31.12.13

December Recap!

Let's start with a quickie recap of 2013.  Overall, not my greatest reading year, but it wasn't awful.  I read a lot of great books, but also dealt with several looonnng ruts where nothing appealed to me!
Back to December.  I love December.  I think it's the holiday spirit that's in the air.  I wish people were like this all year round.  Imagine a world with this much magic and spirit and love.  I would like to live there.  December also offers a time to reflect and look ahead to a new year.  2014 is going to be a big year for me, and I cannot wait for it to get here!
I took this photo after the ice storm that hit us here in Southern Ontario.  No joke, I was carving three inches of solid ice off of my car, which was conveniently located underneath a tree threatening to break apart.  I should also mention how close those branches were to my neighbor's's power lines.  We were lucky in my neck of the woods, and my power was only out for about 4 hours, with a couple of flickers here and there.  Some people were without power for over a week.  Hopefully everyone is doing better now!

Alright, to the books.  I did a good bit of reading this month, but most of it was series reading.  Curse you, Amazon one-click buying...  I really don't have a favourite.  I enjoyed most of these this month!
What was your favourite read from this past month and what are your plans for New Year's Eve tonight?  I'll be at a country bar wishing I was on my couch with a fuzzy blanket!

30.12.13

Review: Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols

Published July 10th, 2012
MTV Books
325 pages (Hardcover)

When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.

Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.

Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly. (From Goodreads)


Guys!  This is my first Jennifer Echols book!  I really liked it!

In my mind, Jennifer Echols' books equated to those of Sarah Dessen and Nicholas Sparks, which I just wasn't into.  I take it all back.

The plot here was really cool.  Don't lie, you like airplanes.  It makes for an original plot and I respect that.  Leah is ambitious and hard-working and is defying what she was given in order to be something more.  Again, I respect that.  There is a level of maturity there that really matches the tone of the story.  Also, snark.  Everyone loves snark.

I know I say this a lot, but the characters really make this story.  The relationships between Leah, Grayson, Alec, and Molly felt entirely real.  There was that genuine quality.  And I won't lie, I was cheering for Leah and Grayson from the start.  I really liked that the story started in a place where most of the characters all ready knew one another.  I think that is what made it feel so genuine, in that the development flowed and didn't happen too quickly.  

Such A Rush was a roller coaster.  I was content, then heartbroken, confused, swooning and cheering.  It is a great read that has lead me to want more from Jennifer Echols!

27.12.13

Top Ten of 2013: Looking Towards 2014

From December 23rd through 27th, we celebrate our favourite books of 2013 and look ahead to those of 2014.  Be sure to check back each day, and check out our gracious hosts (Rachel from [Fikt]shun, Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads & Jamie from Two Chicks on Books)!

Rules: Must have a release date in 2014


The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
I've followed Lindsay on twitter for ages and cannot wait to read her book!
Expected Publication: June 10th

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Holy shit, I am not ready for this ending.  #TeamAdam
Expected Publication: February 4th

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
(cover to be released)
Another conclusion a long time in the making, except I'm ready for this one.
Expected Publication: May 27th

Pointe by Brandy Colbert
I'm an ex-ballet dancer so yes please.
Expected Publication: April 10th

Be With Me by J. Lynn
I will read anything she writes, and given my love for Wait For You, this is a giant YES.
Expected Publication: February 4th



Raging Star by Moira Young
Another conclusion a long time in the making that I am ready for.
Expected Publication: May 13th

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
(cover to be released)
Woah, another conclusion I'm excited about!
Expected Publication: June 3rd

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
(cover to be released)
The 5th Wave had a great ending.  I'm excited to re-enter this world.
Expected Publication: September 2014

Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Mercenaries.  Spaceships.  If you're not sold we're going to have an issue.
Expected Publication: January 21st

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Again, she could write anything and I would be tearing my skin off to read it.  ANYTHING.
Expected Publication: February 25th

2013 was fun, but there are some exciting titles coming in 2014!  What book are you most excited for?  Leave me a comment so I can check out your list, and thanks for spending this week with me!

26.12.13

Top Ten of 2013: Best Book Boyfriends

From December 23rd through 27th, we celebrate our favourite books of 2013 and look ahead to those of 2014.  Be sure to check back each day, and check out our gracious hosts (Rachel from [Fikt]shun, Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads & Jamie from Two Chicks on Books)!

Rules: Must be a book released and read in 2013


Cam
Wait For You by J. Lynn
Because he freakin' waited.  From my experience, they just don't wait for you to get your shit together.

Adam
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
I don't care what you say, I'm still rooting for Adam because he is just amazing.

Hector
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
I may have a thing for the gruff, protective, badass type.

Aiden
Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Again, badass.  How do you not love Aiden, who is strong and courageous and goes after what he wants?

Isaiah
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
He can fix my car any day.  We can connect over our love for speed.


Kaiden
Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins
Drummer.  That's really all I have to say here.  Read the book.  He brings the heat.

Finn
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
Because he loves books and wears glasses and is unique and I like that.

Ryan
Dare You To by Katie McGarry
I like baseball, but I cheer for the Jays and I'm sorry but none of them are *that* attractive (except Rasmus, who I will forever love).  I like athletic types who will play/watch sports with me and drink beer and listen to country music.

Beast
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Again, strong manly man.  I have no issues with that.

Ben
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
I'm not entirely sure why.  I just felt a connection to this character throughout the book.

Question time!  Who was your book boyfriend of 2013?  Share them with me!

25.12.13

Top Ten of 2013: Best Couples

From December 23rd through 27th, we celebrate our favourite books of 2013 and look ahead to those of 2014.  Be sure to check back each day, and check out our gracious hosts (Rachel from [Fikt]shun, Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads & Jamie from Two Chicks on Books)!

Rules: Must be from a book read in 2013


Blay & Qhuinn
Lover At Last by J.R. Ward
because it's about freakin' time!

Hector & Elisa
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
because they would stand by each other through anything!

Cam & Avery
Wait For You by J. Lynn
because these two stood out as a pair I was actually rooting for, among the NA club!

Cath & Levi
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
because they're cute, okay?

Addie & Trevor
Pivot Point by Kasie West
because the ending of Pivot Point broke my heart!


Sybella & Beast
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
because they battled their demons together!

Aiden & Alex
Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
because they broke a few rules for love (yes, this was corny but I don't care)!

Anna & St. Clair
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
because love at a french boarding school!

Tod & Kaylee
With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent
because they got their happy ending!

Cate & Finn
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
because I'm still rooting for them!

Let's share!  Who was your favourite bookish couple this year?  Leave me comment and tell me what your list was about today!

And to those that are celebrating, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, from my family to yours!
If you're not celebrating, have a Happy Wednesday!

24.12.13

Top Ten of 2013: Best Covers

From December 23rd through 27th, we celebrate our favourite books of 2013 and look ahead to those of 2014.  Be sure to check back each day, and check out our gracious hosts (Rachel from [Fikt]shun, Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads & Jamie from Two Chicks on Books)!


Rules: Must have been released in 2013, should have been read in 2013 as well




These are all books that I had to have on my shelf.  These are the ones that I want to "show off".  So tell me, what was your favourite cover of 2013?  Share in the comments below!


23.12.13

Top Ten of 2013: Best Books

From December 23rd through 27th, we celebrate our favourite books of 2013 and look ahead to those of 2014.  Be sure to check back each day, and check out our gracious hosts (Rachel from [Fikt]shun, Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads & Jamie from Two Chicks on Books)!

Rules: has to be read in 2013, does not have to be published in 2013

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (review)
Why it is the best: Etienne St.Clair.  Enough said.  This book transports the reader to a beautiful Paris and a lovely romance.  I had a serious case of wanderlust after this read.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (review)
Why it is the best: It's original and honest and awesome.  I may not write fanfic, but I truly connected with Cate and her transition to college life.

Wait for You by J. Lynn
Why it is the best: OMG J. Lynn writes sexual tension like no other.  Cam and Avery had me from the first page, and the companion novel Trust In Me could just as easily made this list!

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson (review)
Why it is the best: The world needs a few more Hector-types.  On top of that, the evolution of Elisa is beyond amazing and I just love the whole world and story!

Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout (review)
Why it is the best: I dub thee the most painful and heart-wrenching conclusion of the year.  I cannot wait for Seth's turn in the spotlight in 2015 (which, btw, is too far away...).


Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (review)
Why it is the best: I cried, like, six times.  My copy is seriously tear-stained.  Beast and Sybella get a slow clap from me.  Historical isn't my thing, but this book had me from start to finish.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (review)
Why it is the best: Tahereh is a downright amazing author.  This story is spectacular.  The conclusion will likely destroy me (haha) in 2014, but I remain 100% Team Adam!

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (review)
Why it is the best: It's original and engaging and heartbreaking.  Best worst ending ever.

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (review)
Why it is the best: You can't not love these characters.  When the secondary characters steal your heart as much as these ones do, you have a winner.  TTEN also stands out in a genre where everything is starting to feel the same.

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia (review)
Why it is the best: The world building.  The praise from Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson (you've never watched Ghost Hunters?!?!) backs this up.  I'm not an expert by any means, but I know a fair bit about the paranormal and much of this book is solid.  Unbreakable also had one of my favourite beginnings to a book this year!

And I leave you with a question: What was your favourite read of 2013?  If I had to choose one of these, I don't think I could!  I just can't commit.

19.12.13

Single Shot: Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi

Published December 17th, 2013
HarperCollins
68 pages (eBook)

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam's focus couldn't be further from the upcoming battle. He's reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend's life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James's safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It's time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam's newly discovered half brother, won't be that easy. The Reestablishment can't tolerate a rebellion, and they'll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about. (From Goodreads)


Well, shit.  That was literally my only reaction.  I mean it in the best way possible but geez, WHY DOES TAHEREH DO THIS TO US?!

I'm not typically a connoisseur of novellas, but I couldn't hold back on this one.  I am 100% #TeamAdam and could not turn down Adam's perspective.  It was just as heartbreaking as I expected, especially when coupled with the Ignite Me preview.  Adam has always had this crazy internal struggle going on, and see it in words pained me.  I want to hug him and tell him it will all be okay.  It's nice to see a little more of his relationship with his brother, as well.  James is this constant force in his life, and I never realized how much that competed with his need for Juliette.

I'm now begging for Ignite Me.  And I remain #TeamAdam entirely.  Wholeheartedly.  Tahereh Mafi has shattered my heart, but all the little pieces are still rooting for Juliette and Adam.  Best $2.99 I've spent in a while.

18.12.13

"Waiting On" Roomies

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!


It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.  (From Goodreads)


I have a very specific reason why I am excited for this book.  In the new year, I will be entering y last semester of University, and have to move for four months.  I am renting a room in a two-bedroom apartment, which means new roommate.  I literally know nothing about her.  Different life stages, but I'm really excited to give Roomies a read!  Get ready, because Roomies is out December 24th, 2013!  So, get ready and curl up under the Christmas lights.  That's where I'll be!

17.12.13

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013's New-To-Me Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful ladies over at
The Broke And The Bookish!

This Week's Topic:
Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

Writing this list and going through the books I've read this year, I realized I really didn't read that many new authors.  I read a lot from authors I already enjoyed.  Hellooooo goal for 2014.  I love finding those new authours.  Last year, Jennifer L. Armentrout was my favourite new-to-me author.  This year, I have to say it was Rae Carson.  Guys, the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy did terrible things to my heart.  I just loved it.  I cannot wait to read more from Rae, as well as these 9 other awesome authors!

Links to my reviews (if available):
Reviews coming for Ann Aguirre's Razorland Trilogy

Who was your favourite new-to-you authour this year?  Who do I need to check out?

16.12.13

Review: Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

Published October 1st, 2013
HarlequinTEEN
268 pages (Kindle Edition)

Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She'll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father's French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami's family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian's all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami's starting to feel. And Cami can't stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He's got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated… (From Goodreads)


Okay, so this was a good read, but kind of forgettable.

When I was reading it, I was really enjoying the story.  It was hot and swoon-worthy.  (Side note: Why are ski lodges so hot and romantic and a place to bring out all the feelings?!)  Let's be honest, what girl wouldn't want Julian?  The aspect of self-discovery was a nice touch.  We get to watch Cami grow into her own person and reach for her own goals.  We get to watch Julian heal, battle his own demons and discover what he wants out of his life.  Plus, that ending was so friggin' cute and romantic.  There aren't words for that ending.

The problem is that I found it somewhat forgettable.  It's been a couple weeks since I read the book and, until I copied the description above, I had forgotten what the book was entirely.  The description sparked my memory on the parts I loved, but there are likely large chunks I don't remember.  I didn't remember the character names.  I had forgotten that ending I loved.  I forgot the ski lodge?!  I'm not sure what the story was missing, but there needed to be something to make me remember.  As nice as the cover is, it tells me nothing about the story.

I do recommend Stir Me Up.  It was hot and I really did enjoy reading it.  There was just a little something missing.  That wow-factor wasn't there for me.  Still, I wouldn't pass up on the sexy Julian time.

13.12.13

Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Published October 1st, 2013
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
320 pages (Hardcover)

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way. (From Goodreads)


I LOVED THIS BOOK.  LOVED IT.  LOVED IT!

I love secret societies and I love the paranormal.  Integrating the two was perfection.  Not going to lie, as excited as I was, I was skeptical as to how it would actually turn out.  The paranormal aspects were well founded in actual beliefs.  It was clear that Kami Garcia put some research into her novel.  I will say that the Shift idea confused me a bit, but this didn't take away the overall story.

I loved the pacing of the book.  I think I only sat it down once, and not out of choice.  From the start, I was completely engaged in the plot.  The action starts fast and is spaced well.  The book almost progresses in stages, with the bursts of action and drama.  This created a nice flow.

The characters were great.  Each had their own distinct personality and complemented one another.  I know this is predictable, but Jared was my favourite.  Sigh, damaged and  angsty Jared.  I really enjoyed the interaction and tension between him and his twin brother.  I also liked the relationship that developed between him and Kennedy.  No insta-love here.  We've got a nice slow-building and satisfying romance to go along with the story.  But beyond this, the friendships between the group as a whole develop throughout the story.  I felt Kennedy's emotions as the story progressed, although I do question why she trusted the boys so quickly.  I mean, if two unknown (attractive) boys show up in my bedroom, I'm not hopping a van with them. 

I loved Unbreakable and cannot wait for book two.  Fans of the paranormal will adore this book, but I would recommend it to anyone.  Go get it now.

12.12.13

Review: The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified! by Jessica Seinfeld

Published October 3rd, 2013
Atria Books
256 pages (Hardcover)

Are you smart enough to dodge a telemarketer yet clueless as to how to chop a clove of garlic? Are you clever enough to forward an e-mail but don’t know the difference between broiling and baking? Ingenious enough to operate a blow-dryer but not sure how to use your blender? If you are basically competent, then Jessica Seinfeld’s The Can’t Cook Book is for you.

If you find cooking scary or stressful or just boring, Jessica has a calm, confidence-building approach to cooking, even for those who’ve never followed a recipe or used an oven. Jessica shows you how to prepare deliciously simple food—from Caesar salad, rice pilaf, and roasted asparagus to lemon salmon, roast chicken, and flourless fudge cake. At the beginning of each dish, she explains up front what the challenge will be, and then shows you exactly how to overcome any hurdles in easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

Designed to put the nervous cook at ease, The Can’t Cook Book is perfect for anyone who wants to gain confidence in the kitchen—and, who knows, maybe even master a meal or two. (From Goodreads)

A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way influenced my opinion.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster for also providing photos from the book for this review.

I cannot cook to save my life.  I know I'm not the only person out there in this boat, and I'm about to tell you why you should pick up this book!


First off, this book gives you the basics.  It starts with a summary of the basics that a well stocked kitchen needs.  I immediately realized that I lacked several things, and I think that is my only real complaint with the book.  It sort of assumes that the reader can go out and pick up whatever they are missing.  Some people with real jobs may be able to, but college students with limited budgets and no cooking skills can go out and purchase a food processor on a whim.  There were a couple recipes I would love to try, as soon as I decide how to combat my lack of a food processor (apparently a blender won't cut it...).


Beyond this annoyance, the book really does break down the basics of cooking for the reader.  There is a whole section of how-to tips that the recipes will refer you back to.  They're basic things, but so handy to refer back too.  The book also includes conversion charts and a table of what's in season.  These little details are awesome.


The recipes are great.  I've tried a few, including the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, Your First Chili, and Toasted Pine Nut and Cranberry Quinoa, and I enjoyed them all.  I wouldn't say any of the recipes are groundbreaking, but they're all simple, and the ones I have tried have been delicious!  Overall, the directions are pretty simple to follow, and include an outline of all the ingredients and equipment required.  And there are pictures of EVERYTHING, which I love having!  The photography is fantastic (as you can see oh my I am hungry now).


I love this book.  Like actually love it.  I wish this had been out when I first started living on my own.  If you need to work on your cooking skills, or know someone learning to cook for themselves, check this out now!

11.12.13

"Waiting On" Split Second

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!


Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything. (From Goodreads)


If you have yet to read Pivot Point, do it now!  It is such an addicting book with an ending that left me a mess.  I'm sure the sequel will leave me no better.  Get ready guys, because Split Second hits shelves on February 11th, 2014!