Book Review: The Perfectionists #1 & #2 by Sara Shepard


Book Review: The Perfectionists (#1) by Sara Shepard

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Published: October 2014

SYNOPSIS

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series Pretty Little Liars comes a thrilling new novel about five perfect girls who are framed for a murder they didn’t commit.

In Beacon Heights, Washington, five girls—Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke…until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes another story of dark secrets, shocking twists, and what happens when five beautiful girls will do anything to hide the ugly truth.

The Good Girls (The Perfectionists #2)

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Published: June 2015

SYNOPSIS

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes the shocking sequel to The Perfectionists—with an ending you’ll have to read to believe!

Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn’t actually go through with it. It’s just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn’t the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they’re being framed. Or are they about to become the killer’s next targets?

ReviewWell, this set of books are very different from Pretty Little Liars! From the initial synopsis I was expecting another retelling of PLL with new characters and new faces. I was pleasantly surprised.

I am a bit surprised Shepard capped The Perfectionist’s at a mere two books. This storyline could have continued developing resulting in several more books (who knows, maybe that will still happen) Yes, Shepard is notoriously known for dragging out stories, but I love her. Every book she has ever written I simply adore. I will always fangirl over her work. This lady just knows how to tell a juicy story.

I decided to bunch these two books together because it is much easier for readers if the story is discussed as a whole. I imagine once the paperback version hits there will be a bundle edition with both books in one. This story easily could have just been made into one book, but then readers wouldn’t feel the pain of waiting a year to find out what happens–from a publishing viewpoint, where’s the fun in that?

Everything readers love about PLL can be found in The Perfectionists. The mystery, the intrigue, the character love/hatred. Shepard has grown as a writer since her PLL days. While still targeted for a YA audience, this storyline reads more clearly and it is obvious planning was more thoughtful and less chaotic than the outline of the PLL world.

Yes, I keep comparing to PLL–I can’t help it. There are similarities, in that both books are thrillers, mysteries that discuss gossip, revenge and murder. There are so many dualities in the elements of the stories it is impossible not to note them.

The Perfectionist’s has great characters and readers can relate to their struggles. The concept is well-developed, and the story is written well.

The twists are EPIC and ones that personally I never saw coming.

Perfect books for summer. Read them…NOW.

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Book Review: What We Knew by Barbara Stewart


ReviewWhat We Knew by Barbara Stewart

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Published: July 14th 2015

SYNOPSIS

When a local myth starts to seem like a dangerous reality, two girls are set on a path that could change their lives forever

“When I was little, I imagined a monster: Scaly hands. Pits for eyes…”

When Tracy and her best friend, Lisa, were kids, stories about a man—a creep who exposes himself to little girls—kept them out of the woods and in their own backyards. But Tracy and Lisa aren’t so little anymore, and the man in the woods is nothing but a stupid legend. Right?

But someone is in the woods. Someone is watching. And he knows all their secrets, secrets they can’t tell anyone—not even each other.

“Monsters don’t exist.”

Lisa’s just being paranoid. At least that’s what Tracy thinks. But when a disturbing “gift” confirms her worst fears, it sets the girls on a dangerous journey that takes them beyond the edge of the woods. But reality is more terrifying than the most chilling myth, and what they find will test the bonds of friendship, loyalty, and love.

“Once upon a time, two girls were lost in the woods.”

In Barbara’s Stewart’s What We Knew, Tracy and Lisa can’t destroy the evil they’ll face, but can they stop it from destroying each other?

Review

Barbara Stewart is an author that delivers. She has an authentic and original narrative voice. Her first book, The In-Between deeply disturbed me. I found myself discussing it with friends months and months after I finished reading it. She is the type of writer whom has the capability to write stories that leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Much like her previous work, What We Knew is not a book that is neatly tied up with a bow. There are many questions that are left unanswered, many situations unresolved and left solely for the reader to interpret for themselves the outcome. Normally, this infuriates me. Stewart makes it work. She makes her readers continue thinking about her characters and their world long after the book has met its end. She makes her readers really and truly think outside of the box…I love that.

I loved the sinister vibe this book gave off. I will admit, when reading the synopsis the idea of a villain named Banana Man had me giggling. I couldn’t help but picture the Banana Guards from Adventure Time.

tumblr_n21oe3irah1sv5dnfo1_500Rest assured, Banana Man is nothing like the Banana Guards. For such a ridiculous name, he redeems himself with his creepy legend.

The reader instantly becomes part of the team of protagonists. This is a YA book where the teens ACTUALLY behave like teens (shocking, I know). Much more than a typical YA spooky story. So many avenues are explored that one would never expect from the albeit vague synopsis. More than a scary story, the book explores so many avenues that I can’t mention without giving away major spoilers.

There is great darkness in this story. Darkness from the structure that is a typical horror story. Even deeper darkness from the underlying humane elements and how we navigate through the things we endure growing up. Again, I will say, without spoilers there is much more to this story than teens running around in terror from a Urban Legend.

This book will make your heart jump, and break your heart. It so much deeper than I expected, and I think that’s why I loved it so much.

