Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The-Storied-Life-of-A.J.Fikry-coverI absolutely loved this book! It’s one of the few books I’d re-read over and over again. Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a great pick for anyone who understands how the publishing world works or obsessed with books and has a love of reading.

The novel is about A.J. Fikry who isolates himself inside his bookstore, Island books, after the loss of his wife, avoiding people and becoming a bitter man. He seems to have run out of luck. His bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history and his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen. But then his world is turned upside-down when Maya, a baby girl, is abandoned at his bookstore and he takes it upon himself to raise her. She is the best thing that happens to him. She cracks the hard shell he wears and helps him to start living again. Even the locals of Alice Island start noticing his transformation. They help him raise the little girl and slowly he becomes a changed man and a part of the community. This book is all about second chances, love, and reminds us why we’re drawn to storytelling. Continue reading

Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The-Madmans-Daughter-coverDark themes are making their way into YA novels, like monsters, demons, murder, and twisted morals. I’m quite enjoying this shift in the book world. I hope it sticks around for a while. One of the YA books I’ve recently read with a fantastical dark side was Megan Shepherd’s The Madman’s Daughter.

The story follows 16-year-old Juliet in Victorian England, who works as a maid for the local university. Her mother is dead and her father was driven out of the city after horrible rumors surfaced. Finding out her father is still alive and continuing his work, Juliet sets out to the remote island he lives on, travelling alongside her father’s young assistant, Montgomery and a mysterious castaway, Edward. When she reaches the island, she quickly learns that not only are the rumours true, but her father is playing God with his creations. He experiments on animals so they resemble and behave like humans, making them able to speak and stand on two legs. However, the island’s inhabitants have been living in terror after one of their own decides to murder them, one by one. Realizing the danger and chaos she has stepped into, Juliet plans to put an end to her father’s experiments and escape the island. Continue reading

Review: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Royally-Lost-coverEver enjoy the movie The Prince and Me? It was part of the reason I was interested in trying out Angie Stanton’s Royally Lost.

It loosely has the same concept in the sense that girl meets boy and the boy is secretly a prince. Our female lead is Becca, a seventeen-year-old girl who is taking a cruise with her family on a trip around Europe but feels miserable and hates being there. Then, there’s Nikolai. He’s heir to the throne and all the girls love him, but he’s miserable too, not having the freedom he wishes for. When they cross paths, they’re infatuated with each other and go site-seeing, enjoying each other’s company.

I had really high hopes for this novel. I wanted a fun read about travelling and exploring with an undercover prince, but the main character sucked all the fun out of it. I hated the main character, which isn’t good, especially if the reader is experiencing everything through her eyes. Becca just complains and whines about being on a trip with her father, her step-mother, and girl-chasing brother. She just sounds like a spoiled brat! The trip is all paid for, and for some people, visiting Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’ve been on a cruise around Europe (going to Greece, Italy, Tuscany, even saw Turkey and Egypt!) and it was awesome! Continue reading

Book Haul: Building My Library #5

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Building My Library is my personal weekly book haul meme. I share the books that I’m adding to my reading collection. This will include: books I buy from the store or online, borrow from friends or the public library,  advanced reading copies (books for review), gifts, audio books, and ebooks.

With the sunny summer weather here, I’ve been taking every opportunity I can to read outdoors. There’s just something about the warm sun on your face, the cool breeze, the soft grass beneath your feet, and happy birds singing in the background that adds a sense of joy and peace to your reading experience. If you get a chance, visit a beach or park with a book in hand! Sometimes you don’t have to travel far for a relaxing spot too. I’ve been enjoying my backyard and garden, sometimes even with a drink in hand. Summer is a great time to get some reading done.

Here are the books that are calling my shelves home this week:

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Harpercollins-Canada-note-2014 Continue reading

Review: The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

The-Queen-of-TearlingKelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding…

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive.

- From Goodreads

There’s been a lot of buzz about this particular novel in the book blogger world. It is already set to become a movie with Emma Watson playing the lead.

Everyone has been raving how awesome it is, but I didn’t hop on the bandwagon. Actually, this may be my first “Did Not Finish” (DNF). I barely got through the first few pages, but then a few friends urged me to keep reading. I did, but I finally had to put it down after the first chapter. Continue reading