Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Author: Jane Austen
Format: Kindle Edition

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life."

My Review:

This was one of those books I'd meant to read for a long, long time and when I'd eventually gotten down to reading it- found that I had no inclination to finish it. I finally decided to pick it up again as part of the South African Book Lovers' Book Hoarders Reading Challenge on Goodreads and I'm really glad I did.

Firstly, I would like to place on record the fact that the main objection I have to reading classics (especially Jane Austen novels) is the flowery language, complex sentence construction and the sheer wordiness of it all. Although this continued to frustrate me as I read on, I found that having recently watched the movie with Keira Knightley and Colin Firth playing the leading role while I was halfway through this book helped significantly speed things up for me and clear any misinterpretation of said flowery language, etc. I feel that watching the movie helped me gain a greater appreciation of the book but I think that even if I had not watched the movie, I would've still loved the book. Maybe it's because I've grown to identify so much with Elizabeth Bennett's character that I so thoroughly enjoyed this book- especially towards the end. Someone recently told me that my life reminds them of a Jane Austen novel- particularly, Pride and Prejudice- and that I could be best described as a cross between Elizabeth Bennett and Jo from Little Women(not sure who that is, but will find out soon as that's next on my to-read list).

My favourite scene in both the book and the movie has to be the one in which Elizabeth's father calls her into the library after Darcy asks him for Elizabeth's hand in marriage. I suppose it's because I'm a daddy's girl- but I totally teared up at that part while watching the movie and almost teared up again when reading the scene in the book.

There are so many memorable quotes I'd like to add here, but I'm actually quite lazy to look them up right now. I'll probably revisit this review again and, hopefully, will then add my quotes. For now, I'd just like to express how much I've enjoyed this book and how glad I am that I gave it a second chance.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Welcome to Blogging Giveaway @ Tale from the Crypt

Since the Tales from the Crypt blog is new to the blogging community, a giveaway is being hosted in order to welcome this great new blog and its host into the blogging world. This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway, as long as The Book Depository ships to your country and one lucky winner will get to choose between 3 great new titles. These are:

The Unbecoming of Mara DyerShatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)The Scorpio Races

The contest runs from October 23rd to November 25, 2011.

You can go HERE to enter.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

300 Follower Giveaway at Literary Exploration

The awesome Anna over at Literary Exploration is having a fantabulously awesome 300 follower giveaway on her blog. Initially, the giveaway was 1 book of the winner's choice from her list of books reviewed. However, now that she's reached the 400 follower mark (congrats to her!), she will be choosing 2 winners who will each get to choose 2 books off her review list. These are just some of the great books she's reviewed, which are on offer:


In order not to miss out on this great opportunity, I'd suggest you rush over there right now to enter.

This giveaway is international.

It ends on November 6.

You can enter by going HERE.

Good luck:)

200 Follower Giveaway at The Reading Fish blog

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The lovely Ishita over at The Reading Fish blog is hosting her 200 Follower Giveaway and... (hold your breath)...

There will be 9 winners!

That's right- 9 winners!

Prizes up for grabs include:

  • Winners choice of as many books as he/she want from Amazon for up to $25 !
  • One Random Book from Ishita's Book Shelf(s) - she has some doubles which she will be giving away!
  • 7 different swag packs! (Most have autographs)
And you can get up to 28 extra entries!!!

Giveaway ends 10/31/2011!

So go HERE to enter now!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

600 Followers Giveaway at For Those About to Read


There's a spectacular giveaway going on over at "For Those About to Read" and you should all be there entering! To celebrate the blog's reaching 600 followers, the giveaway being held allows one lucky person to walk away with their choice of one of these great titles. There are 20+ amazing, popular, highly-rated novels to choose from, so do not waste time in getting over there right now and entering. These are just some of the titles you can choose from:

Contest Rules:
  • Open Internationally (as long as the Book Depository ships to you, check here)
  • Must be 13+ to enter
  • Everyone may enter, even if you are not a follower
  • Winner will be notified via email
  • A new winner will be chosen if a response is not received within 48 hours
  • Contest ends November 7, 2011

You can enter by clicking HERE

Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why I Fancy Books...

Why Do I Fancy Books?

That's an interesting question, don't you think?

Most of us book lovers don't stop to think and question our love of books. We just assume that we've always loved books and we cannot seem to understand why everyone else doesn't seem to love books as much as we do. I can remember struggling to learn to read when I was younger. No one seemed to have the time or patience to teach me. I went to a government school with about 40+ children in each class and the teacher did not have enough time or energy to attend to the needs of all students. So, much of my reading education was a solitary activity. I can remember sitting for hours on end in the evenings after school, trying to read the newspapers (I loved the Entertainment section back then) and one particular word that I had difficulty with was the word "producer". I never was sure how to pronounce it and I felt silly for asking. When I did eventually ask someone how to pronounce the word while we watched the rolling credits at the end of a movie, they could not provide me with the answer. I found this quite strange. It was only a while later that I'd realised that the person I'd asked, despite her advanced age, was illiterate and could not even read the word "producer", let alone pronounce it. This stunning realisation made me stop beating myself up about not being able to read or pronounce words very well at the age of 6 and made me realise just how lucky I was to be able to read at all at that tender age, when someone who was probably ten times my age had never even learned the alphabets.

My mum has always been my inspiration for reading. Growing up with a hearing deficit, she found solace and comfort (and some level of stability and understanding, I imagine) within the pages of books. She was known for being this quiet little girl who would lug around a book wherever she went (even when visiting family) and would find a quiet corner to sit down, pull out her hearing aid to block out the distracting sounds and disappear into another world. Growing up, I realised just how unusual our mutual love of reading was, when we'd go to the local library and instead of carrying normal-sized book bags and two library cards, we would carry a big, black bin liner and at least 5 different library cards to borrow books. We also had library cards at three different libraries, one of which was a library back in my mum's home town- so we'd never be short of books even while on holiday in that little town in the middle of nowhere. We would usually borrow a combined load of 35+ books with each visit to the library and the bulk of the books would be my mum's and- not surprisingly- she'd have them all read before the month was up and our next library visit came around. A lifetime of reading has resulted in an ability to read up to three books in one night and possibly finish an entire series of books in just under two days. I'm so proud of her!

Alas! I am the slow reader- the one who loves books, hoards them just as much as my mother does, has spent way too much time in libraries and book stores, subscribes to every single book mailing list out there and dreams of hosting a library sleepover or book camp some day- and yet, I find that I cannot read books fast enough to meet my reading goals for the year. There are so many great books out there and so many of these have been sent my way based on recommendations of friends and giveaway wins, but I can't seem to get through them all in time. My mum says the secret is to know when to skip and skim the boring parts. If she'd not interested in a book, she'll put it down and refuse to return to it or she'll skim through the rest of the pages to get a general idea of what happens and will leave it at that. I've tried skimming and it just doesn' t work for me. I feel like the true essence of the novel is lost if I don't pay attention to every single word and thought expressed on each and every page. I know that makes me seem like I suffer from OCD or something, but that's just me. If I read something, I'd like to read it well or not read it all!

I usually have about five books going at any given time and, being the slow reader that I am, one would imagine that I'd be intimidated by thick tomes and stay away from heavy reads, but that's not the case. For some reason, it's always the thick books which find their way into my hands first. If not the thick, 600+ page books, then it's usually a very long series that I get caught up in - which results in me neglecting the other books on my shelf for a very long time. Of course, I have to take into account the fact that I'm a postgraduate student with very little time on my hands and too many other compulsory course readings to get through before devoting time to my leisure reading. I'm often asked by friends, family and fellow classmates (all of whom happen to be significantly faster readers but do not read for pleasure) where I find the time to read in between my studying and extra-curricular activities. The response I often give is that "when you truly love something, you make time for it". The more I think about it, the more I realise just how true it is.

Just to show you some of my favourite authors and their books which fuelled my love of reading while growing up...

Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach: A Children's StoryMatilda

Carolyn Keene
(I only recently learned that's a pseudonym for a male author and experienced a horrible sense of betrayal)

The Secret in the Old Attic (Nancy Drew, #21)Password to Larkspur Lane (Nancy Drew #10)The Mystery of the 99 Steps (Nancy Drew, #43)

J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter Box Set (Harry Potter, #1-7)
Current Favourites...


Gone With the Wind

The Alchemist

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: Always and Forever by Cathy Kelly

Always and Forever

Title: Always and Forever
Author: Cathy Kelly
Format: Paperback
Pages: 600 pages

My Rating: 4/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

"When the going gets tough.....
In the Irish town of Carrickwell, with its lush, endlessly rolling hills and authentic country tranquility, three women's lives are anything but calm. There's Mel, a compulsively ambitious mother/publicity manager at a high-powered PR firm -- living proof that balancing motherhood and a full-time job is no walk in the park. The hot-headed, indomitable Cleo, just out of college with a degree in hotel management, would like nothing better than to modernize and revive her family's dwindling hotel -- but faces a constant battle with her old-fashioned parents. And finally, there's the stylish, sweet-tempered Daisy, a self-consciously curvy fashion buyer for an upscale clothing boutique, who has been struggling -- and longing -- to have a baby with her absolutely perfect boyfriend. Although unconnected, these three women have one thing in common: they all need a break from their stressful lives.

These tough gals hit the nearest spa!

So each one sets out for a little R & R at the new Clouds Hill spa, built by an American woman with her own secret turmoil. It is there that Mel, Cleo, and Daisy meet -- their worlds and troubles colliding -- forming an intimate bond that helps them to realize what matters most in life, always and forever."

My Review:

I wouldn't normally so thoroughly enjoy a chick-lit novel and, now that I think about it, the storyline was rather predictable but maybe it's due to my utter, irrevocable and foolish love for novels, movies or anything else set in Ireland (a country that I know very little about, but the aesthetic appeal of which continues to draw my hungry gaze)that I was so drawn into the lives of these women. Strangely, I've realised that part of the reason for my lack of knowledge and inability to sympathise with and understand the daily hassles of the contemporary woman is due to the fact that I've never read a good work of chick-lit. I've always felt somewhat alienated from the rest of contemporary womankind and never felt that there were women out there who thought the same thoughts I did or shared the same fears I do, but by delving into the lives of these three strong and yet strangely fragile women, I have discovered a part of myself in each of these three characters.

Of course, being young and single, the character I found I was able to relate to the most was Cleo, fresh out of college with a degree in Hotel Management and out to conquer the world by creating her own hotel empire but first set on helping her parents renovate and raise the standards at their family hotel, The Willow, in their little hometown in Carrickwell. Ofcourse, all does not go as planned, with The Willow eventually being sold to pay off debts to the bank and Cleo going off in a huff after a huge family row over Cleo's not receiving her due recognition and respect and still being treated like a child by her family and her two elder brothers, who could not care less about the hotel, being included in all important decision-making. Her intelligence, creativity, vibrancy, energy and short temper are characteristics that resonated within me. Her close and conflicted relationship with her parents and deep respect for her father are feelings I can all too clearly identify with. Her fiery and independent nature that does not allow even a powerful and demanding character like Tyler Roth to have his way, is what I found most admirable.

Then there's Mel, the hot-shot career woman trying to juggle motherhood and a career while battling tremendous guilt over neglecting her children. Mel's character and her life initially represented all my hopes and greatest fears for the future. I think at some point every women realises that she can't have it all, but many of us spend most of our lives trying so hard to ignore that fact or to prove it wrong that by the time we decide to stop fighting it and adapt to life's circumstances by striking a compromise, we realise just how much of valuable time and energy was lost in the battle. I was really glad to see everything work out for Mel, but could see how easily Mel's life could have taken the route of Caroline's if her husband hadn't been as understanding and supportive of her decision to give up her career to stay at home with the children.

And ofcourse, there was Daisy (Denise), the once overweight Agorophobic teenager with severe abandonment issues who only attaches any worth or value to her life if she has her man, Alex, in it. Although her character initially disgusted me, as I got to understand the childhood issues she had to deal with, such as her cold and unaffectionate mother, I came to realise that just about any of us could have turned into a Daisy and gone through life disliking every aspect ourselves until some knight in shining armour came along to make us feel special and worthy of love.

One Year Blogoversary and Giveaway at Gripped into Books

The awesome Mia and Sofia over at Gripped into Books are celebrating their blog's Blogoversary with a great giveaway.

What is the prize, you ask?

Well, it's something we all love to have....

"Freedom of Choice!"

i.e. $15 to The Book Depository for a book of your choiceFree Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Who doesn't love The Book Depository?
Who doesn't love choice?
Who doesn't love new books?
Who doesn't love FREE new books?

That's right! No one in their right mind would refuse this one. So go on over HERE to enter now!

Good luck!:)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spades High Reads Birthday Giveaway

The awesomeness that is Spades High Reads is having a spa-mazingly awesome giveaway of one of these spade-a-licious titles, so you don't want to miss out.

Why is she having this giveaway, you ask?


It's her BIRTHDAY!!!

Yes, that's right. She's celebrating her birthday with us by giving away the best thing any book lover can have- a book!

So, go over and enter HERE in order to enter to win.

Please note: She has not been feeling well lately, so be nice, pray for her and wish her well and a very happy birthday!

The giveaway ends on October 22nd.

It is open to INTERNATIONAL entrants (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country).

You must be 13 years or older.

Good luck!:)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Win Audition by Stasia Kehoe (SIGNED) at Carolina Valdez Miller's Blog


Carolina's done it again! She's managed to bring to my attention an excellent title which I'd heard about when it was released and honestly intended to read at some point, but never got down to reading... Yeah, well... That's the story of my life. Incomplete reading lists, unfinished challenges, an ever-expanding to-read list (and wish list, of course!) and all of this happening while exams (and a ton of scary deadlines loom on the horizon). Anyway, as is usual when I'm seriously lacking sleep (and have no hope of sleeping again tonight because I've got reports to mark), I'm losing my words and going off at a tangent (I can't even remember if that's the correct expression to use). Anyway, the whole point of this post is to tell you how awesome author Carolina Valdez Miller is because she is:

a) giving away a book
b) that book happens to be Audition by Stasia Kehoe
c) it's about sacrifice and achieving dreams (the two main themes in my life)
d) it's awesome and inspirational (awesomely inspirational?)
e) it's SIGNED by the author
f) it's written in verse
g) it's been on my to-read list since it came out (and I still haven't gotten it)

Yeah, so you really don't want to miss this.

Go HERE to enter.

The giveaway is international and ends on October 24th (Monday).

Good luck!:)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Waiting on" Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome Jill at Breaking the Spine where we all feature upcoming books we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on...

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)

A Million Suns (Across The Universe #2) by Beth Revis

Hardcover, 400 pages

Expected publication: January 10th 2012 by Razorbill (first published January 1st 2012)

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

"Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship."

Why I Want To Read This Book:

As if the cover is not enough motivation! *wink*

I recently participated in a Read-Along event hosted at the Secret of the Stars blog (a blog devoted solely to Beth Revis' novel, Across The Universe, and now its sequel, A Million Suns.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Read-Along and found myself drawn in by the story of Elder and Amy. The end of Across the Universe did not, thankfully, end on a cliffhanger (so I wasn't exactly pulling my hair out and suffering withdrawal symptoms once I was finished) but this is another book my mum and I read together and discussed in great detail. She's more interested in seeing the development of Amy and Elder's romance and, while I am also curious about that, I'm interested to see how Godspeed fares under Elder's rule. I imagined a scenario of complete chaos once the citizens were brought to full awareness but, from the glimpse I got at the end, things didn't look too bad.

Here's hoping for the best...!

I just wish January 10th would hurry up and get here already!

Until next week! :)

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, Kenneth H. Blanchard

Who Moved My Cheese?
Title: Who Moved My Cheese?
Author: Dr. Spencer Johnson & Kenneth H. Blanchard
Format: Paperback
Pages: 98 pages

My Rating: 5/5

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"Written by Spencer Johnson, coauthor of The One Minute Manager, this enlightening and amusing story illustrates the vital importance of being able to deal with unexpected change. Who Moved My Cheese? is often distributed by managers to employees as a motivational tool, but the lessons it teaches can benefit literally anyone, young or old, rich or poor, looking for less stress and more success in every aspect of work and life."

My Thoughts:

"Wow!" That's all I was able to say once I was done with this book. Although a simple and straightforward parable that many could claim is based on common sense, I couldn't help but be 'wowed' by the simple lessons contained in this tale. The parable follows the adventures of four characters trapped in a maze. Two of these are mice named "Sniff" and "Scurry" and the other two are "Little People" who have the complex thought processes, beliefs and emotions of humans.

