Tuesday, 17 December 2013

First Look Tour of A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey : Meet Emma, and win enchanting prizes

Alyxandra Harvey, popular young adult author of the Drake Chronicles, Haunting Violet, and Stolen Away, is back with a bewitching new young adult fantasy series that will take readers through the streets of magical 19th century London. A BREATH OF FROST, the first installment in The Lovegrove Legacy (published by Bloomsbury Childrens) goes on sale January 7, 2014. It’s full of witches, magic, family secrets, goblin markets, deer-people, and boys in cravats!

A note from Alyxandra Harvey...

Like most writers, I keep notebooks full of details and ideas and character profiles for my novel in progress. I got to know Emma first and A Breath of Frost became her story.

Meet Emma:
Age: 17
Hair: Reddish brown
Eyes: Green
Hobbies: Stargazing
Familiar: Deer
Magic: Weather, especially lightning/ rainstorms
Personality traits: Practical, witty, honest, quiet
Wants: to find out what happened to her mother
Wants not to want: Cormac
Wants anyway: Cormac

I also often use collages to get to know my characters betters. It is so much more personal and opens me up to really hearing what makes her unique. In the movie in my head I cast Rachel Hurd-Wood.


Emma is a seventeen year old girl in 1814 who discovers she is a witch. She has to learn all of the social graces and the long complicated rules of etiquette in regular London society…as well as how not to make it accidentally rain inside the ballroom.
Emma is practical and quiet but she is no pushover! She refuses to let herself be cowed, even when she is being hounded and carted away by the Order of the Iron Nail. Even when the one doing the carting is Cormac Fairfax, who is just as unfairly handsome and maddening as he was a few months ago when they kissed in a snowy garden.
Emma hasn’t forgotten.
How do you forget a dark-eyed young man with a wicked grin and dangerous charm? Especially when he seems to know more about Emma’s family and her mother’s madness then she herself has ever been able to find out.
Sometimes she thinks he remembers the kiss too. And sometimes she just wants to punch him in the nose. He clearly has secrets of his own to keep and Emma doesn’t know whether or not she can trust him.
She only knows that she can’t stop thinking about him.
And with the warlock Greymalkin Sisters killing debutantes, Emma isn’t sure she has time left to figure him out.
She has to save herself and her cousins first.
~
I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Emma as much as I did!

The official book trailer :


Want to learn more about A BREATH OF FROST? Be sure to check out this "First Look" interview with Alyxandra Harvey!
Follow the "first look" tour and win enchanting prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



About A BREATH OF FROST: In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft when their individual magical powers unexpectedly begin to manifest. Now, beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring underworld available only to those with power is now open to the
cousins.

But by claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the Underworld. Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders … because she keeps finding the bodies. Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed …or even worse, before their gifts are stripped away?

“Harvey balances a large cast with an intricate plot with flair….A successful blend of Regency and paranormal romance.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“Filling her latest with a large cast of characters— from the society elite to the magical world’s dark underbelly—Harvey keeps up the action and clever dialogue as the protagonist, Emma, deals with high-class mean girls, familial secrets, and a confusing crush. A smashing blend of adventure, fantasy, humor, romance, and historical fiction.” ~ Booklist

Pre-order A BREATH OF FROST at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Amazon UK | Indigo Indiebound


About the Author: Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.

Among her favourite books are ‘The Wood Wife’ by Terri Windling, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.

Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.
Connect with Alyx at her Website | Twitter | Tumblr |Facebook | Pinterest

Friday, 6 December 2013

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas


Goodreads Summary : An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

My Rating : 5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : Crown of Midnight was an example of how a brilliant sequel should be, considering the recent fallout of follow-ups. Not only well-written, but executed with better eloquence. Where ToG had some of its demerits, I daresay, CoM has hardly any. It’s what I call a great successor to its pioneer.

The story of Celaena Sardothien continues with new turns and twists; it suck you in, dribble you out, and leave you stumbling on your feet with weight of a broken heart in you chest. And finally did she grew up, like she should have been in ToG, after spending more than a year in salt mines. CoM added loads of depth to her character, a bridge that connects her lost past and future to come.

Celaena wasn’t anymore the girl with fascination for pretty gowns and dazzling jewels. She changed into something entirely different, something beyond the mortal understanding of those who knew her. And back was the assassin I wanted to see.

“She was a beautiful wraith - and when she looked at him, it was like she didn't even know who he was.”

She gave the king a semblance of loyalty, causing her heart to torn between her duty and love. Choosing to live a double life, lying to those she cares for most wasn’t exactly easy for her. She had her flaws, she did things she shouldn't have, made decision she regretted later, and these were all what made her look realistic, believable and easy to contend with.

Character wise, I had nothing to say about Chaol. He was, and always had been, my favourite boy. The man with dignity, with care, with skill that made him worthy than any male character I had recently crossed path with.

But for Dorian, I have plenty to say. In ToG he was a one dimensional flat character, a lovesick puppy wagging tails behind Celaena, pallid in comparison to Chaol. Now, I’m really, really surprised to see the amount of development in his characterization, his growth from the shadows of his ruthless father into man of his decisions. ToG left me wondering how Dorian is going to stand out as such weak character, but here, proving me wrong, he turned out to be the spine to the story’s structural skeleton.

Once again, I would like point, how better this book was. Not only plot wise, but also the writing improved by standard. I must say, Sarah J. Mass became the magician who wove words with such a grace that it built a magical world itself.




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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa


Goodreads Summary : In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice.

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as normal as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for; his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, normal simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.


My Rating : 5 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : I have finished the book around a month or two ago when I got my dirty paws on the silvery ARC. And since then, considering how my mind tends to deceive me into remembering every little thing, I still am overwhelmed by the emotion The Iron Traitor left in its aftermath.

In a very rare occasion I end up liking all the characters in a book, and it was one case where I felt connected with each of the four MCs. I felt their ego, their sentiment, their anger and desperation, love and hatred. I wanted to cry with Kenzie, slap some senses into Ethan, both kiss and kick Kierran at the same time for his desperation (which was stupid but brave) and hold Annwyl from fading.

I felt a lot of thing and they are ineffable. I’m not sure how to put them in words.

The story began with Ethan and Kenzie, back in his normal life, was trying to make through it. Situation worsened when Kenzie’s health started to degrade due to her cancer. Ethan soon got a surprise visit (and warning) from his sister Meghan and Annwyl regarding Kierran. On the other hand Kierran was on a hell bent mission to find a cure to stop Annwyl from fading. . So once again Ethan was pulled into an unwanted quest to help Annwyl and stop Kierran from making a serious mistake before it was too late.

A character can truly be judged based on their action and reaction in different situations. I’m glad that Miss Kagawa did something like that, by putting Ethan and Kierran in situations similar to each other. Both were on the brink of losing their love. And where Kierran could go to any extent to save his, Ethan would rather cope with it than bargaining with faeries.

Here comes the difference between them, and I accept, until this point, I was leaning towards Kierran, despite his decisions were thoughtless and actions desperate, but all he did, he did them for Annwyl. It was the madness of unconditional love, the heat, the passion and the intensity that drove him out his senses. And I don’t blame him for this. But…but until the very end, he truly crossed the line between thinkable and unthinkable, sanity and insanity. Where I rather felt pity for him than anger.

Ethan showed much more maturity than his nephew. He knew the cost and consequences that might led to further trouble.

I wish I could, I thought, closing my eyes. I wish there was some way, some bargain or deal or contract, to make you well again, but I know the rules. Nothing is free. Magic and power always come with a price. And maybe that’s selfish and paranoid, but I’m not willing to pay that price, or have you pay that price. Not yet. Not when there’s still a chance you could be okay without it.

My likeness for Ethan was not an easy one. It came with difficulties. And I took time to understand him. He was a multi-layered character, a whirlwind whose thoughts spun beneath coats of dust. He was angsty, angry, frustrated. He knew he was losing Kenzie, the pain was eating him away, yet he was trying to contend with it rather than making some stupid, instant decision that might cost a lot higher than he was ready to pay.

I have not much to say about Kenzie and Annwyl. I have always viewed Annwyl as a gentle, fragile summer girl, but the strength inside really amazed me. She stood up to Kierran for the sake of his own good which he was too blind to see. And Kenzie, brave as ever, remained pretty much same.

The world building, as usual, was lurid, cinematic. It was my sixth escapade to Never-never and like every other of my visits, it was a unique experience. The iron traitor was fast paced, action packed little read. I lost the track of time while reading. I was so devoured into pages.

Like I always say, countless times, that Julie Kagawa is one of my all-time favourite authors, and I will read anything by her.



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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

AFTERPARTY first three chapters reveal + giveaway

Dear Friends, it's my honor to present the first three chapters of upcoming YA contemporary novel Afterparty by Ann Stampler, also offering you a giveaway in this happy occasion.


About AFTERPARTY: A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.

Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother—whose name her dad won’t even say out loud. That’s why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her…and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she’s everything Emma isn’t.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It’s more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, a bash where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop...

Buy Links:
Amazon, B & N, Book Depository, Indiebound


About Ann Stampler: Ann Stampler was the mild mannered author of literary picture books when she broke out, tore off her tasteful string of pearls, and started writing edgy, contemporary young adult novels set in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and writer’s-helper rescue dog – without whose compelling distraction she would have no doubt penned dozens of novels by now.

Social media links:
Twitter: @annstampler
Facebook: www.facebook.com/whereitbegan
The writing life blog: www.annstampler.com/ya
Novel in the Oven: Really Bad Writing Advice (among other things): www.annstampler.blogspot.com

Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15751652-afterparty
Author on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4949584.Ann_Redisch_Stampler
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/annstampler/boards/
The LINK to the first three chapters of AFTERPARTY by Ann Stampler: Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler Excerpt

Now the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 25 October 2013

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan


Goodreads Summary : Free from bonds, but not each other

It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?’

My Rating : 3.5 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : Untold, unfortunately, was a mediocre in comparison to its predecessor (which I gave 5 stars and listed as one of my favorites). After Sarah Rees Brennan tore my heart in the end of Unspoken, I expected the torture to continue, which, however, in this sequel turned into some emo-drama, failed to exceed my expectation.

Maybe, it was my fault, maybe I shouldn't have expected so much.

I wanted a tear-jacker sequel. I wanted something to rip my heart off and trampled it beneath the angst I wanted to feel in the same line with Kami and Jared.

The plot was simple, loosely bound and without much excitement. Without the mental connection between Kami and Jared, the originality had lost its charm. It wasn't as convoluted as Unspoken and kind of derailed from the track. I really don’t have much to say about it.

My likeness for Kami remained same. She is kind of heroine I've always adore—a complete deviation from the nitwits we are recently being presented with. She is witty, funny, and focused. Despite being an ordinary human, and without her dependency on Jared, she learned to fight back against Rob Lynburn and his band of magical peers. She was forced to face things alone, her family was verge of a huge breakdown, her best friends suddenly started avoiding each other and not to mention the awkwardness that followed between her and Jared and Ash after everything that happened in last book.

And same as Kami, my deep and irrecoverable love for Jared has not changed. He was the same tormented poor soul I met in Unspoken, and do believe when I say, I literally wanted to stroke his hair and pull him in my arms. He made my heart ache. Sigh.

Now I’m telling you why, despite my likeness for MCs, I was disappointed. I loved them both, but individually. Together, their chemistry didn't work out for me. There was so much miscommunication and misunderstanding that I wanted to pat my head against the wall. Both the character was filled with sentiment, and ego. Most of the time they turned away from each other, scared to face their true feelings. I kind of wanted to drag them and lock them in a room so they could sort out their problems.

I liked how the relationship evaluated and improved between Jared and Ash. Leaving behind all the inferiority complex, siblings rivalry and common feelings for Kami, the emerged as true brothers.
The secondary characters were well crafted as the MCs. They peeled off their shells and bloomed. Ash, whom I’m not sure is an MC or a SC, was great in the book. His feelings for Kami and guilt for what he did, or rather was forced to do, touched me. He was one character who bloomed exponentially throughout the story. And so did, Angie and Holly and Rusty. The escalating tension between Angie and Holly, Rusty’s humor, added interesting development to the story.

Even, I’m bit disappointed with Untold, I’ll still (even if the world ends) read the next installment.




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Monday, 21 October 2013

Let's get mad : Unhinged Blog Tour

Welcome to the official UNHINGED virtual tour!


There will be twelve posts over the next two weeks. We’ll have BIG giveaways, and small ones, too, with prizes ranging from ARCs to temporary tattoos (and lots of Wonderlandian goodies and games in-between). You won’t want to miss a moment!

In SPLINTERED, book one of A.G. Howard’s eerie and twisted Alice in Wonderland spinoff, Alyssa plunged headfirst into the rabbit hole and faced the macabre side of Wonderland’s whimsy.

In book 2, UNHINGED, the eerie inner workings of Wonderland start seeping into Alyssa's human world at the worst possible time for any senior girl: prom week.

Inside book two’s pages, these questions will be answered:

• What is tulgey wood?

• What are the looking glass insects, really?

• What life-altering Wonderland secret is Alyssa’s mom hiding?

• What motivates the mysterious Morpheus?

And get ready to feel the heat when the meaning behind these two lines of the Jabberwocky poem is revealed:

• All mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe (odds are it's creepier than you think).

To kick off the first stop of the tour, we’ll look to autumn and its traditions. Fall is about taking stock of the things we have, and turning our eyes to new beginnings with the end of the year in sight.

With that in mind, we’re offering a glimpse into the new SPLINTERED e-novella written from the points of view of Morpheus and Jebediah.



In the following excerpt, Morpheus wants to know more about his rival for Alyssa's affections, so he’s going to dig into Jeb's Wonderland memories. A fellow netherling creature—the keeper of lost moments—warns Morpheus that he should beware, because he might be biting off more than he can chew...

*****



Morpheus’s attention locked on the small stage across the compartment. His heartbeat thudded with anticipation, a deep and steady rhythm. Red velvet curtains waited to part at any moment, to play Jebediah’s memories on a silver screen.

“Since you’ll be riding in the boy’s head to visit his lost memories,” the furry beetle said, “I’m bound by policy to warn you . . . Human emotions can be a powerful thing. They can make you see things in an entirely different light.”

“I’m counting on that.” Morpheus smirked. “Ever hear the saying about friends and enemies?”

The beetle scratched his shaggy hide. “Um . . . keep your friends close and your enemies closer?”

Morpheus settled onto the cushioned lounge chair, smoothing his pin-striped pant legs as he crossed his ankles. “Even better to take a walk in your enemy’s shoes. ’Tis the best way to control their footsteps. Or erase them altogether, should the opportunity arise.”

The beetle, trembling again, punched a button on the wall with one spindly arm. The stage curtains opened, revealing a movie screen. “Picture the boy’s face in your mind whilst staring at the empty screen, and you will experience his past as if it were today.”

His spiel was rehearsed—mechanical, even—but Morpheus’s pulse raced. He waited for the beetle to shut off the lamp. As soon as the insect had left the room and closed the door, Morpheus’s body came apart at the seams—floating through the darkness as if he were made of dust motes. All the pieces reassembled themselves on the silver screen in vivid, cinematic colors, until he was inside Jebediah Holt’s head, wearing his body, feeling his emotions.

In that moment, Morpheus gave himself over to the experience, seeing things as a human for the first time in his life...

(Picture attribution: William Frankhouser http://tinyurl.com/m2fko32)

*****

Want to know what happens once Morpheus steps inside Jeb’s memories, and what Jeb was doing in Wonderland when he and Alyssa were separated? Click here for ordering information.

Also, before you leave, be sure to enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 12 UNHINGED ARCs.

And don't forget to join us for the second stop tomorrow, when Alyssa and Morpheus have a twitter chat about one of fall’s traditions: Thanksgiving. Maybe Alyssa can get him to admit what he’s thankful for.
Hope to see you there!

About Unhinged: Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

Links: Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble


About A.G. Howard : A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she's not writing, A.G.'s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Website/Blog/Twitter/http://www.facebook.com/authoraghoward/Tumblr/Pinterest/Goodreads

Watch Unhinged Trailer

Now the awaited giveaway. 12 ARC’s of UNHINGED Domestic Only. Sorry international folks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stop by the following blog to continue the madness.

10/22/2013 Fiction Freak
10/23/2013 The White Unicorn
10/24/2013 Icey Books
10/25/2013 The Cover Contessa
10/26/2013 Book Hounds
10/28/2013 Reading Teen
10/29/2013 Book Haven Extraordaire
10/30/2013 The Lifelong Bookworm
10/31/2013 Two Chicks on Books
11/1/2013 Fiktshun
11/2/2013 I am a Reader

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Cracked (Soul Eater #1) by Eliza Crewe


Goodreads Summary : Ever since my mom was murdered, I’ve been completely alone. I live in the shadows, because there’s no one like me. I have no choice because I have to fight the Hunger, the Hunger that drives me to hunt people and eat their souls. And I have to fight it if I want to stay out of the darkness.

Who am I?
I’m Meda Melange.
What am I?
I don’t know—but I’m not human.
And now, I finally have the chance to find out.

In this first book of the gripping Soul Eater trilogy, find out who Meda is and which side she will come down on in a thrilling tale of the war between good and evil.

My Rating : 3.5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : This is not a story for children or for fainthearted folks. This is a story about a girl who is YA version of Dexter, who enjoys ripping bad guys limb to limb (pretty gruesomely) and then writes message on wall with blood of her victims. Our half-demon heroine is embodiment of evil, epitome of ultimate killing machine.

Normal people have a hard enough time staying good. How could someone who's already half-evil pull it off?

The story follows the journey of a unrepentant, manipulative soul though a dark tunnel towards the light. Cracked wasn't your so-call mainstream book based on the old theme of good versus evil, rather about the fine line between good and evil dwelling within us, about how every second of every day we are battling our own demons. The book has successfully delivered that one simple message.

The book is narrated by Meda in first person and liking the book entirely depends on whether you like her or not. Meda was ungovernably violent without qualm of conscience. Her voice of narration was witty and dark, and what underlay her snarky humor, was moral questions that made me go all philosophical.

Craked, I think, has a pretty cool concept. From soul eating demons to crusaders to Templers. Though I liked it to an extent, it just didn't had the right materials to be for me. Meda's aggressiveness and constant sarcasm was bit too rough of my taste, but I’m sure there are many readers who will enjoyed it much more than I did. Not that I don’t like bad ass killing machines, I truly do. I’m fan of anti-heroines and one of my favorites is Anna. But here, Meda pushed beyond the line of extremity at points.

Nonetheless Cracked surprised me to a greater degree. Full of nonstop cinematic actions, the book was entertaining no doubt, but bored me at times. The story was inconsistent at first, just some motley assortment of scenes that had been glued together and you’re left wondering what driving force instigated them. Around the halfway, the story hauled itself up to maturity, romance was included and so was tragedy. From here Meda's story got interesting enough to make me flipping though the pages.

Crewe is, no doubt, an excellent author. She damn well knows how to stay within one‘s view point, and explores others. Meda was exactly what the author wanted her to be and like her, the other characters in the book (Jo, Chi and Uri) were also well constructed, adding more color and dimension to the story. Different from each other in personality but as a team, those four characters were indomitable.

If the small holes can be ignored, the whole package is fantastic. Recommended for the fans of Anna Dressed in Blood and for those to whom blood is quite fascinating.

A review copy was provided to me by Penguin India in exchange for a honest review.



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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon


Goodreads Summary : It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars


My Thought :

As the most hyped YA novel of 2013, there is no doubt that Samantha Shannon’s novel The Bone Season is a wonderful, ground-breaking debut.

In this debut, we are faced with the familiar setting of a near future dystopian society with some unfamiliar concepts. The author did an excellent job into weaving them altogether and creating a beautifully crafted, richly imaginative novel—a thrill ride of improbable escapade. After surviving the info-dumps on the very first chapter, the story had me absorbed into pages.


The world of Bone Season was a unique itself and intricate in its complexity where magic met sci-fi trickery. The story began in a futuristic London under control of a centralized security force called Scion and follows 19 years old Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant, one of the rarest of the voyants with the ability to encroach anyone’s mind. And in this realm where physic powers are forbidden, where the voyants commit treason simply by breathing, Paige works for Seven Seal—the underground criminal syndicate. Her talent of dream-walking lies with her connection to the aether, and during her out of body experience she simply stops breathing. Soon after, accidentally killing two guards, she was captured and shipped off to Sheol I— a colony controlled by an otherworldly race called Rephaims (They aren’t angels in traditional sense. They don't have fluffy wings. They are rather frightening, godly-looking creatures who shred yellow/golden blood). There she began training under Arcturus Warden, her stoic Rephaite keeper. From here the story took an interesting turn.

I really loved Paige as a character, neither too weak nor not too strong that gave her room to grow as an individual. And so was Warden— Mystical behind his brooding demure, we get occasional glimpses of the man inside, who cares for his lowly human protégé. The author put her characters into situation and watching their evolution was the best part of the novel. There was one particular moment I would like to mention, when Paige took stand against oppression even though standing wasn’t easy, where at the same time Warden simply stood silent and watched as his ruthless consort murdered an innocent. Given their circumstance, both the characters acted according to it and such contrast in their behaviour made them distinct from each other.

Talking about the info-dumps which was the biggest weakness of the book, some details were unnecessarily ambiguous,where few other terminologies were unexplained. Providing the glossary was given at end, it was difficult to go through them every time a new term appeared, which according to me slowed down the pace at places.

For the work that has been ironically compared to J.K. Rowling, the weight of expectation was too much to bear, and while The Bone Season was quite successful in satisfying my cravings, it can't be considered as the next Harry Potter Saga. But after the slack-jawed, I’m truly interested to see what happens next.



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Monday, 2 September 2013

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan


Goodreads Summary : Ingrid Waverley is a young woman to be reckoned with. Faced with her brother's mysterious disappearance after an abrupt move to Paris, she is determined to discover what has happened to him. Soon she and her sister Gabriella are drawn into a Parisian underworld more terrifying than they could ever have imagined, but watching over them are two impossible (and impossibly handsome) young men. Luc is a 'Dispossessed', an ancient gargoyle whose sworn duty it is to protect the humans who inhabit his abbey. Nolan has secrets of his own too. He is a member of the Alliance - a shadowy group dedicated to keeping Paris safe from the demonic forces that threaten to destroy it.

Secrets, danger and hidden powers stalk the girls in this beautifully imagined paranormal romance that will keep readers gripped from beginning to end - and one thing is for sure - you'll never look at a gargoyle in the same way again..

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars



My Review : The Beautiful and The Cursed was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it, clearly stood up to my expectations. Gargoyles are a new horizon of YA fiction, an interesting dimension added to the territory flooding with werewolves, vampires, or fairies. Not to mention the off-springs of The Hunger Games.

Set in the city of lights, the city of dreams, Paris in 1899, the story follows 17 years old Ingrid and her 15 years of sister, along with their mother, in search of her missing brother Grayson. The story might seem a rip-off of Clockwork Angel, though fear you not, it’s nothing like that. It’s completely an original plot of its own.

When the family arrived in a rotting, crumbling church abbey aka their residence, the sister find out things are more complicated than they though. Like Grayson, more people are vanishing every day, and there is a supernatural force causing every disappearance. The more they delve into the mystery, the more got close the danger awaits them.

I was wholly impressed by the writing. It was beautiful, with great flow and touch of Victorian literature. The mythology incorporated with gargoyles was nicely done, and well developed, no barrage of info dumps were fired at us. Although what kept me from giving the book a full five stars was a little lack of details related to the new terminologies introduced, such as the Underneath, the Dispossessed, Dusters, the Alliance etc.

The setting was also beautifully inlaid throughout the book, and I certainly immersed in the gothic environment the author creature. The labyrinthine passages of the abbey, ancient architecture and inanimate grotesque gave me goosebumps.

Each character was also well-written. Ingrid made a likable heroine, to whom I could relate myself with. She was stubborn, careful and dauntless, but most definitely not stupid. Her each step was calculated, and she knew what to do next. I loved her love and devotion to her brother, and so was Gabby.
For a 15 years old girl, Gabby was mature and possesses a great inner fortitude beyond her age, though he was bit brat, short-tempered and impatient, which, in my opinion added a flavour to her character. Without the different traits of a human nature, a character becomes flawless but dull and boring. And in this case both the characters were believable, and in contrast to each other, made a great team of sisters.

As for the romantic interests, I was swooned by Luc, the charming, occasionally brooding gargoyle guardian Luc. And through the book, I found my cheering for both Luc and Ingrid.
And Nolan, Gabby’s love interest, was arrogant and domineering, but that was fine with me. I found his occasional quarrels with Gabby funny, a relief from the constant seriousness of the plot.

The book is recommendable for anyone who is looking for an avenue to escape from the conventional paranormal fictions. The Beautiful and The Cursed is worth trying and time.




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Monday, 12 August 2013

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani


Goodreads Summary : “The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

My Rating : 3.5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : I’m confused.

The marketing strategy for the book is quite evident that the book gets enough hype to draw attentions from readers of all genres, from MG to YA, from YA to non YA. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this book.

And I’m not sure how to articulate them all together in a review.

Maybe because the book didn't live up to the excitation and expectation it created within me. Well. I’m going to use the some old phrase-
it’s me, not you.


There is no doubt the author did a unique job by blending his creativity with fairy tales that we have heard over times, embarking a magical escapade to world we all had dreamed to live in our tween- remember the feeling of having your first crush, the blush on your cheeks, dreaming of your prince charming?

The book brings back memories of those days.

In land of Gavaldon, a mysterious thief whisks away children to School for Good and Evil, where they are trained to play their predestined roles in fairy tales. Sophie, with her
princes-perfect good looks, glass sleepers and devotion to good deeds
, dreams of being kidnapped and placed in School of Good, where she can follow the footsteps of legendary past graduates, like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White and many others, those who had been entitled as heroes in pages of storybook. While, Sophie’s best friend Agatha, with her
shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone
, seems a perfect fit for the rank of villains in School for Evil.

But when two girls are swept away in the woods, they found their fortunes reversed. Sophie, instead of School for Good, was dumped into School for Evil and Agatha was thrust among the princes and fair-maidens of the land, therefore soon they enters in a struggle for identity, desperate to switch their places.

A vivid image of this magical world was given through the story, and to enhance our mundane imagination further, a brilliant map of the school and artistic sketches on the beginning of each chapter was also provided.

And what interesting subjects they teach in the school, reminding me a bit of the curriculum activities of Harry Potter. For example Uglification, Princess Etiquette, Animal Communication, Death Trap, more charms and curses. Sound awesome, don’t they?

While I really didn't care much about beautiful Sophie and her vanity, I definitely felt for Agatha. To me, Sophie went from utterly annoying to totally evil. While her friend struggles to become a fearsome villain, Agatha was the one who always stood by her, no matter what. And there was Hort. A lovely boy that he is, such an adorable character.

Overall the book was good, I enjoyed those little hilarious moments. The book explores different side of friendship and love, jealousy and revenge, being moral and immoral.

But…

But…

I believe, this could have been showed in a different way rather than taking the same old (and boring) straightforward strategy of Team Good vs. Team Evil.



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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris


Goodreads Summary :24 meets the X Files in the amazing follow up to Unravelling.

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but civilisation is slowly rebuilding, and life is finally starting to resume some kind of normality. Until Interverse agent Taylor Barclay shows up. He’s got a problem, and he needs Janelle’s help. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring – kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths. And Ben, with his unique abilities, is the prime suspect. To make things worse, Janelle learns that someone she cares about – someone from her own world – has become one of the missing.

Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

In this heart-pounding sequel to Unravelling, author Elizabeth Norris explores the sacrifices we make to save the people we love and the worlds we’ll travel to find them.

My rating : 4 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : Before I begin my review, I have a question for the author. Why?

In the last one, you killed Alex, and in this one….okay let’s not make it spoiler, but why Miss Noris?

Why?

And I heard it’s a two book series.

Really Miss Noris? How can you be that unfair?

Okay, let’s start with the story.

In the last seventeen years old Janelle was hit by a truck, and died, but Ben, a boy with unique multiverse travelling ability, brought her back. However, their love story didn't have a quite happy ending and Ben ended up going back to his world, Prima, the parallel earth, one of the finite possible universes.

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal, Janelle, still devastated, was trying to move one with her life. If I may quote Shakespeare, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” But unfortunately for her, it wasn’t. And when the workaholic, perfectionist, arrogant Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up with, with horrible news of a human trafficking racket, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earth and worse Ben is the prime suspect. Now Janelle has no other choice but to team up with Barclay and go after Ben, but what she doesn't have is time.

The book was a thrilling roller-coaster ride for me, roved with action in a way that nearly detonated my brain. First I was a bit sceptical on return of Taylor Barclay, but as the story progressed I actually forgot Ben was the protagonist, not Barclay. Barclay even overshadowed Janelle. I discover a different side of him that was never seen before, the side that led me believe Barclay does have a heart. He was a lot more than the smart ass, arrogant, ambitious guy I met in Unravelling.
Janelle was same as I remember her being in the first novel, the headstrong girl next door. I admired her loyalty to ben, even after spending time another guy. When Ben and Janelle finally reunited, it was not as I expected, and definitely not a sweet one. They went through many ups and downs, crossed many mountains to be with each other (not to mention there was a whinny Prima version of Janelle).

And for Ben….okay let’s not go there. I kinda overlooked him throughout the book. So, yeah! I have nothing to say about him.

The ending. Mhan! That ending. It killed me right there right then. I wish there was a bit more emotion to punch my heart bleed.

To me, Unbreakable was almost everything a sequel should be. I love this book more than the first one. Of course its not same without Alex, but Barclay...you rock wonder boy.





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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Acid by Emma Pass


Goodread's Summary : 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


The world of ACID was gruesome, and disturbing. Set in a distant future of 2113, a futuristic England is now under control of the absolute and centralized police force name ACID, and they throw everyone behind bars who opposes their rules. In such world, seventeen years old Jenna is severing a life time sentence for a crime she doesn’t even remember. When a mysterious rebel group breaks her, out her quest for truth begins.

In this competitive market of dystopian genre, it needs to exceptionally extraordinary to stand out among the growing, glowing number of YA books. Thankfully, ACID has that potential.

I loved when Jenna kicked some ass. I loved her strength, her wit, her head strong attitude. Before her prison, she used to be an uptown girl, but quite rebellious. But what she lacks of is emotions, but I don’t blame her for that. Two years in ACID jail, and you become such.
For the love interest, Max, he was okay. Truly, his character was overshadowed by Jenna. I like a hero, who actually shows heroism, and here, I felt Jenna herself executed the role very well. So for me, other than being the love interest, Max was quite underdeveloped for the story.

However, the setting, as I said, was atmospheric. I almost felt the aphasic horror caused by ACID force. I would say, the author did a great job in founding the base of the story, but there was few holes in the world building. But ignoring that, ACID was overall a brutally enjoyable book, and if you are a dystopian fan, try you must.



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Friday, 5 July 2013

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau


Gooreads Summary : 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.

Ellie's Rating : 3 of 5 stars

Ellie's Thought : I have mixed feeling about The Testing. I think the author tried a bit TOO hard to make the MC, Cia too awesome and great.
The main thing about The Testing is that EVERYONE that goes into the Testing is supposed to be the top of their class. Super smart in different ways.
But we only see Cia as being smart. She’s the ONLY one that notices things, the ONLY one who realizes plots and plans and cameras and that their being watched and listened to and…. EVERYTHING. There are a handful of minor characters that are in the testing and because they were chosen to be in the testing, you’d think they were smart as well. That they would notice these things too.
Nope.
The only people that show any type of cunningness are people that are against her…
And the love interest… She’s basically taking care of him ALL the time- she’s basically taking care of EVERYONE all the time. He’s supposed to be smarter than her. But, as I’ve said above, no one but Cia is smart in this world of extremely smart people…
It’s really the only, and yet, BIGGEST downfall of this book. It could have been amazing and interesting if the secondary characters were just as much fleshed out and given priorities as Cia…
Now, the world building was good. It’s the typical dystopian type world building, not amazingly unique, but solid.
My ranking is a 3/5. The writing and world is good. But Cia is toeing that Mary Sue line. I hope in the next book, the secondary characters get more of the spot light.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Win a copy of City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster


An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.


Many thanks to author Miriam Forster for donating a signed copy of her debut novel City Of A Thousand Dolls. And et voilà, the Giveaway is opened internationally.

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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Cover Reveal + Giveaway : The Sound Of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe



About THE SOUND OF LETTING GO: For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.

But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How do you know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?

Stasia on twitter: https://twitter.com/swkehoe
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Stasia-Ward-Kehoe/480528638649616
At Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/125253.Stasia_Ward_Kehoe
At her blog: http://swardkehoe.blogspot.com

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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry



Goodreads Summary : Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."


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....

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : First it was a big, huge, round shaped, rainbow colored bubble, continuously inflating with expectation, and then…it deflated, breathing out the air of high expectation. Honestly, that’s what happened to me.

Of course I liked the book, and it was one of the delightful read of 2013, but reconciling it with its successful ancestor, Pushing The Limits, this one was definitely a successful offspring, but somehow failed to bestow the expectation.

Remember Beth Risk, Noah’s best friend, the girl with huge dislike for rest of the world? Yes, she returns with her fierce attitude in this sequel as protagonist. She moved with uncle in new town, or should I say the old one. She joined her old school again in an attempt to start her screwed up life anew, however everything didn’t go well as she planned. She felt trapped with her uncle’s rules, no drinking, no revealing cloths, no hook-ups, and worst of all, she met Ryan, the golden boy of tow, exactly the kind she hates.

Beth had her own issues to deal with, and so did Ryan. His life was not perfect as it seemed, he was struggling too, struggling to keep up his false façade. When their world collided, their problem merged, they fell for each other. And all these started with a dare.

Well, Ryan was a cool character, really cool, and I liked him in comparison to Beth. For Beth, she was complicated. I know she had family issue to deal with and all, so did Echo in the first book. And Echo’s way was better and clearer, where I doubt Beth herself ever knew what she was going to do next. She was suffering for the conflict within herself, between her decisions and her feelings. However slowly, she won the battle within herself, also she paid a price by losing her best-friend. I liked the way Beth learned to trust people around her as the story progressed, first Ryan, then her uncle. Her character Development was notable.

Echo and Noah were epic, seriously, but Beth and Ryan? I’m uncertain. I mean they could have been great, but somehow it didn’t work for me. Maybe, because I badly wanted to ship Isaiah X Beth, and the way Beth was always talking about Isaiah for the first half of the book, somehow there was slight hope flickering within me very positively. Heavens above, my heart did break for Isaiah. He deserved happiness.

Overall Dare To You was very compelling read, without a doubt. I finished the book overnight. Trust me, if you have read Pushing The Limits, you don’t miss this one. Highly recommended for fans of Simon Elkeles.

And dear god, now I have to wait for Crush Into You. I hope my dearest Isaiah will finial found the one. And if he doesn't, I'm here.



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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Impostor by Jill Hathaway


Goodreads Summary : Be afraid of your shadow...Vee Bell has witnessed murder. She nearly died trying to track down the killer, all because of her secret condition. She'd tell her best friend Rollins but lately he seems more interested in his colleague Anna than her. Maybe she should confide in her long-lost aunt who's turned up out of the blue? All of a sudden life is happening in reverse: Vee is waking up in weird places not knowing what she's done. The only thing she's sure of is that someone is messing with her. And when a prank goes horribly wrong, this time the hands with blood on them might be hers.

My Rating : 3.5 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : Vee Bell possess a rare gift, or a curse, to slide into the mind of another person and experiencing life, through that person’s eyes, taking control of his or her action. After the horrifying incident of witnessing a murder though the victim’s eyes, Vee finally solved the mystery. But just as she thought her life was going back to normal, someone else started slid into her in occasions, and made her life more complicated.

Vee Bell was very likable character and she made a promising protagonist. She was analytic, the part I most liked about her. She was emotionally strong (well, some point I found it way too hard- core, a bit lack of feelings. Mind you, I ‘m into emotional things.) while dealing with Zane’s death and at one point she realized she had insta-love relation with him, and Rollins was the one who always stood by her. I liked how their best-friendship bloomed into love. It was believable and destined. Hey, I knew it would eventually happen, since the author subtly removed Zane out of the story. And Rollins, I love you man.

Last summer when I read Slide, I enjoyed it. The mystery was well written, blended with the story in layer by layer. However, for Imposter, I’m a bit confused. We were acquainted some new characters that had me confused. I pretty much suspected all of them as the villain. In Imposter, the suspense part was done well, but the big revelation was also unexpected but the reason didn’t justify the book blurb, where it is clearly stated “What if a killer took control of you?” I find it difficult to express my feelings. I liked almost everything about the story, yet somehow I’m not satisfied.

I didn't realize when I finished the book. Yes, it was that fast. I don’t know why I felt so, maybe because the plot was engaging or due to the wispy detailing. I must say the book was well written. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it, from beginning till the end.




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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Exclusive Interview with Imogen Howson , author of Linked


Me : Welcome Imogen to my blog Pages From My Thoughts.

Imogen : Hi, and thank you for having me!

Me : What was you inspiration behind Linked? Would you like to tell us a little bit about your upcoming novel Linked?

Imogen : Linked was inspired by a magazine article I read, about twins who experienced a telepathic link—one of them felt when the other was in trouble. The working title for Linked was Telepathic Twins in Space, which I think sums it up pretty well! Basically, the heroine, Elissa, experiences weird visions, which turn out to be produced by her telepathic link with the twin she never knew she had, and she ends up having to help her twin, Lin, escape from the people who have kept her imprisoned.

Me : What is the most difficult thing about writing a novel? What inspired you in writing?

Imogen : The most difficult thing is sitting down every day to produce a new scene out of nowhere! It’s very inspiring, though, to focus on how, hopefully, my books can give as much pleasure to people as other authors’ books have given me.

Me : How did you overcome writer’s block?

Imogen : Writer’s block can happen for all sorts of reasons, so overcoming it really depends on why it’s happening. If I’m feeling stuck, I usually take my laptop and go and work somewhere outside my house. It’s surprising how helpful it is to be able to sit and drink coffee that I didn’t have to make myself, and to know it’s not my job to wash up the cup afterwards.


Me : As we know Elisa and Lin, the two main characters from Linked look alike, so what makes them different from each other?

Imogen : Lin has not only grown up in an institution, but she’s grown up being told she’s not even human. This has created one of the main differences between her and Elissa, that Lin has almost no natural empathy, no fellow-feeling for other people. This ends up causing real problems for Elissa as she tries to get to know her twin!

Me : What are your favourite YA books?

Imogen : Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, and Little Women by L.M. Alcott.

Me : Other than writing, what do you enjoy most?

Imogen : Reading! Also running in the countryside around my house, watching teen movies, and drinking wine with friends.

Me : Any tips for the aspiring authors?

Imogen : Read a lot. Pay attention to what you like reading, what works for you (even if other people don’t like it or say it’s a bad story or bad writing), and then write the book you want to read but that you haven’t found yet.

Me : Thank you Imogen, for you time and consideration. It was such an honour to have you over my blog.

Imogen : Thank you so much for having me!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Exclusive Interview with Amy Butler Greenfield, author of Chantress + Win a copy of Chantress and Swags (Intl)


Me : What inspired you to write Chantress, a historical YA fiction with elements of fantasy?

Amy : I’m fascinated by the past, and everything I write has some history in it. I’ve also loved fantasy fiction since I was small. Chantress is my way of putting those two favorite things together.

Me : Chantress was set during 1600’s England, how did you balance the elements of fantasy and the historical backdrop?

Amy : I set Chantress in the 1600s in part because I wanted to write about a time when everyone—even scientists—believed in the possibility of magic. But in Chantress, magic really exists, and of course that’s had an effect on everything: people, culture, politics, society. So the book is mostly fantasy, set in a world that’s a skewed version of 1600s England, with twisty streets and underground crypts and would-be alchemists—and a tyrant Lord Protector in the Tower of London.

Me : Would you like to tell us about your research on that era?

Amy : I was lucky enough to know the period really well before I ever thought about writing Chantress, so that was a huge help. But I still had plenty of questions crop up as I was drafting the book—about the clothes my characters wore, the foods they ate, the streets they walked on. I could find some answers in books, but sometimes I needed to go to museums and historic houses here in England to see things for myself—which was the best research of all.

Me : Would you like to share your experience in the way of publication?

Amy : Chantress is my first YA book and my first fantasy. I needed and wanted to write it, but it was so different from what I’d written before that I wasn’t certain it would ever sell. But once I was finally finished (which took years), I quickly connected with a wonderful agent, and within days of submitting the manuscript, we had competing bids coming in. It was very exciting!

Me : As Chantress is the first installment of a trilogy, would you like to share few words about the upcoming books?

Amy : I don’t want to give away any secrets, so I can’t say much! But I can promise you that Lucy and Nat will still be at the heart of the adventures to come, and that there are new things in store in Book Two, including one of my very favorite characters in the whole series.


Me : What is most difficult thing about creating a character?

Amy : Figuring out what really makes them tick. Sometimes the answers you get at first are the wrong ones, and you don’t learn the truth until a draft or two later. The other tricky thing is making a character consistent enough to be understandable, and yet unpredictable enough to be real.


Me : The magic in Chantress is based on music. Would you like to share your idea about developing such kind of magic? Is there any particular song that inspired you in doing so?

Amy : I didn’t have any particular song in mind, but I wanted the magic in Chantress to have a visceral power, and to me what expressed that best was music. And it felt right to me that it should be music without words, or at least no words as we understand them. The human voice is an incredible instrument, one that can makes us laugh or smile or shout or dance. It can bring us to tears or make us rejoice. And I loved the idea of a world where Chantresses could hear music in everything.

Me : How long did it take writing Chantress? Would you like to tell us about experience during writing the very first draft of Chantress. How different it was from the final version?

Amy : It took me two years to write the first draft of Chantress, and almost six years to get to the final draft. Part of that was because it was such a busy time: During those same years, I became a mom, I had a major health crisis, and our family made an international move. But what also slowed me down was that Chantress was a new kind of writing for me. The book went through a lot of drafts, and the first was very different from the last—but with each draft I understood the people and the world better.

Me : Any advice for the aspiring authors?

Amy : Read, read, read. Write, write, write. And when you write, be brave and be true to yourself!


Many thanks to Amy for time her time and consideration for this interview. Also, a humble thanks to her for offering a copy of Chantress along with some beautiful stickers and bookmarks. Please enter via the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open internationally.

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza


Goodreads Summary : Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.


My Rating : 4 of 5 stars


My Review : The way technology is advancing in an incredible rate, we can see the reflection of such improvement upon novels, and such thinking is beyond imagination.

A normal girl with no memory of her past, we have heard such stories many times but let me say this one is different. It has blood rushing, jaw dropping Bourne Identity-style detailed action, hi-fi technology that was used well in places, romance that will not disappoint you.
After a losing her father and her memory in devastating fire Mila was trying to build her life anew in a remote town with her mother. But a car accident changes everything. It was revealed that Mila isn’t a normal girl; she isn’t even a human at all. Mobile Intel Lifelike Android-an experimental artificial intelligence created using Nano technology, she is programmed to function like a normal teenage girl, adapting the surroundings and surviving like a normal human does . When her trued identity unveils she has no choice but run from the scientists who created her and they won’t stop at nothing until they get her back.

The pace quickly picked up at the beginning that I hardly got a time to let out my breath during the whole story, a little bit predictable, that’s all. The romance was little off beat, as I felt it, though I will be looking forward to see more Hunter in the next unsentimental. There was a totally, utterly bitchy fried named Kaylee whom I wanted to kill with my bare hands. Seriously, why on earth anyone would like to befriend her? She was evil avatar of Gossip Girl characters. However Mila was very likable, she was naive at the beginning, slowly her character developed as she started accepting who she is and what she is capable of doing.

Undeniably, it was a fast, fun and exciting read. One can easily visualize the action sequences; it was more like watching a sci-fi movie. I will definitely be awaiting for the sequel to come.






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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Exclusive Interview with Polly Holyoke, author of The Neptune Project + Win a Signed ARC of The Neptune Project (Intl)



Me : What was your inspiration behind The Neptune Project?

Polly : I’ve always loved the sea and wondered if we could possibly live in it someday. I’ve also been fascinated by our rapid progress in genetic engineering. I wondered if in the future we might transform ourselves so that we can breathe water and colonize the oceans which cover 5/6ths of our planet. And then I wondered what that experience would truly be like for the pioneers who went into the sea, especially if they were children.

Me : As a great part of the story is set under the sea, would you like to tell us about your research on underwater life?

Polly : I’ve always been a scuba diver, and I think that helped me to describe the world under the waves in convincing detail. I also spent a GREAT deal of time researching oceanography and talking to dive masters and dolphin trainers. My very favorite moments in researching this book, however, came the day I went snorkeling with wild spinner dolphins in Hawaii and listened via a hydrophone to humpback whales singing. Whale songs are one of the most beautiful and mysterious sounds in nature.

Me : What would be the perfect one line pitch for The Neptune Project?

Polly : When the sea has become humankind’s last hope, a group of teens fight to survive beneath the waves.

Me : Would you like to give us a brief preview of The Neptune Project?

Polly : Here’s a short blurb for the book:

The Neptune Project is set in a future where the seas are rising and wars and famines wrack the surface world. Nere Hanson and her teen companions are shocked to learn that they have been genetically altered by their desperate parents to live in the sea. Protected by her loyal dolphins, shy Nere leads the rest on a perilous journey to her father’s new colony. Fighting off government divers, sharks and giant squid, can Nere and her companions learn to trust each other before their dangerous new world destroys them?


Me : During the writing, what was the most difficult thing you faced, world building or character development?

Polly : I’ve read so much science fiction and fantasy over the years, world building is relatively easy and great fun for me. I did have to spend a lot of time thinking about the characters in this book. I wanted Nere’s companions to include interesting, real and diverse kids with strong personalities which could and would generate plenty of conflict. Along the way, I was delighted when many of the dolphins in the story even developed strong personalities of their own

Me : Tell us about your voyage to publication.

Polly : I was fortunate. Once I signed with a good agent, The Neptune Project sold quickly. I did do my homework, though, and spent hours figuring out which agents to query first with this particular project. The research paid off. It truly is KEY to send your work to agent who likes the kind of stuff you write.

Me : If you were given a chance to change something in the world, what would it be?

Polly : Wow, that’s a tough one! I can think of at least a dozen off the top of my head. I would like us to make the transition away from fossil fuels before it’s too late to keep our planet from overheating.

Me : Would you like to give a message to the readers?

Polly : The oceans matter. They are an incredible source of protein for our over-populated planet, but we need to manage their resources more wisely. Right now we have more fishing capacity than we have fish! And if the oceans continue to warm, phytoplankton (which serves as the foundation of the ocean food chain and absorbs just as much carbon dioxide as trees do) will die. Then our entire planet is in serious trouble.

Many thanks to Polly for time her time and consideration for this interview. Also, a humble thanks to her for offering a signed ARC of The Neptune Project. Please enter via the Rafflecopter below.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters


Goodreads Summary :In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

My Rating : 5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : In 1918, where a war torn earth was on the verge of a great misbalance, outbreak of a deadly plague frightened the human and ghost alike-the epidemic Spanish Influenza. It scares me to think what it was like back then when humanity was on verge of eradication. Not the Influenza but also in the war ravaged world, many lost their loved ones in the terrors and trenches of World War I. Every single glimpse of it we can picture while reading In The Shadow of The Black Birds. There is no doubt the author did an great amount of research before writing the book which is clearly evident by the author’s note included at the end of the book.

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Mary Shelly is not your usual heroine. For a sixteen years old girl, Shelly showed a great inner fortitude where everyone else was painstakingly struggling in a world of epidemic outbreak of flu. We come face to face with emotion when her childhood sweetheart Stephen died in the war filed. Her vulnerability over his death yet strength to find out the truth behind Stephen’s death, we met an incredible heroine with sides I can’t help but admiring. Truly, all credit goes to the author for creating such a realistic heroine a reader can easily relate herself to.

Among the other characters, Stephen made such an impression in my mind. We always expect a hero to be immensely strong and extremely courageous and we expect him to do miraculous that some is not even naturalistic. However, here Stephen is just a boy like we see in our day to day life, a boy who feared, a boy who went through mental trauma, a boy who gave us every reason to be emphasized with him.

The other side character were just influential for the story line, I liked their roles as positive and negative catalyst, including Julias and Aunt Eva. The secondary characters truly made an impression.

The book was written in simple yet very artful way, one that captures our interest. The world building was hunting along with those photographs attached to the book which enriches the spookiness of the story. The suspense was well maintained, however around the middle of the book I guess who could be the villain but still I must say, the mystery was well build. In The Shadow of The Blackbirds is recommendable for everyone, the book is worth reading, truly.




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Friday, 12 April 2013

Exclusive Interview with Miriam Forster, author of City of a Thousand Dolls



Me : Describe City of a Thousand Dolls in three lines.

Miriam : Murder and mayhem
Beauty and danger
Talking cats and kissing


Me : What inspired you in writing City of a Thousand Dolls?

Miriam : The initial inspiration was a combination of different things. One was line in another book about being "groomed" for someone. Another was a book about gehisa that I was reading at the time. And then my boyfriend--now my husband--went to India for a few weeks. I ended up wanting to write about a place where girls were groomed and trained for different tasks and set it in a South Asian-type of world.

Me : What is your favourite scene from City of a Thousand Dolls?

Miriam : So hard to choose! Without spoiling anything, I think it's after Nisha returns to the City and talks to Devon. There's a part at the end of that scene that makes me cheer every time. *grin*

Me : I’m very tempted to ask about your research on Indian Culture while you were writing City of a Thousand Dolls. You can imagine why.

Miriam : The research was kind of an ongoing thing with the writing. I wrote most of the first draft of the book in the cafe of our local Barnes and Noble bookstore. So when I'd get stuck, I'd go to the travel section or the history section and grab a few books to look things up in. I was still researching details right up through the editing process. For example, originally, the toy that Nisha brings with her to the City is a carved spotted cat. But originally it was a stuffed animal. I realized at the very last minute that stuffed animals would probably not have been invented yet and changed it. We were in first pass pages by then, the ones that come formatted like the book. The only thing you're supposed to do with them is check for typos and misspellings. But they let me tweak it anyway.

I ended up basing a lot of the Empire on the early Indus River Valley civilizations. Basically my question was, what if you took these people and isolated them for five hundred years? What would happen? The Empire was my answer to that.

Me : Tell us about your journey to the way of being published.

Miriam : City of a Thousand Dolls is the second book I ever wrote. It took me a year and a half to write and edit. Then I queried it off and on for two years, in between writing several other books. At one point I tore it apart and rewrote it. But I was still getting no as an answer. So I sent it to one more agent, just to keep my spirits up. Imagine my surprise when she loved it. And then she found an editor who loved it too. I was about to move on and work on other books, but I'm really glad this was the one that made it.

Me : If City of Thousand Dolls was a movie, who would you like to see play the characters? Any particular actors and actresses in mind?

Miriam : I've been thinking about this, and I don't know! If anyone has any suggestions, I'd LOVE them



Me : How different is City of Thousand Dolls than its first draft?

Miriam : The original draft was 30,000 words shorter, had twelve Houses instead of six, and had five extra characters and an extra murder. It was really fast paced and messy. Akash wasn't in it at all, and neither was the masquerade Originally, Nisha only enters the story at the third murder (the extra one that I cut) and is told about the others. When I rewrote the story completely, that was one of the things I changed. Other than that, most of the major changes were things my editor and I came up with to streamline and strengthen the story.

Me : When the sequel is coming out?

Miriam : It's actually a companion novel! And we're shooting for Fall of 2014. This one is taking me longer to edit because it's a much more complicated book. But there will be LOTS of Sune goodness and lots of Black Lotus and you'll get to see the capitol city. There will also be a few crossover characters for the first book.

Me : Books you are looking forward to read at this moment?

Miriam : I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of Clockwork Princess when Cassandra Claire came through my town. I'm excited to read it, but I want to read the other two again first. :)

Me : Thank you Miriam for your time and consideration for this interview. And best wishes for the success of CoTD.

Miriam : Thank you for having me!