4/29/12

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


Forbidden
Synopsis
She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.  


Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.



What I think
I'll start by stating that this book is not for everyone. In fact, some will probably hate it. But I loved it.
It's definitely a book that causes mixed feelings. It tackles an issue (actually more than one) that's almost never addressed, almost never discussed, not in books and not in real life, and when it is, it's usually done in hushed tones.

I'd heard about this book before I read it and I went in expecting it to be a lot like books by Virginia Andrews. And while in some ways it was, it also wasn't. V.C. Andrews' books always had this air of despair. It's hard to explain, but it felt like the characters could never catch a break and even if they did, it would be like there was and would always be a cloud hanging over them, just waiting to start raining on them again. Don't get me wrong, this book had a thread of pain, sadness and desperation throughout as well, but there was also the hope, the never ending hope, the promise of love, unconditional love, and the possibility of happiness. And that's what made all the difference.

The characters
The characters, or no, the character of Lochan, is one of the most messed up I have ever seen. From the start I had a feeling the book would end as it did, it was always there in my mind, right beneath the surface. But Lochan isn't just one of the most screwed up characters I've ever come across, he's also one of the most amazing. He has been taking care of his family, his brothers and sisters, ever since he was about 12, having to make up for a father who left and a mother who couldn't care less, leaving her children to their own devices. Imagine how hard that must be, how terrifying, how mind-boggling, yet it happens more than we can possibly comprehend. Lochan carries the weight of his family like he's carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. And in a way he is, because they are his world.  But  while he often thinks he's carrying the weight alone, there is Maya, his one year younger sister, who started carrying the weight right along with him. They form a team in everything, it's them against the world. Maya is Lochan's strength and all throughout the book I feel like he'll fall apart without her. He depends on her more then he knows. Even so, he tries to shield her from the responsibility, his responsibility as much as he can, trying to be strong for her, trying not to need her. And all of it, having to be the responsible adult, often thinking he's doing it alone, has taken its toll on him. He's anti-social, just completely turned into himself, only coming alive when he's with his family.

Maya is the strong, calm, reasonable character, the peacemaker. She's Lochan's anchor and the reason he doesn't completely unravel.

The story
The story alternates between the point of view of Lochan and Maya and in my opinion is beautifully told.
It's simple, but raw and honest. It's about the love between a brother and sister, developing into something more than what's accepted in our society,resulting in incest, or in this case, consensual incest. And the author managed to make it work. She found a way to make the characters live, to make me sympathize with them, to make me understand them and want to make it all alright and I applaud her for that. And the ending, the ending! I knew it wouldn't end well, these things never do. Do I think things would have gone very differently if the circumstances had been different? Yes, I really, really do. I think there's a reason why not more brothers and sisters fall in love, although there are probably more cases than ever see the light of day.  Anyway, so while I expected the ending, I was also kind of scared, scared of how everything would go down and my fear reached a maximum because of what almost happened at the very end of the book. And while the ending was far from happy, it was satisfying. I'm happy about the choice made in the very end and I think everything will be alright. Some might disagree and ask me what my definition of alright is. To me, it's the sun breaking through when you're in a place where you never thought that was possible. And that is what this book delivers.

The gist
This is a book that tugs at the heartstrings. It challenges you and it makes you think. It's a book about hope, love, despair and sacrifice. It's about actions and the consequences that go along with them. It is not a light read and it's a little disturbing. But I'll tell you something. I was very much in a reading rut when I started this book. I can't even remember the last book I read at the moment. And this book managed to pull me out of that rut. So it is without a doubt a good read.

5 Smileys



4/28/12

Shelf Candy Saturday #4



Shelf Candy Saturday is a seriously awesome weekly meme hosted by Steph over at 

I love this meme, because I love art and it allows us to look closely at the stunning book cover art we adore and talk about the amazing designers behind these book covers.

So my pick for this week is...

Scent of a White Rose by Tish Thawer
Scent of a White Rose by Tish Thawer
stock photo by Marcus Ranum

A vampire's love... 

An innocent's guilt... 

A secret no one could've imagined... 

A paranormal romance that entices with a heroine that isn't quite what she seems, a vampire whose love story is filled with dark surprises, and a vampire clan whose Sire has lost the ability to inflict "the change". 

~ ROSE ~ 
I'm Rose Reynolds. I have recently lost my Mom in a "freak accident". 
Now everyone sees me as an innocent girl...a “white Rose”. 
But I have a secret that no one can imagine. 
I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks… 

~ CHRISTIAN ~ 
I'm Christian and I’m in love with Rose. I also have a secret as old as time. I’m a vampire. 
No, she doesn’t know…yet. 
But when our new Sire is revealed, I'll petition them to change her. 
Because truly, I can't live without her... 

*Please note: This book was previous labeled YA, but due to the age of the characters and content it has been relabeled PNR, but could still be considered MATURE YA.*

I love this cover. I think it's just so breathtakingly beautiful. The perfect balance of light and dark. The way the girl's eyes look silvery, almost like they're lit up from within. But my favorite part is the white rose and what I think is the scent wafting up from it, which is perfectly in keeping with the title and the synopsis. The rose is so big and beautiful. It almost looks like it's shining, standing out on the cover like a light in the dark. It's so simple yet absolutely beautiful. I also really like the tagline. It definitely makes me curious and excited to read this book. And I love the title. I adore uniquely beautiful titles (think "For Darkness Shows the Stars" and "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats) and I think this is one of them. Really, what's not to love?


The Designer

The cover designer is Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography.
Regina Wamba is a professional graphic designer, web developer and photographer serving the Twin Cities of Minnesota. She lives in Farmington, MN, but her clients come from all over the state, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, the South Metro, and surrounding areas. She also has clients nationally and according to her website she can accommodate any project.

Now, based on what I've seen on her website, I completely believe her. This woman does everything! She does Web Design, Logo Design, Graphic Design and photography ranging from family portraits to head shots and Glamour shots. And don't even get me started on her book cover art, which I am absolutely in love with. As she writes on her website, she loves what she does, and I think her passion really does shine through in her work. I will definitely feature this designer again as I started out wanting to do the cover above, but when I saw all the cover art I almost posted each and every one of the ones I love. But I contained my excitement and kept it at one, because let's face it, a lot of her covers deserve their own spotlight, plus this would've been an insanely long post, because you know I'd have something to say about each and every one of the covers I'd posted.

You can find the designer here:
I also found this really cool video of  photo manipulation by Regina Wamba


I couldn't help myself. I love each and every one of the covers of this series. Yes it's a series! Isn't that just awesome? Anyway so I decided to post all the covers, because they are amazing!


See what I mean? I love all of them and I like how the covers match. They are all rose-themed and dark with hints of red and white.  Also, the ones on the left and in the middle really kind of say "vampire" in my opinion.  The rose on the cover on the right is really beautiful and unique, too.  Ugh, I just can't get over the beauty of these covers.

But what do you think? Do you like the covers as much as I do? Have you heard of this trilogy? Have you read book 1 and 1.5? 

I haven't read these books yet, but I plan on starting Scent of a White Rose soon. 

Leave your SCS link in the comments and I'll do my best to drop by your blog :)


4/25/12

Waiting on Wednesday #7



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It gives us the chance to talk about not-yet-released books that we're dying to read.
This week I'm waiting on...
Love Sucks
Love Sucks by Sage Collins
Release Date: April 27th 2012

Mailee Jones is about to answer the age old question: "How much love would a love sucker suck if a love sucker fell in love?"

Mailee is a Haustrix, an otherwise normal girl with a demon gene that causes her to consume love from any human she touches. Afraid of draining anyone completely, she's been leading an isolated life, relying on Eric, a hunky lust-draining Haustor and the only person she can safely touch. She's content to avoid humans for all but the quickest possible hand-brushes with the dreaded cheerleaders to keep from starving.

Until she meets Logan, a diabetic who is the first human to understand Mailee's anguish over her diet. But growing close to him means risking his love for her. Mailee's convinced it's time to do something--anything--to become human. But the only antidote requires her to release and be systematically infected by demons representing each of the Seven Deadly Sins. Sloth and Pride? Okay, fine, but sins like Wrath and Envy aren't so easy, as proven when possessed-Mailee punches the cheerleader who's making eyes at Eric. Can she honestly get through all the sins?

Not to mention this new issue--is she interested in Eric instead? Because if she turns human, she'll lose him. Forever.

A girl with a demon gene that makes her suck the love from everyone she touches? Um, yes, please! And, hahaha, she chooses to suck the love from the not-so-nice cheerleaders! 
OK, so my guess is that Mailee will realize that she actually loves Eric and that he's loved her all her life. And I'm hoping that the lust infection will at least cause a kiss to happen between Mailee and Eric :D. I have got to read this book. It comes out in two days! *Does the cabbage patch

Thomas & JanuaryThomas & January by Fisher Amelie
Release Date: ? 2012
Thomas Eriksson thinks he has it all figured out.  

"People crossed the street when they saw me. I’m not really sure why that was. I mean, okay, I might have looked a bit intimidating if I was being truthful with you. I’d changed since New York. New York represented a life that wasn’t real, not truthfully anyway. No, New York was the young, immature, in love, idiot side of Tom. The ‘Tie-Dye Tom of New York City’ didn’t exist anymore. Tie-Dye Tom was dead."

January Mac Lochlainn thinks she’s her own worst enemy.

"I quit Berkeley. Threw away a full scholarship. Plans, you ask? What plans?"

But they’re both wrong.

***

Tom approached me slowly and met me under the light on the stone walkway. He leaned over me so closely, my neck craned to see his face. His expression was one of confusion as he studied my own.

“What is it about you?” He asked me.

“What do you mean?” I whispered, closing my eyes and swallowing, my breaths becoming labored.

He lifted his hand and dragged the backs of his fingers across the line of my jaw so lightly I barely felt them but they made me feel dizzy all the same.

“How can you be this extraordinary, January Mac Lochlainn?” He leaned closer, a look of pure frustration and anger lit his eyes. He pressed his lips together. “And why couldn’t I have met you before I realized I didn’t want anyone...ever?”

Life for Thomas and January will never be the same again...whether they like it or not.

