Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just Remember To Breathe Review

Just Remember to BreatheJust Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ARC of Just Remember To Breathe was provided to me by the author and I must say that I am glad I got a chance to read this book because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

Alex Thompson and Dylan Paris met and fell in love when they were in high school. Well, Dylan is senior year and Alex in junior year to be exact. They were among the 40 students selected to go to Israel for 2 months in a yearly, sort of ambassador type, exchange program. They fell in love in a magical environment, away from home and in a foreign city. But then they had to return to their respective homes, Dylan to Atlanta and Alex to San Francisco. They stayed in touch though and their love still stayed intact. Dylan later joined the army and was in Afghanistan when something bad happened, something between Alex and Dylan during their Skype chat that made Dylan empty a 30 round magazine into his laptop. They both didn’t speak to each other again after that.

Then as fate has it, they meet again at Columbia University and get assigned to the same work study program. Things are different now though. Alex is all set on her goals and focused on her studies. Dylan walks with a limp now and his brain’s a little messed up after watching his best friend get blown up right in front of him. His life is a bit of a mess and dragging Alex into it isn’t going to do any good to either of them. But one thing is still the same – they still over each other.

To cooperate they both set up some ground rules that will stop them from either killing each other or from thinking about their magical love-story. But as they both spend more and more time together, the rules get broken every now and then. They don’t know what to do. What’s good for them? Will they be able to get back together after everything that has happened between them, after everything spoken or left unspoken between them? And even if they do get back together, will their love be able to survive all the changes, all the twists and turns their lives had taken when they were not together? Their love will have to go through everything different about them, face the consequences of the things that had happened with Dylan, the guilt, the pain, the distance, everything.

Sometimes love does conquers all. But sometimes love just isn’t enough.

For me the best part of the story isn’t when Alex and Dylan are together or when they revisit the memories of their beautiful love-story. They probably rank 2nd or 3rd on the list. The best part of the book for me is when Dylan talks about his time in Afghanistan. I know a little weird right? I mean, who likes the part where there is all gore and shooting and bombs and all the dying? But that’s not the reason that part caught my attention and tugged at my heartstrings. No, it was the way it was written. I think when Dylan talks about his time and experience in Afghanistan are the best written parts. The description of the surrounding, the people, everything that Dylan felt was written in such a way, it felt real, so real, that it made me want to sit and cry about everything heart-wrenching that happened during the war.In case you were wondering, I didn’t actually sit and do that, but boy, did it make me want to do that. Everything about it was realistic to the point of a mind-numbing sensation. Charles Sheehan Miles was able to convert and put into heart-touching words, everything that a soldier feels when in a war. The devastating feeling of watching your best friend die, the bone-deep guilt that it was his own fault that his friend died and the cold yet selfless question that why did he get to live when so many others didn’t.

All that said and done, I really liked how the POVs bounced between the male and the female protagonists, even though I liked Dylan’s POV more that Alex’s. Most probably because it had more substance in it. However, it still felt nice to know both sides of the story. The book did get a little boring in the middle with the slow and long moments and all the over thinking and stuff but it got back on track soon after. Also I haven’t read many books in which a love-story starts in high school, goes through a break, then rekindles in college again and then ties the knot. OK, that’s a huge spoiler, but I couldn’t help it. But that’s all I am going to reveal. There are many books on high school romance and college romance and all this turning into marriages but not many are like this book. Charles Sheehan Miles has succeeded in putting together one of the most touching, twisted and beautiful love-stories that I’ve read till now.

The ending of the book is also quite…remarkable and…let’s just say the book doesn’t end with anything low or soft, quite the opposite actually. When this book comes out in November, make sure that you have a copy of this book in your bookshelf because this is definitely one of the books that you (especially romance readers) don’t want to miss.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Audrey's Guide To Witchcraft Review

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft (Audrey's Guides, #1)Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all I would like to thank Jody Gehrman for providing me with an eBook copy of her awesome book - Audrey's Guide TO Witchcraft. The literary style, the plot and the characters, all were simply stunning and I highly enjoyed reading the book. I liked the book cover a lot and especially the spooky font of the word 'Witchcraft'. Jody Gehrman sure knows how to create an enticing fantasy world with kick-ass moms and daughters, maniac villains and absolutely adorable and electric romantic scenes.

The story outright begins with a mystery as Audrey somehow just ‘senses’ that her mother is missing. And then some creepy stuff like the emergence of a face of a man in Audrey’s crème brulee starts happening which really doesn’t help ease down Audrey’s anxieties. Then when a mysterious cousin steps in to take care of Audrey and her sister Meg while their mother took care of some ‘family business’, Audrey’s suspicions are proved to be right that something was definitely wrong.

Somehow, in the middle of worrying about her mother, taking care of Meg and grilling their ‘cousin’- Sadie, for some answers, two things happen to Audrey that go on to change her life. First, Audrey starts to develop her witchy superpowers and had just might found a way to finally help her mother. And even with all this going on Audrey seems to be falling hard for Julian, a really cute guy who is also the manager of Meg’s band. That’s the second thing. But somewhere in the world of dark magic, something terrible is brewing. A lunatic man, associated with Audrey’s mother’s past, is thinking of building a world in which demons inhabit human bodies. And when all this hits too close to home, as Audrey’s best friend, Bridget’s sister almost dies and comes back as a totally different person, Audrey has no choice but to step into a world of hidden family secrets, evil necromancer and black magic rituals. Audrey will have to fight to save and protect her loved ones. Will she be able to win and survive all this madness before someone gets seriously hurt or worse, dies? And will she be able to defeat, and might just have to kill, the person who was related to her in ways she never could have imagined?

Audrey is one of the best characters that I have come across. She is funny, smart, though a little bit delusional and lacking self-importance. She is also strong and will do anything to protect her loved ones. And also the only word to describe even the normal as well as the romantic scenes between Audrey and Julian, which I could think of, is…electric. It felt as if the sparks were literally flying out of my laptop screen!

Some parts of the book were a little gory and creepy, like Gretchen – Bridget’s sister, sucking vigorously at her own blood with – eek! – slurping noises. God! That totally creeped me out! And having a very good visualizing power (that me!) does not help when the protagonist is blasting people’s brains off! Literally! Plus the writing was so good that images came clearly in my mind.

The last paragraph was not a complain though. Those scenes had some killer action in it that couldn’t have been written any better by anyone else. Audrey’s Guide To Witchcraft was a highly entertaining read, not having any boring points but having lots of exciting and mysterious points. I would recommend this book to all YA readers.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anna And The French Kiss Review

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Goodreads.

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

My Review:

Amazing book, just AMAZING!

Seventeen year old Anna Oliphant is sent to attend The Boarding School of America in Paris by her writer of cheesy-stories-with-someone-dying-in-the-end father for a “good learning experience” and “keepsake she’d treasure forever.” To Anna this feels a lot more about her father than herself. She will be living alone in a city she barely knows much about, without her family or friends. To me its sounds real scary. I wouldn’t be able to live in a foreign place without at least my parents or friends. But Anna made it through and got a lot more than she could have imagined.

Throughout this book Anna went through changes, discovering what home really meant to her, who and what she really was and the importance of others in her life. Plus, is betrayed by her best friend who slept with her ‘almost boyfriend’ back in Atlanta, Georgia. But then Anna also finds her gorgeous French-named-American-with-English-accent-and-beautiful-hair love in Paris, so I guess the heartbreak was worth it. She sees the various wonders of Paris and gets to know the stories behind them, explores the several perks as well as disadvantages of being in a boarding school in Paris a.k.a being WITHOUT parental supervision. She gets drunk for the first time and finds a whole new level to express and enjoy her love for movies and criticism, seeing how Paris was the film appreciation capital of the world. And she also had her first sleepover…with a guy. Seriously, our PLAIN.OLD.SLEEPOVER. With a guy.

Just like I said in the beginning, the book was amazing. From the first word to the last the book had me in its clutches and only did it let go when I was done with the last word on the last page. I laughed and cried along with Anna and experienced everything she did in the book with Stephanie Perkins sweet and simple writing technique. Seriously, the way the book was written, in a simple and sweet manner did nothing but add more good points to the book and the author. Anna’s character was simple yet complex and I loved everything about her. There was not a moment when I was reading the book that made me regret reading it even a tinsy bit. All the characters were well rounded, with a particular history and special places in the book. And just like every time in books like these, the little old me yet again fell in love with the male protagonist of the book. In this story his name is Etienne St. Clair (For me, his name itself is irresistible).

Anna and the French Kiss is a unique book with a special place in my done-reading-books rack and this book totally deserves all of the five stars or maybe even more. Stephanie Perkin’s writing had made me left wanting to read more of her novels which I am sure I will do in future. Till then I will have my mind full of Anna and her French kiss. And of course of Etienne too. Hope Anna doesn’t mind.

P.S. I loved the book cover too; it is so sweet and again, simple. Just the way I like it.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Human Blend Review

Human BlendHuman Blend by Lori Pescatore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads.

Marion, Virginia seemed like a nice place to live a normal life, but she is not a normal girl. Laney has special abilities that keep her looking over her shoulder as she makes her escape from the men who had kidnapped her. A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's budding relationship with a local boy puts both of them in danger when the men she was hiding from find her. All of their lives will change forever as ancient secrets become unearthed.

My Review:

If anyone is bored to death by reading supernatural fiction consisting only of vampires and werewolves and is planning to be done with this genre, Human Blend is The book for them, the book that will make them change their minds. If you are looking for a new breed of supernatural creatures to lose yourself into, again, Human Blend is the book for you.

Human Blend is a story about a sixteen year old runaway Laney, who later changes her name to Julie Miller to hide her true identity from the people she is running from. She is not just a normal runaway, running away from some life crises or because she is a fugitive. She is running away because she has special abilities, abilities like healing and intuitive powers, because there are people who have been abusing her and her powers for their own use since she was a child. Laney doesn’t even age like normal people do, because of which she looks a lot younger than she actually is. And also that she had suffered a lot longer than she looks she could have. Laney is also a very beautiful young woman but how she came to posses these otherworldly qualities doesn’t get revealed till the end of the book and even then she doesn’t totally get what she actually is. When she moves to Marion, Virginia in hopes to live a normal life and to stay hidden from her captors, she befriends a very attractive Austin who is equally attracted to her from the time he first sees her. They both quickly get into an intimate relationship as the attraction between them blossoms.

She also meets the captivating Doctor Eli Elsworth in a hospital she joins as a volunteer, who witnesses Laney secretly curing a young child’s illness. Dr. Elsworth’s interest in Laney increases as he asks her how she cured the child and tries to get to know about her. But Dr. Elsworth isn’t normal himself and neither is Austin, for that matter, but unlike the former the latter has no clue. Both the men are mesmerized by Laney and Laney herself is drawn to both of them. Laney tries to sort her feelings out and tries to lead her life as normally as she could but there is a constant fear in her heart that keeps on making her look over her shoulders all the time, making her worry about the safety of her loved ones. A fear of her kidnappers who had kept her with them and used her for as long as she could remember. And her fear is not improbable as her past quickly catches up to her and her captors find her again. Will she be able to escape from her frightening past this time or will it hold on to her now, more tightly than ever? And will she be able to protect the people she loves or will they suffer like all the others she cared for had before?

Finally a new thing to read about in supernatural fiction, a new concept to know, a new theme to follow. I am so glad that Lori Pescatore wrote this book because honestly, Supernatural fiction was losing its charm with the same stories coming in again and again. New books like Human Blend getting published, this genre is getting back its former glory. I loved almost everything about this book. The only thing that I didn’t like and I can’t even blame that on the author is the point of view with which the book is written. Omniscient POV does not work out for me. Everything kind of becomes all jumbled up for me in the all-seeing point of view because every character’s thoughts and feelings and dialogues, everything is given together. And it becomes kind of difficult to root for a particular character. But this thing did not influence my thoughts for the story and I really, really like it. My favorite character in the book is Eli because there is this mysterious and sexy sort of vibe that he gives off when he is mentioned in the book. I think my likeness for him will increase in the second and third book. I am really looking forward to reading the second installment in The Blend series: Earth Blend. Lori Pescatore is definitely an author readers should be watching out for, a very talented up and coming author whose books shouldn’t be missed.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 4!

 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here is a teaser from my current read The Guy Next Door by Meg Cabot.

To: Aaron Spender<>
From: Mel Fuller <>
Subject: Can't we discuss this like adults?

 There's nothing to discuss.  Really, Aaron, I'm sorry for throwing my bag at you.  It was a childish outburst that I deeply regret.
 And I don't want you to think that the reason we're breaking up has anything to do with Barbara.  Really, Aaron, we were over a long time before you ever told me about Barbara.  Let's face it, Aaron, we're just too different:  You like Stephen Hawking.  I like Stephen King. 
 You know it never would have worked. 


This is one of the e-mails from the book. Till where I have read this book it had simply been hilarious and entertaining. Meg Cabot sure is one of the best writers I know. I am really eager to finish this book. And I hope from the above extract you guys will want to add this book to your TBR pile.

 Here is a synopsis of The Guy Next Door

Gossip columnist and single New York City girl Mel lives in the most exciting place in the world, yet she's bored with her love-life. But things get interesting fast when the old lady next door is nearly murdered. Mel starts paying closer attention to her neighbors—what exactly is going on with the cute boy next door? Has Mel found the love of her life—or a killer?