Welcome to Books & Bottles

Welcome to Books & Bottles, where the (sometimes drunk) ramblings and reviews of Katelynn and Kassandra are free to run rampant.

Originally thought up whilst under the heavy influence of wine and tears, this little project of ours is something that’s coming very naturally (so far.. we’ll get back to you in a year).  As serial hobby-ists, it’s only natural to share what we love with everyone.. right?

.. Right!  Thank you for agreeing.

And so, without further ado, feel free to explore the baking tips, knitting horror stories (they’re on the way), anime, and manga, jumbled in with the original plan of Books & Wine reviews.  We hope you enjoy the wit and sarcasm as much as we enjoyed writing it.

But seriously – beware and enjoy!

Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

dark matter by blake crouchSeries: Standalone
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: July, 2016
Goodreads | Amazon CA US UK | Audible

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

*ahem* Uh, hello! Katelynn here. Yup, that’s all I’m giving you – because that’s all I was told to read (less, actually.. but I’ll be nice). Do yourself a favour and go into this one blind. 

… Trust me.


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5
Format: Hardcover
Started: January 26th, 2016
Finished: January 26th, 2016
Wine Pairing:
 A big glass of whiskey. Or vodka. Just… something strong because HOLY FUCK, YOU GUYS!

“We’re all just wandering through the tundra of our existence, assigning value to worthlessness, when all that we love and hate, all we believe in and fight for and kill for and die for is as meaningless as images projected onto Plexiglass.”

Angsty, intricate, infinite, unexpected: I stepped into the world of Jason Dessen with no expectations and an open mind and was given the universe in return. There are some books that you try to stay ahead, to guess the ending and what’s around every corner, and there are some books that you just give up and enjoy the ride and hope for the best (this one). Sometimes you get the best, sometimes the ending isn’t the best but it’s right, and sometimes it’s both (also this one). “That’s a tad contradictive, isn’t it?” you may ask. And yes, indeed it is. It’s contradictive and also in total agreement with itself while managing to be exactly everything I needed when I opened to the first page.

So future reader, seeing as I refuse to tell you anything about what happens inside these perfectly pruned pages let me instead tell you more about how this book feels – how it sits in your soul and picks away at the rusty walls you’ve built up through misuse and extended periods of time in stale office cubicles.

Starting in on the first chapter is like the moment a movie or TV show piques your interest out of the corner of your eye when all you’re looking for is a glass of water. It’s the moment you catch the eyes of a passerby and for just a moment the world stops, and the moment when your stomach taps on the backs of your teeth when the earth drops out from beneath you on a missing stair. It’s standing on the edge of a cliff and staring down, wondering if the ground will hold and wondering what it would be like to after the jump. It’s staring up into a midnight crusted sky with weary but hopeful eyes, knowing you are even smaller than the poets say you really are. It’s the unknown and the known, it’s pain and hope fearlessly crushed together, and it’s love – simple and true. You stumble upon big bangs and black holes and wander through countless corridors, and then suddenly when a world of black and white starts to find a speck of colour from a rip in your finger –

– it ends.

At least the words do, but the thoughts and ideas and emotions don’t leave. No, they linger and swirl around inside like rich wine held by dainty fingers and thin glass. They remain. Gentle satin caresses and sandpaper kisses, Dark Matter is worlds of small moments that make all the difference to yours.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”

Thank you again and again, Ayesha, for recommending Dark Matter! ♥ I’m glad this review didn’t take months to write but it did take an entire pot of coffee and hours or procrastination.
…And cake. For breakfast.

Have you read Dark Matter? What books have left you with wordless emotions and images of feeling instead of adjectives and grammar?

Turning Over A New Leaf in 2017

Hello, everyone and Happy New Year!

( A very late New Years Resolution post from Katelynn )

I hope this finds you in good health and happy with at least one new book to savour and a warm cup of tea/coffee/milk/wine/whiskey (or whatever suits your fancy). The transition was a lovely one for the both Kassandra and I – we had a lot of wine and played games and stayed up far into the morning.

Even though this is a few weeks late I still wanted this to be my first post of the year – the one that sets the bar at a moderate height and adds a bit of mood to what is usually a terribly underwhelming holiday. Unless it’s just me who finds it difficult to follow through with resolutions, so when the rest of the year blends with the last three years you’re left disappointed in yourself for doing it again...

But anyway, I’ll save the brooding for another day!

Pop Quiz! Do you know what else January 1st meant for Books and Bottles other than wine and laughs?

Our very first Blogiversary!!

That’s right. We’ve been blogging for one full, entire year. *queue gasp* All those how-to-blog posts that say getting through the first three months is the most difficult can suck it because I have no idea where this year went! And sure, maybe we did skip a few months when life got crazy, and there was some months that we went overboard on, but that’s okay. Because I’m having waay too much fun! The entire Book Blogging community and Bookstagram community are chock-full of absolutely amazing people who also share the amazing love for books and writing and art and pretty pictures. And funkos. I know I’m not the best at anything social media or blog related, but it’s been amazing following and getting to know those who are. I know there’s a stigma against bloggers nowadays and though I almost never tell friends and family that I have a blog, I love every minute of Books & Bottles.

Highlights of 2016:

I built a tower.
A very tall tower made out of 38 assorted paperbacks and hardcovers. It only crumbled four times, but who’s counting?! ? There’s still the remnants of May’s Romance month up at the top with the other small paperbacks..! (which I still have on my shelf…). For the most part I had a pretty great reading year. I set out to read 75 books, then raised it to 100 after adding dozen or so short ebooks that took less than an hour to skim through, then lowered it to 95 on New Years Eve when there was no hope I’d hit 100. And no, I was not going to read more romance to reach it.

I’m still not over May.

THE BEST:

  • First and foremost, A Court of Mist and Fury. Oh god you guys – OH. MY. GOD. This was amazing and so unbelievably good that I’m re-reading it this year. Not to mention A Court of Wings and Ruin comes out in May AND IT CAN’T COME FAST ENOUGH!
  • Fangirl. All the way Fangirl. This book was amazing and relatable and beautiful. I loved every moment of it.
  • Every Heart a Doorway. ♥ I have yet to write a review because I end up coming out with nonsense garbles whenever I try to say just how fabulous this book is, but read it. It’s beautiful.
  • Ready Player One audiobook. And the movie comes out soon?!! *squeal of happiness*
  • Outlander. That’s right, I really really liked this book. And the TV show. And Sam Heughan.

THE WORST:

So what’s in store for 2017?

A lot more reviews, a lot more sarcasm, another year and a half’s worth of coffee, and perhaps another May? We’ll see. I’ve been throwing ideas around to make May more bearable – figuratively speaking of course – but I’m pulling a blank… For now. 😉

Otherwise I know I’m going to be working on my yearly resolution to become a generally nice person, with a bit more internal happiness. I also intend to be a better blog follower with more reading and commenting and bookstagramming and all that jazz. My hopes are pretty high for 2017 which pretty much means it’s going to go one way or the other. But as long as I read beautiful books I’ll make it through anything.

What do you have planned for 2017? What book releases are you most looking forward to?

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlSeries: Standalone
Genre:  Young Adult
Published:  September, 2013
Goodreads | Amazon | Indigo | Audible

CATH IS A SIMON SNOW FAN. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fanfiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath that she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words…and she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


Kassandra’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5   I would give it a higher rating if that were humanly possible <3
Format:  Audiobook
Started:  August 22, 2016
Finished:  August 23, 2016
Wine Pairing:
 wine… all of the wine.

“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”


– Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Me before Fangirl: (except I was in a Eeyore onesie)

Me after Fangirl:

Well I know it’s been a while since I last posted on here – Katelynn’s been really keeping this afloat – & it’s not because I haven’t been reading, I think it’s just that I haven’t been inspired to write (that & some personal hard stuff etc.) But when I finished this book, I just couldn’t help but want to shout about it to everyone I could possibly reach – and the internet is perfect for that sort of thing.

It has been a long time since I last connected with a character on this level, maybe not even ever. Cath is emotional, panicky, obsessive, somewhat paranoid, anxious, and above all else – snarky, I cannot understate the snark, it was my favorite thing ever. Needless to say, I instantly loved her. It probably also helped that I could relate to pretty much all of her character flaws and hardships, I too will go extremely out of my way to avoid the human population due to my anxiety and stress levels, I’ve lived through the parent drama, I went through an obsessive fan fic phase and still to this day get emails from mibba (don’t judge me lol), I am way too dependent on my best friend/cousin who you all know & love so dearly, I get stuck in my head and rely on books to help me get out. Now that’s not all that Cath is, but I’ll leave it at that because you should really meet her for yourself (really – I insist). The rest of the characters too, by the way – I mean, there are so many amazing characters to choose from… I could literally gush forever.

“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
“Me, too. I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”


– Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Fangirl was a fucking emotional roller coaster in the best kind of way, and Rowell’s writing made me feel like I was right next to Cath through all of the ups and downs. I felt everything she did, and I rooted for her the entire time <3

Right now – all I can think of is how I feel just like Cath did when she finally bought the eighth Simon Snow book – it’s all really over (there are literal tears in & falling from my eyes right now) <3 <3 <3

If you’ve ever dealt with anxiety issues, or you know, were a teenage girl at some point in your life, go read this right now! I hope you love it as much as I do! Now, if you would please excuse me I am going to go drink my feelings. Goodnight loves xo


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5
Format: Hardcover
Started: December 24th, 2016
Finished: December 25th, 2016
Wine Pairing:
 Red wine. In a big-ass glass. With a plate of cookies. Or cake.

“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”

Rainbow Rowell strikes again.

Actually, no – she slayed it. The only book I’ve read before Fangirl was Eleanor & Park which also left me reeling and infatuated, so Rowell is on my auto-buy list from now until forever. Luckily for me I have several of her books to catch on (including Carry On which I need absolutely right now) and if I haven’t recommended Rowell’s books to you before, I will from now on. Be prepared.

Fangirl is about Cath – the smaller twin entering first year of college with social anxiety and who spends as much time lost in her head as she can. The book is split into First Semester and Second Semester, and as we meet her twin sister Wren, her roommate Reagan, and her roommate’s boyfriend Levi if you don’t fall in love with all of them I think you need to read it again. Reading from Cath’s perspective was like stepping into a Febreeze commercial:

To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.

And if you didn’t connect with introverted and snarky Cath, there was the million-watt bulb Levi with floppy hair and God-like eyebrows:

Levi opened his smile up completely.
“Oh, put that away,” Cath said with distaste. “I don’t want you to get charm all over my sister-what if we can’t get it out?”

I can’t get enough of Cath. I can’t get enough of Levi. I want to dive into the world of Simon and Baz. I wish I could be blinded by Levi. I want to enroll in Fiction Writing. I’m having difficulties writing a review because I’ve been scrolling through page after page of quotes and can’t decide which ones I like more and which ones I want to print out and sew into my finger tips to keep forever. And even though I just finished, I already to want to open up to the first page and slowly feel myself falling in love with Cath and Levi and Reagan all over again, to feel the world change into poetry and beauty and sarcasm, and to feel the rest of the world blur and muddle as I sink down to the bottom of the ocean and read in peace with the biggest, most idiotic grin plastered to my face.

Rowell’s world building and narration are addictive. My hesitation to contemporary is redundant when it comes to a Rowell book because even though we follow regular teens and young adults (and there’s no elves or dragons on the cover), Rowell spins it into a mystical tale and makes mundane days seem magical. Her characters are rich and dynamic, and in Fangirl it felt like pieces of myself had been ripped apart and re-arranged into four magnificent characters. Each chapter gave me goosebumps and the ending was perfect and gentle and infinite.

“No,” Cath said, “Seriously. Look at you. You’ve got your shit together, you’re not scared of anything. I’m scared of everything. And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.”

There isn’t much I can go into without spoiling anything, and to be honest I’m still having difficulty finding the right words to express just how much I think Fangirl means to me. It’s beautiful and warm and the perfect hug-in-a-book, and deserves to be paraded around town and adored. It makes our real-life Febreeze-infested life seem just a little bit more refreshing and less cloud-of-chemical-haze.

Let Fangirl take away some of the toxic for a while.

You deserve it.

This is my genre, tell me yours! #booktag

this is my genre

This may be a tad misleading as I’m not a Star Trek Wars fan, but this photo of Storm Troopers was too good to pass up!

I was going to keep it as Star Trek but my brother almost killed me,
so alas, no funny.

I haven’t done many of these book tag posts even though they’ve always looked like a blast; luckily, this one is right up my alley! A while ago I changed my Goodreads shelves so books are only assigned genres after I’ve read them, which leaves my counts at: Fantasy – 69 (Booyeah!), Young Adult – 37, Romance – 32 (BURN IT!), General Fiction – 18. The evidence speaks for itself, ladies and gentlemen. I swear those numbers should be higher but my Goodreads was very sparse for a while. …It’s a work in progress.

The Rules:

  1. Credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, either use the created tag name graphic or create your own and link back to my blog.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Tag as many people as you want.

Simple, simple, simple! Aside from having to choose a favourite author or twelve.

The Questions:

1. What’s your favourite genre?

Fantasy

Of course! I probably enjoy a little bit too much doom and gloom than healthily required, but fantasy is fantasy.

Fantasy has always been my preferred method of escape. There’s nothing better than losing yourself in your imagination to fly through the sky with your dragon best friend, or explore Dwarf Caves under Misty Mountains, or cry over another re-read of Harry Potter because you still haven’t gotten your letter. I will always have a hidden castle tucked away among the clouds where guests are always welcome!

2. Who’s your favourite author from the genre?

The dreaded “favourite” question. I should have known better…
I’m a slight disappointment in that I haven’t read a lot by a single author except J.K. Rowling, so if I was to go with someone other than the queen, I’d have to say I’m most enamoured with Sarah J. Maas, Patrick Rothfuss, and Lindsay Buroker. They’re all on my auto-buy list (even though I haven’t read quite all of Buroker’s work, and I’ve only read one book of Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, but never you mind your pretty little head) and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by them. If I haven’t recommended these to you yet, consider this my recommendation.

3. What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?

The magic, the whimsy, the endless possibilities, the strength, the friendships, and the mystical romances to name a few. But mostly I’d have to say because I love that it’s different. I like to leave reality behind for a while and enjoy a new world where anything could happen. Is it bad I’d rather read about a made-up world than my own? Probably. But I don’t let that keep me up at night. Not when I have as many books to read as I do!

4. What’s the book that started your love for your favourite genre?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I can remember the moment as if I was standing in my old living room in Newfoundland this very moment: curled up in the old floral blue cushioned rocking chair with a puppy tangled in the blanket beside me, the musty smell of humidity that was prevalent in every coastal house, I devoured the large book in my underdeveloped hands. Reading was enjoyable but never as vivid as it was in that moment, and my stomach fluttered with excitement because I really was at Hogwarts and not avoiding my math homework. It ended up being the first book I ever read in one sitting. I’ve been hooked ever since.

5. If you had to recommend at least one book from your favourite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

It depends on who’s asking. My usual go-to book is Uprooted by Naomi Novik as it has a similar feel to a fairy tale but with enough twists that make it an even better fantasy novel. I’ve also taken to recommending people read The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch because the writing and schemes were awesome, and I’ve shamelessly been recommending the Dresden Files series despite having not read it yet simply because, “IT’S FUCKING FANTASTIC!”. I have yet to hear any complaints.

6. Why do you read?

…because I can’t imagine not reading. Sure I go through my slumps, but when you find that perfect book that picks you up and sweeps you off your feet – it’s priceless. Not having a world to escape to where you can forget yourself and your problems, no matter how big or small, sounds lonely and colourless.

I like to think that every book we read leaves a little piece of itself within us and that’s why readers grow as much as we do. We expand and devour as many different worlds and views and backgrounds as we can such that when we meet another reader, we see a small piece of ourselves in them. It’s not just that we have the same eye colour or the same taste in music (though that’s always awesome to find, too!), it’s that our story pieces resonate just under audible level and just above an itch in your fingers – the fingers that have caressed the same words and verses that transcend our small little realities. And when their story pieces resonate at the same frequency, it’s like meeting a long lost friend.

There you have it!

Probably an easy guess for anyone who knows me, but this was an awesome list of questions from Drew that were really fun to answer. They’ll probably change in a few weeks, but I still have a long way on my TBR to go.

I tag:

Trisha @ Trisha Jenn Reads
Danya @ Fine Print
Beth @ Betwixt The Pages
Lorraine @ Insanity Sandwich
Jenn @ Quite A Novel Idea
And anyone else who would like to do it!

You can do it – I believe in you! It may be hard to choose just one genre but I think we all have our go-to favourite for when we need to get out of a slump… Usually a book that’s been sitting on your shelf trying to get your attention for the last quadrillion months.

P.S. It was very difficult to find a fantasy GIF that did not contain a unicorn, which *obviously* means spiders are the next best thing.
P.P.S. “Why couldn’t it be follow the butterflies?!”

Hex, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

heuvelt-hexSeries: Standalone
Genre: Horror
Published: April, 2016 (English)
Goodreads | Amazon CA US UK | Audible

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  4 / 5
Format: Hardcover
Started: October 11th, 2016
Finished: October 11th, 2016
Wine Pairing:
 A big-ass cup of tea, perhaps Chamomile to calm the nerves. …and by tea I mean vodka with a hefty amount of ice.

“Tomorrow I’ll call a real estate agent. I’m . . . sorry you have to live with this, but . . . it’s not for us. We’re moving out.”
“I’m afraid that’s not going to happen,” Pete said softly. Now, Steve realized, even Pete didn’t have the nerve to keep his eyes on them.
At last Burt said, “What do you mean?”
“You said ‘your’ village ghost and ‘your’ witch earlier. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I’m afraid that starting tonight it’s your problem, too. She’s not going to let you go. You live in Black Spring now. That means the curse is on you as well.”
The silence that followed could only be broken by Robert Grim: “Welcome home.” His face assumed a morbid grin. “We have all sorts of great town fairs.”

There is something to be said for a good thriller – one that gets your heart pumping and your palms sweating, sticking slightly to the pages. When the tension grows and stews just under the surface of understanding until it suddenly grips you tight and makes breathing difficult, you know you have a good book. It took several days to get my emotions in check and determine how I truly felt about Hex. I’ve finally decided that my mental state at the moment and utter confusion and conflict would be the deciding factor that leaves me wanting to force everyone to read Hex that very evening.

After all, misery loves company.

In Grim’s humble opinion, the people of the Hudson Valley were ill-bred, loud, beer-swilling wife beaters and, worst of all, they lacked the common sense to take full advantage of their geographic location. To the east they had the Hudson to collectively drown themselves in, and to the south they had Bear Mountain State Park, where they could mate unashamedly with beavers and white-tailed deer and effectively implement their own extinction. But so far no one had seized these golden opportunities.

