Thursday, November 13, 2014

ARC Review: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: October 14th, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 368 pgs
ISBN: 9780062293695
Source: borrowed from fellow blogger for an honest review



Summary from Goodreads:

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne's at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator's daughter. Most people do.. or they think they do. Charlotte certainly never expects she'll be Julia's friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl's world- a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation home, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia's handsome older brother, Sebastian.
But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden... until now. 

My Review:

I was excited to be a part of the blog tour for this book and when fellow Ottawa blogger, Kathy lent me this book I was really happy to read it. It's got a very summer time feel to it with a story about best friends. I really liked watching the relationship between Julia and Charlotte grow and enfold. They start off as stranger and quickly become entangled in each other's lives. Well, I would say that Charlotte becomes more enfolded in Julia's life than the other way around. It seems very easy for Charlotte to become integrated into the Buchanan family. She wants to throw herself into the relationship and the family welcomes her in with open arms. I would say that this is not just a story about BFFs and more of a story about one girl falling in love with an entire family. 
I have to admit that I can very much relate to this. High school Meaghan got very involved with her BFF's family. I was at her house every weekend without fail and was even invited to her father's second wedding. Unfortunately over the years, we have lost touch but sometimes I don't just miss her but miss her family. I wonder where they are and what they're up to. Facebook helps the creeper in me keep me connected. I think that when you are close with someone you become close with the people they are close to. I think this is something that YA is missing sometimes and I was really impressed with the story that Philpot was able to weave together. It wasn't just a story about best friends but a story about all kinds of relationships. 
I also really liked reading about the familial connections in the book. The whole Buchanan family had a place in the story. The parents were what you would imagine a senator and a wife to be like but they also surprised me sometimes. Their tenderness towards their children was sweet but their overprotectiveness was also frustrating at times. I just wanted to let them know that they weren't doing any one any favours by hovering around the periphery all the time. The siblings were well-rounded and I can see why Charlotte was fond of each of them. 
I enjoyed the story line with a bit of mystery involved. I kind of figured it out but I was never 100% sure if that's what was going on. I think that you are supposed to have it sort of figured out because it helps to understand the character development in the book. 
If I'm honest I think that some people may not respond well to the ending of this book. I personally thought it was well done and well written. I know that many people don't enjoy the epilogue and the ending has this feeling about it. Sometimes I think the epilogue wraps up some questions you may be having and leaves you feeling more settled about the finale. 
Overall I quite liked this book. Philpot writes her characters well and to me that to be able to do this isn't always the easiest thing. If you have great characters they will drive the plot. I would definitely suggest reading this book- perhaps on a beach. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ARC Review: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Publisher: Quirk Books
Publishing Date: September 23rd, 2014
Genre: Horror, Adult
Pages: 243 pgs
ISBN: 9781594745263
Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review (Thank you Eric!)



Summary from Goodreads:

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking. To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they'll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination. A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstor comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk's labyrinthine showroom. 

My Review:

Ok, where do I start with this review? Firstly, let me begin by saying that my family is IKEA-centric. My aunt was a big honcho there and my sister is currently a manager there so we always joke around with them about so many things. Well, as soon as I got this book from Quirk Books I had to send a picture to my sister. The book is unique in the sense that it is shaped like a catalogue, looks like a catalogue on the cover and flaps and it also has very fun design elements throughout the book. 
It is essentially a horror story set in an IKEA-esque type furniture store. Every night when the workers come to open the store there are things broken or in the wrong place. In order to figure out what is going on the floor manager enlists a couple workers to stay overnight to find out what is going on. As the night goes on it becomes clear that something supernatural is going on. 
I have to say that I was pretty excited to read this book. I enjoyed it while I was reading it and found it intriguing. It was creepy and I really wanted to find out more about what was going on. 
As I continued reading I kept thinking that this would make a great movie. I would love to see how they'd pull it all together. I am a bit of a scary movie enthusiast. I find movies scare me way more than reading. When reading, it takes me a lot of really freak me out. This was the case with this book. I liked it and it was entertaining but it didn't super scare me. 
I also finished the book wishing they had explained more. It felt like I had too many questions left at the end of this book. I can why the book ended the way it did but it seemed like there were too many loose ends. I'd be interested to see if there is going to be another book. 
Overall, I liked it and it was a good story for October. If you like creepy things then this is for you. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Q & A with author Chelsey Philpot (Even in Paradise)



Today I am lucky enough to participate in the Even in Paradise blog tour. This is a novel by Chelsey Philpot which I enjoyed very much. (Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for my review.)

To start here is a summary of the novel from Goodreads.

Charlotte certainly never expects she'll be Julia's friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger-than-life new girl's world- a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia's handsome older brother, Sebastian. But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden... until now. 
When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne's at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator's daughter. Most people do... or they think they do. 

During this blog tour you will see reviews, interviews, guest posts and top ten lists. Fortunately I got to interview the author. Chelsey has a very kind heart and helped me out a jam when my naughty puppy knocked my friend's signed ARC into the bathtub. Did I mention it was signed? I was super impressed. Anyhow if you'd like to know a little more than that here is her bio:

Chelsey Philpot grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and now works as an editor and journalist. She's written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and numerous other publications. Like her main character, Charlotte, Chelsey attended boarding school in New England. You can visit her online at www.chelseyphilpot.com or on Twitter @ChelseyPhilpot

Now, without further ado, here is my interview with this wonderfully kind writer of incredible things.

1. What inspired you to write this story?
The long answer to this question is a series of rambling thoughts that I may never fuse into a cohesive whole. The short answer is this: EIP was inspired by Great Gatsby, Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, and the realization that it’s possible to fall in love with an entire family.



2. Which character do you relate to most?
I would have to say that I relate most to Julia and Charlie both. Like Julia, I can be impulsive (I recently went skydiving on a Tuesday morning just because I’d never been), but like Charlie I am a listener, an observer, a solver of problems. Charlie could look at what most people would call a mess of junk and imagine how it could be turned into art. I look at a mess of thoughts, fragments, images, and ideas and imagine how they could become a story.

3. What are some of your favourite books/authors?
Growing up, I adored Roald Dahl to the point of obsession. Today, I admire and am inspired by too many authors to mention. However, I can say that Ralph Waldo Emerson has been a constant love.
In high school, I carried a hardcover collection of his essay on a backpacking trip through Maine’s 100 Hundred Mile Wilderness, and in college I wrote my senior thesis on how Emerson’s philosophy has been appropriated and falsely interpreted by self-help books. I worked as a waitress the summer before my senior year, and I’d bring a self-help title in to research during slow shifts. I’m pretty sure my coworkers were worried that I was secretly unhinged because I had a new book every few days.


4. When you're not writing what do you love doing?
I have always had a hard time being still (quite the predicament for someone whose career requires her to be at a desk much of the time), so when I’m not writing I need to be moving. I walk everywhere. Swim from May to October. I love mucking about on my parents’ farm, visiting the latest collection of animals. I hike. I travel. And I go out dancing whenever I can. I figure, that if I’m very good in this life, maybe I’ll come back as a ballerina in the next one.

5. What is your bookish pet peeve?
Censorship. I was lucky to grow up reading what I wanted to read. If a book was too mature for me, well then most of the content went over my head. That I had the option to read freely and widely is why I am who I am today. Books help us develop imaginations.

I love these answers! A HUGE thank you to Chelsey for answering them. I really appreciate it.

Even in Paradise was out last week on the 14th of October. Go out and pick up a copy today.
You can also buy a signed copy through River Run Bookstore.

Also, don't forget to check out the rest of the blogs on the tour:

October 13th: Kathy - A Glass Of Wine - Interview
October 14th: Siobhan - Conversations Of A Reading Addict - Review
October 15th: Emilie - Emilie’s Book World - Guest Post
October 16th: Ambur - Burning Impossibly Bright - Review
October 17th: Lily -  Lily’s Book Blog - Interview/Character Interview
October 20th: Shilpa - SukasaReads - Review
October 21st: Sabrina - Hiver et Café - Top 5 or 10
October 22nd: Meaghan -  Feeling A Little Bookish - Interview/Character Interview
October 23rd: Ciara - Lost At Midnight Reviews -  Review
October 24th: Jess - Read My Breath Away - Review

Happy Reading!

Waiting on Wednesday: Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.  Here is my pick this week:

Publisher: The Dial Press
Publishing Date: October 21st, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 400 pgs
ISBN: 9780812993868


Summary from Goodreads:
Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has stars in her eyes. She and her daughter, Minnie, have joined husband Luke in LA—city of herbal smoothies, multimillion-dollar yoga retreats, and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour—and Becky is convinced she is destined to be Sage’s personal stylist, and go from there to every A-list celebrity in Hollywood! But things become complicated when Becky joins the team of Sage’s archrival. How will charming and supportive Luke deal with this conflict? Is it possible that what Becky wants most will end up hurting those she loves most? Shopaholic fans old and new will devour Sophie Kinsella’s newest adventure!

I'm happy to see a new Shopaholic book. While I like her stand alone novels better, there's just something hilariously refreshing about Becky Bloomwood-Brandon.

Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.  Here is my pick this week:

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: October 21st, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 416 pgs
ISBN: 9780545424967

Summary from Goodreads:
The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

This is my favourite YA series to date. Stiefvater is a genius and if you haven't started this series yet please do! This is the third in the series. 

Happy Reading! 
 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.  Here is my pick this week:

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: October 14th, 2014
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Pages: 416 pgs
ISBN: 9780345544926

Summary from Goodreads:
Throughout her blockbuster career, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that “not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us” (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new book, she has delivered her most affecting novel yet—and one unlike anything she’s written before.

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.
Jodi Picoult is an auto-buy for me. I know some people don't like her writing style but I have no complaints. 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My October TBR- a little late

Well I decided to try my hand at an October TBR and it's a vlog to boot. Let me know what you think!

Happy Reading.