Monday, 28 December 2015

Review: Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

The Impostor Queen
by Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 366
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
     


Sarah Fine's titles have always caught my eye. I've always found myself discovering new and interesting titles on Goodreads, adding them to my to-read list, though unfortunately never having the opportunity to sit down and read one. Luckily, with the release of The Impostor Queen, one of my most anticipated 2016 releases, I was fortunate enough to have the chance to settle down and see why everyone loves Sarah Fine's creative worlds first-hand. My experience was everything I could have hoped for!

"Pain has taken me in its monstrous arms, laid me on its table, and now it's eating me alive." 

An old queen dies and a new one replaces her - that's how it's always been. The Impostor Queen follows the story of Elli, a sixteen year old girl who was taken as a child by the Elders of Kupari to succeed the queen who wields ice and fire magic. Over the years, Elli has been trained to take the current queen's place when the time comes, however when the queen dies and Elli never receives the magic, she flees to the outlands. There she learns a devastating new truth about Kupari magic and more.

"This is no flurry of flakes but a raging blizzard. Avalanches rolling with killing speed into the rocky basin of my skull." 

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine was everything I had hoped for! My first experience into the creative mind of Sarah Fine was enough to make me a fan for life (not only that, but desperate to read into her other titles, too!) Elli was a phenomenal character - always growing, realistic, and flawed, though I wasn't exactly her biggest fan in the beginning. Furthermore, the magical element and incredible world building of The Impostor Queen was spectacular! I'm desperately awaiting news of a companion novel!

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine is an absolute must! Perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas, Josephine Angelini, and Morgan Rhodes, who need their next fantasy fix.
 
Rating: 
4 / 5 Cupcakes



This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Friday, 25 December 2015

The Cupcake Queen's Top 25 - Books That Inspired My 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Cupcakes!

I hope everyone's having an incredible day surrounded by loved ones, delicious treats, and a stack of new reads to dive into. 

Today, as I look back on my year of reading, I recall several titles that left a major impression on me. Throughout the year, these titles stuck out the most for me, left me with so much to talk about, and a need to re-read them again in the near future. Today I'll be sharing with you my TOP 25 favourite reads of 2015 (in no particular order) in hopes you find a new read to pick up in the upcoming year. Below you'll find my list, and as an added helpful bonus I've linked all titles to Goodreads =D

What are your top reads of 2015? Feel free to share in the comment section below!














Happy Reading,

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - The Beast by J.R. Ward

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



THE BEAST
Black Dagger Brotherhood #14 
by J.R. Ward
Publisher: NAL
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Pre-order: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
His name is Rhage—the deadliest fighter and most voracious lover of all the Brotherhood, whose inner beast could never be tamed. But Rhage found his eternal love in Mary Luce, a woman who once bore a life-threatening curse, while dreaming of eternity with her vampire warrior and protector.
They’ve made it to hell and back. Now their story continues in a new novel sure to draw fans back into the “frighteningly addictive” (Publishers Weekly) world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
 



Why I'm Anticipating This Title:
If you're as big of a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood as I am, it's a given that The Beast will be on my highly anticipated list for the upcoming year. Book 14 (yes, there's that many) in this series will feature my absolute favourite brother - Rhage. Having absolutely loved his story in book two, I'm glad readers will be getting a better glimpse at his life with Mary.



What are you waiting for this Wednesday?
Let me know what your highly anticipated upcoming release is in the comment section below =D





Happy Reading,

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Adult Colouring Trend - Relieving Stress and Anxiety One Page at a Time


Books have always been my go-to method of relaxation and meditation. Immersing myself in a new world where anything is possible has always been my escape of choice, however after struggling with anxiety, it hasn't always been an option. When struggling with anxiety, I always found it to be difficult to turn my brain off and to focus on something else, leaving me stuck when it came to starting a new novel or continuing a title I left off. Coloring (in general) wasn't ever really an option for me, or one that would come to mind. Before 2015, coloring was better left off to children, especially considering the only coloring mediums out there were only available TO children.


