Monday, 29 February 2016

Review: Black Apple by Joan Crate

Black Apple
by Joan Crate
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
A dramatic and lyrical coming-of-age novel about a young Blackfoot girl who grows up in the residential school system on the Canadian prairies.

Torn from her home and delivered to St. Mark’s Residential School for Girls by government decree, young Rose Marie finds herself in an alien universe where nothing of her previous life is tolerated, not even her Blackfoot name. For she has entered into the world of the Sisters of Brotherly Love, an order of nuns dedicated to saving the Indigenous children from damnation. Life under the sharp eye of Mother Grace, the Mother General, becomes an endless series of torments, from daily recitations and obligations to chronic sickness and inedible food. And then there are the beatings. All the feisty Rose Marie wants to do is escape from St. Mark’s. How her imagination soars as she dreams about her lost family on the Reserve, finding in her visions a healing spirit that touches her heart. But all too soon she starts to see other shapes in her dreams as well, shapes that warn her of unspoken dangers and mysteries that threaten to engulf her. And she has seen the rows of plain wooden crosses behind the school, reminding her that many students have never left here alive.




Joan Crate's Black Apple is, regrettably, a title I hadn't come across until it was highly recommended to me by Jackie from Simon & Schuster Canada. Upon reading it's synopsis, I was certain this was going to be a title that moved me.

"Instead, a downpour of daylight. She sat up, letting it soak through her, warm and delicious."

A coming of age tale set in the Canadian prairies, Black Apple follows the life of Rose Marie, a young girl who finds herself alien in her new surroundings. Rose Marie was a phenomenal character! It's been a long time since a character has emotionally moved me as greatly as Rose Marie has, and it was a welcome feeling (tears, smiles, and everything in between). The writing in Black Apple was lyrical, mesmerizing, and captivating, and although this is the first time I've read a title by Joan Crate, I am assured that I will be staying tuned to what Joan has next in store for readers.

"So much had happened, was happening around her, all the people, every kind-"


Moving, captivating, and the book everyone needs to read this year, Black Apple by Joan Crate was absolutely inspiring! 


Rating: 
4 .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.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Winner's Kiss Blog Tour - Favorite Literary Kisses



Good day, Cupcakes! Today the blog tour for Marie Rutkoski's highly anticipated conclusion to The Winner's Trilogy, "The Winner's Kiss", is making a stop here at A Cupcake and a Latte. Each stop of the tour will feature a specific favorite literary kiss of the blogger's choosing. Today I'll be featuring.....


*SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES*


MAGNUS BANE AND ALEC LIGHTWOOD 
(The Mortal Instruments series - Cassandra Clare).

I don't often post gifs (or images) that contain content to television shows/movies/ etc on the blog, but Alec and Magnus were an absolute must for today's blog tour topic. I mean, come on, look at them! In a book or on the big screen - they just WORK!  (Also, if you haven't watched Shadowhunters...PLEASE DO!)





What book is your favorite literary kiss in?

I may be wrong (fellow fans, please correct me if I'm wrong...it's been a while since I've read TMI) but the first kiss Alec and Magnus share in the books technically doesn't take place until City of Glass. However, my favorite (and legitimately their FIRST) kiss takes place in a short that author Cassandra Clare posted on her website. Readers can find the full scene here: http://www.cassandraclare.com/my-writing/excerpts-extras/kissed/



Who is kissing?

Magnus Bane, everyone's favorite High Warlock of Brooklyn, and Alec Lightwood, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous.

Why is it your favorite?

Magnus and Alec were two characters I instantly fell for in the Mortal Instruments series. They were both unique and faced their own struggles. In this scene where Magnus and Alec share their first kiss, Alec is coming to terms with his love for Jace (and Jace's love for Clary) and his attraction for Magnus, knowing well that male/male relationships in the Shadowhunter world are forbidden and frowned upon.  It's a powerful and emotional scene that gives wonderful insight on both characters, and that kiss was beyond swoon-worthy!


Bonus Question: What kiss do you hope will occur in The Winner's Kiss?

I'm team Kestrel and Arin!!


-----


THE WINNER'S KISS
by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 496
Release Date: March 29th, 2016
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders and The Celestial Globe. The Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers’ Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alan McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat.




Thank you so much to Raincoast Books and Macmillan (First Second Books) for organizing this blog tour and today's giveaway! As part of the blog tour, I'm nominating Autumn Killey for the "Send a kiss to a friend" program! I hope you enjoy The Winner's Curse !


So that's the end of today's literary kiss stop! Be sure to stop by other participating blogs and check out their favorite literary kisses!


Happy reading!


Friday, 26 February 2016

Review: After the Woods by Kim Savage

After the Woods
by Kim Savage
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Release Date: February 23rd, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.



After the Woods, Kim Savage's thriller/psychological debut, was a title that instantly captured my attention. It's prose: Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

As a thriller that makes you think and question everything you come across, After the Woods was a tough title to get into after all the fantasy and contemporary titles I've been binge reading. Even so, I found Julia to be quite the fascinating and curious character. She was far more intriguing and gripping than Liv, and motivated me further into After the Woods. Furthermore, the relationships Kim's characters nurtured were realistic and captivating - I quite enjoyed it! Well-written, thought-provoking, and suspenseful - this title was a warm and welcoming change of pace.

After the Woods by Kim Savage was, overall, a phenomenal debut! Thriller fans are certain to adore every ounce of this delicious mystery.



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.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Review: The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

The Love That Split The World
by Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 396
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
     


“Sometimes the most beautiful moments in our lives are things that hurt badly at the time. We only see them for what they really were when we stand at the very end and look back.”

The Love That Split The World was beautiful, mesmerizing, and everything I hoped for. It was time-transcending and utterly captivated me from one instance to the next. Emily Henry's Natalie Cleary was a phenomenal character and the tale she spun was wonderfully written and exactly what I expected from this highly praised debut. Even so, despite having a few issues with pacing (I strongly felt like this almost 400 page title moved far too quickly), I was wholesomely satisfied.

“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”

Pitched as a debut novel that is a mix of Friday Night Lights and The Time Traveler's Wife, The Love That Split The World was a novel that transcended genre stereotyping and was an absolute pleasure to read. I highly recommend it!

Rating: 
4.5 / 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.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

The Shadow Queen
by C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 400
Release Date: February 16th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
     


As a big fan of C.J. Redwine's Defiance series, I was eager to get my hands on The Shadow Queen, her latest and first in her Ravenspire series.

"You don't go into battle because you're sure of victory ... you go into battle because it's the right thing to do."

Unfortunately, there isn't much I can divulge about The Shadow Queen without completely being spoilery, so I'll keep it brief. The Shadow Queen was, in no comparison, similar to the Defiance series. Lorelai Diederich was a completely different character than Rachel, and I regrettably felt no connection with her or her quest. Although, with that said, I did enjoy C.J. Redwine's world building and the retelling aspect of The Shadow Queen. However, regrettably, The Shadow Queen failed to leave an impression on me and I unfortunately have little faith I'll pick up it's companion.

Filled with adventure, unique characters, and an exciting new world, I feel The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine is a great book for readers looking for a refreshing adventure. Although it wasn't quite my read, that's no reason you shouldn't give it a try.

Rating: 
3 / 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, 17 February 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin

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



SPARE AND FOUND PARTS
by Sarah Maria Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Pre-order: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.
 




Why I'm Anticipating This Title:

Spare and Found Parts is a newly discovered title I came across during Epic Reads' two day cover reveal. It was a title who's synopsis easily resonated with me, and has become the topic of bookish discussion for myself and my bookish friends for quite a few days. What are your thoughts?




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






Don't forget to check out this month's Fresh on the Shelf. Catch up on February 2016's latest releases AND win a copy of your own! Giveaway is open to everyone.



Happy Reading,

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Simon & Schuster Canada Blogger Meet Recap - An Intimate Evening of Book Talk

On the evening of Thursday February 11th, Five bloggers (including myself, Ardo, Tiff, Jen, and Juhina) were invited to visit the Simon & Schuster Canada offices for an evening of bookish talk about highly anticipated upcoming YA titles, coffee and treats.  Despite the plummeting temperatures that evening (what gives, Canadian weather?!) , we were all highly anticipating what the wonderful ladies at S&S had in store for us.



Making our way into the office, we were directed into the boardroom where a table full of treats (both bookish and edible) were waiting for us, along with a welcome packet filled with all the titles we'd be discussing.  Jackie and Andrea began the night with introductions followed by a nifty presentation on each upcoming title, most of which included fun videos from the authors themselves!


2016 Highly Anticipated Young Adult Novels:

The Misadventures of Max Grumbly - Locker Hero by Rachel Renee Russell
- Publication date is June 7th, 2016
- Middle Grade/Contemporary
- Comp titles: Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell , Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce, and Diary of a Whimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.



OCDaniel by Wesley King
- Publication date is April 12th, 2016
- Middle Grade/Contemporary
- Comp titles: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
- Also by Wesley King: The Incedible Space Raiders from Space



The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
- Publicaton date is June 7th, 2016
- Young Adult/Contemporary
- Comp titles: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, and Saint Anything by Sarah Desen



Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn
- Publication date is March 22nd, 2016
- Young Adult/Contemporary
- Comp titles: Noggin by John Corey Whaley, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, and 1000 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Book Launch is March 30th, 2016 at 6PM at the Dora Keogh (Cherry St)

The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith
- Publication date is March 22nd, 2016
- Young Adult/Contemporary
- Comp titles: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson




The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
- Publication date is May 3rd, 2016
- Young Adult/Contemporary
- Comp titles: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, and My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick



Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
- Publication date is March 8th, 2016
- Young Adult/Fantasy
- Comp titles: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski, and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas





More Upcoming Middle Grade and Young Adult Titles

-The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian


The evening was absolutely wonderful! It was great finally having the opportunity to visit the offices of Simon & Schuster Canada, and gather around and chat about all the amazing books coming out later this year. I'm most definitely looking forward to more events like this from S&S Canada in the future. Thank you, ladies, for all the hard work you put into this gathering, and for making us feel warm and welcome on such a cold evening!


Bookish Haul


Monday, 15 February 2016

Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

Riders
by Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Release Date: February 16th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen--Conquest, Famine, and Death--are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now--bound, bloodied, and drugged--Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he's fallen for--not to mention all of humankind--he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?
     


Veronica Rossi is, put simply, an incredible writer. The Under the Never Sky series was an easy favourite of mine and featured a unique world, fierce characters, and a passionate plot. With that said, I expected very much of the same in her latest, Riders, a tale about eighteen year old Gideon Blake, a young man who dies and finds himself as one of the four deadly horsemen of the apocalypse.

“Everything seemed awesome, now that I wasn't in the mental clutches of a demon.”

Rider's unique premise is beyond anything readers will find on bookshelves this year. Gideon, the protagonist, has a powerful and immersive voice that easily pulls you into his perspective. The relationships, the action, and the budding drama in Riders was a delightful surprise compared to Rossi's previous titles in the Under the Never Sky series. It was a welcome change of pace to Rossi's writing and this year's most recent YA releases, and by far has been the most impressive for me in terms of world building.

Readers with a hankering for mythology, male protagonists, and a delicious change of pace, are highly recommended Veronica Rossi's Riders.

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, 12 February 2016

Review: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

These Vicious Masks
by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.
     


These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas wasn't a book I came across (or was informed of) until Raincoast Books' 2016 YA preview event. It was one of the first titles to capture my interest immediately, and it's Jane Austen meets X-Men synopsis intrigued me. I was eager to read this immediately!

“You've come all the way from London just for a joke, then?" I asked. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised."

These Vicious Masks opened wonderfully, instantaneously and effortlessly pulling me into 1880's England. Evelyn was a phenomenal character - diverse, intelligent, and irrevocably true to herself. Furthermore, the romance, suspense, and surprisingly intense action in These Vicious Masks was completely enthralling. The twists and turns Tarun and Kelly dished out in their debut has made me an instant fan with a deep desire to read Vicious' companion novel!

"A hand appeared out of the shadows and clamped over her mouth. And she vanished.” 

Reader's beware: once you get into These Vicious Masks, your life will cease to exist. You'll want to hide out in your cozy reading spot to the very last page. The romance, the twists, and the characters will easily hook you!


Rating: 
4.5 / 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, 10 February 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

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



BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE
by Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 27th, 2016
Pre-order: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . .

Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is a darkly romantic and atmospheric fantasy from acclaimed author Rosamund Hodge. It will be released on September 27th, 2016.
 




Why I'm Anticipating This Title:
THIS BOOK SOUNDS AMAZING! It's a dark and romantic tale inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Everything about the synopsis for Bright Smoke, Cold Fire entices me to read it. It's rich with suspense, romance, and adventure. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this!





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






Don't forget to check out this month's Fresh on the Shelf. Catch up on February 2016's latest releases AND win a copy of your own! Giveaway is open to everyone.



Happy Reading,

Monday, 8 February 2016

Review: The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

The Forbidden Orchid
by Sharon Biggs Waller
Publisher: Viking
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 432
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls' father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China.

Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors' prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie's father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family—and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China.

But even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer?
     


"My father was a plant hunter - an adventurer -and I saw little of him my first fourteen years, even less the next two, but after I turned seventeen he became my whole world." 

 The synopsis for The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller does not do this book any justice (nor does the cover, although very pretty). As the first Sharon Biggs Waller title I've read (yes, I completely missed out on reading A Mad, Wicked Folly), I wasn't quite sure what to expect from her latest historical fiction title. Would the settings work well for me? Would Elodie be enough to grasp me? The answer, cupcakes - YES!

"I thought about happy things. I tried to think of home, of my sisters and my mother and my conservatory, but instead thought about a jungle full of orchids, mountains of tea, and a Russian boy named Alex. And I slept."

The Forbidden Orchid was absolutely wonderful! Although it's pace was unhurried and gradual, I thoroughly enjoyed Sharon's development of each character involved. I also adored the changes in scenery and setting, and felt it was exciting, interesting, and refreshing. I simply adored Elodie Buchanan. Not a character I initially thought I'd enjoy, Elodie turned into a confident, inspiring, and fierce protagonist, perfect for any younger reader to aspire.

Sharon Biggs Waller's latest, The Forbidden Orchid, was an absolute surprise! I was fully engaged in Elodie's adventure, the wonderful characters she met, and the exciting world of a plant hunter.


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.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

He Will Be My Ruin
by K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.
     


"It isn't until I'm three steps from the exit that I look up and notice the small white security camera above the front door."

He Will Be My Ruin is K.A. Tucker's first venture into the adult world of mysteries and thrillers. It was beyond anything I'd expected from K.A's next read, but it was deliciously addicting to the very last page. As a big fan of her Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, I was ecstatic when Simon & Schuster Canada surprised me with a copy of He Will Be My Ruin. Remarkably so, without knowing much of anything about K.A's latest before diving into it, I knew that she would not disappoint.

"I didn't need to drag the truth out of Rose. Celine's computer just gave it all to me."

He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker is the perfect mystery/thriller for the reader who begs for more than just a murder-mystery. K.A.'s characters (Maggie, Grady, and Jace) were phenomenal, realistic, and utterly captivating. Each chapter pulled me further into the intense and emotional mess that protagonist Maggie was dealing with, and I couldn't resist completely devouring He Will Be My Ruin in one solid sitting.

Fans of K.A. Tucker will adore He Will Be My Ruin. A delicious mystery, captivating characters, and a tale that will keep you on your toes to the very end.


Rating: 
4.5 / 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.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Fresh on the Shelf - February 2016 Book Releases + Giveaway

Happy February, Cupcakes!

Hope January was good to you!

Did you make any resolutions for the New Year? Have you kept them?

I've attempted to be a little more active on social media (ie; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc) but work has a way of taking over (le sighhhhhhh). Moving on, February looks like it's going to be an AMAZING release month for books. Stars Above, After the Woods, A Criminal Magic, and so many more delicious reads ready to be devoured.

What February release are you excited for? Let me know!

Don't forget to bookmark this page for your future book browsing convenience *wink wink*

PS. February is also my BIRTHDAY MONTH! WOOHOO!


February 2016 Book Releases:

A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelley
Titans by Victoria Scott
Morning Star by Pierce Brown
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Banished by Kimberly Griffiths Little
Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
Starflight by Melissa Landers
Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell



Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil


The Trick to Landing by Jenny Kaczorowski
Ruler of Beats by Danielle Paige
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Word For Yes by Claire Needell
Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah by Erin Jade Lange
Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth
Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby
The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh M O'brien


Riders by Veronica Rossi
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Finny and the Boy from Horse Mountain by Andrea Young
Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
Dreamfever by Kit Alloway


Betrayed by Lynn Carthage
The Last Place on Earth by Carol Snow
Longbow Girl by Linda Davies
Dove Exiled by Karen Bao
Behold the Bones by Natalie C. Parker
Half Wild by Sally Green
Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas
The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan


After the Woods by Kim Savage
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Firstlife by Gena Showalter
The #1 Rule for Girls by Rachel McIntyre
Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
Noral & Kettle by Lauren Nicole Taylor
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie Sue Hitchcock
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson



Giveaway:
Giveaway is for one book from the above February 2016 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. Please fill in entries accordingly for a valid entry. Good luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Reading,