Friday, 31 January 2014

Book Feature: Steps Into Darkness (A Shakertown Adventure) by Ben Woodard

Explosions, sabotage, caves, deadly warnings and a dangerous red-haired man.
Imagine The Hardy Boys meet Tom Sawyer. Add a layer of teen angst and excitement plus a mysterious group trying to stop a new dam while stirring up racial tensions.
That’s STEPS INTO DARKNESS, the next book in the Shakertown Adventure Series by Ben Woodard.
Fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace again makes plans to escape the small town in the 1923 Kentucky countryside. The town that won’t let him forget his past, when a horrific event changes his mind. He teams with his cousin Will and young FBI agent Rick Sweeney to try to solve a perplexing mystery. Attempts on the boys’ lives and a bewildering list of suspects keep them on edge and confused. An old man gives them a clue that leads to a false accusation and embarrassment until they discover the real villain, and then wish they hadn’t.
STEPS INTO DARKNESS is a fun, page-turning thriller with a hint of romance that delivers adventure and mystery while exploring the fears of a teen living with a frightful memory.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
More details about the author
Connect with Ben Woodard on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

2 $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: Devolution by Peter Clenott

What does it truly mean to be ‘Human’?
Chiku Flynn wasn’t raised to be human. Born in the Congolese rainforest, she spends her first eleven years as part of an experiment. For her, the aboriginal—the primitive—is ‘normal.’
Just after her eleventh birthday, Chiku witnesses the horrifying death of her mother, and her father sends her ‘home’ to the United States, to a normal teenager’s life. But she can’t adapt. She is the proverbial wild child—obstinate and defiant.
When her father disappears, sixteen-year-old Chiku heads back to the primordial jungle, where she uncovers her own dark past and puts to use her greatest skill: she can communicate via sign language with the wild chimpanzees of Chimp Island.
But there is turmoil in the rainforest—civil war, environmental upheaval…and murder. The lives of the chimps and the safety of the people she loves depend upon one teenaged girl who refuses to be messed with—Chiku Flynn.
Editorial reviews:
“Peter Clenott’s story of a troubled teen searching for her father in the African jungle skillfully combines the breakneck pace of a thriller with the emotional tug of a coming of age novel while providing a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between people and chimpanzees that will leave readers questioning which species is more humane. A thought-provoking read.” —Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Behind the Shattered Glass
“Devolution is an enthralling, action-packed and fast-paced jungle thriller from beginning to end. The story is set in modern day Africa and is centered on the book’s heroine, Chiku, a firecracker of a girl full of energy and spirit. She can also talk to chimpanzees! The backdrops to the story are as old as time itself—war, racism, hunger and greed. Can a strong-willed sixteen-year-old girl and a band of chimpanzees survive in war-torn Africa? Or will death find its way into this strange yet wonderful family! This book is an interesting coming of age tale full of intrigue, wonder, romance and danger. A truly exciting and original read! This is not your grandparent’s Tarzan tale!” —Christopher P. Obert, founder of the New England Authors Expo
“If it takes a bipolar teenager and some chimpanzees to save their piece of the Congo, then Chiku and her primate friends are the ones to do it. Label them superheroes. Peter Clenott has captured diverse characters in a vibrant setting and added snappy dialogue for this unique and interesting novel.” —Shirley Ann Howard, author of the Tales series
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Young Adult
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Peter Clenott on Facebook & Twitter

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Cash via Paypal: Eternal Night by Kade Kerrion

Eternal Night ebook
Alone for a millennium, since a human murdered her beloved consort, Ashra, the immortal icrathari queen, rules over Aeternae Noctis, the domed city of eternal night. Her loneliness appears to be at an end when her consort’s soul is reborn in a human, Jaden Hunter, but their reunion will not be easy.
Icrathari are born, not made. If Ashra infuses Jaden with her immortal blood, he will be a vampire, a lesser creature of the night, a blood-drinker rather than a soul-drinker.
Furthermore, Jaden is sworn to protect his half-sister, five-year-old Khiarra. She is the child of prophecy, destined to end the eternal night and the dominion of the Night Terrors—the icrathari and the vampires.
As Ashra struggles to sustain her crumbling kingdom in the face of enemies without and treachery within, Jaden fights to defend his sister and unravel a greater mystery: what is the city of eternal night, and how did it come to be?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Jade Kerrion on Facebook & Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 27 January 2014

5 STAR ARC Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan @SoVerySophie

Uninvited reminded me of "The Darkest Minds" by Alexandra Bracken in many ways.  What will you do, if a book makes you want to stop and keep going at the same time??  Read "Uninvited", you will find out..

