May 2019 Wrap-Up

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

May was definitely one of my most successful reading month so far this year! Not only did I read seven books, but I read quite a books that I rated 4-5 stars! This month was also my birthday month, and I attended Penguin Teen Social 2019!


The first book I read this month was LOVE FROM A TO Z by S.K. Ali. This book features a lovely YA romance, as well as an important discussion about racism. You can read my full review for this book here. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC!


The second book I read this month was TESTIMONY FROM YOUR PERFECT GIRL by Kaui Hart Hemmings. This book was really interesting, because the more I think about my initial 2.25 stars, I feel like I should have rated it a bit higher, since I really did enjoy most of the story. You can read my full review here. Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for the ARC!

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The third book I read this month was RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston. This book is currently in contention with another book in this months wrap up (read below) for potentially being my number one book of 2019! I loved this book with my entire heart and soul, and am currently in the process of forcing everyone I know to read it! You can read my full review here. Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending me a finished copy!


The fourth book I read this month was BRIGHT BURNING STARS by A.K. Small. This book was so much darker than I anticipated, but I still ended up enjoying it! I participated in the blog tour for this one, and you can read my full review here. Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with an eARC and selecting me to participate in the blog tour!


The fifth book I read this month was BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo. According to my Goodreads, I read Meredith’s first book and gave it 5 stars, so it is not much of a surprise that I ended up really enjoying this one, too! You can read my full review here. Thanks to Raincoast Books for the ARC!


The sixth book I read this month was AMELIA WESTLAKE WAS NEVER HERE by Erin Gough. This was my second favourite book that I read this month! You can read my full review here. Thanks to HBG Canada for sending me the ARC!


The last book I read this month was THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez. This may or may not be my favourite book of the entire year… but, you’ll have to wait until next week to read my full review! Thanks to HBG Canada for sending me a finished copy!

And those were all of the books that I read in May! How many books did you read this month? Which one was your favourite?

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Do you ever read a book over the span of a few days and literally love every second of it?! This was my experience with AMELIA WESTLAKE WAS NEVER HERE by Erin Gough! This book released in early April 2018 in the UK, and was released in North America just a few weeks ago.


Synopsis (

Two very different girls, and one giant hoax that could change – or ruin – everything.
Harriet Price has the perfect life: she’s a prefect at Rosemead Grammar, she lives in a mansion, and her gorgeous girlfriend is a future prime minister. So when she risks it all by creating a hoax to expose the school’s many problems – with help from notorious bad-girl Will Everheart, no less – Harriet tells herself it’s because she’s seeking justice. And definitely not because she finds Will oddly fascinating.
But as Will and Harriet’s campaign heats up, it gets harder for them to remain sworn enemies – and to avoid being caught. As tensions burn throughout the school, how far will they go to keep their mission – and their feelings for each other – a secret?

This book was EVERYTHING I love in YA contemporary novels! It featured two fierce female characters, an all girls private school setting, and some amazing turning points.

Will and Harriet are two of my new favourite YA characters. I felt an attachment with them right from the beginning of the novel, and I could see elements from each of them in myself. They both had two very distinct voices, but meshed together seamlessly. The interactions they had with each other and their own friends were both hilarious and emotional at times.

Books about high-school teenagers set in private schools are some of my favourite books to read. They always consist of a lot of drama and angst, and this one featured all of that and more! I appreciated the ratio of events that took place at school, with both the teachers and their friends, as well as the events that took place outside of school and with their own families. Usually I find something in a book that I would have liked to read about more, but I couldn’t find anything in this book that I would have enjoyed reading more about!

This book was set in Australia, which is where the author is from as well. I don’t think I have ever read a book set in Australia, and I loved reading common phrases that are well known there but not in North America!

This book talks about a lot of important and deep messages. Both of the protagonists in this novel are queer, and a few of their friends are people of colour. This novel also consists a deep discussion about sexual assault, and what exactly defines it. I found these discussions fascinating, and I enjoyed hearing many sides of the topic.

Perhaps one of my favourite parts of this books is something that is not actually included in the book, but rather the ending acknowledgements. Erin Gough shares with readers that while it says “Amelia Westlake Was Never Here”, it turns out that Amelia Westlake was here! She was a hoax that Erin and two of her friends came up with in their final year in high school! Isn’t that so cool?!

Overall, I absolutely loved this book, and rated it 5/5 stars! Thanks to HBG Canada for the ARC!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Birthday by Meredith Russo (ARC)

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May 27 (the day this is being posted) is my birthday!!! Since I had an ARC of BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo, I thought it would be great to post my full review of it on my real birthday! Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending me the ARC (and thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes!)!


Synopsis (

Boyhood meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this unconventional love story about two teens bonded for life when they are born on the same day at the same time by award-winning author Meredith Russo!
Two kids, Morgan and Eric, are bonded for life after being born on the same day at the same time. We meet them once a year on their shared birthday as they grow and change: as Eric figures out who he is and how he fits into the world, and as Morgan makes the difficult choice to live as her true self. Over the years, they will drift apart, come together, fight, make up, and break up—and ultimately, realize how inextricably they are a part of each other.

WOW! This book was so much deeper and more intense than I ever expected it to be. It brought up so many important messages, and things that are (unfortunatley) very relevant to society today. I usually prefer books that span over a long time period, rather than slice of life stories, so I knew I would enjoy this one right from the gecko!

I loved the story/plot in this book. I have never read a book written in the perspective of somebody yearning to transition into the opposite sex. Obviously I have read about transgender characters, but I have never read from a main perspective of someone who is hoping to transition. It was so crazy (and so sad) to see how many ups and downs the character went through throughout the novel. It was really easy to immerse myself in both perspectives (this is a dual POV story), and I felt a lot of emotion for both characters throughout the story.

One of my favourite aspects of the story was reading birthday letters that Morgan’s mom had left for Morgan to read after she passed away from cancer. They were so emotional, and somehow related to different aspects of Morgan’s life that were taking place at the time of reading the letter. And while we never got to meet Morgan’s mom, I felt like I understand their relationship and how much they loved each other.

This book was a really fast read. It’s less than 300 pages, and the font was quite big. The writing style is also very quick and effortless, and it made the story very easy to read. I found that at some points the writing was a bit choppy, and that got better as the book progressed.

Even though the ending made me cry, I still thought that it was a bit rushed. I would have loved to have read more about the last birthday that is featured in the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and rated it 4.25/5 stars! Thanks again to Raincoast Books for the ARC!

Good Night Book Owls!

Penguin Teen Social 2019 Recap!

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On Thursday May 23, 2019, at 5:30pm, I attended the Penguin Teen Social, which is a YA event hosted by the amazing team at Penguin Teen Canada! This was my first time at the Penguin Random House Canada offices, and they were so beautiful (even the sign outside was gorgeous – see below)!

Photo Credit: @readwithmallory (Instagram)

After I stepped off of the elevator, there was a long check-in line, that actually forced me to stand in the other side of the Penguin offices! In there, I believe I saw the real reception desk and shelves.


After I checked-in, I met up with my friend Amy (@readingwithamy – Instagram), and met Dayla (@daylafm – Instagram) and Mallory (@readwithmallory)! We were introduced to the entire Penguin Teen Canada team, as well as the guest authors!

Photo Credit: @PenguinTeenCa (Instagram)

The authors at this years PTS were Jeff Zentner (Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matineeread my full review here), Lesley Livingston (The Triumphant), Heather T. Smith (Chicken Girlread my full review here), Tanaz Bhathena (The Beauty Of The Moment), and Laura Sebastian (Lady Smoke)!


From there, we had about two hours to mingle and chat with other local bloggers and authors! There were author signings every fifteen minutes and I got two books signed!


These are all of the books they were featuring at this years’ Penguin Teen Social!


They had TV screens in different corners of the room, which featured their Summer 2019 Line-Up, which obviously features some fantastic books! THESE WITCHES WON’T BURN and GIRL GONE VIRAL are two of my highly anticipated releases for this season, and I hope to get around to reading them once they release!


One of Penguins new campaigns for the second-half of 2019 is #Penguin10, a list featuring the top-10 books you need to read this fall! My most anticipated releases from this list are AMERICAN ROYALS, FRANKLY IN LOVE, and THE BABYSITTERS COVEN!


Right before the end of the event, I took a picture with Amy and the official Penguin of Penguin Random House Canada!

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These were the four books I received at the Penguin Teen Social Event!

Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada (more specifically Sam Devotta – so lovely to meet you!) for inviting me to this amazing event! I had a fantastic time meeting everyone and chatting about books!

Good Night Book Owls!

