Friday, January 16, 2015

Spotlight: The Curvy Girls Club

Author Michele Gorman released her latest novel in the UK yesterday. Congrats, Michele! The Curvy Girls Club is "a hilarious and heart-warming story about learning to love yourself." Sounds perfect for the New Year!

Here's the synopsis of this new book:
Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane have been best friends since meeting at Slimming Zone. Tired of being judged by the number of calories they consume, they decide to form a different kind of club. The fun evenings they spend together, not worrying about their size, make them happier than they’ve been for years.
But the club doesn’t stop real life from getting in the way and together the girls have to address some much bigger issues than just their weight…
I haven't had the chance to read this book yet but I cannot wait. It's definitely on my January TBR list!

Check out the lovely trailer on YouTube.

Plus, Sophie Kinsella says it's "engaging and witty"...what more encouragement do you need?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Goals

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature.

It's almost 2015 which means many people are setting a lot of goals and making resolutions for the new year. I'm not usually one to make a ton of resolutions. I made a big ol' list of them last year but was so focused on getting the first one right that everything else took a back seat.

I was lucky and did get a job in 2014 but not until late in the year. So a lot of those other goals I had for 2014 didn't get accomplished. May as well try again for 2015!

Finish (re)reading Jane Austen's novels
I started off well...then I tried to read Middlemarch because I received My Life in Middlemarch to review and had never read the novel. I still haven't finished it nor have I made it through any of Austen's novels other than Sense and Sensibility.

Work with more publishers
I have a pretty good relationship with a few publishers but I'd like to foster those relationships and create new ones with other publishers that I haven't worked with much in the past.

Be more selective
I want to have more options and I want to read books I want to review. Too often I say yes to a review knowing full well I won't have time to get to it for ages. I don't want to be that blogger who says yes and never gives a review and is seen as lazy or just wanting freebies.

Write more non-review posts
I like writing. I always have. (But no, still no plans to write a novel.) I like the posts I write that are about my bookish life or something in the book world. I haven't been able to do many of those lately (or even reviews lately) because of this new job and the ridiculous commute but I hope to get back into it soon.

Cut back on the promos
Because of the aforementioned new job and ridiculous commute, I don't have nearly enough time to dedicate to the blog (which sucks) and I've been finding I'm filling the space with too many promos or even Top Ten Tuesdays. I love doing them but they're not what I want my blog to be full of. They're supposed to be supplements, at least in my mind.

Come up with a new quickie post that's my own (or at least sort of my own)
This seems a little contradictory to the above point but I think if I come up with something that's my own sort of promo, I'll feel better about not having as many reviews up. My friend Natalie runs the blog Browsing Bookshelves and every once and awhile she'll do lovely tea and book posts (like this one). Her cousin, another friend, suggested I do the same. What do you say, Nat? :)

Keep reading more of my own books
Like most book lovers, I have approximately five bazillion books on my shelves. It's ridiculous. And because I'm a blogger, I keep getting new books to review. And because I have no self control, I'll buy new books too. I really have to start reading my own books. At the very least, I will know which one I can donate or give away and which I'd like to keep.

Read a few graphic novels
I've never had anything against graphic novels, I just haven't read many. I'd like to change that this year because I know there are so many awesome ones out there. Any recommendations?

Create a YouTube channel
Well, if all the cool kids are doing it... :) But seriously, it could be fun and I'd like to see if I even like it. Maybe this would be a way to supplement the blog when I don't have time for reviews. Who knows! I just want to give it a go and see what it's like. Tips are welcome!

Go to more bookish events
I was able to attend quite a few last year, which is surprising since I tried my hardest to cut back on expenses due to not working for so much of 2014. But there are always awesome things to see and authors to meet and I'm hopeful I'll be able to do a whole lot more next year.

Bonus goal: stay organized
I think I did pretty well for most of 2014 with this one but I have to relearn what it's like to work and blog at the same time. I need to stay on top of reviews and make sure I get them written soon after (if not immediately after) finishing the book.

Friday, December 26, 2014

CLP Blog Tours: Petit Four

A month or ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a spotlight tour for Petit Four: Four Stories, Frosted with Love. I was so excited to read this short story collection that I happily signed on to interview the authors and, eventually, review the anthology for CLP Blog Tours.

