Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

April 28, 2013

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) Title: Dare You To
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 28 May, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: NetGalley
Amazon | Goodreads
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....
     Before Dare You To, I read Pushing The Limits by the same author and I loved it. Ever since then, I've been waiting for Dare You To to get released, and Harlequin Teen, you have my heartfelt thanks for giving me an advance copy!

    Three words that describe Dare You To: witty, emotional, and relatable.

    Witty, because both the author, and in turn the characters are so. The things they say had me laughing, smirking and sad in turns. The language is crisp without any over embellishment or slang like in some books that portray 'teen life'. Plus, the book is a pretty safe read for young people, without any unsuitable scenes.

    Let me ask you this: What book with a tough-as-nails heroine who's actually a softy who loves ribbons is not going to be emotional? Dare You To brings out a whole new side to the rude girl Beth that we saw in Pushing The Limits. I had several heart-squeezing moments (I don't know how else to describe them) while reading, and I love such books. I especially loved two scenes. One in which Beth is compared to a trapped bird that is trying to escape, and the other in which she finally learns to trust Ryan completely. The difficulties that Ryan faces with his broken family, and his conflicting interests are also beautifully handled.

    Relatable because, well... Its a love story on the surface, but underneath that, its so much more. Its about accepting people for who they are, its about fighting for your dreams and its about letting go and doing the right thing even if you don't want to. We all face issues like these all the time, so I could totally relate (I mean to the underlying concept, not to the issues per se).

    The author has succeeded marvelously in conveying two points of view. I've found that in many books there's hardly a difference. Both Ryan and Beth have distinct voices. Ryan is thoughtful, mature and uses beautiful descriptions, as befits a writer, while Beth's insecurity, facade and fragility come through crystal clear. I loved how Ryan has this daring bring-it-on attitude to everything, and at the same time, he's a gentleman. McGarry says that since Ryan has no history with Beth, he could see her all the more clearly. I completely agree. I have to say, I couldn't really see Beth and Isaiah working out even in Pushing The Limits, but I love Ryan.

    The plot is not new. It has the same poor-beaten-down-angry-girl-and-jock story that you've read before with a slightly High School Musical like twist to it. But for a story that is so complicated, the author keeps it all straight. And when a story is well written, it doesn't really matter.

    The only flaw (if you can call it that) I found was that after all the hype surrounding Beth's fear, it wasn't as big a deal as I expected. And I wish there was more of Noah and his better side, though I do understand that this is Beth's and Ryan's story.

Bottomline: Dare You To is a wonderful read. Definitely recommended for people who loved Pushing The Limits (and for those who didn't like Beth, because this shows her in a whole new light).

Stacking The Shelves #1

April 27, 2013

STSmall
Hosted By Tynga

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

ARCs:

 
I'm so excited about The Rules for Disappearing! I've wanted to read it ever since I saw it on NetGalley, and now that I have it, I cant wait to get my hands on it! Twerp sounds interesting as well...

Review Copies:


Bought:

I've started reading The Fault in Our Stars, and its great! (I've been saying this or a long time now, haven't I?)

I recently bought How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company at Landmark, and I haven't read it yet. I gave it to my aunt about a week back, and after she read it, she was like, "The message is all very good, but child, is that really how young people talk these days?" And yeah, a very awkward conversation followed.

I'm guessing the writing was very casual and there were expletives and curse words involved. But still, I've heard it's a great book, and I cant wait to read it.

Borrowed:












I got this one just yesterday from my friend! I actually read Divergent a long time back, but when I saw that Allegiant was getting released only in Fall 2013, I decided not to read Insurgent immediately, or else I'd definitely be waiting for the third one desperately, and I HATE waiting! But now its close enough (yeah, right. Who am I kidding), so I'm gonna start this one soon.


Well, that's all the books I've got right now, folks! 

What about you? What have you got in your shelves?

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe

Title: Of Silver and Beasts
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Publication Date: 19 April, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Excerpt

“What's your rank, baby blue eyes?” the guy asks, pushing off his cot and stalking toward the prince.

Everything in me screams to act, but I don't want to declare alliances this early on. Not without understanding the dynamic of placements and bonds already formed among these people. But I'll not let this hulk of a man harm the prince. I brace my heel against the wall, ready to push off and lunge.

Prince Caben rises to his feet, slowly turning to face him. He straightens his spine, squaring his shoulders. “I don't have one. And my name is Payne. Not 'baby blue eyes', meathead.”

Big guy laughs, his husky voice bounces off the rock walls. “I'm Crew”--he beats his chest hard once, like a barbarian--“and I've won three fights. I'll win the next two and be the one awarded the freedom ring.” He leans down toward Prince Caben, leveling their faces. “So don't even think about you or your princess over there walking out of here. I'm ranked as a Colossal. The strongest Colossal in Bax's league.”

Princess? I nearly scoff. Then I realize what the problem with Crew is: he feels threatened by Prince Caben. That revelation almost makes me laugh out right. What does a big stack of muscles like Crew have to fear from the prince?

The other prisons slowly circle around the stand-off in the center of the cell. Tension thickens the musty air. It coils around my spine, tightening my muscles. If I allow the fight to continue without interruption, will the guards stop it? They'd want their fighters in pristine shape, wouldn't they?

Prince Caben doesn't back away from Crew. Instead, he moves into his space. I roll my eyes. Stupid, conceited man.

“Freedom ring?” the prince questions. “As in, there's a chance to leave?” He rubs his chin, and I notice the dark shadow of facial hair that has darkened his features overnight. “Is there a season that has to be won, or can someone gain five wins during their entire imprisonment?”

Crew's eyebrows pinch together. He's clearly despondent that he hasn't succeeded in intimidating the prince. “We're in a season right now, you weakling. If you don't win--you're dead. Which by the looks of you, will happen in your first match.”

Prince Caben nods, as if he's simply piecing together a jigsaw puzzle and not being told of his demise. “What is the cuff for?” He points to the iron clamp around Crew's wrist.

“It's our biometric monitor.” Crew shoves the cuff up close to the prince's face. “See those three blue lights? Those are my wins. When the fifth lights up, I'm outta' here.”

“Has anyone ever won the freedom ring before?” Prince Caben asks.

Crew's massive arms tremble. “No,” he grinds out. “But I will.” He cocks his cuffed hand back, then sends a blow to Prince Caben's chin.

Hell.

I'm up and racing across the cell before the prince hits the ground. Crew spots me from his peripheral. He turns and swipes the air. I duck, roll, and come up behind him. I jump on the cot and leap onto his back.

“You squirrely little ...” he mumbles, trying to reach over his shoulders to get a hold on me.

Tightening my arms around his thick neck, I squeeze. He gasps for air, and rams my back into the wall. I wheeze as the air whooshes from my lungs, pain splintering through my already bruised chest. But I hold tight, bearing down harder, and cut off his supply of oxygen.

Finally, I feel Crew weaken beneath my hold. He drops to his knees, and I only release him once I'm sure he's knocked out.

Stepping around the now limp Crew, I glance at all the wide eyes studying me, and meet the prince's. Fury ignites his stormy blue irises. He picks himself off the floor and heads toward one of the side chambers, throwing the tattered material aside as he stalks inside.

I follow after him. When I step inside the tiny, dank room, my eyes trail Prince Caben as he paces. He reaches each side of the small chamber with three quick strides. Back and forth.

On his third round, I open my mouth and get out a single syllable before he holds up a hand, halting me. He drives his hand through his dark hair. “Thank you for making me look like a spineless jerk.” He shakes his head and faces me.

Taken aback, I say, “This is my duty to protect--”

“No. In your country it was your duty to guard me. In my world and here”--he opens his arms wide--“a man fights his own battles. He does not depend on a woman to fight them for him. You just disgraced me.”

Fire simmers in my core. “I'm still assigned as your protector no matter what realm we inhabit, Your High--” I stop myself before addressing him by title out of habit. “Your pride is polluting your reasoning.”

He laughs. “Yes, well. Thanks to your show out there, I no longer have my pride to worry about.”

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

GIVEAWAY

Feature and Follow Friday #3

April 26, 2013


Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee at Parajunkee & Alison at Alison Can Read.

RULES:
To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
  • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
Question of this Week:
Is there a song that reminds you of a book? Or vice versa? What is the song & the book?

Answer:
Umm... no, not particularly. And even if they do they're mostly from the soundtracks of the book-turned-movie. But there is this one song... The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel it always reminds me of Pride and Prejudice, no doubt because one the YouTube vids of the songs has pictures from Pride & Prejudice, but still... I feel like the song comepletely fits the mood and period pf Pride and Prejudice, and since both the song and the book (and movie!) are wonderful, they're all together in my head.


Ok, and this is a bit unrelated, because it's movie talk, but this song by Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did in The Dark, totally reminds me of the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer, not only because of the similar title, but also because the song has a really dark feel reminiscent of the movie.

So what about you? Which song reminds you of a book?

P.S.: The rumours about the GFC shutdown is making me nervous, so I would love it if you guys would be angels and follow via other means as well: Bloglovin', Networked Blogs, Linky or Facebook! Many thanks in advance! :D 
And if you're an old follower, can you please mention that as well? Because then I don't end up going to your blog and saying that I'm a new follower. It's happened. I'm forgetful. Very :'(

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

April 25, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks LikeTitle: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication Date: 2 April, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/ 5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

THIS is what fantastic looks like, people! (yes, I know it sounds cliche, copying the title, but I just couldn't help it!) Take a nice, long look at it. I have a feeling it's going to be around for sometime.
The prologue contains that first fateful email from Graham. And a glimpse of the volley of mails that go back and forth. This one was really one of the best prologues I've ever read. Not because it was very profound or something. No, just for the simple reason that you can really feel the anticipation, the excitement and expectation that Ellie feels. Remember your first ever crush? Your first ever conversation with them? Yeah, it'll take you back to that time. I was grinning the whole while.