5-Star Predictions: Spring 2019 Reflection

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Earlier this year, I shared my top 5-star predictions of the Spring (which books I thought I would read and rate 5-stars). Even though I only read four of the six featured, I thought it would be fun to reflect on those predictions and see which ones (if any!) I ended up rating 5-stars! You can see my original predictions here.


The first book that I mentioned in my initial post was LOVE & OTHER CURSES by Michael Thomas Ford. While I expected to love this book, I sadly did not. This YA contemporary was just OK for me, but definitely did not blow me out of the water in any way. You can read my full review here. Thanks to HCC Frenzy for the ARC!


The next book I featured was YOU MUST NOT MISS by Katrina Leno. Even though this wasn’t a full five stars for me, I still really enjoyed it! It was a very unique mix of suspense and paranormal activity, and it was so interesting! You can read my review here. Thanks to HBG Canada for the ARC!


I then featured AGAIN, BUT BETTER by Christine Riccio. This is the first book on this list that I ADORED and gave a full 5-star rating to! I LOVED this YA contemporary, and it was even better than I expected! You can read my full review here. Thanks to Raincoast Books for the ARC!


The last book on my Spring 5-star predictions post was THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I gave this one 5-stars as well, and loved it! Evelyn Hugo definitely lived up to all of the hype, and the writing in this one was absolutely phenomenal!

I gave two out of four of my initial 5-star predictions a 5-star rating, which I think is excellent! Did you read any 5-star releases this month? Let me know in the comments!

Good Night Book Owls!

GUEST POST: Raquel Rich, author of Hamartia

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Today I have a very special guest post to share with you written by Raquel Rich, author of Hamartia! I have been in contact with Raquel over the past few months, and in truth, I owe her a review of her novel! However, I have been so busy with reading and reviewing ARCs, and since I love chatting with her, I wanted to feature a post written by her specifically for you (my blog readers)! Please enjoy a wonderfully written post about Raquel and her battle with procrastination (something that I think we can all relate to), more specifically the Procrastination Demon and the Elephant (yes, you read that right!).

I’m a writer and an experienced procrastinator. If this is also you, you may find comfort in this guest post. It otherwise contains no words of wisdom. It’s a short read, though (3min), so you can get right back to doing whatever you’re putting off by reading this entry.

I started writing this guest post to procrastinate from editing my work in progress. I researched the topic of procrastination which then caused me to put off writing this post. While researching, I came across an interesting article about elephants. How could I resist? I love elephants!

And this is how some of my days go as a full-time writer. I have to wonder if I spend less time writing now than I did when I only wrote on weekends. Though, when I wrote part-time, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses either. I suffered many long bouts of writer’s block (which, by the way, weirdly mimics procrastination).

Before I stumbled on the first elephant article, I read somewhere that the act of procrastination comes from negative emotions. In short, we put things off that don’t bring us pleasure. Sure. I get that. I don’t like doing the dishes or cleaning bathrooms. Except, I love storytelling. I want to be a writer. I am putting off the act of doing something I love and want. And what’s worse? Sometimes I clean the bathroom instead of writing. Why?

Here’s my take on it. Procrastination isn’t the problem, it’s the symptom. If you’re a writer, especially a newish one, you’ll not only understand but you’ll likely share the same problems. Yes, we love to write, but there are negative emotions attached to the craft and that’s why we procrastinate (and label it as writer’s block). For me, the negative emotions have been identified and narrowed down to two problems:
Negative emotion (problem) #1 – Fear of failure

There’s a little demon who sits on my shoulder and tells me that book one, Hamartia, is a one-hit wonder and I should quit while I’m ahead. It warns me that book two will flop and I should save myself the embarrassment and go back to my day job. Funny how that works. If book one had sucked, I wouldn’t have written book two. But book one didn’t suck and now I’m worried it was a fluke. I’ve set myself up for failure, the very thing I’m afraid of. The irony is absolutely infuriating.

As promised at the start of this post, I have no words of wisdom (sorry). Other than reminding myself that life will move on even if I fail and I’d rather fail than never know if I could’ve succeeded, I have no solution. I’m not the first writer to spend my days learning about elephants when I should be writing and I certainly won’t be the last. Writing. Is. Hard. And you know what? Yes, my next book might suck, but what if it doesn’t?

Side note: If you’re in the business of selling magical fairy dust for such problems, hit me up.

Negative emotion (problem) #2 – The overwhelming size of the project. Books have a lot of words!

