Audiobook Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Narrator: Christian Coulson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

When I first heard about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I knew it was going to be amusing. It tells the story of a group on a tour of Europe and contains such likeable characters. I listened to the audio version of the book, and I can definitely say that it completes the epic experience of the story and does and amazing job transporting the listener to 18th century Europe. This book is so original, and I would consider it to be a must-read this year.

This book is absolutely hilarious! It follows Monty, Percy, and Felicity on their tour of Europe turned escape for survival after Monty steals a valuable item at a party. I loved learning about the characters’ journey across the continent and how they escape death along the way. I’m not normally a huge fan of historical fiction, but, for what may be the first time ever in a historical novel, I wasn’t bored at any point in the book. There is so much excitement with the pirates, the alchemy, and all of Monty’s shenanigans that it is hard to put down. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue really has it all, and I would recommend it to everyone, even hesitant historical readers like myself.

One of my favourite aspects of this book is the incredible cast of characters. First up, there’s Monty. He’s honestly a spoiled brat sometimes but does the most entertaining and reckless things. He also has such a complex backstory and is so developed. Monty’s experiences and the way he deals with them make the book so enjoyable, and I would love another book about his drama. Another main character in the book is Percy, Monty’s crush. I adored his character since he is so sweet, and I really sympathized with him because he experiences a lot of racism. I totally shipped him with Monty as well. There is also Felicity, Monty’s sister, who is so sassy and intelligent. She has some of the best lines and is honestly the reason why Monty and Percy aren’t dead.

Christian Coulson does a phenomenal job narrating the audio version of the book. He played young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter, so I knew it was going to be good. His voice is so calming to listen to, and it perfectly captures the emotions (and the sass) of the characters. I loved the various accents in the narration as well. If you are looking for audiobook recommendations, I would absolutely recommend The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, since it really completes the experience of the story.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an entertaining story about the shenanigans of three friends on a tour of Europe. The characters are all so developed, and I loved the amount of sass each of them is capable of. The narration in the audiobook is also so incredible, making this book the perfect thing to buy with your extra Audible credits.

Review: A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: A Stranger in the House
Author: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Double Day Canada
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): From the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, a new thriller featuring a suspicious accident, a wife who can’t account for herself and unsettling questions that threaten to tear a couple apart.

You come home after a long day at work, excited to have dinner with your beautiful wife.
But when you walk through the door, you quickly realize that she’s not there.
In the kitchen, there is a pot on the stove, and vegetables on the counter, abandoned.
Her cellphone and her purse are still in the house, in the bedroom, exactly where she keeps them.
It looks like she’s left in a blind panic.
You fear the worst, so you call her friends to see if they know where she is.
Then you call the police.
The police tell you that your wife’s been in an accident. They found her in the worst part of town, after she lost control of the car while speeding through the streets. But why would she go to that neighbourhood? And why was she driving so fast? Was she running toward something? Or away from something?
The police think your wife was up to no good.
You refuse to believe it, at first.
Then, as the stories and facts don’t line up, and your wife can’t remember what happened that evening, you start to wonder. You’ve been married for two years and you thought you knew her better than anyone else in the world . . .
. . . but maybe you don’t.

Goodreads | Amazon

Looking for a fast-paced thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the very end? A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena is sure to fit the bill. While I didn’t find this book to be as incredible as her debut, The Couple Next Door, this novel is packed with suspense and is definitely hard to put down. Lapena has a writing style that is easy to follow and quite succinct. The characters are very interesting, and can definitely be found in any suburban neighbourhood, making this story seem relatable.

When a book grabs my attention so much that I am flipping pages all night long, it is safe to say that it is definitely one that has lured me in and won’t let go. Shari Lapena has crafted a murder mystery that unfolds in a quiet neighbourhood with a housewife at the centre of attention. As new details begin to be revealed, and the pieces of the story start to come together, you will want to keep reading to see where the plot is headed next. The concept and storyline are that intriguing to keep you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know more.

If you are familiar with The Couple Next Door, you will come to expect a certain style from Shari Lapena’s writing. Her style is very much to the point and is very easy to follow. A Stranger in the House has a fantastic plot, but it is just not as descriptive as I would have expected. While I enjoyed how quick this story is to read, I would have preferred more details about the setting and the characters than is offered. The book feels a little rushed, and it would have been amazing to have it slowed down just a little bit.

