• The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

    What can I say? This couple had my heart on my sleeves.

  • Never Let Me Go

    A beautiful story of the fragility of life viewed through skewered lenses.

  • Night Circus

    The world that Morgenstern crafts is one that reeks of the cigar and smoke of the turn of the century England with its glamorous parties like The Great Gatsby, men with bowler hats in the Victorian Era, all with a splash of magic and romance.

  • Piratica I

    Piratica is a swashbuckling adventure, an over-the-top comedy, and of course, an unforgettable love story.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Author Interview: Michelle Gagnon (author of Strangelets | Don't Turn Around)

17-year-old Sophie lies on her deathbed in California, awaiting the inevitable loss of her battle with cancer…

17-year-old Declan stares down two armed thugs in a back alley in Galway, Ireland…

17-year-old Anat attempts to traverse a booby-trapped tunnel between Israel and Egypt…

All three strangers should have died at the exact same moment, thousands of miles apart. Instead, they awaken together in an abandoned hospital—only to discover that they’re not alone. Three other teens from different places on the globe are trapped with them. Somebody or something seems to be pulling the strings. With their individual clocks ticking, they must band together if they’re to have any hope of surviving. 
Soon they discover that they've been trapped in a future that isn't of their making: a deadly, desolate world at once entirely familiar and utterly strange. Each teen harbors a secret, but only one holds the key that could get them home. As the truth comes to light through the eyes of Sophie, Declan, and Anat, the reader is taken on a dark and unforgettable journey into the hearts of teens who must decide what to do with a second chance at life.

Release date: April 9th 2013
Publisher: Soho Teen


Today, I have the lovely Michelle Gagnon on Bookcase to Heaven™ as part of the blog tour hosted by Shane from Itching For Books. Shane hosts some awesome tours, so do remember to check her out!

Michelle writes amazing books (especially crime fiction) and she had her first Young Adult debut last year-- Don't Turn Around. I was so excited for that book that I actually emailed her several times. This time round, I'm really glad to be able to help promote her second YA novel which deals with some pretty strange teens (and hence the title) along with some stirring secrets.

Hope you enjoy the interview!



You are advertising your book on TV, come up with a catchy tagline! 

It’s Cloverfield meets 12 Monkeys. Sort of.

Sophie-- an old soul.
Declan-- devilish but sweet.
Anat-- tough, gorgeous, scary.

What role does time travel play in this book?

(Sel says: Hint, guys, time travel must play a critical role in the tale!) 

If your characters had the chance to talk to you face to face, what would they each say? 
“What did we ever do to you, that you would put us in such a crazy, dangerous situation?”

What was your inspiration for this book? And, why write it with multiple POVs?
I tend to prefer writing in multiple POVs, because that way the reader gets to experience the story from a number of different perspectives. The initial germ of an idea for the book started with a group of teens trapped in a hospital that’s more than it seems.

Sophie, Declan and Anat are each from a different country in the book-- America, Ireland and Israel. Did you choose these places on purpose?
I did. I have dual Irish citizenship, and a special affinity for Eire. Sophie harkens from the Bay Area, where I currently live; also special place for me. And Anat is based on a friend of mine who was strong and tough and yet such a sweetheart. I was completely blown away by the stories about her military service in Israel. 

What was one unexpected thing that surprised you in the process of writing this novel? 
I really didn't expect the monsters to appear—that was a shocker. 


If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you? 
Oh my, this is tough. I’m a huge Cate Blanchett fan, so she’d be my dream alter ego.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? 
“My Life in France,” on the off chance that many people would confuse it with Julia Child’s autobiography, guaranteeing respectable sales.

Tell me about the worst date in your life. 
I almost choked to death on a french fry when I was sixteen years old, and the guy had to give me the Heimlich maneuver. It was mortifying.

If you could travel back and forth in time, which era or time period would you choose? 
I'm really curious about the future- I’d love to check out what everything’s like in 2113. You know, after we've all been enslaved by apes.

Kiss. Kill. Marry. (Take your pick!) 
Ugh, I’m terrible at this game! Let’s keep it fictional. I’d love to kiss Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. I’d definitely kill Voldemort. And I’d marry Jamie from the OUTLANDER series.


