Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Review + Giveaway - Safe & Sound by Alli Hope

by Alli Hope
Format: E-Book
Release Date: February 22nd, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Books 2 Read]
16 year-old, Hailey Perish, knows her life can’t get much worse. Since her dad split a few years ago, Hailey’s mother has spiraled hard and fast, careening toward rock bottom and threatening to take her daughter down with her. Hailey now marks time by evictions, her mother’s poker games, and Saturday School where she voluntarily shows up for weekend detentions to secure her one promised meal of the week. She has no room for relationships, especially with someone like her childhood love and junior class golden boy, Carson Hart. Hailey trusted him once and Carson failed her. She’s determined not to let herself be hurt again.

When Hailey’s mom does the unthinkable and bets her own daughter in a high stakes poker game, Mitch, the loan shark, is all too eager and determined to collect on his debt. To him, Hailey is nothing but property. His property. And he’ll do anything to recover it. On the run from a fate that promises a much worse life than she already knows, there’s only one person in the world Hailey can call for help. Will Carson be there for her in her darkest hour and deliver her from harm’s way safe and sound? Or will he abandon Hailey—just like he’s always done—just like they all do?

Alli Hope’s debut novel delivers an unforgettable story about love & surviving in the dark places. Warning: Safe & Sound contains explicit language and a scene that portrays explicit sexual abuse & molestation. We have included this in order to tell an accurate story; to be a voice for those who have none. And to bring light to an issue we believe must be brought out of the darkness and into a broader awareness. If you are sensitive to sexual abuse issues, please be advised.

When I first heard about Alli Hope's Safe & Sound, it was through author Heather Hildenbrand, an author I strongly admire and who's work I adore. Safe & Sound stood out to me for it's powerful and unique premise, one I positively could not wait to explore. I couldn't wait to see if everything would work out for the heroine and if her mother's misdeed would catch up with her, or if her childhood crush would find a way to keep her away from it all.

I devoured Safe & Sound in one solid sitting - it was that addictive! The title was strong in nature, featuring some scenes that truly brought the gripping realism to the situation Hailey was facing, and the presence of gambling, drugs, and betrayal painted an even more dire situation than I could have imagined simply from reading the premise. I absolutely adored Hailey and Carson together, and rooted for the duo from beginning to end. Safe & Sound, although focusing strongly on betrayal of a loved one and several other painful realities, it also focuses on the strength of friendship, love, and the depth of one's trust - I loved it!

Readers with a hankering for your non-stereotypical YA title are highly recommended Safe & Sound by Alli Hope.

4.5 / 5 Cupcakes

Praise for Safe & Sound

“Gritty and suspenseful with touches of swoon, Safe and Sound will keep readers on the edge of their seat.” ~Trish Doller, author of Where the Stars Still Shine

“Alli Hope is a brave new voice in YA Fiction. Compulsively readable, terrifyingly real at times, Safe and Sound is a thrilling debut novel sure to keep readers guessing until the end.” ~Lindsay Cummings, NYT Bestselling Author of Zenith

“Suspenseful, swoony, and full of heart. Safe & Sound is a thrilling debut by Alli Hope!” ~ CJ Redwine, NYT Bestselling Author of Shadow Queen


Click the image above to be redirected to the giveaway

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, 9 February 2017

The Impossible Fortress Blog Tour - Review + Q/A

by Jason Rekulak
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.

When Simon & Schuster Canada first approached me about reviewing The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak, I was sold! As a tale about children in the 80's growing up in a pivotal time for gaming and about finding first love, I couldn't wait to check it out. Although, I initially worried about not identifying with the generation in which it takes place (being an '89 baby myself), I still couldn't wait to get to know Billy, his band of geeky friends, and Mary.

The Impossible Fortress begins with Billy, a nerdy boy with a dream of creating his own video game. But then the unimaginable happens - Vanna White, of the popular tv game show Wheel of Fortune - is featured exclusively on Playboy Magazine. When Billy and his friends discover this, they take it upon themselves to hash out a plan to get their hands on the infamous issue, and this leads to the convenience store and Mary. When Billy meets Mary they instantly connect, and he discovers that her passion for computers and gaming is just as fierce as his own, but will his first love conflict with his initial plan?

I positively enjoyed The Impossible Fortress. As suspected, I did have a tough time settling into the 80's setting, and much of the use of language and references, but I strongly feel that my instant love for the characters pulled me through. I absolutely adored Billy and Mary's interactions with one another and couldn't help giggling and enjoying every silly moment between Billy and his friends. I highly recommend The Impossible Fortress to fans of the 80's, early gaming, and to those looking for an excellent coming of age story.

4 / 5 Cupcakes


Q/A with Jason Rekulak
Author of The Impossible Fortress

Q. Out of all of your witty and relatable characters in The Impossible Fortress , who is your favourite and why?

A. I really enjoyed writing Mary’s character.  Computer programming was pretty uncool back in the 1980s, but it was especially uncool if you were a teenage girl. So I love that Mary is happily doing her own thing, studying machine language and converting Phil Collins songs into chiptunes on the Commodore 64, and not really caring what anybody thinks.  She’s cool and confident for nearly the entire book, but then ¾ through we learn that she’s just as burdened and messed up as the rest of us.

Q. Stepping back into the 80's: what was your writing process like? Were there moments you found great joy in writing? 

A.I hope this won’t sound boastful, but this entire book was a joy to write. I spent maybe 18-20 months writing it, about 2 hours every night from 9pm to 11pm, and I never got frustrated, I never felt defeated, I was always moving slowly and steadily toward an end goal that was very clear in my mind.   That’s never happened to me before. With other projects, I would get stuck and frustrated and blocked and angry.  But this book was smooth sailing all the way through. It was a miracle. 

One thing that may have helped me: I outlined most of this book before I began writing it.  I knew all of the big beats of the story, including the book’s biggest surprise, which is revealed about 50 pages from the end.  


I want to extend a huge thank you to both Simon & Schuster Canada and Jason Rekulak for the opportunity to interview him and review The Impossible Fortress. For those interested, the book is now available in local book stores and online, be sure to check it out!


Be sure to continue to follow along with the blog tour for more exclusive interviews and reviews.

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, 8 February 2017

Review: The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

by Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

When I first picked up Alison Goodman's The Dark Days Club, the first in her Lady Helen series, I was hooked! Taking place in the early 1800's and set in London, The Dark Days Club introduced character Lady Helen Wrexhall, a captivating 18 year old who is thrust into a hectic series of events that lead her down a new path - a demon hunter. And with it's high-stakes and intense end, I was eager to pick up The Dark Days Pact immediately upon it's arrival. I couldn't wait to find out what happened after the birthday ball, and furthermore what the world had in store for Lady Helen.

"Helen took an experimental step alongside the flimsy fence that safeguarded the sheer drop to the beach. The hem of her promenade gown brought her up short, the sudden halt causing her touch watch to swing out on the end of its silk neck-cord and slap back against her ribs."

Where The Dark Days Club felt like it was slow-paced and perhaps a little stretched, The Dark Days Pact felt like a breeze despite it's length. The Dark Days Pact takes place not long after the concluding events of it's predecessor and we are caught up with Lady Helen once again, this time completely disowned by her uncle and now a part of the demon-hunting club - The Dark Days Club. Furthermore, she finds herself now training hard in order to better hone her new Reclaimer powers. However, even so, Lady Helen still finds herself struggling, with enemies waiting for her at every corner. With that said, The Dark Days Pact was a phenomenal companion to it's predecessor, and a worthy installment in what I believe to be an incredibly well-written series. I was blown away with every plot reveal, and absolutely loved Lady Helen's immense growth. I'm positively eager to read the next installment in the series, and highly recommend both The Dark Days Club and The Dark Days Pact!

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, 1 February 2017

Fresh on the Shelf - February 2017 Book Releases + Giveaway


We're into month two of 2017 and I have to tell you I've gotten soo much reading in already! January had so many promising and exciting releases, all of which on my TBR list have been devoured, but February is starting to shape out to be another epic release month.

What are you eager to pick up this month? Right off the top of my head, I'm eager to read King's Cage, A Conjuring of Light, and Like a Memory. Be sure to let me know what you're planning on picking up this month in the comment section below!

Happy Reading! 📚

February 2017 Book Releases
King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr
The Hae U Give by Angie Thomas
Starfall by Melissa Landers
Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman
The Witch's Tears by Katharine Corr
The Burning World by Isaac Marion
Disruptor by Arwen Elys Dayton
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage
Dare You by Jennifer Brown
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
 At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsan
A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White
Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher
Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman
A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho
Like a Memory by Abbi Glines
#Famous by Jilly Gagnon
Valentine by Jodi McAlister

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