Archive | April 2014

Book Signing Adventures: Amy Tan

It was a dream come true. 


I had bought my copy of The Joy Luck Club from one of the secondhand bookshops outside of my tube station for £1. I had always wanted to read the story: It had steamed from the fact that in my AP English class during my senior year of high school, one of my best friends said that Tan’s book was what he had read over the summer from our reading list. All the girls including my teacher within the room burst into laughter at him. He had stated it was the only book he could find. I never understood why it was so funny. I had meant to read it because of that memory. 


Instead I had Tan sign it, making it one valuable read. 

I brought Mum along. I thought she would enjoy meeting Tan and having her own very first signed book. 


Tan was adorable. She browsed the shelves of Elliot Bay before one of the other happily excited patrons exclaimed, “Hi Amy!” She turned and looked at us, a formed queue, all holding tightly her books. 

“Oh, you really are here!” She said with a smile. 


Due to Mum and I driving across the bridge to get into Seattle (this means going around due to a toll bridge and trying to forgo motorway construction), we made sure we left super early and snagged the first in line spot! The bookstore thought I was mental, but I was thrilled. I had never been first before and it was fantastic to snag some time with Tan. Elliot Bay Books also had their original picture from when Amy had first paid a visit to the bookstore. 25 years ago! (Her hair was super long!) We also met another lovely woman who spelled her name exactly like Mum does. The brilliant people you meet at book signings! (now if only I could just find a boyfriend at one…)


She was so lovely, kind and intelligent. She even took a picture with Mum and I. 


Her outfit was gorgeous. Her style is just like her writing. Talented. 

To have the opportunity to meet Tan, a true icon of women writers. There are no words to explain what an amazing moment this was. I’m so glad we ventured out to do so, and I thank Amy Tan and Elliot Bay Bookstore for making this fantastic book signing event a possibility. 


Book Review: Hunger by Jackie Kessler

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“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?”

What I see:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages. I have such a personal connection with the subject matter and was so pleased with how the author spun this first in the series. I love the character of death, his personality, his aura. The horse is also fantastic, they have just as much feeling as the humans. 

There is a lot of depth within this personal struggle of Lisbeth. She’s still a teenage girl trying to discover and most importantly, accept herself for who she is. As a reader we travel on this adventure that is at times hurtful and scary, and we don’t know if Lisabeth will come out right in the end. She has to create death as she slowly kills herself. She grows weaker, yet the fire of saving those starving, when she refuses to feed herself shows that her story isn’t quite over. I kept turning the pages hoping that this strong, caring, teenage girl would wake up and understand, that she is just the same as those around the globe dying because of lack of food. For those of us that have known the hunger and ignored it because we don’t look the way we want, Lisabeth will serve as a tale to comfort us around the familiar curtain of caution. 

Freshly Published: April 2014

It’s my birthday month! All I want is books! Especially some of these! (btw – my bday was yesterday-Happy bday to me!)

1. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan (stand alone)

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Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

2. The Taking by Kimberly Derting (book 1 of The Taking series)

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A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing. 

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. 

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. 

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

3. Pointe by Brandy Colbert (stand alone)

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Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

4. House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple (stand alone)

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Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

5. Far From You by Tess Sharpe (stand alone)

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Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.

The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared

Book Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

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On the outside, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine seems to be living the dream. It’s 1950’s, and Josie works as well as lives in the room above the local bookshop in New Orleans exciting French Quarter. Yet behind her strong appearance she hides many secrets.

Her mother is a prostitute, working at the tough as nails Willie Woodley’s establishment on Conti Street where Josie also cleans every morning. When she makes a contact that could get her out of the Big Easy, tragedy strikes. A traveler is found dead and Josie’s mother is a suspect. Josie will have to fight for her dreams and her life during this quest for the truth.

Sepetys has an amazing ways with words. The imagery, the language, the tone of voice of the characters is stunning! I could feel the heat from the New Orleans sun, smell the spices of the gumbo and taste the saltiness of the vivid characters. The past is alive, breathing, swearing, and beating within every page of this book.

Plus there’s no ‘traditional YA’ romance! Hurray! I find the romance bits true and realistic for the time period. This book couldn’t get any better and I was so sad as I rushed to the end! I wanted more! I wasn’t expecting how it ended was how it would go! All of which makes me love the book more and will cause me to throw it into the hands of others that are looking for a well written historical YA that has a streak of mystery and thrill to it! Out of the Easy should not be missed!