Review: Shtum by Jem Lester


Shtum
by Jem Lester

Summary:
Powerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships.

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.

When Ben and Emma fake a separation - a strategic decision to further Jonah's case in an upcoming tribunal - Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben's elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men - one who can't talk; two who won't - are thrown together.

A powerful, emotional, but above all enjoyable read, perfect for fans of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.

Cover Reveal: The Hometown Hazard by Dawn Lanuza


Today, I am pleased to be a part of revealing the cover of Dawn Lanuza's upcoming new title, The Hometown Hazard. Thanks to Bookish Diaries for organizing this event.

Let's check out first what the book is about, shall we?

Stacking the Shelves (STS #4)


Image: Kaboompics

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's all about sharing the books added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual.

It is with much thrill to tell you that aside from getting my hands on two books recently, I also have experienced two book blogging milestones with them, too. How cool is that?!

So come and join me for a while as I babble about new books and book blogging firsts.

Blog Tour: Sidekick by Natalie Whipple (Review)


Thanks for joining me on my stop for Natalie Whipple’s SIDEKICK blog tour. Follow the tour along and find out what other reviewers have to say about this book by clicking the banner above. And in case you did not know yet, there is an exclusive blog tour extract in my previous post. Plus we have an ongoing international giveaway for this book there, too.

Book Excerpt + Giveaway: Sidekick by Natalie Whipple


Today is the release of Natalie Whipple's new title, Sidekick. As a treat to your bookworm heart, you may read an extract here, plus win for yourself a Kindle copy of this greasy, delicious-looking read! Massive thank you to Dianne of Oops! I Read a Book Again for organizing this release day blast.

Review: Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Am I Normal Yet?
by Holly Bourne

Summary:
All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Stacking the Shelves (STS #3)


Image: Kaboompics

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's all about sharing the books added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual.

I am in a major reading slump these days and what could be a more clever way to cure it than to obtain more books! My sister and I bought two paperbacks from our last bookstore stop. Also, I received an e-ARC for a blog tour organized by Dianne of Oops! I Read a Book Again.

Take a look at the books that I got this week (with links to Goodreads):

Review: Playing the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts

Playing the Player

Summary:

The Good Girl Vs. The Player
Round one begins...


Trina Clemons needed the money. Why else would she - the most organized, prepared student in school - spend the summer as a nanny and partner with the biggest slacker ever? Now she's ready to tackle nannyhood with her big binder of research and schedules. Just don't ask her about the secret job of "fixing" the bad habits of a certain high school player...

Slade Edmunds prefers easy hook-ups, and Trina is definitely not his type. She's all structure and rules, while Slade wants to just have fun. Fortunately, Trina has no idea about the bet Slade made with his best friend that he can totally get her to unwind by the end of summer...

Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not

Summary:
The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto -- miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough. 

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Review: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten

Summary:
Two-time Governor General's Award nominee Teresa Toten is back with a compulsively readable new book for teens!

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He's determined to protect and defend her--to play Batman to her Robyn--whatever the cost. But when you're fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it's hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a "normal" relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that's not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam's mother has started to receive . . .

Teresa Toten sets some tough and topical issues against the backdrop of a traditional whodunit in this engaging new novel that readers will find hard to put down.

Event Recap: Blogging Seminar by Frances Amper Sales

Photo credit: Powerbooks Facebook page
After a little over two months of book blogging, I confess that I still mostly don't know what I'm doing. So when I saw Powerbooks' poster for a FREE blogging seminar, by no other than Frances Sales, a prominent mom blogger, I grabbed the opportunity to learn more about the biz.

The seminar was held last July, 19 in Powerbooks Greenbelt 4. I took down notes during the seminar then asked Frances after if I could share it here in the blog and she so kindly said yes. So here are some bits and pieces from my notes:

Review: In The Beginning There Was Us by Ingrid Jonach

In The Beginning There Was Us
by Ingrid Jonach

Summary:
What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that haunt fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages.

The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.

As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.

Event Recap: #KMRinPH Book Signing Tour

Poster photo from NBS Facebook page

It's been said somewhere that you never forget your firsts. Well, this was my very first attendance in a book signing event and I tell you, it was truly unforgettable. But first I must admit that I almost did not want to go because of the bad weather that day (it was raining so hard) but the thought of meeting esteemed YA contemporary authors and having signed books got the best of me. Also, I agreed to meet up with one of my favorite book bloggers, Sab of Sab The Book Eater, to hand over a book that I won from her blog. So here's my recap of what went down last July 5th:

Stacking the Shelves (STS #2)


Image: Kaboompics

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's all about sharing the books added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual.

I won a beautiful book in a blog giveaway. Plus I went bookstore hopping with a friend (it's basically our idea of girls-having-fun!) and ended up buying one book.

Here are the books that I got recently (with links to Goodreads):

Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls

Summary:
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before – before Dara kissed Parker, before Nick lost him as her best friend, before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred.

Now the two sisters, who used to be so close, aren't speaking. In an instant, Nick lost everything and is determined to use the summer to get it all back.

But Dara has other plans. When she vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl has vanished, too—nine-year-old Elizabeth Snow—and as Nick pursues her sister, she becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances may be linked.

In this edgy and compelling novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

Stacking the Shelves (STS #1)


Image: Kaboompics

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's all about sharing the books added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual.

It's my very first STS post! I just won from two book giveaways (got lucky!) plus I bought a couple of books so I thought I should share them in the blogosphere.

So here are the books that I got recently (with links to Goodreads):

Review: Believarexic by J.J. Johnson

Believarexic

Summary:
In 1988, when she was fifteen, JJ Johnson was hospitalized for treatment of bulimarexia, a combination of bulimia and anorexia. During her ten-week stay, JJ had to eat everything on her tray, and took classes like "Assertiveness Training," "Depression Management," and "Body Image Workshop." She gained weight, but her path toward health was a constant struggle. In her heart, JJ knew-she knew-that she would be a happy, healthy adult one day.

But how? Instead of a clear path, there was a black abyss. She needed a guide, a mentor, someone who knew her inside and out.

So, one morning, just before weigh-in, JJ closed her eyes and made a deal with herself:

I promise myself that when I'm grown up, and happy, I will come back here, to these months. Healthy me will guide bulimarexic me through this.

This book is that promise, kept.

Page vs. Screen: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn



I have finally watched the movie adaptation of Gone Girl starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck and I’m utterly pleased with it, mostly because it followed the book rather closely. That’s not surprising at all since Gillian Flynn herself wrote the screenplay. But as you may very well know already, it’s still inevitable that some changes be made to fit the story in the alloted screentime of the film. So in this post, I have gone geek and listed eleven differences I have identified between the book and the film.

Guest Post + Book Excerpt + Giveaway: In The Beginning There Was Us by Ingrid Jonach

I am beyond thrilled to bring this awesome post today because it’s packed with all good things bookish: an author guest post, a book excerpt and a giveaway! A bunch of thanks to Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again for organizing this blog tour.

About In The Beginning There Was Us

Synopsis:
What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that haunt fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages.

The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.

As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.

As Abbey searches for answers in a bid to solve the mystery in partnership with Elwin, she’s forced into a realization that that some things are better left buried, including her newfound love, Cole.

This cautionary tale of heartache and obsession explores the endless possibilities of the universe and its devastating impact on two young lovers from different worlds. (Add In The Beginning There Was Us to your Goodreads TBR here)

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

Summary:
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Review: The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath by Charity Tahmaseb

The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath

Summary:
Secrets--like war--have their own casualties

MacKenna's mother died when she was a baby, a casualty of the first Gulf War. Now seventeen, MacKenna has spent her life navigating the minefield of her dad's moods, certain of one thing: she is destined to follow in her mother's combat boots. But when she pursues an ROTC scholarship, she finds herself at war before even enlisting.

Her father forbids her from joining the military, inexplicable considering he'd raised her to be a "warrior princess." MacKenna turns to her grandmother--who arms her with an ammo crate containing her mother's personal effects from the war. Hidden in the crate's false bottom is a journal, one her mom stashed there hours before her death.

Review: The Blemished by Sarah Dalton

The Blemished

Summary:
A beautiful world comes at a price...

In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child.

Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to…

The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion.

Review: The Shack by William P. Young


Summary:
Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Summary:
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes.

What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.