The Winner's Kiss Blog Tour

Thursday, 25 February 2016
I am so, so excited that I get to be a part of a wonderful blog tour to celebrate The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski, the third and final book in the Winner's Trilogy (which I adore). Before I begin, thank you to the amazing people at Raincoast and Macmillan for letting me be a part of this tour!!!

I've got some questions about kissing to answer so here goes nothing!

What book is your favourite literary kiss in?

In case you didn't know, one of my all-time favourite kisses is from the book The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall. It's very swoon-worthy. (I couldn't pick Kestrel and Arin, though I totally would have.)

Who is kissing?

Jack Bishop (*swoons*) and Avery West.

Why is it (one of) your favourite(s)? (Sorry. I can't pick just one!)
  1. I couldn't pick Kestrel and Arin.
  2. They were in the Louvre. (Very romantic place in Paris, the city of love.)
  3. It took ages for them to kiss. (They were too busy being chased around Europe.)
  4. It progressed into more than just kissing afterwords, so really that entire scene was very swoony.
  5. It made me blush. In public.
And yes, that Louvre. 

Bonus Question: what kiss do you hope will occur in Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Kiss?


I really hope they both make it and get together because oh my gosh, they are a really great couple. 

I also really hope they do it in Arin's house in the garden in the rain. Marie, please make that happen for me. 

So I'm going to nominate my carat and book bestie Cat to get a copy of The Winner's Curse because it's one of my favs and I really just want to talk about it with her. (OH MY GOSH CAT THE FEELS!!!!!!!!! AND ALL THE KISSES OMG!!!!!) Thank you Raincoast and Macmillan for the opportunity!!!

Book: The Winner's Kiss

Author: Marie Rutkoski

On Sale March 29th, 2016

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders and The Celestial Globe. The Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers’ Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alan McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat. 

She is also one of my favourite authors of all-time. Just saying. 

*blows a kiss*

Book Playlists // The Winner's Curse

Saturday, 13 February 2016
I'm doing another one of these because why not. 

Beware of spoilers within the lyrics. 

Lyric Breakdown:

Blank Space - Taylor Swift 

"Love's a game
Wanna play?"

Let's start by talking about how two people enjoy playing a particular game in this book and how perfect this lyric is. 

Carousel - Melaine Martinez

"And it's all fun and games,
'Til somebody falls in love,

But you've already bought a ticket,

And there's no turning back now"

Pretty self explanatory if you've read the book. 

Magnets - Disclosure featuring Lorde

"Never really thought we would make it
We be thinking about what could have been"

*keeps mouth shut*

Dollhouse - Melanie Martinez 

"No one ever listens, this wallpaper glistens
Don't let them see what goes down in the kitchen"

The people in this book are really great at deceiving others in a way. Really. 

Fools - Troye Sivan

"Only fools fall for you"

Forbidden romance? Check. 

Girls - The 1975

"Worrying about my brother finding out

What's the fun in doing what you're told?"

But change brother to father. 

Is There Somewhere - Halsey

"Is there somewhere you can meet me?"

How I love when things are forbidden. 

Lane Boy - Twenty One Pilots

"They say 'stay in your lane boy'
Lane boy
But we go where we want to"

Kestrel doesn't want to join the military and is sort of basically going against a lot of everything. 

Off To The Races - Lana Del Rey

"Love you but I'm going down"

Oh, that carriage ride. 

Strange Love - Halsey

"Everybody's waiting up to hear if I dare speak your name
Put it deep beneath the track, like the hole you left in me"

Beware of spoilers in there. They're everywhere. 

Talk Me Down - Troye Sivan

Everything in this song. Be still my Kestrel and Arin shipping heart. 

Ugh! - The 1975

"And you're the only thing that's going on in my mind 
Taking over my life a second time"

Did someone say romance? 

Only Teardrops - Emmelie De Forest 

"How many times can we win and lose?
How many times can we break the rules?

Between us"

That romance will be the end of me in The Winner's Kiss. 

Hope you all enjoyed me talking about all the feels in this book.

Review of The Heir and The Spare

Thursday, 11 February 2016
Did someone say they still want a sequel to The Royal We? (Besides me.)

Book: The Heir and the Spare

Author: Emily Ablight

Publisher: Merit Press

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary: Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

Review: This book was so cute!!! 

It's like a rom com in book form (who doesn't love those??). 

Even though the plot was totally The Royal We meets The Prince & Me meets The Princess Diaries (not that I'm complaining), it was still highly enjoyable. In fact, I had a hard time putting it down. (It even made me blush during certain parts!!!) 

I think the my main problem was the miscommunication between the protagonist Evie and the love interest Edmund who refused to talk out their problems like normal people. (Seriously, super frustrating.)

I do wish that there was more character development for the minor characters and that there was a sequel (the ending made me think there was potential for a sequel). 

On the plus side, it was fast paced and cheesy but in a good way. And Edmund was a really great character. I wouldn't mind if he gets his own spinoff series. 

Overall, The Heir and The Spare is really cute that will definitely appeal to fans of The Royal We and The Princess Diaries.

***Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for review. This has in no way influenced my opinions and thoughts.

Review of The Year We Fell Apart

Tuesday, 9 February 2016
So this book was really good. And I think you'll really love it too.

Book: The Year We Fell Apart

Author: Emily Martin

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

Review: I have to admit that I'm not much of a contemporary fan, but something about using Sarah Dessen as a comp means it's going to be an amazing book. Seriously, I can't remember the last time someone said a book was "in the tradition of Sarah Dessen" and I was let down. And The Year We Fell Apart didn't let me down in case you couldn't figure that out from the fact that I gave it five stars.

The writing was absolutely gorgeous. I really liked Emily Martin's style. It wasn't overly poetic like some other YA contemporaries and it was sort of straightforward and concise.

Oh, the angst in this book. There's enough where if you cannot stand angst, you're going to get annoyed and not like the book. However, if you don't mind a bit of angst (like me), then you'll really enjoy the story.

Also, I particularly liked Harper and how flawed she was. It really showed through and I thought that was great. She's very relatable and makes mistakes, but she's very human in a sense, and I think that's why I really enjoyed reading from her perspective.

The Year We Fell Apart is a phenomenal read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'll definitely be recommending it to many people in the future.

***Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My opinions were in no way influenced by this.

Review of Everything, Everything

Sunday, 7 February 2016
The cover blends into the background and I couldn't be more amused by this. 

Book: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Review: I don't have allergies. I think I should make that clear before I start to review a book whose protagonist is allergic to everything. I don't know how well or how accurate Nicola Yoon portrayed allergies in this book so I'm not going to comment on it because it's not my place to do so.

Visually, this book is stunning. From the beautiful cover to the drawings inside, this. Book. Is. Beautiful.

Maddy is a really great protagonist. She's smart, witty, and reads a lot. What more could you want from a girl who spends so much time in her room? I also really liked Olly. (Adorable fictional men are my weakness.) I really liked their relationship and how natural it was.

The writing was also gorgeous. All the praise to Nicola Yoon because she deserves it. The diversity in this book also deserves an A+.

Everything, Everything is an amazing book that I adored from start to finish and I think you'll love it too!

***Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for review. This has in no way influenced my opinions and thoughts.

Review of Finding Audrey

Still don't know how to start reviews. *sigh*

Book: Finding Audrey

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Review: This was my first Sophie Kinsella novel and I loved it!

The writing was just as great as I heard it would be. It was quirky and cute and was just overall really great. Audrey as a character was relatable and well developed. The family dynamic portrayed was great as well. Kinsella did a great job developing Audrey's family too.

While I don't agree with the whole getting over your issues via your new significant other thing, the romance was nice and cute. I liked Linus and Audrey's romance and how he helped her.

Overall, it's a good read that I think many people will enjoy.

***Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for review. This has in no way influenced my opinions and thoughts.

Review of Big Magic

Saturday, 6 February 2016
Hi. I'm still struggling with how to begin reviews. And yes, I have been at this for over a year and a half now.

Book: Big Magic

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre: Advice

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary: Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Review: Really, really enjoyed this.

There's some really great advice in this book. Gilbert covers a lot of topics from writing to failure and offers very insightful advice that I think lots of people will find helpful. I feel as if everyone will be able to take something away from Big Magic just because this books just is so inspirational.

The short chapters and anecdotes are great because you don't have to stop reading in the middle of a chapter if you only have a minute or two on your hands.

Overall, I think creative people--especially writers--will really enjoy this book.

***Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for review. This has in no way influenced my opinions and thoughts.

Review of Poles Apart

I feel like I should have titled this review "Blogger on Book With Blogger Protagonist" because that's really just more accurate.

Book: Poles Apart

Author: Terry Fallis

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Humour

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Summary: Overnight, Eve of Equality, a new feminist blog, becomes a sensation when a wildly popular TV talk show host stumbles upon it, Tweets about it, and promotes it on her show. The blog is smart, thoughtful, funny, and bold, brazenly taking on various injustices in the lives of women. But it's the blogger Eve's post about the controversial entrepreneur behind XY, a new chain of high-end strip clubs opening up across the country that sets off a firestorm. In a matter of hours, the Eve of Equality website crashes, its Twitter count jumps from a paltry 19 followers to nearly 250,000, and Eve is suddenly lauded as the new voice of feminism. 
But who is the Eve behind Eve of Equality? Well... not who you might think. Meet Everett Kane, aspiring writer and fervent feminist. He writes his erudite blog in his apartment, at his kitchen table, conveniently but unexpectedly located right above one of the aforementioned XY strip clubs.

Hilarious and smart, and offering thoughtful commentary on a subject that is flooding our headlines, newsfeeds, Twitter streams, and society, Poles Apart is Terry Fallis at his best, confirming his status as a king of CanLit comedy.

Review: What initially intrigued me was that this story follows a male feminist (!!!!!) who's a blogger  like myself. (I think I will forever be attracted to stories with bloggers in them.) And then the whole premise in general is great.

I really liked the light tone of the novel and got the humour (which is great because sometimes I just don't get what's so funny). The themes were relevant, but Fallis approached them in aa great way. I really enjoyed that it was a male feminist because a lot of times, the feminists in literature are females, but males can be feminists too.

Overall, it's a cute, light-hearted read that you'll love if you're in the mood for a laugh.

***Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for review. This has in no way influenced my opinions and thoughts.

Review of The Gap of Time

Friday, 5 February 2016
I've completely forgotten how to begin a blog post so hi.

Book: The Gap of Time

Author: Jeanette Winterson

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Retelling, Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Summary: The Winter's Tale is one of Shakespeare's “late plays”. It tells the story of Leontes, King of Sicily, whose insane jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter, Perdita, from the kingdom and then the death of his beautiful wife, Hermione. Perdita is brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of miraculous events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited. 

In Jeanette Winterson's retelling we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crash, to a storm-ravaged city in the US called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, video games and the elliptical nature of time. It tells in a hyper-modern way, full of energy and beauty, of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and love, redemption and a lost child on the other.

Review: I enjoyed it. It was good, it was fine.

The whole purpose of the book was to have a modern, bestselling author retell Shakespeare--something that I feel Jeanette Winterson did quite well. In fact, I really enjoyed the writing and liked her style. (Also, Winterson retelling The Winter's Tale. Was this on purpose???!!!)

That being said, I feel like maybe at certain parts, the plot was somewhat forced to mirror that of The Winter's Tale to the point where it didn't feel natural. (Not to say that this hasn't happened in other retellings when an author really wants to make sure they hit all of the plot points, even though it is completely okay to forgo a few. Really, no one cares unless they are a hardcore Shakespeare fan.)

Overall, I think this book will appeal the most to fans of Shakespeare as it is a retelling of Shakespeare and the plot does really mirror that of his play very closely. But I do think that people who are not completely against Shakespeare might enjoy it too.

***Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for review. This has in no way influenced my opinions and thoughts.