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.



What I've been up to lately

Ah, yes. I haven't really shared that in a while, have I now?

Let's see. What have I really been doing? Just normal work I suppose, nothing glamorous to it but what surprises me the most is the amount of time it sucks from my day. I am not left with much by the end of the day and what's worse is that I feel like I haven't really done much through out the 24 hours.

Now this can be very dangerous. The feeling of not having done enough.
I'm just glad I set aside 2-3 hours daily to read a book or watch the telly.

I'm been planning to list down my must watch movies this year
Same goes for books, also been planning on reviewing a couple!

I've been reading plenty but not writing enough.
Got to pick up speed!