Monday, 24 April 2017

Blog Tour: True North by L.E Sterling


Hello, Cupcakes! Today I'm pleased to kick off the True North blog tour! It's an incredible series that I highly encourage everyone to check out, and I'm positively excited to share my thoughts on L.E. Sterling's latest installment in the True Born series, TRUE NORTH. In addition, the author herself has written a wonderful guest post for you to enjoy. Be sure to follow along the blog tour for more praise on True North and more excellent guest posts!



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TRUE NORTH
by L.E. Sterling
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there's been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters' blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.??

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.
     



More people need to be reading this series - more teens and adults, alike. It's a series I am absolutely shocked does not come up in every bookish conversation. I'm actually completely floored when I mention the first title, True Born, to other readers and they've never heard of it. It's a title I always highly recommend, and now with the release of True North, I'm more certain now than ever before that L.E. Sterling's True Born trilogy is going to be a major game changer in not only young adult literature, but also in the science fiction and dystopian genres.

If you haven't read my review on True Born, you can do so here. To catch you up to speed - I loved it. I continue to believe that I loved it more than I love chocolate sprinkles, which is a lot. And with True North, the second in the trilogy, I continue to stand by that statement. I continue to love Lucy's personality and narrative, and still find her to be an exceptional lead. The emotional turmoil she feels when it comes to trusting others has become more evident in True North, and the urgency of Lucy's predicament becomes so much more sinister. Furthermore, I absolutely loved Jared and learning more about him, in addition to reading a lot more dialogue between both he and Lucy. Also, L.E. Sterling's writing continues to be as beautiful and detailed as it was in True Born, and was a pleasant reminder of how much I loved first diving into the title. Personally, I couldn't find a single sour note or lack lustre moment in True North. It felt like another wholesomely adventurous tale that I look forward to re-reading in the future.

Readers, I highly recommend both True Born and True North to you. The title, although primarily dystopian in setting and sci-fi in plot, will feel like something refreshing all of it's own. It'll hook you immediately - I promise!



Rating: 
5 / 5 Cupcakes




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How Not to Give Up
Guest Post by L.E. Sterling


There was a period in my life—not that long time ago actually—where I thought I’d give up on writing. This is a hard thing for me to admit because I’ve literally been writing my entire life. I was writing songs for an imaginary band when I was 7 (our big hit was to be “That’s the way life is”). I wrote novels about aliens and another about a tribe of kids after a nuclear apocalypse when I was 11, and published my first essay in a national kids’ magazine at age 10. You get the picture.

So to give up on writing is, was…unthinkable. And yet, there I was, a somewhat successful adult writer with two novels already published by a reputable small press. And I still felt lower than low.

When you write, you really put yourself out there. You expose yourself. It’s kind of like acting, only the page is a mask you can slip over your true self. This is also why anyone would want to write: because it’s liberating, exhilarating—like mental flying.

It also means you often fail.

I’d failed a lot. More times than I’d succeeded. Don’t let anyone tell you that writing and publishing is easy. It takes a lot of guts, and it takes discipline, and it takes the ability to withstand failure and criticism. All of that is hard enough. But when you keep trying and still fail? That’s—well—it sucks.

So I came to a week where I spent every day looking at a blank page and feeling hollow. You see, I’d been trying to sell the True Born Trilogy and it just wasn’t happening. I’d tried telling myself that tons of successful writers who had been rejected repeatedly. I’ve faced failure before.

But I had a literary agent—widely regarded to be necessary for landing a publishing deal with a larger press. I’d had huge success putting up a novella-length version of True Born on Wattpad. And as I mentioned, I’d already published two other novels. So what if True Born didn’t sell to a press? I could turn to self-publishing, or keep on with my small press. But I knew that wouldn’t work for me. There are things that only a reputable press can do for you, things I knew I needed.

After a few very dark days I came to the decision to carry on with writing even if I never published another novel again. I’d do it for myself, because that’s ultimately who I write for. I left that week tired and shaken, but resolved. I wouldn’t let fear or failure or frustration stand in my way.

Not two weeks later, True Born had a book deal. And not just a single book deal—a three book deal. This April I published the second book in that trilogy, True North. I think it’s the best book I’ve ever written. I think the last in the trilogy will be even better.

If I were to ever offer advice to a serious-but-just-starting-out writer it would be this: there will be a moment (or maybe many) where you’re going to be tempted to stop, when you’re going to feel like a failure.

But the bare truth of writing is that the only judge who matters is you. If you’re always writing for yourself, pushing yourself, you can never, ever fail.




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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.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Blog Tour: Me (and) Me by Alice Kuipers


Hello, Cupcakes! Today I am super excited to be hosting today's blog tour stop for Me (and) Me by Alice Kuipers. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait to share my thoughts with you. You can read my 5/5 cupcake review right below. Also, be sure to stop by all the stops on the blog tour for some fun! A big thanks to Susan of Susan Busse PR for organizing the tour!

ME (and) ME
by Alice Kuipers
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 11th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
It’s Lark’s seventeenth birthday, and although she’s hated to be reminded of the day ever since her mom’s death three years ago, it’s off to a great start. Lark has written a killer song to perform with her band, the weather is stunning and she’s got a date with gorgeous Alec. The two take a canoe out on the lake, and everything is perfect—until Lark hears the screams. Annabelle, a little girl she used to babysit, is drowning in the nearby reeds while Annabelle’s mom tries desperately to reach her. Lark and Alec are closer, and they both dive in. But Alec hits his head on a rock in the water and begins to flail.

Alec and Annabelle are drowning. And Lark can save only one of them.

Lark chooses, and in that moment her world splits into two distinct lives. She must live with the consequences of both choices. As Lark finds herself going down more than one path, she has to decide: Which life is the right one?

Alice Kuipers, the award-winning author of 40 Things I Want to Tell You and Life on the Refrigerator Door, is an expert chronicler of the teenage heart, and she takes her work to new heights here. A riveting, high-concept novel with heart, Me and Me is about what it feels like to be torn in pieces, and about finally finding out who you really are.
     



When I attended the spring edition of Frenzy Presents, hosted by HCCFrenzy, Me (and) Me by Alice Kuipers was all anyone could really talk about. It was one of the first few titles introduced during the spring YA preview event and I immediately recalled how much I loved 40 Things I Want to Tell You. It was a book I would never forget, and with the introduction of Alice's latest, I was completely desperate to begin reading the title immediately. As luck would have it, I was graced by the Book Gods with an advanced copy of the title in my swag bag.

ONE CHOICE CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING

Me (and) Me by Alice Kuipers begins on a very harrowing tone - with a drowning. It's immediate and intense, and at this moment our protagonist, Lark, is forced to choose between saving one person over the other. It's a quick and fleeting moment, but it's a constant presence from beginning to end. Along with Lark, I found myself journeying further and further into Me (and) Me and explored the repercussions of Lark's decisions to save either party. Alice Kuiper's latest was a book that had me emotionally cling to it. I cried, laughed, and cried again from chapter to chapter. It is by far my favorite of Kuiper's titles, tied closely with 40 Things I Want to Tell You. Many things about Me (and) Me resonated deeply with me, but I believe what spoke to me most was Lark's incredible relatability, not just because of her overall character, but also her personal growth. Seeing Lark come to terms with the consequences of either one of her decisions felt unbelievably real and tore me apart on several an occasion. I ached with her and found myself feeling closer to her than I ever have with any other protagonist. Me (and) Me by Alice Kuipers was a journey I never would have imagined I would need, but I did and I enjoyed every painful and uplifting moment of it. It was a superb ride and I highly recommend you join in!


Rating: 
5 / 5 Cupcakes


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The Trailer:


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Follow the Blog Tour:
April 10: Girl Plus Book - http://girlplusbook.com
April 11: CanLit for Little Canadians - https://canlitforlittlecanadians.blogspot.ca/
April 12: Library of Pacific Tranquility - http://pacifictranquility.wordpress.com/
April 13: A Cupcake and a Latte - http://acupcakeandalatte.com/
April 14: Stuck in YA Books - http://lovesbooksreview.blogspot.com/
April 17: Jaime D's World - http://www.jaimedsworld.tumblr.com/
April 19: Our Collective Muse - http://www.ourcollectivemuse.com/
April 20: Book Store Finds - https://www.instagram.com/bookstorefinds/
April 21: Mostly YA Lit - https://www.mostlyyalit.com/
April 25: Rosie & the Riveters - http://www.rosieandtheriveters.com/blog/
April 28: BookCatPin - http://bookcatpin.blogspot.ca/


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.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray



DEFY THE STARS
by Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that's now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth's robotic "mech" armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel's programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis--even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel's devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.
     



When I sit back and think about it, there isn't a single Claudia Gray title I haven't enjoyed. I remember first picking up Evernight, her first book in the series of the same name, and devouring it, only to move onto the following titles in an epic binge-read. I remember being wholesomely captivated by the story of Bianca and Lucas and wishing it would never end. So when I heard of Defy the Stars, the first in a brand new series by Claudia Gray, I was stoked! Pitched as a sci-fi title perfect for fans of Illuminae and The Lunar Chronicles, I couldn't wait to see what adventures Claudia had in store for her fans!

"He's comforting her by telling her she'll still get her chance to destroy him. Guilt squeezes Noemi's heart and lungs until she can hardly breathe."

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray felt extremely Gundam franchise-ish, and not in a bad way. My long love for all the tales in the Gundam universe is perhaps what immediately sold me on the idea of this title taking place not only in space, but also a tale that featured mechs, a complex dialogue and mind boggling conspiracies. First and foremost, I absolutely adored Noemi and Abel. Noemi came across as an immediately fierce and brave character, one that almost reminded me of Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a soldier sent out to battle, whom is highly expected to perish, seeing her rediscover herself and accomplish so much was a breathtaking experience I thoroughly enjoyed. As for Abel, his entire existence was a complicated one, and one I couldn't help but dissect as I learned more about him the further the novel progressed. Furthermore, I additionally loved the universe building and the attention to detail that Claudia Gray presented. And although I was left with countless questions, which will without a doubt be answered in it's companion release, I felt like Defy the Stars was a refreshing take on the science fiction genre, one that, I can only hope, will bring more like-series out into the world.



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.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Fresh on the Shelf - April 2017 Book Releases + Giveaway

HAPPY APRIL, CUPCAKES!

I hope everyone had a phenomenal and magical March! This month I was hoping to start seeing some warmer weather, however in Toronto it's been topsy turvy with a combination of hot and even snowy weather....so strange! With March, though, I had the opportunity to read and review several wonderful books and I even attended Toronto Comic Con, you can check out my recap post here.

What were some of your favourite March reads? Anything you highly recommend? Also, how amazing is April's YA release line-up? I'm already anticipating many of my pre-orders and can't wait to share my thoughts with everyone! Be sure to save this page for your next bookish outing, just in case!

Happy Reading! 📚


April 2017 Book Releases
Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
The Adjustment by Suzanne Young
Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman
Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead
 The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier
 Perfect by Cecilia Ahern
Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey
Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Missing by Kelley Armstrong
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer
Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Literally by Lucy Keating
 Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor
But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure
Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr
Alone in Paris by Ashley Earley
Night Swimming by Steph Bowe
The End of Our Story by Meg Haston


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