Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Wrap Up 2017!

   January was good, January was really good. In the last months, I'd been on hiatus because of the stress of my University classes. This month I started a new bunch of classes, with a lighter load, as well as classes that actually interest me. It's safe to say that this course load is just what I needed.
   I said I'd do two things last month, one was try to get motivated to blog again, and the other was to start a TBR pile for the month, and try to get through them all. One of the two was successful, unfortunately it wasn't the blogging part. I ended up being able to read practically all of the books I had added to my TBR but, in the end I just couldn't review them. I'm still going to work on that, especially when it comes to other blog posts too. For now I'm just going to keep up with all all the reading I've been doing, and hope that I can stick with that as well!
   In the last month I was able to participate in two bookish events, one being my Winnipeg Blogger Groups' Secret Santa party, and the other being an IndigoTeen Hangout. Both were amazing, but I mean, I got to hang out with the same set of friends both times, so they were bound to be great. My Secret Santa, Sarah from Just Another Story, was SUPER AMAZING and got me an ARC of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, and The Throne of Glass Covering Book, so you can tell that I am over the moon excited. Then at the IndigoTeen Hangout I was lucky enough to have won an ARC of 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent, and Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee. Both events were fantastic, and so much fun, from bookish trivia to just discussing books. I love my group of bookish ladies, and can't wait to see them again next month!
   Outside of the bookish world, my friends and I did a fancy dinner night at one of my favourite restaurants. We all dressed up in some of our nicest outfits, and literally just went out for dinner. It was a lot of fun just dressing up, and going out. I can't wait to do it again sometime in the future.  (Please enjoy our lovely selfie.)
   And finally, the last two weeks, and still going, I've been sick. Everyone has been getting sick recently, and I guess it was just my turn. This time around has been a bit worse than usual, especially since my asthma kicks in whenever I get a cold, but I've been slowly getting better, so hopefully that goes away soon. 
   That was my January 2017! I'd say that it was a good start off to the year, if you completely ignore the fact that Trump is the president of the United States anyway. Anyways, here are the stats for this month!
   

   P.S. You guys have to go see A Dogs Purpose, it was such a beautiful movie, and I honestly can't stop tearing up when I think about the movie. It was also actually filmed maybe 15 minutes away from my home, the diner that the characters go to is actually a favourite place for me to go eat in the summer! So definitely make time to go see it!


Books Read:



Book Haul:



A huge thank you to IndigoTeen, OwlCrate, Lauren @ The Autumn Bookshelf, Sarah @ Just Another Story,  and Sabrina @ Beyond the Book Reviews

Books Reviewed:





February Releases That I'm Excited For:



   That was the month! February is usually a super busy month for my family and I, so we'll have to see what's in store for us. I know that I've already got a bunch of things planned, like our late Staff Christmas Party, a Book Signing, and my 19th Birthday Party! So already, I know that'll be a lot of fun, until next time!




Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ohana Talks: Top 10 Favourite Reads of 2016


   I had many favourite reads of 2016, and even though we're already 22 days into 2017, I still want to  share them with you! So these are the books that I continue to find myself thinking of, every now and then, even when I had read some of them last January. Some were published in 2016, some in 2017, and some in 2015! So without further ado! 




Top 10 Favourite Reads of 2016




   And those are them! Did you guys love these guys too? Which were your favourites of 2016? I'd love to hear what those were!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Read: January 17-18th, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Frostblood Saga, #1
Format: ARC, 371 pages
Source: BEA 2016




Description from GoodReads:


   The frost king will burn.

   Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

   Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Review:


Contains Minor Spoilers:

   Die, Fireblood, die!
   I hadn't heard of Frostblood until BEA 2016, when I picked it up randomly at a game hosted by Hachette Company. At the time, I was super excited to read it. The 'last' person in the land with the power of fire, in a fight against people with the power of frost. Combined with the fact that the author is Canadian, you bet I was excited.
   Frostblood felt like a bunch of YA books thrown together to make one book. In particular, I found myself repeatedly comparing it to Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. From discovering the powers, and being trained by someone you consider a new family figure and a guy who is already the master of his powers to having to fight champions to become the evil king's pet. For someone who has read a lot of YA books, it was not for me, but to people who haven't read a lot of them, I'd definitely recommend it.
   Besides getting deja vu from the book, I did have a few things that I did enjoy. One of those being Arcus, unlike most YA books, he isn't your typical love interest. After being attacked by a fire blood, he is left scarred. I found that that changed things up from your regular YA romance, instead of falling for a gorgeous guy with no flaws, Ruby, our protagonist, fell for Arcus because of who he was and not that he looked like. It showed us that it's what on the inside that counts.
   Although it did feel like Deja Vu, I did still feel the pull to continue the book. So when Fireblood, the sequel to Frostblood releases, I'll definitely consider picking it up!