The new adult coloring trend, in my opinion, was a god send for those who struggle with anxiety and stress. With coloring books focusing on movies, television shows, and even intricate flower and animal patterns, it gave me a wide range of options to choose from. With that said, it was a given I'd dive head-first into this fun trend, and with countless favourites to boot!


My personal adult colouring book favourites:

Harry Potter: The Official Coloring Book from Scholastic. 
This title is perfect for fans of the franchise! Features plenty of colouring spreads featuring out favourite characters, creatures, and also includes some film screenshots for colouring references.

Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined from Steve McDonald. 
A wonderful (and large) colouring book featuring real places (and imagined) for the architecture loving nerd in all of us.

The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book from Daria Song. 
One of the first colouring books I picked up and was instantly impressed by the story the images told. So imaginative!

Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book from Johanna Basford. 
Johanna has countless colouring books out in the world, but Lost Ocean is my absolute favourite thus far. Mermaids, jellyfish, pirate ships - the coluring opportunities are ENDLESS!

The Official Outlander Coloring Book from Diana Gabaldon. 
A perfect addition to any Outlander fan's bookshelf. I absolutely adore the series, so this colouring book was an obvious choice for yours truly.





Have you joined the adult colouring trend? 
If so, what are your favourite colouring books? Let me know in the comments below.

Meanwhile, be sure to check these fantastic posts/reviews on other colouring books:

Just a Lil' Lost http://www.justalillost.com/2015/12/which-one-to-colour-taking-a-look-at-adult-colouring-books/

Eater of Books - http://eaterofbooks.blogspot.ca/2015/11/blog-tour-i-love-my-hair-by-andrea.html
                            http://eaterofbooks.blogspot.ca/2015/10/review-vampire-combat-field-guide-by.html

With Her Nose Stuck in a Book - https://quirkyladybookworm.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/adult-coloring-books/

Friday, 18 December 2015

Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey
by Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

     


“It won’t be forever. You’ll be in the dark for as long as it takes and then you’ll come out.”

Finding Audrey was unlike any other Sophie Kinsella title I've read before. As a big fan of her Shopaholic series, and also a lover of titles Wedding Bells, The Undomestic Goddess, I've Got Your Number and countless others, I was especially excited to read her latest after reading it's synopsis. As someone who suffers from anxiety (although despite being very in control of it) I was intrigued that her next protagonist/heroine would feature a struggle I could easily find relatable.

“Most people underestimate eyes. They're infinite. You look someone straight in the eye and your whole soul can be sucked out in a nanosecond. Other people's eyes are limitless and that's what scares me.”

Audrey was an excellent character - vulnerable and determined, and I found myself easily connecting with her, remembering times where I felt down, felt like the world and everything around me was coming apart. Reading from her perspective was, personally, terrifying but also a wonderful reminder of how far I've come from my own struggles with anxiety. Finding Audrey is, without a doubt, a powerful, inspiring, emotional, and incredibly brave read. Fans of Sophie Kinsella will absolutely adore this title to pieces. I look forward to recommending it!


Rating: 
4 / 5 Cupcakes



This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



THE DARKEST MAGIC
by Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Pre-order: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
In the second installment of New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes's highly acclaimed Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, danger looms and the mystery deepens as two warring evils vie for possession of one elusive, powerful book.

Modern-day Toronto: Sisters Crystal and Becca Hatcher are reunited after reclaiming the Bronze Codex and narrowly escaping death. They have no one to trust but each other, and the only thing keeping them safe is the book that sent Becca's spirit to Ancient Mytica--the same book that their enemies would kill them for.

Ancient Mytica: Maddox grapples to keep his newly discovered powers under control, while the ruthless goddess Valoria hunts him down.

Modern-day Toronto: Farrell embraces his dark side as he unwittingly falls further under the spell of Markus, the mastermind leader of the nefarious Hawkspear Society, who will stop at nothing to find Crys and Becca--and the remarkable book in their possession.

New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes takes readers into exhilarating new high-fantasy territory with volume two of the Book of Spirits and Thieves series, an epic contemporary saga perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.
     



Why I'm Anticipating This Title:
The first title in the series, A Book of Spirits and Thieves, was absolutely thrilling! When the announcement for ABOSAT was made, I was excited to learn that it would begin in Toronto (where I was born, raised, and still continue to live). Morgan Rhodes is a phenomenal author, and with the upcoming release of book two, The Darkest Magic, I can't wait to see what adventures my favourite characters will take me. Have you read A Book of Spirits and Thieves?


Throwback to the ABOSAT launch in Toronto!



What are you waiting for this Wednesday?
Let me know what your highly anticipated upcoming release is in the comment section below =D





Happy Reading,

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Bloodcraft by Amalie Howard Blog Tour - Review + Giveaway


It's release day! I'm so excited to be reviewing Amalie Howard's long awaited sequel to Bloodspell, Bloodcraft! I've been waiting for this title for YEARS and I'm so glad to be a part of this experience once again. Below you will find my review on Bloodcraft, purchase links, a nifty giveaway, and the tour schedule. Happy reading! A big thank you to Good Choice Reading for organizing this blog tour and to Amalie Howard for being awesome. 

Bloodcraft (The Cruentus Curse #2)
by Amalie Howard
Pages: 380
Format: Paperback, ebook
Release Date: December 15th, 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [B&N]
All magic has its price, and no one knows that better than Victoria Warrick. Gifted with a centuries-old blood curse, Tori has finally learned to master her blood’s demands and has emerged triumphant with Christian Devereux, a vampire overlord, at her side.

But the worst is yet to come …

In the infamous City of Lights, home to both the Witch Clans and the Vampire Council, Tori enrolls at the exclusive Belles Fontaines school in Paris, where she is faced with a devastating choice: choose Christian and be an outcast, or choose the coven and secure her place with the witches.

When the fate of the supernatural world is targeted by a sinister new threat, Christian and Victoria must unite their two warring species to defeat it. Their bond will be tested, twisted, and sorely weakened, and Tori will find herself in uncharted territory—a dangerous place to be when her blood’s magic has its own dark agenda.

But to save them all, she may have no choice but to invoke its deadly power.

*NOTE: Bloodcraft is Upper YA / New Adult (for mature content–violence, sensuality & language)
     


"It thrummed in her veins as if sensing her ominous thoughts, its hunger unabated and ever-present. It, too, was voracious and would consume anything to sate its dark thirst—even the one she loved."

Amalie Howard is an author who's debut really stuck to me. I was a new blogger, pretty much just starting out in a new online community filled with incredible book readers, when I came across Amalie's then yet to be released debut "Bloodspell". It was at the peak of Paranormal Romance titles in the young adult genre and Bloodspell promised to be exactly what younger readers were looking for - a fierce protagonist, a dazzling love interest, witches, magic, vampires, and so much more. I recall receiving a copy of Bloodspell in the mail as my first ever advanced review copy and being completely over joyed and unbelievably excited to learn more about Victoria and Christian. As Amalie's first contribution into the world of books, Bloodspell was absolutely enchanting! Don't believe me? Here's a snippet of my old review (from my previous url) on Bloodspell, available on Amalie's website:



With that said, it was a given that I'd be highly anticipating it's companion. Although, as years passed and a sequel was never announced, I never gave up on this story. I was positive that someday readers would see more of Victoria and Christian and follow this duo on a far more sinister adventure. With the surprise announcement of Bloodcraft, I was stoked! I knew I had to be a part of this release as much as I was with it's predecessor and couldn't wait to get my hands on this long awaited (and coveted) sequel.

"Her newfound confidence made the blood in his veins surge in response. Seeing her alone had been long overdue. He missed not having her at the château, not feeling her curled up beside him on the sofa, not hearing her laugh in that dreary old house. It was empty without her."