Thank you, Raincoast Books for the review copy.

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Fashion: Munster Madness!


1616430_10152234554850908_943087229_nEtsy is one of my favourite online marketplaces to shop. Veras Eyecandy being one of the reasons. This Los Angeles designer sells her upcycled and signature handmade designs internationally.

Her current lineup that I’m gushing over?

Fred_Gwynne_Yvonne_DeCarlo_The_Munsters_1964 THE MUNSTERS!

Check it out, and if you’re in the USA, act quickly for free shipping!

il_570xN.748374484_3x15il_570xN.794407159_4ajkil_570xN.768975576_scv8

iusb_760x100.13477853_ent3Fun Fact: Every design on Vera’s Eyecandy can be customized exactly as you wish, different dress cuts can be made with the print of your choosing. YAY!

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/veraseyecandy

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Fashion: Adventure Time Fun Fashion


fashionAdventure Time Fun Fashion

Crew neck tee
18 CAD – pinkqueen.com

Underwear panty
19 CAD – etsy.com

Blue handbag
20 CAD – bluebanana.com

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Book Review: Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries #11) by Meg Cabot


Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries #11 by Meg Cabot) 

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Published: June 2nd 2015

SYNOPSIS

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding—but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia’s gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn’t need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother’s leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?

Review

MIA! MIA! MIA! Millions of girls around the world have missed you.

Adult Mia!

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OH MY GOSH.

I can’t even properly articulate how excited I was to read this book.

I loved, loved, LOVED this book. Meg Cabot is a one-of-a-kind writer. A writer thatI have adored since childhood and will continue to do so for years to come. Her literary voice is one that is unmatched. Whatever path she chooses to take, she will always be heard and praised by readers everywhere.

It was such a nice journey to be back alongside Mia and her friends. Cabot delivered the novel fans have been dreaming of. Our darling Mia has grown into an absolutely top notch young woman. Now at 26, she is an intelligent, philanthropic, awkward, witty and her ‘changes’ are ones that readers love. Mia has changed, but her essence remains exactly the same. She is the same character we grew up with and loved.

The transition writing teen characters into adults is quite tricky. It is really hit and miss. Sweet Valley made a brief return several years back, it wasn’t satisfying for the readers whom grew up with the stories from darling and daring California twins.

All of the factors that worked against Sweet Valley and made it such a disappointment, Cabot mastered in Royal Wedding. Her writing was consistent and true to the world of the Princess Diaries. Mia matured, but her spirit remained the same and that is what made this story so stunning.

I could gush more, but that would potentially spoil the beauty that is the story. I will end up with, a very enthusiastic YAY and I couldn’t be more pleased with this book.

My inner child thanks you, Meg Cabot.

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Pop Culture: Funko Pop! Castiel Spotlight


By now everyone is familiar with Funko’s uber cute Pop! vinyl figures. For such a simple design, these little characters sure pack an adorable punch. Funko is known to release multiple versions of single characters. Sometimes the variations are as simple as clothing changes, eye colours, etc. Regardless, the more the merrier!

Check out one of my favourite character collections, Supernatural’s beloved Angel, Castiel.

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SDCC 2015

SDCC 2015

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Hot Topic Exclusive, Winged Castiel

Hot Topic Exclusive, Winged Castiel

Hot Topic Exclusive, Leviathan Castiel

Hot Topic Exclusive, Leviathan Castiel

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Book Review: Say Her Name by James Dawson


Say Her Name by James Dawson

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Published: June 5th 2014

SYNOPSIS

Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of ‘Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror… five days… but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before… A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted ‘Queen of Teen’ author James Dawson.

Review

First off, I need to mention how many strange reactions I received when I shared that, ‘Say Her Name is such a good book’ many of my friends thought my reading tastes had suddenly taken a drastic change :p That offered up quite a few laughs when I explained the premise of the book.

Bloody Mary is absolutely terrifying. Every interpretation of the folk story, urban legend, myth–whatever you want to call it, is horrifying. Imagine, chanting a name in a mirror and then being haunted by a mirror? No thanks!

There has been a trend in recent years of resurrecting the Bloody Mary character for chilling new stories. I loved her appearance in Supernatural and other YA novels, (which I won’t name because Say Her Name kicks their butts!)

I absolutely loved the atmosphere in Say Her Name. The novel opens with a flashback scene and transitions to the present.  A boarding school  in the UK on Halloween night— the perfect recipe for chills and thrills.

The back story of this version of the legend is presented palpably and is one of the most horrifying renditions of Mary I’ve encountered in my many years of being a horror junkie. After being summoned, the foolish ones that called out to Mary live through five-days of terror before meeting their demise.

In most horror stories it is very hard to like the characters. Often as reader we just question their intelligence and why they continuously do the ridiculous things they do to taunt the entity/spirit/demon/ghoul etc. Say Her Name was a breath of fresh air, I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters story lines. The protagonist was likeable and wasn’t the typical damsel in distress.

The story springs to life from the pages and you’ll find it impossible to put this book down…and a bit impossible to glance at mirrors without feeling a bit of unease.

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