Sunday, December 29, 2013

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales


I've been seeing a lot people raving about This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales and that made me want to read it. I managed to snag a copy from my library although a lot of patrons placed a hold of this book. It's one of the perks of being a good friend of a librarian. I returned home with excitement to devour the story. Well, I felt the book was over-hyped for me and I was little let down after finishing the book, nevertheless Sales writing was good. Although I wasn't greatly impressed, some parts of the story punched me right in the feels and brought back memories of my past.

The story opens up with Elsie Dembowski starting her sophomore year of high school. Elsie has grown up as a different person from others. She spent the entire summer trying to change her herself-to learn all the latest bands, to get into latest fashion by trying on new clothes. It is a perfect coming-of-age novel. Elise was ignored by all in her school yet she manages to fit in a small group of friends. The one which I'm able to connect is that during my high school years I've been trying to teach myself something or other just to keep up with the people around me. Elise lives in messy family with divorced parents and she keeps shunting between her dad's and mom's place. With all these around her, she finds the real serenity in music. 

Elise stumbles upon an underground club and soon she learns to DJ. With her love for music, it has become her ideal spot. Elise meets Vicky, a carefree girl at the club and slowly their friendship grows stronger. I found the story to be little dragging until Vicky's introduction. Elise meets char, at the underground club and soon he teaches her to DJ and becomes more than a friend to her. As far as romance in this novel, is completely different from many other contemporaries.

This Song Will Save Your Life would be an emotional journey for a lot others, but to me I couldn't phrase it either as something special or run-of-the-mill contemporary, it's something in the midway of the two. If there's something I liked about this book, it definitely should be the secondary characters: Vicky and Pipa ( Vicky's friend) and their progress through the story, and then those bullies in school are utterly true.

I certainly had issues with This Song Will Save Your Life. It lacked the spark which I expect in every novel. Let me put it this way, a teen angst with the infusion of nuances in romance. Quite frankly, I felt that Elise's life was  a humdrum and reading her story, began to have somewhat soporific effect on me. Well, I still would recommend this book to Sales fans and contemporary books clique. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk


I got  I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk on a whim during a plane ride to San Francisco. Once a while I do love to read chick lit to ease my stress. Many readers suggested that if you like Sophie Kinsella, you'll enjoy Lindsey Kelk. Honestly I haven't read a single Sophie Kinsella's novels *confession time*. I started I Heart New York without any high expectation and surprisingly I loved it. A perfect book for a relaxing plane ride exploring the Big Apple. I didn't know it was a series when I got the book and glad I read the first one and craving more of the I heart series.

I Heart New York, is a chick-lit about Angela Clark, (the protagonist) who finds her boyfriend cheating on her at her best friend's wedding. She decides to take a hiatus by taking off to the wonderful New York city. Being a total stranger to the Big Apple, she takes a taxi and arrives at a hotel. Jenny Lopez, a friendly concierge recognizes her breakup and tries to cheer her up by transforming into an absolute New Yorker. 

Jenny takes Angela for a New York City makeover, shopping and all the girly stuff and from there Angela is a new person, certainly ready to socialize. Within a week of her arrival she starts dating two men. With Jenny's help, Angela gets a blogging job for a popular magazine. Things seem to be perfect on the outside but on the inside, Angela deals with a whirlwind of emotions. She is uncertain of heading home to England. 

Angela dates another two completely different men-Tyler, the businessman and Alex, the rocker. It was interesting to see Angela experience New York city for the first time. I should say, I found myself taking Tyler's side initially and as the story progresses, Alex seemed to takeover. After what happened to Angela back at home, she is now ready for little fun. 

I Heart New York is a total fun read. One of the things which surprised me was Angela's blog. She keeps writing about dating two men without mentioning either of their names and the blog becomes a big hit overnight,eventually both of the men figures out about who she writes. I expected a blow-up which certainly did not happen. I found this a little unrealistic and that was the only issue I had with this book. Despite the minor unrealistic part, I loved this book. 

If you would like a fun and relaxing book and also want a dazzling introduction to New York City, then join the club with Angela and have fun. One of my favorite scene would be the sunset from Empire State Building, it was like dream come true. All in all, I Heart New York is a guilty pleasure book. For all those who would like to visit the Big Apple, I Heart New York would quench your thirst. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) provided by NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA
Release Date : 24th September 2013

First let me start by saying tons of thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA for providing me a copy of Where the stars still shine by Trsih Doller. I, first came across this book on Goodreads when they were doing a Giveaway. I did enter the giveaway but didn't win *sad face* . As an avid reader, I try to find every possible ways to read book and that is how I found Netgalley. I found this book on Netgalley and immediately made my request. It was a day long wait until I got an email from the publisher that I have been given access to read Where the stars still shine *throws confetti*. I couldn't put this book down, I just whipped through the pages. I have fallen in love for Doller's flair. I have read many contemporary novels with cliched concept, but never read a such a refreshing contemporary in a very long time. A poignant, refreshing and extremely heart-breaking novel. It is near impossible to write a review for the novel you love. I would try to do some justice to this adorable book.

Let me start by introducing the characters in this book. Protagonist Callista or Callie,Veronica Quinn- Callie's Mother, Alex-Callie's swoon-worthy boyfriend, Kat-friend/family member of Callie, Nick-Kat's boyfriend, Greg-Callie's Dad, Phoebe-Callie's Stepmother, Tucker and Joe-Callie's half-brothers, Georgia-Callie's Grandmother.

How would it be being stolen away from a large, loving family and not having a normal life for more than ten years for a seventeen year old girl? Well, our protagonist Callie has the experience of being stolen from her loving family by her mother, Veronica. I can see you gasping. The story begins with Callie and her mother moving from one place to another. Callie has never stayed in one place as long as she can remember. Callie has not been to school since kindergarten. Her education comes from libraries and sale books. Callie enjoys reading books. Callie has been molested by one of her mother's boyfriend. Since then her view on men has been totally different. She feels dirty and tainted. Doller's writing is so beautiful that she puts Callie into the reader's mind and make sense for her flawed character. 

When Callie's mother is arrested for kidnapping her, she's to live her father and his family. It's from there Callie's life takes a turn. Although Callie's new family welcomes her with love, she pushes them away because of her past living pattern knowing what she does is something unwise. Since her mother leaves her unattended for days or weeks together, she is used to being alone at night and started to hookup. Even after moving in with her father Greg, she hooks up with the hottest guy in town, Alex Kosta. What I really loved in this part was Callie's narration that she feels settled and safe for the first time in years. Where the stars still shine is about figuring out what Callie wants in life and how she deals with her new family and her decisions. 

Greg is an amazing father every girl would wish for. I adored Greg for being a protective father and at the same time being friendly to his daughter. There are certain things which can't be spoken openly between father and daughter, and I could see the awkwardness Greg faces when he speaks with Callie regarding certain issues. Doller has portrayed Greg-Callie relationship so well. Basically Greg wins by planning to build a big bookshelf for Callie. Callie's half-brothers are the cutest kids of this book. Although Phoebe loves Callie, there were moments that she acted as Step-mother. Don't get me wrong, Phoebe is not an evil character. It's really hard to put in words but the writing was fantastic to show Phoebe and Callie's relationship. 

For the first time ever Callie has a chance to make real friends and Kat becomes her best friend. Kat is little pushy but she is the right person to pull Callie out of her shell. Although Kat annoyed me a little in the beginning, she made me cry towards the end. Kat and Callie work in a gift shop near the sponge dock and  since Alex works at the sponge dock, Callie easily hooks up with him every now and then. The book is set in Tarpon Springs, Florida and I get to see Sponge diving and what types of sponges are available through Where the stars still shine. As the book progresses layer after layer is revealed. 

Where the stars still shine deals with pretty heavy topics- mental illness, sexual abuse. But it has been handled perfectly and never overdone. It had all elements what I expect from a realistic novel. If you wish to read one contemporary this year, let it be Where the stars still shine

Trish Doller, wonderful story and phenomenal writing. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

RATING : 4.95 Stars

Looking for Alibrandi is the best Australian contemporary I have ever read. Melina Marchetta has an incredible flair for writing a beautiful contemporary in a fresh voice. I never knew it's Marchetta's debut novel until I finished this book. It would be an understatement to say I liked this book. If given a chance, I would meet Marchetta and ask her if it's her personal novel. It feels more like that to me. It's worth the money and time investing in this book. My rating is pretty close to perfect that's because I can't decide where to place this book, it was beautiful and poignant. I might even bump it up to 5 stars. Looking for Alibrandi goes to top tier of my favorites. I'm craving more of Marchetta's works. Most of the contemporaries which I read has a cliched plot-line and I was in a stage of giving up contemporaries for a while. It was that time I read, Looking for Alibrandi and I was utterly flabbergasted that a contemporary novel could be so wonderful. Marchetta, I'm in love with with your writing. Looking for Alibrandi is more of a self-discovery novel which captures the essence of Italian immigrants in Australia.

To start off let me introduce the characters. We have our protagonist Josephine Alibrandi, her mother Christina Alibrandi. Katia Alibrandi- Grandmother of Josephine and mother of Christina. Sera, Anna, Lee- Josephine's friends, Jacob Coote-Josephine's boyfriend.

The story starts with Josephine Alibrandi in her final year of school with bittersweet feeling and  it is the year everything in Jose's(Josephine) life is going to take a turn. It is the year she meets her father, Micheal Andretti who has not acknowledged her existence for seventeen years. Furthermore Josephine's grandmother is conservative and wants Jose to follow her words, and Jose is caught up between old-values and modern society. To add to all this mess, Jose develops feelings for Jacob Coote and her long time crush John Barton becomes her friend. With all these Jose has to survive her high school with a good score. Eventually Jose figures out what she wants in her life and how to survive in the world. 

Jose is loud-mouthed and obnoxious yet smart and funny. Jose is a person you would love to be friends with. Quite frankly Jose reminded of me when I was her age at least in some moments. Jose and her mother's relationship was totally awesome. They fight over petty issues and get cuddled up within minutes of their fight. This is exactly what me and my mom do every time. If my mom reads this book she would be the first to come over to me and say the same. Looking for Alibrandi personally affected me in a good way, just because Marchetta got something incredibly real incidents into light. Josephine's voice is witty, unique and yet thoughtful. Jose faces tiffs with her friends, teachers, and her family members mainly her grandmother. Jose's grandmother's past is really heartbreaking and her narration to Jose was written beautifully. Reading this book reminds me of my grandmother. I have moments fighting with her exactly like Jose, may be that's why I rant a lot about this book. 

When it comes to relationship, I adored Jose and her father. Micheal Andretti comes to town and was surprised that he has a daughter. Jose at first gets angry since she was with her mother all her life. But slowly she moves closer to Micheal, and their bond is awesome. Eventually Micheal understands her daughter. Looking for Alibrandi is the only novel which gave importance to the secondary characters. I enjoyed Sera's character. In a nutshell, Looking for Alibrandi is a novel about father understanding her daughter and mother understanding her daughter's past life, granddaughter understanding her grandmother and family traditions and most importantly finding what you want with life. I ended this book with a bittersweet feeling. The ending was just perfect. Marchetta, this is a masterpiece. I would recommend every one of you reading this post to get your hands on Looking for Alibrandi. Melina Marchetta is one of the few YA authors whom you'll instantly fall for her works. I couldn't give 5 stars only because Jacob Coote didn't turn the way I wanted. Maybe only I felt like that way, otherwise I totally loved Looking for Alibrandi.

I would also recommend for you to see the movie version of the book. I'm not always a fan of book-to-movie adaption. I definitely have issues even with Harry potter movies, but Looking for Alibrandi movie has all the important elements from the book. Pia Miranda plays Jose's role and I couldn't think of anyone other than Pia in that role. All in all the movie is equally good as the book. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

   RATING : 2.75-3 STARS

I have been meaning to read an Aussie book for a very long time and all of a sudden I came across Graffiti Moon on ivy book bindings blog and immediately added to my to-be-read list. I love to read about Australia and its culture so I managed to snag a copy of Graffiti Moon from my library. Just because all good reviews and rave comments my expectations were high enough but unfortunately it did not live up to my expectation. I'm a little hesitant to give a less than  glowing review, but it doesn't mean Crowley isn't an amazing writer. She is. Her writing style is good and that kept me reading till the end. 

The story is told in alternating perspectives of Lucy, Ed and occasionally Leo's point of  view. It starts out with Lucy pedaling on her bike to see Shadow, a Graffiti artist whose works she adores. Lucy thinks Shadow could be her dream guy and when she gets there she misses him by five minutes. Downhearted Lucy meets her friends Jazz and Daisy and they spend the night out to celebrate the successful completion of senior year of high school. Jazz assumes herself to be psychic and she says that they will hook up with guys who sits next to them. The girls meet Ed whose nose Lucy broke in tenth grade, Leo and Dylan at the same place. Daisy and Dylan have been seeing each other and there is not much of introduction needed to hook up with these guys. Daisy with Dylan, Jazz with Leo and Lucy is left with Ed. Ed tells Lucy that he knows where to find Shadow and the adventure and blooming romance begins not only for the girls but also for the reader. 

I loved to walk through the streets of Melbourne with orange late evening sky with Lucy and Ed. Crowley made it so beautiful with vivid explanation of the nature. When I read the story I found myself having late night adventure. The best part of Graffiti Moon is the artistic explanation of Graffiti art and Glass Blowing works. Alternating perspective was done flawlessly. Romance between Lucy and Ed is not at all overly done which is very rare to find in Young Adult books. Although Lucy and Ed had a rocky start, openness between them and their conversation about the art was beautifully written. I liked the small references to the classic books- Pride and Prejudice, To kill a mockingbird. 

Coming to the characters, Bert, owner of the paint shop where Ed works and Al, owner of the studio where Lucy learns Glass blowing techniques were wonderful people whom you would like to meet once in your lifetime. Though Ed's mom played a very teeny-tiny part, Crowley made her character so well and incredibly relatable. 

Although I liked Graffiti Moon, I had some issues with it. Now lets get to that. First off, I found the girls talk to be exasperating sometimes and same applies with the guys talk. Though they all are high school seniors, I found them to act like middle graders at certain moments in the book. Second, about half the story I could predict where the story goes. I found all these made the story drag a little bit for me. Though many readers loved the poems in Leo's perspective, I did not find it amazing. But trust me through Crowley's writing we can experience the beauty of Australia and the art works. 

If you're an artistic person and would love to read about Glass blowing techniques and adding colors to glass, Graffiti Moon is for you. I didn't fall head-over-heels with it but that doesn't mean Graffiti Moon isn't a good book. Overall it was a good read. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

International Giveaway !!

Recently I read Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker and I enjoyed it. I planned to do an International Giveaway for Lovestruck Summer (Ebook-Kindle format) and also there is an exciting news.... Guess what???? Melissa Walker will be giving away Unbreak My Heart (Ebook-Kindle format) to the winner.. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa C.Walker

RATING: 3.5 Stars

Summer is a perfect time to sit by the pool or beach with a cool lemonade and get soaked in a good book. Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker is, needless to say a perfect summer read. I have always wanted to visit Texas to experience the heat and be a part of Austin Music Festival. Lovestruck Summer gave me what I needed for a relaxing summer. I wanted something light and summery to read and started browsing in the middle of the night and Lovestruck summer caught my eyes and immediately I was Lovestruck with the book. The next morning was official summer day and I had a relaxing time on my patio with a lemonade and enjoyed every part of Lovestruck Summer. Summer fling, friendship, love and music all blended into one cute novel is what we get from this book. 

The protagonist Priscilla Quinn Parker, is spending her summer in Austin with Penny, who is Priscilla's oh sorry Quinn's cousin. The protagonist prefers her middle name Quinn. Needless to say, when someone addresses her as Priscilla she gets exasperated. Penny lives a typical sorority girl's life. Quinn's idea for summer in Austin is, she wants to intern and also find a summer fling who loves the same music as she does and enjoy her favorite music band, the Walters. Russ, who lives next door is an attractive cowboy (Quinn's version)  also a frat boy keeps pulling Quinn's legs all the time. Russ is an enthusiastic boy who loves country music and tries to infuse the love of country music into Quinn. Quinn slowly starts to emerge from her sphere of music to other types of music. Quinn's summer started to take a different turn than she expected. 

Quinn meets Jade at the place where she interns and she has the same taste in music as Quinn. Although the story revolves around Quinn and finding a summer fling, it also focuses on the emerging friendship between Quinn and Jade. Jade introduces Sebastian, who is a DJ to Quinn and immediately she identifies her perfect boyfriend, but it is pretty obvious that he is not the one for Quinn. Quinn keeps complaining that Russ calls her Priscilla and not Quinn to Sebastian. At some point Russ and Quinn become good friends and when their relationship is about to bloom, as in all  YA chick-lit, drama takes place. Unlike most of  the romance novels, I didn't find the drama to be overwhelming. 

Melissa Walker's writing was simple and easy to read at the same time it was captivating. I read the book in single sitting for straight 4 hours. Yet I had one issue with the story as I'm not able to clearly identify if it's the run-of-the-mill contemporary romance or something new. That was the only qualm. Trust me the story is very engaging and compensates for the small issues. I agree the story is kind of cliched, and I found myself rolling my eyes at certain moments in the book, but don't you agree with me that sometimes light fun read would lift up your summer mood?? I would recommend this book if your looking for something summery chick-lit.
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