Saturday, November 30, 2013

Taking It Off the Shelf: The Meryl Streep Movie Club

The Meryl Streep Movie Club came out in June of 2012 and I've had it sitting on my shelf since about then. My birthday is in late May so I would have noted that Mia March's debut novel was being released the next month and I earmarked birthday money/gift cards to go towards it. It's taken me forever to get to it (that's the life of a book blogger) but I'm so glad I finally gave it a chance. It was an absolutely wonderful read.

Here's the synopsis:
In the bestselling tradition of The Friday Night Knitting Club and The Jane Austen Book Club, three women find unexpected answers, happiness, and one another, with Meryl Streep movies as their inspiration.
Two sisters and the cousin they grew up with after a tragedy are summoned home to their family matriarch’s inn on the coast of Maine for a shocking announcement. Suddenly, Isabel, June, and Kat are sharing the attic bedroom – and barely speaking. But when innkeeper Lolly asks them to join her and the guests in the parlor for weekly Movie Night – it’s Meryl Streep month – they find themselves sharing secrets, talking long into the night . . . and questioning everything they thought they knew about life, love, and one another.
Each woman sees her complicated life reflected through the magic of cinema: Isabel's husband is having an affair, and an old pact may keep her from what she wants most . . . June has promised her seven-year-old son that she will somehow find his father, who he’s never known . . . and Kat is ambivalent about accepting her lifelong best friend’s marriage proposal. Through everything, Lolly has always been there for them, and now Isabel, June, Kat – and Meryl – must be there for her. Finding themselves. Finding each other. Finding a happy ending.
Oh, this book. It was so lovely. Just...lovely. I didn't want to stop reading it. There was something about this story that just grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

It should come as no surprise that I was most drawn to the character of Kat. She's twenty five, I'm twenty six. I can identify with her life more readily than the other, wonderful, characters, because we're at a similar stage in our life. And the other characters really were wonderful. I found I enjoyed every one of them and I was invested in every one of their lives. I don't often get that with an ensemble cast (in fact, I try not to read those too much anymore because I find I don't really like them).

If I wanted to get nitpicky, I would say that this novel needs to come with a spoiler warning. The ladies watch several Meryl Streep movies and almost every (if not all of) ending is given away. I wasn't too upset with it since some of the movies that were mentioned I haven't watched yet and probably never will but it was still a little annoying to have the ending of some amazing movies (The Bridges of Madison County, Out of Africa) spoiled for me. And as much as I loved the analyzing of the movies, those were the parts of the book that felt forced. Everything else flowed smoothly and wonderfully but it always halted a bit while they were watching the films.

I found that I really wanted to live in Boothbay Harbor. I love books set in small towns and I find that the ones set in/near Maine seem even more delightful. Someday I'll visit Maine... Anyway, the inn Lolly owns, The Three Captains' Inn, seems fantastic and I would absolutely 100% love to visit Books Brothers, the bookstore June works in. The way March wrote about the town was great and I could almost picture myself in the town while I was reading.

I can't end this post without discussing the romances in this book. Even though there was a hint of an affair in almost all of them, the relationships were all really sweet. Some might say too sweet and too perfect but I think the book needed that. There were so many heavy, family centric issues going on that having happily ever afters in the romance department was almost needed. I'm so happy with the way everything turned out, apart from the obvious tragedy, and that love and family played such an important role in this book.

Even with the little issues I mentioned, I still think Mia March has written an absolutely wonderful novel. I adored The Meryl Streep Movie Club and I think many others would as well. Since it's the season, it could be a great pick for a Christmas gift for your mom, your partner's mom, your grandma, your aunt, your best friend...I really think there's something in it for everyone to enjoy. Besides, who doesn't love Meryl Streep? I cannot wait to read Mia March's second novel, Finding Colin Firth.

Next month I'm going to read Home for Christmas by Cally Taylor. I won it in a contest earlier this year and I've been hanging onto it until this Christmas. I adore Christmas books so I can't wait to dive in!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cover Reveal: Harper's Wish

I had worked with author Krista Ames quite a bit back when she was doing PR for Still Moments Publishing. She's now running her own blog tours through Bridging the Gap Promotions and now she's ready to publish another book! Her new novel is titled Harper's Wish and it's (tentatively) scheduled to be published on December 20th by Roane Publishing. Yay!

Here's what the holiday themed book is all about:
Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year, but for Harper Donaldson it’s just another day. Orphaned at an early age, she doesn’t have a single good memory of Christmas.

But, when a Santa’s Mailbox mysteriously appears in the lobby of the post office where she works as postmistress, Harper wonders what it could hurt to send her own letter to Santa.

Could he bring her the family she’d always wanted?
Doesn't it sound cute? Today I'm happy to share the cover with you as part of a one day cover reveal blitz. So without further ado, here's the cover for this new book!

I'm so happy for you, Krista! And I can't wait to read this book myself. I'm a sucker for Christmas stories!

About the Author
Born and raised in Northern Indiana, Krista now resides in Northern Lower Michigan.  She is married to a very supportive man who allows her to follow her true passion of writing and never complains when she is pirated away on her computer for hours.    Krista is also a mother of 4 ornery children who keep her plenty busy.  With an addition of 2 beautiful chocolate lab sisters and a playful kitty, there is never a dull or spare moment in her household. 
Krista has always loved to read and would often sit up for hours into the night not able to put down a book until she was finished.  She still reads when she can but her main focus is creating her own stories to share with the world. 
She loves to communicate with her readers so please feel free to drop her a line anytime at or visit her at  or

Connect with Krista

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: Crash Into You

I read Katie McGarry's first novel, Pushing the Limits, and first in the series by the same name, back in early fall (review here) and I was hooked. Then, a few weeks later, I read the second book Dare You To - the book that made me want to try out this series. I was a little disappointed in it but I didn't dislike it. So where does book #3, Crash into You, fall in the spectrum? I adored it. It had all the feels and I couldn't put it down.

