YALLFest Interview with Ransom Riggs

Hi everyone! Just like the last interview with Rainbow Rowell, this is another interview for YALLFest with Ransom Riggs. But first...

What is YALLFest? It's the biggest book festival in the south. And this year, they have around 50 amazing authors featured: Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, Ransom Riggs and so many more. Interviews are being featured all around the Blogosphere, so be on the lookout for them! You can check out many of the interviews on the official page HERE.

Anyway, onto today's interview!

Ransom Riggs

Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida, where he spent his formative years making silly movies with his friends in their various backyards, snorkeling, and complaining about the heat. He studied English at Kenyon College and film at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles. He makes films you can watch on his YouTube page: www.youtube.com/ransriggs. He enjoys traveling to exotic lands and complaining about the heat. He would like to thank you for reading this short biography.

Website: www.ransomriggs.com/

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Silence. My noise-cancelling headphones have become almost essential.

What is the hardest line to write– the first or the last?

The first. I rewrite and rewrite it a million times. The last comes easy.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I'm six foot four. I lived on a working farm until I was five. I used to know how to cook Indian food but now I've forgotten. I love documentaries. One day I will conquer the moon.

What are you working on now?

A novel for Little, Brown the plot of which is SECRET! (Sort of, for now. But I'm really excited about it.)

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

Oh, definitely YA to write in. I read everything, lots of YA, lots of adult, nonfiction of all sorts. I even read poetry when I'm feeling ambitious. I think it's crucial to have lots of different influences. If you only read in the genre you write in, your writing will sound like everything else that's already out there.

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Thank you so much for that interview– I absolutely loved Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and I can't wait for Hollow City!


A horrific family tragedy sends Jacob 16 to a remote island off Wales, to the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, where he finds unusual old photographs. The children, one his grandfather, were more than peculiar, perhaps dangerous, quarantined for good reason - and maybe still alive.

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

There are some things you can’t leave behind…A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

I nearly cried with how raw and beautiful this book was. So much emotion, and told in such an amazing way that you will instantly be hooked from the first couple of pages. I especially loved the use of colloquial language in If You Find Me– you could honestly hear the words, feel the woods and sense how much these two girls have been impacted.
Normally with contemporary, for me at least, it's got to be good. I'm looking for heart-pounding plot, page-gripping feelings and characters you can instantly connect with, especially with young adult contemporary novels that deal with heavier issues. I'm glad to say that I found all of the above, and didn't let this story go ages after I'd finished.

You can totally feel this book and it's characters come to life. I honestly connected to Carey. It doesn't matter that I've never, and thank the gods, had the same past as she did, but you could really empathize with her and the rest of the characters in the book. As I mentioned before, the use of colloquial language just helped to push that gap between myself and the book so much closer. It gives so much more character to the, well, character and the rest of the story.
I loved the additions of Nessa (who was super adorable), Pixie, and Ryan. Even though I felt his addition wasn't actually necessary to make the story more interesting, Ryan was still a great – and really cute – character, and I love the connection that he has with Carey.

As you delve further into the book, sure enough, the darker it becomes. There are definitely some little twists along the way, some shocking revelations as more is revealed, especially as to why in fact Nessa is so quiet and doesn't talk during the book. However, still along the way it was cute to see how Carey's little sister adjusts to the "modern" world (they lived in the woods for so long without technology and such... I don't think that counts too much as being "modern"), and of course, eating heaps and heaps of food. I thought it was a great mix, but of course it transcends into a much darker undertone as you venture further into this novel.

If You Find Me was absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking. It's one of those books you completely devour, feel hungry for more and a little empty that you finished it too quickly. Emily Murdoch's debut is spectacular, and I'll most definitely be looking out for more.

If you like this, try...

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Waiting on Wednesday – Week 89

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight on upcoming releases which I'm DYING to get my hands on.

This week's WoW is:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

January 28, 2014 ◆ Goodreads

Okay, this has to be one of the best covers, like, EVER. I mean seriously– it's gorgeous! Anyway, I don't think I've ever really read a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, so this one should be amazing! Really can't wait for it. I think it's up on Edelweiss, but I've still got a couple of books to go before I can really read this one!

What are you waiting on?

YALLFest Interview with Rainbow Rowell

Hi everyone– I'm really happy to host Rainbow Rowell's interview for YALLFest on the blog today!

But first off, what is YALLFest? It's the biggest book festival in the south. And this year, they have around 50 amazing authors featured: Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, Ransom Riggs and so many more. Interviews are being featured all around the Blogosphere, so be on the lookout for them! You can check out many of the interviews on the official page HERE.

Anyway, onto the interview!

Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell writes books.
Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline).
Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park and Fangirl).
But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.
When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.
She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Website: http://rainbowrowell.com/
What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Lip balm.

Describe your book in 5 words.

Earnest, snowy, swoony, minty, bookish.

What's the hardest line to write– the first or the last?

THE FIRST! The whole first page is a nightmare. I want people to just skip it. And I always end up rewriting it.

Best writing tip you ever received?

"Just finish your book."

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt. I think it would have made me feel less alone.

Where's your favorite place to write?

At coffeeshops. In giant overstuffed chairs.

What are you working on now?

I'm revising my adult novel, Landline, which comes out in spring 2014, and playing with a romantic/political/tragicomic fantasy.

What is you favorite genre to write in? To Read?

I write mostly contemporary. I read mostly fantasy.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

All of my ideas are full-length novels. I have a heard time narrowing my scope.

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Thank you so much to Rainbow Rowell for stopping by! I haven't read any of her books yet, but Fangirl and Eleanor & Park both sound amazing :) If you're in the area, make sure you stop by YALLFest!


In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Release Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: The Elemental Trilogy, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

It's been a while since I've read such a high fantasy– but WOW. I was completely blown away by this book. Even though it took me ages to actually get through the eGalley (curse you slow scrolling!), this was such an intense and fabulous read. I've been told that this book was amazing, and I'm glad that I reciprocated the same feelings for it.
The danger of fantasy is that generally authors tend to focus all-too-much on the characters and then the world-building falls to shambles, or they create this gorgeous world only to have shoddy characters. However, in this case Sherry Thomas had a great balance between the two. Despite the book being in third person, although it didn't really feel like it because it switched between Titus and Iolanthe's characters, you could really connect with the characters, but you could still get an understanding of the setting and where the action takes place.

Both Iolanthe and Titus were absolutely fantastic, I adored their chemistry. Dare I say it, I SHIPPED them. I guess you could then guess my frustration with their stubborn personalities in that they refused to act on their feelings for the most part of the book. Totally felt like tearing out my hair or stomping around the room because they were just so darn cute together but complete idiots to keep arguing with one another. ARGH. But ohmygosh: LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Especially Titus *wink*.
Other than their to-die-for relationship, I thought that both characters displayed a great show of strength and determination throughout the book.

There were times though when I thought the book got a little too confusing, especially with terminology I wasn't familiar with, and this confused my reading of the book. I know that definitely before the second book comes out I'm going to have to re-read this one, because there were some parts that are completely blurry for me, and I really need to sit down and thoroughly understand what exactly the heck is going on.
Despite it being an amazing book, I don't think there were too many twists that jumped out at me surprisingly. I think it might have been the pace that reduced the shocked-oh-my-god-WHAT factor for me, because it was a little slow-paced. Only small little heart-startlers now and then but nothing too major, which was a tiny bit of a let down, but it was interesting to see how elemental magic, wands, a boy's boarding school, the joining of two worlds, and visions all play an instrumental part in this novel.

The Burning Sky was beautiful. I loved this world that Sherry Thomas has created and am excited for the sequel to dive back into Iolanthe and Titus' story. There was quite a lot left unexplained and hopefully more will be revealed in the follow up. Lengthy but never a dull moment, this book had me lingering on every page, soaking up the romance and magic that poured from every word. Brilliant!

If you like this, try...

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray Goodreads
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The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

Release Date: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Usborne (UK) / Marshall Cavendish (US)
Series: The Other Life, Book 1
Rated: YA 13+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.

When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

To be honest, I'm getting a little tired of the dystopian trend. Sure, once in a while there'll be an absolutely amazing book which will grab everyone's attention, but others? It seems like the same repeated idea over and over and over again.
The Other Life I will say though, was pretty original in terms of contributing to the dystopian genre. It actually had a pretty different premise, even though it seemed like it spawned off of previous ideas, but I got sucked into the action, and the story was fast-paced and action-packed. I've had the eGalley for ages, and only now, when it's been removed from NetGalley did I actually venture into reading it.

