Waiting on Wednesday – Week 125

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

This week’s WoW is:
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

In Beacon Heights, Washington, five girls—Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke...until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.

October 7, 2014 ● Goodreads

I’m a huge fan of the Pretty Little Liars series but I stopped reading at book 10 because it dragged on too long (stopping at book 8 would have been perfect!!). However, Sara Shepard truly is a master at deadly twists and suspense so I’m SO in for this book! Can’t wait :D

What are you waiting on?

Saying Goodbye to Singapore (I’m leaving today!)

Hey guys,

This is so difficult to write. No, I’m not announcing the end of my blogging days (it hasn’t come to that thankfully). No, I’m writing this: I’m leaving Singapore.

Singapore’s been my home for four years now, but even before that it was considered our family’s home base. No matter where we lived in Asia (Indonesia, India, Japan, The Philippines... not Canada) we’d always come to Singapore multiple times per year. As a child I would always love going to the Zoo or the Science Center and it’s crazy to see how much it’s changed over the past (nearly) two decades. I mean, look at it now:

This is what I’d see everyday going to school. But now I’ll have to say goodbye because I’m heading to Boston.

Yes, I’ll be a lot closer to my blog readers and it’ll be an amazing opportunity not only to go to book/blogging-related events, but obviously for the main purpose WHY I’m going there: to study. I love the idea of a diverse curriculum which is why I only applied to the US. I’m glad I’m going to Boston because there’s such a good feel about it, you know?

For those who don’t know, I’ll be attending Boston University, and I’ll be majoring in Film & Television. Exciting! I know! I’m a little conflicted with moving though. I love being able to study what I’m passionate about and have a new experience, but I’ve loved growing up in this little safe bubble in Singapore... and plus having my own room is amazing.

I’m going to miss all family, my puppy Ruff (OF COURSE), friends (who I won’t be seeing until we all get back in December), and a ton of other people such as teachers, etc. Good news though: my blogging buddy Richa (City of Books) is also going to be studying in Boston at another university. Nothing can separate us :D

Well... this is it. While most of the posts will be scheduled from now until like mid-September (so I can like settle in and stuff), but I’ll constantly be on twitter :) You can’t get rid of me that easily!


Pawn by Aimée Carter

Pawn by Aimée Carter

Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website


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.

I was super lucky when I got my hands on an ARC of this one– it’s been on my TBR pile for a while and I jumped at the chance to review it. I started this one ages ago, but unfortunately something came up and I had to put it away. I totally regret waiting this long to read Pawn because it was AH. MAY. ZING. I mean seriously, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a dystopian this much in ages. It was like a crossover between Meg Cabot’s Airhead and Kiera Cass’ The Selection– I loved it.

I seriously loved the Hart family. Doesn’t matter if they’re evil– I loved to HATE them. My eyes were glued to the pages as I wondered which family member would turn on which, and who would be the last to survive. Kitty’s character was (of course) amazing. I like how she still had her head on straight and would make the decisions a normal person would make. Carter has crafted such a real character, and that’s a relief considering how so many main characters immediately act first and think later. There is also a bit of a love triangle but it’s more one-sided towards Benjy. Unfortunately, I was more team Knox on this one! It’s just that Benjy doesn’t make much of an appearance throughout the book and Knox is constantly there. Hopefully things change a little bit more in the next book, Captive!

The world building is truly impressive. I thought it was a lot like the world of The Selection with “royalty” ruling the country and a system that defines the population, as well as job allocations depending on your number. What was interesting though was that the I’s get placed in Elsewhere, which apparently makes more of an appearance in the sequel. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding that so I’m glad as readers we get to explore it further.

I couldn’t put this one down, and now I’m left wanting MORE. Non-stop action and thrills, cute boys and a deadly plot, Pawn is a win. Aimée Carter has caught my attention and now I’m super excited to read the rest of the series!

