Dana and Olivia are best friends who live in the town of Jessell, Georgia. They have just graduated high school in 1997. Dana stays with Olivia’s family most of the time to avoid her alcoholic mother. One day, Olivia asks Dana to go with her to Orlando for an audition. The manager of the hottest pop star, Tulsa MacCreadie, is holding auditions for the next pop girl group. Though Olivia was the one auditioning, the manager asks Dana to audition too. After they return home, both Dana and Olivia are called back to be part of the girl group, Daisy Chain. Soon after they start training to be pop stars, a boy threatens to come between them. It becomes apparent that Dana is much less musically trained than the other girls. Dana has to work much harder than the other girls to keep up. But will it be enough for her to stay in the group?
This story is set in the 90s but the relationships between the characters have a timeless quality to them, so it could be happening today. If it wasn’t for the references to the Spice Girls and the lack of cell phones, the story could take place in 2017.
The story was quite good. I kept anticipating something serious to happen but it wasn’t too dramatic. Overall, I enjoyed the book and will recommend it to my friends.
I’m so excited about these books this week! Fireworks is a YA novel that comes out on Tuesday. It’s about two best friends, who end up on a journey to become pop stars.
Gone Without a Trace is also coming out on Tuesday. It is an adult thriller.
Pride and Prejudice is a Manga Classic galley that I received this week. Though it isn’t a new release, I’ve been looking at this book for a while so I’m so excited to be able to review it. I love collecting different adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Look for these reviews and more coming this week!
Charlotte Holmes is the great-great-great granddaughter of the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Jamie Watson is the great-great-great grandson of Sherlock’s partner, John Watson. Jamie moves to the U.S. to go to a boarding school, the same boarding school that Charlotte attends. Jamie is fascinated by Charlotte, who seems as brilliant and mysterious as her ancestor. Soon, the death of a student, who harassed Charlotte and fought with Jamie, throws the new generation of Holmes and Watson into a mystery. They revisit some of Sherlock’s and John’s famous cases, when the murderer sets up crime scenes that resemble those cases. They also have to face the descendant of Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty.
As soon as I saw the title of this book I knew I had to read it. It pays homage to the first Sherlock Holmes stories, “A Study in Scarlet.” I’m a huge fan of Sherlock! I’ve even been to his home of 221B Baker St.
I really enjoyed how this book revisits the classic stories but brings them into the modern world. It’s similar to how the BBC TV series has updated the series, but this is in a young adult format. It’s more accessible to young people today than the original book series since it has a contemporary setting, but it stays true to the original stories. The characters are great representations of their famous ancestors. And the good news is, the sequel is out now!
The introduction says you are reading this book for one of three reasons:
- You already watch Lilly on YouTube.
- You’re a parent who found this book in your child’s room.
- You have no idea who Lilly is.
I fall somewhere between the first and third reasons: I know who Lilly Singh is, but I haven’t watched her on YouTube. I picked up this book because she is a very successful, young, Canadian woman. But after reading it I am also a huge Lilly Singh fan.
Though I didn’t know much about Lilly before I started reading, this book has made me feel like I know the rising star. This book isn’t a memoir, though she does refer to events in her life throughout it. This book is a guide to being confident, reaching your goals, and hustling: AKA being a “Bawse.”
The book is divided into four sections, each filled with chapters that hold Lilly’s lessons on life. Some of the titles include, “Play Nintendo,” “The Alphabet is a Lie,” “You Are Not a Parking Ticket,” and “You Are a Chameleon.” Though the titles sound funny, they each represent an important lesson that she has learned on her way to success.
My favourite metaphor that she uses throughout the book is comparing life to playing Mario Kart. This includes skidding on a banana and ending up in last place. The point of the metaphor is that life is like a game because you can only control your player, or yourself. It’s a waste of time worrying about what everyone else is doing. You are in control of your own success.
I found this book very inspiring, especially at this time in my life when I am embarking on many new projects, such as writing my first novel and starting my book blog. Now I am going to go take Lilly’s advice and play some Nintendo!
Seventeen years ago, Kersti Kuusk graduated from a boarding school in Switzerland, called Lycee. Now, she’s an author living in Toronto. She receives a letter from one of her classmates, who has just passed away from breast cancer. In the letter, her friend Lille tells her that she suspects the incident that happened at the end of their school year wasn’t an accident. In the final days of their senior year, Kersti’s best friend, Cressida, fell from her balcony. Meanwhile, Kersti is having marital problems due to the fact that she can’t get pregnant. She decides to investigate Cressida’s accident to distract her, and to give her inspiration for her next novel.
