Saturday, 31 December 2011

Review: Winter's Passage (Iron Fey #1.5)

Original Title: Winter's Passage
Series: Iron Fey #1.5
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin
Published Date: June 1st 2010
Genre: Fantasy


Winter's Passage is not a full-length book, but an interim e-novella in the Iron Fey series that takes place between The Iron King and The Iron Daughter.

The story continues exactly where the first book ended.  If you remember, Meghan, the Summer Princess, made a contract with Ash, the Winter Prince, in The Iron King and Ash had done his part of his contract in the first book.  In "Winter's Passage", Ash comes to get Meghan to fulfill her part of the contract, which is to go along with Ash to Winter's court.  Mab, the Winter Queen, is an ancient rival of Oberon, the Summer King and Meghan's father.  When Meghan starts her journey with Ash to meet Mab, they face various deadly situations.

The author brings in another new character, The Hunter.  I won't spoil you the fun, just go and read it for yourself who "The Hunter" is.  In such a short novella, Julie Kagawa made it possible to bring action, adventure and love.  The cliff-hanger in the end makes you grab the second book immediately.

And that's exactly what I am going to do!


Friday, 30 December 2011

Dirty Little Secret #1

Dirty Little Secret is a weekly meme hosted by Under the Covers to know more about other bloggers and readers, by asking them a question hoping to reveal their dirty little secrets.



"Book boyfriends of 2011!  Make a list but you can use only books you have read this year."

Secret huh?  Okay, well, here is my list:
  1. Ash (from The Iron King)
  2. Bones (from Night Huntress series)
  3. Seth (from Georgina Kincaid series)
  4. Rhage (from Black Dagger Brotherhood series)
  5. Ford (from The Sweetest Thing)
  6. Adrian and Dimitri (from Vampire Academy series)

That seems like the end!  Only 7?  Yeah, but just not lose hope..let's wait for next year..1 more day!

So, who are your book boyfriends?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Review: Hushed

Original Title: Hushed
Author: Kelley York
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Published Date: November 30th, 2011
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Young-adult, Revenge

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for providing the eARC of this book.


A well-deserved 5+ stars!
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is. 
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.
Hushed is definitely not a light fun-time story (you should have known - the cover itself seem creepy to me).  Its one of those book where 
  • you will keep thinking about it, while waking up next morning and next and next.
  • while reading the book, you were afraid the whole time that there could never be a good ending to the protagonist and you feel helpless and sad for him.
But when you feel all those things, you remember that its supposed to be a YA book.  

Archer, a eighteen-years old boy, saw his best friend, Vivian, raped by the friends of Vivian's brother, when they were twelve-years old.  Being so much younger than the other boys then, Archer can't save her..can't protect her.  And from that moment on, Archer couldn't stop protecting Vivian.  He has been killing to protect her, working through his own guilt ever since.  Archer cuts himself down from the society, his friends and his mom and builds his world centered only around Vivian.  

Vivian, the girl for whom Archer is killing his own soul, involves herself into toxic relationships and when broken down, come running to Archer, whom she ignores in other times.  Vivian's character is portrayed as extremely selfish, where she never cares about anyone else's feelings, not even Archer.  She blames others for everything and I was actually frozen, when she, at last, blamed Archer, for the reason her life is what it is..and I have to accept on one thing though - her life is surely a terrible mess.  Vivian is disturbed, more disturbed than Archer and when she lost her mom, she completely lost it.

When things are so bad for Archer and Viv, Evan comes to their school.  Evan crosses the iron gates that Archer formed around himself, becomes his friend and make him see that Vivian is been using him.  Archer's change is unbearable to look at, and I don't mean in the negative way.  But when things seem like Archer will get over it, another storm hits.  Vivian, realizing that there will not be Archer/Viv thing, shows her true dark nature and that's when all hell breaks loose.  I was scared and frozen to my place (of course, with the book in hand), that I just want to read that there will be something, some hope for Archer to hold on to his life.

Its the complexity of the characters and their past, that the main leads buried in them, that makes the book more dark and disturbing.  I loved the author's writing that characters are so realistic and the emotions so real.  