Here's the description of the anthology:
Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all its delectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.
When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s “Cake Therapy,” she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s “Aprez Vous” finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc, and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam” by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over the tea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s “Her Charms” when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes, and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.
From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.
The cake theme really came through with the four stories, which I loved. Hey, who doesn't love cake? :) I think the idea was a fabulous one and I'm so glad these four authors came together to create this delicious collection.

The book starts with editor Lucie Simone's "Aprez Vous". The story takes place in Paris and, while I've never been there myself, the city almost becomes another character. I loved the relationship between Tara and her niece, Marissa. Actually, I'd really like to see a full novel about Marissa!

I can never read an anthology without picking a favourite and Cindy Arora's "Cake Therapy" was my favourite from Petit Four. There was something about Olivia's story that really grabbed me and I love the way Arora writes. 

"The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam" by Sue Watson was a lot of fun. I loved reading about the transformation of the tea room Milly works in. I found this story to be a bit...clunky. There were some weird repetitions at the start and I just felt really confused. The overall story was really sweet though (no pun intended!).

The collection concludes with Joel Zlotnik's "Her Charms", which takes place in a small town. I really appreciated the male perspective in a chick lit story (something there isn't enough of) and Scott and Nicole's love story was great to read about. I look forward to seeing what else Zlotnik writes.

Publisher Simon & Fig has another great short story collection because Petit Four is a winner. I really enjoyed every single story in this collection and think everyone should pick up this anthology. 

*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Fig, for the purpose of this blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.*

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Dear Santa

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature.

'Tis the season for wishlists and this week's Top Ten Tuesday has us telling Santa (or our family or friends) what books we'd like to find under the tree. Even though I have approximately five bazillion books on my TBR list, this was surprisingly difficult. Here are ten books that I'd really like to own. Links lead to Amazon, you know, in case anyone has to do some last minute shopping for me ;)

Anna and the French Kiss/Lola and the Boy Next Door/Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins
I want to reread them and they're so pretty. 'Nuff said.

Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
Specifically the new editions. Because they're beautiful.

Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
Maybe if I have a copy in my possession I'll actually read it?

The Look of Love - Sarah Jio
I only just read my first Jio book this year and I loved it. Her new one sounds fabulous.

I Heart Hollywood/London/Christmas - Lindsey Kelk
I own three of the I Heart books and I'd like to have a complete collection. Even though all of the covers would be different... *shudders*

After I Do - Taylor Jenkins Reid
Confession: I haven't read Forever, Interrupted yet but I've only heard awesome things about both of these books so I want it!

Catching Air - Sarah Pekkanen
Of all of Sarah's books (I already own the other four), this one sounds like it'd be my favourite.

Your Perfect Life - Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
I loved the other book I read by these ladies and think this one sounds delightful!

The Dare Valley Series - Ava Miles
Nora Roberts Land is the first book so I'm intrigued by the title alone. I've read something else by Miles and liked it so I'd love to have the series.

#GIRLBOSS - Sophia Amoruso
I've heard good things about this one and I'm in need of a career kick in the butt...or something.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Blame It on the Mistletoe

I say it every year (and multiple times at that), but I am a sucker for Christmas romances. Blame It on the Mistletoe by Nicole Michaels was the first holiday themed book I read this year and it was a good one! It was sweet and took place in a small town so it's no surprise that I really liked it!