Of course, as I do with most heroines, I found Sherry a great character. Just like many other dystopian leads, she's definitely got that strong-determination, and you could really empathise with her. The only thing I didn't like was how whiny she kind of was at the start. Counting down the days doesn't make it any better and being the oldest child (speaking as an oldest child!) you have to put your younger siblings before you– this was the reason why I pretty much loved her brother. He's so willing to watch The Little Mermaid with his younger sister despite the fact they've seen it so many times before. He wants to help his dad. Despite his mood swings, he really does want to take care of the family as well.
Speaking of the little sister, Mia was super adorable. I just love little kids in YA, don't you? And then of course, we have Joshua! It was so frustrating that they didn't get together sooner– I felt like screaming at them to just kiss already. But all in good time, all in good time...

One problem I had with the book was that it was just too short. It seriously went by super quickly! There was also the fact that it focused too much on both rescuing her father as well as the move to the safe house. I just thought there should have been more plot present there. Otherwise, I thought that the snippets of memories that Sherry has– it's interesting to see life before being locked in the basement for so long, and what actually lead up to it. There was also a fabulous twist at the end which totally left me wanting more, so I can't wait to get my hands on The Life Beyond!

Overall, I thought that while it had it's downsides, this was a great novel with lots of promise for exciting twists and shocking turns. Susanne Winnacker has definitely grabbed my attention with The Other Life and I'll be looking for more from her in the future.

If you like this, try...

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 88

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight on upcoming reads which I'm DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

The yearbook votes have been cast. Senior year is about to get interesting.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laid-back swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing away Will drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirt along with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will's new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started out as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

May 20, 2014 ● Goodreads

After reading Love Story by Jennifer Echols, I haven't gotten the chance to read any of her other books. Which is truly a shame because I LOVED that one! Anyway, this one sounds really cute, and I can't wait for it!

What are you waiting on?

YA Books to Movies: My Take

It seems like every YA book out there is being turned into a movie, or at least has a promise of being turned into a movie. Paranormalcy, Thirteen Reasons Why, Why We Broke Up are just a few in the endless sea of rights sold to make a film. It's sad that many actually don't make it to the big screen – like Wicked Lovely and A Great and Terrible Beauty – but hopefully there's a lot more going to be green-lighted. I'm a sucker for movies: it's always a tough decision when people ask me what I love better, books or movies, and of course I'll say books, but I have this deep LOVE for movies. I actually had movie mini-reviews on the blog, but stopped because the amount of movies I'd watched had gone on complete overload. English, Hindi, French; old, new, upcoming: it doesn't really matter, because I am a movie freak and I know it.
The reason I decided to type up this post was because over the summer I actually ended up watching a couple of YA to movie adaptions, all pretty recently released within a year or so. I liked a couple, I really didn't like a couple, and then there were the ones which I was caught in the middle.

YA adaptions I've watched recently...

Obviously, I've seen way more adaptions, but that may take too long to talk about them.

The Host (based on the book by Stephenie Meyer): This was pretty much the battle of the hot boys for me. I actually ended up enjoying this one, but found that it probably went a tad-bit too long. I enjoyed the characters and the story though, and really hope there will be a sequel. It surprised me that I liked this one because even though the Twilight movies weren't too bad, I had quite low expectations for this one. I'm glad I was wrong!
Verdict: A-

Beautiful Creatures (based on the book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl): I was surprised that I actually enjoyed this one. I'd heard so many bad reviews so that's why I was a little bit skeptical when it came down to watching it. I liked that they're relatively unknown main actors and the got the setting right. The only thing is that I thought the plot jumped ahead of time way too quickly and the movie cut out quite a lot.
Verdict: B+

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (based on the book by Cassandra Clare): I was really excited to see this one because being a HUGE fan of the series, I was super stoked when Richa @ City of Books managed to win two (Singapore) premiere tickets, and decided to take me with her! Not being a fan of Lily Collins, I tried my hardest to push my past judgments aside, but nope– I didn't like her again *surprise surprise*. I like how they got the rest of the characters pretty much right (Simon was AWESOME), but I thought they focused way too much on the romance and the last fight scene and many in between, but characters like Alec don't even pop up that often. That, and they changed quite a few things. Quite cheesy animations and effects as well. Loved the costuming for the different creatures though, and it has a KILLER soundtrack!
Verdict: C+

