29.6.18

#Review: LION by Saroo Brierly


LION

Author: Saroo Brierly
Series: N/A
Source: Audiobook via Audible
Publisher: Penguin Books Canada
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, this #1 international best-seller tells the miraculous and triumphant story of a young man who rediscovers not only his childhood life and home...but an identity long-since left behind.

At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia. 

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.
Purchase:
This was Audible's Deal of the Day, so I purchased it to listen. I finished it in a day!

Note: I know this was originally titled something different before the movie, but if you thought I wouldn't take advantage of being able to put Dev Patel on my blog, you don't know me at all.

I felt like this was both too long and too short. There was a lot of interesting aspects to this one but I felt like Saroo wasn't the best writer and it could have been a stronger prose to this one.

27.6.18

#Review: Poetry Collection Round-up!

I've been reading a lot of poetry books this year so far - one of my reading goals was to read a bunch because I like poetry but never seem to include it in my reading schedule - so I thought I would round up all the poetry collections I've read and give you a brief review of each! Out of the 51 books I've read so far this year, 17 have been poetry collections. So I'm going to do this in a couple ways - longer reviews to highlight the collections I really liked and really disliked and then just covers with links to my Goodreads review for the ones that were somewhere in between.

LOST: A COLLECTION OF POETRY AND PROSE

Author: Cristina Filomena
Series: N/A
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 8, 2018
Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary:

To those who have loved, to those who have lost. 

We all grieve in our own way; there is no right or wrong. 


Everything I have written about in these pages is from my past. 


These people, these ideas, have shaped who I am, and despite most of them leaving holes in my heart, I am stronger because of them. 


This is my before, my denial, my faith, my acceptance, and it is not balanced; this is my own journey, one drenched with pain, one that won’t be easy to carry out with me. 


But these words are for you, to remind you that you never suffer alone, and that there is always beauty on the other side of the battlefield.

Purchase:
Promise me. 
Promise you. 
- 75%

Look, honestly, most of the time when I read books from Kindle Unlimited, especially poetry collections, I'm not expecting much. But this fucking blew me away. A lot of the early poems really resonated with me, but the ones from the 60% onward mark had me feeling it deep in my gut. It felt as though Cristina Filomena took all my deepest thoughts and fears and put them into poems. I absolutely adored this one (and Cristina is Canadian so that makes all of this 100% better).

This poetry collection looks at grief and how people deal with losing something they love. But it's so much more than that. It challenges how we introspectively deal with the types of heartbreak that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. I was absolutely gut wretched reading this one because it hit home for me and made me feel things I tried to keep hidden for a long period of time. Those feelings came right back up like feeling vomit and I couldn't thank Cristina enough for her words and how they resonated with me. I'm actually considering getting one of her poems as a tattoo because they are fantastic.


If you aren't a fan of modern poetry, I think this is still a collection that you would enjoy. It takes the style of modern poetry but puts the feelings of classic poetry into it. I definitely cannot recommend this one enough. It is just so amazing.

THE WITCH DOESN'T BURN IN THIS ONE

Author: Amanda Lovelace
Series: Women Are Some Kind of Magic #2
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: March 6, 2081
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
2016 Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace returns in the witch doesn't burn in this one — the bold second book in her "women are some kind of magic" series. 

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.
Purchase:
queensdo not needto curtsy beforeanyone. 
queensdo not needdelicate kisses onthe back of their hands. 
queensdo not needto apologize beforemaking demands. 
queensdo not needto ask for anyone'sapproval 
&in this castlemade of witch-firewe are allmotherfuckingqueens. 
- & they drank wine & laughed forever & ever 
page 180

25.6.18

Subscription Box #Review: OWLCRATE May 2018!

I love surprises and subscription boxes so I decided to buy a few different ones and then review them for you guys because why not! So you will get to see a few different subscription box reviews!

Just so everyone knows, I live in Canada, so the prices and such that I am going to talk about are in Canadian Dollars and shipping times are Canadian since they ship it out of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The OwlCrate website!


Every month. They also offer an OwlCrate Jr. box for MG and younger books if you don't get enough with the regular OwlCrate box.


Monthly: $29.99 USD
Every Three Months: $86.98 USD
Every Six Months: $167.94 USD

Plus shipping, which for me, cost $10.59 USD

I just looked at my credit card statement and it cost me $51.96 Canadian. Which is a BIT expensive for me but I am making money now so it's all good.

