April 30, 2015

YA Trends: Is That All There Is?

My dear friends...I'm bored.

[Thanks to Giphy!]

Regardless of having a TBR list that I can't currently make a dent into (due to household priorities), I'm always on the prowl for new releases that might suit my tastes (I'm sure you know the feeling). But lately I've ended up erasing books from the aforementioned list more often than adding new ones - which is good for my pockets, but you know what I mean. Also, I spotted a trend here...I find myself rejecting some of the releases that I'd anticipated the most for months. Not sure if this says something about me or the books themselves LOL. The fact is, the more reviews I read, the less such novels seem to appeal to me. Sometimes it only takes a reviewer mentioning a small detail that I can't buy; other times it's due to someone cleverly deconstructing the premise. And yours truly here erases and erases.

[Original image here (the caption is mine)]

But there's more to it...because most of the times, the rejected books don't get replaced. I may stumble on a title whose blurb intrigues me, only to read the early reviews and find out that it belongs in the "been there, done that" category. I'm aware it's difficult to come up with fresh ideas, but if it's not the case, why write a book at all? Most dystopians are impossible these days, carbon copies of books that are around already. Most contemporaries are knee-deep in high-school drama, which I can't tolerate anymore (mainly because I can't buy half the stuff that's said and done. And no, I don't think it has to do with old age LOL. Or not much at least...). Heck, even magical realism or other genres more than often are angsty romances/high-school dramas in disguise. As for fantasy, I don't read much of it, but the endless stream of creatures that populates the genre would probably bore me to death if I did, because just by glancing at the blurbs, they sound so overused AND alike. You see my distress.

[Original image here (the caption is mine)]

So I was wondering...am I too picky? Do any of you share my feeling of deja vu (or deja lu) when it comes to new releases, and find it difficult to get excited about them? Is the publishing world so full of BOOKalikes as it seems?

April 24, 2015

Stacy Stokes: "Where the Staircase Ends" (Blog Tour and Giveaway)

Title: Where the Staircase Ends [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Stacy Stokes [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Contemporary
Year: 2015
Age: 12+
Stars: 3/5 2.5/5 (Note, Sep. 8 2016: it's been a year and a half since I first read this book, and I've ended up feeling like I overrated it, if slightly. Of course, I could have opted out of the blog tour, but at the time I thought that a 3-star rating was fair. Now I have many more books under my belt, and I've come to realise that I enjoyed some of my 3-star ones more than WTSE. Having said this, it's a great concept for a story, and the author is super nice!).
Pros: Staircase, while serving as a tool for revisiting real life episodes, is full of surprises of its own. Story provides a life lesson.
Cons: Characters are pretty flawed - lead included. Also, all the fuss about Taylor's supposed shameful secret sounds a bit over the top to me.
WARNING! Casual (and unprotected) sex is mentioned; underage drinking and smoking are featured.
Will appeal to: Those who love character-driven stories (even if such characters are damaged). Those who like high-school drama. Those who are intrigued by a mystery setting.

Blurb: After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky. Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable - unless the staircase breaks her first. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: as the banner above states, I'm taking part in this novel's blog tour. You know how picky I am - I signed up just because WTSE appealed to me. Also, I've talked to the author more than once (we are mutual followers via GFC and Twitter, too...not to mention we're both Christopher Pike fans!). Regardless, what you're about to read is my honest take on this book.
Being the afterlife and mystery buff that I am, I couldn't pass the chance of reading a book whose blurb promised an eerie staircase climbing into the skies and a supposedly dead character revisiting her own past. It turned out that this book wasn't all that I had anticipated (and I don't mean it in a bad way), but elaborating further would amount to a giant spoiler. Also, the ending may lead to different interpretations, though we're probably supposed to take it at face value. Sorry to be vague, but you know my policy...NO SPOILER :). Suffice to say, regardless of how you choose to read the ending, at the core of the book lies the path (or the staircase) that leads our main character there...
In an interview, the author stated that the idea for WTSE came to her in a dream. And what happens on the staircase has, indeed, a dreamlike quality, though it retains aspects of the harsh reality. Is it the afterlife? is it the fabrication of a dying mind? or is it a dream itself? Whatever it is, it's intriguing. While Taylor climbs the apparently infinite flight of steps, with no choice but to go and look ahead, the mysterious staircase and its all too vivid visions merge with scenes from her past, that not only serve the purpose of telling her story, but also force her to come to terms with her own faults. Besides, it's only near the end that we're revealed a vital piece of the puzzle - though it doesn't change what happens on the actual staircase and the reason behind it. [...]

April 19, 2015

Introducing...My First Giveaway!

Hi my beauties!

Just a very quick post to inform you that I'm still alive and kicking (with special emphasis on the kicking part, because man, doesn't life suck - so what can you do except kick like mad sometimes?). It's just that I haven't had much time for blogging lately, but I hope to make amends in the near future. In the meantime, I scheduled a post for April 24, which marks my stop for the Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes blog tour. I'm pretty excited for it, because it also marks MY VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY! Thanks to the lovely people at Months9Books, and the utterly professional, but still really friendly blog tour coordinators at Chapter By Chapter, I'll be able to offer you the chance to win a digital copy of the book below (afterlife-and-such meets contemporary, with a touch of mystery):

So make sure of stopping by next Friday! and...good luck!

April 07, 2015

Are Bloggers Getting the Respect They Deserve?

Hi my darlings!
I have this small - or not so small - thing I must get out of my system. And I wonder what those of you who blog about books (or any other product, really) have to say about it.
Before I start my rant exposition, please keep in mind that I'm still rather new to the whole blogging thing (despite my two years and a half of posting), and I'm only doing now what the vast majority of you have probably done a thousand times over in a far shorter span of time - that is, requesting books or interacting with publishers. So, I suppose some of my reactions might sound naive. Anyway, please bear with me :).

Angry. Frustrated. Angry. Frustrated. Angry. Frustrated. You get the picture.

April 04, 2015

How to Develop a Taste for the Weird

[Original image here]

Hi my beauties! are you still there?

Because I've been really, really lazy lately. Part of it was old age tiredness, part was probably lack of stimuli and/or ideas. Anyway, I seemed to have blogger's block and I didn't like it in the slightest. So, while I was fishing for new post ideas, my brain swirled with images from my favourite books and TV series, and I thought I'd write a sort of crossover article about them, and how I was shaped into the kind of reader/TV watcher I am now. This is meant to be a homage to some of the TV series and novels that have left their mark on my mind, or if you like, soul...