Here's the synopsis:
The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.
Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.
But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
As I mentioned, the second book in the series didn't thrill me. I have no idea why. This meant that I was a little hesitant going into reading Crash Into You. I didn't need to worry because I felt all the same things that I did when I read the first book. Could it be that I had high expectations when I read book #2 but not when I read #1 or #3? Perhaps. Or could it be that I'd rather read about the bad boy/good girl relationships than the bad girl/good boy one? Also possible. Whatever the reason, I ended up loving this book.

Just before I started reading it (perhaps the afternoon of) I saw a tweet from someone who said that Rachel was their favourite of McGarry's heroines. I think I have to agree. There was just something about her that made me love her and want to hang out with her as the big sister she never had. She was sweet but intensely shy and had a spark that only seemed to come out when she was around her car or Isaiah. Speaking of Isaiah, I didn't think I'd like his story as I was only lukewarm about him in the first two books. I also wasn't sure how he would be able to get over Beth. He totally won me over in this book and I found myself rooting for him to succeed - both with Rachel and in life.

As in the first two books, Crash Into You has some crazy intense stuff going on. Rachel's hiding a lot from her family and Isaiah is hiding a lot from, well, everyone. They end up getting into some serious trouble and I was honestly terrified for them - especially Rachel. Isaiah explained the danger they were in but he glossed over some of the worst repercussions. I wanted things to work out perfectly for them but, of course, McGarry toyed with me and I was so worried that things would never work out. Like I said, this book gave me all the feels - stress, anger, love, sadness. You name it, I felt it. And it was awesome.

Crash Into You was a "I want to stay up all night and finish this" kind of book for me. I could not put it down and I finished it in basically two sittings because I couldn't wait to find out what happened to the characters I had grown so fond of. I'm really excited that there will be more books in this series and that Katie McGarry's next book will be about Rachel's brother, West. (Goodreads tells me it's called Take Me On and it'll be released in May.) If you want a good, emotional YA read, I definitely recommend picking this book up!

*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Feeling Thankful

Top Ten Tuesday is a 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 take part in this feature.

Before I start, a note: I'm typing this up at my local Tim Hortons because my home internet is on the fritz. Again. Therefore, I won't have pretty graphics. Or even pictures. I'm not sure how to add in those things when I'm on my tablet. It may also include spelling mistakes as I'm not sure the app will tell me if/when I spell things incorrectly!

So, in case the Tim Hortons comment didn't tip you off (or you already knew), I'm Canadian. Therefore I've had a long time to think about what I'm thankful for. This has been a tough year for me but Istill think that I have a lot to be happy about. I didn't want to stick with just bookish things for this list so I've done a combo. I also don't know if I'll hit ten things. I'm sure I'm thankful for lots but it's hard to nail it all down when pressed, you know? What are you thankful for this year? And happy (almost) Thanksgiving to my American readers!

My health
Most people would agree with this but in January 2012 I had to have my gallbladder removed. Not fun. Because it was defective it meant I had to be very careful about what I ate. From the previous August until October of last year, I couldn't have anything fun...I mean, fatty. No chips, no ice cream, no fun. Not only could I not eat these things, I was almost always in pain and I lost way too much weight. Fast forward to last Thanksgiving and I could finally eat what I wanted. I don't think I had ever enjoyed a holiday meal more and it made me realize that being healthy is awesome. I won't take it for granted again.

My friends and family
I wouldn't have been able to get through the last couple of years without my family and friends. Whether it's been emotional or financial help (or both) they've all been there for me. Everyone needs cheerleaders in their lives and I have some great ones. Plus, we all need people to love us unconditionally and to party/hang out with. Friends and family provide that. I've also made some new friends over the last year and I'm oh so thankful for that since living in a new city is really hard when you don't know a lot of people.

My rabbit, Tonks
Some people (like my boyfriend) may laugh at this but I honestly think this little furball has kept me sort of sane since I've been out of work. She needs me to look after her, to feed her (sometimes I think that's the only reason she loves me), to clean her cage, to play with her. She's a being that needs me to be there for her every day and it's something to keep me going, you know? Plus she's just so damn cute and hilarious. :) (Check out my Instagram profile to see all the pictures and videos I have of her!)

My local library
I've lived in a few cities and have been a part of a few different library systems. I'm partial to my hometown (the building is beautiful and I worked there during high school) but the St. Catharines Public Library has been pleasantly surprising. They have a wide selection of books, magazines, and DVDs and several branches. There's even a branch within walking distance of my house (just by the Tim Hortons I'm currently sitting at, in fact) so that got me out of the house and moving quite a bit in the spring and summer. They were also insanely helpful when I needed to get titles for my internship (more about that later). Plus, my blogger and in real life friend Natalie (of Browsing Bookshelves) works there! Three cheers for local libraries!

The Midland Public Library. Beautiful. 
Reading all the books
I'm so into the blogging world and have been for three years so I sometimes forget that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to read all the books I do. Advanced copies aren't given to just anybody and I so appreciate the copies that I do get...even if I'm super slow about getting around to reading them. Not only am I thankful for my blogging books, but I'm also thankful that I can actually read these books. I can't imagine what it'd be like to not be able to read. So, a big thanks to my mom and my teachers for making sure I could read!

Book events
I have been to so many book events this year and it's been awesome. The biggest one, for me, was BookBuzz Toronto. I was so lucky to be able to plan this event with two amazing authors and then meet other authors (including some of my favourites). I still can't believe it happened and that was weeks ago! I was also at events featuring Kate Atkinson, Jo Baker (and I actually received free tickets for both as well as having received free copies of the books previously), L. Marie Adeline, and Rainbow Rowell (and got to meet the publicist beforehand and got the lowdown on a ton of great YA reads). I also got to go to a launch for a book of short stories my best friend was a part of (she's published again! So proud of her.). I once again attended the Ontario Blogger Meet-Up and was able to meet fellow bloggers and book lovers. And I finally made it to Word on the Street - a great festival that celebrates all things bookish! I'm sure I'm missing other events! I know I sometimes complain about being so far away from Toronto but I really am lucky to live close enough to make it to events since that's where most international authors go when they come to Canada.

