The Beauty of the Moment Blog Tour

Thank to Penguin Teen Canada for providing me with a finished copy of the book.

Susan and her family have just moved from Saudi Arabia to the Mississauga region of Ontario, Canada. Malcolm, resident bad boy of the school, is fighting for his life to get out. The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena follows both Susan and Malcolm as they navigate through their messy lives together and not in this coming of age story about family, love, hardships, and culture.

For my stop on the blog tour for The Beauty of the Moment, I decided to come up with a list of similar books, specifically my top 5 books about fitting in and finding your place in the world.

5. The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

Pressured to find a husband by her traditional grandmother, Raina finally gives in to giving her “list” a shot. But dating is hard when the blind-picked bachelors are a disaster. Okay, so this one isn’t exactly YA but it is still a really fun romcom about cultural identity as much as it is about finding oneself. (You can also read my interview with the author here)

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Maybe it’s a touch cliche to include this one in the list, but it’s relevant. Cath is a freshman in college, separated from her twin sister for the first time ever and trying to not only cope with her anxiety but with being her own person too. This is a book about creative drive and being yourself and it’s definitely one of my favourites.

3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

And oldie that never gets old, The Outsiders is all about finding a spot in the world outside of classist upbringing and the fights that that brings. It’s a book about living with mistakes and doing what is right over what is easy. If you didn’t read this one in school, I implore you to read it now.

2. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

A heavy read, but one of my favourite books of all time ever. Dill is a high school senior living in the shadow of his father’s horrible crimes. He is struggling with handling his family responsibilities as much as he is trying to figure out what it is that he wants from the world. As he struggles with the fact he is allowed to want more, his whole life is flipped upside-down.

1. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Penny leaves her whole world 100 miles away when she choses to go to college to study becoming a writer. Sam has hit a dead end working in a cafe while he struggles to save the money to get back into film school. When the two meet, they become each other’s anchor and help push each other towards their goals. This was my favourite book of 2018 and I have honestly bought so many copies to give to friends it’s not even funny. A definite must-read.

Now, normally I would have a much longer list for a blog tour, but I’ve got something even better for you readers. A giveaway!

I was provided with a beautiful finished copy of The Beauty of the Moment and would love to pass it on to a good home. Follow me on Instagram (@lucieninthestars) for all the details in my most recent post! And note that this giveaway will only be open to residents in Canada and the United States for shipping purposes.

Check out the other bloggers over the rest of the week for some more amazing posts!IMG_2143

Books to Read on Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day and, love it or hate it, there’s a lot going on today. I definitely fall into the later category myself. So whether you’re up for romance or in the mood to avoid it at all costs, I’ve come up with a list of books to read for either category.

Bring on the love!

Here’s a list of my top 5 favourite romance/romantic novels to read today.

5. One Day In December by Josie Silver
[ goodreads | review ]
Yeah, okay, this one is more of a yuletide centric book, but the love story crosses over ten years and that’s what makes it a great read for any time of the year. Definitely for fans of Love, Actually and also for those who want a real love story with a feel good ending

4. The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli
[ goodreads | review ]
This debut novel is about the difficulties of finding love when you’re both looking and not looking for it. It’s about culture pressure and the important of being yourself no matter what any one else tells you to be. A great read for those looking for a romance novel that’s not 100% about the romance.

3. When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
[ goodreads | review ]
Who doesn’t want some f/f contemporary on Valentine’s Day? A story of self-discovery in sexuality with some humor and delightfully witty banter, this is a fun queer read about hard working women who also just want to have fun and be happy.

2. A Date With Darcy (Bookish Boyfriends #1) by Tiffany Schmidt
[ goodreads | review ]
A YA retelling of Pride & Prejudice but with a bit of a twist. Despite having a 15-year-old protagonist, this book is definitely a relatable one to all ages and has strong feminist notes about being more than your partner and remembering that your opinion counts, especially when it involves the word “No.” Fluffy with a hint of drama to keep things interesting, this one caught me by surprise when I read it and loved it to pieces.

1. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman 
[ goodreads | review ]
Allow me to scream to the high heavens once again about how the book is almost always better than the movie. This phenomenal novel is a queer romance and a coming of age story all in one. Heartbreaking and beautiful as well, this book takes you to Italy and forces you to feel all of Elio’s vivid emotions to the fullest extent. You can’t go wrong with this book.

Down with Valentine’s Day!

And here are my top 5 books that are very much against this Hallmark Holiday.

