Down the TBR Hole

Mini Reviews-4

I forgot to do one last week! Things just got so busy but I’m back this week with another edition of Down the TBR Hole, which is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story! This meme is dedicated to uncluttering your TBR pile, going through each book and choosing which one should stay or go.


The Books:

1. Dark Angels by Karleen Koen

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So, before I got really into YA books and rediscovered my love for all things fantasy I basically only read historical fiction. I love history. I studied it at university and have taught it to high school students. But I really don’t understand why I ever added this book to my TBR. I honesty am not interested in Charles II or his Restoration court. So…goodbye book!

The Verdict: Remove

2. The Black Book by Ian Rankin

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I discovered this series while living in Edinburgh. It was so cool to read about locations I had just visited earlier that day. I devoured the first four books and then moved home and forgot about them. I have a copy of The Black Book sitting on my shelf and really want to get back into the series. It was so good!

The Verdict: Keep

3. The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

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This is the third book is a series but I feel like I’m missing out by not picking up on of Trudi Canavan’s fantasy books. I have so many of them on my TBR and the reviews look great. But of course I can’t start at the end of trilogy! So, this needs to be removed for now.

The Verdict: Remove 

4. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory

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Yes, these books are sometimes overly dramatic and not really historically correct, but I love how they focus on the women of the Tudor court. I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet. Seriously! I have loved every Philippa Gregory books I’ve read so far.

The Verdict: Keep

5. His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester by Jeane Westin

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I didn’t really enjoy the author’s previous book (I gave it a 1.5 star rating). I love all things Elizabeth I but I’m really going to have to pass on this one.

The Verdict: Remove


Three more books removed from my TBR! Woo! Have you read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts or opinions on them.

Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

I received this book for free from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

32890474The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Release date: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

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I’ve been a huge fan of Julia Ember’s ever since I read Unicorn Tracks last year. The story was a perfect blend of romance, mythical creatures and hard-hitting topics. The only problem? It was way, and I mean way, too short! So, I was out of my mind excited when The Seafarer’s Kiss kiss was announced. A full-length story featuring mermaids and Norse gods?!?! HELL YES!!

I went into this book with such high expectations. Now usually I end up being disappointed but not here. I fell in love with everything — the characters, the world, the beyond adorable belugas — while only a few pages into the story. It’s been promoted as a retelling of The Little Mermaid but don’t let that label fool you. Ember has created a fantastic fantasy world all of her own. And what’s even more impressive? It’s all done in around 230 pages! Her writing just flows. It’s action packed and non-stop, just how I like my books. I couldn’t stop reading and read through it quickly. I definitely see a re-read in the near future!

What really stood out to me were the characters. I’m all about books that are character driven and demonstrate great growth and progress and there’s tons of that here. All of the characters are deeply flawed and that’s what makes them so darn relatable. They all grow in some kind of way but what I appreciated the most was that by the end the characters still weren’t perfect. Nobody is and that’s alright. My favourite characters were Ragna (a kickass shield maiden out for revenge) and the trickster god Loki (they caused so much drama…LOVED THEM!). I do want to point out that this book is truly diverse and like with her previous work, Ember integrates it all so well into the story. It never feels forced or added to attack a particular audience. There are plenty of books like that but not this one! The book features a bisexual main character, female/female romance, an amputee and a gender-fluid character with they/them pronouns.

I can’t recommend this book enough! The way Ember writes left me on the edge of my seat. There are so many twists and turns, none of which I saw coming. I thought the book was going one way and boom! it went somewhere else completely. It’s a fascinating examination of how nothing is truly black or white, good or evil. Humans (or merfolk) make mistakes. Sometimes our choices are driven by greed or jealously but that doesn’t always mean that that person isn’t good. This book really drove home the message that everyone will make mistakes and sometimes you can’t fix them, but what you can do is learn and do better next time.

So…while I loved every bit of this book, I just wished that it was a tiny bit longer. Yup, it’s an issue I have with Ember’s books. The ending wrapped stuff up nicely but I could have used more scenes between Ersel and Ragna. Can I have sequel is please?


about

julia2-e1455421316346-300x300Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, was published by Harmony Ink Press.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Facebook

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

34023590This week I’m looking forward to Sad Girls by Lang Leav. I’ve been madly in love with Leav’s poetry since I first discovered her two years ago. There’s just something so simple but heart wrenching about the way she writes. Even if a particular topic didn’t relate to me I still fell in love with the poem. I’m hoping it’s going to be the same with this book, her first novel of poetry that comes out on May 30th!

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“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.”

Sad Girls is the much anticipated debut novel from international best-selling author Lang Leav. A beautifully written and emotionally charged coming of age story, where young love, dark secrets, and tragedy collide.

School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad – the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?

Blog Tour: Groupie by C.M. Staunch (Guest Post)

Groupie by C.M. Stunich
Release date: March 21st, 2017
Publisher: Sarian Royal
Genres: New adult, romance

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

“Can one of these five rockstars fill the hole in my heart? Or will I stay broken forever?”

Young, dumb, and broke.

That’s what started everything. With five dollars in her pocket, and everything she owns stuffed in the back of her car, Lilith Goode’s life is over. Done. Destroyed.

Ten words. One text. That’s what it took to change the whole world.

A crumpled concert ticket. A chance encounter. That’s what it takes to start all over again.

Five rockstars. One girl. Six dark hearts, six withered souls.

But can one broken person really put another back together again?

Author Guest Post: Top 10 Bands I Fangirled Over as a Teen

* Click the link to explore music from the artists.

1. From First to Last
2. Escape the Fate
3. Bleeding Through
4. Avenged Sevenfold
5. Alesana
6. Funeral for a Friend
7. From Autumn to Ashes
8. A Static Lullaby
9. Finch
10. A Skylit Drive


About the Author

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

Website | Goodreads | FacebookTwitter


Giveaway

Click on the link for a Rafflecopter giveaway. Win a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Groupie! The giveaway is international. Good luck!! 🙂

Mini Reviews: Letters to the Lost & Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30038855Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

I really liked the idea behind this book but the execution left a lot to be desired. Or perhaps I just went into it expecting more? My book slump didn’t help the matter. I read it because I needed to write a review for it. My NetGalley queue has been stressing me out. Whatever the reason, Letters to the Lost ended up being an alright book, but it wasn’t the standout I was hoping it would be.

A lot of my high hopes for it came from Goodreads. The dozens of 4 or 5 star reviews really excited me. But really it wasn’t very original or different from other books I’ve read before. It was actually quite predicable from the beginning…the main characters would figure out their real identities, fall in love and blah blah blah. The character themselves were not that likeable. They were more cliche than anything! I just didn’t care what happened to them. And I’ve said this a million times before, a book without characters I can connect to just doesn’t work for me. I NEED A CONNECTION!!! What saved the book for me was the writing style. I really enjoyed the way things were worded and flowed but without an interesting plot I really felt like the author’s talent was wasted.

Of course, this is just my opinion. It’s an opinion influenced by my struggles to get “into” a book and stay interested. At the time I requested it the story sounded perfect but I think at this time it really wasn’t. Sometimes that’s just how it is. *shrugs*


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34078564Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook
Release date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

A poet, journalist, and activist, Alicia Cook offers a soundtrack of survival.

Structured like an old-school mix-tape, Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is Alicia Cook’s lyric message to anyone who has dealt with addiction. “Side A” touches on all aspects of the human condition: life, death, love, trauma, and growth. “Side B” contains haunting black-out remixes of those poems.

Oh, this is a must read book of poetry! It was completely unique and spoke directly to many of my own thoughts and feelings. It was unlike any poetry book I’ve read before with the author’s original poems paired with songs and then “remixed” as blackout poems.

The collection touches on a variety of topics: grief, loss, identity, and love. There’s definitely something for everyone and even not, the author’s words just hold so much power that you can’t help but feel moved. I honestly felt like some poems were written just for me and that’s why I loved this book so much! It cracked my heart open and made it bleed with emotion. Beautiful, beautiful stuff!

I now want to purchase a physical copy of this book because there’s nothing better than being able to hold it to your heart. Plus, the blackout poetry was difficult to read at times. I enjoyed it even though I had to squint and zoom in, but I think my experience would have been better if that wasn’t the case. Then again, this was a PDF review copy so I can’t complain.

I can’t recommend this gorgeous collection enough! Poetry lover or not, this is a book that people from all walks of life would enjoy. I know for sure it’s one that I’ll come back to again and again.

Mystery Blogger Award

Mini Reviews-2Thanks to Athena at Priceless Books for nominating me! Please stop by her blog and show her some much deserved love. ❤ I think I’ve done this tag before but since there are new questions each time I’m more than happy to do it again!


The Rules:

  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question

Three Facts About Me:

1. My middle name is Courtney and I really, like really dislike it. Don’t mention it to me…EVER! 😛

2. I love watching hockey but don’t skate because I had an accident in PE class in elementary school that scared the life out of me.

3. I’ve dyed my hair tons of colours but I’d love to go the lilac route just to see what it would look like. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be allowed to go to work if I dyed my hair an “unnatural” colour.


Athena’s Questions:

1. What is one book you have read that you think is underrated? Why do you think it’s underrated?

Ryan Graudin is a brilliant writer and I adored the Wolf by Wolf series, but her 2014 novel The Walled City is even better. I don’t think many people know about it. It deserves a lot more love for sure!

2. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring three books what would you bring?

Hmmmm…Persuasion by Jane Austen (my heart ❤), Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (the Dregs are just the greatest group of people ever) and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (because the banter between the two main character will keep me amused).

3. Which would you prefer: coffee, tea, or neither? Why? 

I’m all about the caffeine! I drink tons and tons of coffee, but also enjoy tea. It really depends on the situation and time of day. Coffee is usually for the morning and tea when I come home from work in the evening.

4. Do you keep the artist separate from the art? Or do you think they should go together? What I mean is, say an artist creates something that you absolutely love, but you find out they are a terrible person, would you still enjoy their art or would you boycott it?

I have a hard time separating the artist from their work. The work is kind of an extension of themselves, even if it’s a fictional book based in a fantasy world. Also, why would I want to support someone who is terrible? Twitter has really opened my eyes to a lot of authors who write books for young people but then attack them for their sexual orientation, race, beliefs, etc. I can’t support that! It goes against everything I believe in and besides, do we really want this person writing more books? Hell no!!!!

5. The weird question: If you had to do cartwheels or somersaults for the rest of your life which one would you choose?

I’m better at doing cartwheels so I’m going with that one!


My Questions:

1. What is your favourite book cover? Why is it your favourite?

2. If you could have two book characters (from different books) fall in love, who would you choose? Why?

3. Are books over 500 pages a turn off? Why or why not?

4. If you could pick one author to write a YA book based on your life who would you pick? Why?

5. What mythical creature should authors stop writing about? Why?


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Down the TBR Hole

Mini Reviews-4

Wow! The week went by so quickly. How is it Sunday already?!?! Here’s another edition of Down the TBR Hole, which is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story! This meme is dedicated to uncluttering your TBR pile, going through each book and choosing which one should stay or go.


The Books:

1. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra Dhonielle Clayton

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I’ve heard soooooo many good things about this book on Twitter! It features a diverse cast and backstabbing ballerinas. Oh the drama! But in all seriousness the book also tackles very important issues such as racism, sexism, body image and white privilege. I’m definitely going to be picking this up during my summer break.

The Verdict: Keep

2. She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

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I don’t remember adding this book to my TBR but I know for sure it’s not for me. Last year I tried to read another book by Sedgwick, Blood Red, Snow White, and absolutely hated it. It put it down after struggling through 30% of it. The style, the narrative voice, it did nothing for me. I felt no connection with it and I just couldn’t stay interested.

The Verdict: Remove

3. Secrets in the Snow by Michaela MacColl

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A book about Jane Austen that includes romance and a murder mystery?!?! YESSSS! YESSS! YESSS! I’m down for anything Austen related and this book sounds so good. Why haven’t I read it yet?

The Verdict: Keep

4. Remember Me Forever by Sara Wolf

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This is the third book in a series I didn’t like. It just had too much unrealistic drama. Wanting to constantly slap characters is never a good thing! So…this is definitely being removed from my TBR. Why keep a book you know you won’t like?

The Verdict: Remove

5. A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander

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This is another instance of how did this end up on my TBR? I haven’t read any other books in the series. At first I thought it was from when I first joined Goodreads. I would just add every book to my list but this was published in 2016. So strange!

The Verdict: Remove


Three seems to be my magic number! Have you read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them and my choices 🙂