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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review & Contest: The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

THE CUPCAKE QUEEN by HEATHER HEPLER

SYNOPSIS: When her mother moves them from the city to a small town to open up a cupcake bakery, Penny’s life isn’t what she expected. Her father has stayed behind, and Mom isn’t talking about what the future holds for their family. And then there’s Charity, the girl who plays mean pranks almost daily.

There are also bright spots in Hog’s Hollow—like Tally, an expert in Rock Paper Scissors, and Marcus, the boy who is always running on the beach. But just when it looks as though Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again. A sweet novel about love, creativity, and accepting life’s unexpected turns.

REVIEW: Just like the sumptuous looking cupcakes on its cover, The Cupcake Queen is a deliciously satisfying novel to dig into. The teenage issues are familiar (such as divorce, grief and bullying), but Heather Hepler serves them up with a unique storyline that holds your interest and has all the ingredients of a fun, enjoyable read.

Having a major sweet tooth, I have to mention the cupcakes first. They were one of my favorite aspects of the story and I loved how they often mirrored what was going on in Penny's life. The ladybug cupcakes with the licorice antennae, the triple chocolate mudslides (which looked like real mudslides), the "horns of plenty" with the teeny fruits and the ice cream cone cupcakes were just a few of my favorites. The only drawback was that I couldn't see them and more importantly, sample any!

The town of Hog's Hollow itself and the cast of characters within it were extremely well drawn and interesting. The adults with food names (Mr. Fish, Miss Beans, and Madame Framboise) were especially humorous and added to the quirkiness of small town living. Penny's unorthodox best friends Tally and Blake were extremely likable characters to me. I have to mention that before reading this book I never knew that Rock, Paper, Scissors is something taken very seriously in certain circles. Did you know that people even compete in professional tournaments for it too?


Penny's parents, on the other hand, had me consistently frustrated with the way they shut her out from what was really going on. At one point Penny says, "I'd like someone to just talk to me. I want to shout that at the back of mother's head: Just talk to me! But I don't, because maybe if no one says anything out loud, it can still change. " It was moments like this I could really feel Penny's frustration and sadness as my own.

Upon first moving to Hog's Hollow, Penny felt like no one understood what she was going through. The longer she stayed there, the more she came to realize that a lot of people did actually care about her and could empathize with her problems. I found it satisfying to watch the small town charm of Hog's Hollow work it's magic and help her to become a happier person.

The underlying message of The Cupcake Queen is that life is always going to throw out unexpected (and often unwelcome) surprises. But sometimes, when you give things a chance, it can all work out much sweeter than you ever expected. You just need to trust in yourself and follow your heart.

Reading level: Young Adult (Ages 10-14)
Hardcover: 240 Pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (September 17, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525421572
ISBN-13: 978-0525421573
Buy at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound

Heather Hepler grew up in North Texas. She has lived in Reno, on the coast of Maine, in the interior of Alaska, and near Death Valley, but she currently lives in Tyler, Texas where she is still getting used to heat, the East Texas accent, and the astounding obsession that women in Tyler have with big hair. She works as a reviewer for various publications, including Kirkus Reviews, and she teaches YA and Children's Literature and Creative Writing for the University of Maine and several other colleges.

Heather is the co-author of Scrambled Eggs at Midnight (Dutton, 2006), Dream Factory (Dutton, 2007), and Jars of Glass (Dutton, 2008). Her first solo novel, The Cupcake Queen, will be published September 17th 2009.


THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

Heather Hepler has graciously given me one
SIGNED copy of


The Cupcake Queen!


TO ENTER:
Leave a comment with your email address

The Contest Ends
October 30th 2009
(US & Canadian residents only please)


107 comments:

Orchid said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Plus I haven't read a light book in what seems like ages. Please enter me. :)

hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

Hagelrat said...

this sounds so cute. I'd love to be entered.
hagelrat (at) googlemail (dot) com

Sara said...

Great contest... I've been waiting to read this book for quite some time now! :)

+1 linked to sidebar @ http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com

Thanks!
grochowskis@hotmail.com

Caitlin said...

I really want to read this book!

caitlin.burke@live.com

elnice said...

SWEET review. I am interested in reading this. Sounds like something that would be good for my school library. Love the title and cover.

zenfoxflowerATyahooDOTcom

elnice said...

tweeted this @elnice

Kelsey said...

I reaaaally want to read this! Great interview(:

Kelsey
kelseythebookscout at gmail dot com

GMR said...

As if the cover wasn't cute enough, the story sounds like it's a winner too! Count me in!

+1 - tweet! It's too sweet not to share! (http://twitter.com/GRgenius/status/4662835469)

grgenius(at)go(dot)com

Erica said...

Please enter me :)

+1 tweeted http://twitter.com/thebookcellarx/status/4663388066

:) Erica
thebookcellar@wi.rr.com

Melissa said...

Sounds like a great book.

Please sign me up.

jjameli(at)cableone(dot)net

ApachesPrincess said...

I've been looking forward to reading this book! I LOVE the cover! Please enter me in the contest :)

Thanks!
countrystars95@yahoo.com

Dannie said...

It doesn't look like anything I've ever read before. But it looks absolutley adorable!! Please enter me!

danielleeloko78@aol.com

Alicia0605 said...

Please enter me!!

aliciahall0605(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Falling Off The Shelf said...

Thanks for the heads up on this contest! Your review made me hungry...which is...amazing because I was stuffed from the 2 slices of pizza I downed about an hour or so ago. I can now say, I have room for cupcakes..namely mudslide ones, those sound YUMMY!

I tweeted here : http://twitter.com/jennilovevirgo/status/4664392567

Thanks for the great contest!

jennilovevirgo[at]aol.com

Cat said...

Sounds like a great book and a very nice review. Please enter me.
cathy.ikeda1@gmail.com
+ tweeted at http://twitter.com/cathy_ikeda/statuses/4664359480

Andrea said...

Yummy! I love cupcakes. I want to read this!

hersforthereading AT gmail DOT com

I also retweeted this:
http://twitter.com/buzzinglikeneon/status/4664464632

The Tome Traveller said...

Thanks for the great review, I'd love to read this one! Please enter me!

Carey
thetometraveller *at* yahoo (dot) com

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

I'd love to read this!! The cover looks so delicious, lol.

hefollowedme AT gmail DOT com

Thanks!

jpetroroy said...

I'd love to enter!

jpetroroy (at) gmail (dot) com

+1 I tweeted at http://twitter.com/jpetroroy/statuses/4663322162

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Sounds good! Count me in =D

Amber
justyourtypicalbookblog(at)hotmail(dot)com

van_pham said...

please enter me, thanks :)


van

Littopandaxpress(at)yahoo(dot)com

Ann Diana Dinh, said...

Ah this cover looks SO DELICIOUS!!

behapppppppy(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tarah said...

Who could turn down a book about cupcakes - it looks like a sweet read pick!

Shalonda said...

Yay! I've been wanting to read this. Thanks for the contest!

shalondasblog (at) hotmail (dot) com

celi.a said...

I'd love to be entered!

celialarsen(at)gmail(dot)com

cait045 said...

Sounds interesting...enter me in

usignolc(at)yahooDOTcom

Linna said...

Please enter me for the Cupcake Queen giveaway. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

Liz said...

This is a great contest!! Also an awesome review :)
-Liz

liztapioka14[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sab H. said...

Enter me please!

crystalreviews[at]gmail.com

BevE said...

Oh, I love books with a food theme - count me in : D

BevE
merryweatherbookblog at gmail dot com

Priya said...

Please enter me! This sounds like a great book and the cover is making me hungry! :)

priyagan(at)gmail(dot)com

Haleyknitz said...

enter me please!

i posted at http://haleymathiot.blogspot.com/2009/10/contests.html

i tweeted at twitter.com/haleymathiot

haleymathiot at yahoo dot com

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the great post.
I really enjoyed the review & author information.
Is HEATHER HEPLER on Twitter?
All the best,
RKCharron
xoxo

Bookworm said...

This book looks adorable--and those cupcakes look scrumptious!

Enter me, please! I've linked to my blog's sidebar, too!

ebcella AT comcast DOT net

Bridget said...

Sounds like a neat book and those cupcakes are making my stomach growl!

Just posted about this on Win A Book. No need to enter me.

purplg8r said...

I LOVE cupcakes! Please enter me!

And I blogged about the contest here.


belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com

Janel said...

I would love to share this with my daughter! Please enter me.

jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

Amanda said...

I would really like to read this book!
corley@wildblue.net

Bianca said...

Love to read this book!!

infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com

Bianca

Pam said...

Mmmmmm. I love cupcakes so I'm sure I'd love a book about a cupcake queen!

melacan at hotmail dot com

Brenda said...

I posted this to my blog - dancealertreads.blogspot.com

Please enter me in the giveaway!

dancealert at aol dot com

Nickles said...

I've been wanting to read this. Please enter me!

novelgirl(at)gmail(dot)com

Jenn said...

I love cupcakes! And this book looks fantastic.

LiddypooL2(at)aol(dot)com

Bethie said...

Please enter me. Thanks for the chance.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Jenna said...

Great! Now I'm craving cupcakes! :p

Please enter me!

jennapomme[at]yahoo[dot]com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like so much fun. Thanks for the possibility.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sue said...

I love the cover! Thanks for sharing~

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

ReggieWrites said...

Count me in please!

regietc@gmail.com

Thanks!
Reggie :-)

MoziEsmé said...

Looks like a yummy read!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Marian said...

Now I want dessert, and it's only half past eight in the morning.

Please enter me into the giveaway as well! :)

Marian - mdperera at hotmail dot com

Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

LG said...

Please count me in the contest-your suggestions always are SPOT ON-so here's hoping!!!!

Bingo said...

Yum, please enter me!

kdhaney (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Debbie F said...

Please include me!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

S. Krishna said...

Great review! I really want to read this one!

skrishna [at] skrishnasbooks [dot] com

Jenny N. said...

I would like to enter. It sounds like a good book.

jen4777[at]hotmail.com

J.T. Oldfield said...

I don't know if I'd actually read this. I might just drool over the cover.

j.t.oldfield[at]gmail.com

AmandaSue said...

I'd like to be entered for this book for my niece! Thanks for the chance.

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

adge said...

I didn't even know there was such a book. It looks great. Please include me in the giveaway. Thanks.
gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

Paula said...

The Cupcake Queen sounds like a definite must read!! Please enter me.

ryspenc@yahoo.com

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Seriously everytime I look at this cover it get a craving for cupcakes! Thanks for the give-away.

foltzsfantasticbooks at gmail.com

xxsquigglesxx said...

I would really love to win this book!

squiggles87(at)aol(dot)com

Kayla said...

Great cover! I wish my cup cakes looked that good, but instead mine are messy things, with frosting everywhere!


kaylajohnson3969@sbcglobal.net

Froggy said...

Please enter me!

I linked this on my sidebar too
http://froggaritavillesbookcase.blogspot.com

Froggy
froggarita@gmail.com
http://froggaritavillesbookcase.blogspot.com
A Blog with Bite!
http://blogwithbitereviews.blogspot.com

sarah said...

please enter me: sounds just like the kind of thing i like to cuddle up with.
sm65@indiana.edu

DarcyO said...

Sounds like a good read. Please include me!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

DeNiSe MaDnEsS said...

This book sounds CUTE
Please enter me

Denise

denisemadness(at)yahoo(dot)com

SerieslyReady said...

I love the cover. The story sounds like it might be really good. I think I might already have an idea about what the decision she has to make might be, but I won't know until I read it. Maybe Random.org will show favor with me again.

Here's the link: http://twitter.com/Kayz4Contests/status/4735734482


tbutterful(at)yahoo(dot)com

Meg said...

Great contest. Looks like an excellent book!

Megan
Megala872@aol.com

Kristen said...

This sounds like one my daughter would really enjoy (and I'd sneak it off her shelf too). Please enter me.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

Kristi said...

This sounds like a cute book - and I must mention that my son just came home from school last week asking if I knew how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Evidently they play it on the bus and he loves it! Of course, he is only 4. . .

Please enter me in the drawing!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

Kristi said...

I twittered - http://twitter.com/kherbrand/statuses/4778939679

kherbrand at comcast dot net

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Please count me in.
+1 Posted on blog

http://juniperrbreeeze.blogspot.com/2009/10/october-contests.html

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Tena said...

you had me at Cupcake, lol

teansocal@Aol.com

Tena said...

here's my tweet

http://twitter.com/5150mommy/status/4851831599

tenasocla@aol.com

edmontonjb said...

I love any story that centers around food. Please enter me
dftrew(at)gmail(dot)com

tanya904 said...

I would love to win this book for my 15yo sister Thanks so much
tanyainjville@yahoo.com

Ashley said...

Please enter me, thanks! :)
booksobsession(at)gmail(dot)com

+ I posted this on my sidebar at http://booksobsession.blogspot.com

Lindsay's Photographys said...

I would LOVE to win this!!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D


-Lindsay

lindsay15photo@gmail.com

brizmus said...

Ohman, my mouth is watering just thinking about the vegan version of all of those delicious cupcakes! Yum!
Anyhow, I tweeted about it (@brizmus)
zedster.tbb(at)gmail(DOT)com

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a great read. Please enter me. Thanks!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

pirate penguin said...

Aww, I've read most of her other co-written books so I'm curious to see her solo work!

Linked the contest to my sidebar, naturally ;D

piratepenguinreads(at)gmail(dot)com

Rebecca N. said...

Mmmm cupcakes!! So yummy!! I have this book on my wish list. Thanks for the giveaway!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Rebecca N. said...

I Tweeted!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

http://twitter.com/Sparkleglow/status/4942288287

Virginia C said...

Please enter me in this delicious giveaway!

I am a new follower & subscriber.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Sarah (Limerick) said...

The Cupcake Queen sounds like such a cute book. I like that the sweets are not just a title but are actually a part of the plot. Thanks for hosting this contest!

+1 I've also linked this contest to my sidebar.

Thanks, Kim!

Sarah
two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

a flight of minds said...

The Cupcake Queen sounds great! We'd love to be entered. :)

+1 posted (http://aflightofminds.blogspot.com/2009/10/contest-round-up-anyone.html)

Thanks!
Alex & Lauren at aflightofminds@hotmail.com

Mimi said...

lovely review!

mimi at dark_illuzion at msn dot com

Staysi said...

Great review!
Bonus entry: Linked to sidebar

Thanks for the contest!:)

staysil7 [at] yahoo [dot] com.
http://lostininkreviews.blogspot.com/

The Ultimate Dumpees said...

Oh, oh, oh! I wanna read this soo bad. I love the cover. It's so cute, lol.

I tweeted it :: (http://twitter.com/brttmclv/statuses/5021225729) and (http://twitter.com/UltimateDumpees/statuses/5021225958)
It's on my side bar :: (http://theultimatedumpees.blogspot.com/)
And I blogged about it :: (http://theultimatedumpees.blogspot.com/2009/10/cupcake-queen-contest.html)

-Brittany (brttmclv@aol.com)

brizmus said...

Once again, I already entered, but I just wanted to let you know that I also now posted it on my sidebar
http://brizmusblogsbooks.blogspot.com

zedster.tbb(at)gmail(DOT)com

Diana Dang said...

linked: www.orientaldesires.blogspot.com

faked_sugartone at hotmail

writergal said...

Sounds very fun. steele85(at)gmail

minishoes1 said...

I need a book like this to read! Thanks! jacquecurl1@gmail.com

Katrina said...

Thank you for holding this contest, I would love to enter

khal5671 AT gmail.com

Sarah said...

that book sounds awesome!
sm65@indiana.edu

throuthehaze said...

count me in please
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

vvb32 reads said...

count me in.
vvb32 at yahoo.com

do check out my cupcake dress if you haven't already.
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/2009/07/cupcake-queen-dress.html

Michelle said...

This one looks great. COunt me in!!

mmillet at gmail dot com

Paradox said...

This book sounds cute!

+1 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/ParadoxRevealed/status/5279202154

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Casey said...

I can't wait to read this book, it sounds so cute.

+1 sidebar (http://casey62588.blogspot.com)


paranoramalfanatic@gmail.com

CherylS22 said...

Thanks for the review - this book looks really interesting.

Please count me in ~ Thanks!
megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

CherylS22 said...

I posted this giveaway on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/posted.php?id=100000382494053&share_id=197590341415&comments=1#s197590341415

megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

Nancye said...

This looks like a great book! Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!

http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/5302314105

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Alyssa said...

This Book Was SO good. I Like NEVER Readd =]] It Took Me A Week To Finish It And I Was Impressed By It. I Relate So Much To That Book Considering My Recent Move To A New Place Myself. =]]