Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: The 5th Wave

Why are they here?

The spaceship landed on earth one day and shut down the power. Cassie and her family stayed put. They were spared during the tsunamis, but the virus got the town, forcing them to separate. Just how far will Cassie go to reunite her family? Can you befriend the enemy to get what you want?

Yancey describes 5 waves of attacks, each worse than the previous, to keep us on our toes. Not everyone reacts the same way to a threat and it was interesting to ponder on how we would react if facing the unknown. The novel is told through several point-of-views, including Cassie's crush, and even an alien. Although, the insta-love relationship felt a bit forced, the book did have me turn the pages to see the final outcome.

Coming to the big screen in 2016.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Caught my arrow #39

Caught my Arrow is a meme similar to Stalking the Shelves featuring books that were purchased, borrowed or received that week.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! My Canadian tummy has been extremely envious looking at all those tasty turkey pics on Instagram. Here's my book haul for the week:

Received from Publisher

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Received from Netgalley

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

Borrowed from library

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
If you Could be Mine by Sara Farizan
Reached by Ally Condie

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

If Aristotle and Dante were to meet in these modern times, would they stand out?

Dante loves reading poetry, while Aristotle gets pleasure from learning truths, something Dante knows plenty. Both of them are loners, preferring each other's company rather than a fake crowd. But will Dante confessing he's fallen in love with Ari break the best of friends forever?

Benjamin Alire Sáenz focused on sections and not chapters, a remembrance that life is divided by a series of beginnings and endings, and often when we least expect it. The book tackles several LGBT themes like coming out to oneself and to others and hazing. Also taking on family issues such as non-communicative parents, something I relate with the older generations of the Latino community. Ari had a strong personality, making it easy to be in his head, but not too easy to get inside his heart. It was sweet to see how Dante tried.

An inspiring story that reminds us you can't hurry love.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Stitches

There is nothing more awful than being forced to live a life in silence.

Back in the 1950s, David's dad, a doctor, believed in the magic of radiation. And so, he forced his young son to endure numerous x-rays, certain it would cure his asthma. Instead, the radiation turned into cancer. Still thinking they were in the right, his parents kept it hushed and opted for a secretive surgery, where David lost his vocal cords. Can David forgive his parents for the jagged scar stitched along his throat? 

Stitches goes even deeper and delves into the restrained family relationships. All in all, Small didn't write this book for pity, he wrote it to tell his story and did so through gorgeous detailed drawings. The constant references to Alice in Wonderland helped established the scenery and turn it into a piece of art.

A tragic turn of events, filled with raw emotions, this is the kind of memoir that leaves a mark. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Feature and Follow Friday: Join Our Team

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: Create an ad listing all the qualities and qualifications of your perfect co-blogger.

Une photo publiée par natalia k (@natyuniverse)

Felt rude not to include my current co-blogger Latte.

For my part: The co-blogger would need to love reading YA or NA and be fair in their reviews.I'm not a big fan of reviewing books that were DNF. I prefer posts about why the book was not finished.

Latte requests: Someone who is pet friendly and speaks rodent. A love for carrots would be considered a plus.

Since we are on the theme of collaborations, how to do you feel about Co-Writers?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: The Walled City

What does a hoodlum with the need to prove himself, a thief with a heart of gold, and a sex slave have in common?

Dai and Jin Ling are haunted by the siblings they've lost to the walled city -- a dark and somber place filled with drug lords, thugs, and prostitution. A countdown begins, as together they face danger, in order to clear Dai's name and help Jin Ling find Mei Yee, her sister, sold to a brothel. All the while, Mei Yee is fighting demons of her own. It turns out, that not only is she a slave, but she belongs to most notorious gang lord.

Told with three point-of-views, we get to see different lifestyles inside the walls. Mei Yee is by far the most captivating. She struggles with a stalker client and the rest of the girls who are giving up hope of ever escaping the brothel. Despite of the harsh topics, the author adds romance to the twist and includes several pictures of the real life walled city know as Kowloon in Hong Kong.

More NA than YA and definitely not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Ashes to Ashes

Some boys are forbidden. 

Lilia always felt guilty about going behind her best friend Rennie's back when it came to Reeve. The no-dating-your-bff-ex will not only get you kicked out of the clique, but as Ashes to Ashes shows us -- it can cause heaps of trouble.

Unlike the sequel, where Kat was passively left without much of a role, the three girls are more present than ever, as Kat and Lilia rush to uncover the secret behind Mary's disappearance. But neither of them drag out the story as we puzzle through the enigma. Instead, they divert our attention to other serious matters like intimidation, suicide, grief and sex. Life is forever changing, and this book reminds us to hang in there.

An unexpected shocking conclusion to the Burn for Burn series.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: The 52nd

Aztecs and Mayans get a highlight in Dela's debut novel The 52nd

Lucas is condemned to watch the Underworld claim fifty-two human sacrifices during the ritual periods. He's a watcher and immortal -- he's dead. But Zara, the last victim chosen is full of life and about to start her college years. There's something special about her that none of the other victims share. Perhaps there's a reason the Underworld wants her? Could saving her end these pointless rituals once and for all?

The 52nd balances romance and paranormal throughout the pages quite well. There's a lot of tension as Lucas' motives start getting noticed by the Underworld, particularly by the witch Xibalba, but nevertheless, the relationship between Lucas and Zara never feels rushed. In fact, these two don't really share a love at first sight. Lucas is on edge and takes his time opening up to Zara. Both their families are very present in the story, including Lucas's pet jaguars. 

A new author worth noticing. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Author Laeken Zea Kemp discusses her new book

I'm pleased to welcome author Laekan Zea Kemp today to promote her YA novel, The Girl in between.

Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn't spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn't the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn't find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

                   Find it on Goodreads                                               Find it on  Amazon

Thank you for being with us, Laekan. Please do tell, what inspired you to write this book?

I started working on this novel in April of last year and, to be honest, I can't really remember where the original idea came from. Probably because I can't really remember what the original idea even was. I know that it started out as a contemporary standalone and I'd been really interested in exploring dual narrative again but I suppose the story started out the way all of my stories have--with the central relationship. It isn't always a love story that's central to my novels but I do like to focus on human relationships, whether that's familial or within the context of first love. The characters always come to me first and the various means of torturing them always comes later.

If you could host a diner party with two writers who would you pick and what would you serve?

That's easy. My two favorite authors are Maggie Stiefvater and Melina Marchetta and as long as I could delegate the cooking responsibilities to someone else, we'd have an Irish potluck/Italian-style Sunday night dinner with plenty of Guinness and chocolate everything.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

The advice I would give to aspiring artists in general is to dive into your passion with a clear vision. It doesn’t have to be glamorous or grandiose, it just has to be clear. In fact the more specific it is the better. So many of us struggle with validating our choice to pursue the arts and because of that sometimes we have a tendency to shy away from the risk and rejection that comes along with it. We tow the line between our dreams and the more practical expectations of the people around us and wonder why we’re unsatisfied. Don’t be afraid to make declarations and definitely don’t be afraid to make them loud enough for other people to hear. Be honest about what you want, regardless of how silly it may seem to others, and do something every day that brings you closer to that goal.

What are you working on now -- or would you rather surprise us?

It takes time for an idea to fully form in my head to the point where I’m willing to devote 6-8 months to exploring it so I’m not sure when I’ll revisit the paranormal genre again but coming up next I do have plans for a few contemporary romance novels followed by my foray into the dystopian genre.

You can find Laekan Zea Kemp:

Website  Twitter

Thank you for being with us Laekan, and good luck on all your future projects.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Have a Little Faith in Me



They may be on the side lines, but we love them. Which characters should get their own books:

Edward from Twilight 

Midnight Sun never did see the light of day. Even though Meyer was one of the first YA author's to start the trend of writing the story from both characters point-of-view. Maybe one day, she'll surprise her fans and publish it. 

Stargirl from Stargirl 

I want to know what really went through her mind when she stood up to the bullies. How could she just rebuff their cruelty without letting it damage her spirit?

Albus Severus from Harry Potter

A continuation of the Harry Potter series?!? Yes, please. A real book this time -- not some another LinkedIn curriculum ''story'' from Dolores Umbridge.  

Isaac from The Fault in our Stars 

Did he ever find his always?

Laurie from Little Women

I still think Amy's a rebound wife , so prove me wrong Laurie. 

Lolita from Lolita

Ever wondered if Lolita would have been just as controversial had it been written from her point-of-view?

Rodrick from Diary of a Wimpy Kid

It could be based on his school and band life. Maybe he gets into college after all. 

Natalia from Every Little Thing in the World

She was a stronger character, the book could have easily been based on her as well. 

Which characters topped your list?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

''We accept the love we think we deserve.''

Are there perks to being a wallflower? Charlie might seem like a peaceful introvert, but behind his mask, he deals with loss, watching his sister suffer from physically abuse, his best friend shun for his sexual orientation and his crush being called easy. The list on disastrous love relationships is long. With all of these demons eating him up inside, can he remain a wallflower forever?

It's true, I often criticize books that focus on narration more than dialogue. They go against the "show don't tell" rule. But there's something different about this one. 

First, Charlie spoke directly to diary me his friend, creating some sort of platonic relationship between us. He's an introvert. And his fear of displeasing others, especially when he forced himself to do things that made him uncomfortable, was difficult to observe. I kept praying for his character to grow. Also the novel was kept short, with lots of hot topics to maintain the reader's attention.

Great for book clubs. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review: Cress

A retell of Rapunzel that demonstrates how far the power of imagination can go. 

Cinder is still on the run, but the impending marriage between New Earth leader and love interest Kai, with throne usurper, Queen Levana, has got her changing course. Not only must she stop this wedding; she has to take back the Lunar crown before the Letumosis virus that Levana is threatening the earthlings with goes viral.

Newcomer Cress couldn't be more fit to join this group. Based on Rapunzel, Cress is a computer hacker, doomed to live alone on a satellite while dreaming of love and freedom. Her shyness is endearing, particularly when she begins to grow out of her shell. Meyers also included several aspects of the classic fairy-tale, including blindness. As always, the action is packed with humorous undertones.

A great addition to the series.