Random Monday: Short VS Long Reviews

☂ Random Monday is a series/feature on my blog where I will talk about, you guessed it, random, bookish stuff! ☂

Hey there!!! It’s been a while since my last Random Monday, but I’m back 😀

When I’m looking for a book to read, I often go on Goodreads to see if it’s generally viewed as a good book or not. Sometimes, I even quickly check the actual reviews. What I’ve noticed in those occasions is that I’m immediately drawn to the short reviews, because I’m lazy.

When people write short reviews (and by short, I mean 5 Goodreads-lines), they automatically put in less effort. I know because I tried. What could I actually say in those 5 lines? “It was great”, “I really liked the story”, “The characters are all likable”, “But I didn’t like the plot twist”, etc. Short and simple. It was much easier for me, yes! I had the perks of stating my opinion, but keeping it lowkey and time-saving.

But what am I looking for in a review? When I’m genuinely interested in the book, whether I read it or not, I want to know what people thought, what they liked, what they disliked. I want to read constructive arguments as to why that wasn’t good and this was. I don’t want an overview, I want the details. Of course, if I’m merely curious about a novel, a short review would be enough, but…

That’s why my reviews are long-ish. It’s important, for me, to tell you the why to my opinions, so that you can get a complete idea of what I’ve been going through. I know I sometimes get lazy to read them, because there are so many letters and words and paragraphs. But the thing that makes long reviews bearable is an organized structure.

You can go about it in many ways:

  • What I liked / What I disliked / Would I recommend
  • Bullet points
  • Characters / Plot / Writing
  • Fanart / Gifs / Drawings in between paragraphs
  • Bolding key phrases

Really, you can structure your reviews in many ways; those are just the ones that I encountered.

(My way to write reviews is the Bolding key phrases)

Anyway, thanks for reading this!

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Random Monday : Your nose in your PHONE or in a BOOK? (Print VS eBook)

Once upon a time, people would enjoy an afternoon walk, leisurely wandering amidst the crowds, getting some rest by the town’s fountain and opening a book to the page they were reading before going to sleep. Turning pages after pages, they would welcome the weight of the world lying in their hands, soaking in the adventures spelt out before them and reading to their heart’s delight.

“Once upon a time”, I said. I refer to ages not long ago, mind you. Does reading a book still exist nowadays? Yes, of course. But the coming of a new technology threatens the uniformity of this activity. With the advance of phones and tablets, eBooks have become all the more popular and are now a widespread way of reading books.

Today, I will share with you my personal experience with eBooks and books, as well as listing the advantages and disadvantages of both. It’s a personal post, which means that MY advantages may be disadvantages for you. It’s all in my perspective.

eBooks

I don’t own a Kindle device or anything, I just have the apps : Kindle and Adobe Digital Editions. I downloaded them after signing up to a bunch of bookish communities that give out free e-galleys of books for reviewing. Since then, I must say I’m very glad that I have them, because I have many books I have yet to review, and without eBook readers, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to read them. As a book reviewer, it’s important for me to have everything that would allow me to access books. I’m not planning on buying an actual e-reader, though. I’m quite satisfied with my phone. Considering that I’ve been using Kindle and/or ADE for a few weeks now, I’ll tell you what I liked and didn’t like about eBooks.

  • Advantages of eBooks :

– It’s all in my phone, so eBooks are easy to carry around and light. My schoolbag isn’t too heavy, and I don’t have to go to school with a brick in my back.

– I have a nice little library wherever I go. Sure, I don’t read all of them at the same time, but it’s nice to know I have options, just in case my current read turns out to be boring, get it?

– I get free classics!

– eBooks are MUCH cheaper than print copies. This one doesn’t apply to me, but I thought I’d let you know 🙂

  • Disadvantages of eBooks :

– My eyes tire more quickly when I read eBooks than when I read books, and so I get headaches when I read too much.

– My phone requires batteries (and so do Kobo and Kindle).

It’s hard when you want to get to a page, but the slightest movement of your finger could cause you to jump through 10 pages.

You can’t get an eBook signed.

No cover art and (I have to bring it up) no familiar and satisfying feel of the book in your hands. It takes away a lot of the reading experience, in my opinion.

Print books

Print books have been part of my life for more than a decade, now. Unfortunately, I only recently started to grow my own little library, so I can’t say I have many books. Most of those that I do have are ones I have yet to read. So they keep me fairly busy for the time being. I also recently started receiving print copies in the mail, from publishers and authors who wish to have them reviewed. They add up to my collection, and that’s why I prefer print copies. But personally, print books will always be my #1 choice. There’s no competition, really. They have my heart and soul. Take a look at what I like/don’t like about books.

  • Advantages of print books :

The feel of the pages beneath my fingers, guys. That would be enough for me. And the weight of a book in my arms, when I cross the street or wait in the subway, when I’m simply walking down the hall. *sighs*

– I feel like I own something, instead of just using it.

Cover art!! Beautiful, gorgeous covers; complex and interesting covers.

No batteries needed

– I can forever have my book, and display it on my shelf, instead of having it hidden in my phone.

– As a reviewer, sticking notes on a book is important if I want to keep a quote for future use.

  • Disadvantages of print books :

Heavier, take up valuable living space

– They require lighting

– They are more expensive than eBooks

 

And that is IT, guys. Thank you for reading this post! If you have any more opinions on the matter, please comment BELOW. If you disagree, please comment BELOW. If you wish me to write about another subject that’s close to your heart, please comment BELOW. Basically, I’m open to anything! I’m not trying to convince you to read print books or eBooks, just to share with you my opinion on the situation. Have a nice day!

Random Monday : ARCs I have yet to read PART 2

Random Monday is a series/feature on my blog where I will talk about, you guessed it, random, bookish stuff!

Hi!!! Thanks for reading this! I hope you’re all having a nice day!

So, as promised, here’s the last batch of ARCs I have to read and review. I only have a few weeks left to read some of them, and I’m confident I’ll be done on time! To read my previous Random Monday, go here.

Note* : My most anticipated reads are marked with a *.

Note** : All pictures have been taken from Goodreads.

6. Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Cordova *

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Expected publication : September 6th, 2016

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.

7. The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay

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Expected publication : August 2nd, 2016

At Cate’s isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game- it’s an elite secret society. Members must avoid being “Killed” during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the “Killer” is. When Cate’s finally invited to join the Assassins’ Guild, she know it’s her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs.

But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she’s the next target?

8. You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross

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Expected publication : August 2nd, 2016

Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her “good girl” persona, so she’ll try Eddie on for size.

New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the “good girl” stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom.

Enter Eddie Wells. He’s shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie’s bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.

So, that’s it for the ARCs. I will keep you guys updated on the books I receive for review. This is so fun! Thank you for reading this, and you may comment below if you’d like 🙂

Random Monday : ARCs I have yet to read

Random Monday is a series/feature on my blog where I will talk about, you guessed it, random, bookish stuff!

Hello, hello! Welcome back to Random Monday! If you guys remember, the last 2 Mondays were dedicated to eBooks I have yet to read and review. I’m sure you got inspired by some of them and they’re on your TBR list right now. Well, here’s the time to reveal the ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) that I have been entrusted with, thanks to the publishers and authors. My goal here is to promote them, and to spark some interest towards them, because they sound truly amazing! Take a look 🙂

Note* : My most anticipated reads are marked with a *.

Note** : All pictures have been taken from Goodreads.

  1. Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith *

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Expected publication : August 1st, 2016

It’s Clara who s desperate to enter the labyrinth and it’s Clara who s bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It s no surprise when she s chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.

2. Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black *

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Expected publication : May 17th, 2016

Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.

Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.

In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a heart-wrenching depiction of loss and hope.

3. Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn
Read. See my review here.

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Expected publication : August 1st, 2016

Chelsea Duvay is so many things. She’s an avid musical lover, she’s a gifted singer, and she has the most perfect, beautiful feet. But no one ever notices that. All they notice is Chelsea’s weight.

Daily, Chelsea endures endless comments about her appearance from well-meaning adults and cruel classmates. So she keeps to herself and just tries to make it through. Don’t make waves. Don’t draw attention. That’s how life is for Chelsea until a special class project pushes the energetic and incessantly social Melody into Chelsea’s world.

