Mar 27, 2015

Guest Post || Books and Places

Hi everyone!

Before I give the blog over to Therese to start with her guest post,let me say a huge hello to you all!You might be wondering why I suddenly disappeared from the internet this past week.Well,I've been terribly sick since I returned from my camping trip last weekend.I am feeling a bit better now,and thanks for bearing with me guys!

Okay,now,let me introduce you all to Therese Gilardi,the author of the upcoming novel Narvla's Celtic New Year.She's here to promote her book as well as discuss about settings and places in YA books.

I thought I’d talk about books and places since I’m a big believer that places shapes story and story reflects place. Two of my favorite YA writers who link place and story are Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.

I love the island beach community Sarah Dessen has created. It’s featured in a lot of her books, especially my favorite “Along for the Ride.” When I read “Along for the Ride” I felt like I was pedaling along the boards, past the bike shop, down to the laundromat. The taste of saltwater was in the air and the sense that anything could happen, even the most unlikely of friendships, was possible. Although the story obviously could have happened elsewhere, the idea of an island made the sense of intimacy stronger for me. Additionally all of the characters were literally bound together even tighter by the fact they lived on an island. I love that!

Of course you can’t mention places in YA fiction without mentioning Stephanie Perkins. Ms. Perkins is also a master at developing a story that is dependent upon place. Although “Anna and the French Kiss” would have been an appealing read no matter where the story occurred-since the characters are so likeable,-Anna and St. Clair’s story was much more compelling because it featured a protagonist who was on foreign soil literally as well as in her new relationship.

Ms. Perkins is my YA idol. I hope that my book, “Narvla’s Celtic New Year”, the story of an American step dancer who spends her senior year in Dublin after her mother is named U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, conveys some of the surprise, joy and frustration that comes from living abroad. And the romance! Having married an Irish man myself, I know there is something to be said for that charming Emerald Isle:)

Thank you Mishma for having me as a guest on your blog!

Therese's book is expected to be released on the 6th of April.I am currently reading it,and enjoying it quite a lot.Check it out below!

Narvla’s life is as precisely choreographed as the routines that have made her a national step-dancing champion. She has a loyal best friend, a devoted boyfriend, and a lock on admission to her dream college, the University of Notre Dame. Until her mother is named U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and her life unravels. First Narvla receives a disturbing picture of her boyfriend and her best friend. Then she struggles to qualify for the Irish elite step-dancing squad, and her grades plummet. 

But the biggest obstacle in Narvla’s new life is Dublin Boy, a cheeky musician with a disdain for academics and a distrust of Americans. Although Narvla is upset when she’s paired with Dublin Boy for the most important semester of her life, her real concern is the growing attraction she feels toward him. As the Celtic New Year unfolds, Narvla is pushed to abandon her lifelong need for control and embrace the charm of the unexpected.

What is your view on different settings and places in YA books?Do you like them?
Is there any particular place where you'd like a book to be set in?

Mar 19, 2015

Would we love our book boyfriends if they were real?

After seeing the post title,you guys are probably thinking along the lines of,"Of course we would!What kind of a question is that?" with an expression like this.

Well,after all,it's the impossible dream of every fangirl,right?We wish that our book boyfriends are real,or if we are a bit realistic,that someone like them will exist in real life.

But my question is that,if that happens,will we actually love them like we do in the books?

I don't think so.

The fictional guys we often fall for, are never perfect.Some of them are pure assholes,with not only a bad boy exterior but also a pretty rude and arrogant attitude.The fact that we readers have a huge soft spot for bad guys doesn't help the situation,as YA is kinda overloaded with them as a result of their popularity among readers.

Now imagine if these guys actually existed in real life.Those tattooed,pierced,arrogant and flirty boys that girls are always taught to stay away from:)Will you ever even think of falling for such guys?So if Noah Hutchins,Isaiah Walkers,the Fuentes brothers or even the good old Christian Grey were real,will they still be your dream guys?

And most of the time,the main reason why we fall for such guys is because we get to see their true side when we read about them.Would you ever have imagined that we'll end up loving Warner after reading Shatter Me?That we'll fall head over heels in love with the villain after reading a novella from his own pov?

