Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane | Waiting on Wednesday

October 19, 2016 / 2 Comments / Book Memes, Waiting on Wednesday

Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane | Waiting on WednesdayMaud

Author: Melanie J. Fishbane
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Publication date: May 16th 2017
Buy It: | | | B&N

For the first time ever, a young adult novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman's place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister's stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren't a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn't sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.

But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother's plans for her, which threaten Maud's future — and her happiness forever.

Guys. Gather round. Let me tell you a story.

So it’s no secret that Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite heroines of all time. I’ve been fascinated with her and with author L.M. Montgomery for a very long time.

So when I first heard about MAUD, a YA novel based on Montgomery’s teen life a few years ago? I freaked out.

Not only did I hear about it, but I heard about it from a friend. My friend Melanie Fishbane, who I met through book blogging.

And the reason she was telling me about it? Because she wrote it.

And let me tell you, Melanie KNOWS about L.M. Montgomery. Not only has she done extensive research on Montgomery, but we’ve also had a ton of conversations about YA lit, Anne, Montgomery’s other big heroine Emily of New Moon, the movies, even Green Gables Fables, a modernized webseries adaptation.

(Our latest observation? Teen Maud would have totally loved Taylor Swift).

Last week, Melanie unveiled this gorgeous cover on Bustle. I’m so excited for her, and also so excited to finally read Maud’s story. I’m looking forward to swoons and a heroine I can totally relate to.

Is MAUD on your To Be Read list? What are you waiting for this week? Let me know and I’ll stop by!

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

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GIVEAWAY: Who’s your favorite #BossBabe? | Boss Babes by Michelle Volansky

October 17, 2016 / 6 Comments / Book Extras, Giveaway, Giveaways

Hey guys, today I have a special post for you! Workman Publishing very kindly sent me a copy of their new colouring and activity book, Boss Babes. As you’ll see below, this book is all about celebrating the strong ladies in our lives – both the ones we see on the news, and each other.

Since today is National Boss’ Day, I’m sharing a US/Canada giveaway for the book, along with my thoughts and bonus! A colouring of one of my fave boss babes. Scroll down to enjoy!

GIVEAWAY: Who’s your favorite #BossBabe? | Boss Babes by Michelle VolanskyBoss Babes

Author: Michelle Volansky
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Source: Finished copy from Workman Publishing (thank you!)
Format: Paperback
Buy It: | | | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository

A playful and play-filled ode to strong women, BOSS BABES is a coloring and activity book filled with fun facts and whimsical black-and-white line drawings celebrating female powerhouses from Beyonce to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dolly Parton to Malala, Tina Fey to Serena Williams. On every page is a portrait to color or an activity to complete: Connect the dots to conjure J.K. Rowling s patronus. Complete the Beyonce crossword (12-DOWN: Who run the world?). Decorate Flo-Jo s nails, decode Cher s most recent tweet, design a new jabot for RBG, color in Frida Kahlo s flowers, and more!"

Boss Babes is an absolutely adorable colouring and activity book. Warning, though: serious colouring enthusiasts, this might be too easy for you. The illustrations are simple line drawings, without too much detail. For anyone who’s just getting into colouring though, I finished colouring my piece in less than 45 minutes, and had a ton of fun. I really enjoyed a lot of the silly puzzles, including crosswords, word searches, mazes, etc.

This is the Beyonce spread from the book – so cute, right?

For adults, Boss Babes will bring the nostalgia. For teens and younger girls, it’s a great book to share and discuss the great female role models in our lives.

A great gift for any boss babe or feminist in your life.


I had a really hard time deciding who my boss babe from the book was going to be. There are so many people in this book I really, really admire – from politicians to scientists to activists. But in the end, I went with the singer-songwriter who has captured my heart in the last three years. 

I decided to do a classic coloring for this – nothing too out of the ordinary for Ms. Swift because I wanted it to be a representation of her. I did try my best to get the markings on Olivia Benson (Taylor’s cat) right. And the first thing I colored were the red lips!

Yup, that’s right, I went with Taylor Swift. I listen to Taylor when I need a boost, a pick-me-up, a reminder of both the heartbreak in life as well as the joys.

So I know this is a controversial choice given all the media attention around Taylor Swift. But here’s the thing: I feel like Taylor has always, ALWAYS been all about girl power, before she even really knew what it was. It’s because of her belief in herself and determination that she became a singer and a songwriter. And it’s because of her honesty in her songs that she’s a household name.

Does she make mistakes? Yes. And unfortunately for her, every mistake – every move she makes, is documented and analyzed. Like a lot of young people, Taylor is still learning what it means to be a feminist. She’s got the principles, but she’s not quite there – but she does seem willing to learn. And if that is inspiring billions of girls around the world to believe in themselves and to be honest and out there with who they are? That’s what a boss babe does.

Who’s your boss babe? Who is the female you look up to or have in your heart when you need a boost? Let me know in the comments, and you could win a copy of BOSS BABES! Giveaway below – US/Canada only (sorry, international friends!)

(P.S. If you like Michelle Volansky‘s work, she’s also has pins, cards, and prints available in her Etsy shop – they’re SO cute!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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“Weirdly Passionate” | This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills | Review

October 14, 2016 / 1 Comment / Favorites, Review

“Weirdly Passionate” | This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills | ReviewThis Adventure Ends

Author: Emma Mills
Find the author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Tumblr
Publisher: Macmillan, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Source: Raincoast Books Teens Read Preview Spring 2016
Format: ARC
My rating:
Buy It: | | | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository | iTunes | Google Books

Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.
Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.
Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

Review: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

This Adventure Ends is amazing. There, I got that out of the way. Like First & Then, Emma Mills’ debut, this book continues the author’s ability to articulate teen life in the most deadpan, honest way. Sloane Finch, the MC, is funny, sarcastic, and deeply kind, able to right wrongs, but unable to break herself out of a bubble of not being engaged in things.

Sloane and her family have recently relocated permanently to their summer home in a small town in Florida. When she meets the vivacious Vera Fuller and her brother Gabe, Sloane ends up charming them with her no-nonsense honesty. For Sloane, this means having a group of friends who accept and love each other, something she’s never had before. And it means a distraction from her family life, which is a bit of a mess at the moment.

For her friends, including Vera and Gabe, but also several other characters, it means having an outsider’s perspective on their very close-knit friendships.

Sloane’s father, meanwhile, has always been her closest friend. He’s a Nicholas Sparks-type character, a guy who’s written commercially successful literary romance, but dreams of being Fitzgerald. He’s at an impasse in his career, and he ends up getting big into a fandom and fanfiction – and he takes Sloane with him.

“It’s like my books without the pretension. It’s…unguarded and sincere. It comes from a complete and total love of the characters, and a love of their love–of the idea of love, and that’s what I’m here for, Sloane. Characters you care about. Feelings that are authentic. It doesn’t shy away for one second. I wish I could write something like that.”

Like Sloane herself, the book hides behind its lighter, quippy moments. Yes, there’s hilarity in Sloane’s dad finding out about a teen werewolf show and becoming obsessed with reading alternate universe fanfiction. Yes, I laughed out loud when Sloane’s friends  ask her what the celebrity who stars in the movies based on Mr. Finch’s books smells like. Her answer: “Like a baby who’s just done a lot of cardio.”

But at its core, this book, like Sloane, wants you to feel something deeply, and do something about it. This is what Emma Mills does best. She writes about characters who are at crossroads in their lives, trying to articulate what it is they want to do when they’ve spent their lives not really participating. And it felt so real to me, even as a teen who was a “participant.”

Because sometimes, at 16 or 17, you don’t know what you want to do with your life. And because of that, you don’t take chances that you could take to find out what it is you love – or whether you could make it a passion or career or goal.

“We should all find something to be weirdly passionate about, don’t you think?”

That’s what this story is about, more than anything. Passion. It’s about that feeling you get when you find your perfect story or TV show or movie or talent. The one you can’t stop Googling or talking to all your friends about, so much so that you end up on Tumblr, reblogging all the gifs of your ship. And then, if you’re really into it, you start creating your own worlds from it.

This Adventure Ends celebrates that kind of love – the all-consuming passion of finding the one thing or person you’re meant to be with. And if begs you – and Sloane – to admit that you care about it and own it. Take the chance to make it become more and bigger and better – so that you can become bigger and better, too.


adele laughing jokeThe Giggles: This book legitimately made me laugh out loud a few times. Emma Mills has the incredible ability to articulate, in the most precise, unusual and funny way, the weirdness of a situation, and it’s a joy to read.

Duckie from Pretty in Pink - example of secondary character whos awesomeKick-Arse Secondary Characters: This is one of those books where every secondary character is so real and has so much screen time that you can barely call them secondary. Sloane, her family and her friends are all on their own journeys, but the way they intersect, help and hurt one another? Those connections made this book an incredible read.

quest-journey-legend-of-zeldaIt’s A Quest: This Adventure Ends includes a quest of sorts. I can’t tell you much about it because it’s really nice when you figure out what it is! Like all quests, this one lands the characters in weird and funny situations. But as you keep reading, you realize that the quest is so much less about what’s at the end than the journey.

heart squeezing romanceHeart-Squeezing Romance: I admit, I didn’t get QUITE as swoony with This Adventure Ends as I did in First & Then (EZRA 😍😍😍). But still. This is some serious slow-burning romance, guys, and if you’re here for that, you won’t be disappointed.

Book Theme Song:

Start of Something New from the High School Musical soundtrack

It seems fitting to be putting in a song from a movie that had a huge fandom. And the lyrics totally fit, too.

Living in my own world, didn’t understand
That anything can happen when you take a chance
I never believed in what I couldn’t see
I never opened my heart too all the possibilities, oh

I know that something has changed
Never felt this way
And right here, tonight

This could be the start of something new
It feels so right to be here with you, oh
And now, looking in your eyes
I feel in my heart the start of something new

The Final Word:

This Adventure Ends is definitely a funny read with great, distinctive voices. But more than that, it’s a book where you savour every moment you get to spend with it. It’s a book where you revel in friendship and family and finding the ability to engage in something so deeply that you take action. What that thing and action are is up to you, but This Adventure Ends appreciates that passion –  and makes you want to find it and never let go.


THIS ADVENTURE ENDS is out in bookstores now. Will you be reading it? Have you read Emma Mills’ first book, First & Then? And are you part of any fandoms? What do you love about them? Let me know in the comments!

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Middle Grade Reads #1: Gertie’s Leap to Greatness and Rebel Genius

October 13, 2016 / 2 Comments / Feature, Middle Grade Reads, Mini-Reviews, Review


Hi guys, today I have some middle grade recs for you, courtesy of my husband, Evan! Evan is a mostly comic book reader, with lots of literary fiction interspersed. That said, he’s really interested in the middle grade age group – his favorite cartoons (Adventure Time and Steven Universe) explore that age. So when we saw that Gertie’s Leap to Greatness was illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (one of the artists on Adventure Time), and Rebel Genius was written by the creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra (the cartoons), he volunteered to read and review. Read on for his thoughts!

Middle Grade Reads #1: Gertie’s Leap to Greatness and Rebel GeniusGertie's Leap to Greatness

Author: Kate Beasley
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Source: ARC from Raincoast Books (thank you!)
My rating:
Buy It: | | | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository | iTunes | Google Books | Audible

For fans of Three Times Lucky and The Penderwicks, this endearing new classic spins together sparkling humor, sizzle-pop writing, and a sassy main character with an unforgettable voice.

Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. She has a daddy who works on an oil rig, a great-aunt who always finds the lowest prices at the Piggly Wiggly, and two loyal best friends. So when her absent mother decides to move away from their small town, Gertie sets out on her greatest mission yet: becoming the best fifth grader in the universe to show her mother exactly what she'll be leaving behind. There's just one problem: Seat-stealing new girl Mary Sue Spivey wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there is simply not enough room at the top for the two of them.

From debut author Kate Beasley, and with illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Jillian Tamaki, comes a classic tale of hope and homecoming that will empty your heart, then fill it back up again--one laugh at a time.

“Don’t be mad at me, it’s just one man’s opinion!”

That’s what Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) tells his crying adolescent daughter after insulting the play she wrote and produced all by herself, in The Royal Tenenbaums. The line is both hilarious and tragic, because a parent is never just another person.

Fifth grader Gertie knows this all too well. Gertie lives with her aunt, while her mother – for reasons unknown to her – lives in a house on the other side of town, having completely removed herself from Gertie’s life and upbringing.

Gertie’s journey in this book starts when she sees a “For Sale” sign on her mother’s lawn. Suddenly, Gertie makes it her mission to become the best fifth grader ever, because this is her last chance to prove to her mother that she doesn’t need her – she is doing just fine on her own, thank you very much. Oh, and nice job abandoning such an amazing daughter, ya dummy!

At least that’s how Gertie spins it, but it’s obvious to everyone around her that she just wants her mother to be proud of her.

Gertie perfectly captures the contradictions and complexities of being a tween, and she expresses herself in a delightfully creative way. In Gertie’s inner monologue, you would think that she is incredibly confident. She considers herself to be extremely talented and smart – especially when her hair is in a ponytail, thus causing the blood to rush to her head and make her even smarter. But her own view of herself can only get her so far, when that “one person’s opinion” – her Mom’s – is absent.

I can imagine some people finding Gertie’s character annoying, in which case this book might not be for you. But I loved her.

This book also has great illustrations by Jillian Tamaki, a villain you love to hate, and some well-developed side characters (not to mention a zombie frog). But Gertie is truly the star. I was with her on her journey all the way. A fun and emotional read.

Middle Grade Reads #1: Gertie’s Leap to Greatness and Rebel GeniusRebel Genius

Author: Michael Dante DiMartino
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Source: ARC from Raincoast Books (thank you!)
My rating:
Buy It: | | | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository | iTunes | Google Books

A new fantasy-adventure series from the co-creator of the hit animated shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra!

In twelve-year-old Giacomo's Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. A few artists possess Geniuses, birdlike creatures that are the living embodiment of an artist's creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punishment akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he's in serious trouble.
Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools--objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path—Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him.

Rebel Genius, the new middle-grade fantasy novel by Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra creator Michael Dante DiMartino has a very unique central character, Giacomo. He’s 12-years old, homeless, and he’s an artist in the land of Virenzia, where art has been effectively outlawed by the evil Supreme Creator Nerezza.

I should probably note that a lot of characters are killed in this book, so keep that in mind if you’re reading with any younger or more sensitive kids.

The ideas in Rebel Genius are super cool. DiMartino has created a fascinating world in which art and music are, quite literally, magical. In Virenzia, when somebody is an artist, they have a Genius as a companion. Each person’s Genius takes the form of a different kind of bird, and these birds carry gems that connect the artist to the life-force of the world. Unfortunately, Nerezza has killed all of the Geniuses (at least, all the ones that she knows about), causing the artists of the world to become Lost Souls.

The action begins when Giacomo unexpectedly finds out that he has a Genius. He joins an underground rebellion of artists looking to overthrow Nerezza and bring art and beauty back into the world.

The story is great, and the action sequences especially stand out. However, the writing (especially the dialogue) is a little wooden, so Giacomo as a character doesn’t quite come to life like Aang from Avatar does.

My favourite parts of Rebel Genius involved Zanobius, who is a living statue, created and controlled by the power-hungry Ugalino. Zanobius is like a Golem or Frankenstein’s monster type of character, and his scenes raise the stakes by changing the central theme of the book from “What does it mean to be an artist?” to “What does it mean to be a person?”

Overall, despite the characters being a little weak, I was hooked by the world of Rebel Genius, and I will definitely be on board if DiMartino gets the opportunity to continue the series.

Thanks so much, Evan, for these great reviews. REBEL GENIUS and GERTIE’S LEAP TO GREATNESS are both out now. Which one are you more excited to read? Personally, I love the concept of Rebel Genius, so I might be picking that up first. Let us know in the comments if you liked Evan’s reviews (be gentle!), and what kind of middle grade read would interest you as a tween!