The story alternates between Kersti’s life in the present and her life at the Lycee in high school. I often find this kind of narrative confusing but each chapter was marked by the place and date so I could remember where we were.
I loved this book! I was so excited to read it when I saw the description and it didn’t disappoint. There were many twists and turns throughout the book that made the story unpredictable. The story was very moving. It won’t be long before The Finishing School is a bestseller!
Riverdale Vol. 1 is a collection of the new series from Archie Comics. In the last couple of years, they have released modern versions of their classic comics. These include a new Archie series, Betty and Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and friends, and Josie and the Pussycats. The first issues of each of these series are in this collection. They each have different artists who have made the comics look more realistic instead of the classic cartoons.
This collection was released to promote the new TV series, also called Riverdale. The series is a modern murder mystery, set in Riverdale. The same cast of characters is there, but they are more diverse. Veronica lodge is latina and Josie and The Pussycats are African-American. This series deals with serious issues, such as murder, teenage pregnancy, and adultery, to name a few.
I love how the TV series is a more modern view of the characters I grew up reading. It’s as if the characters grew up alongside me. The show reflects the new values in the new series of comics. I’m excited to see the next issues that will be included in Vol. 2.
Adam Sharp is a middle-aged contract database architect, living in England. One day he receives an email from a former girlfriend. The first part tells the story of Adam and Angelina. They met while he was working on a three month contract in Austrailia. She was a married actress and they had a short affair. Twenty years later, when she is on her second marriage, she contacts Adam. Adam has to decide if he will follow his heart by returning to Angelina, or stay in England with his partner, Claire.
Music plays an important part in the novel because Adam and Angelina meet while Adam is playing piano in a bar. At the end of the story, there is a list of all the songs referenced, as well as a link to a Spotify playlist. This was a nice touch that brings the reader into the story.
This story tugs at the heartstrings with the moving story of Adam’s lost love. There were also major plot twists that I didn’t see coming. This novel is a great follow up to Graeme Simsion’s bestsellers The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect.
My favourite nonfiction subject is publishing. I love reading about the history of books and how they are printed. I was so excited to have the opportunity to get an ARC of Gutenberg’s Fingerprint from ECW Press.
Merilyn Simonds writes about the process of publishing her book The Paradise Project, a collection of flash-fiction stories. She chose to have this book printed by Thee Hellbox Press, a small press in Kingston run by Hugh Barclay. Hugh is very particular about his printing, so he took good care of Merilyn’s book. He involved her in the whole process, from setting the type, mixing the ink, and printing the proofs. The endpapers were even created using the flowers from her garden!
Throughout her story of the creation of her book, Merilyn gives some history on how ink and paper are made. These stories made me smile, reminding me of my book history course in university.
The irony that I was reading a book about the history of printing on an ereader was not lost on me. Merilyn created a digital edition of The Paradise Project with her son, Erik. She discusses how ebooks have changed the publishing industry, but print books aren’t going anywhere soon. Printing has evolved from scribes writing on vellum to machines stamping ink on paper to pixels appearing on a screen. Technology is still evolving the way books are delivered to the reader, but it couldn’t be done without Gutenberg’s press.
Here are my new books this week!
The Best of Adam Sharp is the latest book by Graeme Simsion, the author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. Both of those books were great, so I’m looking forward to his new one!
There has been a lot of buzz on social media about The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman. I’m very excited to start it.
How To Be a Bawse is the debut book from the YouTube star Lilly Singh. She’s very talented so I’m sure her book will be a hit.
Look for my reviews of these books this week!
Stewart and his dad move in with his new girlfriend and her daughter Ashley. Stewart’s mom died a year ago, and Ashley’s parents got divorced because her dad came out as gay. Stewart is thirteen and goes to a special school for gifted children. Ashley is fourteen and goes to the local high school. But when Stewart moves in to Ashley’s house, he decides he wants to go Ashley’s school, to improve his social skills. Though Ashley is mortified that her new step-brother is going to her school, she soon figures out that she needs him as much as he needs her.
This book covers a wide range of problems that teenagers face. Stewart has to deal with the death of his mother. Ashley has to learn to accept her father for who he is, and not be ashamed of him. They both have to face teenage drinking and parties, and the negative consequences that can come from that.
I really liked how the book addressed so many important issues but was still able to keep a light, humourous tone. There were both laugh-out-loud and heartbreaking parts. Most importantly, this book shows that we all have something in common, despite our differences: we are all made of molecules.