Here's the synopsis:
’Tis the season for small-town Missouri boutique owner Brooke Abbott to get crafty. Much as she adores making art for art’s sake—decorating windows, designing ornaments, crafting the perfect present for under the tree—this Christmas she needs the gift of good customers. Lots of them. Sweet Opal Studios will go under if she can’t do some serious business before the New Year…and she has no time to lose. What Brooke needs is an honest-to-goodness miracle. Instead, she finds a burglar lurking in the back room of her shop. And here she thought the holidays couldn’t get any worse! Or maybe things just got a lot better. Turns out the burglar is none other than Alex Coleman—local bad boy slash legendary heartthrob, childhood best friend to Brooke’s older brother, and…future landlord? That is the question. He’s come home for the holidays to see his grandmother, make peace with his distant mother, and settle his grandfather’s estate, an estate that includes the building that houses Sweet Opal. What he never expected was to bump into a grown-up Brooke, whose spirit, charm, and irresistible good looks give him pause. Should he go back to Oregon as planned, or give small-town life a chance? The only thing Alex knows for sure is that before he walks out that door, he’s going to get Brooke beneath the mistletoe, where anything can happen…
I really liked the setting of this novel. Not only the small town but Brooke's shop as well. I loved that she was an artsy type. There seems to be an abundance of bakery or sweets shop owners (which I love too, don't get me wrong) in romances and chick lit so it was nice to see a little something different. Plus, I loved the concept of Sweet Opal Studios and wish I could find something like that in my area. There were unique pieces from Brooke as well as other local artisans and Brooke taught classes as well. Sounds awesome to me!

I found that it took too long to reveal Brooke's background. Plus, I didn't feel like I truly understood what had happened to her and why her brother was so against her dating Alex. He was a really great guy and the "bad boy" personality he apparently had in high school really wasn't all that bad. I think it was a case of judging someone too much on the past and not enough on the present and the man Alex had become. And he had become a great guy and I loved watching his and Brooke's love story unfold.

I liked reading about Alex's relationship with his grandmother and I felt like this was another part of the story that kept things from being too similar to other Christmas romances. There was an interesting backstory there and it was so sweet to see how much his grandmother really cared about him.

Blame It on the Mistletoe is a light and heartwarming read that many romance lovers will enjoy. Nicole Michaels has written a sweet holiday story that I really liked. I look forward to reading her next book!

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourites of 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature.

I love looking back at my year of reading. I'm lucky to have been able to read a lot of books (98 at the time of this post) and it's honestly really hard to keep track of them! So, these recap/best of posts are great to remind me of all the fabulous (and not so fabulous) books I read over the year. Thanks to my handy "read in 2014" list on Goodreads, here are my ten favourite books from the past year! Note: I was completely shocked that only two chick lit books (by the same author) made it on this list! I wonder if it's because I tried to branch out more this year? Because you'll also note quite a few YA books on this list! You'll also note that I've cheated a bit...there are two authors who have two books on my favourite list so I combined them! What were some of your favourites this year? Links lead to my review or Goodreads.

The Rule of Thirds - Chantel Guertin
Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins

The Orenda - Joseph Boyden

Burying Water and One Tiny Lie - K.A. Tucker
Hard Hats and Doormats - Laura Chapman
The Heiresses - Sara Shepard

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 New-To-Me Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature.

It's been awhile since I've done a TTT (it's been awhile since I've blogged, really. Damn new job getting in the way of, well, everything.) but I love end of year wrap ups and knew I had to set aside some time to figure out which authors were new to me over this past year. It doesn't mean that these are debut authors. These are (eleven) authors I hadn't read before this year. Did you discover any new authors in 2014?

Joseph Boyden: Can Lit master. I must read more of his books.

Gemma Burgess: I really like her series about 20-somethings living in Brooklyn and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Jenny Han: I hadn't read Han before this year and I really don't know why. I LOVED To All the Boys I've Loved Before.

K.A. Tucker: She is probably my favourite New Adult author - and she's Canadian!

Laura Chapman: I'm so proud of blogger-turned-author Laura. Her debut novel was amazing.

Marissa Stapley: Another Canadian makes the list! Mating for Life is more serious than I tend to read but it's amazing and Marissa is a total sweetheart.

Morgan Matson: Another YA author I had been meaning to read for forever. Since You've Been Gone was a lot of fun.

Sarah Jio: I can't believe this was my first Jio book. I cannot wait to read her latest, The Look of Love.

Sara Shepard: I don't really have any interest in Pretty Little Liars but The Heiresses intrigued me and I was hooked from the first page.

Tahereh Mafi: I blew through Mafi's Shatter Me series and I'm really glad I read them!

Terry Fallis: While No Relation wasn't my favourite book, I still really want to read the rest of Fallis' novels.