Friday, 31 July 2015

Books and Tea V - Non-Caffeinated Teas!

I've been working a ton recently, and i've found that nothing makes me happier after a 9 hour shift on a retail floor (barf), than a low caffeine tea to relax me and put me to bed! So read on and see some new pairings!

Main Ingredients: Prickly Pear, Pineapple, and Lemon Grass
This tea is interesting to say the least. There are sips where it's smooth, and sips where the flavour really takes over. Just like All The Rage, there is no rhyme or reason. Everything is a surprise, but it comes together so well that you just can't imagine it happening any other way

Book: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Main Ingredients: Pear and Cranberry
This book is so rich in every aspect. Dazzling characters, intriguing plots, and an atmosphere that demands your attention. And yet, it is so familiar. ADSOM is so suited with a tea that tastes so new, but has that comforting fruity flavour to it. 

Book: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Main Ingredients: Ginger and Peppermint
This book gives you exactly what you'd expect. It's honest, forthcoming, and it hits you hard. Fun Home is one of the most honest books i've ever read, and much like this tea, it's stuck with me.

Hope you guys liked these pairings! Tell me what you think of them, and make sure to tell me which books to pair next!

Happy reading, and happy steeping!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

AudioBook Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Book: Crimson Bound

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Pages: 448 Pages, or 11 Hours

Format: Audio Book


Where to Buy: Amazon CA, Book Depository, Chapters Indigo, Scribd

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

There is something so captivating about Rosamund Hodge's writing. I think that's why I keep going back - she delivers this sense of familiarity in her characters, but her writing is so new, and fresh. I just cannot get enough. Her world's are so crazy and out there, but she makes them seem as normal as sliced bread, and I found myself just accepting it. The only thing that brought me out of it was when my brother would walk past while I was listening and just yell out, "BLOOD BOUND". It still hasn't gotten old.

And this narrator was the perfect choice. Her voice was soothing, but it kept my interest. She had this distinct sense of suspense in her voice that just added to the mysterious atmosphere. I find that an audiobook can make or break a story, and especially with a story that I wanted so badly to love like this one, i'm so grateful that it added to the experience.

Rachelle was probably one of my favourite characters that i've read this year. There was something about her that made me really admire her. She really hated who she was, and what had become of her, but it's as if she had grown up and just come to accept it. She knew that this was her life, and her fate, and she was going to do what she could to make life better for those in her life that she loved. And that was just so inspiring to me.

And this story! It's so rich and it's plot is so well developed that you don't even notice it building in the beginning, and then you suddenly realize that you're in the middle. And you don't notice until you're knee deep in the story and it's far too late to turn back. But yet, you're excited about what's to come. I loved the scenes in the forest, and the flashbacks to Tia and Zisa 

So much of this story is caught up in the emotions and the writing, so I won't go on and on about it because i'm not that mean. I could write a full thesis about the suspense and atmosphere in Rosamund Hodge's novel, but I will just leave you with this - you have to read it to get it. There is this magical aspect that has to be experienced.

So go, my friends, and experience.

5/5 Stars.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Bookish Characters are my life. I love when i'm reading a book and I spot a bookish character. They automatically have this safe and beautiful place in my heart. So this list is made up of those characters. Enjoy! 

Liesel Meminger - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Juliette Ferras - The Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi

Ethan Wate - The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Richard Castle - Castle

Hazel Grace Lancaster - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Elizabeth Bennet - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Matilda - Matilda by Roald Dahl

Owl Eyes - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cath - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Alaska Young - Looking for Alaska by John Green

Tell me what you thought of the list! And link me to your TTT in the comments! Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Book: A Darker Shade of Magic

Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Author: V.E. Schwab

Publisher: Tor Books

Pages: 400 Pages

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library Book

Where to Buy: Amazon CA, Book Depository, Chapters Indigo

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

Victoria Schwab has done it again. She has not only created a full and fascinating world, but created wonderful and memorable characters. In a world this rich, it would have been easy to write half assed characters, and pass it off, but Victoria doesn't do that. She takes her time, and as a result, her characters are able to stand on their own, in any of the Londons that she places them in.

Basically, she knows how to kill her darlings.

I've always been drawn to Victoria's characters first. And while ADSOM has this incredible world - i'll get to that later - her characters here are no different. I just cannot stop thinking about Kell and Lila and Rhy. I'm obsessed with them. I cannot get over how real they feel. They don't feel like characters, but like friends that you've just met but you feel like you've known them your whole life. Their realism and diversity made this such a fun read that I really connected to.

This world really struck me. The fact that there are 4 London's kinda made me hesitant at first. How in the world could this woman flush out 4 very distinctly different worlds, while still setting up a strong plot and introducing characters? Well, i've learned my lesson - never doubt Victoria Schwab. She not only introduced the worlds so easily and without any information dumping, but she gave them each a personality and a tone that shows in her writing. I found myself reading the words differently depending on which London the characters were in and their reactions. I've never done that before.

And that is just a testament to how strong Victoria's writing is. It's solid, innovative, and honestly? It's like nothing i've read before. She has crafted worlds and characters and plotlines that are super literary, and she has found a way to make it easy. There is never a dry or boring moment in the book, but instead the suspense builds slowly, and there is that magical feeling that consistently gets stronger. I am just in awe of this book, and this insanely talented woman.

If you haven't read A Darker Shade of Magic, I would really encourage you to. You'd love this if you're a fan of good writing, magical worlds, and compelling characters. And let's be honest - who isn't?

6/5 Stars.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Review: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home

Author: Alison Bechdel

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

Pages: 234 Pages

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library

Where to Buy: Amazon CA, Book Depository, Chapters Indigo

A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form.
Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books.
When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic — and redemptive.
If you don't already know this about me, I am a huge musical theatre fangirl. I can't sing a lick, but oh I wish I could. So when all of a sudden I start hearing of this new show, called Fun Home, I was interested. I knew it was a graphic memoir, and I knew it centered around Alison Bechdel, a lesbian woman, and that it had received a crap ton of awards. So I picked it up from the library.

Guys. GUYS. This book.

This book is so important. The honesty that this book is infused with is inspiring. It's an absolute experience, getting to relive Alison Bechdel's life with the knowledge and wisdom she now has. She has such an intelligent voice and narration, and her ability to call a spade a spade even when it pertains to her own father and family is nothing that i've seen before.

The story centres around Alison Bechdel, a lesbian woman who grew up in a small Pennsylvania town with her two brothers, her mother, her closeted gay father, and their family business - the Bechdel Funeral Home, or Fun Home. And this story seems bleaks. Dear God, when I read the synopsis, I thought I was in for a doozy. But no. She wrote the truth. This wasn't a cliched story about coming out as a lesbian, or about her father's suicide. This was a story about human identification. It was a story about beginnings, and endings, and identifying with people, and the fear and uncertainty that comes along with it. This is such a specific story that so many people can identify with.

This was one of my first graphic novels, and it so suited this story. Alison Bechdel has stated before that she needs to draw true things, and that she can't trust her memory, so everything you see has an air of truth to it. Seeing things laid out before you in black and white (and hues of blues), makes it more real, and adds a startling layer to the already mind blowing story.

I have to give this a 5/5 Stars. It's a wild ride, and it just sticks with you. I can't stop thinking about it.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Books and Tea IV - Iced Tea

During the Summer, I change up my tea routine a little bit. I break out the herbal teas and fruity infusions, and I love to relax on the porch with a book, and a mason jar of iced tea. So this good me thinking - Which iced teas pair well with some of my summer reads? Read on and find out!

Book: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
Tea: Raspberry Mojito from DAVIDsTEA
Main Ingredients: Raspberry and Mint
Raspberry Mojito is such a flavourful and fresh iced tea, and it makes you want to savour every last drop. Extraordinary Means, is filled with original, refreshing, and spunky writing, making these two, a match made in heaven

Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Tea: Black Cherry by DAVIDsTEA
Main Ingredients: Sour Cherry and Papaya
A tangy twist on the ordinary, this tea reflects Laini Taylor's writing. It's whimsical, sweet with a bit of a bite, and most of all, utterly delicious.

Book: Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
Tea: Electric Lemonade
Main Ingredients: Lemon and Strawberry
This super caffeinated tea is a bit strange at first, but once you've finished your first cup, you're hooked. Just like Hit, this tea has an incredible premise, is a bit weird at first, but will make you fall in love.

Hope you guys liked these pairings! Tell me what you think of them, and make sure to tell me which books to pair next!

Happy reading, and happy steeping!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Review: Veronica Mars and the Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Book: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

Author: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Series: Veronica Mars #1

Publisher: Vintage Books

Pages: 324 Pages

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased Online from

Where to Buy: Amazon CA, Chapters Indigo, Book Depository

From Rob Thomas, the creator of groundbreaking television series and movie Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling new mystery series.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

This was a super weird read for me. Did I think it was a fun read? Kinda. Did the characters and dialog make me invested in the plot? Sure? But was this really the Veronica Mars I know and love? No way in hell. 

Don't get me wrong, there is the essence of Veronica Mars, but there were a lot of things that I was just shaking my head at, going 'she would never say/do/think something like that'. Some of the dialog was just way too corny, and way too cliche, and I get that Veronica Mars is part of the noir genre, but this just felt too out of place. 

Moving on past all of that, I thought it was an enjoyable read. The plot took a few turns that were questionable towards the end, but the characters were really quite interesting to read about. I thought that Thomas and Graham kept really close to the characters of Mac and Wallace, but they really did stray when it came to the characteristics of Veronica... they fell flat. She became cheezy, and cliche, and her backstory became who she was, not the motivation for the things she was doing. 

The writing was... alright. I mean, it was a bit cliche. The suspense wasn't there, and the ending was predictable. I wasn't blown away by anything about this book. It felt like shameless fanservice, and that it was more about producing more Veronica than it was about creating a good and well written story. 

It was this read that got me thinking about how much the cast of Veronica Mars, mainly Kristen Bell, really gave the show heart and soul, and how much Kristen really was Veronica in my eyes. It was her sarcasm, quick wit, and emotional performance that really hit me hard, and without that, I felt like this just fell flat.

I mean, if you're a Marshmallow, you might like this, but be warned that it really isn't the Veronica we know and love.

1/5 stars.