My bookish internships
These internships caused me a lot of stress and I still haven't found a job but I was so lucky to get the chance to complete them. My first internship was with the publicity department at Random House of Canada and I learned a lot about how big publishing houses work and the process of getting a book published. My second internship was at Project Bookmark Canada, which is headed by Miranda Hill (an amazing woman and author and also wife of Lawrence Hill, yes, the author of The Book of Negroes). There I learned the importance of Canadian literature and had the chance to read twenty books set in Calgary. I love what they do and hope they continue to do great things.

So there we have it. A small and incomplete list of things I'm thankful for. I suppose I could end the list by saying that I'm thankful for free wifi but I'll go more heartfelt...I'm thankful for you, my readers. You make what I do so much more fun. Knowing that at least one person out there is reading what I write is an awesome feeling. So, thanks. And enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Guest Post: Cat Lavoie

Welcome to another stop on the CLP Blog Tour for Zoey & The Moment of Zen! My review of Cat Lavoie's second novel went up last week but to quickly recap: I loved it. Today I'd like to welcome Cat to Books Etc.! I'm always curious about the lives of authors. Where do they write? When do they write? And so on. So I asked Cat to share her writing schedule with us. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into the writing life of one of my favourite authors!

I'm not quite sure what I am—a wannabe early-bird or a reluctant night-owl. All I know is that I wish I were the kind of writer who could wake up at five in the morning, put on some running shoes and jog a few miles, and then sit down in front of the computer—refreshed and energized—and crank out a few hundred words before the real work day has even begun. I have dreams about being that writer. (And I'm pretty sure dreaming of jogging is the closest I'll ever get to actual jogging.)

Truth is, I stumble out of bed—after hitting the snooze button a few times—and trip on Abbie the cat and somehow try to navigate the crowded bus and subway (still half-asleep) to get to my office. Once I'm there, surrounded by mountains of paperwork, I am itching to write. I count the minutes until my lunch break and when it's finally time to eat, I whip out my laptop and lose myself in my work-in-progress. I don't know why I'm so productive during that hour. Maybe it's the fact that I have a limited amount of time and I need to make every second count. Maybe it's because writing helps me escape dreary work days and I love bringing a bit of my dream job to my day job. Whatever it is, I'm so grateful for my little writing window that I sometimes forget to eat lunch. I know. Scary.

But the real work begins when I get home from the office. After taking care of the chores and getting everything ready for the following day, I can finally sit at my desk and write. I have to force myself to go to bed at a reasonable hour or I'll be sleeping on my paperwork the next day. But—if I let myself—I'd probably write until the wee hours of the night. Here's a picture of my work desk in an unusual state of tidiness. It might just be one of my favorite places in the world. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: Take Me Out

It's been awhile since I've read a short story anthology so I immediately requested Take Me Out on NetGalley when I saw it listed. I was really interested in this one because I'm a baseball fan and I've read and enjoyed other Crimson Romance anthologies in the past. I devoured the book in one day because it was so much fun!

Here's the description for this anthology: 
The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd… Four rising star authors celebrate the love of the game with these sweet and seductive baseball romances.
Trade Off by Elley Arden: Traded and jaded, catcher Ben Border is considering stepping out from behind the plate. Then he runs into former flame Scarlett Dare. Turns out the sexy marketing executive still sends him into a fever pitch. But is she willing to trade Fortune 500 success for a happily ever after?
Slugger Gone South by Alicia Hunter Pace: When New York Yankee Marc MacNeal comes to Merritt, Alabama, for a charity golf tournament, he’s shocked to be reunited with his ex-fiancee Bailey Watkins. It could be the perfect chance to get some long-awaited closure—or the start of a whole new ball game…
That Ol’ Team Spirit by Bea Moon: Someone’s haunting the Sharks’ stadium and creating some major league mischief. So psychic Peg Noonan and her granddaughter Trish are determined to discover who’s menacing their concessions stand. With the help of Trish’s high school love, sportswriter Rob Hanks, they just might have a ghost of a (second) chance.
Safe at Home by Leslie P. García: Amanda Warner hates baseball, but knows it’ll take a swing for the fences to save her dad’s hardware store. Hoping his star power will bring the crowds in, she sets her sights on Scorpions’ All-Star Josh “Hotstuff” Arrevalos. But is her heart ready to play ball again?
With all anthologies, there is always a story that stands out as the best, in my opinion. In this collection, I think my favourite was Trade Off (though it's hard to tell since it was the first one I read). There was just something about that one that stuck with me and kept me turning the pages (well, technically pressing the button on my Kobo...). All the stories were pretty good but that one was particularly enjoyable. I think it was the history between the two characters that made it stand out.

I found it interesting that three of the four stories featured couples that actually used to be a couple. I think that really helped when reading about the romances because things always move so quickly in short stories. Which I think was one of the issues I had with Safe at Home - I just couldn't quite understand where the attraction was coming from because there weren't many typical romance indicators. Not only were most of the couples former lovers but they had all been apart for different amounts of time. If I remember correctly, Ben and Scarlett had been apart for twenty years, Marc and Bailey for eight, and Trish and Rob for five. That really helped make the stories different since all couples were different ages and at different stages in their lives.

I mentioned in my intro that I'm a baseball fan. I've always played sports (basketball was my sport of choice) so when I started dating someone whose first love was baseball, I figured I should probably pay attention to the specifics of the sport. I've learned a lot in the past eight years (nine ball seasons) so I'm probably way more into the sport than the average romance reader. I tried to make sure that didn't affect how I read the stories and it didn't, for the most part. Terms were used correctly, the feel of the sport and the players were right. There were two instances, however, that had me shaking my head. One was the use of the acronym for Major League Baseball. Well, it was supposed to be the acronym. It was actually MBL. Say oops. I really hope the editors caught that before the official published copy went out (remember, I was just reading an advanced e-copy). Another issue popped up in the final story, That Ol' Team Spirit. Rob, a former ball player and currently a sports journalist, has written a story about a former pitcher who was involved in some sketchy dealings fifty years previous. Rob said the pitcher had "pitched a perfect no-hitter game." That, my friends, is a redundant term. You can pitch a no-hitter or a perfect game but you wouldn't say perfect no-hitter. This really wouldn't bother many readers but it irked me so I wanted to include it.

Take Me Out was a really enjoyable anthology. I liked that it was sports focused, not too common in romances, and that it included four great stories. I would still recommend this one to romance readers even if they're not a baseball fan, or even a sports fan. I do have to say that was also nice to read about the ball season now that I'm gearing up for winter. Is it April yet? :)

Happy reading :)

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Thursday, November 21, 2013

CLP Blog Tour: Zoey and the Moment of Zen

I've been excited for Cat Lavoie's next novel ever since I finished her first, Breaking the Rules. It was one of my favourites of 2012 (full review is here) and I think her latest, Zoey & The Moment of Zen, will be one of my favourites of 2013! I'm so glad I took part in this CLP Blog Tour because I absolutely loved Cat's new book.

Here's the synopsis:
When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone—except Zoey—is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all.
But Zoey's relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort's owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane's grumpy friend—to the mix, and you've got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm.
When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn't completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn't the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen.
One of the things I love about Cat's work, and other great chick lit, is that her characters don't always do exactly what you want them to. They're not perfect and their decisions can be questionable but this is what makes them so great. In the case of Zoey, the title character is still hooked on a guy who is clearly not right for her. As much as I loved Zoey, I wondered why on earth she was still in love with this dude and then why she thought it'd be a good idea to get hitched while on a forced vacation. I had faith in Cat, though, and I knew that everything would work out as it should. 

I liked that we get to see Zoey grow as a person. She's not totally screwed up or annoying (like some chick lit characters you might find) and her major issue, still being hung up on an ex who is no good for her, is one that a lot of people could understand. Watching her realize she was finally over her ex and that her actions have been slightly crazy was really enjoyable. It also helped that Zoey was just such an awesome character. I want to be her friend!

It wasn't just Zoey who had to face some tough scenarios. Cat has once again written some excellent secondary characters. Zoey's best friends, Dar and Dex, seem to have a picture perfect marriage (they're actually so adorable it's almost nauseating!) but is it all as it seems? And Zoey's aunt Nessa has apparently been keeping a huge secret from Zoey for almost her whole life. The side stories help add even further depth to the novel and it really showed that Zoey had a great support system.

The romances (yes, plural) in this novel were really interesting to read about. I think that's in part due to the fact that the males were so different. I'm thrilled with the choice Zoey made but Cat made me wait until the very end before revealing who Zoey would choose to be with. I was so worried Zoey wouldn't do what I wanted her to do! :) I do have to say that I think I wanted just a bit more leading up to the end choice. As much as I wanted it, I think there needed to be more clues or indicators that they'd end up together. Hopefully that was vague enough that I didn't give anything away but not so vague that you have no clue what I'm talking about!

Cat Lavoie has another winning novel on her hands with Zoey & The Moment of Zen. I think this book is one that all chick lit lovers will enjoy and I'm sure everyone will love Zoey and her story as I did. Besides, who can resist that gorgeous, summery cover now that winter's coming? :)

November 12 in Northern-ish Ontario. Brrrrrr.
Happy reading! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: Bake It, Don't Fake It

Pastry chef turned cookbook author Heather Bertinetti's Bake It, Don't Fake It! is a great recipe book...if you have all the tools and the desire to make super special desserts. I was under the impression that the recipes would be a bit easier for the every day baker but I was mistaken. I've had my advanced reading copy for ages but I actually ended up only making two recipes because I didn't have a lot of the specialized tools or ingredients the book calls for. I was disappointed in that but the two recipes that I made were very delicious!

This is the cookbook's description:
Looking to impress your friends and family with decadent desserts but afraid you lack the skills to pull it off? Are you reaching for that packaged cake mix and can of frosting instead of whipping something up from scratch? Fear no longer; we’ve got the fix for you. Heather Bertinetti, a talented pastry chef with years of experience in Manhattan’s top eateries, is sharing her insider tips for how to make restaurant-worthy desserts right in your very own kitchen.
Bake It, Don't Fake It! is filled with recipes perfect for the home cook, such as Bourbon- Chocolate Pecan Pie, Strawberry Daiquiri Truffles, Red Velvet Macarons, and PB&J Whoopie Pies. Once you learn the whys and why nots of baking, you’ll be able to get creative and give all of your favorite treats a special touch. As an added bonus, you’ll find Heather’s “Chef It Up!”; tips throughout the book, where Heather reveals her tricks for giving homemade desserts the wow presentation factor. All of the equipment you’ll need is probably already in your kitchen and all of the ingredients are readily available in your local supermarket, so it’s time to get baking!
My very first thought as I was flipping through my copy was that I wished there were more pictures. Raise your hand if your favourite thing about cookbooks is the pictures. Be honest! :) Since I don't cook often, I like having a visual when I do (so I can see how far off I am...), especially when it's a recipe for something I've never even heard of. Do any of you know what a St. Honoré cake looks like? What about canelles or Pâte à Choux? These recipes are all in this book but do not have pictures and I wasn't even going to think about making them.

I had an issue with the recipes themselves, too. Some of them don't really look all that challenging but there was more effort required than I think most people may look for on an average night. On the flip side, they are easy enough for someone to make the dessert to wow friends and family for a weekend party or holiday. Going hand in hand with this issue is that a lot of recipes require special baking accessories. Both recipes I made actually required a stand mixer with various attachments. I am a 26 year old unmarried female. I do not own a stand mixer because I am too poor to buy one myself and as I haven't had a wedding I haven't been able to put it on a registry. I don't have a bundt cake or cheesecake pan and I didn't know where to find special, large liners to make bigger muffins or how to even use them if I did find them. Do I put them in a regular muffin tin or what? These all seem like little issues and if you have all sorts of cool gadgets, I think you'll be just fine!