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Lisa Wray from Harlequin for sending a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

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Feral Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Feral by Holly Schindler

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository B&N iTunes Kobo
Goodreads Website

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

When I first started Feral, I was so taken with the writing. Schindler’s descriptions, though horrifying, were absolutely beautiful. I was completely enraptured by the book from start to finish. I enjoyed how dark and twisted it was, and the end completely caught me by surprise. I really enjoy books that catch you in the moments right before the person responsible is revealed, so this book had the right amount of shock and suspense, as well as great execution and delivery of story and motive.

I liked Claire’s character– I found it interesting how amidst this larger event (Serena’s death) she has her own personal struggle which definitely plays into the climax of the story. I liked how the two events intertwine and there’s a constant creepy atmosphere whenever it does. Claire is definitely a lot braver than I am or will ever be, and I totally respect that bravado in a character. Her determination to get to the bottom of what actually happened is what really kept me going through the book! Plus, it’s a bonus that a very cute guy called Rich appears throughout the novel.

Like I mentioned before, everything falls into place moments before Claire figures out the whole mystery. Seriously, I think my heart stopped beating for a while. I love shocks and twists, and holy hells, this is a good one. While some reviews complain that everything falls too easily into place, um, NO. I totally did not see this coming and I think the reasons behind certain things are absolutely justifiable and make sense. Very Slaughterhouse-Five, I must say.

Feral was flawless, intriguing and deliciously deadly– I’m completely head over heels in love with this book. Schindler truly is a master of her craft and the sheer power her words carry have left a lasting impression on me. More please!

If you like this, try...

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Scrambling to free herself, Claire turned to see exactly how badly her feet were tangled in the fallen limb.  But the shattered branch that had just tripped her was a strange shade of blue—purple—gray.  

She was staring at a human hand.

“No—no,” Claire screamed as she attempted to get away from the limb and the dead body, tripping on the hem of her coat in the process.  She stumbled back to the earth, falling on her backpack.

An angry hiss pried Claire’s eyes upward, away from the waxy, blue fingers.

A cat edged forward from its perch on top of the limb that pinned the body; a pair of yellow eyes with black stripes narrowed at Claire; pink fangs flashed.  Nearby, another yellow set of eyes popped from the shadows as a tail curled up onto a black curved back.  More fangs.  More eyes.  More angry, fat tails.

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Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs). 

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” Bloggers also quickly fell for the book; Susan at Bloggin’ ‘bout Books said of THE JUNCTION, “Triumphant and compelling, this is one of those books that will make you cheer. And look a little bit closer for the unique beauty in all of us.” 

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first mystery / thriller. She encourages readers to get in touch, and can be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and http://hollyschindler.tumblr.com/


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Giveaway time!

Enter to win...

One (1) SIGNED hardcover of Feral!

Open to US/CAN only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Click on the button below or on the tour banner at the top of the post to follow the rest of the tour!

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Thank you so much to FFBC Blog Tours for having me along!

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 124

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

This week’s WoW is:
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

**WARNING: may contain spoilers from The Madman’s Daughter and Her Dark Curiosity**
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

January 27, 2015 ● Goodreads

First off, the covers in this series are absolutely GORGEOUS. I’m a huge fan of Shepherd’s The Madman’s Daughter trilogy (read my review for The Madman’s Daughter here and Her Dark Curiosity here) and can’t WAIT to get my hands on this one! Hopefully review copies will be available soon, whether it’s a physical ARC or on Edelweiss :D

What are you waiting on?

The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

Two sisters are summoned to their aunt's Greenwich Village flat, where they must start dressing like young ladies, cultivate their artistic sensibilities, and open themselves up to Life with a capital L.

When Franny and her older sister Valentine are summoned by their Aunt Theodora from foggy San Francisco to sunny New York City for one summer, they are taken to old-world locales like Bemelmans Bar, the Plaza, and the Sherry Netherland by their chaperone, Clover, Aunt Theodora’s protégé. As they discover New York City going lingerie shopping and learning about the simple elegance of a cucumber sandwich, they also begin to unearth secrets and answers about Aunt Theo's glamorous and romantic past, and they have a few romantic adventures of their own.

While I did enjoy some parts of The Summer Invitation, it felt like more of a guide book rather than a novel with an actual plot line. Most of the story consists of Franny and Valentine going shopping, eating or walking around New York with their chaperone Clover. Loads of places mentioned here – some which I’d love to visit next time I go to New York – and it felt like we as readers are just witnessing two girls as they “tour” around the city.

Franny was sweet and innocent, and I liked how we got to see the world through her point of view. However, there was an awful lot of “telling” and not “showing”. The writing was really on-the-surface, and you can’t really much past that. Valentine annoyed me till the end: she got bored of everything too fast, was too melodramatic and was pretty superficial. Also I hated how everything became about romance and sex when it concerned her character. I mean, really? and Clover was no better– she encouraged young girls to buy lingerie and have lovers and all that stuff. While it does seem to have the elements of an old film that I’d love to watch, it was sometimes too shallow for me to get in to.

The Summer Invitation, while having an interesting look at New York City and some of the classy places located within the city that I’m now DYING to go to, fell flat for me. I’m unsure whether or not this is aimed at younger readers or slightly older ones, due to the topics discussed in the book, but nonetheless, it felt childish and plain for a young adult novel.

If you like this, try...

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed – Thanks Richa (City of Books)!
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.

But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?

I did get a few stares from my friends when I walked hand-in-hand with this book. The Boyfriend App– who wouldn't want that? Get the perfect guy for you and live happily ever after. Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned, but sometimes things find a way of working out. While I did love some of the plot and characters, I found myself thinking how ridiculous the story sounded at times. I thought it was going to a contemporary novel, sticking to a more realistic story, but there was some slightly paranormal (maybe?) bits to the story which made it really weird.

I liked Audrey’s character. She was really interesting! She reminded me of Wick from Find Me (minus the whole hacker trying to find a dead girl thing) and I really enjoyed her snark and sarcasm. Her narrative was great to relate to. I also liked Lindsay’s character. I love how different she was from Audrey and how girly she could be in contrast. Of course, Aiden was also a favourite of mine. Such a cute, sweet guy! Xander wasn’t bad, and the scene with him in the cafeteria was hilarious, but I mean Aiden? Wowie. LOVED HIM.

There was one little part of the book though that got on my nerves. It wasn’t the whole paranormal thing, and it was just a little bit of the book, but it really stuck with me the whole time, because I HOPE it got corrected in the final version, but I seriously doubt it. The author should have really checked because WOW was she wrong. At one point of the story, when Lindsay meets Nigit, she actually utters this line: “The worship of Ganesh isn’t restricted to India and Hindis, Nigit.” (p. 73, ARC). Um, what? HINDIS? I may not be one, but I’m pretty damn well sure, being from India and having actually lived there for a part of my life, that it’s HINDU not HINDI. HINDI is a language. Problem number two followed up on the next page. Nigit’s character says this: “It was a gift from my mom for Ramadan. I keep it on my puja table when I’m not here.” (p. 74, ARC). WHATTTT. Ramadan? REALLY? I’m Muslim, and unless Nigit is half-Muslim (which he is NOT), why on earth would he celebrate Ramadan? Seriously, the inaccuracy kills me, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Then, of course, there’s the paranormal parts of the story. I mean, couldn’t it just have been based on the matches that the app gives? Not turn it into a device that makes people fall in love with the person who points it at you? That would have seriously been a better story. I’m now afraid of reading Katie Sise’s next book, The Pretty App, because even though it would be cool to see events play out from Blake's, aka Queen Bee, point of view, I’m afraid it’s going to be a repeat of events.

Meh. I don’t know what to say. The Boyfriend App really didn’t live up to my expectations and I’m sad to admit that while I probably will be reading The Pretty App, I’ll be bracing myself to expect version 2.0 of The Boyfriend App. While some bits were fun, this novel fell flat for me. Katie Sise’s concept was a great one, but what it lacked was execution and believability.

If you like this, try...

