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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (on a Thursday): Books On Stefanie's Fall TBR

 Hi everyone,

I thought I'd do a Top Ten  post, but because I post on Thursdays I figured why not change it to Thursday, I mean they both start with T's so that works right!

Why not get into the spirit early by listing the Top Ten books I want to read during the fall, before I go crazy and try to read as many Christmas/ Winter/ Holiday themed books I can get. I should probably note that most of these books will have a creepy feel to them because they are mostly Halloween(ish) themed.

Again, I am here with a Top Ten Tuesday. I was particularly intrigued by this week's topic.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR, in No Particular Order

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

This book involves ghosts, weird shadows and a creepy setting so perfect for my Halloween reading. There's not just one ghost, but four, and they need Olivia, our main character's help to save them before they are stuck as ghosts forever.

I love the concept of this one and it's a more middle-grade read, so I know this one won't keep me up at night scared...as too many people have told me to see the new It movie, but I think I'll happily decline that offer.




Death by Pumpkin Spice Latte by Alex Erikson



Cozy mysteries that are Halloween themed are my favourite! This one takes place inside a bookstore, because you can't get more perfect than that. I haven't read the first couple books of this series, and this one is book three, but I can't wait to read it.

Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . 




Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy by Serena Valentino  

Disney = the perfect Halloween

The couple books in this series have either been hit or misses, I loved the first one about the Wicked Queen, the Beasts' story was changed way too much and I think I was indifferent about Ursula's. Hopefully this one will be just as great as the Wicked Queen's!  








Midnight at Madame Leota's by Amicus Arcane 

The first book in this series was great; spooktastic (that's a word now) stories fit for a younger audience, or me.  

The Haunted Mansion's resident librarian, Amicus Arcane, has returned with another set of spooky stories to share. Follow along with him as he tells new terrifying tales while leading the Mansion's newest visitor to a secret séance with the mysterious Madame Leota. 



Ghost and Mrs. Mewer by Krista Davis

Another cozy Halloween themed read. I've read a couple other books from this series, not in order, but I reserved this copy from the library specifically around this time so I could read it in October. 

Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween—until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core . . .






Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere

I read the first book in the series and thought it was an alright read; however I'm super pumped to read this one. That cover is just so adorable. Even though this one was released last year, I figured it's never too late to read it. 

Halloween brings more tricks than treats for costume shop owner Margo Tamblyn in the second in a new cozy series.







The Black Cat Sees His Shadow by Kay Finch

Just look at that cover! Black cats and a cozy mystery, perfecto! 

Mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat, Hitchcock, set out to catch a conniving killer in the next Bad Luck Cat mystery from the author of The Black Cat Knocks on Wood and Black Cat Crossing...








Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather


Have you guys the first book to this series? I actually thought it was a standalone, until I heard of this sequel, yes please!!! 

I've been fascinated by the legend of the Titanic for a very long time (even if that included my friends at the time laughing at me for crying during the epic flood scene in the Titanic movies. Side note: we're not friends anymore, but not for that. Just grew apart after high school) and this book sounds it's going to be just as great as the first one.


The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

I received an ARC of this and I'm excited to read this one. I haven't read any of the authors previous books, but this cover and the synopsis had me hooked and very intrigued.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.




One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen 

My one re-read of this (still on a mission to see how many re-reads I can get this year, even though I'm nowhere near 52)

This is a great spooky feeling book series (I re-read book one last year and still loved it). All about a family of paranormal investigators! 

It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….




And there's my Top Ten Fall reads on my TBR. I'm curious to see what everyone has planned for their fall/ Halloween reads! 

Until my next review,

Stefanie

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR






Whelp, it seems TTTs are the only kind of blog posts I am capable of these days- oh well. I love them and you should do. This week is a gooder.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.



Top Ten Book on My Fall TBR

1) Wild Beauty by Anna-Maria McLemore
Magical realism is quickly becoming my thing. When I talk about my top five favourite books, a good chunk would be magical realism. So, when I hear those two words I am in. Also, this story just sounds amazing. I am VERY excited to get my hands on this one. 