OK, so you might have noticed that this doesn't actually have a release date yet. The author promised that it will come out 'soonish' and according to Goodreads it'll come out in 2012. But I just couldn't help myself, I'm dying to read this! Who cares if it doesn't have a release date yet. It's coming out! That's what matters. Now, this is the sequel to Callum & Harper. And let let me just say, I loved that book! It was such a sweet love story, with a little tragedy, sadness and suspense thrown in. It was just so beautiful. (Which reminds me, I still have to post my review. So watch out for that.) I didn't even know this was going to be a series, when I read Callum & Harper. And Thomas & January is about Tie-Dye Tom! He was one of Callum and Harper's friends. But I wonder what happened to him. It sounds like he hit rock bottom. I could've sworn he was in love with someone in the first one or am I thinking about someone else? Man, I need to re-read Callum & Harper before this one comes out. Oh and isn't that cover just absolutely, wonderfully, amazingly, breathtakingly stunning? It's even more beautiful than the first one. I just love the colors.  And the cute polaroid picture. And the tree in the suitcase. And  the hea-*sigh...I just love everything about it. I think it's so colorful because Thomas is/ was Tie-Dye Tom.

 If you want to read the first chapter of Thomas & January you can find it here

What do you think of my picks and what are you waiting on this week?
Leave me your link and I'll do my best to check it out :)



4/23/12

Seeing Multiple #2


I created "Seeing Multiple" to shed some light on covers that are similar to each other, for instance because they feature the same model, clothing or setting. Whenever I come across these covers, I'll post them here, simply because I think they're fascinating.

 Some of my favorites are those that feature the same model.

And for this post, I actually found three covers with the same model. 


The first one is the cover for Smokeless Fire by Samantha Young. It came out last year and the subject matter sounds fascinating. It's actually about Jinn (think Aladdin's genie)! I have read and loved books by Samantha Young before and I think I'll like this one. Now, out of the three covers, I think this one is my favorite. I think it's absolutely magical and breathtaking. But, then again, I'm also obsessed with the work of the cover designer known as Phatpuppyart.

The second cover is for Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway. I actually came across this cover when I was looking for new books to drool over. And let me tell you, this one sounds drool worthy. It's definitely one that I'll be featuring in my Waiting on Wednesday post. The main character is a necromancer! Can you see me jumping up and down in my chair?! Well, I'm excited! I first came across necromancers in The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong of which the main character, Chloe was also a necromancer. and while creepy I think it's awesome. For those who don't know, necromancers can control the dead, which includes bringing them back to life. Now apparently the main character of Touch of Death can not only bring the dead back to life, she can also kill the living! You see why I'm looking forward to this?
Wait, wasn't this post supposed to be about book covers? Um, so back to that. I love the cover for Touch of Death! I think it has the perfect balance between dark and light. I also love the pose of the model and the way her hair blows around her face. But I think my favorite part is the lacy, frilly collar of her blouse. I could have sworn I've seen the picture somewhere before, though...

The third cover is for The Fate of Destiny by Danielle Bourdon. This is also one that sounds awesome, although I don't have a clear idea of what it's about. The synopsis hints at the paranormal and possibly the Fates, those who control the fate of mortals. I have never read a book about the Fates so this'll definitely be interesting. The cover for this book looks very similar to the first one, with the exception that they are edited in different ways. The first one seems to focus more on fire, light and magic, while the third seems to focus more on darkness, storms and bad weather or if I look at the synopsis, natural disasters, namely tornadoes.


So what do you think, am I seeing multiple? Have you noticed the similarities between these three covers before? What do you think of the covers separately? Have you read the books or are you excited to read them?



4/22/12

Daily (or not-so-daily) Discovery #3

Saving Hope!!!
I've been waiting for this series forever! Well, actually I've been preaching to the masses that Erica Durance should have her own TV show ever since Smallville ended and someone must've finally heard me. Cause it's here! Well, almost. And I'm dying to see it! You just know it's gonna be awesome. Because, come on, Lois, Hawkman and Elijah, the heart breaking ripping vampire, must make a formidable team.



The Raven!
This...this...if the rest of the movie is anything like the trailer, I will love it! Doesn't it look like it'll just be riveting? Now, I haven't read anything by Edgar Allen Poe, but I've heard of him. I mean, who hasn't. And now I have every intention of reading something by him.



And I just had to do this. I've been rediscovering the music from some of the Indian movies I remember
loving. So I give you some of Bollywood's best (in no particular order).

Dhoom 2
I loved this movie! I think I've seen it two times. It's about a thief and kind of a con artist who...wait. OK, so all I know is that he steals valuable artifacts from heavily guarded places requested by clients who pay him well. The con artist part was my favorite. It's amazing how he worked. After watching this movie and Heartbreakers I was seriously considering conning as a career path. In case you don't know what a con artist is click here. Oh, and that sexy dude in the video, that's Hritik Roshan. *cough That is all ;).



Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
This is a really nice, sweet and a little bit sad movie. I grew up with this movie. I've seen it so many times, to me, it's practically a classic. It's about a guy, Rahul and a girl, Anjali who have been best friends forever. And Anjali is secretly in love with Rahul, but she's kind of a tomboy and I'm not sure he knows. And he's kind of a player. But then a new girl, Tina, I think her name is,  transfers to their school and Rahul falls deeply in love with her. But that's just the beginning. All I can say is, it's romantic. I secretly think this is the movie that made running in fields famous and romantic and basically a standard in every Indian movie, but that's just my opinion. I think Kuch Kuch Hota Hai means "Something Happens". This video stars Kajol (Anjali), Shah Rukh Khan (Rahul) and Rani Mukherji (Tina) who is actually Kajol's cousin in real life.




Salaam Namaste
This is a movie about two successful people, at least the girl is a successful talk show host, I think. Anyway, they start dating and kind of fall in love with each other, but then the girl, Ambar, gets pregnant. And that's when the trouble starts. They end up living together but things don't go as planned. This video is of Ambar's pregnancy cravings kicking in, so she leaves the house and the guy follows her and asks her what's going on. I love her ducky and his superman pajamas, totally cute and appropriate for the song in my opinion :D.



Neal 'N' Nikki
This one's about Neal, a guy who's supposed to get married in a month, to a girl his parents picked out. But before he does that he wants to have some fun and asks his parents for permission, basically. So he meets different girls and then he somehow comes across Nikki. And they can't stand each other...or can they?
The videos star Tanisha (Nikki), Kajol's little sister. (Yes, the Kajol from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai).






There's at least one other song from this movie I love, but I decided to keep it at two.

You'll notice that the same faces return in the different movies and that a lot of them are related to each other. For instance, the guy at the end of the clip, asking the girl to leave with him, is Abishek Bachchan, a popular Bollywood actor, who is the son of Amitabh Bachchan, also a very popular Bollywood actor. Abishek also happens to be married to Aishwarya Rai, a Bollywood beauty and actress, who you can see before you click play on the Dhoom 2 video. She isn't actually in the clip, but she is in the movie.
Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherji and Kajol are also very popular Bollywood actors, at least, they were, when I was into Bollywood movies. There's also Kareena Kapoor and Rekha, a (now) older but also popular Bollywood actress.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham


Once again, Hritik Roshan and ah, there's Kareena Kapoor. I was wondering when she'd turn up. You can't miss her, clad in red.

When I was young, one of our TV stations would have a mini playback show (I'm not sure if they still do), which I would watch every year. The judges would be dressed as music icons and act like it for the night and the contestants (under 13) would dance and "sing" to a song they (or their parents) picked out. One year, a boy and a girl did this song. It was amazing and they won! I loved this song even more after that.



4/21/12

Shelf Candy Saturday #3


Shelf Candy Saturday is a seriously awesome weekly meme hosted by Steph over at 

I love this meme, because I love art and it allows us to look closely at the stunning book cover art we adore and talk about the amazing designers behind these book covers.

So my pick for this week is...
Poison Heart by S.B. Hayes
An idle glance through the window of a bus changes everything for Katy Rivers.

A mysterious girl, with luminous green eyes, stares back and from that moment on she haunts Katy and appears to know her every move, even what she is thinking. What is the strange connection between them? And what is the power of the emerald pendant which the girl bestows on her?

‘I’m everything you’re not and I’m going to take over your life… I’m your worst nightmare.’

These chilling words mean that Katy is gradually backed into a corner, alienated from everyone she holds dear, even her own mother. Only her best friend Luke, keeps faith and together they must find a way to defeat the girl who is determined that she will be with Katy...even until death.

POISON HEART combines psychological suspense with teen romance and makes for a thoroughly chilling read.


58_poisonheart.jpg

I found the second image above on the designer’s website. It’s missing the tagline and I’m 99% sure that because of this, the distance between the top of the girl’s head and the title is smaller. I honestly love this version more because the colors are somehow brighter and everything’s sharper.  But I miss the tagline, because I think it’s catchy. All of that aside, I absolutely love the cover! I like that the cover is a combination of what I think is an image with illustrations. And not just any illustrations. It looks like branches are moving towards the girl, up her arms and wrapping themselves around her body. They even wrap around the title! I think this makes the cover kind of creepy and haunting, but also fairy tale-ish (think Sleeping Beauty). It might imply that something is coming for the girl, trapping her slowly but surely. And reading the synopsis I feel that’s it. But on the other hand I also want to believe that the girl can actually control plant life. I keep thinking about that Movie Sky High. And in the left bottom corner there’s something that suspiciously resembles a ring. I wonder if I’m imagining it and if I’m not, what it means. I like that the girl's hair is red and that the tagline is red as well. It makes both stand out on a mostly blue cover. I also like the background of trees in front of the girl. I also get the feeling that the girl is looking up, not just in front of her, but I'm not sure. Either way, I love it!

The Designer
(From the designer's website) 
My name is Mark Ecob.
I am a graphic designer specialising in book cover design, illustration and art-direction.

I’ve worked for some of the biggest names in the UK book industry, including Hodder & Stoughton, 
The Orion Publishing Group and most recently as Art Director for Canongate Books, one of the 
most successful independent book publishers in the world. During my time there we were 
named Publisher of the Year in 2009, and nominated In-Book for the D&AD Book Design 
Category 2010 and 2011.

I work independently or with other creatives. With an ear to the ground and a rich 
contacts book, I’ll guarantee a creative and cost-effective solution to deadline. 

Encouraging new talent wherever possible, I’ve taught in various colleges since 2005, including
Glasgow School of Art, The Nottingham Trent University and Edinburgh College of Art.
I also take an active role in industry events, including two talks at The Bookseller Cover Design
seminars in 2007 and 2010. I will also be judging the D&AD Book Design category in 2012.

If you have a project you’d like my help with, book or not, give me a call.

You can find the designer here:
His website
The Artist 
Neal Murren is a resident of the Scottish Highlands, as well as the world of fairytale and fantasy, it's perhaps unsurprising that Neal's work draw inspiration from the environment he inhabits.

Since graduating from Salford University, Neal's diverse approach to materials and techniques - including pen, pencil, paint or Photoshop - has attracted a range of clients including: Universal Music, Harrods, New York Times, Smirnoff Vodka, DDB Paris/Nike, DDB London/Volkswagen and Pop magazine.

Other projects include the illustrative artwork and animations for James Palumbo's (founder of Ministry of Sound) book 'Tomas' and creating the new single and album artwork for Detroit Social Club, through Polydor Records and more recently projects with Saatchi & Saatchi, Asos and Ted Baker.

You can check out the artist's work here.

What do you think of this cover? Have you read the book yet? What did you pick this week?
Personally, I haven't read the book yet, but I own it and I'm planning to read it some time soon.


4/18/12

Daily (or not-so-daily) Discovery #2

Look what I found! Aren't they just the cutest?








Waiting on Wednesday #6


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It gives us the chance to talk about not-yet-released books that we're dying to read.
This week I'm waiting on...

Meant to BeMeant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Release Date: November 13th 2012

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

*sigh Doesn't this just sound romantic? I've already got theories about who's sending Julia the texts and I haven't even started the book yet. That's a new record for me. I think this will be really sweet and fun. I can't wait to read it.
Wrecked
Wrecked by Anna Davies
Release Date: May 1st 2012
Secrets of the sea have never been sexier than this. Ever since the death of her parents, Miranda has lived on Whym Island, taking comfort in the local folklore, which claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and in its surrounding waters. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe things are out of your control. But then a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, and Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy who haunts her dreams. Consumed by guilt from the accident, she finds refuge in late-night swims—and meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but who is full of mystery: He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway…and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm. Seductive and compelling, Wrecked brings a contemporary, paranormal twist to a classic enchanting tale.


I love any story having to do with merfolk. Well, actually I love the idea of merfolk but I haven't actually read any books about them after The Little Mermaid. I'm looking for that awesome story about them and this one sounds romantic and mysterious, providing it's actually about merpeople. I'm kind of jumping to conclusions here. Either way, this sounds like it will be a great, sweet, sexy and mysterious read :).

What do you think of my picks and what are you waiting on this week?
Leave me your link and I'll do my best to check it out :)



4/17/12

Pondering Pages: Resilience over Resentment?

I was just reading The Calling and I realized that Kelley Armstrong explored some interesting topics. One of these is that she talks about the main character, Maya, resenting others or shunning them for making bad decisions or decisions that affect her in a bad way. The thing is, I can relate. There have been times in my life when others have made decisions that affected me and I've gotten angry.

But I realized that people do what they think is best, sometimes for themselves and sometimes for those around them. And a lot of the time things don't go as planned. And you who has been been affected by a bad decision looks at the situation and you'll go: "I would've handled that differently, why didn't they?" And that's what makes you angry and resentful.
Sometimes those people only think of themselves and end up hurting you in the process, but even then it isn't personal, simply because the person was thinking of helping themselves, not of hurting you. Basically you're collateral damage. And while that might hurt, I think it's more acceptable then someone going out of their way, specifically to hurt you. Plus, there's not much you can do about it. Well, there is, you can be angry and resentful, you can even hurt the person who hurt you back, but usually that isn't as satisfying as it would seem. You just end up hurting yourself, not being able to move past it, giving the other person power over you, over your life, more often than not, unknowingly.
And then there are times that people are thinking of you when making decisions, trying to do what's best for you, but these decisions don't always turn out to be the right ones even when they were made with the best intentions.

The truth is that at the end of the day, no one is perfect. We go through life doing the best that we can, sometimes not considering the feelings of others. Other times we do, but things still go wrong? You know why? Because we're human and we make mistakes. We spend our life getting angry at each other for making mistakes,  expecting perfection from each other and often ourselves, when I'm pretty sure that we're here to learn and grow. How can we do that if we resent ourselves and others for trying to do just that? For trying to make hard decisions under, more often then not, less than ideal circumstances, claiming that we could've done it better, when I'm pretty sure we couldn't when dealing with the same circumstances. And even if we could handle things better, everyone is different. Everyone copes with different situations in the best way they can, sometimes dragging others down with them. And while it's hard, sitting around moping or curling up into a ball or blaming someone else for all your problems doesn't help. At all.

What does help is realizing nothing and no one is perfect, not even you and making the best of your life, reacting in the best way possible to what life...and people throw at you. We might not always be able to control our circumstances, but we can control our reactions, and more often than not we'll realize that we have choices, however small and limited and that we possess the power to control our own life despite our circumstances.

We have the power to get out of bed in the morning, even when we feel that life is hard and that people are unfair. We have the ability to believe in hope, miracles and ourselves. And we have the ability to love, to trust and to forgive. Don't underestimate the power of forgiveness. We also have the hidden gift of being resilient even when we feel we aren't.

One of my favorite quotes is this:
"The great, wonderful quality of human beings is that we can overcome even absolute terror, and we do"
-Isabel Allende


I decided to add the music video of one of my favorite songs because...why not?


And another one, because it's two for one day. Just go with it.




4/16/12

Sacred by Farrah Naseem


Sacred (Sacred Book 1)
Synopsis
When Sasha Stryker meets Ariston Kavanagh, she is entranced by his good looks but mystified by his odd behavior. After all, he keeps asking her how she sees him even though he's standing right in front of her. Yet, she can't deny the strange and powerful attraction she feels towards him.   

At the same time, her ex-best-friend-current-nemesis Connor Macho starts showing a romantic interest in her as well. Is Connor truly attracted to Sasha, or is this another move in his war against Sasha and Ariston's relationship?

Sasha finds out the whole truth when she is attacked by a lioness one night! To her utter bewilderment, her savior is a white tiger that morphs into the last person she wants to be indebted to. 

This encounter shatters her notion of the world as she knows it and her love affair comes to a crashing halt when all truths are revealed. Just as she's trying to cope with the truth about Ariston and Connor, other nocturnal creatures called Friaries try to kidnap her for their own nefarious purpose.

What I think
I really liked this book. But when I finished it, my thoughts were in complete disarray and I honestly didn't know what to think. There was just so much going through my mind. But the truth is that I really liked it.

First of all, this book started out absolutely awesome. And it immediately gave me material to start thinking up theories of what was going on. I assume you know by now that I always try to figure out the plot from the start, I always have at least one theory and this was no different. But this book was hard to figure out in a weird way. But I think that's partly because I couldn't remember the entire synopsis and I refused to read it again, because I wanted to be surprised. And boy, was I and that is not easy to do.

The story
As I said, the story started out absolutely awesome. After the beginning it kind of slowed down a bit. It alternated between sucking me in and then letting go of me a little, but it was enough to distract me, to make me get up to do something else for a second, which of course always took a lot longer than that. . But about a quarter of the way through, I got sucked in completely and I'm happy to say that it didn't let go of me after that.  I loved the paranormal elements. I think I read this book for six hours straight, until I was finished. Which means I stayed up most of the night. I just couldn't look away. But I really don't regret it. It was awesome!

The characters
Okay, so you know how I mentioned that my thoughts were completely scrambled after I finished this book? Well, it's because of the characters. I liked them, but they also made me so angry.
I liked Sasha, she was smart, bookish and I loved her witty, smart ass replies to Connor. I also liked that looks weren't that important to her. But it was weird, because it seemed that at the same time they were. She was so insecure and she kept putting herself down.  Maybe it wasn't so much that she didn't think looks were important, but it was more that she had given up on ever looking beautiful therefore looks weren't important, only brains were. I understand the insecurity, trust me, but saying to a guy that no guy is interested in you when he obviously is or that you're not beautiful when he obviously thinks so, is just...it's just...ugh. And I think the biggest reason why I have a problem with this, is because she sounded beautiful. Based on her description I would think she was pretty, but like the girl from She's All That or The Princess Diaries who just needed a little bit of a makeover.
Anyway, next character. Let's go to one I really loved. Connor, Sasha's ex-best friend!!!!
Honestly Connor was an ass. But that's not why I liked him. I liked him because  no matter what, he did care about Sasha. And he was kind of funny. While I started out not trusting him and wanting Sasha to ignore him, slowly but surely I started to trust him. The thing with Connor was that he was really mature, well , when it came to most things. I liked his way of thinking and agreed with him in  almost everything. Was it the right thing to trust him? *Whispers: Read the book and you'll find out.
I also really liked Ethan, Sasha's current best friend. He was just a really great friend. *sigh I just love reading about guys who are amazing best friends.
Ooh and I loved Sasha's mom. The woman was fun and hilarious and just girly. I also like that she's Pakistani and that she's laid back despite all the rules she must've grown up with.
Then there was the one who was the cause of most of my anger and confusion. You know I'm looking at you Ariston *glares at Ariston. Well, I won't let him take all the blame because it was more the combination of him and Sasha together. I just...I can't even...
Wait, let's start at the beginning. I started out really liking Ariston. Okay, I admit it, I was in love. The guy's charming and very possibly hotness incarnate, although I wouldn't mind finding Connor sitting all wrapped up like a present on my terrace. *cough Anyway, Ariston sounded like a dream come true. So of course I immediately didn't trust him. Actually, there was another reason why I didn't trust him just like there was a reason why started trusting Connor, but I don't want to spoil anything so I won't mention it. (Please come back when you've read the book because I really need someone to talk to about it.) But that wasn't even the reason why I started disliking him. I started disliking him, because I realized that I didn't agree with how he handled things.

I was like...

Let's just say, he was a little immature and he didn't think things at least one thing through.  And when Ariston and Sasha were together, her insecurities doubled and after "IT" happened (I know you want to know what "IT" is ;) ), I just didn't always agree with Sasha's actions. Which made me object to the last part of the book. Although that last line almost made me fall in love with Ariston all over again. Almost. The thing is that he's a sweet guy, but I just can't get over the rest. And then there is my theory, which if true just makes everything worse.

The gist
I really liked Sacred. I loved the story, it was really well thought out and it was such a page turner ( See: stayed up most of the night to read). The only problem I really had was with some of the characters' actions. And in a way I think that made the story better. It's just that I love to love my characters. And I hate it when they annoy me. And I'm not talking about sarcasm, (because I love that) but more stupidity and immaturity. While there wasn't really stupidity, there was immaturity. But can I really fault teens for that? *sigh
4 Smileys


4/14/12

Shelf Candy Saturday #2


Shelf Candy Saturday is a seriously awesome weekly meme hosted by Steph over at 

I love this meme, because I love art and it allows us to look closely at the stunning book cover art we adore and talk about the amazing designers behind these book covers.

My pick this week is...

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Vessel

In a desert land where serpents made of unbreakable glass fly through the sky and wolves made of only sand hunt within storms, Liyana is destined to be a vessel, to sacrifice herself so that her clan’s goddess can inhabit her body... but her goddess never comes.

 I adore this cover. I think it's absolutely breathtaking. The way the colors work together is unbelievable. The shades of brown, red, pink, orange and yellow of the fabric in the model's hands just flow beautifully into each other. I have never loved these colors as much as I do when I look at this cover. I love the pose of the model and the movement of the fabric, which is called Fabric Whooshing. The model looks incredibly fierce and determined. I also love the tattoos on her arms. And I really can't get over how vibrant the colors are. The cover just pops. And I love the smoky background. I also love how the title kind of reminds me of a shadow. Both the title and the name of the author stand out, while somehow still managing to blend in to their part of the cover. The full moon in the background also works well with the rest of the cover. And last but definitely not least, the tagline, barely there, but easy to read nonetheless. LOVE IT!

The Designer

The designer of this cover is the photographer Jaime Ibarra

(From the photographer's website) 

I was originally built in Spain, but I grew up in Australia: it’s complicated, but it explains the funny accent.

I am a Professional Portrait/Art Photographer, but I am also known to do Editorial, Fashion, Commercial and Advertising work.

My work is widely published here on Earth, as well as…well, that’s the only planet I am aware of, so far. There’s still time yet, though.

I have Synaesthesia (“syn” – joined, “aethesia” – sense): a neurological condition, in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Kind of like a wire is crossed between senses…one sense triggers another in a normally unrelated manner. For example, music might be “seen” in colours and patterns, or taste may be seen in shapes, letters and numbers may have textures, etc.

In my case, I hear colours, almost as-if they were musical notes. Combinations of colours are like combinations of notes, and become chords…and just as in music, some chords are dissonant, and tense…and some chords are complex and beautiful. In my work (more-or-less), I just choose colours that make the nicest music together. Although this is considered a “condition”, I like to think of it as a Super-Power :)

My ‘style’ is the visual amalgamation of over 15 years in Graphic Design, 25 years of composing & performing music, many years spent traveling around the planet, a lifetime of over-romanticizing things, insomnia, an unfaltering fascination with humans, a hyperactive imagination, and an obsessive need to create.

It all adds up. Somehow.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Jaime Ibarra was commissioned by Simon & Schuster Publishing, NY to produce the cover art for Vessel.

For this production, mr. Ibarra assembled a dream-team consisting of:

Makeup & Styling » Mirabai Wagner - http://fontonista.deviantart.com
Additional Retouching » Solstice Retouch - http://www.solsticeretouch.com
Additional Makeup & Whooshing® Coach » Jessa Peters - http://www.jessamodel.com
Model » Kristin (BMG Model Management)

You can see some (cover) production shots here, just scroll down a little and click on the shots :). I would put them here, but they are copyrighted and I'm pretty sure featuring them goes against that.

You can find the photographer here:

What do you think of the cover of Vessel? Have you ever heard of the designer? Have you heard of the book and are you planning on reading it when it comes out?

I'd never heard of the designer before, but I think this cover is amazing. And I think it's really cool that he can hear colors. (It actually reminds me of something I read in The Veil by Cory Putman Oakes). It might explain how he's so great at combining colors, having them simultaneously blend together and stand out. It's really remarkable. I'm definitely planning on reading this book once it comes out, since the synopsis intrigues me and I put the book on my TBR pile based on the synopsis first. The stunning cover is just an added bonus.

*Leave your SCS link in the comments and I'll do my best to drop by your blog :)


4/13/12

The Battle Sylph by L. J. McDonald


The Battle Sylph (Sylph, #1)
Synopsis

He is one of many: a creature of magic, unrelentingly male. He is lured through the portal by pure female beauty, a virgin sacrifice. She is killed, and he is silenced and enslaved.

Such a dark ritual is necessary. Unlike their elemental cousins—those gentler sylphs of wind and fire—battlers find no joy in everyday labor. Their magic can destroy an army or demolish a castle, and each has but one goal: find his queen, then protect and pleasure her at any cost. What would a maiden do if she were given such a servant? What would befall that kingdom foolish enough to allow a battler to escape? Young Solie and the people of Eferem are about to find out.









What I think
I adored this book, there's no other way to put it. It was an angsty, sexy, action-packed, roller coaster ride, in other words my kind of book. It's the kind of book that pulls you in completely and doesn't let go until you've read it and even then, it's questionable.

The story
Oh, WOW, this was so unique! I'd never heard of sylphs before but they are definitely intriguing. I absolutely love when an author takes a mythological creature that's barely been explored and turns it into a fantastic story. It's about a world in which women basically mean less than nothing ending up in less then ideal situations. But the worst situation they can find themselves in, specifically virgins is being sacrificed in order to attract a battle sylph. Now, sylphs are creatures that if bound to you, will obey you without hesitation (although there might be some a lot of hate). There are different kinds of sylphs for different purposes. An elemental sylph such as an air sylph could be bound to a ship captain and be able to carry a ship, conveniently called an air ship, faster than the water would be able to, from one place to another. Since women were second class citizens, only men were bound to sylphs and the richer and more "important" men, such as royals would be bound to battle sylphs, sylphs which was thought only lived to hate and kill and in this way protecting their masters, killing everything perceived as a threat. But to get a sylph you had to lure them with something so they would cross over from their world into ours And the only thing that had been able to do that was sacrificing a virgin girl. So it happened that Solie, a seventeen year old girl ends up on such a sacrificial altar, which I'm sure wasn't one of the best days of her life, and that is where the awesomeness begins. The way the author crafted the story was unbelievable.  The whole thing flowed amazingly well, everything just fitting together perfectly. It was really a joy to read. And a big part of this were the characters. The story was told from different point of views, shifting seamlessly from one point of view to another. Half the time I didn't even realize the point of view had shifted to someone else's because it worked so well. It was like if the author wanted to write a certain scene, she'd tell the scene from the person with the most convenient "seat" so to speak, therefore creating the best story possible.  The story stayed one story, at no point did I feel like I was reading different "stories" because different characters were telling their part. I've read multiple viewpoints before but never have I experienced something quite like this, not even caring who told the story, because it just didn't matter. While I felt the difference between the characters, it didn't distract me, didn't take anything away from the story, instead adding so much more than I ever felt possible. It was truly remarkable.

The characters
I liked all the characters. I liked that Solie, the main character, wasn't some completely helpless girl, but that she was able to take care of herself when necessary, still ending up saved like a damsel in distress a lot of the time, but not because she was waiting around for it.
I liked Heyou, the main battle sylph well enough, but I realized early on that they are sweet, docile (and not the smartest) creatures, completely respectful and adoring of their women, but also completely obedient and supremely protective, pretty much acting like cavemen when their women are in danger. It is in their nature to follow orders, not make their own choices and for that reason, I don't think they make the best equal partners, although they make great sweet and sexy heroes.
My favorite character had to be Mace, one of the battle sylphs, mainly because he was a pretty smart sylph and I just liked him. Oh and his master Jasar reminded me an awful lot of Jafar and what I think he would be like outside of Disney's Alladin (Arabian Nights).

The gist
Ultimately, this was just an amazing book. I recommend it to anyone who likes a sweet, sexy, breathtaking, original, action packed paranormal page-turner.

*Although it's a book about a seventeen year old girl it is definitely an adult book.

5 Smileys


4/12/12

My Twilight Books Died on Tuesday

So sunshines, it's true, my Twilight books died a few days ago, well, two of them did. They were killed by termites. The termites were killing the books on my highest bookshelf, one I had cleaned a few weeks ago, too. When I realized one of my bookshelves had termites my dad came to help me clean out the shelf. Halfway through I went downstairs to get stuff to clean the books with and my dad said that a few of my black books were "gone". And I was thinking " I don't own any black books..." and then I was like " No, my Twilight books!" They are like the only books I own with almost completely black covers.

And then I was like this





So, yeah, I was sad. I'm still sad. I didn't feel like blogging and I honestly still don't. Plus I've been studying for a test that I was supposed to make today, which didn't happen. But at least I have more time to prepare so while I'm annoyed, I'm also happy about that. 

But I'm still sad. I love the Twilight Saga, there I said it, and I don't care who hates it. These are the books that got me into reading English YA books. I still remember sitting behind my computer a week before really important tests in high school, when I should have been studying, reading the books well into the night. My mom would walk by every few hours asking me if I wasn't supposed to study, while I cursed "the brilliance" of my computer being in the living room, where everyone I could see I wasn't studying. No need to say that I did really REALLY bad on those tests and I heard about it for a while from my mom. But I don't think I cared. I inhaled those books within a few days. And then I got hard copies for my collection of which now two are ruined. And those aren't the only books that are ruined. I lost a lot of good books on Tuesday.

After I got over the shock of everything I decided to take pictures of some of the books. I tried to convince myself they looked pretty and unique, but I'm not sure I succeeded. At least I had fun taking the pictures, well, as much as I could. I decided to post them here, in case none of you have lost a loved one a book to termites or in case you want to mourn my books with me. They were really good books.

The Twilight books








Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz (loved this book by the way)

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Still haven't finished this one)

The Termite Graveyard

I'm sad about all these books and there are a lot more. Luckily, a few of my other "prized books" were in front so some of them didn't get a scratch on them. I am very thankful for that. Yet, I'm still mourning some of the ones I lost.*Sigh



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...