Tag Archives: Netgalley

When Only Cupcakes Will Do, by Daisy James

16 May

30357657Format: e-ARC, 210 pages

Publisher: Carina

Published: August 4, 2016

ISBN: 9780008206833

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: The delightfully heartwarming romantic comedy from Daisy James!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

My review: A light, by-the-numbers romance which was okay but just didn’t grab me. I liked Lucie and the way she turned a couple of disasters into a new life for herself, but never felt her connection to either of the men in her life. I know I wasn’t meant to like Alex, but Ed kept sounding like he was talking down to her. For example, I’m sure that since she went to Le Cordon Bleu school as well she knew how to make a custard. I just didn’t feel their connection – it felt oddly stiff. But if I was lying on a beach somewhere, this book would be an okay way to escape. Like candyfloss, it was sweet but doesn’t have a lot of substance.

***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: 3/5

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The Ones Who Got Away, by Roni Loren (sneak peek)

12 Apr

Format: e-ARC, sneak peek of first three chapters

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

To Be Published: January 2, 2018

ISBN: 9781492651406

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A fresh new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren that will rock your world.

Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a small number of students survived, a group the media dubbed as The Ones Who Got Away.

Now, web designer Liv Arias, along with the rest of the survivors, have returned to the small Texas town to tell their stories for a documentary. Which means Liv seeing former star-athlete and old flame Finn Dorsey. A lot happened between them that night and Liv is ready to end their decade-long riff and move on. But when her attempt at closure turns into a steamy kiss, moving on proves much more difficult than either of them thought…

Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.

My review: *** This review is for a sneak peek of the first three chapters, which were provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

Oh, this is sooo good! I haven’t read a Roni Loren book before but I’ve been aware of her work and her writing advice, so when I saw the unique premise in the blurb I knew I had to have it. Even from just the sneak peek I can get a good sense of the characters and what they have been through as survivors of a school shooting. Twelve years later they’ve returned to film a documentary, and the chemistry between Liv and her secret love, Finn, doesn’t appear to have diminished, although she has blamed him for what happened to her that day. He’s a bit of a man of mystery as an adult, and – this goes without saying – super hot. Just this taster was not enough and I cannot wait to read the rest of the story. Is it January yet?

My rating: 5/5

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Food52 Ice Cream and Friends, by the Editors of Food52

4 Apr

33843312Format: e-ARC, 176 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

To Be Published: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578021

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: A friendly collection of recipes, riffs, toppings, and serving ideas for ice creams of all styles.

In Ice Cream & Friends, the editors of Food52 unearth 60 recipes for everyday and special occasion frozen desserts—like coffee frozen custard, cinnamon roll ice cream, and grilled watermelon cremolada—and put their own spin on enduring favorites: spiced fudgesicles, cherry-mint snow cones, even a modern baked Alaska. There are also tips and tricks for reviving melted ice cream, getting even creamier scoops, and spiffing up the store-bought stuff, as well as homemade versions of cones, mochi, sprinkles, Magic Shell, and more.

My review: My daughter and I love making homemade no-churn ice cream, so this book was perfect to give us a few new flavour suggestions. As well as some old favourites, the editors of the Food52 blog have come up with some unusual combinations, including black pepper and feta or butternut squash and tahini ice creams, and tomato, peach and basil sorbet. I think we’ll definitely be trying the carrot cake ice cream, yummy baked alaskas, chocolate tacos, and the Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake, and will attempt to make our own Magic Shell, cones and sprinkles from their recipes. There’s even a genius tip for curing brain freeze, which will certainly come in handy!

The photographs are gorgeous and make your mouth water, and the instructions are clear and written in a chatty manner. I’m now keen to check out the authors’ other cookbooks and blog.

***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

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Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes, by Jami Curl

28 Mar

30780245Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Published: 14 March, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578397

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: This game-changing candy cookbook from the owner of Quin, a popular Portland-based candy company, offers more than 200 achievable recipes using real, natural ingredients for everything from flavor-packed fruit lollipops to light-as-air marshmallows.

Jami Curl, candy-maker extraordinaire and owner of the candy company Quin has been called the “new Willy Wonka” by Bon Appetit. Her debut book, This is Candy, includes the recipes that have made Quin a favorite with local and national media, foodies, chefs, and bloggers. But This is Candy is not just a candy book. Instead, Jami’s approach to candy forms the foundation for a world of other confections–from bacon glazed with maple and black pepper caramel to a clever Chocolate Magic Dust that can be turned into chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, and even a chocolate lollipop. Packed with more than 200 recipes for totally original confections like Whole Roasted Strawberry Lollipops, Bergamot Caramels, Fig & Coffee Gumdrops, and Pinot Noir cotton candy, as well as serious tips and advice for making amazing candy at home.

My review: I never thought I would be bored by a book about sweets but, sadly, I was. This wasn’t the cookbook I was expecting. Instead, the first quarter is a comprehensive technical explanation of the methodology and equipment needed for candy making, and then there are a series of recipes for infusions and flavoured sugars before we get to any real recipes. Even then, these all seem to be very similar variations on a theme, covering lollipops, marshmallow, gum drops and caramels. The same flavours are repeated for each type of sweet. I really would have liked a bit more variation and something a bit more “out there.”

Maybe there weren’t enough photos. I found the hand drawings a bit amateurish. The rabbit cake was certainly underwhelming. I know I didn’t need several pages devoted to making cinnamon sugar or how to put together cocoa powder and sugar to make a hot chocolate mix.

***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: 3/5

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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

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Furthermore (Free Sampler), by Tahereh Mafi

16 Jan

31376685Format: e-ARC, free sampler, 63 pages

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Published: August 30, 2016

ISBN: 9781101994788

Genre: Middle Grade, Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: The bestselling author of the Shatter Me series takes readers beyond the limits of their imagination in this captivating new middle grade adventure where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit—and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

My review: As a 63-page taster of this middle-grade fantasy, this was intriguing enough to make me want to seek out the full novel. Mafi is a genius with prose, and even in this short sample you get a clear sense of the strange world she has built. Interesting and unusual.

***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

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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

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1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted, by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

16 Nov

32813555Format: e-ARC, 368 pages

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Published: November 3, 2016

ISBN: 9780571332465

Genre: Entertainment, Nonfiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: The sock-blasting, jaw-dropping, side-swiping phenomenon that is QI serves up a sparkling new selection of 1,342 facts to leave you flabbergasted.

My review: I love the TV show QI, so this book was a must-have when it popped up on Netgalley. Not surprisingly, I think I bookmarked every page because every fact is an absolute gem. Each one segues into the next along a similar vein, and all are backed up with the source and additional facts available at the book’s website: qi.com/1342. Some of the facts I knew already, being an avid fan of the show and trivia in general, but there were hundreds more I felt compelled to read out to anyone who would listen. Lots of fun and very educational. Now I’ve identified myself as a scurryfunge, and my whole family knows that Neanderthals are shown as slouching because the first one to be reconstructed happened to have arthritis. It came as no surprise that Stormtroopers from Star Wars Lego sets outnumber Earth’s real soldiers by 50 to one, but did you know 12 percent of Americans think USB is a country in Europe? Now that’s quite interesting (and worrying)!

***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

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Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4), by Nalini Singh

10 Nov

30832928Format: e-ARC, 248 pages

Publisher: TKA Distribution

Published: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 9781942356370

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

My review: This book should be called Rock Weddings because there are several in this book, making it a nice way to see out the members of Schoolboy Choir. Abe and his ex-wife, Sarah, are perfect for each other and their story is perhaps one of the better ones of the series. I didn’t think I’d like Abe, given his drug history and the way he is depicted at the start of this book, but he really made an effort to turn his life around. I have to admit I waited a long time for the other shoe to drop, but there was no sudden twist, and that’s probably why I can’t give this another cupcake. However, it was great to see all the other couples and know they all got their HEAs. I believe Nalini Singh plans to write some spinoffs about Gabriel’s brothers, so I look forward to that.

***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

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The Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon

8 Nov

29863451Format: e-ARC, 348 pages

Publisher: Corgi Children’s

Published: November 3, 2016

ISBN: 9780552574242

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

My review: The cover of this book is string art which strikingly and beautifully spells out the title. It is also a great metaphor for the story, in which the protagonists – Natasha, a Jamaican-born American girl about to be deported, and Daniel, a Korean boy on his way to get a haircut for the Yale interview he doesn’t want – are just two of the lives affected by their chance meeting. Interspersed with their POVs are snippets of some of the lives they touch during the course of their day together, from the suicidal security guard, to a grieving motorist, to the cheating lawyer and his mistress. Although Natasha and Daniel don’t know it, they profoundly change all these people just from their brief encounters, showing that like the string art, we are all connected to each other and decisions we make affect other people we may not even know.

Of course, this book is about an instant connection, which may sound like instalove but really isn’t that bad. It’s more like Daniel, a poet, is infatuated with Natasha and he wins over her scientific, sceptical mind during the course of the day as he tries to convince her to love him back. Even though they separate to attend appointments, they still manage to find each other in crowded New York when coincidences draw them back together. It may sound far-fetched, but the story rang so true to me, and would be another book by this author that I could see as a feature film. I liked Daniel a lot more than Natasha, mainly because he’s so sweet and swoony, and she’s a bit prickly and doesn’t even tell her parents when there’s a possibility they may not be deported that night. But my main hatred is saved for Fitzgerald. I could have throttled him.

The prose is beautiful and the feels are many. Nicola Yoon has done it again. Fantastic.

***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

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