This cover though... 






2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Two works- Gothic Romance.  Jane Eyre is one of the seven (?) books on my 2017 TBR, and I haven't read it yet. But I feel like I have been waiting for fall. To me, it's the perfect October read. 

3) The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey 
I was challenged to read this book YEARS ago by Aylee from Recovering Potter Addict. I admit I am a bit chicken and was a bit worried I would be to scared to actually read it. Buuuuuuut, I've matured these last few years and I think I can get through it. Again, I feel like this book is perfect for fall. 



4) Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo 
I love anything Grisha. Bardugo has created such a magical world and I am excited to read their folklore.
 

5) The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
I have an ARC of this book, and I have been wanting to read it, but something keeps getting in the way. However, I feel like it's a perfect autumn read. So, I think I finally have the motivation. 




6) Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips 
The last number of years, I have been getting into thrillers more and more - and I think they're perfect for fall. Fierce Kingdom is a majorly hyped book these past few months and I am totally falling for it. 

 7) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I want this book in my life. I've heard is described as a feel good sci-fi novel. Sounds like my sup of tea. 


8) Bird Box by Josh Malerman 
This books sounds SO trippy. I've seen a number of people talk about it. And I am dyyyyyying to read it. It's not a long book (under 300 pages), I don't know why I haven't read it yet. But I am eager. 

9) Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore 
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and I am still so excited to get it read.  The synopsis makes it sound so very mysterious. 





10) The Child by Fiona Barton 
I have had a few friends read this one already and really enjoy it. Again, thrillers are something I have been enjoying more and more and I am looking forward to checking this one out. 


Well there you have it, my FALL 2017 TBR. I enjoyed coming out this list and I anticipate a couple 5 star reads in my future. 

~Happy Reading Everyone. 



Monday, September 11, 2017

Stefanie's Summer Vacation Recap

Hi everyone,



Keeping with the theme of working in a school and that dreaded first day essays typically found in movies this is my What I Did on My Summer Vacation.


 I think that this post will be a bit more fun than those first day essays!



I read a TON of books; which was pretty awesome in my opinion. I started re-reading the Harry Potter series, based on my sister having done this (she actually just finished the series a couple days ago) and I was even able to convince one of my friends (who HATED reading) to not only start the series, sort herself in Pottermore (she got Hufflepuff, the best house ever! I hope I didn't just start a battle of the Hogwarts Houses ;)), and agree to watch all the movies afterwards. Mission successful!






   
















Here's what I did read over the summer:



Engaged in Death by Stephanie Blackmore

The Way She Wears It by Dallas Shaw

Literally by Lucy Keating

Murder Most Howl by Krista Davis

About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay

Death By Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake

Bell, Book & Candlemas by Jennifer David Hesse

Ballerina Body by Misty Copeland

Bearly Departed by Meg Macy

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maple Mayhem by Jessie Crockett

Public Relations by Katie Heaney

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Pecan Pies and Homicides by Ellery Adams

Girl out Of Water by Laura Silverman

Pulled Under: a Sixteenth Summer novel by Michelle Dalton

Royal Tour by Amy Alward

Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Radical Self Love by Gala Darling

Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

Swept Away: a Sixteenth Summer novel by Michelle Dalton












                                                      Book of the Summer: 











I loved this book; it was so cute and I love Jenn McKinlay's cozy mysteries so I knew I would have to read her first book in contemporary romance (which is an amazing thing for me because I really don't read romance books). I think the reason I enjoyed this one so much was because yes, it involved romance, but the whole book wasn't about it.


All the Movies: I'm pretty sure I watched about two movies a day and to be honest, I don't think I could list all of them, plus that would be pretty boring for me to list them.

Instead I'll share with you about what I did (that wasn't reading).



I went to the Birds Hill Park, Fun Mountain, Lower Fort Garry, Assiniboine Park Zoo, a ton of Goldeyes baseball games, my best friend got married, learned to make sushi by hand, went on a ton of walks, and got a really nice tan. I don't think I've actually ever been darker than this summer. I also was able to visit the town that was named after my great-grandfather; he was the first teacher there and I guess named it after him for that? Either way it was really cool to visit there, even if the actual town doesn't have anything other than a church and a hall, but I was able to get a picture of the plaque explaining how the school kids would walk to walk across a river just to go to school. It made me really think about how little things like going to school was taken for granted, when these kids would have to walk over an hour to go to school.






 
Lower Fort Garry and the Goldeyes game, where it was Goldie's birthday


 
Nature photo because I really got into that this year and that plaque of the sign 

Overall I would say I had an excellent summer. The weather even allowed me to be outside for most days and it really hit me when the end of August came around and I realized I had to go back to work. Here's to a great September, after all autumn is my favourite season! Bring on the pumpkin spice lattes!



 



Monday, September 4, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Struggled to Finish






Hello Friends,

Again, I am here with a Top Ten Tuesday. I was particularly intrigued by this week's topic.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.

 
Top Ten Book I Struggled to Get Though, But Ended Up Loving




Vicious by V.E. Schwab- This was the first book I read by Schwab, and I almost didn't get through it. I have a hard time with her writing and the way she tells a story. However, Vicious was SO interesting and I really liked the characters, that's what kept me going, and ultimately this is what had me loving the story. It was such a unique concept. I am unsure if I will read the sequel -Vengeful- out late next year.

Pantomime by Laura Lam- I read this book some time ago, but it was one of my favourites. I wasn't used to read "historical fiction' when I started Pantomime and it took me ages to finish. But it was expertly written and addressed important themes.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman- Neil Gaiman and I have an interesting relationship. This particular story was WEIRD, and I almost put it down (so many times), but I powered through, and it was amazing.




The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry- This was one of my most favourite reads of 2016. But truth be told, I had a hard time with it. I was waiting for something to happen and not really appreciating what the story was giving me. I slogged though this one, but when I finished it, I was kind of blown away.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner- This books took me eons to read. Mostly because not a lot happens. The first 2/3 of this book is slooooooow- although there are some cool parts, it's one big fat introduction. But then the last quarter is very surprising and kind of amazing. It makes the first bit make so much sense. I was glad I stuck to it.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelsen- This is one of my top five books of all time. I have no idea why it took me forever to read, I don't know why I struggled through it. But I did, and it still is one of my favourites. It's incredible!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer- I actually couldn't get through this book. I had an arc and I battled my desire to not read it. In the end I was only able to get through this by listening to the audio book- which I actually loved. It really brought the story to life and it was incredible. I had no issues with the rest of the series. 







Dracula by Bram Stoker- This book took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting what I got. The story is mostly told in news paper articles, letters and journal entries, and the title character is barely present. It was a stretch getting over that, but once I did, I was able to dig into the story, and really appreciate it.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson- This book was strange, so odd, and written in a way that is a bit hard to digest. I actually put this one down for some months and later picked it back up. In the end I found this an incredibly magical story. Well worth the read.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta- This was hard for me to get into only because I am a big fan of Marchetta's contemporary work, and I was missing that. It was only when I let go of my own hangups was I able to finally love this one.

That's this week's list, I hope you enjoy. Have any of you read any of the books I mentioned? What are your thoughts on them?

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock




Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.


ARC provided by Raincoast Books/ Swoon Reads



Hi everyone,

I feel like I haven't blogged in quite some time and that's when I realized I haven't. Life basically got in the way and I haven't actually been reading that much and when I was it was a bunch of non-fiction books I picked up from the library or me trying really hard to work on my re-reading challenge.

One of the few new fiction books I did read was Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock. We all know how much I love a good relationship-starts-off-by-hating-one-another-and-they -eventually -grow -to- stand- each- other- and- maybe- even- end- up- loving- one- another-stories (was that I bit too much, I apologize). These two are initially set up because they are forced to work on a project together and this just brought back so many memories I have of being partnered with someone who I knew wouldn't do any of the work, but because I didn't want to fail, got a solid A while doing nothing. I loved this concept because it really forced Jenny and Chance to be stuck together and forced to have small talk just to get their assignment done, so of course this one was going to be one of my favourite books ever, right?

Not so much, which hurts me to say.

The relationship felt so forced and I didn't buy it or how quickly Jenny and Chance went from not speaking to one another (I got the impression they barely knew the other one existed despite going to the same school together for quite some time. I get not talking, but I knew everyone in my grade back when I was in high school and I didn't talk to everyone), to the entire school believing they were indeed best friends. Um no, that doesn't make sense at all; it felt like overnight everything changed. I mean maybe the entire school was being Punk'd or something: Like surprise, Jenny an Chance were secret friends the entire time! PLOT TWIST! I actually think I would have rather enjoyed that.

I understand that teens are mostly in their own little words and don't care about other people besides themselves and their inner circles, but I feel like somebody would have said something. It didn't really feel like a genuine school setting to me. I mean, wouldn't it make sense that Jenny's actual real best friend say something or even question her about it? Nope, it was like Kasey (I believe that is her name. To be honest she felt like she was added for convenience of Jenny having a friend) was okay with everything that Jenny told her. Robot friend maybe?

There's one thing Jenny does that felt so completely out of character for her, but I'm not going to say what it is; you'll have to read it yourself to find out!

What also really bothered me,  was at times I felt Chance did not act like a 17 year old or that Jenny would randomly use dialogue that wouldn't be said by her. It was almost like the author morphed the two together and took characteristics from each. Chance would go from describing the wallpaper in Jenny's bedroom, to Jenny randomly dropping the F bomb.

What I did enjoy was how the chapters alternated between Jenny and Chance; I thought this brought a great insight into what each was thinking at all times and not just how the main character perceives the other one as.

I also enjoyed how this book was able to bring back so many memories of being back in high school. I can't say I had the same experiences as Jenny at her age, but it brought me back to the somewhat shy but had an attitude teenager I was.

I can see how this book some readers will love and others won't; you gotta enjoy how books can do that to people!

2 out of 5 stars.

Until my next review,

Stefanie

P.S. I hope everyone is having a great summer!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

My Mini Thoughts: Simon & The Upside by Becky Albertalli

Hi Friends,

If you were here for my June/July wrap up than you know that I listened to both of Becky Albertalli's novels on audiobook at the end of July. I had planned on reading just the Upside of Unrequited (I even checked it out of the library). In the end, I decided I wanted to read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda first. As soon as I finished it, immediately went onto The Upside of Unrequited.

Today, I bring you my mini thoughts on both of them. Cause they were both pretty amazing.





Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

I don't know why I didn't read this book before now... I really don't. Maybe I was leery of all the hype. Maybe I thought I wasn't going to like it. I don't know. In the end I loved this book- plane and simple.

Simon was a lovely little character and I really enjoyed his voice. He was sweet and genuine and an all round nice guy. I really wanted him to be my friend. I loved his inner conflict when it came to him being blackmailed, his desire to protect both his friends. I loved how he owned it (for the most part) when he screwed up or maybe made some bad decisions. I loved how he dealt with his whole coming out. He didn't shy away from it, I really appreciated it.

What also really made Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda so great was the supporting cast. Simon's friends were amazing, and supportive and encouraging. Simon's parents- LOVED them!! His parents are very present in this book. Which is not always in the case in YA- this a HUGE pet peeve of mine, the lack of parents, like seriously. That is not the case in this book, the grownups are there and they have a say. Simon's parents were lovely.

Albertalli addressed a satchel full of real "issues" like blackmail and bullying and sexuality, and she makes them accessible to readers. These were realistic situations that I am sure most kids could find themselves in. I loved that while this book was dealing with some pretty serious themes, it was still fun and witty and such a joy to read. It wasn't a heavy read by any means.




Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Immediately after I read Simon I jumped into The Upside of Unrequited, and I am SO glad I did. I wasn't ready to let go of all things Albertalli. I was pretty certain I was going to love this book, and super eager to get it started.

I'll say right off the bat that I didn't love this one AS much as I loved Simon, but, I still found it pretty spectacular. I think a lot of what makes this story so incredible is how easy it is to relate to Molly. I was Molly when I was 17. I was a chubby, self-conscious teen. I was the queen of un-reciprocated crushes, and I never felt confident enough to put myself out there. Molly's story and her journey felt very familiar to me. This is SUCH and important feature of this book. It's very much a "you are not alone" kind of story, particularly since Albertalli is speaking from her own experience.

Again, I really loved the adult presence of this story. They were there and they were real and they had a voice. I adored Molly and Cassie's Mums, I loved how both of them had a very real parental role in the lives of their children (I have read some books where the non biological parent isn't really treated as a parent- this is not okay).  I think this is one thing I really find amazing with Albertalli, she recognizes the importance of parents/adults in her story. She knows what their role is and she uses it.

Overall, both of these books, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited, do an amazing job at engaging in an important conversation about extremely relevant situations. But she still presented them in a fun and interesting way. I loved it, and I hope you all will to.  I certainly have every intention of rereading both of these books often.

~Happy Reading Every One

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sara's June/July Recap






Hello Reader Friends.

It's that time again- monthly recap.Well two monthly recaps actually. I don't plan on making this a huge long post. I am aiming to keep this brief.

June was kind of a wonky month for me- I took an intensive summer course through the university, which kicked my butt. I essentially spent the majority of my time working and studying.  The whole month is kind of a blur really.

July was better, I was done with the course, I took some time off work  (like one day). I went to a Cirque de Soleil show- Kurios, I attended the Winnipeg Folk Fest and saw my love City and Colour. I binged watched Big Little Lies (what a show), spent a few days on the beach, went to a mini film fest. It was kind of a busy month if I really think of it. But good, really good. 





The Books:

Number of Books Completed:
14

Physical Books:
6

Audiobooks:
8


Physical Books: 

Looking for Group by Rory Harrison (3 Stars) 
Taking Turns by JA Huss (3.5 Stars) 
Nanny With Benefits by London Hale (3.5 Stars) 
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrois (4.5 Stars) 
Until it Fades by KA Tucker (3 Stars) 
Cocky Client by Whitney G (3.5 Stars)

Favourite Read


This is such an important book. Deals with teen dating violence. I go into a lot of detail in my review. This book. It was a lot. 


The Audiobooks: 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (5 Stars)
Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren (2 Stars) 
The Florentine Bridge by Vanessa Carnevale (2.5 Stars)
Park Avenue Prince by Louise Bay (3.5 Stars) 
The First Taste by Jessica Hawkins (3 Stars) 
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (4 Stars) 
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (4.5 Stars) 
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (4.5 Stars)



This book was AMAZING! Seriously. I read both of Albertalli's books one right after the other and I loved them both. But there was something about Simon that was just SO special. This book is totally worth the hype. 

2017 Resolution Update: 

If you want to see a complete list of my goals check them out here

So, I am little behind- on like everything. I am three books behind on my Goodreads challenge- I am fairly confident I'll catch up. As you can see, I've been totally on the audiobook train these days. I generally am only really "reading" while at work, I am also pretty sure the majority of the audiobooks I listened to were either new buys or from the library (well, one was from the library).  I think the only goal I am succeeding on is the read one 2017 release a month, I've read a bunch of those.

My goal for August is to read more physical books and to catch up on my Goodreads reading challenge. I am not doing great, but I have a plan. 


June on the Blog: 


July on the Blog: 

Stefanie's been the blog's saving grace these past couple months. I love having her here and I hope you do to. With that being said, I am hoping to pick up my blogger boots.  

~Happy Reading Everyone!


Monday, July 31, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini



Young PR star Rose Reed is thrown into the big leagues when her boss leaves town the day of the firm's meeting with Archie Fox, a young, hot, internationally famous British singer-songwriter. The meeting is going badly until Rose suggests a staged romance with up-and-coming, young indie star Raya. He'll do it, but only if Rose becomes his publicist. 

As the faux-mance begins to rehabilitate Archie's faltering career, Rose finds his herself having unexpected, inconvenient and definitely unprofessional feelings for the crooner. But do late night texts and impromptu burrito binges mean he feels the same? In the end, Rose will have to decide whether to let her fantasy crush go, or to risk her reputation to be with the charming, handsome, scoundrel-y but sweet pop star she's grown to love.





If you haven't read Katie Heaney's Never Have I Ever: My Life So Far Without a Date, please stop reading this and go read that because it's the main reason why I've picked up both of her fiction novels. I felt Her memoir was basically written for me; it hit way too close to home, but it made such a strong impression that the two other books she has published I've scooped up instantly. Public Relations being her second on, after Dear Emma. I didn't really enjoy Dear Emma, so I had very high hopes for this one.

The premise was everything I love in books/movies; a celebrity having a fake relationship. I loved that we get a behind the scenes look into all detail that goes into choosing and planning who Archie will pick, because we usually just see the outcome of who is chosen and how the relationship plays out. 

Rose starts off as your typical millennial; has a good job, and she's worked really hard to get where she is. Nobody has really given her a chance because she's so young and nobody really takes her seriously. When she is given the chance to attend a meeting in place of her boss, she's finally given a chance to prove herself, except she is given on instruction: not to speak at the meeting. She breaks that rule, when she mentions to Archie to start a fake relationship with an up-and-coming singer. He agrees and Rose is finally given the chance she needs to prove herself. 

Normally I love these types of stories; the rags to riches/finally proves everyone she's meant to be doing what she's doing stories. I was cheering for Rose the entire time, except that I found her so annoying. She not only bored me, but she almost seemed like a cardboard cutout of all the millennial clichés out there, which I hated because not everyone in their mid-late 20s/early 30s acts like this. This didn't help that at times, the pages were filled with text and not dialogue. This made me resent Rose more, because it was about what she was doing and not actually allowing us to fully see what was going on. 

Than there was Rose's Tinder date/love interest. I can't even with that because if Tinder was filled with surgeons, everybody would be finding love on that. Now I'm not saying surgeons don't actually use Tinder, but it felt just too convenient that he was this perfect man. I've never used Tinder, but I have friends that have and I've seen what's on there and I'm sayin' that none of them were surgeons! 

Archie. Well Archie is basically Harry Styles, from having the same tattoos and dating an older woman, a la Taylor Swift. That really took away from the story.  I get why Archie was modeled after him (I mean who doesn't love One Direction), but creating their own kind of singer would have been more interesting. When Rose and Archie did have dialogue between them, I really enjoyed it because it was filled with sarcasm. 

While I didn't end up loving this book, it was a decent read and I enjoyed it more than Dear Emma. I'm sure I probably won't re-read this, I am excited for Heaney's second memoir that's being released next year. I'm disappointed with this one and happy I requested it from the library. 

2.5 stars out of 5

Until my next review, 

Stefanie

Friday, July 21, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari




Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?


Since I named this book my favourite book so far of 2017 I figured the best thing I could do after that was review it and let you know why it's my favourite so far!

I initially saw this book on a Goodreads list for upcoming YA Books of 2017 (and you know I make my to-read lists like a year in advance, because who else loves torturing themselves looking at books you want to read for a solid year+ before they actually get released!) and loved the cover. After reading the synopsis it immediately went on my wish-list and I pre-ordered it a month before it's release. I'll be doing the same for its sequel (which feels like it won't be released for another 8000 years).

I couldn't help but love it for these main reasons:
  • 1) I'm always a sucker for a book involving those with magic 
  • 2) Amber was sarcastic 
  • 3) I tend to enjoy books that have a more gentle tone and that aren't about how the world is ending
  • 4) The best friend Amani

Anything that involves magic will generally get me to check it out. I think because I so wish I had some sort of super power that I can't help but love any book/movie that involves it. The whole atmosphere that Crystal Cestari has created here really made me feel like I was in Chicago myself (never been to the city, except for its airport where I bought a pink shot glass that reads Chicago Princess, because why not?) and I wish I could go to the Navy Pier; I can only imagine what the inside of Windy City Magic looks like.

Our main character Amber truly should be my friend; the amount of sarcasm and snark that come out of her mouth basically destined us as friends. She doesn't put up with crap from anyone and I LOVED that. Yes she has her moments of teen angst and I think as I get older (scariest sentence I've typed in a while, hate the fact that I'm getting older) I need to remember that I was just the same at that age. I'm happy the teen angst didn't draw away from the story line or bog it down like it has in some stories I've read. I loved her being a matchmaker; definitely don't see that in YA lit or much lit for that matter unless its a mortal one. The concept of Amber being able to see your soulmate by looking into your eyes is so cool and I enjoyed that her gift was used and we got to read about just how it works.

Amani her best friend was a great character. She herself had the best sub-plot line of the book, which I won't spoil for you. I always enjoy a good solid female friendship, where they don't put each other down, but act as true friends and are there for one another. She herself had a great magical ability, but you'll have to read the book to find out what hers is.

I'm finding now that YA tends to be filled with a lot more serious themed books and a nice, gentle read is almost hard to find. When I picked this one up it was great to take a break from the serious to just have a fun, magical read. All types of magical types were included throughout and didn't just stick to witches and matchmakers; I love books that include all types of magical beings. Also no major cliffhanger, but it ends with enough that you just want to dive into book 2.

This is recommended for those looking for a fun, quick (I read it in a day and a half because I couldn't put it down) read that has a dash of magic to it.

5 out of 5 stars!

 Until my next review,

Stefanie


P.S. Side note while writing this review: I was watching a Natalie Wood film on TCM; turns out I can't write a review and watch a movie at the same time because I was constantly getting distracted by both.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Thoughts: Bad Romance by Heather Demetrois


Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape. 


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



This book was kind of intense- and I wasn't expecting it to be. I know this may seem strange considering the content, but Bad Romance is the third book I have read by Heather Demetrois- the previous two I didn't particularly enjoy- I think I rated the two books two and three stars I think.  Therefore I was not expecting very much from this one. I was very wrong, Bad Romance kind of blew me away.

When I become aware of a novel that addresses domestic violence, I tend to gravitate towards them, particularly in teen dating relationships. These types of relationships are very real and I believe it is important that they be featured in YA contemporary novels. Especially if teens can use these stories to recognize potential dangers in their own relationships. Bad Romance does a really amazing job of realizing a lot of the major aspects of what can encompass an abusive relationship. I am completely impressed with how well Demetrois addressed this issue in her book.

Bad Romance tells the Story of Grace and Gavin and their relationship from start to finish. Grace hasn't had it easy in life, her mother is distant and her step-father is controlling at best. Grace does not have a lot of control in her life and she is doing the best she can. When she attracts the eyes of Gavin, the most popular boy in the school, she begins to believe things are looking up for her.

It is no secret that Grace's relationship with Gavin is not the golden bright relationship she's expecting. Very early on Gavin's behaviour begins to exhibit the tell tale signs of abuse and control. It starts off small, Gavin makes off the cuff comments and slight criticisms that for the most part went unnoticed.  As the story progressed, Gavin's control and obsession with Grace grew, and was noticed by those close around her. Demetois has either been a victim of domestic violence herself, or she's researched the cycle of violence and how it can present very well, as none of Gavin's actions throughout the story seemed over the top or exaggerated. While I have never been a victim of domestic violence directly, but I have seen it first hand- and I am very familiar with what it looks like. The relationship was a very accurate portrayal of what such a relationship could look like. So are Grace's responses to her relationship. She was constantly making excuses for Gavin and underplaying his over the top reactions. This is something that happens regularly in these kinds of relationships. 

There were a few things that irked me in the way the story was told, however, it's really not important. None of this took away from the story and what it was trying to say. Heather Demetrois really hit it out of the park with Bad Romance and I am SO glad.

This book is triggering. If you have been in a victim of domestic violence, this story has the potential to really hurt you. But I also think this book is so powerful and so important. 

Overall, Bad Romance was an important read for me, and I am glad to have read it. I am grateful to Heather for having the courage to write such a story. I would encourage everyone to read this. This is book that was created for much more than entertainment, so much more. 

~Happy Reading Everyone.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stefanie's 2017 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag


Hi everyone,

It's July already, how did that happen so soon? I think it'll take me many more years before I realize and get used to just how fast the year goes when you work in a school. My brain, I think, still believes it's May and exams should be coming up. 

I've got so many books I want to read this summer, but you know how it goes: so many books, too little time. I'll be curious just to see how many books I do get read this year, but I thought for now it would be a fun idea to copy Sara and also do the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag, so here it goes.

Best Book You've Read So Far


The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari


I loved this book from page one; it felt like a Disney Channel Movie and i loved every page and I'm desperately waiting for the sequel!!  

Best Sequel You've Read So Far

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han


Because this made me feel like I was back in high school myself, I couldn't help but love this on

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year


Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather


This comes out in October, perfect for Halloween, and the first one was too good to not need the sequel right away

Biggest Disappointment

Textrovert by Lindsey Summers

 

I heard such good things about this one and when I finally got my hands on a copy, I thought it was boring and the main character was whiny; it hurt I didn't like this one

Biggest Surprise

The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo


I hadn't read any other of the authors books before reading this one and I just fell in love with it and all the fairytale theme-park references 

Favourite New Author


M. Tara Crowl, author of Eden's Wish


I found this book completely by random at the library and based on the adorable cover, knew I wanted to read it. It was a really fun story about a genie and I know I'll want to read the sequel as soon as I can find it

Newest Fictional Crush


I feel like I fail at this category anytime it's asked. I find that I don't get book crushes, not after Oliver Wood in Harry Potter. I'll like characters but nothing to the extent of a book crush

Newest Favourite Character


Amber Sand from The Best Kind of Magic. Sarcastic, funny, and low down on the magic scale; I LOVED her!

Book That Made You Cry


Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Thanks to some major nostalgia about growing up, this one made me cry like a baby and made me want to go back in time and visit my younger self

Book That Made You Happy


A New Model by Ashley Graham 


This book is what the world needed and I ended it by having a smile on my face. Body positivity is what the world needs more of

Favourite Book to Movie Adaptation

Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

 

I don't know if this counts, but I'm excited for the next Descendants movie and this fits into the movie world

Favourite Post You've Done This Year

I can't say I really have one, since I haven't actually done that many posts yet. I have the most fun with the month end posts, because I love seeing what books I've read that month and trying to find graphics that fit the month and add to the post.

Most Beautiful Book You've Bought This Year

How to be a Wildflower by Katie Daisy


Drawn completely by Katie Daisy by hand, this book is honestly one of the nicest books I have ever seen. It encourages you to get out into the world and go exploring, something I've been really wanting to do for some time.

New Release You Haven't Read Yet, But Want To


Going Viral by Amy Alward


I love this series and I can't wait to see what adventures Sam has in store for her. This one might be cheating since it's not released yet, but will be soon

What Book Do You NEED to Read By the End of the Year?


Lucky in Love by Kasie West


It's Kasie West so naturally I need this book NOW!!!! I'll probably end up reading it the week it comes out because it just sounds so good!

And that's it! I have to say, this post was a lot of fun writing and now I can see some of the priority books I'll need to get my hands on when they are released!

Hope everyone had a great June!!

Until my next review,

Stefanie


"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