Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Reads: ARC Review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik!!!

Hey guys! Still on hiatus, currently in NYC attending BEA for the very first time, but I felt like the blog could do with a lil update since I feel bad for abandoning the blog and since it might be a longer hiatus that I had planned originally... things with the apartment are taking a long while enough and I might not be moved and settled till July itself!

This is the last ARC review that I needed to complete my For Review category for my 105 Challenge, woohooo!!

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another recommendation from bloggy friends that was an absolute success! A wonderful fantasy with wonderful characters, a plot that was never exactly what I expected and surprised me always for the best!

I started it an wasn't sure what to expect of it and very soon was enthralled with Agnieszka's voice and her story! I loved how she kept on being her own self, struggling with being told to change and finding her own way to do things despite it all. I loved how strong her love for her family and her amazing friendship with Kasia, that despite the ups and downs, is strong enough to brave the dangers of the Wood.

The Wood, oh boy, that's a whole character in itself, and probably my favourite part of the book, along with Agnierzka's journey of discovery of her own magic and her own worth. The Wood was all sorts of creepy and gruesome and simply fantasticly done! And when we get to learn about how it all started? Really NOT what I had expected and I loved how the climax was resolved!

I adored the relationship between Agnieszka and the Dragon, how it went from strong dislike, to reluctant respect & collaboration to explosive chemistry!
I really loved how things progressed with them, slowly and tentatively, but with plenty of spark and I loved that Agnieszka is not pasive about it, takes things into her own hands when the Dragon doesn't allow himself to, and when he runs away, she doesn't simply pine after him, she continues with her work and then doesn't take any of his nonsense.

I read this book in two big chunks, from start till about 56% then got into a slump once they got to court after the fight at the Wood and then went back to it and the court part that I wasn't too keen on was shorter than I expected and things started getting more interesting, dire and creepy very soon! In the end, I wanted the book to keep on going and be longer because I simply love the world too much! The ending is rather open and definitive at the same time, and although a sequel is not necessary, I wouldn't be adverse to getting more stories set in this world!

Very much deserved 4.5 stars to this one!

View all my reviews

Monday, May 25, 2015

Celebrating Diversity with Liars INC by Paula Stokes! Parvati and sarees!

Hi there guys!

Welcome to another scheduled post while I'm on hiatus and actually driving one of my besties to the airport for her honeymoon and freaking out like there's no tomorrow about going to BEA since I'll be flying tomorrow!!

Today I am gonna do a lil bit of a random post that I was inspired for while reading Liars INC by Paula Stokes! Not only I loved the plot and the mystery but I also LOVED Parvati, the half-Indian third of the Liars! And once I read about her wearing a white saree at the funeral (nope, not telling you whose funeral) I knew I wanted to talk about about sarees and how to wear them on the blog!

Being with an Indian guy for 7 years means I've learn a thing or two about what to wear for a shaadi (Indian wedding) and a few ways of draping a saree (thank Youtube for tutorials!).

Sarees are traditional and have been worn for thousands of years, but they continue to be worn either for special occasions only or every day and for every occasion. Depending on the woman's preference or how traditional their upbringing and where they live is. Given that Parvati is half Indian and she wants to keep her heritage but not let it define who she is, I'm sure she'd love to wear sarees for special occasions, both joyful and sad.

There are two main colours that are very traditional in India, red (or reddish shades, even orange and pink can work) for a bride on her wedding (for the main ceremonial day with the actual marriage taking place) and then white for mourning and funerals. Black is not a colour to be worn at either occasion, but it's perfectly fine for receptions or other events! Wearing red to a wedding is a big NO-NO unless you are close family of the bride or groom.

For weddings and events, sarees ought to be silk, net or a similarly luxurious fabric and the more embroidery and bling, the better! For funerals and mourning sarees should be white, plain and without much embellishment if any.

And now I'll show you a few pics! Too much writing in this post so far!!

As you can see, there are many colours and fabrics when it comes to sarees and according to Wikipedia, about 80 ways recorded of draping them! Sarees can be more traditional or more sexy and once you get the hang of putting them on, they can be even more comfy to wear for events than usual western formal wear!

Now, some more pics, these will be sort of a tutorial on how to wear a saree! You'll see me putting the saree on one of my besties! ;)

First of all, you put on the blouse & petticoat (underskirt)

The petticoat needs to be tied tightly (my friend Esther was complaining about that) but you don't want the saree fabric to slip off because it's too lose and whoops, lost your saree!

You tuck in the saree fabric around so the border barely touches the ground (remember to wear the shoes)

You grab the loose fabric, pleat it and throw it over your shoulder, till it hits knee lenght, then grab the rest of the loose fabric in front.

 You pin the fabric and then do the pleating (that's always the hardest part to learn to do) and then tuck it in front and pin it again!

Then you grab the pallu and let it fall from the shoulder onto the arm, and pin it again on the back so it doesn't fall off!

And you're good to go!


I'll show you now a few video tutorials for how to wear a saree in a few different ways! They're fun and easy to follow! And explain it much better than I did with the photos, I'm sure!

Nivi Style - it's the more typical, traditional way to wear a saree, and you can never go wrong for wearing a saree this way for any and all events!

Hourglass/Mermaid style - this is a more modern way to wearing a saree is fantastic to wear a net saree and still hide the tummy a bit but go less traditional. It's also great to move around without worrying about the pallu of the saree!

Siren/Variation of Nivi style - Very similar to the Nivi style but again a lil more modern and comfy to dance and move around, a lil more revealing too. Perfect for receptions and parties!

And oh boy, I think that's all! This has ended up being a massively BIG post and if any of you guys have read till the end... THANK YOU!!

Liars INC by Paula Stokes

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV's How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gabriel (The Styclar Saga #2) by Nikki Kelly Blizt!!

Gabriel by Nikki Kelly
Series: The Styclar Saga #2
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Pages: 352


The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels.

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

 Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a romantic, action-packed reading adventure.


Will we get a peek at Styclar Plena in the current action of the book or are we doomed to just hear about from Gabriel's memories only?

Lol doomed you say?! I can tell you exclusively, here in this interview, that in Book3 we get to go to to third dimension, and the first dimension (Styclar-Plena) in the current action of the book ;) 

 I need a sneak peak! What's going to happen with Jonah? *waves #TeamJonah flag*

...Now that would be telling ;) You can, however, get a sneak peek through the Gabriel cover reveal blog tour, where I shared 6 excerpts form Book2:

Can you describe this second book in a tweet? (140 characters)

Just when you think you know... you have no idea ;) #TheStyclarSaga #GABRIEL #NoMercy

Best gif that describes Jonah and another for Gabriel?

How much of Jonah will we see in Gabriel?
Plenty, I promise! ;) The second book may be titled GABRIEL, but it is told from Lailah's POV. The reason the book is called GABRIEL is because there is a focus on what becomes of Gabriel's 'soul' if you will. Take my word for it though, Jonah gets plenty of 'screen time' ;)

If you were FORCED (hahahahha) to help Gabriel or Jonah train to be lifeguards, who would you choose?? Obviously they will only be wearing red speedos. ;)

Sadly, I wouldn't be able to help either train to be a lifeguard as my ability in water is non-existant... That said... *has idea!* I could quite easily throw myself in and begin to drown (because that would require no acting on my part what so ever) and then they would have to jump in and save me... In fact, I think that's exactly what we should do, that way we also get to see both of the boys in red speedos.. because #HellsYes !

In 10 words or less, what can we expect from Gabriel?

A definite need to *fist pump and plenty of *face palming!
(Okay, I know that was 11, but it was close!)

What's the ONE thing about the series that you'd like readers to know that they don't know already? : )

There are elements of my own life weaved through the story telling of the entire series. When I say I gave a part of myself to these novels, I wasn't joking!

What inspired you to mix vampires and angels together?

I wanted to tell a story about light and dark, good and evil if you will, and how things are never quite what they seem....To do this for the saga, I borrowed a little here and there from my own belief system, and I was able to create new worlds and beings, but utilize existing belief or myth on which to base them. For example, the two worlds the beings emerged from were based on the concept of Heaven and Hell. I then spun that into something else entirely. I took the myths about vampires and angels etc. and tried to demonstrate how, through storytelling and game of telephone, the idea of what they are has become quite different from the truth – the truth of course being the reality of things in my books! If you want to tell a story about light and dark, preconceived notions and perception, what two better candidates than Gabriel and Jonah, an Angel and a Vampire in which to explore those very themes!

What was the most challenging part of writing Gabriel?

Lailah picks her ship! That was not an easy thing to pen! **eep**

Lailah was such a successful start to this series, people seemed to really love it! Did that make you feel additional pressure to ensure the sequel was just as good?

When people express their love for your story it always adds to the pressure of making sure you get it right, not just for your characters, not just for you, but for the reader. But there will always be instances where the reader doesn't agree with something that happens as the journey progresses, for example which ship makes it out the port! ;) I always keep the readers in mind, but ultimately I have to be true and honest to the characters and their story, even if it means that sometimes people want to throw things at you! So yes, I guess the prospect of twitter bombs being slung my way adds to the pressure!

If you had a chance to re-live your life, what would you have done differently?

Not a single thing. Every shelf I ever stacked, every customer I ever served, every diary I ever organised... in fact, every minute of every day, all the laughs and all the tears led me tohere—and here is the most wonderful place. There is a very fine balance between having ambition and gumption to go out and make your dreams a reality, trying to find the 'good times' if you like, and being able to see and know exactly when you are in them! I'm in them now.

If a celebrity was going to play Gabriel, who would it be and why?

Alex Pettyfer for sure because he's a very talented English actor... yada, yada, yada... Okay people, lets keep it real #LeSwoon .. #NuffSaid

If you had to pick ONE song that either represents you or your books, what song would you pick? (You can totally pick one for you and one for your books if you want!)

For Styclar— Imagine Dragons:Demons For me—Boyzone:Words

Where did Gabriel and Jonah come from? Any real life influences?

Gabriel and Jonah both possess qualities form my own beau :) He was a little more like Jonah when I met him (I was 16) and he's a little more like Gabriel now, but when I ask nicely he will still, from time to time, point his collar up ;)

ALSO, What do you love most about Jonah?

He's a bit rough around the edges, but give him a polish and he shines likes a diamond :)

And in case you haven't read Lailah yet. . . .

Lailah by Nikki Kelly 
Series: The Styclar Saga #1
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends


The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

NIKKI KELLY was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. Lailah was first launched to Wattpad, an online readers and writers community. Within six months, the novel had over one million reads. Lailah is Nikki’s debut novel, and the first book in The Styclar Saga. She lives in London with her husband and their dogs, Alfie (a pug) and Goose (a Chihuahua).

LAILAH is my debut novel, and first launched in serial form to wattpad, a readers & writers community. Within just 6months, LAILAH had over a million reads and thousands of comments and votes.

Since then, The Styclar Saga has gone on to pick up a traditional deal with Feiwel & Friends, and LAILAH, the first book in the series is due for release on October 7th 2014.

These days I spend my time balancing my amazing job of writing fantasy fiction, with my other, very important role of Chocolate Connoisseur. I like to multitask and do the two together. It makes me happy.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Xpresso Book Tours Blog Tour for Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford!!

Hey there everyone! Today I'm taking part in the Blog Tour for Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford, organized by Xpresso Book Tours!

I will be sharing an interview with Nikki herself & a Blog Tour wide giveaway, so click HERE for the full tour schedule! But before that, let's get you some more information about the book & author, shall we?

Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford
(Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4)
Publication date: March 3rd 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Better to be a hunter, not prey.
Ever since her partner was kidnapped, Aurora Sky has been on a personal mission to get him back. To do that she needs the vampire responsible for destroying her life.
In order to have a snowball’s chance at success, she’ll have to team up with her most loyal friends—including a certain vampire in black with a provoking talent for distraction.
Old cravings aren’t easily quenched, nor past passions. With knowledge comes danger and Aurora is at risk on all sides.

 About the author:

Bookaholic, nature girl, and animal lover.

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (WA) where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light.

She married the love of her life, Sebastien, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They reside with their Westie, Cosmo in Friday Harbor.

Loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.


Hi Nikki! Thank you for dropping by my blog and answering some questions!

Thank you for having me! :D

1.- I know you are a born and bred Alaskan, but I've quite wondered on what made you choose Alaska and Anchorage to be the centre of the action in your books, because the great White North might not seem a very typical vampire friendly place!

But it so is! It’s cold, it’s dark; it’s like Florida for seniors. (Summer’s another matter.) ;-) There are so many reasons Alaska makes an ideal paranormal/sci-fi setting. The Northern Lights look like something from a fantasy realm when they’re weaving across the night sky. Alaska is an insanely gorgeous and wild place. The climate is harsh, the citizens bizarre, and there’s an element of danger. I couldn’t dream up a better setting.

2.- I loved how you decided to give a new twist to the vampire myths and origins. How did you choose mixing blood types and virus as the way to develop vampirism?

Thank you. I knew I had to do something different, but I didn’t know what, so I began reading about vampirism hoping for a lightbulb moment. It came while reading “Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend” by Mark Collins Jenkins. 
Throughout time, vampire scares almost always follow an epidemic of some sort.

What if vampirism really was triggered by disease?

The first problem with that is the world would be full of vampires. I fixed this by making only people with the rarest blood type in the world capable of turning.

3.- I also love that instead of vampires being a secret to all of society you decided to go with a more government conspiracy angle. How did you choose to make an agency of special forces of vampire hunters?

Come on, you know the government is hiding all kinds of goodies. Aliens and vampires are just scratching the surface. ;-)

I’m an action junkie (Charlie’s Angels, Alias, Buffy, Supernatural, Stargate SG-1…) and a sucker for good battling evil and the blurred line in between.

4.- Female characters abound in your books, and they are all quite different and their relationships go beyond the topical ones. Aurora and Valerie are what can be considered antagonists and even frenemies, but it is way more complex than that. My favourite though have to be Aurora's relationship with her mum and grandma. Did you plan that relationship like that or did it evolve organically?

That’s nice to hear! Aurora’s relationship with her mom was planned out for book one. As with my witch novel Entangled, the mom’s been cornered into making a life and death choice for her daughter. It might not be the right one, but what mother wouldn’t make it if given the option?

Aurora’s Gran wasn’t planned. As things fall further apart in Aurora and Mrs. Sky’s lives, she hops a plane from Florida to Anchorage to whip her girls into shape. LOL I love strong, bossy grandmothers.

5.- I'm usually not a fan of love triangles in books, but I'm finding the one in the series quite intriguing and genuine, so kudos for that! Did you always plan to confront Aurora with two different guys that would represent two sides for her to choose, the vampires or the hunters?

I love how you put that! But, no. I loathe love triangles. But I do love Fane and Dante. I love them both equally for different reasons. Unexpected situations keep cropping up… and continue to surprise me. (Just wait until Whiteout releases next month!)

Dante was never meant to be a love interest. He was there for comic relief. But he can be maddeningly sexy when he chooses. It’s difficult to prevent hormones from taking over when he and Aurora are working together so closely on missions.

Probably the biggest challenge, and biggest complaint I hear from fans, is giving Fane more page time. In Hunting Season, he and Aurora get to team up a bit… and finish car rehabilitation. Finally!

Back in the saddle. J

Thank you for the fantastic questions!

Thank you so much for all your even more fantastic answers Nikki, I'm so excited now to continue reading and Whiteout too!!


Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
Signed Aurora Sky Paperback of choice

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5 TO 1 by Holly Bodger: Review & Giveaway!!!

Given my love for this book I was more than happy to be part of the blog tour, and although I was not selected for the official blog tour, Hannah sent us all the info and the giveaway so we could share it too!

Today I'm sharing my review for this amazing book and don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!


This book first captured me when I saw its gorgeous cover, because I absolutely adore the lovely mehendi art. And then when I read its summary, and how it promised a bit of dystopia with a sharp look at gender inequality and mixing prose and verse? I knew I had to get it!

I was beyond lucky to get an eARC thanks to the author and I ordered Indian food and started reading right away! I was extremely captivated by the narrative and I was once again surprised by how easy it is to read verse.

Having dual alternating POVs work if both sound distinctive and separate, so you could tell who are you reading about without having to read the header, and that's accomplished not only by having one in verse and the other in prose, but Sudasa and Kiran both have such distinctive voices! They come from opposite sides, but unknowingly to each other both disagree with the current state of affairs in Koyanagar.

The world building had a very interesting premise and one that works more brilliantly as a way to make you stop and think about the current state of affairs, and even more when we're presented with a society completely different, based on a big change and taking power and reversing it. And how power can affect and change the best intentions we might have... Absolute power corrups absolutely, and how sometimes reasons are not as good as we thought they were, when we bend them to serve other interests.

Although the main two characters are Sudasa and Kiran, there are other characters, some that we get to know by interacting with them and others that we just get to know by hearing about them, but all have substance and more to them than we would have expected at first.

One thing I loved that maybe not everyone will get so easily is how immersed we get to an Indian-like culture, since Koyanagan was part of India, and it was done so well, it made me feel like I was back in India! I can understand that without a glossary of some sort you might be confused about some terms and customs, but for someone that has spent quite a few months in India in the past, it was like meeting an old friend and it felt so very genuine.

I adored this book because it was told beautifully, it's full of food for thought and it's full of diversity anywhere you look! Diverse, beautiful and feminist... my only complain is that I would have wanted to continue reading more many more pages, so I am hoping we'll get a sequel!

Very much deserved 4.5 to 5 stars and one of my absolute favourite debuts of the year!

 5 TO 1 by Holly Badger

Publishing date: May 12th 2015
Knof Books for Young Readers

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn't want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa's in verse and Kiran's in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters' pain and their brave struggle for hope.

 About Holly Bodger:

HOLLY BODGER has a BA in English Literature and has spent her entire career in publishing. She is an active member of RWA and is a 2013 Golden Heart finalist in the Young Adult category. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh Release Day Blitz!!!

Hello there guys!!

I am so excited that THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that I get to share the news, along with a special introduction from Renée herself!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book (what rock have you been living under?!?) by author Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copies of the book and some beautiful book inspired scarves, courtesy of Renée, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

A letter from Renée Ahdieh.

There are not enough words to express how thrilled I am to share THE WRATH AND THE DAWN
with you! From the moment I typed the first word, I felt connected to Shahrzad and her world in a way that carried me through the long process of publication to where we are today. 

Everything about this process has been a dream come true, and hope you love my book half as much as I enjoyed writing it. In celebration of release day, I'll be giving away a signed, first edition hardcover of the book, as well as a gorgeous scarf. . . or two!

Always remember to make it a story worthy of you!


About The Book:

by Renée Ahdieh

Pub. Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 388

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old
Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all. 

About Renée:

Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America


3 winners will receive a hardcover of THE WRATH AND THE DAWN and a beautiful book inspired scarf (IMAGES BELOW)! US Only.

Ends on May 22nd at Midnight EST!

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