This is definitely one of my favorite books this year.  Its so dark, intense, chilling, emotional and finally although hearbreaking, a flickering hope.  You did it, Kelley York..definitely did it! 

A must read!


Monday, 26 December 2011

Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #4)

Original Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid #4
Author: Jeff Kinney
Publisher: Amulet Books
Published Date: October 12th, 2009
Genre: Funny, Children


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is the fourth book of the Wimpy Kid series, which tells about the middle school kid, Greg, and his daily chores.

While the previous books focus on Greg's life through school and home, this time, Greg is on holiday and in his opinion, the perfect way to spend the summer is to stay indoors and play video games.  While his mother have other plans to get him outdoors, Greg again is in a series of hilarious situations.

As always, it appeals to the readers through its cartoon and Greg's funny expressions and words.  While I myself enjoyed the book, I will think twice before handing this book to a kid.  Greg is so self-centered and lazy, that children tend to think that Greg is cool. :)

The book trailer for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days uploaded below:

video

Movie Info:

The third Diary of a Wimpy Kid film is based on Dog Days and the preceding book, The Last Straw.  A few of the scenes are from Dog Days, however most of them are from The Last Straw.

Series:

The New York Times, which rates children's serials collectively on a "Series Books" bestseller list, has included the Wimpy Kid series for 64 weeks as of April 10, 2010.

At the time of Dog Days publication, The New York Times Best Sellers had the book peaking at #1 for all 25 weeks of publication, making Dog Days the #1 Best Selling Book of 2009.

Series Order:

1.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Read review here
2.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules - Read review here
3.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw - Read review here
4.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
5.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
6.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Review: Graffiti Moon

Original Title: Graffiti Moon
Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Knopf Books
Published Date: August 1st, 2010
Genre: Young-adult, Art, Contemporary Romance, Realistic

First, thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children's Books (Imprint: Alfred A. Knopf BFYR) for providing the ARC of this book.

Although this is an ARC, I received a bit late.  But, I am glad, too glad, to do this review.  Its one of those books, where you wish you could be inside the pages of the book.


Graffiti Moon is the story, that takes place in one night, and changes the lives of a bunch of teens, forever. 

The book starts like this:

"Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers."

This is by Lucy, who is on hunt for a mysterious graffiti artist, Shadow, whose works are all over the city.  Although she has never met him, she loves his graffiti works and is sure that she will fall in love with the person who did those art as well (that is of course, if he is not having a girlfriend already).  The descriptions of the graffiti art, by Cath Crowley, is so vivid, that the readers get the actual feel of being in front of a graffiti.

Ed is an unemployed high-school dropout, whose life is in a complete mess.   While Ed has some problems in reading and writing words, he expresses his emotions through graffiti art.  Ed and his best friend, Leo, team up to do this work, where Ed paints and Leo writes a line of poetry about it, in the walls - together they sign themselves as 'Shadow' and 'Poet'.  The last thing Ed needs is to go out with Lucy.  This is not an exaggeration, considering their disastrous first date a few years ago, where Lucy broke Ed's nose (well, yeah, that's what happened - no exaggeration there either).

When Lucy starts her evening in search of Shadow, along with her other friends, Jazz and Daisy, they come across Ed, Leo and Dylan (Daisy's boyfriend).  They pair up - Daisy and Dylan, Jazz and Leo, and, Lucy and Ed.  Their search for Shadow and the decisions that the teens make that night, covers up the rest of the book and ends with a satisfying conclusion.

Crowley's writing is fun, vivid and satisfying.  The chapters in the book alternates between Ed and Lucy, with occasional poetry contribution from Leo.
The main and supporting characters are so endearing and honest, that there is no melodramatic or sappy stuff in the book. 

Graffiti Moon is a beautiful, emotional and a well-balanced contemporary romance, where two people connect themselves, through art and life.   Definitely a book, that's worth your money.

Awards won:
  • Winner, NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature)
  • Winner, Prime Minister’s Literary Award (Young Adult Fiction)
  • Honour Book, Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards (Older Readers)
Favorite quotes:

“You were right. Real is better. The truth is better. It makes you feel kind of stupid, but it's better.”

“I liked that he had hair that was growing without a plan. A grin that came out of nowhere and left the same way.”

“'I never fell in love with her so I guess the part of the brain that controls love doesn't respond to being called a dick.'
'For your sake, I'm hoping no part of your brain responds to being called a dick.'
'Fair point.'” 



Freebie Alert: Magic Gifts

Hi everyone, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.   A surprise gift to all of you!


To all the Ilona Andrews fans out there, this is a great news for us.  We have been provided with a present from Ilona - yup, a free book.  This book is part 5.5 of the series "Kate Daniels".  Click the banner above and enjoy!  And hurry, this is a limited offer only.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Review: Toby the Trout

Original Title: Toby the Trout
Author: Joyce Mitchell
Publisher: CreateSpace
Published Date: November 25th, 2011
Genre: Children


Toby, the Trout, is a children's book which gives the readers some moral and life values to mull about.

Toby and Gus are two trouts in the same water, who are best friends.  Toby keeps on annoying and badgering Gus, for....no reason..because that's the way he is.  Gus, although wanting to kick Toby for being so annoying, always advises him to change his ways, which, obviously, Toby ignores.  Soon, the friends learn their own life lessons in Toby's deathbed - well, not literally, which the author puts in a delicate way for kids.

Although the writing is simple and smooth for kids, there are places where you can't simply believe without reasoning..like the Fountain of Youth.  Its good that kids should learn to trust.  But I think, there is a difference between trying hard and solving your problems, and believing in fantasy for your problems. I agree, at one point, most of us believe in miracles to happen.  But the reality is miracles don't just lie around for you to take.  I am a huge fantasy lover, so I know how it feels to believe those things..but all I am saying is, there must be a reason or some story that makes you believe.  I have only this one small thing hindering my read, but otherwise this will make a good children's book.

I felt this book to be soft, light and no pressure book..no pressure at all.  Although it will take only few minutes to finish the 40 page book, I felt at ease with the characters and the book.  Overall, a good children's book.

Some Quotes:

"Life is great, just the way it is."
"Never give up when things seem like there's no answer, I tell you, your fountain may be just a waterfall away."

Friday, 23 December 2011

Bossypants

Original Title: Bossypants
Author: Tina Fey
Publisher: Hachetter Audio
Published Date: April 5th, 2011
Genre: Non-fiction, Funny, Autobiography


Recently winning the award of "Best Humor" from Goodreads Choice Awards 2011, I can't accept more with Goodreads about this award.  This is the best non-fiction, I have ever read.

I hope most of us know Tina Fey.  If any of you don't, please visit IMDB.  Her mini biography in IMDB shows the following trademarks for her:


  • Black plastic-rimmed glasses
  • Characters with embarrassing addictions to junk food
  • Characters with unsuccessful or embarrassing relationships
  • Frequent references to Star Wars (1977)
  • Her Sarah Palin impression
  • Characters wanting to be mothers

While Tina's memoir in Bossypants accept all these trademarks, she has a great way to carry her voice.  The book is a series of evocative episodes in Fey's life.  It jumps from topic to topic, like "when she felt as a woman" to "her prom dress" to "equality of woman in workplace" to "her accident while in honeymoon".  But its perfect for me.  When she shared about her childhood and her early stages of motherhood, I really thought her as a common woman with common fears, but learnt to bring herself out, in spite of all those fears.  When she answered some of her interview questions (very bad questions from her non-admirers), it was just awesome how she manages her life in front of such extreme criticisms.  Polite, sarcastic, smart humor and wit - that is Tina Fey.




I don't know about the some of the TV and movie references she made.  Other than this, no complaints.  While I don't know much about Tina Fey, somewhere along this book, I came to respect her and even admire her work and life.

If I ever got the opportunity to interview Tina, I would most likely either die of laughter or embarrassment.  I never thought non-fiction could be fun, before reading this.  Well, now I have to accept that I have not picked the right book.  Excellent job, Tina Fey!

If you are a fan of non-fiction genre, you should never wait to read this book.  Go pick it up..NOW!

Some of my favorite quotes:


“It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”


“If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?”


“Lesson learned? When people say, "You really, really must" do something, it means you don't really have to. No one ever says, "You really, really must deliver the baby during labor." When it's true, it doesn't need to be said.” 


“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”


“Photoshop is just like makeup. When it’s done well it looks great, and when it’s overdone you look like a crazy asshole.” 


“I don’t hate animals and I would never hurt an animal; I just don’t actively care about them. When a coworker shows me cute pictures of her dog, I struggle to respond correctly, like an autistic person who has been taught to recognize human emotions from flash cards. In short, I am the worst.”


“THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities.”


“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Interview with Eva Dillner: Author of Z2A

Please make a warm welcome to Eva Dillner, the author of Z2A and so many other books.  Thanks for coming to our blog and giving this interview for us.


Eva Dillner is a writer, artist, therapist and teacher specializing in creative and therapeutic processes for inspiration and transformation.  She started the company DIVINE DESIGN in 1998 to work with therapy and personal growth, then meandered into writing, painting and publishing.  Her art works has been described as timeless, magical, mystical, dreamy, inspiring, fantastic, emotional, healing, like stars being born, a journey through Cosmos and Mother Earth.

I had the pleasure of reading her book, Z2A, a few days back and it was..too different and inspiring.  Anyone, who read her book, will want to speak to her at the least once.  Although the questions were from all sectors, Eva answered everything patiently.  Let's start with our interview now.


Our questions & Eva's words

In your book - Z 2 A, you focus on the space in between.  Does that happen to everyone?
Yes, but we all experience it in different ways. For some, it's a glip, a space, a moment in time, like the breath between the breath. For others it lasts for long periods of not knowing which way is up.

When I read your book, it felt like spontaneous thoughts put into words, without re-thinking it.  So, did you do any research for your books or its your experience that speaks for itself?

I write from my own experience, but take into account what I learn from others. I find that knowledge isn't really there until we've experienced it.

From your books, we know that you had an instinct to write and you started doing that.  Before that moment, you never thought you would be an author?
It had been in my mind for some time before. It started with friends saying I should write a book, which I suppose planted a seed. However, when I was young I was quite the dreamer and liked making up stories. But in 5th grade a teached ridiculed me in front of the whole class about my story of a trip into outer space to meet the Marsipans. When I took up book writing I had to emotionally heal that experience in order to be able to write again.

I thought Z 2 A to be an inspirational book.  But at the end, you wrote about letting go and trusting the higher power.  Is spirituality your key point then?
Spirituality is a part of it for me. I would say that intuition, or letting the senses guide us, is the key. Trusting that inner voice that speaks so softly. And yes, letting go, especially of the mind's need to know. It doesn't.

The readers felt much energy and positive thoughts filling in this book.  You wish to say something on this?
This is a positive book. We tend to think of Z 2 A as something negative, that we somehow have to always know, that we have to fill an empty space. Allowing it to be there is the path forward.

What are your current works?
I have so many ideas in my head. Not sure which one will be next. One is a new edition of God put a Dream in my Heart - Handbook of Life Therapy, expanded and deepened with full length meditations and exercises as well as more meat around the various techniques, in print, audio and e-book formats. I may combine this with a revision of Secrets of Transformation, as the two do connect up. If you read one, you need to read the other, and they would work well as one complete book. Working title is Karmic Soup - Recipes for Healing. Another book I mean to write is about decisions, choices, options... because I want to understand why some people opt out at a young age. I've had more than my fair share of close friends who have died in their 40's and 50's. I write to understand, to learn, to discover. Another book/calendar project is Timeless Art, where I write about how I create as well as the experience of art, what happens when we look at it, for example. There's more, but those are the ones at the top of the pile.

What genre do you think your books comes under?
Metaphysics would be my first answer. But then my stuff is more personal than that, flesh and blood rather than lofty thoughts. I'm rather hard to box in, my job seems to be to paint outside the lines.

