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Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Wrap Up

I had another fantastic reading month this past month. I felt like I was flying through books. It was a lot of fun. I love the summer months and all the guilt free  reading I can do. Anywho, here we go. 

Books Read: 

Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker
Entwined With You by Sylvia Day
The Favor By Megan Hart
45 Pounds by KA Barson
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess 
My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi 

Books Reviewed: 

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
The Favor by Megan Hart 
45 Pounds by KA Barson 


I posted my Summer TBR and am hoping to tackle a good number from the list. I'll be keeping track on that post. 


Debut Author Challenge: 8/20 (My goal for last month was to read two debut and I did that- hoping to keep the trend). 

YA Audio Book Challenge: 4/12 this has been a total fail. I have plans on posting a couple more audio reviews in the next couple months. But in all honesty I haven't been listening to anything lately. 

2013 Reading Challenge: 42/75 books- I am up five books ahead and I am thrilled with that. Because Once school starts not sure how much power reading I'll be able to get done. 

You can watch my June Wrap Up/July TBR below if you so desire. 

Happy Reading Everyone!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Thoughts: 45 Pounds by KA Barson

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

**ARC received from NetGalley 

I am just going to say it. 45 Pounds was fantastic. I loved it. KA Barson's debut was inspiring and encouraging. I am so glad a book like this has been written and I am very glad I got the chance to read it. 45 Pounds made me chuckle and it make me angry, it made me cry because I was sad and because I was happy. Contrary to what you might think looking at this book, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

The story is told from Ann's perspective and recounts her past failed diet attempts as well and her current one. Ann is a lovely character who is authentically written and is easy to relate to. What she struggles with I am sure every high school girl also struggles with. When Ann decides to go on a TV diet to lose 45 pounds for her Aunt's wedding she is determined to succeed.

What made me adore this book so much was how Ann saw herself- Barson didn't gloss over anything and it wasn't pretty. Ann's weight affected how she related to her mother and it impacted her self confidence and ability to connect to other people. Ann thought that because she was fat she didn't deserve friends and that she was worthless. I imagine that a number of girls who struggle with weight feel this way. It was heart breaking to see how Ann thought about herself and I wanted to just give her a hug.

Ann also has a pretty messed up relationship with her parents. Her dad hasn't been all that present in her life since he and his new wife's angry run in with her older brother. Her older brother disappeared after the aforementioned incident. And her mother is so obsessed with food and over eating and her daughter's weight. She is the least supportive person and doesn't realize how much she is hurting her daughter.

45 Pounds addresses issues of weight, eating disorders, infomercial diets, food obsessions and more and it does it in a way that really makes you see how each and every one of them impacts the lives of those who are facing them.

Overall, I think 45 Pounds is one of the most important books written and I am hopeful that it will encourage every young (and not so young) person out there. I was amazingly impacted by this book in a good way.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Fav's of 2013... So Far

This was a very difficult list to come up with as I don't feel like I have read that many UH-MAZ-ING books this year. SO below are books I enjoyed. A few were favourites but what can I say. I need to get my hands on more phenomenal reads.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish.

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013

1) Golden Boy by Abigain Tarttelin- This was a surprising read for me. But it was one that I was really glad I read and one that I enjoyed immensely! The concept and the way the author approached the subject was great.

2) Pivot Point by Kasie West- I thought Pivot Point was really fun. I reading about alternate realities and seeing how things will go.

3) Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys- I really enjoyed the setting of this book- New Orleans' French Quarter. I liked the feeling of the story and the relationship between all the characters. I also really liked Josie and her ambition.

4) Pantomime by Laura Lam- I liked how this story took place at the circus. That was fun. I also really liked that there was more to the story than what I had originally thought- it was wonderfully written and the characters were well developed.

5) Altered by Jennifer Rush-This may be the best book I have read this year. Hot boys who are tormented by their lost memories, escaping the compound where they were being held prisoner and girl who holds the key to everything. If you have not read this book- read it!

6) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer- The sequel to Meyer's debut Cinder was amazing. I loved it. I need not say more.

7) Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson- I liked this one a lot. I thought it was beautifully written and well told.

8) 45 Pounds by KA Barson- I loved this book. I just read it last week and I loved the message it told about weight and food obsession. So good.

9) The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater- I am not the hugest fan of Stiefvater's The wolves of Mercy Falls but I really liked The Raven Boys. I thought the concept was original and neat and Maggie certainly has a way with words.

10) Shatter Me by Tahereh Maffi- I liked this one. I was late to the band wagon. I really enjoyed the super hero feel. I am looking forward to when I finally get to read Unravel Me.

