Fall Books Preview 2017

Fall marks the return of school, and the return of people coming back to work from their summer vacation. But book lovers may also know it as the prime “book season”, when many great releases are out, serval literary festivals are happening and the major book awards are given. This month I had the opportunity to attend two different fall book previews each with amazing author guests, and  so instead of doing a full event recap for each event I thought I’d highlight a few of the titles from both that I’m looking forward to.

Penguin Random House

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (Out Now)

This one is one that I’ve actually read before the preview. It’s about a young woman who as an intern has an affair with her married, a congressman. Told from various points of views including the woman, her mother and the congressman’s wife this book unexpectedly became one of my favourites for it’s incredibly female empowering message. A review of this book will be up on the blog some time next week.

Smitten Kitchen: Every Day Triumphant & Unfussy New Favourites by Deb Perelman (October 24, 2017)

I don’t often cook or bake, but when I do I tend to visit food blogs for inspiration. I stumbled upon the Smitten Kitchen blog last year when I was looking for recipes for my Christmas cookie swap with my friends. I love the simplistic blog layout, gorgeous photos and the easy to follow recipes. It’s been more than four years since the last Smitten Kitchen book and based on the previews, this one promises the usual drool worthy food photos and family friendly, accessible recipes. For those of you interested, Deb Perelman will be coming to Canada for a signing at Chapters Bayview on October 26!

Unqualified by Anna Faris (October 24, 2017)

This one is rather interesting seeing as Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt have just announced that they’re separating. Chris is still confirmed to be doing the foreword to the book as announced earlier. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but after reading an excerpt of her book where she talks about how its importance of friendships especially female friendships outside of your romantic relationships, I found her writing to be relatable and interesting so I’ll definitely be picking this one up. Unqualified has been suggested as being a must read if you’re a fan of Faris’ podcast or even if you enjoy funny, female memoirs.

Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean (October 31, 2017)

I grew up with CBC radio, and Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe show was one of the staples of my Canadian childhood. Sadly with his passing earlier this year, 2017 will be the first year without a Vinyl Cafe Christmas special. This collection includes some previously recorded stories as well as some new ones, so I’m definitely excited for it as it would make for some perfect Christmas reading.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (November 7, 2017)

I adored Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy and after hearing abut The Music Shop, I’m eagerly anticipating this one as well. Inspired by a real life event, and taking place in the 1980s and featuring a record store where the owner has a “gift” for finding music that people need at a certain point in their life. Described as quirky and heartwarming and recommended for fans of Terry Fallis’ The Best Laid Plans this one is definitely on my must read list this fall. (I managed to get an ARC of this one, so stay tuned for my review of it on the blog)

HarperCollins (YA)

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Out Now)

I haven’t read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout yet, but the tagline for this book “how can you move on if tomorrow isn’t guaranteed” has me intrigued. Also I looked up the synopsis of this one online and it sounds like it would be an interesting contemporary YA novel with the added bonus of a swoon-worthy book boyfriend! This one was recommended for fans of All the Bright Places as well as 99 Days.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (September 19th)

I quite enjoyed Three Dark Crowns and am looking forward to more action in the sequel! This series is about a set of triplets who must fight to the death in order to become the next queen! Recommended for fans of complex, and messy sibling relationships and readers who love the fantasy genre.

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West (December 26th)

So this one was my most anticipated titles out all the ones that were presented! I love a good contemporary YA novel and am a huge fan of the friends to lovers trope. Plus I love reading books were characters have their own bucket lists and are trying to check things off their list. This is mostly because I’ve always wanted to make a bucket list but could never really commit to doing one so its fun for me to live vicariously through others even book characters.

So what are you guys looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments below!

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Frenzy Picks (Spring/Summer 2017 Edition)

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On Sunday I had the privilege of attending a Frenzy Presents event at the HareprCollins offices. Usually they only have an event in August to showcase their upcoming fall titles so I was really excited that they had one in the spring to showcase their their summer titles as summer usually means more contemporary fiction! Anyways without further delay, here are five titles from all those presented that I’m looking forward to:

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily CollinufThe title with the earliest release date from my list (it’s out next week), this is a collection of essays written by the actress Lily Collins whose father is the singer Phil Collins. I’m curious to see what she has to say as she talks about issues like body image, self-confidence, family and dating. Out March 7th, 2017.

Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of) by Arden Rose

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I was a bit wary about this book, but Suman totally sold me on it! With chapter titles like “Do Tour Laundry or You’ll Die Alone”, it sounds like it will be a hilarious read for those of us who dread “adulting things”. Plus I’m kind of looking forward to her take on topics like fashion, travel and dating. Arden Rose also created a fun book trailer to promote her book, which you can check out here. Can’t wait until this book is in stores next month. Out March 28th, 2017.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

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Ramona Blue is teenaged girl who 6 feet tall (quickly outgrowing her trailer home) with blue hair whose life was forever changed when Hurricane Katrina hit. Though she’s just a teenager, she finds herself juggling multiple jobs to help her family afloat.

While I wasn’t in love with Dumplin’ like so many of my fellow bloggers, I did enjoy Side Effects May Vary. Based on the synopsis I was intrigued to pick up Ramona Blue as it not only examines the complexities of sexual orientation but also addresses other issues like family, sisterhood, poverty and race. Fortunately, everyone who attended the Frenzy Presents event was gifted with an ARC which I almost immediately started to read and so far am enjoying. Out May 9th, 2017.

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
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A book that doesn’t fit into just one genre, this book follows three different girls from three different places and time periods. Interestingly enough, there is a heartbreaking connection between the three girls although I was also promised that it would be a hopeful book as well. This premise had me curious and I was lucky enough to get an ARC of it at the event. Out June 13th, 2017.

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

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The latest book from Canadian authour, Sarah Mlynowski this book promises to be the perfect vacation read. As you guys may (or may not) know, I’m a huge fan of books that have travel in it and if I were to be honest this was probably my most anticipated title from the list presented. I See London, I See France best friends Sydney and Leela as they travel all over Europe together after Leela’s boyfriend cheats on her and she decides to take Sydney on their trip. Unfortunately, Leela’s ex-boyfriend also ends up going on the trip and along with his best friend, there’s bound to be a ton of drama. I got an ARC of this book as part of my gift bag so if you guys are interested in seeing my review of this one let me know. Out July 11, 2017.

So what spring/summer HarperCollins titles are you guys eagerly anticipating? Feel free to chime in below!

Winter + Spring 2017 Preview Picks

On Saturday September 10th, Raincoast Books held their Winter and Spring 2017 Teen Reads preview event for their upcoming titles. While I normally would have attended the in person events (there’s one in Toronto as well as one in Vancouver where the Raincoast Books offices are located). This time around due to a family emergency, I was forced to attend the event via Google Hangout. And while my laptop and internet had glitches which made me fall behind in the presentations, fortunately I was able to keep up by following the #TeensReadFeed hastag on Twitter at the same time. Anyways below are my top anticipated titles from the Raincoast preview:

1. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

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This one is a give, and probably my most anticipated 2017 title (of all the ones I presented during the preview. I love graphic novels and am looking forward to seeing Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew making appearances in this book. Also Iko was a character that pretty much stole every scene she was in during the Lunar Chronicles series so it’s great to see her finally get her own story. Anyways this is the first volume of a two volume series and it will be out on January 31st.

2. Things I Should Have Known by Claire Lazebnik

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So this book sounds right up my alley what with the quirky romance and sibling relationships. During the preview we were told that the idea for this book came from an article the author wrote about the difficulties that her son with autism had in dating. I haven’t seen many books touching upon this subject so Things I Should Have Known definitely has me intrigued.

After special guest, author Mary E. Pearson spoke, the people at Raincoast Books asked all participants three questions. Below are the three questions and my answers, feel free to chime in below in the comments with your own answers:

 

  1. What book are you most anticipating? Of all the titles presented, I’d have to say without a doubt its Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer. Two other titles from Raincoast Books I’m eagerly anticipating that weren’t mentioned during the preview are The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord and The Truth about Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo.
  2. What book are you reading now? At the time of the preview I was reading The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon.
  3. What are your favourite books of the year so far? A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (one of her bests to date)

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Back on the first day of October, I had the pleasure of once again visiting the amazing office of Penguin Random House in downtown Toronto. This time it was for their fall preview where we got to hear from Jackie and Evan about all the exciting Fall titles that were already out as well as those that will be in stores later in the Fall.

There were also two special guests at the session I attended, one was Shari Lapena the author of The Couple Next Door while the other guest was author, Kyo Maclear who spoke about her upcoming book Birds Art Life Death: A Field Guide to the Small and Significant. Everyone then received an advance copy of the book which will be out in February.

In addition to the Fall titles, we got a sneak peek at some Winter titles as well and I thought it would be nice to share with you guys some of the Winter titles that I’m looking forward to.

1. Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

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Fun fact, Will Schwalbe was technically the first author I met as a book blogger. His memoir, The End of Your Life Book Club inspired me to start a book club of my own with my mother…and while that has not yet happened, I’m still looking forward to the recommendations that can be found in Books for Living. Pitched as a book for those who are curious as to what others are currently reading, it sounds like a perfect read to me.

2. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

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Elan Mastai was one of the many authours who had an introduction video at the fall preview. In his, he was “apologetically” Canadian. The premise of All Our Wrong Todays sounds incredibly intriguing as it mixes science fiction elements like time travel with elements of more realistic fiction like relationships and life in general. I’m curious to see as to whether the protagonist will choose to stay in the new world (our version of 2016) or head back to the one he came from, the 1950s

3. How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

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I recently got into iiSuperwomanii’s videos and I’m slightly obsessed. Lilly is just so relatable and hilarious, and I love that we are both alumni’s of the same university and program. With this title, I’m more excited to get my hands on the audio book as it would be way cooler to listen to her actual voice as it’s what I’m used to with her YouTube videos.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Frenzy Five

2016 marked the fifth year anniversary of Frenzy Presents, a YA preview event of upcoming Fall/Winter titles hosted by HarperCollins that usually took place at their offices.  A big shout to all the wonderful staff at HarperCollins who have once again invited me to attend this event for the third (and I hope not the last) time. As always there were lots of book bloggers, awesome treats, and of course tons of books. Of the titles discussed during the presentation, the following five are the ones that I most looking forward to:

1. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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The protagonist, Molly has had many crushes but has never been in love (just like high school me). When her twin sister, Cassie finds love with her new girlfriend Mina, Molly is slightly jealous that her sister gets to experience something she has yet to experienced. Things suddenly get complicated when Cassie and Mina try to set up Molly with Mina’s friend, Will at the same time that Mina finds herself falling for her nerdy co-worker, Reid. The Upside of Unrequited  is probably my most anticipated title of all the titles that were discussed during this year’s Frenzy Presents. I love a good contemporary YA novel and this one sounds right up my alley, too bad I will have to wait until April 11th 2017 to read it, though I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

2. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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Okay, normally I don’t do fantasy but this one has me intrigued (and it comes highly recommended by Suman). Three Dark Crowns follows three sisters who are triplets and all have equal claim to the throne. Separated at birth, on their 16th birthday the three sisters will be forced to battle each other (until the death?) with the victor becoming the next queen. Unfortunately of the three sisters, only one of them truly has a handle on their powers…Releasing on  September 20, this is one book that I’m looking forward to audiobook.

3. The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

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My first introduction to Canadian authour, Lesley Livingston was her Never series, so her latest book has me excited. I’ve always been into ancient history, and this book is set during Ancient Rome where gladiators roamed. Additionally it features a badass female which I just love. For those of you who are fans of Roman history, The Valiant comes out on February 14th 2017.

4. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

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Apparently The Thousandth Floor starts with a character falling off the tower, but readers won’t know who it is until the end. I was fortunate enough to be gifted an ARC at the Indigo YA Fall Preview, and I’m looking forward to starting this at some point. Jessica at The Papertraildiary was the presenter for this title at Frenzy Presents and has told me that the story is REALLY good. For those of you who were not able to get an early copy, fret not as this tale of high stakes, drama, and gossip comes out on August 30!

5. Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

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On the invitation for Frenzy Presents this year, we were told that there would be two special guests. One was M-E Girard, the authour of Girl Mans Up and the other was Kenneth Oppel who talked about his new book, Every Hidden Thing. Described as “Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones”, the book follows the children of two rivaling paleontologists (whose relationship is based off of the real life rivalry of paleontologists, Cope and Marsh). After falling in love and realizing that their fathers are nuts the two run away and elope before setting off on an adventure to find “the Rex”. This one is out on September 20th.

So, what are you guys looking forward to this coming fall and winter? Comment below with what titles you can’t wait to read.

TeensRead Fall 2016 Preview

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to attend a publisher event, and I was really looking forward to seeing everyone again. What I didn’t account for was my work team having an outing the day before and me not getting home until 1:30 AM on the day of the preview. Needless to say I was extremely tired, but still excited to get to the event.

For those of us in Toronto, we had our own event at Deer Park Library where we all sat together and watched a live stream via Google Hangouts of the actual event that was taking place in Vancouver. While the event in Vancouver was hosted by Melissa from Raincoast Books, (with special guest, Eileen Cook, who wrote With Malice) the Toronto event was hosted by Jenn (aka @lostingreatbook) and Jenny from Ampersand Inc. who provided us with lots of yummy treats and a swag bag.

Photo credit: @ShilpaRaikar
Photo credit: @ShilpaRaikar

Despite some technical issues that made it difficult to hear the stream, it was still a yummy snack filled and fun event as we rarely get to see so many book bloggers gathered together in one room.

Of the countless fall titles that were previewed at the event I thought I’d highlight six that I’m eagerly anticipating. Interesting fact, Raincoast announced at the preview that they will now be distributing Bloomsbury titles starting August which has me super excited as some of my favourite YA titles are from them (like Emery Lord’s books) Anyways, in no particular order, they are:

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

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A modern adaptation of the Russian fairy tale, “Vasilisa the Beautiful“, but set in the kingdom of Brooklyn. Vassa lives with her stepmother and stepsisters in a working class neighbourhood where there is dark magic lurking about. So when she is sent to get light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission. Fortunately she has help from Erg, a tough wooden doll with sticky fingers, and together the two may finally be able to break the witch’s curse. Also if that doesn’t intrigued you, I should mention that it’s also blurbed by Leigh Bardugo!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Speaking of which, in case you don’t already know I adored Six of Crows and the sequel is definitely high of my most anticipated fall releases. While the synopsis has me slightly worried for the characters I love so much, I’m still incredibly curious as to what will become of them also I’m intrigued because I heard that Crooked Kingdom will focus on cons more than heists. And of course I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of my beloved ships.

Other-Wordly written by Yee-Lum Mak and illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

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One of the posters included in the swag bag featured illustrations from this book which are gorgeous! I love languages and learning new words, and that paired with such beautiful illustrations makes this one a must pick up!

 This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

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 I received an ARC of this title in my swag bag, in fact many of the other book bloggers in attendance also received an ARC. To be honest the synopsis didn’t appeal to me, but I was in the mood for a contemporary novel and I had a long commute home so I decided to give it a try. And to my surprise I found that I enjoyed (and am still enjoying it immensely). Sloane has just moved from New York to Florida, and unexpectedly she gets involved with twins Vera, a social media star and her brother Gabe. I’m still reading it at the moment but I have to say I am really enjoying the portrayals of complex relationships, both familial and friendships. This is definitely one YA contemporary read you’ll want to be on the lookout for.

We are all Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

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Another contemporary YA novel, this one is set in the 1980s and is a series of letters back and forth between two characters who are best friends. I’m looking forward to a coming of age story and I’m hoping that there will be a bit of romance in it too! This one was a title that the Raincoast staff recommended for those who are fans of Rainbow Rowell.

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

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Ever the Hunted has been on my radar for quite some time now, in fact I already tried requesting it on Netgalley so here’s to hoping I am able to get approved. The synopsis promises murder, magic, and dangerous quests as well as a kick butt heroine so I’m definitely game.

So, how about you guys? Any of these titles appeal to you? What are some fall titles that you guys are anticipating?

Words of Asia | Wrap-up & Giveaway

WOA

I hope you guys enjoyed the Words of Asia blog event. If you want to see all the reviews that were a part of this blog event, click here. Anyways as a thank you, I am doing two giveaways. One is Canada only and the other is international, scroll down for contest rules and the links. Enjoy and good luck!

 Giveaway 1 – China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

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CONTEST RULES
1. No purchase required.
2. Open to residents of CANADA ONLY.
3. If a winner is picked and their Twitter account only has giveaway entries, I will choose again.
4. Total prize value is approximately $30 CAD.
5. The winner will receive their book from Penguin Random House Canada who will be mailing it to them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2 – Winner’s choice of one of any of the books featured during this blog event.

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CONTEST RULES
1. No purchase required.
2. Open to all, as long as you reside in a country where the Book Depository ships to.
3. If a winner is picked and their Twitter account only has giveaway entries, I will choose again.
4. Total maximum prize value is approx. $30 CAD. (depending on what book is chosen)
5. Since Book Depository will shipping the book directly to the winner, Words of Mystery not be responsible for lost or damaged packages.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Words of Asia | In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar

WOA

For a listing of the links to all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Mia Alvar is a writer who currently lives in New York City. She was born in the Philippines and raised in Bahrain and the United States. In the Country is her first book.inthecountry

Where Does it Take Place?
Like the Filipino diaspora, these stories take place anywhere from the USA to the Middle East which gives readers a look at how different the immigrant experience is as well as the common thread between all their experiences despite ending up in different countries with different cultures.

What’s it About:
In the Country, is a collection of nine short stories about the Filipino diaspora. These are women and men who are starting their lives in countries all over the world.

My Thoughts:
Usually with short stories collection there are some stories I love and others I don’t love. However, with Mia Alvar’s In the Country I found that I love pretty much most of the stories in the collection. Each of the stories is more captivating than the previous one. The stories, themselves have a lot of substance, and are extremely thought provoking. The recurring theme in In the Country is that there’s so much more to people and situations then you may see at first glimpse.

With so many choices to choose from, I’d have to say my favourite of the collection would probably be, The Miracle Worker story which is an exceptionally well written story about a woman who is hired to teach severely handicapped girl. As a result of her encounter with the girl and the girl’s mother she starts to doubt her marriage and what she wants in life. I loved the story for the message it imparts on the reader at the end. Additionally, I enjoyed reading Legends of the White Lady because it mixes a traditional ghost story with the contemporary story of a foreign model in Philippines. What I loved most about this book was reading about all the Filipino people living all over the world and the lives they lead, as these stories are the ones that I don’t often hear about or come across as often in the books I tend to read.

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Stories about the immigrant experience, and not just of those who have immigrated to North America but those who have moved to countries that you may not expect them to.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Nevertheless, regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Words of Asia | Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

WOA

For a listing to the links for all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Nayomi Munaweera was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At the age of three she immigrated with her family to Nigeria. Her family later settled in Southern California in 1984. Island of A Thousand Mirrors, is her first novel and it was actually first published in South Asia in 2012 before it was released in America by St. Martin’s Press in 2014.

Where Does it Take Place?
Both own Sri Lanka where all the characters are from and later some parts take place in America as one of the families in the book escapes the conflict by moving to the USA.

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What’s it About:
Book has two “sections”. First half we get to know all the major players in the story personally at different ages and stages of their life. Set at the beginning in Sri Lanka, the story gradually shifts settings as some of the characters choose to escape from the island and immigrate to the USA. We then get to see, who is Yasodhara who is Sinhala try to adjust to life in America with her family.

The second part of the book has a bit of a time skip to tell the story of Saraswathi, a young Tamil girl in Sri Lanka who wants to become a teacher. It then moves back and forth between Yasodhara and Saraswathi as the two become connected through a major tragic event. Throughout the entire two girls with their different backgrounds provide readers with the perspectives of the two warring cultural groups. As a result we get two sides to the conflict.

My Thoughts:
The writing in Island of a Thousand Mirrors is simple yet very tender and the prose just flows effortlessly from page to page. I loved learning more about the civil war and conflict in Sri Lanka as it was something that I was not aware of before reading this book. Munaweera does a good job of examining the immigrant experience from the perspective of children who are coming into a new, foreign country where they are made to realize that they are different from their peers in more ways than one. In addition she does an equally good job at portraying the life of families who are stuck living in a war-torn country and how they struggle in their day-to-day lives to survive. I really enjoyed Yasodhara story more as it was interesting to see the person she grew up to become, and the relationships she would develop as well as the hardships she had to endure herself. I always love hearing the stories of women who become involved or are affected by major conflicts and overall, Island of a Thousand Mirrors is a heartbreaking but truly beautiful book.

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Stories about strong women who will do anything for their family and to survive.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Nevertheless, regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Words of Asia | And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

WOA

For a listing to the links for all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Khaled Hosseini is the authour of the best-selling books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. And the Mountains Echoed is his third novel to date. Currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and he also founded the Khaled Hosseini Foundation which helps by giving humanitarian assistance to people in Afghanistan.

Where Does it Take Place?
The story starts in Afghanistan but moves around to various places from Paris, France to Pakistan to the USA.

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What’s it About:
It’s the year 1952, and the reader is introduced to a pair of very young siblings Abdullah and his younger sister, Pari. Something tragic then happens that changes the course of both of their lives forever. The rest of the novel then follows the stories of not only Abdullah and Pari but many other characters that are or have become connected to them. No one is completely good or evil, but everyone has their flaws and regrets.

My Thoughts:
As this was my first book by Khaled Hosseini (my sister has been trying to push The Kiterunner on me for years though), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately I adored this book, the writing and characters truly held me captive. And I liked how this book was both heartbreaking but also uplifting at times, which made it all the more beautiful. Also the conclusion of And the Mountains Echoed was just so poignant and on point.

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Books  set in war-torn countries that are about family, sacrifice, love and loss.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Words of Asia | Ticket to Childhood by Nguyễn Nhật Ánh

WOA

For a listing to the links for all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Nguyễn Nhật Ánh is a well-known Vietnamese authour of stories for children, teenagers and adults. Ticket to Childhood or Cho tôi xin một vé đi tuổi thơ, as it was originally called is perhaps his best known and best selling work.

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Where Does it Take Place?
Vietnam! Love the fact that its set in Vietnam because not that many books take place in Vietnam or about Vietnamese people that have been translated into English.

What’s it About:
Mui, a writer relates the story of his childhood and his adventures with his friends, Hai, Ti and  Tun in Vietnam. These tales are then simultaneously compared with how each of the characters turned out as adults.

My Thoughts:
Even if you weren’t born in Vietnam, which  I suspect many of you weren’t there is something that almost everyone can relate to. The carefree and innocent adventures that Mui and his friends have makes me a bit nostalgic for my childhood as well even though it wasn’t too long ago that I was a kid. So even though the book was not what I’d expected based off of what I could understand from the Vietnamese audiobook, it was still a magical read. This modern fairytale of sorts is a book that I’d recommend for those who fancy themselves as young at heart. Nguyễn Nhật Ánh is a gifted storyteller who is able to turn the most ordinary lives of children into something that is precious, extraordinary and truly magical. And even though the book is short in length, I think its perfect length for the story the authour is trying to tell.

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Books that will take you back to a much simpler time and remind you of what it was like to be a kid.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Nevertheless, regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

RHC Spring/Summer Blogger Preview | Five Titles I Can’t Wait For!

Last Wednesday I got to check off another thing off my book blogger checklist, which was to attend a blogger preview at the offices of Random House of Canada. It was an entertaining night, and I got to meet a few of my fellow book bloggers for the first time as well as catch up with those who I’ve already met in person. Overall it was an entertaining and well organized event, and if they were to hold an Fall Preview I wouldn’t object to getting an invite to attend it so once again, thank you Aliya for the invite!! Anyways, I thought I’d feature a few of the titles that I am super excited for that are coming out in the next few months or so. I’m pretty sure there will be lots of overlap between my choices and the choices of the other bloggers that attended this event so without further delay here are my top five pick plus one bonus pick in no particular order:

1.finding-audrey-sophie-kinsella-book-cover Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

When I first heard that Sophie Kinsella was coming out with a YA novel, I’ll admit I wasn’t as excited as everyone else was. I mean I’ve only read one book by her, Wedding Night which I enjoyed but I wasn’t like a super fan of her work or anything. However, after learning more about what the book is about I’m very intrigued. The protagonist in this book suffers from an anxiety disorder which as someone who struggles with anxiety often, I can definitely relate to. Also its apparently supposed to be a cute contemporary with romance which is one of my sweet spots. Thus I will definitely be anticipating the release of this book. This book releases on June 9th 2015.

 

2. godruinsA God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

I absolutely loved, Life after Life by Kate Atkinson so when I heard that she was coming out with a sort of sequel I knew I had to get a copy of it. In A God in Ruins we get the story of Ursula’s younger brother, Teddy. This should be interesting since I really liked Teddy in Life after Life and I’m excited to learn more about him. Fortunately I got an ARC of this book, so I’ll be able to dive into it soon. This book releases on May 5th 2015.

 

3. we-are-all-made-of-molecules-susin-nielsen-book-coverWe are all made of molecules by Susin Nielsen

I adore Susin Nielsen’s writing, and her book The Reluectant Journal of Henry Larsen was one of my favourite reads in 2013. Initially I wasn’t sure about this book, but after hearing about it more at the preview, I really want to check it out when it comes out. Also I loved the fact that one of the descriptions for this book is “Nerd Power Defeats Bully”, cause that is just awesome! Don’t you guys think so too? This book releases on May 12th 2015.

 

4. a-robot-in-the-garden-by-deborah-install-book-coverA Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

This book some really adorable and I’m just loving the Canadian cover for it. The premise of this book also sounds utterly charming as it is about a man in his thirties who come across a robot in his garden (hence the title), the story then follows all their misadventures as they try to find the robot, Tang’s home. I was sad that I was able to get an ARC of this one but luckily I know a couple of good blogger friends who did get their hands on an early copy and would be willing to share it with me. This book releases on August 4th 2015.

 

5. chinarichChina Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

This is probably my most anticipated book of 2015. Luckily, I got an ARC of it early on and having just finished reading it, I can say that my excitement was warranted. If you loved Crazy Rich Asians, then you will love China Rich Girlfriend. And if you haven’t read either book, but want a fun and entertaining story filled with ton of gossip and drama and featuring Asian characters then you should definitely check this series out! I know I will be definitely preChina Rich Girlfriend releases on June 16th 2015.

 

**Bonus Pick: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald**

This last pick is a bonus pick as it doesn’t release until the fall but it is already up there on my fall reading wishlist. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend follows 28-year-old Sara from Haninge, Sweden who decides to visit her pen pal Amy in Broken Wheel, Iowa. This don’t go as Sara expects once she gets to Broken Wheel, but it does leave room for a great story that is perfect for book lovers. Hearing this book being compared to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry has made this book a definite must read for me!

Heartbreaker Blog Tour Day 6 – Edwards & Murphy

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About the Author: Erin Johnson grew up watching classic western movies with her father, which fueled her lifelong love of horseback riding. She’s always dreamed of being a fierce-talking cowgirl, but writing about one seemed like the next best thing. She loves traveling, painting, riding motorcycles, and teaching, and lives in North Carolina. You can find out more about her and her books, which are written under the name Laurie J. Edwards, at https://lje1.wordpress.com/. Another recent release,Cyber Self-Defense, co-written with Alexis Moore, gives tips for coping with cyber-bullying and other cyber-abuse. To read about her humorous, true-life romance, watch for the anthology Love & Profanity coming from Capstone in March 2015.
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1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak? “The Way We Were,” which Barbra Streisand sang in the movie of the same title.
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? Definitely. I believe your heart draws you to the right person, the perfect match. When you meet, your eyes look beyond the physical and into the soul, so I also believe in love at first sight.

