabriel and her biker boyfriend Ricky were not caught in an ordinary sort of love triangle, but were hereditary actors in an ancient drama in which the elders of Cainsville and the mysterious Huntsmen who opposed them had a huge stake.

Now someone is killing street kids in the city, and the police have tied Ricky to the crimes. Setting out with Gabriel's help to clear Ricky's name, Olivia once again finds her own life at risk. Soon the three are tangled in a web of betrayals that threatens their uneasy equilibrium and is pushing them toward a hard choice: either they fulfill their destinies by trusting each other and staying true to their real bonds, or they succumb to the extraordinary forces trying to win an eternal war by tearing them apart.

My Review:

How I always love coming back to Cainsville year after year!! I was so happy when this book came that I read it almost right away (though I am reviewing it quite awhile after). This series is top of my love list, Armstrong has really brought everyone to life in her writing and each book gives readers new information. It is impossible to guess where she will go next with the story. As readers get deeper into the story, we find out more about Olivia's past, but even more so there is a deeper past that she is a part of as well, and this has caused a fight between two different mythical groups. Honestly, the deeper I go into Olivia's story, the faster I read through these books, they are all impossible to put down, but as soon as I get another one I need to binge the whole story.

Now that Olivia, Ricky and Gabriel have found out that they are incarnations of a past trio, they need to find out if they will allow history to rewrite itself or if they will follow in the path that has already happened. What I love about this story is how each book has a new problem, and yet Kelley still has the main story going behind these new issues that arise. As the story continues, readers get to learn even more information about Olivia's parents. It is great to continue and find more secrets hidden, there are always more surprises around every corner.

This is the fourth book in the series, and each one gets more intense for Olivia. She dives deeper into her visions as the story continues to learn more about her past and what has happened to past incarnations of this love triangle. This book truly shows that things are quickly coming to a head and there are many decisions that need to be made.

What is truly amazing about this series is how strong Olivia is, but also Gabriel and Ricky are very different characters who are both always there to help Olivia. As the books continue, readers can see that though Ricky and Gabriel are supposed to be at odds with one another, they work to stay away from the past and they will be there for one another, they both have the same end goal (to keep Olivia safe).

I can definitely say that the ending of this book (like that of all the others) has me needing more of this series, there are a lot of decisions that are being made that will change everyone's lives and I for one can't wait to see how this will all turn out. Truly this has been one of the most intense series I have read in awhile and the best one at that, it is one that will continue to get better and to keep bringing out surprises to keep all readers on their toes no matter what.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

The Madwoman UpstairsPublisher: Touchstone
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: March 1, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family's long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind.

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she's rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë's literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that's never been shown outside of the family.

But Samantha has never seen this rumored estate, and as far as she knows, it doesn't exist. She has no interest in acknowledging what the rest of the world has come to find so irresistible; namely, the sudden and untimely death of her eccentric father, or the cryptic estate he has bequeathed to her.

But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and bits and pieces of her past start mysteriously arriving at her doorstep, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father's handwriting. As more and more bizarre clues arrive, Samantha soon realizes that her father has left her an elaborate scavenger hunt using the world's greatest literature. With the aid of a handsome and elusive Oxford professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontë's own writing.

A fast-paced adventure from start to finish, this vibrant and original novel is a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.

My Review:

Wow, this book was a lot more fun than I had expected it to be. I have always been a fan of the novels of the Bronte sisters so the fact that this book held some of that in it really interested me. What I did not expect from it was the amount of history that is really given. This book was a great adventure and a great read that keeps readers on their toes.

Samantha has grown up knowing the history of the Bronte sisters, being the last descendant of that family, but as Samantha embarks on a quest left to her by her late father, she realizes that there may be more about her family history than even she knew. Samantha has come to Oxford to get away from her history but no matter where she goes, the Bronte family continually follows her. What this story turns into is a hunt for Samantha to find out the truth of her family and to finally come to terms with who she is.

