Thursday, May 5, 2016

Girl Against The Universe BOOK BLAST + GIVEAWAY!

Hello lovelies! I'm excited to be part of the book blast for Paula Stoke's upcoming YA, Girl Against the Universe. This book sounds great; I'll be reading an ARC soon and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you, as always! For now, here's Paula with some information about the book, a giveaway, and a special sale for another of her YAs. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Paula: Girl Against the Universe will release on May 16, 2016. I am so excited to share this book with the world, and particularly with people who are struggling with PTSD, survivor’s guilt, anxiety, shyness, or people who just feel like the odds are stacked against them. Maguire’s story is full of struggles and triumphs, new friends and family bonds. Even if your life is totally peachy at the moment, there’s a good chance you’ll find Girl Against the Universe funny and inspiring. I hope you give it a try.


Here’s what some amazing authors had to say about the book:

“Filled with equal amounts of empathy, humor, and heart, Girl Against the Universe is an empowering story about finding the courage to piece your life back together, even when it feels irreparably broken.”
--Tamara Ireland Stone, NYT bestselling author of Every Last Word


“I loved this sweet, slow-burn romance. Sports fiction at its best!”
--Miranda Kenneally, bestselling author of Catching Jordan


“Romantic, honest, and deep, Girl Against the Universe is one of those books where I couldn’t believe that the characters were only a figment of the author’s imagination—they simply jumped off the pages with their beautiful flaws and hard-earned wisdom.”
--Sarvenaz Tash, author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love


"Absolute perfection. Completely magical. Girl Against the Universe is a poignant, beautiful story." --Ann Aguirre, NYT bestselling author of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things


Here’s the official flap copy for the book:

Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

Just for fun, here’s my idea of the book in a single word:

And the book in a single GIF:

And even the book in a single song:




And what would a book blast be without a GIVEAWAY? Check out the Rafflecopter for how you can win a finished copy of the book—INT. US winner will receive signed book. INT winner will receive order from The Book Depository + signed bookplate. If you live in a non-TDB country, you can win an e-copy of the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What do you think? Will you be reading Girl Against the Universe? I highly recommend grabbing a copy of The Art of Lainey while it's on sale - it's super cute!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wanderlust Wednesday Review: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch


 
 
Gelato in Rome <3

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Series: Standalone
Published: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
390 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.



Love & Gelato showed up on Edelweiss shortly after my trip to Europe last year, and since I had Italy (and gelato) on the brain I was instantly intrigued. I waited until closer to publication date to read it, and when I finally picked it up, I told myself not to get my hopes up too high since I’ve been disappointed by a lot of my most-anticipated books lately. Happily, Love & Gelato not only lived up to my expectations, it exceeded them. This book had me completely charmed from beginning to end.

Lina had a great voice. She was funny, smart, and observant, and I appreciated that she was flawed. She was a believable character and one I easily related to. Ren was absolutely adorable. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to show his weird side, and I also loved how willing he was to help Lina. The two of them together had me alternately giggling and swooning, and it was so much fun to watch them start out as friends and evolve into something more. They had plenty of bumps along the way, which just made their story more believable, and made me root for them even more.

You know those books where you know something should bother you but for whatever reason - you’re reading it at the right time, you connect with the characters, the writing sucks you in, whatever - those things just aren’t an issue and you love the book? That’s how I was while reading Love & Gelato. There was a part of me that kept thinking ‘none of this would be happening if Lina would just talk to Howard instead of insisting on waiting until she finished her mother’s journal, but I was enjoying the story so much I wasn’t bothered. I liked the addition of Lina’s mom’s journal entries. Lina learned a lot about her mom that way, and it helped her connect with her after her death, learn more about her dad, and also give her ideas of things to see and do in Italy. I loved getting to see Italy through Lina's eyes; it made me long to go back and eat my weight in gelato, bask in the sunshine, and visit sights with hundreds or even thousands of years of history.

Love & Gelato is a compelling story about love, loss, friendship, and family. With the addition of the journal entries, it was like a story within a story, and both stories kept me enthralled. Full of real characters and vivid descriptions, this book had the perfect balance of fun, emotion, and romance.


Have you read Love & Gelato? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you been to Italy? Have you tried gelato? Do you have a favourite flavour or flavour combination?
http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
Series: Standalone
Published: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
304 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past…

I’m not sure if Wild Swan’s synopsis changed from the original, but for some reason I went into this book thinking it was going to have elements of the paranormal. Maybe because of Spotswood’s Cahill Witch Chronicles, or maybe because I was expecting some sort of actual curse/paranormal reason for all the women in the Milbourn family to die young and tragically. And while I’m stating random facts, I’ll also add that I expected to enjoy this book but not love it. I don’t know why. Do you ever go into a book thinking ‘this sounds good, it’ll be a nice addition to my reading list, but my expectations aren’t that high’? It doesn’t necessarily make sense, but there are just some books like that, at least for me. Within a few pages of Wild Swans, I knew I was wrong. I was completely enthralled from the very beginning, and I didn’t want to put it down. Wild Swans is an amazing contemporary YA that has become a new favourite.

I adored Ivy. She was complex, flawed, and had a great voice. After her mother abandoned her when she was only two, her granddad raised her. While her granddad is great, he expects a lot from Ivy - the Milbourn women all have a gift, and he’s determined Ivy will not only find hers, but also be the best at whatever she does. It’s a lot of pressure, and since Ivy doesn’t want to disappoint him, she goes along with it, trying all these new things, taking classes, and filling every spare moment with activities that will help her find her gift. I was amazed by Ivy’s maturity and strength. Besides the suffocating pressure of her granddad’s expectations, she also had to live with being abandoned at a young age and never knowing why. So when her mother returns, bringing Ivy’s little sisters in tow - sisters she didn’t even know existed - things become even more complicated.

Wild Swans tackles a lot of serious subjects, and does it in a way that felt very authentic and never preachy. I’ve read a few books recently that touched on feminism, sexuality, and/or gender identity and had me rolling my eyes at times because it felt forced or contrived. Spotswood wove these elements in seamlessly and in a way that made me have a huge amount of respect for her. There was varied and authentic representation of diversity in general, which I loved.

This book had the perfect blend of compelling plot and complex characters. I appreciated that all the side characters had a purpose and weren’t just there as scenery. I love stories that deal with complicated, messy relationships, and Wild Swans had that in spades. It’s hard to go into details without getting into spoiler territory, but I was so impressed with the way Ivy’s relationships were handled, both with her friends and her family. There were so many scenes that frustrated me and made me ragey on her behalf. Parts of the book were difficult to read and absolutely broke my heart, but Ivy’s strength and her growth made me so proud. I felt like she was one of my best friends and I was watching all this happen and cheering her on from the sidelines. It wasn’t all heavy and serious though - there were scenes that were quiet and lovely, and scenes that made me smile or laugh. It had a great balance. 

Wild Swans captivated me from beginning to end. Full of dynamic and memorable characters and believable real-life situations, this is one of my new favourite coming of age stories. If you enjoy books about self-discovery and growth that deal with messy and often complicated but also beautiful family, friendship, and first love issues in an honest way, I highly recommend Wild Swans.


 
Have you read Wild Swans? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you like books that deal with messy family relationships and friendships?
http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html
http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/4690637

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Monthly Recap: April 2016


Happy May, lovelies! Can you believe we're 1/3 of the way through 2016 already?

Here's what my April looked like:

~Books I Read~
 Hot Dudes Reading
The One That Got Away by AJ Pine
Without Borders by Amanda Heger
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton
Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

~On the Blog~
  • I did a Top Ten Tuesday where I shared some of my favourite bookish people on Instagram
  • I helped reveal the cover for the Lurking in the Shadows paranormal/horror anthology
  • I participated in ARC April and did a wrap-up showcasing the nine books I read
 
~Real Life~

My mum's birthday was on the 21st. I had a little party for her with my niece and youngest nephew. We played games and had dinner and cake - it was a lot of fun!

My bff came for a visit for the first time this year. We talked for hours, watched Sherlock, and coloured.

One of my best childhood friends (who I hadn't seen in over a year) had a baby at the end of March, and we spent a couple days together after he was born. Baby K is so freaking cute! We spent a day at my place hanging out, and then the other day we ran some errands, then went for a walk by the water. The weather has been bizarre - in the high teens Celsius one week, then barely above zero the next...we even had snow this past week. Hopefully the weather will get more consistent in May and we can start going for regular walks.


 2016 Recaps So Far:

How was your April? Any highlights? What was the best book you read? Do you have a favourite blog post? Feel free to link me to it in the comments so I can check it out!
http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html
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Saturday, April 30, 2016

ARC April Wrap-up

I can't believe today is the last day of April! I dedicated the entire month to ARCs so I could knock a bunch off my list for ARC April (hosted by the ladies at Read. Sleep. Repeat.). I actually managed to read more than I anticipated - yay! Here are the ARCs I read in April:

 Hot Dudes Reading {Review}
The One That Got Away by AJ Pine {Review}
Without Borders by Amanda Heger {Review}
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch {Review coming in May}
Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood {Review coming in May}
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson {Review coming in May}
Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton {Review coming in May}
Wanderlost by Jen Malone {Review coming in May}
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann {Review coming in May}


Did you participate in ARC April? How many ARCs did you read? What were your favourites or least favourites?
http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html
http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/4690637

Cover Reveal: Lurking in the Shadows Anthology


Title: Lurking in the Shadows
Edited by: Jaidis Shaw
To Be Published:  June 28th, 2016
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal

Embrace the darkness.
Murderous entities, haunted houses, screaming banshees, and sympathetic necromancers are just a few of the chilling things you’ll encounter in this anthology. Follow our authors into the shadows … if you dare. 
Stories featured in this anthology include the following:
“An Empty Building” by Jacqueline E. Smith
“Bump in the Night, Inc” by Melody Black
“Dorcha Scath” by Liz Butcher
“Living Nightmare” by Savannah Rohleder
“Lizzie” by Tania Hagan
“On Two Lane Roads” by Shelly Schulz
“Release” by E.M. Fitch
“Revenant” by Stacey Jaine McIntosh
“Scream for the Night” by Gina A. Watson
“Too Young To Kill” by Lily Luchesi

Add Lurking in the Shadows to your GoodReads TBR!




·         Kindle copy of Death Love Lust by Various
·         Kindle copy of Destiny Awaits by Jaidis Shaw
·         Ebook copy of The Cure by Tania Hagan
·         $5 Amazon Gift Card

Open internationally


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Friday, April 29, 2016

Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge: Top Ten Romances

The 2016 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge is hosted by Jess at Gone With the Words and Danielle at Love First Page. Every month, they have a weekly topic related to contemporary romance and this month the topic is Top Ten Contemporary Romances.

Contemporary romance is my favourite genre so it was torture to whittle down this list. I’m sticking to YA and NA because if I added in Adult, I’d never be able to cut it back to ten.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpactrick

Upside Down by Lia Riley
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St John Brown
The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan
I Do by AJ Pine

What are your favourite contemporary romances? See any of your favourites on my list? If you're participating in the Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge and you did this month's topic (or a wrap-up) feel free to leave a link in the comments so I can visit you in return!
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