Thursday, 25 July 2013

Book Review : Beautiful Creatures by Kimi Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I really liked this book. There was just something about the story that just ensnared me. The premise is not something new in today's bookverse. But for me the interpretation was done just right. I liked it that the book was from Etan's POV. It usually is from the girls perspective (at least in the books I've read). I know this also has a Love at first sight shtick but there was a good back story for that. Ethan and Lena have been dreaming of each other for months. And there is a curse involved.

Coming to the characters, I really loved Amma. That is one feisty lady. I also loved Etan Wate. I liked Lena too but considering the book was in Ethan's voice, I got to know him better. And how refreshing it is to have a hero who is not an arrogant jerk, like in most other YA novels that I have read.

The addressal of the bullying issue in the school was well done. Especially Ethan's take on it that if it were anyone but Lena he might have stood in the sidelines and not said a word. This honest admission won me over.

The Caster world has just opened up in this book and there a lot of things the authors can do with the world they've built in the next 3 books that are a part of this series. So far the foundations that have been laid have just tantalized my curiosity about this world. I hope more information will be shared in the coming books.

This well developed story is what made me like the book. It might have seemed long to some people but I like my books to be lengthy. Mind you the story has to be interesting and well paced. The relationship between Lena and Ethan was sweet. It was slow. They were together, yes, but they didn't officially become boyfriend - girlfriend till quite a few months had passed.

Another thing I liked was that even though their family was against their relationship, they still got together. What is so different about that you ask? They rebelled but if anyone, even Ethan or Lena said anything negative about Amma or Macon respectively they would lash out at each other. Just because they fell in love did not mean they stopped loving their family.

All in all I give this book a 4.5/5.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Book Review : Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I heard of Gillian Flynn when my sister came up to me with the book Gone Girl and asked me to buy it for her. She told me that she had heard quite a few good reviews about it and wanted to read it. So I got it for her and the book stayed on our shelves since then. I recently went to our local Landmark bookstore and there was an offer on for 2 other books the author had written. I read the synopsis and liked the premise. I have recently been reading a lot of YA, so I wanted to read a crime novel. That is how I came into possession of Sharp Objects and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

Sharp Objects was Flynn's debut novel so I started with that. It is one of those novels that slowly creeps up on you. It was not love at first read with this book but I could not put it down. This book was a little depressing, though not as depressing a read as Flowers in the Attic. Flynn described the dysfunctional relationship between the mother and daughter really well. The contrast of how Adora gtreated her 2 daughters was something that made us appreciate the relationship between the 2 sisters and also between them and their mother. In between all of this there is the dead middle sister.

The best part was that though you could kind of tell where the book was going towards the end (with Adora and Camille, the ending was truly unexpected. I would recommend this book to all Crime novel buffs. Now I am all ready to delve into another paranormal YA. I am now reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. This is based in the South too.

Rating - 3.5/5

Friday, 12 July 2013

Word for the day

Hey Everyone! I don't know if I can keep up to what it says on the post title, that is come up with a whacky word for the day, but I just saw this online and had to post it. And these words do not have to be confined to the English language. They could be from any language.

The word I found today aptly describes me as I am today. And it is a Japanese word. It is :

I think the picture explains it all. What do you think? How many of you are doing this right now? Letting your TBR list pile up?

This gives me the kick in the pants I need to finish reading these books before I buy any more.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Random Thoughts/Rants Contd.

I recently got a hike on my salary (Yaaayyy Me!!!). So you could say I've had a cash windfall this month. So I went a little crazy and splurged on books. In my defense this is probably the 2nd or 3 rd time I have indulged myself the whole one year I have been employed. I usually buy maybe a couple of books a month. But in the past 2 weeks I've bought 24 books. I know, It's crazy. On top of this I have another 7 books in my cart on FlipKart. And my hands are getting itchy again. These are the times when I think 1) Why aren't books cheaper and more available where I am? and 2) Why aren't I richer?

One of the reasons I've been crazy with my online book shopping is, apart from the afore mentioned windfall, is that I have discovered a few wonderful blogs. They are Blog of Erised, Paperiot, Books of Amber. They have great reviews of books. Most of them review YA but these books lead me to other great books. For this I am eternally grateful to Goodreads. I would not have come across so many great books otherwise. I also took part in a Read -A - Thon hosted by Books of Amber. This was so much fun. The rules stated that I would have to read only debut authors. So I tried to complete 3 books but I finished 2. Which is still a great achievement considering the time limit was 4 days.

I read Mila 2.0 and Pivot Point. As you can see both are from the young adult genres. This is something else that I need to  be grateful for. The discovery of great young adult books. after having read these debuts I was really floored. I mean these are debut authors, maybe just a few years older and sometimes even younger than me. And they have come up with such great stories. And it is not just these authors that I am in awe of, but all of them. I mean can you imagine the work that goes into a 250-300 page book?

They have to think up a reasonable storyline, great characters - I mean a story would fall flat on its face if the characters were not well developed. Take the case of Cinder for instance. The basic premise is that of Cinderella, a story that has been around for years and years. No matter that the setting has changed, it is still the same basic story. But Cinder, as a character made a huge difference in this story. And to make Cinder into such a kick-ass heroine, a good background needed to be built for her. I mean part of a persons character is built by the situation in which they have found themselves in life, over time. And the author has to create a world for these people to inhabit. And most importantly in my view, he/she would have to be true to their characters till the end.

This is just unfathomable to me, how one person can come up with all of this. I mean you might think that if you've read one dystopian novel and you've read them all. But that is not true. This is the case with every genre. Yes there are exceptions to this rule but  that is beside the point. One of the authors that I have recently read who has blown me away is Brandon Sanderson. I heard he was finishing the Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan passed away. I did not even know of him. Then I was surfing the net trying to find a good fantasy novel to read and I stumbled across the Mistborn trilogy. I read the Final Empire and I fell in love. It has all the elements that make a great story. And Sanderson's world building skills are A-MA-ZING!

This brings me to another thought that has been niggling my brain. A long time ago I had read a short story where an author could bring to life the world that he writes about. He then goes on to write himself into the story (I think there was an episode like that on the X-Files). Anyways, I suddenly thought what if this happens every time someone writes a novel or a story? I mean there is the multiple universes theory right? So maybe the things that an author writes about are things that are happening or have happened in a parallel universe? Something to think about innit? Anyways, this is the end of this slight mental detour. This is rantception at its best :P A rant in a rant.

The above paragraph of detour aside, what I am trying to say is that I truly appreciate all the authors out there who put in a lot of work and effort in to making characters and worlds for us readers to enjoy. books have always been my avenue of escape. The best part is it is an accepted mode of escape. I mean parents actually encourage you to read, unlike watching television.

And it is not just the published authors I would like to thank but also the would be or aspiring writers. Because without them there would not be these amazing blogs out there. The blogging community is so full of talent. I feel like I am worse than an amateur when it comes to blogging. They actually not only write about their passion but also encourage others to follow their passions. They might not directly do so but with the amount of time and effort and love that they put into their blogs I cannot help but feel encouraged to do the same.

I know this blog does not have a great look or have many followers. For all I know no one might be reading this post. But I will try harder. I have always loved reading books and watching movies. I know I do not have the technical knowledge for seriously reviewing a book or a movie. But I do know what I like and do not like. So I will start as I have with reviews that are based on what I felt while watching the movie or reading a book (this is where I showcase my opinion after all). Maybe somewhere down the line I will get good enough that people will actually listen to my suggestions.

So here is a huge thank you to all the authors (published and aspiring alike) and all the bloggers blogging about their passion.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Book Review : Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I've been coming across Cinder in a lot of people's favorite lists on Goodreads and on blogs. The first time I came across it I liked the premise, though I did not pay much attention to it. As my friends would tell you I tend to like almost everything when it comes to books and especially when it comes to movies. I have also watched a couple of movie adaptations of the classic Cinderella story - Ella Enchanted and Ever After. I loved the former more than the latter. One of the reasons being that in this version she mostly helped herself instead of a mythical Fairy Godmother who waves her magic wand and makes the problems disappear.

So this book has always been at the periphery of my to be read books list. So when there was a major discount on this book online I took it as a sign and bought the book. I loved this book so much that I've already ordered for the 2nd installment in the series, Scarlet.

This was one exciting read. More than anything the best part was Cinder Linh. I LOVED her!! I mean, at least in the movie Ever After, Danielle - played by Drew Barrymore. had a kind of fairy Godmother in the form of DaVinci. But Cinder has no one. Just an android friend named Iko. Not only is she the Step Daughter that the Step Mother loathes, she also has to contend with being a Cyborg.

Whenever I think of a cyborg I think of the Bionic Woman. You know with increased strength and super sense and gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets. But that is not the case with Cinder. She has to survive with a leg that she was fitted with when she was 11. And even though she is the sole earner (she's a mechanic) in the house hold, being a cyborg, she is the property of her Step Mother.

Cinder is one of the most kick-ass female heroines out there in the book world. She is right beside Dagny Taggart (from Atlas Shrugged) for me. The story has been paced really well. Though there are places in the books that the story is a bit predictable but the classic Cinderella story has been given quite a spin. I mean not only are people on earth suffeeing from a plague to which there is no cure, they face a huge threat from the Lunars. Descendants of humans who set up a colony on the Moon and now have extraordinary powers that lets them manipulate normal Earth humans.

And the Prince is being pressurized to marry the Queen of the Lunars - Queen Levana. So this book is a melting pot of genres and Marissa Meyer has a great recipe. I just hope this continues with Scarlet.

One of the best scenes for me was when Cinder stands up to her Step Mother and the part where she goes to the ball completely soaked from head to toe in a dress that is a had me down of sorts and silk gloves covered in grease. She is a girl that has not known love at all. And all those that have come close to loving her have left her (either voluntarily or involuntarily). She is ostracized but she still has a back bone (though it is reinforced). She still manages to open herself up a little in this book.

I cannot wait to read Scarlet where I'll meet Cinder and Kaito and hopefully Iko again. I'm thinking this will have something to do with Little Red Riding Hood. I hope it gets delivered by next Monday. In the meantime I am reading Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout on audiobook and a physical copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth. I would rate this book a 4.5/5.

I am hoping this counts towards my Dystopia challenge. This will be a read count of 1/6.

Movie Review : The Lone Ranger

I have not read any Lone Ranger comics. Though I know of the characters because my Dad spoke of a few of his adventures. So I know a few references like who Tonto, Silver are and the term Kemosabe. So as soon as I heard that the movie The Lone Ranger had hit the theaters I had to go watch the movie.

I went to watch this movie over the weekend. I was not expecting much as I had very little idea what this was about. Just that a Texas Ranger and a Native American would get together and fight crime (along with the help of their trusty horse Silver).

The movie was loooong. It was 2 and a half hours long. And it was slow at some places. I would have loved the comic as the premise is something I would like. The dependence on the horse somehow reminds me of the Phantom comics. I enjoyed the parts where Johnny Depp was present. Those were a treat. To be honest I liked the chemistry between Tonto and Silver to be more interesting than the one between Tonto and Sam Reid. Don't mistake me, it was good. But the scenes where Tonto and Silver were portrayed was so much more engaging. John Reid was portrayed well enough by Armie Hammer.

One of the major complaints I had with this movie was that the score sounded a lot like that of Pirates of the Caribbean. I would've liked a better score. Something more original.

Anyways I am off to find the comics so I can read them and judge for myself which was better. All in all the movie was pretty entertaining but nothing to write home about. So I give it 2.7/5.