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Saturday, May 21, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Orangeboy by Patrick Lawrence

Orangeboy

 Sixteen-year-old Marlon has promised his widowed mum that he'll be good, and nothing like his gang-leader brother Andre. It's easy when you keep yourself to yourself, listening to your dead dad's Earth, Wind and Fire albums and watching sci-fi. But everything changes when Marlon's first date with the beautiful Sonya ends in tragedy; he becomes a hunted man and he has no idea why. With his dad dead and his brother helpless, Marlon has little choice but to enter Andre's old world of guns, knives and drug runs in order to uncover the truth and protect those close to him. It's time to fight to be the last man standing.




The amazing people at Hachette UK have been awesome enough to let me host a giveaway for TWO copies of this book.

UK ONLY

The giveaway ends very close to when the book hits bookstores so do enter UK people. 

Thanks for visiting!



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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Review: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1)

Blurb: 
“Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”

She could only stare back, frozen.


When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.
Source: Edelweiss (Thanks for the review copy HarperTeen!)

My Thoughts:

This is the second book I have read by Wendy Higgins. The first one I read was 'Sweet Evil'. I really enjoyed 'Sweet Evil' and was expecting some great writing from Higgins, sadly I was disappointed.

Negatives:

Not as good as the original
After reading the book I decided to read the short story that it was based on. It was a very short story and I was able to finish reading it in ten minutes but it was still much better than this book. I think Wendy stretched the original concept too long. The story was simple yet had a lot of depth. Higgins instead chooses to drag it out and in the process over complicates it. Read the original here: http://genius.com/The-brothers-grimm-the-singing-bone-annotated

Lack of relateable characters

I think Higgins decided to over-complicate the story but forgot to add depth to the characterization of the protagonists. All can easily fall under stereotypical fairy tale tropes. The hunter , the princess, the sister of the princess and the brother of the hunter. I'm not saying that Higgins does not TRY to add depth but you can't connect to any of the characters and that is why I think they lack something. 

Where is the suspense?
I had not read the original before reading this book but still I could predict almost everything that would happen. Almost every *shocking* plot twist was not shocking at all. There was no doubt regarding who would fall in love with whom, there was no doubt regarding why the place was being attacked. Even the revealation regarding someone (avoiding spoilers) was not very surprising. The only surprising part was the ending.I can't believe that the story is going to be stretched even more. Instead of trying to forcefully trying to instill a sense of danger, making the story shorter and crisper would have made it more enjoyable.

The Romance
Of course the woman likes the mean bad boy who ignores her. God forbid she like the nice guy who treats her well?  Also, it is love at first sight and there is an undeniable attraction (KILL ME NOW!) not only between one couple but TWO. 

There was one scene in which the younger brother is of course infatuated with Aerity but once he realizes his older brother is interested he shifts his focus to the younger sister because princesses are replaceable sexual objects (Feminist rant being held in with a lot of difficulty!)

I think if I cared about the characters I would be able to forget about the romance but I don't which is why the romance was even more cringe-worthy.

Villains? WHAT Villains?
The antagonists are these shady characters always on the fringes but never properly introduced. The Beast takes center stage. But, the beast is an animal, he cannot make up for a complex human antagonist. I think the main antagonists will be focused on in the sequel which is a pity. I really liked what I read about them but what I read was too little. 

Positives

Aerity

Apart from her poor romantic choices. She was well etched out and one of the main reasons why I did not abandon this book.

The unexpected ending

The highlight of the book. The sad part is that the most interesting plot points are introduced towards the end. I know that the sequel will most probably have a better storyline but by the end of the narrative I have just lost interest in these characters. 

The entire set up

I think the reason I am so disappointed with this book is because it has all the makings of a best seller. A great writer, aristocracy, a hunt in which the prize is a princess and magic. The way it is implemented is the only thing that is lacking. I loved reading about the world that Higgins has set up. The entire political scene and the discrimination between magic and non-magic users really hooked me in. Instead on capitalizing on these brilliant themes and the world building, Higgins focuses too much of her energy on the romantic angle. This is the reason why this story did not work for me. There is no spice in it. No betrayals, no shocking ends. It focuses on the surface despite having so much potential for exploring deeper themes. 

Overall, I am very disappointed with this book.


My Rating:

2/5




Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)

Blurb: 
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Source: Free audiobook from SYNCYA and Borrowed book from library.

My Thoughts:

Note: I listened to more than half of this on audiobook and read the rest. The audiobook was really good. Almost didn't enjoy the book as much after I switched.

The Raven Boys is a beautiful book. The prose is beautifully spoken in the audiobook .This is one of the few audiobooks I would highly recommend as the tone of the narrator matches the setting beautifully. 

I was very reluctant to pick up this book. Maggie's Shiver series was slow, dull and had a lackluster plot. The only reason I picked up this book is because of the beautiful way she wrote in that series and because of the  positive reviews this book received.

The Raven Boys does not have a singular narrator. The perspective keeps shifting from one character to another but the shift is not jarring, it's a thing of beauty.It's hard to believe that the writer is female as the male's voices are authentic and  beautifully spun.

To cut a long story short: Read it for the writing.

The pace of the story is slow and if you don't enjoy the writing, you will not enjoy the book.  The world building is also brilliant.In my opinion the weakest point of this book is it's story and pacing. The characterization is great and you get invested in all the characters but the climax is unmemorable. There is a great build up but the way it is wrapped up is slightly disappointing.

I want to read more about Gansey and Ronan and Adam and Blue. I fell in love with all of them. I would read a story in which they all went on a picnic if Maggie wrote it. The world of mysticism and spirituality that she introduces in this novel is incredible. But, I do realize the weakness of the overall story and the fact that this book is not for everyone.

I would recommend that you read or better yet, listen to some sample chapters (especially if you're fond of audiobooks). See if you enjoy the world building and writing style and then buy or borrow the book.Personally, I really enjoyed it.

My Rating:

4/5

Loved the writing style, though not for everyone.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)

Blurb:
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart ...

Source: Edelweiss (Thank you HarperTeen for the review copy!)


My Thoughts:

Setting and Tone: Red Queen follows Mare Barrow as she progresses from being the lowest of the low to becoming one of people that belongs to the higher echelons of society. The setting is very dystopic but the story is classified as fantasy.

Mare is a red blood having silver abilities which is why like President Snow in 'The Hunger Games' ,the king decides that as he cannot kill her (because of reasons) he will keep her close to him and disguise her as a silver blood. Following the age old philosophy of  'keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.'

Why is the king so worried about a red blood superpower? Because, the red bloods are mistreated by the supernaturally gifted silver bloods and they might decide to revolt against such discrimination. Sounds like a dystopic novel, doesn't it? But, because of the presence of the supernatural it fits more into the category of fantasy. I thought the tone of the novel was similar to that found in YA dystopia which is why I am stressing on this point.

Mixed feelings: The story focuses on revolution, class discrimination, aristocratic politics, political subterfuge and romance. I have mixed feelings regarding how this keeps shifting from one to the other and due to this the story lacks the depth found in 'The Hunger Games'. 

Negatives: The romance. Oh god the romance! It was not even a triangle , it was a love square. Mare is just so irresistible that every guy around her just goes gaga!

The relationship that is built up between Cal and Mare borders on insta-love.It's not quite insta-love but it feels like it. This is one thing I thought hindered Cal's character development.

Another negative was how boring some of the narratives were. This is directly related to the romance. The scenes that focused on the royal palace were incredibly interesting. The Red Army scenes were incredibly interesting in the beginning but started dragging towards the end. But, every time there was a romantic scene I was not interested.I think I just did not buy the lurve because how many people could she be lurve with? Three is too many,in my opinion.

My favorite part: The fantastical elements and the relationship between Mare and Maven (younger prince).

I know a lot of people are going to go gaga over Mare and Cal's relationship but I love the relationship that is built up between Mare and Maven .

I loved the non-romantic relationships that are spread out throughout the novel. The relationship between Mare and her family is gold. As well as the relationship between the Queen and her sons and that between Cal and his father

The best part of this book is the twist. Generally I can predict the twists but not in this one.It's unpredictable and I loved it. Before the twist this book was a solid 3 stars but due to the twist I am definitely intrigued about what happens next!

Overall, I'll be reading the sequel and the story was very interesting. I think if it had focused more on the fantastical elements it would have been an excellent read instead of a good one. I'm giving it a higher rating than I was planning to because of the unexpected twist. If you can't hang in till the end then this book won't be worth it for you.


My Rating:
4/5

Only because of the twist! 






Thursday, January 28, 2016

Writer and Tales Monthly Giveaway 2016

So I've decided to giveaway books monthly on my website. So as all the books I will be giving away will not be YA, I decided to host these giveaways on my website Writer And Tales. Of course I haven't forgotten the readers who have stayed with me for THREE long years. So followers and readers of this blog will get extra entries in all the monthly giveaways because I love you guys!

Special thanks to Sarika and Janhvi for the lovely idea and plan!

I'm giving away and ecopy of The Score by Elle Kennedy. For details check out the original post




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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: The Jock and The Fat Chick

The Jock and the Fat Chick

 No one ever said high school was easy. In this hilarious and heartwarming debut, one high school senior has to ask himself how much he's willing to give up in order to fit in.

Kevin seems to have it all: he's popular, good looking, and on his way to scoring a college hockey scholarship. However, he's keeping two big secrets. The first is that he failed an assignment and is now forced to take the most embarrassing course ever--domestic tech. The second is that he is falling for his domestic tech classmate, Claire.

As far as Kevin is concerned, Claire does have it all: she's funny, smart, beautiful, and confident. But she's off-limits. Because Kevin knows what happens when someone in his group dares to date a girl who isn't a cheerleader, and there's no way he is going to put himself—or Claire—through that.

But steering clear of the girl of his dreams is a lot harder than Kevin thought…especially when a cooking project they are paired together for provides the perfect opportunity for things to heat up between them outside the classroom….

Epic Reads Impulse is a digital imprint with new releases each month.

Source: Edelweiss

Content Warning: Activity of sexual nature is heavily implied multiple times as well as various mentions of sexual activity taking place. 

My Thoughts:

The Jock and The Fat Chick is not some complex novel with a complex and unpredictable story. It is a predictable time tested 'popular-guy-falls-for-not-so-mainstream-slightly- average- girl' fairy tale romance.But it is after all a formula that works and tugs at your heartstrings.

What makes this book stand out is the fact that it is told from the guy's point of view. At times I must admit that the voice of the character does sound a lot like a girls' but I could be imagining the same as I don't really know for a fact how guys think.

I liked how the book tried to tackle the serious problem of labeling and body shaming but failed to actually focus on the same. This book is a teenage romance novel and it is it's biggest selling point.Don't go in expecting more as you will definitely be disappointed.

I loved the cooking angle to the story and how it focuses on building up the characters. Claire is introduced as a focused individual who works towards achieving her goal and I loved how Kevin is portrayed as a sensitive jock.

I loved how the fact that guys get their heart broken too is explored in the book.These narratives are not found often.

Overall, a fun and light read perfect for fans of teen romance and those looking for a quick read.

My Rating:

3.5/5


Friday, December 18, 2015

15 YA Books to Buy or Gift for Christmas!

Hey Guys so Christmas is coming very soon and a lot of people are clueless as to what to buy for their book loving friends so I decided to write a post to help you people out!

Even people who do have a clue can check out my picks and comment on the same!

So In no particular order, I list out some of my favorites.

YA Contemporary


Follows a girl who is finally confessing her feelings to every boy she has ever loved through letters that she never thought would be delivered.The book deals with first love brilliantly and focuses on family as well. Read my review.


One word. Heartbreaking.This one deals with some tough issues but life is tough.


This one is all high school and body shaming but the main protagonist is so witty that it's not as dreary as one would think.

Honorable Mentions

This one is a bit of a gamble to buy on it's own as it is the second book in the series but can be read as a standalone.I would have recommended the first book in the series but it isn't as good as the sequels. Even the third book is pretty good.Good thing is that ecopies of this series (especially on Kindle) are very cheap. So you can gift or buy the entire bundle just be warned that you might not enjoy the first book as much.


A hilarious book that follows a jock and a nerd...getting married while drunk.This is a book version of a romantic comedy film. So if you or your friend loves rom-com do try this book.


A book that focuses on finding oneself after letting go of that first crush or obsession. Incredibly cute and fun book. See my review

YA Retellings

4.Scarlet: 
A retelling of the Robin Hood legend with a twist. See my review

5. Cress

This is the THIRD book in the series.I'm recommending this because so far it's been the best. The first book Cinder is good but the second and third are much better. You can gift the series and I'm sure the person would appreciate it. Full disclosure: I haven't read the last book in the series yet so can't comment on the ending yet.

Honorable Mention

Destined: A retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth. As it is published by an indie author, the kindle edition is pretty cheap. See my review.

YA Fantasy

Absolutely brilliant and action packed. The world building is gradual but the characters are well structured and engrossing. One of the best books I've read in 2015. Perfect for fantasy,mystery and heist book lovers.


This is the second book in the series.Again, I'm recommending this one and not the first as it is a million times better than the first book in the series.Lots of people loved the first book as well so it is safe to gift the first two books for Christmas (or even the entire series so far).I've only read the first two books so can't comment on the rest.


Graceling follows a badass female who is so good at beating people up that you want to be just like her.The world and the abilities that we are introduced to are brilliant as is the slow build up of romance. No insta-love here!


Honorable Mention
 Defy

Strong female character disguised as a male,lots of fighting and magic.

YA Paranormal



A hilarious book that has a very interesting protagonist. The characters make this paranormal romance stand out. See my review

This book isn't necessarily under the paranormal genre but it's really hilarious. See my review.

Honorable Mention

Recommended for people 16 and above. A great book again written by an indie author who has now gone mainstream (She wrote On Dublin Street). See my review.

YA Science Fiction


What does this book deal with, you ask? It deals with time travel and love and paradoxes .Now I, for one, am fascinated by time travel but almost every novel I've read about time travel so far has been disappointing. The best thing about this novel is the fact that it becomes VERY clear that time travel is central to the plot but the focus of this novel is not time travel.See my full review


Switching between past and present. This book is told brilliantly.The story revolves around two characters who get sucked in some mysterious place in space and how they survive or try to. The love story is also built up very well.

OTHER GENRES



This could be defined as a YA paranormal but it's more of a YA crime mystery thriller which is why I've tagged it under other. Really great novel that follows a secret group of teens who are helping the police solve crimes.See my review.


This is technically contemporary but it has a touch of paranormal to it. One of the best and most touching books I've read.See my review.

15.Steelheart
Technically this should come under fantasy but it's more of a superhero vs normal people book and I AM OBSESSED with it.It's a brilliant novel especially for people who are really into superheroes and action.



Honorable Mention

Defiance (YA Dystopian)

I haven't found any dystopian as good as The Hunger  Games so that's why this is a honorable mention.See my review




So that's about it from my side. I'm currently fangirling over Six of Crows because I just finished reading it but all these books are worth a read! 

ANY SUGGESTIONS FROM YOUR END?





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