The Big Finale: End of Year Book Survey

December 31, 2013

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that I've been looking forward to this post all year. Ever since I discovered book blogs back in the beginning of the year, almost everyone's been talking about The Perpetual Page Turner's End of Year Book Survey. And finally, finally, I get to take part too! Yay! :D

Top Ten Tuesday: The Best of The Best


And so we come to the end of 2013. It's been a year of ups, a year of downs, a year of great happiness, a year of little sorrow, a year of making friends, a year of being lonely, I had everything I could possibly wish for, and well yeah, that's about it. Evidently, a Charles Dickens I do not make.

Anyway, as you've probably guessed, today we're picking the best of the books we read in 2013. And let me tell you, it was REALLY hard picking the best of the lot when so many of them were so good this year! Nevertheless, I succeeded. And since I've been talking your ear off about this books all year in the lists on newly discovered authors, unusual character names (because some of these books do), books I want more of, best books at the half year mark, books I was forced to read, and here, where I kind of cheated. I'm not going to do that here too. So I'm simply listing them.

Mini Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

December 29, 2013

Title: The Almond Tree
Author: Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Publication date: November 4, 2013
Publisher: Fingerprints Publishing
Genre: Drama, Contemporary
Rating: 
Source: The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program
Amazon | Flipkart Goodreads
Against a background torn from the pages of today’s headlines, The Almond Tree, by Michelle Cohen Corasanti, recasts the Palestinians in Israel and Gaza, a people frequently in the news, but often misrepresented and deeply misunderstood. This stunning debut conveys a universal story of human courage and perseverance. Comparable to Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, this novel delivers an inspirational story of unfathomable pain and an incredible perseverance.

Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ahmed Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ahmed’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ahmed begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence and loss, and discovers a new hope for the future.

The Almond Tree humanizes a culture and brings characters from a distant land to life.
Set in the times of struggle between Palestine and Israel, The Almond Tree was a book that I was instantly interested in once I heard the setting. The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict has always been a topic I've been greatly interested in, so this was an obvious choice. And I'm glad to say it didn't disappoint me.

Five Reasons to Read These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

December 20, 2013

Title: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Publication date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Rating: 
Amazon Goodreads
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
Warning: This review is most probably going to be all over the place because I still haven't gotten over the sneaky, heartbreaking awesomeness of this book. So be warned.

Five Reasons You Should Read These Broken Stars Now

(but really, there are like, 995 more reasons)

Excerpt + Giveaway: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

December 19, 2013

Hello, people! Welcome to my stop on the Heartbeat Promo Blitz tour! Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott sounds really interesting, promising to be an intense story of loss and self discovery. I'm pretty excited for this book, as I've heard a lot about Elizabeth Scott and this will be my first experience with her. Check out the book deets below (there's an excerpt too!) and read how awesome it sounds! Also, you get the chance to win one of 10 ARCs that are up for grabs! Keep an eye out for my review early next year!

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publication date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Amazon Goodreads
Life. Death. And...Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

Praise for Heartbeat

“An intense examination of a family coping with grief, this absorbing character study easily keeps pages turning.”
 — Kirkus on Heartbeat

Excerpt

“Hey,” Olivia says, and I know it’s her because I would know her voice anywhere. We’ve been friends since fifth grade, and we’ve been through period trauma, boy crap, bad hair, her parents and their ways. And now Dan and his baby.
“Hey,” I say. I wipe my eyes and look at her. “How’s the car?”

Olivia makes a face at me but also wraps an arm around my shoulders, steering me toward our lockers. Her parents gave her a fully loaded convertible when she got her license, one with a built-in music player, phone, navigation system—you name it, the car had it. Could do it, and all at the touch of a button.

Olivia sold the car—through the one newspaper left in the area, which is basically just ads—and bought a used car. It’s so old all it has is a CD player and a radio. We bought CDs at yard sales for a while, but all we could get was old music, which we both hate, and the radio is just people telling you that what they think is what you should think, so we mostly just drive around in silence.

It used to bother me sometimes but now I like it. The inside of my head is so full now that silence is…I don’t know. There’s just something about knowing Olivia is there, and that we don’t have to talk. That she gets it. Gets me and what’s going on.

Her parents were unhappy about the car, though. Really unhappy, actually, but then there was a big crisis with one of their server farms at work and by the time they surfaced for air they hadn’t slept in four days. And when they said, “Olivia, that car was a gift,” she said, “Yes, it was. A gift, meaning something freely given, for the recipient to use as she wanted to, right?”