More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Release Date: September 1, 2013
Publisher: Walker Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

I seriously don’t know how I’m going to go about writing this review without giving something away. I’ll try my very best to keep it spoiler-free, but trust me, it will be difficult.

I’ve always heard of Patrick Ness’ books but I’d never gotten the chance to read one until now. Thanks to Pansing, I got my hands on a copy of More Than This because once I saw John Green’s blurb on the front cover, I was immediately intrigued. The book summary doesn’t give much away and I knew from the start that this novel was going to be different. I really loved this one. Not only does it have HOLY-BLEEPING-S***-twists, but the story was very well developed that I couldn’t put it down.


This isn’t too big a spoiler since you learn about it within the first 30 pages, but our main character’s name is Seth. The narrative is really interesting as it alternates between his present actions as well as his memories. We as readers are able to catch glimpses of his life leading up to the moment he drowns. Secrets are uncovered throughout the story and the motive for why he drowned is revealed slowly, and it’s truly mind-numbing to see how much his character has been through. I thought it would have been really cool if the book only had him as a character in it (during present action), but things definitely got interesting with the addition of two certain characters.

I mentioned previously that there are HUGE twists. And I mean HUGE. Seriously– I did not see half the things that happen in this book coming. There’s definitely a lot more to the afterlife that our main character finds himself in. At first, I was a little mad about the twist. I thought that it threw away the whole believability of the book out the window. But as the story went on, I came to understand what the book truly is and grasp (somewhat) what its underlying message is.

What I am most taken with though is Ness’ writing. ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. Seriously, he could have written a book about cats sitting still for hours and I would still be in love with the prose. I can see now why he’s such a talented writer and why his books get so much praise. More Than This was enthralling, as horrifying revelations and gut-wrenching truths shed some light onto this new world that our protagonist finds himself in. This is a a book that will have you on the edge of your seat, desperate to find out what happens next. Beautiful and life-changing, without a doubt, there is no book like this one. 

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold Goodreads
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver Goodreads

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Waiting on Wednesday – Week 123

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

This week’s WoW is:
Captive by Aimée Carter

**may contain spoilers from book 1, Pawn**
For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever. 

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape. 

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

November 25, 2014 ● Goodreads

Pawn was the first book I read by Aimée Carter, and while I still haven’t been able to get my hands on The Goddess Test series, I can’t WAIT to read this one. The blurb promises shocks and twists, and I’m hoping for more Knox, so yay! Can’t wait :D

What are you waiting on?

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone Blog Tour: Review + Tribute + Giveaway

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

Release Date: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Soho Teen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her mysterious death, and the fandom that won't let her go.

From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28.

—Adele Griffin

The concept for this book was SO COOL. I mean, it was like a documentary version of a book. Complete with interviews, paintings, pictures, magazine features, newspaper articles, emails– this really seemed like the biography of someone’s life. I thoroughly enjoyed The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone and found all of it as a whole utterly compelling. I was taken with Addison, and it almost seems as if she’s a real person, with the different voices presented with little snippets of interviews from her mother, father, brother, boyfriends, best friends, teachers, and more. I’d previously read Adele Griffin’s All You Never Wanted, which I unfortunately did not enjoy, but this one – this one is pure genius.

While there are only some taken interviews directly from Addison (previously “recorded”), we as readers learn more about her from the people around her: why people loved her, why they hated her, the problems she faced and how she came about to being this famous artist in New York. I love how it slowly progresses towards her death, starting with her childhood, moving into her breakdown, and then to her fresh beginning and fame. The narrative structure is brilliant!

You seriously need to check out this book for yourselves because you will believe how amazing it looks. All the mediums put together in one book (and this is me talking about the eGalley!) create such an awesome project. Adele Griffin brings to life this bohemian, can’t-help-but-love-and-hate artist literally as well as through her words. A beguiling read that I couldn’t put down!

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Meredith Barnes at Soho Press for having me on the tour! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

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Adele Griffin is a two-time National Book Award finalist and the highly acclaimed author of numerous books for young adult and middle grade readers. Her works include Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, and most recently, Loud Awake and Lost. Adele lives with her husband, Erich; their two young children; and their dog, Edith, in Brooklyn, New York.

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My tribute to Addison Stone

As apart of this blog tour, each blogger needs to create something to Addison Stone. Since I really suck at art, I decided to go with a poem that’s about Addison. Free verse (can’t make things rhyme and have a proper meter) but hope you enjoy!

the shooting star

A long-limbed spirit,
with wide doe eyes,
takes in the world,
and finds so much more wonder
than what the normal person
can behold.
Snakes twist up her arms –
a poisonous reminder –
of when it went too far:
the cuts, the stain, a ghost.
These arms will not be corrupted,
these hands will not remain still.
The life she creates –
not from fire,
not from stone –
renews others’.
such a creature
cannot last.
A flash of white –
a falling angel,
a dying wish –
leaving behind a wake
of dust and shock.
she will not return.

Hope you enjoyed it. Clearly I’m not a poet, but it was an attempt!! Check out some of the other stops on the tour’s tributes as well as more photos and paintings on the Addison Stone Tumblr!

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Giveaway time!

Enter to win...

A SIGNED hardcover of The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone!

Enter by clicking on the picture below which will take you to the rafflecopter:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Release Date: August 15, 2013
Publisher: Dial
Series: Between, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: ALA 2013
Buy: Amazon  The Book Depository
Goodreads Website

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. 

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back. 

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was one of my most coveted books of 2013. When I finally got my hands on a copy at ALA 2013, I just about died from the sheer gorgeousness of the cover. In person, and even on a slightly bent ARC, it's still beautiful and I'd spent ages just admiring it before actually reading it. I finished reading the book during one flight, and all I can say is this: while I did enjoy it, I didn't love it.

Yup, you heard me.

I really tried to love this book, trust me. With the promise of devils and a gothic setting I was sold, but I found that it fell short. It had too much insta-love, and the plot didn't make much sense here and there. It was almost like Twilight: a paranormal love interest, a girl who doesn’t exactly fit in, and dark secrets. I didn't get the paranormal part of the book as well. I wanted the Devil, but all I got was confusion and reasons that didn't make much sense.

The setting is absolutely gorgeous. I was reminded of Dark Shadows (the movie) and I constantly kept picturing the town and the big mansion in the movie in the place of Echo and Citizen Kane (Violet's home) respectively. The author's writing was a little slow, but it matched the atmosphere and characters’ surroundings. The food descriptions certainly had my stomach grumbling. However, I feel like you need to have watched some old movies or at least know some old actors and actresses pretty well to get the author’s writing. Same for the books mentioned in the novel. There’s quite a few allusions, and if you haven’t even heard of some of them then you might end up confused or would have to resort to googling everything that’s mentioned. It sometimes could be a little tedious, the name dropping in this book. I get that the main character is not like a typical teenager but jeez, don’t need to push how different and indie and non-mainstream she is, or how archaic the town is– which it is surprisingly. I thought this was contemporary, so I’m surprised with the lack of technology present in the novel. Again, confusing.

And I prayed to Freddie about the Devil. I asked her to keep my hand out of his. I asked her to keep me safe from evil.
But, for all my praying, the Devil still found me.
–p. 5, ARC*
*text is subject to change in the final version

I. didn’t. like. River. Sue me. He seemed kind of arrogant at times and it was really off-putting. I wasn’t too big a fan of Violet either because of how she’s willing to see past all that River’s done and how easily she accepts everything. I actually ended up liking Luke, because he seemed “real”, other than the sexism and pig-headedness. Jack was a cool character, and so was Neely. Both have an interesting role in the story, and can’t wait to see more in the next book.

Even though I didn’t like some bits of the book, I’ll definitely be picking up Between the Spark and the Burn, partially because of the cover, and also because there’ll be more Neely. Sultry, seductive and dark, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a gothic paranormal that will attract fans of Dracula. Tucholke’s prose is beautiful and will have readers trailing every word.

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