My Writing Corner & An Announcement!

Hey Bookworms!

Before I tell you about my writing life, I have an announcement to make. Starting Monday I'll be on a vacation till the 10th of June. I won't be posting on the blog (but I'll be active on social media ๐Ÿ˜‰) except for a Blitz I signed up for on 5th June. I'll miss you!

Now, about my writing life!

For this post, I'll just write about the beginning of my life as a 'writer’.

I think I started writing in the 7th grade. I remember collaborating with my bench partner on a poem, and I think that's where it began.

Though my favourite type of literature is novels, I also enjoy writing poems, and that's what I wrote up until I was 16.

Sometime in the October of 2016, a friend told me about Wattpad. And that's where my writing flourished. I wrote a novella there, and made some great friends too! Currently, I only have a poetry collection up there, which houses around 60 poems. Feel free to check it out:


I didn't have much time to write the last two years, because 10th and 12th grades are a big deal here and I had to focus on my studies.

But now that I'm free, I'm working on a fantasy novel, which has turned out to be the longest thing I've ever written—currently, it stands at a word count of 65,000 words—and it's nowhere near the end! Here's a sneak peek into my WIP!


Let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Oh, and Swibells is the pseudonym I use for writing! ♥️

Keep Reading!
Anky.

Review: In The Present Tense


Author: Carrie Pack.
Genre: LGBT, Adventure, Romance. 
Rating: ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ

Blurb:

Miles Lawson goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school. When he learns he has been time traveling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for his rare condition—and finding his first love.
Traveling more frequently, Miles assembles the puzzle pieces of his life and, in doing so, alienates his wife. As he loses control, Miles must realize that sometimes fixing your past mistakes means changing your future. But will he be able to convince Adam he is telling the truth before it’s too late?

Cover Review:

The cover is colorful and eye-catching. Definitely my type of cover. I loved it. 

Book Review:

The first thing I did after finishing this book was look for it's sequel. I found out that it releases in August, so I rushed to NetGalley and requested it. I seriously don't know how I'll live if my request is declined. 



This book is perfection. There's time travel, there's messy romance, there's YA and there's a whole lot of suspense. I mean, what's not to like? 

Despite their many flaws, Miles and Adam are such beautiful crafted characters. They're real. So is Bethany. 

I felt so many emotions while reading this book. I laughed, I cried, I felt afraid for them and I got angry. Damn did I get angry!


The character I hated the most though, was Ana. She wasn't supposed to be the villain in the story, but she's the one who I ended up hating the most. You'll know why when you read it. 

All in all, In The Present Tense was a beautiful, mesmerising page-turner that left me wanting for more. 


Order In The Present Tense now:






Review: Pieces Of Her


Author: Karin Slaughter.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller.
Rating: ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿฌ

Blurb:

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She's knows she's spent her whole life in the small town of Gullaway Island; she knows she's never had any more ambition than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she's never kept a secret in her life.

But one day, a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.
Twenty-four hours later, Laura is in hospital, shot by an intruder who's spent thirty years trying to track her down. Now, Andrea must go on a desperate journey to follow the breadcrumbs of her mother's past. If she can't uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either of them.

Cover Review

The cover is simple, a typical mystery novel cover and I'm not sure whether I like it or not. 

Book Review:

Pieces of Her is the first book I read by Karin Slaughter and I loved it. The book wasn't exactly a mystery in most parts, except for some tricky revelations throughout, like Laura's true identity and some other things which I can not reveal because of SPOILERS!

I loved watching Andy transform from a thirty years old girl who hates her job to a mature headstrong woman. The way she handles everything with as much clarity as she can, given the circumstances, made me appreciate her a lot. 



While on the other hand, Laura , or the girl she used to be, seemed somewhat totally opposite of her daughter and yet the same. Following in the shadows of someone she desperately loves, she makes a lot of mistakes. 

The two stories are narrated to us simultaneously, until they merge into one near the end. 

There were a lot of historical references and textbook talk that I had to skip past, because they bored the hell out of me. But the story and the thrill of it kept me going. 

I think I'm a Karin Slaughter fan in making—I already ordered one of her previous books!—and I'm thankful to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the review copy! 


Order Pieces Of Her now:






Interview with Linda Rebello

Hey Bookworms!


Today's interview is a bit special. It's not with an author, or even a book blogger. Today's guest is one of us! Yes, you guessed it right, she's a Bookworm! Before I begin with the questions, let me introduce her to you!

Linda Rebello is 28, and an Interior Designer by day, an avid reader by night. 
She's currently reading Twisted Threads (book #2 of the Everleen Hardcastle duology)
Apart from books, she shares her love for food, art and music.

Now that you know a bit about her, let's get rolling!


Hey Linda! Thank you for coming! If you had the chance to live a fictional character’s life, who would you want to live as? And why?