22.6.18

#BlogTour: THE LAST SUMMER OF THE GARRETT GIRLS by Jessica Spotswood // #Excerpt + #Giveaway

Hello and welcome to my blog tour post for

THE LAST SUMMER OF THE GARRETT GIRLS by Jessica Spotswood!

I have an excerpt from the book for you plus if you live in Canada or the US, you can win one of two copies of the book in the giveaway below! But first, let's learn more about the book...

THE LAST SUMMER OF THE GARRETT GIRLS

Author: Jessica Spotswood
Series: N/A
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Summary:
One summer will challenge everything the Garrett sisters thought they knew about themselves—and each other.

Kat lands the lead in the community theater’s summer play, but the drama spills offstage when her ex and his new girlfriend are cast too. Can she get revenge by staging a new romance of her own?

Bea and her boyfriend are heading off to college together in the fall, just like they planned when they started dating. But Bea isn’t sure she wants the same things as when she was thirteen…

Vi has a crush on the girl next door. It makes her happy and nervous, but Cece has a boyfriend…so it’s not like her feelings could ever be reciprocated, right?

As the oldest, Des shoulders a lot of responsibility for her family and their independent bookstore. Except it’s hard to dream big when she’s so busy taking care of everyone else.
Purchase:

Chapter One

DES


Des has a morning routine. Des likes her morning routine. Her sisters slamming doors and screaming at each other is not part of that routine. Neither is the broken dishwasher, being out of sugar for her tea—-she grimaces as she takes another still--scalding sip—-or sleeping through her alarm.

“Des!” her youngest sister, Vi, screeches. “Kat locked me out!”

There’s a loud thumping as Vi pounds on the bedroom door that she and Kat share. A moment later, she rushes into the kitchen, her auburn hair still tangled from sleep, her freckled face flushed with anger. “Did you hear me?”

“I’m busy,” Des snaps, reaching into the sudsy sink. She needs to call Mr. Stan to come take a look at the dishwasher. And of course no one bothered to touch last night’s dishes. It’s Kat’s week, but it’s easier for Des to do it herself than to nag her sister.

“I got up to go to the bathroom, and Kat locked me out, and now she’s FaceTiming with Pen about what to wear to their audition,” Vi fumes. “Tell her to let me back in! I was sleeping!”

“Why don’t you go sleep on the couch?” Des suggests. She isn’t sure when she became the arbiter of all her sisters’ squabbles. They used to go to Gram with every skinned knee and hurt feeling, but lately—-especially since Gram’s knee replacement a few weeks ago—-it’s been on Des. It’s all been on Des: shopping for groceries, picking up Gram’s prescriptions, cooking supper, washing the dishes, and doing the laundry—-all that on top of running the bookstore. She thought things would go back to normal once Gram was home from the rehab center, but they haven’t.

Maybe this is the way things are now. Forever. Dread washes over her at the thought.

“Why do I always have to give in?” Vi demands, twisting her hair into a ponytail. “You just don’t want to fight with Kat.”

There is some truth there. Kat has been extra venomous since her breakup. “I don’t have time for this right now, Vi.” Des tosses the clean silverware into the dish drainer. “I have to leave in five minutes if I want to open the store on time.”

“Okay, okay.” Vi yawns. “Where’s Gram?”

“Miss Lydia picked her up and took her out for breakfast.”

Vi points at the baking dish next to the stove. “Is that a strawberry crumble?”

Des nods. That’s why there’s no sugar for her tea. Des woke up when Bea came to bed at two in the morning after her late-night stress baking. That’s been happening often enough lately that Des is starting to worry. She thought after Bea’s acceptance to Georgetown—-or at least after being named valedictorian—-Bea would be able to chill out a little. She hasn’t. If anything, she seems more tense than ever.

Des feels stretched in so many directions right now and inadequate in all of them.

Vi grabs the strawberry crumble and a clean fork. “Yay, breakfast!”

“Use a plate. And wash it when you’re done.” Des drains the sink, gulping down the rest of her bitter tea. God, when did she become their mother?

Footsteps pound down the wooden stairs, and then Kat saunters in, wearing high--waisted white shorts and a black The Future Is Female T--shirt. “What do you think? Do I look like a modern--day Jo March?”

“That’s my shirt!” Vi protests.