Warm Bodies (based on the book by Isaac Marion): This one pleasantly surprised me. I'm not so much a fan of zombies on the pages or on the screen, but I ended up loving this one. I still need to read the book, but I'm definitely looking forward to it. It has a great plot line, great characterisation, and some great humour.
Verdict: A

What I don't like about books coming to the big screen (or even the small screen) are the changes. As you could tell by my short "review" of the City of Bones movie, I didn't really like it because they changed and cut out way too much! Being a avid reader it really does annoy me. For example, take Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. THEY CHANGED THE WHOLE BOOK. The pearls of Persephone is only a minor part, and they added so many other scenes, and Annabeth wasn't a blonde! (I actually didn't mind that much, but meh)
What I do enjoy is the fact that if I don't get something in the book, or have no idea how to visualise it, the movie does it for me! Sometimes, even watching a movie makes me like the book even better. Example? New Moon. I hated that book at first! I only then started liking it because I actually got what it meant after watching the movie, and HELLO Jacob Black aka Taylor Lautner in the movie.

Since I've talked about movies that I've already watched and that are already out... how about those that are upcoming? So many trailers have been released and the hype is already building up. The question is: which ones will actually live up to expectations?

Upcoming YA books to movie adaptions...

Yup, a lot isn't there? These are just the ones with posters and trailers. There's so many more that are coming out but need a director, cast, etc. attached to it.

General thoughts on these: I would have to say that I'm pretty impressed by what trailers I've seen. Vampire Academy looks interesting and hopefully won't be one of those cliché vampire movies, and I love that The Book Thief keeps the true origins of the characters, meaning accent and all. However I thought Divergent's trailer was a little anticlimactic, but I was completely BLOWN AWAY by Catching Fire's– definitely one movie I will go see immediately when it comes out.

There are still so many movies out there based on young adult books which I actually haven't gotten the chance to watch (yet). The Perks of Being a Wallflower? My 15 year old sister has seen it, and I haven't... the injustice of it all. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters? I've seen bad reviews about it, and my sister said it was okay, but still. There's just too many movies coming out, it's almost like an explosion of YA everywhere. The 100 even has a TV series soon, which I'm looking forward to watching.

Bottom line is I will always go watch a movie based on a book that I've read, regardless whether I will end up liking the movie or not. Sure, I'm disappointed when they get it completely wrong in the movie, but for someone to actually take the time to read a book and decide they want to make a movie out of it, and plan and slave for days and months working on it? Just like an author, this is the hard work of a director, producer, cast and crew. I'm going to acknowledge and praise that, because they actually took time to bring a book to life, which is easier said than done.

Do you have any YA book adaptions that you're looking forward hitting the big (or small) screen? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 87

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight on upcoming reads which I'm DYING to get my hands on.

This week's WoW is:
Pawn by Aimée Carter


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

November 26, 2013 ● Goodreads

I haven't actually read the author's other series The Goddess Test, but MAN I can't wait for this one! It kind of reminds me of The Selection for some reason... must be the caste system idea. Nonetheless, this sounds absolutely fabulous, November isn't too far away, so I just can't wait to get my hands on this one :D

What are you waiting on?

Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: Prep School Confidential, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn't care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school. 

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

I loved the idea of rich kids and a murder mystery once more! I will admit– this sounded a lot like The Liar Society at first, and I thought it was going to be one of those cliché boarding-school-solve-the-murder-mystery type of books, but I'm glad that I was wrong. This book was great, enthralling, had two cute boys...so what more could you ask for?
Kara Taylor can pretty much get into the mind of a teen. I totally felt that I could have narrated the book and the teen-language would be pretty much accurate. There aren't all too many authors who can actually do that, who could actually literally make the teenaged characters believable, but I thought she'd absolutely nailed it.

Hands down, I was a fan of Anne from the start. Her commentary throughout the book was hilarious, and I liked that even though she's quite rich, she still doesn't end up fitting in at an elite boarding school... because everyone else is richer than her! Sarcasm, no tolerance for the queen bee, rebelling against proper school conduct: a loveable heroine.
I'm a sucker for a good love triangle, and I'm tellin' ya– this one was good. Anthony and Brent. Even though I knew whose side I was on from the start (BRENT!), I still thought that this was a strong one and could have gone either way. Anthony was great, but I guess I was just rooting for Brent a little more. I do like good guys better than bad boys!

The mystery was classic "whodunit?" and I had my suspicions from the start when the killer is revealed. The book really twists around and around and around so that you don't know who it could really be and in the end, practically anyone could be a suspect. It was really that difficult to guess until the murdered was finally put up front.
I thought the end was fantastic, because it opened up the door for the second book, and now I can't WAIT for it. 2014 is still a while away, but I definitely will be first in line to read it.

Murder, lies, deceit– all of the usual elements in a not-so-typical story. Definitely a unique turn from the young adult murder mysteries now days, and I'm glad I got the chance to delve head-first into this one. Kara Taylor's debut was deliciously deadly, and I gobbled it up hook, line and sinker. Can't wait for Wicked Little Secrets!

If you like this, try...

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Release Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Series: Splintered, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

I wouldn't be lying if I said that this book would have to be one of my favorites from this year. I loved it! I found the premise of this book so unique, and so I knew, being a total Alice in Wonderland fan, I would HAVE to read this book. When this became available on NetGalley way back in 2012, I jumped at the chance to read it. I got approved, read it, and all I can say is that I'm glad I did.
As far as Alice retellings go I thought this one was the most original. I mean– Alice's ancestor? That's amazing. I loved the spin on the classic, with the darker atmosphere and the creepier twists. Fantastic characters, fabulous story, and it's definitely one book that I could not stop reading.

Alyssa? Great character. I loved her determination and will to drive through all forces to make things right. I also liked the whole misfit-outcast-not-one-of-the-girls category that she falls into. Usually, when that happen in YA with the main lead girls, it's not very well done, but I felt that this worked exceptionally well in this case. I love her snark, her sarcasm– her character was so well developed, and it was so easy to empathize with her.
NOW...the guys! I swear the amount of debate that goes on between both teams is hilariously entertaining. Team Jeb, Team Morpheus, Team Jeb... the table tennis match between the two of them is neverending. Anyway, I'm a Team Jeb girl, holding on strong. Morpheus though... I didn't really see his charm. Both of them are bad-boys, Jeb being the sweeter one and I found myself drawn to him more. I will admit, the ending made me rethink about Morpheus, but nah! I'll keep holding on (unless Unhinged manages to change my iron-set mind).

The twist in this book is HUGE. Totally didn't see that one coming. I also loved the interpretation of the story, like how they find the entrance to Wonderland, and the interesting changes that have been made to the original. It really added a lot more flavour! The tests, the characters– absolutely magical. I'm so glad this one became a series, as when I was reading this book, it was supposed to be a standalone (I believe), but I'm SO glad that Alyssa and Jeb's (and okay Morpheus' too) story continues.

I hope you could tell that I ADORED this book because you need to get your hands on it now if you haven't already. Read this one! It will definitely not disappoint. One of my favorites this year and a fabulous start to a series. I got the chance to meet A.G. Howard at ALA 2013 in Chicago and she is amazing. I think I'm pretty much going to love whatever she writes, so– more please!

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Why I Don't Write "Professional" Reviews

I thought I'd just take some time to mention something I wrote about in a university essay application. I've recently seen some posts about how people write their reviews, what their review process was like, and I thought: Hmm... why not?
The reason I'm bringing this up is because for the Common App Essay, I wrote about blogging and how much that's shaped my life for the past couple of years. One of the things I mentioned was how I generally saw my reviews and my personal take on the tone of my reviews.

I love blogging. Honestly, I do. Everyday I'm doing something blog-related, whether it be reading a book for the blog, posting a review, or something else just generally always points back to Confessions of a Readaholic. I wouldn't be kidding if I said this was my life. I would be perfectly content to blog for the rest of my life– that's how in love with blogging and books I am.
Anyway, before I stray off into a topic that has NOTHING to do with what I had planned to to talk about (that's for a later day), let me answer the question:

So, why DON'T I write "professional" reviews?

I just want to say before I venture off into a pretty lengthy answer to this question, the quotation marks around professional was not meant to mock professional reviews. I just clearly don't know what to call them, that's all. Formal? Proper? Editorial? See, I don't even know what else I could call it. Just clearing this up!

I'm currently in my senior year at school and I'm in the IB program. The IB you ask? International Baccalaureate. Aka, a school system. Aka, every student's nightmare. I take higher level English Literature, and because of this I'm completely thrown into this world of analysing, and looking at author's choices, and coming up with several interpretations of why Shakespeare chose to use the word "green" in King Claudius' first monologue in Hamlet. While at times I do love it, I feel that the strain of having to analyse every single word choice, and look at every single contextual detail, and many other things is so strenuous and extremely tiring. I mean, I just read A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison which is a modern retelling of Hamlet and I'm pretty sure I analysed the heck out of that thing. This to me is SUCH A PAIN, since I've always read books a certain way with certain "categories".

Category 1: The IB/School Reading List books. These are the books that I analyse and read pretty much 3-5 times depending on how much work is done on it. Books this year have included Hamlet, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Ghosts, Paradise of the Blind, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, George Orwell's essays, and so on. You get the point.

Category 2: YA (and sometimes MG books). These are the books I LIVE for, the source of my joy, my entertainment, my frustration, my anger, my sadness– possibly all emotions that you could name. I read these for both the blog and my own pleasure.

Category 3: Other. This category generally contains classics that I've read for my own pleasure, and adult chick-lit books which I've read anomalously from time to time when I find one that interests me. Purely for my own time (HA! If I had any...).

Hopefully, you get the general idea. I created this book blog to write about the books I'm interested in and my personal thoughts on it. I didn't want to become this person who looks very closely at details and becomes almost like an editor. That's pretty much the job of the editor and beta-readers– to spot out mistakes. What I believe that a book blogger's job to do is to promote books. Generating buzz, selling the book– most people don't really want to read the book from an studying standpoint. They read for fun. They're most likely looking for books that they can snuggle into the blankets with. THAT I believe is the role of a book blogger.
I mean, sure. I could write formal-sounding reviews, but it wouldn't be much fun, would it? Here's an example, and for this I shall be using These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner.


These Broken Stars had a well executed plot, a believable romance, and a hero and heroine that readers will relate to. The plot progression was unique to that of others– it constantly switches between the two perspectives of our main characters, Tarver and Lilac. The chemistry with the both of them worked undeniably well, and hence gave the story brevity, and will allow the reader to escape into this thoroughly developed world.


These Broken Stars? I'm in awe. Literally: jaw-dropped-eyes-wide-in-shock awe. This book was SO freakin' amazing! I fell in love with the characters from page one, and found myself flipping pages, longing to go back to the book when I couldn't. I found myself hooked into this fantastic world of romance, and intrigued by the deadly mystery.

You can see the difference right?
I'm not saying that the professional review is wrong or stupid or whatever. Actually, I think it's quite good– considering I wrote it in around a minute. The ideas come through and sound extremely, well, professional. The only problem I find with it is the fact that it lacks feeling. Anyone could have written that review. There's no personal attachment to the book, and if it were printed as a blurb, the person who'd written the review might not even recognize that he or she wrote it (other than the fact that the name of the person/blog is printed below it). It's pretty common place and sounds like you read the book, it was good, and you're writing a formal paper on it. 
My kind of review on the other hand... you don't have to be a genius to know that it's definitely personal. You can tell that I loved the book and that I'm just really hyped up about it: WHICH IS GOOD! That means more promoting for the book = more sales = authors are happy and so am I (as well as the people who buy the book, because this book is AMAZING people).

One thing I can't ever get around to doing is writing in the books I receive for review. I mean, I literally cringed when I had to annotate my copy of Dracula and Frankenstein, two books which I have copies of so that I COULD annotate it. I can't annotate books I have one copy of, and that's a fact. I just keep thinking of tarnishing such beautiful pages and can't bring myself to do so! It's a little bit sad... because that means later on when writing a review I have to flip all the way back if I didn't type up things I liked or didn't like right after reading the book, and I'll have to find quotes I loved etc. It's a bit of a pain, but that kind of also allows me to elaborate a little bit on my own personal feelings towards the text, rather than having to feel like I'm analyzing it.

I know my reviews can be a little immature at times, especially with the huge amount of fangirling I do. Pretty much any book that contained a boy I LOVED, I can guarantee that the review will have over-the-top fangirling. Why? Because I'm seventeen and have the right to. And plus teenage hormones. Always teenage hormones. You can't argue with that logic.
This comes along with language (I never swear in my reviews, and if I do I always apologize like a gajillion times), and THE USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS. WHICH I PRETTY MUCH DID THROUGHOUT THIS POST. Oops.

So when it comes down to it, I don't mind professional reviews. I love sites like Kirkus, and other professional review sites, or even book blogs that review things very professionally. But I find myself drawn to those reviews that use GIFs, fangirling, ballistic freaking out... that even NEGATIVE REVIEWS sound amazing! I'm a fan of snark and sarcasm, loud and proud!

I guess that's all I have for today. I'm a little tired out with all the fast typing to be honest.

Anyway, do you have a preference when it comes to reading or writing reviews? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 86

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight on upcoming books which I'm DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

April 15, 2014 ● Goodreads

Sorry for the slightly blurry-ish picture, but I just couldn't help but put this up for my WoW this week. I love the sound of Jennifer E. Smith's books– I have her other two books, but haven't gotten to them yet! This one sound super cute as well, and I can't wait to get my paws claws hands on it :)

What are you waiting on?

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: All Our Pretty Songs, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

The cover drew me in. The creeping vines and the beautiful title– I thought this sounded amazing. Then upon learning that it was a retelling of the Orpheus myth, I knew I had to get my hands on it, somehow. When this popped up on NetGalley, I thought it was the perfect opportunity.
However, I think my expectations were a little too high. I didn't really enjoy the book until halfway. I've seen raving reviews about it, and it even got a star from Kirkus! I then thought, what could possibly go wrong reading this book? And I just found that I couldn't like it as much as I wanted to. There were several things that put me off, and it just made me want to get through the book quicker.

I thought that this had amazing potential. A retelling of a myth we don't hear all to much about in the world of YA, a touch of paranormal and mythology with a contemporary background and what makes up a majority of the storyline, and of course, how music plays a role in the plot, as it does in the original story. It just fell flat for me when I started reading, and even though I wanted to stop somewhere before halfway through the novel, my curiosity for the end got the best of me, and I'm half glad that I did continue on, because it does get a bit better, but overall, I think that even if I didn't read this one, I wouldn't be missing much.
The writing at the beginning bugged me a little as it was more about what the differences between Aurora and the narrator were. It was a little too simple, and more about telling us readers about who they were rather than getting to the point of the story. However, I must give points for the descriptions later on in the novel. They were absolutely gorgeous. My eyes were glued to the rich, dark, chaotic blend described– I loved the effect that the paranormal genre ended up having on what was mainly a contemporary.

The characters though, I didn't like. Our unnamed narrator, while I admired her ferocity and headstrong personality (making her the stronger of both characters), I thought she was a little too paranoid for my taste. After meeting Jack, every thought she had about him was whether he was cheating on her with Aurora. Sure, I get that Aurora is the more beautiful of the two, but does she need to question him every single time? It just got a little too much, especially since it was really not what I thought her character should have been like. Strong-willed, yet absolutely clingy when it comes to this one guy.
Aurora I hated even more than the main narrator. She seems to throw herself into everything that could end with the worst possible result. You can't really blame her character that much though, as her mother's pretty much absent for the whole book, but seriously I wanted to slap that girl sometimes. I felt so sorry for our narrator because every single time Aurora got into trouble or was stuck somewhere, she had to go get her.

I didn't even think there was much point to Jack's character, other than making our narrator super paranoid. Sure, he plays beautiful music, and there's a pretty big twist when it comes to the myth being portrayed in this book, but other than the love interest, I don't think he had much point being in the story.
Raoul was the only character which I genuinely liked. He was always there to take care of our narrator when she fell too far, and is quirky, funny and is super sweet. And of course, this includes his cat Oscar Wilde. Cass, our narrator's mother, was also a really great character. Despite her past and the freedom that she gives her daughter to basically do whatever the heck she wants, I thought that progressively into the book that she becomes more of a mother, which is when I took a liking to her character.

The ending was a little strange, but even so– I'm still looking forward (half-heartedly) to the next book, Dirty Wings. I thought the last parts of the book were definitely my favorite, so here's to hoping that the next book will be like that and hence I'd actually get to enjoy the characters and the plot more.
Even though I didn't rave about All Our Pretty Songs, I still thought that it was dark, edgy and lead to a thrilling conclusion. Sarah McCarry's writing is gorgeous and promising, so I'll be looking forward to that with the next book.

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