I would love to live any strong female character’s life. Almost all of them are “human”; they either start life in a rut or somehow land in one. But I love how all these characters adapt and evolve and get themselves and their dependants out of sticky situations. Notable mentions: Jane Eyre, Samantha Sweeting (the Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella), Hannah Francis, Eveleen Hardcastle (both Margaret Dickinson's heroines) and many more.

How long have you been a reader? Who inspired you to begin reading?


I've been “reading” ever since I was little. My first book was Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes which my mother would read to me. My second was Goldilocks and the three bears. I then moved on to Hans Grimm Fairy tales when I could read by myself.
My mother loves reading and she inspired me to start by myself, something I'll always be grateful to her for.


You're lucky! I have no readers in my family, and I didn't really start reading until I was 13!

Anyway, which was the first novel you read? Did you ever re-read it after that?


I don't really remember but I'm guessing Secret Seven, Famous Five, The Adventure Series and others by Enid Blyton were my first novels.
Yes I have read them many times after that.


That's nice! My first one was Harry Potter, but I did read some of Enid Blyton’s works after that.


Your top five favourites list? And why are they your favourites?


Tough one. Gone with the wind is a favorite. I haven't read it since I first did in 2007. I was in a huge slump after that because no other book was good enough. You can call it book depression.
My cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier is another. I love the dark, mysterious theme in her books.
Rebecca too is a lovely book.
I loved Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris. I read it only recently but couldn't stop raving about it. It was one of the few books I finished in a single setting.
Gone girl was of course phenomenal. Who doesn't like it?
Lassie come home by Eric Knight is a beautiful book that brought tears to my eyes.


Well, to answer your question, I don't lol, but I'm glad you do! And it's awesome that you could answer the question. I know I won't be able to!


If you could have a book discussion with one author, who would it be?


Sophie Kinsella maybe. She seems fun! Jodi Picoult too. I loved Small Great things.


Totally agree with you about Jodi Picoult! She's awesome.


Which fictional character would you want to go on a date with? Why?


Oh gosh! Fitzwilliam Darcy, Edward Rochester, Luke Brandon, Jack Reacher.


Haha, that's quite a list!


Have you ever had to face embarrassment in public because of your reading? (For example: swearing out loud at a character in a public place) If yes, please share the incident!


Well I would tear up when reading P.S I love you so I stopped reading it in public.
And I sometimes tear up when discussing books with people.


Oh, believe me, I've done worse!


Top five favourite authors? What's your favourite thing about them?


Margaret Mitchell for her patience and the beautiful way she brought the characters to life in Gone with the wind,
Margaret Dickinson because I love her strong and “real” characters,
Sophie Kinsella for her fun and light way of writing. Her characters are so goofy and relatable,
Daphne Du Maurier for her wonderful writing style.
Harriett Beecher Stowe for her bravery. She wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin during a time when slavery wasn't yet abolished. A white woman condemning prevailing social taboos certainly needed courage.


What are you currently reading?


Tangled threads (book#1 of Eveleen Hardcastle duology) by Margaret Dickinson and Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor.


Those sound great!


The top five books on your to-read list?

Star Sullivan by Maeve Binchy (library book)
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Mengele by Gerard Posner
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (re-read)
The shadow of the wind trilogy by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Your least favourite thing about reading? And your most favourite?

Least favorite: Worrying about a book hangover after choosing a really good book. And the fact that I can't read all the time.
Most favorite: I read for pleasure. So I love being entertained. The best part about reading is that you don't need anyone else to have fun.


Haha, I wish I could read all the time too!


What is your favourite place to read? Your favourite snacks to eat while reading?


My bed. With my pillows stacked up behind me! ๐Ÿ˜
I can eat anything dry and crispy. I have unhealthy reading-eating habits. Chips are a favorite. And I love having a cup of tea to go with it.



Bed and tea all the way for me too!


If you were kidnapped, which fictional character would you want to rescue you? Why?


Jack Reacher. Because he can! Lincoln Rhyme is good too. But due to his current situation, he can only send someone to find me. Sherlock Holmes of course would figure out all the clues first. Jack Reacher would be the muscle.


What do you wish you had more of in your locality, libraries or bookstores? And why?

Libraries. I have too many books and very little space to store them. I need libraries (already have one) to go to.


I wish I had a library. My city has no library!


Anything else you'd like to share with our fellow bookworms?


Yes, thank you for being my fellow bookworms. This world would be a weird, dark place without you guys. If we don't read, how would we have imagination and magic in this world? And more importantly, where would the movies come from? ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜


Exactly! Thank you for taking time out of your day for this chat!


Thanks so much for letting me rave and rant! All the best Anky!

Review: Goodbye Days


Author: Jeff Zentner
Genre: Young Adult. 
Rating: ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ❤️

Blurb:

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.
Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Cover Review:

The cover was what had first interested me. Reading the blurb had only intensified my want for this book, and I'm glad I picked it up. 

Book Review:

Goodbye Days spent a lot of time on my tbr list before I finally picked it up. And I'm glad I did. 

Goodbye Days was so beautiful I'm unable to phrase just how much I loved it. If I were Jesmyn, I'd describe this book as pinkish golden with dashes of midnight blue, but I'm not, and so I have to hunt for words to describe just how beautiful this book is. 

The storyline itself it so amazing and thought-provoking. Being an avid social media user, I've never given much thought about texting someone. I mean, it's just texting right? But this book made me realize just how wrong I was. It made me realize just how many lives a single text message could ruin. 

I laughed with Blade at all of the crazy things he'd done with his 'Sauce Crew' and I cried with him as he remembered his dead friends, and blamed himself for his death. 

One of the things that makes this book so beautiful is how it makes you feel every emotion so completely. When it makes you laugh, you laugh so hard that your stomach starts cramping. And when it makes you sad, it does it so completely that you can't stop sobbing—and I did that at 12 AM, trying and failing to stay quiet as everyone slept. Thankfully, I live in a house full of deep sleepers. 

Anyway, back to the book. I loved how all of the Goodbye Days affected Blade differently. How one made him admit what he felt about his friends' death, and another made him realize his own feelings and how another helped him finally put his demons to rest. 

I loved Jesmyn's unique character and the important role she played in Blade's life, as his sole support and friend. I loved, how despite everything, they managed to help each other get through the tough times. 

I loved Dr. Mendez for his skills, for the way he made Blade realize everything. I loved how, in the end, Blade's experience helped him too.

Goodbye Days was a book full of so many characters who each learnt something, developed some, grew some, because of one fateful day. 

Goodbye Days was raw, honest and guileless. It was the story of a teenager, but not his alone. 

This book was just—wow. I've written so much and I'm still nowhere close to explaining just how profoundly this book has affected me. This was supposed to be a fun read. A read to take a break from all the ARCs I'd been reading. 

Instead, it turned into a midnight readathon, which ended with teary eyes, snotty nose and a huge jumble of emotions. 

This review is way different from my usual 'style' and I suppose it is because unlike the others, this one comes straight from my heart. 

Goodbye Days has definitely become a favourite, and as soon as I get my paperback copy, it'll be a prized possession, shelves between my favourites. 


Buy Goodbye Days now:




I really hope you'll consider buying this book, because you NEED to read this! 

Guest Post: The Perils Of Mixing Fiction With Social Issues

Hello Bookworms! 

Sorry I missed out on the review yesterday! Our internet was down for the past three days and I'd only scheduled two posts! But don't you worry, because today we have a special guest with us! Let me introduce him to you! 


I am a retired patent attorney living in Florida with my wife, Sonya, and our feline, Tsuki.  I spent most of my life in the Washington, D.C. area. I grew up in McLean, Virginia before the beltway was constructed.  Some of my classmates in grade school lived on nearby farms. McLean had a small town feel to it. Gossip spread without the Internet.  Party lines were common. Secrets were hard to keep.
When I was in my early thirties, my life pivoted when I was accused of a crime I didn't commit.  My defense counsel and I discussed plans for my likely indictment and possible imprisonment. I could expect to be handcuffed and paraded in front of the media.  This experience with the so-called justice system ended after a two year ordeal without an indictment and without going to trial. Even so, it could have ended differently.  
Sadly, I will never fully believe that prosecutors, investigators, or the government are as interested in the truth as they are in getting a conviction, an attitude that I share with the semi-fictional Shep Harrington.

Now that you know him a bit better, I'll let him take over! 



My second book, Chain Thinking, was a murder mystery, plain and simple.  Well, maybe not plain or simple.  The story swirls around the theft of a chimpanzee from a test lab and the murder of a lab scientist.  Shep (my main character, attorney and reluctant sleuth) is gifted the chimp by a mysterious woman who demands that he trust her.  When the authorities arrive to take the chimp back to the lab, he reacts instinctively and tries to assert that the chimp has legal rights.

When the idea for Chain Thinking came to me, I eagerly immersed myself in setting out the story line of the murder and its solution.  I was, and still am, an animal lover. I had no clue that I had ventured on to the thin ice of mixing fiction with a social issue until I received a review from Martha Grimes:

When a writer attempts to introduce a social issue into his fiction, he can almost be sure that he will be accused of some kind of proselytizing.  In Chain Thinking the issue is animal rights and the fiction is the story of Kikora, a chimpanzee, and Shep Harrington, a lawyer and detective manquรฉ, and his battle not only to solve a murder, but to save the chimp from experimentation.  Elliott Light has managed to weave these two parts together, and do it seamlessly.

I was struck by the implications of the words “attempts” and “accused.”  I had unknowingly taken a risk and yet escaped unscathed.

I understand now that the danger in mixing social issues with fiction is that the issue overwhelms the story or the story is seen trivializing the issue.  The writer is faced with the need to expose the reader to the issue without losing the reader in talking head sequences in which characters simply recite facts.  The writer must also be aware of the strength of his or her feelings about the issue lest the book become a vehicle for delivering a message and loses its identify as a murder mystery.

With my new found understanding of the perils of this fusion of fiction and commentary, I decided to do it again.  In The Gene Police, the investigation of a murder takes Shep and his law partner Robbie into the dark pseudo-science of eugenics.  The history of eugenics and its connections with white supremacy, forced sterilization and the marginalizing of non-white people are not well known outside academic circles. Again, the challenge was to write a mystery that incorporated elements of an important social issue in a sensitive and respectful way.  Fortunately, the reviews again were positive.

A recent review in Booklist noted the following:

Lawyer Shep Harrington is back after a 15-year sabbatical (Chain Thinking, 2003.) Reggie Mason, an African American state trooper in Virginia, confesses to Shep that he’s been using the state’s DNA database for personal use. His aunt lost a baby in 1953, but she’s always secretly believed that the baby was taken away or murdered. Given that the creepy hospital where she delivered the child was known for the involuntary sterilization and psychiatric commitment of black patients, it’s not that far of a stretch. When Reggie finds a match in the database, he knows things are going to get a whole lot more complicated. Also complicated is Shep’s life since inheriting a large estate from the country-singer father he never knew. In fact, a photo from the estate's days as a “Poor Farm” may be the key to what happened to Reggie’s cousin. A strong mystery supported by its powerful treatment of racial injustice.  

Writing stories with a social theme can be very satisfying, even cathartic.  Teaching moments can be used as an opportunity to reveal the characters involved.  How a character reacts to the facts – surprise, disgust, shock or indifference—says something about the character.  If two characters react differently, there is the opportunity for conflict.

As a final observation, the message should have consequences for the characters and the plot. In Chain Thinking, the message—animal rights—determines how justice is ultimately rendered.  In The Gene Police, the message—eugenics—drives the story through its dramatic resolution.  If at the end of the book, the issue doesn’t inherently complicate the lives of the characters, the book has become subservient to the message.

Curious about his works? Here's a little something about his latest book, The Gene Police.


Before the words “white supremacy” filled the airways, before we learned of American Nazis and the alt-right, before there was a Muslim ban, before we considered building a wall or knew what DACA stands for, there was eugenics—a pseudo-science that promoted the belief that a race could be improved by controlling who was allowed to mate with whom.  
It was eugenics that compelled white doctors to inform Carl and Betty Langard that their new born baby had died.  And it is the cruelest of circumstances—the murder of Jennifer Rice—that fifty years later leads Shep Harrington to search for Baby Langard.  
As Shep soon learns, the quest brings him to the top of a slippery slope with an ill-defined edge. Question begets question, and the slide down the slope proves inevitable: What happened to the baby? Who took it? Why was he taken? And who killed Jennifer Rice?  
When Shep learns that Baby Langard was born at a hospital run by Alton Nichols, a famous Virginia eugenicist, he is drawn into the dark history of the American eugenics movement and its proponents—the so-called “gene police.”

Giveaway:

Win one of three signed copies of Lonesome Song, Chain Thinking and The Gene Police.




Buy The Gene Police now:




Thanks to Sage's Blog Tours for organising this fun blog tour! 





Review & Giveaway: What I Leave Behind



Author: Alison McGhee.
Genre: Young Adult.
Rating: ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ❤️

Blurb:

After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each.

Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house.
When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn’t left early—it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life, from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home, to Playa herself. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

Cover Review: 

The cover is what made me request this book in the first place. The cover is artistic and I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. 

Book Review: 

I can't believe a book this small managed to touch my heart so completely. The book is barely 10,000 words long (if my maths is correct) and yet, it's so beautiful.

The book is broken down into 100 chapters, all having the length of 100 words. This unique format made it even more interesting and I found myself flipping pages at the speed of light. 




Will is a teenager who's been through a lot. His dad's death, and the rape of his best friend affect him in various ways. What I love is, his positive response to the situation. He tries to make everyone's life better, even his. And he succeeds. 

I'm so glad I got the chance to read this book and I'll definitely recommend you to check it out!


Giveaway:

Win a copy of What I Leave Behind! (US Only, sorry!

Duration: 8 to 22 May.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Buy What I Leave Behind now:




Check out the complete tour here.


The Fantastic Flying Book Club

A Tiny Bookish Survey! :)

Hiya Everyone! I'd love to know what you're looking for in a Book Blog, so I can improve myself! What kind of blogs wo...