Stippled with humour, Hex is the perfectly balanced Horror Thriller we all should read. Katherine’s presence is unnaturally common and unsettling, but the matter-of-factness of the citizens throws the “Horror Thriller” title out the window. “Is she.. supposed to be in the living room with a tea-towel over her head? Did I read the back of the book wrong, and is Katherine a neighbour’s dog or something? WHAT IS GOING ON?!” But as you delve further and further into Black Spring we see the darkness that has spread deeper than just the witch, the animosity that permeates drawn curtains and GPS tracking, and the depth of depravity and hopelessness and cruelty gripping the town.

Beautifully paced and majestically presented, I both love and hate Hex for the same reasons. But any book that leaves you twitching in a cloud of conflicting emotions and jumping away from underneath your bed (even though you’ve already checked and yes, it was empty) was worth every minute and every page, and it would be a shame to dismiss Hex just because I’m not fully sure what just happened. So yes, I do recommend Hex. I recommend it with a large shot of vodka and a huge blanket to hide under and a flashlight to keep reading, because if Hex doesn’t keep you up at night you haven’t read far enough yet.

Just be sure to drop all your expectations at the edge of town,
…you won’t be needing them anymore.

The Blog Squad Tag – A Head Count for the Apocalypse

blog squad tag

I was tagged by the absolutely adorable Annika over at Hiding Books to be on her Zombie-Fighting team. Started by Ely @ Tea & Titles from a Twitter discussion on the end of the world and a “Where would you be in 2 years?” kind of scenario, she turned it into a brilliant blog tag as we all get to form our own zombie fighting team! Though it’s taken me almost six months to build a team in anticipation of the Apocalypse, I’m finally ready.

This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Ya. Still good.

I will be the first to tell you that I don’t think I’d make it in a zombie apocolypse. The entire idea of half the world dying and life as we know it coming to an end is absolutely depressing and if I wasn’t surrounded by people and knew they were okay, I would assume the worst and decide making a choice on your own would be better than succumbing to zombie kisses.

BUT! If I had this team of magnificent people around to kick-butt with, I may stave off the “off-ing” and pessimism. Are they angels in disguise? Probably. It goes without saying that all of these lovely ladies are absolutely awesome and probably have their pick of apocalypse teams, but can I put my vote in early?

Headshots:

blog squad lineup

Kassandra @ Books & Bottles

Kassandra will always be my first pick. Always. Not only does she have faith that we would survive and raid all of the bookstores to build the ultimate fort of awesomeness and survival tactics without internet, and I have no idea what I’d do if I didn’t know she was safe at the end of the world. She’s also watched every horror movie I can think of and knows all of the default plot-twists to avoid. *applause*

Anne @ Inked Brownies

Despite Anne being on the other side of the world she’s on my list. She’s sassy, sarcastic, Horde-For-LYFE, and I remember her saying she Larps sometimes which essentially means she has the most experience and one wicked awesome wardrobe! I can just imagine us having a blast kicking butt and building our little mini empire wherein she would be Queen and I’ll wear my combat boots and we’ll take over castles and her cape will blow in the wind as she sharpens her skythe… It’ll be great.

Annika @ Hiding Books

I’m not sure why you wouldn’t have Annika in your apocalypse team but it’s a must because she’s adorable, loves cats and wine, and I could picture her going bad-ass with a base ball bat. With nails. I’m not sure if she likes baseball or swinging weapons (maybe she’s more of a katana fan? Sniper? Machine Guns?) but it just really fits her sweet attitude as she poses with the bat swung over her shoulder and a huge smile on her face and a kitten perched on her shoulder. Then she starts laughing and swinging and we all just wave goodbye to those zombies.

Trisha @ Trisha Jenn Reads

I met Trisha a few weeks ago and she is so unbelievably sweet and the perfect candidate for a zombie apocalypse! She’s fabulous with people and I can see her being our strategical tactician bent over maps and scheming our next move, like Pyrrha who was wicked bad-ass! Trisha seems like she’d suit dual-wielding swords with a shield and a red-themed getup and a horde of dogs, with a penchant for forgetting to put her tea down and completely destroying any zombie that got too close to her mug of tea.

Paula @ pauweredbyfaith

So technically Paula doesn’t have a blog, but she has a bookstagram and I’ll be damned if anyone says that doesn’t take just as much work and effort so she’s in! Paula is an amazing bookstagrammer with awesome book tastes and art style (and she’s basically Sarah J. Maas’ BFF – no big deal or anything) and has the biggest heart, she would be the best boost to morale with her upbeat and cheerful attitude! Plus I think she has some sort of medical degree which is a huge bonus if you can find a cure (bonus XP right?!). And I think she’d be deadly with a suitcase of scalpels for throwing stars.

Beth @ Betwixt These Pages

Though I don’t know Beth super well, we’ve form a special bond with Annika over Twitter with Doctor Who GIFs, and anyone who is that perfect to be a companion is also a perfect apocalypse buddy. Her up-beat attitude and snark would go perfectly over morning coffee and tea. And she comes with penguins. I’m not sure if she’s more of a healer or rogue type, but I think she’d be perfect with an Axe or a Hammer… actually, quite a lot like Nora except with PENGUINS WIELDING THROWING STARS! Oh gosh, I hope I’m not way off base and even if you don’t like pink, Nora’s weapon is so wicked and seems perfect. Wanna join?!

End of Team Picks

Though we may be small, we are strong and independent and don’t need no man – but the more the merrier! 😀
I may have gotten a little overly excited on the RWBY references but I’m so in love with RWBY right now and everyone was just such a perfect fit!

I hereby tag anyone and everyone who would like to do this tag because it’s awesome and super fun. And really we should all be on everyone zombie-fighting must haves because:

And that’s what makes us perfect together.

Nice Dragons Finish Last, by Rachel Aaron

nice dragons finish last rachel aaronSeries: Heartstrikers # 1
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Published:  July, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon CA US UK | Audible

As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn’t fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ–a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit–Julius has one month to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.

He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons..


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5
Format: Audiobook
Started: September 7th, 2016
Finished: October 10th, 2016
Wine Pairing:
 Beer..? Maybe? What do dragons drink? I’ll have one of those.

This book, right here, is the perfect example why we need book bloggers. I may never have found Julius and Marci if I hadn’t read Danya’s absolutely perfect and inspiring review, and that would be a sad world indeed.

So please, do yourself a favour and make your week – read Danya’s review and then go find this book wherever you can. You won’t regret it.

If you’re in the mood for a hot bad boy rebel protagonist, the geeky clumsy female love interest that we all relate to in one way or another, and action scenes that would put your perfected Level 923098 WoW Paladin to shame – well, you may need another book. And that’s perfectly fine! Those tropes are awesome and unashamedly make up more than a few of my favourites, and needing other books is the never-ending struggle for bookworms (or bookdragons if you prefer). But what about a book where the protagonist is a genuinely nice guy, the leading lady is independent, smart, and snarky, and the entire book is about how hard and rewarding it is to be a decent human being in a world that has thrived on manipulation, negativity, and segregation?

My friends, I present to you the book you never knew you needed.

Julius is the black sheep in his family of powerful, strong, manipulative dragons. The only reason he hasn’t been eaten yet is by keeping a low profile and not getting in anyone’s way. Unfortunately a dragon mother is even less approving of their son in their twenties still living at home, which is why Julius finds himself sleeping on his sister’s couch in the city where dragons are shot on sight. Thrust on a mission to prove himself worthy of being a dragon over kibble he gains the help of Marci, the awkward and eccentric mage who stands up for what she believes in and those she cares about. The duo make the cutest team since Luna and Neville, and their personality is only enhanced by the beautiful diversity of secondary characters. Crafted beautifully and narrated to perfection by Vikas Adam I couldn’t get enough.

… That description was terribly lacking, but I don’t think I could stop myself from raving about all the good parts without giving anything away. So how about instead I tell you what it was like to listen to Julius?


Begin listening experience:

The bus rolls up in front of you. It screeches slightly when the driver pumps the break a little too hard. With only a slight mumble under your breath, you mentally prepare yourself for the rough ride you know will ensue as the bus slows and turns onto the main street pot-marked like a thirteen year old boy’s chin. ‘Of course the roughest road is the road without traffic. It’s cheaper to pay for buses to go four-wheeling than it is to repair the roads,’ you think, and you can’t help the groan that escapes your lips when you’re re-acquainted with your seat. Repeatedly.

The next stop on your urban safari welcomes a dozen more commuters. You usually avoid eye contact, but today is the day destiny clothes-lines you. You glance up, make eye contact, and feel your stomach drop. Carrying four duffle bags, a dog, a trombone, and a cooler that you suspect is probably full of bricks sleeping on a bed of rotten eggs (because that would be just your luck), your worst nightmare of a commuter shuffles down the aisle, narrowly missing a great-great-great-grandmother. You pray to the gods you’ve denied (or created, no judgemnet) for them to sit anywhere else but here! But despite the two empty rows (three now) they plop down next to you, settling only after with a grunt and what seems like an infinite amount of readjustments and butt shuffling that we all know really means, ‘Move over – I need the other half of your seat and you’re obviously in my space.’ Rude.

You shove your hand in your bag, desperately searching for your phone as panic grips your heart when your fingers brush against your headphones. The stars and heavens have aligned for this – the moment you remember an audiobook recommendation you blindly decided to purchase after twelve and a half cups of coffee. Bruising your ears in the process you are now equipped with the listening buds of joy and slam play (sorry phone). It’s instant relief as you lean further into the wall – now on 34% of your seat – and enjoy the cascading feeling of falling into the DFZ. Where a crumbling residential, urban cityscape, or wild forest that was waving from outside your window before is now a dazzling futuristic and magical city built on the ruins of a ghost town: aka. Detroit, Michigan. High end designer shops and sparkling marble fountains preening to the High-Class blanket the dark undergrowth of a dead city, rough and crude in it’s diversity and history. Also the perfect place for a dragon and mage on the run to hide.

Bus long forgotten and seat space down to 27.64%, you cackle in a moment of bliss. Hours have passed but you weren’t going anywhere interesting anyway; you must be somewhere around the half-way mark because it’s far too late for you to stop. Your heart bubbles and your hands gain a life of their own as you try to smush your favourite characters together, resulting in an expression of maniacal joy staring into space and soundless clapping (dreams of percussion stardom have never failed you). But do you care? No. Of course not! Not when you just really need them to, ‘KISS ALREADY!’ Even though shouting was a little unnecessary there’s no regrets on your 79% of a seat. You don’t even mind that you’ve come full circle and vaguely acknowledge the off-roading street you’ve turned back on to with a nod of comradery.

“Don’t tell me the Pigeon Whisperer dragged you into one of his stupid schemes.”

Oh Bob, you crazy, lunatic, fortune telling quirky dragon. The fondness grows in your chest as you snort derisively while secretly wishing you could find your own Bob (or pigeon). The last action scene may have found you acting and cheering far too animatedly in your 159% of a seat and you smack your elbow on the window. Which is still there, by the way.

With that last snort you now have your own row to enjoy the rest of your audiobook. Level up! 

End listening experience.


If you haven’t given up on this roller coaster of a review, high five for still reading! If I haven’t sold you on Nice Dragons Finish Last yet, you should really read Danya’s review. She’s far more eloquent and put together. Oh, and listen to the Audiobook snippet. If you’re not sold by then.. well.. how about The Graveyard Book?

You know you want to give Julius a chance to heal you. 😉

“Well, he’s not really my friend,” Julius admitted. “I don’t even know his real name, actually, but I was his healer in the game, and the bond between healer and tank runs deep.”

Warming Up for Winter Winds

warming up for winter winds

For those of us cooped up inside our insulated walls and hidden behind cubicle walls, it seems as though the world shifts in time with the flip of a calendar page. The trees begin to burn and turn to ash, the winds chill and saunter through barren ravines, and those of us with a penchant for wicked flare prop up our pumpkins and dust off our broomsticks.

And no it’s not the Pumpkin Kraze bandwagon every Mom-&-Pop coffee shop and Starbucks tend to jump on that I’m excited for.

No no no.. it’s that my small little piece of the world relaxes and accepts everything odd and out-of-sorts, where witches cackle at bus stations and zombies roam the malls.

That’s right – Halloween. My favourite holiday of the year.

Hello! Katelynn here, heartily apologizing for my absence this past month. With the weather shift I underwent quite a few big changes myself – most notably a new job! *happy dance* I have now joined the Working-Blogger-Club and I have no idea how to balance life, blog, and books. I only have two hands and one of them is permanently welded to a coffee mug. Honestly how do all of you manage to have such perfectly manicured blogs, stay on top of your reading challenge, and still have time for sleep and other hobbies like wine and Netflix and video games?! Do I get  a Welcome Kit with these secrets or is there a subscription fee? (Preferably one that doubles as one of those book subscription boxes with candles and stickers and notepads and pens that makes my stationary-obsessed heart flutter like a freshly cracked butterfly). I give you all a round of applause for your time-management skills, the likes of which I have yet to learn.

So in an attempt to plan ahead I shall henceforth begin using the “schedule post” ability WordPress possesses (and I will try not to write after seven coffees when old-school Shakespearean words sound as fabulous as that last sentence does in my head). I have a whole lot of blogs to catch up on and a very full Inbox to empty out, so bear with me during this transition. I can’t wait to catch up with everyone, and high five for scarf weather! I can now walk around in my Slytherin scarf without getting weird looks and, “Aren’t you hot?”

Why yes, thank you for noticing!

I hope you’re all having a magical October!

Here’s a little bit of sunshine for you:

The Wishing Spell, by Chris Colfer

colfer the wishing spellSeries: The Land of Stories # 1
Genre:  Children’s Fantasy
Published:  July, 2012
Goodreads | Amazon CA US UK | Audible | Indigo | Barnes & Noble

Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  4 / 5
Format:  Paperback
Started:  September 6th, 2016
Finished:  September 10th, 2016
Wine Pairing:
  A light crisp Moscato – chilled super cold, please! And maybe a cupcake with sprinkles. 😀

To Grandma, for being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.”

These are the first words you see on the third page of this beautiful little book, and I’m fairly certain can also be traced back to the beginning flickers of adoration I have for this treasure.

The Wishing Spell follows Alex and Conner Bailey, the adorable and completely opposite Sixth Grade twins who stumble into the Land of Stories full of every fairy tale imaginable from their childhood. Playing out as a children’s version of the TV show Once Upon A Time, the fairy tales are not as they appear in the books and have very different endings from what we’ve all known before. Written in an easy to follow and appropriate voice for the intended audience, it still swept me off my feet and I fell head first in love with this book.

“A villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.”

Filled with adorable humour with both innocence and maturity, wonderful adventures that tease the imagination and dance with our inner child, and a unique perspective on classic tales, Colfer delivers splendidly and finishes perfectly. I cannot wait to one day own the entire series and share them with all my future nieces, nephews, and (perhaps) even my own children. Either way, all kids I know shall have a magnificent library with this series, and we shall all love them together.

“The world will always choose convenience over reality. It’s easier to hate, blame, and fear than it is to understand. No one wants the truth; they want entertainment.”

And uhm I’m sorry, but did you know that CHRIS COLFER NARRATES HIS OWN AUDIOBOOK?! AND IT’S PERFECT!

I’M SWOONING.


Bonus for anyone who remembers our Bad Romance May:

(Because Katelynn has officially broken)

Gazing around a perfect little stream ahead of them, to their amazement, was a herd of unicorns. They were beautiful: white with silver horns, silver hooves, and silver manes.
Conner’s forehead wrinkled, and his mouth dropped open. “Oh, jeeze,” he said. “That is the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”
“I want to pet one!” Alex said, and ran toward them.
“Alex, be careful!” Conner said. “They could have rabies!”
“Unicorns don’t have rabies, Conner!” Alex said.
“You don’t know where those horns have been!” Conner called out.

*snickers* They may not, but someone else sure does. *maniacal cackling*

I obviously have not blocked the events of May from my memories well enough. I’m ruined.

Masks and Shadows, by Stephanie Burgis

burgis masks and shadowsSeries: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy
Published: April, 2016
Goodreads | Amazon CA US UK | Indigo | Barnes & Noble

The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress–a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5
Format: Paperback
Started: August 10th, 2016
Finished: August 16th, 2016
Drink Pairing: Red wine – shiraz, or maybe CabSauv? Pretty much just wine.

Thank you to Lisa from Pyr (Prometheus Books) for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

I am absolutely fluffed. It was in the wee hours of the morning that I finally finished Masks and Shadows and there was only a sushi date with Kassandra that interrupted my reading. I was hooked around page 30 (flag page 273 and tell me that was not the worst time to stop!) right up until the end that I didn’t want to come. Waking up neighbouring siblings with gleeful squeals and gasps was a frequent occurrence that morning, and I wouldn’t have it any other way because this book is amazing!

Masks and Shadows is a beautiful amalgamation of V for Vendetta, Penny Dreadful, and Phantom of the Opera (*swoon!*). Burgis’ writing sings a tale full of deceit, lies, heartbreak, and love that flows across the pages with rich characters and obnoxiously decorated halls. The mysterious Carlo Morelli, an anomaly with an angelic voice, visits the castle of Prince Nikolaus Esterházy to socialize and share the gift of music at the same time as Charlotte von Steinbeck is staying with her sister (the Prince’s official mistress) during her year of mourning for her late husband. What starts as a tale of opera and tentative first steps ends in terror, magic, and disaster as the facades the castle’s guests built up slowly begin to crumble. Intricately woven and beautifully summarized, the plots and sub plots endued with magic bring out the best and the worst in our characters – both high and low born.

Burgis is a master at transitioning between the dozen or so characters while making each one of them unique and memorable. Where I would usually give up and stop caring, or would find myself at a complete loss as to who is who, I was following along ravenously without any doubt as to the intentions and opinions for each name that passes by. *standing ovation* I’m a little thick when it comes to names so for me to remember every one? A great feat, indeed!

 I fell in love with the characters, I fell in love with the world, I fell in love with the magic (both the magic of alchemy and the magic of life), and I fell in love with Burgis’ writing. Anytime I see Masks and Shadows in stores I will be sure to re-arrange the shelves to showcase this beautiful book so more people pick it up. I’ve been wavering over the rating from 3.5 to 5 and have finally decided that after two weeks of finishing the last page, as the only things I can remember about Masks and Shadows is how much I absolutely loved it, how beautiful it was, and how magical it was, I’m going to allot this as a 5 stars. 😀 So yes, please read and COME JOIN ME IN MY BOOK HANGOVER! ♥

Read the first chapter on Stephanie’s site and swoon, and then

Check out our latest giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Masks & Shadows AND an ARC of A Congress of Secrets!