Saturday, 28 September 2013

Review: Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae

Publication date: July 29th, 2013
Publisher: Flirt
Stars: 2.5/5
Source: NetGalley
Rising star Cassie Mae introduces New Adult readers to a practical soon-to-be college freshman who seems to have everything—until a special guy shows her what she’s been missing.

In the wealthy town of Sundale, Kelli Pinkins has hatched the perfect plan to capitalize on her sweet reputation. For a generous fee, she will be every trust-fund baby’s dream: a Friday-night alibi, the “girlfriend” or “BFF” that parents dream about. With college approaching in the fall, Kelli’s services are in demand more than ever, which means that her social life is nonexistent. But Kelli is A-okay with that. She’s raking in cash for school. Besides, relationships are tricky, and sometimes very messy. She’d rather be at home on Xbox LIVE, anyway. Then the unexpected happens: She meets college stud Chase Maroney.

Chase isn’t like the preppy, privileged guys Kelli usually meets in Sundale. For starters, he’s twentysomething, always wears black., and he shoots back one-liners as fast as she can dish them out. But Kelli’s attempts to drive Chase away falter when she realizes that he treats her like he really knows her, like he cares about knowing her. When Kelli finally gives in to the delicious kiss she’s been fighting for so long, she faces a tough decision: make Chase a real-life boyfriend and risk her heart . . . or keep her clients and lose her first true love.


Friday Night Alibi ended up being a standard New Adult affair with the two main characters with lonely and painful pasts respectively, kisses, quarrels and a predictable reconciliation. The protagonist, Kelli Pinkins, uses her squeaky clean rich girl reputation to act as people's Friday Night Alibis -all for good pay, of course- when they are out partying or with a girl their parents don't approve of instead. This is until twentysomething Chase walks into her life with his terrible pick-up lines and threatens to put her job and heart at stake. 

Do you believe in judging a book by its cover?

Do you believe in judging a book by its blurb?

Then, chances are you'll get exactly what you're looking for if you decide to read Friday Night Alibi. Me? I expected a little more Veronica Mars-style snark and a little less fluff, given that the main character has a rather clever side business going on! That, I did not fully get but to be fair, I shouldn't have expected.

Some things I did end up enjoying in spite of the predictable ups and downs of the plot:

  • It's light and funny despite the angstiness that slowly creeps in
  • The main character, Kelli, lends a good deal of sass to the book!
  • Kelli and Chase do not have the worst chemistry
  • It was just the sort of silly but harmless read that was right for the summer
  • While the slang-laden writing felt a bit too much in the beginning, I warmed up to it pretty quickly. Towards the end, I think I enjoyed it

What put me off was that while Friday Night Alibi was a sunny read and impossible not to like... other than Kelli's job as your Friday-night Alibi, this book felt like every other New Adult book. Girl in college or heading to college- check. Tortured boy or seemingly normal boy with a sad past- check. Dependence on each other to work through their problems- check. 

Chase did have his moments, though. Chase and Kelli's first meeting made me laugh out loud! I had to give it to Chase for using the worst pick up line ever and infuriating the poor girl! While the characters were likable, their characterisation did not make up for the plot basically consisting of every love-hate situation you can think of. I also could not buy into Kelli's poor-little-rich-girl troubles.

All in all, I ended up liking Friday Night Alibi in spite of myself. I just wish it had stepped outside what seems to be the tried and tested formula of every New Adult book in the block.

Rating: ★★1/2

Friday, 27 September 2013

On my Reading Nook(s)! (Feature and Follow Friday #13)

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

Q: Activity: Reading Nook Tour!

My reading spot, I've come to realise, is... EVERYWHERE.

Reading itself puts me into this state of equilibrium amid the madness that is life and reading ANYWHERE instantaneously transports me into another world.

At the dinner table *cue disapproving looks from everybody else*
But what the heck! Must. Finish. Chapter.

In the bus!

Near my desktop, when I'm listening to music and stuff.

When I'm pacing around restlessly... before college or when I'm waiting for a friend.

Reading in bed. Doesn't get more comfy than that ;)

What's your reading nook like? 


While I'm on GFC, Linky and can be followed by email, I'd prefer it if you could follow me on Facebook (Facebook Page) since my Page is brand new ;) Or you can also:

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, 20 September 2013

Novel Publicity Blog Tour; Review: Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray

Publication date: March 15th, 2013
Publisher: Luminis Books
Stars: 5/5
Links: Amazon|Goodreads
Source: Novel Publicity blog tour (thank you, NP!)
It's not about sex.

It's about how one secret act of violence changes everything--how best friends can desert you when you need them most, how nobody understands. It's about the drinking and stealing and lying and wondering who you can trust. It's about parents and teachers, police officers and counselors--all the people who are supposed to help you, but who may not even believe you.

It's about how suddenly all of your hopes and dreams can vanish, and you can find yourself all alone, with nothing and no one. Your only choice is to end it all or to start over... and all you can think is Maybe I Will.

Author Laurie Gray presents a compelling picture of the realities of sexual assault in Maybe I Will, drawing on her years of experience as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, dealing with crimes against children. The twist in the story is that we never know for sure if the victim is a boy or a girl, and we realize that it doesn't matter, because it's not about sex.


I found myself thinking about this six-word paragraph I read in Anthem: "I am. I think. I will." The words were so powerful, but they kept turning into questions in my mind. I am. Who am I? I think. What do I think? I will. I will what? Maybe I will, but maybe I won't. Maybe I will, but maybe I don't. Maybe I don't will anything. Maybe it all happens regardless of my will.

In case you didn't get the drift from the above quote alone, Maybe I Will is powerful. It's intense and devastating, in part, because of the tragedy that befalls the protagonist and for the most part, because of the way it is written itself.

We do not know much about Sandy in the beginning. We do not know his(/her) gender, for instance. Sandy's parents intended to name the main character Sandy, short for Sandford or Sandra. What was it finally short for? We do not know. At the same time, we know that Sandy is a powerhouse of amazing on stage. That Sandy is a sophomore who takes high school seriously... seriously enough to think hard over his/her assignments anyway. We also know that Sandy really hits it off with a co-actor in the Peter Pan play; Shanika Washington. That Sandy loves the Bard, quotes Shakespeare in a way that is infectious and watches Hamlet for fun. That Sandy seems to have loving and caring parents and good enough friends. That Sandy is incredibly, inspiringly and realistically resilient. So. Do we know Sandy after all?

Despite not knowing Sandy's sex or sexual orientation... constructs that seem to be enough to characterise most Young Adult protagonists these days... don't we know Sandy? Irrespective of the exclusion of Sandy's gender from the story which would've probably influenced our thoughts of Sandy as either "sensitive" or "angsty" depending on whether Sandy was male or female... or as gay or straight... we know Sandy. In fact, we know more of Sandy, now that the labels have been tucked away from our line of vision.

Then, at the central point of the story comes the act of violence that you anticipate and yet barely see coming... the consequences on Sandy's esteem, health and social life shock you. Sandy is sexually assaulted... there is no other word for it... or is there? Because just like the other carefully label-excluded aspects of the story, the incident, despite being crude and aggressive and violating, is clearly not about sex. 

The assault makes Sandy feel violated and vulnerable and friendless... reduced to a shell. Redefining Sandy; as he/she questions things that were once taken for granted.

At different points of the story, two labels are attributed to Sandy by others: rich and kid which made me go... heh. It was surprising how starkly these labels stood out from the rest of the novel. It was gratifying how these labels never stuck to Sandy.

Maybe I Will figuratively shattered me into tiny pieces as I felt like I was witness to a shock, slow breakdown and at the same time, incredible efforts to regain sense of self in the wake of a nightmare. It made me question our natural tendency to gender type due to the total absence of gender typing in the book. It made me reevaluate my feelings towards sexual assault... making me realise that it wasn't about how far the perpetrator got or how physically bruised the person was at all because it's not about sex. It never was.

In case you're wondering, I started off picturing Sandy as a girl (it must have something to do with the abundance of female protagonists in Young Adult fiction) and then, when I realised the sex was never mentioned, tried imagining Sandy as a boy... and gradually, after switching back and forth a few times, I ended up reading Sandy as... Sandy. That made for a very liberating and different experience! Maybe I Will has been compared to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and while it is definitely recommended for those who read and loved Speak, I think this novel stands on its own in terms of the barriers it breaks and the way it picks apart the assault; zeroing in on the core of what it really was.

Rating: ★★★★★


Welcome to Novel Publicity's latest publishing house blog tour. Join us as two new titles from Luminis Books--we're calling them the Luminis Duo--tour the blogosphere in a way that just can't be ignored. And, hey, we've got prizes! 

About the author: 

Laurie Gray has worked as a high school teacher, a deputy prosecuting attorney, and the founder of Socratic Parenting LLC ( In addition to writing, speaking and consulting, Laurie currently works as a bilingual child forensic interviewer at her local Child Advocacy Center and as an adjunct professor of criminal sciences at Indiana Tech. She has served on the faculty of the National Symposium for Child Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama, annually since 2009. Her debut novel Summer Sanctuary (Luminis Books/2010) received a Moon Beam Gold Medal for excellence in young adult fiction and was named a 2011 Indiana Best Book Finalist. Her third young adult novel Just Myrto (Luminis Books/2014) will carry readers back to ancient Greece to meet Socrates, Laurie’s favorite teacher of all times. Connect with Laurie on her website, Facebook, or GoodReads.

 About the prizes:

Who doesn't love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams, or an autographed copy of its tour mate, Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams. Here's what you need to do...
  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.
That's it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win--the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Luminis Duo tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

Luminis Books was launched in January, 2010 by husband and wife team Tracy Richardson and Chris Katsaropoulos with a mission to publish thought-provoking literary fiction for children and adults. We publish what we love: Meaningful Books That Entertain. Our award-winning books engage and inform readers and explore a wide range of topics from love and relationships, teen sexual assault and homelessness to string theory, consciousness, and the Universal Energy Field. Luminis Books is a proudly independent publisher located in Carmel, IN. Learn more at  

Learn more about Maybe I Will's tour mate HERE.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Wonder-ful Giveaway: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Last year, this time, I was a mess. I felt pressure from all directions: college, friends, life and did not know what to do about it. Then, that day happened. You know... that day when it all blows up in your face?

The good thing about that day was that it could not get any worse from then on.

The bad thing was that it did not have to.

Luckily, I had a brand new copy of Wonder that day. I couldn't read it then... but the next day, when I skipped college because I really.really.needed.a.break... I read Wonder.

And it was like this balm that made everything temporarily okay. It was hilarious, poignant, emotional and impactful. This book made that day okay. Or at least, it made me feel like everything was going to be okay.

Today, I (belatedly) celebrated the Day of Compassion as a part of my Social Psychology course on As a part of it, it seemed inevitable that I use it as an opportunity to giveaway an e-copy of Wonder because... not only does the book have personal relevance to me... not only do I wish you read it now if you haven't read it already, but the characters in Wonder exemplify genuine warmth in a way that makes you feel cared for; like the world is a decent place and you're in good hands.

Hopefully, it will brighten up your day as well or change your life or perspective in some way!

Publication date: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Stars: 5/5
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

I'm going to leave you with a few quotes from Wonder  that I feel captures a bit of the book:

“Now that I look back, I don't know why I was so stressed about it all this time. Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.”   
 “...your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of stone.” 
“My mom smiled at me. Her smile kind of hugged me.”  


To enter the e-giveaway, sign into the rafflecopter below. There aren't any requirements to follow my blog or tweet or anything; though I'd appreciate it if you spread word about the giveaway, all the same!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you have a great week! ❤