Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood


ANNA DRESSED IN  BLOOD
Kendare Blake

Bookshelves: Ghosts, Paranormal | Fantasy | Spooky | Young Adult | Favorite book covers


According to the blurb:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

My Verdict: 

♥♥ 1/2 

I read this book after hearing a lot of good things about it and frankly I was a bit disappointed. October is the perfect month to read some horrifyingly spooky tales in my opinion and this one wasn't one of them. 

The story just seemed choppy to me, like it wasn't thought out enough. I've never been a fan of ghost stories, but I thought to myself, 'Anna dressed in blood seems interesting because it's about a young ghost who kills and is very powerful and there's a kick ass ghost hunter too'. The name itself appealed to me very much. Of course I wanted to know more about her life and things related to her, how she got so much power, why she was the way she was and why she chose not to kill Cas. Her whole story unraveled in one scene. I'd have liked the mystery to build up a lot more. Also some added spook would have helped.

I had serious issues with Cas, he was such an ass. A boy who's been hunting the undead since 14 can't go about living normally like this guy does. 

And his friends! I thought they all reacted very unnaturally, wanting to tackle ghosts on their own and such. There's hardly any fear in them. They kind of put a big dent in the story, they didn't grieve for their dead friend, we knew nothing of their lives other than their interactions with the ghost hunter. 

The big bad villain in the end kind of seemed more funny in description than scary. But that's my fault probably, I kept imagining him with two big multicolored X's on his eyes that were big buttons. 

I'd leave the cliched ghost human love story alone. I had a hard time understanding why Cas would be attracted to Anna in the first place, I mean what did she have that a normal, living girl didn't? She was not only outdated by about 60 years, she was just a ghost. Sure we felt sorry for her, and I wish she'd have gotten a better life but I seriously think Cas's teenager hormones got the better of him this time. It would have been a different story had he known Anna before she had died, but oh well. 

I've also read that the second book is better than the first one. I'm not sure, I might get back to this story one day. 



Monday, 18 June 2012

The unnecessary but necessary rant


Now that the local electric supply company has decided to go all crazy bitch on us folk, I find myself oddly with a lot more idle time than before. Without the absence of technology, one needs to look for other distractions and while I’m in no way claiming that it’s actually doing me good, I just might do something worthwhile with my time. Deprived of my internet, there is little I can do so I decide to stick to my literary guns and pelt the aforementioned company with my contemptuous diatribe.

Of course there is a big possibility that this brief rant might turn out to be something else entirely because once I get musing I endeavour to bring forth the philosopher, painter, critic, story teller – all in all the art genius from where ever it hides in the corners of my otherwise troubled and over analytical brain.

As the revolving blades of my ceiling fan decrease in speed, so does my thought process and once more I am left cussing this butt face man also referred to as our President. I suppose the butt face man has a lot to be happy about. I can almost hear him laughing maniacally; with his vulgar set of offensively yellow teeth on full display as he enjoys his time prancing about his french villa on whatever the hell island he bought from the money he stole from the nation and try as I might I can’t help but mentally think of putting a fist through that bridge of teeth. Actually no, what I feel like doing is strapping him to a dentist's chair and plucking out every one of those large rotten teeth of his and shoving them down his nose while simultaneously setting him on fire.

Breaking off my reverie I glance at the clock on my wall that tells me there's still 15 mins left till the electricity gets back and that is before I realize that my clock runs 20 mins ahead the normal time. Guess I could indulge in a bit more of my musings. I think of how important this piece of shite thinks he is. You know I truly wished he were, that way he might have been worthy of being on some militants hit list. Imagine my dismay over the fact that absolutely NO ONE THINKS THIS MAN IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO KILL. No thugs, no mobsters, no mafia, no terrorists.

There is no bottom to the low life he is. It’s an endless pit, he’ll fall down, and down all the while flashing his stupid yellow teeth and it will just not end. What is with that plastic smile anyway? I guess between all those threading and waxing sessions Bilawal forgot to mention to his father what a fucktard he looks in that smile. It’s the smile of a creepy sadist pedophile who often dresses up as a clown and drag children in some dark corner and feeds on them. That is just so disturbing. 

The only difference between him and a pervert old geezer is that one of them is president.

The only difference between him and a dog is that one of them makes a faithful pet.

The only difference between him and shit is that one of them can actually be flushed away.

This turned out to be a rant after all.

Oh well. I really hope the butt face man gets abducted by a bunch of starved and crazy cannibals. Or perhaps he’ll just die of a heart attack because of all the shit that clogs his arteries.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Book Review: Outlander


OUTLANDER [Outlander 1]
Diana Gabaldon
Bookshelves: Historical, Time travelling, Romance


Blurb

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.


Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


My Verdict


So I decided to read the Outlander books having come across some rave reviews on Goodreads. It wasn't really what I was expecting. The story started freshly, a young couple trying to rekindle their marriage after a long time staying apart. They are on their second honeymoon in Scotland, enjoying their excursions and unwinding from all the terrors that haunts one in the wake of a bloody battle, in this case WWII.

Moving on to the time travelling and we have Claire in the highlands some 200 years earlier and she's outspoken, curses like a sailor, and has no problem snapping out orders. What's more, she really isn't intimidated by the Scots clad in their kilts and exuding fierce barbaric auras.

I bit back a smile each time she dressed Jamie's wounds and barked at him. I said to myself, now this is interesting. Let's see what these men make of a modern woman, someone who isn't afraid to speak her mind and won't be docile ¬¬

Boy, was I disappointed! She not only let herself be coerced into marrying [though I suppose it wasn't that much of a coercion since she found Jamie attractive], but also let him beat and rape her among other things. I found it distasteful to be honest and unforgivable, I can't put down in words my shock and horror at finally realizing that Jamie thrashed Claire and I was so angry when she forgave him after hearing his stupid childhood beatings. I realize, that during those times it wasn't uncommon to treat one's wife in such a crude fashion but it wasn't necessary. Unforgivable. His heavily Scots accent was another thing I didn't like, it wasn't a nice smooth reading and called for unnecessary attention while reading.

And what was with all the rape?! I don't know how many times Claire was assaulted or had her clothes torn and flesh all exposed. And Claire wasn't the only one out there getting all this 'attention'. The mother of all nightmares in the end left such a bad taste in my mouth. Take a psychotic bastard who happens to be homosexual, add coercion, lust, torture, s&m, and ramblings about incestuous feelings towards your brother = Jamie being raped by his wife's husband's ancestor. I mean what the hell?! Messed up just went to a whole new level.

After reading that, I felt so repulsive towards poor Frank and he wasn't even to be blamed. Claire should have cut off Randall's balls when she had the chance. I agree with others that the book was never ending, it dragged on quite a bit for me. I started skipping a lot of pages, I skipped the sex scenes [I have nothing against sex scenes really but most of the ones in this book were either uncomfortable, unnatural, uninteresting or unpleasant to read] and I specifically skipped a lot of pages towards the end right after Jamie's rape induced phobias.

I finished the book and read one page of the second book but somehow I didn't feel the need to quickly continue with a couple's story like I usually do. I don't know if I love this book or hate it, I guess it's neither. I just found it alright, with some moments of good reading and story line. On finishing this I was sure of one thing, I do not like devilishly-handsome-rugged-warriors-who-are-too-passionate-and-too-possessive-almost-savage-at-times type of guys, contrary to what I thought earlier.


I am planning to read all the books in this series. I just need to figure out how to read all these longish novels! I do know I'd like to have a medal if I make through all of these novels. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Books I can't wait to read: Enshadowed


ENSHADOWED
Kelly Creagh

Bookshelves: Young Adult, Paranormal, Heroes I love, Mystery, Suspense, Favorites


Can't Wait to read this one! Here's what the blurb offers:

While Varen remains a prisoner in the dream-world, Isobel is haunted by his memory. He appears to her in her dreams and soon, even in her waking life. But is she just imagining it? Isobel knows she must find a way back to Varen. She makes plans to go to Baltimore. There, she confronts the figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster—the same dark man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams, calling himself “Reynolds.”


Go girl!! We're all with you. Bring Varen back! :D

Ah, this sounds so intriguing. Can't wait to read it. Dark world of fear, terror and anger. Couldn't be better. Bring it on!

When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. With his mind poisoned by the dream world, he becomes a malevolent force, bent on destroying all—even himself. Now Isobel must face a new adversary, one who also happens to be her greatest love


Ah, this last bit is what I'm looking forward to the most.

Cruel.

So cruel.

Atrocious really, how the reader is left at such a cliff hanger.

It's pure torture.

 August come sooner!


Meanwhile, I'll probably re-read Nevermore, and all works of Edgar Ellen Poe and this little synopsis right here! 

Book Review: One night of Scandal


ONE NIGHT OF SCANDAL
TERESA MEDEIROS

Bookshelves: Romance, Historical, Mystery
Rate O Meter: ♥♥♥


What the Blurb said
Proper decorum has never come easily to Carlotta Anne Fairleigh --- not even tonight, when the lovely, impetuous miss is finally making her debut. As she waits to make her entrance, she can't help wondering about the darkened house next door, the supposedly abandoned home of Hayden St. Clair, the man society has dubbed the "Murderous Marquess." Certainly one small peek through his window before the festivities would be harmless ...

And, naturally, this latest "adventure" ends in disaster, thoroughly compromising the budding debutante's reputation and leaving her suddenly, unthinkably ... betrothed! Soon she's en route to the wilds of Cornwall in the company of the handsome, mysterious marquess whose name the ton whisper with fear and loathing.

Yet there is something thrilling --- and surprisingly tender --- about her dark, unreachable groom, and the desire in his eyes is undeniable. But before Lottie will surrender to the yearnings in her heart, she must unlock the secrets of Hayden's past, no matter how scandalous --- or perilous --- they may be.

What I say

This book had it's high and low moments but I thought the plot was a little haphazard. Too much thrown in. The paranormal references were totally unnecessary and irrelevant in my opinion. It just didn't sit well with the overall plot, and seemed like a bad imitation of Jane Eyre where the mistress is kept hidden and it's such a big mystery. It just seemed out of place. I liked Lottie better in the first book. I guess I wanted a bit more rebellion and wildness from her other than just her annoying screaming. Despite being the hellion that she was while a child, she grew up fairly well, a simple stern miss very much capable of dealing with all kinds of situation. That's not novel at all, is it now?

I definitely liked Laura and Sterling's story a lot more, with plenty of good humour it made me smile plenty of times despite the overused story line. This book had me smiling too, specially whenever there was a tea party going on. I guess I would have liked plenty more of scenes where Hayden bonded with his daughter.

Hayden was hardly convincing as a murderer. He didn't even seem suspicious at all, more like morose and forlorn. Initially I thought Lottie would have a lot more to handle being married to MM but I guess not. So in the end it was just a lot of smoke and not much to it.

It was a good to read about Laura&Sterling, and Diana&Thane once again. It was a light and fun read though, perfect for the type of easy reading [the only kind I can manage] at times.

Book Review: Hades



HADES [Halo II]
Alexandra Adornetto

Bookshelves: Paranormal, Young Adult, Pretty covers, Stupid hero/heroine
Rate O Meter: A shriveled 1/2 ♥


What the blurb said

Heaven Help Her.

Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.

The story that Alexandra Adornetto built in her New York Times-bestselling debut, Halo, comes alive in action-packed and unexpected ways, as angels battle demons, and the power of love is put to the test.

What I say
The blurb obviously lied!


So I wonder if I've ever told you people how much I love making lists. Yep. I spend hours on my things to do and other random lists.

Here's one I'm sharing with you.

Things I'd probably do while trying to read HADES

Leaf through the pagesdescription
Endure description
Shake head in disbelief description
Raise my blood pressure description
Grind my molars to dust description
Be stupefied beyond belief description
Kill my brain cells description
Go to sleep description
Watch tv description
Read another book description
Laugh hysterically description
Scream in my pillow description
Have a good time
Enjoy reading

Now that almost all of these have been checked off the list except the last two that somehow evade me EVERY TIME I TRY! I decided I couldn't wait forever to write a review on here.

BEHOLD! The RESULTS OF MY MANY ATTEMPTS TO READ HADES [IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER]

Attempt # 1:

“Are you coming over for dinner tonight?” I asked Xavier, linking my arm through his. “Gabriel wants to try making burritos.”

*major eye roll* Get your own gourmet show already Gabriel! Or get a life, whatever comes first. Growing a pair might help too.

Attempt # 2:

I’m just thinking,” he said. “How come in all the paintings, angels are depicted guarding thrones in Heaven or taking out demons? I wonder why they’re never shown in the kitchen making burritos.”
“Because we have a reputation to uphold,” I said, nudging him. “So are you coming?”

Hmmm, I wonder what reputation she's talking about? Oh I know! the dumb ass, good for nothing angel trio reputation! Lets see how the story goes. Once upon a time, 3 great angels descended from the heavens, each bringing a gift to mankind No, no, no. That is all wrong.

There were these three angels, the elder one liked cooking, the middle one liked partying, the little one made everyone's life miserable.

Oh wait, I think I got my 80 year old neighbors confused with these characters.

Attempt # 3

"He was just as breathtakingly beautiful as ever. His tie hung loose and his blazer was slung casually over one shoulder."

*blinks*
*tries to recall what Xavier looked like*
*an image of a faceless teenager with mouse colored hair pops in mind*
*shakes head sadly*

This girl needs to get some, if she thinks a tie hanging loose and blazer slung casually on one shoulder makes for breathtakingly beautiful.

Attempt # 4 

“Gabriel wants to try making burritos.”

Hmmm ¬¬

I'm hungry. I should go get some burritos too. *cheerfully walk to the kitchen*

Attempt # 5

Since the violent encounter with Jake last year, Xavier had hit the gym even harder and thrown himself into sports more vigorously.

*stupefied beyond belief*
a little pause

*laughs hysterically*

I'm sure the occupants of Hell are waiting in agony for Xavier's Ultimate Fitness Show. LIVE.

Attempt # 6

"His face was open and friendly. I was pleased to see that Gabriel was more relaxed these days."

*gasp* Is he?! I tell you! it's those ballet classes, and sewing he's taken up. Isn't he divine! *swoons*
I mean seriously, can anyone focus on their DUTY for a minute!! Whatever happened to saving mankind and why do they keep saving Bethany?!

Attempt # 7

"I kept one of Xavier’s T-shirts, dowsed in his cologne, under my pillow so that every night I could imagine he was with me."


*PUKES*

Friday, 4 May 2012

Book Review: Pure [Covenant II]





PURE [Covenant II]
Jennifer L. Armentrout

Bookshelves: Heroes I love, Favorites, Young Adult, Paranormal, Mythology
Rate O Meter: ♥♥♥♥♥

What the Blurb said

There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

What I say
First off, this cover is gorgeous! It's such a divine shade of blue. Love it!

SETH! *.* 

Seth! Oh my God, where to start? I am totally rooting for Seth and Alex to end up together now! I just love these two together! They not only have great chemistry, physics and biology, Seth brings out a lighter side in her. He'd make her forget her past, or her troubles and just be great! Okay, I believe there will be time to gush about Seth later on.

Back to reviewing! I hope you guys like it [It's really going to be about Seth I warn you. My writing a review is only an excuse to cover up the fact that I'm going to be totally gush about him after every 5 lines]

While Half Blood focused on Aiden as the hero, this book has him in the back seat and it's a welcome change I must say. The book opens with Alex in her training class, not long after all that has happened. She's still trying hard and her trainers are pushing her like always. What's more, she has to train with both Aiden and Seth [who by the way never lets a chance to flirt pass by, gotta hand it to him. He's pretty tenacious]. Apart from her very hectic training schedule, nightmares from the time she was captured by Daemons when she went to hunt her mother keep her awake at night.

Her popularity is the same as it was in book one [which was nil, nada, non existent zero] so naturally there are plenty of taunts, snide comments, general antagonism and only two of her friends stick by her.

Covenant II is about Seth and Alex really [all the more reason to love it], their Apollyon prophecy to be specific.

I totally adored Seth in Pure, even though he had those cliched traits of a prick I couldn't help liking him. He's just one of those loveable guys, I love his devotion, his calmness, his carefree attitdue. His compassion and understanding and the utmost care he shows despite being the steretypical bad boy who eats little girls for breakfast! I always enjoy reading his interaction with Alex, be it their training session or flirtatious banter. Aiden seems a dead bore in comparison [I probably go for guys like Aiden in rl but on paper Seth sounds so much better! Yes, double standards]

Pure was one hell of an adrenaline pumping ride and I enjoyed reading it. I did roll my eyes every time Seth called Alex cuddle bear :P [Just couldn't help it] but I also chuckled every time Seth had Alex all worked up and spitting fire and vice-versa.

I also rolled my eyes [a little bit] to all those moments when Alex was just so bad ass. Seriously, tackling the furies on her own? It seemed too atypical of the lead protagonist of the average YA novel. Having Seth and Aiden by her side would've been a lot more believable and cooler. I mean, within a span of some weeks, she goes from not being able to tackle a daimon on her own to killing three furies? She seems all too powerful which only makes her more dangerous because she doesn't use her brain as much as I'd like her too! She was a lot better behaved in this book though. I'm hoping her journey from now onward will only make her wiser and mature.

So in a nutshell
Political plots? [Nothing makes for a great mystery and intrigued than back stabbing, two faced politicians who'd stop at nothing to get what they desire]

Lobbying against the apollyons - Imminent danger to my most favorite Seth and the girl he's destined to be with? Oh, we are not going down without a fight! Bring it on.

Seth - You're awesome! Just don't get your heart broken!

Fancy balls [Am I a sucker for fancy dresses and lavish balls, but I didn't really approve of Seth's white suit]

Kick ass scenes [There were plenty, yes]

The Kiss! Seth and Alex moment we've all been waiting for! I just hope she can make a good choice and stop pining after Aiden. She's hurt Seth a lot more times than he's actually let known through out the book.

Seth - I love how passionate he is. Perhaps it's because he's only a year older but I love Seth for fiercely defending Alex every single time. I mean, he actually goes dangerous when the master slaps Alex.

The furies! Oh, I loved the furies, but they were a bit disappointing. I imagined them to be a lot more apocalyptic-ally bad ass and not die so quickly.

Cuddling - Lol, yeah my apologies but I like fluff, loads of it! I found it sweet. I like how Seth always sneaked in Alex's room and comforted her. I like the bond they share, whatever the connection is.

Seth again! I also loved his streak of possessiveness, that was bordering on annoyingly-jealous-and-needs-to-get-checked-out in the book but hey I thought it was nice. He's never cared about anyone like this before so obviously he doesn't really know much about having a proper relationship with someone.

Compulsions? Some crafty people here! I guess we'll find out who's behind all this? and I wonder if we'd be meeting Alex's father any time soon?

Seth's POV was a bit disappointing and I'm glad I didn't read it fully. I was too afraid I might spoil the uber hot persona I have of him in my mind.

Unjust love - I was pretty pissed at Aiden to be honest, I mean what the heck was he thinking initially? Taking Alex out on a trip, being all nice and caring around her when he clearly knows her feelings. He treated her pretty badly when she confessed her love for him. Thought he was more mature than that. Anyways, I do understand his logic behind it but whatever. He's just being too much like the typical, suffering in silence hero type.

Having said that I did feel sad for Aiden in the end, I didn't really much care for him throughout the book [It's not really his fault because Armentrout just wrote out Seth so beautifully that he blew Aiden out of my mind, and took all the limelight] [how he takes a risk and puts his neck on the line, made me remember all the wonderful things about him that I loved in Half blood and I realized how much he truly carez for Alex. Well we kind of knew it all along, but now Seth knows too.]

I was so pissed at the stupid rules these people have made. Hey guys, there's a word called freedom - ever look it up in the dictionary? You might want to add it to your rules and legislature. Geez, what a bunch of crazy lunatics, standing in the way of budding romance between two people. Not that I want Aiden and Alex to end up together but for their sake. I mean I don't want them to suffer.

For those of you who haven't read this book, you're missing out on some amazing writing and brilliant story. The covenant series are definitely going on my favorites shelf.

I can't wait for the third book!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

First official post of May!


In case anyone's wondering where I've been this whole month of April, I was very busy and going through my usual phase of laziness and lethargy.  

Yes, that happens a lot. I might have been a cat in past life. Who knows!

All I can say is, some good things did happen in April, I got to writing, wrote a couple of pages, added to the story of this novel I've been working on.

And much progress has been made on the wedding preparations for my sister. I'm designing all her dresses and it's a big opportunity for me! 

Let's talk about today now, shall we?

My day has started out slow. I've to go to work in 2 hours time and it's going to hectic today. So I'm trying to enjoy while I can. I decided to finish up this book I'd been reading  for a while. I was thinking of drinking some coffee to wake myself up properly but I found out we're out of coffee so I'll have to settle for tea. Got to cook too before I head out. 

Work's been pretty stressful off late, thoughts of my latest project being a disaster keeps me up at night most times. And it doesn't help when I try talking about it with my friend who has plenty of experience in designing bridal dresses. I ring her up to calm myself down and I hang up feeling like a bundle of crazy nerves, she's a great person but I think she takes way more stress than me and she has everything negative to say about what could possibly go wrong that only adds to my worry. I got this sample back for the bridal I'm designing and I'm pretty happy with it, unfortunately I decided to take her opinion on it too [after her repeated insistence on wanting to help me however she can] and now she can't be bothered to ring me back :/ Don't know what's up with that. I'd have really liked some professional advice before I started on the actual dress but I've decided to stop calling her or speaking on this subject further.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The White Oak


THE WHITE OAK
Kim White

Bookshelves: Cyber punk, Dystopia, Young Adult, Fantasy

My Rating ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What the Blurb said

In The White Oak, the first book in the Imperfect Darkness series, Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole and enters the underworld still alive. Her living presence threatens the tyrannical rule of Minos and the infernal judges who have hijacked the afterlife and rebuilt it, trapping human souls in a mechanical, computer-controlled city that lies at the core of the earth. To survive, Cora must rely on her untrustworthy guide, Minotaur, an artificial intelligence built by Minos. She is helped by a mysterious voice, and by Sybil, underworld librarian and author of each person's book of life. Sybil's collection holds the key to humankind's intertwined life stories. When Cora's own book is destroyed, Sybil gives her a magical golden pen and sends her to the underworld city to write her own destiny. Along the way, Cora finds the ghost of her dead brother, Lucas, a genius programmer who alone is capable of finding the chink in Minos's armor. But will he be able to get Cora out alive, or will they both succumb to the seemingly inescapable underworld trap?


Review

The best thing about this book was the novelty of the plot. I found it refreshingly original and I have to say I'm impressed by the author's ability to come up with something that's different, blend it with cyber punk, and make it work. 


I admit I'm used to slow readings, so much so that I've also developed this bad habit of not paying attention during the initial paragraphs. I'm reading, yes, and I'm registering the names and such but I'm kind of skimming through it most times. Yes, guilty as charged. 

So I practically felt ambushed when I was taken headfirst into the story right on the first page. I was like Whoa! Wait a min! Go back, I don't get what's happening! Normally, I like my books to start out slow, giving bit by bit at a time before moving on to the bigger, actual plot. Anyways, during the first time, I paused and bookmarked it because I had realized this book had details that I couldn't pass of as light reading and I needed the full capacities of my brain if I were to enjoy it. I'm glad I did.

The next time I started at the beginning and I almost couldn't keep the book down. It was very intriguing, the idea of an artificial intelligence ruling the realm of death or underworld as we say it. It's like reading Dante's inferno in a time soon to come. I like how Kim White has etched out her version of purgatory, the levels of the underworld, the souls, the ferry rides, the mechanizations, it's surrealism at it's best. I would not have said no to a couple more chapters on the descriptions and workings of the underworld. It was all very captivating. This book unfolded like an epic journey, there were a lot of interesting things, scenarios that kept me eager and anticipating. My favorite chapter has to be when she goes to meet Sybil in the library, it's fantastic and beautifully written.

I'd have liked to get to know Cora and Lucas, more than the book allows, I wanted to know them in detail. The characters didn't seem very deep to me, specially Cora, I guess I'd have liked to read what goes on in her mind, her thoughts, her emotions a lot more but I think this kind of detached emotional state kind of complimented the cyberpunk theme. 

A lot more is to come in the sequel obviously, I'll just have to wait, I liked the bond the two siblings shared, and I loved the fact that even in death her brother was concerned about Cora's safety. These two make an epic team. Minotaur is another interesting character, I think he's good but he hasn't made up his mind yet. He's bound to his maker, and therefore he has to do everything his master says. I like the fact that Minotaur likes emotions, he wants to feel, makes me smile quite a bit. And let's not forget the voice that comes to Cora when she needs the most help! Oh I'm dying to find out who this person is. 

Another scene I really enjoyed reading was the trial, it somehow reminded me of how the Queen of Hearts put Alice on trial. Perhaps it's just the element of something so amazingly different. Loved the clear and simple description. Over all, The White Oak was thrilling, an exciting adventure, where no one could be trusted, where one can't be sure where the other's loyalties lie. Can Minotaur be trusted? Can Cora connect with the mysterious voice again? How is she going to write her destiny? These are all the questions I can't wait to find out.

Definitely looking forward to reading the next book. 

Oh and I forgot to mention, I absolutely love the cover!




Thursday, 15 March 2012

Something for the eyes and the taste buds too


Isn't this divine? This is what happens when art meets baking! Little Venice Cake Company never fails to surprise me. Love the photography, love the decor. I could look at this cake for ever and still not eat it, it's just so prettily done! And coming from a cake lover like me, it's saying something :D 



Thursday, 8 March 2012

My Verdict: ♥♥♥


Gone to Ground
Brandilyn Collins

Bookshelves: Contemporary, Murder, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime

Synopsis


Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage. Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze. Its people are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named—bright and fragrant. But the Amaryllis flower is poison.In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes.


Review
A word of thanks to netgalley for providing me with a digital copy.


This was an interesting read. The plot was good, suspenseful. I like the different pov's presented through out the book. It's not often you find every character giving their testimonials.

The story is set in a small town, and suddenly everyone is hit with the realization that a serial killer is on the loose. Over the months, 6 women have been killed. At this point, everyone in the town seem suspicious from the Mayor to the hair dresser. It doesn't help when the whole town thrives on gossip, adding fuel to the fire, creating a frenzy and spreading rumors.

The women, who once used to be simple housewives having the occasional gossip session at tea all come together to sort out the mystery.

They all have their suspicions regarding the killer.
They all have their secrets to keep.
They all have their loved ones to protect.
They're all afraid to find out the truth.

Fact remains, a killer is among them. A killer who sits with them, attends church with them etc. Will they be able to uncover the identity before more lives are lost?

Halfway through the book, I identified the culprit, but it did not ruin the book for me. I liked reading it.

Movies I CANT WAIT TO WATCH!!! Part II


Snow White and the Huntsman


I hate Bella, I really do. I'm pretty sure she'll ruin this movie for me too. But the only reason I'll watch it still is because of Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. Charlize look amazing! It's like the character of the evil queen was specially made for her. The trailer looks pretty interesting and as always, I'm such a fan of crows and black magic and all things sinister. 

The Great Gatsby


Oh, I can't gush enough about how wonderful it is to see Leonardo DiCaprio take on a role as this one! He looks amazing in the cover, by the way. Recalls to mind Jack from Titanic. Anyways, The Great Gatsby is a classic literary novel and I'm sure it'll make an amazing movie!

Mirror Mirror


Even though I'm not a big fan of Julia Roberts, this movie looks funny. It's interesting how two movies based on the same Snow white Fable are being aired this year. While Snow white and the huntsman takes on a sinister twisted path, this one looks more comical and mocking. I like Julia's Queen already. 

Sky Fall



Ah, my watch list is never complete without the suave Bond. Try as I might, I never can hate the 007 movies :D They're just so classic, so sophisticated and glamorous. What's not to love about a secret agent who struts about in designer suits, has the coolest gadgets, a throng of beautiful ladies around him? 

 Total Recall

               
I used to love watching Total Recall as a kid and I'm kind of excited to see how this movie is. I want to see if the futuristic, sci-fi dystopian story is as good as it was in the series. Plus, the cast looks good too.



Movies I CANT WAIT TO WATCH!!!!!! Part I

The Dark Knight Rises


The moment we've all been waiting for! As if I've not seen the trailers enough time to tell me this will be so bad ass! But the line 'The Legend Ends' is ringing like a death omen in my head. There's been a lot of speculation as to Batman dying at the hands of his arch nemesis Bane. To be honest, the cracked mask in the poster doesn't bode well. Anyways, I'm still super excited to see this film. Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan ftw! 

Frankenweenie


Another of my favorite! The last time I saw Tim Burton's wonderfully gloomy cartoon was Corpse Bride. I can't' wait for this one! It reminds me of Nightmare before Christmas. A dead dog? An experiment gone wrong? A frankenweenie?! Can't wait!

Brave

Oh, the trailers for this one looks so good! And it's been a while we haven't had a kick ass heroine! I love the animation in this one, love the fiery red hair! Gorgeous! Dying to see this one

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



I think I've been raving about the Hobbit since I saw Lord of the Rings. It's been such a long wait, I can't wait for the hobbiton to return to the cinema! 


My Verdict: ♥♥1/2




Bachelorette # 1
Jennifer O'Connell

Bookshelves: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Humor

Synopsis

Sarah is undercover for Femme magazine, writing a juicy exposé about the women desperate enough to go on TV to vie for a man, and the bachelor shallow enough to view dating as a ratings game. Armed with a killer wardrobe, sun-kissed highlights, and her reporter's notebook, she can't wait to find out what happens at the posh California resort when the cameras stop rolling. 

What she discovers is that this alternate reality is more seductive than she ever expected. The other women aren't all brainless bimbos. And "The Stag" isn't the arrogant jerk she imagined. Caught up in a whirlwind of moonlight swims, limo rides, and champagne toasts, Sarah stops working on her article...and starts wanting to win. 

Review

I don't know for sure what I just read. Initially, I was like great! She's written a book mocking these stupid shows on tv, and she did but somewhere along the way the mocking decreased and then we totally came to a different ending. 

The story starts with Sarah, an ambitious journalist going under cover to get the scoop on the reality show called The Stag where women make utter fools of themselves in order to get the bachelor. It had some humor, I did chuckle a bit but it could have been way more. 

As it happens, I have seen both the bachelor and the bachelorette and what goes around during the filming of these two is so over the top and dramatic. It's crazy psycho stuff, a lot more crazy then that's shown in the book I think. It felt like Ms. O'Connell couldn't really make up her mind whether to mock it, or take us to a different angle. So, Sarah does end up bonding with some of the superficial, shallow females but they seem to be not as bad as she initially thought. I personally felt, the book should have concentrated a lot more about the things that went on inside the stag house but it didn't. For example, despite what the small review at the back claims, I never felt any sort of something between the stag and our heroine. It seemed so forced, and Chris, as the most eligible bachelor was so unconvincing. Nothing indicated of his charisma, or his charm, he seemed as interesting as my next door neighbor. 

In the end, Sarah gets her piece and she returns to her own life and somehow the whole book becomes about her personal life. Her life with her husband, Jack and daughter Katie. Honestly, I didn't even know something was amiss from their relationship. They seemed like a perfectly happy, normal busy couple. It just didn't gel together in my humble opinion. 

Anyways, I'd give this book 2.5 ♥'s because I did finish it and it made me grin a bit with all the craziness of the Stag and the hens. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Music that I'm listening to right now!

It's not often that I get time to listen to music I really like. Today, I browsed through my play list and rediscovered these heavenly songs. You gotta love Studio Ghibli for providing us with such wonderful anime and music!



Promise of the world - The ending song from Howl's Moving Castle. This anime is a personal favorite, I've seen it at least 20 times! This song is perfection!


Mononoke Hime - This song is so mesmerizing, it takes me to a place away from all the madness, away from all the things that occupy our daily lives. I can listen to it for hours and not tire of it! Simply divine!





Always with me from Spirited Away. It's a shame I couldn't find the original version of this song but this cover version is pretty good too.


Sunday, 4 March 2012

My Verdict: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 1/2


Dragon's Teeth
Suzanne Van Rooyen

Bookshelves: Dystopia, Sci-fi, Contemporary 

Synopsis
You can never outrun your past...After years of war ravage the globe and decimate humanity, civilization is revitalized in the city of New Arcadia, a cybernetic playground where longevity treatments promise near immortality.Detective Cyrus, fond of fedoras and narcotics, is hired by Benji MacDowell, heir-apparent to an eugenics empire, to find MacDowell's long-lost biological father. Employing his network of shady contacts within the underbelly of the city, Cyrus uncovers a murderous web of corporate corruption and political conspiracy with ties to the old Order, a tyrannical organization whose sole intent was perfecting the next generation of genetically engineered soldiers.

Now Cyrus knows too much and finds himself caught in the cross-hairs of super-soldier assassins while the dark secrets of his past snap at his heels, forcing him to confront the truth he's been running from... and discover his own terrifying purpose.

Review
Dragon’s teeth gave me the goose bumps.

I loved reading it!

It made me uncomfortable, but kept me enthralled, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed reading the dystopian genre so much since 1984 and Brave New world.

Suzanne Van Rooyen has a wonderful style of storytelling, she keeps it clear, simple, to the point yet manages to add in enough details to bring to mind a vivid image. I enjoyed the futuristic journey part I took me on, the new age lifestyle and the mysterious detective Cyrus. He is not your average new Era guy, he seems like the kind who like living in the past. One thing is clear - Cyrus is a complex character and he is a lot more capable of emotions and attachment than his jaded counterparts.

Part II took me to a gritty, hair prickling journey of its own. We’re taken to the time where it all begin and as Cyrus tries to uncover the true gene of his client Benji MacDowell, things seem to be a lot more clear. The modified soldiers and the order they served – part II focuses on a pair of twin soldiers, Zia and Nur that seem to be different than the rest. They’re gifted with telepathic powers and human emotion. Here is the beginning of the revolt that busted the Order long ago. Here, we learn about this new fangled religion and genetic control and the possible father of Benji MacDowell.

She had me guessing till the end and the major plot twist in Part III! I did not see that coming.  Zia was my favourite character and I felt his misery, his torment and his loneliness. I couldn’t help but feel sad the way things ended. Dragon’s Teeth is the kind of book that leaves you wondering, long after I finished the last page, I thought what if things hadn’t been this way. Would Zia and Senya be happy? Would they have survived the new Era?

I look forward to reading more from this author.

My Verdict: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥



Grave Mercy
Robin LaFevers

Bookshelves: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Historical, Mystery, Suspense, Romance

Synopsis

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? 

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. 


Review

Disclaimer: I'd like to thank netgalley for providing me with a digital copy and no compensation was made for this review.

This was my first novel by this author, will definitely read more.I knew just by looking at the cover of grave mercy that I'd like it. Reading through the first page, I was sure I'd hate the book and that it'll turn out to be something like Halo or such paranormal.

I'm glad I decided to stick with reading and as the pages progressed, I was fully engrossed in the plot. I initially had a little troubling grasping the plot, I was totally unprepared for the Nine different Saints and churches devoted to their praying but once Ismae enters the convent things became a lot clearer. It was refreshing to read about some other paranormal fantasy that did not involve vampires, werewolves, angels and demons.

The story centers around Ismae, our brave, young and fierce assassin, the handmaiden of Death itself. Ever since her birth, she knew something was different about her. Of course it didn't come as a surprise, since she survived an attempt of abortion her mother tried [which left her horribly marked]. All through her life, she had to endure the bullying, the fear, the ostracism by society, even her family.

She's constantly beaten and abused and eventually sold to a rutting pig. Luckily, she manages to escape on her wedding night and that is how she arrives at the abbey. She's broken, but not in spirit and she finds much solace with the sisters. She learns about their preaching and why she's different. It feels like all her questions have been answered. Or have they? I can't help but feel some thick under-plot behind the Abbess's steady gaze and serene face.

Soon, Ismae has fully embraced the life of the convent and is quite ready for her first assignment. Her second however lands her right in the middle of all things chaotic. Not only is her cover blown by this annoying Gavriel who claims to be the royal advisor, she's also forced to act out a deception she's highly unwilling to. Posing as the mistress of  Gavriel .

Given her past experience with men, one can relate to her unease and wariness.  Gavriel  however surprises her, he's not like other men she's known. Though unwilling at first, she befriends him, and comes to trust him. But is this charade turning into something else entirely? Is she seducing  Gavriel to find out the traitor at court or is she doing it because she wants him? As the plot thickens, so does Ismae's confusion.

The medieval setting for the plot was perfect. I enjoyed the bold idea of deceptive innocence, the sinful seduction before dispatching off their victims. There's the Royal Court, ballrooms, gowns, medieval weapons, monarchy, war, feud between families, poison, political undermining, treachery and betrayal. It offers something for everyone and it was a real treat for me specially to find all these things that I like reading about packed in one novel.

Gavriel was a wonderful character and I was rooting for Ismae and  Gavriel  to end up together from the start! Though I tarried a bit when his handsome friend De Lornay. He and Beast were among my favorite characters along with Anne and Annith.

I give it 4 and 1/2 ♥



Friday, 2 March 2012

My Verdict: ♥




The Price of Innocence
Susan Sizemore

Bookshelves: Heroes I hate, Books that made me uncomfortable, Romance, Historical

Synopsis


Possessed by Desire
Years ago, a handsome stranger rescued Sherrie Hamilton from a harem and enticed her into becoming his lover before returning her safely home. Now Sherrie is a respectable young widow and mother, chaperoning her young charges through fashionable London society-- until she comes face to face with her erotic dream. For there, accross a crowded ballroom, stands the one man who touched the very core of her sensuality, stirring old memories, and a new unbidden desire.

Obsessed by Love

Jack PenMartyn, Earl of PenMartyn, seeks to put his past behind him, yet he's obsessed by the one womanwhose pure innocence he stole; the woman who is the mother of the child he never knew he had. He knows that with one false word, Sherrie will expose the secrets of his past. But does he dare to hope that she will give in to the tempation of their recklesspassion for a future together?


Review

I got The Price of Innocence from net galley and received no compensation for writing the review.

This was Whitney my love all over again. Actually it was worse than that, Jack was a monster in the truest sense of the word. While I understand perfectly a person is able to change and should be forgiven if they ever come to realize their wrongs, I found the Earl lacking redeeming qualities.

If he truly loved her like he did, and if he truly felt horribly about it so much so that he believes he's beneath any forgiveness granted to him [this, somehow always seem cowardly to me - when you didn't hesitate to shamelessly coerce a woman to be your sex slave, why bother getting shy about begging for her forgiveness. You should be down on your knees, weeping over her feet and then be refused] why did he never try to find out about his precious girl for 9 years? More importantly how could he go on living, knowing what he'd done to her and what might be the consequence. I suppose opium had addled his brains so much that he forgot there's a chance one might end up getting pregnant after being tied to someone's bed for all these days. So what if he thought she didn't love him? So what if he thought he'd destroyed her? He loved her, that would have been enough for him to want to make sure she was living well all those years. He could've secretly kept tabs on her being the big shot that he was.

For a guy who's 33, his behavior and the way he dealt with things seemed awfully immature to me. Through out the book, I really tried liking him but I just found him despicable.

I found Sherrie's emotions hard to deal with too. For the life of me I couldn't understand how she could still go on loving that guy. Of course, I hold her blameless for falling in love with him while he struck that degrading deal with her but 9 years after still? I felt angry, and humiliated for her if anything at all. Her flash backs made me so uncomfortable and each time I wanted to knock down Cullum's teeth to be honest. I couldn't help feel pity and sadness at Sherrie's humiliation.

The only character I truly cared about in this book was Minnie and it was for her alone I finished this book and even put up with Jack.

Having said that, I could hardly finish the book, skipped through most of the stuff.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Movie Review!




Persepolis

Genre: Drama, Animation, Biography

Subbed/Dubbed: English Subs

Story about a young fiery little girl, Marjane Satrapi[who loves bruce lee and wants to be a prophetess] in the time of the Iranian revolution. It shows the changes and sacrifices her family has to make - a perspective from the eye of civilians. Ofcourse Marji [as she is fondly called] is too little to understand what really is going on but her parents try their best to tell her everything. 




Their family is a liberal one which makes Marji so much more knowledgeable and outspoken than her peers. This girl has a lot of spunk, she is not one to be broken down and admit defeat.




Soon we're taken on a journey when Marji is sent to Austria to live with her Aunt since Iran is going through a rough time with the civil war. Given her outspoken nature and her difficulty to adjust to the 'new laws' they decide it's best if she lived away. She struggles to cope with the separation from her family and eventually settles. It's more about Marji's life really, and how she's close to her roots even while being far away. The ending was left too open. I had so many questions that weren't answered, so many characters that I would've liked to know more about. 



What I loved best about the movie was the beautifully done art! I'm such a sucker for old school drawing. The dull, monochrome, flat imagery was a feast for my eyes! This film had a lot of spunk, I loved all the humor, and the sarcastic undertones. I marveled at the fiery young Marji with her streak of rebellion and defiance. 


It's a good satirical piece I'd say. Enjoyed watching it, specially the young marji.