Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: Beauty and The Beast by Ravinnder Randhawa

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Hilarious Hijinks and insightful drama
Title: Beauty and The Beast : Enemies. Romance. Fireworks.
Author: Ravinder Randhawa
Publisher: Createspace
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 14th September , 2014
O n the reading the blurb for Beauty and The Beast, I was convinced that this book will be the one for me. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Harjinder or Hari-jan as she likes to call herself is a young school going Indian Brit and this is her story. It is difficult to write a premise for this book as it more of a slice of life in Harjinder’s day to day hijinks. It was more of her commentary and her perspective as an Indian living in a foreign country and the pressures living a life where you are expected to live and behave a certain way.

I enjoyed Jindi’s narration which had a habit of going tangent. But everything in her life came with an Asian or shall we say Indian twist to it. I enjoyed and related to all her family dramas and her family and lifestyle. With Indian words interspersed in every paragraph it felt like I was with my friends in India and speaking in Hinglish. i.e a mixture of Hindi and English.

However, I had some issues with which it flowed. Sometimes scenes cut so abruptly that it left me scratching my head as to what happened. Sometimes Jindi’s commentary went on in circles and something significant gets missed.

The scene where Jindi has to give measurement for her Sari was reminiscent of my experience with tailors and measurement and the painful process of learning to wear a freaking 4 metre fabric around yourself that the world calls a sari.

Over all, while I liked the concept and do think more books like this should be out, a slightly improved flow and structure to the plot will not go amiss.

Review based on the review copy provided by the publisher
 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

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Don’t judge the book by its cover
Title: Red Queen
Series: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion, UK
My ratings: 2 out of 5 stars
Released: 10th February, 2015
Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen had been on my radar since I laid my eyes on the exquisite cover and intriguing synopsis. Unfortunately, that is where all the good things end about this book.

Mare Barrows lives in a world which is divided by the colour of your blood. The royals and the aristocrats have silver blood which gives then super powers while the commoner like Mare have red blood. However one day completely by chance it is discovered that Mare, who is a Red has a power like a Silver. Soon after she finds herself engaged to the younger Prince and living at the Palace. Jealousy, rivalry, first love and rebellion arise and it seems that the red blooded Mare is destined for more.

A poor commoner who turns out to be ‘special’ who goes and lives in the Palace. Sounds familiar right? Well, it reminds me of The Selection but familiarity aside, I found Red Queen boring. While the premise excited me at the start but I found myself unmoved by Mare. She was foolish, conceited, selfish and somewhat annoying. I found it hard to sympathize with her or even connect with her character.

The romance was cheesy and I found it hard to like the love interest Cal. I like my YA boys to be a little bad and the straight-laced Cal proved bland and boring to me. In fact he was already engaged to Evangeline who was hated Mare through-out the story.

The plotting and the rebellion felt forced to me and the fact that Mare could not trust anyone, made it absolutely clear that she was going to be betrayed and I knew straight away who that will be.

I had no problems with the writing as it was ok even if the plot was slow. The world was slightly under developed but that can be expanded in the forthcoming books.

It was the story and the plot which failed to impress me. The characters and the story on which the whole book and the series is hinged simply did not hook me and I found myself uninterested and indifferent.

I was disappointed with my reaction to this book as I really wanted to like this book and the raving 5 star reviews made me feel that I book will be The Book for me in 2015.

I’m sure other readers will enjoy the story and the dystopian with a Cinderella type transformation of the heroine but it wasn’t for me.

  Review copy provided by Orion via NetGalley.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Hero by Samantha Young

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A new flavour by Samantha Young
Title: Hero
Author: Samantha Young
Publisher: Piatkus Books, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 5th March, 2015
E amantha Young is one of those authors whose books always guarantee a good time. I’ve enjoyed On Dublin Street and her other works immensely, so picking up her latest offering, Hero, was a no brainer.

The main characters Alexa and Caine have some convoluted family history in which Alexa’s father destroyed Caine life as a child. Obviously he keeps a grudge but Alexa when given a opportunity, decides to show him that she is not like her father and that he should not paint everyone with the same brush. Soon they start head butting and I enjoyed reading their back and forth. Alexa had spunk and it was such fun watching them dance around each other.

While the first half of the story had everything that I’ve come to love about Samantha Young’s stories. It was smart, quick, addictive, breezy and full of sexual tension. However the second half felt a little dragged out. Mainly because the above mention convoluted family mix up reared its head again.

