Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #1

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Cambria Herbert! All you have to do is answer the question of the week. It's my first time and I'm thrilled to be participating!

Tell Me Something.

What is the saddest book you have ever read? 

I'm sure there are others but I can't recall them all. Either way there are very few books that touch me enough to make me feel sad and sob my heart out. It's a rare and amazing thing to find a book that affects me so much!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. The end. A little before the end. The death of a certain character had a profound impact on me. It was the saddest part of the series. Not just the character death. It was just after the character died when Harry was left with all these memories and questions he wished he could've asked that character that I started sobbing buckets.

A Walk to Remember was my first Nicholas Sparks book and I did not know a thing about the way Sparks' novels usually ended. I was fifteen and devastated because I liked the sweet relationship between the two main characters. The movie was even sadder to watch, especially with the Switchfoot songs in the soundtrack.

One Day by David Nicholls was such a sad yet beautiful book! I cried SO MUCH towards the end. Even in the middle, the characters were put through so much. But the end... woah. I was taken aback by the twist. It was so beautifully written and so so sad. A book automatically becomes amazing when towards the end, you feel nostalgic on behalf of the characters.

- - -

Also, stay tuned for an author interview of Beth Ann Masarik, author of the amazing The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness #1 on the 8th of Feb as a part of Beth Ann Masarik's The World Among Us blog tour! You can check out the full tour schedule here.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Spin by Catherine McKenzie

Katie Sandford has just gotten an interview at her favourite music magazine, The Line. It's the chance of a lifetime. So what does she do? Goes out to celebrate - and shows up still drunk at the interview. No surprise, she doesn't get the job, but the folks at The Line think she might be perfect for another assignment for their sister gossip rag. All Katie has to do is follow It Girl Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop (and complete the 30-day program without getting kicked out), they'll reconsider her for the job at The Line.

Katie takes the job. But things get complicated when real friendships develop, a cute celebrity handler named Henry gets involved, and Katie begins to realize she may be in rehab for a reason. Katie has to make a decision -- is publishing the article worth everything she has to lose?


I love how aesthetically pleasing the cover is! The way the baby blues contrast with the girl's dark hair. It also really fits with what Spin is about. I'd love to own this book just for the cover!


Take a character who will fit in practically any chic lit book- someone who is thirty but acts like she's twenty, is kind of a mess, lies all the time and has an interview lined up for her dream job as a music reviewer at The Line! What happens when this girl, Katie Sandford, shows up drunk to the interview? And is later offered the job on the condition that she follows a celebrity -Amber Sheppard, child star gone wild- into rehab for a month and dishes the dirt on her for a gossip rag? Throw Katie into rehab and a path of redemption and you get an astonishingly fun, witty and poignant story with great characters and an unbelievable climax that has its heart in the right place!

Once I started reading Spin, I couldn't put it down. I loved the detail and the way the characters were written. Whether it's Katie, Amber, Henry or Conner- they were all characters who were fleshed out enough that I came to care about them. Whether it was Conner, Amber's hotshot ex boyfriend's fear of heights or Amber and Connor's geeky means of communication, these little character quirks added colour to the novel! I also loved the way the book dealt with the themes of family, friendship, honesty, toxic relationships and addiction.

The tone was light but the message was clear. The pace was also just right; there was never a dull moment. It was a truly heartwarming journey- one that flawed but lovable Katie was in desperate need of. Spin by Catherine McKenzie is a book you'll want to reread immediately. Peppered with real music, celebrity and romcom references, it's a fun, fresh and charming book that will stay with you for a long time!

quotes from Spin
"Christ. I'm thirty years old and clasping a foolscap note to my chest, worried I'll get caught after lights out with a man I barely know hidden under a bed. How the fuck did that happen?"
"Meghan Stewart. My high school rival. White-blonde and bouncy, she couldn't quite manage a full beer bong. Now she's married to my first imaginary husband, and I'm talking to him in a rehab garden. There's a lesson in that somewhere, I know, but I can't quite put my finger on it."

Publication date: 1st February, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: NetGalley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Follow Friday #5

 Feature and Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read!

Question of the week: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

Self Help and Horror. I do not believe in reading Self Help because mostly, I don't think it works for me. As for Horror... I've never been a fan of the genre. I don't even like watching scary movies, so books are out of the question. I don't like getting freaked out. Then again, I've never given the genre a chance. I just assume such books wouldn't appeal to me. When my friends were reading R. L Stine in the sixth grade, I just... didn't. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Future of us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.


Once upon a time, there weren’t many people who owned a computer. Owning a mobile phone was rare. Texting was practically unheard of. You couldn’t talk on the phone and IM at the same time (Oh, Dial up!). Pluto was still a planet. Harry Potter was yet to be written. AOL was the shiz. Wonderwall had just come out. Can you imagine such a time? I barely can these days but The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler succeeded in instantly taking me back to 1996! And you know what? I was overcome with nostalgia. I miss Dial up! And Pluto being a planet. And so many things about that time period!

The Future of Us begins with Josh, Emma’s neighbour and close friend, giving Emma an AOL CD he received in the mail that would give her hundred free hours online. Only, somehow, she ends up logging into her future Facebook account! Emma can see what her future-self (exactly fifteen years from then) is doing, who she’s married to, and so on.

Furthermore, every little thing she does in the present has the possibility to drastically alter her future! Whether it is spilling water or tearing a picture into pieces. Little ripples are created by these actions that can alter who she’s friends with, whom she gets married to or where she ends up working in the future. Emma and Josh find themselves obsessed with getting the future ‘just right’ and in the process, reevaluate their feelings towards each other!

I thoroughly enjoyed The Future of Us. There were elements that were SO 1996, characters that had depth and a great story that had a surprisingly simple but nice ending. The story featured two points of view: Josh’s and Emma’s. Josh and Emma were fun characters. Both of them had moments of absolute recklessness followed by epiphanies that came when they least expected it to.

One thing I found very realistic was the effect Facebook had on Josh and Emma which was very similar to how it has come to affect us: whether it’s the tendency to refresh your Home page every two seconds or cyber stalk the guy you are crushing on! I also liked how The Future of Us didn't need drama, unexpected plot twists or a heavy climax to make it work. Plot progression was gradual and the characters were very mellow. It was a sweet story with a fascinating premise and fun references to the past! Definitely a book you shouldn't miss!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Halflings by Heather Burch

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.


I love the cover of Halflings. There's something about the expression of the girl in the cover that grabs your attention and makes you not want to look away until you've figured it out.


Halflings wasn’t afraid to sink its teeth straight into the action! The book opens with Nikki, a perfectly normal girl, being chased by “hell hounds”. Hovering in the background are Mace, Raven and Vine who have been assigned to protect her. Who are these boys? They are halflings- half angel and half human; the product of fallen angels and humans.

Over the course of the book, we get insights into why Nikki is chased by hell hounds, an operation that might just lead to World War Three and more on the origins and nature of halflings. There’s also plenty of shadiness in the form of Damon Vessler who claims to be Nikki’s godfather. But here’s the thing… Nikki knew nothing of his existence until his recent and sudden appearance!

I’m not a huge fan of angel books but I loved the halflings! Halflings are portrayed as creatures born from the “seeds of rebellion”. Mace, Raven and Vine are beautiful to look at: with blonde hair, blue eyes and great features but what made my heart flutter was the conflict and uncertainty brewing within them! Mace, who Nikki is instantly attracted to, is caught in between two worlds and doesn’t know where he belongs. Raven, who suffers from a similar conflict, is more aggressive and is resigned to “falling” from grace.

Halflings also fight for the good side, the side that isn't very vocal in wanting them, because it's the right thing to do. All that drives them is hope. Vine, the youngest halfling, wants to be away from this eternal struggle- he wants to be oblivious to it. In other words, he wants to be human. Halflings started off fast-paced, slowed down a lot and then geared up, just in time, to end on a riveting note! I’m so glad this is a series! I’d love to read more about Mace, Raven and Vine who were all gorgeous in their own way!

The only issue I have about the book is that while I loved the characters, it didn’t seem to have much plot. Don’t get me wrong… there was plenty of background information but other than that, there were just a lot of questions and loose ends that may or may not have significance in the later parts of the series. First books generally do just that. But the way the action and subplots are handled in the second book will largely determine whether I’ll be reading the later parts.

Till then, you should definitely give Halflings a try! It’s filled with promise. I just hope a lot more happens in the later parts that makes the awesome premise worth it.

Publication date: 1st February, 2012
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing
Source: NetGalley

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, 16 January 2012

In My Mailbox (IMM) #1

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where we showcase the books that have made their way into our lives/bookshelves that week.

NetGalley ARCs: 

From author/publisher:

From the Kindle Store:

My review of Halflings  and Spin should be up soon. And I'm halfway through The Future of Us and it's AMAZING! I'm in love with the books I have got this week! What's in your mailbox?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Follow Friday #4

It's Feature and Follow My Blog #2 for me. Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read!

Question of the Week: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

I haven't bought any new CDs or checked out new artists for a looong, long time but my all time favourites include...

THE SCRIPT. I cannot describe their fabulousness. They are AMAZING. I like each and every song of theirs! I loved their first album. Breakeven, We Cry and The Man Who Can't Be Moved are all great songs. As for their second album, Science and Faith, I listen to it in my car every single day! NOTHING, FOR THE FIRST TIME and SCIENCE AND FAITH are amazing. I can listen to them all day!

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE. 'Cause it's Seth Cohen's favourite band. AND it's the best! I liked their album Plans as well as Narrow Stairs. I Will Follow You Into The Dark has got to be the most beautiful song ever.

PANIC! AT THE DISCO. For their first album A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. I loved the mini-stories and clever lyrics.

GLEE CAST. For their fun mash-ups and how most of their covers are even better than the original! They immortalised Journey's already awesome Don't Stop Believin'.

ADELE. She has a great voice and there is just so much more to all her songs. Rolling in The Deep gave me the chills.

TAYLOR SWIFT. She writes her own lyrics and I respect that! Also, her songs make a lot of sense and are from the heart. There is so much of HER in all her songs.

IMOGEN HEAP. For Speeding Cars and Hide 'n Seek. I'm transported to another world when I listen to her songs.

That's all, I think. Have a great weekend!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Fairy Tales: Love, Hate and Hubris by Manoj Kewalramani

From goodreads

If you caught up with the wolf that hounded little Red Riding Hood, can you image what he would tell you? What did the wicked and vain queen really want from Snow White? Is Beauty and the Beast a tale of love or a story on the shackles of idealisation? 

'Fairy Tales: Love, Hate and Hubris' is a poetic recap of 16 such timeless fairy tales. Delving into the lives of the antagonists and other characters that have been forever ignored, each poem is an adaptation that sheds new light on their predicaments and motivations.

The collection dwells on wide-ranging unexplored themes - from age and youth, the trappings of power, God and faith, narcissism, self-loathing, and unbridled desire, arrogance and lust, idealisation and love.


I'm not quite the poetry enthusiast. I read and appreciate the occasional poem and have liked novels written in verse but I've never read an entire collection of poems in one go. It's just that most times the crux of the poem eludes me. But I'm so glad I won Fairy Tales: Love, Hate and Hubris by Manoj Kewalramani in a Goodreads First-Reads giveaway. This book is never going to leave my bedside table!

First of all, the cover is amazing! I love how the wolf is looking into the Magic Mirror (The narcissistic wolf is the title given to the poem based on Red Riding Hood) and there are apple trees everywhere! Each page was so prettily decorated with more flowers and apples and the font and spacing made it very easy to read. I never thought these things would enhance or affect my reading experience but it did!

Second, the poems. I LOVED most of them. They were mostly centered on the antagonists of the fairy tales we have grown up reading and listening to. I was such a Disney fan as a kid, so I enjoyed reading the poems on Snow White's stepmother, Sleeping Beauty, Thumbelina and the insights that came along with it.

The poem that I warmed up to instantly was The narcissistic wolf which is from the perspective of the Big Bad Wolf! There were parts that made me laugh out loud. I enjoyed the point of view of the wolf and it made me look at the story of Red Riding Hood in an entirely different light!

Some of my favourite lines: "Baby you knew me, so why the shock/ My eyes, my ears, my teeth/Such a tease" and "You sigh in relief; but I am sure there's grief/For if it wasn't for me; The Big Bad Wolf/You'd be nothing more than another girl in a little red hood".

Though I didn't love it the first time, I gradually found Pea wars to be very poignant and Just a kiss felt like a fun, very modern take on the Princess and the Frog (Honey, sometimes a toad's just a toad). The beast of ideal, on the Beauty and the Beast was the perfect end to a very awesome collection of poems. It was great to hear the Beast say what he had to say!

In a nutshell, this was just the book I needed to read! Fairy tales are very big at the moment, with the TV Series Once Upon A Time (which I really need to watch) and the upcoming release of Snow White and the Huntsman. This poetic recap is smart, funny and totally adapted for today's world. I loved that I got to see a different side of characters I had not thought much about for a long time.

As a kid, things were always black and white. Snow White's stepmother was wicked and Rumpelstiltskin got what he deserved. It was great to sit back and rethink and relive those tales! I loved how in-character most of these antagonists were... I especially appreciated the way Snow White's stepmother was characterised. It was also great how most of the antagonists pointed out a single vice of the traditional protagonists' of these tales!

I'm sure to re-read this collection of poems several times this year. There is so much more I get from it every time I read it and it's such an enjoyable and fun experience every time! I would definitely recommend this and on an unrelated (or related but totally random) note, I really need to watch Once Upon A Time!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, 6 January 2012

Follow Friday #3

It's Feature and Follow My Blog #2 for me. Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read!

Question of the Week: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

25. Not much considering the numbers I've seen in other blogs but ALL of these unread books have accumulated over the past year. The year before the last, I never had enough books to read. Now I barely have the time to read. I guess it's hard to have it good both ways.

Remembrance by Michelle Madow (Transcend Time #1)

From goodreads

New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy.

I remember watching Taylor Swift's music video for Love Story a few years back and thinking it was the prettiest music video ever. It was perfect for the song and I loved the thought of a present-day Romeo-Juliet romance gone right! When I heard that Remembrance by Michelle Madow was inspired by the music video of Love Story, I needed to read the book as soon as I could! 

Remembrance is about Lizzie Davenport who is reincarnated from the Regency Era, England. She has no recollection of her past life until she meets Drew at the beginning of the year. She feels like she has met Drew before, even though she has not. Not in this life, anyway. Flashes from her past life follow and it seems like history may be about to repeat...which may not be the best thing, considering how things ended the last time their paths crossed.

It sounds good, doesn't it? And it was. But it was a little too slow paced for my taste. This was both a good and a bad thing. Little things like insights gained from Lizzie's every day activities wouldn't have been possible if it hadn't been this slow paced. 

Lizzie is a fairly normal girl who cares about what grade she gets in school, genuinely cares about her friends and makes it easy for her boyfriend, Jeremy, to push her around. I know people who are a lot like Lizzie. She gets quieter, more involved in other things and at the same time more assertive over the course of the story. I love how gradually she changed. It was only towards the end, when her boyfriend made a remark about how much she had changed that I realised how different she was from the Lizzie we were introduced to at the beginning of the story.

The book also featured one of the most realistic break-up scenes I've ever read.

On the other hand, it was difficult to get what the book was about until the first fifty pages or so. Also, the the idea of reincarnation was dealt with very matter-of-factly- something I found hard to believe. Which is why it took me a long time to get past those fifty pages. I read on because I cared about the main character and had a feeling it would get better. 

Lizzie and Drew's relationship is filled with chemistry and conflict. Lizzie's feelings for Drew, gradual detachment from her boyfriend Jeremy, the flashbacks and her having to deal with the fact that Drew was her best friend's new boyfriend were portrayed very realistically. But I couldn't bring myself to care about Drew. As flawed as Jeremy was, I cared more about what happened to him. Jeremy just felt more real- in spite of how annoying and competitive he could get. With Drew, I just thought 'meh'.

I would still recommend Remembrance because Madow really knows how to write characters! The atmosphere was also very high school. I loved how pretty the cover was, how it was inspired by Love Story, the Pride and Prejudice references (YAY for those!), past life flashes and the themes of change and growing apart. There were many things I didn't like but I will still read the next in the Transcend Time series when it's out because I think the series has potential!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday #1: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that seem like guaranteed awesomeness!

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
Melissa Jensen
Expected publication: February 16th 2012 by Speak

From goodreads:

Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss? Count me in! And did you see the cover? What a fun cover! I'd like to own this book just for the cover! I literally cannot wait to read The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. :)

What are you waiting on?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #1)

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

In Wither, Lauren DeStefano introduces us to a horrifyingly morbid post-apocalyptic America. It's one of the most disturbing scenarios in dystopian fiction: when the science that was used to create the perfect generation that was devoid of cancer, AIDS and every other disease causes the next generation to go horribly wrong. Men of the later generation have only till twenty five. Women die at the age of twenty. The older "perfect" generation who caused this lives until the ripe age of 80-100 years old and they are forced to witness what they have unleashed.

The book opens with sixteen-year old Rhine Ellery being trapped in a van along with several other girls by the Gatherers. She, along with two others, Cecily who is barely fourteen and eighteen-year old Jenna are then made the brides of Linden, who lives in a large mansion with his father. Rhine could've perhaps gotten used to this life of privilege if it weren't for the twin brother left behind. She is determined to search for a way to escape the heavily guarded mansion and find her brother.

It is impossible to describe how much I enjoyed reading this book. It was one of the few books that I managed to finish in less than twenty four hours! I didn't even notice time pass as I was HOOKED. It is a disturbing world that you wouldn't want to live in but Lauren DeStefano's writing makes it morbidly beautiful. Even in the hopelessness and bleakness, the author infuses beauty and something close to hope.

But more than anything, one thing I LOVED about Wither was how complex yet real each character was. It wasn't just the central character. Every character had motives, dreams, hopes and back story. While I was rooting for Rhine to escape with Gabriel, the servant boy she falls for... There was also Linden, Rhine's husband, who tugged at my heartstrings from the very beginning.

When the plan for Rhine to escape the mansion was set in motion, I wanted to yell STAY! Because Linden needs her!

Even with Housemaster Vaughn, the manipulative father and creepy scientist, it is obvious that he cares for his son more than anything.

Another thing that unexpectedly gripped me was the bond between the sister wives- Jenna, Rhine and Cecily. They have no control over the secrets and happenings in the mansion and so they gradually turn to each other. While each had their own shortcomings, they (for the most part) had each others' back and grew close.

Despite certain cracks when it came to the world Wither is set in (everyone dying at the EXACT same age?! How?), the book felt complete. I haven't got that feeling in a long time. With most books, even when it is a great read, it seems to lack a certain something. Wither felt complete- with the attention to detail, complexities and beautifully developed characters.

I also liked the way Wither ended. There was no big cliffhanger and it didn't need a cliffhanger. It was kind of nice and fitting for the book to have an ending that was contrary to the claustrophic hopelessness that prevailed throughout the novel. And it's obvious that there is much more in store. I am already counting down the days left for Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) to release!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars