Wednesday 20 April 2016

Cover Catch-Up (29): FONT-tastic!

In "Cover Catch-Up" I share some covers that have either been recently revealed, or that I've just found and really wanted to share. 

Yup...I totally went there with a pun in the title of this Cover Catch-Up post. :P

This week, I'm sharing two covers with gorgeous typography, so this week is all about those fonts! ;D

The first cover that I have to share is for CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber!

CARAVAL (#1) by Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 10. 2017


Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

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

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.
I just heard about CARAVAL this week, and I'm extremely excited by it! The story sounds whimsical, fantastical, and just absolutely amazing...and this cover!!! Ah! It's gorgeous! I absolutely ADORE the font! The calligraphy is so pretty, and I love how they've made the title white to contrast against the background. And that background, I love it, too! It's gorgeous!

THE GALLERY by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: June 14, 2016


A riveting historical art mystery for fans of Chasing Vermeer and The Westing Game, set in the Roaring Twenties!

It's 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family. But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household—specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room. The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there’s more to the story—and that the paintings in the Sewell’s gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of what’s really going on with Rose Sewell?

Inspired by true events described in a fascinating author’s note, The Gallery is a 1920s caper told with humor and spunk that readers today will love.
I added THE GALLERY to my TBR ages ago, but I was changing the status of a book to "currently reading" the other day and I noticed this cover in the "Readers Also Enjoyed" section of the page....and I couldn't look away. I think when I added this book to my TBR it didn't have a cover yet because there is no way that I wouldn't have been gaga over this cover right from the start! I love the blue tones, the gold and contrasting white, the fonts...and when you put it all together, I love it even more! This cover is STUNNING, and I just had to share it!

What do you think?

Are you a fan of "font"-tastic covers?
And what do you think of these two?

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Review: Single (Stockton Beavers #1) by Collette West

Source: Received an ebook from the author as a beta reader, and plan to purchase a finished copy upon the book's release. All opinions are my own.
Release Date: April 22, 2016

Description from Goodreads:
Underdog Luke “Single” Singleton is yearning to make a comeback. After getting hit in the neck with a pitch—an injury that nearly cost him his life—he has one last chance to play for his hometown team, the Stockton Beavers. But his mom has Alzheimer’s, and he’s all she has to depend on. How can he pursue his career, much less someone special?

Personal care aide Roberta Bennett is done dating baseball players. Having had her share of heartbreak, she heads to Stockton hoping for a fresh start. But after she finds Luke’s mom outside, lost, and alone, she can’t refuse when he hires her on the spot. Unbeknownst to Luke, Roberta is all too familiar with the violent tendencies of the pitcher who hit him.

Now that they’re living under the same roof, the last thing either of them is looking for is a relationship. But it’s not long before they find themselves drawn to each other. And right when Luke is thinking about finally making a change to his single status, a secret from Roberta’s past emerges with the power to tear them apart.

When I first heard about SINGLE I was a little unsure of it because I hadn't been a big fan of Roberta in Collette West's New York Kings books, but as I read more and more excerpts and sneak peeks, I grew more and more excited to meet Luke and to finally learn Roberta's story! So, when Collette West asked me if I'd like to help her out by beta reading SINGLE, I jumped at the chance! It was definitely the right choice because I was hooked from the start. I'm so glad that I kept reading excerpts, and gave SINGLE a chance because it was fantastic, and I really did grow to love Roberta...I actually feel a bit bad about how strongly I disliked her before! :P

While SINGLE isn't part of the New York Kings series, it does exist in the same world and takes place after the most recent NYK book, GAME WINNER, and we have seen Stockton before in Collette's first book NIGHT GAMES. I loved getting to see Stockton again, and it was really interesting to see the dynamics of a different team. I loved seeing Luke improve as a player and gain confidence after facing a horrible accident, and I really loved seeing his relationship with his teammates. I loved how close he Danny were, and I really enjoyed seeing him and Rob grow closer. And Hoff! He's a gruff, older player with a chip on his shoulder, but he really surprised me and was there for Luke when it really mattered. :D

As for Luke himself, well I loved him! He was such an amazing and genuinely kind person. I loved how he always did everything that he could for others, and how he constantly had a positive outlook. I could definitely relate to him, and I sensed a kindred spirit in him (he's totally a fellow Hufflepuff, I just know it :P). I loved how much he cared for his mom, and how hard he worked to make sure that she had the best care that she could get. And I really loved him as a romantic lead! He was so considerate, thoughtful, and he never pressured Roberta to share more than she was ready to tell him. He let her decide when she was ready to confide in him, and when she kept things from him, he was so understanding. It was really refreshing to see a male lead like him. I'm not saying other male leads are inconsiderate douche-buckets, but they're definitely not usually as understanding as Luke was, and I think that largely came from how he treated his mother. Family was everything to him, and he's one of those characters that will fight to the ends of the world to protect someone that he considers part of his family, including his friends. Along with being just an all-around amazing guy, he was definitely sexy...which I always appreciate in my leading dudes. ;)

And Roberta. Roberta, Roberta, Roberta...well, as I said at the beginning of the review, I was pretty unsure of her as a main character, but I'm willing to admit that I was so wrong. We've always seen her as the foil (or one of the foils) to the relationship that we're routing for in the New York Kings series, so in SINGLE, we're finally seeing things from her side. Yes, she totally hooked up with some of the Kings players, but they're a lot more to her story and a lot more to her. She's a strong, independent, and sassy woman, which is something we didn't get to see much of in Collette West's other series, but in SINGLE we see it all. We finally see why Roberta was resisting getting into relationships and we finally see the real relationship that she has with Mike Landry. I absolutely loved getting to see it all, and in the end, I really loved Roberta. I loved her compassion for Luke's mother and how much she genuinely wanted to help others. I really, really empathized with the hardships she faced in her past, and I was so happy when she finally opened up to Luke and she let herself enjoy a loving relationship with a wonderful man. And most of all, I just loved her and Luke together so much!

Overall, I loved SINGLE. It was a fantastic story, and a great start to the STOCKTON BEAVERS series! I already can't wait for more from Collette West!

Woo hoo! SINGLE releases this week, and I just had to post my review to celebrate!

As I mentioned in my review, I wasn't sure about this one at first. We're focusing on a different team here, and it features Roberta as one of the main characters. I wasn't a Roberta fan before SINGLE, but I've completely changed my tune. :P So, I'd recommend SINGLE to fans of the Collette West's New York Kings series, and to readers who are trying her books out for the first time. :)

What do you think?
Does SINGLE sound like something you'd like to read?

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Cover Catch-Up (28): Simple & Stunning Sequels

In "Cover Catch-Up" I share some covers that have either been recently revealed, or that I've just found and really wanted to share. 

Today I've got two covers that couldn't be more different! The first is for an adult, contemporary romance, and the second is from a YA, dystopia...but they do have a couple of things in common: (1) they're both sequels, and (2) seeing both covers got me extremely excited!

Keep scrolling and see if they get you excited, too!

The first cover that I have today is for one of my absolute favourite series and writing duos! It's BEAUTIFUL (Beautiful Bastard #5) by Christina Lauren.

BEAUTIFUL (Beautiful Bastard #5) by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: October 5, 2016


One free spirited Brit. One man weighed down by responsibility . . .
(Also, a disorientatingly sweet Chloe, confused Bennett, grumpy Sara, Max as you know and love him, travel planner Hanna, chef Will, drunk Ruby, content Niall, George–oh, George–a rented van)
. . . and a whole lot of wine.

Pssst. Hypable just revealed this cover and that brief synopsis this week, and I am DYING. I love, love, LOVE this cover! It's super simple, but it looks a lot like the cover for the first book, BEAUTIFUL BASTARD, and that gives me ALL the feels!!! ALL OF THEM! This book makes me want to jump up and down and fangirl. I'm desperate for October so that I can read it...but I also don't want October to come because this is the LAST book in the series. The LAST one...LAST. If you can't tell (note: that's sarcasm, of course you can tell :P), I'm a bit sad that this series is ending. The absolutely amazing writing duo who make up Christina Lauren have a tendency to write their characters into other series...there's some overlap, so I'm hoping that while this is the end of the Beautiful Bastard series, it might not be the last time that we see all of these fabulous characters. I'm also hoping for more bonus scenes because they also like to write those. Either way, even if this is the end, I'm so extremely excited for BEAUTIFUL, and I love how the cover echoes the first one.

The second cover that I have to share is for a series that I haven't started yet. It's for THE SWAN RIDERS (Prisoner's of Peace #2) by Erin Bow! 

THE SWAN RIDERS (Prisoner's of Peace #2) by Erin Bow
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: September 20, 2016


Treacherous twists await Greta as the stakes get even higher in this stunning follow-up to the “masterful” (School Library Journal, starred review) novel, The Scorpion Rules.

Greta Stuart has become AI. New transmitters have silvered her fingerprints. New receptors have transformed her vision. And the whole of her memory has become one book in a vast library of instant knowledge. Greta is ready to rule the world.

But the new technology is also killing her.

Greta is only sixteen years old, but her new enhancements are burning through her mortal body at an alarming rate. Of course the leader of the AIs, an ancient and compelling artificial intelligence named Talis, has a plan. Greta can simply do what he’s done when the time comes, and take over the body of one of the Swan Riders, the utterly loyal humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.

First though, Greta will have to find a way to stay sane inside her new self. Talis’s plan for that involves a road trip. Escorted by Swan Riders, Greta and Talis set out on a horseback journey across the strange and not-quite-deserted landscape of Saskatchewan. But there are other people interested in Greta, people who want to change the world…and the Swan Riders might not be as loyal as they appear…

I haven't read THE SCORPION RULES yet, but I do have a kindle copy and I've been wanting to read it. This news of a sequel, and a gorgeous cover redesign make me want to get to it sooooo badly!!! I tend to really dislike cover redesigns, but I actually love these new covers so much! The first cover was nice, but these covers are stunning!!!  I love that they have the computer chip overlap in the background! The title fonts are GORGEOUS! And the metallic symbols for scorpions and swans are absolutely BREATHTAKING! Seriously these covers are so freaking pretty, and they seem to fit so much better with the story, even just going by the description. These new covers have gotten me all excited over these books...and I'm definitely going to have to finally read The Scorpion Rules so that I can devour THE SWAN RIDERS when September comes along. :P

What do you think?
Do you love the covers for BEAUTIFUL and THE SWAN RIDERS as much as I do?

Thursday 7 April 2016

Review: Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

Source: Purchased my own copy.
Publisher:Del Rey (Random House)
Release Date: January 28. 2014
Number of Pages: 382 (Hardcover)

Description from Goodreads:
"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
Wowza!!! As soon as I read the description for RED RISING, I was intrigued and I'm really not sure what's taken me so long to read it!! From the first page, I was hooked!!

I absolutely loved Darrow!! I'm going to leave out all that happens to him because there are sooo many ways just mentioning Darrow could spoil this book, but he just amazed me! His drive, his strategic mind, and his snarky attitude were the perfect fit for this story. I already can't wait to read the other two books in the trilogy because it's clear that Darrow will do amazing things and he's in for some extremely tense adventures!!

Darrow wasn't the only amazing character though! I also loved Sevro, Roque, Mustang, Pax...and sooo many others!! RED RISING was packed pull of dynamic characters. Interestingly, I actually disliked a handful of my favourite characters in this book when they were first introduced. I've always been a sucker for well written characters, but I think this is the first time I've been swayed by so many characters like that. The characters were all so well-rounded and they developed so fully that it was easy to sympathize with those you should dislike, and to grow to love the ones that first came off as "enemies." The character development was superbly written and I can wait to see what becomes of them all in the sequels...although I've heard I should be afraid which doesn't surprise me. Pierce Brown didn't go easy on his characters in RED RISING and I would've been shocked if that changed.

Not only were the characters fantastic, so was the world-building! It was spectacular and I loved learning the intricacies of Darrow's world. The hierarchies, colours, and subtle nuances between each class of people was super fascinating and understanding it all through Darrow's narrative lens made it even better!! I'm not quite sure how Darrow can achieve his ultimate goals but I'm extremely excited to see him try!!

I loved RED RISING! It was a remarkable story with some of the best character and world-building that I've ever read! I enthusiastically and whole-heartedly recommend it and I can't wait to get started on GOLDEN SON and MORNING STAR!

Have you started the Red Rising trilogy yet?
If you have, what do you think?
If you haven't, does it sound like something you'd like to read?

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Cover Catch-up (27): Covers for Books I'm HIGHLY Anticipating!

In "Cover Catch-Up" I share some covers that have either been recently revealed, or that I've just found and really wanted to share. 

Today I've got two gorgeous covers for books that I can't wait to read!!!

The first cover is for THE FATE OF THE TEARLING (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen!

THE FATE OF THE TEARLING (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: November 29, 2016


The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Tearling trilogy.

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.
Oh my, oh my!!! I got completely hooked on this trilogy, and I've been desperately waiting for The Fate of the Tearling ever since I finished the second book in the trilogy, The Invasion of the Tearling. This is one of my absolute favourite fantasy series! I love the characters, and I really love the story!! I also love that it seems like a simple society when the trilogy starts, but it soon becomes clear that things are not all that they seem. And this cover is so pretty!!! It's fairly simple but that follows the aesthetic of the other two covers, and I really love that the sapphire is so prominent on this cover!

The second cover that I have to share is for LABYRINTH LOST (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova!

LABYRINTH LOST (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: September 6, 2016


Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.
I'm a HUGE fan of Zoraida Córdova's books, and as soon as I heard about Labyrinth Lost...I was sold and ridiculously excited!!! Since I love Zoraida's writing style, I know that will be done well, and the story sounds absolutely AMAZING!! I love that she's written a book that features Latin American tradition, and that there will be more books!!! I haven't heard if it'll be a series or a trilogy or what yet, but I'm already eager to read more because Labyrinth Lost sounds sooooo freaking amazing...and the cover, I think it's stunning!!! It looks magical, a little dark, and I love the designs!! :D

What do you think?
Do you love these covers, too?

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Review: A Fierce & Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Source: Received a copy from Thomas Allen & Son while working there. All opinions are my own, and are a reflection of my personal feelings surrounding the story.
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Number of Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

Description from Goodreads:
In this stunning debut, legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison.

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers--and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

A Fierce and Subtle Poison beautifully blends magical realism with a page-turning mystery and a dark,  starcrossed romance--all delivered in lush, urgent prose.

“A breathtaking story in which myths come to frightening life and buried wishes might actually come true. This is a hypnotic debut by a remarkable talent.” —Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls
A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON was absolutely wonderful! I loved the writing, and as soon as I started reading, I couldn't put it down! I had to actually force myself to go to bed so that I wouldn't be exhausted for work in the morning. :P

I loved Lucas as the narrator, and found it refreshing to have a male protagonist for this story. His perspective kept the story moving at a quick pace, and I really enjoyed seeing the story from his point of view because he was almost as much of an outsider to the culture as I was. I loved the mystery surrounding Isabel, too, and I think that's why I loved that Lucas was the narrator. I liked not knowing what to expect from Isabel, so Lucas was perfect! He also was completely unapologetic in his womanizing ways...and I actually found that I appreciated that. He was upfront with both the girls he fooled around with, and with the reader when he told us about them. :P

As for the plot and the story itself, I absolutely loved it all! I really enjoyed the Puerto Rican stories, and loved the magical realism of the story. I don't often read mysteries, but I thought the mystery was really well done, too. It was intriguing, and definitely kept me guessing. Lucas was also a bit of an unreliable narrator sometimes, so that made the mystery even better! The ending was a little bit open-ended, which I'm not a huge fan of, but I think it reflected the magical aspect of the story extremely well. Just like Lucas, we don't know what magic is really possible in his world...and it left me extremely curious and excited to see what Samantha Mabry comes up with next!

Overall, I absolutely loved A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON. It was captivating, and incredibly unique. I loved the characters, and the story was well-written and extremely interesting! It was also super refreshing to see a story set in Puerto Rico, and I loved hearing the folk stories and how Spanish was woven into the dialogue of the story!!! I'd recommend A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON to fans of magical realism, and also to readers who are looking for some diversity in their YA!

I was extremely excited to have the chance to read A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON and it definitely didn't disappoint!

What do you think?
Does it sound like a story that you would enjoy?
Have you ever read any magical realism?