Furthermore, I found the main characters hard to like. While I enjoyed Alexa’s sass and spunk my fondness for her was a little touch and go. It felt a little over dramatic that she went to great lengths to prove to Caine that she was different from her father that she was willing to work as his PA even when he warns her that it will be like hell. It reminded of the countless Shoujo mangas I’ve devoured. Caine on the other hand, frustrated me to no end. His hot and cold attitude toward Alexa went on for too long and I was left surprised that even a huge event like that (I won’t spoil it guys) hardly changed his mind.

Even after making the above criticisms, I enjoyed reading Hero. It felt slightly different from the style I have come to associate with Samantha Young but it was entertaining, quick and fun. The romance was slowly built and the smexy scenes were done just right to keep you hooked.

Pick up Hero to find a different flavour of romance by Samantha Young.

Review copy provided by Piatkus Books, UK.

Hero by Samantha Young is published by Piatkus in paperback and eBook. You can find of all Samantha Young’s titles in the Kobo website here: https://store.kobobooks.com/List/the-hottest-new-voice-in-romance-samantha-young/J-xrHY0rhcp8fAjSHjnPlQ


About the author
Samantha Young is the author of the runaway bestselling On Dublin Street, which sold over 150,000 copies within five weeks and has now been sold in more than 25 countries. Published by Penguin UK until recently, her first book with Little Brown (Castle Hill) was one of the top 10 Hachette ebooks for 2014. This year she has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and Best Romance. She lives in Stirlingshire, Scotland and is available for publicity purposes, along with corresponding regularly with her 22,000 fans on FB and 15,000 Twitter followers.

You can visit her at www.samanthayoungbooks.com






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Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Trilogy)

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Schemes, politics, war and young love. This series is epic

Title: The Winner’s Crime
Series: The winner’s Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Book, UK
My ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Released: 12th March, 2015
T he Winner’s Curse last year was a delightful surprise as to how much I enjoyed it. It was not just a book with a pretty cover but had actual substance in it. With The Winner’s Curse ending with a cliffhanger (sort of) I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of The Winner’s Crime soon enough.

Arin is still reeling with the ramification of Kestrel’s announcement and Kestrel is in the capital playing the good bride to be of the country’s Prince. Matters are more complicated now with Herran is a free country but is still facing huge problems and Kestrel struggling with her life at the palace. It still doesn’t stop her from helping Arin’s cause through any means possible. Arin still thinks Kestrel is a traitor and trying to come to terms with. Palace politics are rampant and the King is a new breed of evil and his scheming seems to have another level of deviousness.

Kestrel continues to be a wonderfully complicated character. She may not have the skills to fight her enemies but why use brawn when your brains will do. Her inner struggle between her loyalties to her own country and her sense of right and wrong, makes for wonderful inner dialogues. Her relationship with her father is still so convoluted and the way they unravel towards the end was heart breaking.

Arin is so perfect for Kestrel. He is also torn between his faith on Kestrel and his loyalties towards his cause. It gives him so much depth but in believing that Kestrel betrayed him, it makes for great angst for this reader. Arin and Kestrel’s romance breaks my heart and one perfect scene was so utterly sweet and heart breaking but it managed to capture all right emotion and turmoil.

Since it is the middle book in a trilogy it did suffer slightly from the second book syndrome but it was still epic. It set the stage for the final book and the way it ended had my heart in my throat and I cannot fathom what will happen next.

I really enjoyed The Winner’s Crime for not only its clever plotting, realistic characters and this sense of dread that things were going to get worse. This series is not to be missed by any YA fan as it delivers each time. I cannot wait for the next book and what is in store for Kestrel and Arin. I just hope they get their happily ever after.

Released 12th March, 2015, grab your copy now!

Review copy provided by Bloomsbury Childrens Book, UK via NetGalley




Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

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Light, breezy and so much fun
Title: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books,
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 25th Febuary, 2015
Having spotted The DUFF on many of my friends’ time lines and Twitter feed, I grabbed this book straight away from NetGalley as soon as it came up. After quickly reading the blurb and finding out that a movie adaptation was releasing soon, nothing was going to stop me from reading it straight away.

Bianca is a Duff. Designated Ugly Fat Friend. On a night out with her gorgeous friends, Bianca is given this snippet of information by the school’s man whore, Wesley. Bianca reacts like any self-respecting girl and splashes her coke on Wesley. But his words don’t leave her. He laid open Bianca’s insecurities (probably every teen girl’s) and fear about her body and social standing. Add her parents’ divorce, Bianca is soon in a path of self-destruction. She wants a distraction and in a moment of madness goes and kisses Wesley. Before she knows it, kisses lead to more and now Bianca needs the kind of distraction that only Wesley can provide and avoiding her parents, her problems and her friends.

I loved The DUFF. I was written by a teenager for teenagers. I adored Bianca and her narration was spot on. Some reader may think that Bianca makes proper decisions and that it is out of character to go off the rails. But in my opinion it was just the right kind of reaction from someone like her. Escapism is the best solution she could come up with and it helped her cope with her issues and that sat fine with me. Bianca was sensible, clever, witty,cynical, loyal,complete with all the teenage understanding of the world which made me able to relate so well her. I’ve been known to indulge in a spot of escapism from time to time (obviously not the way Bianca goes about it with a man) myself too.

She had such lovely friends around her who loved and cared about her. They were genuinely concerned about her and were there for her every time. There was a bit of slut shaming which may not sit well with some but it is a teen book set at high school so it is not surprising.

I really enjoyed her relationship development with Wesley. It started as a fling and I may also warn that this book should be for slightly older teens as it has swearing and teen sex but nothing too graphic. While Wesley may have called Bianca a Duff but she stopped being a Duff for him a long time ago. While he kept calling her Duff it was with affection. As a reader I could see how she stopped being a Duff to him and started being something more. Wesley had deeper issues and that is why they were able to connect so well. I really enjoyed Bianca’s disgust at him and it reminded me of my teen years when I nursed disdained and disgust for high school boys.

Even more the message at the end about how everyone is a duff at some point in their lives was insightful and was a lesson for our sensible heroine.

The DUFF was a light, quick and easy read which was full of insights for any teenager. I really enjoyed the romance and the working of the inner minds of teenagers. The writing had a sense of addictiveness to it making it hard to put down. I just had to know what will happen next and Bianca’s and Wesley’s romance gave me butterflies. Such a shame that the movie has completely changed the relationships and story and turned it into a teen makeover movie.

I don’t think I’ll watch the movie as the atrocious trailer shocked me enough with the changed story line and ‘clean teen’ image. The DUFF will remain fond memory for me as not only was it heart-warming but also took readers back to their teen self. Definitely a book worth reading.

Review copy provided by Hachette Children’s Books,  via NetGalley


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday

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Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted on Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


My Pick this week is;
END OF DAYS (Penryn and the End of Days #3)by Susan Ee

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

 When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?



To say that I'm excited about this book will be an understatement. I adore this series and CANNOT wait to get my hands on this. The first book Angelfall is still one of my favourite book of all times and the last book which kept me awake until it was morning. The second book, World After was just as good and I'm sure End Of Days will blow my mind.

If you haven't picked up this book, then stop reading and start this series soon. You'll be begging for the end Of Days before you know it.
Me and a few friends have already started a re read of the series so, join us if you like.

Releases on 12th May, 2015  by Hodder and Stoughton


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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lane

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An adventure and a journey in more ways than one
Title: There Will Be Lies
Author: Nick Lane
Publisher: Bloomsbury, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 6th January, 2015
Nick Lane's There Will be Lies is one of those books that left me conflicted in more ways than one. The best way to get into this book is going in with as little knowledge about the book as possible. It can be enjoyed most when you don't know when the next page will hit you like a train.

It starts with Shelby narrating about her life and how she lives with her mother and has been home school. But before she knows it her whole life gets turned around and she finds her self on the road with her mother and before her journey ends her life starts unraveling.

First of all I have to give credit to Nick Lane he managed to keep my interest up until the very end. I enjoyed the way this book was written and there were two stories running simultaneously and were being flipped between each other. This helped chase the occasional monotone of a story stuck in one place. I also enjoyed how Nick Lane wrote pieces of literature which were profound and yet simple. The narration was spot on and everything was kept in wraps and as each lie was brought in and then shattered to reveal a nugget of truth.

Shelby was a great protagonist. I loved her strength, resilience and and sass even when facing situation which would have broken any regular person.

However I would have enjoyed it even more if there was some more romance in the story. It was hinted at towards the beginning but it never took off from there. Lastly, I wish there was an explanation as to what was the Otherworld? It ended with a bang but an explanation would have been cherry on the cake.

There Will Be Lies was not what I expected it to be. It is not a genre that I read often but it kept me entertained and engrossed with Shelby and her various troubles. It was an adventure and a journey in more ways than one and how selfishness can sometimes lead to love and forgiveness.

Published on the 6th of January, 2015 by Bloomsbury, 2015.




 

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