Saturday, 31 October 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up October 24th-30th

Hey friends. I know I've been slacking in getting any posts up these past few weeks. There's really no excuse except laziness. I'll have more up next week though. And I've still been reading. Just interneting has me slacking.

I did manage to read four books this week. One being on audio. Three being physical; one of those a re-read.

Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5) by Samantha Young *****(re-read)
Wanted some Cole in my life. Find my original review here.

Amour Amour by Becca and Krista Ritchie *****
I was holding off on reading this beauty until Long Way Down had a release date. I don't know why, but that's how it is. So I finally allowed myself to devour this. I will admit to the first little bit being iffy. I was liking it, just not loving it. But all worked out in the end. Thora turned out to be a really cool girl. I love when we get a physically strong leading lady. Different to all the tiny in every way we usually get. I loved the whole setting; Vegas and the Cirque du Soleil type circus. It was really cool and fun. The Ritchie sisters are fantastic at incorporating and writing family dynamics. Amour Amour has a rich and big Russian family in the Kotova's. Nikolai comes off a little harsh. But as Thora gets to know him, she sees how he's the "father" to all his siblings and cousins and thus his responsibilities are different then hers. Nik and Thora are hot together. And just a whole bunch of fun. As always, another sexy and well written romance.

The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes ***
Now it is no secret that I love Moyes, but this one was a struggle to get through. I was pretty close to DNF'ing. The Peacock Emporium is a small town, mutli generation family drama. The beginning third is pretty damn slow and boring. It did get a bit more interesting from that point on. But my main problem was pinpointed to Susan, the main character and her dead mom. Both are just selfish. It makes it so hard to relate to rich families and their trivial problems. Mostly because they are usually not universal. I understand everyone has problems and goes through identity problems, but it's hard to not get all eye rolly when they are because of secrets and just being selfish. Which was Susan. I have a whole bunch of other Moyes books I could recommend people, so it's really not loss there. But still sucks not to love a favourite authors book.

A Cold Legacy(Madman's Daughter #3) by Megan Shepherd ***.5
Okay, overall a four star trilogy. Especially loved listening to them on audio. Fantastic narrator. A Cold Legacy's problem was Juliet. She's sooooo annoying. So many outcomes could have been better if she didn't do something stupid. Really really bad decision making 90% of the time. Everything was her fault. Besides her, I enjoyed the re-telling of Frankenstein and quite a bit of the supporting characters are awesome. Especially Balthazar. He's just the best, a dog like human. What's better then that?

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

What did you guys read this week?

Happy reading!


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up October 17th-23rd

This week I managed to read four book. One was an e-ARC. Three being physical books; one of those a re-read.

Fall From India Place(On Dublin Street #4) by Samantha Young ****(re-read)
Just wanted some Marco in my life. Find my original review here.

Seven Nights to Surrender(Art of Passion #1) by Jeanette Grey ***
On paper I should have enjoyed this one a lot more. The writing was kind of beautiful. And honestly there was nothing really wrong with the dialogue or characters. Apparently I just never connected to their story. I would have loved to get caught up in the whirlwind Paris love affair. The beginning was a little boring, unfortunately. There is a major case of insta-love. When in actuality it is lust. I mean Kate is thinking the L word after a few days of this whirlwind romance. That's not love, honey. You don't even know his last name. Rylan is another story. I found him kind of slimy. He actually doesn't really come off like that. He's quite tender with Kate. But I couldn't help seeing him as the slimy guy who picks up naive tourists. Still the story was enjoyable. The setting even more so. And I will have to read the sequel since it kind of ends on a cliffhanger.

Illuminae(The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff *****
Holy shit, this book. I don't know one can really review it, but I want to try because space. No, seriously I will; hopefully in the next week or two.

Signs Point to Yes by Sally Hall **
I've actually had pretty good reading with Swoon Reads. And did thoroughly enjoy Hall's first book, A Little Something Different. But not so much here. Just a big pile of meh. The story, writing and characters were extremely juvenile. If you want fluff, look no further. Way too much eye rolling and just convenient moments. There was no substance. With a few swear words thrown in to remind readers these are 17 year old's we're reading from not 10 year old's.

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

What did you guys read this week?

Happy reading!


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up October 10th-16th

So I managed to read five books this week. All five were physical books; two being re-reads and one an ARC.