Rating:


Favourite Quote:


"The fire was its own master and would not be ruled."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:


Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Fire, Ice, Darkness


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: (60)

One Blood Ruby

Melissa Marr
Seven Black Diamonds, #2
HarperCollins
Expected: February 28th, 2017

Description from GoodReads:



   Now that Lilywhite Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change.



   The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s d├ętente without resistance.

   Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known to do so. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace.


Why I Want It:


   Like I said in my review of Seven Black Diamonds' review, I wasn't a fan of Melissa's original series, Wicked Lovely, but her stand alone thriller, Made for You, made me give her books another chance. Seven Black Diamonds exceeded my expectations, the story had me hooked since the first page. I cannot wait to see where the story continues in  One Blood Ruby.

   That's my Waiting on Wednesday this week! Will you be picking up One Blood Ruby? What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Read: December 25th-26th, 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Series: Rebel of the Sands, #1
Format: Hardcover, 314 pages
Source: MYRCA, for Review




Description from GoodReads:


   Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

   Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

   Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Review:


   A new dawn, a new desert.
   I first heard of Rebel of the Sands around the same time everyone else did, it really wasn't until I learned that the author was/is Canadian that the book finally peaked my interest. I would have picked it up eventually since my friend was really excited for it's release, but that little fact actually bumped it up on my TBR pile.
   I can be a sucker when it comes to YA western books, and that's definitely the vibe I got when I first started Rebel of the Sands. It made the book all that sweeter when reading it, then there were the Djinni, another thing I'm a sucker for, mythical creatures. Between the two, I knew I was going to be in for a good book. I wasn't wrong, the book was a perfect blend of the two. The only problem I had with the creatures was that in the introduction to the book, Hamilton made it sound as if there were tons of different kinds of mystical creatures, but we only really encountered or heard about 4 of them. Hopefully in the sequel, we will be able to see more of them.
   Alongside the creatures we were also able to experience a rebellion, and princes fighting for the throne. Of course, over the last couple years there have been many YA novels with that theme, but unlike the others the western feel to the book shake things up. With shoot outs, robbing trains and even the lack of respect for woman, think Back to the Future 3.
   Rebel of the Sands was a unique new read for everything to enjoy, Traitor to the Throne, the sequel to Rebel of the Sands releases March 7th, 2017, and I will not be waiting a minute to pick up a copy.

Rating:




Favourite Quote:


"The desert didn't let weakness win."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:


Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Rebellions, Djinni, Deserts, Lost Princes, Westerns, Guns


Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: November 8th, 2016
Read: November 5-7th, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Series: Standalone
Format: Signed ARC, 449 pages
Source: BEA 2016





Description from GoodReads:


   Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

   At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.


   Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. 

Review:


   Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.
   Marissa Meyer has been one of my favourite authors since Cinder first released, oh so long ago. When I finished Winter last year, I had thought that the wait for a new Meyer book would be a long one, but then Heartless was announced. At first I was a little bit skeptical, I'm not the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland, but when I heard that it was going to be a retelling from the Villain or rather, the Queen of Hearts point of view, I knew I was a goner.
   Like most people I thought I was going to have to wait until November 2016 to read the book, but fortunately for me, and 5 hours of wasted time waiting in lines, I was able to get an ARC at BEA 2016. So I was able to read the book earlier, although not that much earlier.
   The book was a treat filled dream, Catherine, our main character was a baker, a baker with a dream of one day owning a bakery with her friend. From just saying that, you can expect treats galore in Heartless, you can also expect to be hungry the whole time you read it. Meyer described each of the treats perfectly to the point where I was constantly felt the need to be baking.
   Catherine was also just like your average villain, someone wanting the best for themselves but have it ruined for them. In Catherine's case, she was just born into the wrong family, thus having to follow the responsibilities that came with her family. It also didn't help that her parents didn't understand her at all, and what they thought was best for her, was really what was breaking her. At times it got to the point where you couldn't help but pity her.
   Overall for me the book was fabulous, the minute I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. Heartless was the perfect blend of sanity and insanity for when it comes to Wonderland, an insane treat filled Wonderland. I would recommend Heartless to anyone who is a fan of Alice in Wonderland or of Marissa Meyer, because in the end, it was definitely worth the 5 hour wait in line. 

Rating:


Favourite Quote:


It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:


Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Alice in Wonderland,  Villains, Pastries, Magic, Pumpkins



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ohana Talks: Favourite Debut Authors of 2016


   Hello, hello, hello! 
   Today, on Ohana Talks, I'm going to tell you guys about my top favourite Debut authors of 2016. There were a lot of fabulous debut authors this year. Unfortunately I wasn't able to read all their books but from the year, but out of the ones I did read, here were some of my favourites! I already can't wait to read what they have next in stored for us!


Katherine McGee

HarperCollins
Released: August 30th, 2016


Description from GoodReads:


   New York City as you’ve never seen it before.

   A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

   Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

   A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

   Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

   Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

   Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

   Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

   And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

   Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down…



Alwyn Hamilton

Viking
Released: March 8th, 2016

Description from GoodReads:


   Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

   Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

   Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.



Jessica Cluess

Random House Books for Young Readers
Released: September 20th, 2016

Description from GoodReads:


   Henrietta can burst into flames.

   Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.

   Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

   But Henrietta is not the chosen one.

   As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?



Evelyn Skye

Balzer + Bray
Released: May 17th, 2016

Description from GoodReads:

   Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

   And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

  Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

   For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

   And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

   As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


   Those were my favourites from the year! Who were your favourite debut authors from the year? Are there any debuts that you're looking forward to next year?



Monday, January 9, 2017

Blog Tour: You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando


   Hello and welcome to the You Don't Know My Name Blog Tour! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from Raincoast Books a few months ago, and couldn't put it down! Today you will be able to read my review of the book, as well as enter a giveaway! I hope you guys enjoy!

Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Read: December 7th-13th, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Series: The Black Angel Chronicles, #1
Format: ARC, 320 pages
Source: Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review



Description from GoodReads:


   Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy.

   Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.

   Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?

Review:


   Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop
   Where I usually don't enjoy everyday Contemporary novels, I do enjoy Thrillers. Saying that, You Don't Know My Name caught my eye because of it being a spy novel. I grew up with Spy Kids, and my dad being the biggest fan of James Bond, so I did grow up enjoying a good spy story here and there. But when it comes to YA novels, I haven't had the chance to read many spy novels. So I was very excited to pick this one up, when I heard about it.
   I thought that when going into You Don't Know My Name, our protagonist, Reagan, would already be a somewhat established spy. I got it into my head that the story would be about her already learning the ropes of how to be a Black Angel, I went into the book thinking wrongly. Reagan lives with her parents, the already spies, and trains constantly, but she doesn't really want the spy life. Although she doesn't want to let her parents down, the two pretty much already see her as a spy, all she wants is a normal life without all the running and hiding. I could really connect with Reagan as a person when it came to the decision and her parents. The panic attacks, and pressure of letting her parents down, I've been in a similar situation before, so it really hit home for me. I really loved how she overcame her fear and was able to speak her mind to her parents. Even though our parents just want what's best for us, it doesn't always mean it's the best decision for us.
   I wasn't a huge fan of Luke, as a person he was fine, but what he did to Reagan just wasn't my favourite. Obviously people do things differently when they're crushing on someone, but I just couldn't get over how Reagan changed herself for him. I'm not sure if it was the authors intention on portraying it this way, but when Reagan was slowly falling for Luke, and started to show her 'real self', it felt as if she was really just changing herself for him. As someone who grew up being secretive, and having to live a certain way in order to live, you don't just forget it all for a boy, not even when you think you're just letting him get to know the real you. It felt like Reagan was completely betraying her character just to become a 'better' person for him.
   As a spy book, Orlando did really well with her 'spy talk'. The language used, the terms, and the way the characters acted, all felt really authentic and spy like to me. I could really get into the story, the action and mission we got to experience was all very exciting.
   You Don't Know My Name was the perfect spy book for people who are looking for a little bit of action in their lives. I can't wait to see where Kristen Orlando takes us with the Black Angels, sequel.

Rating:


Favourite Quote:


"The world is expecting some big things from you, Reagan Elizabeth Hillis."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:


Young Adult, Contemporary Thriller, Spies, Adventure, Action, Weapons, Training Acedemy's




Writing is one of the great loves of my life (with bacon mac and cheese, Netflix binges and PJs also
in the mix). My childhood in Columbus, Ohio was spent reading every single Baby-Sitter’s Club book ever written and acting out imaginary tragedies in my room (complete with costumes and props) until a really embarrassing age. I started writing plays for my younger cousins as soon as they were all old enough to act (The Spoiled Princess may be a personal favorite) and haven’t stopped writing since. After graduating from Kenyon College with a B.A. in English Literature, I’ve been lucky enough to make writing my career; first as a television producer, then as a marketer and now as a novelist.



3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME, 
US Only.

   Thanks so much for stopping by! I can't wait for you all to read it!