Mini Review: Random by Tom Leveen

August 23, 2014

Title: Random
Author: Tom Leveen
Publication date: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Goodreads TBD
Who's the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can't help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…
Is it possible to completely dislike a book but still learn a lot from it? Because that's how I feel about Random by Tom Leveen.

Earlier this week, I wrote about how I felt Random's cover revamp was a change for the worse. But that's not all about the book that disappointed me. A lot of things about this story, right from the protagonist to the conclusion and the 'twist' fell absolutely flat for me.

Book Cover Changes Before Publication

August 20, 2014

I think we can all agree by now that we are not immune to book covers. As much as we like to bandy about the old adage 'Dont judge a book by its cover', at the end of the day, the cover does have a significant effect on our opinion of a book. And if you dont know this already, you should know that I'm a bit of a cover snob.

Much has been said about cover changes after the publication of a book, be it entire cover revamps or even cover alternatives from region to region. Features have been formed, cover battles and showdowns take place... there's almost an entire sub-section in book blogging devoted to book covers! But I was wondering, has anyone considered cover changes before publication?

We all have seen that little sticker saying 'Cover Not Final' on our ARCs, but for the most part, the cover on the ARC is pretty much the same thing that will end up on the cover of the final print. Even if changes are made, they're pretty minor, and worked into the basic design.

Review: In A Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

August 12, 2014

Title: In A Handful of Dust
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publication date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Genre: YA, Post Apocalyptic
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Goodreads TBD
The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.
This book is such brilliant work! I didn't think I could admire Lynn anymore than I already did, but Mindy McGinnis, thank you for proving me wrong! Lucy, on the other hand... Hmm...

Why I've Been Kind of MIA and Other Related News

July 27, 2014

If I took a review of the blogging resolutions I made for 2014, I'd find that it was an epic fail, because I think I've only succeeded at about one of them. Fortunately, I'm not going to do that, because, really, who needs that, right?

But one thing that give me a little hope that maybe I'm not all that much of a lost case is that fact that I think in this time, even though I haven't been quantitatively productive, I think I have been qualitatively so. If that makes any sense. 

Let me explain.

The main reason I've been MIA for the past few months with sporadic posting and not much socializing is because I've been preparing for the GRE. For those of you who dont know what that is, it's an exam that's written by prospective graduate school students, and it's a devil of a thing. A veritable monster that gobbles up all your nights, making peaceful sleep a long past dream and leaves you with close to nil peace of mind.

The good news? I'm DONE WITH IT. YES *fist pump*

So although there are a few more things left that I have to attend to, now that I've got the GRE out of my way, I'm free for the most part. It feels like I suddenly have all this free time on my hands and I dont know what to do with it. It's weird, honestly, because I dont think I've ever studied this hard and this long for any exam ever. Including my boards, and that's saying something, because out here, it's like your school boards are what will 'decide your life'. I just hope it all pays off.

And you know what the crazy thing is? It's been while I was preparing for this exam that I've been getting some really awesome ideas for the blog, and it was torture to not put them to use. I did get Lit Up Fandom on the road, though, because I just couldn't wait any longer. But now that I'm all freed up, I planning to bring those ideas to life, so keep an eye out for some interesting posts, and also, in the not immediate future, a big change. 

Lit Up Fandom #1: The Eleanor & Park Special Edition

July 4, 2014

The idea for Lit Up Fandom took root way back in November/December 2013. I remember that there was a lot of talk about starting unique features, how difficult it is to think up of any, and how once you do come up with something no one else has, several copies immediately crop up. It got me thinking. I really, really wanted to come up with something unique like Cee's You're Just My Type or Georgie's Cover Palette or Amber's Famous Last Words, but I simply couldn't think of anything that isn't already out there.

It was around that time that I began putting together the Under The Never Sky Farewell Party, and as I was searching for post ideas, I found so much amazing art by the fans that kind of blew me away. And I was like, wait, how come no one is showcasing this stuff? And thus a seed of an idea was born :D

As much as I wanted to share the art, I was also really interested in talking to the artists themselves because to me, creating fanart for books is so much tougher and more complex than doing the same for say, a TV show (not that that isn't tough too. God knows how I struggle to draw a simple face!). Because here, the only prior information you're working with is words, and there's bound to be a difference. I wanted to know how they did it.

But me being me, the idea stayed in my head, where I kept turning it on it's head and trying to figure out how to get this show on the road. Whether to simply showcase the art or do interviews or do both alternatively? And that was how six whole moths went by with me doing nothing. Also (I cant believe I'm saying this out loud. Well, kind of.), I didn't know what the response would be like, and I wasn't all that sure I wanted to find out if it was going to crash & burn. And then came Asti with her awesome ideas and posted this thing on coming up with unique features, and how Bookish Games nearly never happened. After reading that piece, I realised that it really wasn't that much of a big deal to start something new, and who knows, people could actually find it fun! (Also, it kind of lit a fire under me because she mentioned fan art, and I didn't want anyone else to grab the idea) Go, Asti! :D

Asti's post couldn't have come at a better time because it was just few weeks later that the Eleanor & Park Special Edition was getting released, with FOUR AWESOME PIECES OF FAN ART! I figured this would be a perfect way to kind of celebrate the release of the book (let's ignore the fact that this is a month late, okay?) and also kick start my new feature at the same time. Pooja @ On Books!, Aaliya (the fandom Yoda) and I came up with the name for the feature after a long brainstorming session which involved some very weird names and fierce competition (dont ask about what). I managed to get hold of three of the four artists whose art is published in the special edition and I asked them a few questions, and HERE WE ARE, PEOPLE!

The Time I Learnt Math From Infinity + One by Amy Harmon

June 26, 2014

The latest book that rocked my world is Infinity + One by Amy Harmon. Infinity + One first came under my radar when Colleen Hoover started raving about it on Facebook (she probably did on Twitter too, but a lot of stuff gets lost in my feed under the continuous barrage of tweets). I've never read any of Amy's works before, but now, you can be sure I will be checking them out!

Infinity + One is the story of Bonnie Rae and Finn Clyde (Bonnie & Clyde, get it?), and how they come to terms with their own lives after one extraordinary event which brings them together. Bonnie is a country star (the singing type) who simply gives up on day on tour and attempts committing suicide. But before she can, Finn, who in all probability should not be there or even have been able to see her, stops her from jumping. Finn himself is not all that fine with life in general. A couple of years out of jail, he is jobless, for all means and purposes homeless, and down in the dumps when he gets a call to join a casino in Vegas, which is where he's headed when he spots Bonnie. Determined to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of her tightly controlled life, Bonnie invites herself along on Finn's trip. And so begins their journey across the country, where they meet extraordinary people, deal with their respective problems and find that maybe, just maybe, Bonnie and Clyde are meant to be. 

Books For A Cause: A Win-Win For All

June 18, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, as I was chatting away on Twitter, I saw this tweet from Heather @ Turning Pages about something that sounded interesting - Books for A Cause. So I went and checked out the official page for the program, and honestly, it sounds like something both fun and beneficial. You know how sometimes you have multiple copies of a book and dont know what to do with it? Or way too much swag to fit your bedroom and your mum's telling you to make some space in your room already? Yeah, Heather's got a solution for all that. But that's not all. There's more, guys!

So today we have Heather, the brains behind Books For A Cause stopping by to tell about this awesome thing she's thought up that's going to be a huge help to loads of people very soon! Read on :)


Hi everyone! My name is Heather and I am one half of the duo that makes up the blog, Turning Pages. Before I get started, I really want to thank Fahima for allowing me to spread the word about Books for a Cause here on her blog!

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a few fellow bloggers on twitter about starting up some type of fundraiser, involving reading/books, to raise funds for cancer research. I recently lost my Aunt after a long battle with Cancer - read my full story on her blog - and I am is very passionate about raising money and spreading the word for this great cause.

After contacting Stand Up 2 Cancer, they have offered their help and support. Additionally, a fundraising page as well. 100% of the proceeds raised during this fundraiser will be donated to their foundation, directly.

In addition to monetary donations, I am organizing an auction all bookish things related (mid-late July time frame) But I NEED your help too! Spread the world, donate books/swag or anything else to auction off. Your ideas too, would be great!

Of course, I am not doing this alone. Tonya at Lily Bloom Books is graciously helping me with all the “behind the scenes action” as well helping me get organized for the upcoming auction to help support Books for a Cause.

I am so excited to launch the auction and am so thankful for all of the authors and bloggers who have already contributed items! Please stay tuned and continue to help spread the word about Books for a Cause!

You can contact me directly at hsheffield2011(at)gmail(dot)com or Tonya at lilybloombooks(at)hotmail(dot)com if you are able to donate items to the auction. You can also donate directly on the fundraising page by going to the website. In addition, you can contact one of us with ideas for other ways make this fundraiser a success.

A hashtag has been crated - #BooksForACause to help spread the word.

Please tweet, share on Facebook and/or on your blog sidebar (using image above).

The goal is raise $2,000. Help us get there and Stand Up 2 Cancer!



What do YOU think about Books for A Cause? Isn't it a wonderful idea? Do you have any ideas to add that'll help out in this endeavour? We'd love to hear from you!
Do read Heather's story (it's beautiful), and don't forget to spread the word!
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