I hope you enjoyed my list- be sure to link yours below.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Thoughts: The Favor by Megan Hart

Janelle Decker has happy childhood memories of her grandma's house, and even lived there through high school. Now she's back with her

twelve-year-old son to look after her ailing Nan, and hardly anything seems to have changed, not even the Tierney boys next door.

Gabriel Tierney, local bad-boy. The twins, Michael and Andrew.

After everything that happened between the four of them, Janelle is shocked that Gabe still lives in St. Mary's. And he isn't trying very hard to convince Janelle he's changed from the moody teenage boy she once knew. If anything, he seems bent on making sure she has no intentions of rekindling their past.

To this day, though there might've been a lot of speculation about her relationship with Gabe, nobody else knows she was there in the woods that day...the day a devastating accident tore the Tierney brothers apart and drove Janelle away. But there are things that even Janelle doesn't know, and as she and Gabe revisit their interrupted romance, she begins to uncover the truth denied to her when she ran away all those years ago.

**ARC received from Netgalley**

Some of you may know that I am a HUGE fan of Megan Hart and her writing. I have often raved about her books, which is interesting considering that she may be more known for her extreme adult content stuff. What I have loved about her way of writing erotic fiction is her ability to also tell a story (I hope that makes sense), what I mean is it's not all about the sex. In saying all of that, in recent years Hart has ventured into the world of mainstream fiction with titles that include Precious and Fragile Things (My Thoughts), All Fall Down (My Thoughts) and the newest one, The Favor. I was nervous about Precious and Fragile Things when I first got my hands on it, but I don't know why.The book was fantastic and it therefore solidified my faith that Megan Hart cannot write a bad book.

So it should come to no surprise to you that I really really enjoyed The Favor. I loved the writing, I loved the way the story was told and I loved the characters. What can I say- I loved it all.

The Favor begins with Janelle moving back to the town where her grandmother lives to take care of the woman in her last few months of life. Janelle faces this move with a moderate amount of anxiety as she hasn't been back in twenty years- she's also bringing her twelve year old son with her. Something made Janelle leave many years ago and has caused her to never return. As readers we have no idea what this is, and it really adds to the mystery if the novel. All we know is that it somehow involves the Tierney boys- specifically Gabe.

Some of my favourites stories to read are ones that go back and forth between past and present. Specifically when the past is slowly unveiling something that I (as a reader) am dying to know about. This is what Hart does with The Favor. She reveals parts the story using snap shots from both Janelle and Gabriel's memories. I really appreciated that we got to see how things unfolded from both perspectives. This allows us to not readily assume we know what's going on. We can make no assumptions in this story.

Janelle has a lot of issues. She is dealing with more than just issues with Gabe and his brothers. She also is dealing with a broken relationship with her father, her grandmother's poor health and the responsibility of being both mother and father to her growing son. She is a busy woman. I really liked her and I think that the way she would handle things was believable. She wasn't this perfect, has all her shit stuff together. She was flawed and I liked that. Gabe was also dealing with his own BS. Living with her father and younger brother and feeling like it was on him to keep everything together. Gabe was living with a lot of guilt and he was drowning in it.

The secondary characters in The Favor were also fantastic and complex. Andy, Gabe's brother, having survived a tragic accident that caused him to suffer some brain damage was a hoot. He was like a little kid but not. He and Janelle's son became fast friends. But Andy was also an adult and acted like one at the same time. I enjoyed the scenes where he was present the most. Nan (Janelle's grandmother) suffering from a cancer that was going to take her life, was wise and she would often give Janelle advice that would bring me to tears. There were also times (due to her illness) when she was not lucid and forget things or something that didn't make sense. Both of these characters really showed how vulnerable we are as humans.

Overall, I think Megan Hart did a fantastic job with The Favor. The story was interesting and the characters well developed. This was a quick read for me, which is saying something for a slow poke like me. I hope you go and pick this one up when it hits the shelves next week.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

I was excited to get to this week's topic because I was kind of impressed with the success I had with my Spring TBR. You can see my list and what I've read here. I am anticipating similar results with my summer TBR list. I just hope I can stick to it. A number of the novels on my list are books I have to read for review. But they are the ones that I really want to read- like today. 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

1) To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones- This one came to me for review but I am SO eager to read it. I think the whole premise sounds interesting. This story is written in verse and I have only read stuff written this way by Ellen Hopkins, so I am excited to see how Sones takes in on. 

2) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- While I didn't like Eleanor and Park as much as most people did, I am pretty stoked about Rowell's next novel Fangirl. I think this sounds SO funny and light and I am really looking forward to reading this one. 

