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Monday, 30 June 2014

Review: Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

Author: Wendy Higgins
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count:  379 pages, Paperback
Date Published: April 29th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: Sweet Reckoning
Source: Purchased Online

It’s time.
Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.
The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.
In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

Alrighty, let's get one thing straight: I am rating this novel purely on sheer enjoyment. I loved this book. I loved this series in general, but was so, SO happy with the finale! There are some things that I noticed were a little off, but in the end, it was just a story that I could escape into, not having to think about the world outside the pages. I was worried it would be disappointing, but my worries were pretty much futile. Wendy Higgins pulled off another incredible novel with characters that I love, a story line that I actually cared about, (no matter how predictable it was) and a lore that I find so fascinating.... and let's not forget to mention the SWOON FEST that is this book. HOLY MOLY guys, I was reading this...certain part, after a certain event in the story, in a very public and busy mall food court and let's just say, my cheeks were a littleeeee red. Or maybe a lot. Yeah. 

Anywho, basically Sweet Reckoning just wrapped up the trilogy really nicely, and while there wasn't a huge conflict-filled finale  with lots of action, there was resolution and it was just plain enjoyable. Usually I'm not one who's like yay a happy ending whoooo, but for this story I just really needed these characters to be happy. The epilogue was probably one of the cutest scenes I've ever read and considering I had read this book after a terrible week, it was exactly what I needed. I'm not going to recommend this series by saying it's super complex and deep or anything like that. I'm going to recommend this series to those of you who want an interesting lore, a gorgeous romance, and characters you'll actually care about. I read most of this book with a huge smile on my face, due to the warm, family-based feeling throughout the book and the bonds and connections that the characters made and kept. This might not be the series for everyone, but it's definitely one of my not-so-guilty guilty pleasure series that I can fangirl about with my best friend who also read it, which puts it up at the top with some of my other favourite paranormal romances. 

Did you read this series? What did you think of the finale? Did you swoon as much as I did? 

Happy reading!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page Count:  288 pages, Hardback
Date Published: April 15th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Source: Purchased Online

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

When this book came out, something about it just made me need it. Like, every time I walked by it in the bookstore, I took it and read a few pages, wanting to buy it right then and there, but knowing I had a copy coming soon in the mail. I was in such desperate need of a cute, cheer-me-up romance with a concept that wasn't one we haven't seen a million times before, so hellooooo, this is the one. Plus, I was super excited about the fact that there is a diverse protagonist, who is SHOWN ON THE COVER, (and what a cute cover that is!) HECK YES!

I will just say a couple of things: When I first started reading, the writing kind of threw me off for a bit. I felt it to be a little awkward and that it didn't really flow too well at the start, but I got used to it after a while. Also, while I did like Lara Jean, there were some things that she did that made me want to pull my hair out, especially to do with Josh, her sister's ex-boyfriend. But overall, I enjoyed this book. After I got past the writing style and some of Lara Jean's little things, it was an enjoyable, cute book that didn't just focus on romance, but family and self-discovery as well. I loved the sister dynamic of this book and their protective relationship with their father, as well as the fact that there were conflicts in their family and they didn't just have the perfect family with nothing happening, because that's just not reality.

I was an idiot and left this review unwritten for a long time after I finished the book, so now I'm kind of blanking on what to say, but I will just say that while Lara Jean's somewhat immature voice did irk me, I found this to be a great book to read on one of those days when my mind couldn't really handle anything super literary and intense. I liked the love interest, Peter, a lot, and can't wait for the sequel to this one to see more of him, since the ending is a bit vague, although unlike many others, I really loved how this ended. I thought the ending was really cute and fit with the story, though I know many others didn't like it at all.  Anyway, I'm just going to leave it at this because if I say anything else, it will probably be just a big blurb of nothing, considering I have a headache and can't remember a lot in this book anymore. So... yep!

Happy reading!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Weekend Update + Stacking the Shelves

Happy Saturday everyone! I thought I'd start doing weekend updates, instead of just the occasional stacking the shelves, and include what's been going on in my life, what I've been reading and loving this week and of course, any new books I received! So here we go!

I haven't posted one of these in a while, so here's what I've been reading lately: 

Currently Reading: 

Recently Finished:


What I've Been Up To:  

  • Well, yesterday I had tea with a friend and then we went into one of my favourite second-hand book stores and who do I see but a certain favourite booktuber of mine? Who remembered my name!! I sometimes forget that she and I live in the same town. I may or may not have freaked out a bit, even though I've met her before at another friend's house. I also probably embarrassed myself like crazy. Oops.
  • I died my hair pink!!! ... Just the ends, but I absolutely love it so much and it makes me so so happy!
  • School is out and I'm just waiting on one more provincial exam and then I'm freeeeee! (for two months that is)

Stacking the Shelves is a book haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews -This is a great way for us to share what books we added to our shelves each week.



Anyway.... what did you get this week? Anything super exciting?

Happy reading!

Oh btw, happy first day of summer! I'll leave this for you:

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Guest Post: Wrapping Up Season 4 of Game of Thrones

Hey guys! So back in April, I was contacted by a fellow GoT fan, Spencer, who asked if he could do a recap of season 3 of HBO's Game of Thrones for any of my readers who watch the show, in preparation for season 4. This past Sunday, it was the finale of season 4, so now Spencer is back with a wrap up post for season 4! This season was super intense, as per usual, but my favourite thing about it was seeing (my favourite character) Sansa Stark's incredible growth and how strong she is getting, yet so subtly. And of course there were some super satisfying deaths (episode 2 anyone?) as well as some completely heart breaking ones as well, but I mean, what else can we expect from this series?

Anywho, I'll let Spencer wrap it all up for y'all and I feel like I shouldn't have to say this, but I will anyway, just in case: SPOILERS for anyone who hasn't seen or read the Game of Thrones series. This is a WRAP UP post for this past season's finale, so read it at your own risk of seeing what happens. Ok? Cool.

For the Lannisters, Sunday was like any other day, full of deception, betrayal, intrigue, and murder. In this case, it was an incident of son murdering father, an overall shocking end to yet another gripping season of action on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Of course, that’s all par for the course when it comes to GoT and the inner workings of its characters. Now that the season is over, let’s take a look back at all the major events that had viewers on the edge of their seats this year, and undoubtedly counting down the days until next season’s premiere.
            Naturally, everyone is abuzz about the patricide involving Westeros ruler Tywin Lannister at the hands of his son Tyrion, especially symbolic for a Father’s Day episode. Tyrion also discovers his lover Shae in his father’s bed before murdering him, leading him to first strangle her, but still, Tywin’s demise was a shocking event we weren’t sure Tyrion would be up to. The murders are especially significant following Tyrion’s trial – after initially insisting he was innocent of murder, he completes the actions to fit the crime before narrowly escaping King’s Landing.
            Before the murder even takes place, there was plenty of other action in last night’s finale. The episode began with a meeting to negotiate terms between Jon Snow and Mance Rayder. Tensions between the two run high, but seem to dissipate with Mance’s admittance that the Wildlings are seeking safety, not war, moments before their discussion is cut short by the sudden arrival of Stannis and his army, causing Mance to surrender. Jon greets Stannis and reveals that his father is Ned Stark, and Stannis, in turn, welcomes the advice of Jon regarding how to handle Mance.
            Meanwhile, Daenerys is still struggling to rule Meereen, as its citizens become increasingly frustrated with her leadership. Her ethics are challenged when an elderly man, wishing to escape the often brutal barracks she has set up to house former slaves, asks to be sold back to his master, a wish Daenerys grants after declaring that freedom is, after all, having the right to choose. Then when a man approaches Daenerys with the charred remains of his child, she locks up her dragons as a sign of solidarity with the people of Meereen.
            Up north we see Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor finally approach the Heart Tree that Bran had been seeing in his visions. It’s then that the group is attacked by the living dead, or skeletons in this case, and Jojen is killed by his sister to save him from the wights. The remaining three are saved by a Child of the Forest, and taken to the Three-Eyed Raven. Here, the Raven tells Bran he’s been watching him since he was born and informs him that Jojen had foreseen his own death, but still led the group so that Bran could find what he lost. He also goes on to inform Bran that, despite the fact he will never walk again, he will one day fly. (This entire sequence seems purposefully vague – we can hope whatever Bran needs to “find” will be made more clear next season).
            Arya, Bran’s sister, in the mean time has been traveling with The Hound throughout most of this season. The duo’s journey is interrupted after crossing paths with Brienne and Podrick, resulting in a fight to the death between Brienne and The Hound. Arya leaves the Hound bleeding to death as punishment for his crimes against her and the many others he’s killed before heading to Braavos, finally free.
            All of this leads us back to the Lannisters, and the death of Tywin. Shortly before his death, Cersei puts her foot down and refuses to marry Loras, despite her father’s insistence. As a special way of twisting the knife in her father, she informs him that her children, Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen are not Robert Baratheon's but her brother Jaime’s. She promises to make the incestuous relationship public if she needs to, before rushing to Jaime and aligning herself with him against their father.
            Jaime, meanwhile, has taken it upon himself to free Tyrion from prison, where he was being held for the murder of Joffrey. Jamie’s intention is to send Tyrion away on a ship to the Free Cities, however Tyrion goes to see his father first, and then discovers Shae in his father’s bed.  From there, he strangles her, murders his father, and leaves many viewers with their jaws dropped.

            While there hasn’t been an announced date of the premiere of season five, based on past premieres, it’s likely to come in late March or early April of 2015. It’s going to be a long year without the disfunction and intrigue of GoT to keep us company. However, you can always bide the time by rewatching all four seasons online with HBO Go, through a DirecTV package or on demand.

Thanks Spencer for the great recap! 
Do any of you watch the show? Read the books? What did you think of this past season? Happy? Disappointed? Let me know!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR.

This summer, I'm hoping to read a lot. But mostly, I'm hoping to read a lot of books that I already own, but there are a few new releases that I'll break my rule for as well!