The first draft of book two flowed out of me like a river. But with each round of revision, the river slowly dried up and there was no motivation in the forecast. By the time I made it to draft six, I was in the throes of a drought. There were over 300 hundred pages to organize, to weave backstory in and out of, to fill in gaping plot holes, and to stabilize the flow of. It was daunting. Just thinking about the effort brought on a tiny bellyache.

Again, no wise words, but here’s what keeps me going when I’m feeling overwhelmed: elephants. I ask myself the age-old question: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I break the manuscript down into tiny morsels I can chew on. I choose one chapter or one element, usually the easiest and shortest, and I revise that one thing before moving on to the next. Looking at 300 pages worth of words gives me a bellyache. Looking at a short chapter is manageable and on days when even that seems like a lot, I look at one page, one paragraph, one sentence. Forward motion is better than no motion at all. Have you got any tips and tricks?

In summary, here are four fun facts about elephants I didn’t know before:
1. Elephants can’t jump.
2. Elephants lose their first set of tusks and teeth just like humans.
3. Girl power! Female elephants lead the herd.
4. Eating an elephant in one sitting will give you a bellyache.

And if you want to read more (procrastinate from what you should be doing), here are two posts about self-doubt and fear of failure from my personal blog,

How I wrote my first book – Fearless chicken-shit

How it feels getting fifty rejections – Piss-off, self-doubt. I’m trying to write a book!

Raquel Rich is a proud Canadian author and a member of Broad Universe: an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative genres. She will be reading from her new book Hamartia and taking questions at the Toronto Public Library (190 Fort York BLVD) on Thursday, June 18th, at 6:30pm. Drop-in, no registration required.


Isn’t she fantastic? I must say that normally when I share guest posts I don’t usually love the topic the author has written about, or think that they haven’t put a ton of effort into it, but I genuinely loved this post and hope you did as well!

Thanks again to Raquel Rich for writing this post for my blog! You can purchase a copy of HAMARTIA here (Chapters Indigo – Canada), here (Barnes & Noble), or here (Amazon), among other places.

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small {BLOG TOUR}

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

From the ages of 4 until 14, I used to dance very frequently at a local dance studio. One of my favourite things in the entire world (to this very day!) is dancing, and I have been working at a dance day-camp over the past two summers! When I first heard about BRIGHT BURNING STARS, a book featuring two best friends who meet at a Ballet Academy in Paris and take us through their lives in their last year at the academy, I couldn’t resist the urge to read it. Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for selecting me to participate in the Blog Tour!

As always, this review is spoiler free!


Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.
But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other. (Synopsis provided by Algonquin Young Readers.)

This book was so different than what I expected. While the initial synopsis seems eery, this book actually turned out to be very dark. It delved into a lot of deep topics, which in hindsight, should have been expected from reading the previews.

One of the most interesting things about this story was the two main characters, Marine and Kate, two best friends that formed a close bond throughout their early days at the Paris Opera Ballet School. While they seemed similar in the beginning, they developed into two very different young women. The timing of the chaos in their lives parallels, however they deal with their issues very differently. It was almost like they were written by two different authors!

Throughout the novel, one of my favourite features was the frequent incorporation of common french phrases and words. I haven’t been in a french class in quite a while, so it was fun for me to try and remember what these phrases meant and how they related to the events that the two characters were in. But if you don’t speak or know any French, don’t fret! There are english definitions provided for you after most of the phrases/words.

As I wrote previously, this book was much darker than I assumed it would be. There are a lot of triggering themes in this novel, including an eating disorder, mental illness, emotionally abusive friendships and relationships, discussions about suicide, abortion, and more. While I don’t want to spoil anything for you, I will say that if this book is a realistic fictional way of describing things that go on in real life ballet academies, I am so glad that I never went into one. Not only are the ballerinas constantly battling with each other to be on top of the rankings, they are also dealing with internal and social problems that occur outside of dance. It is scary to think that these things might happen regularly.

Besides the darker themes, there is a lot of cliche teenage drama. SO much drama. Including relationships, jealousy, and appearance. Personally, I could have done without a lot of it, but I understand why so much of it was left in the book.

I would have loved to have read more about their lives inside dance studios, and more about their daily schedules, routines, and course-loads, as they are not discussed majorly at all within this story. I would have also enjoyed to see more diverse characters in the novel, as I assumed that all of them were white and heterosexual.

The writing in this novel was another thing that I enjoyed a lot. I found the pacing quite irregular and inconsistent, which brought a long many unexpected twists. However, the writing style may not be for everyone.

Overall, I found this book very captivating and interesting, and I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

Now it’s time for a little Q&A!

Angela Small credit _Becky Thurner Braddock

Q: How did you write BRIGHT BURNING STARS? All at once or did you outline the story?
A: I wrote it all at once but multiple times! I’m trying to learn how to outline. Man, is it hard. My brain goes to the creative before the analytical.

Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? Which of your characters do you most identify with, and why?
A: I think that the most surprising aspect of character building is that it took me years to understand and relate to Kate. I had to spend a long time with her before she finally clicked on the page.I identify with Marine because M and I both believe that any artistic success comes not from talent but from sweat and grit.

Q: What gave you the idea for BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
A: I wrote a short story titled The Art of Jealousy and then I knew I wanted to write a larger piece.

Q: Do you have a favourite scene, quote, or moment from BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
A: I love the scene where Marine dances to Biggie Smalls and there is a Luc scene I adore but I don’t want to give it away.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A: I would tell her never to forget about the magic of process and to always trust her instincts.

Q: What is on your current TBR pile?
A: The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robbin Brown, Wilder Girls by Rory Power, How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox, Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. I’m a sucker for books. I LOVE to read.

Q: Do you write to music? If so, what artist were you listening to while writing BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
A: I usually don’t, but as I was trying to figure Kate out I listened to Unsteady by X Ambassadors and I put on classical piano pieces, literal ballet music, while I worked on studio scenes for atmosphere and rhythm purposes.

Thank you for reading my review of BRIGHT BURNING STARS by A.K. Small! Thanks again to Algonquin Young Readers for including me in your blog tour! BRIGHT BURNING STARS officially hits shelves on May 21, and I recommend that you pick up a copy if you enjoy books focusing on dance and the dark struggles of competition and pressure.

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I don’t usually post reviews for books that I purchase/books that are not ARCs. That being said, I REALLY want to document these thoughts and put them into a formal review post, since this book may or may not be my MOST FAVOURITE BOOK OF THE YEAR…!!!!!!!

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Synopsis (

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.
The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

WOW. This book is literally my new favourite book in the entire world. While I LOVE my mystery/thriller novels, I cannot think of a better book that I have read so far this year.

My biggest guilty pleasure is American politics. I love watching CNN and MSNBC with my Dad practically every day and learning about all of the new developments that are going on within the United States of America. When I heard that this novel had a big focus on American politics since Alex is the First Son of the United States (his MOM is the first female president ever!), I knew that I needed to read it! There was a PERFECT mix of politics/policy and romance, and I loved every second of it.

Alex and Henry are my new favourite OTP (one true pairing)! They are the best couple in any book that I have ever read, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop gushing about them. I also LOVED all of the other characters, including June, Nora, Pez, Bea, Rafael, and the list goes on and on! All of the characters were so well developed and had great distinct personalities.

The overall character representation of this novel is truly brilliant! A lot of the characters in this book have a wide-range of sexual orientations and backgrounds, which I really appreciated reading!

One of my favourite things about this book was the writing. It was very easy to understand, but it also had included many deep messages. It was only after I finished the novel that I found out that this is Casey McQuiston’s DEBUT novel, and quite frankly, I was SHOCKED! She has definitely secured her spot on my very short list of auto-buy authors!

Last night, when I finished the book, my phone was at 1%, but I managed to put together a mini review on Goodreads, and I want to leave you with it…


Good Night Book Owls!

P.S. I am running a giveaway on my Instagram of STAR-CROSSED by Minnie Darke, and you can enter it here!

Alyssa’s Reviews – The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (eARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I have been LOVING contemporary/romance books lately, and when I first heard about this book I practically squealed! This book has honestly one of the best synopsis’ I have ever heard, so to say that I had high expectations was an understatement (especially after hearing other people rave about Christina Lauren’s previous books)! Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an eARC!


Synopsis (

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

This book contained basically every trope that I love in contemporary/romance books all wrapped up in one book! I absolutely adored this novel, and enjoyed it even more than I expected to! Since this one was provided to me as an eARC and I normally read eBooks extremely quickly, I actually read this one all in one day even though it is over 400 pages!

