Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Latest 5 Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we make booksih lists about bookish things.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Latest 5 Star Reads

1. When We Collided by Emery Lord - This one hasn't been released yet, but I beg of all of you to buy it the day it comes out. Such a heart-wrenching read about mental illness, grief, and falling in love.

2. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston - I want to scream about this book from the rooftops! If only this were how things happened in real life, but I'm glad it's in book form and hopefully one day it will be real.

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - It's been awhile since I've wanted to dive into a dystopian and this one made it worth it.

4. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer - I'm still not ready to leave this universe and this book was the perfect ending to a wonderful series. Still want more though.

5. First & Then by Emma Mills - Everything about this book is wonderful. Seriously, go read it.

6. A Night in with Marilyn Monroe by Lucy Holliday - Libby Lennox is the new Becky Bloomwood and her stories about starlets appearing on her couch are hilarious and so much fun to read.

7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - The feels, guys, the feels.

8. Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson - Paris, 1920s, enough said.

9. He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker - Something very different from one of my favourite NA authors. This one was more along the lines of Gone Girl and I loved it!

10. Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren - This is one of my favourite series and this was the perfect conclusion to it. Love these gals!

What have you read recently that you absolutely loved?

Review: Wink, Poppy, Midnight

Wink, Poppy, Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Published: March 22, 2016
Hardcover, 247 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

This is the kind of book that leaves you wondering what really happened the minute you close the book and long after. It makes you think ,second guess, and want to go back and re-read it after knowing the ending. What's real, what's not real? Is there really magic and it did cause any of the things to happen, or was it all inside someone's head? I love these kinds of books. They give me something to think about long after I've finished and make me question things I believed or didn't believe throughout the book.

Okay, so I know I'm being super mysterious, but there's no real way of reviewing this book fully without giving things away. The description of this book is vague for a reason. But I do still want people to read it, so I'll give it a try. Midnight has been in love with Poppy for as long as he's known. He was her first and her his, but it meant more to Midnight than it did to Poppy. Midnight is sweet and uncertain and has finally stood his ground and stopped letting Poppy control him. This is when he meets Wink, his new neighbor and the weird girl from school. Midnight and Wink immediately form a bound and Poppy hates it. Poppy needs to have it all, Midnight included. Thus starts a web of lies, humiliating acts and dangerous things that no teenager should be involved with. 

Setting plays as big a part as the character do in this story. We see the story through all three of their perspectives, therefore we see the same houses and areas from each of their eyes as well. Scariest of all is the Roman Luck house, an abandoned house not far from where they live that Wink believes is haunted, Poppy is scared beyond belief of and Midnight just finds creepy. It is a character and plays a huge part, a part that I still can't get out of my head. Another major setting is the hayloft at Wink's family farm. It means something different to each character and weaves together a story only they know the truth about. 

The characters were all unreliable, all had secrets, and all did thing they shouldn't be proud of. Even though this may sound like I hated them, I loved each and every one of them in a different way. Midnight, as naive as he was, knew he'd done things he shouldn't have done and wanted to fix them. Wink, possibly my favourite character, should not be underestimated. And Poppy, oh Poppy, she is the kind of character we're all supposed to hate. She's the bully, the mean girl, the one who uses and abuses, but I loved her. She had so much depth and just wanted to be liked and I fell under her spell like the rest of them. 

A tale of mystery, intrigue, magic and bad things, this book will stay with me for a long time and will probably feel completely different if I read it again. I had a chance to meet the author yesterday and I could see how she weaved this together, why she made these characters the way she did, and it made me love it even more. 

"Revenge. Justice. Love. They are the three stories that all other stories are made up of. It's the trifecta.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: First & Then

First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Published: October 13th, 2015
Hardcover, 272 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

I'll be honest, I haven't read Pride and Prejudice yet (though it's on my list this year) but as a fan of the movie and Jane Austen in general, this book was the perfect mix of the classic novel and contemporary life. Devon is your normal high school girl. She's best friends with Cas, one of the football players, and watches all the games from the comfort of the bleachers while also harbouring a secret crush on him. But when Devon's cousin, Foster, moves in, suddenly everything changes. She knows he'll embarrass her but when the star running back, Ezra, takes him under his wing, things change. Ezra has a superiority complex and every girl in school wants to be with him, but the way he treats Foster makes Devon re-think her judgement on him and the more time they spend together, the more she thinks he's not so bad. 

Devon is such a realistic character. She's in her final year of high school and still has no idea what she wants to do in life. Sounds a lot like me to tell you the truth. As she's trying to figure it all out, enter Foster, someone she wants nothing to do with but is suddenly forced into acting like his sister. For an only child, I can imagine this is a shock to the system and it takes Devon a while to finally understand Foster and why he's there. When he starts to fit in with the football jocks, she can't believe it and thinks they are trying to mess with him and will eventually will make a fool out of him. When she realizes that they actually do like him and the more she gets to know him, the closer they become. I love a story that focuses on more than just romance. The love between siblings is just as important and Emma does a spectacular job of showing acceptance and the bond that forms between siblings. 

Ezra as Mr. Darcy made me swoon. He's standoffish at first and seems exactly how you'd think a star football would be. But the way he treats Foster is seriously the best thing ever. He's gentle in his teachings and confidently lets Foster know he'll make a good kicker. He's patient and supportive and anyone would be a fool not to fall for him. The dynamic between him and Devon is wonderful. I love a story where they start by not really getting along and growing to realize they are totally hot for each other. Ezra is the quiet, brooding type, someone who prefers to be on the sidelines of a party. He watches Devon deal with Cas being a jerk and is there for her when she needs it. 

I love that this takes place in a football town. The Friday Night Lights comparison is perfect and you really see how football is its own character. It's where Ezra came to life and where he taught Foster he could do whatever he wanted to do. It brought Devon and Foster together. It's as wonderful as the Jane-isms that Devon throws in here and there. I know I'll appreciate this more once I read P & P, which will just give me a good excuse to reread this wonderful book. It's short, and boy do I wish it were longer just so that it wouldn't have ended. The romance is wonderful (want more kissing) and the sibling relationship was so well done that it made me go hug my brother. This book is just a perfect little thing that everyone needs to read, Austen fan or not. A contemporary I won't soon forget.

"I should've been better. But sometimes all you can really stand to do is think about yourself. Sometimes it's the only way to cope."

"Just because you like hair and makeup doesn't mean you're stupid."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Review: Tiny Pretty Things

Tiny Pretty Things
Authors: Sonia Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Published: May 26th, 2015
Hardcover, 448 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

 Ballet is a sport I've always been fond of. I love the discipline, the grace and the effortless look they achieve on stage. Growing up, Center Stage was my favourite movie because it gave me a behind the scenes look at what these girls and guys do to become the best. Black Swan took that even further and now Tiny Pretty Things gives me a cruel reality that is professional ballet. Following three elite ballerinas at the Manhattan Ballet School, this book dives into the scheming, backstabbing lives that potential ballerinas live in order to succeed in the business. Bette is following in her sister's footsteps and knows she's a shoe-in for the lead in The Nutcracker. June has always been in the wings, always the understudy, and her mom is finally trying to put an end to it. if she doesn't get a lead role, she's out. Gigi is the new girl, a great ballerina with a different style and look than the others are used to. Does skin colour really affect what kind of dancer you can be? When the cast list is announced, everyone is surprised by the results and not everyone is happy. Terrible things start happening to Gigi, June's eating disorder is getting worse, and Bette's pill supply is dwindling faster than usual. Who's responsible for everything happening to Gigi? June, Bette, or someone else. It's a cutthroat world and no one is safe.

This book pulled me in from the start. I love ballet so just reading about these girls practicing their jettes and pirouettes and getting roles in ballets made me smile. The gruesome way they act towards each other did not surprise me and it made for a great, thrilling read. The psychology of these dancers, the way their brains work and how far they will go to be on top is crazy but true. The writers did a fantastic job at capturing the ruthless intent that some people have to get what they want. Sex, lies, sabotage are just some the things this book plays on, but it's so much more than that. It's the power that a role can have. The power that a teacher holds over you and how far you'll go to prove them wrong. Bette's intentions were cruel and maybe June's were too, but they were explained so well that you can't help but understand why these girls would do what they did. This book left a lot hanging and I'm glad that there will be a sequel. I can't wait to find out what happens with Casey and how the next season will play out for these girls. 

It's wonderful that books are becoming more diverse these days and this one is perfectly well-rounded. Gigi is black and gets the lead even though everyone thinks she doesn't look the part. She deals with unruly hair and the thought that she isn't as pretty as Bette, who is blonde and white, and it's such a realistic view of the world. June is Asian, anorexic and wears enough make-up to make her look whiter. This book tackles so much more than just diversity. Eating disorders, prescription drug abuse, racism, bullying, heart defects and coming out to name a few. It adds to the intensity of the book in the best way possible. I hope that this book can help those who are dealing with some of these things and find the strength that these characters show inspiring.

Beautifully written and crazy manipulative and suspenseful, this book kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who was lying, who wanted more than they could handle and who would go way too far. Perfect for any ballet fans, especially those who have experienced this first hand, and anyone looking for a thrilling, poetic book about young girls who will do whatever it takes. Some of which know no bounds.

“The moment you think you're on top is the moment you've lost your passion.” 

“The Sugar Plum Fairy has the farthest to fall.”

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016: A Year in Surveys

Happy New Year book lovers! It's always an exciting time, the last day of the year, where I decide if I can read one more book before midnight and to determine how many books I read this year. There were some amazing ones, some from my favourite authors and many new authors I've added to my must buy list. There are some great surveys going around this time of year, so I thought I'd answer some questions as well! This is a bit of a mix from Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner‘s End of the Year Survey ;  Andi @ Andi’s ABCs Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide’s Statistics Survey, and Erica & Christy @ Novel Reads’ Countdown Survey. Here goes!

2015 Reading Stats


Number of Books You Read: 138
Number of Re-Reads:
Genre You Read the Most From: YA Contemporary

Best in Books


Best book you read in 2015: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Book you were excited about and thought you'd love more but didn't: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Best series you started in 2015: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Best sequel of 2015: Every Word by Ellie Marney
Best series ender of 2015: Winter by Marissa Meyer
Best book from a genre you don't typically read/out of your comfort zone: The Martian by Andy Weir

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: Liars Inc. by Paula Stokes
Favourite cover of a book you read in 2015: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Most beautifully written book read in 2015: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Book you can't believe you waited until 2015 to read: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
OTP of the year: Cress and Thorne (Winter by Marissa Meyer)

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Book that made you cry in 2015: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Hidden gem of the year: First & Then by Emma Mills

Book that crushed your soul: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Read on a recommendation: Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Book that became an instant go-to recommendation: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Book you wanted to hug after finishing: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
Book you wanted to throw across the room: Towering by Alex Flinn

Shortest and longest book read: Shortest: Happy Again by Jennifer E. Smith (84 pages) Longest: Winter by Marissa Meyer (824 pages)
One book you didn't get to in 2015 but will be your number one priority in 2016: This Shattered World by Meagan Spooner/Amie Kaufman

 All in all, this was a great year of books for me. I read a lot of NA as well, but that alone could take up an entire survey so I'll leave that for another time. Here's hoping 2016 is even better, and let's see if I can beat my record! Happy New Year guys, and happy reading!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: Winter

Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: November 10th, 2015
Hardcover, 824 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

It was certainly bittersweet finishing this series. I've followed along since Cinder came out in paperback (so not quite as long as others) and fell in love. When Scarlet came out, I knew I'd found my new favourite heroine. And I waited hours to meet Marissa Meyer at Yorkdale mall when Cress was released. Dressed in my red hoodie, I knew I'd love Cress as much as Scarlet and damn was it good. And now, Winter is finished and I'm still not ready to say goodbye to this series. Winter is a great heroine, all four of these ladies are, and her story is just as fantastic and important as the rest. I loved watching everything come together in this fourth book, and seeing all our characters get their happy endings. This is probably the longest teen book I've read but the 800 pages were still too few when I turned the last one. This has been one epic adventure spanning planets with hope, love, and redemption. 

We finally got to meet Winter. She's been hinted at and we know about her background from Fairest, Queen Levana's prequel book, and she is bad ass. Scarred from a young age so that she is no longer the most beautiful on Luna, Winter has endured much from Levana, but not nearly as much as Selene did. Even though her face is scarred, she is still seen as the most beautiful girl on Luna, a praise that Levana despises. Levana will do anything to get rid of Winter once and for all, including using Jacin, Winter's personal guard and very good friend, to kill her. Jacin's feelings for Winter stop him from doing so and he hides Winter until the time is right. Cinder and her friends are on their way to Luna to stop the wedding of Prince Kai and Queen Levana and to get the rightful ruler back on the throne - Princess Selene (also known as Cinder). There are so many plot lines and many adventures that make this book riveting from start to finish. Seeing how it all came together was magical and wonderful and I couldn't be happier with how this all ended. 

Even though this is Winter's story, everyone still gets equal page time. My favourite has to be Cress and Thorne as they discover their feelings for each other and have moments that were certainly swoon-worthy and wonderful. Scarlet and Wolf have some ups and downs as Wolf faces a part of his life he had hoped to leave behind, and Cinder is trying to run a revolution while also making sure her boyfriend doesn't end up married to another woman. I love that most of this book took place on Luna, it gave me a chance to really see how that planet is run and how different it is from Earth. It certainly gave the whole book a magical quality, something I've found this series has lots of.

I could say more, I could give away the whole book because I want to talk about it all night, but I also want you all to experience it yourselves. Please read The Lunar Chronicles, fall in love with these characters and their stories. Go into a futuristic fairytale world and relive the stories we know by heart from our childhood. If you're a Sailor Moon fan, I hope you catch the references and enjoy how it all weave together. I love fairy tales and re-tellings and this series is by far my favourite of both. Stars, there's no way else to say this - this book is fan-freaking-tastic! I can't wait for the last piece of the puzzle, Stars Above, coming out 2016!

“She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option.”

“She’s our lost princess. And she’s coming home.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wouldn't Mind Finding Under the Tree

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we discuss bookish topics in the form of lists.

This week's topic is:

Top Ten books I wouldn't mind having Santa leave me under the tree.

1. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - Okay, like I need this sequel!

2. The Distance From Me to You by Marina Gessner - I've had my eye on this one for awhile now.

3. Sublime by Christina Lauren - I'm obsessing over her adult series, gotta get into her YA.

4. Hemingway in Love by A.E. Hotchner - I've only heard good things about this one!

5. All the Words are Yours: Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson - I love him!

6. Lullabies by Lang Leav - She is fantastic!

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - Because you gotta have a classic.

8. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey - The first one blew me away!

9. Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young -Something I'm thinking I'll read next October?

10. The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood - Just found this one today, looks like fun!

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