As we hit her locker, we pass Anthony, and he says, “Ladies,” bowing in my direction. A real bow too, like it’s the nineteenth century or something.

“Ass,” Olivia says.

“A donkey is actually not as stupid as people believe. However, you are entitled to your own beliefs about asses. And me.” He looks at me. “Hello, Emma.”

I sigh. “Hi, Anthony.”

“If you ever want to talk about your grades, do know that I’m here.”

I can’t believe I ever thought the way he talked was interesting. It’s just stupid, like he’s too good to speak like a normal person. “I know, Anthony.”

“I really would like to be of assistance to you. I believe in helping everyone. I’m talking to Zara Johns later. I think she feels threatened by the fact that I’ve been asked to help her organize the next school blood drive.” Translation: he’s butted in, and Zara’s furious.

“Either that or she just doesn’t like you. Emma, let’s go,” Olivia says, slamming her locker shut, and we head for mine.

“You okay?” she says, and I nod. Anthony doesn’t bother me at all anymore, just like Mom said would happen. I look at him and feel nothing. Well, some annoyance, but then, who wouldn’t after listening to him talk?

Of course, I didn’t always think that he was annoying. I open my locker, deciding not to go down the Anthony road, and hear the guy next to me say, “No way! I mean, everyone knows what’ll happen to Caleb if he steals another car.”

Olivia and I glance at each other. If Anthony is the ass end of the smart part of the school, Caleb Harrison is the ass end of the stupid part. He’s a total druggie and three years ago, when we were freshmen, he came to school so high he couldn’t even talk. I heard that stopped last year, but then, as soon as school got out, his parents sent him off to some “tough love camp,” which is rich-people code for boot-camp rehab.

He came back seemingly off drugs but newly into stealing cars. He started by grabbing them at the mall and parking them in a different spot, but then he stole a teacher’s car.

And then he graduated to a school bus. It was empty at the time, but still, I heard that got him a couple of weeks in juvie, or would have except for his parents, who intervened. I guess now he’s taken yet another step forward and by lunchtime, I know what Caleb stole.

His father’s brand-new, limited-edition Porsche. And he didn’t just steal it. He drove it into the lake over by the park, drove right off the highway and into the water. The police found him sitting on the lake’s edge, watching the car sink. They were able to pull it out, but water apparently isn’t good for the inside of a Porsche.

“You think he’ll go to jail this time?” Olivia asks as we sit picking at our lunches. I love that we have lunch together this semester, but it’s the first lunch block, and it’s hard to face food—especially cafeteria food—at 10:20 in the morning.

“I guess it depends on his parents,” I say. “Last time they talked to the judge or whatever. They’ll probably just ship him off again. He must hate them, though.”

“Yeah. To sit by the lake and watch the car sink like that—”

“Exactly.”

“Even when my parents are sucking their lives away with all their computer crap, I’d never do anything like mess with their stuff,” she says. “How can you hate someone who raised you, who loves you so—” She breaks off.

“Dan didn’t raise me,” I say tightly. “And he doesn’t love me. Or Mom.”

Olivia nods and I think about hate. I understand what can make someone do what Caleb did, although I don’t think a bored, rich druggie really gets hate. Not real hate.

About The Author

ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn’t even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She’s sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn’t want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.




Giveaway Time!

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win one an ARC of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott.
Contest is open to US and Canada addresses.

Enter below, and may the odds be ever in your favour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Have you read any of Elizabeth Scott's books? What do you think of them? Are you excited for Heartbeat? Leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Top Ten Tuesday: Notable Discoveries

December 17, 2013


According to the good people at The Broke and The Bookish, I'm to pick ten new-to-me awesome authors that I found this year. Seriously, people? Ten? Just TEN? Okay, I'm not exaggerating, but I read a ton of new authors this years, and most of them were brilliant, so how am I supposed to pick and choose just ten? You're just being cruel now -_-

Reading wise (as opposed to blogging-wise, or life-wise, get it?), 2013 has been a great year for me. I really got into reading this year after a few blah-ish years, and I crossed my Goodreads reading goal thrice, I simply gave up on raising it, and went along with the flow, reading whatever I felt like, and whenever. I kind f feel like this was my Year of Enlightenment, because I not only started book blogging (for real) this year, but I also learnt and found out awesome books and bookish stuff, more than I've ever done in any other year.

Blog Tour: Silent Words by Chantal Fournier: Review + Giveaway

December 14, 2013

Hello, people! I'm super glad to be part of Novel Publicity's Tour for Silent Words by Chantal Fournier (Author) and Nicolas Lajeunesse (Illustrator). I wasn't so sure about joining at first, but then, once I had a look at the sample pages, I was sold. And I'm really excited that I get the chance to share this wonderful book with you all!

Title: Silent Words
Author: Chantal Fournier
Illustrator: Nicolas Lajeunesse
Publication date: Nomvember 26, 2013
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Genre: Children
Rating: 
Amazon Goodreads | B&N
Zelda loves to talk. She always asks a million questions and her head is full of words like apple, bunny, cartwheel and dwizzledoodle. But when a sudden storm turns Zelda’s world upside down, all her words go silent. Zelda must embark on a quest across mountains, forests and oceans to find her parents—and her voice.

This moving tale about loss and hope will tug at your heartstrings. Author Chantal Fournier’s poetic storytelling style and illustrator Nicolas Lajeunesse’s evocative artwork combine to create a poignant story in which a child discovers comfort in the power of words.
Zelda is a young girl who loves to talk. One day, when she and her parents go to the park, a storm carries her parents away, and Zelda is left behind. Since no one can find her parents, Zelda goes to live with her grandmother. But with everything in her life now topsy turvy, Zelda no longer has any words to speak. But in her head, the words keep building up, up, up, until they become one big cloud of words that she lugs around everywhere. When the cloud of words becomes too big for the house, Zelda decides that she must embark on a journey to find her parents.

Release Day Launch: Storm Warning by C. Quinn and E. Lee

December 11, 2013

C. Quinn and E. Lee's amazing new novel in their Broken Heartland Series, STORM WARNING, is out today and I'm super excited to join in the release day launch for it! The blurb sounds really interesting, and judging by the excerpt, I'm guessing this is going to be great! There's also a giveaway you dont want to miss! Check it out!

Title: Storm Warning (Broken Heartland #1)
Author: C. Quinn, E. Lee
Publication date: December 12, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Sometimes you don’t see the storm coming until it’s too late...

Severe Storm Warning Tip #1:
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.

Severe Storm Warning Tip #2:
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Severe Storm Warning Tip #3:
They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.

Situated just outside of Oklahoma City, Calumet County is divided into two drastically different communities: Hope’s Grove and Summit Bluffs. One is the small backward town where dirt roads lead the way to field parties and railroad tracks. And the other, a sprawling suburb where paved drives lead to the landscaped lawns of the wealthy and privileged.

For five teenagers smack in the middle of Tornado Alley, summer is heating up fast. The winds of change are blurring the invisible line that divides the rich and the rural.

One has a secret.
One has a crush.
One has been lying.
One will get caught.
And one might not make it out alive.


They’re from two different worlds…but one summer is about to change everything.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Winter Edition

December 10, 2013

I've always been a mood reader - I pick books off my extremely long tbr list by impulse, based on what I feel like at the moment. Nevertheless, I'm going to attempt to make a TBR list here, with the aim to finish them by February. Some of these books I've been really wanting to read, but haven't gotten to them yet. I dont know why. Dont ask me.

So here's a list of my Winter tbr books! In no particular order...

Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

December 7, 2013

Title: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimee Carter
Publication date: Nomvember 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Rating: 
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Goodreads
YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.
This is not the first dystopian I've read, and I doubt it'll be the last. But with dozens of dystopian books coming out every month, the natural progression of affairs is bound to result in very similar plots and run of the mill stories. I've read my share of such books, so nowadays, I'm a bit more careful in selecting dystopians.

Pawn, however, is a fresh new story, with a careful combination of the present and a ghastly future.

Promo Post: The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park by Teko Bernard

December 6, 2013

Title: The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park
Author: Teko Bernard
Publication date: October 23, 2013
Publisher: Elmdale Park Books
Genre: Middle Grade
Amazon Goodreads
All Bernard wanted to do while staying with his grandparents in his father’s childhood hometown of Elmdale for the summer was work on his basketball skills. When Bernard excitedly enters a team into the Annual Elmdale Park Basketball Tournament, he’s shocked to discover that the future of the Park is at stake and dependent on his team winning the whole thing. The ruthless millionaire, Victor Franco, wants the Park shut down and turned into a city dump for his own personal gain. Can the courageous Bernard and his fun and wacky crew defeat their Oakdale rivals and save the historic Park? A fun, upbeat story, with realistic characters, and fantastic humor (particularly with G5000’s antics). Bernard is such a relatable character, and he’s a great true-to-life role model. Readers are sure to appreciate the basketball lingo, his love of the game, and his determination to fight the good fight.

Before I Became A Book Blogger: Vain & Slammed

November 26, 2013

before i became a book blogger
Inspired by Before I Blogged I Read by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner
To know more about Before I Became A Book Blogger and how it differs from my reviews, go here!

Yes, this feature is still alive and I haven't forgotten about its existence. I expected to do this feature atleast once a month, but what do you know, like doesn't always stick to plans! Owing to my really hectic college schedule, among reading and other stuff, I couldn't really spend time on this. But its back on, and to make up for the long hiatus, here are TWO awesome books for y'all! Enjoy!

Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

November 19, 2013

Title: Crash Into You
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication date: Nomvember 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Rating:
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon | Goodreads
From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane.

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
Ever since Katie McGarry's debut novel Pushing The Limits, I've been hooked to her writing. She has this way of taking a story and making it so intense and deep, that you just know that no other author could've done a better job.

That said, I cant say that I liked Crash Into You as much as I liked her previous works. I actually had a few issues with it. BUT, I think most readers of YA contemporary romance will still enjoy this book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations for the Reluctant Classics Reader


So... today's topic is a pretty interesting one. Confession: I've been saving up for this topic for sometime now. I had no idea when I'd get the opportunity to use this list, but I made it up anyways, thinking that if not for TTT, I'd post it on my own. But yay! Now I get to share it with all of you! 

I know a lot of readers have problems with classics. Maybe it's because of the way they were taught in school, maybe it's because of a preconceived notion that they're boring, or maybe they tried reading them and really did find them boring. Well, whatever the reason, the fact remains that a lot of people are reluctant readers of literary classics. 

Well, here I am! I've come to rescue you from the clutches of the Classics Aversion Syndrome. I'm sure most (if not all) of you love YA books? And why is that? Aside from the excellent writing and stories we find in them, a main cause is the fact that we can relate to the characters, right? Because we're young adults ourselves, or because we've all been through that part of life, and loved it? 

So, for your reading pleasure, here is a list of classics which will appeal to the quintessential lover of YA. They either have young adult characters or they're just ones that I think a YA book lover will find enjoyable!

Review: Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

November 13, 2013


Title: Through The Ever Night (Under The Never Sky #2)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publication date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: YA, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Rating: 
It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death.

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.

Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.
One thing about Veronica Rossi? She never disappoints.

With this book, I felt like Rossi was refining her writing, smoothing out the little blemishes that were in Under The Never Sky, and forming a solid foundation for the finish of the series, while still giving this book its own identity and action to contend with.

Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

November 6, 2013

Title: Under The Never Sky (Under The Never Sky #1)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: YA, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Rating: 
Amazon | Goodreads
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered.

This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland--known as The Death Shop--are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild--a savage--and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile--everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
Since Into The Still Blue, the last book in the Under The Never Sky trilogy is coming out soon (January 28, 2014), I'm re-reading the previous books to brush up my memory and get ready for the finish. One thing I've noticed in the rare books that I re-read is that the second time around, it doesn't seem as perfect as it did the first time. Somehow, there's almost always something that catches my attention and spoils the awesome-ness of the book that I got the first time.

But you know what? It wasn't so with Under The Never Sky. I went into it apprehensive that I'd find some fault in it, but didn't fin a single one. I've always been a little particular with my books, and I like to think that in the time that has passed since I first read Under The Never Sky my reading has become more critical and perceptive. But inspite of all that, I still love Under The Never Sky! Nothing has changed. In fact, it's gotten even better!

Top Ten Tuesday: The Wait Is Never Ending

November 5, 2013

Okay, so here's the thing. I dont read many series. I literally go searching for books that are not part of a series. The list on Goodreads that goes something like 'Top 100 Standalones of ...'? Yeah, I haunt that list. Repeatedly, picking books off from it to read.

Why all this avoidance of series? Well, for one thing, I'm a VERY curious cat! (People give me nicknames based on it; it's that bad) So this is what happens when I read a series: I read the first book, and then when I realize it's a series, and the next book is not out, so I have to wait like a year to know what happens next, but i cant wait because I HAVE TO KNOW NOWW, and then I cant stop thinking about it, and I end up getting very vivid dreams about it, so vivid, in fact, that the next day, I dont feel like I've slept at all, an then I get up up and think about it, and the cycle repeats itself until I'm completely scarred, and then the next interesting thing comes along, and I flit on to that.

So you see, series can be traumatic things for me. Which is why I put them off a lot, so that I can read them together (and hence have so few to share with y'all today). Like the Shatter Me series and The Grisha series that I've been postponing for so many months. But I think I'm going to start The Grisha ones in the next week or so, because really, after being victim to Judith's constant bombardment, you cant help but cave in.

Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

November 2, 2013

Title: The Promise of Amazing
Author: Robin Constantine
Publication date: December 31, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating:  
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon | Goodreads
Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
The Promise of Amazing was one of my most anticipated reads this year. I mean, seriously, would you look at that adorable cover? And did you read the blurb? So it should come as no surprise that when I got approved for this book, I spent a few quiet minutes in complete freak out mode.

And then I read the book.

Mini Review: Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

October 25, 2013

Title: Looking for Alibrandi
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication date: October 5, 1992
Publisher: Puffin/Penguin Australia
Genre: YA, Coming of Age
Rating:
Amazon | Goodreads
For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.

Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.

Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel—which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture—is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.
How do you write a review about a book that's about nothing in particular but rather, about everything? And of a book that you've connected with on such a deep level that you really, literally have no words?

Which is why this review is going to be a mini review! (because, seriously, this book is so freaking aborkinfrgdgn AH-MA-ZING that I know that if I attempt to write a full review, I will just be setting myself up for failure)

Review: The Redeemers by Suresh Taneja

October 22, 2013

Title: The Redeemers
Author: Suresh Taneja
Publication date: April 17, 2013
Publisher: Leadstart / Frog Books
Genre: General Fiction, Indian
Rating:
Source: Author

Amazon | Goodreads
One bizarre vacation marked a turning point in the lives of four teenage friends. It dawned upon them that corruption and malpractices had become rampant and deeply ingrained in our culture. They felt anguished and shocked at the shameful state of affairs. 
They pledged to redeem and change the destiny of the country. They had only two weeks of vacation left to take some big initiatives. The pressure on them was immense. Status quo or failure was not an option for them. 
Read the inspirational story of a unique movement masterminded by youngsters through innovative ideas and creative thinking. Not a single family could escape from its unrelenting onslaught. It was a rewarding outcome for their persistence and hard work, as they nostalgically recall in 2030.
I had a tough time rating this book, mainly because of how it pulled me in two different directions. On one hand, the premise of The Redeemers is one that is inspiring and patriotic, but on the other, there were aspects of it that got on my nerves.

In 2009, four friends come witness firsthand the depravity and corruption that has soaked into the veins of almost every sector of Indian government. It's not like they weren't aware of it, but coming face-to-face with it for the first time in their lives, it leaves a huge impact. In the aftermath, Vikram, Yuvika, Manisha and Akshay (who like to call themselves G4) decide that something has to be done about it; something that will bring a change.

Top Ten Unusual Character Names and Ones I Love

Names are such important things, aren't they? Sometimes, I think a name can make or break a character. For instance, how uncool would it be if a character had name that was totally in contradiction with his/her personality. Like, the name John for the villian? Blah. But then there are those names that are so in sync with the characters that they just take the entire reading experience to a whole new level.

In no particular order... (the images link to the Goodreads page)

Top Ten Books I Was 'Forced' To Read

October 15, 2013


It's so nice to get back to the routine of writing Top Ten posts after so long! Things have been kind of tight recently, what with the festivals, and exams, and everyone in the family falling sick, etc. and I've haven't had as much time as I'd like to blog. And this is also a short reprieve before my exams start all over again, next week. Blah. 

On a lighter note, I had so much of fun picking books for this week's topic! I love reading, but every once in a while, I feel like I HAVE to read a book, like I'm forced to. Sometimes that's not so great, but sometimes, it just about makes my day!

Review: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

October 13, 2013

Title: Indelible
Author: Dawn Metcalf
Publication date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating:
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Amazon | Goodreads
Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.


Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future...and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

The Twixt.

Cover Reveal + #Giveaway: Born of Deception by Teri Brown

October 11, 2013

Title: Born of Deception (#2, Born of Illusion)
Author: Teri Brown
Publication date: 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray (HarperTeen)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Budding illusionist Anna Van Housen is on top of the world: after scoring a spot on a prestigious European vaudeville tour, she has moved to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. Along with her handsome beau, Cole Archer, Anna is prepared to take the city by storm.

But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil. Sensitives are disappearing and, without a suspect, the group’s members are turning on one another. Could the kidnapper be someone within the society itself—or has the nefarious Dr. Boyle followed them to London?

As Cole and Anna begin to unravel the case and secrets about the society are revealed, they find themselves at odds, their plans for romance in London having vanished. Her life in danger and her relationship fizzling, can Anna find a way to track down the killer before he makes her his next victim—or will she have to pay the ultimate price for her powers?

Set in Jazz-Age London, this alluring sequel to Born of Illusion comes alive with sparkling romance, deadly intrigue, and daring magic.

Giveaway
Open to US only. Must be 13+ to enter.

About The Author
I’m not sure who to tell you about here because I’m actually two people rolled into one. As a responsible mother of teens, I show one persona to the world. That person is driven, conservative and level headed. But the other part of me just never grew up. She is rebellious, impulsive and curious.
It’s hard being both these people. They’re often at odds.
The mother part of me knows I should put a cap on how many animals we take in. The teen part of me wants to save them all. We have five cats and two dogs. Who do you think is winning?
Even now. The mother part wants to make a meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and a tossed salad. The teen part wants to order a pizza, work on my website and check my Facebook.
Luckily, though my two halves don’t always agree, both of us live happily in Portland, Oregon, with a husband and too many animals. And we both love to write and write and write..

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: Major League Encounters by Larry LaRue

October 6, 2013



Title: Major League Encounters
Author: Larry LaRue
Publication date: June, 2012
Publisher: Reader Publishing Group
Genre: Sports
It’s an exclusive club. Thirty teams, 25 players each, 750 players in all. For every new player that wins a place on the roster, another player is removed. A few talented players have careers that cover more than two decades. Most last less than three years. But for those who can retain a place on the roster, the money is good – minimum wage is almost $450,000 a year. And if they’re really superstars, they can end up with an annual eight-figure salary. But there is more to it than money.

The men of baseball love the game and they love the clubhouse. The game sometimes costs them their wives and time with their kids. The clubhouse is where they bond as a team and as a family. As with all families, it is a place of laughter and anger, tragedy and loss, happiness and dysfunction. And what unites that family is love. The love of a game called baseball.

This collection of encounters with some of these men by sportswriter Larry LaRue takes the readers inside the clubhouse and behind the scenes to share with the reader what these men have accomplished and the price they have paid.
Interview with Larry LaRue
Q: What was the inspiration behind Major League Encounters?

It began as a notebook of stories for my daughter, Jessica, who had lost so much time with me over the years because I covered Major League baseball and traveled every few weeks. After more than 30 years covering the sport, I wanted to hand her stories of men who’d had an impact on me - and just happened to play baseball.

Q: What has been your favorite response to your work?

My favorite was from a reader who said she didn’t like baseball but loved the book.

Q: What made you choose the unique perspective you did in Major League Encounters?

I got to know the men I wrote about well, and sometimes I was part of their story for a short time. In the end, my daughter told me she learned almost as much about me as about the players I wrote about. Almost.

Q: You've been a sportswriter for a long time. Did you have to make to your writing method when you took up this project?

My writing has always been about personalities - people - rather than the statistics and salaries that so often define professional athletes. I tried to maintain that approach in the book. The numbers are available online to anyone who looks. The stories I’ve written are unique insights into people I found intriguing.

Q: Which do you like better: writing for a magazine/newspaper/journal or writing a book?

A book, for the freedom it allowed. Some of the 100 stories are a page long, others 10. I didn’t write to fill a page, I wrote to tell the story.

Okay, now some fun questions!

Q: What's your favourite sport?

Baseball to watch, basketball to play.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Always. My grandmother worked on a type machine at a newspaper in San Dimas, California. I’d sit in her lap while she’d type, and lead letters would appear like magic and be arranged into words. I wanted to tell stories and she was showing me one way it could be done.

Q: The first book that changed your life…

‘The Mothers’ by Vardis Fisher, about the Donner Party. It was the first book I read that combined fictional approaches to non-fiction events. I hadn’t known that was allowed. It changed the way I thought about writing.

Q: What do you prefer - watching a game, or playing it yourself?

Given the choice, I’d always rather play.

Q: Dark or milk chocolate?

Dark!

Giveaway
5 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of Major League Encounters by Larry LaRue.
Must be 13+ to Enter. 
International Giveaway

About The Author

Newspapers were part of his life long before Larry LaRue started working for them at age 18. His grandmother was a typesetter for a weekly in San Dimas, California, and he sat in her lap while she’d run an old lead-type machine. He was first published at 10, when a San Clemente newspaper ran his story on Pookie, his dog.

He’s been writing ever since. Five newspapers, a business journal and an entertainment magazine wrapped around brief careers as a window washer, bouncer, and private investigator. Always, he wrote.

There was a book on an American Capuchin priest who performed exorcisms in New York and Iowa, another on political cartoonists, a novel based on a news story he followed, and a book of major league baseball anecdotes. All wound up in a drawer or a closet. Since 1976, there’s been another constant in his life – George Cunningham. As co-workers, backpackers, entrepreneurs, political opposites, writers, photographers and friends they have pursued projects and dreams together.

Reader Publishing Group may be the best yet for George and Carmela Cunningham, and LaRue was one of the first to leap on their backs.

Currently a writer with the Tacoma News Tribune covering the Seattle Mariners, LaRue’s sports writing can be found at http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/mariners/ and you can follow him and see his photography on Facebook at facebook.com/kwlarue, Twitter at (@LarryLaRue and the News Tribune Mariners’ blog at http://blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners/.

His most recent ambition hasn’t changed in 35 years – LaRue is writing projects he hopes Cunningham can use to get him out of the newspaper business.


Book Nerd Tours

Book Blitz: Leap of Faith by Jamie Blair

October 5, 2013


Title: Leap of Faith
Author: Jamie Blair
Publication date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BfYR
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Can true love be built on lies? A teen on the run seeks relief and redemption in this gripping, romantic read.
Leah Kurtz has finally found a place to call home, a town where she and baby Addy can live in peace, far from the drug-infested place she grew up. Chris is one of the best parts of her new life, the only person who’s ever made her feel safe. And now that she’s found him, there’s no way she can tell the truth:
Her real name is Faith, not Leah. She’s seventeen, not nineteen. And the baby isn’t hers—Faith kidnapped her.
Faith’s history catches up with her when a cop starts asking questions and Chris’s aunt spots her picture in the newspaper. She knows it’s time to run again, but if Faith leaves, she’ll lose Chris. If Chris is in love with a lie, though, did Faith ever really have him in the first place?

GUEST POST
The Teen Pregnancy Book That’s Not
A handful of times over the past couple weeks, I’ve spotted Leap Of Faith being called a teen pregnancy book. The funny part of this to me is that the teen, Faith, in my book is never really
pregnant. But, she does pretend that the baby, who is actually her newborn sister, is her own baby and the situation she gets herself into does make her a teen mom.

Faith, having grown up with an addict for a mom, more often than not with no food in the house, knows that her baby sister is in for an even worst childhood than she had. What starts in Faith’s mind as getting back at her mom turns into an enormous sacrifice as she takes the baby and goes on the run.

Taking care of a newborn isn’t glorified in Leap of Faith and that’s not because as the author I wanted to make the book a preachy, issue book. I wrote it for entertainment, not as a warning to readers. Having a newborn is portrayed as touch because it really is. Having a newborn is insanely hard. Anyone taking on the task of raising a baby needs a support system, and this is where Leap Of Faith gets tricky.

Faith not only finds her support system, but she finds the family she’s never had and always wanted. But, in the back of her mind, she knows her time there is limited. She’s told so many lies, it has to come to an end somehow.

When it all does come crashing down, Faith has a second sacrifice to make. She’s grown to love the family—and the boy—who have taken her and her baby in. But, in order to keep them from being implemented in any legal action Faith might face for kidnapping the baby, she knows she has to leave the perfect life she’s found behind.

Leap Of Faith isn’t a teen pregnancy book. It’s a book about sacrifice, love, family and hope.

About The Author
Jamie Blair spent most of her teen years choreographing moves for her dance team routines, kissing boys on the couch after her mom went to bed, and pondering the mood enhancement qualities of Lemon Heads when consumed with Diet Coke. Writing under Kelli Maine, she’s the USA Today bestselling author of Taken. Leap of Faith is her debut New Adult novel.

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (SPOILER FREE!)

October 2, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publication date: May 4, 2012
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller 
Source: Publisher (Thanks Hachette India!)
Rating:
Amazon | Goodreads
Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work "draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction." Gone Girl's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
Given how into books I am, it would have been astounding had I not heard of Gone Girl in the many months since it's release. Well, since, as I am wont to say, I do not live under a rock, I have heard of Gone Girl. Incessantly. Ever since I made up with Goodreads again. So yeah, that's a long time to be hearing praises sung about a book.

Why hadn't I picked it up despite all the hype? Well, I dont like scary stuff. And realistic scary stuff can be a lot more scary that made-up scary stuff. And they both give me nightmares and increase my everyday level of paranoia from slightly above average (I'm guessing) to smack right in the middle of crazy territory (that's true though). So yeah, I avoid stuff like this usually, though I do love mysteries and detective stories.

Cover Reveal: Defector (#2, Variants) by Susanne Winnacker

October 1, 2013

Title: Defector
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Publication date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Thriller, Young Adult
Synopsis not currently available.

Synopsis for book 1 – Impostor:
Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late?

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

About The Author
Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog and three bunnies in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.

Her YA thriller IMPOSTOR will be published on May 28, 2013. It has been optioned for TV by Warner Brothers!

Review: Beaten by Bhagath! by S V Divaakar

September 30, 2013

 Title: Beaten by Bhagath!
Author: S V Divvaakar
Publication date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Leadstart Corp
Genre:  Indian Fiction
Rating: 
Goodreads | Amazon
‘I’m sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath!’
When BB hears these inspiring words from his sexy lady boss, his staid life as a successful analyst in an MNC goes into a tailspin.
Bitten by the ego bug and smitten by her, BB sets off on his quest to write a book that’s better than India’s greatest writer Dr.Bhagath’s blockbusters. Nothing unusual about this for BB, who likes a good fight. Except that he and Bhagath had been classmates and friends at college. 
What follows is a roller-coaster voyage of the debutant author and his book, with all its twists and cul-de-sacs. Brushes with publishers, celebrities, retailers, book chains, and competition with the alliances among giants, mark the challenger’s journey, upping the stakes at every stage. 

Will BB catch up with his famous friend? 
What will their encounter be like? 

Written from inside the ring, ‘Beaten by Bhagath’ is a gripping tale ...the first-ever about the unseen side of the wonderland of Indian fiction.
I admit I didn't have very high hopes for this book, what with it hinting at a certain very popular author right from the blurb. But when I began reading Beaten by Bhagath!, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Beaten by Bhagath! is the story of an aspiring writing who's written his first book after some prodding and with the incentive to beat his ex classmate and friend, Dr. Bhagath, who is now known as 'India's Greatest Writer'. But the actual struggle is yet to begin, as he finds out when he starts looking for a publisher for his book.

Book Blitz: Kinetic by S. K. Anthony

September 27, 2013


 Title: Kinetic (The Luminaries #1)
Author: Laurie Gray
Publication date: September 20, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre:  New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.

Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…

EXCERPT
I knew what I had to do. Orders were clear… KILL ON CONTACT.

The thing is, it was Nick.

Before I knew what I was doing, I'd released my hold. He got up and rubbed his mouth.

“What did I tell you about giving second chances?”

“You won’t hurt me,” I said.

“Honey, you are so wrong! I wouldn’t even blink an eye, no pun intended,” he smiled. “Next time you won’t be so lucky. If you ever get the chance again, take it.” He shoved me down and gave me a hard kick in the ass. He started to leave but turned instead, his smile still plastered across his scarred face. “If you can.”

I watched him leave and took a deep breath. I had to give this some thought. I wondered if there was any excuse I could come up with that the Organization would believe. I was going to be in so much trouble. And it was possible they would even strip my abilities away. Although my job could be mentally exhausting, I knew that, deep down, I couldn’t give up what made me, me. I was a badass, I liked using my extensive training to bring down the bad guys of the world, and what had I just done? I'd let the worst of them walk away. I came into this Organization to serve a purpose, and I had never regretted it. Until now.

Nick had taken advantage of all the knowledge he’d gained when he was part of the Org. He was guilty of kidnapping, attacking government buildings, killing a lot of people, and was considered enemy number one for all Luminaries. But while I had no respect left for him, I couldn’t hate him. Not like the rest of them did. This was the man with whom I had exchanged wedding vows, the man who was once my whole world, and he had to be taken down. But he still had enough power over me that I'd let him go. Stupid heart. I never wanted to be one of those girls again, the ones who live for love or die for it. No, love no longer had any place in my empty chest.

The problem was, I'd found my heart staring at me through one eye, and I'd lost my shit.

About The Author
S. K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!
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