What book has been on your shelf the longest?

This is a hard question for me, because I sold my entire bookcase of books back in 2011. Prior to that I had a really healthy collection, but decided to get rid of them all before I went to Europe and traveled for four months… so a lot of books I’d had for a long time were no longer in my possession.

bookshelf

That said, one of the books I did keep was the Harry Potter series :) I don’t think I’d ever sell them. My copies are well-loved and yellowing with broken spines and dog eared pages, but I love them. They have a lot of character!

What book has been on your shelf the longest? Perhaps it was one you inherited from your parents, or bought yourself when you were young… Tell me about your well-loved books!

Author Interview: Natasha Ngan

Today I have the amazing Natasha Ngan on my blog. She was kind enough to answer a few questions. Her novel THE MEMORY KEEPERS was a 3 star read for me. I really enjoyed it.

Title: The Memory Keepers
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Five Mile Press
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action
Links: Book Depository | GoodReads | Amazon

1. Where did you come up with the idea for the Memory Keepers?
I was on holiday with my parents in Seville, Spain, wandering along the river one evening, and I had one of those moments when the world just seems so beautiful that you wish you can capture it and save it somehow to always have to revisit. Then I got thinking – what if technology advanced to a level where this was possible? And suddenly the character of Seven fell into my head, this boy who steals memories to sell on the black market. I kept thinking about the story over the rest of the holiday and wrote the first chapter – which is the same as it is now – while in the airport waiting for our plane home!

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Just keep writing, and believing! There’s no sure-fire recipe for success when it comes to the publishing industry, so you’ve got to be confident enough in yourself and your writing to keep going no matter the pitfalls. So write what you love and create the stories you want to read! And remember, especially during the long slog of the first draft, all of us writers have those days when the words aren’t coming easily and we feel like we’ll never be able to get it done. I have this feeling more days than not. But that’s part of being an author – caring about the words, caring about the story.

3. What is your ultimate writing goal?
To keep having books published. Of course making the bestseller’s list and having a film deal rank pretty highly too!

4. Who is your favourite character in the Memory Keepers?
It would have to be Seven and Alba, and for similar reasons. They’re very different characters, but what they have in common is that they’re both stuck in a life they don’t want, and, together, they are both brave enough to fight to escape.

5. What was the hardest part of the publishing process?
It’s actually life after publication that’s the difficult part! Before I was published I saw getting a book deal as the end goal – a dream come true. And it was! But the hardest part comes after, with getting subsequent book deals and finding the time and energy to write when you’re trying to promote your current books, do school visits etc, and keep money coming in with a day job or two!

6. What genres do you like to read?
I read all genres! I tend to have phases where I read lots in a single genre, or books that have the same kinds of themes. For example, I recently went on a big crime thriller binge, then moved on to YA historical novels, and I’ve also been reading lots of books set in or inspired by Asian cultures.

7. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m writing a oriental-inspired fantasy novel with a lesbian love story. It’s been so much fun to write as it’s very different from my other books. It will hopefully be the start of a series.

8. Do you have a literary agent? What was your process in obtaining one?
I do have one. Most authors do, at least in the UK, as not many publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts anymore. I got an agent the traditional way, by querying. It was a complete surprise when agents started getting back to me asking to see my full novel in just a day or two! So if you’re planning on querying agents be ready for things to move quickly.

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT.
Links: GoodReads | Book Depository | Amazon

Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Why I picked it up:

This book was sent to me from Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda opens with the sentence “It’s a weirdly subtle conversation.” I read the sentence three or four times and immediately knew this would be a book I either loved or hated.

It was immediately obvious that this book has a great unique voice. And I always love a book that mentions fanfiction! I read a lot of fanfiction in 2004-2005, so this had me chuckling:

And Leah’s also into slash fanfiction, which got me curious enough to poke around the internet and find some last summer. I couldn’t believe how much there was to choose from: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy hooking up in thousands of ways in every broom closet at Hogwarts. I found the ones with decent grammar and stayed up reading all night. It was a weird couple of weeks.

This was just an all-round gorgeous novel. Simon was so likeable and so were his friends, the pace moved well, the plot was interesting, the mystery of “Blue” kept me reading, and I loved the themes. This was a great book. Highly recommended.

My Verdict – 5 stars

Weekly Wrap Up | Words Read & Written

My life feels like a crazy hive of activity lately, so to keep everything straight in my head I’ve decided to do a wrap-up post each Sunday. You can see previous weeks here.

weekly wrap up

Books I Read:

Christina Lauren – Dirty Rowdy Thing
Becky Albertalli – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Books I Reviewed:

Christina Lauren – Sweet Filthy Boy – 3 stars

Books That Appeared In My Mailbox:
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Thanks Penguin!

Books I Bought:


The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Boomerang by Noelle August
He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt
Love Irresistibly by Julie James
It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

New eBooks:
This week iBooks had a “First book in a New Adult series” feature, so I went a little crazy downloading!


I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron
All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Make it Count by Megan Erickson

What have you been reading and purchasing this week?

What is your favourite genre?

What is your favourite genre to read?

I used to read a bit of everything with no real preference to genre. But lately I’m loving contemporary novels. Young Adult Contemporary or New Adult Contemporary with a little bit of romance sprinkled over the top

*sighs happily*

Here are some of my latest contemporary favourites:


What is your favourite genre to read? Your go-to genre?

Review: Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

Title: Sweet Filthy Boy, Book 1 in the Wild Seasons series
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon Schuster)
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Links: Book Depository | GoodReads | Amazon

Blurb:

One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

Why I picked it up:

I purchased this one after Dirty Rowdy Thing (the second in the series) appeared in my mailbox from Simon Schuster. I started reading it because I was in the mood for a contemporary romance.

My Thoughts:

This was a bit of fun. The storyline was outrageous and the characters were memorable. The writing flowed well and Mia was likeable. Going to Vegas and waking up married is an overdone premise, but it’s one I’ve never read it before, so I found it interesting.

I liked the romance in the sense that for Mia, Ansel just fit. She didn’t fall for him because he was hot or rich, she fell for him because he made her feel safe and comfortable – I loved that. I really felt the passion and the chemistry between them. I believed in their emotions 100%.

The duo that calls themselves Christina Lauren are really good at creating a sense of “realness” in their writing. All the passion and fire of Vegas and then the sudden awkwardness in France when Mia realised huh, I have no idea who this guy is. It was so real. I loved that it wasn’t glossy and light because real life isn’t like that, so why should this be?

The sex scenes were nice, but I would have preferred this book without them. The plot was strong enough on its own, so for me, the sex distracted from the story. I started skimming them towards the second half of the book because a good chunk of the centre section was purely sex scene after sex scene. One dress up role play after the other.

Despite skimming the majority of the last ¼ of this book, I’m still going to give it a solid 3 stars, because I think it had a lot of amazing qualities. It just didn’t quite hold my attention right to the end.

My Verdict – 3 stars

Weekly Wrap Up | Words Read & Written

My life feels like a crazy hive of activity lately, so to keep everything straight in my head I’ve decided to do a wrap-up post each Sunday. You can see previous weeks here.

Books I read:

CJ Duggan – An Endless Summer
Christina Lauren – Sweet Filthy Boy

Books I reviewed:

Fake by Beck Nicholas – 2.5 stars
I Was Here by Gayle Forman – 3 stars

Books that appeared in my mailbox:

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach – Thanks Simon & Schuster
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie – Thanks Pan Macmillan
The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury – Thanks Scholastic
The Bridge by Jane Higgins – Thanks Text Publishing

Books I bought:

Bared to You by Sylvia Day – at the author signing :)

I hope everyone had a great week!

Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Issue: Suicide
Links: Goodreads

  

Blurb:

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

Why I picked it up:

The latest Gayle Forman novel… she writes the sort of books that people rave about so you have to read them to avoid missing out and whatever everyone else is talking about.

My Thoughts:

I went into this novel tentatively, because while I have respect for Gayle Forman and her body of work, my average rating for her is low. If I Stay and Where She Went were both 2-star reads for me.

This novel tells the story of Cody and her journey in coming to terms with her best friend Meg’s suicide. It focuses heavily on the existence of online suicide support groups.

I actually enjoyed this novel. I really like Gayle Forman’s writing. It’s simple and direct and yet rhythmical at the same time.

It’s late April, but no one has alerted the weather. The wind kicks up fierce and cold, with a mean grit. We walk toward the big empty field that everyone lets their dogs shit in.

Cody isn’t necessarily a likeable main character. I found her more than a little depressing. I mean, her best friend just died so she’s depressed in general, but she doesn’t appear to have a lot going for her. No other friends, a broken family, small town… she isn’t an inspiring character by any means. She is gritty and closed off to the world.

When you are bred to be white trash, you do what you can to avoid the family trap. Most of the time it seems inevitable anyway. Still, I didn’t need put a nail in the coffin by screwing any of the losers in Shitburg.

But I was intrigued by the themes of suicide and loss. I especially loved one piece of dialogue that said – “When you die, you’re not a person anymore and privacy kind of becomes a moot point.”

All in all, this was a good read. I liked the air of depression and darkness it had. It was gritty and I had some sort of morbid fascination with the almost trance like state that Cody sunk into. Like suicide and darkness almost became her obsession.

My Verdict – 3 stars

What is your favourite cliche in novels?

When it comes to cliches in novels, it seems that people either love them or hate them. Certain cliches have me rolling my eyes – like love triangles – I mean, c’mon, they are so overdone. But others have me rubbing my hands together and giggling like a school girl.

What cliches work for you?

I have to admit… I love a “new girl in town meets bad boy” cliche. I don’t know why, I just love everything about it, even though I know it is completely overdone.

What cliche do you adore?