Nash(Marked Men #4) by Jay Crownover *****(re-read)
Just needed some Nash in my life.

Rowdy(Marked Men #5)  by Jay Crownover *****(re-read)
Rereading Nash of course had to lead to rereading Rowdy.

The Sword of Summer(Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan ****.5
God, I love Rick Riordan for giving me Magnus Chase. He is now one of absolute favourite characters. The sass and sarcasm that comes out his mouth had me laughing at least once per page. Magnus Chase is also a total throw back to the original Percy Jackson books with the first person and hilarious chapter titles. #nostalgia I also learned a good bit about Norse mythology. Which is another reason I love Riordan. He's great at incorporating learning into the adventure and action of the story. It did make me want to go out and read up more on the mythology. The cast of characters are just great. Not only is there diversity but camaraderie and banter is the best. It's really hard to pick, but I think this is my favourite of Riordan's books. Magnus just really killed it with his sassy mouth.

A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern *.5
Find my full review here.

Nuts(Hudson Valley #1) by Alice Clayton ****.5
As expected Nuts is hilariously sexy. When I mention reading a real romcom, Clayton is always up top of that list. I think Nuts is now my new fave of hers. Who know farmers were so hot. I think they're the new "it" guy. Yum. Roxie is great fun. Quirky, weird and funny with a deep love and passion for food and cooking(she's a classically trained chef), Roxie really grabbed my attention and did not let go. Add in the hottness that is farmer Leo and I did not put this book down until I flipped to the last page. Cannot wait for more from this series.

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

What did you guys read this week?

Happy reading!


Friday, 16 October 2015

Review: A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern

A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern

Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher **I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Rating: 1.5/5
Add to Goodreads

Sometimes one mistake can change everything.

Emily doesn’t know why she froze. Or why Lucas did too. Afterward, she thought of different ways to rationalize it. But the truth is, they could have helped Belinda, and they didn’t. It’s a mistake they’ll both have to live with.

Sometimes doing nothing is the only way to cope.
Belinda doesn’t want to talk about what happened. Because when she does, it feels like it’s happening all over again.

Sometimes good can come from bad.

Emily and Lucas’s punishment is community service at a center for people with disabilities. People like Belinda. Soon they feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. Like they could help not only those at the center but also each other.

But when Belinda returns to school, Emily and Lucas have to figure out if they can do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt most.

Alright, so there was so much positive feedback from McGovern's previous novel, Say What You Will, that I was desperate to give her upcoming novel(this one) a go. Diversity seems to be something McGovern is passionate about including in her stories, so that is already something that gets me excited. Always need more diverse characters in my life. Well unfortunately that's one of the few positive parts of A Step Toward Falling for me. What could have been a powerful story about two high school girls(actually just high schoolers) learning from adversity turned out to be a very dull and lackluster novel.

A Step Toward Falling is told in alternating POV's. There's Emily, a senior who thinks of herself as a nobody and is waiting for college where she can become a somebody. And Belinda, also a senior but in the special education class. During a football game Emily witnesses Belinda being harassed under the bleachers. Rather than help, Emily freezes up until she notices Lucas, a football player, coming out the change rooms and she figures he'll help Belinda. But he doesn't either. The after math is Emily and Lucas being held responsible for their lack of action to help Belinda. They are to volunteer at the center for people with disabilities. Specifically the dating and relationships class. Well Belinda is trying to forget that night well immersing herself in Pride and Prejudice.

Let's start with the few things I liked about A Step Toward Falling. Belinda being one of them. I would have preferred the whole book being in her POV. She is a much more complex and dynamic character then Emily. Because of Belinda's learning disability her Nan keeps her a bit more sheltered and spoiled then she should be. Which shows in Belinda's personality in how she thinks she's better than her classmates because she can read or type, etc... But this is where I think the book was well done, because of how Belinda started to understand how her words and actions hurt people. Even people she found annoying. Like Anthony(who is adorable by the way). He's in her class and in love with her. But Belinda's obsession with Colin Firth's Pride and Prejudice blurs reality for her sometimes; in what a girl and boy should be like in love and marriage. Anthony is so upbeat and positive that it starts to rub off on Belinda thus helping her forget when she's scared or not understanding about the night at the football game. Belinda's intelligence and inquisitiveness is able to keep her strong.