5. The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman
[ goodreads ]
This is an incredible look at the birth of the novel Lolita and the very real and very traumatic events that happened to young Sally Horner. Despite how mezmerising and misleading Nabokov’s novel is, Weinman dissects just how horrible men like Frank La Salle (or his fictional counterpart, Humbert Humbert) truly are.

4. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler 
[ goodreads | review ]
An eerie narrative of why eccentric, Min, broke up with her popular boyfriend, Ed. This is a YA novel but written in such a memorably bizarre fashion that almost gives away Handler’s alter ego (as he is more commonly known as Lemony Snicket). A great break-up story with a twist.

3. The Lamb Will Slaughter The Lion by Margaret Killjoy
[ goodreads | review ]
A novella of magic and horror that brings out of the dark side of people and what they will do for power when it should belong to no one. Since it is a novella, this is a great book to bang out quickly and so atmospherically pleasing, you’ll completely forget it’s Valentine’s Day in the real world.

2. The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein
[ goodreads ]
Boarding school + mental illness representation + potentially vampires = this wonderful book that also has f/f undertones. Incredibly spooky (and so much better than the movie adaptation of it), this book is well suited to those who want a creep factor on Valentine’s Day.

1. All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells
[ goodreads | review ]
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog recently, you’ll know I’m obsessed with this series. Want to forget about the real world and bond with someone fiction who also doesn’t care for humans? Murderbot is definitely for you. This novella series is so much fun you won’t want to put it down.

And there you have it! My list of books to read to either join in on or hide from Valentine’s Day. Personally, I plan to spend my evening binge watching some true crime documentaries (for anyone wondering, I’m eyeballing the Paradise Lost trilogy) since I’m not a fan of today.

Do you like Valentine’s Day? What are your plans for tonight? Let me know in the comments!

r.j. richardson (2)
click here to support

Best Reads of 2018

In 2018 I had a goal of 52 books to read but I hit that far more quickly than I expected to so I “doubled” it to 100. Now we’re at New Year’s Eve, and I managed to finish 96 books. I’m sad I didn’t make it to 100, but am still pleased with how much I did accomplish and how many of them were fantastic reads. Out of that 96, I decided to pick out some of favourite reads – not necessarily published this year – to talk about.

Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

What I loved about Wonderblood was how different it was from the usual sci-fi/fantasy that I normally read or hear about. Whicker’s take on how the apocalyptic future will regress us rather than move us forward in any way was fascinating and the belief system of magic vs. science (which is seen as heretical magic) is wild. A majorly under hyped book of the year.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

I followed M.L. Rio on Tumblr back in the day and really loved her sense of humour, so I was thrilled to finally have the time to get into her novel this year. Modern Shakespeare meets contemporary college life in this psychological thriller about friends turned to enemies and the sacrifices made to keep each other safe. Whether you like Shakespeare/theatre or not, this is definitely a wild ride worth reading.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

I was interested in this book because as a fan of the Hannibal television series, I’ve always been curious about encephalitis and how it actually manifests in people. With Netflix making a movie of Susannah Cahalan’s autobiography, I figured I shouldn’t hold off anymore and ended up being completely fascinated and terrified by what Cahalan went through. Definitely a fascinating read as someone who is interested in all things to do with mental health and brain illnesses.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Another book I picked up because of Netflix and fell in love with it. An easy read of love, loss, and books with a large cast of very different characters who quickly captured my heart. This book fed my wanderlust and recaptured my love of history.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Probably one of the best things to come out during the #MeToo movement was Women Talking. Toews started writing this well before, but the timing of the release couldn’t have been better. Despite being a story of violent sexual assault in such an oppressive community for women to exist in, I enjoyed the company of the women in this story and laughed with them as they discussed their options regarding what has happened to them. It opened my eyes to the bigger picture of dealing with trauma, and how not everyone is able to be as strong as others.

Foe by Iain Reid

This quiet psychological, space-age thriller got to me in the best way. Iain Reid has such a command of atmosphere that there really isn’t anything more to say about this novel other than if you want to be spooked, pick up this or anything else written by Iain Reid.

Bookish Boyfriends: A Date With Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt

A book I thought was going to be kitsch and lame but turned out to be a marvellously feminist retelling of Pride & Prejudice. It’s a story of how your first love may not be perfect and how there is nothing wrong with saying no to what makes you uncomfortable. Fun and funny, I loved the characters of this one and greatly look forward to the sequel.

The Manson Women and Me by Nikki Meredith

Another nonfiction read, this one is semi-autobiographical as author and journalist Nikki Meredith covers the crossover between her life with the lives of the women of the Manson Family cult (specifically Pat Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten). I was fascinated by what Pat and Leslie went through and hearing their perspective on the brainwashing that Manson was so good at. As a major true crime fan, this is probably one of the best true crime books I’ve had the pleasure of reading and really goes deep into what people do for what they believe in.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Probably one of the best books I read all year, Mary H.K. Choi’s debut novel of anxiety and relationships is swoon worthy. It addresses several issues around race, family, sexual assault, and what it means to grow up. I’ve bought three copies of this book so far and mailed two of those copies to friends who I demanded read it. Absolutely phenomenal and fun.

BRAVE by Rose McGowan

This book broke me. That’s really all I can say for it. Right from Rose McGowan herself, it recounts just how bad the abuse is in Hollywood (and not just with the monster who calls himself Harvey Weinstein) as well as how people like Rose are taken advantage of time and time again. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her to have gone through all that she has, but this unfiltered autobiography is a peak behind the curtain. Heartbreaking and immensely real, I have so much respect and admiration for Rose McGowan and this book is so important.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

This book had me from the moment I heard “Native Dystopia”. The world had ended but resources on the res are already so unreliable, it goes unnoticed for days. It’s a book about survival but also about the bigger issues that are going unnoticed by those outside of Native communities. An incredibly interesting novel that is also utterly chilling.

One Day In December by Josie Silver

One of my final reads of 2018 and definitely one of my new favourites. This novel made me laugh, ugly cry, and ugly cry some more. It’s the reaction I wanted the first time I watched Love, Actually (which was a first for me this year, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t care for it). I genuinely want to make this one of my annual reads for the Christmas season.

Special Mentions

Special mentions of the year go to two advanced copies I was lucky enough to read that come out in 2019:

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinée by Jeff Zentner

I love Jeff Zentner and have said that more than once since I read his debut novel in 2016. His latest upcoming novel is hilarious and while not as heartbreaking as his previous two, still capable of ripping your heart out while you ugly cry over the pages. Available as of February 26, this is a book you don’t want to miss out on.

Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary

Okay okay, one of my best friend’s wrote this book, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important read. Discussing what it means to be a performer as well as being autistic, Michael’s book is a guide to learn more and a reminder that people are people and deserve your respect. Different is wonderful. Different is interesting. And Michael is such a brilliant story teller, I highly recommend picking up his debut when it hits shelves on March 12th.


REVIEW: When Katie Met Cassidy

Yet another Book of the Month Club suggestion, I got Camille Perri’s When Katie Met Cassidy on my Kobo as some light-hearted reading that I felt I needed. Plus, when I read this towards the end of June, it was a great way to send off Pride Month.

The story focuses on Katie as her social life is crumbling around her. Her fiance has left her, having had an affair with her best friend, and taken everyone in their friend group with him. Her apartment is a depressive episode brought to life, and she is still struggling to keep her head up in her firm as a lawyer. But then Cassidy, a no-fucks-given, proudly gay lawyer with an opposing firm.

Quickly Katie’s life in back on track, if only a very different one, as she learns to things about herself and what her life in New York can mean.

I really enjoyed this story despite it’s flaws and it was honestly just a fun, queer story about fun, queer people. As someone who is a part of the LBGT+ community, I found my experiences relate a lot to Cassidy’s. I have also known people who are very much like Katie in which they have never before questioned their sexuality until that one person comes into their lives. It’s those things that really stood out to me in this book is that the main characters felt like real people I know and love.

For the most part, I enjoyed Cassidy’s friends and appreciated how Katie’s struggle with such a new part of her life was handled. But all of that being said, I found some moments to be more than a little bi-phobic or even gatekeeping against bisexuals who have only recently discovered that part of themselves. It made me uncomfortable but I did keep reading as that section of the story didn’t really come into play until more towards the end of the book.

Was it my favourite read of the year? Not quite. But it was a lot of fun to read and I would still recommend it to my friends looking for some wlw stories that don’t end in someone dying. I’ll certainly be checking out Perri’s other books in the future.

Author: Camille Perri
Published: June 19, 2018
Pages: 272
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 9780735212817

Synopsis: Katie Daniels is a perfection-seeking 28-year-old lawyer living the New York dream. She’s engaged to charming art curator Paul Michael, has successfully made her way up the ladder at a multinational law firm and has a hold on apartments in Soho and the West Village. Suffice it to say, she has come a long way from her Kentucky upbringing.

But the rug is swept from under Katie when she is suddenly dumped by her fiance, Paul Michael, leaving her devastated and completely lost. On a whim, she agrees to have a drink with Cassidy Price-a self-assured, sexually promiscuous woman she meets at work. The two form a newfound friendship, which soon brings into question everything Katie thought she knew about sex—and love.