3) The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace- I have some weird obsession with novels that are about forbidden relationships. I always wonder if they are going to work out. And The Truth About You and Me is exactly the kind of story that I want to read. 

4) Boundless by Cynthia Hand- I am going to read this book. It was on my spring TBR and I have been talking about reading this book for ages now. I just need to buckle up and get to it. Like for real. It has to happen. I need to know how it all turns out for Clara and Tucker. It's absolutely important. 

5) Something by Sarah Dessen- I have only read two books by Sarah Dessen: Lock and Key and Dreamland. I have enjoyed them both and I think I would like to try another of her books. I don't know which on so if you have suggestions I'll take em. 

6) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler- I have had this book on my shelf for a good long time now and I haven't read it. I feel like it would make a good beach read. I think that's when I'll read it. On the beach. 
7) Hopeless by Colleen Hoover- Bought this for my Kobo on a whim a little while ago and have been dying to read it ever since. I am still iffy about New Adult these days, but I want to give this one a try and see where it takes me. 

8) Sloppy  Firsts by Megan McCafferty- I haven't read this series yet and I want to. I have heard nothing but good things about it and I need to get to it. 

9) Asunder by Jodi Meadows- Another roll over from my spring TBR. But this one I really want to get to soon. I want back in the utopian work that Meadows created.

10) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling- it was my goal to reread the whole Harry Potter series this summer- I don't think that's going to happen, but I can certainly make a dent. 

So that is my summer reading pile- while most of it. Make sure to link you TTTs below so I can stop by and see what you're planning on reading. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Thoughts: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Oh the cover of this book is absolutely incredible!! I think it's one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. I just want to stare at it all day long.

Anywho- the story.

It was Misty from The Book Rat that first had me considering Jane Nickerson's debut Strands of Bronze and Gold. She was reading it for her Fairy Tale Fortnight event and mentioned that it was a retelling of the Bluebeard story. She seemed to enjoy it and I thought I would give it a try. Let me first say, I knew absolutely nothing about the Bluebeard fairy tale, so I didn't know what to expect from Strands of Bronze and Gold. When looking into the novel, a number of readers suggested not looking up the Bluebeard story. So that's what I did... at first. About half way through reading I did end up looking up the fairy tale because I couldn't handle being that much in the dark.

The story begins with Sophie going to live with her Godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, after her father passes away. At first Sophie is happy to be at her Godfather's mansion and living the rich life. However as time goes on Sophie soon realizes that the man is VERY controlling and possessive and she becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her situation and the demands of de Cressac.

I really enjoyed Strands of Bronze and Gold. Having no knowledge of the base story I was fascinated with what was going on and what Sophie had gotten herself into. Nickerson did a great job keeping me on my toes and engaged with the story. It wasn't just a creepy story, with a creepy man making inappropriate advances to a young girl. It was more than that. Nickerson takes the story further and sets in the southern United States during the time when slavery was an acceptable practice. Owning slaves was something that Sophie did not condone and she was very vocal to Monsieur de Cressac regarding her distaste. I really appreciated the way Nickerson approached this theme and incorporated it into her book. It really added flavour to the story.

I absolutely loved all the characters in this book. Even Bernard de Cressac. He was wonderfully written and he was the perfect villain. You couldn't help but like him in the beginning- in this case it was easy to see why Sophie was so enthralled with him. Nickerson also did a fantastic job of making Monsieur de Cressac more and more strange the deeper into the book we got. It was a lot of fun to read.

Overall, Strands of Bronze and Gold was a great read. I loved the spin Jane Nickerson put on the Bluebeard story and I am really looking forward to reading more by her.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Beach Reads

I am SO excited about this week's topic. Summer is one of my most favourite times of year. It's when I read the most and when I can spend the most time at the lake or at the beach. Reading in the sun on the dock is absolutely divine to me. It's my happy place.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the Broke and Bookish 

So this week's topic is...

Top Ten Beach Reads

1) The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han- I read this book in the summer and I read it in a day. That is my kind of book. The book takes place at the beach (which makes it perfect), but it also screams romance and fluff and everything good for a day by the water.

2) Triangles by Ellen Hopkins- I think this is a great beach read because it is full of Drama! I mean tons of it. Scandal, deceit- it is angsty. This is kinda fun to read when you're in a good mood. I also really love Hopkins' prose and it just makes for good reading.

3) Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry- I love reading contemporary novels in the summer. I find that this genre is what I crave. Pushing the Limits definitely has some darker themes but overall it's a lovely novel that gets you thinking but also lets you relax and just enjoy it.

4) Stranger by Megan Hart- This books is smutty. Sometimes  good smutty book is what you need when sitting on the beach. Something you can read and forget about as soon as your done. Stranger is one of my favourites of the book I've read by Megan and I think it's the lightest in terms of issues. I really liked it and I think it's a perfect beach read.

5) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick- Anyone who has read this book knows that it's fully of happy. This has got to be the most perfect beach read! I absolutely loved it!

6) The Pact by Jodi Picoult- This one I actually read on the beach and it totally consumed my life. Talk about intense. These are the kinds of books that can only be read at the beach. A story that will capture all your attention and not allow you to focus on anything else. The Pact had me bawling my eyes out but I absolutely loved it. It was a great reading experience.

7) Summer Sisters by Judy Blume- Another book I read on the beach and I loved. This story again takes place over a number of summers and consists of scandal and drama and growing up. It's on of my top ten favourites. It is also my first and only Judy Blume read.

8) French Kissing by Catherine Sanderson- This book is exactly the kind of book that I think is perfect for summer. It's light, it's freaking hilarious! It's about a woman on the dating scene in Paris. I loved it and it's what I love to read while on vacation or on the beach.

9) The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald- This is one classic that I could fly through on the beach. For some reason all the parties and all the extremes Jay Gatsby goes through to get his girl, it feels like a good afternoon on the beach.

10) The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta- Another book I read on the beach and I thought it was a special time for me. I loved the Piper's Son and I loved that I got to sit in the sun with my friends around me and read about a boy who needed his friends around him.

 for some reason I think beach reads are contemporary novels filled with romance and fluff. Something that just makes you smile and fly through it. While there is some truth to this, I realized that this is not a hard and fast rule for me. When it comes to books and reading- I don't really have any rules.

Happy Reading Everyone,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Thoughts: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

**Review copy received from publisher for review**

Leigh Bardugo's debut Shadow and Bone blew me away last summer when I read it. It was absolutely incredible. I read it while driving with a couple friends to see Coldplay. It was a good trip and Shadow and Bone will forever be a part of that. I flew through the book and as soon as I was done I was eager to see what was going to happen next.

Siege and Storm essentially picks up exactly where Shadow and Bone leaves off. Alina and Mal on the run from the Darkling and trying to figure out their next move. I have seen it mentioned a few times that there had been a bit of confusion because there is little recap in Siege and Storm regarding its predecessor. This is something that I generally get frustrated with as I have the worst memory for details. But I did not seem to have this problem with Siege and Storm. This could be attributed to the fact that it has been less then a year since I read Shadow and Bone, but I don't think so. I think I was so involved with the story when I read it that it all stuck with me. In saying that, I would suggest you refresh your memory with Shadow and Bone before reading Siege and Storm if you feel like you need it.

One of the things that really impressed me with the first installment of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy was how creative it was. I am always so impressed with what can come from someone's mind. There are so many little details that needed to be thought out and developed. The world and all that it comes with was one of my favourite things about Shadow and Bone, and I was not disappointed with how Bardugo was able to expand it and make it more magical and more compelling to readers. She takes us someplace else throws us in and lets us enjoy the beauty of it all.

There were a few twists and turns in Siege and Storm that I wasn't expecting and it was a blast to experience it all. There are a number of new characters that we are introduced to in this novel- some pleasant, others not so much. Strumhond, the privateer that we meet is my kind of character. He was sarcastic and mysterious and cocky and just plane hilarious! There were a few scenes within the book where he was involved that had be lol-ing for real.

Alina goes through some major changes in Siege and Storm. She battles internally with the responsibilities of being the sun summoner and a few other things (which would get a little spoiler-y if I let it slip). It's because of these struggles that her relationship with Mal suffers a bit. I enjoyed seeing this new side of Alina. She becomes more independent and more assertive. These new developments in her character felt normal and natural. There were times, however, where I wished she would have handled these transitions better and trusted those around her more (but really who deals with change perfectly).

The Darkling is absent ninety percent of the time. But this didn't bother me. While I was as enchanted with him as anyone else when reading Shadow and Bone. However, the few times he did make an appearance in Siege and Storm I didn't feel the same charm from him. Yes, he wasn't wooing Alina anymore, but there was something about him that just didn't impress me. I am curious to see what Bardugo will do with him in the next book.

Overall, Siege and Storm was a perfect addition to the Grisha trilogy. The plot was wonderfully developed and had me from the very beginning and the characters were fierce and loyal. I am SO excited for everyone to get their hands on this and I am ever more excited to see what's in store for Alina, Mal and the Darkling.

Happy Reading Everyone!

"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl