Tuesday, 10 October 2017

2017 Favourites Part 3

Part 1 here
Part 2 here


Oh hey. I'm still kinda hanging around here. Think about my blog sometimes. Like when I realize we're 10 days into October and I'm late doing this post. I leave for vacation early tomorrow morning, so this is going to be a rush job. But I want to get it done and out.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to me fellow Canadians! If you're anything like my house, there are now two weeks worth of turkey leftovers.
The 2017 trend continues; my reading is going alright. I've yet to discover that stand out read for my reading year. I've read a lot of blahs. Done a lot of rereads. And read some pretty good books. But in all honesty, I had to refresh myself on the past three months because nothing stood out. Which means this list doesn't even have ten books on it. What even. The rest of the year better give me some spectacular books!



July 1st-September 30th stats:
Read: 35
Reread: 9/35
DNFs: 1
Total Read So Far: 129
Most Read Genre: Romance
Total Pages Read(of finished books): 44,386



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A super gay tour of Europe. Some of my favourite cinnamon roll characters of 2017.

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A really solid ending to what I believe is an underrated trilogy. Historical Scotland + fae + broody princes + banter = a good time.

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Gothic Europe at its best. Flirty banter(400 pages of sexual tension). Mystery. These books are bloody fantastic.

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Zuzana's and Mik's first date with spectacular illustrations. This book is everything.

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Emma Mills adds another adorable read to her repertoire. Clueless Claudia makes me a little frustrated. But in a good way. Family, friends, a little romance and perfect dialogue.

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Cute! June is super pretentious(above high school). But that's what made her growth and realizations so spot on.

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One of Young's best books to date. Broody Scotish men, self-growth, sexy moments and a bunch of emotions.

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A very different CoHo book. This family needs a fuck ton of therapy.

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Keep this one on your radar for early 2018. A dark and twisty Little Mermaid retelling. A bloody good time.


What's been your most favourite recent read?

Happy reading!

Brittany

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Fraternize Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt + Giveaway


Hi friends. Thanks for stopping by for my stop on the Fraternize Blog Tour. Fun times are being had, thanks to Thomas Allen. Continue reading for my thoughts on a Fraternize, an excerpt, and a giveaway!


About the Author

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
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About the Book

Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken

Publication Date: Sept.12th, 2017
Publisher: Skyscape
Series: Players Game #1
Pages: 320
Add to Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken kicks off a brand-new series in which romance is a game and love is a touchdown. 
Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done… 

No fraternizing with the players. 

Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way. 

Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.
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Excerpt

Haven’t read part 1 of the chapter one excerpt yet? Check out yesterday post to find out how this flashback fits in!

CHAPTER NINE EXCERPT – Part 1 of 2

Emerson

“Are you sure this is okay?” I glanced around the empty locker room and shivered. My body ached in all the wrong places, places I didn’t even know existed. Practice had ended a half hour ago, and even though I’d rolled out my muscles and nearly cried from the impact of the foam roller, I still hurt.

“Sure.” Kinsey shrugged. “I use it all the time. Just make sure to lock up when you’re done. It’s one of the perks of being a Bucks Girl.” She dumped the last bag of ice in the tub and pointed. “Ten minutes, no complaining. No tears. Buck up, Bucks Girl.”

I shivered/ “I hate ice baths.”

“Everyone hates ice baths, psycho.” She patted me on the back and then gave me a friendly shove toward the tin tub. “Keep your sports bra and underwear on just in case one of the night janitors walks by or, you know, a player.”

I glared. “A football player?”

“No worries. It’s preseason, and practice is at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow. It’s too late for them to be out, the big babies.”

“Okay.” I sighed, buying myself more time before Kinsey crossed her arms and waited. “You’re not leaving until I’m in the tub, huh?”

“I’m not leaving until your ass is in the tub.”

“I take back what I said about you being nice.”

Laughter burst out of her. “I don’t give a rat’s ass. Now get in the tub, Em.”

With jerky movements, I pulled my tank over my head, tossed it on the floor, and jerked down my black leggings.

“Get in.” Kinsey pointed.

“I am!” I snapped. “I just…was thinking.”

“You were stalling.”

“You’re a bitch.

“Name calling? Really?”

I gripped the sides of the tub and slowly lowered my sore body. A rush of cold stole the breath from my lungs as tiny needles started jamming into my skin.

“S-so cold.” I hated Kinsey. “I hate you, I hate you.”

Her answer was to shrug then grab a red kitchen timer and crank it up to ten. “Alright, see you tomorrow morning, friend!”

“I have no friends!!” I yelled back at her. I heard her laugh as the locker room door closed.

Teeth chattering, I tried to think of something to distract myself with while I was blanketed by chilly silence and an insane amount of pain. But the agony was intense, and my muscles seized with every breath I tried to suck in.

The locker room door opened again.

“We still aren’t friends!” I yelled as my body convulsed beneath the icy water.

“Well, that’s disappointing,” came a dark, sexy voice. “I could have sworn we made a pact of sorts this morning.”

I glanced up through frozen eyelashes to see Sanchez towering over my icy hell with a grin on his smug face.

End of Excerpt…want to find out what happens between Sanchez and Emerson next? Check out tomorrow’s tour post to find out!

Review

So, I know I claim to be this huge romance reader. Which yea, super true. But this was my first foray into a Rachel Van Dyken book. A little ashamed there. Now that's been remedied, and I can say I liked what I read we can move on. 

Fraternize surprised me. Which is a not thing that happens in a straight up romance. I 100% assumed this was going to be a cookie cutter romance. I don't really like to be wrong, but I do like being surprised. So there's that.

I liked Emerson well enough. She's got a lot going on in her personal life. Add in that her love of cheerleading doesn't look kindly on curvy girls. Emerson has to work twice as hard for her talent to be seen just because of her body. I have no doubt that the girl has a killer, strong body. Of course, she makes the squad and in enters Sanchez; cocky, big talker, determined to make Emerson his best friend/more. Sanchez is so obviously fronting with all his over the top dramatics, that it's really hard to not like the guy. 

Emerson still misses her childhood best friend, Miller. It's a thing she constantly thinks about even though he hurt her. Well, hey, guess what? Miller just happens to be traded and apparently, he hate misses Emerson too. Fraternize also gives us alternating chapters from Miller's POV. It was a most excellent way to see Miller and their shared pass in two different lights. Because clearly, Emerson doesn't know the whole story. And vice versa. 

I want to say that yea, Fraternize has that love triangle thing going on. But at the end of the day, all there are in their early twenties. Emerson is leading neither of them on. And things might just surprise you. Feelings and emotions get confused and messy. Just maybe the past should stay in the past. Who knows what the future really holds. 

Fraternize is a super light and fun sports-centered romance. It gets silly and cheesy at many a times. But that's what I was expecting. I wanted a good time. Emerson has to put up with caddy cheerleaders who hide their jealousy through mean comments. Sanchez offers her an escape. Well, Miller offers her the truth. It's not all about boys and love. Emerson makes a few strong friendships along the way. Body image is a talking point. But these boys are great about hyping her up.
I thoroughly enjoyed Fraternize; my first Rachel Van Dyken read. I am so looking forward to the next book in this companion series. 



Giveaway
The winner will receive 1 copy of Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken! Giveaway Details:
- Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
- Giveaway ends on September 28th at 11:59 am EST
- Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize


Thanks again to Ambur and Thomas Allen for setting up this blog tour. I hope you guys will check out Fraternize.

Happy reading!

Brittany

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Mid-Year Book Freak Out TAG



Full credit to A Book So Fathomless for coming up with these questions. Find their post here.



I've done this post/TAG for the past two years, so I figured might as well keep it going.





292838841. Best book you've read so far in 2017?
You know what? I've yet to read a book that I want to scream and yell about being an instant favourite forever and ever. But I do have some excellent reads. I think because it's the freshest in my mind, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. A romping good time!

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2017?
Two parter;
Companion sequel; Pucked Off. Surprisingly heartwarming and wrenching, different tone from the other books. But in a very good way.
Sequel in a series; Cashmere. This book is hilarious and different, well being a bit meta. I know the vampire craze is long over, and this series knows it by making fun of it.

337843733. New release you haven't read yet but want to?
I'm pretty much caught up on the releases I was most anticipating in the first half of the year. I do really want to read Flame in the Mist. But there's a good chance I'll wait till the sequel releases next year so I can do a binge.

4. Most anticipated release for the second part of the year?
Honestly, nothing I NEED right this minute. The Language of Thorns, Renegades and Hunting Prince Dracula are all highly anticipated though.

5. Biggest disappointment?
The disappointment of the century you mean. A Court of Wings and Ruin let me down in a lot of ways. After the gift that was ACOMAF I may have expected too much. Either way, ACOWAR barely delivered. I'm still not over this disappointment... Back to the ice cream I go.

319319416. Biggest surprise?
Eliza and Her Monsters; it wasn't even on my radar till about a week before its release and a whole bunch of reviewers were raving about it. So I downloaded an e-ARC and found myself fully invested within the first page. It's the perfect book for us that find homes in fandoms.

7. Favourite new to you author?
Jo Watson; I read her Destination Love series(or what's out so far in it) and thoroughly enjoyed her sense of humour.

8. Newest fictional crush?
I'm one to hoard book boyfriends like a squirrel hiding nuts. But 2017 you haven't been super kind to my shipper heart. Pucked Off finally gave me the chance to get to know Lance. And my perception of him definitely changed for the better. So feel in love with him.
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9. Newest favourite character?
Monty, you flirt. He is a literal character. Gets himself into situations and the plans he comes up with to get out of them, zounds. I saw a post on Tumblr say(perfectly sums up The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue):
Everybody: Monty, no!
Monty: Monty, yes!

10. Book that made you cry?
Letters to the Lost caused plenty of tears. Not necessarily sad tears. The feels sure piled up and overflowed well reading that spectacular book.
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11. Book that made you happy?
Damaged Like Us made me happy in the way that I was so damn happy to be back in this world. Back with some of my most beloved characters. Getting to know a new generation of Calloway's.