Kat smirks. “It looks better on me.”

Vi plants her hands on her slim hips. “You’re going to stretch it out! Des!”

Des closes her eyes. Maybe if she closes her eyes, they’ll go away.

“You’re calling the sister with the eating disorder fat?” Kat scowls, tossing her red curls over her shoulder. “Nice, Vi.”

“I was talking about your ginormous boobs, and you know it,” Vi retorts.

“Okay, no talking about Kat’s body.” Des frowns. She’s been worried about Kat relapsing since her douchebag boyfriend broke up with her last month. Is Kat’s lack of appetite normal teenage heartbreak, or does she think Adam would still love her if she had a thigh gap? Des isn’t sure.

“Fine. Wear the shirt. But you are my least favorite,” Vi spits. It’s their worst sisterly insult, ever since Gram banned them from saying I hate you.

Vi’s right. She is always the one to give in. It’s not fair, but at the moment, Des is grateful for it.
“It’s your turn to clean the bathroom, Kat,” she says. “Today, please. It’s gross.”

Kat doesn’t even acknowledge her. She’s too busy squealing and fending off Vi’s attempts to stab her with the strawberry--stained fork.

Des grabs her tote from the back of a chair and whirls around the kitchen for her phone, planner, and keys to the store. “I’ve got to go. See you two later.”

There’s probably a better way to handle this, but it would take time and patience and an authority she doesn’t have. She’s only nineteen; she’s not their mom.

Lately, she really misses their mom.

18.6.18

#BlogTour: NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi // #GuestPost + #Giveaway

Hello and welcome to my blog tour post for 

NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi!

This tour is hosted by Aimee, Always, who is a fabulous blogger and friend of mine! I have an ah-mazing guest post for you today from the author on redemption arcs so be sure to read that. But first, let's learn more about the book!


NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR

Author: Aminah Mae Safi
Series: N/A
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: June 19, 2018

Summary:
Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.
Purchase:

Your (or Your Character's) Favourite Redemption Arcs

One of the books that I referenced as I wrote Not the Girls You're Looking For was Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca. It's about a girl who goes to a recently gender de-segreated school called St. Sebastian's. Francesca's mother is suffering from a depression that Francesca doesn't understand. Her three best friends are girls she doesn't like at all and who, for various reasons, are not all that cool. 

My favorite thing about Francesca is that she's a mess. She got a feminist mother but can't quite get behind feminism herself. She's got friends who are ready to have her back, but her own lack of confidence makes her an unsure friend. She develops feelings for a boy she's got a combative relationship with, only to discover the he's got a girlfriend.

8.6.18

#BlogTour: BRUJA BORN by Zoraida Córdova // #Excerpt + #Giveaway

Hello and welcome to my blog tour post for

BRUJA BORN by Zoraida Córdova!

In today's post I have an excerpt from the book plus give you guys a chance to win a copy! But first, let's learn more about the book...


BRUJA BORN

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Summary:
Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister's newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula's bruja healing powers can't fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula's world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn't the only one who's been brought back...
Purchase:
They say El Corazón has two hearts:
the black thing in his chest
and the one he wears on his sleeve.
—­Tales of the Deos,
Felipe Thomás San Justinio

This is a love story.

At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell. Though technically, Los Lagos isn’t hell or the underworld. It’s another realm inhabited by creatures, spirits, and wonders I’d only read about in my family’s Book of Cantos. The place where I was kept—­where my whole family was imprisoned by a power-­hungry witch—­that was as close to hell as I hope I’ll ever get.

But that’s another story.

“Lula, you ready?” my sister Alex asks.

I stare at my open closet and can’t find the socks that go with my step team uniform. I riffle through bins of underwear and mismatched socks and costume jewelry.

“Lula?” Alex repeats, softly this time.

For the past seven or so months, Alex has been extra everything—­extra patient, extra loving, extra willing to do my chores. She means well, but she doesn’t understand how suffocating her attention is, how the quiet in her eyes drives a sick feeling in my gut because I’m trying to be okay for her, for our family and friends. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at faking it. But sometimes, like now, I snap.

“Give me a minute!”

