Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

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



UNRIVALED
by Alyson Noel
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
Everyone wants to be someone. Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life. But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago. She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel. That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.
 




Why I'm Anticipating This Title:

I received a copy of Unrivaled for review not long ago and regrettably I've had ZERO time to pick it up! *sobs* I'm a big Alyson Noel fan, so I'm pretty excited to finally dive into Unrivaled! Do you have a favourite Alyson Noel title? What are your thoughts on the synopsis of Unrivaled?



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 March 2016's latest releases AND win a copy of your own! Giveaway is open to everyone.



Happy Reading,

Monday, 28 March 2016

Tell the Wind and Fire Blog Tour: Review + Q/A


Today, I'm proud to be one of the first stops on the Tell the Wind and Fire blog tour, promoting Sarah Rees Brennan's latest release! As a part of the blog tour, today I'll be featuring my review on Tell the Wind and Fire, and will also be featuring a Q/A with the author herself! Be sure to follow along for more reviews and fun questions.

I would also like to thank Raincoast Books for organizing this amazing tour, as well as Sarah Rees Brennan for participating in the Q/A!


Tell the Wind and Fire
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Clarion Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages:368
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?
 


Cupcakes, I'm a HUGE fan of Sarah Rees Brennan. The Demon's Lexicon, the Lynburn Legacy Trilogy, you name it, if Sarah's written it, I've pretty much devoured it. With that said, Tell the Wind and Fire was an absolute must for yours truly. Pitched as a Tale of Two Cities retelling with a dystopian twist, I couldn't resist diving into this title the very night it arrived on my door step. Needless to say, the lack of sleep that night was not missed!

"It was the best of times until it was the worst of times."

Despite it's origins stemming from the Dickens classic "A Tale of Two Cities", Tell the Wind and Fire, although inspired by the tale, took quite a few liberties with the growth of it's characters and even included a few role-reversals. Sarah's protagonist Lucie was a stead-fast and determined protagonist who's perspective intrigued me as well as pulled me further into her world. In fact, I found that everything Sarah did with the title to be refreshing, bold, and a nice change to what I've read from her in the past. Moving on, there was quite a bit of information to absorb in the first few chapters of Tell the Wind and Fire. Some might say there was far too much to process when being introduced to Sarah's unique world, but I personally enjoyed the attention to detail, and tackled each chapter delicately and slowly until I felt completely submerged.

"The party had transformed in an instant into two packs: the hunters and the hunted."

Fans of Sarah Rees Brennan are certain to enjoy Tell the Wind and Fire. Intriguing, unique, and surprisingly political, readers are sure to read Tell the Wind and Fire over and over.



Rating: 
4 / 5 Cupcakes



Q/A with author Sarah Rees Brennan

Q. I absolutely loved the Demon's Lexicon trilogy, the Lynburn Legacy trilogy, Team Human,
and your contributions to the Bane Chronicles. Tell the Wind and Fire was an instant hit
for me, and I would love to know what inspired you most when writing this retelling of A
Tale of Two Cities?

A.  Thank you so much for the kind words, Wendy!
slips you a wink and a twenty
You’re the sweetest. Many things inspired me: the love for a city, the urban feel of swiftness and bright lights, the change in society that only comes at a cost, the love for a single other person and how that changes you. And the idea of a doppelganger, a being which has your face and whose coming might mean your death—and the thought of how the doppelganger might feel about it.

I think the thing that inspired me most was the idea of giving a girl a story, when in the original story she was very much acted upon, talked to and used as a prize in the narrative. I just wanted to wrap up the whole story as a present and gift it to her and say: Now. Now you get to act, and talk, and make mistakes. Now it’s yours.



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 March 2016

Review: The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Immortals
by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Hardcover
Pages:464
Release Date: February 16th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
MANHATTAN HAS MANY SECRETS. SOME ARE OLDER THAN THE CITY ITSELF.

Manhattan.
The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone-just the way she likes it. She doesn't believe in friends, and she doesn't speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

Murders. In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago. To protect the innocent-and to punish those who stand in her way.

Gods. With the NYPD out of its depth, Selene vows to hunt the killer on her own. But when classics professor Theo Schultz decodes the ancient myth behind the crime, the solitary Huntress finds herself working with a man who's her opposite in every way. Together, they face a long-forgotten cult that lies behind a string of murders, and they'll need help from the one source Selene distrusts most of all: the city's other Immortals.

Much like Lev Grossman's The Magicians spoke to a generation of adults who grew up with Harry Potter, THE IMMORTALS will enchant anyone who loved American Gods or Percy Jackson.
 


When Hachette Canada emailed me about reviewing The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky, it was a completely new title being put on my radar. I hadn't come across The Immortals during my hours of browsing Goodreads, but was pleased to have it introduced to me with an exciting pitch about a fast-paced, action packed fantasy with an interesting mythological aspect, perfect for anyone who loved American Gods or Percy Jackson.

"No mortal could have infiltrated the museum like that. And only Olympians knew the truth behind the Caledonian Boar. The cult's hierophant must be one of the Athanatoi. But why? There's only one reason an immortal would bother with a long-forgotten ritual."

The Immortals, Jordanna's first in the Olympus Bound series, delivered it's promise - It was unique, fast-paced, and unbelievably action packed. Furthermore, although I agree it was very similar to the Percy Jackson series, I was pleased to discover that The Immortals was refreshingly unique with it's own twists on myths we've grown to love. Selene, The Immortals' fierce protagonist, was an interesting female heroine to read. Intuitive, bright, and inspiring, Selene was a breath of fresh air. Overall, without going into further detail about the title's plot and completely spoiling it for you,  I can honestly say that readers who pick this title up will be very surprised. It's cover nor it's synopsis does it justice. If you're looking for a brand new series that will keep you on your toes, The Immortals is an absolute must.


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.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands
by Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 314
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.
 


I promise to keep my praises for Rebel of the Sands short and sweet, Cupcakes. You know me, I detest long and rambly reviews, especially when it's for a book I love, because I'm absolutely terrified of spoiling a book for anyone. Even so, be prepared, because Alwyn Hamilton's Rebel of the Sands is my favorite fantasy title of the year!

“You know, I never believed in fate until I met you... then I started thinking coincidence didn't have near so cruel a sense of humor."

Rebel of the Sands is not your ordinary YA fantasy title. Alwyn's debut is rewarding, engaging, and bewitching. Taking place in a unique and vivid new world, I was absolutely in love with protagonist Amani's personality, strength, and fierceness. If you're looking for the ultimate female heroine, Amani is your gal. She was determined to write her own destiny and fight for what she believed in no matter the stakes. She was sensible, respectable, and completely inspiring - I loved her to pieces! As for Jin, he was quite the interesting character. I haven't read many male potential love interests quite like him, and I'm certain most readers will enjoy the breath of fresh air. As for the setting and world in Alwyn's Rebel of the Sands, I quite enjoyed the change of scenery and world development. I tend to find that most fantasy titles seem to all fall under the same molds, but I was pleased to find that Rebel of the Sands held a completely brand new experience for readers.

All in all, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton was MAGNIFIQUE! I breezed through this title so quickly, that I desperately wished I'd already had book #2 ready for devouring. I'm certain that readers looking for a new fantasy title in the YA genre will fall in love with Alwyn's world and with Amani.



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.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Recap: Toronto Comicon 2016


Honestly, Cupcakes, I truly cannot recall the last time I attended Toronto Comicon. Four, Five years, perhaps? The con has never quite appealed to me, my personal preference being Fan Expo,  but this year's announcement of the Sailor Moon cast panel beckoned me to attend.

(Pictured from left to right: Ghostbuster's Ecto-1, Daleks and Dr.Evil and Doctor Who, and Tuxedo Mask plush.)

Getting to the con was easy enough. Having no knowledge of where the booths for ticket purchases were being held , we (fiance and I) ventured over to the south building where I correctly assumed the con would be taking place. Finding the ticket booth, however, proved to be quite the challenge. Upon entering the building, there was chaos everywhere, where lineups or barricades were being hopped and I wondered to myself whether or not I'd ever find the ticketing area. At one point I felt like I'd mistakenly entered the premises and somehow bypassed ticket check. I have to admit, Cupcakes, the entire organization of the event was strange and completely different from what I'm accustomed. For example, in Fan Expo, one cannot enter the premises AT ALL without a ticket (wristband, pass, etc). In the case of Comicon, one could enter, walk around, and as I witnessed with many cases, enter the marketplace and panels without even being checked.

(Pictured from left to right: Wanda Wilson aka Lady Dead Pool (?), Angewoman from Digimon, and Pyramid Head and Nurse from Silent Hill.)

Thankfully, we eventually located the ticketing area located in one of the halls on the lower level of the south building. After what took about half an hour (really, there were 10 people ahead of me, no idea why it took so long), and wristbands on, we were prepared to finally get a taste of what Toronto Comicon had to offer this year. After running into friends Jackie and Andrea of Simon & Schuster Canada, Chandra, Michele and Paper Droids entertainment editor Elissa, we mosied our way over to the marketplace which, at the time, was ridiculously crowded. I think we made it about halfway through the furthermost right row when we finally gave up and decided to enjoy the outer booths. As we did so, we found Chandra at a neat activity table where guests could create their own Deadpool plushes. Admittedly, I'm DREADFUL at sewing and even worse at "speed sewing", if that's even a thing. Below are examples of my Deadpool plush and the fiance's. Clearly he's the better and more patient sewer between the two of us.

(Pictured from left to right: Thor cosplayers and our Dead Pool plushes.)

Only a few steps away was room 801, where we discovered most of the weekend's panels (and the Sailor Moon panel) had been taking place. Lining up early for the panel was a great idea, considering that a mere 20 minutes later the lineup for the panel was spanning over 8 rows that surrounded the booths on the floor. Remember when I mentioned earlier that people were line hopping everywhere?  I wasn't surprised to see it happen for the Sailor Moon panel. Quite a few people from the very last row sneaked in through one of the doors before Comicon volunteers noticed they were sneaking in. 

(Pictured from left to right: Sailor Moon voice actors Linda Ballantyne (Serena/Sailor Moon), Susan Roman (Lita/ Sailor Jupiter), Toby Proctor (Darien/Tuxedo Mask), Jill Frappier (Luna), and Ron Rubin (Artemis).)

When we finally claimed our seats (woohoo, 5th row!), I was eagerly anticipating the panel. If you've read my Fangirl Meltdown post on Sailor Moon, you'll know that this show was pretty much everything to me as a kid. Although at the time I wasn't quite as familiar with the original Japanese version of the series as I am now, the english dub version (and their newer names) was pretty much all I watched (in addition to Inuyasha, Escaflowne, and DBZ). As the Sailor Moon panel began, the cast made their way onto the stage and introduced themselves with a hilarious roll call. Joining us from the Sailor Moon cast were voice actors Linda Ballantyne (Serena/Sailor Moon), Susan Roman (Lita/ Sailor Jupiter), Toby Proctor (Darien/Tuxedo Mask), Jill Frappier (Luna), and Ron Rubin (Artemis). During the fun Q/A with con attendees, I was amazed to hear that the voice actors still sounded exactly as I remembered. Sigh ... memories! All in all, it was a wonderful panel where the cast answered some great audience questions and even touched base on how revolutionary the female-empowering show truly was at the time. 

(Pictured above: Toronto Comicon goodies.)

After the panel, and knowing that the room would soon be filling up with attendees excited to see Robbie Amell, we finally decided that this would be our chance to enter the chaos-free marketplace. No kidding, Cupcakes, the marketplace was practically deserted and we were able to freely move from booth to booth and browse/purchase to our heart's content. In the marketplace I purchased an Arpakasso Alpacasso Alpaca Plush (Barrista with an Open sign, so cute!), a Totoro Plush, a Tuxedo Mask Plush, a Sailor Moon Crystal Star Brooch Pocket Watch Necklace, and a Harry Potter "ALWAYS" Laptop Decal. Considering I was expecting to purchase absolutely nothing, I was surprised with all my purchases. I'm still not quite sure what the fad is for the adorable Alpaca plushes, if anyone is willing to fill me in that would be lovely, but honestly I absolutely could not resist his adorable plushy face.

Overall, despite the chaos, I found this year's visit to Toronto Comicon to be a success. I'm not sure if I'll attend next Comicon, it'll likely depend on whether or not there's a panel I'll really want to attend. As to whether or not I'll attend this year's Fan Expo? Would never miss it!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Review: Shades of Darkness by A.R. Kahler

Shades of Darkness
by A.R. Kahler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
American Gods meets The Secret History in this suspenseful start to a brand-new fantasy trilogy about a girl named Kaira Winters, the murders that keep happening at her artsy boarding school, and the lengths she must go to in order to protect the people she loves.

When Kaira Winters decided to go to Islington—a boarding school deep in the woods of Michigan—she thought she could finally get away from everything she has tried so hard to forget, including some things from her past that she refuses to believe ever actually happened.

Everything seemed great until the bodies of murdered students started appearing all over campus. The victims seem to have been killed in some sort of ritual sacrifice. And even worse, Kaira’s dreams are giving her clues to the killer’s identity.

Though she tries to resist, Kaira quickly realizes that she is the only one who can stop the violence, but to do so she must come to terms with her past. She’s going to have to listen to the voice that is buried deep within her…the one that claims to have unimaginable power…the one that claims to be an actual goddess.

But even if Kaira can harness the power within her, will it be enough to stop the darkness that has fallen over her school? And if it is strong enough, then what’s to stop the goddess from wreaking her own havoc once she’s released?

Filled with murder, mystery, and a little bit of magic, this fresh genre-bending novel is a thrilling page-turner you won’t be able to put down until the very last page.
 


Cupcakes, I've always been super picky on my "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, which is one of the reasons why I don't do many of those to begin with. To make it as my W.O.W pick, a title has to beckon me to read it; it needs a cover that pulls me in and a synopsis that promises me all the crazy drama this ridiculous little book nerd could ever need. In the case of Shades of Darkness A.R. Kahler, it had everything I was looking and it easily became my "Waiting on Wednesday" pick and a highly anticipated title!

"Prepare your kidneys, Ethan. We're about to consume more coffee than any mortal has before."

Shades of Darkness was mysterious, dark, and full of twists I had no way of anticipating. Kaira, the protagonist in A.R. Kahler's latest, had an interesting and wonderful aura about her, although, at times, she proved difficult to understand. Trying to unravel her character and getting to know her proved to be a challenge, but overall it most definitely worked out in the long run. Overall, I found Shades of Darkness to be quite an entertaining read and absolutely cannot wait to see what A.R. Kahler has in store next!

"The gods walk, something inside me whispered."

On a related note: upon writing my review, I noticed that there were a few low ratings for Shades of Darkness on Goodreads. As always, I'm very curious on the thoughts of others who experienced the same novel I enjoyed differently, so I took it upon myself to have a fun bookish chat with someone who didn't exactly fall in love with the title. What I took from it was that we both agreed it had a slow build up, however in my experience I saw Shades of Darkness as a sort of prelude to the events, I can only speculate, will be extremely exciting in the next installment in the Ravenborn series. With that said, it just goes to show you that not every reader absorbs a book the same way as another reader would, however I do recommend this: try Shades of Darkness by A.R. Kahler, but keep an open mind based on all the exciting possibilities in Ravenborn #2. As I mentioned, it's unique mythology will suck you in and Kaira will become a character you'll enjoy.




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.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Recap: Indigo Teen Summer Preview Event


On Wednesday March 16th, 2016 I was invited by INDIGO (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca) to attend an exclusive teen summer books preview event located at their head offices.  Upon arrival, we were greeted with food, refreshments, and swag placed upon our seats (which included an @HCCFrenzy button, a Crown by Kiera Cass button, as well as a Scholastic tote bag and a Simon & Schuster notebook).

After taking our seats, each one of our lovely hosts took turns introducing themselves before moving onto this year's highly anticipated summer teen releases. In the discussions and previews, all teen titles of every sub-genre were introduced. These titles included The Unexpected Everything, The Outliers, Lifeboat Clique, and more for the John Green effect (which opened up to a wonderful discussion among attendees), and spanned to titles like If I Was Your Girl, Being Jazz and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. There was also quite a bit of love for E.K. Johnstons Exit, Pursued by a Bear!

In between the event we took a quick 5 minute break and enjoyed the fun photo booth and delicious goodies on display, and then quickly hopped right back into discussion with "Retellings: the original fanfiction?" and "Epic Court Drama". Personally, I'm a major fan of fairytale retellings. It's always wonderful to see a new spin on an old tale, and I'm always curious to see what an author will take liberties with. After our long (and fun) discussion on retellings, the event concluded with attendees stampeding towards a long table filled with ARCs of this year's highly anticipated titles. Personally, I've never been a fan of first-grab tables, primarily since a lot of people tend to grab one copy of each book, despite limited quantities, leaving nothing behind for others, however luckily I had Michele @ Just a lil' Lost to help me snag my highly anticipated titles! *hugs*

My list of highly anticipated teen titles:
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Sing by Vivi Greene
Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks
Being Jazz by  Jazz Jennings
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
Unrivaled by Alyson Noel
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
Surviving High School by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight



A peek at my haul:
Thank you so much to the hardworking team of Indigo Teen (#TeamTeen for the win) for inviting me to attend! The preview event was absolutely fun and I look forward to more like it in the future! 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Gena/Finn Blog Tour - Review, Q/A, and Giveaway


Woohoo! Happy Tuesday, Cupcakes!

Today I'm especially excited to be hosting authors Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson on A Cupcake and a Latte for the Gena/Finn blog tour! On today's stop, I'll be featuring a review, exclusive Q/A with the authors, and a giveaway for a finished copy of Gena/Finn. Thank you so much to Raincoast Books for working hard to organize this event, to Hannah and Kat for participating, and to all my fellow book bloggers participating in the blog tour.


Gena/Finn
by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
Publisher:  Chronicle Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 345
Release Date:May 17th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.



When the wonderful ladies of Raincoast Books first pitched Gena/Finn during their spring preview event, I knew it was going to be one of my favorite titles of the year. It's synopsis pitched a relationship between two fangirls that was right up my alley, a relationship that I was positive would inspire me as well as move me.

Gena/Finn was not only a powerful coming of age story, it was also a tale of friendship, love, and conquering everything life throws at us and coming back stronger than ever. I admit it, cupcakes, there were a few moments there that Gena/Finn had me sitting back, placing said book on my lap, and tearing up. A lot of their interactions hit me in a way I didn't know would, and it was (don't be surprised) a wonderful experience. I absolutely adored the duo, their connection with each other, their ups and downs, and everything in between. Gena/Finn is a definite go-to read for any fanboy or fangirl, and I can assure you this touching title will beg to be re-read over and over again.

Furthermore, this book made me miss my fellow book bloggettes over at Book Blog Ontario (Miss you, ladies!) and reminded me how awesome Tsunami, my long time bookish friend and cupcake wife, has always been! Every single one of you make being part of the bookish community a wonderful experience, and I can't imagine being a part of this world without you. Feel free to consider this as a proposal, I'm fully prepared to marry every single one of you.


Rating: 
4.5 / 5 Cupcakes



Q/A with authors Hannah and Kat

Q: How did it feel to write/collaborate on Gena/Finn? Furthermore, did you take inspiration from your own personal experiences with fanfiction and message boards?

A:
HANNAH: We'd collaborated on fanfic before so writing together was pretty easy for us.

KAT: It was fun, too. A lot of the time it was just like talking. Hannah is great at slipping into the voice of a character—I hope I'm decent at it too!—so we'd just "be" Gena and Finn and chat with each other for a while, and the chapter we were writing would emerge from that.

To your second question, being part of a fandom has been absolutely awesome for both of us. I've been writing fanfiction since I was twelve years old and discovered that Star Wars was a thing, but the internet was so young and weird then that it was hard to find a community. These days it's much easier to find people who are fans of the same things you are. One thing that goes on sort of subtly throughout the book is that Gena and Finn have a consistent group of fandom friends who comment on their journal posts, and that's something Hannah and I always enjoyed.



Giveaway (Canada Only)

Excited about Gena/Finn? Here's your opportunity to win a finished copy of Hannah and Kat's highly anticipated title! A big thank you to Raincoast Books for organizing this amazing blog tour and for donating a finished copy for giveaway, as well as an equally huge thank you to Hannah and Kat!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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, 14 March 2016

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes
Publisher:  Penguin Books
Format: Paperback
Pages: 369
Release Date:July 30th, 2013
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.



“I will never, ever regret the things I've done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”

I'd just gone on my hiatus from the book blogging world when Me Before You by Jojo Moyes hit the shelves. The hype never made it my way, and I unfortunately hadn't had the opportunity (or the time) to get to reading it until just recently. Even so, I felt that now was the best time to see why everyone fell in love with Lou and Will, especially considering that the movie will be hitting theatres fairly soon.

“You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

I absolutely adored Me Before You to pieces! This title was recommended to me countless times, and I regret putting it off for so long. Lou and Will were quite the pair. Jojo Moyes brought these two to life through her vivid writing, and I grew extremely emotionally attached to the duo. Jojo Moyes had me laughing with them, celebrating their victories, and crying along with them. Me Before You was, simply put, spectacular and moving. (Possible spoiler) And although things ended the way they did in Me Before You, I absolutely cannot wait to dive into After You, it's highly anticipated companion!

“I hadn’t realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn’t predicted. It left an imprint in the air around you, as if you carried its remnants with you when you went.”




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, 11 March 2016

Review: Dear Emma by Katie Heaney

Dear Emma
by Katie Heaney
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 432
Release Date:March 1st, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Harriet, the author of her college newspaper's pseudonymous student advice column "Dear Emma," is great at telling others what to do, dispensing wisdom for the lovelorn and lonely on her Midwestern campus. Somehow, though, she can't take her own advice, especially after Keith, the guy she's dating, blows her off completely. When Harriet discovers that Keith has started seeing the beautiful and intimidating Remy, she wants to hate her. But she can't help warming to Remy, who soon writes to "Dear Emma" asking for romantic advice.

Now Harriet has the perfect opportunity to take revenge on the person who broke her heart. But as she begins to doubt her own motivations and presumably faultless guidance, she's forced to question how much she really knows about love, friendship and well-meaning advice.




Katie Heaney's Dear Emma was an instant must-read for yours truly after coming across it's synopsis via Goodreads. Having had a very similar Dear Abby column in my high school paper, I was interested to read a tale from the columnist's perspective.

"I guess what I'm wondering is: is he dead?"

I absolutely adored Harriet! Although quite the unusual character, meaning I can't recall enjoying a similar character's perspective and personality before, Harriet was a refreshingly flawed human being. Furthermore, Katie Heaney's writing (which frequently transfers from column to Harriet's perspective) was fluid and made Dear Emma a breezy and overall enjoyable read. It was a reminiscent read that pulled me in instantly, emotionally moved me, and had me cheering for it's protagonist from beginning to end.

"I was good at starting an argument; it was possible I was less great at allowing them to end."

Cute, thoughtful, and enjoyable, Dear Emma by Katie Heaney is the perfect book for column lovers.


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, 7 March 2016

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight
by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format:Hardcover
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.
     


I squealed the mightiest of squeals (not that of an animal, but that of a fangirl) when I got my tiny little fangirl paws on an advanced copy of Lady Midnight, the first and highly anticipated title in Cassandra Clare's new Dark Artifices series. The box was shiny (not really, it was black) and oh-so beautiful. In fact, that very evening I refused to answer my phone and blocked out the entire world as I began on this mighty 720 page monster.

"Shadow Market nights were Kit's favorite."

Lady Midnight stars the Shadowhunters of the Los Angeles institute and reveals challenges, drama, and enemies for the new cast of characters, as well as many of the character we've previously grown to love in The Mortal Instruments series. Keeping things strictly spoiler-free, I felt Lady Midnight was a phenomenal beginning to this new series. Compared to Cassandra Clare's other titles, her maturity as an author with the experience of many published titles shined through her latest venture in the Shadowhunter world. She was far more careful to keep events in the title strictly involved for the sake of plot movement, and it was quite appreciated by this long-time fan.

"After the darkness, there was light. Bright white and silver - starlight on water and sand. And Emma was flying."

Fans of Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters will, without a doubt, love Lady Midnight and the new cast of characters it introduces. Readers will appreciate the growth of Cassandra Clare's writing, character development, and suspenseful plot twists.


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, 4 March 2016

Review: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Into the Dim
by Janet B. Taylor
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 432
Release Date:March 1st, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.



"The cheery tune drew closer, adrenaline sparked on my tongue with a metallic tang."

Personally, I felt that the fact that Into the Dim was pitched as "Outlander for teens" was quite misleading. If there's ever been a title that was closer to Outlander in the YA genre, it would likely be Lesley Livingston's Never series. By far, that's the closest (of what I've read thus far) that has come close to Diana's phenomenal (and timeless) series, though I'm certain there are many more titles out there that are far more similar in comparison. Even so, that isn't to say that Into the Dim was a disappointment. Into the Dim was rich in history, detail, and it's characters were exceptionally addictive.

"The snow had stopped during the night. Outside in the predawn, the London streets glowed oddly bright as a new coating of sugary snow reflected the expanse of stars above."

Into the Dim's protagonist, Hope Walton, was the unlikeliest of heroines. She was imperfect, but exceptional. Her personality, although it took me time to identify with her, shone quite brilliantly as I approached the ending of the book. It's fair to say that I'm anticipating Into the Dim's companion and cannot wait to see what Janet B. Taylor does with the series.

Perfect for fans of Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red, Into the Dim was an interesting take on time travel, was wholesomely addictive, and featured a promising tale for readers of all ages.



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, 2 March 2016

A Gathering of Shadows Blog Tour - Review + Q/A


Happy Wednesday, Cupcakes!

Today the A Gathering of Shadows blog tour is making a stop here at A Cupcake and a Latte (woohoo, super exciting! And have you seen the character tournament cards?! *faints*) Anyone else pumped for the second installment in this phenomenal series?

Today, as part of the tour, I'll be including my glowing review on A Gathering of Shadows and will be including a Q/A with author V.E. Schwab on the series. Thank you Raincoast books for organizing this fun blog tour!


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A Gathering of Shadows
by V.E. Schwabb
Publisher: TOR
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Release Date: February 23rd, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.



How does one sing the praises of the V.E. Schwab's latest installment in the Shades of Magic series while also being completely spoiler free? It's difficult, yes, but not impossible.

"Rhy stood on the uppermost balcony of the palace and watched the forces assemble. The cold air bit at this cheeks and tugged on his half cloak, catching it up like a golden flag behind him."

V.E. Schwab is an author I've highly recommended since the release of her debut, The Near Witch, published under the name Victoria Schwab. I instantly noticed how vivid and fluid her writing was, and relished in the strength of her ability to create a flexible and flowing world . With the release of A Gathering of Shadows, this is also true. Fans of V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic are thrust again into a world of parallel Londons, blood mages, and treachery. V.E. Schwab continues from where we left off with Lila and Kell, and there's drama, tears, chaos, and so much more. I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end and cannot wait for more in the Shades of Magic series. The only question is now - when do we get book three?!

"Lila had lost her mind. That was the only explanation."

If you're going to only ever read ONE fantasy series, please let it be the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. Everything you've ever needed from a fantasy series is present in these pages, and you'll find yourself staying up throughout the night just to discover what happens next.


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 without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


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Q/A with author V.E. Schwab

Q:What inspired you most when writing A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows?

A: When I’m writing a world, I turn into a creative black hole, drawing in everything from music and movies to art and books. I consumed Halsey and Lana del Rey and Florence. I scoured the internet for pictures that had the same feel, if not the content, of my world. I went to London and spent several days wandering the parks and side streets, charting my characters’ courses. I looked at fashion shows with Russian, Turkish, Norwegian styles. I was a sponge, not for history, but for the tone of the fantasy I wanted to write.

And then, I remember when I’d just started working on AGOS, I started reading Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings series, and I was struck by the fact that, after 1,000 pages, I still wasn’t ready to let go, not because of the plot (I’m not sure I could recount it to you) but because of the characters. That was a formative realization while writing AGOS, because I gave myself permission to slow down, to focus on the characters in my world. AGOS isn’t nearly as plot-driven as ADSOM, but my hope is that by the last page, you won’t be ready to let the people go.



Once again, a big thank you to Raincoast Books and V.E. Schwab for this fun blog tour! Be sure to follow the blog tour for more fun Q/As.


Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Fresh on the Shelf - March 2016 Book Releases + Giveaway

Happy March, Cupcakes!

How was your February? Read anything interesting/fun? Let me know what your February recommendations are in the comment section below - let's chat!

Look at all the amazing new reads we're going to be having this month - I'm beyond excited!

What titles are you highly anticipating? Don't forget to bookmark this page for your bookish convenience and enter below for a chance to win one of the below March 2016 bookish releases.


MARCH 2016 RELEASES:

Black Apple by Joan Crate
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Half Lost by Sally Green
Archie Vol. 1 by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish
Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
Escaping Perfect by Emma Harrison
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Sisters of Salt and Iron by Kady Cross


Stone Field by Christy Lenzi
What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae
Dreamless by Jenniffer Wardell
Dawn of Spies by Andrew Lane
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Broken Crowns by Lauren DeStefano
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang


Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath
Harmony House by Nic Sheff
Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn
Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
Exit, Pursed by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicole Taylor
A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann
Lady  Midnight by Cassandra Clare


Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
Map of Fates by Maggie Hall
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Maybe a Fox by Katwi Appelt and Alison McGwee
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina


The Forbidden Orchid Sharon Biggs Waller
The Keeper of the Mist  by Rachel Neumeier
Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
Shades of Darkness by A.R. Kahler
Shimmer by Paula Weston
Burning Glass by Kathyrn Purdie
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr


In Real Life by Jessica Love
The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker
The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan
Holding Court by K.C. Held
Siren's Song Mary Weber
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro



GIVEAWAY:
Giveaway is for one book from the above March 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,