The Loop by Shandy Lawson

The Loop by Shandy Lawson

Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Author
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate’s clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie’s only shot at not dying is surviving apart?

The Loop was fast-paced, quick and short read, but it was SO GOOD. Highly original and had me wondering how in heck they'd make it out in the end. It had me flipping pages from start to finish and I just couldn't get enough of it.
The concept for this book is so unique– I haven't read much of time travel within the YA world. The idea of these two teens falling in love and then killed... only to be stuck on repeat. Absolutely brilliant. I was surprised at how much could be packed into 200 pages. Lawson's writing is great and will bewitch you with this tale of love, fate, and their ultimate doom.

Because of this novel's fast pace, I thought that I didn't quite get a grasp on the characters. However, I thought that this wasn't a problem, because I liked that quickness to the story, I liked how rapidly it changed and how so much could be covered in so few pages. The sense of déjà vu, the atmosphere of a psychological thriller, the action: all will make your heart pound with each sudden plot twist.

❝"Maybe this is the one. Maybe we get it right this time around."
"Maybe." But I don't believe it.❞
–p. 2 (ARC* edition)
*text is subject to change in the final copy

Ben and Maggie were great characters. With a story like this, it's hard to get to know them well, but I found that I got pretty attached to them, and my heart would pang for them whenever something came up and obstructed them from changing their fate.
I thought the ending, and how the book is left the off, was a great Inception (movie) ending where it leaves it up to the reader's imagination and also produces a cliff-hangy feel to it.

Overall, I enjoyed The Loop immensely, as it was suspenseful, thrilling and action-packed. A fantastic debut by Shandy Lawson, an author who has proven to have great skill with words and I shall be looking forward to reading more from him in the future!

▪ Thank you so much to Shandy Lawson for sending a copy of The Loop for review and BTG2013! ▪

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Paradox by A.J. Paquette

Paradox by A.J. Paquette

Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: For Blog Tour
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

Fans of James Dashner's Maze Runner series will love this postapocalyptic adventure about a girl who must survive an alien planet in order to save the Earth.

Ana only knows her name because of the tag she finds pinned to her jumpsuit. Waking in the featureless compartment of a rocket ship, she opens the hatch to discover that she has landed on a barren alien world. Instructions in her pocket tell her to observe and to survive, no doubt with help from the wicked-looking knives she carries on her belt. But to what purpose?

Meeting up with three other teens--one boy seems strangely familiar--Ana treks across the inhospitable landscape, occasionally encountering odd twists of light that carry glimpses of people back on Earth. They're working on some sort of problem, and the situation is critical. What is the connection between Ana's mission on this planet and the crisis back on Earth, and how is she supposed to figure out the answer when she can't remember anything?

I was a little bit cautious when I entered this book, as I'd heard mixed reviews of The Maze Runner, and close friends of mine didn't enjoy it. However, taken by the cover and the blurb, I knew that I was treading on originality.
I actually haven't read much YA fiction to do with outer space in general. Across the Universe is the extent to the science-fiction genre which I've read. So this was definitely intriguing, as I was excited to see what in store this book had for me.

The beginning was quite vague, and I felt a little bit in the dark as to what was going on. The third person narrative did annoy me a little bit, but I did think that it was effective in telling the story. The unique essence of the novel was what caught me though– I've never read anything like this book. It oozes spark and imagination, and you probably can't find a story like this quite easily.

The main character Ana was really great as well– she was determined, she was strong, and I really loved the character struggle: to figure out who she is and piece together her memories. She resembles many of the strong heroine archetypes in dystopians, and I thought that this was a good representation of one.

Overall, I thought Paradox was a great novel. It's short and quick, but filled with action and suspense. It's a fabulous story for YA fiction lovers for, and I shall be anxiously waiting on more books to come from A.J. Paquette!

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for letting me be apart of the Paradox blog tour and sending a copy for review! ▪ ▪ ▪

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About the Author

A.J. Paquette has been writing stories since early childhood. She and her sister would spend hours creating masterpieces of stapled paper and handwritten words, complete with pen-and-ink covers and boxed illustrations.
The road to publication was long and winding, peppered with many small successes including: a variety of national magazine publications, being a 2005 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award honoree, and receiving the 2008 SCBWI’s Susan Landers Glass Scholarship Award, for the book that would later become Nowhere Girl. Her first picture book, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, was published in 2009.
She now lives with her husband and two daughters in the Boston area, where she continues to write books for children and young adults. She is also an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

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Giveaway time!

THREE (3) Winners will be able to win an ARC of Paradox!
(Open to US/Canada only)

Enter in the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Check out the rest of the tour!

Week One

June 17th - Parajunkee - Guest Post
June 18th - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - Interview
June 18th - In Bed With Books - Review
June 19th - Chapter by Chapter - Guest Post
June 20th - A Dream Within A Dream - Review
June 20th - Escaping... One Book at a Time - Guest Post
June 21st - Coffee, Books and Me - Interview

Week Two

June 24th - Word Spelunking - Review
June 25th - Emilie's Book World - Guest Post
June 25th - Confessions of a Readaholic - Review
June 26th - Nick's Book Blog - Interview
June 26th - Magna Maniac Cafe - Review
June 27th - A Book and a Latte - Guest Post
June 28th - I Am A Reader Not A Writer - Guest Post

Top Ten Tuesday – Week 39

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I haven't done one in a LOOONNGGG time, so I'll try to make this one good!

This clearly had to be ONE of the books on my list, didn't it? Gorgeous summer novel, two equally gorgeous guys... what's more to ask?

Sarah Dessen is a Queen of Teen. It would be shameful, NOT to include at least one of her books on the list! This one is cute, summery and perfect :)

I smiled the whole way through reading this one and it's got flirting, humor, and (surprise, surprise!) BOYS.

We've all read about falling in love, but how about trying to get OUT of it? This one was a brilliant dose of hilarity and just right for summer.

Another Queen of Teen– this one was my FAVORITE of hers (so far). Cute boy, hilarity, an original plot line... totally has summery-vibes.

Probably, THE SUMMER BOOK of like, forever! This was one of the first YA books I'd ever read and I'm a fan of the series and the books, and it's DEFINITELY an amazing fit for summer.

THE Queen of Teen. Period.

Definitely one of the lighter-hearted John Green's: a hilarious road trip, two best friends, and 19 girls called Katherine.

Defying the popular girl at school? Totally sounds like a cliché, but this one is original, smart and sassy.

Robin Benway is a GENIUS when it comes to books, and this clearly is a contemporary novel about spies that you need to read, because laughs will come forth for sure.

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And there you have it! 10 fabulous novels which guarantee boys, romance, and laughs. I'm really excited to delve into some new (and old) books over the summer as well :D

So tell me,
What's on your top ten?

ALA here I come!

It's official!


(and seriously, the GIFs could go on and on and on)

This is a HA-YUGEEEEE deal for me because 1) I've never been to a book or blogger convention before ANY convention before, and 2) I'll probably get to meet some amazing bloggers, authors, etc.! :D

I'm seriously like excited, freaked out, but also a little nervous and jittery. I mean, it seems intimidating– as Laini Taylor mentioned in a blog post from a couple years ago about "the run of the librarians"... me being a tiny person, it's not going to be good if that happens :P (lol but it would be amusing to watch).
But I also did read across numerous blog posts about how there's this whole thing about bloggers nearly being banned from this convention because of shoving, pushing, etc. so... I don't know how that's going to be. Hopefully it doesn't happen, cause it HAS happened in a Paramore (featuring The Swellers) concert and by the end I wasn't a very happy Rabiah– and more or less felt like being squished by two large Neanderthals, being shoved into my friend from behind (and getting like a face-full of hair), being pushed around by the wave of fans... it was crazy. Not something I would enjoy re-living again.

I'm actually visiting the US in the first place (I live in Singapore for those who don't know) because I'm there for university tours. So YES, I may be able to attend fabulous conventions like these in the future! YAY! But that does mean that I will only be there for ALA for the last three days, the 30th of June to the 2nd of July, because the uni tours only end on the 29th, and I'll be in Washington D.C. then, so yeah :P Need time to get to Chicago! But I should be there, bright and early in the morning (once I find out when the doors actually open), pumped up and ready... and possibly wondering what on earth to do :P



I really want to meet you :) It'll be fabulous to meet you in actual real life! hehe lol, but here's a pic of me in case you see me and you just want to say hi:

Yes, this is how I look in actual real-life guys. Obviously, not as posed as this, but something like it. I'm a theatre student, what would you expect?
So come up to me and say hi– trust me, I'm super short (like 5 ft 2 :P) and not scary.

I'm really excited, because thanks to the fabulous Nikki at Fiction Freak (YOU. ARE. AWESOME.) I get to meet Krystal at Live to Read!!! This is going to be amazing guys– I've been following her blog for a long time and getting the chance to meet her is like WOWIE WOW WOW. I don't know what that was, but you get the point!
I'd also like to thank Lena at Addicted 2 Novels (yes, THE Lena!!), because she gave me TONS of advice about ALA and like do's and don't's, so I'm in gratitude to her for giving me a better picture of ALA!

AND THE AUTHORS GUYS, THE AUTHORS! I've like, booked my entire calendar of my two-days of attending author signings :D Not many people come here for signings, so this many authors on two days is like AMAZE-BALLS.

Some attending (which hopefully I shall be able to get books signed from) are: Lauren Myracle, Ashley Hope Perez, Katherine Paterson, Marcus Sedgewick, Shannon Delany, A.G. Howard, Ally Carter, Michael Grant, Simone Elkeles, Hannah Moskowitz, Ellen Hopkins, Brandon Mull, Julie Cross, and SO MANY MORE. 

You can see that there's like a gajillion authors and so very little time, so HOPEFULLY, I shall be able to get to most of them :D

I think that's it for now... I shall have a pre-ALA post, before I leave. I seriously need to give a HUGE thanks to Richa at City of Books, one of my best actual real life friends, because without her telling me, I would have had no idea that ALA would be going on in the time I was visiting the US, and for being super excited about it with me. LUBBBB YOUUUUU.

So yup, got my ticket confirmed, got some business cards made– they are GORGEOUS guys! I'm gonna totally be like:

Hahaha, totally have no previous experience when it comes to business cards... I'm 17, for crying out loud!

So anyway, yup, that's my whole long post, which I pretty much ramble on throughout :P

YAY! Really can't wait guys!!

Are you going to ALA?
Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email and we can meet up :)
( iliveforreading AT hotmail DOT com )

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed – Thanks to Riya @ The Teen Book Guru!
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real…

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…

I went into Alice in Zombieland quite reluctantly because of two reasons. One being that I had heard mixed reviews about this book, and the second being that I haven't actually read too many zombie books (a book about zombie-zombies, not revenants!) which I've enjoyed. I'm glad to say that I enjoyed it for the most part, surprisingly. I was a little sad, because of the lack of actual connections to Alice in Wonderland, but it was still an action-packed and had me captivated from start to finish.

I must admit, I was a little confused when this book started out because I thought this was a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and would be during the same time period. Another thing that had me confused (and what most often gets me confused with paranormal books) was the background of the zombies, etc. What they are exactly, and how they came to be, had me all muddled-up and I couldn’t really follow on what they could do, or where they came from. The romance was good though– loved this book for the romance, not to mention the gory, deadly bits of the story. THE BLOOD. THE GLORY. FOR WONDERLAND! AHHHH! (okay no idea where that came from...)
I did find the writing difficult to get used to as well, and the book was pretty long. I felt that it could have done without some parts, because it just seemed to drag on for ages on end. 

Ali’s character was okay– I didn’t really like her much, and she seemed kind of whiny and like she desperately wanted to throw her self in the middle of danger. I liked her friend Kat's character though– she's sassy, she's adorable and had me snickering at all her comebacks.
And then of course, there's Cole.

Helloooo Bad Boy.

Completely taken with him, I would seriously read this book for Cole alone. Heck, I would read a book about day-to-day Cole stuff just for Cole. Bad boy material to the max that had me swooning throughout the book.

I liked the twist at the ending, definitely made me want to read more, which I hopefully shall be able to get my hands on a copy of the sequel, Through the Zombie Glass!
Overall, while I wasn't completely taken by the whole idea of zombies or the length, but I did love the sudden plot twists, the originality of the story, and of course COLE. First time reading one of Gena Showalter's books, and this will definitely not be the last.

If you like this, try...

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: The Selection, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

First off, can we take a small moment to appreciate the sheer gorgeousness of this cover? I mean, when this first arrived that's all I did: stare at the cover. The dress, the hues of blue– certainly made me spend ages just looking over it!

Hands down, one of the best dystopians I've ever read. There's a certain Hunger Games-iness to this book, because it had me flipping pages from start to finish. I read it on the bus to school, I read it on the bus ride home. I read it on the bus ride on our geography field trip, I read it when I was supposed to be working on a case study. That's shows you how into this book I was. How enrapturing it was, and how I simply just couldn't let it go for days on end.
As a new rule (inspired by Laura Lascarso's from my interview with her), I tend to not read a series until all the books have come out. Yes, that means I haven't read Divergent, and a bunch of other hot-right-now series. BUT that does mean when the last book finally comes out, there's no waiting. However, totally broke the rule with this one. When I was asked if I wanted to review this one along with The Elite, I was all HECK YEAH. Totally worth the rule breaking!

❝I looked radiant, hopeful, beautiful. I looked like I was in love. And some idiot thought that love was for Prince Maxon.
Mom screamed in my ear, and May jumped up, sending popcorn everywhere. Gerad got excited too and started dancing. Dad... it's hard to say, but I think he was secretly smiling behind his book.
I missed what Maxon's expression was.
The phone rang.
And it didn't stop for days.❞
–p. 56

Seriously, capturing the whole idea of a beauty pageant for the next queen in a dystopian society? Really original. Yes, it completely follows the dystopian archetypes– rebels against the ruling power, a society divided up into factions, something happening years before which caused this new-founded government to form– we've definitely seen this trend across YA literature and beyond. However, I liked how the focus wasn't completely on that in this book, and more on the actual Selection, with snippets of each of the components of the above to add to the plot, and it totally worked.
If you don't know me, let me tell you something: I'm all about YA romance in a book. I'm sorry, but if there isn't any romance (not even a little hint) I will not enjoy the story, unless it's been superbly written. That's just the sad fact of my adolescent life. But this was the main reason why I was so enamoured with The Selection for the fact that it was romance, romance, romance, and there was me just gleefully eating it all up.

Speaking of romance, there's only once in a blue moon where there comes a love triangle that makes it a tough decision for me to choose. An example of this would be The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, because for the first two books I was agonising over whether to be on Team Puck or Team Ash. Of course, eventually I managed to pick a side, and that's because the story tended to work in that particular guy's favour. However, this book was like a constant conflict between Aspen and Maxon for me. I obviously made my choice during this book, but I know for sure that it's going to change during The Elite.
Prince Maxon was the guy I was leaning more towards. I loved his charm, his wish to be normal, and how much he enjoys America's humour. I don't know– I think it might be the inner princess in me that's rooting for Maxon, but I loved their relationship throughout the book.
Aspen provided to be a tough competitor in this game of love. Looking through America's eyes, I can see the love she truly has for him, and how he makes her happy. Plus, he's gorgeous. Both of them are, but Aspen seriously seems to have some killer looks apparently. This is seriously one that's going to have me flipping back and forth between teams until the final book comes out...

America was a great character. Loved her humour, her easy-going manner, and her refusal to stick to the formal rules. Kind of reminds me of Katniss in some ways– minus the fast-paced action, of course.
I found all the other girls in the Selection to be amazing characters as well, whether I loved to love them, or loved to hate them! Of course we come across a wide variety of characters in this book and it's interesting to see the stock character types, and how they fare during this game.

Clearly, just by looking at the size of this review, you can tell that I'm completely sold on this book. Kiera Cass has my eyes glued to the pages of this magnificent first in a series, and clearly, I can't wait to get into The Elite! Terrific, spectacular, and breathtaking, truly a book not to miss.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sarah at Harper Collins for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ ▪

If you like this, try...

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