Archive for May, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #19

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week:

Cover of Peanut by Ayun HallidayPeanut by Ayun Halliday
ISBN: 9780375865909
Format: Paperback
Length: 216 pages

Publication date: January 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Random House
Add it to your Goodreads wishlist

“Before you write me off as some kind of messed-up delusional psycho, think about what it’s like to be thrown into a situation where everyone knows everyone…and no one knows you.” Sadie needs a plan when she starts at Plainfield High School, and she comes up with a good one . . . or so she thinks. But while it seems like a no brainer to pull off a fake peanut allergy, in reality it’s a lot harder than it looks. There’s the school health form that needs to be filled out by your mom (who you haven’t told about the scam). Then there’s your mom wanting to meet your friends-what if she serves them snacks? (Peanut butter sandwich, anyone?) And what about that bake sale, when your homeroom teacher thinks you accidentally ate a brownie filled with peanuts?

Why I can’t wait: I’ve first seen this title on Edelweiss and what made me stop and read through the synopsis was – I’m not going to lie- the cover. I mean… how funny that is?! I love stunning covers but sometimes simple ones like this stand out more. If I saw this in a bookstore, I’d definitely stop and pick it up to see what’s it about. I think it sounds like a fun YA novel – I just wish I didn’t have to wait until 2013!

What are you waiting on this week? Make sure to leave me a comment with a link to your own post above so that I can visit you back :)

Bookish Ramblings: Blogging / Reading Slumps?

Hello and welcome to this week’s Bookish Ramblings here on Books, Biscuits, and Tea. This week’s post is going to be unique in the sense that rather than giving advice or rambling about something blogging/reading related issue, I’d like to ask you to help me and fellow bloggers who are in the same boat and give us  advice. :)

Have you ever had blogging or reading slumps? How did you deal with them? Do you have any tips for fellow bloggers that might help them overcome -or prevent- these situations?

The idea for today’s topic actually came into my mind a few hours ago when I was chatting to Celine from Nyx Book Reviews on Twitter. I was just saying how lazy I’ve felt lately but at the same time, I feel guilty for not blogging, reading, preparing for my upcoming exams or doing anything productive, for that matter. Don’t stress yourself, I’d hate to see you get a blogging burnout, says Celine. And that’s when I realized that I’m actually right in the middle of one! Oh the excruciating SHAME!

I’ve been blogging for 8 months and I managed to survive my blogging “career” without any major burnouts or blogging slumps – so far. I’m no expert but my theory is that you’re likely to experience such a thing when, for some reason, life gets in the way of blogging. Take me, for example. I have two exams coming up in June and I know I should start studying (i.e. I’m not doing anything productive and I’m feeling guilty 24 hours a day). At the same time, I should be doing at least 4 different things and again, I feel guilty for neglecting all these responsibilities. On top of that, stress and anxiety don’t really help much either. So here I am, wondering about what other bloggers do in such a terrible scenario.

If you ask me, overcoming reading slumps sounds quite straightforward.

  • Don’t read. Take some time out – go out with friends, sleep, travel, you name it. But don’t stress about reading or thinking about how many books you still need to read. Give yourself a break – you deserve it.
  • If you must read, read your own books. Putting your review books aside for a while won’t hurt anyone. Try reading something from your favourite author, your favourite genre – something you’ve wanted to pick up for a while but never got round to actually reading it.
  • Take it slow. You really don’t have to read 300 pages in one day. Read as much as you can, even if it’s just one chapter or a few pages before going to bed.

Now here comes the tricky part. What do you when you’re in the middle of a blogging slump? I suppose the obvious answer would be to take some time out and stop blogging for a while – get your life back on track and then return to the blogging world in full force when you’re ready. But how do you do all this without letting your readers down? Is that even possible?

How do you deal with blogging slumps? Have you ever had such a burnout? What did you do to get rid of it?

Showcase Sunday #5

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Books

I had a great week book-wise! I finally got a review copy I was waiting for, the Marian Keyes book I ordered for my birthday and two birthday presents :) Thank you SO MUCH to Pragya from Reviewing Shelf and Faye from A Daydreamer’s Thoughts for the two birthday books! And thank you to Quirk Books for the review copy of Ransom Riggs’ books! I managed to read Unlocked and Saved by Cake so if you’d like to read my reviews for either of these two, you’ll find them below. I was ridiculously excited about Marian’s book and it didn’t disappoint!! :)

► Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris (birthday present)
► Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes (bought) – My review
► Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave (birthday present) – My review
► Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (for review)

Swag

I also got some swag this week! A few weeks ago I entered a zillion giveaways during the YAmazing Race and that’s where I won the signed bookmarks and tattoos from! A massive thank you to the two authors for sending me all these goodies! :)

The two bottles of nail varnish are totally non-book related because I ordered them myself but …. aren’t they grand?? I just had to show you how the yellow one looks. ADORE!

That’s it for this week, folks! What did you get? Make sure to leave a comment above and link up your own Showcase Sunday post in the linky! See you next week!

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Review & Giveaway: Straight to Hell – Michelle Scott

Title: Straight to Hell (Lilith Straight #1)
Author: Michelle Scott
Publication date: September 9, 2011
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B005M3MQ84
Length: 179 pages
Genre: Paranormal / Urban fantasy
Age group: Adult
Source: Author
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Smashwords | Amazon US

The moment Lilith Straight dies, the Devil appears to claim her soul and cash in on a family curse. Now, Lilith has no choice but to work for him. The job is bad, the boss is worse and she can’t imagine how she’ll explain her new reincarnation to her eight-year-old daughter. But then an arrogant, yet oh so yummy, incubus shows up…and hell heats up just a little more.

I first saw this book on Dani’s blog, Pen to Paper – and I have to say, I got hooked right away. I loved the synopsis and the fact that Dani rated it so high and seemed to enjoy it made me even more interested. Even though I don’t normally read indie books, Straight to Hell was an exception – and I’m so glad I did pick this up! It was a very pleasant surprise and I have to agree with Dani – it is a page turner.

The narration is just spot-on: it is Lilith who tells the story and boy, she’s a great character. She has a great sense of humour and she’s a bit sarcastic as well. (I always mention this but yes, I love sarcastic characters!) I loved Lilith from the very beginning – there’s something about her that draws you in and even though Michelle Scott did a great job with all the other characters, Lilith will still remain my favourite. I love the fact that even though the plot is a bit, well.., far-fetched (and I don’t mean this in a bad way) and definitely not something that would happen to any of us, she’s still a down-to-earth, everyday character, just like us. She’s worried about getting her daughter to school, paying bills, finding a job and all these everyday problems while she works for Miss Spry (i.e. a Devil-like creature who works in Hell) as a succubus. I loved how one minute she’s on a mission in Hell and she’s back to her apartment with her odd family and unpaid bills the next. The difference between these two worlds and the fact that Lilith is involved in both at the same time is incredible and for me, it made the book even funnier.

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Review: Unlocked – Ryan G. Van Cleave

Cover of Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave

Title: Unlocked
Author: Ryan G. Van Cleave
Publication date: July 1st, 2011
Publisher: Walker & Company
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2355-0
Length: 170 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Gift
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Andy didn’t know Blake before he heard the rumour about the gun. As the janitor’s son, Andy has his own problems with nasty rumour—a commonality that paves the way for a real friendship. But when Blake starts acting strangely, Andy wonders if the gun has unlocked emotions in Blake that are more than either of them can handle. Suspecting that Blake might have a deadly plan in mind, can Andy accept that some secrets shouldn’t be kept?

If I had to sum this book up, I’d say it’s something I’ve never read before.  When I first saw Unlocked, I had no idea that it was written in verse. So imagine my surprise when I got the book the other day, flipped through it and saw that it is. Then I became sceptical. You see, I’m not a poetry fan (I’ve never been), therefore I haven’t even thought about reading a book that looked like a poem before. Right until now.

All I can say to anyone who -like me- doesn’t like poetry: this is entirely different. Initially, my biggest concern was that how can you express yourself in just about 170 pages (which, considering the fact that it’s written in verse, can be read in a few hours)? How can you describe the characters and make us feel sorry for them, love them, hate them, you name it? Well, Ryan G. Van Cleave managed to do that. I did feel sorry for Andy. He was bullied throughout his high school years, was ignored on a daily basis, came from a poor background and well… he made mistakes. But didn’t we all? I just loved Andy. He reminded me a little bit of myself when I was younger so I could definitely associate with him.

Unlocked is a short but very effective and emotional story about choosing between friendship and what is right. Fans of young adult novels will no doubt enjoy this, even if you haven’t read anything like this before. Ryan G. Van Cleave manages to describe the characters in so much detail and in such few words that it will definitely make you go ‘wow’. Brilliant! I can’t recommend it enough.

Rating:
*Thank you to Faye from A Daydreamer’s Thoughts for sending me a copy of this book*

Waiting on Wednesday #18

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week:

Cover of Nerve by Jeanne RyanNerve by Jeanne Ryan
ISBN: 9780803738324
Format: Hardcover
Length: 304 pages

Publication date: September 13th, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books
Add it to your Goodreads wishlist

A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Why I can’t wait: Oh God, I don’t even know. I’ve seen this one someone’s blog and it caught my attention right away. It definitely sounds like something I’d enjoy. Sounds like a gripping story! And what a fantastic cover!!

What are you guys waiting on this week? Make sure to leave me a comment with a link to your own post above so that I can visit you back :)

Bookish Ramblings: Who/What Books Got You Into Reading?

I know there was a point in all of our lives when we picked up a book (not expecting too much) and simply could not put it down. I know many people say they have loved reading ever since they were little but for me, that’s not the case. Which made me think and wonder how everyone else got hooked and fell in love with the literary world. Therefore, today’s ramblings topic is:

What book(s) or which author(s) got you into reading? Have you loved reading from an early age or is it something you got into during your teens? Or even later?

Lots of people will be tut-tutting when they read this, but whenever I hear someone say “I’ve loved reading ever since I was little”, I’m always a bit sceptical.  It may be just a cultural difference but I’ve seriously never heard of or known anyone in my previous schools or in my neighbourhood who has been a bookworm all his/her life.In fact, many people still don’t read at all, but that’s a thought for another time.

As for me, well… I wasn’t keen on reading when I was little. Don’t get me wrong, I did read books occasionally (Winnie the Pooh and that sort of thing) but it wasn’t something that I particularly loved doing. Then it got even worse. During my primary school years, I simply loathed it. And I blame school for that. We had so many books we were forced to read that I lost all interest and needless to say, I associated reading with a tedious chore that needed to be done once in a while. And for this reason, I didn’t start reading for fun right until my first secondary school years.

I think for me there were two authors and two book series that got me interested in reading for the first time in my life: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Girly choice I know, but I was 13 so I’ve no regrets. *snickers* I started reading the Harry Potter series a bit later than most people but once I picked it up, I just devoured the whole thing. And the same applies to the Princess Diaries series. I loved them both for different reasons (I still do) and I’m very grateful for both authors. Of course there have been several other authors who influenced me and inspired me since then but Rowling and Meg Cabot were those who gave me the first push. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t fallen in love with reading? I might not have been a bookworm all my life but honestly, I don’t even care. I’m happy with the way things turned out.

What books or which authors made you fall in love with reading? Do you still like them or read their books?