- Heels or sneakers? Sneakers, definitely.
- Thrillers or Romantic Comedies? Thrillers hands down.
- Big Bad Wolf or Prince Charming? Big Bad.
- Thai food or Chinese food? Thai for sure.
- Twilight or Harry Potter? Harry Potter; for whatever reason, the Twilight books never grabbed me. 


Michelle Gagnon is a former modern dancer, bartender, dog walker, model, personal trainer, and Russian supper club performer. Her bestselling adult thrillers THE TUNNELS, BONEYARD, THE GATEKEEPER, and KIDNAP & RANSOM have been published in North America, France, Denmark, Spain, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Australia. BONEYARD was a finalist for a 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

Oh and I just heard that J.K. Rowling is continuing the Harry Potter series! (EEK. Major fangirl moment.) She's going to write a spin-off story based on Albus Potter :) It's all over the Web!


(Okay. So I was joking about the Harry Potter thing. Happy April Fools'!)

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Question For You

My exams are coming up in the month of April so I will pretty much be away then with only occasional posts for blog tours and some of the reviews written a million years ago which are hibernating in my archive.

I won't be around much at all, especially since some pretty big life-changing things have happened in the past month and I'm pausing from a lot of things to take a breather :)

But, don't worry, books are still the only things that keep me sane nowadays. As long as I keep on reading, there is no way I will ever stop blogging. And quoting my mother who thinks that "[I] read more than [I] eat", I will be blogging for a long long time to come.

Now, onto the main point of today's post. I have this huge question weighing on my mind lately that's been causing me quite some dilemma. I'm almost afraid to say it but...


It's just that I've been in this reading slump as of late and it has been ages since I even finished reading a YA novel. Here's a peek at my recent selections:

Life After Theft
Legacy of the Clockwork Key

I'm not saying that these are bad books per se, but they are only entertaining me aloofly at this point in my life when I feel like I need serious engagement. I need books that can be an immersive experience, one that can probe at my thoughts, reshape and redefine certain things in my life and most importantly, make me feel something more than just a reader.

And I don't like feeling this way about Young Adult books, which indisputably holds the title of having been my favourite genre ever since I was eleven. 

So, right now, I need some help from you-- bloggers, authors or just book-lovers, in short. 

Have you experienced this "reading slump" before?
                      Have you ever had this sudden change in attitude towards Young Adult Novels?

And the biggest question:

What are some Young Adult books which rekindled your interest in reading or even made you fall in love with reading?

Thank you so much for sticking with me through my whole book blogging journey so far. It's been full of ups and downs and I will be the first to admit that I haven't exactly been the most regular blogger. I love book blogging because for the first time in my life, I realized that there was a group of people out there who valued my writing and was always there to listen to what I had to say (which were sometimes random strings of words that jumped out after being mind-blown by a book). I was doing something more than reading, I was furthering that interest by helping people discover that one book that will change their life or make them see the magic in words

So, thank you!

I'll be back :)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Author Interview: Mark Jay Harris (author of Bewitched)


Author: Mark Jay Harris


Is it love or is it witchcraft? He’ll never find out if he kills her first.

The first time Darren saw Samantha, she was floating above his high school gymnasium during a basketball game, invisible to everyone but him. Next time he sees her, she's sitting in front of him in class, wowing his friends and causing unexplainable things to happen that only he seems to notice. But things really get strange (and complicated) when his dying grandfather tells him that he is part of an ancient order, the “Pessum Ire,” whose duty is to destroy witches. What does he do now, since he’s almost positive Samantha is a witch…and he’s crushing on her pretty hard?

Published March 1st 2013.


Since this time round I was interviewing a male author, I changed my classic THIS OR THAT question from "Bad boys or nice guys" to "Betty or Veronica". Read on!


Describe your book to us in a sentence.

Love runs headlong into evil, resulting in a battle between forced fate vs. freedom of choice - Is it true love or is it witchcraft? 

What inspired you to write about witches and witch-hunters rather than, let's say, werewolves?
Such a good question! Vampires and werewolves - I see them everywhere, in books, television, movies - you can't escape them. I should add zombies to that as well. These Paranormal Regulars seem overplayed to me. Having said that, I can't deny that Vampires still strike me as a fun sandbox to play in. But, I promised myself I wouldn't write a vampire story unless I could come up with something so original and fresh that it would stand out from the myriad of vampire tales out there. Funny thing, I've gone years with nothing, and recently I did come up with a vampire story I plan on writing. I don't think it's been done from the angle I'm considering, and it might be a very interesting tale...we'll see. There's a lot to develop still.
As for BEWITCHED, a lot went through my mind before this story fully came together. I liked the idea of magic, but I didn't want to go in the same direction as HARRY POTTER. I wanted it to be darker and based in evil. I also wanted the "devil" to be where the power extended from. The idea of tying the Bible into all this (the flash back to the Witch of Endor) was also very attractive to me. But, much like werewolves and vampires, I ran the risk of writing about subject matter that has been done repeatedly, so it had to be different and fresh and could in no way seem like a HARRY POTTER re-hash.

How did you come up with "Bewitched" as the title?
It all actually started with the 1960's television show called, BEWITCHED.  I set out to write a story about what it would really be like if a guy married a real witch, where his in-laws were evil and out to kill him. From there, it morphed into a YA book where the protagonists are in high school.  At that point the idea of being "bewitched" took on a stronger role in the storyline. It became a question  of whether Darren is actually in love or under some sort of spell that is making him fall in love.  Then there is the overarching idea of free-will vs. magical compulsion, and well...after that the title just had to be BEWITCHED. I played around with several other titles: SPELLBOUND, and THE GRIMOIRE OF MOLOCH, but in the end, BEWITCHED was always my favorite option, and I'm very happy I was able to have it published with that title.

BEWITCHED is the first book of "The Thaumaturgy" series. Share with us on the role that thaumaturgy plays in your novel.
"Thaumaturgy" is a great word. I have yet to run across someone who understands it the first time they see it. It refers to "miracles," particularly in the Bible, or to any kind of magical feat. Originally, it referred to miracles performed by Saints. Later, it developed into a term that refers to magical works in general. I liked the Biblical connection and the tie-in to "evil" magic. In this first book, "Thaumaturgy" means "having to do with magic." For my own purposes I've kind of co-opted the word to refer to the name of this canon of witch-craft stories that tells us where witches came from, the part they play in the world, and where they will eventually end up.

What is one song that can best represent the central theme/relationship in BEWITCHED?
"Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by the Police. Come to think of it, I wish I'd used that as a chapter title. Perhaps in Book 2.


Three interesting facts about yourself.
I lived in France for a year and half and am semi-fluent in French - not to imply I'm giving up on English. It remains my favorite language.
I have 5 incredible children, the oldest is learning to drive, and the youngest will soon be learning to crawl.
I proposed to my wife by writing a song, then using a keyboard and guitar sang it to her. 
Favourite book(s), genre(s), song(s) and film(s).
I love suspense and action in both books and movies. I also like fascinating back stories that mix well with action. It's vital that both plot and characters be engaging and fun. 
My favorite suspense author is Dean Koontz. He's the one who really got me started down this path of writing. WATCHERS, LIGHTNING, and STRANGERS, are all books of his I'd highly recommend.           

There's an old movie (from the 1960's) called "JACK THE GIANT KILLER." I loved that movie as a kid. It was great adventure with giants and witches, even a dragon. One day I hope to write a book based on it. I'd make a lot of changes to it, but the bones a really great story are there, particularly where adventure and romance are concerned. 
As for movies in general, I loved "THE AVENGERS," "VAN HELSING" AND "INDEPENDENCE DAY." But, it's not all about action with me. I also loved "LES MISERABLES" I can also be caught watching old classic comedies: anything with Cary Grant, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. And don't even get me started with Danny Kaye.
As for music, I'm kind of all over the map. I love the "Beatles," and just about anything was Alternative 80's. There's something extremely fun about "Bare Naked Ladies" (ha ha).  "They Might Be Giants" continues to be one of my favorite all-time bands, and when I'm in a mood, I love to listen to Michael Buble or "Cold Play".


Betty (Blonde Girl Next Door) or Veronica (Brunette Rich Girl)?
Well, they're both pretty hot....but, I'm going to have to go with Veronica. Could be the dark hair, or the cute outfits, but I'm pretty sure it's because of the almost identitcal resemblance to my wife. 

Hunger Games or Harry Potter?
I enjoyed both very much. I have to go with HARRY, however. HUNGER GAMES was well-written and very entertaining, but HARRY, well... he's the man!  Or the, wizard, as it were.

Argo or The Hobbit?
I haven't seen either one yet. I will get around to seeing them both, eventually. But, for the purposes of this interivew, I'm going to go with THE HOBBIT, mainly because I enjoyed the book so much when I was younger, and a lot of people have told me the movie was terrific! Go Bilbo!!

Thai food or Chinese food?
There's probably a lot of Thai folks out there I'm going to disappoint, but I totally love Chinese food!  (Right after Sushi, which I know is Japanese, but felt should be mentioned just the same). If I can't have Sushi, give me Orange Chicken! Yum!

Thanks for being on the blog, Mark!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Why Can't I Be You Excerpt + Giveaway

Title: Why Can’t I Be You
Author: Allie Larkin
Publisher: Plume
Release date: February 26, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

WHY CAN’T I BE YOU takes its name from a 1987 hit song from English rock band The Cure.

All her life, Jenny Shaw toed the line, striving to be the perfect colleague, girlfriend, and daughter – a path that has led her to an unhappy (though successful) career, a failed relationship, and all-but-severed family ties.  On her way to the airport for her first business trip, she is unceremoniously dumped by the man she thought she would one day marry.  In her haze of shock and confusion, she responds to the wrong name when Myra Aberly, organizer of Seattle ’s Mt. Si class of 1999’s thirteenth high-school reunion, shouts “Jessie!” across the hotel lobby. 

In an instant, Jenny Shaw becomes Jessie Morgan, a woman to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. She is immediately embraced by Jessie’s warm circle of friends – and gains a possible love interest.  But when Jenny becomes more and more curious about Jessie’s history, she uncovers a trail of secrets, pain and deceit that inspires her to uncover the truth that will heal her own painful past.

Excerpt #3

She grabbed the room key out of my hand when the elevator doors opened. “I have so many questions! I mean, what are you doing now? Where do you live? Who’s this idiot who broke up with you? And at the airport? Who does that?” she said, talking a mile a minute as she shuffled me down the hall. She pushed me into the right room and started the shower for me immediately. 

"But I’ll wait until we get you all cleaned up and feeling better.”

She made a beeline for the minibar, grabbed a little bottle of rum, opened it, and handed it to me. “You look like you need this!”

“I don’t even have luggage,” I wailed, drinking from the bottle like I was taking medicine, even though I almost never drink.

“Then we’ll have to go shopping! What a pity!” she said, in fake horror. “How awful that we have an excuse to go shopping together! I have the perfect place to take you. And when we’re done, you’ll look so fantastic you won’t even care that he’s gone. Promise.” She flopped down on the bed, pulled her phone out of her purse, and flipped it open. I grabbed the hotel robe out of the closet and headed into the bathroom.

Just before I closed the bathroom door, I heard her say, “Oh my God, Heather! You’ll never guess who’s here!” and then, “No! Better! Jessie Morgan! No, I’m not. She’s really, really here.”

To find out what happens next for “Jessie” read WHY CAN’T I BE YOU by Allie Larkin.

About the Author

Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novel Stay, and the upcoming novel Why Can’t I Be You (2013).  She lives with her husband, Jeremy, their two German Shepherds, Argo and Stella, and a three-legged cat.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

We Have Our FOUR

So, hi guys!

I'm back from camp and I'm now an Outward Bounder who kayaked for nine hours and trekked on a mosquito-infested island with an eight kilogram backpack for eight hours straight.

I have certainly gained muscles which you never would have found before the camp (since all I do is read and sit like a hermit crab before the computer). But, honestly? Every single part of my body is aching.

However, there's this mind-blowing piece of news I found that I just had to share, aching muscles and all:

FOUR from Divergent is finally cast! 

Theo James

Theo James, the British heartthrob and current star of the CBS cop drama "Golden Boy," will star in Summit Entertainment's highly anticipated adaptation of the young adult bestseller "Divergent". 
LA Times

Divergent is one of my all-time favourite dystopian novels and Four has long snagged the title of my favourite book boyfriend. (See my review here.)

I am really happy to say that Theo James is someone that I can totally envision as Four. Thank you, Summit, for choosing the right guy.

Now, let's cross our fingers and hope that his acting skills can match up to his golden looks. And let's send a prayer to the God of YA movies that the Divergent film will take the world by storm. 

Read more on Entertainment Weekly | LA Times | MTV.


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