12. Favourite book to movie/T.V. show adaptation?
I really, really liked Netflix's adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why. But because it was a book long before Disney got its hands on it, Beauty and the Beast(2017) wins. AMAZING! LOVED!
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13. Favourite review you've written this year?
What reviews? Haha. Let's go with A Court of Wings and Ruin because I put a good effort into my ranting and disappointment.

14. Most beautiful book you've received so far this year?
This(>>) BEAUTIFULLY STUNNING edition of The Beauty and the Beast. The perfect birthday gift from my cousin and aunt.


15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
As I always say, any review books I acquire(or have already acquired).






Did you guys do this TAG? Hook me up if you did!

Happy reading!

Brittany

Monday, 3 July 2017

2017 Favourites Part 2


Find Part 1 here.

Happy Canada Day! #Canada150 (or if this post goes up late Happy Canada Day Weekend).
These past three months have been decent. I've lacked on the posting and keeping the blog consistent; again. But I've done a good amount of reading. So close to the hundred mark. I honestly don't have any major standouts. I've had a few 5* reads, but mostly 4 and under. One massive disappointment; which if you know me you will see missing from this list. I need to try a little harder at choosing my reads. I need some books to make me super excited(like Belle >>) and get me back to being a reading machine.
As expected/assumed, romance has been my go to. Also, read some great YA contemps. Check the stats below:


April 1st to June 30th stats:
Read: 46
Reread: 9/46
DNFs: 1
Total read so far in 2017: 94
Most Read Genre: Romance
Total Pages Read(of finished books): 31,499







30312700
Adorable, frustrating, sex positive, movie buff awesomeness.

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Sweet f/f romance with a few harder hitting moments.

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Fandom, fame and mental health was written(and illustrated) perfectly. READ THIS BOOK. 

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What happens when an 18 year old wins the lottery? A little bit of fun and chaos. Jen Smith is one of my fave authors. She's so dependable. 

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Three days at a con with three awesome friends. Absolutely fun and perfect. Super positive rep for autism, mental health and LGTBQI+.

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Smart, nerdy kids. There are some pretty big nerd-offs. With a hate to love manipulated romance. It's pure fun.

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Hunting always knows how to deliver a great romcom. The relationship is a slow burn that borders more towards the sweet side. 100% approve.

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Fun. Hilarious. A raging good time. 

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Quirky and darkly funny. Friendship to the max. I mean, mature friend group. 

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Oh Erickson.  I LOVE this author duo. Trust me when I say they create swoony romcom gold together.

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I feel like I've been waiting a lifetime for this book. Moffy is everything I needed him to be. Loved Farrow. LOVED being back in the Calloway world!




What's been your favourite book this past quarter?

Happy reading!

Brittany

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Blog Tour: Until It Fades by K A Tucker







ABOUT UNTIL IT FADES:

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania (population three thousand outside of tourist season).

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed date, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has rescued: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works. For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. There’s an immediate connection, and it’s more electric than the bond of two people who endured a traumatic event. It’s something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something she is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine...before the spark fades?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

K.A. Tucker is the author of He Will Be My Ruin and the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series. She currently resides outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.
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REVIEW:

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Pages: 356
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4/5
Add to Goodreads


Until it Fades is a girls dream type romance. You know growing up when you imagine your celebrity crush(or just a celebrity) coming into your life in some way and sweeping you off your feet in some whirlwind romance? Until it Fades is mostly that for Catherine. She saves the life of one the NHL's biggest stars and her life immediately changes. Catherine is a small town girl, who had a really rocky and tough time in her later teen years. A scandal that the town blamed her for and then becoming a mom at eighteen. Catherine works at a truck stop diner to support her daughter, Brenna, well trying to build a relationship with her family again. Then enters Brett. Catherine saved his life and well that's going to bond two people whether they want it to or not.

Until it Fades is a pretty light read. There are a few grittier subjects that shaped Catherine and where she is today. But for the most part, Tucker lightly touches on what could have been a really dark book. Romance is the genre here, but I feel like it wasn't fleshed out enough. Until it Fades it quite plot heavy. Catherine isn't in the best head space, so she needs to build up her confidence again. The fact is that Catherine and Brett spend more than half of the book apart and barely talking. So yea there was that element of the slow burning, but also once they get together it really is a whirlwind. I mean rich guy, poor girl, you know. I really liked it. It really worked the for the book and their characters.

Let's talk characters. Catherine is super likeable. She fell for the wrong guy as a teenager; more like manipulated into falling for him and that caused her life to derail. But she knows what hard work is. Catherine is humble and kind(almost to a fault). Being there for her daughter, Brenna is everything to her. Brett is a really stand up guy. I dare you not to fall for him. For someone who could be a total douchebag based on his families status, he's the farthest thing from him. Watching him fall for Catherine and Brenna is really sweet. The accident made him realize that even at twenty-six he needs to plan for a future that can change at the drop of a hat. Brett is a truly nice guy who gives a crap. He's caring and adorable. Where do I find a Brett?
Not being a kid person, I'm surprised by my thoughts here. But Brenna totally stole the show. She's a really smart five years old. Has her wits about here. Listens to Catherine and her grandparents. But like any kid, she's going to repeat things or speak her mind. Which is really hilarious on the page when it gets Catherine into an awkward moment.
Supporting cast is awesome! Keith, Catherine's best friend is so dependable and a true friend. Misty is a bit of a mess herself, a little overeager, but you can't fault her where Catherine is concerned. Leroy and Lou, Cath's surrogate parents. The owner's of the diner and her safe place.
Catherine's family could not be any different than Brett's. It's funny to watch them interact the few times they do. Jack, Catherine's brother is a mischievous college hockey player whom I'm crossing my fingers gets his own book soon.

Until it Fades is a really solid book. It's more of a plot-driven romance, and although that's not my favourite I still found it to be super enjoyable. I sped through the story just wanting to see Catherine and Brett finally kiss. I know patience is a virtue that I don't have. But it definitely pays off. If you're looking for something on the lighter side of the romance scale. Something that leaves you wanting more with a side of great characters than pick up Until it Fades ASAP.
P.S. That easter egg for Toronto fans; I see what you did there, Tucker. 







GIVEAWAY:





Happy reading!

Brittany

Monday, 5 June 2017

Review: How to Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publisher: 
HMH Kids
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 336
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5
Add to Goodreads

Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.

One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.




Guyyyssss, what a sweet little book. I mean, there's definitely some sniffle-inducing moments. But all and all, so sweet and lovely. I read Ashley's debut, Suffer Love, last year. I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Buuutttt that's about all I remember. So, that's not great(but will make a good reread; be like I'm reading it for the first time(again)). Could be my fault because I read a bazillion contemps in a year. Where I was going with this is that, How to Make a Wish promised a bi MC in a gay relationship, so automatically I signed myself up to some non-existent list that promised me I would find a way to get my grabby hands on this one. And well I obviously did, but with a bit of trepidation because of the whole realizing that Suffer Love was ultimately forgettable. I think I'm safe here, How to Make A Wish leaves me with quite a bit to remember it by.

Grace was in a really hard situation. Her mom is the farthest thing from providing a stable parental unit. Grace had to grow up super fast, she's the adult in their relationship. And it shows on Grace's exterior. Grace's attitude and hard shell is hard to get pass at times but makes sense for the life she lives. How to Make A Wish is a book about different kinds of relationships but is also a great coming of age, self-growth story.  We start the book as Grace is coming home after being away for a few weeks, to find that her mom has moved them in with her new boyfriend. New boyfriend isn't a terrible guy, but the situation, living situation is terrible. Who ups and moves their teenage daughter to some strange guys home? And strange guys home also happens to be the home of his son; Grace's ex-boyfriend. Let's just say they didn't end of pretty terms. That's pretty much the icing on the cake when it comes to Grace's mom, the revolving door of boyfriends, drinking, no job, constant moving. As I said, not stable. It's really really hard to feel one ounce of sympathy towards her mom. Even when it's obvious that she's not mentally stable. To see the life Grace is living, the situations she has to save her mom from. Her mom even sells her piano. Which is Grace's love and life; her ticket to college. So there's the biggest and most complicated relationship in Grace's life.

Luca, Grace's best friend is a real treat. I want to call their friendship more sibling like. But it is a true and strong friendship. There are no secret lingering romantic feelings. Thank God. Luca is loyal and the most stable person in Grace's life. Which also brings his family into Grace's life. His mom is a better mom to Grace than her own. I love their relationship too. Like I mentioned, Grace is hard to get through to sometimes. She's got a hard shell that she can't let crack, and neither Luca or his mom ever shy away from being there for her. A lot of the time it is about Grace and what her mom has done now, Luca is perfect at talking Grace down, bringing her to reality. It's one of those things where Grace can say whatever about her mom, but if someone else, like Luca or his mom brings a dose of reality Grace is quick to be angry at them. But that never keeps them away, they understand. Two of the least selfish, wonderful people.

Eva is somewhat of a salvation for Grace. Yet also a complication. Luca's mom becomes Eva's guardian after her mom unexpectedly and quite suddenly passes away. Eva and Grace bond immediately. Over their art; Eva being a dancer and Grace being a pianist. Over their broken families. Both feel lost and unsure about their futures. The chemistry is definitely there. In a very sweet and innocent way. I mention this relationship is a complication for Grace because she doesn't want to care for and eventually lose someone else. She sets out to protect Eva from her mom by keeping the truths about her mom secret from Eva. Luca is on her to tell her everything. But Grace is convinced if she just tells Eva the bare minimum and asks her to keep her distance everything will be fine. Until it isn't. There's no falling out, there are just times where both Grace and Eva need time. I love them together. Even being a YA book, and them being young, their relationship has that timeless more mature feel to it.

Grace is a complicated character. Becoming the adult at such a young age will change how a kid grows and sees the world. Grace lives in a small town, she loves her town. But she wants out. Grace knows there's more for her. She is a very talented pianist. Grace works hard even with all her mother's setbacks. Grace doesn't provide the reader with an easy time. She is self-involved a lot of the time. She blames the world for giving her such a hard leg to stand on. Eva brings hard truths based on her life growing up as a dancer and being bi-racial. Luca's tough love starts to crack her shells. Grace's moms actions eventually really take their toll. I mean, that ex-boyfriend Grace was trying to make us hate so much showed a very different side to their relationship. Grace could be as uninterested as her mom at times. I never let her faults affect how I saw Grace. There was just something about her that made me connect with her instantly. And she showed major development. Yes, she could be quick to anger but it didn't always fester and Grace eventually learned to stop placing blame.