You are an writer, artist and therapist.  Which of these jobs do you like that most?  Please provide your view of enjoyment and challenges you faced during those jobs. 
I like the combination. They all feed each other and weave in and out of my life. I don't think I'd like to do any of them exlusively. When I write I tend to be focused on just that. I need to clear my desk and email of other distractions. The writing requires a longer period of focus, or I lose my train of thought. It's not uncommon to wake up at 4 am in the morning with a new chapter wanting out. I've learned to get up and write, then go back to bed. It's a challenge! But when I saw the movie Conversations with God, which is about how the author Neale Donald Walsch came to write the books, I had to laugh. He too was awakened at 4 in the morning.
The art I do in between as well as weeks on end with other artists during the summer, when we paint in barns. There again, it's a total focus, being there, allowing the process to be what it is, with no attachment to the outcome. I may not produce anything during that time, or paint like a banshee. The outcome is not the point. That is a challenge of course, to let go of wanting to produce. I do love the big space, the not having to worry about spatters and spills. I can be pretty messy when I paint.
Even when I was training as a therapist, I didn't envision myself doing it day in and day out. As it turns out I now do the occasional client for an intensive, where they come and do several sessions a day for about three days. Then they may do another series a few months down the road. I also trained as an instructor and lead retreats for experienced therapists about once a year. We go to different places each time, so we get a bit of a holiday along with work and socializing. So far we've gone to Turkey and Ireland, next time it looks like either India or USA. The challenge with SHEN Therapy is figuring out how to unlock the client, to help them let go. There is no cookie cutter formula, each individual is unique. The reward may take its sweet time, it may be years before you meet up again and they tell you how a session changed their life. Seems I'm learning about trust, doesn't it?
If you were given another chance at your life, do you want to change your profession?
I may have chosen to do things a bit differently. But we always make the choice that is right to make, for us, at that point. It would have been nice to land in the creative professions at a younger age, as it takes time to build a business. But then, I wouldn't have had the experience, the life know how, to do what I do.

What is the audience, your books are intended for?
Anyone interested in going deeper within. Anyone seeking knowledge of the self. Anyone interested in those big questions: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?

What are your challenges you faced, while writing this book, if there is any?
Interruptions. Funny in a way, as the book is all about discontinuity. I got to write it in the spaces in between.

Did you learn anything interesting, while writing this book or during your tours, that you wish to share with us?
The final product is not at all what I had envisioned at the start. The idea to illustrate it with art came in rather late in the process. I knew I wanted to explore the space in between. I thought of those moments where creativity takes place, where healing happens, those ahas that come out of the blue. I also thought of the major 'rug pulled out from under our feet' events, that change the course of our lives. I didn't know how to write a book like this. I didn't know how to make it happen, but by just doing it in bits and bobs I learned how to do it.

What are your favorite fiction and non-fiction books? 
Non fiction without a doubt Memories Dreams and Reflections by Carl Jung. Fiction is a much harder choice, many good ones to pick from. What comes to mind are the Crusades Trilogy by Jan Guillou, also Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and Nora Roberts Born In Trilogy.

Share with us about your favorite movie.
Must I pick just one? I love movies like Australia, The English Patient and Doctor Zhivago.

Tell us about you that you never told your audience about - which feels that "we know you now", after reading it.
Don't know that there's much more to tell, my books are revealing enough I think. Readers already say they feel like they know me.

What do you want to say to our readers?
A great big thank you!

And a great big thank you to you too, Eva, for giving this interview.  All the best on all your future endeavors and we all wish you a Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers #1)

Original Title: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers #1
Publisher: Avon
Published Date: March 30, 2010
Genre: Regency Historical Romance


Excellent writing and delightful romance - what else does a reader want from historical romance.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell is a twenty-eight year old unmarried wallflower, who dreams of marriage and children seem to be lost in some Neverland.  During her first season, all nervous and hopeful, Calpurnia a.k.a Callie quickly knows that she can never be the belle of the ball.  She is not as beautiful as her sister or most of the women in the society.  When she is disappointed by her aged and dull companions of the ball, she distracts herself by escaping to a garden and stumbles into Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston, who compliments her of her name and just have some normal talk.  Now, ten years later, Callie is deep in love with the Marquess, who never again seem to notice her.

Callie's younger sister, Mariana, is about to be getting married and she is still a spinster.  When Callie overhears her younger sister speaking about her as "passive", Callie thinks she have some rules to break.  Then comes our real fun.  She makes a list of nine things, which she would like to do, if she had the courage and opportunity.

Kiss someone - passionately
Smoke cheroot and drink scotch
Ride astride
Fence
Attend a duel
Fire a pistol
Gamble (at a gentleman's club)
Dance every dance at a ball
Be considered beautiful. Just once.

I think this list is awesome.  Well, on to our list, huh, sorry, Callie's list.  Resolved to complete her first item in the list, Callie reaches the Marquess of Ralston's house requesting Gabriel for a kiss.  While Callie's adventure starts like this, she finds herself in Gabriel's arms every time she tries to complete another item in her list..of course, no one can complain about THAT.

Gabriel, renowned for his notorious rakishness, who was left with a twin brother- Nicholas - and a newly found sister - Juliana Fiori, by his beautiful, but not-caring mother, is afraid and detests the concept of love.  When he needs to present his not-so-ready-for-the-society to the society.  When Callie comes to door requesting for a kiss, the attraction flares between them.  And he asks Callie, whether he could teach his sister about the ways, a woman should behave in their society.  Callie agrees and then there were those nail-biting moments for me, every time they face each other.

Slowly and deliciously, the society's most renowned rake falls for our innocent and plump wallflower, Callie, who is brought up well to hold her reputation.  What with the adventure she is seeking with her list and romancing with a rake, her reputation is at stake.  Will the Marquess of Ralston fall so hard for Callie, that he will start to love her, in spite of his hatred towards love?  Will Callie, who never lays one step out of line, will receive her share of adventure, romance and the love she ever craved for?

Most beautiful writing and fabulous romance makes this book, a downright success.

Highly recommended.

Series Order:

The series contains 3 primary works, to date:

1.  Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake
2.  Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord
3.  Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart


The series need not be read in the same order, although they are related.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

My 2012 Reading Challenges: Gone Wild

This is the first time, I am entering reading challenges hosted by other bloggers.  And I think I may have been over-excited, when writing this blog.  So, don't mind, if the challenges look a bit wild.

1.  YA Contemporary, hosted by Reading Angel:


I am entering for 15+ books (Level 3).  Bit excited, because its one of my favorite genre.

2.  Young Adult Challenge, hosted by The Eclectic Bookshelf:


Huh..let me think.  Okay, I think I will go for "The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge" for 40 YA books.  Super-excited.. :)

3.  Gossip Girl reading challenge, hosted by Reading with Tequila:


Well, I have not seen the Gossip Girl TV Series, but I now would like to read it.  Sounds like a lot of fun.

4.  Around the stack in how many ways?, hosted by Dog Ear Discs:


This is going to be a lot fun and challenge than I think now.  And I love the challenge that I should in read as many genres as possible.  I am going for "Traveler" level, which is 10-15 genres.  Excited.......

5.  I Want More Challenge 2012, hosted by Tea Time with Marce:


I definitely want more.  So, I sign up for level 1 - "Waited too long", for which I have to read 2-4 books, from the authors, I have already had an awesome reading experience.  The real challenge is the books should not be a series.  Let's see, if I read 4 books well in advance, may be I will increase the levels on the go.

6.  YA/MG Fantasy Reading Challenge, hosted by The Book Cellar:


The challenge is to read any 10 YA/MG Fantasy books, that are released in 2012.  Wow!  This is my most favorite genre.  No idea about what are released in 2012 though.  :)

7.  Sophomore Reading Challenge (SRC), hosted by Chick Loves Lit:


Any second YA or MG book published by an author in 2012 counts - it can be the second in a series, a new series, or a standalone.  The only requirement is that it is the SECOND book the author has published in the YA or MG realm (and it must publish in 2012 in your home country, which is to mean India, for me).  The list of those books released in 2012 are here.  Should read 10 such books.  I think this is really going to be a challenge and I am not sure whether I can complete it.  But still, its fun. :)

8.  100+ Books in a Year, hosted by Book Chick City:





The biggest challenge of all..but I think I will complete it.  This year, I have reached 110+.. :)

To keep track of my progress in all the challenges, I will create a page for each challenges and will update it here soon.

In addition to all this, I will also join Goodreads Reading Challenge 2012 for 100 books as a target.  Let's face it.  I am most definitely over-excited.  Somebody should stop me..soon.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Z 2 A

Original Title: Z 2 A
Author: Eva Dillner
Publisher: Divine Design
Published Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: Philosophy, Self-help, Inspirational


Z2A - the space in between - okay, let's first see a gist of what Eva Dillner means.  To understand the to-be mentioned lines, you need to know the situation.  The situation described in the book is she is travelling in an incredibly thick Delhi (India) morning fog.  Now, let's see the concept of the books in 2 simple lines.

"As I ponder in awe, I'm struck by how Z2A this journey is.  We keep edging forward, trusting that with every movement, we will be guided to the next."

So, this is all this book is about - positive attitudes, instinctive actions, using right energy.  Eva Dillner travels to a lot of places, meets a lot of people and does a lot of things.  And she gives that experience with her inner emotions combined, during that time in Z 2 A.

The author explains the things in the book is inspiring.  We all know that if you are going to be always thinking positive, we will feel some kind of confident energy in us.  You will find this book to contain a lot of energy and those positive things.

"Does this make you uncomfortable?  The very idea of just doing it for the sake of doing it, without knowing where the path may take you?  I perceive that to be a common stumbling block."
"Do you think JK Rowling had any idea her Harry Potter would be so successful?  No.  But she wrote it anyway.  The story was there for her to write and she followed through on that impulse.  She did the experience and trusted the universe."
"It doesn't matter if you go whole hog or nibble, just DO IT!"

See what I mean now, when I said it was full of positive things?

She was one of the fifteen Swedish artists selected for the Tellus Art project in India in 2010 and this book, contains so many of her paintings interposed, helping her readers relate with her thoughts.  There are 60 of her original drawings in the book.  The author speaks about hypnotherapy (Eva Dillner is a Certified Hypnotherapist) and yoga.

There is a chapter named "In this moment" in the book.  Here are some words for you, from that topic, and which I liked the most.

"Three simple questions:
- In this moment, do you have food to eat?
- In this moment, do you have a roof over your head?
- In this moment, do you have clothes on your back?
We were OK.  The answer to all of the above was YES.  In this moment I am OK.  That is all you need to know."

In these days of mounting pressure, where many of us are prompted to ask the question - What shall I do with my life? - this book will act as a support and guide to them.  The book may or may not resonate with all of us, but it surely has something to offer to everyone.



Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Succubus On Top / Succubus Nights (Georgina Kincaid #2)

Original Title: Succubus on Top
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Georgina Kincaid #2



Georgina Kincaid series contains a total of 6 main books.  Succubus On Top / Succubus Nights is the second installment of this urban fantasy series, after Succubus Blues.  For books of Richelle Mead's usual standards and expectations, this book quite didn't meet them.

For those of whom, who are new to the series, our narrator and protogonist, Georgina Kincaid, is a succubus - a shape-shifting demonic creature from hell, who seduces men and gets the life force of humans.  Seth, a very famous mortal romance writer is Georgina's boyfriend.  Mead is a master in framing mysteries and let it unwind itself.  This time, the mystery is when an immortal crosses into the mortal world and ruins many of her friends' lives.  Georgina also has other things in her mind.  Her best old old friend and an incubus (the opposite of Succubus - a male immortal from hell, one who seduces and corrupts mortal women and lives on their life force), Bastien, is in big trouble and he needs Georgina's help to solve it.

Bastien, trying to get out of trouble, wants to make a "big hit".  He plans to corrupt a Christian talk show host, Dana, who is rallying against homosexuality and all the members of the society, who is not up to her high-minded expectations.  Bastien tries to bring her down and Georgina feels the need to help her friend.  Though I am angry with Dana, who herself is not up to her standards, but forces other people against their wills through her arrogance, public humiliation doesn't actually feel right, just for the sake of getting Bastien out of trouble.  Ah, people from hell!

Although Bastien's presence made the book more comfortable at first, when Georgina and Bastien's relationship turned more than friendship, I felt like slapping Bastien.  But what better can you expect from an incubus?

Although I liked the first book - Succubus Blues, I felt tired when reading this book.
Reason 1:  I am a huge fan of Mead's Vampire Academy series.  Her heroines are my favorite.  But though I liked Georgina, her disloyalty towards Seth disgusts me.  I really felt sorry for Seth.
Reason 2:  However hard Georgina and Seth tried, we all know their relationship is so doomed.  If Georgina thinks of more than touching Seth, his life force is going to be sucked out of him.  It felt like a deadlock.

I will definitely read the next book, but I am in no hurry.

Book Trailer - specially for you:

video


Series:



1.  Succubus Blues - Read review here
2.  Succubus on Top
3.  Succubus Dreams
4.  Succubus Heat
5.  Succubus Shadows
6.  Succubus Revealed

The series must be read in order, for proper understanding.

Cover Crush:

This book has so many covers, and I like to share them with you.  Just for your view:


What do you think?

My Rating : 2.5 stars


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Head Over Heels (Lucky Harbor #3)



First, thanks to the Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing the ARC of "Head Over Heels".

Head Over Heels is the third installment of the Lucky Harbor series and is full of fun and romance in the air.  I am a fan of the author, Jill Shavis, and maybe, if you think that I am biased with this review, you have to read the book yourself to agree on what I am saying.

This installment is about Chloe - THE WILD ONE - the youngest of the three sisters and the only one, who grew up with her nomadic and free-spirited mother, Phoebe Traeger.  When her mother dies, Chloe tries to resist the bonding with her sisters, but their love and care are very different from what she got her whole life from her mother or anyone else.  She feels they are the anchor, that holds to her life.

Chloe, though as free-spirited and wild as her mother, is also kind and wishes to change to make her sisters accept her.  In short, she tries to be a grown-up.  In spite of all her ways of escapades from a settle-down life, she finds herself falling for the hot Sheriff in town, Sawyer Thompson.  Sawyer is the opposite of Chloe in all ways.  While Chloe always find some way to step out of the line, Sawyer is the follower of rules.  Their friction from the start, although seem to started as just fun and teasing with words, soon, they find themselves seeing hope and love in each other.

When the couple is afraid to admit and realize their love towards each other, in spite of their mutual attraction and increased bonding, Chloe tries to avoid the Sheriff and tries to become responsible and helps with the works in B&B (the inn, the sisters started together).  She also contributes to the inn by starting a day spa, which she is really good at.

Soon, they find that whatever they tried, they can't be without each other.  And when that realization hits, they find themselves in a series of life-and-death situation and the rest is history.

And I definitely have to tell about the Magic 8 Ball App.  I actually installed it, while reading this book and is now in a habit of asking questions to it and sitting desperately waiting for an answer.  :-)

The Lucky Harbor series is one of my favorite contemporary series and Jill Shavis has definitely done it..again.  Chloe is a kind of person, where everyone wishes they had a friend like her.  Its a fun weekend read and definitely entertaining.  Just give some Jill Shavis book and throw me in an empty room and will definitely survive for a entire day without food. ;-)


SERIES ORDER

   


 

1.  Simply Irresistible
2.  The Sweetest Thing - Read review here
3.  Head Over Heels - Read review here
4.  Lucky In Love - Read review here
5.  At Last - Read review here
6.  Forever and a Day - Read review here
6.5. Under the MistleToe - Read review here
7.  It Had To Be You - Expected publication: May 28th 2013

Some favorite quotes from this book:

"If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried."
"Why was man created before woman?  Because you always need a rough draft before the final copy."



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