I don’t mean to snap. Honestly. But everything that’s come out of my mouth lately has been hard and angry, and I don’t know how to make it stop. That’s not who I am. That’s not who I was before—­

Rose, our younger sister, walks into my room wearing long sleeves and jeans even though there’s a heat wave and it’s mid-­June. Rose has the Gift of the Veil. She can see and speak to the dead. Spirt magic runs on a different wavelength than the rest of our powers, and being so tuned-­in to that realm means she’s always cold. Rose takes a seat on my bed and picks at a tear in the blanket.

6.6.18

#BlogTour: THE FRAME-UP by Wendy McLeod MacKnight // #Interview

Hello and welcome to my blog tour post for

THE FRAME-UP by Wendy McLeod MacKnight!

I have an interview for you today and I am super excited to share it with you! You get to learn so much more about Wendy and the book, so keep scrolling. But first, let's learn more about THE FRAME-UP!

THE FRAME-UP

Author: Wendy McLeod MacKnight
Series: N/A
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Summary:
When Sargent Singer discovers that the paintings in his father’s gallery are alive, he is pulled into a captivating world behind the frame that he never knew existed.

Filled with shady characters, devious plots, and a grand art heist, this inventive mystery-adventure celebrates art and artists and is perfect for fans of Night at the Museum and Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer.

There’s one important rule at the Beaverbrook Gallery—don’t let anyone know the paintings are alive. Mona Dunn, forever frozen at thirteen when her portrait was painted by William Orpen, has just broken that rule. Luckily twelve-year-old Sargent Singer, an aspiring artist himself, is more interested in learning about the vast and intriguing world behind the frame than he is in sharing her secret.

And when Mona and Sargent suspect shady dealings are happening behind the scenes at the gallery, they set out to find the culprit. They must find a way to save the gallery—and each other—before they are lost forever. 

With an imaginative setting, lots of intrigue, and a thoroughly engaging cast of characters, The Frame-Up will captivate readers of Jacqueline West’s The Books of Elsewhere.

Includes a 16-page full-color insert showcasing the real paintings featured in the book.
Purchase:

Describe THE FRAME-UP in 10 words or less.

Wendy McLeod MacKnight: An artistic boy discovers that all original artwork is alive. (Phew that was hard!)

Which character would you most like to be friends with?

Wendy McLeod MacKnight: I think Mona Dunn. She is so curious and is always up for an adventure. I think it would be amazing to step into the paintings at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with her! Plus, she’s been thirteen year’s old for over one hundred years; imagine the things she has seen from her vantage point on the wall?

4.6.18

#BlogTour: KISSING GAMES by Tara Eglington // #Interview + #Excerpt

Hello and welcome to my blog tour post for

KISSING GAMES by Tara Eglington!

I have an interview with the author today plus an excerpt from the book so you can learn more about it before you pick it up tomorrow! But first, let's learn more about the book...

KISSING GAMES

Author: Tara Eglington
Series: Aurora Skye #2
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Summary:
The course of true love never did run smooth. For a girl who shares her name with a princess (a.k.a Aurora from Sleeping Beauty) Aurora Skye’s life seem fathoms away from a fairytale. Sure, she’s landed Hayden Paris, Potential Prince extraordinaire. And she got her wish -- one first kiss with all the knee-trembling, butterfly-inducing gloriousness she’d hoped for. 

But Aurora’s learning that a kiss is just the beginning of a story.

Instead of being the truly transcendent, utterly epic follow up it should be, her second attempt at kissing has literally landed Hayden Paris in the emergency room. If that’s not mortifying enough, the whole school is now referring to her as ‘Lethal Lips’.

Meanwhile it’s all systems go for her best friend Cassie - she and Potential Prince Scott are totally loved up and can’t stop kissing. Jelena (Jefferson High’s answer to Helen of Troy) has moved on from the heinous betrayal by Bad Boy Alex West and has unleashed her plan to rule the world by running for School Captain. Problem is Alex is running too and Jelena’s pulling out all the stops to prevent him from stealing her rightful place as ruler of Jefferson High - including offering Aurora’s Find a Prince/Princess Program as one of her campaign initiatives.

How is Aurora going to prove her program is foolproof and help Jelena win the election when her matchmaking manoeuvres seem to be throwing all the wrong people together - including the NAD and the hippy-dippy Ms Deforest -- and she can’t even convince Hayden to kiss her?
Purchase:

Describe KISSING GAMES in 10 words or less.

Tara Eglington: This is a tough one! But here's a 10-word teaser:
'Aurora's second kiss lands Hayden Paris in the Emergency Room...'