Waiting on Wednesday #98: Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell

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

This week’s book:

28820996Title: Dear Reader
Author: Mary O’Connell
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: May 9, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads): Gilmore Girls with magical realism! Dear Reader is an original, poignant modern-day take on Wuthering Heights, as a high school senior searches for her teacher and meets a boy who may just be Heathcliff come to life

For seventeen-year-old Flannery Fields, the only respite from the plaid-skirted mean girls at Sacred Heart High School at is her beloved teacher Miss Sweeney’s AP English class. But when Miss Sweeney doesn’t show up to teach Flannery’s favorite book, Wuthering Heights, leaving behind her purse, Flannery knows something is wrong.

The police are called, and Flannery gives them everything—except Miss Sweeney’s copy of Wuthering Heights. This she holds onto. And good thing she does, because when she opens it, it has somehow transformed into Miss Sweeney’s real-time diary. It seems Miss Sweeney is in New York City—and she’s in trouble.

So Flannery does something very unFlannery-like: she skips school and sets out for Manhattan, with the book as her guide. But as soon as she arrives, she meets a boy named Heath. Heath is British, on a gap year, incredibly smart—yet he’s never heard of Albert Einstein or Anne Frank. In fact, Flannery can’t help thinking that he seems to have stepped from the pages of Brontë’s novel. Could it be?

With inimitable wit and heart, Mary O’Connell has crafted a love letter to reading, to the books that make us who we are. Dear Reader, charming and heartbreaking, is a novel about finding your people, on the page in the world.

Goodreads | Amazon

Thoughts:

Oh my gosh! This book just sounds super cute and I am so excited about the fact that it is a Wuthering Heights retelling. The whole mystery surrounding the teacher’s disappearance and the aspects of magical realism have me very intrigued. Definitely a great addition to my spring TBR!

ARC Review: Keeping the Beat by Jeff Norton and Marie Powell

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Keeping the Beat
Authors: Jeff Norton and Marie Powell
Publisher: KCP Loft
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): It was supposed to be the best summer of her life. Instead, seventeen-year-old Lucy finds her best friend, Harper, shot dead in an LA swimming pool. How did things ever go so wrong? The story circles back to trace the steps that led to this disaster.

Only Harper McKenzie could have taken five girls from their school and reinvented them as Crush, the top prospect to win the international talent contest Project Next. As soon as the band finds its footing, it scores a huge win in the UK semifinal. Next stop, LA!

The girls will spend a luxurious summer in Hollywood, living as reality TV stars while they prepare for their performance in the Project Next final. With a mansion to themselves, they’re the toast of the town … living every girl’s dream come true.

It’s way too late when Lucy discovers that Harper’s heart has never been in Project Next at all. Joining the competition was just part of Harper’s elaborate ruse to reconnect with her no-good ex-boyfriend. Harper will risk anything — from her friendships to the band’s reputation — to get him back.

Meanwhile, the other members of Crush are throwing themselves headfirst into sex, drugs and rock and roll. With the band in crisis and the final approaching, Lucy must decide whether she wants to play to Harper’s beat or set the rhythm for the rest of the band.

This fast-paced story takes unexpected twists, unraveling the mystery of Harper’s murder and exploring the complicated relationships among members of the band. Writing team Marie Powell and Jeff Norton — with many years in the entertainment business between them — deliver one-part wish fulfillment and one-part cautionary tale as they go behind the scenes to reveal what no one sees on “reality” TV.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

Keeping the Beat is all about a girl band and the tough life on a reality TV show. Each of the girls are so different and really transform throughout the story. The big themes in the book, such as drugs and eating disorders, really add some depth and make the story more intense. I would recommend this book, as it does a good job of taking the reader behind the scenes.

This book is all about a group of girls who form a band and work their way to stardom. I loved the way that normal British girls are thrown into the world of music and must adjust to life in LA. What is interesting about Keeping the Beat is the fact that the ending is shown in the first chapter, and the book has a bit of a mystery aspect added to the girls’ life of luxury. I am a sucker for both arts and thriller novels, so I really enjoyed this combination.

There is such an amazing cast of characters in Keeping the Beat! The girls of Crush joined as (basically) strangers,  and it is so interesting to watch them get to know each other and become real bandmates. Each musician has such a unique personality, and the girls are all so different from each other. My favourite character is probably Iza, as she transforms from a shy and quiet girl into such an independent individual. Female friendships are something that I always love to see, and I was thrilled to see a girl gang in this book.

There are some pretty heavy topics discussed in the book, which really made it more than just some girls living a life of luxury. Right off the bat, one of the main characters is shot and killed. Drugs, eating disorders, and body image are also incorporated and show the reader how easy it is to get caught up in all of it. I enjoyed how Keeping the Beat shows the media’s image of beauty and what can happen if you try too hard to make yourself “perfect.” The pressure on girls to look and act a certain way is really strong, and the fact that this book is able to educate a little bit about this is excellent.

Keeping the Beat is about a British girl band and contains many distinct characters. The themes in the story are pretty intense, but also educate the reader. I would recommend this book, especially to fans of the musical genre.

🍀 10 Irish YA Books to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The one day of the year many celebrate all things Irish/green. I am always looking for themes in my reading and there are some themes in YA that are more difficult to find titles for. I have rounded up a few titles that I have discovered on Goodreads and beyond that are all set in the gorgeous country of Ireland. Most of these titles are older, as I couldn’t seem to find ones that are more recent. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments! Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

   The Radiant Road by Catherine Katmull


   Greener Grass by Caroline Pignat

   When Irish Guys are Smiling by Suzanne Supplee

   The New Policeman Series by Kate Thompson

 

   Notes From a Spinning Planet-Ireland by Melody Carson

 

   Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

   There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

 

   The Carnaval at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

 

   A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd

 

   Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan

Waiting on Wednesday #97: The End of Our Story by Meg Haston

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

This week’s book:

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Title: The End of Our Story
Author: Meg Haston
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads): Meg Haston’s romantic and thrilling new YA novel explores a star-crossed high school relationship in a tale rife with deeply buried secrets and shocking revelations.

Bridge and Wil have been entangled in each other’s lives for years. Under the white-hot Florida sun, they went from kids daring each other to swim past the breakers to teenagers stealing kisses between classes. But when Bridge betrayed Wil during their junior year, she shattered his heart and their relationship along with it.

Then Wil’s family suffers a violent loss, and Bridge rushes back to Wil’s side. As they struggle to heal old wounds and start falling for each other all over again, Bridge and Wil discover just how much has changed in the past year. As the fierce current of tragedy threatens to pull them under, they must learn how to swim on their own—or risk drowning together

Goodreads | Amazon

Thoughts:

Honestly, I love reading a great contemporary that is full of romance. The secrets, betrayals and this tragedy all seem intriguing to me. I already feel the need to know more about what this tragedy is exactly. Not much longer to wait for this one!

ARC Review: The Really Quite Good British Cookbook: The Food We Love from 100 of Our Best Chefs, Cooks, Bakers and Local Heroes by William Sitwell (editor)

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Title: The Really Quite Good British Cookbook: The Food We Love from 100 of Our Best Chefs, Cooks, Bakers and Local Heroes
Author: William Sitwell (editor)
Publisher: Nourish
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): What do you cook for the people you love? Asked this question, 100 of Britain’s food heroes have shared their most beloved recipes to make this extraordinary cookbook. Nigella Lawson divulges how to bake her Chocolate Guinness Cake and Rick Stein fries up Shrimp & Dill Fritters with Ouzo. Yotam Ottolenghi would serve Pea & Mint Croquettes and for Jamie Oliver, an unrivalled Fantastic Fish Pie. These are just a few of the incredible recipes provided by the best and brightest on the British food scene, including chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsay, Delia Smith, James Martin, Nigel Slater, Thomasina Miers, Mark Hix, Jason Atherton, Marco Pierre White, Claudia Roden and more.