Emily on the other hand is a weak character. I don't blame her for freezing up when she came across Belinda; because that's a scary situation to walk across. BUT the fact that she did absolutely nothing is pretty unforgivable. Lucas as well for that matter. The two of them were extremely selfish in that moment. Emily is another Bella. She's a blank face who is literally surprised about everything. I should have counted the amount of times she was surprised or said that was surprising. I'm hazarding a guess and saying at least every other page. Her eyebrows must be stuck up at her hairline by now. Emily is also so literal about everything. Oh and get some new friends. Richard her "best friend" is a piece of work. Their friendship is convenient and nothing else. Even at the end of the book when... actually never mind that's a rant in of itself.

Lucas is no better. First he's the jock. Then he's the broody jock. Then he starts to have some sort of personality bleed through when he has a witty line or two. Lucas is just another convenience. The jock and the nerd form a bond over selfishness. Yawn.

Beware, ranting to commence.

I had a lot of problems with authority in this book. Firstly the teachers at the school. The biggest example being the drama teacher;  every year Belinda auditions for the play and every year he says he wants to cast her but he can't because they don't have anyone to watch her. What? No! That is not positive portrayal of how the school system really works. Or Belinda's speech therapist would get frustrated with her love of P&P. Or she'd see a teacher roll their eyes. I understand frustration, and other emotions, but I'm reading this through Belinda, which means Belinda is the one seeing these adults who are supposed to be teaching her and helping her grow and succeed wear their negative emotions on their faces. This makes me angry.
Secondly, at the disability center in the class Emily and Lucas are volunteering in; Chad a college kid also shows up to volunteer. Right off he comes off as slimy. But the icing on the cake is when the teacher tells Emily that she had problems with Chad's attitude and behaviour last year and he would never be invited back; except his mom called and begged her to let him volunteer again. Are you kidding me? The people in the class already face difficulties and teasing outside the class. and this class is supposed to help them become more acceptably social. So you want to let someone that is awful and makes them uncomfortable hinder their progress? Fuck no. What Chad is a character progression device for Emily that majorly backfires towards my tolerance.

A Step Toward Falling is a well meaning book that tries way to hard. The writing is dull and mechanical. Most of the characters are one dimensional. There's all the show and very little tell. And the negative and intolerable way authority figures are shown around the vulnerable really just made this book not alright. When delivering a story with characters with disabilities, especially in YA, I need to see them surrounded by positive adults. I know you'll get the few that just don't understand. but that's not what I took from a lot of the situations played out. Especially with the lack of punishment after the reader is given the whole story of what happened at the football game. I'm horrified at what came of this book. The focus on Emily and Lucas's relationship(which I feared would happen) took precedence and once against showed selfishness when everyone involved is never held accountable.
Belinda and Anthony could not save this book for me.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher **I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Rating: 4/5
Add to Goodreads

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Honestly, I was a little hesitant going into A Thousand Nights. And that's only because I read and loved The Wrath and the Dawn earlier this year. See both are re-tellings of One Thousand and One Nights. So you know, it was inevitable that I was going to be comparing A Thousand Nights to The Wrath and the Dawn. Just how it goes. Except I didn't. The similarities start and end at being based off the same re-telling. A Thousand Nights is its own story. A very beautiful story at that. I was absolutely pulled in by its uniqueness from page one.

Like I mentioned, A Thousand Nights is a re-telling of One Thousand and One Nights; a collection of Arabic folk tales. The king, Lo-Melkhinn is traveling through his lands searching for wives. As the stories travel, he has married many a beautiful women. But each one has barely made it through a night before being killed. Our MC knows her sister will be chosen, and she cannot allow that. So she dresses as her and is chosen in her sisters place. Our MC has plans to kill the king and stop more women from being murdered. Lo-Melkhiin becomes fascinated by our MCs rich stories, and the power she seems to be holding. And thus she continues to survive through the nights. A Thousand Nights starts to take on a more magical feel as the book progresses and our MC realizes her sister worshiping her as a small God may be keeping her alive. And also maybe she can save Lo-Melkhiin from whatever has taken over his body and mind.

Before going into A Thousand Nights I had heard that the characters do not have names. And that some reviewers were finding that hard to follow along with the story. So being aware of that quirk might have made me prepared. But I'm not to sure. What I am sure about that having literally only one character with a name was so freakin' clever. It did not mess me up in any way. Our MC doesn't have a name, but really she didn't need one to understand her and her motives. She referred to her sister as sister, her father as father, etc... Easy. What I took away from Johnston not giving her characters names, except the king, Lo-Melkhiin was how he held all the power. The power in controlling his kingdom, his men and in killing his wives. They say a name can hold all the power and that's what I saw. Why give a name to a servant, they don't matter to a king. Why give a name to even the MC, because she does not matter to the king. It's also indicative of the time period where men have all the power over women(or so they think). One man to rule them all(Lord of the Rings joke. Anyone?).

The story was so compelling. I was drawn in by the unique and clever story telling and the beautiful writing was an added bonus. It truly was written like a I was reading an old folk tale. Our MC is such a strong fearless women. She steps in to save her sister without a second thought except that she loves her. She is the love of her life. Talk about an iron tight sisterly bond. I believe this now stands as one of the best ones I've come across in YA. Her unwavering stone like emotions around Lo-Melkhiin were so admiral. Like she said, why be fearful of him when there is so much to actually be fearful of in the desert. I loved her progression as she realizes she is starting to control her stories. Is her sister giving her the power of a small God? Our MC might be able to control her future after all. I love seeing a strong women in the face of a time where men hold all the power. At that time it's the subtle control that shows how women are not so weak.

I will admit that a few times I was confused as to what exactly was happening between our MC and Lo-Melkhiin. Not romance wise, as this is a book that does not focus on romance at all. But what was happening between them and this magic? Power? There were threads of colour being transferred and I would have liked just a bit more explanation on what this power transfer was exactly. Especially because Lo-Melkhiin was so inspired by it. He was sure they could rule the world. Our MC and this demon Lo-Melkhiin.

With all the usual fairy tale re-tellings out there it's hard to find a unique and new take on something that's been done so much. A Thousand Nights offers that new and different. Not only is a re-telling of a tale that now I've only come across twice, it's also stunningly beautifully written with an absolutely unique and compelling story. Add in that it's a stand alone and I really don't see why it won't become a lot of readers new favourite book. A Thousand Nights is definitely a book I will come back to experience down the road.

Happy reading!


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Showcase Sunday #90

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme held by Books, Biscuits and Tea. It allows fellow bloggers to show off any books or bookish things they've compiled over the week.

Hola! I know I've been doing Showcase Sunday bi-weekly, but next Saturday I'm going to the Fierce Reads tour stopping near me So that could mean a pretty big haul next Sunday if I didn't do one this week too. Not like you guys really care about my justification.
This past Tuesday was a massive release day(no, I didn't buy Life and Death. Although I thought about it.). Three of my top must have 2015 releases are finally in my hands; and have been read/re-read. Also #HarryPotterporn galore this week.


I was browsing Amazon, as one does, and came across this edition that I never knew existed. It also happened to be really well priced. So of course I grabbed it up to add to my ever growing collection. (Creeper Snape creeping).

E-Books Purchased

For Review

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
**Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending this my way**


Story time. Went into Chapters on Tuesday as soon as the store was open so I could feast my eyes on this beauty. It being $40 and me being unemployed I decided I couldn't spend the money on it. But than my aunt walks into the store to buy it for my cousin and she's like you're not getting it. I said I shouldn't. So she just up and bought it for me. Best. Aunt. Ever.
It's just so damn beautiful.

What did you guys get this week?

Happy reading!


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up October 3rd-9th

This week I managed to read five books. One was a novella e-book. One was an audio. Three were physical; two of those being ARC's.

First & Then by Emma Mills ****.5
Find my review here(and a giveaway).

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, A True Story by Josh Sundquist ****
This was definitely a very embarrassingly awkward yet funny autobiography. Josh showed how awkward dating(or not really dating) was growing up. I sure don't think I would ever, ever write a book about my dating/crushing experience, so good on you, Josh. I listened to this on audio and well Josh read it himself, I'd say it was very mechanical. You could tell he was reading from his book. But that didn't hurt my enjoyment of his dating story.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnson ****.5
Review to come.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell *****
I want to review this because it is amazing and my new favourite book. So I just need to make the time to get it done. But hopefully next week it will be up.

Dream A Little Christmas Dream(Dream A Little Dream #1.5) by Giovanna Fletcher ****
I love how Fletcher has released Christmas novella's for her past two books. Not only does it get me in the holiday spirit but also gives just a little more closure on the story. So this was a sweet look at where Sarah, Brett and the gang are over a year down the road. Really, really enjoyed this. Especially since the ending of Dream A Little Dream could have used a couple more pages.