Book: Her Cold Revenge

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Grace and the Guiltless

The first book in YA series set in the Wild West…

After her family is slaughtered by outlaws, sixteen-year-old Grace Milton goes on a vendetta to capture the gang who did it. But once she meets a rugged range rider, she’s torn between revenge and love.

“Packed with action, drama, and, yes, a little romance, this book is sure to draw in readers from the first sentence and hold them there until the last.” ~TeenReads

“A budding romance, clues to a possible conspiracy, and a cliffhanger ending promise exciting adventures ahead.” ~VOYA

“The descriptions give me the chills. I love the character. She’s so brave and practical and so mature.” ~Wattpad reader

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Guiltless-Wanted-Erin-Johnson/dp/163079001X

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WANTED, a new YA series set in the Wild West…

After her family is slaughtered by outlaws, sixteen-year-old Grace Milton goes on a vendetta to capture the gang who did it. But once she meets a rugged range rider, she’s torn between revenge and love.

In WANTED Book 2, HER COLD REVENGE, Grace’s saga continues as she singlehandedly tracks down train robbers and fugitives in her quest for justice.

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About the Author: L.S. Murphy obsesses about St. Louis Cardinals baseball, fangirls over her favorite authors, and watches every episode of Doctor Who like it’s the first time. When she’s not doing those time-consuming things, the former farm-girl turned city slicker turned suburbanite writes sweet romances for teens and adults. Visit her online at lsmurphy.comand follow her on Twitter @LSMurphy

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1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak? Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? Yep, I married mine. J

Book: REAPER

 

There’s no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future that Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.

Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.

Maybe … just maybe … that’s okay.

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

Book: PIXELATED

Her upcoming YA novel, PIXELATED, about a high school senior whose ambitious life plan is jeopardized by her parents’ divorce and a move to Nowheresville, and who can’t help falling for the small town golden boy with a secret, was acquired by Bloomsbury Spark. PIXELATED is expected to be published in Spring 2015.

PIXELATED (Spring 2015~ Bloomsbury Spark)
REAPER (J. Taylor Publishing)

For other information, please visit my website: http://lsmurphy.com/

 

Heartbreaker Blog Tour Day 6 – Tewes & Driver

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About the Author: Judith Tewes resides in Northern Alberta where she: writes, sings, plays bass guitar, walks her three crazy labs, and suspects she’s living the life of a superhero’s alias.

 

Judith Tewes

1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak? Why, the Heartbreak Blog Tours unofficial theme song Another Heartbreak by the Barenaked Ladies, of course! 😉
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? I don’t know if I believe in soul mates, but I do believe that there are really good fits. My husband suits me perfectly, but it took a long time and a lot of not-quite-right fits before I found him.

Book: My Soon-To-Be Sex LifeMSTBSL

Charlie is down to her absolute. Total. Last. Resort.

Despite a thoroughly comprehensive list of potential cherry poppers, er…suitors, and careful plotting, Charlie is three weeks into her devirginization campaign, still untouched, and getting desperate. In the movie of her life, this aspiring screenwriter is giving herself a PG, for please, get some.

Her project goes into freeze frame when her mom checks herself into rehab and packs Charlie off to live with her estranged, or just plain strange, grandfather, Monty. How is she supposed to get a date when she has to go pick up his Depends?

Enter Eric, a hot rehab grad on the road to redemption, and the only one who can make Charlie rethink her strategy. The more she gets to know him, the more convinced she becomes that is the one, and not just another to add to the list of people who will abandon her.

In this hilarious and heartbreaking story of one girl’s detoured road to womanhood, Charlie’s list develops a life of its own – right when she realizes there’s so much more to lose.

Connect with Judith:
Blog: http://judithteweswrites.blogspot.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudithTewes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/judithteweswrites

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About the Author: Notes is D. G. Driver’s second book published by Fire and Ice. Her fantasy novel Cry of the Sea was released in 2014. She has published several award-winning, critically acclaimed non-fiction books as Donna Getzinger. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit her web site to learn more about her, and follow her to keep up with future projects.
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1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak?“Don’t Speak” No Doubt. “Once in a While” jazz standard featured in New York, New York. “You Were Meant for Me” – Jewel
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? You know, I do, but I’m not sure everyone is lucky enough to find his or hers.

Book: Passing Notes

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Mark has finally gotten the attention of the girl of his dreams. Only, his lame attempts at romance through texts and emails seem to be turning her off. When he gets put in the back of the room in an over-full class at school, he begins to discover old notes giving advice about how to write a great love letter. At first he thinks he’s stumbled on some long-forgotten notes passed in class ages ago, but every time he reads them they seem directed specifically to him. They also appear at the perfect moment each time he needs more advice. It’s like someone is haunting him. How do the notes keep appearing? Who’s writing them? Why?

And if Mark follows the ghostly writer’s advice, will he win Bethany’s love?

Connect with Judith:
Blog: http://www.dgdriver.com
Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/donnagdriver

Heartbreaker Blog Tour Day 5 – Gurtler & Green

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About the Author: A Rita Award Finalist and Crystal Kite Award Finalist, Janet Gurtler’s young adult books have been chosen for the JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION and as BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. Janet lives in Okotoks Alberta, Canada with her husband, son, and a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce.

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1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak? Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? Yes. But I also believe they’re like four leaf clovers, really hard to find.

Book: THE TRUTH ABOUT USThe truth about us

The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.
She’s made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she’s paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The truth is she wishes she was the care-free party-girl everyone thinks she is.
She pretends it’s all fine. That her “perfect” family is fine. But it’s not. And no one notices the lie…until she meets Flynn. He’s the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens.

The truth is that Jess is falling apart – and no one seems to care.
But Flynn is the definition of “the wrong side of the tracks.” When Jess’s parents look at him they only see the differences-not how much they need each other. They don’t get that the person who shouldn’t fit in your world… might just be the one to make you feel like you belong.

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/this-is-your-afterlife-9781619637771/

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About the Author:Shari Green writes Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction and occasionally masquerades as a poet. When she’s not glued to her laptop, she can often be found wandering in a blissful daze on the beach near her home on Vancouver Island, BC. Visit her online at http://www.sharigreen.com.Shari-Green--sm

1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak? My Best Friend’s Girl, by The Cars…because I’m that old, and also, The Cars.
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? Yes, but I think even soul mates have to work at their relationship to hang on to the soul-matey bliss.

Book: FOLLOWING CHELSEAFC COVER--sm

Walking in the footsteps of a dead girl isn’t easy.

After her social life flatlines, seventeen-year-old Anna Richards wants nothing more than to lie low at her new school. But it seems Anna looks an awful lot like Chelsea, the sweet and popular girl who recently died, and Anna finds herself stepping into the void created by Chelsea’s absence.

Anna is determined to make the awkward situation work in her favor, because Chelsea didn’t just leave a spot open with the in-crowd; she also left a gorgeous—and now available—boyfriend. But it turns out that following Chelsea might be a lot more complicated than Anna expected.

Heartbreaker Blog Tour Day 4 – Barneveld & Jaden

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About the Author: Vanessa Barneveld lives in Australia. She has one husband, two cats, and three Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® nominations. When she’s not writing, devouring chocolate, or dreaming of intergalactic travel, Vanessa works as a closed captioner for the deaf and audio describer for the blind.

1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak? “Somebody’s Crying” by Chris Isaak. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/somebodys-crying/id421969292?i=421969303
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? Yes! And not just in a romantic sense. BFFs can be soul mates, too.

Book: This Is Your Afterlife

This Is Your Afterlife_FNL

When the one boy you crushed on in life can’t seem to stay away in death, it’s hard to be a normal teen when you’re a teen paranormal.

Sixteen-year-old Keira Nolan has finally got what she wanted—the captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost and she’s the only one who can see him.

Keira’s determined to do anything to find Jimmy’s killer. Even it if means teaming up with his prickly-yet-dangerously-attractive brother, Dan, also Keira’s ex-best-friend. Keira finds that her childish crush is fading, but her feelings for Dan are just starting to heat up, and as the story of Jimmy’s murder unfolds, anyone could be a suspect.

This thrilling debut from Vanessa Barneveld crosses over from our world to the next, and brings a whole delightful new meaning to “teen spirit”.

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/this-is-your-afterlife-9781619637771/

Connect with Vanessa:
http://www.vanessabarneveld.com
http://www.twitter.com/vanessab73
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Vanessa-Barneveld/185502258167596

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About the Author: Denise Jaden’s novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith (Simon & Schuster), was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo and she loves talking with writers and students about her fast-drafting process. Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough (Simon & Schuster) and Foreign Exchange (an Editor’s Pick from Evernight Teen). Her non-fiction books for writers include, Writing with a Heavy Heart and Fast Fiction. Find out more at Denisejaden.com.

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1. What song comes to mind when you think of heartbreak? Thanks for Nothing by Fefe Dobson.
2. Do you believe in soul mates in real life? ? Kind of. I believe the people who should find each other will find each other, but I don’t believe there is only one person out there for each of us. Many important people will come into our lives in one way or another (romantically or not). Some will stay longer than others. Some will be more impactful than others.

Book: Foreign Exchange

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Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets. As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer.