The Hand on the Wall|ARC review|Blog Tour|Giveaway

Welcome to my stop in the blog tour of one of my most anticipated book releases of the year – The Hand On The Wall by Maureen Johnson. I have already reviewed books one and two here if you would like to check it out. I would like to thank The Fantastic Flying Book Club and HarperCollins for giving me an opportunity to read the conclusion to this wonderful series much before everyone 😀

About the Book

The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3)
by Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 21st 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Purchase from Amazon, B&N, Book Depository

Synopsis

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph.

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

My Thoughts

If you have read books 1 & 2, you would know they both end in a cliffhanger. The Hand on the Wall provides you all the answers you have been waiting for and it does so, with a lot of twists and page turning scenes. I’m at awe of Maureen Johnson’s writing because she maintains the same suspense throughout the three books and keeps us super engaged. I think before bingeing into this book, one should go back n just waltz through books 1 & 2 for hidden clues in there. I’m not saying you might find some, you may or may not. But definitely you wouldn’t expect the twist that comes at the beginning of book 3. BuWAHHAhaha, I’m evil!(Although in hindsight, maybe not, because this was released on an excerpt in Epic Reads site)

Okay as I cannot talk about the plot, let’s talk about the characters. I cannot believe I love the series so much but not the main character, Stevie Bell. Don’t come at me, ok, I just don’t find her character to be interesting. She’s socially awkward, yeah, but there is not much in her that I find intriguing enough, although definitely good anxiety rep.. On the other hand, I like David 😀 He is trouble personified and is hell bound on causing ermmm hell for his father. In this book though, he drives both Stevie and us insane. And there’s one more socially awkward person – Nate, who even though tends to avoid contact at all possible cost, surprises us now and then with quirky remarks and is the supportive best friend to Stevie. Other than these three, rest of the characters didn’t have much to offer. And oooh I forgot, I liked Leonard Holmes Nair too. (No spoiler intended :P)

Overall, the book was a satisfying 4.5 stars for me. I rated it as such because I never lost interest and the parallel timelines are nicely done.

Before I finish, there’s a US only give-away  that runs till 4th Feb 2020 and you can click on the link and participate to win a copy of the book. Go !!

Favorite Quotes

Nate being Nate –

Are you trying to make me have an emotion?

Also Nate –

“Fun fact,” Stevie said, trying to lighten the mood in the vast gloomy space. “this fireplace?, Henry the Eighth had one just like it, in Hampton Court. Albert Ellingham had an exact copy made.”

“Fun Fact,” Nate replied, “Henry the Eighth killed two of his wives. Who wants a murderer’s fireplace?”.

“I’m not sure, but thats the name of my new game show”.

Stevie’s inner turmoil at one point in the book –

Why were humans wired like this? Why were we built with a current that could short out our powers of reason and judgement at any time? Why were we filled with chemicals that made us stupid? How could you feel so excited and enraged and like you were being pierced with a thousand emotional needles in the brain all at the same time?

Dream Cast

So the below dream cast is totally in my opinion (and some friends’ too) and as such opinions might differ. And also let me point out, it was difficult to put a face to these characters because not many of them have character descriptions.

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I hope we can all agree on one Mr Edward King, if not all of them 😀

I hope you enjoy(ed) reading this series like I did. Do drop in your thoughts on the series. An don’t forget to check the rest of the tour here

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About the Author

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), and The Bane Chronicles (with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan). Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

Goodreads | Website | Instagram|Twitter

By Any Means Necessary – Blog Tour |Review & Favourite Quotes

Today’s my stop in the blog tour of Candice Montgomery’s amazing book – By any means necessary and so today I get to share what are the things I loved in this book along with a few quotes.

Thank you to The Fantastic Flying Book Club and Page Street Publishing for providing me a physical copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the book

Author: Candice Montgomery
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: October 8th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes&Noble |Book Depository |Kobo |Google Books

Synopsis

An honest reflection on cultural identify, class, and gentrification. Fans of Nic Stone and Elizabeth Acevedo will eagerly anticipate Torrey.On the day Torrey officially becomes a college freshman, he gets a call that might force him to drop out before he’s even made it through orientation: the bee farm his beloved uncle Miles left him after his tragic death is being foreclosed on.Torrey would love nothing more than to leave behind the family and neighborhood that’s bleeding him dry. But he still feels compelled to care for the project of his uncle’s heart. As the farm heads for auction, Torrey precariously balances choosing a major and texting Gabriel—the first boy he ever kissed—with the fight to stop his uncle’s legacy from being demolished. But as notice letters pile up and lawyers appear at his dorm, dividing himself between family and future becomes impossible unless he sacrifices a part of himself.

My thoughts

Firstly I would like to say that this book was not at all what I expected it to be. At first, I found it hard to get into the book, because its told only in first person and from Torrey’s POV. So I was beginning to get bored thinking it’s going to be the voice of a person who is only going to keep grumbling about the situation he is in. But the story evolved and with it, Torrey too.

To say life’s been tough for Torrey wouldn’t be an exaggeration. The kid is Black and poor and gay in a homophobic society that still treats persons of colour differently.

