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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

Hi everyone,

We all know about my Beauty and the Beast obsession, and when I saw this book at the library I knew I had to read it. I mean look at that cover! I always wanted that library from the movie!

It was so great to be back in this world; it felt like this book was a continuation to the animated made-for-DVD sequels Disney produced way back when (all of which I own of course ;) the Christmas one was my childhood favourite). It was really great to see the enchanted creatures get more of a staring role in this, we find out more about the secondary characters like Plumette (can someone write her own book already?!!).

The prologue felt maybe a little out of place at the beginning, but it all makes sense when you finish reading. I actually thought maybe I was reading the wrong book when I finished the prologue, but it didn't fit into any traditional Beauty and the Beast world that I know about.

I enjoyed that this book was able to give us another peek into Belle's and the Beast's relationship and we got to see it grow and come together more. The Beast seemed a bit more toned down in here than the abrasive nature he has in both movies (although, side note: I felt he was more rude in the animated and a bit nicer in the live action) and he seemed to act more human (cue music for Human Again!). It was nice to see their friendship blossom in a different context.

Belle was just as book loving as always and talked about books throughout. Her friendship with Chip was explored some more in here and I just loved her and Chip's scenes together.

Then we come across Nevermore, a place that feels like Narnia mixed with Wonderland. Nevermore is a place where nothing is as it seems and the tale of Persephone comes into the mix. I think I loved Nevermore the best because it wasn't just a textbook world; it was dark and scary and unpredictable. It was different than a Disney tale world, filled with twists and unexpected turns.

The only negative would be how rushed the ending felt, maybe everyone was wrapped up a little too much...I won't give any spoilers away though so I'll end it at that.

However, I loved the short chapters and I basically read this whole thing in one setting. It made me feel like I was back to being a child and I can't lie, I was two when the animated got released. I'm so happy I was able to read this and enjoy the world of Beauty and the Beast again.

A solid 4 star read here and I highly recommend it for any Beauty and the Beast fans. Fairy tales will always be a book love of mine!

Until my next review,


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sara's Thoughts: I Found You by Lisa

A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

**Review copy received from Simon and Schuster Canada for my honest review***

Guys, mysteries and thrillers have been my jam lately. I have been finding them SO much fun to read. I love trying to figure out what's happening, who did what, I love it. So when I saw Lisa Jewell's newest thriller I Found You available for review, I jumped on the opportunity- I was pretty excited to get this one read.

I Found You is my kind of book- The story is really a three in one- which is something I love. I really enjoy these intricate, multi-layered stories- trying to figure where they connect, because you know they do, somewhere and somehow.  In this particular story we have a man who has forgotten everything, he doesn't know his name, where he comes from or how he got to the tiny seaside town. Than there is Alice, the single mother with a bleeding heart, who can't help but be drawn to this nameless man. Finally, Lily, the young bride new to the country, whose husband has recently disappeared. Three stories with three narrators and in some way all three are connected.

While Lisa Jewell has a number of novels under her belt, I Found You is the first book I read of her and I am pretty sure I will be checking out her other books, I really enjoyed this read. Sometimes with any type of thriller or mystery novel, they can end up being very predictable and cliche, a been there done that, kind of thing. I did not experience that with I Found You- there were a few times I would assume I had everything figured out and would continue reading through that lens and bam- something would happen and I would be second guessing my theories. This made for a very fun reading experience. I also appreciated that the story was told from the past and the present and trying to figure out how that was also connected. One would think this would become convoluted and confusing, but it was pretty clear what was happening and when.

I Found You is a pretty character based story, and is very much told through the characters and their experiences and feelings. Because of this, you really get to know them and start rooting for them all. I am a fan of stories that are pretty character focused seeing things unfold through their eyes.

Overall, I Found You was a solid read and I am excited to read more from Jewell as soon as I can. I think if you're new to the genre this is a good place to start, it's not to overwhelming (plot wise), but it's still completely engaging and a really enjoyable read.

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Stefanie's March Wrap Up

Hi everyone,

I feel like I was kind of absent on the blog this month; with moving and getting sick, life just seemed to get in the way of blogging and reading. I really didn’t read that much this much either; I fell into a reading slump and nothing I read seemed to be the right book for me. I haven’t really experienced a reading slump that bad before. Thankfully I was able to break it by reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and continuing into my obsession of British reality shows by reading Charlotte Crosby’s book. She’s from Geordie Shore and I loved it, so I followed it up by reading two more biographies from my all-time favourite group Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh and Cheryl Cole. I don't tend to read biographies of well-known people and it's rare for me to actually enjoy them, so this was a big moment for my reading.

What I Watched: 

I was able to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie with my sister during this month. It was actually pretty good. I know I’ll be in arguments about this movie with people because I am obsessed with the animated one. The new song Evermore by Dan Stevens is the highlight from the movie; his version was so good and he has such a great singing voice. The visuals were great too and I loved the inclusion of the feather duster (who I felt needed a bigger role in the animated version). I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Power Rangers on the other hand, not so much.... I've been binge watching Imposters trying to catch up and enjoying the return of Prison Break!


What I Read: 

Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling

Bookman Dead Style by Paige Shelton

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

Me Me Me by Charlotte Crosby

A Whole Lot of History by Kimberley Walsh

Healthy Is the New Skinny: Your Guide to Self-Love in a "Picture Perfect" World by Katie H. Willcox

The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

Archie Vol. 2 by Mark Waid

Total: 11

Books of the Month:


Fantastic Beasts and Bookman Dead Style (cozy mystery)
I had a hard time choosing between the two of them so I decided to just pick both, shout out to The Possessions for being one of the weirdest books I have read in a long time.

I kind of fell off the re-read challenge I had given myself; I think I’ll be able to pick back up on that in the summertime when all of TV is in repeats and I read like a madwoman. I feel like after I moved and displayed all my books I have so many more books I want to read and re-read. I wish I could read as fast as Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds and then my tbr would be completed and I could just focused on reading as many random books as possible. I’m bad for that when I go to the library and just walk into the fiction section and leave with a bag full of books I hadn’t heard of before.

I hope April will be more eventful in the book department and I hope I can read more. I hope everyone had a great March!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sara's March Wrap Up

Whoa. What a month March was. If you read my last wrap up, you would have seen that I was giving up to TV for Lent. So, no binge watching Netflix/CraveTV or anything for that matter- Until April 17th. This has left me A LOT Of time to read and contemplate life. I actually have been really enjoyed the no TV and I think once this fast is over, I may take on a more restricted TV schedule- I'm toying with the idea of no TV on weekdays. We'll see when we get there. 

March was pretty uneventful for me. Spent some time with a few local bloggers at a board game cafe here in the city, it was fun. I got a new tattoo - you'll need to check out my Instagram if you want to see it (shameless plug).  Had my nephew over for the night last weekend, which was great. He's six, and full of so much energy- we went on an field trip to the bookstore and it was fun walking around with him and talking to him about books. The remainder of the time was spent reading.

The Books:

Number of Books Completed

Physical Books


Physical Books: 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (2 Stars)
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (3.5 Stars)
Dirty Doctor by Whitney G (3 Stars)
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (4.5 Stars)
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (3 Stars)
I Found You by Lisa Jewell (4 Stars)
Nocturne by Syrie James (2.5 Stars) 

Favourite Read of the Month

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The only other novel by Jojo Moyes was Me Before You, which I enjoyed, but it broke my heart. One Plus One is SO different. It's charming and lovely. I've pushed it onto a number of my friends already.


Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (4.5 Stars)
The Empire State Series by Louise Bay (4 Stars)
Love Unexpected by Louise Bay (3 Stars) 
Forbidden by CD Reiss (1 Star) 

Favourite Listen of the Month

I finally did it guys, I finally read listened to Truly Madly Guilty and I loved it. I have seen a number of reviews that claim this book is a little slow and boring- while I can totally see where they are coming from I think this is just a custom Moriarty trait. She writes about the most mundane things in a way that makes them seem exciting. I really appreciate this.  I want to give major props to the narrator Caroline Lee- of the four books I have completed by Moriarty, I have read two and listened to two. Lee narrated Big Little Lies and did such a fantastic job that it made me want to listen to everything else she's narrated, I loved her rendition of Truly Madly Guilty so much. She has such a knack for giving every character their own voice- it was great experience. 

2017 Resolutions Update: 

If you want to check out my actual resolutions/goals for the year, check them out here
Woah betty, March was good month for me. I have 11 books under my belt- 7 of which I physically read.  I am on track for my 100 book goal- I am actually one book ahead. I read more books than I listened to- which is great- because overall for this year I have read more books than listened to, which wasn't the case last month. I read three 2017 releases (go me) - Behind Her Eyes, We Are Okay and I Found You, I also read book three in the Percy Jackson series- so I am one stop closer there. However, I have not made a dent in the audiobooks sitting in my audible library- sigh. I haven't listened to a single book on my back list. I think for April I am going on an audiobook buying band, and every single book I listen to has to be from my back list.  I have 17 to chose from. Wish my luck. 

We still have two weeks of Lent to go, so I still plan on doing lots of reading. I want to try and push myself to read 8 books, but I don't think that will happen this month, so I'll be happy with 6 physical books. I am going away Easter Weekend, and I don't think I'll read a lot during that time. Otherwise, not a lot planned for April.

This Month of the Blog: 

That's it for me and March, I hope you all had a great month. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

An approved textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander's masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the wizarding world. Scamander's years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance. Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books – the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail ... Others will surprise even the most ardent amateur magizoologist. Dip in to discover the curious habits of magical beasts across five continents ...

**Review copy received from published for my honest review**

I never knew just how busy life would be after I moved. I finally bought most of my furniture and had an epic adventure carrying an IKEA dresser up three flights of stairs (pretty sure my sister will never forgive me for asking for her help) and then me building a bookshelf, only to get an afghan caught in-between the frame. Furniture building will not be on my to-do list for a very looooong time time!

I went through a bit of a reading slump too, not knowing what to read and anything I did try to read didn't make me happy. Then I got sick (I think that's my sister's revenge for the IKEA furniture since I got her cold), I saw the new Beauty and the Beast in theatres and read two amazing books which got me out of the slump: Fantastic Beasts and Me Me Me by Charlotte Crosby (if you don't know who she is, that's alright. She's a reality star from Geordie Shore, a British show in the vein of Jersey Shore, which I have never seen, but I'm obsessed with all things British and I read basically all books published by different British reality stars). I have never laughed so much from a book before and that's what I needed, and it felt appropriate to read, keeping with the British theme I have going. Also I've been re-watching the Harry Potter movies this month, one a week. It's been so nice to be back in the HP world.

I had the original version of Fantastic Beasts; pretty sure I bought it while I was on vacation in the States, along with the Quidditch book. I loved them so much that it felt so wonderful to be in the magical world and having almost a taste of what being a Hogwarts student would be like (still waiting on my letter, but now that I've moved the owl is probably so confused as to where to drop it off).

I loved the illustrations in the updated version, they made it feel like a real textbook. My favourite part of the book was the inclusion of the six new creatures from the Fantastic Beasts movie. I myself would love to have a Niffler, Jarvey or a Bowtruckle. I should just go into Magizoology so I can work with all these creatures!

The Foreword By the Author section made me laugh out loud. It talked about how a copy of this book was made aware to the Muggle population and I just love how Newt Scamander handled how the entire book was just fiction, nothing to worry about you poor Muggles (that's in my own words, although I'm sure I can actually picture the character of Newt saying you poor Muggles, or No-Maj).

I did miss the little comments between Harry, Hermoine and Ron that were included in the original version. Ron's were the funniest, because they usually were about Hagrid and how he shouldn't be allowed to be around any of these creatures or discussing the Classification of the creatures, ranging from Boring to Known-Wizard Killer.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for the copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I honestly couldn't give this book anything less than five stars. The entire HP world has basically been my entire life, since the publication of the first book, so any new new addition to the world will always be highly loved by myself!

Until my next review,


Also, I hope next week my life goes back to normal and I can get you a review on time, apologizes for missing last week.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sara's Birthday Wishlist

Hello Friends,

In about a week and a half (April 7th), I will be turning 30!!! Eeeeeeks! It blows my mind that I will be 30, I feel like I just graduated high school, I remember turning 25. Where has the time gone? I don't know, I just don't know.

I have been saying for months now, that all I want for my birthday are books- I don't want anything else- just books. However, this has meant that I have had to keep myself from buying any books. This is usually pretty easy for me, but there has been a time or two where I had to reign it in and walk out of the bookstore empty handed.

Since I no longer use Amazon- I have been using the Chapter/Indigo website to keep track of all the books I want to read/wouldn't mind owning, and I thought I'd do a sneaky little post and share with you some of the books I am hoping to get for my birthday. 

***disclaimer- I am not expecting any gifts for my birthday. I just thought this would be fun to share with you, these are basically books I really want to read.***

The List-

1) Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier- I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I really want to get my hands on it. I don't even know a whole lot about this particular story, but I still want it in my life. Particularly this cover or the red and fold version of it- I think it's stunning.

2) Wire and Nerves by Marissa Meyer - I loved the Lunar Chronicles saga, and I loved Iko, and I think the concept of a graphic novel as a way to share her adventures is genius. I would love to get my hands on this.

 3)  Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman - I really like Neil Gaiman's writing and I am SUPER curious about this one. I am half Norwegian (believe it or not), and I think this is going to be a really great

4) The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - Another story I don't know a whole lot about, but still one I think I would enjoy. I just know it takes place in Russia, and I like anything Russian (I think).

5) The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking - I just love the cover of this book, and I kind of love the idea of Hygge.  It looks so cozy, don't ask me why I think that.

6) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - Again, I know very little about this book. But a few people whose opinion I value, really enjoyed it. It's also by a Canadian author - which is awesome!

7) Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel - This is a sci-fi novel, but it sounds SO good. A friend of mine read it a little while ago and really enjoyed it. And I have been eager to get my hands on it.

8) The Anne of Green Gable's box set- This is a bit of a hefty request, but this is a Canadian classic and I have never read any of these books- and I want to. The box set that's out right now is absolutely beautiful and I think it would look lovely on my shelf.


A few Pre-orders I wouldn't mind are

9) A Court of Mist and Fury (The paperback) by Sarah J. Maas- This is being released on May 2nd and I need it, I just need it. I am excited to reread this book, and to finally get to A Court of Wings and Ruin (which again I will wait a year to own).

10) The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord - I have read a couple of Emery's novels and I have enjoyed them, her newest one, out May 16th has been getting a lot of buzz and I wouldn't mind owning this one. 

There you have it a short list of 10ish books I wouldn't mind getting for my birthday. If you want to see what I actually keep on my Chapters/Indigo wishlist check it out here.

~Happy Reading Everyone

Monday, March 27, 2017

My Thoughts: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

I did it! I read this book. There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding Nina LaCour's latest novel- We Are Okay, people seem to be loving it. So I decided it read it as one of my 2017 reads. One of the first things I noticed when I first picked this book up from the library was how small it was- not only is it short at just over 230 pages, but it's overall size is itty bitty. I absolutely loved the cover, I want to own this book just for the cover alone.

We Are Okay is Marin's story and basically it's her trying to figure out her like. Where she came from, where she's been and where she's going now. She fled her hometown very suddenly and the end of a very eventful summer and didn't tell anyone. Now, it's three months later, Christmas time and Marin is finally ready to share why she left. So, Mable- the BFF is coming and Marin is a mess.

I liked this book, but I didn't love it. I struggled to connect with the story and the characters. I didn't think there was anything particularly special about anyone. Honestly I thought it was kind of boring. A lot of the book was Marin worrying about Mable's reaction to her story. I think Marin's emotional struggles were important at the beginning on the story, but three quarters in, it got to be a little tedious and borderline whiny. I found there was very little gross in the first couple sections of the book.

We Are Okay is told from both the past and the present. The past is the summer before Marin flees. She's home with her grandfather, who had been her sole care provided since her mother died when she was very young. The present is the abandoned campus with both Mable and Marin and their awkward interactions. I much preferred the stretches of the book that were sharing the back story- the past. I think it revealed a lot of Marin's character and where she was coming from (as it was meant to). The present, as I said before, was little tough for me.

 I really appreciated the relationship Marin had with her grandfather, they loved one another and respected one another and it was lovely. It wasn't a perfect set up, they had these rules and boundaries that were a little odd- which are explained and are kind of a key element to the story- I really liked their little unconventional family. I also really appreciated Marin and Mable's "past" friendship. They were your typical high school friendship. Marin's second home was with Mable's family. They did everything together, you'd think nothing could tear these two a part.

While We Are Okay wasn't an amazing book, there are elements to it that are incredibly important. Both Marin and Mable are LGBTQ*, however this isn't a key feature of the story- it's just there. Mable's family is a Latin American family and their culture is rich and diverse, and again, this is not a big deal, I think Nina LaCour did a great job incorporating these little elements of diversity and making them just a normal, every day thing- because that's exactly what they are- normal life.  

Overall, I didn't love We Are Okay. It was a fast read, and it had some interesting things to talk about. But I didn't find it mind blowing. In all honesty, I find this story to be pretty forgettable. I think it had a lot of potential, but something got lost. I would suggest you read it- particularly if you've been curious about it, or you like contemporary, otherwise, I think there are better stories out there.

~Happy Reading Everyone.

"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl