September 12th, 2018 by Pingwing
City of Ghosts
By Victoria Schwab
Series: Cassidy Blake #1
Published by Scholastic on August 28, 2018
Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.
When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.
I think I’ve made it clear through the years that Victoria Schwab is one of my favourite authors (probably THE favourite author). I just love every book of hers that I’ve read. And I’m spoiled to have so many books of hers coming out in the next few months (in addition to this book, there’s Vengeful – my most anticipated book of 2018 – and The Steel Prince, volume one in the Shades of Magic comics, coming out next spring).
I pre-ordered City of Ghosts and I was s excited to read it. I flew through it because I just didn’t want to put it down! I loved everything about this book: the setting (Scotland is one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit, and it’s one of my favourite book settings); the writing; the characters; the plot; the worldbuilding; the ghosts. I mean, a ghost story set in Scotland written by my favourite author? No surprise that I adored this book!
(Also, for those wondering, this is a middle-grade book, so even though it’s a little spooky and full of ghosts, it is written for a younger audience.)
This was an excellent blend of friendship, family, spookiness, and mystery. I loved City of Ghosts so much that I wanted to savour each page, but I also had to know what was happening next.
Highly recommended! I spent a delightful day curled up on the couch with this book, and it’s definitely one of my favourites of the year. I read the e-book, but I really want to own a physical copy to add to my ‘favourites’ shelf. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
September 10th, 2018 by Pingwing
A Dark and Stormy Murder
By Julia Buckley
Series: A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery #1
Published by Berkley on July 5, 2016
Lena London’s literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains…
Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’s new assistant, she can’t believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she’ll get to live rent-free in Camilla’s gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana.
But Lena’s fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without—a dead body, found on her new boss’s lakefront property.
Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camilla’s books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist’s mysterious estate—before the killer writes them both out of the story for good…
I’m just going to get right to the point: I loved this book. I inhaled this book. I thought this was so much fun and I had such a hard time putting it down.
Lena London has just finished her Masters degree, had no job prospects, and just came out of a dismal relationship when a friend contacts her with an amazing opportunity. Lena’s friend has discovered that she’s neighbours with Lena’s idol, mystery author Camilla Graham. When Camilla mentions that she’s looking for a writing assistant, Lena jumps at the opportunity to not only meet her idol, but to work for her as well.
Lena moves from Chicago to Blue Lake, Indiana, which is made up of cottages and a small town surrounding a beautiful lake. Lena moves in with Camilla into her large, Victorian house, and together they start their writing partnership. However, not long into their relationship, Lena finds a body on the beach below Camilla’s house and the two mystery writers work together to solve a real-life murder!
I wonder if part of the reason that I loved the book is that I feel like I recently visited a few towns that Blue Lake could have been based on. I spent a weekend last month driving through cottage country, and when I picked up this book it was so easy to imagine the setting. Even though I am not a small-town girl (which I discovered on this trip), the setting of this book seemed so quaint and charming.
I really like the relationship between Lena and Camilla. When they meet in the book, Camilla has already written dozens of books but finds that she is slowing down. She needs help from Lena to read her writing and to make sure that it makes sense and doesn’t have any holes. Lena jumps at the chance, and throughout the book they develop a good writing relationship. And they live in an awesome mansion together!
I think what I really love about this book is that even though it’s so out there (in that, how likely is it that your favourite author ever will need a ghost writer and then hire you as one and let you live with them) it was just so so so so much fun. I threw caution to the wind and just loved it.
I think the only downside was that I wasn’t super into the love interest. Sam is Camilla’s neighbour and is an outcast around town because he has been accused of murdering his wife (who has gone missing — no body has been found). Lena decides that Sam is innocent and it seems that the next book deals with trying to prove his innocence. I get that Lena feels she has a connection with Sam, but I personally would be wary to start dating a guy whose wife is missing and presumed murdered. But that’s just me.
Overall, this book was fun. I love the premise. And I love the relationship between Lena and Camilla. I highly recommend this book.
September 9th, 2018 by Pingwing
September 3 – 9
Well after getting a ton of reading done on my vacation last week, I’ve only finished one book since then. Instead of reading, I’ve been coming home and watching my two newest TV obsessions: The Americans, and Better Call Saul.
The Americans is very intense and twisty and I like it a lot! But because I have to buy the last couple seasons on DVD, I’m trying not to rush through it.
And Better Call Saul is one of my favourite shows on TV right now (and thankfully the first three seasons are on Netflix), and I like it more than I liked Breaking Bad (which made me way too tense). I love seeing characters that I liked so much on Breaking Bad as side characters get to be main characters here (Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman, and Mike!). But I’m starting to get worried about the characters that I love who did not appear in Breaking Bad…
I received a very nice package from HCC Frenzy with an ARC of Lauren Oliver’s Broken Things (thank you!). I love the pen and the notebook!
I also received a finished copy of Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing from Penguin Random House Canada (thank you!) and my pre-ordered finished copy of Courtney Summers’ Sadie arrived!
Like I said, I only finished one book this past week: The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon.
I’m kind of all over the place with my reading this week! I’ve started to read China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan, and I’m savouring an e-ARC of Kate Morton’s upcoming book The Clockmaker’s Daughter.
But because Victoria Schwab’s Vengeful is coming out this month (and it’s probably my most-anticipated book ever), I had to start rereading Vicious. I love this book so so much, and I cannot wait to read Vengeful! I pre-ordered ages ago, and when it finally shows up at my door, I’m going to shut out the world until I’ve finished reading!
It was a busy week on the blog! I posted reviews of Sadie (read it!), Deadly Dram by Melinda Mullet, and The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan.
I also posted my review of Nova Ren Suma’s A Room Away From the Wolves as part of a blog tour. This is another book that should be on your TBR if it isn’t already! There’s still time to enter the giveaway so be sure to check it out at the bottom of my review!
Time for some more Better Call Saul and then I’ll be settling in with one of my current reads for the rest of the weekend. Happy Sunday!
September 7th, 2018 by Pingwing
The Cafe By the Sea
By Jenny Colgan
Series: Summer Seaside Kitchen #1
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on June 27, 2017
Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopelessly in love with her boss.
But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.
But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…
I loved Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner, so I wanted to check out some of her other books. This one sounded cute, and I was really drawn to it because the main character moves from a big city to a tiny island village.
I loved this premise, and I loved reading about Flora adjusting back to village life. I also loved the baking! This book made me so hungry.
The family dynamics were interesting too: Flora’s father and brothers had stayed on the farm while she was off in London, and coming back brought up some old tensions.
Really, the only thing that I didn’t like in this book was the outcome of the little love triangle that was going on. I thought that it was going to go one way, and was really surprised (and disappointed) when it went the other way.
There’s a second book in the series (but don’t read the synopsis or else you’ll be spoiled re: the love triangle!), and I definitely want to read it. I have enjoyed both Jenny Colgan books that I’ve read, and I want to read more!
September 6th, 2018 by Pingwing
A Room Away From The Wolves
By Nova Ren Suma
Source Received from the publisher
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on September 4, 2018
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.
Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…
I’ve read and really enjoyed two of Nova Ren Suma’s previous books, so as soon as I heard that she had a new book coming out this month, I knew that I had to read it! I was so excited to receive an ARC from the Canadian distributor, Thomas Allen & Son, and participate in this blog tour. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!
There is a dream-like quality to Nova Ren Suma’s writing that I love. She has such a way with words that I felt pulled in to Bina’s story right away, and as eager as I was to understand what was happening at Catherine House, I was happy to take my time getting to the end of the book to put the pieces together.
To discuss the plot too much risks spoiling the experience of reading this book, and so much of what I got out of this book was based on not knowing much going in. But I think I can safely say that A Room Away From The Wolves is tense and atmospheric, unsettling and a little creepy, but so hard to put down. I had to know what had happened and what would happen next, and in the end I found that there were no easy answers.
Bina’s story is heartbreaking, beautifully written, and one that I’ll be thinking about for some time. Recommended.
Purchase a copy for yourself:
About the author:
Nova Ren Suma is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Walls Around Us, a finalist for an Edgar Award. She also wrote Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, spent most of her adult life in New York City, and now lives in Philadelphia.
Follow Nova Ren Suma:
Twitter: @novaren (http://ow.ly/Bnvf30lrQeh)
The winner will receive 1 copy of A Room Away From the Wolves (HC) by Nova Ren Suma, from the publisher.
Enter the giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
• Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
• Giveaway ends on Tuesday Sep. 18th at 11:59 pm EST
• Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize
Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour!