I am now on Twitter! It will probably focus mostly on travel, just so you all know (because I want to link it to my travel blog), but I'm still going to start following you all!


I don't know how this works yet, but my name will either how up as Ally or CruisingCanuckA. Follow me back :)

Not a Bad 2.5 stars

Tandem - Anna Jarzab

So I did manage to finish this book before NetGalley archived it. And I'm happy I did, because it was pretty unique. But, for some reason, I didn't love it.


Tandem is a story about parallel worlds. Sasha is a normal girl living on Earth, just minding her own business. But her 'analog' (kind of like a double) is a very important person in her world. Suddenly, Sasha is uprooted from Earth and forced to play the part of a princess who has somehow gone missing. 


When I think specifically about what I didn't like about this book, there's nothing that jumps out at me. And that's the problem I have with it. There was no one scene, character, or plot twist that made me invested in this story. That's not to say that it wasn't good, just that it wasn't memorable.


In terms of characterization, these characters didn't necessarily conform to the tropes we currently see in YA writing. For example, Sasha doesn't slut-shame, she doesn't believe that she's ugly when everyone else thinks she's beautiful, etc. But at the same time, there was nothing about her that was striking. She was a nice girl thrown into a situation that didn't change her countenance all that much. 


The supporting characters were also well-written, and also not interesting. Thomas, the love interest, was a nice guy with no abusive tendencies or male dominance issues. But he also wasn't special. Nothing like some other love interests (*cough* Day *cough*) who I want to meet and marry in real life. 


I did think that the plot was well done, if not transparent. By using multiple POVs, the author does't leave much to the imagination. We received too much information from Juli and Thomas, which made it pretty easy to guess what was going to happen next, or at least be unsurprised at plot twists. But it was still well-written and tight for the most part.


Overall, a unique concept that I'm sure many readers will love. Unfortunately, it just didn't do it for me. 


Tandem - Anna Jarzab



"If you do anything-anything-to upset your father or endanger the reputation of the Crown, so help me I will see to it that you are sent someplace much more tedious and remote than Canada. Do you understand me?"


Canada doesn't sound like a fun place in this parallel world.


Tandem - Anna Jarzab, To Be Announced

It's kind of cool, but kind of uninteresting at the same time. I still want to know what happens, but don't care enough to finish it before NetGalley's archive date.

43% in

Blood Song - Anthony  Ryan

I am really enjoying this at the moment. Why don't I read fantasy as often as I used to!?


Tandem - Anna Jarzab

Gotta read this one before it expires on NetGalley. Looks like it could be interesting!


The Delphi Room - Melia McClure

The Delphi Room is unlike any book I’ve ever read. I think it’s one of those books that you’ll either really like or really hate depending on if you enjoy the writing style. Luckily, I was in the mood for this type of book and the writing style captivated me from the beginning. Then again, how can it not when the first line of the novel is: “My mother was on her way over the day I hung myself


Velvet is one of the most wonderfully flawed characters I’ve ever read about. And she makes no apologies for it. She is haunted by the Shadowman, a deliciously creepy specter that hangs around and makes her do terrible things. Like hang herself. After she commits suicide, she suddenly finds herself in her childhood bedroom, with one dress and no way to get out. Believing that it is hell, she spills her inner thoughts to her neighbour Brinkley, who is in the room next to her. Brinkley and Velvet see scenes from each other’s tragic pasts in their ‘hell mirrors’.


There was something so beautiful about their relationship and the parallels between their lives. I don’t really know how to describe how I felt as I read, but it was a mixture of discomfort and interest. Their lives have not been easy or pretty. But there is still something about reading about the drama of people’s lives when it is dealt in such a way that interests me to no end. However, the themes this novel deals with made me a little bit uncomfortable at the same time. No child should ever have to experience what Velvet or Brinkley experienced, and perhaps that is why we get glimpses into their lives as adults. If any one of us heard Velvet’s or Brinkley’s story, we would automatically label them insane. Stalked by a Shadowman? Deeply in love with a 1920s actress who appears to you and urges you to do terrible things? Psych ward.


The ending killed me. If you’re looking for a happily ever after, where both Velvet and Brinkley get out of hell and meet one another in real life, look elsewhere. The ending was completely ambiguous. It reminds me of the ending of Inception, where the top just keeps spinning, so you don’t know if it’s real life or not. Total mind fuck. So you’re left to wonder if Velvet and Brinkley made it out of hell/wherever they are. And you have no idea whether or not they’ve conquered their demons, or if Brinkley is even real (though his story did seem pretty real). It was beautiful and unique (I’ve gotten over my disappointment quickly).


I’d recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something different and unique. 5 stars.

Oh, the Reformatting!

I didn't realize that this import meant I'd have to reformat all my reviews. Thankfully, I only have 90 or so, and not thousands like some of you. 


If anyone knows a quick and easy way to reformat, please let me know!




The Darkness of Shadows - Chris  Little

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


I was extremely disappointed in The Darkness of Shadows. With such a promising blurb – Natalie wanting to kill her father before he hurts the family that took her in and then having to contend with magic powers she never knew he had – I thought this book was bound to be good. But I’m actually surprised I finished it.


Chris Little’s writing style and I didn’t get along all that well. I found the writing to be extremely choppy, and I HATED the dialogue. Natalie’s self-deprecating humour wasn’t endearing at all. In fact, it was extremely annoying, especially when she makes jokes about being a cripple all the time. I didn’t know whether I should laugh or be uncomfortable with the following gems:


Her perky voice shot through me like a bad burrito.

I towered over her like a sequoia over a delicate bonsai.

His mouth snapped shut like the front door on a Jehovah’s Witness.

She was as subtle as the scale at a Weight Watchers meeting…

It chilled me to my DNA.

My lungs stopped working, and they didn’t even give me two weeks’ notice.

She was like a pudding that hadn’t set as I buckled her in.

“Leave, you son of a virus.”


Aside from the awkward and choppy writing, I couldn’t stand the characters. Val, Natalie’s best friend, was alright. She was a kick-ass best friend who literally kicked ass for Natalie. But these women, unless I am mistaken, are supposed to be 32 years old. I can’t even think of one instance where they act like they’re 32. Sure, they both have successful businesses, but they talk to one another like they’re 16 and in high school.


I’m also pretty disappointed with the lack of psychology in the book. I think it would have been so much more interesting if Natalie both hated and loved her father at the same time. I’ve never been in an abusive situation, so I’m not expert on how abuse works. But, a lot of the time the abused party feels like he or she has done something wrong to warrant this abuse. If Natalie had felt something along these lines, even though she knows what her parents did to her was wrong, the story would have been much more compelling. And that ending. Seriously? Don’t you think that if you had been trying to capture/kill someone for an entire book that you WOULDN’T warn him that the FBI is coming? So that he can run away and live to kill again? No. This is a total cop out so that the author can write a second book with the same boring/frustrating characters and the same plot.


Overall, I didn’t find this to be an enjoyable read in the least. Bad research, frustrating dialogue, and unlikeable characters = 1 star.


Home Front: A Novel - Kristin Hannah

I'm not even going to rate this one because I only got to 36% before I moved on to bigger and better books. One lady in the book club assured me that she was crying and sobbing in the end.

This book was just so boring for me. I couldn't relate to the characters at all. Jolene was such a push-over in every aspect of her life. If her husband was bothering her, she would sometimes say something and then drop it. If her daughter was acting like a total bitch, as she was for the majority of what I read, Jolene just lay down and took it. And just the way she thought about her husband Michael pissed me off. As if he couldn't do anything she was used to doing around the house because he was a man. NO.

Granted, Michael was a total douchebag and proved her right in that respect. He's basically an absentee father forced to spend time with and take care of his children because his wife is going off to war. His attitude towards his wife’s chosen profession disgusted me. Even if you don’t support the army, why can’t you support something your partner is so passionate about? It’s like hating your spouse because they support a different political party. It’s just stupid.

I HATED THIS RELATIONSHIP. Being inside both their heads was boring. Internal monologues put me to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I thought I would continue on with this book, just to see what happened, but once Jolene got to Iraq and saw the reality on the ground, I realized that I didn’t even care what happened to her (I know, I’m cold-hearted). I also didn’t care what would happen to Michael or any of the other characters because the author made me hate them before anything even happened. It’s sad because this book has a lot of potential in terms of character development and a sob-worthy plot, but I just didn’t care enough to finish it.

Gated - Amy Christine Parker

This is one of those books that will make you uncomfortable from start to finish. In a good way.

Meet Lyla, a 17-year old girl living in a secluded 'Community' in the present day United States. Lyla is one of the most unique YA characters that I've met to date. Slut-shaming? Nope. Mary-Sue attitude? Nope. In fact, I kind of wanted to be her friend. Lyla has been living in Mandrodage Meadows (anagram for Armageddon Meadows), a gated community led by tyhe charismatic Pioneer, since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Being inside Lyla's head was a fascinating experience. Experiencing Pioneer's indoctrination techniques from her point of view, and the way he controls what information the Community has access to provided some real insight into how real world cults operate today. If the seed of doubt hadn't been planted in Lyla's head, I don't think she would have ever questioned Pioneer's motives.

Pioneer was as charismatic as he was creepy. He inspires devotion. Characters who lived outside of the community for the better part of their lives don't question what he tells them. His techniques to keep people in line are just sadistic and disgusting. But again, no one questions him because his influence has made them subservient. It just goes to show that anyone who is a charismatic leader can obtain a certain amount of power over people, especialy those who are vulnerable.

But it was really the atmosphere that made this book such a great read. I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff throughout the entire novel. The creepiest part was that I wasn't sure if Pioneer was telling the truth or not. Granted, some things were pretty obvious, like when he told the community that 3 very well known natural disasters had occurred within a week, but there was still this uncomfortable feeling that the apocalypse just might be coming.

My shock after reading this book had me giving it a 5-star rating, but now that I'm thinking about it a bit more, I'm dropping it to 4 stars. The reason is because I felt like some aspects of the story weren't tied up for my liking, especially surrounding Pioneer. I would have liked to have known more about his life and the psychology behind his belief in the Brethren. It would have really added more depth to the story, and also, I think, helped the characters move on and possibly overcome some aspects of their indoctrination.

Overall, an uncomfortable, creepy read with a realistic spin. I'll definitely be reading other books by this author.

White Cat

White Cat - Holly Black

I don't know what it was about White Cat, but I really, really enjoyed it. Probably because of the cats.

Not only did this book deal with cat(s), it also had fantastic worldbuilding and interesting characters. Curse Working is such a unique concept, and Holly Black did a really fantastic job introducing us to this new world. There was no info-dumping, but as a reader, I still wasn't lost. And the cons and crime families and political plays kept my interest the entire time. At the end, I was actually kind of freaking out, trying to keep everything straight and remember who had betrayed who.

Cassel, our male protagonist, is a pretty interesting dude. He has grown up in a family of curse workers, who can do things like manipulate luck and memory. But Cassel is an outsider; he is not a curse worker and it's something that has constantly set him apart from his family. So he tries to live a semblance of a normal life at his boarding school, while keeping his best kept secret: the murder he committed, which ended in the death of his best friend.

One of the things I really appreciated here was the way Cassel felt about his brothers. Objectively, Barron and Phillip seemed like total assholes who don't deserve all that Cassel does for them after the way they've treated him. But Cassel still sees his older brothers as men to look up to, even if he doesn't agree with what they do. Rather than completely turning his back on them, he allows the bonds of family to affect his decisions. I just loved his character!

Everyone else has already said pretty much everything there is to say about how fun this book is. If you're weary of a male protagonist, don't be. I found it refreshing, and loved the pointed writing style. If you love cats, then read this book! (Actually it doesn't really have that much to do with cats, but whatever).

The Final Empire  - Brandon Sanderson

4.5 stars

Buckle up ladies and gentleman. This is going to be a longgggg ride. There’s so much to say in this review. Mistborn absolutely blew me away. It hit me on so many different levels, that I am literally just sitting here thinking about all the different things I want to talk about and trying to figure out how to fit them into a review.

High fantasy has always been a genre that I’ve loved; yet I’ve often not put in enough effort to get through the long books that seem to saturate the genre. But Mistborn was just fast-paced enough for me that I wasn’t bored out of my mind reading it. Yes, some parts of the book were slow, but nothing compared to marathon snore-fests like some parts in A Game of Thrones (which I loved by the way). Brandon Sanderson’s writing was both simplistic and beautiful. Unlike others, I didn’t feel bogged down by the descriptions of metals and what they do, simply because it was interesting.

In this day and age, it's difficult to find a unique story. But so many different aspects of Mistborn astounded me because they were so unique, at least to me. A book that uses metals as a source of power> Allomancy? Feruchemy? I was automatically intrigued and wanted to get to know this world better. And then we have monstrosities like the Inquisitors. And seriously, who can say that they’ve ever met anything as creepy and sinister as the Inquisitors? This description chilled my bones:

“As he turned, Kelsier was able to see that a thick metal spike had been pounded tip first through each of the man’s eyes. With shafts as wide as an eye socket, the nail-like spikes were long enough that their sharp points jutted out an inch from the back of the man’s clean-shaven skull.”

The Inquisitors were not the only ‘characters’ that were cringe-worthy. The Lord Ruler himself was also frightening, and made even more so by the mystery surrounding his immortality. The stark differences between the journal entries we see at the beginning of every chapter and what is known of his 1000-year rule intrigued me throughout the novel. A little tidbit like this one would make me speculate for large parts of the novel:

“I know what will happen if I make the wrong choice. I must be strong; I must not take the power for myself. For I have seen what will happen if I do.”

Aside from the depth of the Lord Ruler’s character, the characterization of the other players in the story was masterfully done. Each character had a purpose in the story. There were none of these random squires like we see in Game of Thrones. Not only did each character play an important role, but each also had depth and made progress throughout the book. And yes, while there were some tropes, like poor, dirty girl suddenly becoming nobility, I think it was done in a way that was relatively realistic.

And the plot. Oh my God. I LOVE plots that are this intricate without bombarding the reader with details or surprising the reader with random plot twists that don’t make any sense. I’m not the type of person to try and guess ahead. While I do like to speculate, I much prefer to be surprised and sit there with a sense of disbelief that the world is still continuing around me. And Sanderson did this to me more than once. I felt totally blown out of the water by some of the events in this book, particularly in the last 15-20%.

While all of this added to my enjoyment of the story, it was really the way that Sanderson’s writing applies to broader happenings in the world today that really hit me and spoke to me. The way he dealt with religion, through one of my favourite characters, Sazed, was beautiful. Sazed collects knowledge about different religions, and attempts to find one that will fit for each of his friends. I just loved his outlook. At one point he talks about how no religion is right or wrong, but that they just have different beliefs. And his wisdom pertaining to the creation of religion is something I think we all need to recognize. This passage particularly affected me:

Vin snorted. “This is no religion we’re talking about, Sazed. This is Kelsier.”
“I disagree. He is certainly a religious figure to the skaa.”
“But we knew him,” Vin said. “He was no prophet or god. He was just a man.”
“So many of them are, I think,” Sazed said quietly.

But Sanderson didn’t just stop there. He also wove together a story in which the poor skaa represent so many oppressed people in the world, and their unwillingness to fight back because they continue to be beaten down. At the same time, he demonstrates what can happen when hope takes over. I find this particularly applicable to the present situation in the Middle East. At the risk of quoting WAY to many times from the book, here’s another one that I highlighted:

“If I regret one thing, it is the fear I have caused. Fear is the tool of tyrants. Unfortunately, when the fate of the world is in questions, you use whatever tools are available.”

I know a lot of other books deal with this sort of thing, but for some reason Mistborn really made me think, not just about what was going on in the book, but also the world around us. Sanderson highlights the differences between good and evil, not by explicitly contrasting a case of each, but by showing the blurred lines between the labels. The nobility is not all evil just because they are all rich and they work for the Lord Ruler. Likewise, the skaa were not all good people, oppressed by the Lord Ruler and the nobility. I really liked the way Sanderson ignored the usual dichotomies that authors often use to challenge preconceptions about certain types of people. Everything about this was just beautifully done.

I’ll definitely be moving on to the next one once I’ve recovered. I must know what happens next!

What Type of Horn Do You Have?

Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants - Louise Rennison

What Type of ‘Horn’ Do You Have?

Listen up chums and pals! Here is a test to determine what type of Horn you have. If you don't understand what I am saying, then you are le stupid and must read these books as soon as possible. Leave your results in the comments section!

1. You have a boyfriend who you have been seeing for a while now. Things are getting more serious. One night you go to the bar and see a cute guy. You think:
a. I’d like to snog him to within an inch of my life
b. He’s cute, I do fancy him, but I’m already snogging a Sex God
c. What cute guy? I have eyes only for the Sex God

2. You are still with said boyfriend (the Sex God), when you see your mate walking around with a cute guy you snogged back in the day. They’re holding hands. You think:
a. I’m pretty jealous because he is an ex-snogee and also a particularly good nip libbler
b. Hm, he’s pretty groovy and the cat’s pajamas. So are his dishy mates. BUT I AM THE GIRLFRIEND OF A SEX GOD.
c. Who even notices that? I’ve never snogged anyone aside from my boyfriend.

3. One of your best friends has started seeing your ex-snogee. You notice that he doesn’t give her a quick kiss when he meets up with her. You:
a. Vindictively think that he obviously doesn’t like her and think about how he’s quite groovy looking
b. Think it’s weird, but, HELLO, you’re dating a Sex God
c. Oh, sorry, I was too wrapped up with Hunky, what did you ask again?

4. Your friend is dumped by her new fling only weeks after they became snogging partners. You:
a. Think about how they didn’t work well together anyway and avoid even talking about the subject manner because you’re suddenly feeling guilty
b. Feel badly, and think that he’s kind of cute, but you’re still dating a Sex God
c. Comfort her and give her a Jammy Dodger to make her feel better

If you answered MOSTLY As, then you have THE COSMIC HORN

You, like Georgia, cannot get a hold on your red-bottomosity. You accidentally snog your friends’ boyfriends at fish parties, and cannot seem to control the puckerability of your lips. You see all boys as potential snogging partners (well, accepting cases like Spotty Norman and Mark Big Gob). Sometimes, you can’t even differentiate between inanimate objects, cats, and boys, such is your way of fancying everything in the universe.

If you answered MOSTLY Bs, then you may have the GENERAL HORN

Again, like Georgia you fancy loads of people. To differentiate from the Cosmic Horn, you don’t necessarily act on your urges. You may or may not flaunt your red bottomosity and snog your friends’ boyfriends, but you are not yet to the point where you would fancy everything in the universe.

If you answered MOSTLY Cs, then you have the SPECIFIC HORN

Like those with huge knockers and annoying fringes, you fancy only one person. Like Jas and Hunky, you have no desire whatsoever to snog another. And think your best mate, who has a touch of the red bottomosity about her, is awful for accidentally snogging her friend’s boyfriend.


Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents - Elisabeth Eaves

As many of you know, I am obsessed with travelling. I don't know where this obsession began, but I think it had something to do with our trip to England and Italy when I was 14. Since then, I've visited a ton of places, some I loved (Vietnam, Peru) and others I couldn't stand (Mexico). I think the reason that Wanderlust is a 4* book is because I have never found a character that I have identified with so much.

A year ago, I found myself in Vietnam on a 3-month internship. You know when you have that summer that just changes your life and moulds you into an entirely different person? That was my Vietnam trip for me. One of the girls I was there with was primarily responsible for me opening up and experiencing new things, particularly in the romance department. I learned so much about myself and actually managed to dispel a lot of ridiculous notions that I had held close before my trip.

At the same time, my best friend was in Senegal, doing something similar. We both got back, full of stories, and realized that Canada was not where we wanted to be. So, in our last semester of school, we took off to Peru for a week, where we had a fantastic adventure. But upon our return, I still didn't feel at home in Canada and I took off to live in Prague. This is where things went wrong. I had spent all my money, and had no way of staying there for the period of time that I wanted. I came back to Canada, with my tail between my knees and thought that travelling wasn't for me anymore. Meanwhile, my best friend took off to live in Nepal, and our other close friend went to live in South Africa. Th Wanderlust crept up on me again, and I'm now going to live in Ireland.

Throughout this story, I was so envious of Elisabeth and her adventures. I wanted to be able to just be cool with things and go with the flow in the Middle East (granted, she was there pre-9/11). I wish I could travel up the coast of Australia and work wherever I want because it's so easy there. In her, I recognized the inability to be with any man, to want to live two lives. While I've never been unfaithful, I completely understood her adultery on some level, which frightened me a bit.

Others have complained about Elisabeth not having any meaningful relationships. Unfortunately, this is something I can relate to as well. I moved away from my hometown in rural Canada to the capital city for university. Over the 5 years that I lived there, I lost touch with my friends back home and made newer, stronger relationships. Now that I'm back home, I'm feeling the strain again, but this time with my friends in Ottawa. Aside from my best friend, who is a traveller like myself, there's no on that I am desperate to keep in contact with. And that's okay. That's the kind of person I am.

All the above is to demonstrate how much my life is like Elisabeth's. Like I said, I think this is why I enjoyed this book so much. The writing wasn't particularly beautiful; the story was told in a matter-of-fact way that didn't exactly captivate me. But it was my ability to relate and to see myself in Elisabeth that made this story for me. Her story has made me want to write about my own experience, though I don't know how I'd feel, having all my escapades out there for my family to read about. Elisabeth's brutal honesty in her feelings about men throughout the book made me a tad uncomfortable, not because they were sexist in any way, but because I couldn't imagine ever feeling so ambivalent about a relationship.

All in all, a fantastic read for anyone who feels like they don't belong in their home country, or who just has an insistent travel bug.

On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God - Louise Rennison The hilariosity and sophisticosity of Georgia is unparalleled in her second diary. Don't read any of these books in public, you will startle unsuspecting commuters or passersby with laughter and snorts. Some select quotes: Dave the Laugh had left me a card at home which said, One-legged girls are a push-over. Love Dave xxxxxx. Nothing seems to bother her now that Vati is coming home. She might have put his moustache 101 out of her mind but I haven't. In fact, to remind her I have drawn a moustache on the heart she put on the calendar. The Sex God had landed at my door. I was wearing my Teletubbies pajamas. Can't wait to continue the adventures of Georgia with The Jealous Knickers!