So those are the books I'm hoping to read this summer! I'm sure I'll deviate off this list a bit, especially with Cinder, because for the life of me, I just cannot finish it. Who knows why. But anyway, that's that! Leave me a link to your TTT and I'll check it out! 

Happy reading!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count:  449 pages, Hardback
Date Published: May 6th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: Since You've Been Gone
Source: Purchased Online

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um...

Morgan Matson has an astoundingly beautiful way with words that creates round, dynamic characters and stories that tug at every little heart string. Since You've Been Gone was one of my most anticipated novels of 2014 and it did not disappoint. At all. This novel has the same sort of feel as Matson's other novels, but is different as well, in the fact that while it is not the happiest book in the world, it is definitely not sad. It was funny and charming and totally adorable and it touched my heart just oh so much, dealing with friendship, family, loss, love, and self-discovery. I had heard so much hype about this book and was a little scared at first, but honestly? It lived up to everything I had heard about it and more. 

In the beginning, all Emily can really ever think about is Sloane, her best friend. They did everything together and Sloane was definitely the leader of their little pack, but when Sloane disappears, leaving only a to-do list, Emily is left to her own devices for the summer. That's where Frank comes in. As Emily and Frank begin to run together and develop a friendship, Emily realises that there's a lot more to life than just her best friend. And so, with her list, Emily gets out of her comfort zone, making new friends and challenging herself in more ways than one. I adored reading about Emily's journey of self-acceptance and discovery and I loved how much growth she went through, learning to be brave without Sloane. It was an excellent reminder for me to get out there this summer and try new things, make new friends, and have different experiences. I loved how it ended, that it was a bit bittersweet, and that Emily had grown so much and could think for herself. 

This is by far one of my favourite new contemporaries and definitely will be a favourite read this year, so I would of course recommend it to anyone looking for a touching read that will have you swooning ad laughing and just all around happy. If you haven't read it yet, GO NOW! If you have, what did you think of Matson's latest novel? Let me know!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

June Reading List

Hey y'all! I know June is a third way over now, but I just thought I'd put up a picture of the books I'm planning on reading this month or have read this month already, so that I can keep track of them and hope to read them all before July comes! This will be a busy month, due to finals and a teacher strike currently happening in my province, but I'm still hoping to get some good reading time in!

I've already finished Love Letters to the Dead and absolutely adored it, now I'm reading Aristotle and Dante, which is so good so far! Plus, I'm in the mid-beginning of Star Cursed and Fire, so this month is really about finishing up as many of the books that I've started as I can! But if I can finish those, then I'll go on to either of the last two if I've got the time! It is finals coming up soon, however the school schedule is a bit iffy at the moment due to the BC teacher job action happening at the moment, so if there's a full walkout next week.... more reading time, but less in-class exam prep! (Don't know how I feel about that, tbh.) Anywho, this is what I'm hoping to read this month and thought I'd share, so that maybe this will keep me on track!

What are you hoping to read this month?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Read So Far in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year.




That's my list for the week! I haven't read a lot of books so far this year, but most of the ones I have were really great! Love Letters to the Dead is definitely my favourite debut this year BY FAR but there have also been so many amazing sequels and finales! Leave me a link to your list this week and I'll check it out, I'd love to see some of the great books y'all have read this year so far! 

Happy reading!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Page Count:  355 pages, Hardback
Date Published: March 4th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: The Winner's Curse
Source: Purchased

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I honestly feel like I missed something. All I've heard about this book is how awesome it is and how much everyone totally loved it, but I wasn't really feeling it. Yeah, sure, I liked it and I definitely was intrigued by the concept, but I felt no connection to the characters in the end and had not much of a desire to keep reading. While I was happy there was no insta-love, there's something almost worse.... A LOVE TRIANGLE. And well,  one that I didn't really care about at that. I felt nothing for either Ronan or Arin, which made Kestrel's questioning just a bit... boring for me. While I did get a sense of character development, nothing truly pulled me in, wanting to know more and more about these characters. I skimmed quite a few pages, as a lot of the story just dragged on in my opinion, making it difficult to keep reading. However, I did appreciate the fact that Kestrel was not your ordinary "strong heroine" in the Katniss and Tris sense. She had a choice of being a warrior, but she turned it down for something she loved more: music and knowledge. I believe everyone should have a choice in what they want to be and that there are different types of strength, so I was pleased to see Kestrel's in an area that is a bit different from what we've been seeing a lot of in YA lately. That being said, while Kestrel's character was interesting, I wasn't all too interested in her relationships. I have very mixed feelings about this book in general, so I'm just going to leave this before I start repeating myself some more, but I guess here's a GIF to summarize how I felt about The Winner's Curse.

I both liked it and I did not and therefore came out of its world a bit confused. However, I will say once more that I loved the concept and I might just not have been in the right mood for this book at the time!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books in my Beach Bag

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Books in my Beach Bag this Summer. I plan to do a lot of reading this summer and I'm hoping a bit of it will be on the beach!


That's my list this week! Leave me a link to yours and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!
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