I loved all of the characters in this novel! I felt so emotionally attached to all of them, and cared so deeply about all of the things that were happening to them. I literally cried three separate times over the last 15% of the book, which definitely shows you how much I enjoyed reading about these characters! Olive and Ethan are two of my new favourite bookish characters, and I absolutely fell in love with their relationship. One of my favourite things to read about in all novels – no matter what genre they fall into – is having a great family dynamic. I love reading about large families with a lot of either love or hatred towards each other, and the family in this book was all full of love! This trope was actually very unexpected (as it doesn’t say anything about a large family) in the synopsis, but I thought it added a lot of love into the story. Additionally, Olive and Ami’s parents’ relationship was hilarious to read about!

Two of my favourite tropes in novels are fake dating and hate to love relationships. This novel included both of them, and Christina Lauren wrote them so well! While Olive and Ethan had quite a toxic relationship at the beginning of the novel, they (very) slowly started seeing the light in each other (no spoilers here, though!). Overall, their relationship was written so well and with so much passion.

Since most of the novel takes place during the honeymoon, the setting of Hawaii was exceptional and so beautiful to read. Hawaii is on my “dream vacations” bucket list and I hope to get there one day! In the mean time, I love reading books that are set in Hawaii, and this one featured so many amazing places (from tropical beaches to a paintball facility!).

The plot of this story was so unique and quirky! I enjoyed every second of it, and thought that it was super creative. I also enjoyed the comments about the theme of “luck”, and whether or not luck is a true thing, or if it all depends on peoples’ perspective and outlooks on life. Every single person I have talked to about this book brings up that they think it sounds like a great rom-com movie, and I hope one day this book is made into a movie since I think it would be fantastic!

As I said before, the writing in this novel was so charming and fantastic! I loved reading from Olive’s perspective, since she was written with great wit and humour. The writing was very descriptive, but also concise. All of the events that took place in the story were all relevant and necessary to advance the flow of the main plot, which I always think is so important in all books.

Overall, I loved every second of this novel and gave it 5/5 stars! Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an eARC!

This book is scheduled to be released TOMORROW, so make sure you pick it up in your local bookstore!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Testimony From Your Perfect Girl by Kaui Hart Hemmings (ARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

About two weeks ago, I received a lovely package of three Spring ARCs, and Testimony From Your Perfect Girl was among them! I have been intrigued by this one for a while, especially since she wrote The Descendants (a popular book that I have heard great things about). Since this one was only 250 pages, I actually ended up reading it in one day!


Synopsis (

Annie Tripp has everything she needs–Italian sweaters, vintage chandelier earrings, and elite ice skating lessons–but all that changes when her father is accused of scamming hundreds of people out of their investments. Annie knows her dad wasn’t at fault, but she and her brother are exiled to their estranged aunt and uncle’s house in a run-down part of Breckenridge–until the trial blows over.
Life with her new family isn’t quite up to Annie’s usual standard of living, but surprisingly, pretending to be someone else offers a freedom she’s never known. As Annie starts to make real friends for the first time, she realizes she has more in common with her aunt and uncle than she ever wanted to know. As the family’s lies begin to crumble and truths demand consequences, Annie must decide which secrets need to see the light of day . . . and which are worth keeping.

Unfortunately, this book is definitely not one of my new favourites.

Before I start this review, I want to preface that this book should be identified as New Adult, rather than Young Adult. There are a lot of mature events that go on in this novel, which may not be suitable for pre-teen and/or young-teen readers.

Now that you have been warned, let’s cut to the chase. This book basically entered around a minor sex scene that takes place around page 130. This scene set up a lot of the crazy things that happen to Annie, the protagonist, as this leads to her becoming more comfortable with her Aunt and Uncle due to the dialogue that results from that event. While I am not exactly a prude, I still think that that scene was so weird and extremely cringe-worthy.

I also really didn’t like any of the characters. I appreciated Annie’s aunt and uncle, as I found them very real and down-to-earth. However, I never found myself rooting for Annie or Jay (Annie’s brother). I didn’t really care about what happened to them, and was more so reading to see how the story would conclude overall. Obviously, I hated Annie and Jay’s parents, but actually ended up hating their Mother more than their Father (even though their father was the reason they were put in such a mess).

The only thing that I really enjoyed about the book was the setting. I loved the wintery scenes that took place, and all of the scenes that took place in their Uncle’s restaurant. While I am not one that loves snow, I loved when Annie was exploring the snowy conditions of the city, and thought that the world building was pretty good.

I also LOVED the epilogue! It was honestly my favourite scene in the entire book.

Overall, I gave this book 2.25/5 stars. Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for the ARC!

Good Night Book Owls!