I will say as much as I did enjoy the scavenger hunt that this book gives readers and the history of the Bronte's, I felt that something was missing. To me Samantha did not seem to have much character and she felt a bit one-dimensional. As I was reading this book, I felt myself more interested in the mystery of what happened to the estate of the Bronte sisters and the way the history of the sisters was hidden in the stories, but I could not connect with Samantha. I believe what this story needed was more character development to really give it the edge over other stories.

There was a lot of interesting details and it is very obvious that Catherine Lowell truly researched this story, but I think the story of Samantha got lost in the history of the Brontes and this is a story of her trying to get away from that past. I think this was a very fun book and I felt that there were many interesting parts, but it just needed a little more to it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the FallPublisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 391
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: May 31, 2016
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs—the painter—and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members—including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot—the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

My Review:

I have just recently started watching Fargo, the television series, and I have really loved it, so when I heard that one of the producers of that show had a book coming out I knew it would be something I would enjoy. This book has a great mystery aspect to it, what is it that happened in such a short amount of time and caused a huge tragedy.

I was intrigued by this story and the background of everyone involved, slowly piece by piece the puzzle is revealed and you get to know each of the characters and their history. I will say that I did have some issues getting through the book, it is a confusing read, there is a lot of back and forth from what brought each character to the plane that day and then back to the events following the crash and the aftermath. There were quite a few times that I found the story hard to follow, also because I put it down for so long and then forgot about things I had read before.

I will say that I was more consumed by the chapters that dealt with the aftermath of the crash, seeing how the little boy manages and how those that love him come to his rescue, but also the bond that Scott ends up having with this little boy after saving his life. I really loved Scott's story, he is a very strong character and he is the one who is having the toughest time in the aftermath, why is he the only one who survived? What I really loved is how this story shows the ways people can interpret something so quickly and turn a story so that it works in their favour. Noah Hawley makes it difficult at times for readers to make their own judgments about the characters because they are being thrown at you right from the beginning.

This is definitely the type of book that you can't put down for too long of a period of time or you lose the story. And it is one that you need to pay attention to everyone, you can never be too careful of who you meet and the motives they have to harm others. I did enjoy many parts of this book, but just had a lot of issues keeping myself motivated to read it. This is a good mystery book that has so many parts to it, you can't tell if you are on the right track with answers, but at the same time it felt like a little more of a blocking for a television show as well and I think that is what made it hard for me to stick with it for long periods of time.

This is the type of book that won't be for everyone but is one that needs a chance because it will be an interesting read.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Blog Tour Review and Excerpt: The Cabin by Natasha Preston

The CabinPublisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 6, 2016
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar and Awake.

When Mackenzie treks to a secluded cabin in the woods with six friends, she expects a fun weekend of partying, drinking, and hookups. But when they wake to find two of their own dead and covered in blood, it's clear there's a killer among them.

As the police try to unravel the case, Mackenzie launches her own investigation. Before long secrets start to emerge, revealing a sinister web of sins among the original seven friends. The killer is still free. Every one of them is a suspect. And Mackenzie starts to realize that no one is innocent… 

My Review:

I have to absolutely thank Raincoast Books for having me a part of this amazing blog tour. I hadn't heard of Natasha Preston before this book, though I don't know how I missed her. This book was impossible to put down. I'm betting her previous books are just as intense and I know I will be searching for those in the near future. 

Right from the beginning, Natasha introduces readers to these characters but everything is very vague and you really learn that not everything is as it seems as the story continues. Everyone seems innocent in the beginning but everyone has something to hide and has a reason to be a suspect. Mackenzie is the most trusting person and it is hard on her to find out how everyone has their own secrets, even when she has hers as well. This book is hard to review because I don't want to give away all the secrets that come with it, and trust me there are a lot that make it hard to process sometimes. 

I actually found that Mackenzie reminded myself of me quite a bit in this book, she is the type who cares wholeheartedly about those that are closest to her. Mackenzie wants to protect everyone and she will always put them above herself in many situations. She wants to see the best in everyone and every situation, and sadly for her this can cause some problems and get her in more danger as things get more intense as they close in on the killer. But yet, throughout all these difficulties, Mackenzie also starts up a new unlikely friendship and Blake is the one person who can actually keep Mackenzie distracted and adds some good humour to a very dark story. 

I love how this book is about such a close group of friends and yet they each have huge secrets that affect how this group works. What is interesting is how the book opens up mentioning another accident, but it takes time to find out what it is that happened. There are secrets behind that evening as well, and it just seems that things keep piling up one after another. 

I flew through this book needing the answers and things just kept getting more intense as I continued making it that much harder to stop. Natasha Preston truly keeps things interesting and hidden making you read to the very end without ever giving away the answer. She reveals information slowly and at interesting points. This is such a great mystery book with an intense story and I definitely can't wait to read more from Natasha in the future (also going back and reading her past books!!)

And now for an excerpt from the book!

Two hours later, Blake and I were back at the cabin and indulging in drinking games with my friends. It didn’t take long for me to get tipsy again…and then go straight to being drunk. I still knew my name and the prime minister’s, but I’d definitely had one too many.
Tipping my head back, I laughed hysterically until my stomach muscles screamed in protest. Everything that was only remotely amusing when you were sober was heightened when you were drunk—-so Kyle falling over was hilarious. He didn’t even go all the way down—-it was more like a stumble—-but I was drunk, so it didn’t matter. He stood up and looked around as if hoping no one had seen.
I giggled uncontrollably.
“Piss off,” he snapped, narrowing his eyes at Courtney as she laughed too.
“Touchy,” she muttered, leaning into Josh’s chest as he put his arm around her.
Kyle folded his arms. “Touchy? Really, Court?”
If Courtney had tripped, she wouldn’t have found it funny.
“Back off,” Josh barked.
Could we not go an hour without someone arguing anymore? Pre--Josh we rarely bickered. I groaned and held my full stomach. It was full from stuffing my face with enchiladas, and it was probably the only reason I could hold all of the alcohol I’d drunk.
Blake kicked his feet up on the coffee table and threw his arm over the back of the sofa behind me. Aaron’s baby blues turned suspicious as he watched us. I refused to meet his eye and wrapped my arms around myself, not liking being the center of anyone’s attention.
My walk with Blake had caused a few raised eyebrows. My friends—-minus Court and definitely excluding Josh—-seemed to think he was bad news, but that was probably because he was related to Josh and they hadn’t really spoken to him yet. If they were giving Josh a second—-or tenth—-chance, they could certainly well give Blake a first one. Aaron was stubborn and protective though, so I knew he’d be the hardest to convince.
“Oh my God, we’re gonna be so hungover tomorrow,” Megan whined. She wasn’t as drunk as she acted, but she had always been like that. She’d perfected her look--at--me wobble, blatantly tripping over her own feet. She didn’t like being drunk and losing control, but she didn’t like to be the odd one out, so she pretended. Everyone knew she pretended. I think she knew we knew, but we all went along with it and laughed at silly, drunk Megan wobbling. It was kind of ridiculous.
“More shots!” Aaron announced, pointing to the empty shot glasses on the table. I had lost count of how many we had done so far. But as much as we had already drunk, we were going pretty slow compared to that night.
Blake was surprisingly sober for the amount he’d put away. I suspected he drank quite a bit at home to have that kind of tolerance. He walked in a straight line when he got up for more beer.
As the shots kept coming, I started to feel sick. My stomach turned, and every time I swallowed, I felt like my throat was pinching shut. Megan had brought some Italian liquor with her and made us finish the bottle because, as she put it, “If I take that crap back with me, my mother will disown me.” I could see why. It tasted of lemon and burned on the way down. It was probably what toilet cleaner tasted like. We also polished off Aaron’s bottle of spiced rum.
I groaned and craned my neck. My body felt heavy and weak. I was getting to the sleepy part of being drunk. Everything was swimming and spinning.
“Does anyone else feel weird?” I asked.
God, I’ll be lucky if I’m not sick tonight.
Megan giggled. “What, drunk?”
“Sort of. I guess,” I replied, pressing my hands to my face. I was too hot. Please don’t throw up. The taste and feel of it rushing up my throat made me panic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Bilie Livingston

The Crooked Heart of MercyPublisher: Random House of Canada
Pages: 272
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 5, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a brave, funny and heartbreaking novel about faith and family, love and forgiveness, and how people survive unimaginable loss. It features an indelible trio of characters who could only come from the imagination of Billie Livingston. There's Ben, whose world we enter on the first page: he's a limo driver who, after he loses his son, finds himself locked up in a psych ward with a hole in his head he can't explain. His wife, Maggie, the other narrator of the story, is locked up in her own grief, unable to reach out to her husband. Then there is Maggie's brother, Francis, an unlikely priest with a drinking problem and only occasional interest in celibacy, whose latest fall from the wagon was caught on video and has gone viral as Drunk Priest Propositions Cop.

How they come together to heal each other's many wounds is the magic of this novel, as is its intensity, its wit, its deep sense of the absurd, and the surprising grace at its core.

My Review:

A few years ago I saw this book that captured my attention, that book was One Good Hustle, and it was my introduction to Billie Livingston's writing. I was in love, yes there were a few little things about that book that took my attention away, but I loved how Billie could write such a story about people who are struggling and that are not necessarily heroic.

The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a much darker book than that one, and yet it is just as mesmerizing. This is a story about two very broken people who have suffered a great loss and Billie uses this story to show a back and forth about how this couple copes and how it has affected their lives and relationships. What I really loved about this book was how Billie Livingston is able to really make her readers feel for some very unlikeable characters. I really saw myself rooting for these two to get through and come out on top.

I have loved Billie Livingston's writing style for so long. She brings about characters that you can't help but care for and want to help them through their situations. This is a tough situation to write about and Billie takes a different approach for this book, she really brings out the negative aspects of these two characters... But it is that which helps them as well. It's the way that Billie brings these people together after they have been separated and shows that they need each other to truly heal which makes this book the beauty that it is.

Truly, Billie Livingston is an amazing storyteller who brings something different to the table and I will always look forward to what else she will bring to readers!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Burn by Paula Weston

Publisher: Tundra Books
Series: Rephaim #4
Pages: 448
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 7, 2016
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.

For a year she believe she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.

Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.

Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it's all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.

More importantly, she remembers why she's spent the last ten years wanting to seriously damage Rafa.

My Review:

I want to thank Penguin Random House of Canada for introducing me to such an amazing series. I have to start out by saying how upset I am that this series is over. Honestly, with how Shimmer ended, I was dreading and yet excited for this book. And I can truly say that this entire series has delivered such a punch. Readers are always surprised at what comes out and there is no way you can guess what comes next. Paula Weston has done a great job keeping her readers in suspense and not giving away too much.

This book opens with a bang, finally after so long Gaby remembers her past and why she ended up where she is. Burn answers so many questions and is still just as full of action as the rest of the series (actually let's be honest... it probably has the most action of all the books). This is what everything has been leading up to, the big showdown, and oh my gosh, the way Paula brings it all together is amazing.

I really enjoyed how Paula did the back and forth from NOW and THEN in this book, there is still a bit of a slow reveal and a build up to the past and how Gabe and Jude lost their memory, but the way Paula describes everything, readers are enthralled and need to know what will happen. This has always been a hard series to put down, but I find this book especially I needed to keep going.

I still absolutely love Gaby, even though she remembers her past and how everything ended, she doesn't go back to being that person, she has changed a lot and grown so much over the course of this series. And the way her relationship with Rafa has grown, oh I still swoon just thinking about it. The way these two came together and despite the history, they are an amazing team and it really shows.

I really enjoyed seeing more of tge relationship between Gaby and Jude as well. These two have a special bond and it really adds to the story. Paula delves even deeper into their relationship in this book.

I really don't want to speak too much about everything that happens and give away all the secrets that Paula has been keeping on hand for so long. But if this isn't a series you have picked up yet, I say rush out and buy these books and binge them. Now that the series is complete (I will miss these characters that I have spent so much time with), you will pick up one story and just want to keep going.

This has been one of the best angel series I've read in a long time. Readers will quickly fall in love with all the characters and you won't want to leave them!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People's HousesPublisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Pages: 240
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: February 23, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

My Review:

Wow, this book was a lot more than I was expecting, and in such a small little package. There is such a large story found in this book and it was so mesmerizing for me.  This book connects four people together in such a short amount of time, and the way they all end up helping one another is what makes this story so beautiful.

I am not too sure on how to review this book because there is just so much that happens, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock brings alive a tough time in Alaska. When I started this book I wasn't too sure if I would really get into, but as I continued and slowly got to know each of the characters better I was falling in love and I wanted to know how they would grow over the course of the time.

What I really loved about this story was how Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock writes a beautiful story about people dealing with some tragic situations. And yet this is also a story about the strength of family and how no matter how difficult a time you may be going through, those are the people that will be there for you in the end. This is the type of book that you really need to keep working with, don't give up on the story because you will find yourself falling for the characters, and wanting to see them come out on top.

I can't really talk about these characters without giving away too much information about everything that happens, but this book takes place over a year and readers see the characters through each season and watch how little by little each character changes and grows up. I think in some ways Dora was one of my favourites because she had such a substantial growth over the course of the novel.

This was a book I picked up because the cover just screamed out to me and the title was so odd that I knew I needed more information, and it is a book that I can see staying in my heart, it's just one that you need to invest yourself in and don't give up on. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review: The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy

The Blue HourPublisher: Atria Books
Pages: 368
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 16, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Robin knew Paul wasn’t perfect. But he said they were so lucky to have found each other, and she believed it was true.

She is a meticulous accountant, almost forty. He is an artist and university professor, twenty years older. When Paul suggests a month in Morocco, where he once lived and worked, a place where the modern meets the medieval, Robin reluctantly agrees.

Once immersed into the swirling, white hot exotica of a walled city on the North African Atlantic coast, Robin finds herself acclimatizing to its wonderful strangeness. Paul is everything she wants him to be—passionate, talented, knowledgeable. She is convinced that it is here she will finally become pregnant.

But then Paul suddenly disappears, and Robin finds herself the prime suspect in the police inquiry. As her understanding of the truth starts to unravel, Robin lurches from the crumbling art deco of Casablanca to the daunting Sahara, caught in an increasingly terrifying spiral from which there is no easy escape.

With his acclaimed ability to write thought-provoking page-turners, Douglas Kennedy takes readers into a world where only Patricia Highsmith has ever dared. The Blue Hour is a roller-coaster journey into a heart of darkness that asks the question: What would you do if your life depended on it?

My Review:

When this book was offered to me, I wasn't too sure if I would like it. But I know I can trust those that say based on what you like I think you'll like this story. This is a book about a couple that is definitely far from perfect, and I believe that is what makes this book so interesting. I will say there doesn't seem to be a lot of growth for the characters, but yet in a way Robin does learn a lot more about herself through this journey in a different world.

I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Morocco and how different of a place it is compared to here. Robin must travel lengths to find out exactly what has happened and to find the truth. Along the way many secrets are revealed to Robin, some that will change her life forever and it is hard to tell how things will be handled in the end.

This is a very difficult book to discuss because I don't want to give away the story and what happens. I can say that Douglas Kennedy takes readers on an incredible journey through Morocco and gives readers a view of a different culture and how difficult it can be being an American in this place. I felt a thrill while reading this book, following Robin on her journey to learn more about her husband and also watching as she travels this place alone, the dangerous things that lurk around every corner for her being a woman alone.

I devoured this book in a short time, but I do wish there was a little bit more to the end. I wanted just a bit more information on Paul and everything that happened. But all in all I think readers are left with this view that you can still move on after a difficult time. This is a story about new beginnings and learning how to take care of yourself. I truly enjoyed this story and everything Robin learned about herself and why she gets herself into situations like she did.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan, #1)Publisher: Random House Canada
Series: Casey Duncan #1
Pages: 480
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 2, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. But that's not why she's on the run. Her best friend's ex has found Diana again, despite all Casey has done to protect her. And Diana has decided the only way she'll ever be safe is if she finds the mythical town she's heard of where people like her can go to hide. Turns out the town really exists, and will take Diana, but only if Casey, a talented young police detective, comes too.

Imagine a hidden town, isolated in the Yukon wilderness, where everyone is pretending to be someone they're not. Even good people can get up to some very bad stuff. The laconic town sheriff dispenses his own frontier justice, but he's more accustomed to sobering up drunks in the horse trough, than attempting to solve the series of brutal murders that has rocked the town. As much as he hates it, he needs Casey. As for Casey, coming to the far North may have started out as a sacrifice she was willing to make for her best friend. But maybe, just maybe, she needs Rockton as much as the town needs her.

My Review:

I don't know why I put off Kelley Armstrong books when I get them, these are the type of books that I just need to dive right into as soon as they arrive at my doorstep. I honestly find that Kelley Armstrong truly can do no wrong in her writing. All of her books keep me on the edge of my seat wondering what she will come up with next!

In a small way this book reminded me of her other series she is working on Cainsville but yet still very different! I was taken with the mystery that Kelley sets up in this book, there is definitely a dark side to this new town Casey has come into, but who is involved in everything.... I absolutely loved Casey, she is a tough woman, and even though she has a rough past she tries to work past that and she just wants to do what is right. Casey is the type who gives up a lot for those that she loves, she wants to protect everyone around her and that is exactly what she does for her friend Diana.

What would you do coming into a very isolated town where there are many secrets hidden, how do you deal with the problems when everyone has something to hide from their past. As much as Eric Dalton wants to think he can handle everything on his own, he begins to understand that Casey may actually be able to help solve the brutal murders that are happening.

As I continued reading I wanted more of Casey and Eric, I loved their interactions with one another. You can really see their relationship grow as Eric begins to trust Casey more and learns that maybe she can help him with her outsiders perspective. Because Casey is an outsider she has a different view and can see things that Eric may miss. As the book continues, you can feel the story getting more tense and you can see that things are going to unravel but the turns that Kelley Armstrong takes, makes it impossible to ever see what is actually coming.

I have found with all her stories, Kelley Armstrong is able to keep readers immersed and you are always left wanting just a little bit more. It is the type of thriller that every chapter leaves you reeling with a revelation and you can't put it down because you want to know how the characters will handle everything next. I was so shocked at everything that Kelley came up with, and I want to be able to expect things after reading so much of Kelley's writing and still she knows how to shock her readers.

I need more Kelley Armstrong, but even more I need more of this series. I want to see what more Kelley can do with this small little town that is just full of secrets waiting to come out and bring more trouble for the residents of Rockton. But I also need more of Casey and Eric because there is still so much more to be said between them, and their relationship still has so far to go.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: The Never List by Koethi Zan

The Never ListPublisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 303
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: July 16, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.

Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn’t make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail.

Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias and the other survivors—who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.

My Review:

I was very intrigued when I first heard about this book, I love a good mystery/thriller read, but this book was much more than that, and I actually found it to be quite disturbing to the point that I had a lot of problems getting through it. I really wanted to get through the mystery of the book, I wanted to find out about this man who has ruined so many peoples lives.

Sarah is still struggling years later to get past the incident and live a normal life, when all of a sudden, everything is brought up again when the girls' abductor is up for parole. With this, Sarah begins a journey to find out more about this man, and keep him in prison. I was interested in the mystery of what has happened over the past few years and who are all these people that have worked with him and known him the best. What I did enjoy was watching Sarah grow as the novel continued on, she is able to get herself together little by little and she throws her insecurities to the wind to get justice, not only for herself but for her friend Jennifer as well.

There are a lot of secrets hiding out in this novel, Sarah is hiding something, how she was able to save the girls years ago. Understandably, these girls don't want contact with one another after everything, it brings back reminders, and yet as the mystery deepens, these girls begin to want to help one another because the idea of having their captor out is a much worse possibility. In many ways this is a book about confronting your past, even though it may be the most difficult and dangerous thing.

