30 May 2012

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.
Audience/Genre : Young Adult/Contemporary, Romance.
Publication : August 21st 2012 by HarperTeen.
After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.

Brilliant at bringing humor to the trials and tribulations of the lovestruck, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have crafted a tale that will resonate with any girl who has ever been in love or had her heart broken. It brims with smart observations, features a pitch-perfect teen voice, and will attract fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Barnholdt. Readers are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp spin on breaking up, making up, and getting even.


I love love love this cover! It's what made me want to read this book in the first place, followed by the blurb.
This is the first book I've read that's by Emma and Nicola, I wasn't aware that they wrote The Nanny Diaries until I started reading this but it made me all the more excited to read this.

Over You, for the most part, is the story of Max who after getting her heart broken, moves to New York and starts a company called Ex Inc. that helps girls after their brutal break-up and pick up the pieces again. Max has perfected, for lack of a better word, a system that helps girls get over their ex-boyfriends and become happy again.

Okay, to start with, we all know break-ups suck, irrespective of who does the dumping. If you're not over the guy, it's so freaking hard to even wake up every morning and get through the day. Emma and Nicola have nailed that feeling in this book. Max's usual speech that she gives to her clients is pretty much what every girl needs to hear when she's going through a break-up.

However, I have to say that although I enjoyed most of the book, I found it a little hard to get into the writing style. Maybe it's just me. It was told from a third person's POV and that didn't allow me to get to know the characters as well as I would've liked or get involved in the story as much . Also, there were a lot of plot holes that made the book a tad unrealistic. I think Over You would've worked better as chick lit where Max is an adult woman and not a teenager.

I liked Bridget and Taylor's story, Max's past and her friends. Most of the characters were likable and like I said, the post-break up feeling couldn't have been said any better. I adored the ending - the part with Max's interview. Honestly, Over You has its good and bad moments - when it was good, it was really good and when it went bad..it was pretty random. That being said, over all this was a cute, fun and a quick read. It's perfect for anyone who has just had a break up and needs to know that there's a happy ending.




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28 May 2012

In My Mailbox #13 / Book Haul (Birthday Edition =P)

Hey Guys,

I had my birthday last week and I ended up getting a lot of books thanks to my amazing boyfriend and family. I haven't got all of them yet but I'll do the rest for next week's book haul, hopefully I should get the rest of the books by then.








Books.



Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway.
Hunting Lila (Lila #1) by Sarah Alderson.
Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.
Saving June by Hannah Harrington.
Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) by Jessica Spotswood.
A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis.
Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton.
Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) by Courtney Allison Moulton.
Shade Trilogy by Jeri Smith-Ready. (I got the author's name wrong in the video, oops.)
Graceling Realm by Kristen Cashore.
The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima.
The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima.
Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin #1) by Jennifer Estep.
Black Wings (Madeline Black #1) by Christina Henry.
Mind Games (The Disillusionists #1) by Carolyn Crane.
Double Cross (The Disillusionists #2) by Carolyn Crane.
Sabina Kane Series by Jaye Wells.
The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1) by Gena Showalter.
Grave Witch (Alex Craft #1) by Kalayna Price.
Grave Dance (Alex Craft #2) by Kalayna Price.
Iron Crowned (Dark Swan #3) by Richelle Mead.
Shadow Heir (Dark Swan #4) by Richelle Mead.


E-Books. (For Review and Bought)





So that's all I got this week! Leave a link so I can check out your book haul as well :)

27 May 2012

Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day

Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Romance.
Publication : May 24th, 2012 by Penguin Group (USA).
Our journey began in fire...

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness—beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...


3.5 Stars


I've read Fifty Shades of Grey and while I understand what the appeal is - hot, sexy, broody billionaire with issues, who isn't attracted to that? - I'm don't belong to the group that loved the trilogy. I did like bits and pieces of those books but over all, the writing wasn't good enough to make me go gaga over it.

So, when I requested a review copy of Bared To You, I kept in mind that while my friends didn't find it as good as E.L. James' novels, we differed on our opinions about that trilogy.

I was right.

Having read this book, I have to say, I have no idea how on earth these two books are similar except for the rich and troubled bachelor part. To begin with, Bared To You was a million times better. Seriously. This book is for people like me, who liked the plot and the characters of 50 Shades but were disappointed with the writing.

Sylvia Day definitely has a way with words. Bared To You is wonderfully written, the words were descriptive and yet managed to be tasteful/classy most of the time. Going in, I really didn't expect to find so many quote-worthy lines.

Eva and Gideon are both deep characters with their own messed-up past to get over. I loved that Eva wasn't naive or easy, she had her pride and wasn't going to give in easily, no matter how rich, hot or mysterious the guy was. The Crossfire Series is not just about the dirty deed, it's got an actual story and romance that bring together two unlikely characters, despite their backgrounds and I loved that.
Sylvia Day mostly kept away from the cliché that followed the success of Fifty Shades and honestly, it was refreshing.

They weren't the only characters that mattered though. The author has not only focused on the protagonists but also the supporting characters. I liked Cary and the relationship he shared with Eva. I loved knowing about Eva's family and her life. They contributed to the the story and increased my involvement/attachment with the characters.

Bared To You is unique and sexy all on its own. Sure, it's a book that'll appeal to the same audience as Fifty Shades but this one speaks for itself. You know how in some of the books, when you're reading about the main characters their chemistry just jumps out right at you? Well, Bared To You gives you that feeling. Eva and Gideon's chemistry/romance was intense, passionate and addictive, it's the kind where you can't get enough and you desperately keep rooting for them to get their happy ending.





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Blog Tour : Trade Winds To Meluhha by Vasant Davé (Guest Post)


Today's Kindle and Me's stop for the Trade Winds To Meluha Blog Tour. I'm really happy to host Vasant Davé, author of Trade Winds To Meluha, here today.

Trade Winds To Meluhha by Vasant Davé.
Audience/Genre : Anyone/Historical Fiction.
Publication : January 14th 2012.
'Trade winds to Meluhha' is set in the Bronze Age. It narrates a young man SAMASIN's adventure in Mesopotamia and Indus Valley Civilization. He is charged with murder and escapes death through a rare astronomical event which is actually recorded in clay tablets excavated in ancient Babylon. He lands in Meluhha (Indus Valley) where besides the query he also finds wealth and love.