Diving back into the world of Victoria and Christian after a few years away was incredibly refreshing, lively, and exactly what this reader needed! I'd almost forgotten how unique and detailed Amalie was with the history of these characters and their worlds. Furthermore, I absolutely adored the fact that Bloodcraft was significantly more mature than it's predecessor, no longer being classified as a YA title but a NA title (whoohoo for swoony sexy romance). Even so, Bloodcraft was everything I was hoping for and more, and I'm unbelievably excited to see what older readers and newer readers just discovering the series will think.

Bloodcraft by Amalie Howard, the second title in her Cruentus Curse series, was fantastic, incredible, and addicting!

 
Rating: 
5 / 5 Cupcakes




Giveaway
  • Kindle Fire giveaway is open to US residents due to shipping restrictions. 
  • Paperback copies of BLOODSPELL & BLOODCRAFT are open to US and INT readers.
  • This giveaway is sponsored by Amalie Howard. 
  • Leading up to the release of BLOODCRAFT, more entries/options will be added to the rafflecopter to double your chances! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

December 7th
Readers Live A Thousand Lives, http://readerslive1000lives.com | Review
Ohana Reads, http://ohanareads.blogspot.ca | Promo
Live To Read ~Krystal, http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/ | Promo

December 8th
Addicted Readers , http://addictreaders.blogspot.com/ | Promo
SolaFide Book Club, http://solafidepublishing.net/solafide-self-publishing-and-book-blog/ | Promo
Bookwyrming Thoughts, http://bookwyrmingthoughts.com | Promo

December 9th
Book Lovers Life, http://bookloverslife.blogspot.com/ | Promo
The Cover Contessa, http://www.thecovercontessa.com | Promo

December 10th
Curling Up With A Good Book, curling-up-with-a-good-book.blogspot.com | Promo
Reader Girls, http://www.readergirlsblog.com | Promo

December 11th
Whatever You Can Still Betray, http://whateveryoucanstillbetray.blogspot.com/ | Promo
Literary Meanderings, http://www.literaryme.net/ | Promo

December 14th
Crystal's Chaotic Confessions, http://crystalschaoticconfessions.blogspot.com/ | Promo
Two Brains of Book Reviewers, http://twobrainbookreviewers.blogspot.com/ | Review

December 15th
A Dream Within A Dream, http://adreamwithindream.blogspot.com | Review
A Cupcake and a Latte, www.acupcakeandalatte.com | Review

December 16th
Pandora's Books, http://www.pandorasbooks.org | Review

December 17th
TSK TSK What to Read, http://www.tsktskwhattoread2.blogspot.com | Review
Good Choice Reading, http://www.goodchoicereading.com | Promo

December 18th
Pixie Vixen Book Reviews, http://www.pixievixen.blogspot.com | Review
Books are Love, hello-booklover.tumblr.com | Review


This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Review: The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

The Masked Truth
by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 13th, 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
In this heart-stopping suspense thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong proves herself to be a master of terror and suspense.

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.
     


I spent days - DAYS - trying to figure out how to write a review about The Masked Truth without giving it away. Trust me, cupcakes, Kelley makes it tough! (That's a good thing, not bad). She's a Queen of suspense and thriller, and every time she releases a book it drives me up the wall with excitement. I've yet to be disappointed by her, and The Masked Truth was most definitely not where she was going to start.

"The English language, one might argue, has far too many words. Sometimes, though, it simply doesn't have enough."

In Kelley's latest suspense thriller, readers meet Riley Vasquez who is haunted by the murder of a couple. Enter Max Cross who is suffering from something he dare not reveal to anyone. When the two inexplicably meet at a therapy camp surrounded by other teens dealing with their own personal issues, they don't expect to be taken hostage by three masked men. A killing spree ensues and a fight for freedom begins.

Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite all-time authors - and she's Canadian! With that said, I knew The Masked Truth was going to have to be an absolute must on my reading list. The suspense and emotion throughout the title was intense and gripping. I felt completely invested in Kelley's characters, their struggles, and encounters with some rather unfortunate and dire circumstances. Furthermore, the detailed descriptions and background on PTSD and other mental illnesses throughout The Masked Truth was informative without being preachy, and greatly appreciated.

Fans of Kelley Armstrong will find The Masked Truth will easily become a favourite. As a title I highly anticipate re-reading in the nearby future, I found it to be completely captivating, intense, mesmerizing, and at times heartrendingly terrifying. An absolute must!

Rating: 
5 / 5 Cupcakes



This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - And I Darken by Kiersten White

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



AND I DARKEN
by Kiersten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:June 28th, 2016
Pre-order: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
     




Why I'm Anticipating This Title:
I'm a big fan of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series and I'm absolutely over the moon about the news of And I Darken. It's an exciting tale that's mildly based on the story of Vlad the Impaler (so Lada is pretty much a genderswapped Vlad aka Dracula in Kiersten's latest, which sounds amazing!) Bustle has an amazing interview with the author about the upcoming book, and you can check that out by clicking right here.



What are you waiting for this Wednesday?
Let me know what your highly anticipated upcoming release is in the 
comment section below =D





Happy Reading,

Monday, 7 December 2015

Review: Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato

Beatrice and Benedick
by Marina Fiorato
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 8th, 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Hidden in the language of Shakespeare's best-loved comedy Much Ado About Nothing are several clues to an intriguing tale. It seems that the witty lovers Beatrice and Benedick had a previous love affair that ended bitterly. But how did they meet? Why did they part? And what brought them together again?

When nineteen-year-old Beatrice is brought to live at her uncle's court in Sicily to be a companion to his daughter, she first meets Benedick, a young soldier who is there with a Spanish lord on a month-long sojourn. As they begin to wage their war of wit, their words mask their deep love for one another. But the pair are cruelly parted by misunderstanding and slander. Heartbroken, Benedick sails to England on the ill-fated Spanish Armada. Beatrice returns to her home in the North and an unwanted betrothal. While Benedick must fight for his life on board ship, Beatrice fights for her freedom from an arranged marriage.

From the point of view of Beatrice and Benedick we hear the lovers tell their own story, taking us from the sunlit southern courts of Sicily, to the crippled Armada on the frozen northern seas, to the gorgeous Renaissance cities of the north.

From Marina Fiorato, author of the acclaimed historical novel The Glassblower of Murano, comes a beautifully imagined Beatrice and Benedick.
     

Everyone remembers how it ended, but how did it begin for Beatrice and Benedick? Nineteen year old Beatrice is asked to live at court with her Uncle in Siciliy. There she is asked to be his daughter's companion, and that is when she meets a handsome young soldier - Benedick. Following in the footsteps of Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, the two begin to bicker and a battle of wits leads to misunderstandings and heartbreak. 

"I did not want to open my eyes. Not yet."

Beatrice and Benedick was beautifully written! It was a pleasant experience learning more about this duo from Shakespeare's infamous Much Ado About Nothing, a play that I regrettably haven't read in years, and was an absolute breath of fresh air. Although their appearance was brief, I was pleased to learn that Marina Fiorato would be expanding their love story further. Despite never having read anything by her before Beatrice and Benedick, I was anxious to see how she would spin their tale.

"The next morning, as the sun began to peep over the sea, I was already in the Roman courtyard, waiting for Claudio."

I was not disappointed! Beatrice and Benedick became two characters in which I easily succumbed. The intense emotion, realism, love affairs, disasters, and betrayals that take place in Beatrice and Benedick are certain to win over any Shakespearean or historical fiction reader. It was a glorious retelling that was powerful, vivid, and emotionally captivating. I most definitely look forward to reading more from Marina Fiorato, and certainly hope others are inspired to pick up this pleasantly addictive read.

Readers of historical fiction who are in need of a timeless romantic tale are highly recommended Beatrice and Benedick.



Rating:
4 / 5 Cupcakes


This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accepted in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Review: Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee, Peter David, and Colleen Doran

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir
by Stan Lee, Peter David, Colleen Doran
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 192
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
In this gorgeously illustrated, full-color graphic memoir, Stan Lee—comic book legend and cocreator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, and a legion of other Marvel superheroes—shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be.

Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. The most legendary name in the history of comic books, he has been the leading creative force behind Marvel Comics, and has brought to life—and into the mainstream—some of the world’s best-known heroes and most infamous villains throughout his career. His stories—filled with superheroes struggling with personal hang-ups and bad guys who possessed previously unseen psychological complexity—added wit and subtlety to a field previously locked into flat portrayals of good vs. evil. Lee put the human in superhuman and in doing so, created a new mythology for the twentieth century.

In this beautifully illustrated graphic memoir—illustrated by celebrated artist Colleen Doran—Lee tells the story of his life with the same inimitable wit, energy, and offbeat spirit that he brought to the world of comics. Moving from his impoverished childhood in Manhattan to his early days writing comics, through his military training films during World War II and the rise of the Marvel empire in the 1960s to the current resurgence in movies, Amazing Fantastic Incredible documents the life of a man and the legacy of an industry and career.

This funny, moving, and incredibly honest memoir is a must-have for collectors and fans of comic books and graphic novels of every age.
     


As a fan of not only Stan Lee but also the countless Marvel superheroes and villains he's brought to life, I was beyond thrilled when I received a copy of his latest memoir - Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir. My Bookish Fairy Godmother from Simon & Schuster Canada knows me well. Comic books (and graphic novels) always win me over, and a memoir of the iconic Stan Lee in comic book format was an easy sell.

"I was born in the apartment that I first lived in. My father was Jack Lieber, my mother, Celia. He was a Romanian immigrant who came to the states when he was young, my mom was born in New York. Nine years later my kid brother, Larry, was born. We never really got a chance to know each other because by the time he was 5, I was 14 and playing with older kids."

In this hardcover rendition of Stan Lee's life from Peter David and Colleen Doran, fans are treated to a unique experience as they follow Stan Lee's life from childhood and onward with gorgeously illustrated graphics and an interesting perspective from Stan himself. Readers can expect to learn more about Stan's poverished childhood, struggles, his life in the military, and the rise of Marvel's empire. And in Stan's uniquely witty narrative, readers can expect to have a better insight to his earlier days writing comics, his thoughts on people he met, and even some rather epic encounters with stars and celebrities.

"I'd spend most of my time reading. I loved to read. And not just that, but my mother loved to watch me read. Or chew gum. Or breathe. "

Stan Lee's Amazing Fantastic Incredible read like an epic adventure with highs and lows that are sure to keep all readers engaged. Without a doubt, it's a memoir worth reading, especially for readers who are as hesitant as I was when it comes to autobiographies.



Rating: 
4 / 5 Cupcakes






This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accepted in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



STARS ABOVE
by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:February 2nd, 2016
Pre-order: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

-- The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles. Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.

The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.

After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.

The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess

The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...
     




Why I'm Anticipating This Title:
I absolutely love Marissa's Lunar Chronicles series! After reading Winter, I desperately needed more. I'm so excited to hear that Stars Above will be releasing in the upcoming year with some new and never before published shorts - and an epilogue! I can't wait to re-immerse myself back into this world. If you haven't read this series, now is the time!



What are you waiting for this Wednesday?
Let me know what your highly anticipated upcoming release is in the 
comment section below =D





Happy Reading,

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Fresh on the Shelf - December 2015 Book Releases + Giveaway


Hope everyone had a wonderful November (and 2015)! Now that we're into December, we're only 25 days away from celebrating the holidays, and with that we have some fantastic December reads coming our way! Get your wish lists ready, cupcakes, because the book shopping starts now!


December 2015 Releases
*titles are linked to Goodreads for your convenience*


GIVEAWAY

Giveaway is for one book from the above December 2015 releases to be awarded to one reader. Open to anyone who can receive shipments from The Book Depository. I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged books received.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading!


Monday, 30 November 2015

Review: Nuts by Alice Clayton

Nuts
by Alice Clayton
Publisher:Galley Books
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
From New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton, the first in a brand-new romance series telling the humorously sexy tale of Roxie, a private chef who gets a taste of love—but is it to stay, or to go?

After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she's back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?
     


Alice Clayton and her amazing book names - no seriously, the titles of her books have always been an indication of what awaits in between those pages. With titles like Wallbanger, Screwdrivered, and Nuts, one can expect Alice Clayton's writing to be humorous, seductive, and utterly captivating. After loving her Wallbanger series, I was highly anticipating the release of Nuts.

“He shook his head. “You’re a bit of a train wreck, aren’t you?” I puffed a bit of hair away from my face. “Choo choo?”

Nuts follows the tale of an everyday adult woman looking to grow her business. As a 20-something private chef, Roxie's business strives on word of mouth from her clients. However, when an uppity client of hers looses their cool over butter, Roxie finds herself without a clientele. When her mother calls and asks her to return to Hudson Valley and watch over the family restaurant, Roxie expects a boring venture. What she doesn't expect to see is a gorgeous local organic farmer with a lovely bunch of walnuts.

“Love is messy, painful and emotionally draining. It hardly seems worth it.”

In this refreshing and sexy read from Alice Clayton, readers will fall head over heels for Roxie and Leo. In Alice's signature hilarious narrative, Roxie lives as an easily relatable female heroine who struggles to make her business grow and learn more about who she is. Like most in their 20s (and even 30s), she struggles with career choices and worries about her future (how is she going to pay her bills, etc). Roxie was undeniably the most relatable character from Alice Clayton yet, and I foresee her easily becoming every Alice Clayton reader's favourite.

Leo and Roxie's connection in Nuts is perhaps the best chemistry I've seen in a new adult title in the longest time. Readers will without a doubt fall head over heels for the hero and heroine of Nuts, and Alice Clayton fans will highly anticipate it's companion, Cream.



Rating:
5 / 5 Cupcakes


This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accepted in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
by Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 304
Format: Hardback
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?
     


I walked into The Anatomical Shape of a Heart with no expectations and a very narrow idea of what it was about. After first hearing of the title under a different name, Night Owls, I was curious to learn more about Jenn Bennett, her characters, and the kind of story she was preparing to share with readers. What I walked away with - an adventurous and imaginative story that left me thoughtful.

Beatrix Adams has plans - she's determined to receive a museum sponsored scholarship by entering a contest. With a plan to sneak into the hospital's cadaver wing to sketch real cadavers as her entry, Beatrix doesn't expect to miss her train ride home that very night. In an unexpected twist of events, Beatrix is forced to take another means of transportation home and that's when she meets Jack - a gorgeous young man who might very likely also be one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. As alluring as Jack may seem, Beatrix quickly learns that there's more to Jack than he's letting on.

“Too weird for jocks, and not weird enough for hipsters, I was neither freak nor geek, and that left me stranded in no-man’s-land.”

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was a thrilling adventure. Put into words, it was lyrical, captivating, and inspiring. Emotionally, it was full of character, lessons, and a fresh perspective. Both Jack and Beatrix were refreshing characters in the young adult contemporary sub-genre, and were a wonder to read. Their narrative voices were on point and vibrant, and their unique appreciation for art uplifting. Even so, Jenn Bennett's The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was an irresistible romantic read I couldn't resist completing in one sitting. As a realistic read about first love, feeling out of place, and discovery, this title was absolutely worth every moment.

Fans of the contemporary romance sub genre will absolutely adore The Anatomical Shape of a Heart from Jenn Bennett.


Rating:
4 / 5 Cupcakes


This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accepted in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



The Forbidden Wish
by Jessica Khoury
Publisher: Razorbill
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:February 23rd, 2016
Pre-order: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Arabian Nights from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
     



Why I'm Anticipating This Title:
I absolutely adore fairytale retellings, and the upcoming Aladdin retelling from Jessica Khoury sounds wonderful! Also, besides the fact that I'm a total Disney fangirl, it comes out on my birthday! Anyone else pumped for The Forbidden Wish? Are there any retellings that you've enjoyed? Let me know!


What are you waiting for this Wednesday?
Let me know what your highly anticipated upcoming release is in the 
comment section below =D





Happy Reading,