I text Lisa again, because I need somebody. You know that feeling, right? Where you just need somebody, anybody really, to care about you down to your marrow. Someone who’ll make you their Number One.

I liked the cutesy way Gabriel and Torrey become a couple. No beating around the bush, or pushing and pulling each other till the end of the book. And totally loved how Gabe calls Torrey his Principe (Spanish for Prince) *insert heart-eyes*

Gabriel is all risk and wild decisions. But me? I am hesitation. I am Gabriel’s antonym. The Taurus to his Pisces.

And when I was beginning to get antsy about the lack of strong females, Candice blesses us with Emery. I loved her so much. Together with the CAKE ( Clarke, Auburn, Kennedy, Emery) or alone with Torrey, she just rocks and I loved her so much. Even Torrey is amazed by her. I loved the below quote from the book because its so beautifully written about a girl, from a guy’s point of view. A guy who is not a boyfriend !!

Girl’s a poem in the boxing ring. She’s breathless. She’s gorgeous. she’s moving — dancing. She’s a fire blazing in a rainstorm, a strike of lightning across a cornfield. She’s everything.

And ooh who wouldn’t love the scene where Torrey takes her to the apiary and they harvest honey together!! The imagery in itself was so much pleasing and I loved it. And Torrey leaves you surprised by the random bee facts he throws in and I did not know most of them.

Most people don’t know that there are more than twenty thousand species of bees, only four of which are honey bees. And why should they? I mean, did you know that?

Not only bees, IMG_8283Torrey also lets you know what is really happening in the Black ‘hoods. How gentrification is affecting their livelihood and displacing them. I love how through him, the author is trying to bring attention to how silently the society is replacing the Hoods and white-washing them. Also loved how so MUCH importance is given to their community, the women and their ways, the dialect, the habits, standing for each other, being your own support system. From the college professor who makes Torrey learn punctuality to Emery who provides him all the support he can get, I say Torrey is blessed with all these women in his life. ❤

I had very few problems with a book – like Torrey digressing a lot from his point and jumping randomly from one thought to another and Torrey’s spiral into vandalism. But they teeny tiny minor things that I’m willing to overlook because overall, this is such a powerful book. Having read books by Ibi Zoboi, Elizabeth Acevedo, Angie Thomas, I know where all this anger comes from and I get it – I get how every single oppressed soul feels like, through these wonderful authors. I’m so glad I got this chance to read Candace’s second book and I very much recommend it.

Leaving you with few other favourite quotes from the book.

I like thinking that we loved like the seasons changed for nothing, because we were everything that couldn’t exist during the little showers of rain that didn’t get along with the sparks lit between us — and yet, still we did.

It’s everywhere, this gentrification shit. It’s careless and it escapes me how people – white people who have never been and will never be affected by this – would fail to explore all avenues and future points of downfall. I know, I know. I’m not being naive here. They don’t give a shit, and if it keeps Blacks and brown folks under a shoe then their work has been done.

Systemic Oppression. Google it.

My rating 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Candice “Cam” Montgomery is an LA transplant now living in the woods of Seattle, where she writes YoungAdult novels. Her debut novel, HOME AND AWAY can be found online and in stores now, and her sophomore novel, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY will be released October of 2019. By day, Cam writes about Black teens across all their intersections. By night, she bartends at a tiny place nestled inside one of Washington’s greenest trees. She is an avid Studio Ghibli fan and will make you watch at least one episode of Sailor Moon and listen to one Beyoncé record before she’ll call you “friend.”

Goodreads   |   Website   |   Twitter   |   Instagram

Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery (US/CAN Only)

Starts: October 8th2019Ends: October 22nd2019

Direct Link to Giveaway

Also, show some love and do visit the other tour stops. You can find the tour schedule here.

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Upon a Burning Throne – Book Review

Author: Ashok Banker

Part of a Series: Yes, Book#1 of the Burnt Empire Saga

Publishers: Simon & Schuster India

Source: Review copy provided by the Publishers as part of the blog tour

Synopsis
In Image result for upon a burning throne reviewa world where demigods and demons walk among mortals, the Emperor of the vast Burnt Empire has died, leaving a turbulent realm without an emperor. Two young princes, Adri and Shvate, are in line to rule, but birthright does not guarantee inheritance: For any successor must sit upon the legendary Burning Throne and pass The Test of Fire. Imbued with dark sorceries, the throne is a crucible—one that incinerates the unworthy.

Adri and Shvate pass The Test and are declared heirs to the empire… but there is another with a claim to power, another who also survives: a girl from an outlying kingdom. When this girl, whose father is the powerful demonlord Jarsun, is denied her claim by the interim leaders, Jarsun declares war, vowing to tear the Burnt Empire apart—leaving the young princes Adri and Shvate to rule a shattered realm embroiled in rebellion and chaos….
Welcome to the Burnt Empire Saga..

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This huge book is a retelling of the Epic Mahabaratha and is also pitched as the Indian Game of Thrones.

Let me start by saying, its right in one way with the comparison to GoT – the paperback has 343 pages but can easily be 600+pages of words fit into it. Its huge,  I mean to cover 20 pages it took me an hour!! And the characters – so many names to remember and the world, oh my god!! Incredibly built, for sure but a lot of information dump that it takes a little time to process everything. As this is the first book in the series, the author has taken time to get the reader acquainted with its world and characters. Its both an advantage and a disadvantage.

I should also mention that I haven’t read the original Epic , just bits and pieces from the television drama. I’m not completely aware of the story or the characters so it was a little fun for me to guess which character is who and already figuring out how or what his/her destiny would be. I was initially impressed with Vrath, the mighty Demi-god and Jilana the dowager queen, but then the story started moving around Shvate and Adri, Jilana’s grandsons.

There were disoriented timelapse events that confused me, maybe its just me because I read the book in intervals because of my full-time job.

Despite the heavy world building, slower pace in the beginning,  the book is bound to keep you hooked with its action sequences and that cliffhanger towards the end. With the promise of an even better sequel, the book finishes off in glory!.

A 3.5 stars from me.

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P.S I’m a tad late in posting my review, this was supposed to be up by 28th July.

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Blog Tour|Book Review | Giveaway

Author: Laura Steven
Publishers: HarperTeen
Released on : June 11 2019
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Edelweiss E-ARC provided by Publishers

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Welcome to my stop (well, technically my post should have been up by 9th June, but but…*adulting sucks*) for the FFBC blog tour of The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. Today I’m going to share how much I enjoyed reading this wonderful book and towards the end of the post you will find a link to the Rafflecopter giveaway (US only).

Synopsis

Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave, and necessary read for fans of Louise O’Neill and Jennifer Mathieu.Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend, an aspiring comedian, and a person who believes that milk shakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are major food groups. But after she’s caught in a compromising position with the son of a politician, it seemslike everyone around her is eager to give her a new label: slut.Izzy is certain that the whole thing will blow over and she can get back to worrying about how she doesn’t reciprocate her best friend Danny’s feelings for her and wondering how she is evergoing to find a way out of their small town. Only it doesn’t.And while she’s used to laughing her way out of any situation, as she finds herself first the center of high school gossip and then in the middle of a national scandal, it’s hard even for her to find humor in the situation.Izzy may be determined not to let anyone else define who she is, but that proves easier said than done when it seems like everyone has something to say about her.

66A90218-C769-41B7-9C55-0090641CF710I was gifted a previous edition of this book by a lovely online friend and right from page one, the book had me hooked. Izzy O’Neill is unabashedly funny throughout the book even when handling not so funny situations.

Izzy O’Neil uses humor as a coping mechanism. She is an aspiring screenwriter, an orphan and is poor. What happens when a completely private part of her life becomes viral and how it turns her life upside down and she becomes the object of ridicule and slut shaming is the rest of the story.

“Oh, you know, I’m all right. It sucks a bit. But you know. Fine.” This is an understatement on a par with “the political landscape in the Middle East is a little tense”, but I’m not in the mood to go into specifics.

The relationship dynamics in this book was absolutely good! Be it the grandma-granddaughter love or the friendship between Ajita and Izzy , it felt so good to read about them. Every girl deserves an Ajita in their life! Not to mention the Drama teacher Mrs Crannon. She is one among the sweetest people in Izzy’s life and I loved how supportive she was. And kudos to the author for not completely bashing out on teachers and for showing the world that the good ones do co-exist.

The book deals with several important topics – blaming girls for everything and having double standards when it comes to slut-shaming and also a lesser talked about topic – revenge porn. (Though I felt that everything happening all of a sudden to Izzy felt a little unrealistic, let’s just forget all about it and look at the bigger picture here) The not-so subtle feministic approach towards the end deserves all the applause !

I did love Izzy but her actions confused me. For instance who doesn’t  password protect their phone, considering it has nude pictures of oneself in it? How can someone be so careless. I’m not judging her like the rest of the people in her town do, but i was genuinely concerned about this. And why didn’t she not make an effort at the very beginning to find the cause of all the miserable things happening in her life ? 🧐

The book reminded me of Awkward, 13 Reasons Why and Simon Vs the Homosapiens. In a good way 🙂

72659DB6-CD84-45D7-8428-DD0EFDD90791I rated the book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to the amazing people at The Fantastic Flying Book Club and the publishers for giving me this opportunity. Please take your time in going through the schedule for the entire tour and have a look at the blogs taking part in it here.

BOOK LINKS
Goodreads |Amazon | Bookdepository

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link (US ONLY)

About the Author

Laura Steven is an author, journalist and screenwriter from the northernmost town in England. The Exact Opposite of Okay, her YA debut, was published by Egmont in March 2018. The sequel, A Girl Called Shameless, will follow in 2019.As well as mentoring aspiring authors through schemes like Pitch Wars, Laura works for Mslexia, a non-profit organisation supporting women writers. She graduated with Distinction from her MA in Creative Writing in 2017, and her TV pilot Clickbait –a mockumentary about journalists at a viral news agency –was a finalist in British Comedy’s 2016 Sitcom Mission.Laura is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media Inc

If you have read the book, do let me know your thoughts on this.. 

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