Monday, 30 January 2017

Review: Strays by Sadie Munroe



STRAYS
by Sadie Munroe
Release Date: January 17th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon]
THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS

Lindsey Cane is an outcast, always has been. Even her own parents didn't want her. But after a year on her own, she's finally ready to put her hated hometown behind her for good and track down her wayward mother. She has questions that need answering. But Lindsey isn't the only one with mysteries in her past and when Tyler Stratton, a former classmate who has been gracing milk cartons and missing posters for the past year shows up begging for her help, she does what he asks. She keeps him hidden.

Bruised, beaten and covered in strange swirling tattoos that weren't there before he went missing, Tyler is an enigma and a threat to Lindsey's carefully built facade of normalcy that has kept her safe. But Tyler has secrets of his own, and there are people looking for him. Dangerous people.

Now Lindsey is trapped. Captured and strapped to a gurney. Frog-marched down sterile white hallways. Locked in a ten-by-ten glass cell. Forced to watch, helpless, as one by one the other prisoners are dragged off for testing. Most come back broken.

Some don’t come back at all.

Desperate and scared, Lindsey plots her escape. But there are guards with guns and mysterious men in white lab-coats standing in her way.

And her fellow prisoners are not what they seem.
     


"Lindsey heard the voices in the hallway and stifled a groan as she tugged her jacket on. She knew who they were—well, who one of them was, at least—and she didn’t want to talk to them."

If you haven't read my review on Sadie Munroe's debut novel, All It Takes, you are missing out! When I first picked up her debut, I was instantly warmed with her well-written and realistic characters and also All It Takes' plot, which felt so true and close to home that I, for a moment, felt like it was non-fiction. It focused on two real characters who were struggling with common but rarely spoken-of dilemmas. It was amazing to read, and while I followed her journey for months leading up to the release of STRAYS, her second novel, I absolutely could not wait to dive into it the moment I got it!

"I need to know why they’re doing this,” Lindsey said. “I need to know what’s going on."

With STRAYS, Sadie Munroe delivers something completely different from that of All It Takes. A mystery, a thriller, and parts supernatural, STRAYS was something completely new and I enjoyed the journey from beginning to end. First and foremost, I loved the transitions between "THEN" and "NOW". It gave the story not only a solid foundation, but was an excellent way to see further into Lindsey's character. I also enjoyed how I slowly learned about what was going on along with Lindsey, as she gave better insight to her meeting of Tyler and all the crazy events that led to her current position - being locked away and guarded. Additionally, upon reaching the end, I was left with a need to learn more. I strongly feel that there is still so much more to explore and absolutely cannot wait to read the second in the Darkchild trilogy!


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

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber



CARAVAL
by Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
     


Every now and then, I come across books that just immediately leap at me, whether it's their title name, cover art, or even some early buzz from some of my favourite authors. For Stephanie Garber's CARAVAL it was all of the above. The first time I came across the title was through one of Raincoast Books' TEENSREAD preview events, where it was one of the more spoken of titles from the evening. It was a book who's premise gave me goosebumps and had not only myself, but other book bloggers as well, completely captivated. I recall being all a-buzz over Caraval, and when an early copy was offered for review, I leaped with joy!

“Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or performance. It's the closest you'll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is not, in the very least, your typical YA fantasy title. It's not a book that's going to fall under the same radar as any other, and it certainly isn't going to be predictable. When immediately diving into Caraval, I was easily pleased with the feeling of what I was stepping into was completely unknown and would be a complete surprise. It felt like it was part "The Selection", "The Night Circus", and "Through the Looking Glass", but with a lot more sass and far more strength to it's progression. I immediately became invested in Scarlett and Tella's tale, and the overall idea behind Caraval - the dangerous game known by all. I absolutely enjoyed the way the game played not only the characters in Stephanie Garber's debut, but also played me as well. The game of wit, magic, trust, and even romance was completely unpredictable and kept me on my toes from beginning to end.

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

Overall, Caraval by Stephanie Garber was a magical wonder! I have no doubt that Caraval will be THE talk of the bookish world for years to come with it's unique plot, it's stunning characters, and beautifully lyrical writing. It's a must-read!


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.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Review: The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine



THE CURSED QUEEN
by Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed
     



When I first dove into The Impostor Queen, my first adventure into the creative mind of Sarah Fine, I was blown away! I instantly fell for Elli, her bravery and constant growth, and the incredible world building! It's vast and detailed landscapes and intricately descriptive magic was everything I am constantly on the look out from a fantasy title, and with the release of The Cursed Queen, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next to my favorite characters!

"As the spray from the Torden kisses my face, I trace my fingertip along the four notched scars that decorate my upper arm, and then along the space below them, where soon there will be more."

Alas, regrettably, The Cursed Queen didn't quite begin as a continuation of The Impostor Queen. And although I greatly missed the characters I grew to love in Impostor Queen (and their presence truly was missed), I found myself growing curiouser and curiouser over Ansa. Her life, her struggles, and inevitably, her curse, grabbed my attention almost immediately. She was a character worth reading and rooting for and I absolutely adored her story arc. Additionally, I also loved the opportunity Sarah Fine took to further grow the world we came to love in the first title, making magic, both light and dark, take greater shape, and the urgent struggle of the Krigere, I felt, painted a far larger picture of what readers can expect further into the series.

Overall, although I sorely missed the characters of The Impostor Queen, The Cursed Queen was an excellent companion title. Highly recommended to all fantasy lovers, be sure to devour this series over a long weekend - it's so, so worth 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 without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard



WINDWITCH
by Susan Dennard
Publisher: TOR Teen
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.
     



When it comes to Susan Dennard's Witchland series, I was on-board the bandwagon almost immediately. The first in the series, Truthwitch (2016), received so much spectacular early buzz not only from publicists but from adored and well-loved authors, and I was eager (nay - aching) to read it immediately. Myself and countless other book lovers dove head-first into Susan's promising new series and immediately fell in love. A promising new world was introduced to readers, one featuring young and talented witches Iseult and Safiya. The two witches, who possess great and unique power, find themselves making unexpected allies, finding themselves in dire circumstances, and furthermore find themselves in situations where they learn more about themselves and their magical abilities.

"Then he turned away from the Fury’s gruesome fresco and set out to bring justice to the wronged."

Now in Windwitch, the heat is on, and oh boy is it EVERYTHING! I absolutely had no idea what to expect from Susan Dennard in the highly anticipated companion to Truthwitch, but it most certainly was not the extreme and dire vibe that was constantly present from chapter to chapter. I attempted, as hard as I possibly could, to complete Windwitch in one sitting, only to find myself spending hours until my next sitting wondering what would happen next. The pace and the incredible build-up to Witchlands #3 was intense and bold. I can positively say that Windwitch will shock and stun it's readers, and will leave you pawing for what happens next. It was an absolutely thrilling read and a immediate must-buy for those new to the series.



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.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking



FREEKS
by Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodies are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.
     



When Amanda Hocking first announced she had a brand new title headed our way I was beyond thrilled! I was thrilled because I'd loved her Trylle Trilogy, Watersong series, My Blood Approves, and other phenomenal titles. I've always been drawn by her spontaneous and unique characters, twists, and world building. With Freeks, I was eager to see where Amanda would take readers. I have had a fascination with traveling sideshows for as long as I can remember, and have devoured plenty of titles and binged countless shows and movies about the theme, and my curiosity and thirst for more has never quite been sated. With that said, Freeks was an absolute must and I couldn't have been more thrilled when Raincoast Books generously sent a copy to my very door!


“That's when I realized the chill wasn't coming from outside - it was coming from within me.”


Freeks was a promising title right from the moment I picked it up. It's dialogue, although rocky at first, introduced Mara, a girl longing for a normal life. As part of Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sideshow, her responsibilities have been to provide upkeep, never to perform. However, when the sideshow makes a stop in Louisiana, where Mara meets an intriguing boy, all sorts of chaos begins to ensue. Disappearances, an invisible beast, and more, drag Mara and her companions further into the thrilling ride in Freeks. I positively enjoyed the setting, time period, and character development for Mara and Gabe. Even more so, I enjoyed her well-rounded development not only of the other characters featured in the sideshow, but the realism behind the constant conflict many sideshows in the past had to endure constantly. With that said, however, I found issue with a few repetitive passages throughout the title, and felt that editing was a little lax. Despite that, I overall greatly enjoyed Freeks. It was an extremely imaginative and entertaining title and I absolutely cannot wait to read more from Amanda Hocking!



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

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Fresh on the Shelf - January 2017 Book Releases + Giveaway

HAPPY 2017, CUPCAKES!

I hope everyone had a phenomenal holiday season and a safe and fun-filled night celebrating the beginning of, what I can only hope, will be another fantastic year!

I'm so eager for what 2017 has in store for book readers, and looking at the list of January's upcoming YA titles, I'm certain it's going to be another incredible year for readers. Have you established a TBR list of 2017 titles yet? How about a reading goal? This year I'm aiming for 120 books - here's hoping I make it, haha!

Also, don't forget to bookmark this page for your next impromptu shopping trip to your local book store.


January 2017 Book Releases
The Alchemist of Loom by Elise Kova 
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Frostblood by Elly Blake
Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Douglas Holgate
Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields

The Continent by Keira Drake
Freeks by Amanda Hocking
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
Long Way Home by Katie McGarry
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine
Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson
You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando
After the Fall by Kate Hart
Whenever I'm With You by Lydia Sharp
The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera


Giveaway (International)
Giveaway is for one book from the above January 2017 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,