Saturday, April 5, 2014

ARC Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

16068341Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Release Date: 3rd June 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewEveryone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

Detailed Review: Whenever I approach a contemporary, it's usually with a sense of fear and curiosity. Why? Usually I find some books that are really very hard to connect with because the characters seem too perfect and the setting is simply too unbelievable (no high school, just a beach? What do the kids do these days?)

The Truth About Alice, was not one of these books. Instead, it relates with high school life very easily, making it so much easier to imagine the story in my head. The setting was a great setting, because it somehow set the boundaries for how far the stories would go.

Another good thing about it was that it was written from 4 perspectives about the main character, rather than letting Alice herself be the voice of the story. This makes it even more intriguing because you see the main character through the perspectives of four very different people with different intentions:

Kelsie: She used to be Alice's best friend, until the rumors started. She just stopped hanging out with Alice anymore, for fear that if she did, she'd become what she used to be: a friendless dork. 

Elaine: She's on the top rung of the popularity ladder. She sets trends for people to follow and everybody worships her. She may not hate Alice but she sure as hell doesn't like her either.

Josh: Brandon's best friend. Football player. Hot and popular. But he does have one secret that could change people's perceptions about Alice in a minute.

Kurt: He's had a crush with Alice since the first time he saw her. And he also possesses one secret that could change everything and possibly tear apart his friendship with the used-to-be-friendless Alice.

All four of these characters have the power to change Alice's life. This is what hit me the hardest. They are like determinants in Alice's life. What they do, what they say, dictate Alice's life. And this led me to think, doesn't this apply in real life too?

Yes it does. 

The Truth About Alice describes high school perfectly. It reminds us that these things actually happen or have happened.

There was one thing I dislike. The lack of swoon-worthy romance. But I think Jennifer probably thought, "Alright, I'm not gonna put in much romance in it, we still need to stay focused on Alice, not some love story." So I'll probably let this go for this book.

Brief Review: Jennifer's use of four different perspectives give us much more insight than Alice could have given about herself. Not only is it intriguing, it shows awareness of the other characters and also lets us know more about them through what they say about Alice. The Truth About Alice highlights high school life in its ugliest and prettiest: the price of popularity, the leaving of fake friends, and the discovering of real friends. This book does not make out high school to be what it seems to be, and this will be what pulls most readers in; the truth will draw you in. Overall, a truly positive debut to Jennifer's writing career!

Final Rating: 4.5/5 'Really Liked It!'










QUOTE

To everyone in the world, who believe the lies so easily

The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.- Maya Angelou


Your Reviewer:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

COVER REVEAL: Written On Her Heart by Paige Rion

Hey everyone! Today we're doing a cover reveal for Xpresso Book Tours, featuring Written On Her Heart by Paige Rion!!!

But first here's some general information on the book:

Written On Her Heart by Paige Rion
Publication date: April 23rd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
To escape the ensuing media whirlwind after scandalous events in his novels were revealed to be true, big-time author Ford Delaney relocates to Callaway Cove.

When 21-year-old budding writer, Andi Callaway, returns home for college break, she discovers her literary idol – Ford Delaney, a world famous novelist – has taken refuge in her tiny hometown.

Andi determines to win a job as his assistant – but being hired by the handsome, reclusive author means competing with her friends for the job and ignoring the wishes of her longtime boyfriend.

As romantic sparks begin to fly between Andi and Ford, the heat they generate will either forge a powerful, enduring love or threaten everything she holds dear.

AND FINALLY THE HEART-STOPPING, BREATH-TAKING, MAGNIFICENT AND SPECTACULAR COVER...




P.S. I have read the book (beta-read) and honestly it's really good. It's just perfect.


This cover reveal is hosted by:






Sunday, March 23, 2014

RECAP: Meeting LAUREN OLIVER!!!

Hey everyone! Me (Elicia) and Chloe went to a book fair yesterday with some friends and met a special someone...

And from the blog post title, I guess you know who.

THE AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL AND MAGNIFICENT LAUREN OLIVER !!!! 

She was the first famous author and undeniably the nicest and warmest person I've ever known! She's so cute and funny and when me and Chloe told her that we interviewed her for our blog, she said that she remembered us!!!! I ALMOST FAINTED RIGHT THEN. 

I think I may have fallen in love (amor deliria nervosa) with Lauren Oliver (excuse the pun).  

We also had a Q and A session between the audience and author and the funniest and most memorable question and answer was still this.

'Why don't you like bananas?'

A: After she ate a banana in ninth grade, she got sick and then puked right in front of her class (which was totally embarrassing). She doesn't like the colour yellow and also the smell. She said she preferred durian (a Malaysian fruit, which is DEFINITELY smellier than a banana) to bananas.

Of course, we also had the chance to ask her a few of our own questions (the answers are not exactly what she said, they're just fragments of what I can remember amidst my fangirl moment):

1. Which book did you enjoy writing the most?

A: Before I Fall because it was good to relive my life in high school when I was 17 years old again while writing it.

2. Were you scared to become a writer?

A: Well, yeah at first. When I got my first paycheck, I quitted all my current jobs and just sat down and relaxed.

3. Did you always plan to become a writer?

A: I started writing since I was nine, which was just fanfiction, but I didn't know it was called that then. Writing isn't very fun, but I just loved doing it.

She also talked about why she left Requiem (the last book in the Delirium trilogy) as it was. She said she didn't like how some authors liked to control their characters lives, when J.K. Rowling decided to fast forward to when Harry Potter was an adult and had children just because she could. She simply wanted to make the story and its characters play out naturally and the ending was written that way so we could try to imagine the characters' fates and what would happen next. This makes the story more memorable. 

Also, we found out that Lauren is obsessed with ghosts, which is evident in Liesel & Po and also her upcomping first adult novel, Rooms.

And PANIC is going to become a movie!!! Can't wait!!!

I know I'm boring you with this lengthy rant so I'll just show some pics now.

Chloe had four books signed (The Delirium Trilogy and Panic) and I had two (Before I Fall and Panic).


Chloe's signed copy of Panic


My signed copy of Panic


My signed copy of Before I Fall. Love Lauren's loopy signature!!!


And finally the beautiful author herself. I've got the feels... From just looking at her beautiful face. We did take a group photo with Lauren but my friends (including Chloe) would kill me if I posted it so I can't post that pic sorry. I'd love to though! Thanks for tuning in! This is something major for us since Lauren is the very first YA author we met face to face and we were crazily fangirling over her.

What about you? Have you ever met Lauren Oliver or any other author? 

Also, if you want to read our interview with Lauren Oliver, here's the link to the page! Click HERE.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

ARC Review: Sekret by Lindsay Smith

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Title: Sekret
Author: Lindsay Smith
Release Date: 1st April 2014
Publisher: Macmillan Children's
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewAn empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.

Detailed Review: When I first stumbled across this book on Goodreads and my partner mentioned that the cover for Sekret was really good, I thought to myself, this needs to be on my TBR list. I'm a sucker for historical fiction. Anything that involves past incidents that have actually happened. So when I saw Sekret available for request on NetGalley, I absolutely had no hesitation on clicking the Request button. I kept my fingers crossed on being approved. 

I got approved. I read it. I rated it. And now I'm writing this review on how much this book really fazed and awed me. 

Sekret is a great example of how history can really make an original setting for your book. I was very intrigued when I found out that the book was set in the USSR (now Russia) while it was engaged in the Cold War with America. Using a historical setting will give an atmosphere hardly associated with books that have present or future settings. The atmosphere in Sekret was one of tension and secrecy. Giving psychic abilities to the characters gives the book another finishing touch. I especially loved the different abilities which the psychics have, everything from mind-reading to remote viewing and altering memories. The author has got a good imagination.

What gives it a high polish are the characters. Yulia is a brave and smart heroine that challenges all-time favourites like Katniss. She did remind me of Katniss at times, possibly because they were somehow under the same circumstances. Yulia's love interest, Valentin was a very hard code to crack most of the time, yet I still loved him. Rostov made a great antagonist as well as Misha and Masha. 

The secret ingredient though, was still the twists. The thing is, there's no warning of a twist coming your way. It just leaps out at you and stares you down. It's like being drowned and then pulled onto shore and then being drowned again. This cycle will keep on repeating as you read the book.

And then when you find out there's a sequel... I was like, where's the cliffhanger?!? Unlike other books, the ending was surprisingly well-rounded. Nonetheless, I still need the second book!!!

Finally, a request. MAKE ME A PSYCHIC!!!

Brief Review: Lindsay has obviously done her research regarding Russia in the 1960s and captures the atmosphere well with her descriptive prose and secretive air in writing. She artfully brings her characters to life with words and their psychic abilities is the result of creativity and thorough research. This debut clearly wears out a path for the author to easily navigate and make her voice heard in the writing industry!

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'










QUOTE:

This quote captures the mood of the book so well,

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”---George Orwell

Your Reviewer:










Friday, February 21, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: Just Like A Musical by Milena Veen



Title: Just Like A Musical
Author: Milena Veen
Release Date: 15th November 2013

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Fields has always lived by the rules set up by her foolishly overprotective mother. As a result, she doesn't go to school, she's never been kissed, and almost everything she knows about life is what she has learned from old movies.

But now...now there's this Joshua guy. He's quirky, and he's tall, and he uses “romantic” and “old-fashioned” in the same sentence.

And there's Mrs. Wheeler, an eccentric retired Hollywood costume designer and Ruby's new best friend.

When Mrs. Wheeler ends up in hospital, just after telling Ruby her long-kept secret, Ruby decides to break her mother's rules and embark on a journey that will change her life forever.

Find on Goodreads:

Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/Just-Like-Musical-Milena-Veen-ebook/dp/B00HBQUDKS

Detailed Review: This book greatly reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars. And if you have read this latest John Green book, you'll know what I mean.

Even though the book was quite a short read, I felt like I had read a book that was 500 pages long, because each word held the weight of so many words.

What stood out the most to me was the friendship between the main character, Ruby, and an old woman who used to work in Hollywood as a costume designer. A friendship may seem unlikely between the two characters, but if circumstances dictate it, it will happen. 

I present to you, the wonders and miracles of life. 

The characters were oh so beautiful. It's like a version of The Fault in Our Stars (please excuse this comparison, I simply can't help it), where Ruby is Hazel, Joshua is Gus and Mrs Wheeler is Peter Van Houten (but a more cheerful and caring one). It's like insta-love with these characters for me. They have their own trademarks like Ruby's heart problem, Joshua's Tourette's syndrome and Mrs Wheeler's rich but tragic past. If these don't interest you, I doubt anything ever will.

It was Ruby, who I loved most of all. Her hunger for freedom struck a chord in me, because who doesn't want freedom? I am 15, and I want freedom just like her. Freedom to go wherever I want, do whatever I want. It's so easy to relate with her in terms of this. It's also the fact that she's different from other people. She's unique in her own way and she shines the brightest in Just Like A Musical. Her musings about life are both deep and meaningful. She's right when she said 'Freedom lies inside you.' And when she says, 'Life – life was just like a musical. Sad and  beautiful at the same time.', all I could think was, 'This is a great finale to this musical.'

And if I have decided to compare The Fault in Our Stars with Just Like A Musical, it means so much. So much that even words can't convey how touching this book is. A sad but beautiful ending, funny characters, unique circumstances. What more could you want? 

With a satisfied heart, I end my journey in this book. *sigh*

Brief Review: Tragic, beautiful, funny, cute, unique. This is how I would describe Just Like A Musical. It's magnificent how Milena could write such a beautiful story using not just the power of words, but the power of strong emotions- which words can't describe that touch the reader's heart. This, is what makes this novel truly stand out from other books. 

Final Rating:
5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

Your Reviewer: 

About the Author
Milena Veen was born in Belgrade, Serbia. Her first piece of writing, a poem about a walking cherry, saw the light of the day when she was seven. She's been writing ever since.

Milena graduated from University of Belgrade with a degree in psychology. She lives in a little European town with her husband and a mute cat. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading, riding her bicycle, and listening to music. She prefers clouds to sunshine and coffee to tea. 

Author Links:

***GIVEAWAY***
$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

 RULES AND RESTRICTIONS: 
Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 13 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond  or another winner’s name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.



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