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

A photo posted by Brittany (@britsreadinglife) on

Guys, don't forget to enter my giveaway. You could win a more than awesome book.

Happy reading!


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

2015 Favourites Part 3

Find part 1 here
Find part 2 here

Let's not discuss how close to Christmas it already is.Ugh! On the other hand it's fall. I LOVE summer. But there's just something about fall; the crisp air and being able to wear sweaters and scarfs that just calls to me.

I know some of you were, uh, surprised by my read count at the half way mark. Well as of September 30th I had read 200 books. Which is great. I'm definitely thinking I'll reach 250 books this year. Although my reading did slow down in this quarter(mostly because of September). Between July 1st and September 30th I read 60 books. There's been a few DNF's in there(like always they don't count towards my total) and another handful of re-reads(which of course, do count). There's been a hell of a lot of fantastic reads within those 60 books. And as you would guess a bunch of them NA and romance. I'm seriously having a tough time sticking to decent sized list. So as this is my favourites and my post, I'll mention as many as I want to.

My most favourite reads from this past quarter.

Rat Queens Vol 2 is a whole bunch of kick ass ladies. Rat Queens is turning out to be one of my favourite graphic novel series.

Redshirts is a must read for Star Trek fans. It is one of the funniest books I've read this year.

Do I really need to say much? Six of Crows is an epic heist with all the banter and shippy goodness my heart craves.

This is One Moment is easily one of the most endearing military romances I've read. No doubt I will re-read before the year is out.

The Dark Elements is one my top favourite trilogies. And JLA always knows how to end her series on the emotional front. Every Last Breath was no exception. Plus Roth.

How to Say I Love You Out Loud is one of my surprise hits of this year. Sooooo good. And everyone's Christmas present this year.

You guys just want to hear me say it one more time; read this book. If you take any of my recommendations to heart, make it Carry the Ocean.

What You Left Behind is a very refreshing take on teen pregnancy and parenthood.

Yes, I have really enjoyed Smith's previous books. But Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between turned out to be a lot more honest, realistic and emotional than I would have ever expected.

Chase knows how to bring the romcom to paper. Sustained had this awesome and unique family dynamic that made the romance so much more swoony.

Okay, here's the thing; Queen of Shadows has my brain and heart all messed up. Although I love this book, I also hate it. And if I'm being honest this is probably a 3* read for me. But it's the Throne of Glass series, so I can't not include it in my favourites list. Sigh.

After You, why you gotta go and make me cry? Don't worry, I still love you with everything I have.

Him, you sexy beast you. I have recently become obsessed with M/M romances and Him was absolutely my favourite out there(that I've come across).

Now here's my other surprise hit from this year. Dearest Clementine is that elusive near perfect NA.

#Loliver. Dark Wild Night could bring down a building with their chemistry.

How's the last quarter of reading been for you guys?

Happy reading!


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Fierce Reads Blog Tour: Review + Q&A + Giveaway

Hello friends! Today I get to host a few lovely authors on the second day of the Fierce Reads Blog Tour. Make sure to check out all the stops as each blog will be sharing their thoughts on the featured Fierce Reads titles as well as a quick Q&A with the authors. For Toronto area readers you can meet the authors on October 17th when #FierceReadsTakesTO. For more details on the titles and other Fierce Reads fall releases you can visit

**Six of Crows and First & Then were provided by the publisher. As always thoughts and opinions are honest and fully my own**

The Authors Behind the Books

Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also co-creator and co-host of the "life skills" channel How to Adult.

Josephine Angelini
is the internationally bestselling author of Trial by Fire and the Starcrossed series. She is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. Originally from Massachusetts, Josie now lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband, her daughter, Pia Marie, and three shelter cats. You can visit her on Facebook, her website, or follow her on Twitter @josieangelini.

Leigh Bardugo is the author of the New York Times-bestselling series The Grisha Trilogy. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band. /

Leila Sales ( is the author of the novels This Song Will Save Your Life, Mostly Good Girls, and Past Perfect. Leila grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. When she's not writing, she spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, chocolate, and how to get more of all of them. Leila lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in children's book publishing. Follow her @LeilaSalesBooks.

My Thoughts

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published: September 29th, 2015
Pages: 466
Rating: 5/5

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

So for the five of you living under a rock that have yet to read The Grisha Trilogy (just know that I am judging you right now), Six of Crows takes place in the same world after the events of the trilogy. It follows a different cast of characters, although a few favourites are mentioned.

Bardugo excels at a lot of elements of story telling, but I'd say her world building and characters are my favourite. I already knew I loved The Grisha World going into Six of Crows. But moving away from Ravka we got to explore even more of the world. See it expand into Ketterdam. Which is like a thieves paradise. There's a whole bunch of sketchy areas that different gangs control and rule. Basically it makes for a good time, well for the reader at least.

Something, and I'm sure I'm not alone here, I can't help but love is the morally grey character. Well Six of Crows gave me a cast of them. I'd probably crown Kaz king though. He's a whole lot of mysterious with all his secrets. Kaz is a criminal prodigy, with a secret agenda brewing. I'm almost sure revenge is his middle name. When the chance at running one of the biggest heists arises; Kaz brings together a six strong cast of very different outcasts. 
I loved each of them almost equally. No characters chapter was less interesting than the previous. Inej is stealthy, almost invisible. Which makes her the perfect spy. Jesper is the joker. He can't walk away from a wager. But he can hit you between the eyes from any distance. Wylan is the unexpected rich kid trying to get out from under daddies thumb. Except, for being sheltered he has some surprises up his sleeves. Lastly the star crossed lovers; the hate to love to hate(to love?) Nina and Matthias. Nina is a fierce heartrender on the run as Grisha aren't so much welcomed anymore. Matthias people prove that by enslaving them. Matthias is truly that unknown member. He's involved in a heist against his people. And that's why the back stories of each Crow is so important to trying to understand their intentions. Not only are intentions wavering, but the banter is perfection. Gold star. Add in all the ships. Which I'm hesitant to follow; but can't not. All the shippy goodness. 

Six of Crows has a lot less on the line than in The Grisha Trilogy. The world isn't resting on the edge. Well I guess Kaz and crew wouldn't agree with me there. Their lives are definitely threatened on more then one occasion. But that's what makes Six of Crows a heart stopping heist adventure. Each outcast has an agenda and it can change at a moments notice to suit their needs. Plans; what are plans? You can never trust a dangerous criminal. Six of Crows does a wonderful job proving that in Bardugo's signature story telling. She's so subtly humorous and brilliant. My life should just be on a stand still until the sequel lands in my hands.     

First & Then by Emma Mills
Published: October 13th, 2015
Pages: 272
Rating: 4.5/5
Add to Goodreads

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

I cannot believe First & Then is a debut. Talk about putting your best foot forward. I absolutely devoured it. Exactly my kind of contemporary; not pure fluff or dark and emotional. Just right in the cushy middle.

Devon I got you, girl. Coming to the last year of high school and realizing the not giving a shit attitude was probably not the smartest way to go about your high school career; yea that was sort of my thing too. Ambition and motivation, wish there was a sports drink for them. Anyhow, Devon's senior year all up and changed footing with the introduction of her cousin, Foster. Devon was an only child and is now being forced into a brotherly relationship with a cousin she hardly knows. Devon's and Foster's relationship development is absolutely my favourite part of First & Then. Devon shows strong resentment and reluctance to form a bond with Foster. She doesn't understand his honest and different approach. Foster is sweet and unafraid to be himself. He hides his emotions well, but that's to be expected with his past. Devon and Foster's dynamic is ultimately endearing and heartwarming. It turns out being forced to form a relationship with Foster wasn't such a bad thing after all.

Devon has that sassy and snarky personality. She's hilarious with her feelings towards people. Yes, there are idiots everywhere in a high school. Like 97% of teenagers(and humans) Devon could be quick to make judgments. But what makes her different is that she was also inquisitive. Devon would talk to people and ask the questions. You know, she would make that assumption but wouldn't hesitate to be wrong in the end. It might not always happen quick time, but it would.

Of course there was romance(but not enough kissing). Devon has been secretly crushing on her best friend Cas. She knew that's what it would always stay as. Poor girl. I did think their relationship was a solid one until Cas pulled the asshole card. Why do boys gotta be so stupid? I don't know if Devon is one to hold a grudge, but in that situation I'd say you go on and hold it.
On the other hand there is Ezra. The all American star football player. Devon hasn't had much, if any contact with him until he walks into her gym class. With Ezra's aloof demeanor, Devon pegs him as an asshole straightaway. Ezra is not your typical jock. His distant face makes him seem like a dick, but his instant take to Foster says that might not be the case. Ezra mentions how he's not so good with the talking. Which is not your usual charismatic jock. Ezra is a babe, but not the life of the party. It almost seemed to me like he had some social anxiety. So I think the saying actions speak louder than words should be adhered to. It was hard not to root for Ezra. I just wanted to shake Devon and say c'mon man, just talk to the guy.

Fans of Jane Austin will feel giddy and relate to Devons use of Janeisms is her everyday life. Although I thought those parts were cute, I couldn't fangirl, having never read one of Jane's books. What did float my boat was the football. Sports in books is my thang. The football was not a main element but it was important and I got plenty of it.

First & Then turned out to be poignant with the awkwardness and insecurities that high school brings. Yes, romance and crushes were a big part in Devons mind, I just didn't see them as the point of the story. The family and self love were much more prominent to me. Devons acceptance of Foster and herself, some self discovery, were the messages I took from First & Then. I am so looking forward to whatever Mills has up next.

Author Q&A

Q: "Your most unhinged or unreliable character has planned a day for your birthday. Who is this and what does the itinerary look like? Are you a little nervous?"

Emma Mills: "I don’t know if I would call Marabelle unhinged, but she is certainly eccentric! A Marabelle birthday celebration would probably involve something seemingly random, but actually quite suited to the birthday person’s interests. I imagine she is the kind of friend who would take you to wander a bookstore, disappear for forty-five minutes, and then come back with three books she has chosen especially for you-- and they are perfect picks! I wouldn’t be nervous to spend a birthday with Marabelle; she’s one of my favorites!"

Josephine Angelini: "If Una was to plan my birthday party I would be quite frightened. She’d probably have me meet her at a very cool place in a very bad part of town and then take me to a strip club. It would be an uncomfortable night, but I bet we’d have stories."

Leigh Bardugo: "This is hilarious. With the possible exception of Nikolai Lantsov, none of my characters should ever be allowed to plan a birthday party. Okay, since Kaz is definitely the most dangerous member of the Six of Crows crew... He'd probably take me to the house of the boy who bullied me in the 9th grade, set fire to it, and invite me to blow out the candles. Then we'd go out for waffles and whiskey. Hey, you asked."

Leila Sales: "The most unreliable character in TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS is definitely Lindsey, the main character’s best friend. She’s really loving but her life is generally a perfect storm of poor choices and bad luck. In the book we hear about the time she stole a canoe even though she doesn’t know how to paddle it, or the time she got bored and dressed up as a ghost and stood alongside the street (and accidentally caused a car crash). I have no idea what she would plan for my birthday, and I’m sure it would be well-intentioned, but I’m equally sure that it would NOT go well and probably I would wind up having to fix it."


Enter for the chance to win one of the featured titles.

Rules & Regulations
  • Starts October 6th, 2015 at 12:01AM(EST). Ends on October 21st, 2015 at 12:00AM(EST).
  • Giveaway is being hosted by This is the Story of My(Reading) Life. All monies spent are out of pocket and not affiliated with the publishers or authors mentioned. 
  • To enter please fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
  • This contest is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Meaning TBD is responsible for shipping and This is the Story of My(Reading) Life is not responsible for lost or damaged items.
  • Total contest value is up $25.00CDN 
  • Winner will be asked to pick one of the featured titles mentioned in this blog tour. 
  • You must be at least 18 years old or 13+ with parental permission to enter. I will be asking for your mailing address for shipping purposes.
  • Entrants found using more than one Twitter account to enter will be disqualified. 
  • When the winner is chosen they will be announced in the Rafflecopter widget below, via Twitter(if applicable) and emailed. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is randomly chosen.
  • Please note that This is the Story of My(Reading) Life reserves the right to disqualify any entrants found to be gaming the system. Entries will be check and verified.

I want to give a massive thank you to Raincoast for including me in this epic blog tour. As well as all four authors, Leigh Bardugo, Josephine Angelini, Leila Sales and Emma Mills for taking the time to answer my question.

I hope to see any Toronto area friends on October 17th for #FierceReadsTakesTO. Where all four authors will be in conversation and signing their books. Check out ChaptersIndigo events page for complete details, Remember to use #FierceReadsTakesTO to connect with everyone.

Happy reading!