Graham Larkin is the kind of actor the public loves - he was just another ordinary kid before he was 'discovered'. He thought it would be fun to act in a school play, and then, BOOM! Next thing he knows he's the lead actor in a movie franchise, and life has changed completely. He's rich, he lives in a humungous house, has a pet pig named Wilbur, and life couldn't get better. On the surface.

Underneath it, he hates the intrusion of the paparazzi, the emptiness of his house, his lack of true friends and the fact that his family treats him like an honoured guest if he comes home. So when an email to Wilbur's walker goes to the wrong id, and he hits it off with 'eoneil22@hotmail.com', he grabs at the chance to know someone who does not look at him with a halo on his head.

When they start looking for a location to film Graham's latest film, Henley, Maine, comes to his mind, not only because it's perfect for the small town feel of the movie, but also because Ellie lives there.

Ellie, I think, was one of the most mature characters I've ever read. She has a wonderful relationship with her mother. They share a great rapport, and she's very thoughtful where her Mum's concerned; even though they're not exactly rich, she pulls her own weight, and tries to come up with a way to pay her way through a summer poetry course at Harvard (she loves poetry, people! And quotes! Yay!).

Even when she finds out the truth about Graham, she doesn't go gaga over him. Graham is an ordinary guy at heart, thoughtful, romantic, and with all the nervousness that comes with talking to the girl you like. There is definitely some (a lot) embarrassment and doubt (on Ellie's part), but eventually, they figure it out.  But even then, there are several factors that keep them apart, the least of which is the paparazzi. And when things go downhill (like stranded-in-the-middle-of-the-sea downhill), I love how she handles it, even with some humour, and refuses to fall apart.

The small town setting was very believable - a quaint little place, where everyone knows everyone, and there are quiet, unpolluted places to slip away to. I wonder what it would be like to live in a small town. I've only ever lived in the city, so I dont know.

I had some issues with the ending, as there were a few things which I wished had been resolved, but other than that, it's great! I haven't read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight yet, but after this, I think I will.

Bottomline: This is What Happy Looks Like is a light read, perfect for a beach read, both light hearted and emotional. Kind of reminded me of The Prince & Me.

P.S.: Just out of curiosity, but what does your happy look like? Let me know in the comments! :)

Boston Charity Book Giveaway

April 24, 2013

We are helping to spread the word about this amazing book giveaway that was created to aid the victims and families of the 2013 Boston Marathon Attack. Many best-selling authors have donated books in response to this cause. The books are grouped into bundle packs and a winner will be selected randomly through Rafflecopter for each bundle. Visit the book giveaway site HERE for more details and how to enter.

If you do not want to enter to win a bundle (really, you dont?), please feel free to make a donation using this link HERE. It will take you directly to the organization donation site.

The auction will run from April 21-April 30th.

Book Bundle #1
In the Name of Love

SIGNED copies of:
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Easy by Tammara Webber
Fallen Too Far & Never Too Far by Abbi Glines
FATE by Elizabeth Reyes
CRUSH by Nicole Williams
Disastrous by EL Montes


Book Bundle #2
Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

SIGNED copies of:
Slammed & Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
What a Boy Wants, What a Boy Needs and Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn
Sleep My Child by Eyvonna Rains
ebooks: Shark Bait & The Other Fish in the Sea by Jenn Cooksey


Book Bundle #3
Just the Way You Are

SIGNED copies of:
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
Inhale Exhale by Sarah Ross
Destined to Change by Lisa Harley
Music of the Heart by Katie Ashley
Wide Awake by Shelly Crane


Book Bundle #4
I Walk the Line

SIGNED copies of:
The Thoughtless Series by SC Stephens
Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Until I Break by M. Leighton-ARC
Collide by Gail McHugh


Book Bundle #5
Stand By Me

SIGNED copies of:
Love Unscripted & Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber
Collide by Gail McHugh
Love Em’ or Leave Em’ by Angie Stanton
On The Island by TraceyGarvis-Graves

Book Bundle #6
I Wanna Hold Your Hand

SIGNED Copies of:
Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
Naked, All In by Raine Miller
Collide by Gail McHugh
Signed Wreck Me, ebook Restore Me by JL Mac


Book Bundle #7
Superstition

SIGNED copies of:
Awaken and Avenged by Sarah Ross
Darkride and Crossfire by Laura Bradley Rede


Book Bundle #8
Whole Lotta Love

SIGNED copies of:
Fall Guy & Perfectly Unmatched by Liz Reinhardt
Lengths &Depths by Steph Campbell
Charade & Freeing Carter by Nyrae Dawn
Destined to Change by Lisa Harley
A Prior Engagement by SL Scott


