Friday, February 21, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: Just Like A Musical by Milena Veen

Title: Just Like A Musical
Author: Milena Veen
Release Date: 15th November 2013

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Fields has always lived by the rules set up by her foolishly overprotective mother. As a result, she doesn't go to school, she's never been kissed, and almost everything she knows about life is what she has learned from old movies.

But there's this Joshua guy. He's quirky, and he's tall, and he uses “romantic” and “old-fashioned” in the same sentence.

And there's Mrs. Wheeler, an eccentric retired Hollywood costume designer and Ruby's new best friend.

When Mrs. Wheeler ends up in hospital, just after telling Ruby her long-kept secret, Ruby decides to break her mother's rules and embark on a journey that will change her life forever.

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Detailed Review: This book greatly reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars. And if you have read this latest John Green book, you'll know what I mean.

Even though the book was quite a short read, I felt like I had read a book that was 500 pages long, because each word held the weight of so many words.

What stood out the most to me was the friendship between the main character, Ruby, and an old woman who used to work in Hollywood as a costume designer. A friendship may seem unlikely between the two characters, but if circumstances dictate it, it will happen. 

I present to you, the wonders and miracles of life. 

The characters were oh so beautiful. It's like a version of The Fault in Our Stars (please excuse this comparison, I simply can't help it), where Ruby is Hazel, Joshua is Gus and Mrs Wheeler is Peter Van Houten (but a more cheerful and caring one). It's like insta-love with these characters for me. They have their own trademarks like Ruby's heart problem, Joshua's Tourette's syndrome and Mrs Wheeler's rich but tragic past. If these don't interest you, I doubt anything ever will.

It was Ruby, who I loved most of all. Her hunger for freedom struck a chord in me, because who doesn't want freedom? I am 15, and I want freedom just like her. Freedom to go wherever I want, do whatever I want. It's so easy to relate with her in terms of this. It's also the fact that she's different from other people. She's unique in her own way and she shines the brightest in Just Like A Musical. Her musings about life are both deep and meaningful. She's right when she said 'Freedom lies inside you.' And when she says, 'Life – life was just like a musical. Sad and  beautiful at the same time.', all I could think was, 'This is a great finale to this musical.'

And if I have decided to compare The Fault in Our Stars with Just Like A Musical, it means so much. So much that even words can't convey how touching this book is. A sad but beautiful ending, funny characters, unique circumstances. What more could you want? 

With a satisfied heart, I end my journey in this book. *sigh*

Brief Review: Tragic, beautiful, funny, cute, unique. This is how I would describe Just Like A Musical. It's magnificent how Milena could write such a beautiful story using not just the power of words, but the power of strong emotions- which words can't describe that touch the reader's heart. This, is what makes this novel truly stand out from other books. 

Final Rating:
5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

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About the Author
Milena Veen was born in Belgrade, Serbia. Her first piece of writing, a poem about a walking cherry, saw the light of the day when she was seven. She's been writing ever since.

Milena graduated from University of Belgrade with a degree in psychology. She lives in a little European town with her husband and a mute cat. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading, riding her bicycle, and listening to music. She prefers clouds to sunshine and coffee to tea. 

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$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 13 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond  or another winner’s name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Title: Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Release Date: 1st April 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewFor those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy...

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

Detailed Review: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of the few times when I've promptly reviewed a book in the next few hours after reading it. 

This book literally begged to be reviewed. I don't think I've ever been this eager to express my opinion about a certain book until it has driven me to madness to not tell everyone how much I loved this book.

And by love, I mean L-O-V-E. I feel like I've found my soulmate. That may seem like an exaggeration, but this is the closest description I can give that shows my true feelings while reading Stolen Songbird.

So, you must be wondering... What was so GOOD about this book that it has elicited such a prompt review from me? Well, first, let me name a list of things that really make a book deliciously good:

1. Deep and well-developed characters
2. Intriguing setting 
3. A simple plot with twists that make it seem complex
4. Many secrets waiting to be uncovered beyond the written words...
5. A killer ending, in other words, a CLIFFHANGER.
6. Writing style that brings the characters to live and helps you connect to them easily
7. An original central idea that brings liberation from other ideas that are too common or mainstream (and romance, if possible)

Stolen Songbird had them all- the 'Seven Points'. Besides a few other books, I think this book more than fully met my expectations. I couldn't have asked for a better book. 

This book was written from the first person, mainly from Cecile's point of view, but also sometimes from Tristan's point of view. This was an especially good style of writing to use because it let you put yourself in the character's shoes as easily as they were your own. 

The factor that made me love this book the most, was the characters. It's always the characters. Cecile  is a great heroine, who is stubborn and always cares for others before herself. She is willing to protect the people she love and empathises with those who are in pain. Although she may be weak compared to the trolls in terms of strength, she is strong in character. Tristan, was another go-getter for me. He was absolutely charming. When I first read about him, I think I fell in love with him before Cecile. Who wouldn't want to be with a boy who is handsome, strong and (later revealed in the book) also a kind-hearted person? There were other characters that made this book seem a whole interesting. And I believe it's the characters that give the book a vibrant and colourful story. Where's the beauty in an empty canvas without the colours, right?

And then, THE TWISTS. Yes, more than one. Jensen was a true artist. She laid the twists like breadcrumbs on a road, waiting for you to stumble on them and possibly die from food poisoning after eating them. In a good way. Only a person with experience could lay them out so artfully and nicely.

ALSO, the romance. It's just GOOD. No, scratch that. It makes me go dizzy when I swoon over those parts. It's awesome. Need I say more?

Finally, that ending. Makes. Me. Want. The. Sequel. So. Much. You don't know how badly I need the sequel right NOW. I'm willing to go on my knees to beg the author to let me read whatever she has started writing for the second book.

And, if you are a cover judger reading this review, that cover is GORGEOUS. 

Brief Review: With a kick-ass heroine that is comparable to Katniss or Tris and wholesomely good characters, this book made a spectacular debut. An original idea for a story, some twists, awesome romance, completes the whole picture, which, I must say, is flawless. The ending makes it impossible to not read the second book either. Jensen really did a great job and has evidently overworked herself to produce this book. I couldn't have asked for a better debut.

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

ARC Review: The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

Title: The Summer I Found You
Author: Jolene Perry
Release Date: 1st March 2014
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewAll they have in common is that they're less than perfect. And all they're looking for is the perfect distraction.

Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?

Detailed Review: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 After reading the synopsis, my first thought was 'romance'. Even the cover seemed to be pointing at a great big sign 'THIS IS ROMANCE'.

Well guess what? I was right, BUT not quite. It's more than a summer love story. 

Trust me, it's way more than that. If you believe your life is messed up, compare yourself to Aidan. Try living a life with one arm, where one task requires so many single actions chained together that takes minutes. You can't drive and text at the same time. 

And to all the girls in the world, cast all your insecurities away. Imagine having diabetes type 1. Or cancer. Or any chronic illness. You can either deal with how Kate dealt with it- ignore it or accept it. It's the same about you. Accept yourself. Forget everything that's seems imperfect about you. Nobody's perfect.

I found that I liked Kate already on the 3rd page. I grew to love her even more as I dived deeper into the book. It's not just her stubborness; it's her honesty that gets to me. She's also one of those people who doesn't know they're beautiful even though they are. My love and concern for her had even grown so much that I hated her for all the times she lied to Aidan, because it's JUST NOT KATE. 

Wow, talk about how a fictional character can make me have such strong feelings.

Aidan seems strong on the outside but on the inside he's clueless about his future. He has always wanted to be in the Army, and to have that ripped away from him is the worst thing to happen to him. I just loved how he managed to sort out all his problems and issues one by one in the end, no matter how hard they seem. 

The story is heart-breaking in many places, when reality hits you hard in the face, that's when you feel the tears. You'll feel it in this book. Perry doesn't sugarcoat how life is. Instead, she delivers to you the full package. She doesn't hold back. She gives you tears, anger, swear words. She creates the most bizzare scenario that could ever happen and I think it is possible that the same story in this book can be the same story in anywhere in the world.

It makes you ask the question, 'If both Aidan and Kate can face such serious problems, why can't WE face the smaller problems we do everyday?' Aidan and Kate aren't just fictional characters in a book; anyone in this world can be Aidan and Kate.

Brief Review: This Summer I Found You is more than a love story. It's about learning to face and deal with the things which life decides to throw at you anytime.  It's not the romance that makes this book amazing; it's the circumstances the characters are cast into and how they learn to accept them that makes this book stand out from other contemporaries. Maybe you don't think so, but this book can surprise you in so many ways. It's not just the characters, it's the setting, and the real-ness of it that makes this book truly wonderful and eye-opening.

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

QUOTE: I think Martin Luther said it best. It's evident in this book.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality--- Martin Luther King Jr.

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