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!

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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.