Book Bundle #9
Maybe I'm Amazed

SIGNED copies of:
A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter
Inescapable, Intuition, Indebted and Incendiary by Amy Bartol


Book Bundle #10
Ain't Too Proud to Beg

SIGNED copies of:
The Proposition and The Proposal by Katie Ashley
Chocolate Lovers Series by Tara Sivec
His Perfect Passion and The Undoing of a Libertine by Raine Miller

Sponsors


All the amazing authors who donated their books:

Tammara Webber
Tina Reber
Jamie McGuire
Tracey Garvis-Graves
Abbi Glines
Liz Reinhardt
Steph Campbell
Nyrae Dawn
Elizabeth Reyes
Nicole Williams
Nichole Chase
Amy Bartol
Gail McHugh
Sarah Ross
Georgia Cates
Lisa Harley
SL Scott
Laura Bradley Rede
Angie Stanton
Eyvonna Rains
Colleen Hoover
EL Montes
Jenn Cooksey
Katie Ashley
Shelly Crane
S C Stephens
M. Leighton
Debra Anastasia
Raine Miller
JL Mac
Elizabeth Hunter
Tara Sivec



Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Liked More/Less Than I Thought I Would

 
 Oooh I love this topic! I've been wanting to blog about this for sometime now, but what with one thing and another, it just never happened (like always, I know).

So I'll get right to it. 

5 Books I Liked Less Than I Thought I Would

 Wide Awake
Oh this book DEFINITELY takes the top spot! I started it with really high expectations after all the raves, and the first third of the book was great, and then... downhill. I know that a lot of people liked this book (please don't hate me!), but personally, it did nothing for me. I'd give it two stars and one of those stars is for the useless, random facts in the beginning of each chapter, which I loved! And really, what's it with tattoo artists these days?!

Gone with the Wind
Really, don't get me started on this book. I read it just this year, since I felt it was a serious gap in my literary education, and I regretted it. I finished it out of sheer determination to do so, because honestly, the book lost me after a few chapters. I know that a LOT of people love Scarlett, because of how real and flawed she is, but honestly, I felt like she more than her share of flaws, many of which made me want to smack her around the head. Sorry folks, this one just wasn't for me!

Dualed (Dualed, #1)
The concept is very interesting, which is why I read it in the first place, and the book is faced paced, but in spite of all that it still lakes that little something. Some world building and more background info about the characters, maybe?

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)
I am a huge fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, and when I found our about the spin-off series that she was writing, I was so excited! And the first two books were great! Ever since I'd finished Golden Like I was waiting like crazy for this book, especially after the cliffhanger she left us at. But man, this one sucked. I don't know why, but the characters didn't seem like themselves at all (does that make any sense?). And the ending? *facepalm* But in spite of all that, I'm still waiting with baited breath for the next one :)

52 Reasons to Hate My Father
Um... I don't think I'm gonna say anything. I'm already feeling bad for trashing so many books. And I've already given vent to my thoughts about this book. You can find my extensive rant here.

5 Books I Liked More Than I Thought I Would

Aahh... now we get to the good part! Yay! :D

The Night Circus 
Don't get me wrong. I knew I would like this book. Yeah, I knew that. What I didn't, was that it would simply blow my mind! It's so so incredible amazing! There's intricacy, magic, detail, eccentricity aplenty. When I read this one, it had been a really long time since I'd read a nice, wholesome book like the classics. And then The Night Circus came along. The End.

Vain (The Seven Deadly Series #1) 
I really didn't expect much of this book. At most, I thought it would be just another book about a spoilt brat that reformed. But oh no, it most certainly is not 'just another book'. It's a wonderful book, and we can really see the transformation that Sophie goes through. And it's not so drastic that you don't recognize the person at the end of it all. Though I did feel the ending was a little too good to be true. If you're not convinced yet, read this, it's what convinced me :)

An Abundance of Katherines 
My first John Green book, people! This book was highly recommended by Pooja, so, duh, I read it. But I wasn't really into it because my sister hadn't liked Looking for Alaska, and this was by the same author, and a sequel of sorts. But the perfect mix of humor, intelligence and quirkiness gained John Green yet another fan, and I'm reading Fault in Our Stars now (I WILL finish it. I will.), and it's just as great, if not more.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1) 
Generally, I steer clear of paranormal/ fantasy books about 'angels'. I so read books about stuff out of this realm, but angels are something I don't think should be fiddled with, as it's a part of religion, and that's a no-no with me. At first, I didn't even know it was about 'angels' and 'demons', since it wasn't mentioned in the blurb, and the book had turned up as a related book for The Night Circus. But when I did start reading it, I was hooked. And there are some really insightful lines in that book, worthy of quoting. And needless to say, I liked it better than I thought I would like a book on this topic. 

Wonder
Aww.... there you are, my little Augie! No, I didn't think I would like this book. Not much at least. I looked at it as one of those books that would 'broaden my horizons', and that's it. But it turned out to be one of the best books I've ever read! Again, thanks to Pooja! (don't you just love people who give you awesome books that you otherwise wouldn't have found?) I loved everything about the book, right from the dog to the different POVs. This book can make you bawl like a baby, but mostly in joy. This is a one-of-a-kind book that HAS to be read, regardless of you age.

P.S.: I'm really sorry if I've offended anyone's feelings with my views :)

Earth Day Celebration Blog Tour & TWO Giveaways!

April 22, 2013

 

Welcome people, to the last stop on the Earth Day Celebration Blog Tour. This tour is in celebration of the inspiring books written by Stephanie Lisa Tara. She writes children's books through which kids learn about our environment and learn to care for it.

Well, it looks like I'll be wrapping things up, and I'm so excited that my stop is right on Earth Day! How cool is that?! As you guys probably know (or definitely know, if you know me), I'm pretty passionate about environmental causes, and when Candace at CBB Book Promotions invited me to take part in the tour, I jumped at the chance! Thanks, Candace!

So without further ado, here are the books!

Snowy White World to Save
Title: Snowy White World to Save
Author: Stephanie Lisa Tara
Publication Date: 1 October, 2007
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 5/5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads 
It's a headline we all have seen: Global warming is melting the Arctic. Once the Arctic sea ice has vanished, the majestic polar bear, a magnificent creature who needs the sea ice to survive will vanish, too. The ice is home to the bears, as well as to their primary food source, the ringed seal. Polar bears feed, mate, travel, den, and give birth on the ice. Some scientists say polar bears will be extinct within fifty years if something isn't done, and soon.
"Snowy White World to Save cleverly introduces young children to environmental awareness and global warming by making them aware of what is happening to our planet, and what they can do to help save it. Ms. Tara provides a wonderful resource guide at the back of the book that encourages young readers to further educate themselves on the subjects so they, too, with their parents, will become global citizens." ---
Sharon Stone (Actress/Activist)

Mama bear lives in the North Pole, in the regions across the land of the Midnight Sun. She teaches her pups how to hunt, how to hop, plop, stop, and dive to grab the seals. But what happens when the ice floes melt? And their homes are gone?

With delightful illustrations, and rhymes, Stephanie Tara has woven a simply wonderful story about the lives of the Polar bears. I loved the use of simple language which is perfect for kids, along with little new words here and there, so that they improve their vocabulary as well. The idea of weaving a story around an environmental issue is genius! It provides entertainment as well as education.



Title: Gwynne, Fair & Shining
Author: Stephanie Lisa Tara
Publication Date: 15 November, 2006
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 4/5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads 
Gwynne, Fair & Shining is a twenty-four page children's book, written in verse, about a young girl who learns she is special and can be anything she wants to be.
Gwynne is a maid working in the palace, where all they do is work, and work, and work. But then she finds the magic flute that bursts with song, and changes her life.

There's also a wonderful message in the book:
'Whatever you feel is just what you are. 
You'll always be fair, a bright shining star!
Whatever you think is what you shall be,
So believe you are strong, and then you are free.'

I'll Follow the Moon

Title: I'll Follow The Moon
Author: Stephanie Lisa Tara
Publication Date: 7 September, 2005
Genre: Childrens
Rating: 5/5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads 

On a quiet, moonlit beach, a baby green sea turtle stirs from a dream of home. Slowly, slowly, with a tap, crick, crack, the baby turtle embarks upon a mysterious nighttime journey. Gentle, tender verse and enchanting illustrations carry this tranquil tale from sand to sea.
10% of proceeds donated to The Turtle Foundation--every purchase, every review--helps save a turtle!
I'll Follow The Moon is a story of baby turtles' journey from the nest to the deep blue sea. It's filled with soothing (I know that's an odd word to use, but it really was! Kudos to Lee Edward!), soft illustrations that take you straight to the sea shore, whimsical verse, and this wonderful refrain: 'I'm coming, Mama, I'll see you soon / I know just how... I'll follow the moon.' I'll Follow The Moon will encourage your kid to be more aware of the world around us the the fascinating creatures in it.

We have some exciting news! I'll Follow the Moon is going to have a companion book!  I'll Follow the Moon is Stephanie Tara's most reviewed and best selling book, so she decided to make a companion book. This 'companion' book is actually non fiction and is filled with sea turtle photographs and facts. I've heard that it's amazing!
Find the book on:


I wish these books had been around when I was a kid. It would have been a wonderful accompaniment to my mother's effort to make us (me & my sister) environment conscious. She used to take us to beach clean-ups, environment related movies and cartoon, and I kind of remember this environmental center that was there in Abu Dhabi called ERWDA, from where Mum used to get amazing stuff like posters and models. If you have a kid, then these books are a perfect blend of fiction (for entertainment) and fact (for learning) that will make them love & care for the world we live in.

GIVEAWAYS!

Wait, Don't go yet! We have not one, but TWO giveaways!

"Due to overwhelming response, Stephanie Tara has decided to double your sweepstakes prize IF you are willing to WRITE A REVIEW (one word to 100 - your choice!) on any of her book's amazon pages. moms-helping-moms! Add your voice to other mom's voices! And all together - we add our voices to Mother Earth's voice—this Earth Day, April 22, 2013!"

 


   
About the author
I've always believed that magic hides in special places. As a child, people would often stare at my bright red hair, which was very, very bright indeed.
Unfortunately, I developed a bad habit of making up rhymes about all of them, and they soon became funny characters. I didn't have much time to think about being different; fanciful lyricisms danced in my head, and no one was safe!
Since then, I've come to believe that storytelling has the power to inspire a deep love of language and learning. Words tripping off the tongue in somersaults that stick to your thoughts like taffy-- those are the things that stay forever in the mind.
I've lived in many special places: on a farm, in a city skyscraper, on a tropical beach, and in the beautiful country of France. Now I live in northern California, between the redwood forests and the sea. Even though I'm an adult, I'm still as silly as ever.
Many nice words have been used to describe my books, such as fun, engaging, delightful, and whimsical. Some folks say that I deliver timeless messages of love for kids and parents to share again and again; this makes me very happy. I hope that you'll enjoy my stories, too. Captivating children with language is something that I believe in, and I strive to live my life with this always.
--Stephanie Lisa Tara

Stephanie Lisa Tara's Personal Sites:

 Cause pages (each supports a book's vision):

Review: The Samatha Project by Stephanie Karpinske

April 21, 2013


The Samantha Project (The Samantha Project, #1) Title: The Samantha Project
Author: Stephanie Karpinske
Publication Date: 19 December, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 2.5/ 5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads
Samantha was seventeen when she finally learned the truth about herself; that she’s part of a corporation’s top secret genetic enhancement project. They told her she was the only one who survived the experiments. But then she meets Erik. He was raised in a lab until a scientist took him and hid him so nobody would ever find him. But Samantha and Erik somehow found each other. They share a indescribable connection that neither one of them can explain.

Their enhanced genes give them special abilities, like the ability to read minds and communicate with their thoughts. Even with their powers, they’re not safe. The people who are after them will never stop looking. But the more imminent danger is something that lies deep within their cells. It’s just one of many secrets they have yet to discover about themselves.
 Sometime last year, I saw this book on Goodreads, and it sounded pretty interesting. I mean, c'mon, a blend of sci-fi and suspense is always interesting, right? So when I saw that AToMR Tours was looking for reviewers, I readily signed up.

As you can see by the rating, I wasn't really sure whether I liked this book or not. There were things that really got me hooked, and there were also a few not-so-good stuff. But I think, for the most part, it's a good book.

The plot is definitely a new one (at least as far as I've read). Samantha is part of a secret genetic enhancement project by GlobalLife, a huge corporation, headed by the deceptively hearty Dr. Worthings. They were biding their time until she became seventeen, when her abilities start showing themselves, and now they want to do the 'procedure' on her, which will give her fully developed strengths. When Samantha's parents pose a threat to their plans, they murder them in an 'accident'. And now, all Samantha has is Uncle Dave (a close friend of her parents') helped develop the code that was inserted into Samantha during the fetal stage, and her loyal boyfriend Colin (who remains clueless until the very end).

Several strange incidents later, Samantha learns the truth about herself from Dave, and is captured soon after. What ensues is a faced paced ride of experiments, being on the run and a search for sanctuary.

The characters in the book are well developed. Samantha is not the typical teenager of today. She's a high achieving student who is graduating early from school and headed to a top notch university. I liked her a lot, though at times, her reactions to things kinda irked me. 

I really liked the part of the story where Samantha was held at GlobalLife. Though it was a very painful experience for Samantha, I felt the 'sci-fi' part of the story was explored thoroughly here. They truly do treat her like an experimental subject (a non-human one, that is), very horror-film like, clamps included. And the gadgets! Very impressive, really!

The first half of the book was a bit slow for me. I ended up skipping a few pages. But after her kidnapping, the pace picks up considerably. It was interesting to see how Samantha's abilities developed through the book.

Erik is a sweet guy who notices something different in Samantha right from when he sets eyes on her.It turns out that he is also one of GlobalLife's projects and escaped with his father. The f act that Samantha still officially has a boyfriend complicates things between them, though they learn to keep it smooth.

The book ends on a cliffhanger. With Erik (and some friends)  by her side, Samantha sets out to figure out what her life is all about and how to get it back.

Feature and Follow Friday #2

April 19, 2013

8474595901 873f4993f4 Feature & Follow #144
Feature and Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's Views and Alison of Alison Can Read

Question of this week:
If you could hang out with any author (living) who would it be and what would you want to do?

My Answer:
Um... ok, I had to think a lot for this one. Can I cheat and choose three? Pretty please?

Top of the list is J. K. Rowling. Like, duh!  I wonder how come not many people have her on their list, but instead Stephanie Meyer. Oh, well. Anyways, I would LOVE to hang out with her, pick her brain about the characters, writing in general, and really, just about anything. As long as I get to spend a day with her, I really dont care what we do.

Then, Christopher Paolini. I'm absolutely in awe of him for writing such amazing books at such a young age (proof that home-schooled kids are really smart). And I have this picture in my head of his house having this huge old-fashioned library (I dont know if I read it somewhere of made it up), and I would love to spend some time there with him, discussing Eragon, and Brom and the complicated Arya, and WHY DID HE NOT GET THEM TOGETHER?! Yeah, that really peeved me out about the book. And also this other nagging doubt that I have about the story.

And then (is this too much?), John Green. I'd probably just fan girl all over him (no I wont). No seriously, I have this feeling that even spending an hour with him would be really enlightening (I know, big word, but that's how I feel).

So, which author is on your list? Let me know in the comments, and if your following me, let me know that as well (and how) in the comments, and I'll follow you back!

Happy Friday, people! 

P.S.: The rumours about the GFC shutdown is making me nervous, so I would really appreciate if you guys would follow via Bloglovin', Networked Blogs, Linky or Facebook as well! Many thanks in advance! :D

Feature & Follow

April 12, 2013

8474595901 873f4993f4 Feature & Follow #144
Feature and Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's Views and Alison of Alison Can Read
Question of this week:
We are about to see a lot of posts & tweets about reader conventions, RT, BEA, ALA and many more are starting soon. Which one would you love to attend? Where and why?
My Answer:
Well, I would love to attend any and all of them. I've heard so much about these do's, and watched videos on YouTube as well. They sound like so much fun!
However, since I live in India, that will be a little difficult to actually attend one :( . Well, but that doesn't mean I cant ever go, right? Things happen....You never know... :)

Review: Breathe by Elena Dillon

Breathe
Title: Breathe
Author: Elena Dillon
Publication Date: 14 December, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 2.5/ 5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads
Jasmine’s life wasn’t normal for a 16 year old girl. It hadn’t been normal since the murder of her older sister, Daisy, two years ago. Her life had been changed forever. The monster that murdered Daisy was never caught. That was the reason her family decided to move away from their hometown in Southern California, to start over. Hopefully in a place where the last name Rourke wouldn’t bring on staring or judgment or morbid curiosity.

In Lafayette, Louisiana things are quite a bit different but in a good way. Good manners, Cajun accents and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality all make her think things are going in the right direction. On top of that the most gorgeous boy she has ever met is interested in her. Her new friends are better than she could have hoped for even if she is worried about what they might think when they find out who she is. Life would be perfect if odd things didn’t keep happening. Creepy phone calls, texts, and flowers in her locker start adding up quickly to something terrifying. Could the Monster have followed them to Lafayette? Was he coming after her this time? Maybe she was just worrying unnecessarily…or not.
What you should (probably) know about Breathe:

- The book totally, TOTALLY reminded me of Twilight. It probably had to do with this scene at the beginning, in a parking lot, where Jasmine faints and Easton swoops in out of nowhere and catches her before she falls. Ring any bells? Any similarities? Okay, maybe it's just me. And she has the propensity to get light headed, which (again) reminded me of Bella holding her breath, and Edward always reminding her, 'Breathe, Bella.' in his oh-so-wonderful-like-music voice.

- The 'romance' and 'family' part of the story outweighs the 'mystery murderer' part of the story. That gives the book a light feel, which is nice while it lasts, but feels abrupt like where-the-heck-did-you-come-from when the mystery part pops its head out.

- Jasmine just CANNOT take a compliment to save her life. Really, I kind of get it, because I know I tend to be a bit like that, but this female takes it so far, that it gets annoying.

- The family camaraderie is so beautiful to read. With her elder sister gone, it falls on Jasmine to take the lead with her siblings, and though she resents the responsibility at times, she doesn't slack off. There are some very elaborate scenes that depict the pranks that Jasmine and her brother play on each other, and those are fun! Her little brother was by far my favourite character in the book, really.

- Usually, in suspense novels, the perpetrator of the crime ends up being one of the main characters or at least someone who has been shown throughout the book, so that a relationship is established between the victim and the perpetrator (it's also probably because the jaw-drop factor is higher). But in Breathe, the murderer is someone that is introduced (in person, that is) at the fag end of the book, and from there everything escalates very rapidly.

- I felt the title wasn't very appropriate. Breathing is something that is essential for living, and thus I feel if anyone uses it as a title for a book, the book should be sufficiently intense (like Reason To Breathe by Rebecca Donovan). Needless to say, Breathe was not an intense book. But then again, this is just my opinion.

- By the way, I just remembered, even Jasmine admits at one point of the book that it sounds like Twilight. So maybe it's not just me ;)

WWW Wednesday

April 10, 2013

http://shouldbereading.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/www_wednesdays4.png?w=240&h=167
 
Hey fellow book lovers! So, Wednesday is here, and I thought I'd take part in this new meme I found when i was searching the endless cyber world.

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading.
To play along, answer the following three questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish?
What do think you’ll read next?


The Fault in Our StarsI am currently reading Wide Awake by Shelly Crane, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Wide Awake started out great, but now (I'm about halfway through), it's starting to go downhill. The reason I picked this book up was because of the raving reviews. But now... Ok, lovers of this book, please don't hate me, but I feel it's getting a bit juvenile. I did feel similarly for her Significance series, which is why I stopped reading it, but I had really high hopes for this one. Am I growing out of the young adult genre? But I'm sure it gets better. Right?

I've been reading The Fault in Our Stars for a VERY long time now, and I feel so guilty about that. It's great till where I've read though. Love how mature the characters are, though that's probably not very realistic. 

This Is What Happy Looks LikeI recently finished This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Lovely book! I'd read the blurb a long time back, and I didn't read it again before I started the book, so I went into it blind. Oh, I loved it. The prologue, especially. I just hope to God I write the review soon.

Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)What I'll read next? Hmm... My exams will be starting next week, so no books for me for at least a week after that, but then... Ive been having Mila 2.0 for for quite some time now, waiting for the right time to start reading it. I wanted to be able to concentrate properly on the book. So that's what I'll read next.

FREE Prequel & Excerpt: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

April 9, 2013

http://concierge.s3.amazonaws.com/FYR%20images/TheTesting_banner160x600.gifTitle: The Testing
Author:
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: 4 June, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Amazon | Goodreads 
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.
Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.
But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.
Dystopian certainly looks like the trend at the moment, with books on the genre cropping up left and right. But that's not to say that they all live up to the mark. The Testing sounds like an interesting book, though. I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is releasing on 4th June, 2013. But you, my dear readers, can have a sneak peek into the book RIGHT NOW! Click the banner for the FREE prequel and excerpt (I'll be posting the trailer below).

Praise for The Testing:
"Ready for a new dystopian heroine to cheer for? Then we suggest you check out Joelle Charbonneau's The Testing, the first in a new YA trilogy... An electrifying debut."~Entertainment Weekly.com 

"There is nothing standardized about this
Testing. Charbonneau's imagination will surprise readers at every turn."
~Jennifer M. Brown, Shelf Awareness

"Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games."
~Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Boswell Book Company
 


Review: Riding on Air by Maggie Gilbert

April 1, 2013

Riding on Air
Title: Riding on Air
Author: Maggie Gilbert
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Publication Date: 1 April, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Source:NetGalley
Amazon | Goodreads
For readers of Jenny Downham, John Greene and Maureen McCarthy, a poignant young adult romance about following your dreams and realising what really matters.

What can you do when your own hands are the enemy? Hold on tight, for as long as it takes.

Melissa has secrets. Sure it’s pretty obvious she has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, but no one knows how bad it is or how many pills she takes for the pain. She’s determined to make her horse Jinx into a champion and she dreams that her childhood friend William will one day see her, rather than her condition.

So when William asks her out and Jinx is shortlisted for selection in an elite training program, it seems Melissa’s dreams have come true. But when her secrets are exposed, all those dreams come crashing down around her. Can William ever forgive her? And can she learn about letting go in time to truly ride on air when it matters most?
 Riding on Air was kind of an average book. I wouldn't say it was bad, but at the same time it wasn't great. There were many things I liked about the book, and some I disliked.

Yay! for:
  • The general premise of the story: going for your dreams even when the going gets tough. That right there is pretty inspirational, but when you read the story, it you really get the extent to which a person can go.
  • Melissa's bothers. I've always, always, ALWAYS wanted an elder brother, and reading about Melly's brothers, even the few pages that they were in, just made this wishful thought all the more strong.
  • Melissa's family and her two friends. It's a very candid relationship that they all share. They love and accept Melissa the way she is, and support her in her endeavor,, but dont hesitate to tell let her now when she's taking it too far.
  • Loving someone enough to let go. I think I'll let you figure out for yourself what I'm talking about her.
Meh! for:
  • The copious amount of horse talk. Those of you who are into horse riding, or live in/around a ranch will probably get this part of the book. But for me, it was just a tad bit tedious.
  •  In a book centered around a girl and her horse you would think that the author would focus on the relationship between the horse and the rider. But I somehow found there was a lack of bonding between Melissa and her horse, who half the time seemed way too spirited for her.
  • The title. I dont get the title at all (I mean it's relevance to the story), unless of course, the author is referring to the number of times Melissa falls from her horse.
Bottomline: Go for it if you're into books about horse riding.