Thursday, 25 December 2014

Amy & Matthew by Cammie McGovern

Book Summery : Amy loves Matthew and he loves her back. This is their story.

Amy is unflinchingly honest about her limitations. Born with cerebral palsy, she can’t walk or talk without help. But trapped inside this uncooperative body lies a brilliant mind and a luminous spirit – a girl capable of truly loving and worthy of being loved in return.

Matthew has his own set of challenges – a mind consumed by unwanted repeated thoughts, obsessive rituals and a crippling fear that he can't explain. But underneath all of the anxiety lies a deep seed of hope for someone to come along who believes in him…

This is the story of Amy and Matthew. It may not be a fairy tale romance or set in an imagined world far from our own. But the love they share is real. And yes, there's magic in it.

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : Amy and Matthew...Yaah!! It’s a love story–-a story of two disabled high school students. Whereas Amy is a patient of cerebral palsy, Matthew is suffering from OCD. And it’s very clear that a love story of such central characters is a journey of searing sympathy, and so it is. It’s a story of falling in love for first time. It’s a story of soaring over fears and disabilities.

Though the initial chapters was quite boring and sometime over-stressed but as the story progresses it snags the reader’s attention. Written from a dual point of view, the story is worth sharing positive reviews.

The catchiest sides of the story are the spark in Amy, the wittiness in her dialogues and the courage in self. Sending her loved one in date with another girl just for the sake of him, despite knowing the possibility of losing her boyfriend, is a selfless act.

The story starts with Amy, being a cerebral palsy patient, got her classmate Matthew, along with a few others, as an aid for teaching her the act of socialization that she might need for her college. The honest and straightforward Matthew was never so fond of doing this but applied on request of Amy. I think, initially, Matthew was sort of jealous of Amy’s smartness. The story then accelerates beautifully with different instances of their interactions which smoothly morph from friendship to relationship. With Amy helping Matthew to retrain his mind in getting out of OCD of hand washing (PS: Matthew used to wash is hand for over 30 minutes :-P) by use of regular tasks. A worthy line of Amy in this matter is “Your fear may seem real but the danger is not. You are safe.” – Such a simple and practical advice.
With Matthew, truly speaking I don’t like such a thrower at the starting. But as the plot moves with more and more, unfolding Matthew’s character from every interaction with Amy, I couldn’t help but change my view point. An OCD patient behaves in a way his disease shapes him. That’s the case for Matthew. His possessive behavior like texting all the prom night after Amy left with Sanjay, is quite justified from an high school student who is suffering from OCD.

The story gains its point again on the portrayal of first-love. Along with its possessiveness and confusion there lie the state of extreme excitement and careless anticipation. Personally, I could relate the feelings of being in my first relationship with Amy and Matthew--their behaviour, slowly falling in love with each other; their insecurities are so deep and practical.
But despite all these, it had become a bit too dramatic. Though the author tried her best to fence the feeling and sequence of plots as much practical, but I think Cammie McGovern got either lost or rather baffled in her effort to make the readers sympathize. Still, Amy and Matthew will be in the first row of my bookshelf for rest of the year.

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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Zodiac Universe : A Guest Post by Romina Russell

The absolute best part of penning the ZODIAC series is the chance to invent new worlds. The reason I write is so I can spend more hours of the day in my imagination than anywhere else—and getting to make up new planets with varied customs, governances, technologies, topographies, wild life, and so on, has been indescribably fun.

Besides adding color to the story, the world building is the foundation of the whole series, plot- and character-wise. In the Zodiac universe, just as in our own, people aren’t born into their worlds—they’re born from them. A person’s House affiliation informs much of their identity and development, everything from its geography to its politics and culture—just as on Earth, our nationality, race, socioeconomic status, physical appearance, and so on, determine much about us.

Since the plot of book one is pretty speedy, we don’t get to spend a whole lot of time on the first few Houses we visit, so there’s plenty I couldn’t include about each world. For instance, Gemini has two planets, and the one we don’t get to see (yet) has a fantastical city built deep within its rocky mines. We get to visit Virgo’s main planet, Tethys, but not its twelve minor planetoids, which are so small that their days are twelve hours long instead of twenty-four, so Virgos don’t live there year-round—they only come seasonally to grow grain. On Aries, they have the Everblaze—a huge fire with thirty-foot flames that has never gone out. When Arieans die, their bodies are cremated in the Everblaze so their souls can rise to Helios.

And, of course, we barely get to see House Cancer before it’s destroyed—but it was a beautiful world. The planet was ninety-eight percent water, and from Space it looked like a ball colored every shade of blue, streaked with barely perceptible slices of green. Hundreds of low-lying islands were scattered across the globe, while Cancer’s cities were built on massive pods that floated calmly on the sea’s surface, like giant, half-submerged anemones. The largest structures—buildings, commercial centers, schools—were secured with anchors. The pod cities used to light the horizon with their gleaming, cascading buildings and sun-bleached streets.

Book two’s structure allows us to spend more time on each House we visit, so I’m definitely getting to include more details in the sequel, which has been so much fun. For more ZODIAC world building, check out the descriptions of each House on the site,

About The Author : : Romina Russell (aka Romina Garber) is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on ZODIAC, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

You can find her on twitter

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Blog Tour : The Otherworld Series by Skylar Dorset

Inspiration for the Otherworld

Part of the fun in writing a fantasy novel is that you get to decide the rules that the world needs to live by. So when it came time for me to think about what sort of world I wanted to be my supernatural faerie world in the Otherworld novels, I spent a little bit of time thinking about what would be fun. I was creating a world from scratch, of course I wanted to have some fun! If I wanted to have a talking rat show up, I could! And if I wanted that rat to be one of my characters’ father, well, I could do that, too!

Ben is a traveler, making it easy for him to jump between worlds and also between places within a world, which gave me some opportunity to fool around a little bit more with how vast the Otherworld really is. Ben’s home isn’t near the Seelie Court, so they could be very different places. Likewise, when the Seelies find Ben and Selkie in Boston and Ben is trying to run away from them, he jumps them through a variety of places very quickly, all with different types of weather. It would be fun to try to imagine larger stories about all of those places! It’s something I didn’t get a chance to do just because of the direction of the plot of the story I was telling.

When it came time to imagine what the Seelie Court would be like, I was inspired a lot by faerie lore that I read up on, which I then spun out one step farther. Part of faerie lore was that faeries don’t like broken mirrors. I took that and turned it into the fact that the Seelie Court lacked glass. The island of Avalon, which plays a role in THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME, is associated with the name “Isle of Glass” in Welsh culture, so I liked the lack of glass even better then, since I enjoyed playing around with the fact that faeries name things the opposite of what they actually mean. This is why I made Mag Mell, traditionally translated to mean “plain of joy,” a canyon instead. And a canyon leading to an evil, terrifying prison, to boot!

It seemed natural to me that the Seelie Court should be a labyrinthine maze, populated by lots of strange guard animals. I liked the idea that the Seelies themselves would be these really lazy, decadent creatures, because I found something more terrifying about the fact that they were so blasé about killing other creatues. And I decided early on to give them an affinity for really bright sunlight, partly because I wanted the frequent cloudy days in Boston to feel ogre-like in comparison, and partly because I knew I was going to journey to the Unseelie Court in THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME, and I wanted to set up a contrast.

So I’ve already teased two places you get to see in THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME: the Unseelie Court and Avalon. The other major place I introduce in THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME is Goblinopolis, which is the underground city where the goblins live. But that’s not in the Otherworld at all. That’s right in the middle of Boston’s subway system!

About The Author : Skylar’s first story was a tale of romantic intrigue involving two feuding factions of squirrels. Think “Romeo & Juliet” but with bushy tails and added espionage. She was seven.

Since that time, Skylar’s head has been filled with lots of characters and lots of drama. She is delighted to be able to share some of it with all of you now, because, honestly, it was getting pretty loud and crowded in there.

Skylar is a born-and-bred New Englander, which is why Boston was a natural setting for her debut novel, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. Skylar shares her home with a cardboard cutout of the Tenth Doctor, lots of Mardi Gras beads from the time she spent living in New Orleans, and a harp she’s supposed to be teaching herself to play. She’d like to get a dog.

Her Website
You can also stalk her on twitter SkylarDorset

SOURCEBOOKS was kind to offer a copy of The Boy with the Hidden Name the second installment of The Otherworld Series The giveaway is opened to US and Canada only.

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