30 June 2013

Cover Madness Giveaway Hop

Jenni @ Alluring Reads and Giselle @ Xpresso Reads decided to invite other bloggers to participate in the 4th Cover Madness so Devyani and I wanted to be a part of it too! Who wouldn't? It's such a fun idea to share our favorite covers of the upcoming releases.

So, here are our picks 


This giveaway is international and the winner has 48 hours to respond to our email before another winner is chosen. 
You can also enter our Blogoversary Giveaway to win a book of choice up to $15.

28 June 2013

Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and MoreBook :The Moon and More
Author:Sarah Dessen
File Type: Hardcover
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
My rating: 1 star

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

Wow. This was a disaster.

I've read two other books by Sarah Dessen. Them being, Just Listen and Along for the Ride. While I didn't hate them, I didn't exactly love them. I'm more of an intense love-drama girl. I usually go for passionate fire than cute-fluff. But there have been times when I've fallen head over heels in love with the latter. Anna and the French Kiss is an excellent example on that context.

I'm not sure what Ms. Dessen was going for. This obviously wasn't Dessen's usual style. There were so many elements in this book that could have led this one to success, but in the end, that was not to be. Rather, I felt that this was all a mess. So many ideas brought together in about 400 pages with the absence of that 'oomph!' factor. The result? A definite fail. Also, was this Summer-y? NO.

The Moon and More introduces us to Emaline, an eighteen year old with a dream to touch the starry heights of self-satisfaction ,self-actualisation and success without losing her morals and principles and sense of familial value on her way. She has a gorgeous boyfriend. She has an eligible, NYU student, who has his own set of frustating ideas, as a suitor. An absentee dad. A ghost mom. (She's alive and I shall discuss why I call her a 'ghost', later.) Two sisters. A half brother, who was the only bearable character in the whole book. A nice stepdad. And some one dimensional friends.

The book's writing was pathetically slow and I was on my way to dump my copy and burn it. I spent two days struggling to get to a point where I could actually read this book without thinking about how 'boring' and 'dull' the protagonist sounded. And that point, my friends, was the very end. I'm reading and I'm listening to Emaline state out all the problems in her life. I'm listening to her describe how 'nice' her boyfriend was. I'm also listening to her thoughts about an awkward yet absoluetly alluring character that is, Theo(The NYU jackass). And while I have absolutely no problem with the content, I just can't bear the way she's explaining the aforementioned content. WHY IS SHE SO DULL?

And now onto the story. I think other than the bond that she and her brother shared and the very end, there was nothing in this book that actually excited me. I understand Emaline's troubled thoughts about not being able to go to an Ivy league college and not being able to depend upon an absentee dad. But the story had no life, so I was least bothered. The romance, which is Dessen's strength, was downplayed to the extent of me vowing to never read her books again. And the characters? While I've already complained about Emaline's lifelessness, it seems like she her qualities are genetically inherited because throughout the book, Emaline's mother's character was as lifeless as Emaline was. I shouldn't judge a character and I shouldn't even judge an author's thought-process while she or he, creates a character, but for someone who was in a position as Emaline's mother and has been through whatever she's been, I'd think of a more stronger character. Ofcourse, people are different and so, like I said, I shouldn't judge, but as a reader, I needed to like her as a character, which I obviously didn't. And thus my point that she was the ghost of the book.

Now let's look at the romance angle, shall we?
Like I said, it was all very downplayed. But here's the thing. Even if you're maintaining subtlety in the area of love, there has to be something to make up for it! Usually that hole is filled up by the 'swoony' boys of YA town. Or usually by impacting and thought provoking concepts like self-dicovery or crimes like rape, assault etc. Since there was nothing 'impacting', I obviously hoped for swoony boys and there were TWO boys mentioned in the damn synopsis, so I see no reason why even a single guy wouldn't make the cut. Emaline's boyfriend was a jackass and so was Theo. So yes, there was nothing but the cover of the book and Emaline's brother to keep the sinking ship called The Moon and More, afloat.

In the end, this book was disappointing.


25 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #21

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin / Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara / Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley / Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly / Just One Day by Gayle Forman

The first two books on this list are a lot darker than the others and I will never stop recommending them to anyone who is willing to listen. Graffiti Moon and Just One Day are similar because everything happens in a matter of day and I've read Revolution in January. Jennifer Donnelly deserves all the rewards. 

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi / White Cat by Holly Black / The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa / First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky / Torched by Andrea Lynn Colt

Unravel Me. Hold me while I swoon all over the place. If I could pick just THE book of 2013 it would be Unravel Me. TEAM (my husband) WARNER! White Cat was so cool. Wish I could con people with Cassel. I was a part of the official blog tour for The Eternity Cure and I loved it so much even though some of my friends didn't. First Comes Love and Torched are must reads! Most people don't even know they exist but like the first two books on this list, I will always recommend them to others. 


22 June 2013

Stacking the Shelves

Woo-Hoo! I finally got Siege and Storm! I though it was lost forever! The reason I still haven't read it is that I'm too busy during the day, and it's too hot I just don't have the patience to read anything and that's why there haven't been any posts lately. Sorry about that.  I would also like to say thanks to Laura @ BookSnob and M.R. Tain for sending me This Isn't Normal. This week I finally ordered My Life Next Door and it should be here by the end of this month.

Wish I could block NetGalley and Edelweiss for a month or two so I can finally read all the books I requested. This is just getting out of control. I did however read one NG and 1 Edelweiss book this week which is a great improvement. And Google Calender is also helping me out with all those archive dates. 


21 June 2013

The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

The Truth About You and Me
Publisher: Flux    
Publication date: September 8th 2013
My rating: 3 star

Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.
There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.
The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

Before I start discussing The Truth About You and Me I need to point out something. I wasn't familiar with the fact Amanda Grace is a pen name for Mandy Hubbard! :O I didn't see this one coming till I read about the author in the end of the book. I understand why she would have a pen name. Amanda's books are darker, realistic YA novels than Mandy's usual bubbly and fun stories. Either way, I will check out Amanda's other books soon. 

Madelyn is one of those super smart people who get the chance to go to college earlier, skip grades and whatnot. She feels like she can never be as good as her brother, who's going to one of those well-known universities. Her father is always pushing her to do better and Madelyn is not so happy about it. Everything changes when she meets Bennet, her bio professor. 

Bennet thinks Madelyn is a 19 year-old college student. They fall in love but he doesn't take any actions until the class he's teaching her ends. Madelyn has never been in love before Bennet and she doesn't tell him she's only sixteen. I liked Bennet more than Madelyn because even if it was wrong for a student to date a teacher, he did do the right thing and waited until they no longer were in that position while Madelyn kept lying. The reason I didn't like her is that she's clearly smart and yet she was stupid enough to think that kind of relationship would ever work. 

The Truth About You and Me reminds me of one of my all-time favorite books - Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick. It's another book about teacher-student relationship,  Sadly, it wasn't as good as Bick's. While Bick wrote a book which seemed more mature, Grace's appeared still too childish. 

15 June 2013

Stacking the Shelves

I'm still waiting for Siege and Storm and a couple of books for review. I'm also thinking about ordering My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I saw a some pictures of the hardbacks and fell in love. When it first came out I didn't want to read it but I'm in the mood for something sweet this summer. Should I order it?

This was another slow week. I didn't order anything, so far. My VISA is all dried up and it's too hot to walk to the bank. It's 4km (2.5 miles) away from my house. I don't have a drivers licence, which makes it even harder.
I just noticed both of these books are about time travel. Still need to read Time Between Us. My friend +Tanja - Tanychy loved it so I'll give it a try very soon. 
Thank you Disney Hyperion and Flux! Disney approved every book I requested, Flux too. 
I should probably stop requesting NG and Edelweiss egalleys since it's so hard for me to read on my laptop. My Playbook is still not opening files. I have no idea what's wrong with it. :( 

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12 June 2013

Book Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

Author: Jessi Kirby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
File type: Ebook
Release Date: May 14th 2013

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

The Road Not Taken is the only poem that I have read by Robert Frost and never have I loved and understood the meaning of it better than today.

When I was in 11th grade, I had three subject streams to choose from. And the whole situation was very crucial because whatever decision I took, it would directly affect and shape my path and choice of profession. There was the science stream which basically consisted of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English and an additional elective subject. There was the maths and commerce stream, which had business studies and accounts in it. It was basically for those who wanted to pursuit a career in the world of business and management, which wasn't for me. And then finally there was arts which consisted of Political science, History, media studies and psychology along with English, which was for me, all the way. I easily took arts, but I knew that my well wishers wanted me to take a more 'logical' approach by taking the either of the other two. And THAT was very stressful. Later, when I decided that I was taking arts, there was an option between mathematics and psychology. Many people advised me to take Mathematics because that would mean a wider spectrum of job opportunities and that it opened many doors. I understood very well what they meant, but I never was good at maths and eleventh and twelfth grade maths was a totally different ball game. My parents have always been supportive but when it came to this, they urged me to take maths into consideration and ditch psychology. But I loved psychology and it was pretty interesting. And when the final day came, I decided.

There have been people around me who've told me that even after getting a good result in my tenth grade finals, my decision of taking arts was stupid. I don't know whether they were trying to help me by telling me what was right or whether they were trying to set me straight because honestly, it was all very stressful and I was afraid. I was afraid of my future. I was afraid of my decision. I started doubting myself. I had many sleepless nights because of this and like I said, it just got more weird. There was this one question that always lingered in my mind, which quite frankly plagues my mind even today, that by ditching the other subjects did I just run away from the hard stuff? Did I choose what I chose not because I love it but because they're much easier than the others?

And this is where Parker's story comes in. Parker has always been a rule follower. She's the quintessential good girl with a perfect record and set future. High school is at it's end and she has a speech to work on, yet there is something that keeps poking her. There SOMETHING which isn't right. Something that isn't satisfying. Something that leaves her restless. And that's when she stumbles across Julianna Farnetti's journal which was almost ten years ago. The catch? Julianna Farnetti and her boyfriend, Shane Cruz died ten years ago in an unfortunate accident where even their body couldn't be recovered. They were the 'it' couple. They were the GOLDEN COUPLE. And their death was felt by the whole town. Parker, then starts reading Julianna's journal and she realizes that things are never as they seem. And with a mystery embedded amidst the pages of the journal, Parker is on her way to find herself.

Parker's insecurities, fear and doubts brought back the memories of my past. Frankly, it hasn't been that long but the state of confusion, indecision and insecurity was one that struck home. While Parker didn't want to let her mother down, I didn't want to let my parents down. In a way, this was like a walk down the memory lane for me. And I loved every bit of it. Sometimes you just look back in life and remember several decisions that you've had to make and how they've affected your life. While there are some that you regret, there will always be the ones that have made all the difference and you just never realize. Do I regret my decision? No, I don't. Am I unsure? Of course I am. Do I doubt myself? There's actually no point. I've already done what I had to do and nothing can change that, but ma I satisfied and happy? Yes. I am. Life is unexpected and it's all about taking chances. Who knows where I'll be and what I'll be in the coming ten years. All I know, is that right now? I'm doing what I'm doing and I'm content. In life, I'll come across several forks where I'd have no choice but to make a decision, and from what I've learned and will continue to learn is that when the time comes, I'll be facing all of it head on.

And this is what I love about Golden. I love that it managed to make an impact. Jessi Kirby's writing has always been poetic and I've found myself drooling over her writing style, which just flows. But from what I experienced in Moonglass and from what I've experienced now? I think Ms. Kirby has come a long way.

I won't say much about the other characters because I don't really know what to say. All I can say is that, they were all memorable.

Golden is a story about friendship, family, first love, sacrifice, growing up, self-satisfaction and self-realization. It's about hope. It's about looking forward to life. It's about enjoying it. It's about understanding that in life, there will be those phases of ultimate gloom but also of those with immense sunshine and light. It's about taking chances and learning from your mistakes. It's about living. It's about letting go. It's about life.

And I loved every bit of it.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference."
-The Road Not Taken,Robert Frost.

11 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #20

Top Ten Beach Reads

1. Any Elizabeth Scott novel - I love all Elizabeth's novels and especially Stealing Heaven and Bloom. Her books are perfect for summer. 

2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - This book reminds me of scorching hot summer days and nights. I would recommend reading it while you're sweating like a pig to connect better with the characters. :P

3. Summer trilogy by Jenny Han - Jenny Han is a mastermind when it comes to beach reads. These 3 books are so perfect. I loved them even before I got my hands on them.

4. Summer in the City by Elizabeth Chandler - Probably the most underrated book I've ever read. Don't judge it because of the cover. Imagine it having a girl and a guy having the hottest kiss in the hallway.

5. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - Whoever looks at my former TTT posts will see this book on almost all lists. Why is that? Because I adore this books so, so much! I've read it ages ago and I still remember all the Lola  & Cricket scenes and most of the lines. I'm a Perkins fangirl. 

1. From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas- Mexico. Accidental roadtrip. Drunken night. Hilarious Drama. Movie Reference(all most EVERYWHERE!). Really, if you haven't read this book then you know what to get next time. FWIR is fantastic and absolutely fun!

2. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder- I've always loved Lisa Schroeder and her excellent verse writing-style. The best thing about verse-format books? They're awfully fast paced and equally impacting.

3.The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han- This book manages to capture the idea of summer, first love, beaches and holidays beautifully! Not only is it fairly light, the gooeyness in it is swoony. VERY SWOONY.

4. Flat-out Love by Jessica Park-  While Flat-out Love is Flat out swoony, it's not a book that should be taken lightly. The depth in the storyline and the story in general were heartbreaking and beautiful. Must read.

5. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour- I was a bit confused about this week's TTT. When I heard beaches, I remember summer and weirdly summer reminds me of road trip and this one was ALL roadtrip. With beautiful mementos and a journal like look, I was in love with this one here!

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10 June 2013

Fragments by Dan Wells

Fragments by Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer + Bray    
Publication date: February 26th 2013
My rating: 3 stars

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?
Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what's left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira's journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn't even know existed.
The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity's time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means—and even more important, a reason—for our survival.

I hate when this happens. I loved Partials, more than Fragments because it was the start of the new world but Fragments ended up being a big pile of walking around the country and some characters were having the same discussions every few chapters which was tiresome. 

Kira leaves her home to find the cure for RM. She finds an IT expert who will help her with the ParaGen  computers. They stumble on Samm and Heron along the way. They need to trust each other if they want to find the cures for partials and humans. 

Kira is still trying to come to terms she's not human, but a partial. I admire her strength and persistence. She is one of those main characters who always want to do the right thing, even if it comes back to haunt them. But her stubbornness was also the thing which got her in so many additional problems, which also annoyed me. 

 While Kira is having trouble accepting the fact she's not entirely human, Sam is trying to break out of his shell and start sharing his feeling not only through the link but also with his words and body language. I wasn't sure if he had any feelings towards Kira but around 80% of the book we finally get a glimpse into his mind after a girl tries to maul him. xD 

I'm not happy about this book. It took so long for things to start happening. If you look at how many pages this book has, it's crazy! 564 pages! I'm not happy with it! And I wasn't even reading it. I was listening to the audio version which was 16 hours long. *head desk*