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On Writing Longhand | Speed of Life Blog Tour | Guest Post by JM Kelly |

October 12, 2016 / 0 Comments / Posted by Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit in Blog Tour, Guest Post
On Writing Longhand | Speed of Life Blog Tour | Guest Post by JM Kelly |

Hi friends, hope you’re having a great Wednesday! Today I’m excited to be part of the Canadian blog tour for the just released YA novel Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly. I’m proud to be welcoming J.M. to the blog to talk about writing this novel longhand. That’s right, J.M. wrote this whole book, about two sisters trying to raise a baby while one also tries to realize her dreams of getting a degree in automotive restoration, by hand! Not only does the writing process sound interesting, but I’m also fascinated by the concept and themes of this book. Sisterhood, being in a tough […]

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz | Review

October 10, 2016 / 6 Comments / Posted by Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit in Diversity, Review
Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz | Review

Review: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz is the sensitively told story of Jasmine de Los Santos: straight A student, cheer captain, and junior class president. She’s poised for greatness, earning a National Scholarship, when her parents drop the bomb: she can’t accept it because she and her family are undocumented immigrants, in America illegally. Something in Between was my first Melissa de la Cruz book, and I really enjoyed it. I know that Melissa has written dozens of other books in the past, but this one that really appealed to me. […]

Recently in Romance #4 | Bedmates by Nichole Chase, new Courtney Milan & more!

Recently in Romance #4 | Bedmates by Nichole Chase, new Courtney Milan & more!

Recently in Romance is my mini-review feature where I bundle my recent reads and buys for those of you who are fans of romance and erotica. Recently Read: I really enjoyed Bedmates by Nichole Chase, the author’s take on “American royalty” aka the President’s daughter and the Vice-President’s son. This is an adorable romance between Maddie and Jake, who have known each other for a long time but are seeing each other anew. It started off choppy with alternating points of view, but smoothed out as the characters became more comfortable with each other. It’s also an interesting, if a light […]

5 Complex Villains I’ve Encountered While Reading | Top Ten Tuesday

5 Complex Villains I’ve Encountered While Reading | Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday was super hard for me, because I’m not really into books with true villains. I’m all about the good guys (and good boys). If you’re a contemporary reader, you’re going to get a lot of books with real-life characters. Some of them, I admit, are total jerks. But many of them are just more complex than you realize. Like real life, I believe there’s more to people than just good or bad. So in making this list, I looked for layered, complex characters who presented me with views and ethics that really made me think. 5 […]

Waiting on Wednesday | The Names They Gave Us | Emery Lord

September 28, 2016 / 3 Comments / Posted by Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit in Book Memes, Waiting on Wednesday
Waiting on Wednesday | The Names They Gave Us | Emery Lord

I mean. It’s Emery Lord. Emery Lord, who is one of my all-time fave authors. So much so that I did a week of posts about her work. Emery Lord, who writes about complex females and femship and  feminism and grief and mental health in the best, most illuminating ways. Emery Lord, writing about a religious girl who goes to Bible camp (my life as a tween) questioning her faith (also me). Auto-buy, obviously. Also, will you look at that watercolour cover? Is THE NAMES THEY GAVE US on your TBR? What are you waiting for this week? Let me know […]

Girls With Guts: Girl Mans Up and Overdrive | Gritty Canadian YA

September 21, 2016 / 1 Comment / Posted by Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit in Mini-Reviews, Review
Girls With Guts: Girl Mans Up and Overdrive | Gritty Canadian YA

Hi all, I’m back from Asia! I know I promised more reviews than I managed to post – the vacation totally sapped all my reading and blogging time. To make up for it, today I have two mini-reviews of two gritty Canadian YA contemporaries – both are contemporaries, and both deal with kick-arse girls – girls with guts who take on some really hardcore situations. Hope you enjoy, and I promise I will have more reviews and a recap of my awesome vacation soon! I was really excited to read Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard because I’ve never read a […]