The first recipe I made was double chocolate chip muffins. I made them for a baby-bunny date (a friend with a then six week old baby came over so I could meet the baby and she, my friend, could meet my bunny) and they were a hit. I was a little worried at first because the batter was really wet and I was afraid that I'd overflow my muffin cups. Everything worked out fine and they were delish. They were super chocolatey as it was a chocolate batter with chocolate chips mixed in so they were basically cupcakes without the icing. We weren't complaining though and I sent home a couple of extras with my friend so her husband could enjoy them as well. And she asked for the recipe! I'd say this was a win.

I was intrigued by the banana cream pie recipe but there was one problem with required rum and I don't drink rum. This crisis was averted when I realized I would be visiting a friend who does drink rum before this review would be written. She's a fan of baking and said she was in for making the pie when we came to visit. Good thing she likes baking because she actually ended up doing all the work. In my defense, I had a wicked cold and wouldn't know where anything was in her kitchen. I proved to be a pretty good supervisor though, I think! :) This recipe was super involved as it required making a crust (out of shortbread cookies, which I liked because I'm actually not a fan of typical pie crust), the whipped topping, and the cream (which was another recipe entirely) for the filling. We made the crust and the filling before going out for brunch and we learned something important: when leaving a bowl in an ice bath, ensure there is not too much water in the bowl with the ice as you may come home to discover that the ice has melted, the bowl has sunk, and the water has overflowed onto the wrap covering the bowl full of cream. Oops. My friend managed to save it and we carried on with assembling the pie. We didn't use all of the filling because our pie crust wasn't high enough. It would have been a massive pie had we been able to do one more layer of banana and cream as the recipe called for. That wouldn't have been a bad thing but there's no way you could get all of it in when you're using an average pie plate. We left the pie to chill the three hours as directed and then we set out to eat it. Hilarity ensued as my friend tried to lift pieces out of the plate but the end result was a freaking delicious pie. We actually probably could have finished it off between the four of us that night!

I wanted to love Bake It, Don't Fake It! by Heather Bertinetti but my lack of flare in the kitchen, not to mention my lack of baking accessories, led me to feel a little disappointed in this cookbook. I don't think "easy" should be included in the subtitle: "A pastry chef shares her secrets for impressive (and easy) from-scratch desserts." The desserts aren't hard, at least the two I made, but they're definitely not what I'd call easy. It's a little misleading, I think. That being said, the two recipes I was able to try turned out well and were really yummy. So, if you fancy yourself a baker and like challenges I would definitely suggest you try this book out. And perhaps send me some of your desserts? :)

Happy reading...and baking!

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Canada, in exchange for an honest review.*

Update, November 22: After receiving a comment telling me I was wrong when I stated that there was not a photo of the St. Honoré cake in the book I decided to check out a finished copy (I had received an advanced reading copy from the publisher). The commenter told me the photo was on page 73, which was incorrect. I, however, was also incorrect. There is a photo of the cake on page 155 (I believe. I'm going from memory). In my experience, recipes that have photos on another page usually state that in an obvious place in the recipe. In this particular recipe, the author referred to the photo but it was buried in the recipe. You wouldn't know it was there unless you were looking for it. I apologize for not being thorough in my original review and erroneously stating that there was not a photo of the St. Honoré cake. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Event Recap: BookBuzz Toronto

Just over a week ago I was involved in an absolutely fabulous book event, BookBuzz Toronto. It’s taken me awhile to write this recap, in part, because I’m still in awe that it happened. (The other part is that I’ve been traveling all over the province and have also been hit with a cold.)

The sign that greeted us outside the bar.
BookBuzz started when authors Samantha Stroh Bailey, Meredith Schorr, and Francine LaSala decided to hold an event in New York City this past May during the week of Book Expo America (BEA). It was a hit so Sam, Lydia Laceby (author and fellow blogger), and I decided to bring the event north of the border. BookBuzz Toronto was born!

For the past few months, Sam, Lydia, and I were planning this event and trying to make it the best possible event it could be. This planning resulted in hundreds of emails and lots of little inside jokes. We picked venue pretty early on and settled on The Crest, a great bar on St. Clair West. I actually had to trust Sam and Lydia on this decision as I wasn’t able to get into the city to see the bar before the night of the event. They did a great job in securing this place because I think the décor and feel of the bar was perfect for what we were going for.

Chandeliers and brick. Love.
The fun part of planning this event was reaching out to authors to see who would want to attend. We were really lucky that the majority of the authors we talked to were so excited and were more than willing to take part. Yay! We had ten authors to promote and we were thrilled. The authors involved in BookBuzz Toronto were:

Back, from left: Lydia, me, Heather, Chantel
Front, from left: Romi, Meredith, Cat, Sam, Samantha, Kate
The majority of the authors were coming from the GTA but we had some traveling large distances to come to our event. (Even I live well out of the Toronto area.) Cat came from Montreal, Meredith from New York City, and Samantha March from Iowa. Francine is also from New York but a last minute family crisis kept her at home (we missed you, Francine!).

Being able to meet these authors was like a dream come true for me as these ladies have written some of my favourite books. If you’re reading this you’re probably a huge book lover like me so you can understand what it’s like to be able to meet some of your favourite authors at one event. Amazing. I have to admit that I’m quite proud of myself for being involved in an event that brought all of these authors together for others to enjoy as well (though there’s no way I could have done it without Sam and Lydia!).

From left: Cat, Meredith, Samantha, Chantel, Me, Heather
Since I have an events background, I prepared myself for something to go wrong (Murphy’s Law!) but we were so lucky that the little snags were incredibly minor. The biggest thing that affected me was trying to get to the venue on time. Lots of traveling that day (I had picked up Samantha at the Buffalo airport) and brutal traffic had us getting to the venue with only about a half hour to spare. But, like I said, there were only minor issues and we all sighed with relief at the end of the night when we realized nothing major went wrong and everyone seemed to have a great time. Woo!

I wanted to incorporate a bit of a formal element to the mix and mingle event and have all the authors be introduced and explain what the night was all about. That translated into me, the only non-author involved, having to do the speech and pronounce everyone’s names. I don’t do public speaking if I can help it but I squared my shoulders, drank a delicious Pink Stiletto (or two) and braved the microphone. I think it went well but I was definitely able to breathe a little easier after that part was over!

Our signature drink, the Pink Stiletto. Yum.
My other job was to help Kathryn, my fellow blogger at Novel Escapes, with the book sale table. I am so incredibly grateful that she was there because I found myself away from the table more often than not. She was a superstar! We were both lucky that we had read the majority of the books for sale and we could confidently recommend them to anyone looking to purchase a book…or two, or three. They were only $10! I actually bought quite a few myself as Christmas presents for my girlfriends. I’m so glad they read! I had my favourite titles, of course, but I don’t think anyone could go wrong with any of the books we had for sale.

I want to give a shout out to our awesome sponsors. The week before the event NOW Magazine put an ad in their magazine for us and The Crest was a huge help to us as well. Their food was fabulous (from what I was told…I honestly didn’t eat much!) and I loved what they did with our Pink Stilettos (pink lemonade and vodka in a sugar rimmed champagne glass with a raspberry garnish…yum!). Huge thanks go out to our main sponsors Kobo Writing Life (they even donated a Kobo to be given away!) and Wattpad. We couldn’t have had this event without their support!

There’s so much more I can say about this event but I don’t even know where to start. Like I said, I’m still in awe that I was able to meet these ladies in person. We made the most of our time together though and a few of us went out for brunch the next day and did some wandering around the city. Well, more talking and less wandering, to be honest! I was also tasked with showing Samantha Niagara Falls (I live in St. Catharines and she’d never been to Canada before, let alone the Falls, so she stayed with me on Friday) and I loved being able to see her face as she witnessed the awesomeness that is Niagara Falls. I also have to say that I am so happy that my mom and sister made the trek to the event. They live a couple of hours north of the city and did not have to come but they did and I’m so glad. My sister was actually the one who took the majority of the pictures you see in this post!

Left: I can't believe I actually spoke at the event. Ack! :)
Right: Lindsey from Random House of Canada stopped by!
Sadly, though, the event had to come to an end, we had to say goodbye, and we had to go back to our regular lives. It’s almost harder to have a purely virtual relationship with these authors since we’ve now met in person. We’re all hopeful that we can meet up again in NYC in May during BEA and for another edition of BookBuzz (keep your fingers crossed that I get a job as I want to spend my birthday in New York!). Until then, we’ll have to settle for email and social media and for reading their fabulous books. 

Other recaps:

Monday, November 11, 2013

CLP Blog Tour: Won't Last Long

Welcome to my stop on the CLP Blog Tour for Won't Last Long by Heidi Joy Tretheway. I had a great time reading this book...for the first half or so. The end of the book was a little crazy and I wasn't sure how it would work out so that took away from my overall enjoyment.

Here's the synopsis:
Can two people who are totally wrong for each other ever be right?
She's a feisty, sly marketing exec intent on hiding her small-town roots. He’s a laid-back engineer with a shaggy mutt and a pushy ex.
When Joshua asks Melina out, she asks what kind of car he drives. She’ll do drinks, not dinner. She’s always in control. But with Joshua’s easy confidence and sharp wit, Melina is soon breaking the dating rules she made for herself.
Opposites attract—but friends think Melina and Joshua can’t possibly last. When crisis throws their world off its axis, Melina must confront her childhood family, the people she’s come to care about, and the destruction of her pristine image.
I had really enjoyed reading this novel up until probably two thirds of the way in. I thought it was cute and fun and interesting but then things started happening at warped speed and I wasn't sure why they were even happening, let alone that quickly. It seemed like Tretheway decided she wanted to end the book and just tied up all the loose ends and called it a day. I didn't get the reasoning behind some decisions (I don't want to mention them because it could spoil the story) and it lessened my enjoyment of the novel a bit.

I liked that the characters in this book, Melina and Joshua, knew their own minds and knew themselves and decided to stay together even though their friends (though mostly his) thought they would never last. I hated that they had to justify their relationship to the people closest to them and my heart hurt for them.

Tretheway did a good job of keeping me on my toes. Sometimes that was great, sometimes I wondered if there was more going on that I thought. Melina had a big secret but we, the reader, find out what it is before Joshua. Not a big deal. In fact, it was kind of nice to know. But then Melina seemed to imply there was something bigger she wasn't telling him. I liked the secrets as it kept things interesting but it really showed how little they knew about each other.

I sometimes (ok, often) take pictures of whatever book I'm reading with a mug of tea but it's usually because I enjoy the cover of the book. I wanted to share that I was reading this one so much that I snapped a pic of my Kobo even though my ecopy didn't have a fun cover! That's how much I was loving the start of this book. :)

Even with the weirdness at the end of this novel, I did like Won't Last Long by Heidi Joy Tretheway. It was a little all over the place, like this review, but at its core, this book was a good read. I think it needs a bit of cleaning up and editing but then I think Tretheway will really have a winner on her hands. Make sure you check out the main tour page to see all the other reviews.

Happy reading! :)

Cover Reveal: Hard Hats and Doormats

I am so unbelievably excited to share the cover of Hard Hats and Doormats, the debut novel from Laura Chapman. I've been a fan of Laura's blog, Change the Word, for ages and we've become "virtual besties" over the last couple of years. I knew she had been working on her own novel and I am so proud of her for finally publishing it! She's being published later this year by Marching Ink who has also published some of my favourite books by Samantha March and Cat Lavoie. I can't wait to read Laura's novel!

Here's the synopsis for Laura's debut novel:
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.
But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.
While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.
Who says nice girls have to finish last?
Are you ready for the cover? *drum roll*

Oooh! Ahhh! :) I'd definitely be interested to see what this book was about if I saw it on a shelf!

To celebrate the cover reveal, Laura is sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of Hard Hats and Doormats here and on other blogs with her “Hard Hat Confessions.” I absolutely love this idea!

Here’s #9:

Visit Laura's site for more “Hard Hat Confessions.”

About Laura
Laura Chapman found a way to mix her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction author and blogger. A 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Laura studied journalism, English and history. She traveled across the United States as a writer/photographer before settling into a career in communications. She also maintains Change the Word, a blog devoted to promoting women’s fiction and documenting her experiences as a writer. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormats is her debut novel.

Connect with Laura

Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Third Blogaversary to Me!

Photo via Tnooz
Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday that I was writing about my second blogaversary and here we are, celebrating the third anniversary of Books Etc.

A lot has happened over the past year. Some great things, some totally awful things, some things that fall somewhere in between. The biggest thing was that I left my job at a non-profit to do an internship at Random House of Canada from January to April. It was a surreal experience and I'm really glad I did it. (In case you missed it, here's my recap post.) Then, because you can't just do one internship and expect a job, I interned at the fabulous bookish nonprofit, Project Bookmark Canada. I had an awesome time working with Executive Director Miranda Hill. (Recaps here and here.) Then, because you can't do two internships and expect a job, I settled into the life of unemployment. Sigh. I've been looking all over the place since the end of June and have yet to come up with a job. I've had six interviews, which is good, I suppose, but nothing lately. Because I'm a blogger, I wrote a post about it that will detail more about what I'm looking for and how the search has been. Of course, because of this unemployment, I don't have any goodies to give away. Once again I'll year!

I think I've grown a lot as a blogger over the past year. I've been writing more bookish posts that aren't necessarily reviews and not worrying (too much) about when I post or how often I do so. I've also got a good schedule going now. I was all over the place before but now I've had to really organize myself because I have so many more review requests coming in. One thing I'm still working on is not letting NetGalley books expire. I have been pretty good about requesting but when I go to search for titles and request one, I end up requesting a bunch and they all show up at once! As much as unemployment completely sucks it has led me to be on top of my blogging. Once I read a book (and I have a lot of free time), I can get to the review right away. Silver lining, right?

I've been able to read a lot of really great books this year and I've attended SO many book events (and there are a ton more that I could have gone to but didn't because it's just too expensive to go into Toronto all the time). Not only have I attended lots of bookish events, I've also helped plan one, too! Last night was BookBuzz Toronto and I loved working on this event. I'm writing this the day before the event so I have no idea how it'll go. Stay tuned for a recap post! Another great thing about this year is that I've met lots of industry people and I'm getting more comfortable talking with them (as I realized at the blogger meet up). I'm still (slowly) working on what I want to do with my life but until then, and until I get a paying job, this blog is what's keeping me going.

I think this post now calls for a bunch of photos! Here are some of my favourite bookish moments from the past year:

1. Random House of Canada's Blogger Love event.
2. A conversation and reading with Kate Atkinson at Harbourfront.
3. Word on the Street. I finally made it!
4. Meeting Rainbow Rowell.
5. Random House of Canada blogger lunch with L. Marie Adeline.
6. Conversation with Jo Baker and viewing of Pride & Prejudice at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
7. Third Annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet-Up

1. I got to see the Random House of Canada imprint sign and offices every day for 12 weeks!
2. A lot of those days were spent mailing books to professional reviewers.
3. On my last day at RHC they let me loose in the book room and I got to take all the books I wanted. I restrained myself. 
4. With Project Bookmark Canada I went to visit Amy at Penguin. Loved seeing the office! And Amy giving me a few books wasn't bad either.
5. Sending out winnings from the Page Turner campaign.
6. I did a lot of reading for Project Bookmark. Amazing.
7. This is me at the Bookmark in Port Colborne, near where I live. Fun!

1. I won a huge City of Bones prize package from Simon and Schuster Canada. Woah!
2. I also won a lot of goodies from the Retreat by Random House The Midwife of Venice online chat.
3. All my lovely things I got after last week's blogger meet up.

1. I was SO excited to get a new bookshelf. A sign you're a true book nerd, me thinks.

2. I spent a lot of time reading outside in my backyard this summer. Glorious.

3. I had given a copy of S.E.C.R.E.T. to my boyfriend's mom and she passed it around to her friends. They loved it and sent me a card and Boston Pizza gift card in thanks.

4. My grandma and I went on a road trip in September and we each brought two books. I say my love of book is genetic!

It's been a fabulous year, friends. I'm hoping for another fantastic year of blogging. Thank you, as always, for reading. :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Event Recap: Ontario Blogger Meet-Up

Last Saturday was the third annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet-Up. I had a great time at last year's event so I was really looking forward to this year's meet-up. I loved getting to spend time with a ton of other bloggers and talking about books (and getting a huge swag bag full of books). It was so invigorating! You can read my full recap here. I've got a soft spot for this event, too, because I got to meet a blogger who lives in the same city as I do and we gradually spent more time together and now I consider her a very good friend! Unfortunately, my new friend, Natalie from Browsing Bookshelves, wasn't able to make it this year so I ventured into the city on my own!

I periodically checked Twitter while on the train to see where other attendees were at. I'm glad I did because Rachelia from Bookish Comforts had arrived at Union about ten minutes before I did and had tweeted about wondering how to get to the venue. I told her to hang tight and I'd walk with her, since the event was at the same pub as the year before. Rachelia didn't get lost and we got to spend some one on one time together before the event. Win all around!

The sign that greeted us at the Watermark Irish Pub
I was looking forward to seeing some of the bloggers I've met before but I hoped to meet some new people and talk to more attendees than I did last year. The event is three hours long but it just doesn't seem like enough time! There are so many bloggers who attend the event (close to 100, I think?) so there's just no way we can talk to everyone. I was happy that I got to briefly chat with Marie Landry, author and blogger at Ramblings of a Daydreamer, Avery of Avery's Book Nook, and all the girls of Ontario Blog Squad (Nicole, Michele, Wendy, Liz, Angel, Christa). Amusing story: When I went over to meet Avery, the girl she was with said, "Can I ask you a random question? Did you used to work at the Coles in Waterloo?" I did and I stared at her, wondering if I should recognize her. Turns out she worked at the Chapters in Kitchener and I helped out there for a couple of overnights when they were moving/adding onto their children's section. We had chatted then and realized that she knew someone from my very small town. How's that for a small world! I'm glad I got to reconnect with Laura (Confessions of a Teen Reader)! I ended up sitting with Farah of Broken Penguins and Annie of Paper Wings and Ink once again, which was great. On my other side was Liz of Along for the Read - and I'm so happy I got to meet her! We learned early on in the event that we both enjoy a lot of the same genres and I'm hoping we stay in touch :)

From left: Annie, Farah, Me, and Liz
The event isn't just about meeting other bloggers - it's also about meeting the industry people who also attend the event. Last year I was a little too nervous to go introduce myself. I think having an extra year of blogging plus my internship at Random House of Canada under my belt have really helped my confidence when it comes to bookish things. Pam, publicist from Random House, was there so it was fun to catch up with her. I was also lucky to be at the table with quite a few industry folks. Suman and Kaiti from HarperCollins Canada were there, as were James from Dundurn Press, and Dan from Raincoast Books. We had a lot of great conversations about books and working, or not, in the industry.

It wouldn't be a book event without some swag! The lovely organizers put together a fun trivia page and we were to fill out as many answers as we could. I was glad they had a mix of adult and YA questions since this event tends to be really YA focused. I didn't know all the answers so I filled out what I knew and popped it in the box. I think it was a really great idea to do this because other people were working together to find out the answers. It was a great ice breaker! Once all the sheets were in they had a draw and yours truly was one of the winners! Angel called my name and mentioned how I knew what classic novel the vlog Lizzie Bennet Diaries is based on. I laughed and said I was actually currently binge watching them! PS The answer is Pride and Prejudice and if you like Austen and haven't watched the vlogs, you're seriously missing out. I love them! I checked out the table of goodies but decided to check out the totes instead (mostly since all the books appeared to be YA). Everyone laughed when I showed off my pick...

Appropriate, no? :) After all the prizes were handed out, the ladies were kind enough to give me a few minutes to talk to the group about the event I'm helping plan - BookBuzz Toronto. I'm sure I sounded like an idiot and missed a few key points but hopefully enough info got across to everyone and a few people decide to come! (PS the event is tomorrow and if you like women's fiction and live in or near Toronto, you should be there!)

Sadly, the event had to come to an end at some point. Happily, I got to extend it a little bit by taking the same train as Andrea of Cozy Up With A Good Read and Brenna of Esther's Ever After. Yay!

Finally, one of the perks of this event is the swag bag we get that's full of bookish goodies.

This year's bag was much smaller than last year's - which I think was a good thing. Like last year though, I wish there had been a few more adult books in the bag. Ah well! Being in the minority can be tough and it's also why I didn't really participate in the massive book swap with the other bloggers. I did, however, get a copy of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares - thanks Wendy - that I've heard good things about. And I was able to get my copy of The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B signed, which is very cool!

Overall, I had a fantastic time at this year's blogger meet-up. It was an exhausting day but so worth it. Being able to talk to bookish people is so inspiring and the event really left me feeling great about what I do with my blog. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Is the next book out yet?

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.

This week we're all listing the sequels that we just can't wait to get our hands on. As much as I love a series, sometimes waiting for the next book drives me crazy! I like being so involved in a world and a set of characters but that wait between books? Ahhhh! My list is, no surprise, fairly light on the YA and that is where a lot of the series are these days. I went through my Goodreads read list to see which books I've read lately that are going to have a sequel and that's where my list came from! I consulted Goodreads for the release dates and links will lead to my review of a previous book. What sequels are you looking forward to?

Don't forget to check out their blog for a full list of everyone participating this week!

Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Release date: October 22, 2013
I know, I know. I STILL HAVEN'T READ IT. Because of my unemployed state, I couldn't justify buying a copy so I'm waiting for my library to process the copies they ordered. Luckily I'm second on the list because I checked the library site almost every day to see if it was available to request.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. Release date: May 13, 2014
I got hooked on this series a little while ago. I had thought I timed it well and read the first two books a month or two before book three was to be released. Stephanie then wrote a post on her site and explained that, due to personal reasons, the publication date had to be pushed back. I appreciate her being honest but I want the next book!

Marriage to Measure by Talli Roland. Release date: 2014
I really liked the first two Serenity Holland books and have been waiting impatiently for the third. I can forgive Talli for taking so long because she's had other books to publish and she had a baby, too! Busy lady :)

Right Click by Lisa Becker. Release date: TBD
I only sort of liked Click but I really liked Double Click so I can't wait for the final book in this series!

Elly in Love by Colleen Oakes. Release date: TBD
Colleen's book snuck up on me and I ended up really enjoying Elly in Bloom so I can't wait for the next one!

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich. Release date: November 19, 2013
I've been reading the Stephanie Plum series for over a decade and even though they're pretty cookiecutter, I still enjoy them. I'm wondering if this might be the last one. The first book was published in 1994 and I think twenty books is definitely enough for a series.

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. Release date: February 25, 2014
Since I liked Evanovich's other works, I thought I'd check out the new series she wrote with Lee Goldberg. I thoroughly enjoyed The Heist and look forward to the next book in the O'Hare and Fox series.

Untitled Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling. Release date: 2014
I jumped on the bandwagon after I found out The Cuckoo's Calling was written by J.K. Rowling and I'm so glad I did. It was amazing and I'm so happy they appear to be continuing the series.

Note: I was so surprised that three mystery titles made it on this list!

Secret Revealed by L. Marie Adeline aka Lisa Gabriele. Release date: Spring 2014
Adeline keeps leaving her books on a cliffhanger so I was thrilled when I heard that there will be a third book in the S.E.C.R.E.T. series. I liked the second book more than the first so I hope that trend continues!

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. Release date: July 15, 2014
The last book, Shadow of Night, was published in July 2012. I am SO ready for the next book but I'm sad it'll be the last one.