Yes, How to Make A Wish touched on some deeper topics, like grief and mental illness, but I never felt like the story went dark. It was a sweet first love with some very dimensional characters. I cannot wait to see what Ashley will give me in future books.


Happy reading!

Brittany

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 400
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5
Add to Goodreads

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?





I like Emery. I really do. Her first two books are two of my all-time favourite contemps. I had some issues with her last book, but that was a me thing. Of course, I was dying to get my hands on The Names They Gave Us. Even though I had some reservations. I wasn't sure how well I'd connect, even like The Names They Gave Us. It is about the daughter of a pastor struggling with her faith. I am not a religious person and can find that when faith and religion are one of the main plot points I find myself unable to connect to the story. Or even find that it's too in my face. Clearly, I shouldn't doubt Emery and her story telling abilities. I may not have been able to relate to Lucy on those aspects of her life but that did not take away from the enjoyment of this book. The Names They Gave Us may not be my favourite of Emery's books but I do believe it's her strongest(to date).

I had some misgivings about Lucy pretty much right away. You get this immediate impression of her; daughter of the pastor, clean cut, captain of the swim team, perfect upstanding boyfriend, hiding a few of her passions from her parents; she has a certain image to uphold. Or at least she thinks she does. My views on Lucy changed pretty quickly. She obviously had a lot of personal growth to go through. And it's not that she was a bad person, it's more that her true self had yet to have the time to shine through. Lucy was hidden behind her faith, the comfortable feeling of her trusting loyal boyfriend and captaining the swim team. The news of the return of her mother's cancer is ultimately the catalyst summer Lucy and all she'll learn. I loved Lucy for being curious and fiercely loyal. Even when shocking secrets are revealed and she has every right to be mad, Lucy remains unselfish and a decent person.

Obviously, her mom's cancer is tragic, but I want to point out the bright light that came from it for Lucy(besides her boyfriend pausing them because yea dude is nice but Lucy needs more than nice), her spending the summer as a counsellor at the camp next door. This isn't her families bible camp. It's a camp for troubled kids. Lucy goes in with misgivings. It is a very different setting than her normal summer. But that's the point. Lucy needs to get out of her comfort zone. To realize how strong of a person she is. To form new friendships. To strengthen her bond with her parents. And the big one for Lucy, learning to trust her faith and to know that it will change and grow as she does. I feel like a lot of readers will find themselves relating to Lucy in one way. Even if you live different lifestyles, personal growth and change is always a scary thing when you're a teenager. Even more so in the throes of tragedy.
Quick note on the cancer plotline; this is far from a "cancer book". Yes, Lucy mom's cancer is an element of the book but it is not the book. Far from it.

The Names They Gave Us is a character driven novel, as you would assume a contemp would be. Lucy is our leading lady, but there is a whole slew of characters that I came to love as they dealt with their own baggage, well also helping Lucy along on her summer of growth. The power of friendship really shines through for Lucy when she starts to form relationships with some of her fellow counsellors. I don't think she realized how lonely she was until that point. The four main friendships she forms are some of the best moments in the book. As a group they're dynamic is amazing and fun. They have that familial bond that is missing in a lot of YA books out there. Lucy starts to fit seamlessly into the group. Forming those new relationships, with the group and some of the other kids at the camp is truly what helps Lucy in her journey.

There is a romance; which is sweet and swoony and exactly what I wanted it to be. Never at any point does it take over the story. The romance is quite a few rungs down that plot ladder. Friends, family, faith and Lucy herself all squish up front and centre. Which is exactly how it should be for this story. I mean, I wouldn't mind more of Lucy and Jones in the future. Their relationship is super adorable. The whole always being yourself and honest with each other thing makes their lasting power as a couple believable. Even with them being so young.

The Names They Gave Us is a personal growth story. Lucy starts out pretty subdued and nieve. She believes there is so much holding her back from learning to be herself. Lucy believes things about her parents just based on their faith and that is a dangerous thing. This is where Lucy's curiosity and her ability to learn and change shape her as a person. What you believe in people, how you think they'll react or think is second nature to us. Lucy realzing that her parent's faith or somebodies home life isn't a good enough reason to judge. Just like Lucy loving make-up or not knowing what her future holds should stop her exploring her life and options in the present. The Names They Gave Us is just a great YA contemp for anyone looking for a solid one sitting read; it's got the fun times, the sad times, family, friendship and a pinch of romance. A total win for me. 

P.S. I get what Emery was doing with that ending, but open endings are my enemy. Just be forewarned. I'd like to think that leaves room for a sequel. I know that is very very wishful dreaming on my part.


Happy reading!

Brittany

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Review: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich


The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 384
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 2/5
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There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.




Friends, I am a huge ball of disappointment right now. Excuse me well I devour some pizza to get me through this review.

The Love Interest immediately made it to the top of my most need now, give me ARC in exchange for my black soul list when I realized it was about a school that trains spies to infiltrate these girls lives for whatever reason. They send in two boys to compete to win her heart. That part didn't get me. The twist was the boys end up falling for each other. I'M HERE FOR THAT!
What actually proceeded to happen was a hot fucking mess. The sort with poor execution and extremely one-dimensional characters.

In theory, The Love Interest should have been wonderfully meta. It literally plays on every trope and cliche that YA has overused throughout the past ten years. An M/F/M love triangle that consists of the bad boy and nice boy competing to win the heart of this unique and unknowingly beautiful girl, who is not like ANY OTHER GIRL. EVER. This spy school makes(trains) these boys to be YA cliches. The boys know nothing about the real world except for what they watch and read in popular teen media. This should have been fucking hilarious. And for the first fifty pages or so I was so into it. I'm thinking this could be possibly one of the best things to happen to my YA loving heart. We now all know how that thinking turned out...

The three most important things about a book failed me here. Let's start with the characters. Caden, Dyl and Juliet were literal personifications of their main traits. Caden the nice. Dyl the bad. And Juliet the different beautiful girl. Let's just outright scratch Juliet from the rest of this review. There is nothing to say except zzzzzzzzz. Caden and Dyl, every time the scene gave them the opportunity to explore their true personalities, away from acting as the cliched nice or bad, I had high hopes. We're going to get some swoony and fun gay moments. GIMMIE. Maybe once or twice, yes, but holy god was the rest terrible. These three characters, the satire, and fun that could have been had. What a missed opportunity.

There's no plot. There's no world building. And hey, I tell you guys every time that I am a character driven reader. So world building isn't the end all be all for me. BUT, when a book is missing everything that lack of world building and plot development becomes an issue. The Love Interest is about a spy school and the main character realizing how much he wants freedom and to be himself. So let's take down the establishment, bro. The end. There is zero development or movement from that line.

I think the absolute real killer for me was the writing. Like I said, the satire that was expected to come from this read was non-existent. The dialogue was flat, flat, flat. One cheesy, cliched, unemotional line after another. At the 60% mark, I was so over everything. I was bored and thus commenced the skimming. I thought about giving up, but this book still had me hoping for something to save it from itself.

I was here for the promised gayness. Caden had some decent moments well he was coming to terms with his sexuality. The dude grew up in a place that probably wasn't super okay or open about being your true self. So I was alright with giving him a minute to figure that out.

Caden and Dyl's "relationship" on the other hand was not the burning focal point that I expected it to be. Again, it had its moments. But there was also a whole bunch of harmful bits. In fact, for like 50 pages it veered into queer baiting territory, and this girl was fucking livid. From that point on, their relationship wasn't salvageable.

Disappointments are the hardest. I can handle a terrible read when I didn't have any expectations. But when I feel like I'm promised something and the execution fails so epically, it's a letdown. There's your Catch-22; are expectations the real one to blame here?

I mean, if you can get over a very flat story and characters, The Love Interest delivers on the fun scale. It doesn't take its self seriously. It's a cliched mess in exactly the way it's meant to be. There are no surprises. The Love Interest is ten years of YA tropes in 400 pages.



Happy reading!

Brittany

Monday, 15 May 2017

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas



A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Pages: 705
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3/5
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A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.


I just want to point out the obvious spoiler warning. This review doesn't hold back. Enter at your own risk.


If I'm being completely honest with myself, ACOWAR is more a 3*. It's just really hard to choose that star number for a trilogy I have been shouting to the stars about being my favourite. The ToG series turned out to be a dumpster fire; it's like Maas can write this fantastic first book, an even better second book, and that third book, that's where it starts to get messy. Maybe duologies should be her thing?...

Although I didn't hate ACOWAR, I had a lot of problems. So this review? It's probably going to seem much more negative than positive. I don't really care. Those problems are what stick out for me because I needed this book to be near perfect, and it just wasn't. But I can start with what I liked.
Feyre, Rhys, Az, Mor, Cassian, Armen, Nesta, Elain and even Lucien; I still like you guys. It's not your fault you were toned down at times. Look how far Feyre has come! She is a strong bamf of a High-Lady. Rhys, you've come just as far with starting to defeat your demons. Nesta, though, that girl is a stone-cold wall and I am here for that. I get you, girl.

We all know there are more books to come in this series, and I mean it's pretty damn obvious who those books will be about. Maas did a good enough job of setting up those characters for their stories. I mean, you can't just touch on their new lives or reveal secrets like that and not wrap them up. So if the next three books aren't centered around who I assume they will be, things will get ugly real fast.

The banter and relationship with Feyre, Rhys and the Inner Circle was still pretty much on point. They fight and love like a family. Even better was the inclusion of more of the different courts. Meeting more High Lords and High Fae was fun. Especially when they all have very long histories with Rhys.

Okay, so I don't know if I want to blame this disappointment on myself, for I clearly put ACOWAR on a very high pedestal. After ACOMAF, I expected ACOWAR to deliver the moon and well it didn't even come close. ACOWAR was fine. But who the hell wants just fine when you're expecting epic?!
I can't even pinpoint what really was my biggest issue. It was more a cumulation of a bunch of smallish things.

I've yet to have issues with Maas's writing, but this time, woah batman. If you dislike the word Mate, well.... It's the repetitiveness of words and those damn - and ... multiple times on a page. HOW IS AN EDITOR LETTING THIS SLIDE?!

The pacing was so off at times. Even Rhys couldn't fix it for me; because the unthinkable happened, I GOT BORED WITH RHYS ON THE PAGE! WHAT EVEN?!?! It was so slow for so much of the book that I knew when we finally got to the battle and action things were going to be rushed. And that sure was what happened.

ACOWAR was missing that spark. Characters felt off, and sometimes one-dimensional. The plot was so fucking predictable and convenient. I never feared for any of the main guy's lives. I go into the last book in a trilogy like this, where war is coming and I know death and destruction are on the horizon. I fear for my precious tears. But at some point into ACOWAR I lost that feeling. So and so is epically hurt, someone screams because they think someone else is dying, but I just knew there was nothing to worry about. Was Maas trying to make up for QoS and mess she made of ToG with that book? I kind of felt like it. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see ANY of my precious babies in pain or worse. BUT when war is happening, death is to be expected. When EVERYONE makes it out unscathed, that's super unrealistic, even for a fantasy. Especially when, fuckface Tamlin is given redemption.

Okay, so I'm sure everyone is aware of the criticism Maas gets for her lack of diversity. She's never addressed it, as happens a lot. ACOWAR has the inclusion of some LGBTQ+ characters. A few new characters, some we already know. Great. Some much needed diverse characters added. Maybe Maas isn't as blind to her world problems as we, the reader, assume. My issue though, how forced and unauthentic this came off. Adding a few gay characters in, having another known character reveal "their secret lifestyle" was very obviously a second thought. So yes, great, Maas realized how much she needs to diversify her world, but hey maybe don't make it seem like you're only doing that because you feel like you have to. You should want to. I sure as hell hope I'm wrong; it just felt so off when I was reading those passages and scenes. Like I said, unauthentic. That is the best word, to sum up how it made me feel every time that character and their lover was mentioned.

There is a lot of uncomfortable, inappropriate and harmful moments throughout the book. Like I mentioned above, the harmful LGBTQ+ representation is too prominent. The icky feelings Rhys gave me at times was super unexpected. From telling Mor that should suck it up and be okay with forming an alliance with her abusers to Rhys telling Feyre that the library is a safe spot for the Priestess who have been victims of sexual assault but then proceeds to stick his fingers in Feyre. Maas's writing and story telling felt super sloppy and almost like she didn't care enough to fix all these harmful scenes.

Fuck, Rhys and Feyre are overly obnoxious for 50% of the book. Now that they're mated, the innuendoes take a front seat whatever the moment. They could seriously be discussing a tragic moment and it quickly turns into something sexual and dirty. Which adds to how inappropriate this book feels way too many times. I realize it's a romance. I'M HERE FOR THAT. But it got old super fast. The banter and sexual tension from ACOMAF were missing. A lot was missing from ACOMAF, but their relationship was my everything from that book. I expected the dynamic to change because obviously(they're mated don't you know?...). I just thought it would change for the better. Not lose half of the elements I loved about them being together, to begin with.

I just am a ball of disappointment. ACOTAR and ACOMAF left me needing more. Wanting more. I had major book hangovers. I was rereading my favourite parts all the time. I finished ACOWAR, closed the book and didn't even want to look at it. I very easily picked up my next read and went on with my life. I had feelings, but they were ones that made me want to vent to Samantha and tell her to hurry up and finish the damn book so we could discuss ALL of my problems. When I should have been saying hurry up and finish so we can bask in our tears and happiness together. Fine is one of the worst words to describe something, especially ACOWAR. ACOMAF gave me so much life, that maybe I should have known ACOWAR couldn't give me that much. But fuck, I was expecting at least almost getting there.

I'm not going to kid myself, I will more than likely revisit ACOWAR before the next book releases next year. I'm not dreading the continuation of the series. The possibilities of where Maas can go in future books is endless. I will try my hardest to not let my lingering feelings over ACOWAR ruin what could be another epic installment to the ACOTAR world.


Happy reading!

Brittany

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Release Day: It Happened On Love Street by Lia Riley





ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET
Author: Lia Riley
Series: Everland, Georgia
On Sale: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
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Series Page on Goodreads


In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Marina Adair, comes the first in a new series by Lia Riley about two city sisters finding love in a small town.

The most romantic place she never wanted to be . . .

Pepper Knight moved to Everland, Georgia, as step one in her plan for a successful legal career. But after this big-city gal's plans go awry, going home with her tail between her legs isn't an option. So when the town vet—
and her sexy new neighbor—offers Pepper a temporary dog-walking job, she jumps at the chance. No one needs to know that man's best friend is her worst nightmare . . . or that Everland's hot animal whisperer leaves her panting.

The last thing Rhett Valentine wants is to be the center of small-town gossip. After his first love left him at the altar, he's been there, done that. These days, life is simple, just the way he likes it. But sultry southern nights get complicated once sparks fly between him and the knockout next door. When she proposes a sexy, secret fling—all the deliciousness and none of the prying neighbors-it seems too good to be true. And it is. Because Pepper's determined to leave Love Street, and when she goes, she just might take his heart with her . . .

EXCERPT



“Here’s an idea.” He nudged his finger on hers. “Say we—and this is purely hypothetically—enjoyed the . . . ahem . . .pleasure of each other’s company in the privacy of our homes.”

“Hypothetically, kept it casual and under the radar?”

She nudged back. “When I leave, there’s no heartbreak, no drama, and no one is the wiser.”

“Interesting theory?” He reached out, his hand splaying her knee. “Or recipe for disaster?”

Tingles shot up her thigh. His skin was warm, those fingers very big and very male. “I have enough to worry about with my future. If you don’t need me for more than a little here and now? I might be persuaded. Hypothetically.”

He moved his hand from her knee to the back of her neck. The touch melted her faster than an ice cube in the July sun.

“What are you thinking?” she murmured.

His deep blue gaze locked on hers and there it came again, that curious sensation of floating and drowning. “That I’d like to hypothetically kiss you.”

There was a sudden roaring in her ears, a whoosh of blood. “Well, there’s only one way to test a hypothesis.”

Slowly, oh so slowly, he dipped forward. His lips didn’t settle on hers like she expected. Instead, he kissed the center of her forehead, softly, experimentally. A tremble rocked through him.

The evening air was sultry, no a hint of chill. The idea that she shook this steadfast man sent a shiver of need through the join of her thighs, a throbbing shudder that swelled to an ache as he peppered a light trail of kisses down her temple, and then moved lower. He took his sweet time on her cheeks, treating her as something to savor, a delicious dessert you didn’t want to wolf in one bite. Tension spread through her body, pulling tighter and tighter, her belly doing a fluttery dips and dives.

When he finally reached her lips, it seemed reasonable to expect that the kiss would be as soft as the others. Silly. Because Rhett was full of surprises. He didn’t hold back, his tongue was greedy, insistent, and hungry. Their teeth banged together. A chair tipped over. They crashed against a table leg, sent it screeching across the floor.

“In theory, you’re a good kisser,” she gasped, tracing her lower lip with her tongue. The skin was puffy, aching.

“Let me experiment a bit more. The initial results are promising.”

BUY THE BOOK HERE
Amazon.com| Amazon.ca| Indigo| B&N| BAM| Google Play| iBooks| Indiebound| Kobo



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lia Riley is a contemporary romance author. USA Today describes her as "refreshing" and RT Book Reviews calls her books "sizzling and heartfelt." She loves her husband, three kids, wandering redwood forests and a perfect pour over coffee. She is 25% sarcastic, 54% optimistic, and 122% bad at math (good thing she writes happy endings for a living). She and her family live mostly in Northern California.
Stalk her hereWebsite| Facebook | Twitter| Goodreads

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Happy Reading!

Brittany

Monday, 10 April 2017

2017 Favourites Part 1


Oh hey, been awhile. About three months in fact. That sucks. But also is what it is. I don't want to set myself up with big expectations, but hopefully, April will see a few more posts than the last few months have. Of course, I've been reading though! Netflix has definitely tried to bust in there and distract me. So there's been some bickering over my free time. It's weird to say that reading doesn't win more than half of the time now. Anyhow, it's that time of the year again for the first quarter of my favourites. Honestly, I struggled to get a decent list together. Don't get me wrong, I've read some amazing books. But there's been a lot of duds. Quite a few DNF's. Even more disappointments for books I should have loved and sequels to series I love even more. Not surprisingly romance still is my go to. No one is shocked by that. Although I am becoming more critical with my romance books. Yes, they're my babies, but now that I've read every single trope a thousand times over, it's taking more and more to wow me. Alright, here's my stats;

January 1st to March 31st stats:
Read: 48
Reread: 9
DNFs: 6
Most Read Genre: Romance
Total Pages Read(of finished books): 15,324



The Lie
I pretty much all of Karina's books. But for some reason, this one just really hit me more emotionally. LOVE IT.

Cashmere (Velvet, #2)
This series is super underrated. All the fun is had with these vampires. Seriously, Cashmere is hilarious.

Good Boy (WAGs, #1)
Blake Riley is pure fucking gold.

Anything You Can Do
If you want something to fill that The Hating Game void, Anything You Can Do does an excellent job of doing that in the most funny sexually intense way.

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)
This book starts with a Jack Sparrow quote, which sets the tone perfectly for an epic swashbuckling adventure.

Letters to the Lost
Easily my favourite book of the year. Brigid has always been a favourite author, but this is her best work to date. Addicting and emotional.

Pucked Off (Pucked, #5)
This was unexpected. I, of course, mean that in the best way. This series is ridiculous and funny. Pucked Off and Lance take a different tone in the most perfect way.

At the Edge of the Universe
Just try not to have your heart break a few dozen times when reading this one.

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)
And epic ending to an epic trilogy. I read it super slow for a reason; I didn't want to say goodbye! Anoshe.

Fast Connection (Cyberlove, #2)
I really had doubts going into this one; I did not like one of the MC's from the previous book, well turns out I had nothing to worry about. Intense and wonderful.



Have you guys read and loved any of these? What was your favourite read from the past few months?

Happy reading!

Brittany