Can Pre-Historic fiction generate interest like other genres?


Pre-Historic fiction holds the potential to generate as much interest as other genres because the basic human behaviour has not changed over time – the Judas and the Brutus are there amongst us even today – and that is what creates an interesting story. Secondly, as the cliché goes, 'Truth is stranger than Fiction'. Archaeological evidence often throws up ironical situations which makes one wonder "Has Man's thinking evolved in pace with all the technological progress? Or has it regressed in some instances?" In this article I discuss my novel Trade winds to Meluhha in that light.

The narrative is set in ancient Mesopotamia and Indus Valley Civilization. Mesopotamia was spread over almost the entire part of the present day Iraq and portions of its neighbouring countries. Indus Valley, which the Mesopotamians knew as 'Meluhha', extended from Eastern Iran through Pakistan to Western India and from Southern Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea.

Considering the condition of most women in all these countries, it is unimaginable that their great greatn grandmothers were more emancipated. Many women knew reading and writing; they could possess property and seek divorce in the Mesopotamia of four millenniums ago. Thus a Mesopotamian lady named Elati is educated. She has obtained divorce from a wily man and is raising two children as a self-confident single woman.

Perceiving urban India as depicted in Danny Boyle's Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, would you ever believe that the Bronze Age ancestors of Indians and Pakistanis followed rigorous town-planning and had perfected underground drainage? Any small excavated site of the Indus Valley Civilization bears that out. The protagonist Samasin lives in and visits several well-planned Indus Valley towns. At the outset he also serves as a drainage supervisor in one of them.

Publishers Weekly reviewed my manuscript among the top 5% entries selected in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, 2012. One point it raised was that "Themes are introduced with capricious ease, leading characters to make stilted statements such as: 'Circumstances appeared to be fooling around with his fate.'" The 'statement' referred to Samasin's emotions after destiny rescued him second time from a gory death. Both instances came about with two rare astronomical events which actually happened in May, 2038 BC. They have been recorded on baked clay tablets excavated at a Mesopotamian site. But since I had overlooked putting that information in the manuscript, the reviewer at Publishers Weekly dismissed the events as a figment of imagination. (Incidentally, the publication of this article today celebrates the 4,150th anniversary of the second event mentioned above)

The legendary explorer Thor Heyerdahl, in his inimitable style of taking bull by its horns, sailed from the Tigris to River Indus in a reed ship. Starting from Iraq, it crossed the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea and covered about 3,000 Km. to reach Pakistan. Thus it proved beyond doubt that marine travel between the two ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Indus Valley was possible during the Bronze Age when iron was not yet discovered and the magnetic compass did not even exist. In Trade winds to Meluhha, the protagonist flees to the Indus Valley in a reed ship.

In Asia, leopards and pythons often stray into remote settlements and attack humans. My father used to recall an incident in which a leopard had attacked a Rabari woman grazing cattle in the woods of Wankaner. The Rabaris are nomads who wander with their cattle throughout Western and Northern India – the territory where hundreds of Indus Valley settlements have been discovered. Their women used to put on thick ivory wristlets till recently. The victim shoved one hand into the leopard’s open mouth which the brute was unable to shut due to her ivory wristlet. She pounded its skull with the wristlet on her other hand. Although seriously wounded, she killed the animal with bare hands and dragged it by its tail to the nearest village. Risks inherent in the environment dictate human behaviour, and I based one episode in the narrative upon that unbelievable incident.

Thus by researching the ancient period, an author can uncover many interesting aspects about the life during those times. And those unique characteristics could be used to produce an absorbing Historical Fiction.



Vasant Davé is an electrical engineer from the University of Bombay. He holds a post-graduate certificate in marketing and has received training at National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Tata Management Training Center and XLRI School of Business. He served engineering industry for 24 years. For another 8 years, he travelled widely in India conducting Industrial Market Research for corporate clients in the U.K., Germany, Israel, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

During one of his frequent tours he happened to visit Lothal and was awed to learn that it was a sea-port that conducted maritime business with Mesopotamia. Subsequently he visited other Indus Valley archaeological sites and had had discussions with authorities on the subject. He completed writing his first novel 'Trade winds to Meluhha' in 2011.

Earlier, Vasant's articles were published in Readers' Digest, Economic Times, Business India, Telematics India and Studio Systems. His technical background helped him to understand and apply historical, geographical, environmental and cultural nuances bearing upon the life during the Bronze Age, the period in which 'Trade winds to Meluhha' is set.





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25 May 2012

Splash Into Summer Blog Hop International Giveaway!




It's another blog hop! As usual, I'm keeping it simple so the rules will be listed below. Thanks to Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this hop! Make sure you check out the link below the rafflecopter to visit the other blogs participating in the hop, there's lots of prizes to be won, believe me.



Prize :


Book Of Your Choice Worth $15 or less!



Giveaway Terms and Conditions :

  • Giveaway is International. as long as The Book Depository ships to you.
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond or a new one will be picked.
  • Giveaway runs from May 25th - May 31st, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click here to see the other blogs participating in the hop so you can enter their giveaways!

24 May 2012

Blog Tour : Etiquette for an Apocalypse by Anne Mendel (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Etiquette for an Apocalypse by Anne Mendel.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Post-Apocalyptic, Comedy.
Publication : April 22nd 2012 by Bracket Press.
It’s the 2020 Apocalypse and Sophie Cohen, former social worker turned neighborly drug dealer, must keep her family alive amid those pesky end of the world issues: starvation, earthquakes, plagues, gang violence and alas more starvation.She investigates a serial killing and takes down the sinister emerging power structure while learning to use a pizza box solar oven, bond with her chickens and blast tin cans from the perimeter fence with a Ruger 9MM.

In order to accomplish all this she must find a way to love her mother, accept her daughter’s adulthood and reignite her moribund marriage.

She might discover that a decentralized, consensus driven life—without fossil fuels, iPhones and chocolate éclairs—isn’t the end of the world, after all.

I'm so happy to have to have Anne Mendel on the blog today! We have a guest post, followed by an international giveaway, so , read on :)

X, thank you so much for asking me to guest blog on Kindle and Me.

I’ve just published a book, Etiquette for an Apocalypse. It’s a post-apocalyptic/mystery/thriller/comedy. I had many reasons for writing a “harrowing and hilarious” (at least this is what the reviewers say) book.

To start with, 64% of Americans are not ready to deal with a three-day emergency. So, not many people are ready to deal with long term emergencies. That’s why learning skills, such as how to tie a good knot and plant a garden are so important to learn right now. Also, building personal resilience and making friends with your neighbors (remember to take them chocolate chip cookies today) are key.

Many of us have lost our survival instincts. I would probably last two or three days in an apocalyptic scenario. It’s sort of a “do as I say, not as I do” thing for me. I’m the Clark Kent who never figures out how to become Superman. My protagonist, Sophie, is my alter ego. She is street smart, practical and resilient. I’ve learned how to water-proof matches, make a fire with pocket lint and shoot a gun. I’m also very good at reading books on survival; and above that, writing books on survival. But no one, I mean no one, knows who they are or who they can become until they are faced with the situation.

Most of my main characters are women; but I do think both men and women bring different strengths to a dire situation. It depends on the crisis. If it has to do with competition, violence and aggression, I’ll probably choose a man. They have 50% more upper body strength than women and a mass of testosterone. I have a growing appreciation of that fact. But, if we’re talking about compromise, negotiation, cunning and improvisation, I’ll take a woman. That’s not to say there aren’t remarkable men and women who can do all these things.

Hard times can push all of us to be our best or worst selves. Men, women, families and communities can bond or they can be torn apart. That’s where learning resilience skills comes in. For example, I’m working on upping my tolerance for people who drive me crazy. I’m trying to grasp what puts certain people on the short list to extinction and figure out the skills that make a person valuable in hard times. You know how we make fun on Basket Weaving 101 and think Intro to Philosophy 101 is important? Knowing how to Basket Weave will bond you to your tribe—Knowing about Descartes and existentialism or being charming or beautiful, not so much.

And lastly, why did I make it a comedy in the middle of such tragedy? While not as important as clean water and gorp, laughter is a major component of resilience. If you can make people laugh, they will keep you around even if you can’t grow things or make a bug catcher for termite soup.


Giveaway Terms & Conditions :

  • Giveaway is International.
  • Winner'll be picked on May 31st, 2012 and has 36 hours to respond before a new one's picked.
  • I'm in no way responsible for the shipment of the book. It's the author/publisher's responsibility.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anne Mendel grew up in Arkansas and actually attended Miss Ashleigh’s Charm school. She learned nothing about dealing with disasters, (unless breaking a high heel is a disaster). Before she began writing full time she was a community organizing advocate for women and girls. Mendel’s two sons are in college. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. Her muse is her dog Humphrey.








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Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1) by Michelle Rowen

Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1) by Michelle Rowen .
Audience/Genre : Young Adult/Paranormal.
Publication : May 29th 2012 by Harlequin Teen.
I don't do dangerous. Smart, über-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me.... NIGHTWATCHERS When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising...

The cover was pretty much enough to convince me to read this book but add the blurb, I'm sold. I'm a sucker for all things paranormal but have a bigger thing for stories about angels and demons. The whole Heaven versus Hell thing can never get tiring. I have to say though, with Dark Kiss, Michelle Rowen's put an awesome twist on the concept of Heaven and Hell with Angels and Demons working together.

The story begins with an angel named Bishop being sent to Earth on a mission to stop something bad that's happening and to protect it from a bigger disaster, namely, the 'Grays' - a type of soulless creatures that suck the soul our from humans through a kiss and make them a 'Gray' as well. Too bad Samantha gets kissed right at the beginning.
Honestly, I don't want to give too much of the plot away because not knowing what to expect is what made this book a real page turner for me. So, I'm not writing a synopsis this time.

When I started reading Dark Kiss, I knew right away that I'd like it, or at the very least, be able to connect to it because Rowen's writing was extremely relatable. The way Samantha thinks/speaks and her relationship with Carly reminded me of me as a teenager in some ways.
I was right there with Samantha the entire time, asking all these questions in my head and looking for answers.

Dark Kiss has an excellent plot going for it and even better characters. I was rooting for Sam and Bishop the entire time and it's been a while since a YA book couple made me do that. I was dying for one of them to make a move through out the novel! The chemistry between them is awesome and Rowen's writing nailed all the right words to make my heart flutter!

It's probably wrong of me to have a thing for Team Hell but Kraven is just so hot. I loved his sarcasm and bad boy attitude.

The reason I'm not rating this 5 stars is because while the plot and the writing were really good, they weren't intense enough for me. It's definitely a 4 star read, don't doubt that. I just need a bit of darkness, passion and intensity. I need to go through hell, or rather, an emotional roller-coaster before I see the light for me to rate a book 5 stars. Dark Kiss did have traces of it though and I'm seriously dying to read book two in the NightWatchers series! I need more Bishop and Kraven and I need it NOW.






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23 May 2012

Insignia (Insignia #1) by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia (Insignia #1) by S.J. Kincaid.
Audience/Genre : Young Adult/ Sci-Fi, Futuristic.
Publication : July 10th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Teen).
More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.



God, it's been so long since I read a book that had me tearing through the pages. A million zillion thanks to Harper Teen for letting me read this in advance.

Insignia's set in the future, it's World War Three and everything's different. Tom, our protagonist, is a gangly, pimply teenager whose life is heading nowhere since school's not really been in the picture for a while and most of the time, he's gambling (illegally) because that's the only thing his father's taught him. However, it's a different kind of gambling - Tom's a gamer.

There's only one thing Tom fears ; that he'd end up like his father, heading no where in life. So when he's given the opportunity of a lifetime, he jumps at it. Tom's been offered a chance to join the Pentagonal Spire, a military academy that accepts and trains only the best teenagers from around the world to fight in the war.

Insignia is crazy, in an omg-freaking-amazing kind of way. I don't even know where to begin - the world building, characters, plot? Seriously, this book is all kinds of awesome! Kincaid's world is addictive and extremely sophisticated.

It's almost impossible to find a flaw with this book because the story's so well thought. The characters are incredible and some of them, endearing. I loved all of Tom's friends! Tom's world is, for lack of a better word, just cool and I wanted to so badly be a part of it. The plot's so unique and riveting, you won't be able to put this book down.

I have to add this though - there were times when I found it it all too much to absorb, it was an information overload but eventually, I caught up.

Insignia has pre-order written all over it. Gamers and tech geeks, this one's for us! Read it!






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Blog Tour : Sound of the Heart by Genevieve Graham (Excerpt + Signed Giveaway)


Today's Kindle and Me's stop on the Sound of the Heart by Genevieve Graham Blog Tour and I have an excerpt and a grand giveaway of a signed copy and relaxation music cds for you, thanks to the author!


Sound of the Heart by Genevieve Sawchyn.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Historical Fiction,Romance.
Publication : May 1st 2012 by Berkley Trade.

Dougal MacDonnell, a fierce warrior from the Highlands of Scotland, is able to hear the thoughts of other men and dream how the future will unfold. Devastated by the loss of his family during the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he fosters a deep hatred for the English. But when Glenna, the love of his life and a Scottish outlaw, is captured and shipped overseas, Dougal is forced to join an English army made of vanquished Scots. Now fighting on the side of his sworn enemies, he embarks on a journey that will take him across the seas to the colonies. There he will risk everything for the chance to find his true love.





Excerpt



He leaned against the thick trunk of an oak, hidden from view, and watched her work. She leaned over a trap, setting to her work with her normal efficient manner, cutting the carcass from its noose and tying it to her belt. She moved like a man, only smoother. Fluid, he thought. Like a strong, capable deer. He liked observing her when she didn’t know he was there.

“What are ye watchin'?” she asked, her gaze still on the trap she was resetting. Dougal jumped but didn’t speak. “Dougal,” she said, standing upright. She rested her fists on her hips and tilted her head, giving him a look that made him feel as he had twenty odd years before, when his mother called him on something he’d done. “I asked what ye were watchin'.”

He stepped out of his apparently poor place of concealment and walked toward her. She grinned at him. “How ye manage to be such a skilled hunter I'll ne'er understand,” she said. “I could hear ye breathin' a mile away.”

“Ye've the ears of a squirrel,” he grumbled.

She nodded, then returned to her earlier line of questioning. “What were ye doin' there?”

“I came to see … I was worried that … I thought maybe …” He winced, realising how pathetic he sounded. He leaned down to pluck a tiny purple flower from the grass and snapped the bloom between his fingers.

“You were worried? About me? Since when? After all ye’ve seen me do, ye’d ken that most of the time I’m just fine on my own, thank ye very much.” She glared at him. “I'm no' delicate flower, Dougal MacDonnell.” She gestured toward the torn flower between his fingers. “I'm no' shrinkin' violet either. If I'm a flower at all, I'm maybe—” She paused and grabbed the crushed flower from Dougal’s grip. “Maybe I’m a thistle. Ye’d best not squeeze me too hard.” She slid her knife back into its sheath, keeping shrewd eyes on him. “Ye know what? I'm sick o' this, Dougal. O' the way ye treat me these days. I'm no different, but ye are. What is it wi' ye? Why do ye sneak around behind me all the time, watchin'? Why can ye no' be yerself anymore?”

He shrugged. “I've no idea.”

“Ye'd best just say it,” she demanded. “For if ye dinna speak yer mind this will never ease between us an' it will end badly.”

“I canna say what I am thinkin', because I dinna ken what it is.”

“Ye do.”

“I don't.”

She shoved his shoulder and he stepped obligingly back. She came closer and pushed him again, harder this time. He frowned and his backward movement was less.

“That's right,” she said. Her eyes glittered with anger. “I'm askin' ye to be the man ye were. The man ye are now isna worth a pot to piss in. Ye dinna speak of anythin' worthwhile, ye dinna laugh, ye dinna do anythin'! Ye're dull as a stone!” She shoved him hard again. This time he tripped back, then stepped forward and grabbed her wrist, holding it in place.

“Don't do this,” he said, almost pleading.

In response, she slapped his face with the hand he wasn't holding. He shook his head to clear the sting, then grabbed that wrist as well. She leaned toward him, trying to put her face in front of his, but he was a foot taller. She hissed up at him through bared teeth.

“Do somethin', Dougal MacDonnell. Dinna turn into some ninny. Do somethin'.”

“I dinna have to do anythin'. I've no need to prove myself.”

“Oh no? Then why is it ye're spendin’ so much time talkin' of things that dinna matter? Why do ye try to do more than ye did before? Is it because so small an' weak an' helpless? Ye need to show me what a big man ye are? Is that it?”

“No …” he said, but his voice lacked conviction.

She pressed even closer to him. Her voice lowered to a dangerous level, almost a whisper. Almost the sound he’d heard her make in her sleep. “Do ye think I canna take care o' myself anymore? Is that why ye came out here jus' now? Well, I can do jus' fine on my own, sir. I heard ye comin', an' I'd hear that lot if they came within a mile o' me.”

Dougal felt the air buzzing between them, felt the pulse hammering in her wrists beneath his fingertips. Her eyes were furious, glowering at him like blue flames, challenging him. “What do ye want?” he demanded. “What do ye want me to do?”

“Anythin’! Just be the Dougal ye were, man. Dinna tend to me as if I were a child. I’m still me. Why aren’t you still you? Do something, Dougal. Do something!”

So he kissed her. He dropped her wrists and seized the sides of her face, bringing her lips to his. She pulled instinctively away, but he held on, kissing her mouth, slightly open with surprise. He touched the skin he had longed to touch ever since he'd first found out the truth about her. It was warm, hot even, because she was angry. He felt his own face warm as he sank into the kiss.

She was so small, just like she'd said. Despite what she claimed, the bones he held between his hands were so wee, so delicate, fitting into the palms of his hands like she was made to be there. He slid one hand down her back so it rested on her waist and pulled her snug against him. He felt her body adjust, felt her muscles bunch up in response. Yes! Yes, this was what he'd been wanting. His blood sang, tingling his fingers, dancing in his lips—

And she bit him. He yelped and stepped back, rubbing his lower lip.

“What—” he cried, but she was there first.

“What was that?” she shrieked, sounding out of breath. Now it was her own hands clutching her face, her fingertips digging into bright red cheeks. “Ye jus' think ye can … Ye grab me an' … I canna believe ye'd—” She exhaled quickly and spun away, heading back toward her trapline.

“Oh no, ye don't,” Dougal said, finally roused. A ninny? She’d see he was no ninny. “Ye canna dare me as such, then spurn me. I'll no' have it.”

“Spurn ye? Spurn ye?” she hissed at him. “Is that what ye think this is? Ye think ye can—Och!” Her fingers went to her hair, gripping the roots of it so the long blonde locks popped out from between her fingers. She held her head tight, as if afraid it might explode. Even standing like this, angrier than he’d ever seen her, he admired her. Maybe even more. Her hair was smooth and golden, shining with sunlight since she’d washed it that morning. He had traded for some lye soap in the nearby village, and she'd been ecstatic after she’d cleaned her hair with it. He had thought she was beautiful before, but now, furious and flushed, he thought he'd never seen anything quite so magnificent. “I said for ye to do somethin', but I didna mean—”

“Aye, ye did,” he said, his mouth quirking up in a smile. She tightened her lips and shook her head slowly, but without much conviction. Her eyes darted to the right, then the left, like she was thinking, looking for words.

But Dougal now knew. What he wanted more than anything in the world was to repeat his performance, hold her and kiss her until neither could breathe. But he held back. It was up to her now. She'd asked for him to do something, and he had.

“Right. I'm goin' for a swim,” he said, and walked away.


Giveaway Terms and Conditions :

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  • I'm in noway responsible for you receiving your prizes, it's the author/publisher's responsibility.

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Genevieve Graham graduated from the University of Toronto in 1986 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance (playing the oboe). While on a ski vacation in Alberta, she met her future husband in a chairlift lineup and subsequently moved to Calgary to be with him. They have recently settled in a small, peaceful town in Nova Scotia with their two beautiful daughters. Writing became an essential part of Genevieve’s life a few years ago, when she began to write her debut novel, Under the Same Sky. The companion novel, Sound of the Heart, will be in stores May 1, 2012.


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22 May 2012

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie (Interview + Giveaway)

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Romance, Chicklit, Women's fiction.
Publication : May 15th, 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers.

Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can't seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she's engaged, Anne can't help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn't a dating service; it's an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it-and the company's success rate-the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn't it work for her?

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack. And against all odds, it seems to be working out-until Anne learns that Jack, and the company that arranged their marriage, are not what they seem at all.

I'm thrilled to have Catherine McKenzie, one of the awesomest chick lit/women's fiction authors around, featured on my blog today. I was lucky enough to get an interview with her and also, thanks to Harper Collins USA/ William Morrow Paperbacks, I have one paperback copy of Arranged to giveaway! (US Only). Moving on to the interview...

If you had to describe Arranged in 3 words, what would they be?

Fun, thought-provoking, page-turner (see how I cheated and got five words in there!)

First Spin and now Arranged, both with unique plots, what inspired the story of Arranged?

Thanks! I know a couple of people who have had traditional arranged marriages and I always wondered what really made them do it. One day I asked myself whether anyone would use an arranged marriage service if they hadn't been brought up in that tradition. And I couldn't get the idea ought of my head.

Why the Anne of Green Gables reference? Any particular reason?

When I tried to imagine someone who might use that kind of service I thought that it might occur to someone who started out with such a romantic idea about love, a fateful idea, and had had it crushed one too many times. One way that people become like that (I think) is that this is what happens in books. I love the Anne books, and in part I love them precisely because they have a made-to-be love story in them. But like Rob asks himself in High Fidelity: are you sad because you listen to sad songs, or do you listen to sad songs because you're sad. Are people hopeless romantics because of books or is it the other way around. Anywho, as part of exploring that idea, I decided to up the ante and have the main character be named after Anne. So she couldn't help being drawn to that fairytale kind of story.

What's your take on arranged marriages? Do you think they work?

Like any marriage, I think some of them do, some of them don't. I think it depends on what you expect from it, and how you work on it.

What kind/genre of books do you enjoy reading?

I have very eclectic tastes: I read detective fiction, non-fiction, history, novels. Some of my favorite authors are: Jane Austen, Nick Hornby, Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, James Frey, Audrey Niffenegger and Shawn Klomparens.

Favorite Chick Flick?
I confess to having an odd weakness for The Lake House. Don't laugh at me.

Is there a book/movie quote that you love? What is it?

The scene from The Princess Bride that I quote in Spin: "Never start a land war in Asia." I also can quote large parts of Bull Durham and High Fidelity (and frequently do).

Favorite Travel Destination?
It's a tie between Cabo in Baja California, Mexico and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Neither can be beat for breathtaking beauty. And I've been lucky to spend a lot of time in both places.

Vanilla or Chocolate?

Vanilla. It sounds so boring but I LOVE vanilla ice cream.

If Arranged was made into a movie, who do you think should play Anne and Jack?
Honestly, I have no idea! And on the off chance it ever gets made into a movie I don't want to have a fixed idea.

That was fun! If you haven't already read Catherine's books Arranged or Spin, do so immediately, I love her books! Check out my review of Spin and Arranged if you'd like :) Okay now it's giveaway time!

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  • Winner has 48 hours to respond, or a new one's chosen.
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21 May 2012

Scorpio Rising (The Scorpio Series #1) by Monique Domovitch (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Scorpio Rising (The Scorpio Series #1) by Monique Domovitch.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Historical Fiction.
Publication : September 15th 2011 by Lansen Publishing.
Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio Rising takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes.

There is Alex Ivanov, the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves.

Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.

Monique Domovitch’s debut novel, Scorpio Rising, is a compelling tale filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio Rising promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.

I'm happy to feature Scorpio Rising (The Scorpio Series, #1) by Monique Domovitch today. The author's insanely generous and is willing to giveaway two copies! One's for someone from US/Canada and one's International. Cool huh? Well, check out the excerpt and if this seems like a book you'd enjoy, enter the giveaway :) Happy Reading!


Scorpio Rising Excerpt

Giveaway Terms & Conditions :

  • Giveaway is International.
  • There will be two winners, one picked from within the US/Canada and one International.
  • Winners have 36 hours to respond or a new one will be picked.


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Monique Domovitch was born the first in a family of ten children in a small town in Northern Ontario, and maintains to this day that she was not harmed by the experience. She attended The Sacred Heart Convent, a boarding school where she learned to keep her hands folded neatly in her lap and to smile vaguely when people use profane language around her. Her first job was as a fashion model, and she is credited with the invention of the famous pouty pose that is now used by top models everywhere. She has turned thirty nine again this year and pledges to do it again next year. Just like everybody else in the world, she is working on a new novel, this one, her fourth.



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20 May 2012

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti.
Audience/Genre : Young Adult/Contemporary.
Publication : May 31st 2012 by Viking Juvenile.
Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.

This book is very different from the rest of Susane Colasanti's books, she doesn't focus on romance as much here and that's in a good way.

To say that I enjoyed this book wouldn't be right but I have to say that it definitely made an impact. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't this. I thought the book would be about a girl who's a loner in high school and boy who gets her out of her shell and makes it all better but boy was I wrong. Noelle finds her own way in this book. It isn't about a boy and a girl, this is completely Noelle's story.

Noelle's high school experience is brutal. She gets bullied, made fun of and avoided by most of her peers and the sad thing is, they don't even really know her. I think the writing in Keep Holding On beats all the other books written by Susane. Noelle's voice is unique, strong and holds your attention, despite what happened to her, making it really hard to stop reading. The whole time, I kept flipping the pages wanting to know that those kids get it back in someway for being so cruel.

I'll admit that a few of the incidents were a bit extreme and I don't see that happening in reality and adults shutting up about it. It's also a little hard to believe that after Noelle was put through so much hell throughout high school and all of a sudden, because of one major incident, she has a moment of clarity that changes her entire life and personality. It's just not something that can be done immediately, emotional/physical wounds can't heal overnight no matter what happens, at least not without the right support system but since this is a book, I can appreciate that this was written bearing in mind message the author's trying to get across - things will get better.

Once you get past the little flaws in the story, I've to say that Keep Holding On is Susane Colasanti's best one yet. The writing's riveting and the plot is powerful. Noelle's story is one that's just waiting to be heard and anyone who has been bullied or is against bullying would definitely want to read this.





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19 May 2012

Worth The Risk by Robin Bielman

Worth The Risk by Robin Bielman.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Romance.
Publication : April 25th 2012 by Ever After (Entangled Publishing).

Their love was ancient history...until their paths crossed again.

Samantha Bennett put Dean Malloy out of her mind five years ago, when he broke her heart after a summer fling. But now he's back in her life, and ready to steal a heritage protection contract that could make or break her career--if he doesn't steal her heart first. Samantha's vowed to hate him, but it's more than anger heating the competition between them.

With sparks flying across the conference table and sizzling in every touch, Dean proposes a weekend liaison. Anything to have Sam again; anything to get her out of his system. But the unresolved feelings between them complicate both their personal and professional lives, and one wild weekend could turn into a disaster that would destroy the one job that means more to Samantha than anything. For a shot at love...is it worth the risk?



Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

I've officially changed my mind about novellas/short stories. They can be pretty amazing and this book proved that because it had me smiling and swooning in such a short time. I started reading Worth The Risk late last night and I picked it up because I knew I didn't want to stay up all night reading again. I wanted a quick, happy read and Worth The Risk was perfect for that.

Dean and Samantha share a past together, they're each other's first and only love but as it's expected from most men in their early twenties, Dean's priorities rested somewhere else and he left Sam heartbroken. Years later, they meet again as competitors trying to land the same account but their professional rivalry just ends up bringing memories/emotions from the past but will Sam's not sure if she trusts Dean enough not to break her heart again.

It's really hard for me to believe that this is Robin Bielman's debut because it's one of the most well written romances I've come across, especially for a book that's less than 200 pages! The chapters transitioned smoothly and the story had a good, solid pace through out. The chemistry between Dean and Sam is awesome and Robin Bielman may have just written one of the hottest kisses to exist in the romance genre - really, it's one hell of a kiss!

Romance lovers will thoroughly enjoy this story, it doesn't fall short in anyway. I loved every moment of this book, right from start to finish. The story was clearly written after a lot of research as Sam and Dean's character background isn't one that can be pulled out of thin air,. Robin Bielman is definitely a romance author to watch out for and I can't wait to read more books by her! Robin's writing style and story has the feel of a Julie James novel and if you like her books, you'll love Worth The Risk!





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Painted Black by Debra R. Borys (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Painted Black by Debra R. Borys.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Mystery,Crime,Suspense.
Publication : December 27th 2011 by New Libri Press.
Painted Black is a novel about two Chicago street people, teenagers not even old enough to vote or fight for their country or drink a beer, legally that is. They’ve been kicked in the face, cursed and, worst of all, ignored and yet they continue to say screw you. They fight to survive, to thrive.

Lexie Green has been selling herself for drug money ever since her mama kicked her out at thirteen. A dope sick street kid will do anything to get high again. Anything to scratch the itchy palms, ease the stomach cramps, control the vomiting. But when she’s asked to pose nude with a bizarre collection of freeze-dried corpses–the freak show seems too much to face alone.

Christopher Robert Young, Cry for short, couldn’t use addiction as an excuse. He told himself he went with Lexie to keep her safe, that it had nothing to do with his struggle to avoid hustling along the harbor like Tito and the others. Selling blowjobs for forty bucks, however, pales in comparison to the macabre scene he finds at Sloan and Whiteside’s funeral home where they freeze dry the dead like special order pizzas.

Until she met Lexie and Chris, reporter Jo Sullivan’s column at Winds of Change was just a job to pay the bills. But when the young girl, with her haunting eyes and eerie tale, disappears, Jo finds herself caught up in the lives of those homeless people she used to just write about. As she and Chris try to unravel the twisted mystery at Sloan and Whiteside’s, Jo can’t help comparing the dark heart of the city with the dark shadows in her own family’s past.

Excerpt.


Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Painted Black.

She let Keisha do most of the talking as Jo drove. The night view going north along Lake Shore Drive always drew her eye. The dark distance across the water to her right, the city lights like stars on a geometric horizon ahead. Energizing. Intriguing. Inviting.
Finding a parking space vented the rest of Jo's anger. She could even grin as she gave a driver the finger for nosing out too far in the walkway they had to cross. He responded with a bored flip of his own.

Then she noticed Keisha had stopped. She was staring at something across Broadway.

"What's up?"

Street lights washed out the blink of green neon from the Hotel Chateau. Most of the windows had drapes drawn closed; half of them hung crooked on their rods. Near the entrance stood a young woman, hands in the pockets of a short jacket with the collar turned up. When the girl noticed them, she hurried around the corner.

"Lexie," Keisha called and headed after her. Jo followed. "Alexis, I know it's you. Quit trying to get away." To Jo, she added, "She's just a kid."

When the girl turned and waited with a sullen expression, Jo saw what Keisha meant. Despite the reek of perfume, thick layers of eye shadow, and mascara that turned her lashes into tarantula legs, she could not have been older than fifteen.

They stood by a playground of brightly painted equipment. Swing sets, slides and climbing bars strong and sturdy and still unrusted. By contrast, through a window of the pockmarked hotel behind the park, faded wallpaper hung in strips.

"I didn't do nothing," the girl said.

"Look at you." Keisha waved to emphasize her point. Under Lexie's jacket, a black tube top clung to her breasts. The leather mini-skirt wrapped around her hips looked so tight Jo thought it must hurt.

"What?" Lexie said, avoiding eye contact. "I'm not doing nothing wrong," she said again.

"I don't like seeing you here, Lexie," Keisha said quietly. "I wish you had somewhere to stay."
"Yeah, well--" Lexie looked down. "--I don't."

Now Jo understood. Despite Keisha's often hectic schedule, she found time to volunteer at the Night Moves Center for homeless youth. She identified with them because she almost ended up one of them. Raised on the South Side, struggling financially, only her mother's love and strong will had saved her.

Jo studied Lexie in the dim light. She looked half child, half whore. Skin as dark as freshly-turned top soil, hair drawn back, finely curved cheek bones. Her jaw jutted out defiantly. A large man's hand could have wrapped around her throat with fingers nearly touching thumb.
"Stop by the Center tomorrow, okay?" Keisha reached out and tucked a stray curl behind Lexie's ear. "It's my day to work. We can talk."
"Yeah, sure." Lexie still studied the sidewalk.

Keisha put a hand on her arm to get her to look up. "I mean it," she said. "I'll worry if you don't come."

Keisha earned her living as a model. Most people only saw the perfect, coppery complexion, the fine figure, the stylish clothes. But at that moment, Lexie looked at Keisha the way someone dying of thirst looked at a glass of water.

"Lunchtime tomorrow," Keisha continued. "I'll be waiting." She touched the girl's arm again and Lexie nodded agreement. "Good. Now take care, you hear?" Jo and Keisha started to turn away.

"Wait." The word seemed to rush out of Lexie before she could think. They looked back. "I was wondering if, you know, if you could--" she looked at Jo, then quickly back at Keisha. "Could you buy me something to eat, maybe? I'm awful hungry."

Jo had a second to picture this half naked child seated at a corner table set with fine linen and Waterford crystal before Keisha said, "How about a burrito?"


Giveaway Terms & Conditions :

  • Giveaway is International.
  • Prize is an e-book copy of Painted Black, which is adult so it's up to you to know if you can read it or not.
  • I'm in no way responsible to make sure you get the book, it's the author/publisher's responsibility.


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I have been reading since before I knew the alphabet, thanks to my mother who would read to me and always had great books on my toy shelves. Once I learned my ABCs, there was no holding me back from writing as well. Mystery and suspense are my favorite genres to both read and write, but I also enjoy sci-fi and historical fiction. Dorothy Dunnett is my favorite historical author, for instance. In addition to my recently released novel Painted Black, I have had several short stories published, most of them mysteries. I also run a freelance business which currently focuses on writing or editing fiction for hire, but also includes a wide range of commercial writing as well: articles, news features, blogging, etc..



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18 May 2012

The Edge Of Desire by Tuhin A. Sinha

The Edge Of Desire by Tuhin A. Sinha.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Crime, Political Fiction.
Publication : May 15th 2012 by Hachette India.
When journalist Shruti Ranjan, newly-wed wife of the Deputy Commissioner of Kishanganj in the lawless Bihar of the 1990s, is brutally raped by a ‘politically sheltered local goon’ all of her attempts at getting justice are crushed by a corrupt and complicit state government. That’s when the charismatic Sharad Malviya, a leading member of the Opposition party, offers her an unlikely solution: his party’s ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

Left with little to choose from, Shruti agrees, only to realize that being catapulted to an enviable position of power in an all-man’s world comes at a price. Caught between her mentor and her spouse – both upright but ultimately flawed men – and a host of envious others who continue to cast aspersions on her character, she struggles to address the larger problems of the country.

Thanks to Hachette India for providing me a Review Copy.

Heads Up : This is going to be one of my longest reviews ever.


Anyone who knows me would know that I don't read much of Indian writing, not because I have something against it (which obviously, I don't) but more because I can't relate to the writing style. However, after reading the synopsis, I started reading The Edge Of Desire, not just with an open mind but also with a lot of interest because the plot seemed to be deep and powerful.

Let me begin with this - Tuhin Sinha's writing is nothing like the stuff I've read before by Indian writers. It's simple and concise and sometimes, that makes for the best kind of story telling, like it does this book. His to-the-point writing style gave the protagonist - Shruti Ranjan - 's voice an added strength that leads you to both understand and admire her.

Shruti is an ex-journalist from Delhi who, after finding her boyfriend in bed with her best friend, moves back to her hometown to live with her parents. Due constant pressure from her parents, Shruti caves in and agrees to an arranged marriage to Rohit, Deputy Commissioner of Kishanganj; a town in Bihar that's not ruled by the Government but instead thugs, with the local government authorities helping them. This marriage and move leads to the most traumatic event of Shruti's life, one that eventually ends in her taking a completely different direction/journey than the one she imagined.

The Edge of Desire is a book that explores almost every form of sin and corruption that exists in India and it's legal system. I'm from India and I've lived in my own protected bubble but even I know that politics can get down right dirty in my country and it's best to stay clear of it.

I can't put my thoughts completely in words about this book.
I felt a whole range of emotions - sadness, anger, frustration, more anger, betrayal and anger again. The sad thing is, you read about things like this in the paper all the time and you feel sorry for the girl - someone you don't know -and that's it. That's as far as you feel about these issues but when you read a book, it's a completely different experience. You get to know the character, understand her and feel a sense of loyalty. That makes reading/hearing/seeing the things happen from her point of view so much harder to deal with. Well, at least, it's what happened to me while reading this.

With The Edge Of Desire, Tuhin Sinha has created vivid characters and a violet, powerful plot that will definitely affect all its readers. I should warn you, it's not for the faint of heart because the author isn't afraid to get to the dark and gritty places and that's what makes it literally unputdownable. I actually felt pained when I read about what was happening to Shruti. There were characters I absolutely hated but I have to hand it to the author for evoking such strong emotions in me just through his words.
If you think you can handle it, get yourself a copy of The Edge of Desire right away!





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17 May 2012

Blog Tour : Taking Charge by Mandy Baggot (Guest Post + Giveaway)




Hello everyone, we're joined today by Mandy Baggot, author of Taking Charge and several other romance/chick lit novels and one of the coolest authors around! We have a guest post by Mandy followed by an e-book giveaway of Taking Charge so don't miss out on entering!

Taking Charge by Mandy Baggot.
Audience/Genre : Adult, Romance/Chick Lit.
Publication : May 1st, 2012 by Sapphire Star Publishing.

Is going back Robyn’s only way forward?

American-born Robyn Matthers is going home. With her dad in hospital, his roadhouse in ruins and the ice hockey team slipping down the league, she needs to take charge. But does she have the strength to do it?

Cole Ryan is a hockey player on a personal mission. He’s tall, dark, hot and Robyn’s noticed! But can she trust her feelings - or his? And what will Cole do when he finds out the truth about her?

Robyn returns to Michigan and things aren’t quite the same. Her best friend has grown up and is thinking about marriage and babies, the ice hockey team is no longer the life blood of the community and her father is engaged!

When Robyn’s twin cousins drag up past events that hold painful memories for her, she and Cole are forced together. But are either of them ready to start something new?

With an ill father, a trailer trash almost step-mom and ex-boyfriend Brad desperate for another chance, does Robyn have time to contemplate a relationship? Does she really want one? And is it physically possible for two people to fall in love in just three days?


Who’s Who on the big screen?



Hi Anjana, thank you so much for hosting me and Taking Charge on your website!

Now obviously every author’s dream is for their novel to be made into a film for millions to see at the cinema, but if that dream ever came true who would you pick? Here are my dream authors for the roles in Taking Charge!



Robyn Matthers played by Amanda Seyfried


Now a lot of you will know Amanda best from her role in Mamma Mia where she played a very girlie girl. Robyn is a complete tom boy but Amanda definitely has Robyn’s look and if she’s a good enough actress she could pull the role off!



Cole Ryan played by Robbie Amell


I would love to have given the role to Freddie Prinze Jr. but unfortunately he isn’t twenty five any more *sob*. So I have given it to the equally hunky Robbie Amell, best know for his role in the Scooby Doo TV films and roles on Nickelodeon. The only problem is the eye colour. Cole Ryan has dark eyes to drown in and Robbie doesn’t – coloured contact lenses?



Eddie Matthers played by Dennis Franz



Eddie is Robyn’s father. He’s overweight, balding and bearded. Dennis Franz is about the right age and build and is a brilliant comic actor known for his roles in NYPD Blue and Die Hard 2. He would have to grow a beard for the part though.



Nancy played by Goldie Hawn


Goldie Hawn is the perfect choice for Nancy. Nancy Eddie’s fiancée. She is a bottle blonde who dresses way younger than her years and when she first meets Robyn they don’t get on at all. Underneath that rough exterior though is a heart of gold.



Brad Willis played by Xavier Samuel



Xavier played Riley in the third Twilight film and he is perfect for the role of Brad. Brad is Robyn’s ex-boyfriend. He’s a police officer and captain of the Portage Panthers hockey team.



And those are the main characters in Taking Charge. But there are others including a whole squad of ice hockey players for you to meet!


Mandy is an author of strong contemporary romance and characters you will fall in love with.
She is also a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and innovative group Loveahappyending.com. Her novels are spiced with humour, action and pull on the emotional heart strings.
She is a lover of white wine, tea, Neighbours, Strongman, The Hoff, ice dance (watching!), country music and mashed potato. Her novels include Excess All Areas, Breaking the Ice, Knowing Me Knowing You and Strings Attached.


Terms & Conditions :

  • Giveaway is International.
  • Prize is an e-book copy of Taking Charge by Mandy Baggot.
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15 May 2012

Hemlock (Hemlock #1) by Kathleen Peacock


Hemlock (Hemlock #1) by Kathleen Peacock.
Audience/Genre : Young Adult/Paranormal.
Publication : May 8th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books.
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.


I've never been much of a werewolf person. I tried giving Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy a shot but realized back that that I just didn't find werewolves appealing/attractive.

I was a little skeptical about this book at first and kept putting it off but against all judgement I decided to read Hemlock because one of my friends told me it was awesome and she was totally right.

Mac lives in a different world that's plagued by a virus known as The Lupine Syndrome which causes the affected to turn into werewolves.
The story begin's with Mac's best friend Amy's funeral, who was attacked by a werewolf one night that led to her death. No one knows who the wolf is. Determined to find Amy's killer, Mac takes the task upon herself, during which she discovers things even she didn't see coming about Amy's ex-boyfriend Jason and Mac's best friend Kyle.

Love triangles usually suck. Most of the times they're not realistic or well-formed and tend be dramatic just to cause some emotion and I just don't see them working. They usually just end up frustrating me but there are a few rare books that actually pull it off well and make it hard to decide who to root for. Hemlock is one of them. Jason and Kyle are both dreamy in their own way and I guess it depends on your taste to know who's side you're on. I'm Team Jason all the way!

If you, like me, love the story of Red Riding Hood then this book is perfect for you. The small town of Hemlock, the characters and plot all have a dark tone to it that just draws you in. One of the best debuts this year, Hemlock is a must-read for lovers of all things paranormal!





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