This commuter neighbourhood in A Stranger in the House has some characters that will be easily recognizable. For instance, there is a very nosy neighbour that seems to know quite a bit about what everyone else is up to. Also, for those who have read The Couple Next Door, Detective Rasbach makes an appearance, which adds a bit of an interesting twist to the story because he is a character that we are already familiar with. Rasbach is a detective who seems to be able to solve any mystery, and is a very likeable character.

A Stranger in the House is a perfect thriller for your summer beach bag. The book is a quick read that will satisfy anyone who loves the genre. I look forward to reading more of Lapena’s novels and I am curious to find out if we will be seeing more of the infamous Detective Rasbach.

ARC Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

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

Title: The Child
Author: Fiona Barton
Publisher: Penguin Books Canada
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): The author of the stunning New York Times bestseller The Widow returns with a brand-new novel of twisting psychological suspense

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn–house by house–into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women–and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

Goodreads | Amazon

Having never read Barton’s first novel, The Widow, I went into this one with no expectations. I am a complete fan now and I look forward to reading more books by this author. The writing style is crisp, which really keeps the story moving along. Also, the characters are well-developed, and interestingly different from one another. The Child is a psychological thriller that will definitely keep you guessing right up until the end.

Mysteries seem to flow better when they are written in a manner that is concise and to the point. I love how The Child has quite short chapters that go from one character’s perspective to the next. Honestly, the book is hard to put down because of this. Once more details are uncovered, you will want to know what the next character is going to do or say. This has to be one of my favourite aspects of Barton’s writing. It is to the point and captures the reader’s attention.

There are four female characters that the story revolves around, which gives a different perspective as to who/what was the cause of this baby to end up in the construction site. Each woman is so interesting, and once their backgrounds are revealed, the characters become very relatable. Kate is a really enjoyable character, as she is the journalist trying to get to the bottom of the story. Her personality and methods to find out the details in an effort to solve the mystery are so engaging.

A perfect thriller is one that will surprise you at every turn. The Child absolutely provides its readers with many twists, turns, and shocks. Just when you think that you have figured out what will happen next, Barton takes the story into a completely new direction. You will be amazed at the ending of this one, for sure.

The Child is a mystery novel that will have it readers suspecting the story throughout. It is an unputdownable book that has a cast of incredible characters. I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves a great thriller.

Audiobook Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

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Title: Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate
Narrator: Bailey Carr
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Just by reading the summary of Noteworthy, I could tell that I was going to love it. I was not disappointed at all with this book containing some of my favourite components in YA, such as music and a boarding school. The main character is so empowering, and the narrator, Bailey Carr, is the perfect person to bring Jordan to life. This book is everything that I could ask for, and I’m sure that everyone will be able to relate.

This book honestly has everything that I could ask for: a boarding school setting, a cappella groups, a musical rivalry, a realistic cast of characters, and so much humour. It tells the story of a girl named Jordan whose low voice prevents her from getting a role in the school musical. So, she disguises herself as a boy and gets into an elite all male a cappella group. This book is kind of like She’s the Man, but with singing, and I never knew how much I needed a story like this one. I really wish that I had time to read it sooner, but I can safely say that Noteworthy is among my favourite reads this summer.

Jordan is such a great main character. After getting rejected, she is so determined to prove herself and literally stops at nothing to do it. Jordan is so brave to assume an identity that is entirely different from her own, and her experiences always result in hilarity. She also really bashes gender roles while disguised, and I loved the message that she sends in the book. Her character is so realistic and her personality makes her so easy to root for.

I’m so glad to say that my experience with Noteworthy as an audiobook was an incredible one. When I first hit play on the book, I actually recognized the narrator from Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. Bailey Carr is such a perfect voice for Noteworthy since she is able to capture the sarcastic undertones of Jordan’s thoughts so well. She also does a surprisingly good job with the male voices, which couldn’t have been easy, considering there are 7 boys in the Sharpshooters. If you are looking for a good audiobook to listen to, I would definitely recommend this one for its perfect laugh-out-loud narration.

Noteworthy is the hilarious story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join a male a cappella group. I loved the boarding school setting and the main character’s relatability. The narration in the audiobook edition is perfectly sarcastic and adds even more enjoyment to the story. If you have yet to pick up this wonderful book, I strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible!

Also, there is actually an OST for Noteworthy, which can be found here. It’s so cool to hear the songs mentioned in the book, so be sure to check it out!

Blog Tour, ARC Review, Dream Cast, Playlist & Giveaway: Lucky in Love by Kasie West

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I am so thrilled to be part of the Lucky in Love blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Kasie West is among my favourite contemporary authors, and her newest book was everything I hoped it would be. Keep reading for a review, dream cast, playlist, and a giveaway!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

book coverLucky in Love by Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: July 25th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Links:
Goodreads | AmazonB&NBook DepositoryKoboiBooks

Synopsis:

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kasie.jpgI write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, and BY YOUR SIDE. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

REVIEW

I am still fairly new to Kasie West’s books, but I seem to enjoy every single one I read. Lucky in Love is no exception with its creative concept about a girl who wins the lottery. I really enjoyed the main character and her wisdom about money, and the theme of family is so sweet. As usual, this book is so adorable and the perfect book to relax with this summer.

Lucky in Love is such an original story! It tells the story of a girl who is struggling economically, but ends up winning the lottery with a ticket that she bought on her 18th birthday. Maddie quickly becomes popular as her classmates learn about her win, and she must decide how to react and who to trust. I loved reading about her efforts to keep her coworker, Seth, from learning about the news, and the zoo setting has got to be one of my favourites. This book is so cute, as always in a Kasie West book, making it the perfect read for the summer.

I loved Maddie’s character. Despite winning the lottery, she is able to remain level-headed. I really admired the fact that she is careful about how she spends her money, although she does make a few slips here and there. Maddie is also a good student, and attends regular study groups with her friends. I found her to be relatable, since she is hard-working and supportive of her family. Maddie’s character is so realistic, and she really behaves like someone her age would.

Another great aspect of this story is the big theme of family. The first thing Maddie does with her lottery money is give some of it to her parents and brother to help them get back on their feet. Her parents are fighting, and she tries her hardest to keep them together. Maddie is also so caring towards her brother and is able to give him the funds to go back to college. Family is one of my favourite topics in YA, and I always appreciate reading about a realistic and caring family.

Lucky in Love is a unique story about a girl who wins the lottery. The main character is so logical, even after her big win, and relatable. I especially loved the theme of family and Maddie’s support for her parents and brother. This is classic Katie West, and I’m sure that longtime fans of her books won’t be disappointed.


DREAM CAST

 

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ARC Review: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

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I received an ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Just Friends
Author: Tiffany Pitcock
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Stars: 3.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Just Friends is a cute and quick read about two teens who fake being friends since childhood after they are brought together because of a school assignment. The opposite personalities of the two main characters are interesting to read about, and both Jenny and Chance visibly transform as the story progresses. I still enjoyed this book, but I found it to be a bit too clichéd for my taste.

This book is so adorable! It tells the story of Jenny and Chance, two teens who meet in an Oral Communications class. On a whim, they successfully convince their class, and the entire school, that they have been best friends for years. However, as the two become closer and actually get to know each other, they slowly become more than friends. I loved how Jenny and Chance make up cute stories about their childhood together and how they are able to create such an intricate backstory even though they just met. The way that all this happens so spontaneously is also enjoyable and makes their interactions so believable. This book may seem like pure fluff, but it actually gets pretty deep, so this is a good one for those looking for a mix of cuteness and seriousness.

One of the aspects that I especially enjoyed about this novel is the fact that Jenny and Chance are complete opposites. Jenny is the good girl who does well in school, and Chance is the bad boy with a bad reputation when it comes to relationships. The book is split into dual POVs, which I really enjoyed. Reading about the two characters pine for each other and getting both sides of a misunderstanding is so entertaining for the reader. Jenny and Chance also really change each other throughout the book, and it is so interesting to see how much they both transform from the beginning.

While I enjoyed the book, I still had one main issue with it that lowered my rating. The story is so unrealistic and hard to believe that it becomes a bit frustrating. For example, no one, not even Jenny’s best friend, thinks to question this friendship that has supposedly been going on for years. I just found it a bit strange how Jenny’s friend doesn’t seem too hurt by this new “best friend” that Jenny never told her about. There are also some aspects later on in the story concerning Chance that I can’t really describe because of spoilers, but his whole family situation seemed a bit far-fetched to me. There are also so many clichés, which I kind of expected, but it becomes a bit cringey after so long.

