Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Ram-Leela fever!

Like I've said, I've stooped as low as to reading bollywood gossip about Ram Leela so the videos of 'songs in making' are primary, really... They tell a lot about the process of how Bhansali and his team created each song and then the choreography and intentions behind it, what Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone did for each song.  They are in the order that I like them (although I can't decide between the first two!) Check them out!

Ram-leela - Theatrical Trailer with English Subtitles ft. Ranveer Singh ...

*Fans the face*

Whaaaaaa......How.. I begin? I've never been the kinda girl who is manic about movies and awaits any particular movie with bated breath but Ram Leela changed me being a big bookworm. I saw a song in this, investigated and now here I type full of the Ram-Leela fever. I've since watched anything related to it (even gossip and I HATE bollywood gossip!) You just have to look at half the trailer and you're gone. You'll swear upon your life to watch the the first show at the first day!! I did.
 Sanjay Leela Bhansali is famous for Drama and Tragedy but here this movie has violence and boldness in heavy amounts along with his dramatic and tragic flairs... Devdas ended tragically. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam ended in hope while going along the tragic route and still is preferrable to Devdas because of the more positive elements of it. Saawariya is 'meeeeh' and veery mild so has no impact. At first it seems Bhansali has tried to recreate the magic of Hum  Dil De Chuke Sanam in Ram Leela because of Nagada Sang Dhol or even Lahu Muh Lag Gaya but afterwards he has more commercial elements from his experience with being a producer for films like Rowdy Rathore, etc. Ishqyaun Dhishkyaun, another song of Ram Leela, is fun and sensual and thus hints at the theme in Ram Leela being different than HDDCS and Devdas, as the romance and even heroines are coy, understated and traditional in those former films (But Deepika Padukone is portrayed as a bold Gujarati girl here) and Ram Leela's bolder and violent. He has retained the traditional/regional elements, his individuality in creating visual poetry with that dramatic and tragic flair as his trademark and yet this story seems modern, unique, straightforward with a good plotline.
The beginning scene is disillusioning with rain clouds thundering in the sky and some beautiful camera work showing tthe distance to our story's setting- the town 'Nakhtaraana'. That scene of the kids is HILARIOUS and the guy getting angry at the kid is ummm violent and even more hilarious!!!!!!! Shit, I kept staring at thee screen the first time I saw it! (and missed the rest of the trailer but then replayed it again and again... I'm still replaying it!!) Those bullet roaring scenes between Ram-Leela seem exciting. Basically, we're introduced to Ram's character and the vague plotline of the movie with the feud of families going on in the town. The first half of the trailer is light, passionate then, there's the dramatic scene in rain and everything changes- The love of Romeo & Juliet isn't as easy as we thought- there's arguing, clashes and verbal fights going on which adds layers and makes the story more interesting. There are the famous scenes of Ram-Leela consummating their 'marriage', their hot kiss, the smoky atmosphere, the town's waterfront at night glittering with lights and Deepika-Ranveer's amazingly sizzling chemistry.  Then it gets too fast to really watch the scenes but they seem disconnected, raising our curiosity tenfold!!!! At the end, Ram and Leela seem to discuss what happens now that they have fallen in love with each other, Ram asks what she'll do if her family says no and Leela replies that she'll convince them. Then *giggles* Ram asks what she would do if he leaves her. Leela calmly tells him that she'll kill him... I dunno whether to laugh out loud or tell her to chill! I love the passion though.
The basic theme of the movie is Shakespeare's Romeo-Juliet. It is a universal concept and this has been given a Desi makeover in Ram Leela. As in Romeo-Juliet, Ram and Leela's families hate each other to death and then there's the famous balconey scene of Juliet and Romeo depicted between our Ram & Leela ... I also wonder when that scene happens, in which Ram and Leela argue and Ram hints that Leela left her family to come with Ram then Leela accuses Ram of having the 'filthy' Rabadi blood and killing someone (possibly one of her own family; like in Romeo-Juliet, Romeo kills Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, in grief and guilt of Mercutio's death which happened during Mercutio's duel against Tybalt ). That scene of Ram (Ranveer Singh) soaked in the rain at a funeral (Mercutio?!) makes me very curious. I dunno if Ram and Leela will die like Romeo-Juliet (Ahhhhh MAN! What do I expect? It's Romeo and Juliet! Their stupid family feud's gonna end because of their deaths!!!! I wanna scream 'NOOOOOOO!!!' Such a waste of Ram and Leela!!!!!!!) but I REALLY hope they won't!!

Wish I could lasso Nov 15 and pull it to me...

Ram Chahe Leela Song ft. Priyanka Chopra - Ram-leela

Priyanka Chopra is one of my favourite actors and here she is in one of my favourite and most awaited film!!!!!! I didn't think it could get better when I was anticipating the next song after Ishqyaun Dhishkyaun... I had guessed the item song would be Ram Chahe Leela as it was the only remaining raunchy number in the sound track and I also guessed somehow it would be next because it is an item song after all. Promos need such things! So today it came and I stand stunned. Priyanka Chopra has done an FAN -fuckin'-TASTIC job here!!!!!!!!! This is even hotter than Ishqyaun Dhishkyaun (I didn't think it possible!!!!) but I can't make up my mind about it as both the songs are equally good. The choreography is unique in each song and this one's no different.... Priyanka Chopra looks really sexy and does complete justice to the song! The set is gorgeous with real live candles burning throughout the song,, the colourful Indian lamps hanging and those rose petals scattered around. The choreograpgy is again, unique and impressive. Priyanka's expressions are eye-popping, and her entry-dramatic... Again You can't guess when this song's gonna happen with the careful editing but the extra Deepika-Ranveer scenes are relievingly welcome!!!!! This item number will rock you!
Seeing more of Deepika-Ranveer my excitement has burst out of the 100 range and shot to 500!!!! Now I can't wait for Nov 15 more THAN  EVER!

Tattad Tattad (Ramji Ki Chaal) Song ft. Ranveer Singh | Ram-leela

SHIT DAMN. Continuing with my Ram -Leela fever, here's the introduction song of Ranveer's character Ram Rabadi. His personality has been described lyrically in a beautiful manner and is very bold, solid and interesting. This is where Ranveer Singh shines through (although he's awesome in any of the scenes either in songs or the trailer) Really- there's no doubt that he rocks his character!!! Ram seems to be created as a person who can lure girls and make them lose their hearts to him... Ranveer Singh has done absolute justice to it! The cocky and playboy character of Ram Rabadi is sure to get to you...
The choreography is just like the character- arrogant, loud, attention-seeking, cocky, womanizing... The set is very Alpha with yellow and purple (in Ranveer Singh's costume) hinting at Royalties and qualities like the sun or the colour yellow. Ram Rabadi seems to wander according his own style in a carefree manner... The choreography brought to life, Ranveer Singh's character. The entry itself is all that Ram Rabadi is-effortlessly cocky. The costumes for others and the posters through the lit-up narrow street of the town are related to the Indian folk hero Ram from the legendary mythical story of Ramayana. There are people dressed up and painted blue to depict Ram, the posters have Hanuman (Ram's devotee/ right hand man) tearing his chest open to show Ram and Sita's picture seared in it. The overall effect is inevitable.
Amazing song, half the credit going to it's singer, Aditya Narayan who has a distinct, amazing voice- reminiscent of his father and yet managing to sound unique unto himself. He brings the tone of the words down into his voice, reaching us and telling the meaning of the lyrics.

Again, Why is Nov 15 SO FARAWAY????????????????

Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun Song ft. Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh - Ram-leela

HOT HOT HOT!!!! Yaozaaaah! Their chemistry is something I haven't seen ever before! The moves are fun and entertaining! Deepika Padukone is COMPLETELY different, I haven't seen her like this ever before! Ranveer Singh has been UNDESCRIBABLY AWESOME!! I knew he was good in Band Baaja Baarat and  Ladies vs Ricky Bahl as well as Lootera (which is on my list to watch) but This is completely overpowering my senses and thoughts about him!! He actually acts with his eyes and Sanjay Leela Bhansali has captured his as well as Deepika Padukone's manifestation of characters in a way that blows my mind away!!!!
The set is verry indicating. There are guns everywhere in the background and the lighting is low. Neon red gun signs start this raunchy number and the flute captures your attention immediately and you wanna groove to the music!!!  The song is telling of the basic nature of Ram and Leela's love story. As always, the lyrics are poetic and straightforward. The choreography is something unique and there's the back and forth volley of emotions from Ranveer and non-verbal yet very expressive and entertaining set from Deepika. The Choreography is metaphorical and clever. Ranveer looks classy and is seen enjoying himself so much with all his expressions!! Deepika's riot of emotions was unexpected and I was like, 'I didn't know she could do that!!!' Nobody else could have suited the characters better than these guys!!! Sizzle us away, you guys!!!!

Can NOT wait for NOV 15.

Nagada Sang Dhol Song - Ram-leela ft. Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh

Learning those incredible moves and CAN'T get it OUTTA MY HEAD!!!!!!
Ohhhhhkay, I know many of you are saying this is similar to Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam but that's just your Associative Disorder. Don't compare these two and even if you do, there are far too many differences to be found easily. Or maybe I am fangirling. Whatever.....
This song has so many reasons to be addicting... The set is, of course, beautiful, extravagant and full of grandeur being Sanjay Leela Bhansali's signature style. The Choreography is what captures anyone's attention because it's full on hardcore Gujarati Garba- that beautiful regional and traditional element coming alive, perfectly synchronising with the lyrics, beats and music of the song and this is why Sanjay Bhai ROCKS! Those moves are so addicting that I always am up on my feet when it comes on and  I'm halfway through learning them, No Joke! The costumes, especially Deepika Padukone's Ghagra Choli is traditional, beautiful, classy and yet loud to grab attentions. Deepika Padukone, herself, has done an awesome job on her part. Supriya Pathak steals the show in her designated scenes with her dramatics. Those lyrics of Gujarati- 'Leeli limbudi re/ Leelo nagarvel no chod/ Parbhu parodh na ro/ Maar gher uttara karta jao/Uttaro nahi karun re/Maar gher Seeta juve vaat/Seeta ekla re/ Juve Ram Lakhman ni vaat' made the whole song out of charts!!!!!!!! They add mystery and I wonder if there's a Seeta for Ram Rabadi and not our Leela..... The whole song is orchestrated wonderfully and has that mysterious element in scenes when Ram Rabadi (Ranveer Singh's character) enters the song and later stares (with what seems sternness and maybe anger) at Leela (Deepika Padukone's character) as she draws a Tilak on his forehead. You can't understand where the story is at this point and the songs are carefully edited so as not to give in any clues of the plot. This mystery helps in creating the buzz for the movie itself and excitements run high.
So I CAN'T WAIT for Nov 15! Yes, I admit shamelessly to being consciously manipulated.... Who cares when the  movies seems to be so incredible?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Lahu Munh Lag Gaya Song - Ram-leela ft. Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh

ShitDAMN!!!!!!!! I haven't seen anything hotter, more expressive and better and there's just something I can't put my finger on, at the beginning of the song and that brings beauty..... This is the best of both worlds- old and modern...!!! In the signature Bhansali style, the song seems colourful and exciting. That beginning is so perfect I couldn't have imagined anything better! God! Deepika surprised me by being so expressive! Ranveer! OH RANVEER! You have captured every girl's heart out there! Ranveer Singh manages to talk with his eyes and comes out shining as an actor here! His energy reaches out from the camera lens and steps into the screen, easily sweeping us away in it!!! Their non-verbal chemistry and volley of emotions tossed back and forth without words holds our hearts tightly and digs in deep. Deepika Padukone surprises even me as she does that bold move and goes to join the Garba. Then Ranveer grips our hearts with his 'stunned' expression. I haven't seen anything more expressive, hot, effortless and heart-rending before. This is one emotional start.
The choreography is second to Nagada Sang Dhol and very addictive, once again! The set is colourful and again very exuberant like the song and in Ranveer Singh's words 'flamboyant and very passionate'! Those costumes are again, unique, attention-grabbing and colourful. Throughout the song, the chemistry between Deepika and Ranveer is visible and doesn't seem to recede. There's the mysterious element as in all the others, albeit at the end of the song when Ram Rabadi (Ranveer Singh's character) abruptly and mysteriously leaves and Leela is seen staring at his Gulaal-smeared hand...

 Doesn't that leave you wanting for more???

CAN'T WAIT FOR NOVEMBER 15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Winter-Rain Storm and the thunder of books...

Of Beast and BeautyOf Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like I've already mentioned in Beastly my favorite fairy tale is the Beauty and the Beast so that in itself was enough to pick this book up. When I got it, I had not many expectations and this was the first time I was picking up Stacey Jay so a new slate with really no previous experience was a given. I guess I'm prolonging to write how I felt about it but see, it's a valid reason- I can't find any words to express what I'm feeling! All the usual adjectives of 'speechless' and etc.. can't be applied here. This story is so out of the ordinary that it's unbelievable! When I first read the synopsis, to be fair, I was not thrilled to have got the book because the synopsis is that misleading. I thought that the plot would be nothing really worthy and a breezy read. Boy, was I wrong.
This story does have a resemblance with the story that we know of but it's only enough to know that this book is slightly based on the original fairy tale and that's about it! Nothing else is remotely linked or boringly similar to what we know and this point is what makes this book so incredible. At first glance it seems deceptively simple and light but as soon as you get to a few chapters you know you've been duped royally (no pun intended). When I want to start putting some of the elements making this book what it is, I can't decide where to start because of course all of them are mind-blowing.
It seems like a typical Romeo-Juliet situation as well because of the physical differences creating that huge barrier between a race of people. Isra, the Princess/Queen of the Smooth Skins and Gem, the ordinary warrior of the Monstrous are interesting characters unto themselves even with the addition of their blooming friendship through the book. The original linear line of the plot is upended and here it's the 'beauty' who has captured and imprisoned the 'beast'. The plot is of the finest intellect with just enough tension, emotions and character development to keep the book moving at a pace worthy of a journey. The vast physical differences between the two races and their dwelling terrain is jarring and yet fitting. The addition of the nature of magic and it's way of working is really commendable and heart warming. The creep factor and scare tactics were a welcome element to spice the story. The gory details of mutant genes were also very appropriate and seemingly easily blended into the plot.
The characters were extremely well-layered, even the secondary ones. Isra's character was spotlight-snatching and more easy-to-focus on than Gem's. Gem was also fairly enrapturing and yet simpler than Isra especially at the end. I would have liked more of Gem's POV because I found him just as fascinating. The emotions were raw, easy to sympathize with and in a vast range. The writing was old-fashioned and yet a little modern and very beautiful in prose. That writing in itself is a point enough to read this book. That romance of Isra and Gem is another highlight of the story. It was slow, creeping and very satisfying. The world-building from Jay is also worth mentioning because she does it flawlessly. The way she created the history of both the tribes was very spell-binding and a huge part of the plot.
This is a book easily enjoyable by anyone and yet is heavy on thought provocation and incredible characters as well as a satisfying (if cheesy in the end) plot.
Jay is an author to look out for and I hope to read more of her very soon.

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Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've been into Gothic romances and so was interested in reading Unspoken. The synopsis felt very promising and I had read great reviews from some friends of mine. I feel I'm sitting on the fence for this one because their are equal amounts of great elements and really bad frustrating points of this book.
The beginning was written in a way that captured my attention and I can't find fault in that. Kami feels like a kick-ass, bold, imaginative, feisty, adventurous, restless sort of girl with a healthy (unhealthy for me) amount of curiosity and a very inquisitive 'journalistic' nature. I was hoping she would continue to live upto and go beyond my expectations as the book proceeds. The writing felt very full of humour, the regional elements making it richer, the characters like Angela and Rusty upping the ante. What I always found intriguing from the synopsis was that Kami could hear a voice in her head and that voice would in the course of events, turn out to be a real person. This was the most fascinating part of the book for me and I loved how the author handled it- the feelings of each Kami and Jared when they discover their respective voices in the heads turning into real people were so stormy and gripping. There was no insta-love for which I was grateful because this turns out to be dangerous for just about any book... After this entrance of Jared though I began to have uneasy feelings regarding just about everything in the book; maybe it was intuition. I loved how Kami pursued everything and didn't really leave Jared alone. Although, very often I did feel discomfort that whatever questions were raised in Kami's mind could easily be answered right after them being asked and this wasn't done just for the sake of 'right' timing and the plot-pace. I tried to overcome it but the niggling was there through the whole book for me. Most of the book got Kami which also was jarring and disappointing. I did like how there were slight layers to Kami's character as well as the secondary ones although they could've been deepened or multiplied to get into the characters better. Jared (oh Jared!) was one of the finest 'bad boy' characters I've ever encountered. Even with so less of a time in the book, he managed to be my favorite character. He was very very heart wrenching- the ignored child hated by parents, unable to understand his uniqueness, having the ability to be so very kind and generous and caring even after tolerating such parental cruelty and crushing lonliness thrown in with the life on streets in America, having the emotional range all through black and white and being so human. He also actually remained mysterious even after showing so much of himself and my heart just broke for him when Kami did that HORRENDOUS thing in the climax(This was manufactured to happen clearly for plot-block and progress for the next book...). And what truly made me hate her was her reaction and emotions after what SHE did. You know, all through the book she wanted to find a way to carry it out; all the while taking Jared for granted, and after all that, on the final moment she changes her mind (no doubt the author's doing again for the sake of the plot...) and 'realizes' her feelings right at the climax and still she does the horrifying thing! I would expect someone feminist and intelligent to at least be true to herself when she was bold out in the world but obviously that can't be allowed because how else would their be a (fake) romance? Feelings can't be judged, many say but I still say that Kami had no right to feel the way she did after carrying out her OWN decision. Jared is simply amazing and capable of being romantic even after being what he is and having endured what he has and being so lonely most of his life except for Kami's voice in his head. I can't really blame him for not wanting their connection severed because all his life, Jared felt that only Kami was on his side and supported him wholeheartedly for most of his life. After half the book, Kami became more and more self-absorbed and selfish, unable to see anything/one beyond herself. I don't think being a feminist leads to being egotistic so I resent the author for painting a character and progressing her in this way. I felt Kami could have been so much more than a paranoid person suspecting a person whose mind she can read and someone she's known all her life; more than a self-absorbed idiot capable of realising danger and knowing her friends thoroughly (It was so extremely obvious about Angela's secret! How could their own best friend not see it?!). I hated Kami by the end of the book and felt completely disconnected from her. Angela, the fierce angry girl, was a great character along with Rusty mixing in the humour, the quality of being laid-back and lazy but having the alertness and agility for danger (somehow...)... Ash always went into non-existence for me, maybe the author didn't put enough of a character in him... Lillian and Rosalind were paper thin. Rob was black and white.
The conversations between characters seemed very stilted and unrealistic-who talks so formally even in England? The strange turns and complete turning back over subjects and the breaks and 180s on the flow of any conversation were disorienting and jarring so the author failed to really incorporate the trademark British element and was left with only feeble attempts, with the flimsy pieces of the culture, some very abrupt wit (which although nice lightening humour, was uncalled for the occasion most of the time) and stunted dialogue. Kami is way too engrossed being one point of a love triangle (although this existence of the love triangle is very vaguely hinted) instead of actually taking the mystery and the murders seriously. Overall Kami disappointed me terribly because at some level I liked the Japanese heritage (yup, I'm a sucker for anything Japanese), the interesting family of devilish brothers, the slightly distant yet loving father, the scared mother (all this created dysfunction for me and there goes another black mark...), the initial character I glimpsed which vanished halfway and never came back... The thing is Brennan managed to not fall in some contemporary-romance traps but did hopelessly and utterly fall in the others just in the effort to make this story an original. Trying too hard can suck the life out of a story as well, Miss Brennan.
It is so disappointing when you get the dream of a treasure and even get to glimpse at it and then it stops getting nearer and simply vanishes out of sight in the middle of your journey.
Jared and the cliffhanger are the only things taking me to Untold and I won't shell out the bucks for this one.

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I sit somewhere between 3 and 4 stars on this one. For the sake of coming clean, I took up with this series because I'm a mad fan of
  Kristen Ashley
and I thought she could do no wrong. Also I wanted to read that book (or books) which inspired her to write her batch of amazing books. What I could glaringly conclude was that fans of Miss Ashley, donot worry! Her style is as unique as her and even if the vein of their humour is same along with a tendency of outrageous action, adventure and extremely quirky never-before-seen characters even Kristen's inspiration can't top her writing!!! Or maybe I am fangirling... Doesn't matter. I accidently watched the movie before reading this book (forgive me for such a grievous sin!) so I could be a tad biased too, you know because that movie was really great, laugh-out-loud, outrageous in the Evanovich way with mystery and steamy romance thrown in... This didn't deter me from reading the book of course!
In ONE FOR THE MONEY, Stephanie Plum is introduced to us. She is a divorced, ex-lingerie buyer for Macy's who's desperate for a job after being out of employment for six months (and here starts the outrageousness) and at her parent's house for dinner is mildly humiliated by having her car picked up by the people who owe her money. This leads her to get a job from her pervert cousin to be a bounty-hunter but as they say Desperate times, Desperate measures. Now she needs quick money in her broke condition and there's always a personal revenge/grudge to be avenged, making it a huge motivation. Joe Morelli the big bad cop on the lam for murder (who also took her virginity and never called back so there you go) is skipping the court date with a million dollars of bail bond money allowing her a healthy 10 percent of it as reward of catching him. Morelli is proving to be elusive of course and there encounters although brief are hilariously stomach cramping. There's a light mystery with somewhat dangerous drug dealers, the element of the wild, very quirky (that they put a new definition to it) characters like Grandma Mazur, Stephanie's mom and dad, the colourful characters in her burg and the ensuing outrageously impossible events with butt-cracking humour, the feeling of community making it difficult and funny at the same time for Stephanie to conduct about her business.
The humour element is most noticeable and unparelelled to most others. The drama is hardcore but the levity of a burg community is really relieving. I loved most elements of the books even when sometimes Stephanie's choices were teeth-grindingly frustrating and her clothing choices, hilarious. There's the injecting-humour through drama, outrage and stupidity thing going on and this makes for light breezy reading even sometimes you begin to care about the characters too.
The humour is dominant and eclipsing but it's hardly a problem and worth reading the book for. Stephanie is a normal woman turned bounty hunter but I would have expected her to be taking her job more seriously which she doesn't and this might create a problem for me in the rest of the series if Evanovich continues it. If Evanovich would have done some of the maturity in Stephanie, she would be on par with Kristen for me and I can already guess that I might grow tired of her style if there's only the same kind of thing going on in the rest of her books.
Looking forward to reading
Two for the Dough

The Next Best ThingThe Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm gonna be honest (of course...) this is the first Higgins novel that has truly disappointed me and I've been seriously let down. It gives me a headache to even think about this!!! I had hoped there would be no books from Higgins that would really be crappy to me; being careful to select the interesting synopsis only...
The main huge glaring hole in this book was obviously that female lead- Lucy. Higgins for the second time, chose another spineless idiot girl who couldn't think for herself (although those were her first thoughts) or even anyone else and that always does it for me. However much I try to find redeeming points ( in some cases, if any) there were none to be found... I wanted to wail and despair that this was happening. How could Higgins drown so completely in all those holes of the usual contemporary romance shit???? *deep defeated sigh*
Well, getting on with it, the book started out with me sitting on the fence as I was discovering right in the first chapter that we were already lumped in the middle of the story and that Lucy is breaking off their 'friends with benefits' relationship because she doesn't even want to give Ethan a chance and wants to just find a 'normal' guy (whose specifications are extremely tedious which really negates her claim of finding anyone 'normal'-how cliche and terribly boringly predictable) and have a boring life. On one hand she doesn't want to be alone for the rest of her life like the Black Widows- her mom and aunts (to whom we'll come at a later junction) and on the other she has too tall of a list for any candidate and always expects way too much when she's living in a dead-end town. I hated her right off the bat because I always, but always, hate any person (be it a man or a woman, I'm not a biased feminist... Hah!) who tries to avoid all their problems and runs away from them consciously simply due to an extremely flimsy reason justifying (and yet unable to do so) this ridiculous act of cowardice. I also hated that Lucy never really moved forward in any of the six years after her husband's death even when she had a terrible dysfunctional family whom she loves, Ethan's tender comfort and love and his unique ability to become sex slave according to her moods and even the petty job at her family's bakery. I very much understand that each person is different and requires different amounts of time to overcome such deep loss (even though they were married for only eight months or so) but they don't have Lucy's privileges and this leads me to think (can't help it) that she only had a crush on her husband and never really knew what went on with him, didn't take the trouble to get to know him and is now in some sorta hero-worship for the guy... She is so irrational in her behavior and even more so during the 'psychic' readings performed by their family friend... See, she is skeptical and doesn't believe the reading considering the psychic woman's a fraud and the next moment when she doesn't wanna think, turns to that fraudulent woman and decides to believe her conclusions! HOW RIDICULOUS CAN YOU GET??? She's way too influenced by the Black Widows and seems like a clay-doll who turns to putty in others' hands and can't think for herself at all.
Ethan was really ridiculously human and way better than Lucy to think about. Whereas Lucy is shallow, brainless, spineless and self-absorbed; Ethan is extremely patient, caring, tender, understanding (too much), sacrificing and reliable. When Lucy breaks up with him I felt very sympathetic to him and what he went through. I also liked that Higgins made him appear human when he was distancing himself from Lucy after the 'break-up'. He was charming, the perfect gentleman, a great person and way too good for Lucy even with the appearance/ facade of the bad boy image through all those daredevil sports and general rebelling (which was perfectly natural because of his parents' preference to their older son and some, or maybe way too much, of that sibling rivalry going on) . Ethan even with less of book time made a shining appearance without appearing too perfect (although the usual boring 'hotness' was upped...) I loved his character and wanted more depth to it or even more time with him.
The Black Widows were the maternal side of Lucy's family all alive, all Black (eh, surname -obviously) and all, yes, widows . I continued to think it impossible of course and Higgins does have that handy creative license so I took it in stride and besides there was lots of humour because of them at least in the beginning of the book. The problem came that as the book moved, that humour became tiresome, a sorta bullying and steam-rolling Lucy around and treating her like a doormat (of course she let them...) *horrified expression* Well sometimes they were funny; other times completely frustrating and tiresome. They had this policy where after their husbands' respective deaths they believed in some curse over the males that married into the family and discouraged Lucy from getting involved with other men (and yet other times, they seemed to introduce her to any potential male entering their bakery and showing her off to him...) *rolls eyes too hard*  There was the usual 'community' feeling, the humour (very light but present). I loved Parker and Nicky and hated Ethan's parents. I loved the atmosphere and physicality of the locale. But they couldn't carry the book at all with their rubbery thin legs that gave out in a second...
There was so much potential in all of those characters and I was so sad that it couldn't be met. What happened to the effortless style that Higgins seemed to have in some of her other novels?  I dunno why she went so wrong here and hope she doesn't do it again...

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well she has done it again! I keep being reminded that Chic-lit can be surprisingly deep and meaningful along with the hilarity, comic timing and relief, the boring 'hot' factor and the quirky characters. This one's a thorough keeper!
Callie (short for Calliope) Grey is a thirty year old woman who is experiencing a classic chic-lit problem- being single at 30. She has been in love with her boss forever (since she started working for his company 5 years back, a looooong looong time for which I was in complete sync with her and which made her sympathetic to me) and after having (FINALLY) had a five-week relationship (which was a fling in his eyes) she had hopes to stick it out, be humiliated even further and hope for him to get her back. Of course in classic chic-lit style, right on her birthday after giving a guilt gift, the said boss admits to being engaged to the common Bitch Perfect. Imagine how heartbroken you would be ( I can) and you rush out at lunch and are crying about it to your sister when someone makes rude comments about you behind in the line!!! Fucking hilarious for us readers and even them spectators but what a mortifying moment for Callie! I felt like shouting, "Hey Callie, I'm with you, girl! Leave that douche-bag and celebrate some girl power!!" But there is something to be said about the moment our couple of characters were introduced to each other (it's even mentioned in the foreword!) and I agree it does tell about a person when one is vulnerable and the the other is a somewhat reluctant but surprisingly tender stranger. Callie is renewed after breaking down in public and still clinging to the stupid denial and stubborn grip on her crush of said boss, decides to make him jealous by dating somebody and just then gets the news of a new vet in town. Poorly disguising her dog with illness and her true motives with the concern of being a neighbour (I don't blame her just because she's a good person and very entertaining...) even if she's not one, Callie visits the vet and recognizes the same person who was rude to her during that very public breakdown!! That banter between them is so endearing and hilarious and continues throughout the book very well becoming a highlight. She might have started out in hopes of making an old crush jealous but soon finds out that Ian McFarland has some other sides to him other than being rude to crying women, keeping women at length in general and the stoic personality.
Ian McFarland is another on the short list of amazing male leads who's real and very much believable. Even through the air of silent standoffish-ness there's a tender and sensitive guy who's been recently hurt bad. I loved how Ian was no-nonsense, slow (creeping and more so than normal) and simply heart-warming. Generally with Higgins you kinda understand the romance with how the characters are built and these were real, earthy-solid and very slow and sure to take your heart. There's the enviable sibling for Callie and the embarrassing mother owning the town's funeral home (where she holds Callie's birthday party! Whoa...) I didn't particularly like the mushy romantic Betty Boop and the sensible First Lady Michelle Obama taking up Callie's mind because they were too opposite of each other. The comic relief from them was petty, it coming more from Callie. The end was slightly typically chic-lit but I took all the hang-ups in stride because of the absolutely sincere try at having very minimal drama (I was going for none but hey, this is Higgins and so i read it exasperatingly anyway...)
The romance was a slow and creeping burn; very much welcome, appreciated and accepted.
There's the trademark element of family love and drama, the cute pets (SAHWOOOON!) parading around making things lively and the quirky humour equal in situation and characters... I loved the Rocking Chair, the idea of it and significance, the beautiful locale, as always and the community feel of luuuurv! This one was very different and yet felt vaguely like deja vu...
Once again Higgins you leave me wanting more...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Scorching hot Octo'b'ussy and the books!

Some not so good ones have come my way but I've got some great and exciting book in the 'to-read' list!

Love and Other Perishable ItemsLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first book from Laura Buzo and shockingly, the first bit of Aussie lit that I read. After finishing this book, I had to take several huge deep breaths and let out heavy sighs. This story was such a HUGE curveball that I couldn't even have predicted the rarity even in the middle of it because I was lost so deeply! This story made me feel so so heavy in the head and after recalling it, I don't really understand how it did this! The plot is so deceptively simple and 'meh' but I was stupid to be fooled by it. The inside is so deep, I could do lots of digging anytime or at any age that I decide to read it again. This book is a read for a lifetime. Here are some reasons you should read this one.
It starts with our voice of the book- Miss Amelia Hayes who works in Woolworths, is a high school student hopelessly 'in love' with (because I feel it's more infatuation than love) a boy six years her senior, Chris. This story goes through both Amelia's POV and Chris POV through his diary and that's a point I loved. The setting, characters and emotions were real so that I believed that these situations actually happened to those characters!! There's some intelligent, witty, funny and endearing banter going on between Amelia and Chris that is another point why you should read this book. Amelia's a very identifiable character for most of the girls because she reminds us of those high school days when some of us had crushes on the 'unreachable' way older guy whom we couldn't help but find really hot; although a huge difference here is that Amelia actually likes Chris because of his personality, the charm he seems to exude almost effortlessly and his intelligence. Mostly, Amelia loves to go back and forth about interesting issues and out-of-the-way topics (atleast for high school students, I mean can you imagine them thinking anything other than petty or rather naive things?!) like feminism, growing-up, family, love, life and even books and music...
Chris is a uni student with that war raging on in his head about his future. This struggle is so very familiar to most of us as each character has something to give to us or remind us about. It was very enlightening to actually have a glimpse into Chris' head because you've always gotta have both sides of the story and the portrayal through Amelia's eyes (or for that matter, any 15 year old girl's eyes) of her crush is some rosy picture having no idea about what's going on in their crush's head. That uncertainty crushing Chris is a huge point to read this book.
The thing is, young readers get to connect with the book and see what's to come and even though some may not like it because it's real and what life's all about; it still is indisputably a great read. Older readers connect with Chris easily and even can relate with Amelia and that's a bonus; they feel nostalgia and a heavy feeling. Both of the titles are so poignant and true that I can't help but shake my head in wonder for the solid writing from Miss Buzo. There's a feeling of lead over the heart because this is so very close to reality; it is very meaningful and true on one hand and on the other it seems like a normal boring story of a high school student going about her everyday life. There's nothing really outstanding if you think about it afterwards- no excitement, no spiciness, no fairy tale-come-true, nothing out of the ordinary in fact but this is what makes the book so good for some and so boring for others...
A must-read even if you don't like it. I look forward to reading more Buzo.

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My rating: 2.8 of 5 stars
I recently got into horror after becoming an Experiment in Terror fan and began gobbling up or atleast looking for similar books from the genre. I was waiting for Antigoddess from Blake but decided to finally read Anna Dressed In Blood to get familiar with her writing. I was excited because of the reviews and my expectations of it being original but obviously these weren't met. I did find some other interesting points about the plotline and some characters but they couldn't really carry the book for me into the 'great-book' land.
The story is from Cas' POV which seemed interesting at the beginning but didn't carry (or wasn't carried) through the book. Cas seemed the lonely 'broody' guy type and this I had to grimace at (because I thought Blake was going for something different but here she did the classic mistake of building Cas as 'hot' and the usual desirable guy with 'secrets')  Cas' mother was the same- started out great then crashed down (which you realise, seems to be the theme of the book....) Their relationship was very growing sometimes and other times was completely opposite to the usual vein. The bond with his father wasn't really explored and very conveniently placed only to explain the villain's character or his agenda (which was also not very impressive or really believable...) Until the revelation of the villain, everything seemed predictable and I hated, absolutely loathed that Blake established a 'romantic relationship' between Cas and Anna (WHY would she do that?! That was almost blasphemous!!! If only she could have painted Anna in a different way, I would have loved the book! It had so much potential but as she kept on adding elements, I kept on face-palming...)
Anna could have been great in a whole way but because of that romantic thing happening, she was lost... She had so much scare factor and grit that I loved half of her but then Cas ends up liking her which was very obvious because of the constant weird feelings of Cas regarding Anna and I was tired of rolling my eyes in the end... *huge sigh*
I hated Will from the start, was tolerating Carmel (hated the name) and liked Thomas and Morfran, felt exasperatingly endearing towards Tybalt and had a love-hate relationship with Cas and Anna....
Others might like it for the fluffy romance, gritty horror and gore and a somewhat but not entirely original story.
I hope Antigoddess is better. 

My rating: 0.5 of 5 stars
No. Just. NO.
God, I should have known what I was getting into when I picked up this book, but I expected I would turn out to be wrong. I guess I was right about my apprehensions and I didn't think it could be worse. That's my only excuse.
Reasons why you shouldn't read this book:

There's so much sexual innuendos and reference going on that either you're gonna puke or you're gonna be totally turned off from sex (AND before you think it impossible yes it can happen, I can vouch for it and I'm a healthy believer in sex but reading this can even put me off!!!!)

THIS WHOLE BOOK IS ABOUT SEX! For some that may feel like a jackpot but hate to sour your soaring excitement, reading this nothing short of torture. The guy just hops from bed to bed and whines. The girl wants to do all this but is made to appear 'romantic' and uses the 'guide' to serial-date after getting dumped from a three-year long boyfriend. There are so many MANY references to sex and they play with vibrators in the shop FOR GOD'S SAKE!!! I dunno about you but I was staring at the screen in horror! They're high school students for CHRIST'S SAKE!! How deep could their knowledge be, about all the things mentioned in the book ????? That's too unbelievable.

There's so much sleeping around going on that even those in the profession would blush reading about it... and this from high school students. 'Nuf. Said.

Anyway, maybe I might be repeating some of the stuff but that's what stuck with me from the book... I was disappointed, to say the least.

My rating: 1.23 of 5 stars
I was really hoping that this book would be good but this just sits somewhere between average and 'meh'... Robyn Carr sets up a really fluffy cozy world with somewhat realistic things (like babies being abandoned on the porch and such) happening to disrupt the flow only for the sake of drama and to forward a romance. The first book is about a widowed nurse who has had enough of the LA Trauma Centre and is looking for some quiet after the tragic shooting of her husband. After coming to the rural small town of Virgin River in California she is very skittish because of the huge change of lifestyle, the grief of her husband's death crushing her and the strange Doctor who has hired her for the nurse's job but doesn't really seem to want her there.
As life goes on, she comes to fall in love with the town, the people like Doc Mullins, all those old ladies and begins to have a special place for Jack, the retired Marine, living in the town and basically taking care of it. In this book, Jack is portrayed way too good to be true, caring, devoted, perfect and all round desirable and it's only int he progressive books that we learn about his flaws.
Carr's writing is really normal and disappointingly average and I can't figure out anything really worthwhile to care about; about which I feel sorry...

A light contemporary romance with way too much babies happening and the unrealistic element of an infertile woman having a baby, the town and the people; the atmosphere and the something almost 'magical' fluffiness of the whole book and Carr's writing style can't help but make you feel drawn to the series. 

My rating: 1.22 of 5 stars
Virgin River was nothing really interesting but I always like a story about women that have been abused and how they cope with it so I was just a little curious about Carr's take on this and again I was disappointed. I guess I should be used to the Disappointment but... Preacher always seemed like a mystery and a closed off man and maybe I hoped this book would finally show me the award winning author that is Carr but then I was always told that I expect too much.
Another fluffy romance read and here I noticed, Carr blurs one romance onto another (at least the stirrings of the next one and sometimes the entire romance) because of which I become so confused and have no idea which book I'm reading.
Unrealistic plotlines and breezy reads are what you're looking for then this is for you.

My rating: 1.21 of 5 stars
I wanted to sigh really heavy even during reading this book. I dunno why I keep reading the series but it feels so sadly defeated to leave a book or series midway especially if the author bleeds the sequel's story into the prequel halfway and half as much of that sequel. Jack's 'mother hen' tendencies were prominent some light humour and boring romance was thrown in and there's Whispering Rock all done. There are multiple points of view starting out this one and instead of simplifying or complicating anything, they are just plain confusing!!

I wish I could like Carr's writing style or the plots but I give up *humiliated sigh*
Well for those of you who like your romance and coziness come forth and stomach the series...

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Experiment in Terror continues!

On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror, #5)On Demon Wings by Karina Halle
My rating: 4.8 of 5 stars

To tell you the truth, I didn't think anything could top
  Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror, #3)
but this book so very close! It is that insidiously scary! After   Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4)
I was scared that Perry would become like the other so-called heroines in contemporary romances which was true but in a healthy way... I was hardening my heart and chanting that Perry would never ever let that bastard inside but nooooo Halle has this cosmic connection thing happening which I resent really little because she does everything else superbly!
Perry has left Experiment in Terror and has found a crappy job and somewhat  average friends and she's hurting big time which I would expect. On top of that, she has deteriorating health  with scary disturbing dreams and premonitions her plate's full. The bombshell drops and in it's devastation there's enough weakness in Perry that she lets in a hideous force which will destroy her. That 'Devil inside' feeling was SO VERY REAL AND SCARY and that's what made this book so amazing. After Lying Season, it seems that Abby is still haunting Perry and she's having these shit scary dreams where she has a baby and wants to kill Dex. This does sum up her feelings accurately if a little sloppily but I still found myself lost in her mind and her emotions as she kept on experiencing this horrifying possession.
I sorta knew Maximus would 'swoop' in and have some sorta relationship with Perry and then do something asshole-y. Jesus, I didn't think I would hate the guy though!  It appears he's here to help her one second and then just suddenly he's doing a 180 and turning on her ALONG WITH HER FUCKING PARENTS!!!!! Ah, don't get me started on those dregs... I dunno what sorta people don't believe or atleast try to believe their own DAUGHTER! I hated them and for me they never really loved their daughter.
The most scariest thing in the world is when the dark demons are inside you and you're so helpless you can't out them and you can't even help but die so agonizingly slow and yet quick; you just see your family and other trusted people turn on you and you know the reason but you can do NOTHING about it!!! Tell me if there's anything worse than that!!!!!
I appreciated Perry's bravery and strong will and thoughts to fight what was inside her and this was a particular highlight for me. This book was mostly Perry's struggles laid bare and I LOVED THAT! When Dex entered the picture bringing old acquaintances like Bird (love that old coot...) even though he was sorta the eleventh hour samaritan I didn't appreciate him or that he comes to save the day... I would have thought if Dex would have tried harder than the lousy calls he did try only to just stop it simply to drown in his own self-loathing I would have liked him better but he's just a selfish sissy. The romance is gonna be one long-ass drag. But I like the other elements of PERRY (HAH!) and the scare tactics.
The thing about Dex is that he just gives up too easily when he hits some obstacle and this is EVERY SINGLE TIME which is so FRUSTRATING you've gotta admit and I don't like pussy men... SO for the rest of the series I'm gonna grit my teeth and see the Perry Dex link play out.
Can't wait for   Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror, #6)

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
GOD how necessary this book was I can't express! If this hadn't been there along with
  And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5)
I would never have continued with the series because I hated that Dex treated Perry in such an inferior manner... This one's a compilation of scenes from the preceding novels, just some tidbits of important (at least from Halle's point) scenes from them to make us understand exactly how Dex thinks. His mind is completely male, hugely perverse, crude, idiotic, etc, etc but along with that you understand how his childhood (if very briefly) was, how Maximus is playing a part in his life (sorta 50/50 with the good and bad) and how his feelings are regarding Abby and Perry. I was banging my head in Lying Season and it's true you would to.... He's that stupid!!!!! I was equal parts horrified and scared.
To tell you the truth it's better to read the corresponding scenes with both their POVs along the series and this helps keep us neutral ground.
Can't WAIT for more!

My rating: 3.1 of 5 stars
Old Blood made me so so sad when I was finished. We've always been plagued with the Creepy Clown Lady right from the beginning and whereas we want to just stick her as an anomaly, through Old Blood you come to understand her if not sympathize with her. Interestingly this book is sorta important to be read before continuing on
  And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5)
because we understand so much of Dex's conditions. More so you get to know the loving grandmother to Perry and the nanny to Dex and what really went on with her life. Halle has weaved a historic tale from Pippa's childhood to her adult years in Stockholm ending with those refugee American years... The only frustrating and unforgivable thing is that of all the warnings she recieved, and trust me she had so many- a bucket load!, she didn't heed even ONE. The thing is she believed Jacob but never listened to his warnings; at first this is understandable but after that, not so much... This seemed a way to just stretch the story nevertheless I did enjoy reading it. We get to know future bad forces of the series and more depth to characters especially Perry's parents' bizarre mistrust with her; after getting to know that, I hated them even MORE. UGH. This book is just a story of a normal misguided woman who was dealt a bad hand but tried to stumble leaving her mistakes in the wake... Pippa was a saddening woman.

My rating: 3.2 of 5 stars
This book was really as needed as air for the series because the Lying Season and On Demon Wings made Perry look flawless and too broken. I wouldn't hesitate getting the second story so I made short time of reading this book. There were many 'cute' moments as is in a romance but mostly it was true to Halles' word a perverse twisted, sad, broken read just like Dex. I thought I would come to love him as is expected from authors when delving onto the male POV and even though I say it's needed doesn't necessarily say that I loved the person. So obviously Dex is a sad, twisted, blind (emotionally), selfish, scary, strange, broody with a capital B, sick and exaspertaingly acceptable man. You see, for all the Perry ramblings about him and his good qualities I don't see that in his mind. Perry has sadly like most of us, created this illusion of a man called Dex and has a serious crush on him only because of that 'cosmic' love connection. God, I feel that love connection is taking over this series! I don't like that one bit... But I like everything else so.. will continue reading this one!

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"Avoir, adieu, goodnight
I'm too wrong to get right

But I can't wait forever
I've always been alone
A fool believes he's clever

Don't you wanna go
Into the hollow?
I don't go alone
Aren't you gonna follow?

I live behind my eyes
Be sure to keep the surprise

I break what I've borrowed
That's why I always go
Alone into tomorrow

Don't you wanna go
Into the hollow?
I won't go alone
Aren't you gonna follow?"

Into the Hollow by Queens of the Stone Age

Truer words can not be said just as you have proved Halle!
This 'synopsis' is more for Dex than the whole book for me.
On Demon Wings left us struggling with Perry who had just been saved by Dex, the exorcist, Bird, even her sister (first and foremost!) Her sister had been the only pillar of support as everyone else had been turning on her... Now she's back with Dex whom she has still to forgive (which I completely understand). Right from the start there's so much sexual innuendos and tension that I was expecting them to jump each other after every five seconds! *huge laugh* damn! I still hate Dex's guts and know that Perry will take him back easy. Annnyway, Into the Hollow takes us into another myth/urban legend ride and here comes the ... *dramatic drumroll*
SASQUATCH! In other words- Big. Foot. Enough said.
Oh my god, even the ghost-believers don't believe in this mythical creature so I was wondering how Halle's gonna make this a creep-tastic or scary thing!  But don't you challenge Halle- The Queen of Drama and Creepy/ Scary things! This Sasquatch is one scary motherfucker and the worst thing is, this creature might be a living thing (or beast!)!!! Oh MY GOD. The scare tactics were actually normal except for the mutilated Llamas thing- Oooh! speaking of Llamas they were so cute! (yes, a bit fangirling be excused)
Anyway, this plot has as many twists and turns and they manage to surprise the fuck out of us! Damn those red eyes and those scary as shit claws and the furry beast.... This was closer to home and even in the beautiful Rocky Alps setting in the log cabins of mountains if you experience this beast on a rampage mutilating harmless Llamas GOD anyone would shit their pants and run away!
When this Big Foot/ beast was on their asses I was a quivering mess but I knew no real damage would come because hey, they are after all the heroes and heroines of the series! The supernatural abilities both begin to develop after their visit to the 'Thin Veil' (this concept has been a favourite of mine and original from Halle) and are quite easy to keep us on our toes. The whole Dex 2.0 thing- I don't really think he's changed or different that much but he certainly has begun to think more about Perry's safety and is trying (being the operative word) to be honest. He's still quick to shut down when there are problems in the PerryDex so that's still the most negative point of him (Most negative? Ummm maybe second or third, reconsidering everything...) He's still a huge pervert, crude and broody.. But I'm here for Perry and I loved that she found it so hard to forgive him I wanted to shout- Perry, you go girl! Make him grovel and beg not just shove pretty words up your ass!
There was an unexpected 'villain' person in this and that's part of the plot twists which surprises you. I really loved the log cabin in Rocky Alps setting and the scare factor upped because Perry and Dex were so mentally unprepared for the legend to be real (so you go with that flow and BAM! there's the Sasquatch!) There's lotsa physical evidence in this that makes you scared outta your brains and that's a unique point to this book!
WHOOPIE! Come Alive is next!!!!!!!!

My rating: 3.4 of 5 stars
Ah Come Alive THIS ladies and gentlemen, This book was the one that made me interested in the EXPERIMENT IN TERROR series. Very dramatic but so very true! See this came in the newly released tags and I was curious because of that beautiful cover so in I went to discover what this labyrinth was about... And I discovered something exciting, intriguing, new, rare and most of all unexpected! So needless to say I was excited off my pants to start this book because finally FINALLY it seems Perry and Dex are giving each other a chance after kicking the ghostie-asses for almost 6 books through the series! Another sad yet exciting in a perverse sorta way was that this is book from Dex's POV whom I don't really fancy but I expected to be fairly interesting. The last one Into the Hollow left lots to be guessed at; but still certain that Perry- Dex was happening, which was ABOUT TIME! And thus there's piles of excitement starting this. The beginning is cute as Dex is desperate to keep Perry with him (which is understandable) and keeps on showing off Perry (even with the inevitable ex-girlfriend confrontation); he's sorta pressed into showing off his feelings and stuff. Perry!! DAMN I missed her! *sad sniff* I would have LOVED to hear her POV atleast once or more here! Dex's mind is just a discombobulated snarl of perverse thoughts and distracted mind... To say the least, I hated him even more! (is that really a surprise?) There was the really predictable fact about Maximus's (or Jacob's) identity and all with the added unnecessary drama to drive a wedge between the long awaited Perry-Dex...The whole setting is the city of New Orleans, Louisiana with the lower class and derelict sites crammed along with the underprivileged people as the elements for horror. Then, there's the scare factor about which I felt almost cheated that there was none of that found because whatever they are, are nothing compared to the preceding plots AND, they don't even appear till almost after three quarters of the book!!!!!!! THREE QUARTERS! Yes, that needs a mention because this book/series is SUPPOSED TO BE scary! I felt sad that Halle kept me from the goods till the last quart!!! But after reaching that part it was so disgusting and puke-worthy that maybe (?) it made up for the lack of it in the parts preceding it. Or so I say. The 'villain' of this book was easy to figure out because that person fucked up the already 'fucked up' mind of Dex... GAH. Annoying little gnat! The Voodoo thing in this book was really scary though nothing compared to Dead Sky Morning or On Demon Wings. Even Into The Hollow was more intimidating than this. A lot of the climax part of plot elements (of the series) are coming together in this and we get a vague very foggy glimpse of what's to come. Some characters are put to rest and others continue fighting. There are two new characters with the Kick ass Rose in the front and the old woman Mambo bringing up the rear. I felt tired and frustrated (which is apparently all that I feel or at least a given emotion when reading Halle... *rolls eyes hard*) I had picked this series for a good solid reason and that reason bailed out on me, Halle!! How could you snatch this treasure (at least I had the illusion of a treasure shining in the distant horizon!) that you yourself showed in the first half of the series???? So cruel! But even after that I'm still pathetic enough to read the whole thing and still trembling in excitement for Ashes to Ashes!!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

One rainy day...

Some backlog reviews I missed before I got started with EXPERIMENT IN TERROR series, coming up!

The Sweet Gum TreeThe Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred
My rating: 2.7 of 5 stars

I've always been fascinated with the concept of 'second-chance' relationships and there are lotsa books with such a theme. What is disappointing is that each one's the same and terribly off-putting... I came to such a point that even reading such plotlines disgusted me... I'm always apprehensive about picking such books up because right from the first one, I've been crushed by the way the authors handled such topics. It's the same tiring, exasperating and angering rigmarole; the last book I started (Forever My Girl) was deleted only after the first 2 pages! Appalling, isn't it?? I put this one off for a long time but after starting, finished it in a night!!!! Which is even more appalling!!! Conflicting feelings war inside me while getting down to this book. For once I was slightly excited for this one.
The beginning is absolutely great and captured my interested attention completely, which is saying something and this got me excited for this book. There were so many good points to look out for- the writing, the prose and style and the characters. It felt like the start of an amazing book. Allred managed to paint such a memorable story (atleast in the beginning). Her physical manifestations were vivid; the characters taking deep root, feeling real and human. I loved it until (as already is hinted) their separation. I just knew she would spin it into some acceptable-because-it's-the-noble-thing-to-do type of situation!!! The aftermath of the separation went downhill. Although I understand the need to give a child security, Alix could have atleast thought over/discussed it/given it time with talking about it if not her mom then at the least her dad. Anyone normally thinks more before deciding marriage. Then there was the overload of melodrama with Jenna and Hugh, Cody, Lindsey and other romances... Most of the 'healing' with Alix was definitely needed but it didn't need to conveniently align with Nick's arrival! Then there's the family component with which I had SO much hope!!! In the beginning I couldn't have imagined a better set of characters- the Judge (I just plain ole loved the guy, you couldn't help it!!), Alix's mom, her unique pair of aunts. I expected deep bonds, more depth in the characters and most of all- that feeling of a family. After a quarter of the book gone, it took all the familial elements with it. As Alix kept on making mistakes, I kept on screaming inside and I guessed half of her actions (more like, all of them!) even without Alix's forewarnings... I thought this book was going to be different than others but that great plotline went down the drain in the ususal contemporary-romance style route... It was as if Allred knew this and so I steal one of her lines when I say that I kept on hoping and hoping that it would get better so I didn't give up on this book but (you guessed it) it only got worse . SO TERRIBLY DISAPPOINTING! I felt as if I was watching a car wreck infront of my eyes and I couldn't do anything except turn around and forget it or keep watching this horrifying thing! I felt cheated! There was so much scope in the characters, the plot and the characters, period, that wasn't explored. After a quarter of the book it felt as if Allred solely dedicated her writing to a superficial, commercial all-too-predictable romance. There was so much potential even in the small-town community psyche... I couldn't even wrap my head around Nick's character!!!!! