Thursday, 30 June 2016

Review: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams and I'm Still Here by Clélie Avit

Invincible Summer
By Alice Adams
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 295
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey. Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who's pined for Eva for years, stays on to complete his PhD in physics, devoting his life to chasing particles as elusive as the object of his affection. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, never much inclined toward mortgages or monogamy, pursue more bohemian existences-she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partyer. But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced they are truly the masters of their fates, the once close-knit friends find themselves filled with longing for their youth- and for one another. Broken hearts and broken careers draw the foursome together again, but in ways they never could have imagined.
     Add it to Goodreads

I'm Still Here (Je Suis La)
By Clélie Avit
Publisher: Grand Central
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Release Date: August 23rd, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]

Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she's lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don't know that she's regained the power of hearing.

That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who's just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies, and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.

As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it's too late?
     Add it to Goodreads

This summer I was approached by Hachette Book Group Canada to review two emotional and heart wrenching titles - Invincible Summer by Alice Adams and I'm Still Here (Je Suis La) by Clélie Avit. Upon learning more about each title, I was excited to dive into two completely different but promising contemporary titles, titles I would later find were some of the most captivating and intense reads I've ever read.

"Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey."

Invincible Summer focuses on a group of friends who have, essentially, gone through the most exciting years of their lives together. After graduating college, the group separates and moves on to greater things, either career-wise or socially. Many years later, the separated group of friends begin to yearn for their younger, more exciting years, and take it upon themselves to gather again and relive their pasts. A perfect depiction of the struggles many young adults (and older adults) encounter right after high school, and possibly even college, I found Invincible Summer to be a truly inspiring, thought-provoking, and emotional read. I personally identified with many of the characters, and found myself comparing others to people in my personal life. It was very well-written and an absolute thrill to read. I highly recommend Invincible Summer to younger readers looking for a different kind of contemporary title, and possibly even for those who aren't quite sure what their future holds.

"I'm cold. I'm Hungry. I'm frightened."

I'm Still Here (Je Suis La) is an English translated title by Clélie Avit. It focuses on the story of Elsa, a girl who finds herself stuck in a coma, forever laying in a hospital bed. Without the ability to see, speak, or move, Doctors begin to believe that she will forever be in an irreversible coma. When Elsa suddenly regains the ability to hear, a stranger begins appearing in her hospital room. He begins speaking with her, and a connection grows. I personally quite enjoyed I'm Still Here, although it's not typically my kind of go-to read. I found it to be quite similar to If I Stay by Gayle Forman, minus the teen angst and drama. It was thought provoking, inspiring, and interesting to read Elsa's narrative voice. I highly recommend I'm Still Here to contemporary lovers interested in reading a new and emotionally gripping read.

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, 27 June 2016

Recap: Simon & Schuster Canada Blogger Meet Up - The Sequel

Over the weekend, myself and several other Toronto-based book bloggers were generously invited to visit Simon & Schuster Canada for a fun day of books, treats, and more. Dubbed "Blogger Meet Up - The Sequel", the event spanned for quite a generous portion of the day, making it one of the most exciting blogger events I've ever attended.

The event began at 10:30AM in the boardroom of Simon & Schuster Canada head office. All of the book bloggers (sans Ardo, who was feeling unwell *sad face* ) were early and in attendance, and had all made themselves at home in their spots, ready and eager to learn about Fall's upcoming YA titles. Bloggers in attendance were: Michele, Christine, Michelle, Patty, Joey, Jesse, Tiff, and Amanda - all of which I've either known for years, or have already had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions in the past. Also in attendance were authors Erin Bow (Plain Kate/Scorpion Rules), Kevin Sylvester (Neil Flambe/Minrs), and Kevin Sands (The Blackthorn Key). Jackie and Andrea (our wonderful hostesses for the event) were excited and ready with a day full of bookish awesome, and I can attest to the fact that I was eager, determined, and so ready for the fun!

We started with a quick introduction around the room, to which Michele and Christine started that day's infamous O.G. references (meaning, us longtime bloggers being all of O.G. status). Moving along, Erin Bow, Kevin Sylvester, and Kevin Sands were each introduced and spoke warmly about their titles. It was quickly followed by a Q/A session between blogger and author that spanned well over an hour. It was by far the most engaging Q/A session I've ever heard. We discussed books, short stories, favourite reads, writing techniques, and so much more - it was wonderful! After the Q/A, we paused for a delicious lunch provided by the wonderful ladies of Simon Teen. I devoured my pulled beef sandwich with gusto and enjoyed the fruit and other assorted treats that were additionally provided.

Following our delicious lunch, and a quick book signing with Erin, Kevin and Kevin, Andrea gathered a set of wrapped book titles, decorated in images and words describing the book inside, and commenced one of the most intense guessing matches ever, one of which would soon be followed by another from Jackie. Bloggers were asked to guess the title by observing the clues written/drawn on it's outer wrapping, and the first to guess the title out loud would be taking the title home. I took home The Lost Property Office by James R. Hannibal, a novel for younger readers about a 13 y/o Jack Buckles who is excellent at finding lost objects, but is then tasked to find the Ember: an item which holds the secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London.

Following the guessing games, we were then given some bookish trivia to win two highly anticipated ARCs. One would think the trivia would be easy, but I only managed to score a measly 6, the winner having scored a 12. Following the trivia, we broke out into one final game, Jackie and Andrea dubbed "Pictionary Broken Telephone". Each blogger was given a long sheet of paper and were asked to write a book title. The blogger was then asked to fold over the title and pass the paper clockwise to the next blogger, who would then attempt to draw the book title. Following suit, they were then asked to fold over the drawing and the next blogger (clockwise) would then have to guess the book title. The game continued until our long sheets were filled. My title was Legend by Marie Lu. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the final guess was, but I heard of some fairly interesting ones!

After many laughs, games, and exciting discussions, our fun bookish day with Simon & Schuster Canada came to a close. We were all given brown paper bags filled with goodies, books, and more upon leaving and even snapped a group photo (pictured further above in the post). I positively had a wonderful time with the ladies of Simon Teen Canada, Erin, Kevin and Kevin, and my fellow book bloggers. It was a wonderful way to spend a summer weekend! Thank you so much for the invite and working hard to organize such a fun day!

Pictured: titles discussed during the blogger event. Complete list and links can be found below.

Coming Fall 2016 -

Coming Spring 2017:

My Bookish Haul:
  • Signed/Doodled copy of MINRS 2 by Kevin Sylvester
  • Signed copy of Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands
  • Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman
  • All in Pieces by Suzanne Young
  • The Lost Property Office by James R. Hannibal
  • The Shallows tank top
  • Assorted bookmarks + stickers
  • Ghostbusters movie nail file
  • Book Buddies sticky notes
  • To Do List paper pad
  • Simon & Schuster Canada magnet
  • Pack of Hubba Bubba gum (which was all gone by that evening...addicted!)

A big thank you to the Teen Team at Simon & Schuster Canada (Jackie and Andrea) for putting together such a wonderful day of bookish fun! If you're interested in learning about the first book blogger meet, here's my recap!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice
By Eileen Cook
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 316
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t. Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

I first came across With Malice by Eileen Cook during the Raincoast Teens Read preview event. Eileen Cook was the guest at this year's event, and spoke generously of her upcoming title and answered some very good questions regarding her characters, inspiration, and writing process. After hearing how passionate she was, I was immediately eager to pick it up at the nearest opportunity.

"A flutter of fear ran through my chest."

With Malice is part contemporary, part mystery, and part thriller. Walking into With Malice, I didn't expect to become immediately attached to Jill and her unfortunate circumstances. With a lead female protagonist who's completely lost her memory, and having been part of a deadly accident, one can expect to encounter quite the mind-boggling twists, turns, and events. Eileen Cook did not disappoint in that aspect, and I found great joy discovering the pieces to the puzzle that was the events of Italy. In fact, some of my favorite moments in With Malice take place in flashback form (and the media frenzy that takes place throughout the book). Overall, Eileen Cook had me wholeheartedly invested in Jill's journey, and I'm positive other readers will feel the same.

"They’d never spoken a word to me, never seen me in the flesh, but based on a few pictures and a story, they’d made me into some kind of monster."

Detailed, imaginative, and completely engaging, With Malice by Eileen Cook was positively wonderful! I highly recommend it for teens and adults with a hankering for a good mystery.

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.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Review: Roses by Rose Mannering

By Rose Mannering
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 328
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
She bears no name. Her silvery appearance is freakish to the numerous inhabitants of Sago, the cosmopolitan capital of Pevorocco in the Western Realm. With her mother vanishing at the instance of her birth, she is sent to live with the cruel, rich Ma Dane, where she is punished daily for something, though she knows not what. Tauntingly named Beauty, she flees Sago in a violent uprising that sets out to massacre all Magics and journeys to the farthest point of the country.

But Beauty cannot hide in the grassy Hillands forever. Before long, the State officials find her and threaten to take her back to war-torn Sago where death surely awaits. In a midnight blizzard she escapes them, running into a deep, enchanted forest to a great and terrible beast who will bargain for her life.

But can Beauty accept Beast? Eternity is a long time. Now for the first time in paperback, Roses is sure to capture your heart as you fall in love with Beauty and her Beast all over again.

Quoted on it's gorgeous new paperback cover, The School Library Journal calls Roses "An unusually powerful retelling of Beauty and the Beast." With this, I wholesomely agree. Roses by Rose Mannering was a title that came to me through countless recommendations, on account I'm a sucker for anything Beauty and the Beast related. I was told that I would fall head over heels for this fantastic new twist on the well loved classic, and I truly, wholeheartedly did!

Roses by Rose Mannering introduces a female protagonist who bears no name (Beauty) and features a silvery complexion, something that makes her stand out in the most negative of ways in her hometown of Sago. Daily she is punished by the cruel and treacherous Ma Dane, whom she has lived with since the disappearance of her mother. When a violent uprising happens in Sago, Beauty takes the opportunity to run away from a life of torture and abuse and makes her way into the hillands. As circumstance would have it, a series of events inevitably leads her to the presence of the Beast. Will she accept the Beast?

"A sob caught her throat, but she swallowed it. She took the terrible red rose from his fingers and felt the heaviness of it in her hands."

Roses was remarkably well-written, descriptive, unique, and addicting. There are countless Beauty and the Beast retellings that I've deeply fallen for (A Court of Thorns and Roses, Cruel Beauty, Beastly, and more) and I'm pleased to say that Roses has made it onto my ever-growing list! The characteristics of Beauty and Beast in Rose's retelling are quite reminiscent of those that we've grown to love, but are unique, in my opinion, in expression of emotion. I felt that the Beast of Roses was quite more honest and genuine with how he felt, anger, sadness, and even love. I felt most connected with him than I have with any other retelling, and it was compellingly refreshing.

" 'Ask for a book', said Beast. 'Any book!' Beauty did not think she had ever seen him so animated."

Refreshing, remarkable, and imaginative - Roses by Rose Mannering was a phenomenally addicting Beauty and the Beast retelling! Highly recommended to readers over the age of 12! Furthermore, I am over the moon that the next installment in the series, titled Feathers, is set to be released next month!

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, 14 June 2016

Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

The Walls Around Us
By Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Release Date: March 22nd, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices--one still living and one dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old ballerina days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries: What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve--in this life or in another one?

“Our private tastes in books showed a hint of our secret selves.”

Nova Ren Suma has written some very powerful and emotion enticing reads in the past, Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone being among some of my favorite go-to recommendations for younger readers. The Walls Around Us felt like an absolute must. There was no denying that I absolutely needed to dive into this novel face first and stick with it to the very end with no pause. An all-nighter was mandatory, and boy was it worth it!

“Life. We'd long known it was cruel.”

Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us truly delivers. Featuring a unique tale about two girls who are strangers but inexplicably connected, Nova's latest truly inspired me to look at the bigger picture. Readers, don't walk into The Walls Around Us unprepared. It's a title that absolutely requires you to get to the very last page. It is enticing, addictive, dark, mesmerizing, mysterious, and oh-so trippy. In fact, there is no other title I can quite compare to this one, or a way to properly describe how intensely it left me in thought. The tale(s) of Amber and Violet is a heartbreaking one, one of that is odd but also part paranormal and mystery. It should go without saying further, although I feel it is an absolute must, that The Walls Around Us is Nova Ren Suma's greatest work to date, and that I can only hope for more titles that will leave me in such awe in the future. Bravo!

“I knew that just because people on the outside were free and clean, it didn’t mean they were the good ones.”

Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us is book club worthy, and an absolute must for young adult readers and beyond.

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, 11 June 2016

Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl
By Anne Tyler
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
The third book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a major global initiative the Guardian calls "The great rewriting project of the 21st century" Shakespeare's controversial comedy "The Taming of the Shrew" sees wilful, independent Katherina transformed into a willing, obedient wife to Petruchio. It is one of Shakespeare's most re-visited plays, with adaptations including "Kiss Me Kate," and "10 Things I Hate About You." Anne Tyler's delightful "Vinegar Girl" features Kate, a socially awkward young woman, adored by the preschool children she teaches but misunderstood by her peers. Her father is a scientific genius, but not so great on emotions. About to lose his (equally genius, equally socially inept) research assistant, Pyotr Cherbakov, because of visa problems, and desperate to save the project that is his life's work, he comes up with a plan: Kate will marry Pyotr who will then be able to stay in the country and finish the project. The plan sounds perfect, except for one small hitch: Kate.

I, regrettably, have yet to have the opportunity to dive into the other titles in the Hogarth Shakespeare series. Not due to disinterest, but simply due to lack of time. Fortunately enough, Penguin Random House gave me the opportunity to review Vinegar Girl, Anne's take on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. After reading the synopsis for this one not long ago, it's fair to say I've been wiggling with anticipation for it's arrival on my doorstep.

"He was gazing at Kate admiringly. Men often wore that look when they first saw her."

This book was PHENOMENAL! Hilarious, spontaneous, and everything in between - I was immediately taken with Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. Kate was a wonderful character with a bright personality that truly came alive for me from page to page. She had me chuckling, sighing, and completely smitten by every event. Furthermore, as far as reinterpretations go for Shakespearean classics, Vinegar Girl was by far the most real and best written I've come across to this date. Kate, her father, Pyotr, and the twists and turns throughout the title had my complete attention right to the end. I pulled an all nighter in order to complete it, and it was not a disappointment!

Readers, I beg you to give Vinegar Girl a try. Perfect for the reader who needs a well written title with excellent character development, humor, and emotion, I positively adored it and I'm certain you will, too.

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 with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Review: Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

Julia Vanishes
By Catherine Egan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people's senses.

It's a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it's a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned--crime pays.

Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders, and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman who is clearly in hiding--though from what or whom?

Worse, Julia suspects that there's a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city. The more she learns, the more she wants to be done with this unnatural job. To go back to the safety of her friends and fellow thieves. But Julia is entangled in a struggle between forces more powerful than she'd ever imagined. Escape will come at a terrible price.

Crime Pays

When I first came across Julia Vanishes, the first title in Catherine Egan's Witch's Child series, I was immediately sold. Julia is a young girl with an unusual ability to be unseen. She can get past an individual's senses, and after years of mastering this ability, she decides to use it as a thief and spy. However, when Julia's latest job involves posing as a housemaid in a grand house, Julia finds herself in the presence of a cast of unusual characters with secrets of their own.

"I stand shivering, holding my coat around me. A light snow begins to fall, the first snow of the winter."

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan was a truly intriguing read. The entire premise of the title was shadowed by an air of mystery; one where, even while reading, I was never truly sure about Julia or the people she started to interact with. In fact, I strongly felt this feeling of being skeptical of everyone and everything added a unique twist to this YA murder mystery. The cast of characters (including protagonist Julia) were as exciting as they were peculiar and unusual. In a world filled with magic, I enjoyed Catherine's refreshing take on sorcery and witches. Julia Vanishes is a title that, although slow at the beginning, truly pays off in the end. Even now I find myself being drawn back into it's pages, desperate for a re-read, because it's not often that I come across a book that has so simply pulled me in so deeply - it was wonderful!

Highly recommended for younger readers with a passion for mysteries, strong characters, and magic. I am highly anticipating the second title in the Witch's Child series!

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.

Friday, 3 June 2016

High Stakes & High Seas - 2 Books To Help You Cruise Into Summer

Not long ago, I was approached by Simon & Schuster Canada to review two deliciously exciting tales that take place out at sea. With summer just around the corner (at the time) I pounced at the opportunity to read them.  Without spoiling my review (which you can find below) I can honestly say that these two titles, although similar in setting, were vastly different and completely blew me away. I absolutely cannot wait to hear what others have to say about My Last Continent and What We Become! Below, you will find my comparison review on both titles. Happy Reading!


My Last Continent
By Midge Raymond
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
An unforgettable debut with an irresistible love story, My Last Continent is a big-hearted, propulsive novel set against the dramatic Antarctic landscape—“original and entirely authentic love story” (Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project).

 It is only at the end of the world—among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, and frigid waters of Antarctica—where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of emperor and Adélie penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in their work and in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north.

 A new travel and research season has just begun, and Deb and Keller are ready to play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research destination. But this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Then, shortly into the journey, Deb’s ship receives an emergency signal from the Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters of the Southern Ocean. Soon Deb’s role will change from researcher to rescuer; among the crew of that sinking ship, Deb learns, is Keller.

 As Deb and Keller’s troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Midge Raymond’s phenomenal novel takes us on a voyage deep into the wonders of the Antarctic and the mysteries of the human heart. My Last Continent is packed with emotional intelligence and high stakes—a harrowing, searching novel of love and loss in one of the most remote places on earth, a land of harsh beauty where even the smallest missteps have tragic consequences


What We Become
By Arturo Perez-Reverte
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--#1 bestselling author and Dagger Award winner Arturo Pérez-Reverte delivers an epic historical tale following the dangerous and passionate love affair between a beautiful high society woman and an elegant thief. A story of romance, adventure, and espionage, this novel solidifies Pérez-Reverte as an international literary giant.

En route from Lisbon to Buenos Aires in 1928, Max and Mecha meet aboard a luxurious transatlantic cruise ship. There Max teaches the stunning stranger and her erudite husband to dance the tango. A steamy affair ignites at sea and continues as the seedy decadence of Buenos Aires envelops the secret lovers.

Nice, 1937. Still drawn to one another a decade later, Max and Mecha rekindle their dalliance. In the wake of a perilous mission gone awry, Mecha looks after her charming paramour until a deadly encounter with a Spanish spy forces him to flee.

Sorrento, 1966. Max once again runs into trouble—and Mecha. She offers him temporary shelter from the KGB agents on his trail, but their undeniable attraction offers only a small glimmer of hope that their paths will ever cross again.

Arturo Pérez-Reverte is at his finest here, offering readers a bittersweet, richly rendered portrait of a powerful, forbidden love story that burns brightly over forty years, from the fervor of youth to the dawn of old age.

Earlier last month I was approached by Simon & Schuster Canada in regards to reviewing What We Become and My Last Continent. What intrigued me about these two titles were how similar they both sounded in setting, but how drastically different they were in circumstance and event. I was eager to dive into these two titles and couldn't wait to see what Arturo Perez-Reverte and Midge Raymond both had in store for me in these highly anticipated summer reads!

What We Become was the first title I picked up as part of my binge read. Taking place en route from Lisbon to Buenos Aires in 1928, it features a passionate love affair between Max and Mecha on a luxurious cruise ship. This passionate affair, although at first assumed to have ended on that cruise ship, follows the duo throughout the years in a variety of circumstances. Perilous missions, disastrous encounters, all filled with suspense, are a few of the events that pull this duo together, and it irrevocably had my attention from beginning to end. It was enchanting, wonderfully written, and ignited my imagination. I adored it! Max and Mecha were phenomenal characters that captured me, heart and soul,  and had me gripping the pages and begging for more. It was perfection!

Next, I immediately dove into My Last Continent. This one had a more suspenseful premise so I saved it for last, and was right in doing so. The tale follows the yearly ritual of Deb and Keller, whom often escape for an uninterrupted romantic getaway. However, this time Deb receives a distress call from a cruise liner and later discovers it's the very one Keller is one. In what has to be one of the most compelling dramas I've ever read to date, Deb was a character that truly pulled me into the thick of the story. She was a compelling character that truly shined during the high stakes events throughout the title. I was utterly enthralled!

What We Become and My Last Continent, although quite similar in origin setting, were vastly different in aspect of event, suspense, and even character growth. I absolutely adored both titles to pieces and found that reading both back-to-back to be one of my most unique reading experiences. Like looking at two sides of the coin, What We Become and My Last Continent is sure to have everything a reader is looking for in their next compelling summer read.

4.5 / 5 Cupcakes
Highly Recommended

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.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Fresh on the Shelf - June 2016 Book Releases + Giveaway

Happy June, Cupcakes!

Isn't the warm weather AMAZING?!

I'm so glad I can finally take my books out with me, find a shady spot, and settle down for a good read. And with the summer months finally here, we have plenty of amazing releases headed our way!

What's your most anticipated June 2016 book release? Let me know below and don't forget to enter a chance to win your choice. Also, be sure to bookmark this page for your next shopping trip =D

June 2016 Book Releases

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Unplugged by Donna Freitas
Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
How It Ends by Catherine Lo
With Malice by Eileen Cook
Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry

The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker
Gifted by H.A. Swain
All the Feels by Danika Stone
Never Ever by Sara Saedi
The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson
How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes
Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman
United as One by Pittacus Lore

We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore
The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank
The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano

What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle
Auto Focus by Lauren Gibaldi
The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Roses by Rose Mannering
The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle
The Transatlantic Conspiracy by G.D. Falksen
Life Just Got Real by Sadie Robertson

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