Just Friends is a cute read about two strangers who fake years of friendship after a school assignment bring them together. I enjoyed the main characters’ differences and the use of multiple perspectives. This book is still enjoyable, but the pacing and countless clichés weren’t for me.

Blog Tour, ARC Review & Interview: Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

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I am so thrilled to be a part of the Wesley James Ruined My Life blog tour, hosted by Raincoast Books. This is such a fun and summery book that is perfect for the beach. I had the opportunity to review the book and interview the author, Jennifer Honeybourn, so be sure to keep reading for her answer to my question!

31145064Title: Wesley James Ruined My Life
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: July 18, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

REVIEW

I have always been a fan of good old revenge stories, so Wesley James Ruined My Life instantly drew me in. It is all about a girl who is stuck working with an old friend, who became her enemy years ago. The medieval restaurant setting is so original, and the main character is a little obstinate but also compassionate. I really enjoyed this one, and it is perfect for the summer.

This book has such an entertaining plot. It is all about a girl who ends up working with her enemy, a boy who ruined her life. She vows to get revenge on him by getting him fired from the job, but finds herself falling for him. I love the enemies-to-lovers trope, and the way it plays out in this book is so adorable. Wesley and Quinn’s conversations are so amusing and real. This is such a cute and quick read that is perfect for those who enjoy a good revenge story and rekindled love.

I absolutely adored the setting in this story! The main characters work at a medieval restaurant called Tudor Tymes that is honestly so over-the-top. King Henry VIII thinks he has actual power over all the employees and really gets into his role. This place is so developed, and I would love to visit it if it were a real restaurant. I am always one for a unique and quirky setting, so I was thrilled to see Quinn taking on an unconventional waitressing job.

Quinn is such a stubborn main character. She holds a grudge against Wesley for all those years, even though I feel like she could have given him more of a chance. However, she makes up for it with her generosity. Quinn has always dreamed of going to London, and has been saving up to go there on a trip with the school band. She is so determined to make her dream a reality, but is willing to put it on hold in an instant to help her dad out. I loved the way she prioritizes others’ needs before her own… Except for Wesley’s.

Wesley James Ruined My Life is a cute contemporary about a girl trying to get revenge on the boy who she believes ruined her life. I enjoyed the medieval restaurant setting and the main character’s kindness. This is a perfect book for the summer, and I would recommend it to those looking for a fun read to take to the beach.

INTERVIEW

(CC): Your Goodreads profile states that you are a fan of “epic, happily-ever-after love stories.” Is there one in particular that inspired Wesley James Ruined My Life? What are some of your favourite love stories?

(JH): I am a sucker for a good love story, but there isn’t one story in particular that inspired WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE. I’m inspired by all of them! In terms of books, some of my favorites include Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Just One Day by Gayle Foreman, Slammed by Colleen Hoover, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett and Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

15215579Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE is her first novel. You can connect with Jennifer on Twitter.

Keep following along on the tour for even more reviews and interviews with Jennifer!

Blog Tour, ARC Review, Interview & Giveaway: Because You Love to Hate Me by Ameriie (editor)

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I am so thrilled to be part of the Because You Love to Hate Me blog tour, celebrating the villains in books. I had the opportunity to review this incredible anthology and interview Susan Dennard and Sasha Alsberg. Keep reading for a giveaway at the end of this post!

About the Book:

31450752Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Author: Ameriie (editor)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Synopsis: Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel)

Goodreads | Amazon

Mini Review:

Because You Love to Hate Me is such an original anthology! This book is a collection of short stories celebrating the villains of YA. I personally love villains, and having an entire book dedicated to them is so satisfying. What I really enjoyed is the fact that the stories retold aren’t ones that are too common, such as Medusa. I also found the booktuber-author pairings to be interesting, since I have never seen this before.

One of my favourite stories in this collection is Susan Dennard’s, which is a Sherlock retelling. In the story, Sherlock is actually female, which is a very unique twist. It also takes place in a boarding school, a setting that I always seem to enjoy. I also loved Marissa Meyer’s Little Mermaid retelling and Victoria Schwab’s story, which personifies death. There is really something for everyone in this anthology, and I would definitely recommend it to those who are fascinated by villains.


Interview with Susan Dennard and Sasha Alsberg:

Susan:

1. I love the fact that Shirley and Jim is a Sherlock retelling! Are you a Sherlockian? Who is your favourite Sherlock Holmes character?

I don’t know if I qualify as a Sherlockian, but I have followed many iterations of Sherlock Holmes. My grandparents first got me hooked when I was a kid, giving me an abridged version of the mysteries, as well as letting me watch many an episode of the 1980s Sherlock Holmes TV show with them. (My favorite tale was always “The Adventure of the Speckled Band.”)

When the BBC show came along a few years ago, it reminded me of that childhood love for mysteries and problem solving. Plus, Sherlock-love aside, it’s just an awesome show. And Andrew Scott on there is handsdown my favorite portrayal of Moriarty EVER.

2. Jim is described as a rebel in your story, while Shirley seems to be a do-gooder. Which character do you relate to more?

Shirley. Ha! I’m such a goody-goody. Growing up, I was always that kid who followed the rules and did her best in class. Deep down, though, I wanted to be a rebel, and I did give it a try in college. Eye-liner, studded belts, punk music. But let’s face it: that’s not who I really am, and the persona didn’t stick for long.

3. Another aspect of Shirley and Jim that is so exciting are the chess games that take place. Is chess a game that you enjoy and play often?

I wouldn’t say I play often, but I do enjoy it when I get the chance to play. I taught myself how in college, and for a while there, I was pretty addicted (what a rebel!). I would play with anyone who knew how, but more often than not, I got my butt whooped by the computer. It was awesome fun, and I still carry that love for strategy games to this day.

About the Author:

4499623Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. With a masters degree in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to Asia one of these days!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series (from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Witchlands Series (Tor, 2015). When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or earning bruises at the dojo.

You can learn more about Susan on her website, blog, newsletter, Twitter, or Pinterest.

 

Sasha:

1. Do you ever find yourself empathizing with the villain when you are reading or watching tv?

All the time! I used to think that was weird when I was younger but then I learned how villains come in various forms and not all them think what they’re doing is bad. But, some villains I cannot empathize with at all. It’s the ones I can empathize with that are the ones that stick with me long after the book ends!

2. Who is your favourite fictional villain?

I think that Black Jack Randall from Outlander is truly a horrific person. I absolutely hate him with everything I can muster up within me. That’s why he’s my favorite, because he makes my blood literally boil!

3. You mention online façades in Dear Sasha, the 411 for Villains. Do you think that most people hide behind some sort of mask when they are online? 

100% yes. Lots of people hide behind the screen and either they use that to be bold and good, or rude and awful. Someone can express themselves fully online because they can find a community they feel is unlike anything they have in the real world. Like the book community! READERS ARE OUT THERE! But then there are the trolls and haters who use their computer screens to hide behind because they love to feed negativity into the world. Cowards. So share love not hate! Use the screen to be positive and unite with people like you.

About the Author:

15100575.jpgSasha Alsberg is the #1 NYT Bestselling Co-Author of ZENITH: The Androma Saga.

When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland she is making YouTube videos on her channel Abookutopia. She lives in Northern Texas with her dog, Fraser.

For her writing, she is represented by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary and is represented on YouTube by Brian Lieberman at Studio71.

You can learn more about Sasha on her YouTube channel or Twitter.


Giveaway:

You can win:

    • one copy of Because You Love to Hate Me (open to US/Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

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ARC Review: The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Inevitable Collision of Birdie and Bash
Author: Candace Ganger
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Birdie never meant to be at the party. Bash should have been long gone. But when they meet, a collision course is set off they may never recover from.

Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together: to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad, and to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy soon links Birdie and Bash together—but neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall—hard—the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger is a beautiful, complex, and ultimately hopeful teen novel that will move you to the very last page.

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I am not usually one for super tragic books, but The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash drew me in. It tells the story of two people linked by tragedy, though one of them doesn’t know it. One of the main characters, Birdie, is so intelligent, and the author’s writing is whip-smart. However, it is a good idea to have some tissues nearby because this book is an emotional rollercoaster.

This book’s concept really intrigued me. Basically Bash, and his friend are in the car that runs over Birdie’s baby brother, causing him severe injury. There is a low chance of survival, and Bash and his friend never own up to the accident. The plot thickens as Birdie and Bash end up working at a rollerskating rink together while Birdie is unaware of their connection. I enjoyed the suspense that built up as Bash struggled to tell Birdie what he did and being able to understand both sides of the story. This story is so complex and absolutely heart-wrenching, making it an incredible debut.

I really enjoyed Birdie’s character in the novel. She is so intelligent and not afraid to make math jokes. Birdie is also pretty sassy because of her ability to recite random facts, which provided some comic relief. She struggles a lot after the accident and blames herself, so I really sympathized with her. I found Birdie to be such a realistic character and one who is very likeable.

Candace Ganger has a very entertaining writing style. I found the writing in this book to be similar to John Green’s since it is both clever and comedic. Ganger is able to write about tragic events while still incorporating some fun scenes, which I appreciated. It is also clear that she did her research while writing this book because there are some great chemic metaphors scattered throughout the story. This amusing writing really added a lot to the book and is the perfect complement to Birdie and Bash’s story.

The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash is a clever story about two teens who are linked by a tragedy. I loved the main character and her intelligence, and the author’s writing style is so engaging. Though this book is pretty heavy, it’s worth the read.

 

Review: Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn

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Title: Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross
Author: Katie Finn
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Stars: 2.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads ): WEATHER ALERT: SEVERE STORMS AHEAD

Gemma and Hallie’s world has come to a screeching halt. Their parents are engaged, which makes them step-sisters. Nothing in the world could possibly be worse for Gemma and Hallie–they won’t let it happen. Even if it means putting their own feud aside to separate their parents.

Events quickly escalate as a hurricane rips through the Hamptons leaving everyone (including Gemma’s two exes, her current crush, best friend, and her nemesis) bottled up in one house. One big, miserable group of exes and enemies together allow secrets to unfold and plans to be plotted. The calm before this storm definitely doesn’t exist.

Katie Finn pulls out all the stops for this fast-paced, dramatic conclusion in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series, Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross.

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I had been awaiting Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross for a while, since it is the final instalment in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series, but this story just doesn’t compare to the rest of the books. The concept is not as fun and upbeat as the first books, since it is all about two girls trying to get their parents to divorce because they don’t want to be sisters. I also didn’t enjoy the main character’s immature actions and the unrealistic plot. I had such high hopes for this conclusion, but unfortunately, I was let down.

I’m not sure how I feel about the concept of this book. I have always been a fan of revenge books, which is why I enjoyed the other two books in this series so much. However, in this final instalment, the two enemies become friends. I think it’s great that they are able to stop their fighting, but they are only joined together to execute a reverse Parent Trap, as one of the characters describes the plan. Hallie and Gemma only get over their differences so that they can break up their parents’ marriage to avoid becoming sisters. This is such an awful thing to do, and I couldn’t believe that they would try and do something so heartless. There are some aspects to the book that I enjoyed, but I just couldn’t get past this horrible plan.

Gemma, the main character is not as enjoyable in this conclusion as I found her to be in the rest of the series. As I mentioned a bit above, she tries to break up her dad and Hallie’s mom without even considering their happiness. She prioritizes her own drama over her dad’s well-being, and because of this, her character becomes dislikable. Gemma is also so careless and is so wrapped up in her scheme that she neglects tasks that are supposed to ensure that everyone is safe during the storm. Her immaturity was tolerable in the rest of the series, but it became too much in this particular story.

My biggest issue with this book is probably how unrealistic it is. It’s difficult to describe without spoiling too much, but the whole story is basically a cliche. First of all, there’s the entire plot. The main character is trapped in a house with everyone she has drama with because a hurricane is approaching. This isn’t so hard to believe, but there are so many other things that would never happen. For example, Gemma and Hallie are scheming out in the open, people even catch them in the act, but no one tells their parents. It also just so happens that they have access to hours of documentary footage in which Gemma’s dad insults Hallie’s mom’s writing, and they are able to burn onto a DVD to show them. For what it is, I tried my best to look past it, but there are just way too many cringeworthy moments that I couldn’t believe.

Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross is the final book in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series. I ended up disappointed in the reverse Parent Trap concept and the main character’s childish behaviour. I wanted to enjoy this book so much, but the endless cliches made it difficult. The ending of the book itself is satisfying, but I wish I could say the same about the ending of the series.