Thursday, 28 July 2016

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch



Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch
Publisher: Crown
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:July 26th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable--something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
     



This book was AMAZING! No kidding, I loved it to pieces and it messed with my mind in the most epic of ways. Reviewing Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is going to be a hard one to review/comment on because of potential spoilery ickyness, however I'll do my best to tell you about the awesome that was Dark Matter.

“We're all just wandering through the tundra of our existence, assigning value to worthlessness, when all that we love and hate, all we believe in and fight for and kill for and die for is as meaningless as images projected onto Plexiglass.”

Slightly reminiscent (in my opinion) to Wayward Pines, the television show, Dark Matter dropped me into a world of the unknown. I was in the shoes of Jason, a seemingly average joe with a happy life. Suddenly he's kidnapped by gunpoint, knocked out, and later wakes to a world and setting completely unknown to him. His life before seems like a dream, and some seriously creepy and mysterious things are revealed slowly throughout the title. To put it simply, Dark Matter is a title that is not only filled with scientific goodness, but also dabbles quite a bit on keeping the reader in the dark only to suddenly spring a juciey twist when you least expect it. The reason why I compare it to Wayward Pines is because it gave me that same "OMG, what is happening? What is this place?!" vibe as the time I watched the first few episodes of season one. Dark Matter had me hooked not only because of the mystery/thriller factor that is present immediately from page one, but also because Blake Crouch had an epic way of just giving the reader what they wanted - an entertaining thriller.

Readers who enjoy dabbling in the unknown and enjoy a good sci-fi thriller every now and then are highly recommended Dark Matter. I think it's the perfect read for your next book club meetup!



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.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Review: The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close



The Hopefuls
by Jennifer Close
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:July 19th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
When Beth arrives in Washington, D.C., she hates everything about it: the confusing traffic circles, the ubiquitous Ann Taylor suits, the humidity that descends each summer. At dinner parties, guests compare their security clearance levels. They leave their BlackBerrys on the table. They speak in acronyms. And once they realize Beth doesn't work in politics, they smile blandly and turn away. Soon Beth and her husband, Matt, meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy and his wife, Ashleigh, and the four become inseparable, coordinating brunch, birthdays, and long weekends away. But as Jimmy's star rises higher and higher, their friendship--and Beth's relationship with Matt--is threatened by jealousy, competition and rumors.
     



With the presidential race being covered absolutely everywhere at the moment, and conversations of Donald vs Hilary becoming a common, I chose to give The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close a try. I almost always stay away from anything having to do with politics, having no interest in it whatsoever, however the premise of Jennifer Close' latest tale had me on pause. I was curious to learn more about the drama that would ensue for Beth and her transition into DC society.

“I wondered if people ever blamed the end of friendships on geographical differences, the divides that come from being born in different areas, culture clash.”

Despite the political background in The Hopefuls, I quite enjoyed the competitive and overly dramatic chaos of the events that took place. With that said, I regrettably did not like Beth in the least. Her personality and tone faded quickly into the background the further I moved through the novel, and I immediately lost interest in her insight. Even so, Jennifer's elegant writing and initiative towards making the tale's events more wholesome, kept my attention undoutedly to the very end. And although I didn't enjoy the heavy discussions on elections and campaigns, I believe readers with a hankering for something more current will certainly enjoy The Hopefuls.



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.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Review: It Gets Worse - A Collection of Essays by Shane Dawson



It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays
by Shane Dawson
Publisher: Atria/Keyword Press
Format:Paperback
Release Date:July 19th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
In this new collection of original personal essays, Shane goes even deeper, sharing never-before-revealed stories from his life, giving readers a no-holds-barred look at moments both bizarre and relatable, from cult-like Christian after-school activities, dressing in drag, and losing his virginity, to hiring a psychic, clashes with celebrities, and coming to terms with his bisexuality. Every step of the way, Shane maintains his signature brand of humor, proving that even the toughest breaks can be funny when you learn to laugh at yourself.

This is Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Running With Scissors for the millennial generation: an inspiring, intelligent, and brutally honest collection of true stories by a YouTube sensation-turned one of the freshest new voices out there.
     



I LOVE YOUTUBERS!

If you've read any of my Youtuber-based book reviews in the past, you'll know that watching my favourite Youtubers is part of my daily routine. After a long day at work, I like to come home, and spend a few minutes watching game plays by Markiplier, checking out Charles Trippy (We The Kings) while he's on tour, and even watch one of Shane Dawson's latest hilarious skits/videos. He's real and true to himself, and ridiculously funny, and that's one of the things that not only drew me to his channel, but also to his latest book, It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays.

“If you're passionate about something, give it your all, and you will find happiness.”

Very different from I Hate My Selfie, Shane's previous book, It Gets Worse is a better look at his true character and inner-most thoughts. It's Shane Dawson as you've never seen him before, tales that you might have heard him briefly mention in videos, but also a lot of stories, life-style changes, and challenges you'd never expect him to touch base on. It was an emotional read, for the most part, and completely changed the way I view him. Sure, he's the funny guy from Youtube, but it also reflects that this individual, who just so happens to be Youtube famous, has also had to deal with a lot of struggles on his way to the top. It was quite the inspiring read! I'd personally love to hear more from Shane Dawson, possibly in another book more similar to I Hate My Selfie.

“Now this isn't meant to make anyone feel like college is a waste of time, because for so many people it's not. But don't go because you feel like you have to. If your heart isn't in it, then why spend four years of your life stuck somewhere you don't want to be?”

Fans of Youtube and Shane Dawson absolutely MUST read It Gets Worse! PS. I'm still waiting on those books by Charles (CTFxC) and Markiplier *wink wink*


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, 18 July 2016

Review: Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers



Tone Deaf
by Olivia Rivers
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:May 3rd, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
His world is music. Her world is silent.

Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.
     


Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers was an instant must when Thomas Allen & Son pitched it to me, along with "The Taming of the Drew". I'm unashamed to admit that I instantly dove into it the moment it arrived at my door, and I happily toted it with me everywhere until completion. It was both addvice and thought-provoking, and left me wondering why more people weren't talking about it. Good thing for you, Cupcakes, I'm here to tell you how wonderful it was and why it's an absolute buy on your next trip to the bookstore.

"How do you expect me to trust you when you keep hiding stuff from me?"

My first thought upon completing Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers was a simple, but deep with meaning, "wow!". It was then promptly followed by a, "why aren't more people talking about this book?!" First and foremost, Ali and Jace are SPECTACULAR characters! I instantly fell for Ali's dialogue and adored Jace's "rough around the edges" attitude. There was certainly more to both characters, and I adored seeing Jace and Ali overcome their personal struggles and share in each other's triumphs. It was positively heartwarming, thoughtful, and fulfilling to read.

"His heartbeat thuds against my chest, his breathing is warm against my cheek, and I can't help but to feel safer than ever before. "

Furthermore, I found Olivia Rivers' latest venture into the world of Young Adult literature to be incredibly well-written. Sadly, I've come across quite a bit of YA that's been poorly written and "dumbed down" (characters following suit, as well), however Olivia had a way of luring me in further into Ali's state of mind, her surroundings, her struggles, and her innermost thoughts, as well as Jace's I felt completely submerged into Tone Deaf and found it to be a complete joy to read. On a closing note, I strongly feel more teens (and adults) need to pick up this book. It talks about realistic pain and circumstances, and also features a lovable duo readers are certain to love. Don't let the cheese or fluff fool you, this is an excellent book and completely worth the 5 out of 5 cupcakes I'm awarding it!


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.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Review: The Taming of the Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm



The Taming of the Drew
by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:April 12th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Cass McKay has been called stubborn, temperamental, difficult, and that word that rhymes with “witch” more times than she cares to count. But that’s all about to pay off. She has finally landed the role she was born to play—Kate, in The Taming of the Shrew—in the summer apprentice program of a renowned Shakespeare theater company in the forests of Vermont.

But Cass can barely lace up her corset before her troubles begin. Her leading man, Drew, is a complete troll, and he’s going to ruin Cass’s summer. Even worse, Cass’s bunkmate Amy has somehow fallen head over heels for Drew. Cass can’t let Amy throw herself at a total jerk, so she comes up with a genius plan to give Drew the personality makeover he so desperately needs: they’ll tame Drew just as Petruchio tames Kate! But as Shakespeare’s classic plays out offstage, Cass finds it harder and harder to resist falling for Drew herself.

The best kind of entertainment, The Taming of the Drew is smart, funny, fresh, and original. You’re going to love this badass heroine and her friends. You might even end up liking Drew, too.
     


When Thomas Allen & Son pitched the premise for The Taming of the Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm, I was instantly sold. Having always loved unique spins on classics, I was shocked that I had missed coming across it through my various Goodreads searches. As a big fan of anything Shakespeare, whether it be an inspired new tale or a spin on a beloved classic, I knew Stephanie's latest would be a must-read.

"You've never used a sword before? Really?"
"I can do a mean forward roll,"

The Taming of the Drew was a perfect summer read! The protagonist, Cass, was spunky, bright, outspoken, and everything I wanted in a female lead. She brought an enriching sense of life to the story, and I couldn't help feeling like I was being pulled deeper and deeper into her dialogue. Drew, whom initially came across as a tool in the beginning of the book, became a character who, thankfully, grew on me. Furthermore, I loved the romantic tension between Cass and Drew, and although I already had a good idea of how the tale would develop, I couldn't resist finishing it completely in one sitting. It was a swoon-worthy and deliciously romantic tale I am positive I will read again and again in the years to come.

"Boldness, be my friend, indeed."

Highly recommended for younger readers, The Taming of the Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm was a deliciously addicting summer tale. Inspired by William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, with a twist, I found it to be exceptionally well-written, entertaining, and addicting. Bravo!


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.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White



AND I DARKEN
by Kiersten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format:Hardcover
Release Date:June 28th, 2016
Purchase: [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.
     


"So the question becomes, Daughter of the Dragon, what will you sacrifice?"

And I Darken by Kiersten White was one Summer 2016 title I was especially excited to read! Not only from one of my favorite authors (author of the Paranormalcy series, Mind Games, and more) but also because of the synopsis. Focusing on a retelling with a twist on the infamous Vlad the Impaler, And I Darken introduces readers to Lada Dragwlya, a powerful and brutal princess. In a tale full of action, conspiracy, and even love, readers are introduced to an interesting cast of characters that are sure to hook you in.

"Souls and thrones are irreconcilable."

And I Darken by Kiersten White was precisely what I had hoped it would be - intense. Though it took quite a few chapters for me to settle into Lada's dialogue and much of the setting, I found myself quickly falling for her sharp tongue and spot-on intuition. I adored this new twist on Vlad the Impaler, and cannot wait to read more in the series! Dark, mesmerizing, and addictive all in one package, I'm positive readers looking for a heroine with a sharp tongue and wit will enjoy this fantastic summer read.



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, 4 July 2016

Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone



The Loose Ends List
By Carrie Firestone
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Release Date: June 17th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie's closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie's plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret "death with dignity" cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way - and give the O'Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.

Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.
     


The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone is a book of beginnings, middles, and ends, but is also a book about firsts and lasts. When I was first pitched the premise of The Lose Ends List by Hachette Book Group Canada, I was intrigued. The story follows the narrative and perspective of Maddie O'Neill Levine. She's lived a wonderful life, most part due to her incredible grandmother, who is also her best friend and closest confidante. When the news that her grandmother is terminally ill arises, her over the top family plans a trip of a lifetime all over the globe to celebrate with their grandmother one last time. Along the way, Maddie meets an exciting cast of characters and even falls in love, but in the end must face that she will soon be saying goodbye to her best friend.

"If you're watching this, I'm dead. I hope you are surviving without me. I was the glue that held this family together. That's not up for debate. But stick together, and you'll be just fine."

Not many books make me cry, but The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone certainly did. I wasn't best friends with my grandmother, but I respected her highly (as one should). I saw (and still see) her as a giver of wisdom, excellent advice, and the odd snarky comment that would make me giggle. Maddie's grandmother was quite similar, and I found it so heartwarming to read Maddie's dialogue and thoughts in respect to her grandmother. The Loose Ends List takes readers into what it feels to first fall in love with a complete stranger, and what it feels like to grieve even though that someone is still with you. Out of personal experience, my mother passed away when I was fairly young from cancer. Maddie's grief was quite reminiscent of my own. I felt like I was grieving the loss of my mother before her passing, and having to read Maddie go through that brought back some memories. Not overly negative ones, but it definitely brought me back to that time, and I couldn't resist picturing myself in Maddie's shoes.

Readers who loved Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, or with a hankering for an emotional contemporary read, are highly recommended The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone.


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, 1 July 2016

Fresh on the Shelf - July 2016 Book Releases + Giveaway

Happy July, Cupcakes!

And for my fellow Canadian readers, if you're reading this on July 1st, HAPPY CANADA DAY!

I have a fun-filled Canada  Day long weekend up ahead. How about you?
Any exciting July 2016 reads you're planning on reading/picking up? If so, let me know in the comments below, or feel free to tweet it at me =)

This month has quite a few promising and exciting reads in store! Be sure to enter below for a chance to win a title of your choice and bookmark this page for your next shopping trip.

P.S. If I forgot to mention any upcoming July 2016 releases, please let me know! I'll add them immediately.

July 2016 Releases

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
The Merciless II by Danielle Vega
The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey


Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova
Rebellion by J.A. Souders
My Name is Milena Rokva by T.A. Maclagan
Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
And I Darken by Kiersten White
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Time Siege by Wesley Chu
Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch


The Rules by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer
A World Without You by Beth Revis



GIVEAWAY - International
Giveaway is for one book from the above July 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,