These four characters represent the different parts of the mind and its thought processes, in order to illustrate the different ways we can react to change in our lives. While "Sniff", with his simpler thought processes, is able to monitor events and sniff out change so that he is prepared once change occurs and his cheese is moved, "Scurry" (with similar simplicity in the way his mind works) is the more action-orientated part of our minds that immediately scurries into action and doesn't waste time in moving on when the cheese is moved.

However, "Hem" with his complex human-like thought processes refuses to move ahead but remains uselessly standing around complaining with an unwavering sense of entitlement about his cheese being moved, refusing to go out into the maze in search of new cheese but staying put and waiting for his old (and possibly mouldy) cheese to be placed back in its original place. His friend "Haw" sticks around complaining with him about their poor lot in life, until he realises the futility of their actions and that there is a possibility that new and even better cheese may be found if he could laugh at his own foolishness, overcome his fears and venture forth into the big, bad maze out there in the hope of securing new cheese for himself. The parable ends with Haw catching up to Sniff and Scurry who have found a huge pile of cheese and gorging himself on the cheese, while wondering if his friend Hem was able to overcome his foolish obstinacy and fears and ventured out into the maze or if he had remained hemmed in by his fears, grew weak with hunger and eventually died.

Of the many useful lessons contained in the story, these are a few that will always stay with me:

-You shouldn't take yourself too seriously. You are only able to initiate positive change when you can acknowledge and laugh at your own foolishness.
-When you change your old and dysfunctional beliefs, you can finally change your behaviour for the better.
-It is easy to fall into a depression and feel sorry for yourself when you're standing still and doing nothing. But, once you're on the move and are actively seeking solutions to your problems by throwing yourself back into the maze, you feel a sense of accomplishment.
-It is often a fear of failure that holds us back in life and prevents us from seeing the potential positivity in change.
-Going out into the maze again to look for cheese may be a long and difficult journey; we may feel disheartened and discouraged, but the important thing is learning the lessons that are taught to us along the way and noting them down for future reference so that even if we find our new cheese, we hold our lessons close to us in constant preparation for future change and moved cheese.

A word of caution, however. The parable does not take into account the aspect of the divine, fate, or luck, as some would choose to call it. After reading this book, I immediately set out to let go of old cheese and move on to new cheese, but, as unlikely and impossible as it seemed to all those around me, my old cheese came back to me at a completely unexpected time and in an entirely unexpected way. Just when I'd lost hope of regaining my moved cheese, and was reeling from the shock of having it removed from right under my nose, 'voila!' and it magically reappeared through a fateful phone call I received just yesterday. However, the lesson has not been wasted on me and I will make sure to tie the laces of my trainers together and hang them around my neck (in the manner of Sniff and Scurry), in constant preparation for change.

Recommended for:

Anyone faced with change, in need of inspiration and self-help techniques or just interested in their personal development.

Review: [Refuge]e by Adnan Mahmutovic


Title: [Refuge]e
Author: Adnan Mahmutovic
Format: Paperback
Pages: 95 pages

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"After the Balkan war many Bosnian refugees ended up in Scandinavia. In [Refuge]e, we can eavesdrop on and witness the quirky characters that came out as the result of the war. Focusing on Bosnian women and their refusal to be victims, [Refuge]e gives us an insight into their mundane lives, small things with great meanings that make life worth living."

My Rating: 3/5

My Thoughts:

This book brought me just a little bit closer to understanding the plight of the Bosnian refugees and possibly even refugees the world over.

All I've ever heard about the war in Bosnia is based on newspaper and television accounts that appeared many, many years ago. However, one thing stood out clear for me and that is the fact that (as in all wars) it is the innocent people, the ones who are happy to just mind their own business and go on with their everyday lives, who suffer the most. As with the main character, Almasa, one day they have big happy families and the ordinary contentment of everyday life, and the next, they've been robbed of home and family and have had atrocious acts and various indignities performed upon their persons, only to eventually end up dead and in mass graves somewhere or have been miraculously "saved" (though who would want to really go on living after losing everything and suffering such indignities) and placed in refugee camps (but really spending most of their time travelling between these camps) and never really experiencing a sense of home anywhere.

It is a sad reality that we are exposed to in the reading of this book and Almasa's story is representative of hundreds, and possibly even thousands, of Bosnian women whose worlds have been turned upside down, who've had everything worth living for stripped away from them and who have to painfully gather themselves in the aftermath of destruction and trudge through the seemingly barren landscapes of their futures with the mantra that "time is the greatest healer" being repeated over and over again in the hope of shutting out the internal screams of agony that haunt them. For me, this book of less than a hundred pages spoke volumes.

Recommended for: Anyone with an interest in the Bosnian situation

Monday, October 10, 2011

Better Than Candy. A Spooktacular Contest for Grown-Ups.

The awesome Zoe Winters (author of books such as Kept, Claimed, Mated and Bloodlust- all of which can be viewed HERE and whose Author Site can be visited HERE)
Save My Soul (Preternaturals, #2)

is having a contest to promote the sale on one of her titles- Save My Soul.

Now, through October 22nd (2 weeks), Save My Soul is on sale in the Amazon Kindle store for $2.99. It’s also on sale at Barnes and Noble for the same price (for the Nook/epub readers).

Amazon Buy Link SAVE MY SOUL $2.99

Barnes and Noble Buy Link SAVE MY SOUL $2.99

Go to her Contest Post HERE to enter this contest.

According to the post on her site, details for entering this contest are as follows:

Ways to enter (You can enter multiple times by doing multiple things):

1. Buy a digital copy of Save My Soul during the contest period for you or as a gift for a friend.
2. Tweet the link to this page. (up to once per day during contest period)
3. Facebook the link. (up to once per day during contest period)
4. Blog about the contest, including the link. (one time only)
5. Other random internet promo I haven’t thought of. (Please don’t spam people or sites. That would hardly help either of us out.)
6. subscribe to my newsletter by sending a blank email to: (Must be from a valid email address. [requires a reply back] If you are already subscribed, you can’t do this one.)

Each time you do something to be entered, please email me at: to let me know what you did, with a link. If you purchased the book either for yourself or a friend, please send a copy of the receipt. (Note: You may do a screen shot and black out any personal info if you prefer. All I need is the date of purchase and proof that it is Save My Soul.)

And now for the prizes:

15 people will win: A signed print copy of the Zoe Winters book of your choice. (Can be Blood Lust, Save My Soul, or the upcoming book if you want to wait.)

5 people will win: A signed print copy of the Zoe Winters book of your choice and a $25 Amazon gift card*.

2 people will win: A signed print copy of the Zoe Winters book of your choice and a $75 Amazon gift card*.

And the grand prize… one person will win: A signed print copy of the Zoe Winters book of your choice and a $310 Amazon gift card*. (For October 31st. Remember Halloween?)

Remember, in order to enter this contest, you will have to post up links to the contest on her site, therefore, you will need to CLICK HERE to enter.

Good luck!:)

Review: The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi

Format: Paperback
Pages: 229 pages

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"From the acclaimed author of A Breath of Fresh Air, this beautiful novel takes us to modern India during the height of the summer’s mango season. Heat, passion, and controversy explode as a woman is forced to decide between romance and tradition.

Every young Indian leaving the homeland for the United States is given the following orders by their parents: Don’t eat any cow (It’s still sacred!), don’t go out too much, save (and save, and save) your money, and most important, do not marry a foreigner. Priya Rao left India when she was twenty to study in the U.S., and she’s never been back. Now, seven years later, she’s out of excuses. She has to return and give her family the news: She’s engaged to Nick Collins, a kind, loving American man. It’s going to break their hearts.

Returning to India is an overwhelming experience for Priya. When she was growing up, summer was all about mangoes—ripe, sweet mangoes, bursting with juices that dripped down your chin, hands, and neck. But after years away, she sweats as if she’s never been through an Indian summer before. Everything looks dirtier than she remembered. And things that used to seem natural (a buffalo strolling down a newly laid asphalt road, for example) now feel totally chaotic.

But Priya’s relatives remain the same. Her mother and father insist that it’s time they arranged her marriage to a “nice Indian boy.” Her extended family talks of nothing but marriage—particularly the marriage of her uncle Anand, which still has them reeling. Not only did Anand marry a woman from another Indian state, but he also married for love. Happiness and love are not the point of her grandparents’ or her parents’ union. In her family’s rule book, duty is at the top of the list.

Just as Priya begins to feel she can’t possibly tell her family that she’s engaged to an American, a secret is revealed that leaves her stunned and off-balance. Now she is forced to choose between the love of her family and Nick, the love of her life.

As sharp and intoxicating as sugarcane juice bought fresh from a market cart, The Mango Season is a delightful trip into the heart and soul of both contemporary India and a woman on the edge of a profound life change."
My Thoughts:

Set in India. An American-returned Indian young lady who's come to tell her family about her American fiance. Really loved it! The ending packed quite a punch. Definitely worth a read...

A more detailed review:

This is the story of Priya Rao, a young woman who had left India at the age of twenty to study in America. Seven years later, she returns for a visit to discover that her parents are intent on arranging her marriage to a suitable Indian boy. Not just any Indian boy, but a Telegu-speaking Brahmin. She has arrived home in time for the harvesting of mangoes- the hottest time of the year, with days filled with ritual and ceremony.

As a child, she had loved this season best but, after years away, Priya finds the heat of an Indian summer unbearable and everything about India seems different- dirtier and more chaotic than she remembers. Her extended family are also consumed by talk of marriage- particularly the marriage of her uncle Anand, and his decision not only to marry for love but to marry a woman of a much lower caste. Priya can only guess at what reaction her own engagement would provoke if she were to reveal that she has left behind a fiancé in America; a fiancé of an entirely different race and religion...

This book was highly entertaining and provided a humorous outlook on Indian traditions, especially the bride-seeing ceremony. It is well-written and enjoyable, with popular Indian recipes included throughout. It is certainly worth reading.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Review: Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Specials (Uglies, #3)Title: Specials (Uglies #3)
Series: Uglies
Format: ebook
Pages: 238 pages

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"Special Circumstances":

The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor — frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.

And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

Still, it's easy to tune that out — until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same."

My Thoughts:

What a disappointment!

I expected so much more from Scott Westerfeld after reading about Tally's adventures in the first two books, but this installment in the series fell short in so many unexpected ways. I don't believe I've ever before been this disappointed by the turn a series has taken. While I've been willing to overlook certain flaws in the previous two books simply because the characters were so interesting, I found that Tally's whiny voice just got to me in this one.

The fact that she was a Cutter with heightened senses and amazing reflexes, who was programmed to find all normal pretties and uglies weak and repulsive (even the boy she loved!) and yet found herself following him to a new city just to protect him- all of this just didn't sit well with me. I thought that the plot had no clear direction in this book and I don't look forward to reading the fourth and last book- even though I know I will have to, simply because I've listed it down as part of a reading challenge for this year.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Giveaway of 2 SIGNED Jay Asher novels at Carolina Valdez Miller's blog

Hello everyone!

This is an announcement for a great giveaway happening over at the lovely Carolina Valdez Miller's blog.

She is giving away 2 stupendously fantastic books by author Jay Asher, one of them his popular title which is soon to be turned into a movie:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


and the other, an ARC of his yet-to-be released newest title which is very promising:

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

TheFutureof Us

and both are SIGNED copies!!!

This giveaway ends on Monday, October 24th.

So, stop wasting time and get over there now to enter.

You can enter by clicking HERE.

Good luck!:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Win Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston at LC's Adventures in Libraryland

The awsome Lea over at LC's Adventures in Libraryland is giving away a copy of this wonderful new fairy novel, which is the beginning of a very promising series I'm told, and you have a chance to win. Trust me when I say this novel is something to get excited about! I've heard lots of good things said about it and I'm quite eager to read it myself, so you should consider entering.

Rules are as follows:

  • ONE lucky winner will receive their own copy of Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
  • Contest ends on October 15, 2011
  • Open internationally to wherever The Book Depository ships!

You can go HERE to enter.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome Jill at Breaking the Spinewhere we all feature upcoming books we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m waiting on...

Crossed by Ally Condie

Hardcover, 384 pages

Expected publication: November 1st 2011 by Dutton Juvenile

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy.

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever."

Why I want to read this book:

After reading Matched by Ally Condie, I can say with complete certainty that this is the most anticipated sequel of the year for my mother and I. Cassia's and Ky's starcrossed romance has left us spellbound and practically attacking the mailman to see if our copy has arrived in the mail, in the hopes that the release date has been moved forward. *sigh* If only...

What are you waiting on this week?