Let me take my own favourite book boyfriend as an example-Adrian Ivashkov.He's a misunderstood,rich guy who smokes,drinks and womanizes.If I saw him in real life,I would probably judge him in the same way that others from the series did.But by reading the books,I got to know him deeply,and I discovered the vulnerable and damaged side of him that's often hidden.

Words show these boys' true character,intentions,weaknesses and reasons.That's why we fall for these otherwise unlikable leading guys.To the point that we intimately know them,that we can easily look past their exteriors which often lead other characters to misjudge them.

But that's just my opinion.What do you think?Will we fall for our fictional boyfriends if they are real?

Mar 16, 2015

A trouble magnet,a hot sheriff and some suspense || Nothing But Trouble by J.L.Hammer

Title:Nothing But Trouble
Release Date:November 17th 2014
Publisher:Entangled:Select Suspense
She's the kind of trouble he can't resist ... 

With an angry loan shark hot on her heels, Frankie Delenski flees a Vegas gentlemen’s club with one thought in mind: hide before she’s nothing more than a chalk outline. Now on the run...she finds herself stranded in a sleepy Colorado town during a storm. Her only salvation becomes the suspicious and gorgeous deputy sheriff determined to arrest her...

 From the get-go, Wes Malone must restrain his lust for this stunning, unpredictable woman in a sequined bra and rely on his instincts as a cop. As he sifts through the haze of lies, the truth about her predicament is like a sucker punch to the gut. She’s in serious danger and getting involved with her means nothing but sweet, irresistible trouble…

Now if you're looking for a serious read,or a heartbreaking one like those I've been recommending recently,this book won't work for you.But if you are in a mood for a light,funny,romantic and entertaining read,like I was when I took this up as I've spent this whole previous week reading some intense stuff,then I'd really recommend Nothing But Trouble to you.

Frankie is a trouble magnet who works as a waitress in a gentlemen's club in Las Vegas.Currently broke after her father's death,she borrows money from a loan shark who starts to threaten her when she finds herself unable to return the money.Finding herself in a sticky situation,she runs away to Colorado and practically beak into a house when her car breaks down,only to find that it's the house of a deputy sheriff.

Frankie was truly a piece of work.She was naive and funny and I loved this girl who sometimes behaved endearingly idiotic.She talks and acts without thinking and often finds herself in trouble because of it.At times I found her adorable but I also wanted to shake her badly for the stupid decisions she made.

Wes is hot,bitter and utterly tired of women after getting cheated by his wife who left him for another man.He was the perfect love interest for someone as Frankie.While she was energetic,flighty and full of action,Wes is totally irritated by this woman who just turned his life upside down by barging into his house unexpectedly.

The romance was cute,hot and I loved it!Surprisingly it was really tame for an adult book.In fact I think that Nothing But Trouble could easily pass for a Young Adult book if not for the age of the characters.But still,the sexual tension was so high!These two characters fought like cat and dog for half of the book,and it was so cute!I loved every single one of their adorable banters:)

And of the best thing about this book was the characters!They were all so quirky and funny.Apart from the main two,there was Lily-Frankie's best friend,who was a fierce Asian who made sure to give all the bad guys a hard time,Wes's weird grandfather and grandson neighbours and even the loan shark Domino,who reminded me of Jack Nicholson's character in The Departed.

Overall Nothing But Trouble is quite an entertaining and hilarious read with a cute romance and some great suspense to keep you on the edge.Whether you'll enjoy this book or not solely depends on your timing and mood when you read this.If you are interested,make sure to pick it up when you really are desperate for some fun and lightness from your book.

Mar 13, 2015

Controversial and dark concepts in books

I was inspired to write this post by this week's theme of Contemporary Conversations.This week is dedicated to the "hard stuff"-mental diseases,social issues etc.I wanted to be a little bolder,so instead of trying out 'lighter',beautiful and heartbreaking books,I went for darker stuff.

So this whole week,I read books that made me uncomfortable,that were disturbing,thought provoking and were absolutely amazing in their own way.
So based on my experience this week,I want to ask you all,how do you like controversial and dark concepts in books?

Now you guys are probably asking,"how dark"?,or what I mean as controversial.So first let me introduce you some of the concepts I tried out to give you a better idea.

And let me warn you,these are not for the lighthearted:)

Having a sexual relationship with a blood relation:sibling,parent,child etc.

The first book that probably comes to your mind when I say this word is Forbidden.Most of you would have read that heartbreaking and beautiful story about a brother and sister who falls in love with each other despite knowing that it's morally wrong.
Long story short,it's one of my favourite books ever,it broke my heart and if you haven't read it yet,please go read it,as I assure you that you'll be like this after you finish it.

But that's not it.In fact,incest has been part of fiction ever since Shakespeare-as Hamlet is a great example for that.As for popular culture,there's the creepily beautiful novel about a family which is locked down in an attic.In  Flowers in the Attic  we see the consequences of two kids growing up in a confined space together.This book is creepy and disturbing,and to top it off,it's actually a series!

Coming back to heartbreaking and beautiful novels-there's Flawed,which is not an incestual love story,but still the concept plays a huge part in it.This book is about the obsession and darkness of this concept.However,it's not creepy,and I think that fans of Forbidden might enjoy this book as well.

A situation where the victim starts to develop feelings for his/her captor.

You'll never have an idea just how dark the books with this concept are.
Before reading these books,I never understood how in the world someone can fall in love with their kidnappers.
The books proved me wrong and I couldn't help but be blown over,by these emotional and raw tales of broken and damaged characters.

I should probably start with the lightest of the lot.Stolen:A letter to my captor is a beautiful book that's written in the form of a letter from the MC to the boy who kidnapped her.This book broke my heart to shreds,and I fell hopelessly in love with the kidnapper alongside the victim,as the messed up,broken and vulnerable boy captured a place in my heart.

Moving on to the darker ones, Captive in the Dark is about a girl who is kidnapped as a sex slave.The guy who kidnaps her is a slave himself,and she is his way of escaping.This book is disturbing,but it's so beautifully written that I was drowning in feels when I read it.I also have to warn you that it's mature-I had to skip a lot of scenes,as I normally don't read sex scenes-but it's worth taking the risk,because this book is just so amazing and emotional to miss.

You guys are probably thinking,"there's nothing dark about this concept!".But trust me,it is.
And I am not talking about love stories between teachers and students,like in Slammed and Losing It,that might appeal to romantics.
I am talking about dangerous affairs between an older teacher and younger student with huge age gaps,that ruin lives,wreck marriages and end up in disasters.

Best example,is the good old Lolita.It's about a man who is obsessed with a twelve year old girl.As sick as it sounds,it's actually a beautifully written book,and is considered as a masterpiece.
But truth to be told,I don't actually get it why people see it as one:)

Plus,there's Innocents-an underrated book that's disturbing and hyptonizing.It's about a 16 year old lonely orphan girl who seduces her 34 year old teacher with feigned innocence and skilled acting and takes them both along a journey of lust and self destruction.This book is messed up,but I think it's a  must read,especially as it is actually written by a teenager.

There are books like Taming the Beast,The Yearning and Sweetest Taboo which talk about such affairs damaging the lives of the girls forever.In one of them,the teacher is actually married and has kids who are the same age as the girl he has an affair with.

Now,that I have given an insight on the concepts,I want to ask your opinions on such topics.
I myself have a love hate relationship with them.I love trying out new concepts and genre,as I have a pretty open mind,and a thirst for intense and complicated plot lines in fiction.Sometimes they are totally out of my comfort zones,but I love pushing the limits,so these books work for me,though I can't actually say I enjoy them all.

But I know that some readers stay away from controversial and dark stuff.They don't want to be uncomfortable while reading,disturbed by a book and try out things that are out of their comfort zone.

What about you?Are you the reader who likes to stay safe,or the one like me,who wants to be a little bolder?

Feel free to leave a comment.I'd love to know your opinion.

Mar 11, 2015

This book broke my heart || One Last Song by S.K.Falls

Title:One Last Song
Release Date:January 13th 2015
Publisher:Forever Yours
I was seven when I swallowed my first needle.My mom freaked out and rushed me to the emergency room.

She stayed by my side all night.

I never wanted it to end.

When you spend your whole life feeling invisible-when your parents care more about deals and deadlines than they do about you-you find ways of making people take notice. Little things at first. Then bigger. It's scary how fast it grows. Then one day something happens that makes you want to stop. To get better. To be better. And for the first time, you understand what it's like to feel whole, happy . . . loved. For the first time, you love someone back.

For me, that someone was Drew.

Before I start this review,let me tell you all that One Last Song will not be an easy book to read.Reading this book was hard,and it's the type of book that is packed with raw emotions and will probably wreck you and leave you as a sobbing mess.
Now that I've warned you,let me explain how this beautiful and painfully underrated book broke my heart to shreds.

One Last Song is a story about a girl who craves attention. Saylor Grayson's parents are insensitive,indifferent and pays more attention to their respective careers than to their child.Desperate for being noticed by her parents,she tries the oldest trick in a child's book-getting sick.Every child loves the spotlight and attention that comes with being sick,and for Saylor,it becomes the only choice to get the spotlight,that she ends up being obsessed by getting sick even at the age of 19.

Saylor was quite a complicated character.Her obsession with getting sick and wishing to have a terminal disease were really crazy,but I felt so sad for the broken and lonely girl behind her insane desires.To her,having a terminal disease is a privilege.But she only understands the reality of such diseases until she meets people who are real victims of them.

As part of her therapy,Saylor starts to attend a support group for kids with terminal diseases.There she meets Zee-who has breast cancer,Pierce-who is an Aids patient,Carson-who had a form of leukemia and Andrew-who has a disease that makes his motor function deteriorate.

S.K.Falls' realistic portrayal of these diseases and characters were beautiful.These kids battle with their demons,face their life ending illnesses and I couldn't help but admire their strength,courage and determination.They also change Saylor's view on life,and makes her realize the intensity of her actions.

The romance in this story is beautiful and heartbreaking. Saylor wasn't planning to fall in love with a sick boy who is struggling with his life.A boy who has to use a cane to walk,whose muscles are slowly weakening and who is beautiful inside and out.Drew totally broke my heart,and I assure that anyone who reads this book will fall in love with this boy whose smiles and music will totally win you over.

Just as I said before,this book is not a romance book with a HEA.It's an intense and emotional story that will make you drown in feels.I recommend it to any fans of The Fault in Our Stars,and to readers who love books about broken and realistic characters.

Mar 8, 2015

My favourite contemporary heroines.

Happy women's day guys!

As today is Women's Day,and I am taking part in the Contemporary Conversations this month,I wanted to highlight my favourite leading ladies of contemporary-MC s who've inspired me and to whom I felt a deep connection.

What's so special about these girls is that they don't appeal to us because they're badass,or can kick ass with weapons,wield magic and are powerful enough to rule a whole nation.We love them because they are realistic,we can relate to them,and the way they handle real life situations and problems inspire us a lot.

From:The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Caymen is cynical,sarcastic and has the best sense of humour I've ever seen.She is the type of person I'll easily befriend in real life,as I love these type of characters.

I can totally imagine her saying something like this with this exact expression:)

From:The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

A cynic again:)It's no secret that I love The DUFF.I also adore the MC,Bianca.
She is sassy,snarky,strong and not afraid to face her problems.Plus,I could really relate to her with the whole insecurity concept,and I love the way she deals with it.

From:Crash Into You and Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Technically,Abby is not a heroine,but still,this girl has an important part in this series,that she starts to feel like one.
Anyway,this girl is tough,like Michelle Rodriguez tough.

She comes from the 'wrong side of the tracks',and she has associations with car racers and dealers.
Sounds badass,right?
But I could also sense a vulnerability inside her,and I am eagerly waiting to read her own book.

From:The Fault in our Stars

I was so awed by this girl,who was still so strong and acted as normal as she can even though she was a cancer victim.I loved how she dealt with her disease.I personally think that she-along with Gus-inspired quite a lot of people,and I was so happy that Shailene Woodley could portray her perfectly,especially since I wasn't quite happy with her acting in Divergent.

From:Kiss and Angel by Susan Elizabeth Philips

You guys are probably wondering who this girl is.Well,let me introduce you to Daisy-a simple,sweet girl who wears her heart on her sleeve,and loves people more than they deserve to be loved.She's such a beautiful character inside and out,and I think you all should give her book a try-it's a wonderful story about pride and love.

From:Easy by Tammara Webber

Jacqueline is a strong,independent girl who learns to stand up for what's right.She has amazing character growth throughout the book,as she changes from a vulnerable girl who almost gets raped,and afraid to tell it loud,to a brave girl who learns to defend herself and puts the guy who assaulted her to jail.Her change was admirable,and she's a great inspiration to anyone who's afraid to tell the bad things that happened to them to the world.

From:Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

How can this list be complete without a Dessen heroine?Ruby is-ironically-one of the most hated Dessen heroines,but I can't help but love her.She acts like a spoiled brat in the beginning of the book,as she neglects every good thing that happens to her,and act pretty ungrateful towards her sister and brother in law,who takes care of her after her mother abandoned Ruby.
But through the course of the book,Ruby goes through remarkable change,and in the end,you can't help but admire the girl she'd become.
She learns a lot of life lessons,and along with her,we learn them too,and I think she just grew on me,despite being a little impossible all the time.

I know it sounds a bit weird:)

From:Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

This is one of the first YA books I've read,and I was quite awed by how much the MC was like me.She was the problem solver,the one who is friends with everyone and the girl whom every boy thinks as a great friend.Long story short,Jen is kinda like my fictional alter ego.

From:Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

This girl isn't afraid to get her hands dirty by working on cars,she has a gay best friend and wears vintage to prom with style.She was such a down to earth girl,and I think she and I'll be great friends  if she existed in real life.

Who are your favourite contemporary heroines?

Mar 7, 2015

First love and second chances || Lola and the boy next door by Stephanie Perkins

Title:Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author:Stephanie Perkins
Release Date:September 29th 2011
Publisher:Dutton Books
Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

One of the main reasons why I took this book up,is because I really wanted to like a Stephanie Perkins book.She is a favourite among contemporary fans,so I thought I'll love her when I took up Anna and the French Kiss about an year ago.But unfortunately,*looks around and whispers*I ended up DNF-ing it.

I can literally hear your gasps.

And it sucked being the black sheep,so in my attempt to give Perkins a second chance,I wanted to read Lola and the Boy Next Door,and to my surprise I actually liked the book a lot despite not liking Anna and the French Kiss.

Just like I said in my post title,Lola and the Boy Next Door is about first crushes and second chances.We all have that first crush who we can't forget no matter how much time has passed.First love is a beautiful thing that will always have a special place in our heart,and Lola gets a second chance with her first crush,and this story is about how she uses that chance.

I really liked Lola's personality. I've always admired people who are daring in their wardrobe choices,and have a unique style for themselves.Though I myself would never even dream of being like Lola,I loved her costumes and wigs and desire to go to prom in a Marie Antoinette dress.
“I don't believe in fashion. I believe in costume. Life is too short to be same person every day.” 

But that doesn't mean that I was totally happy with Lola either.At times she behaved quite stupidly and immature and I couldn't help but be irritated by her.I know that it's normal to make mistakes and bad decisions,but when a better choice is just hanging in front of your face,why choose the other one?At times I just wanted to shake her and give her a piece of mind.

I mean come on,there's a wonderful,cute guy who obviously likes you a lot and you still choose  someone who doesn't even respect you for who you are?

Btw,why am I only using Santana gifs?
Whatever,let's get back to the topic.

Cricket Bell was adorable,cute and you can't help but fall in love with this guy.I have a huge soft spot to geeky guys,and Cricket is the ideal nerdy love interest.His love towards Lola was so sweet and I really adored how he was waiting for her with so much patience.I think that Stephanie Perkins just ruined all real guys for me and all readers because I am dead sure that no real guy can be this sweet as Cricket.
“And if I'm the stars, Cricket Bell is entire galaxies.” 
And their love story was cute and adorable.Normally I am not a huge fan of sweet romances as I prerfer my love stories more intense,complicated,raw,heartbreaking and emotional.But looks like Lola and the Boy Next Door is my exception,as I enjoyed the cute romance a lot as well.It's mostly because the story is about second chances-which is a concept I really love in book romances.
“So do you believe in second chances?" I bite my lip.
"Second, third, fourth. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. If the person is right," he adds.
"If the person is... Lola?"
This time, he holds my gaze. "Only if the other person is Cricket.” 
Overall,Lola and the Boy Next Door is a cute,sweet love story with quirky and wonderful characters which will appeal to any reader who loves fluffy and sweet romance stories.At the same time,I won't recommend it to anyone who likes more emotional stuff like me,because even though I myself ended up liking it surprisingly,I don't think it will work for everyone who have similar tastes as me.

Mar 5, 2015

My go to list of contemporary authors

As I am participating in the Contemporary Conversations this month,I wanted to spotlight my favourite authors in that genre.
These authors are the reason why I love the genre.They make me cry,laugh,teach me a lot of life lessons and inspire me so much.
Let me introduce you to my superheroes of contemporary.

No one can write a better coming of age book than Sarah Dessen.With her trademark concepts of family,friendships,self realization,romance and quite a lot of quotes to stick up on your bedroom wall,she brings out beautiful and inspiring coming of age tales about teens with baggage.Her realistic portrayal of teens and their problems make her one of the best in the genre.

I recommend:
Lock and Key
The Truth about Forever
Just Listen
This Lullaby
What Happened to Goodbye

         Colleen Hoover's love stories are beautiful.
       They are heartbreaking,emotional and her          characters will always stay in your heart even                 after you've finished their story.
    Plus her writing style is gorgeous.Especially in    Slammed-my favourite book of hers-where she        introduced me to Slam Poetry,which is now                             a passion of mine.

                             I recommend:

                                  Ugly Love


        Kody Keplinger creates the best heroines.
Her girls are cynical,sarcastic and awesome.
    Plus she has a way of portraying teenagers     perfectly,maybe because she was a teenager herself when she started to write. 
      Her books are relatable,and it's always easy to connect to a Kody Keplinger novel

I recommend:

A Midsummer's Nightmare

 Even if you aren't a fan of chick lit,I assure that you'll love Sophie Kinsella's books.She's my go-to author whenever I feel like I need a light read that makes me laugh.Her heroines and books are hilarious,and sometimes I laugh to the point of crying while reading her books.

I recommend:

Shopaholic series
Can you keep a secret?
The Undomestic Goddess

Though I don't read her books nowadays,I used to be a huge fan of Meg Cabot during my pre teen days.And though her books look like fluffy pre teen stories on the surface,in truth,they are deeper than that.I've learned a lot through her books,especially her Teen Idol which is quite inspiring.

I recommend:

Teen Idol
Queen of Babble series
Avalon High
How to be Popular

Katie McGarry is the best in writing star crossed romances.She writes beautiful love stories about teens with baggage from the opposite ends of the tracks.Plus she also opened my eyes to the whole foster care and social services concept,which I had no idea of until I read her books.

I recommend:

Pushing the Limits
Dare You To
Crash Into You

Tabitha Suzuma is a perfect choice to any reader who wants to get their heart broken by a book.Her books leave me as a wreck,but still I can't help but love them.A lot of you guys may be familiar with her Forbidden,and I think everyone should give her other books a chance too.

I recommend:

A note of madness
From where I stand

I've never known that Spanish guys are this hot until I read Simone Elkeles' books:)Her romances are hot,beautiful and the way she deals with migartory and racist issues is quite wonderful.

I recommend:

Perfect Chemistry
Rules of Attraction
Leaving Paradise

Who are your favourite contemporary authors?
Any recommendations for me?