Compiled by award-winning food editor and author William Sitwell, The Really Quite Good British Cookbook is keenly anticipated and a stunning object in its own right. Ultimately it is a celebration of the breadth, creativity and richness of Britain’s unique food culture.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Really Quite Good British Cookbook absolutely defies that old adage that the British serve bland and tasteless food. In this large collection of recipes from so many celebrated British chefs, you will find many interesting and exceptional dishes to prepare at home. Also, the images that are peppered throughout this book include breathtaking images of beautiful scenery as well as mouth-watering food.

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Warm New Potato Salad with Mint Leaves & Chives

What is most fascinating about this compilation of recipes is the fact that there are so many different types of dishes to choose from. There are breakfast ideas, fish, game, poultry, pasta, sides, and a number of desserts to create that really shows the breadth and changing palette of this diverse land. The Really Quite British Cookbook really has it all and if you are looking for one book that has a variety of recipes, this is the one you will want to check out.

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Brioche French Toast

For those of us who are not British, some of the ingredients may require a little bit of investigation if you are not familiar with some of the British terms. I definitely had to learn about caster sugar when creating the yummy Brioche French Toast recipe by Joanna Brennan, which really only required a little bit of molasses added to sugar. This was a really easy and delicious recipe that puts a twist on your standard french toast recipe with the use of brioche and vanilla paste.

Most notably, the images in the book are gorgeous and each recipe/chef is shown on a map to further describe the food of that particular region of Britain. This part of the book really demonstrates the changing landscape and food evolution that is taking place in Britain. Also, some the proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Trussel Trust, which is a charity that runs Britain’s food banks. All the more reason to pick-up a copy of this amazing book!

If you are looking to try some new and interesting recipes, The Really Quite Good British Cookbook is one that I highly recommend. I can’t wait to try out a few more of the recipes included in this wonderful book. It is one that has something for everyone.

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I have linked this post over at  Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking.

Waiting on Wednesday #96: I See London, I See France #1 by Sarah Mlynowski

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

This week’s book:

26117336Title: I See London, I See France #1

Author: Sarah Mlynowski

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: July 11, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads): Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Timesbestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.

Goodreads | Amazon

Thoughts: 

This sounds like the perfect summer in the perfect summer book! I am looking forward to reading some summer-themed contemporaries this year and this one just screams, “pick me!” I have often enjoyed Mlynoswki’s YA novels and this series seems like a fun, upbeat type of read. Definitely one that I will have in my beach bag.

Tidbit Tuesday #9: 5 YA Retellings to Look For in 2017

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Tidbit Tuesday is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing bookish events, news and bits of books.

With the live action Beauty and the Beast moving opening soon, I figured it is only fitting to feature some retellings that are getting me just as excited! If I were to pick one genre that is my absolute most favourite of them all, it is a retelling. There is something exciting to me about reading a timeless tale that has been completely reinvented. Sometimes I will admit there can be disappointment with this genre, but most of the time I am totally swept away.

Here are a few YA Retellings that have yet to be released, but are already piquing my interest:

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Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer releases on April 11th. This is one Sleeping Beauty story that sounds as though it is going to be creepy and darker than the original tale. I can’t wait to read it!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner releases on March 14th. This Beauty and the Beast retelling is coming out just a few days before the film. So, I suggest that this is one book you try to tide you over if you are a fan of the Beauty and the Beast story.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao releases on October 17th. This fantasy is a reimagined Evil Queen from Snow White story that is based on Asian folklore. How amazing does that sound?

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen releases on September 12th. This fantasy is said to be a Beauty and the Beast origin tale. I am not sure that I have read anything that gives insight to how the story might have begun. I am really looking forward to reading it. There is no cover for this book yet, but Jensen’s Pinterest board does give some hints about the content of the story.

Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg  releases on October 31st. I stumbled across this new graphic novel that reimagines the story of the Pied Piper when looking up information about Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. The fact that it is a love story that has a main character who has a disability is really intriguing to me. We are still waiting on a cover for this one as well.

ARC Review: So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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Title: So Much Love
Author: Rebecca Rosenblum
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Stars: 5/5

Summary (From Goodreads): When a young woman named Catherine Reindeer vanishes without a trace from her small town, those who know her are left to cope with her absence. Moving back and forth from her outer circle of acquaintances to her closest intimates, Rebecca Rosenblum’s first novel reveals how the lives of those left behind can be overturned in the wake of an unexplained disappearance. But at the heart of the novel is Catherine’s own surprising story of resilience and recovery.

When a final devastating loss after months of captivity forces her to make a bold decision, she is unprepared for everything that follows her dramatic escape. Woven throughout are stories about a local female poet who was murdered decades earlier, a woman whose life and work become a lifeline for Catherine during her darkest hours—and who may ultimately hold the key to Catherine’s quest to find solace in the aftermath of unimaginable tragedy.

So Much Love is a haunting novel of longing and loss, the necessity of bearing witness, and how the stories we tell have the power to shape our lives.

Goodreads | Amazon

One thing that makes a great thriller is a story that has so much potentiality for the reader. The possibility that one might be kidnapped is a terrifying thought and the main character in So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum is one who has great strength in spite of her fate. This novel is beautifully written and contains so many Canadian references, that will make many Canadian readers envision some of the setting with ease.

Catherine Reindeer is really quite a unique and interesting character. Her quirky personality and determination to obtain her degree at her own pace are admirable and earns her the affection of those in her life. The connections that she makes with a dead local poet’s poems helps her to persevere the darkest moments of being held captive and later help her to heal.

Told in alternating points of view, this novel gives the reader many layers to the mystery of how Catherine disappeared and the mindset of all those affected by her disappearance. Even the POV of her perpetrator is given, which is a little bit creepy, but definitely gives insight into why he commits the crime. Also, So Much Love contains so much symbolism pertaining to colour that makes the novel really interesting and creates a deeper understanding of the characters and setting.

There is something about a familiar setting that grabs a reader’s attention. While reading So Much Love, I felt as though Rosenblum really captured small town Canada with references such as Tim Horton’s and Shopper’s Drug Mart. The picture that she paints of this small town in western Canada are gorgeous and despite the dark nature of the story, these aspects were a lot of fun to read.

So Much Love is a thrilling literary fiction that is captivating and well-written. The strong-willed main character and Canadian setting make this novel intriguing and interesting. The theme is one that is not easy to read, but the wonderful story telling makes this book a must-read.

Waiting on Wednesday #95: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

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

This week’s book:

30199656Title: What to Say Next
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads): Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

Goodreads | Amazon

Thoughts: I really enjoy a great contemporary read during the summer and this book seems to have all the elements required. A little bit of drama, a little bit of mystery and an interesting friendship sound right up my alley. Also, that cover is super cute and is what drew me into this one immediately. Looking forward to adding this one to my summer TBR, for sure!

Tidbit Tuesday #8: KCP Loft a New YA Imprint to Get Excited About!

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Tidbit Tuesday is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing bookish events, news and bits of books.

You may be aware of the new YA imprint coming to us this spring from Kids Can Press, KCP Loft, but did you know how many amazing titles they are publishing soon? I was very fortunate to receive a few of them for review and let me tell you, they are going to be ones that you will want to add to your TBRs if you haven’t already.

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Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi sounds like a gripping story that deals with mental illness and suicide. Releases May 2nd.

Keeping the Beat by Marie Powell seems like a perfect summer read that contains a murder mystery and takes place in Hollywood. Releases April 4th.

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant is about a math genius who has psychic powers. The whole concept and the paranormal aspect has me really intrigued! Releases April 4th.

Textrovert by Lindsey Summers is a YA contemporary that looks to have an interesting protagonist and a love story. Releases May 2nd.

 

There has also been some exciting news recently about some future publications as well!

 

I am super excited to read these titles and I think that this imprint is going to give us some inspirational and entertaining books. Check out the trailer below for more details!