Saturday, 31 March 2012

On the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games!

Don't forget to check out my 100 follower giveaway for a chance to win a 10$ gift card from Amazon! :)

[Not sure if this is a completely spoiler-free post. If you haven't read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or watched the movie... read at your own risk]

I finally got to watch The Hunger Games! I know, I'm a week late compared to everyone else but I'm so glad I went despite exams and everything. It was AMAZING! Definitely one of the best book-to-movie adaptations ever! I have no qualms in gushing about it for the rest of this post because it deserves that much and more. I heard such good things about the movie and it still managed to exceed my already high expectations!

Before watching the movie, I was a little dissatisfied by the casting but while watching the movie, it was clear that the casting was perfect! Everyone did justice to their roles. I'd imagined Haymitch differently but now I can totally accept and even love the movie Haymitch! Seneca Crane's beard was absolute brilliance and I loved the "And this is all good television" feel that was present throughout the movie, if you get what I mean.

At the same time, parts of the book like Katniss volunteering to take Prim's place in the Hunger Games and Peeta talking about his mother saying District 12 would have a victor for the first time (and not meaning him) were portrayed in such a heart wrenching way. The movie didn't just manage to avoid skipping any important parts- it also gave several scenes in the book more depth!

As for the boys... Josh Hutcherson (who plays Peeta) was perfect. Again, I had my doubts before watching the movie but as soon as I did, I was blown away! I also loved the portrayal of Gale in the movie, especially towards the end when he watches Katniss return a victor while carrying Primrose. To me, that is Gale: home.

I was left gasping at:

The Arena!
Capitol City!
Capitol fashion! So brilliant!

Parts that had me sobbing involved:

(I don't have the right pictures. But it involved scenes with these characters!)

+ this exact part
This scene was exactly as I'd pictured it while reading the book:

Cato had one of the most poignant lines and the final conversation between Katniss and Peeta tugged at my heartstrings. I did not want the movie to get over. I wished Catching Fire would magically start playing right after the closing credits!


If you haven't watched the movie yet, it's about time you did! You cannot wait till it comes out in DVD. Seriously, you have to go watch it now! If you haven't read the books yet, it's the right time to give it a try because you have this super-brilliant movie adaptation to watch right after!!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Two Minute Reviews: Good Oil by Laura Buzo and The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay by Rebecca Sparrow

I've decided to start Two Minute Reviews as a way to feature books I either read months ago and never got to review or books I feel could be reviewed together! For instance, take these two really cool books written by Australian authors that are both simple, sweet and awesometastically awesome. They are both also very coming-of-age and I highly recommend reading them! It fills you with this warmth that some books just don't achieve in spite of doing everything right.

I'm talking about Good Oil by Laura Buzo and The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay by Rebecca Sparrow!

Good Oil by Laura Buzo

from goodreads
'Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I'm open to all kinds of bribery.'

From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost...head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he's 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?


Amelia is worth more than she thinks she is. At fifteen, she experiences a plethora of firsts- including hopelessly crushing on Chris, her co-employee at Woolies who is much older than she is. It is easy to see how any fifteen year old would fall for Chris! He seems like The Guy Who Knows Everyone and is funny and even appears to be wise. While I thought the book was mainly going to be about Amelia, I was surprised to find out that it was also about Chris! The story is told in both Amelia and Chris's perspectives- voices that feel so different as they both have different obstacles to overcome. Obstacles that come with being fifteen and twenty one respectively!

My thoughts? It's such a gorgeous book. I loved how, despite being nineteen, which is neither fifteen nor twenty one years old, I got lost in both Amelia's and Chris's worlds and could relate to both of them. Amelia's  story made me feel nostalgic while Chris's problems were something I could anticipate. I'm thankful for the way the book ended. I honestly can't see it ending any other way.

Publication date: August, 2010
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Source: Bought

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay by Rebecca Sparrow

from goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Hill is the girl most likely to succeed. And the girl most likely to have everything under control . . . that is, until her dad invites Nick McGowan, the cutest boy at school, to live with them. Rachel worries that this could only be a recipe for disaster, but her best friend Zoe thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for lurve. Sparks start to fly for all the wrong reasons. Nick finds Rachel spoiled and uptight and Rachel dismisses Nick as lazy and directionless. But a secret from Nick’s past draws them together and makes the year Nick McGowan came to stay one that Rachel will never forget.


The cover is adorable! The Prologue was cute. The Epilogue wraps things up neatly. The middle is light, quirky and engaging all at once! I had so much fun reading this book! The writing was good but more than that, I fell in love with the quirky characters! Nick was awesome but he was kind of overshadowed by goody-goody yet amusing Rachel Hill! I liked how worked up Rachel got when she realised the school's hottie, Nick McGowan, was coming to live with her family. I liked how she took down her posters and made every effort to look cool- as embarrassed as she was by her efforts. (And as annoyed as she was that Nick was coming in the first place). I would've done the same thing at her age!

And Zoe, Rachel's best friend had me snorting every few minutes! I adore her! Most of the time, she stole the show! Rachel and Nick were amusing and by the time we got to know all there was to know about Nick McGowan, I adored them both! Please go read this book now! I loved that it was set in the late 80s (go cordless phones!) and the overall warm-fuzzies this book gave me!

Publication date: 8th April, 2008
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, 25 March 2012

In My Mailbox (IMM) #3

 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.

Just three books this week! With my already large TBR pile, three is a good number! Since it's exam time (till mid-April), I haven't been able to post as frequently as I want to.

NetGalley ARCs:


For review:


I finally bought Switched! I would put up a picture, but my camera won't connect to the computer, for some reason. I bought this very same paperback edition! Isn't the cover gorgeous? I'm in love with it! I finished reading Switched the day before yesterday and I cannot wait to read Torn!!

What's in your mailbox? xD

And of course... now that it's up, don't forget to check out my 100 follower giveaway for a chance to win a 10$ gift card from Amazon! :)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

TMST#4: On my favourite book heroines!

Tell Me Something Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by Cambria Hebert!

This week's question:

Who is your favorite heroine in a book? (Okay you can name more than one)

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables

Anne was one of my first fave book heroines. It's been a while since I've read Anne of Green Gables but I remember being extremely annoyed by Anne in the first few chapters. She talked a lot and well, that's all I remember. But after that, wow, I loved how spirited she was! Towards the end of the book, I came to love and respect her. I still do!

Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars 

I liked her from the beginning! From her obsession with An Imperial Affliction  to the way she cared about what would happen to her parents more than she cared about what would happen to herself. She was so strong and sweet and she made me laugh! Hazel was someone I grew to respect and really made an impact on me.

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series

There is something to be said about Katniss's resilience! I loved how she always fights back relentlessly and is so gutsy and determined! I particularly liked her at the end of Mockingjay. The way she came out of everything that happened was admirable.

Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series

There is no stopping Rose Hathaway! She is so badass and awesome. I also love how she started out as this really impulsive person who had absolutely no control over herself and grew up into someone I felt really proud of!

Anna from Anna and the French Kiss

'Cause she's simply adorable! Anna has her head on her shoulders and I love her little quirks. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

I've Got Your Number: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella

from goodreads

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect! 

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life. 

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.


I absolutely adore Sophie Kinsella's books! They are like dessert or sparkly things, depending on what you like more. While sometimes it gets way too blindingly over-the-top, it ultimately leaves you feeling warm and loved! I've Got Your Number surpassed the Shopoholic series and even some of her best standalones in terms of being super hilarious and insightful! What more- even the over-the-top moments were good over-the-top (while in the Shopoholic series, it could get annoyingly over-the-top). I loved the made-for-movie moments and beautifully flawed Poppy!

I've Got Your Number opens with Poppy freaking out after having lost her engagement ring (in a hotel fire drill) and cell phone in one go. She finds an abandoned cell phone in a waste basket and is glad to have a replacement phone. Only, the phone's owner, businessman Sam Roxton (it belonged to his PA), wants it back. Poppy and Sam come to an agreement about sharing the phone (she agrees to forward all of his messages to him) till the hotel gets back to her about the engagement ring. Meanwhile, her fiance, Magnus's parents are in town and since she's already way intimidated by Magnus's super brainy family, the last thing she needs is for them to know that the ring is gone.

What follows is sequence after sequence of hilarity mixed with wonderfully sweet moments. I adored the book to bits. Every text message between Poppy and Sam, every smilie and "x" and "o" made me smile! On the surface, Poppy seems very similar to Becky Bloomwood of the Shopoholic series, but as you get to know her more, it is obvious that they are both different people. I adored Poppy and could relate to her compulsive need to be liked. She is a great person and doesn't even know it!

I enjoyed getting to know Sam as well. While Poppy peppers her messages with a zillion x's and o's, Sam's emails are painfully short and cordial. They couldn't be any more different but somehow, in the course of their interactions, they bring out the best in each other. I was squealing along with Poppy when Sam used his first smilie! There is also that certain scene in the woods that was plain beautiful! ❤

I also enjoyed a lot of Poppy's random ramblings- whether it was about the lady who says "You have one new message" or her hilariously disastrous conversations with her future in-laws. They were fun and they were also equally meaningful! Apart from the text messages, the book is written in Poppy's point of view. And there are also footnotes (yes, footnotes)! I did not enjoy navigating through the zillion footnotes this book has but I couldn't help laugh out loud at the purpose of the footnotes! 

If you enjoy chic lit or you're just looking for a feel-good book that will keep you smiling throughout, you've got to pick up I've Got Your Number! I read this when I was extremely frazzled and annoyed and it instantly changed my mood. I'd love for this book to be made into a movie!

Publication date: 14th February, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Source: Bought

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NOTE: Now that it's up, don't forget to check out my 100 follower giveaway for a chance to win a 10$ gift card from Amazon! :)

The almost-50 posts and 100 followers giveaway!

Um, I've not quite reached 50 posts... as it turns out. Blogger also includes the Drafts when counting the number of posts. Nevertheless, 50 posts is going to happen quite soon. I'm nearly there! And having reached 100 followers, it is time for a giveaway!!

Since this is my first giveaway, I've decided to keep it simple. The winner gets a 10$ Amazon gift card!

The giveaway shall be open from the 18th of March, 2012 to the 30th of April and the winner will be notified by email! If the winner doesn't respond within 48 hours, I'll be picking someone else.

A big thank you to every single person who has followed, commented or subscribed to my blog! It feels great to have been able to blog for so long. I've read some great books and met really fun people along the way ❤

So without further ado:

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

In My Mailbox (IMM) #2

 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:

(I cannot wait to read Grave Mercy!)

(Isn't the cover pretty?)

(This is next on my to-read list!)

(I love books about book clubs so I had to grab this one!)

From the Kindle Store:

(ZOMG ❤)

Via Amazon Gift (a BIG thank you to the author, Rebecca Hamilton!):


Squeeeal! It has been an awesome week. If only my exams weren't round the corner. I was so happy when my copy of The Fault in Our Stars finally arrived! I read it in three days (because I made myself read it as slowly as I could so that it would never get over) and had tears in my eyes when I reached the end. I can't wait to share my review!

Also, this is my 42nd post. (Whoops, I made a mistake when I calculated it as 49) I'm so happy that my blog has lasted this long! It's all thanks to my awesome followers My 50 posts and 100 followers giveaway should be up very soon! Don't forget to check it out when it's up :o)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Starters by Lissa Price


Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . 


AMAZING is the word! I didn't expect much out of Starters. I thought it would be mildly entertaining and you know, dystopian, but "mildly entertaining and dystopian" is every other YA book these days which Starters most definitely isn't! I did not expect it to be one heck of an adrenaline rush from the beginning till the very end! The twists and the turns were so unexpected as I squirmed and squealed and towards the end, shrieked with disbelief! Starters will hook you in and keep you hooked- there is no doubt about that!

Post Spore Wars, the world consists of only the elderly (or the Enders, 150-ish year olds who are survivors of the war) and Starters, children who are mostly in the streets. Since there was only time to vaccinate the children and elderly, the children are left parent-less. The Starters whose grandparents also perished are left to roam from one vacant house to another and are at the risk of being institutionalised. 

At the midst of this is an organisation called Prime Destinations that hires teens to "rent" their bodies to rich Enders who want to look and feel young again. Prime Destinations is headed by the Old Man, one of the creepiest antagonists I've ever read about! There is a ton of mystery surrounding his identity and let's just say that the climax left me so much more intrigued about him. I'm waiting for more back story about him in the next installment!

One thing that really made Starters work is the premise. It's creepier than I thought it would be. First, having an age-based divide and second, the very concept of Starters renting their bodies to Enders. The way a few Enders treated the bodies rented out made me sick! I've never felt such intense anger at a fictional premise. I loved how, despite not having as much back story about the Spore Wars, the stage was set in such a way as to make us feel involved and indignant.

Another thing was the pace. The plot was anything but slow moving! I was literally GLUED to my iPad all day; whether it was because of Callie’s insta connection with the senator’s grandson or figuring out what Helena, the Ender who was supposed to rent Callie’s body for a month, had set out to do!

Although we don’t see much of Michael, Callie’s neighbor before the Spore Wars and Tyler, Callie’s brother who has a lung infection… I have a feeling they will play a larger role in the later parts… Especially Michael! I loved them both. I loved Michael. I love how he showed his affection for Callie. Tyler was also a total sweetheart.

One tiny thing the book could’ve done with: more back story, less plot holes. Maybe a little more about the Spore Wars. What caused the Spore Wars? Why does everyone assume Callie’s father is dead when it is never explicitly confirmed?

But it is action packed and kept me at the edge of my seat. While I could’ve done with more detail and character development… it was mind blowing by itself! Callie was developed enough as a main character and the plot kept moving! And I LOVED every second of it! Plus, my mind is still reeling from the climax. It was so unexpected! I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment, Enders, to come out so that I can finally stop breaking my head about it!

Publication date: 13th March, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Source: NetGalley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
'Cause it's that awesome, despite the minor issues I had with the back story/plot!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

TMST #3: On my favourite book-to-movie adaptations!

Tell Me Something Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by Cambria Hebert!

This week's question:

Do you usually like the book better than the movie or the movie better than the book? What is your favorite book to movie adaptation you have ever seen?

I almost always like the book better! Movies just don't capture the essence of the book... It's hard to convey in two and a half hours what those carefully crafted words gave us. And too many amazing scenes get cut out. Sometimes, of course, they make this totally amazing movie that does so much justice to the book that you feel like hugging each and every cast member! 

I still watch each and every movie adaptation of my favourite books in hope that it achieves such awesomeness. Even if it doesn't, it's nice to revisit the world of the book!

I am waiting for the movie versions of The Hunger Games and The Perks of being a Wallflower! I can't help the ridiculously high expectations I have for them! Especially for The Perks of being a Wallflower!

On my favourite book to movie adaptations!

Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley! I watched it with my mother when I was thirteen years old and it made me go back and read Austen's Pride and Prejudice (followed by Emma). It's such a beautifully taken movie. Parts of it still make me smile.

A Walk to Remember. I guess the movie was very different from the book.The book was sweeter, more innocent and endearing. The movie was fun... it seemed like just another teen movie with the very hot Shane West who was full of snark as Landon until the scene where Jamie told him everything and I was sobbing along with Landon. I watched the movie before I read the book. I like both the book and movie for different reasons!

The Devil Wears Prada. Need I say more? I liked the book but the movie was even better! Meryl Streep was BRILLIANT as Miranda Priestly and Emily Blunt was great too! 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

From goodreads

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.


I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer! Having heard so much about the book, particularly a certain British hottie called Noah Shaw, I was very excited to read it! In many ways, it lived up to the hype. For one, the writing was excellent. The sharpness, eeriness and the intensity of certain scenes were so clearly a result of Michelle Hodkin’s way with words and utility of words.

Take these lines:
Squawking pierced the funeral’s hushed atmosphere as hundreds of black birds flew overhead in a rush of beating wings. They settled on a cluster of leafless trees that overlooked the parking lot. Even the trees were wearing black.

I faced my brother. “Didn’t you park under those crows?”

He nodded, and started walking to his car.

“Fabulous,” I said as I followed him. “Now we’re going to dodge crap from the whole flock.”


I stopped. “What?”

Daniel turned around. “It’s called a murder of crows. Not a flock.(…).”

It gave me the chills, it really did.

Another amazing thing about the book was how so much of what I got out of it was unexpected! From the beginning, I was unclear about what the book was about and till the climax, there was no real way of knowing what exactly was going on. Was it Mara’s PTSD that was the cause of most of the unexplainable events? Or was it something spookier? From the prologue till the extremely chilling climax and ending, the way things were unveiled had me open mouthed.

Even with the characters… I loved Mara’s family. I instantly warmed up to her brothers, Joseph and Daniel. It was nice to see her parents hang around for the most part of the book. But with the main character, Mara Dyer (which is not her real name), I constantly learned, unlearned and relearned things about her. I found it hard to form a coherent picture of who she really was. Given the nature of the plot, this really works!

And Noah… Noah, Noah, Noah. Noah Shaw is the guy Mara falls for and he really is a YA God! He's rich, speaks six languages, is a bit of a bad boy and at the core of it all, he has his own issues, he cares and he TIES MARA'S SHOELACES! But halfway through the book, way after Noah’s picture perfect date with Mara, I thought, Wait, this is so clichéd! The romance is so clichéd! Noah is such a clichéd bad boy. Don’t even get me started with Mara’s best friend.

But here’s the thing, with the amazing writing… dialogue that warrants highlighting so that you can read it over and over again… does it matter if it’s fundamentally clichéd? It almost doesn’t. Michelle Hodkin’s writing makes every action, every stare, glance and twist in the plot so fluid and so beautiful. While at its core, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer does nothing that other paranormal romances haven’t… It is written in a way that makes it suspenseful and addictive.

If you haven’t read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer yet… I really think you should! I did not find it groundbreaking but it was extremely well written and hooked me in easily. And I need to read the sequel now! The ending was like a series of cliffhangers, one after the other- I need more of Mara, more Noah and I need to know what happens next!

My tongue warred with my mind. "Today," I whispered.
Noah stood slowly, his body skimming mine as he rose. "Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Forever."
Noah's eyes held mine. His stare was infinite. "I was made for you, Mara."

Publication date: 27th September, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Bought

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, 2 March 2012

A Place in This Life blog tour stop: Book review

For Natalie Miller, it’s just another family vacation. For someone else, it’s the opportunity he’s been waiting for. 

With only a single peck from a guy named Frank, Natalie’s anything but experienced with boys. But when Todd pops out of the water, says hi, and tells Natalie he has leukemia, all of that changes.

She’s never had attention like this from a boy, let alone one who’s a real charmer with sex on the brain and the experience to match. Drawn to Todd like a magnet, Natalie gives him her friendship, her love, and her body. Even when she’s tempted by gorgeous, healthy schoolmate Alex, Natalie’s desire to love and care for Todd pushes her to see how far love can go in spite of the potential for death of the relationship — and death of the one she loves.

I just finished reading A Place in This Life and I don't know where to start. My mind's a muddle. I'm so taken with so many things about this book! Let's start with the beginning. I totally didn't expect A Place in This Life to be so... real. It wasn't an easy and glossed over read. It wasn't over dramatic and over emotional. It wasn't overdone at all. It was so real. Which makes sense as it is based on the author's experiences. It takes so much skill to portray that period in the protagonist, Natalie's life so vividly.

The book opens with Natalie vacationing with her family at Catalina Island. At seventeen, she has had only one sort-of boyfriend and her parents seem naturally over protective of her. She never expects to meet someone special at Catalina but she meets Todd who tells her outright that he has leukemia. The rest of the story is a plethora of firsts for Natalie as she decides to stick by Todd who was an out-and-out bad boy before he fell ill. As the school year begins, Alex, a perfectly nice, rich boy, makes things complicated as it's clear that he likes Natalie and Natalie thinks she might like him back as well.

At first, I didn't like Todd. He was too brash and forward in a way that made me worried for Natalie. But soon, I started liking those things about him. Maybe it was as Natalie found herself falling for him. I liked how unapologetic and positive he was. I didn't realise how strong he was till midway through the book. 

Natalie felt like the little sister I never had or me from few years back. But it's clear that everything she went through made her stronger. I could feel her grow as a person over the span of a year and truly find a place for herself. She had a lot on her plate when it came to the two guys who suddenly entered her life. I could feel every awkward flutter, the queasiness, the heartbreak and the impact of every decision she made. 

But what I liked most about A Place in This Life was the small things. Whether it was Natalie's first conversations with Todd which were so awkward and difficult to read, her habit of chewing her nails, the chemo session or her amazingly supportive parents... Every stage of her relationship with Todd... Natalie's walk in the rain, the "invisible audience" when she's on the phone, her weird dreams that always gave shape to her worries or the path she carved for herself... I was taken in by these parts that I felt most books leave out or don't elaborate on. 

Dealing with first love, heartbreak, sex, drugs and cancer, A Place in This Life is raw, moving and so real. It will make you smile before you reach the point where your heart drops and you want to sob your heart out. Available at the Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and BookieJar at 0.99$, A Place in This Life is a book you wouldn't want to miss!

Publication date: 23rd September, 2011
Publisher: Self-pub
Source: A copy of this book was provided by the author as a part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
So heartwrenchingly real. I loved it. A few minor editing issues but overall, it is definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Place in This Life blog tour stop: Author interview and more to come!

For Natalie Miller, it’s just another family vacation. For someone else, it’s the opportunity he’s been waiting for.

With only a single peck from a guy named Frank, Natalie’s anything but experienced with boys. But when Todd pops out of the water, says hi, and tells Natalie he has leukemia, all of that changes.

She’s never had attention like this from a boy, let alone one who’s a real charmer with sex on the brain and the experience to match. Drawn to Todd like a magnet, Natalie gives him her friendship, her love, and her body. Even when she’s tempted by gorgeous, healthy schoolmate Alex, Natalie’s desire to love and care for Todd pushes her to see how far love can go in spite of the potential for death of the relationship — and death of the one she loves.

First of all, thanks so much to Amanda from Stuck in YA Books, who has put together this tour and Julie Duck for letting me be a part of this tour! I'm nearly done reading A Place in this Life by Julie Duck and I must say, I loved how unflinchingly real it was! That's what really grabbed me. I'll be sharing my review of A Place in this Life very, very soon. I'm also doing an author interview of the very awesome Julie Duck!

Author interview

Hello, Julie. Welcome to my blog, on books! Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you start writing.

I started as an artist - loved to draw. In the third grade, I picked up a copy of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was hooked after that, devouring her books and those by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume (woo woo!). I wrote and illustrated my first book at that time, and entered every poetry contest that was around. It was a hunger I couldn't satisfy.

It must've been hard writing a novel as intense and real as A Place in This Life. What were the parts you enjoyed writing and what were the hardest parts?

I enjoyed writing the beginning, where they meet, because it brought back memories of when I actually met the real Todd. I could smell the ocean, feel the dusty path at Two Harbors, and see Todd's face. The hardest parts were writing the chemo section, which also brought back memories, as well as the part at the end where Todd's family gathers at Ortega Highway. By this time, I'd done the research and found that the real Todd had died of leukemia at an Orange County children's hospital about a year after we'd met.

Natalie's experiences felt painfully, wonderfully real. That was what I liked best about A Place in This Life! What was your first relationship like? (if you don't mind me asking)

I was 14 when I met Todd A. on Catalina Island. He scared me because of how forward he was. But that was also the reason I liked him. There is something about a dominant guy! Todd really did extend himself to know me, actually taking that bus trip to my house without my knowing he would do that... and going through a chemo round with him. I saw and heard and felt things that were so real, so deeply emotive that I protected them inside my heart and mind. It was only when I thought I might have a life-changing illness myself, some 25 years later, that I released it all. Glad I did.

In the end, I let fear reign and I broke up with Todd before anything really big happened. It's quite a lot to take on at such a young age - a boyfriend with a ton of "experience" who also happens to be very ill.

What are you working on now? Can we have a small excerpt from it? 

I am wrapping up a male POV novella called The Joy & Torture of Joshua James. It has been fun to write! You can find the first chapter on my blog, but here's a snippet of how Josh thinks:

Keeping to myself, I ate at the block wall that surrounded the tables. It was easier this way, because I could watch who was coming and going, and make a clean getaway as soon as the last bite went in my mouth. Or so I thought. 
She appeared in front of me, and that last bite almost went down my windpipe. This was no time to spit out food, but I couldn’t help it when the chewed-up wad of pizza landed at her feet. Her lips broke into a smile. 
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to make you choke. You okay?” She hunched her silky shoulders, her long blonde hair curving beautifully over them with ease. I hopped off the wall and cleared any residual bits out of my throat. My neighbor was looking me right in the eye — something I wasn’t used to. 
“Yeah, I’m okay. Not used to people sneaking up on me like that.” 
“I wasn’t trying to sneak. I think you were zoning out.” She hunched again, a signal that she was right and I was wrong. It wasn’t hard to agree with her body. 
“Maybe. This is school. The best place to space.” I tried to give her what I thought was a killer grin, but oregano was surely plastered somewhere on the front of my teeth. 
“You’re the new neighbor, right?” 
“I’ve seen you around,” I said, recalling her car washing skills. The hose. The lather. My tent pole. 
“I’m Jordan.” 
She reached out her hand, and I had to wipe the pizza grease off mine. But I had no napkin and wiping it like usual on my pants wasn’t an option.  
“The pizza – I don’t want to get your hand dirty.” I air-shook her hand and she laughed, which could be a good thing, or not. Girls usually did this when they realized I was a dork, made a polite excuse to exit, and never appeared again.

I definitely want to read more about Josh! As a self published author, do you have any advice for people thinking about getting self published?

Make sure you have the best story possible, formatted properly and with no errors. Nothing looks worse than an e-book with misspelled words - except one with bad transitions and no train of thought. Get at least one person to beta read your work. Opinions count! Then follow the platform formatting and uploading requirements - for Amazon, B&N and Smashwords there are separate, unique ways that your manuscript needs to be formatted. I found Bookiejar a delight - very easy to work with them, whereas Smashwords had a bible of how they wanted things. No matter what, do as they say and you should come out fine.

Also, make sure your cover art is pro. I had an artist friend, Cathy Hebert, create the cover for A Place In This Life. There are several e-book cover artists out there. Please feel free to ask me for a referral!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

A Place In This Life has earned 4 and 5 star ratings across
the board for its intimate portrayal of a teenage girl whose first love is a boy
with leukemia. There are no dry eyes when you join the hundreds of readers
who have been touched by this deeply moving story.

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