Friday, November 23, 2012

Review- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Blurb: 

My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.

Review: I just simply can't write a thorough review for this book. The innocent baby-blue cover definitely fooled me into believing that the story might be less violent this time, but of course this story was anything but. Only Suzanne Collins can write something so...horrifying, sick, violent and torturous and still make the readers love it like anything. To say that Mockingjay was more violent than the previous two books in this series is an understatement.

To be honest, I absolutely hated this book. First Collins makes us love all the characters from the previous books, and then what does she do? Kill most of them in the most painful manner imaginable. I can't remember the last time any book made my heart break so many times. And yet here I am, giving this twisted story a five stars. Why? Just because Suzanne Collins is awesome. She wrote a story that might actually turn into reality in our future. So yeah, the story seemed VERY real to me. This book was purposely made this painful, so that it actually struck a chord in the reader's heart. To make them think that something like this can actually happen to the future generations.

I don't think I would like to read this book ever, ever again, and I would not recommend it to soft-hearted people. Or any people for that matter. But yes, if you think you can handle the emotional roller-coaster this book is, I'll say go for it. Just don't tell me I didn't warn you, when you end up crying or depressed after you finish it. Yep, I'm all for writing a cruel semi-review for a cruel book.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Breathe Blitz!

Breathe (Atlantis #1)
by Suzanne Cox

Published: October 22nd 2012 by Suzanne Cox Books

17 year old science prodigy, Laney Brookes, is looking for two things: a cure for the flu virus that’s ravaging the world and the truth about what happened to her father. Using clues from her father’s secret journals, she and her two friends Kate and Carter follow what she thinks is the path to the answers.

It’s a path that lands them in the lost world of Atlantis, a world struggling to survive. Laney finds more than just answers in Atlantis. She finds love. To get her friends and herself home, Laney will have to travel into enemy territory, led by Andrew a young Atlantean determined to return his people to power. In the process she’ll even unravel the mystery of her missing father. But first, she’ll have to figure out who the real enemy is.

Author Bio:

I remember writing my first stories when I was about nine or ten years old. I've been writing ever since. In 2002 I decided to seriously try and get some of my work published. On February 14th of 2005 I sold my first book, A Different Kind of Man, to Harlequin Superromance. While trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, besides a writer, I went to college (alot) and worked a variety of jobs. I have a bachelor of arts in English with a minor in secondary education, a bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in career and technical education with an emphasis in adult education and most recently, a master of science in nursing as a family nurse practitioner. I was also a National Board Certified Teacher in career and technical education. Along the way I've worked as a high school English teacher and an elementary teacher. I've worked as a registered nurse on a cardiac unit, brain injury rehab unit, and several different medical-surgical units. I've also done stints as a home health nurse and a commnunity health educator at a hospital, and many years as an allied health instructor at a high school career and technology center. Presently, I'm working full time as a family nurse practitioner at an inpatient psychiatric facility.

If I'm not writing I like to spend time reading. My husband and I share our home with our four legged children. Our boy and girl in puppy dog clothes, Toby and Sassy, who masquerade as Miniature Pinschers. We are also owned by three cats Chase, Jackson, and Spots.  We are all terrorized by Gray Kitty, a stray who decided to stay and take over.

Author Links:

Buy link:

US Only
  • (1) copy of Breathe & (1) Marked.
  • Sparkly nail polish that coordinates with the book cover.
  • A stoneware necklace with concentric circle design from Breathe by Kaatee art.
  • Metal bookmark

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ARC Review- Painted Blind by Michelle A. Hansen

Painted Blind by Michelle A. Hansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb: Seventeen years old and agoraphobic, Psyche Middleton vows her dad will never see the risqué photos she took during a summer modeling stint abroad, but one of them ends up on a billboard in her Montana hometown. Now everyone—especially her dad—can see it. And yet, somehow, those are the mundane things in her life because she is about to fall unexpectedly, head-over-heels in love with Erik, a mysterious young man who rescues her from a crowd of admirers, and who she’s never actually seen because…he can make himself invisible.

As strange as this may seem, it’s about to get even stranger. Erik takes her to his palace in an idyllic kingdom, and she is swept into the beauty and culture of his world, but his affection has one condition: she may not see him. Overtaken, intrigued, and still not wholeheartedly believing he’s real, Psyche is going to have to decide if she can love him blindly; because if she can’t, she may lose him forever.

An e-copy of this book has been provided to me by the author for an honest review.

Review: When I first saw the cover, I thought this might just be another YA contemporary fiction but nonetheless, I liked it so I went on to read the summary which was quite different from what I'd first assumed. Painted Blind is a YA fiction fantasy based on a Greek/Roman mythology.

Now ever since I've read Percy Jackson, I've been a big fan of Greek myth so obviously, this book intrigued me. Even kept my full interest till the 15th chapter or so. But as the story went on, I just felt that there was something missing in this novel. Don't get me wrong. The story was absolutely spectacular and well thought of, but I'm afraid I can't say the same about the writing style. The author herself seemed confused as to how to proceed once or twice. After every chapter, I was left confused about some things or several things.

Nonetheless, there were some really great elements in the book. The main female protagonist was likable and pretty brave. The starting was really nicely written and there was a sweet happy ending which I liked. You get that so rarely in real life. *Sigh*

I couldn't believe Psyche, when she actually blindly loved Erik without seeing him. I mean, what if he turned out having a purple face with black teeth? To say, she was being blind AND dumb regarding this, is really putting it mildly. I know, I know looks don't matter and bla bla bla, so it was bearable UNTIL out of the blue, she's betrothed to him, STILL CLUELESS ABOUT HIS FACE. The good side of these things was that they created a curiosity within me to know how the story was actually gonna end. Somewhere in the middle of the story, it seemed like there might be a love triangle after all, but thankfully that didn't happen.

Overall, there were several good and bad points of this book. But I can't rule out the fact that despite the problems I had with it, I still couldn't stop reading the story. So the accurate rating for this book from my side would be 3.5 stars and yes, I would like to recommend it to all YA fantasy romance lovers.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Author interview with Melissa Wray!

This month I have the lovely Melissa Wray on the hot seat! Read on to know more about her and her debut novel, Destiny Road! :D

Book Summary: Destiny Road is about a sixteen year old girl Jessica, who is building up to making a most important decision. One that will affect the rest of her life. It is a story of decision, growth and acceptance.

Jessica is sixteen when she meets Bill for the first time. Six months later she is moved away by her mother, to begin a new life, away from what she knows. Away from the man she is just realising she might have wanted in her life all along, her biological father. So begins Jessica’s journey of living with the choices made by herself and those around her.

About the author: I have always loved reading. I grew up about 600m from the local library so I spent a lot of time there!
I was always going to become a primary school teacher. My proudest moment (up until then) was the day I stepped into my very first classroom.
I’ve been lucky enough to live and travel overseas and see some amazing places. Italy, Spain and Egypt to name a few. It was a tough life!
I grew up mostly in Geelong, with some time spent in Townsville, north Queensland.
When I started writing it was more of a hobby. I enjoyed creating stories but then I started to become addicted to writing them. It's a juggle sometimes to balance reading all the books I want to read and writing all the stories I want to write - oh decisions, decisions!
Me: What inspired you to become an author? Was it a childhood dream or something else?
Melissa: I always knew I wanted to be a primary school teacher and loved teaching literacy. Then about six years ago I decided to take a Professional Writing course. It was after I had my first child and I naively thought I would have a lot of time to write! Originally my intended audience was a middle aged reader as that was the age group I had mostly taught in. But funnily enough I seemed to have found my voice in the Young Adult genre.
Me: How did you come upon the idea of Destiny Road?
Melissa: Destiny Road is my first published novel and I am very proud of it. The story is about Jessica who is 16 when she meets her father for the first time. She then makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her mum to live with her dad and get to know him better.
The idea for the story came from when I was 16 because I actually made the same decision, to live with my father for the first time. Unlike Jessica I had known him all my life but my parents divorced when I was very young. I was never able to say thank you to him for saying yes when I asked to live with him. He passed away several years ago and it has always bothered me that I could not get those words out before he died. Now, with Destiny Road, I feel like I have said them, so hopefully he knows. 

   Me:  Who designed the cover for your awesome book?
   Melissa: One of my oldest, best friends, Cherry Smith! We had to sit next to each other in Year 8 and have been friends for over twenty years now. It was really great that the publishers allowed her to do the photography for the front cover. She got the imagery perfect.

Me:  Is there any character in your book just like you?
Melissa: Jessica would have to be the closest character to me, but only because she was created based on my own experience. I guess she has some traits similar to me but you would have to ask my friends that have read it and see what they think!. There is a scene not long after Jessica makes the hardest decision of her life that was written almost entirely to fact. That scene was written from my experience after deciding to live my father. Almost twenty years later I can still vividly recall the emotions of that day.
Now for the rapid fire round!
Me: Which mythological character would you like to turn into for one day?
Melissa: A leprechaun

Me: Who’s your all-time favourite actor/actress?
Melissa: Ooh tough one, Matthew Mcconaughey

Me: If you could teleport to any place in the world right now, which place would it be?
Melissa: Italy 

Me: Some of your all-time favourite books?
Melissa: ANY book by Bryce Courtenay.
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

 Visit Melissa's blog page!

 Read the first chapter at Morris Publishing Australia.

 Watch the Destiny Road Book Trailer!