The problem I had with this book was how disturbing it was, there were so many points where I could not continue because I was just disgusted at the torture being done. Honestly, this book was very dark and twisted and I just couldn't get into everything that was going on. The book goes darker and darker as you continue on, and there were so many parts where I just did not want to continue with the story. I will say in some ways despite the twisted and disturbing parts, I am partly glad that I continued on with the story and got to the end of the mystery, I was shocked and Koethi Zan definitely brings about an ending that readers don't really see coming.

Honestly, in many ways this was an interesting novel, but in the end it just didn't really appeal to me. There were too many parts that just became too much and I couldn't get past these terrifying ideas. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac GirlsPublisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 496
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: April 5, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages.

My Review:

To be honest this book took me quite awhile to really get into, I think it had to do with how often the story switched perspectives between the three girls. It was really hard to connect in the beginning because the story didn't stick with one person for very long, I'm always a huge fan of historical novels and the fact that this book is based on the lives of real people, it made me more intrigued and really had me pushing to get through. 

I know there are a lot of books out there based on events of World War II, but I felt that this one was really different. This story gives readers the view from so many different perspectives during that time, from a woman doctor working in the camps, from a woman who is prisoner in a concentration camp, and then from someone on the other side of the world, whose life changes because of these events as she works for the French consulate. I can definitely say after some time, when I really got into the events, I was truly invested in each woman's storyline (though I feel like Herta's somewhat fizzled out at a certain point, and then we jump back into it later on in the book). Each of them have their own hurdles to get through, and are all trapped in different ways. 

This book spans years, showing how these girls deal with not only the horrors of the war, but we also get to see the aftermath and how it has affected their lives for years to come. What I was really looking forward to was how these three ladies would meet and how that would impact their lives, I was truly impressed with how Martha Hall Kelly really brought this out. The stories don't cross right away, we really get to know each of the three ladies before they actually meet, but once they meet their impact on one another is remarkable.

I can truly say that this book really touched me and brought me to tears many times as I followed the stories, but it was mainly Kasia's story that really brought this book together. She is the connecting factor in this story and I found her life to be the hardest (for obvious reasons). But what I found Martha truly brought to life was how it also affected Kasia after the war, how difficult it was for her to be true to herself and to those she loved the most.

I can honestly say that this was a beautiful book, despite some issues in the beginning with the ever changing stories, once things actually settle into a smooth pace this is a book that you want to immerse yourself in. Readers easily connect with the characters and you don't want to let them go, you want to help them through everything and be there for them. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Shimmer by Paula Weston

Publisher: Tundra Books
Series: The Rephaim #3
Pages: 416
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: March 8, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Gaby thought her life couldn’t get more complicated.

She’s almost used to the idea that she’s not the nineteen-year-old backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim - a 140-year-old half-angel - whose memories have been stolen. She’s even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she’s mourned for a year, didn’t die at all.

But now Rafa—sexy, infuriating Rafa—is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all.

It’s a race against time - and history. And it may already be too late.

My Review:

I have been a part of the Rephaim series blog tours since the very beginning, so I am so happy to continue being a part of this tour and bringing this series to the forefront. I've been waiting for this book to come out for so long, especially after the ending of Haze. I'm so excited that the rest of the series is finally making it's way to me. There are still so many questions, especially since Gaby still has no memory of her past life. 

This book picks up right after we left off in Haze, there is more action as things begin to heat up between the Rephaim and the Gatekeepers. Not only that, but there is more disagreement between the Rephaim angels, which makes for a more difficult plan of attack to save Rafa. Honestly, I love growing alongside Gaby as she is slowly getting information about her past, and she somewhat is reminded of who she used to be. But there is also the interaction between her and Jude, now that she knows her brother is truly alive and well (with also no memory of their past), both of them are learning to navigate this world together as a team, while learning about each other. 

This is one of those series that just keeps getting more intense as Paula Weston continues with the story. As each book comes out, Gaby learns that there are more secrets being kept and even though questions are answered, more also come up. Readers continue learning along Gaby, I've always loved stories where the main character doesn't know everything that is going on, because readers get more details and it helps readers connect with the character more. I honestly can't wait to find out what will happen in Burn. The way Paula ended things in this book (as in basically every other book of this series) was with a bang, and leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat just needing the next book and more of these characters! I can see that there will be so much to learn as soon as the next book opens.

I can't wait to see more of Gaby and Rafa in the next book as well! The relationship between these two has grown so much over this series, despite whatever happened in their past (which is still very much left unknown). These two are so amazing together and especially with how everything progressed in this book, I just can't wait to see how everything will be handled after the ending of this! 

This series is one of my absolute favourite angel series of all time and I am so excited and yet scared out of my mind to see how Paula will end everything with these characters. I have truly come to love everyone here, and this is my review on how much I love everything about Paula Weston's writing!! So thank you very much Paula for bringing such a beautiful story to the public!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Publisher: Penguin Press
Pages: 277
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 16, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we've seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

My Review:

Honestly, I wasn't too sure what I would think about this book, I'm just now getting into non-fiction reads, but I can say I was really invested in this book. I really loved how Aziz Ansari really detailed how technology has changed the way that we interact with one another now. What I really loved is that even though Aziz has done so much research for this book, there is a great amount of humour added in as well, that just made it that much easier to read through (I'm used to non-fiction being very dry).

This book was very well done, the many different ways that technology has changed dating in our generation is shown very well. What I really enjoyed is how Aziz also travels the world to see how romance happens in different cultures, and readers really get to see that not everyone is truly taken with the technology and there is still a small group that will find their partner the old fashioned way.

The reason this book really stuck out with me is because I never really got into all the apps that are out there for meeting people, but I've been around people that are and I am always interested in how things work out. Aziz not only dives into how technology has changed the way we meet people, but he also shows how different communication is, and especially at the beginning of a relationship it can be very dangerous. Aziz even adds in some fun bits of his own interactions through texting.

I really loved the mix of humour and social science to bring to light how society has changed because of technology. Aziz Ansari was the perfect comedian to write this book, I could just imagine his voice while reading this (even better when he suggests that you think of him saying certain things in a very dark voice). I can truly say that I am getting more and more into non-fiction because of books like this that can add some great humorous stories to get their point across. If you haven't read this one yet, definitely pick it up, not only is it funny but it really makes you think about the way we use technology!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Review: Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Series: Flirting with Fame #1
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: February 23, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in their own skin.

After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author—a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.

It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity—and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?

My Review:

Well I don't really know what I was expecting from this book, but I can definitely say I had fun with it. This is one of those books that is cute and fun, but yet I can say that Samantha Joyce added in a bit of a serious undertone, with how insecure Elise is about herself. Elise has had a very difficult time after her accident leaves her scarred, in more ways than one, but she spends her time writing, and has secretly published her own book series. Now she runs into a huge problem, she is expected to appear on the set of the television series they are making based on her books, but no one actually knows what she looks like, since she gave in a fake picture.

What I really loved about this book was how Samantha Joyce wrote a character that is very strong, but she still needs to learn that herself because she is insecure and feels like people see her differently. I really loved how Elise wants to do everything she can to stay under the radar and just be a normal college student, and yet at the same time she has gotten herself into a situation that makes her reconsider why she has hidden so much, and is she finally ready to admit to the world who she is.

There were times where I really didn't like how Elise handled situations, but at the same time being someone who has had my own insecurity issues, I can also somewhat understand. She wants to be noticed but at the same time she wants to fly under the radar and not be seen as the girl with all these scars. I have to say I loved the interactions that Elise had with the stars of the television show, I really think that Samantha Joyce gives readers a different view on actors and it was actually sweet. This book also couldn't be what it is without the secondary characters, they bring a breath of fresh air to the story, and are an amazing counter to Elise.

This was definitely a really adorable book that I flew through because I just wanted to see Elise get everything that she deserved. This is a great book for readers who have felt unsure about themselves and have just wanted to stay hidden behind others. Very cute book with some great humour, and some very amazing boys... Clint the cowboy (I would take him anyday!) 


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