Tag Archives: fantastic debut

Frostblood, by Elly Blake

22 Feb

31134210Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia/Hodder & Stoughton

Published: January 10, 2017

ISBN: 9781473635173

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN and Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.

FROSTBLOOD is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies – but together create a power that could change everything.

My review: That beautiful cover was the first thing that made me want to read this book, and coupled with the blurb I knew it would be right up my alley. I wasn’t disappointed, and couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Ruby is a wonderful heroine, the only Fireblood left in a world of ice manipulators. She is imprisoned more than once, but fights on until it almost appears all is lost.

Her initial rescuers, an elderly monk and a mysterious soldier with a covered face, train her to fight and use her powers to destroy the evil Frostblood throne, and although they start out full of animosity for each other, I loved the way Arcus and Ruby came to love each other. His secret was fairly obvious for me early on, but that never detracted from the story or the big reveal at the end. I only wish we had seen Brother Thistle again to make sure he was okay. The second book can’t some soon enough for me.

This is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading more from Elly Blake.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

AddtoGoodreads

bookdepo-BuyFrom_Purple_160x30

Amazon

The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

14 Jan

Format: e-ARC, 363 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: August 9, 2016

ISBN: 9780349414256

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: NEMESIS (n)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.
Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything – especially when a huge promotion is on offer.
If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game . . .

My review: The Hating Game is one of those books from which you resent real life taking you away. Many times I had to put it down to go and do RL stuff, only to find myself muttering “Joshua Templeman…” I loved the snarky banter, and the swoons were many. Nothing came as a surprise, as I was paying attention and could see where things were going, but I loved it all nonetheless. I think Sally Thorne is about to become my latest auto-buy author. When I started this I was unaware she was someone who had been recommended to me often by friends in an online writing community, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was fantastic. I highly recommend, and will be keeping a keen eye out for Thorne’s next project.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

AddtoGoodreads

bookdepo-BuyFrom_Purple_160x30

Amazon

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, by Max Wirestone

31 Aug

25700251Format: e-ARC, 313 pages

Publisher: Redhook Books

Published: October 20, 2015

ISBN: 9780316385978

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: For anyone who has ever geeked out about something and for fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. She is unemployed, broke, and on her last bowl of ramen. But that’s all about to change. Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she’s offered a job. A job that she’s woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

My review: It has taken me forever to finish this, even though it was laugh-out-loud funny. I loved the wit and pop culture references, but about a third of the way through I suspected I wasn’t a big enough geek to actually get a lot of the in-jokes. I don’t game online or do cosplay or LARPing, and so the intricacies of Zoth had me a bit befuddled. However, after putting it down for a while, I decided to not get so bogged down in the lore and instead treat this as a snarky detective story, and then I just raced through it. Dahlia is a heroine you can’t help rooting for , and I’m so glad there’s going to be a sequel so I can see more of Nate and Detective Shuler.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

AddtoGoodreads

bookdepo-BuyFrom_Purple_160x30

Amazon

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon

2 Sep

23874708Format: e-ARC, 320 pages

Publisher: Delacorte

Published: August 27, 2015

ISBN: 9780552574235

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

My review: I inhaled this book, and it was so good! Right from the beginning I connected with the heroine, shut-in Madeline who has a medical condition meaning she cannot go outside. Then a swoony boy moved in next door – and I was gone, head over heels. Their relationship progressed via stolen looks from bedroom windows, a pantomime with a Bundt cake, and then email. Olly may not use capital letters or punctuation, but he’s otherwise perfect. His domestic life isn’t so good, but he is brave and the UST between him and Madeline is off the chart.

When she takes some rather drastic steps, he is right by her side, and that ending was just gorgeous. The twist I suspected but was still pretty shocked by. My copy of the e-ARC didn’t have a lot of the little drawings other reviewers have mentioned – I had some odd hieroglyphics where I suspect they were meant to be – but I imagine they would also have been a fun addition to the book. This is a wonderful debut novel with fabulous characters, a fast pace, and heaps of swoons. Nothing too graphic for the YA reader either. I think this would make a great film.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

AddtoGoodreads

bookdepo-BuyFrom_Purple_160x30

Amazon

The Confectioner’s Tale, by Laura Madeleine

3 Jun

confectionerFormat: e-ARC, 336 pages

Publisher: Black Swan

Published: May 21, 2015

ISBN: 9781784160722

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.

But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.

Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.

Take a moment to savour an evocative, bittersweet love story that echoes through the decades – perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop.

My review: When I reached the end of this book, I couldn’t help but think that Jim Stevenson deserved his years of guilt and regret for what he did to Gui and Jeanne. The details of his misdeed form the basis of this fantastic debut novel, which tells the story of Gui and Jeanne’s love in Paris in 1910, alternating with investigations into the tale in 1988 by Stevenson’s granddaughter, Petra. Petra finds an old photo and a note expressing her journalist grandfather’s apologies, and must battle the clock and his nasty biographer to solve the mystery behind them. Her chapters alternate with the story of provincial Gui du Frere, who comes to Paris to work for the railway and ends up an apprentice pastry chef at the city’s top patisserie. He falls in love with the owner’s daughter, Jeanne Clermont, but their love is a huge scandal in those class-divided times.

I absolutely loved this story and was gripped by Petra’s search to uncover the truth. She loses a lot when she devotes herself to the search, but gains a love interest and there are a quite few laughs along the way. Gui’s story is heartbreaking and I’m not sure if Petra fully uncovers the horrifying details of Jim’s betrayal, as that chapter is told from Gui’s POV. The author describes the grimy backstreets of Paris in fetid detail, and captures the delicate confections of the patisserie with the knowledge of an expert baker. I was initially attracted to this book by the deliciously beautiful cover, and the content matched it perfectly. This is a great debut and I look forward to whatever Laura Madeleine writes next. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

AddtoGoodreads

bookdepo-BuyFrom_Purple_160x30

Amazon

Techbitch, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

27 May

techbitch

Format: e-ARC, 449 pages

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Published: May 27, 2015

ISBN: 9780718181666

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, Techbitch is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.

When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, Techbitch is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

My review: I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Firstly, the subject matter was right up my alley, as an ex-journalist who knows after her time out to raise children that she has been rendered seriously obsolete by new technology. In the book, Imogen is only off work for six months but returns from sick leave to find her fashion magazine has become an app. Although her job remains intact, her every move is usurped by her former assistant, Eve, back from Harvard with big plans and an even bigger ego.

Eve is one of the nastiest characters I have ever read, but I recognised her all the same. The number of times I said “yes!” to myself while reading was ridiculous. I cheered as Imogen came to grips with Twitter and Instagram and met new techie friends who didn’t consider her a dinosaur. The parallel storyline involving the cyber-bullying of Imogen’s daughter was well done, although it wasn’t too hard to figure out well before the end who the culprit was.

I laughed, I gritted my teeth, but mostly I smiled as I read. I highly recommend this book.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

AddtoGoodreads

bookdepo-BuyFrom_Purple_160x30

Amazon

 

MORE, by T.M. Franklin

4 Oct

Format: e-book

Published: October 4, 2012

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

Ava Michaels used to think she was special.

As a child, she fantasized about having magical powers . . . making things happen. But Ava grew up and eventually accepted the fact that her childish dreams were just that, and maybe a normal life wasn’t so bad after all.

Now a young college student, Ava meets Caleb Foster, a brilliant and mysterious man who’s supposed to help her pass Physics, but in reality has another mission in mind. What he shows Ava challenges her view of the world, shaking it to its very core.

Because Caleb isn’t quite what he seems. In fact, he’s not entirely human, and he’s not the only one.

Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient race bound to protect humans, but only after protecting their own secrets—secrets they fear Ava may expose. Fighting to survive, Ava soon learns she’s not actually normal . . . she’s not even just special.

She’s a little bit more.

My review:

This book is FANTASTIC!!!!! The characters are amazing, the story is thrilling and twists in all the right places, and the budding romance is just perfect! It isn’t often I love a female character from start to finish, but I did with Ava. The bit where she lies in bed wondering what he’s doing… I die! Seriously, I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. A stunning debut novel, and I love the cover!

My rating: 5/5

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

Outlander Online

Your #1 Source For All Things Outlander

Author's Taproom

Where every hour is happy hour!

Jane's Patisserie

My Baking Journey ♥

Torte - The Blog

Recipes, products and decorating ideas from Torte Cake Decorating Supplies, New Zealand based

Random Acts of Rob™

Powered by 100% Pure Lust!

Mama's Gotta Bake

she's bad, she's bold...and she likes sugar

The Rover - The Movie Fansite

A David Michod film starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson

Bookish Temptations

Bookish Temptations... Just Read. Feed your mind and open your heart.

The Book Hookup

Eat. Breathe. Read.

Cosmopolis - The Movie Fansite. Film by David Cronenberg starring Robert Pattinson

"He didn't know what he wanted. And then he knew. He wanted to get a haircut."

The Cold Shower

No rules... No regrets... No return...