Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Zero Repeat Forever Blog Tour - Review + Q/A


Happy Wednesday, Cupcakes!

Today I'm happy to be hosting the next stop on the Zero Repeat Forever blog tour, organized by the lovely ladies of Simon Teen. For my stop I'll be sharing my glowing review on Gabrielle Prendergast's Zero Repeat Forever and a short Q/A! Be sure to check it all out right below, and continue to follow the blog tour for more fantastic reviews, guest posts, and excerpts!

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ZERO REPEAT FOREVER
by Gabrielle Prendergast
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 29th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

     


I'm not typically big on reading science fiction. It's typically a genre that has me running away in fear it'll disappoint, only due to the fact that I have been disappointed many times in the past by YA sci-fi titles. With that said, something about the premise of Zero Repeat Forever beckoned me to read it, and I certainly was not disappointed.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast felt very Rick Yancey's 5th Wave-ish, but with a twist. Raven, our 16 year old protagonist, finds herself amidst total chaos. While at summer camp, the Nahx begin to invade earth, destroying civilization as we knew it and taking control of planet Earth. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Raven and her friends must find shelter and learn to survive during this dire time, that is until her boyfriend is killed by a Nahx, and she then finds herself completely helpless and unsure of what to do. Overall, I really loved Raven. She wasn't the first character to truly captivate me in Zero Repeat Forever; I leave that to the wonderful Eighth, however she was a character I slowly grew to respect and enjoy. Raven faces many stigmas in the world, and in society, prior to the Nahx invasion, so seeing her cope with all that AND learn to become a strong and cunning survivor was absolutely incredible. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, Eighth completely captivated me right from the beginning. He was lovable, in an odd way, and I was far more captivated with what was going on with him than with anyone else. Together, both Raven and Eighth's dialogue made a winning combination, and I'm glad to say that Gabrielle Prendergast certainly created a showstopper with the duo.

All in all, Zero Repeat Forever was a mind blowing experience. It was slow paced but intense. Fear leaped from it's pages, and I cringed and hoped along with all of it's characters. Even through all that, it wasn't until I hit the very last page, when I started demanding the next installment in the Nahx series miraculously land in my lap. If only! YA fans - Zero Repeat Forever is a must read. Patience is key with the title, as it does take time for the tale to unravel to it's peak moments, however it becomes oh-so wonderful and addicting in the end.


Rating: 
4 / 5 Cupcakes



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Q/A with Gabrielle Prendergast
Author of Zero Repeat Forever
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Q. The world we find in Zero Repeat Forever is certainly a unique one. What was your world building process?

A. Because Zero Repeat Forever is a near future Earth set science fiction a lot of the world building relied on extrapolating from our current world and how it might change in the circumstances of a major disaster. So the main grid power is off, for example. How would people cook, bathe or heat homes? The power grid was knocked out with an electro magnetic pulse (an almost sure point of attack if aliens ever DO invade) so that would also knock out computers, many cars etc because of their electronic components. Much of the human side of the world building therefore relies on showing humans using older technology - communications by radio or landlines rather than satellite, overland travel, geothermal heating, solar power etc.

For the Nahx world building, we learn so little about their world because Eighth knows so little, that most of the world building was very much about the Nahx themselves. How does their armour work? Their weapons? Their hierarchy? How much do they know about their species? About humans? Their language was particularly important to get right. It's intentionally much simpler that ASL or any other sign language used by the Deaf. That simplicity of language (and therefore thought) was imposed on them to make them better soldiers. But they rail against that because they are thinking living beings.


Q. Raven faces many stigmas in her own world. How important was it to include a character from a world so different, which has gone through so much chaos, but whom could still be relatable?

A. Raven needed to be very tough to survive the attacks, both physically a skilled fighter, but also mentally stubborn and a bit of a risk taker. She's put into a situation with the invasion where a lot of people might just give up, but she doesn't. So I wanted her to have some experience with frustration and unfairness that help her to develop the determination she needs. Also, she needed to not be so in love with the human world that she's unable to forgive a Nahx for being part of its destruction. There needed to be some ambivalence not so much about whose side she's on but about the very idea of "sides". She's a person for whom personal relationships are more important than group membership because she's a member of several different (and sometimes conflicting) groups, and has also been excluded from some groups.


Q. Playing Favorites: who was your favorite character to write?

A. I loved writing Eighth because he's so sweet and clueless, while still being a bit wild and untamed. Through him I could explore some aspects of humanity that are either admirable or illogical or just odd. Readers describe him as "pure" and I agree with that. He does some terrible things but also some beautiful things. That was fun.



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.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Review: Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor



SPARKS OF LIGHT
by Janet B. Taylor
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend.

She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

     


If you've yet to read Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, stop immediately! Set this review aside and pick up the title asap - you won't regret it. Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, the first in her debut series, was pitched as an "outlander for teens", a comparison I didn't quite agree with but still inspired me to pick it up. I was blown away by Janet's tale of a time-travelling teen, diving into the rich history of the past, and coming across some incredible characters. Hope was a phenomenal heroine, one whom I enjoyed dearly despite her imperfections, and after the ending of Into the Dim, I anticipated the release of Sparks of Light with glee.

"And yet, as the memories emerged full-bodied and complete, I felt removed from them. As if I were watching a beloved character from one of my favorite books come to life."


In Sparks of Light, the series really begins to come together to create something phenomenal. Hope finally feels like she belongs. She's got a wonderful group of friends, a possible love life in the works, and has finally found a purpose - as a Viator. As a time-travelling explorer, Hope must now steal a dangerous device from Nikola Tesla, and hopes to do so before the timeline comes to ruin. In the fast-paced sequel to Into the Dim, I found myself far more captivated with the constant action and development than I previously did with Into the Dim. Sparks of Light had a wonderful change of pace that made quite the difference in my overall enjoyment of the series, and it truly made Hope's race to save the world far more dire than first thought. Additionally, I was also completely satisfied with Hope's overall development. She grew immensely in comparison to Into the Dim, having a new understanding of her own personal strengths, and a little more courage to trust in the unknown. Overall, Sparks of Light is definitely worth a second read, one of which I hope to do if another installment makes it's way into the world *crosses fingers*

Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor, the sequel to Into the Dim, was a sublime leap through time. It was fast-paced, action packed, and full of interesting characters. Fans of Lesley Livingston's Never series and Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red, are highly recommended the series.



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.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Review: Home Run by Heidi McLaughlin



HOME RUN
by Heidi McLaughlin
Publisher: Forever
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
LOVE ISN'T A GAME . . .

I've given up everything for the chance to play major league baseball. Everything. Now I'm so close I can practically hear the crowd chanting my name. There's nothing that could take my dream away from me . . .

Unless I lose focus. And Ainsley Burke is the most beautiful, distracting woman I've ever met. When I'm with her, I can't think of anything else.

But no matter how much I want Ainsley, there's no room for love in my game plan. I can give her a quick tour of the bases, but that's it. Then I have to let her go. If she wants to think I'm a love 'em and leave 'em player, fine.

All dreams require sacrifice. I just wish this one didn't mean tearing out my own heart.

     


The Boys of Summer series by Heidi McLaughlin has to be one of the most delicious romance series I've read to date. As an avid romance reader (and often binge-reader of all the sexy books), Heidi's first in the series, Third Base, instantly won my heart. Ethan, Third Base's sexy male lead, was a phenomenal character. On his way to becoming a major league baseball player, Ethan is stunned by Daisy Robinson, a girl with secrets and a passion for the world of baseball. And as hard as I fell for the duo in Third Base, I couldn't wait to dive into Home Run.

"I drag my sorry ass out toward the waiting bus with my head hanging in shame. I thought for sure I’d at least get her number and be able to convince her that I’m not an epic douche like some of the other guys."


Cooper and Ainsley, Home Run's positively cute couple and leads, were so incredible and real. They simply leaped off the pages in a flurry of swoon. I absolutely adored their banter and their chemistry, most of which left me giddy, and loved witnessing their personal growth blossom from chapter to chapter. And although I felt a bit disconnected from Cooper in the beginning; I had felt his attitude to be a little off-putting, I overall couldn't help falling head-over-heels for his tale with Ainsley. I can only hope to see more of Cooper and Ainsley in the future, I would love to see a follow up of their story.

Overall, Home Run, the second in Heidi McLaughlin's Boys of Summer series, was a phenomenal read. It was utterly swoon-worthy and a perfect summer beach read. I positively cannot wait to dive into Heidi's third installment, Grand Slam! I can only hope to see more incredible characters, romantic encounters, and possibly the opportunity to catch up on our favorite couple's story's!



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.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo



WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER
by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Random House for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 29th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
     


Avid readers of the young adult genre know who Leigh Bardugo is. Simply put, she's written some of the best fantasy titles in the YA genre, which include the phenomenal Grisha Trilogy and the Six of Crows duology, not to mention several phenomenal short stories that have been part of incredible anthologies. Plainly put, she knows her stuff, and I honestly wouldn't have trusted anyone else to write a tale about the world's most inspiring ass-kicking heroine - Wonder Woman!

Although Wonder Woman: Warbringer is perfect for fans of all ages of the Amazonian Princess, and even fans of this summer's silver screen hit, I will warn to readers not to expect to see the same Diana we've all become accustomed. Leigh Bardugo's Diana is a complex character, so much more complex than I could have imagined, and she was incredibly vivid and her personality burst from the pages. Warbringer brought forth the opportunity to explore a new side of Diana, her upbringing, her values/ideals, and her world, and although none of the events in the novel can be considered canon to her tale, Leigh Bardugo's tale was overwhelmingly brilliant. In addition, the inclusion of a new character, Alia, and her uncertain fate throughout the title, was a favorable twist to Warbringer's course of events, and I positively adored it to bits!

Fans of Wonder Woman's originating tale, do not fret! Leigh Bardugo's Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a tale that I strongly feel must be read. Perfect for readers who adored Margaret Stohl's Black Widow duology, it will certainly bring a new light to the infamous heroine. After falling head over heels for Leigh Bardugo's start to the DC Icons series, I simply cannot help shaking with excitement for Marie Lu's contribution, Batman: Nightwalker, which is due to hit shelves this January 2018!



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.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Review: Wrecked by J.B. Salsbury



WRECKED
by J.B. Salsbury
Publisher: Forever
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 18th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
When you can’t trust yourself, how can you ask anyone else to?

It’s been months since Aden Colt left the Army, and still the memories haunt him. When he moved into a boat off the California coast, he thought he’d found the perfect place to escape life.

Then Sawyer shows up, and turns his simple life upside down.

Beautiful and sophisticated, she seems out of place in this laidback beach town. Something is pushing her to experience everything she can—including Aden. But as much as he wants her, starting a relationship with Sawyer puts them both at risk.

For Aden, the past doesn’t stay there; it shows up unexpectedly, uncontrollably, and doesn’t care whose life it wrecks.
     


I've read my fair share of, what I dub, "sexy books", and although I have continuously come across J.B. Salsbury's titles during my many searches for my next read, I regrettably have not read her work. That is, however, until I came across Wrecked, which was introduced to me in a Hachette Book Group newsletter, and I absolutely knew it was a must! When it made it's way over to me, I instantly put all other things aside, and instantly dove into it's pretty, pretty pages.

Wrecked, a standalone title by J.B. Salsbury, focuses on the intense and passionate relationship between Aden and Sawyer. Our heroine, Sawyer, finds herself living a less than thrilling life, finding herself always taking the safe route in life rather than doing things that might be a little riskier. Enter Aden, a soldier who's back on home soil after a terrifying tour, whom begins to find it difficult to live a life without the continuous symptoms of his PTSD. Both Aden and Sawyer complement each other beautifully in Wrecked, and I found myself head over heals for the couple one encounter after the other. I saw much of myself in Sawyer, not being a big risk taker myself, and was envious of her new-found courage and found myself inspired to be more free with my choices and life. As for Aden, I truly felt for him during his ups and downs. Seeing him face his demons continuously was heartbreaking, but I couldn't help loving how reassuring and present Sawyer was for him. It absolutely melted my heart! J.B. Salsbury truly has a heart-moving gem in Wrecked. Sawyer and Aden were an absolute wonder to read, and journeying with them as their story unfolded, page after page, was an experience I won't soon forget. Wonderful!

Wrecked by J.B. Salsbury is a must read for romance lovers. The leads are spectacular, real, and emotionally vivid, and Wrecked's story is truly an addicting roller coaster ride.



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.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Review: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert



LITTLE & LION
by Brandy Colbert
Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new...the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel's disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself--or worse.
     


If you're looking for a book that is as passionate, evocative, and stunning to read as it is diverse, then Brandy Colbert's Little & Lion is THE book to buy!

I've made it a personal goal to continuously strive to read books with more realistic characters facing real-life problems, and Little & Lion truly has to be one of the best representations, in my opinion, of that very thing. It's incredibly real and weaving plot isn't it's only best selling factor, but Suzette (aka Little) and her brother Lionel (aka Lion), certainly had a way of bringing life to the story. Suzette, whom comes back to her Los Angeles home after being away at a boarding school in New England, finds herself struggling to give her brother the much needed support with his bipolar disorder. Additionally, she finds herself falling for the same girl he's in love with, and discovers that being there for her brother and coming to terms with her feelings, may be more difficult than first thought. Not being knowledgeable about bipolar disorder, I found myself somewhat struggling to understand Lionel. It was at this point, actually, that I felt closest to Suzette's narrative. I was learning along with her, discovering better ways to support someone who was in very much need of it, and personally started researching more about bipolar disorder. It was mind blowing how vast and varying the disorder is, and in that, I truly felt as helpless as Suzette in finding the proper way to approach her brother in regards to his disorder and in regards to her budding feelings for his crush. Furthermore, I found Suzette's inner struggle with what her ethnicity and sexuality meant to her to be truly an inspiring and heartbreaking twist to their tale.

Overall, I found Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert to be an inspiring, heartbreaking, and truly breathtaking tale that needs to be read and shared by all.



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.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Fresh on the Shelf - August 2017 Book Releases + Giveaway

Happy August, Cupcakes!

I hope everyone had an incredible July! The weather in Toronto has been insane, with mostly rain rather than heat and sunshine - it's been disappointing!  With that, it's been difficult to find time to head over to the park, pick a cozy spot under a tree, and do some reading, however the binge-reading has still been strong with yours truly. My favorite July reads have been The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell, Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker, and I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski. All titles are highly recommended and are PERFECT for the summer season.

Did you read any exciting July releases? Any favorites you'd recommend? Let me know!

As for August 2017, we have plenty of titles I can't wait to sink my teeth into. To name a few; The Big F, In Some Other Life, Wicked Like a Wildfire, Little & Lion,  and Wonderwoman: Warbringer.  I look forward to sharing some reviews on the above titles and can't wait to hear your thoughts, as well, on your August favorites!


Happy reading! 📚

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August 2017 Book Releases
Taming the Rebel by Dawn Klehr
These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips
In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
You Don't Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow
This Is Not The End by Chandler Baker
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Venturess by Betsy Cornwell
All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O'Brien
The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
Crystal Blade by Kathryn Purdie
Blight by Alexandra Duncan
Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes
Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor
Reunited by Colleen Houck
The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee
Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Wonderwoman - Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
A Map For Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

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Giveaway (International)

The giveaway is for one book from the August 2017 book release line up above.
One winner will be selected from all valid entries.
Open to anyone who can internationally 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.
Happy reading and good luck! ^_^


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy Reading,