Original Title: Uninvited
Series: Uninvited #1
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher, thanks!
Genre: Dystopia, Young adult

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.


Davy Hamilton, a girl with everything in her life, whose life is laid out before her in a neat rich manner, is a carrier of HTS - kill gene - meaning she is identified as a future killer.  Everything shatters in Davy's life after that.  Even her boyfriend and her BFF turn against her.  She is expelled out of her school and the government sends her to a different school with other identified carriers in her area.  Sean and Gil, two other carriers in Davy's class, seem okay, but Sean is already imprinted with "H" to state that he has shown evidence of violence.  But, Gil seems to trust Sean and he seems less killer-like than other kids.  When she just thought she could somehow finish the school and leave the place, even this life is snatched away from her...

It's hard to read this book, without feeling your heart squeeze every few minutes.  Davy is trying so hard to convince herself that they had made a mistake in identifying her as a carrier.

I'm different.  The exception.  It's arrogant thinking, but all I can cling to.

Every time, I think, that she can't see worse than this, Sophie Jordan gives pushes Davy deeper.  It's aching to know the girl, who had it all, is just trying to living by hope.  She tries to be confident, tries to find some light in her dark world, where she has no rights for anything.

Whatever happens, I don't have anyone.  I have to learn to live with that.

The only sane person she meets in the school, at first, is Gil, who advises her to be friends with better guys, so that they can protect her.  The guy is so sweet, even I thought the doctors had made a mistake identifying him as a killer.

Hard to imagine he's a carrier.  Maybe he's like me.  Maybe they made a mistake.

What is most astonishing is the reactions of the society, most of all, their own friends and family. I seriously don't know how I would be, if I am in a society like that.  The society, where there is high rate of crime and the government, taking measures to control it, by identifying kill genes - it all seems don't live in your small world minding your own business, thinking that you are safe from all these identified killers... unless the detected person with the kill gene is you or one of your family member.  The author has hit it hard, where it pains.

She makes me sound like livestock.  Not a person.  Not human.

I felt embarassed to even think that in the most desperate situations, I forget to care about the world outside my bubble.  I may not be cruel enough to be like Davy's BFF, but I would have been scared of the carriers too..too scared to even be with them.  That is, as I said, unless if it's me or my little brother or another one of my closest family - then I would know what other innocent carriers are feeling.  While I am kicking myself with all these thoughts, there is the other side - the truly scary killer kind.

RYAN YATES: I told her she should have gone out with me.  That she should have liked me.  And I cut her throat.
DR. WAINWRIGHT: How did you feel then, Ryan?
RYAN YATES: ...Better...

This made me think, maybe it's better if these guys are never let loose in the public.  I was in a total dilemma.

They're carriers.  There doesn't have to be a reason for them to inflict pain on others.

But, you know what won?  The ethical part..  I want to give people a chance.  Maybe if they are properly educated with some values, they would be good.  Hmm?  No, what age are you in?  People don't listen to you and your values, if you tell them.  But, I still don't want innocent people living their life in fear every minute, not knowing how much they have time to be with their family and thrown out to some quarantine.  

I walk quickly, as if I'm if they might change their minds and pull me back and thrown me into a vehicle and drag me out of here to the detention camp I saw on TV.

It's not like they had a chance that they have this gene.  This is not their choice.  I hate the pain of Davy as she tries to survive with a pack of wolves, waiting to tear her apart even when she shows a little amount of weakness.

The characters, the plot and the world are so amazing, that I can't wait to read the next book and get this over a good a more relieved way.

I am not going to spoil the romance for you.  It's very less, but I love Sean and you will too.  And so is the so little friendship part.  The kids are trying to survive, that they don't have time for anything else..

Recommended for dystopia lovers!  If you are looking for a light read, don't even think about picking this book up.  But, all I can say is, this is going to keep you thinking all the time until the end.  The climax is kind of immediate.  I didn't expect it to be over so soon, but Sophie Jordan is writing another book.  So, I am waiting..  All we have is hope.

4.5 STARS!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

In My Mailbox! Thanks @GrandCentralPub‎ @HarperCollins‎ @harperteen‎ @entangledpub‎ @BookSparks‎

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by "The Story Siren".

It's been a while since I hosted this meme.  So little time, but so much to do.. I am not going to list all the books I missed out during these's just last week's books.

So, these are the books that I received last week for review.

Thanks Grand Central Publishing, Entangled Publishing, HarperCollins, HarperTeen and BookSparks for the review copies!

16. Undying

Thanks Valerie and Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy!

What do you think about my book haul?  Anything interests you?  What did you buy/receive last week?

$10 Amazon Gift Card/Cash via Paypal Giveaway: The Last Finesse by Brian Bloom

The Last Finesse
In the global corridors of power, a group of faceless men is positioning to usurp control of one of the world’s primary energy resources: uranium. Climate change looms large. Luke Sinclair is a young, Australian-born professor of mineralogy and an expert in the nuclear-fuel cycle. Up to now, he’s led a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle.
But things change: renegade North Korea is about to transfer its illicitly acquired nuclear-weapons technology to Myanmar. The CIA wants to block the development. It enlists the aid of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. ASIS commandeers Luke, who quickly discovers there are wheels within wheels. Who has the real power? Who are his real friends? Is the attempt to corner the nuclear market ‘The last finesse’ of the faceless men who are so fixated on their personal goals they’ll risk a planetary cataclysm? Has ethical behaviour become merely an anachronism in the 21st Century gladiatorial arena?
The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.
About the Author:
In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.
Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Conspiracy Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
More details about the author
Connect with Brian Bloom on Twitter

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Book Feature: Cast in Blood (Morgan Blackstone) by Michelle Rabe

Michelle Rabe
To the outside world, Morgan Blackstone is an eccentric business woman. But, in her chest beats the undead heart of a 21st century vampire. Behind the doors of her nightclub, The Dracul, Morgan rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove.
After a long night of wrangling unruly supernatural customers, she is looking forward to some peace… but unbeknownst to her, there are other vampires who are conspiring against her. Just before dawn, in the deserted parking lot, she comes face-to-face with two old adversaries, one of which she had last seen being sealed in a tomb, 400 years before.
Overpowered by her attackers, Morgan wakes inside the lab of an unscrupulous doctor. Held against her will, subjected to experiments, she soon realizes that something has begun to burn within her veins…
Something that she knows will kill her.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Michelle Rabe on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, 24 January 2014

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge (The B-Word: Branding)

So, here it is.  After participating in the Winter 2014 Mini-Bloggiesta, this is my first task that is getting completed on my to-do list - participating in mini-challenges.

Amanda @ "On a Book Bender" is hosting a mini-challenge here, asking us to answer a set of questions.  And so here you go...

1. How well does your blog name reflect what your blog is about?

Books Are Magic - this is my blog name and I think it says it all (at least that's what I would like to think about).  I think and know that books are magical and I would share the magic with everyone else..

2. Create a tagline.

Let me get the magic of books to the greater audience..

3. Look at the name you use to leave comments. Change it to reflect your brand. For example, “Amanda @ On a Book Bender” is more recognizable than just “Amanda.”

I mostly use

Vidya @ Books Are Magic

as my signature in the comments.  But, very rarely, I just leave a direct comment without any signature..rarely.  Those are the times, when I just don't have another minute, but I still feel like saying something in that post.

4. Do you have the same profile picture on all social networks (including your blog)? If no, consider updating your profile pictures so they match.

Yep.  I use my blog at all places.  Below is my logo © Books Are Magic.


5. Is the picture of you or an avatar? If no to both, consider getting one.

Again, it's my logo.

6. What do people expect from YOUR blog? (If you don’t know, write what you WANT to be known for.)

I don't know what people expect from my blog.  But, I want to be known for reviews, one that works for your recommendations.  Yes, I want to do some discussion posts and also want to be known for the interesting memes.  I want to share more about my country and my life..  But, having my full time job occupy all my time, I have very less time for reading and reviewing.  Other type of posts --- *sighs* there will come a time, when I can do that..  Still, I am trying to do other posts, when I get more time which is rare.

7. Look at your Twitter timeline. What’s the ratio between interacting with people and self-promoting tweets? (Eyeball it.)

** hangs my head in shame ** see, I have a different timezone from most others, being in India.  So, interaction in Twitter is like so rare.  I come next day and reply to my tweets.  And the other person replies to me the next day after that.  And so it goes.  So, it's difficult to keep up the conversation with my timezone issues.

8. Write a social media update about your latest post (or your latest FAVORITE post) that teases and gives people a reason to click through.

Made a tweet:

Even if you are not participating in this challenge, I still would love to know what you think about..  Share it with me through comments or leave me a link to your post.  I would come visit the posts.

Feature & Follow #36: Books that I am looking forward to read in 2014!

  • To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee and Alison Can Read}
  • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  • Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers.
If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Top 5 Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In and Top 5 Worlds I Would Do Anything to Live In!

As always, Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by  the girls at "The Broke and the Bookish".

In spite of I want to live or avoid these worlds, I am in love with all these books.  They are super awesome and totally freaking-fantastic.  Don't miss out on any of these books.


I never want to even glimpse

  1. The Districts of the Hunger Games

  1. The Country of Arcadia in Cruel Beauty

                   3.  Our world as in
The Darkest Minds

                   4.  The forest of The Scourge (Brilliant Darkness series)

  1. Everneath of the Everneath series


I would give my best dress.. and shoes.. and purse.. to live at least for an hour in

  1. Hogwarts of Harry Potter series

  1. Inside the school of the Vampire Academy

  1. Camp Half Blood of the Percy Jackson series

  1. The courts in the Iron Fey series

                   5.  The Workshop in Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Come on, now tell me what are the places you want to live in and what are the places you would avoid at all costs from the world of your books..

Courtesy to the images:

Monday, 20 January 2014

Series Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This is a spoiler-free review.  Or at least I am trying to do it spoiler-free.

This book didn't leave me in tears, but it left me heart-broken.  I felt the love and loss so much, that it took me some time to realize that this is just a story.

Mia and Adam are high school sweethearts.  But, tragedy strikes and Mia's entire family faces a car crash in which Mia loses everyone.  And she goes into a comatose stage.  She doesn't want to wake up, knowing that there is nothing left here to come back to.  "If I Stay" beautifully portrays the trauma of a girl, whose entire life falls apart in front of her own eyes (literally).  What is she going to choose - to leave or to stay in this life?

"Where She Went" is in Adam's POV of his losing Mia, in a way he can't process.  Although Adam is a rock star now, he is also a heart-broken guy, who just tries to breathe and pass every single waking minute.  It's been three years since the day of the accident and he still can't stop missing them.  Yes, he has a popular beautiful girlfriend, who tries to get him back to regular life, but all Adam wants to go to back to his high school days..with Mia.  What Adam doesn't know is he is getting a second chance at life..

Both these books are so full of emotions that I felt like I want to hug everyone I love and thank them for just being there.  Yeah, that's the most precious gift of my life and I see it now.  If loss can be so painful in just reading the book, I don't know what real loss will do to me.  These books will give a taste of just that - the real loss!

Although this book will make your heart squeeze many many times, it will all be worth in the end.  It's just perfect.

Now, leave me alone, so that I can go hug my family and just tell them thanks..

Participating in Winter 2014 Mini-Bloggiesta - January 25th - 26th

I have never ever participated in the Mini-Bloggiesta or  Bloggiesta before.  Now..for the first time in my blogging history, here I am..participating in bloggiesta.  YAY!!!  So, maybe I am slightly exaggerating, but I am excited.. :)

So, here are my to-do list for January 25 - 26:
  • write 2-3 reviews
  • do a minimum of two mini challenges
  • fix my side bars - I have been lagging on those things for a long time.
  • comment on other Bloggiesta partipants blogs
  • participate in at least one Twitter chat - but I don't think that's possible, considering my time zone problem
  • write the next Top 10 Tuesday posts
  • sort out my review requests (which came in through review request form) and organize them

I am just starting with these goals in mind, maybe I will keep adding.. :)  It's going to by fun!

#Review: The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski (@annastanisz‎)

After reading Anna Staniszsewski's "My Very Unfairy Tale Life" series, I was much looking forward to reading her next book, "The Dirt Diary".  And I had a good experience with it.

Original Title: The Dirt Diary
Author: Anna Staniszewski
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Genre: Middle Grade

WANTED: Maid for the most popular kids in 8th grade.

Cleaning up after the in-crowd gets Rachel all the best dirt.

Rachel can't believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people's toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she's got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. Which is even worse than working for her mother's new cleaning business. Maybe. After all, becoming a maid is definitely not going to help her already loserish reputation.

But Rachel picks up more than smell socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she's willing to get her hands dirty...


This is the story about a girl trying to cope with her parents' separation.  Rachel, who is trying to get her normal life back, is trying to save money to get a plane ticket to her dad and explain him to come back home.  For that, she agrees to help her mom with her house cleaning business.  The problem is she is going to clean the houses of the popular girls at her class, who already think she is a freak.

Rachel is extremely shy; but this cleaning business has not made her life any easier.  She is cleaning the evil queen, Brianna's house along with many others.  She does a lot of bad things in order to save money for the plane ticket.  And, that makes her lose her friendship with her only BFF.  But, Rachel is learning her life lessons and the author has said it in a humor-filled middle-grade drama.

And did I mention that Rachel loves to bake?  For her happiness, in her anger, in her sadness..she bakes to forget everything and be herself.

Then there were other kids.  Evan is cute.  I love him for his smartness and honesty.

A simple middle grade fun and nothing more!


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