As their unlikely friendship grows, Chelsea emerges from her isolated existence, and she begins to find the confidence to enjoy life. But bullies are bullies, and they remain as vicious as ever. One terrible encounter threatens to destroy everything Chelsea has worked so hard to achieve. Readers will be captivated by Chelsea s journey as she discovers the courage to declare her own beauty and self-worth, no matter what others might think. A must-read for anyone who loves to explore the personal but powerful territory of everyday life.

4. The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon #2) by Francesca Haig

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Expected publication : May 3rd, 2016

Book Two in the critically acclaimed The Fire Sermon trilogy—The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in this richly imagined post-apocalyptic series by award-winning poet Francesca Haig.

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

 

5. A Quarrel Called (Stewards of the Plane #1) by Shannon Wendtland *

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Expected publication : June 20th, 2016

The Sage, The Guardian, The Lantern, The Light – together we four are Stewards of the Plane, a Quarrel.

G. is the Guardian; he’s developed a strong protective instinct and a kickass sword of light that can chase away the baddies like nobody’s business.

Sam is the Lantern; his dreams shed light on possible futures – he’s always had dreams, but now he sees where we’re going and how far, and it scares the crap out of him.

Tara is the Sage; as our resident mystic, she can commune with the Akashic records: the big data warehouse in the sky. She can get information on anywhere, anywhen, if only she can learn to ask the right questions.

And me, I’m Melody, I’m the Light. I can channel the earth’s energy and according to Gramps, I can stabilize a vortex. It’s a good thing, too, or else we would be in a lot of trouble.

Before the summer started, we were a bunch of normal teenagers getting ready for our senior year in high school. By the time summer was over, we’d fought and won battles, lost friends and saved the world (except for that time when we made it worse).

This is our story. We wrote it all down; that way when it happens to you, when you’re called to be a Steward of the Plane – a member of a quarrel, you’ll know what to do.

How’s that for a TBR pile? I’m so excited to get started on them!!! I can already see myself cozying up on the couch during spring time and reading these… Wow, I’m so looking forward to the end of the year!

For the last batch of ARCs I have to read, stay tuned until next Monday! 🙂

 

Random Monday : Books I have yet to read PART 2

Random Monday is a series/feature on my blog where I will talk about, you guessed it, random, bookish stuff!

Hey, guys! How are you doing? Have you been reading or, like me, stuck under a pile of manuals and notebooks for your oncoming exams? Hehe, I’m such a killjoy, aren’t I? x) In all seriousness, I hope you had or will have a great day! Thanks for sticking with me.

Here’s the second batch of eBooks I have yet to read. Please know that these are not ARCs. To know which ARCs I have in store, stay tuned until next Monday! To see my previous Random Monday, look here.

Note* : My most anticipated reads are marked with a *.

Note** : All pictures are taken from Goodreads.

      6. Hatred Day (Hatred Day #1) by T. S. Pettibone *

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In the year 2052, it’s not love but hate that unites the world.

Humanity is unified against the Inborns, an extraterrestrial species with godlike intelligence and abilities whose arrival on earth caused an environmental and biological crisis.

Enslaved and despised even by her own Inbornkind, 18-year-old Snofrid Yagami reawakens to the world after having her memories stolen and is certain of only one thing: she will do anything to ensure her freedom. But her resolution is soon tested when the son of a high-ranking human official is murdered and her home city becomes the center of the interspecies war, one that might see the Inborns purged. Desperate to find a way out of the city for herself and her family, Snofrid risks making a deal with the manipulative Inborn Commander, Hadrian, and his brutal cadre of soldiers. Her task is simple: take part in a historic hunt that will bring wealth and fame to all who survive. Unfortunately, Snofrid’s role is one in which survival is rarely seen—the bait.

7. Solace by Therin Knite *

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Corina Marion has a father problem—namely that her Red Cross doctor of a dad has finally returned home from sixteen years of war…

…as a body in a box to be buried.

Her mother is devastated, her friends shocked and saddened, her hometown in mourning at the loss of its local hero. And Corina, indifferent to the man she never met, is trapped in the middle of an emotional onslaught she isn’t prepared to handle.

But when a strange old man confronts Corina at her father’s funeral, he offers her an impossible opportunity: the chance to know the late Luther Marion. And in a moment of uncertainty, Corina makes a choice with consequences she can barely fathom.

A choice that sends her twenty-five years into the past. To the heyday of her father’s hometown. Right on the cusp of the harrowing events that will shape his life…and his death.

And in order to return to her damaged home, supportive friends, and uncertain future, Corina will have to fight tooth and nail alongside the man she’s resented her entire life. Because if she doesn’t help fix the past she’s inadvertently changed with her presence, Luther Marion may not live long enough to become a hero at all.

8. The 52nd by Dela *

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Not one of the sacrifices chosen over the long history had survived–until now.

On the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, the immortal Castillo family gathers in Tulum. Weary and haunted, they receive the names of fifty-two human sacrifices chosen once every fifty-two years for the Underworld, a tradition thought to have disappeared with the fall of the Aztec and Mayan empires.

Driving home one night, college freshman Zara Moss swerves to avoid hitting a ghastly figure in the road. Lucas Castillo witnesses the car crash, but when it comes time to supervise her abduction from the wreckage, he intervenes. Something is different about Zara: Lucas has been having dreams of her arrival for five hundred years.

As Lucas and Zara come together to put an end to the bloody sacrifices, they discover that the ancient tradition isn’t so easily broken. The gods are angry, and they have until the Winter Solstice to drag Zara to the Underworld.

9. The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

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What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

10. Light (Dream Casters #1) by Adrienne Woods

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Mr. Sandman, send me a dream, ta da da da…..Seventeen year old
Chastity Blake knows the Sandman is just a silly children’s story parents tell their children to get them to sleep. At least she thought it was, until the day a mysterious, light golden sand appeared in her hands during a high school prank that went horribly wrong. A sand that has the power to send anyone it touches into a deep, sound sleep.

Fearing she had lost her mind, Chastity soon discovers the shocking
truth of her heritage – she is a Dream Caster. Chastity was never supposed to be raised on the Domain, or what humans call Earth and she is forced to return to her true birth place, Revera – the world of Dreams.

However, in Revera there is no balance between good, the Light
Casters, and darkness, the Shadow Casters, and Chastity is caught square in the middle. She soon learns that there is no place for anyone containing both the light and the darkness within them, and the shocking truth that if anyone in Revera ever discovered her shadow self, Chastity would be thrown into the Oblivion – the world of Nightmares.

Dreams are always more than they seem, and this time Chastity is
going to discover just how different they can be.

11. A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth

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Seventeen-year-old Crystal White is the new girl on Starfish Island. Dragged to the remote community by her environmental activist father, she is eager to find fun that doesn’t involve touching fish guts or listening to local folklore.

During a midnight swim with some new friends, Crystal is pulled out to sea by the waves. Convinced she’s going to drown, Crystal is rescued by Llyr, a handsome stranger. As she searches for him in the following weeks, she finds there may be more truth to the Starfish legends than she thought.

Over a sizzling roller-coaster summer, Llyr introduces Crystal to magic she’d only ever dreamed of. But as Crystal comes to love Starfish Island, it begins to drive her family apart. A nearby power plant is devastating local marine life, and her parents are stuck in the middle. As the magic and mundane parts of Crystal’s life converge, she finds herself risking everything to save Llyr, her family, and herself.

Et voilà! The next batch will be the ARCs I have to read. Who’s excited? 😀

Random Monday : Books I have yet to read

Random Monday is a series/feature on my blog where I will talk about, you guessed it, random, bookish stuff!

Ever since I entered the Book Community (that is, a month ago), I tried to get as many benefits as I could get from it. So, I converted my personal Instagram to a Bookstagram (@shellsea96), I subscribed to a lot of book-related newsletters (mostly publishers, but also some blogs), I started writing reviews and, finally, I signed up in many bookish community, where I could talk and get news about books. Admittedly, one of my favorite benefits was that I could now get free print books/eBooks in exchange for a review and promotion. It’s smart, on the publisher’s/publicist’s/author’s part, because they get free advertisement and free, honest opinions; and it’s smart, on the reviewers part, because they get free books and, if lucky, a lot of fun and enjoyment in reading.

Since I started, I got review requests from some authors, and, in my turn, requested many eBooks to review. Of course, since I’m still new to this, I’m not really trustworthy as a reviewer, but I’m so so so grateful to the publishers/authors who put their trust in me and who accepted to send me a review copy, sometimes even an ARC (advance reader copy)! So, to keep you in the loop, here are the eBooks I have yet to read and to review. The ones listed here and in the next Random Monday are NOT ARCs. The ARCs will be revealed in the following posts.

Note* : My most anticipated reads are marked with a *.

Note** : All pictures are taken from Goodreads.

  1. April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton

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A revised version of the novel In Search of April Raintree, written specifically for students in grades 9 through 12. Through her characterization of two young sisters who are removed from their family, the author poignantly illustrates the difficulties that many Aboriginal people face in maintaining a positive self-identity.

2. Incarnation by Laura Davis Hays *

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Kelsey Depuis, Santa Fe scientist, and Iriel, betrothed on Atlantis to a man she cannot love two young women bound by a single soul. In Kelsey s everyday world, three men shape her life: Myron Crouch, the boss of BioVenture Enterprises; Harrison Stillman, a brilliant colleague of hers there; and Stan Dresser, who twists her feelings with his kisses and lies. But gradually, growingly, Iriel is shaping her life too. Through dreams and visions, she draws Kelsey into the ancient realm where refusal to marry Gewil has driven her to daring flight with fantastic creatures across a strange and terrible land. As Kelsey joins other BioVenture researchers testing a new organism on a remote Caribbean island, turmoil and violence darken her fate and Iriel s presence grows stronger. Worlds shift and merge, danger grows. Past and present, vengeance and love swirl together as the seas rise up, the seas that once swallowed Atlantis. Tested in life-or-death struggle, Kelsey must face an ordeal she can survive only through great courage and deep karmic understanding.

3. Hell School: Fresh Meat by Heidi Angell

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High school is hard, especially when you’re a freshman in a new town, surrounded by people you don’t understand and who don’t understand you. Sam was overwhelmed just trying to fit in. Then she is singled out with the first letter.
While some girls envy the “romantics” of this unknown admirer, Sam can tell something isn’t right. Sam wanted to just blend in, but someone’s eye is fixated on her. As the letters and bad poetry continue, so does the nagging in Sam’s stomach telling her this is not normal.
When things escalate from strange to creepy, Sam’s world becomes a nightmare. Twisted admiration is stalking her around every corner in the high school from hell….

4. Of Pens And Swords by Rena Rocford

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Seventeen-year-old Cyra Berque wants two things in life: a date with Rochan and a chance to fence at the Olympics. But people with one hand don’t normally fence, and girls with big thighs don’t get the boy. Knowing that she wants to make the Olympics, Cyra’s coach sets her up with another coach, one who could take her all the way to the top, but the new coach costs more. Feeling her dreams slipping out of reach, Cyra agrees to tutor a ballerina with a rich father and a D minus in English. It’s triple the pay and triple the pain. The ballerina isn’t interested in passing classes―she wants Rochan, and she’s promised she’ll turn her D minus into a full-fledged F if Cyra doesn’t help her win the heart of Rochan.

5. Railhead by Philip Reeve *

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Come with me, Zen Starling, she had said. The girl in the red coat. But how did she know his name?
The Great Network is a place of drones and androids, maintenance spiders and Station Angels. The place of the thousand gates, where sentient trains criss-cross the galaxy in a heartbeat.
Zen Starling is a petty thief, a street urchin from Thunder City.
So when mysterious stranger Raven sends Zen and his new friend Nova on a mission to infiltrate the Emperor’s train, he jumps at the chance to traverse the Great Network, to cross the galaxy in a heartbeat, to meet interesting people – and to steal their stuff.
But the Great Network is a dangerous place, and Zen has no idea where his journey will take him.

For the next eBooks, watch out next Monday! I hope you’re enjoying my first post of Random Monday 🙂