• 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.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Something Strange and Deadly


Something Strange and Deadly

Author: Susan Dennard


The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor… from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Published 24 July 2012.


IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

So begins Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. And hereby, unfolds a tale of glitzy tea parties, handsome eligible bachelors and misunderstood love. 

Add some steampunk and the Dead to this classic and "voilà!", you get the novel-- Something Strange and Deadly. And the result is something deadly to the heart.

Deadly because you will fall head over heels in love with it, in love with its setting, its characters and its plot.

Eleanor of the Philadelphia Fitts is a faded member of the high society. Her single-parent family is struggling to make ends meet and her mother is as eager as the legendary Mrs Bennet to marry her off to the rich and handsome Clarence who is of good status.

Yet, Eleanor only meets her real Mr Darcy when she is forced face to face with the Spirit-Hunters after her brother, Elijah, goes missing. With the Dead rising from all around Philadelphia, Eleanor has to split her waking hours between squeezing into corsets while attending operas and working with the Spirit-Hunters to prevent the Dead population from spiralling out of control. At the same time, there is also the puzzling mystery of who is the Necromancer behind the hungry dead and the family mystery that seems to tie in closely with the deaths of high society members. 

The plot grows thicker and thicker and we are swept up in a whirlwind of adventure and of course, romance. Our Byronic hero appears in the form of the sandy-haired Daniel Sheridan and no one can describe Byronic heroes better than famous historian Lord Macaulay-- he is proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection. With such a character, the romance in this novel goes up a notch. Slowly and deliciously, the two stubborn characters (Eleanor and Daniel) start falling for each other. But, Susan Dennard makes it impossible to forget their romance with an open-ended closure, not satisfying enough, yet still full of hopeful promises.

As for the identity of the necromancer, Dennard executes a thin thread that runs consistently throughout the whole novel. The whodunnit had me making wild guesses at every turn and kept me constantly delighted.     

Ultimately, I just want to say that each and every element in the novel, be it adventure, romance or mystery, is just truly exceptional. I will fall in love with the mystery in this novel all by itself. But, having a gorgeous romance and a blood-pumping adventure doesn't hurt as well ;)

It seems almost impossible to have steampunk alongside with zombies and to have it take place in the 1800s, but Susan Dennard has achieved it all in one go. That is why you shall have to read the book simply if not for any other reason than to see how she does it. 

And trust me, she does it gloriously and brilliantly.

Source: ARC from HarperTeen for review purposes as part of the blog tour

Author Spotlight

She is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.

She lives in Germany with her French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on her blogtwitterfacebook, or GoodreadsSomething Strange and Deadly is her debut novel.


There is also a giveaway of a signed copy of Something Strange and Deadly. However, it is opened to U.S. only, as it is sponsored by Susan herself. 

Sorry, international readers, but don't worry, a few more giveaways are coming this way in August ;)

As for U.S. readers, count your lucky stars and participate now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Character Gallery


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Interview: Jennifer E. Smith (author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThe Storm MakersYou Are Here, and The Comeback Season

She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. 

Her work has been translated into 28 languages, and her new young adult novel, This is What Happy Looks Like, is coming out in April 2013.

When I first started blogging, I never thought that I'd ever be interviewing authors, yet here I am today, interviewing Jennifer E. Smith, the amazing lady who made me laugh and cry with her wonderful contemporary novel-- The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. :)

So, hello, Jen, I can't tell you how happy I am to have you here at Bookcase to Heaven™! I thought the statistical probability of that would be near zero, but here you are and I'm going start with my first question about...

MATH. Were you good at Math in middle school?

I've always been more of a words person than a numbers person. I guess I held my own at math while in school, but I never liked it very much, and embarrassingly, I still count on my fingers sometimes. I'm sure my old math teachers would find it amusing that I've written a book with the words "statistical probability" in the title...

I guess they would *grins* So what was your inspiration for writing a novel about the probability of fate?

I wanted to explore the idea of fate, and I was interested in the notion that something as little as missing your flight by four minutes could change your entire life. 

And how did you come up with the title?

It actually came from a line of dialogue near the end of the book. We’d tossed around a few other titles before that, none of which quite seemed to fit, and once we decided to go with that one, the whole book sort of came into focus. At one point, we almost scrapped it because we were worried it was too long, but I’m so glad we decided to go with it! 

I'm glad too ;) The title was what that drew me to the book in the first place! Now, do you believe in true love and soul mates?

I do!  But then, I'm a hopeless romantic…

So how did you envision yourself falling in love when you were young?

I was always a sucker for romantic comedies, so I guess I probably dreamed of those types of scenarios when I was younger. And that's probably why I write the sorts of books I do now. There's something deeply hopeful in these kinds of stories, and I've always been really drawn to that.

Then, do you prefer books that make you smile or books that make you cry?

I love both, and I certainly don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. I love books with big hearts, and those always seem to be the ones that manage to make me smile and cry in the span of a single page.

Why did you choose to become a novelist for the teenage/young adult audience?

First of all, there’s no better or more enthusiastic audience out there. But beyond the readers, I also really enjoy writing these characters. I think a lot of adults tend to underestimate teens, so it’s great to have an opportunity to give voice to sixteen or seventeen year old characters who are real and honest and emotional, but also incredibly bright and savvy and intelligent.  

And I enjoying reading about them! I see that you've written four books so far. Which book was the hardest to write, out of the four?

Actually, it was my one middle grade novel, which isn't so much because it was middle grade, but because it required world building. It gave me a whole new appreciation for other genres! But I really enjoyed the challenge.

Anything in particular that you want to say to the aspiring writers out there?

The only way to figure out if you can write a book is to actually sit down and attempt to write one. You learn by trying and failing and then trying again. You bounce back from the rejections, and you celebrate the successes both big and small. Writing is not at all the same thing as publishing, and it’s the much more important of the two. If you want to be a writer, you’re the only one who can make that happen. You just have to keep putting words down on the page. It’s the easiest and hardest thing in the world.  

Thank you for the advice! 

But, one last question before we end, and I just have have have to ask it. Do you have a special fondness for British boys (i.e. Oliver)? *winks winks*

I have to admit that I do. I've lived in both Ireland and Scotland, and I've always loved guys with accents. Who doesn't? ;)

Indeed, who doesn't?

I think we all love her a little more after this honest and insightful interview!

Read why I love her here ;)

And let's rush to the bookstore when her new Young Adult novel, This is What Happy Looks Like, comes out in April!

Thanks, Jen, for taking the time to answer my questions! You're a real sweetie :)

Don't ever stop writing! (And same goes to the rest of you aspiring writers out there ;)


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry

Author: Simone Elkeles


A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. 

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.  

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Published 23 December 2008


One word to describe Perfect Chemistry would be just... Perfect. 

Mind-blowingly and poignantly perfect. 

It's the epitome of the clichéd and much overused star-crossed lovers storyline, but the fact that Simone Elkeles persisted in pushing each stereotype to its best made Perfect Chemistry the biggest star of its genre. It's as simple as that.

Brittany. She is the exemplar of Barbie-ness.

Alex. He is the Mexican bad boy oozing danger and appeal.

When their two vastly different worlds are forced to clash with a loud bang, clap your hands together for some fizzling hot sparks that will beat the likes of Tony and Maria from the West Side Story.

>:) Really!

When I first started reading this novel, there was no doubt that I was expecting a good old twist on the good girl and bad boy tale. And I got that. But, what I didn't expect was how Simone Elkeles delivered it with such raw intensity and pulsating emotions. She left out none of the crudeness that comes with the harsh reality of high school, she left out none of the bloodiness and cruelty of gang life, yet, at the same time, she left out none of the drama and sweetness in a fragile first love.

And that is how she won me over with her tale of two teens falling in love from two different worlds.

Because her story is grounded in reality, because the authentic voices of Alex and Brittany could shine through the predictable storyline, because of all that and more, Perfect Chemistry was so much more special and touching than any other novel on a star-crossed pair

Everything starts when Alex and Brittany are assigned as lab partners. From enemies to friends then falling in love, every step of their journey together is precious and heart-warming. From both of their perspectives, we see how their burning animosity turn to curiosity. We watch how they poke at each other's façade. We witness their precious friendship that is tested and challenged again and again by those around them.

Yet, against all odds, even when I thought that all that's going to be left will only be a distant memory of a bitter sweet first love, they made it to the end. 

And Simone Elkeles teaches us a good ol' lesson, of looking beneath the surface, of daring to venture beyond your comfort zone, and most importantly, of never letting go of what is dear to your heart.

Special mention goes to Simone Elkeles for having the most conversational style of writing I've ever seen. She writes the ways teens talk, and because of that, Alex's painful decision to protect his family by joining the Latino Blood gang is all the more tangible and Brittany's strong love for her disabled sister below her icy princess exterior can touch our hearts. That is why I find myself involved in their lives, more deeply than I ever thought was possible.  

So, in the end, Perfect Chemistry is a living proof that the age-old recipe of star-crossed love still tingles and delights. Well, as long as you can write like Simone Elkeles does.

Source: Birthday gift from Mother dear


Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Crux


Author: Julie Reece


She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.

Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night. 

In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich, and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her.

Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together. 

Her heritage did.

Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

Published 9 July 2012


Wow, just wow. 

Crux was so action-packed that I was whisked off from one scene to the next in a wave of never-ending surprises and adventure. 

I am catapulted into a startling climax right away in the first chapter. From the moment when Birdie chooses to follow the guy, Jeff, into an alley to pick up the thousands of hundred dollar bills flying in the wind, her life is destined to change-- for the better and for the worse. Armed with cash, Birdie is ready to start living life for herself. And in a lucky turn of events, she bumps into the hot Grey Mathews over and over again. 

Yet, we should know that nothing could ever be normal for Birdie. As she is hounded by greedy thugs, she has to come face to face with her magical legacy. There is a reason why she saw Jeff in the faceless crowds of millions and there is a reason why he handed her his fortune. Mythology and historical elements weave themselves seamlessly into the tale and Crux becomes more than just a full-fledged adventure story. It becomes a coming-of-age tale. 

As Birdie traipses through strange lands in her dreams, she encounters monks who offer boggling riddles and Vikings who harbour hidden vendettas. Can dreams get any stranger than that? Yet, her real life isn't much better. With an amulet in her care, Birdie has to learn to deal with her powers and get accustomed to the fact that her new dog is the ancestor of wolves. But, on her journey to discovering her heritage, Birdie's past gives her doubt and more than once, she pushes Grey away. Grey, the one boy who is willing to listen and understand. 

So along with epic battle scenes, old Latin riddles and some good kissing, Birdie has to come to fully trust herself in order to become the girl she really wants to be. There can really be nothing wrong with this book. 

One star for being thought-provoking. For allowing me to take a look at the life of a homeless girl through the eyes of Birdie, for being a smart enough novel to point out the tragedies of human trafficking, for making me wonder about Shondra-- the poor girl lost in the swarms of commercial child exploitation...

One star for being the most thrilling ride of my life. I'm thoroughly satisfied with the action in Crux-- the gruelling training, the dangerous escapades, the numbing kidnapping and that mind-blowing battle scene of epic proportions at the end of the novel. Simply brilliant. 

One star for the endearing cast of characters. There's Jeff who is really something, especially when his real identity is revealed. Then there's Scud and Kate who offered Birdie their genuine friendship which healed her mistrust of those around her. And finally, Fenris, the dog who always protected Birdie and who is just as commanding and intimidating as a guy. (We should have seen more of him!)

And lastly, one star for Birdie, being the awesome heroine that she is, and Grey, who is in a complete league of his own. Their love made Crux a romantic read that is warm and tingly in all the right places.

So, let's do the Math. I've never been so happy to give out four brilliant stars!

Source: ARC from J. Taylor Publishing for review purposes     



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Showcase Sunday: 8 July 2012

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. 

This is organized by Books, Biscuits & Tea.

Hello guys, (calm) 

I'm BACK!!! :)

Back to blogging, back to reviewing, back to joining all of you good buddies in the joy of talking and looking at books! 

And what better way to kick start my return to the blogosphere than with a Showcase Sunday post? In my two weeks++ of absence, I've received and bought quite a number of books!

Since my exams are over, the urge to splurge burns stronger than ever. And now, I'm grinning stupidly at these eight beauties on my shelf. 

But, wait. There's something even more special than that. In this haul, I've received several firsts. 

And to not stall even longer, let's jump straight in. Hear hear, I've lots to say! *wicked grin*

For Review

Witchstruck (Finished Copy)
This is the first book I've ever received from a publisher for review. It arrived on my doorstep in a nice little brown package, and I think I shall have to agree with Maria (Julie Andrews), brown paper packages are my new favourite things :D

I think this is a huge milestone in my blogging experience, and hopefully, this signifies the start of something new (gee, what's up with the music puns? HSM). There would be loads more to come! *rubs palms with hearts in my eyes*


Black City (ARC)
This is my first ARC! Oh, the joy! (Check out the joy here in another post)

I won this in a writing contest and I am so so so happy to hold this precious darling in my hands!

Another milestone achieved! I love love love love love this world. Can't wait to read this!

Given to me from Wu You! (This time I'm not going to refer to you by any other name, dear, because in my heart, you remain as one of my dearest friends by this name!)

Thank you so much for being one of the earliest to ponder after my birthday gift :) Thank you for being the earliest to prepare for it as well! Even though The Book Depository is such a slowpoke, but it arrived here in the end, and that's enough *beams* 

Ultimately, I just want to give you a virtual hug here!


Yes, I ended up splurging much more than I ought to have done. So yeah, out of the eight, five are bought *bows head* BUT. Not that I regret it!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
With the paperback out in June, this book is finally cheap enough for me to buy! I can't wait to immerse myself in the darkly intriguing and enchanting world Laini Taylor has crafted. 

Behold, the power of blue hair!

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
I'm totally hooked up on romance lately, and contemporary novels are the best! 

This one promises to be a good one, with report cards, emails and postcards in the novel. So much goodness within those unassuming covers!

Hunting Lila
I've heard a lot about this from Australian bloggers, and I'm so excited to finally read this now! *happy dance on my green desk*

Time to witness some smokin' hot action between a certain Alex and Lila.

Remember this being featured in my WoW post? Well, YAY! I have it now :D After Grave Mercy, I'm eager to read any epic historical novels. I'm sure Philippa Gregory won't disappoint with her first YA novel!

Finding Sky
I adored Stealing Phoenix with all my heart, and I'm currently reading the first book of the series with starry eyes. Even amongst all these brilliant books, this is still the one that I chose to read first. 

I guess I just can't resist the Benedict brothers *rueful smile* 

For Review (again), but ebooks

The Treachery of Beautiful Things
I'm taking part in a blog tour for this book, so I'm really quite excited! Sorry for making fun of your cover in this post :(

Confessions of an Angry Girl
This signifies the first auto-approval I've received on Netgalley. Yeah! *pumps fist*

I heart you, Harlequin!

The review is coming out possibly tomorrow! One word: wow. 

The Assassin's Curse 
What's better than falling in love with your assassin? Can't wait to read this!


Yes, dear friends, I'm finally done :) 

This is the first post after my long hibernation. I wonder how many of you will see this, but regardless, I hope you welcome me back to the book blogging community with open arms! 

Getting back in the routine of reading and reviewing is an awesome process. I'm glad to share it with you ;)

Thanks to Random House, Victoria Lamb, Harriet Venn, Elizabeth Richards and J. Taylor Publishing for the books I received this two week! Not to mention, Wu You too! 

What's your swag this week? ;)

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