Review: Playing With Matches

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Playing With Matches

Author: Suri Rosen
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Romance
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 255
Source: ECW Press
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks
Chapters | Kobo | Book Depository

Synopsis (Goodreads):

A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker!

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt-but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One.

Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her secret life catch up with her?

In this debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.


**I received an advanced copy from ECW Press in exchange for an honest review**

Opening Lines

Here’s some advice if you plan on taking the Number 7 down Bathurst Street at 7:36 a.m. Do not sit downwind from the woman eating the industrial-grade tuna fish. And if The Groomer is on the bus, get ready to duck at the first sign of the nail clippers.”

The Good

If I could sum up Playing With Matches using only one word it would be Cute with a capital C!! Seriously, I think my face still hurts from smiling so much awhile reading this!

First off I just have to talk about the cover and my physical copy of this book. I was sent a PDF version until Playing with Matches was ready to be mailed out; when I opened the PDF I was so surprised by the cover design. I love the choice of colors and font used. I remember looking at it thinking how soft it looks! And when it came in the mail and I basically fell in love with it. The cover, the back of it, the font used, colour choices, the text style and the little arrows were all just beautiful touches to make this book look fantastic! And the spine! Let me just say that this book looks amazing on my bookshelf. I mean, if you still want to go and buy the ebook version, sure knock yourself out! But you’ll be missing out on one BEAUTIFUL book!

Raina Resnick is the main character and narrator throughout Playing With Matches, and I have to say that her character brought this story to life! I loved her character development throughout the book, it made her into a realistic character that people can relate to. I admit I was on the fence on if I would really like Raina’s character at the start of the book, but you quickly grow to love her. One thing that really bothered me was Raina’s family. HOW IN THE WORLD COULD YOU BLAME HER?! Ben was clearly a loser who didn’t understand that no family is perfect. My heart broke for Raina,  she was really just trying to make everyone else happy. Who hasn’t been in a similar situation of trying to make others happy?!

Now Suri Rosen…debut novel? Lies I tell you, LIES!! I’m only kidding. But Suri Rosen if you happen to actually read this I would like you to know that I am in awe of you. The writing style was perfect, everything just had a great flow. I have to say the biggest (and best) thing that I didn’t see coming was the fact that Suri Rosen didn’t focus on giving Raina a love interest. This made Playing With Matches refreshing and unique compared to all the young adult books that do focus on love interest. Suri Rosen proved that there is more to a character than falling in love, and that’s an important message!

Lasting Impression

Overall, Playing With Matches was such a cute read and I loved it to pieces!! A unique and refreshing read that has made its way onto my favourites list. A huge congratulations goes out to Suri Rosen, what a fantastic debut novel! I look forward to reading more of her work. Did I love it? YES. Should you read it? HECK YES!!!

5 stars



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Review: Then and Always

**I received an advanced copy of Then and Always from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review and participation in their blog tour.**

 Thank you to Elizabeth Cameron from Penguin Canada!

Then and Always

Author: Dani Atkins
Series: N/A
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Publication Date: May 20th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 320
Source: Penguin Canada / Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Chapters | Kobo

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Absorbing, surprising, and heart-rending, Dani Atkins’s debut novel follows a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life … just not the one she remembers.

Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at a top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart. Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment, but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.


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What if?

What if is a simple question with a not so simple (endless) list of possibilities.

Everyone has that moment in their life, or maybe even a few, where you sit there thinking “what if?” What if I did this differently? How much would my life and/or perspective have changed? The answer? We’ll never really know. That is unless you’re Rachel Wiltshire.

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When I started Then and Always I truthfully did not know what to expect. You read the synopsis and you understand what the back-story is, but there is no way to prepare yourself for what you’re truly about to experience while reading this.

Then and Always should have been a comfy read for me, and what that means is I should have dressed in comfy clothes; an added bonus would be a pair of fluffy slippers (if only I had a pair), a cup of tea to my left, my cat sleeping to my right, and a box of Kleenex directly in my lap. And if I was really lucky, a tub of ice cream in the freeze and a box of Ferrero Rochers just waiting to be devoured. 

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Instead? I read 87% of this hunched over my laptop, eyes scanning from left to right. If I had a physical copy you would hear nothing but me vigorously flipping the pages waiting to find out what would happen next. From the minute you finish the first chapter YOU ARE HOOKED. Dani knows how to do more than just write a novel, she knows how to captivate you and leave you wanting more but taking away a beautiful and truthful life lesson. She had my emotions trapped on a roller coaster throughout this whole novel; I was basically sitting on the edge of my seat trying to predict what the end result would be. You can try to prepare yourself for the tears that will fall, but you can’t prepare yourself for all the emotions, THE FEELS!

Dani Atkins uses first-person narration through Rachel to tell the story and I couldn’t imagine it being conveyed any other way. Can I also just say that first-person narrative is something you don’t come across often; or when you do it’s not done probably, but she executes this beautifully.

Overall, I’m going to go ahead and boldly say that Then and Always is THE book of the summer. Dani Atkins deserves a huge amount of recognition and praise for this book. I’m still trying to comprehend the fact that she’s a first time author! This is a book you won’t want to miss out on, and an author to keep your eye out for.
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I give this 5 beautiful fluttering butterflies!!!
5 stars

Again, I would like to send a HUGE thank you to Elizabeth Cameron from Penguin Canada for allowing me to take part of this blog tour!

Thanks for stopping by!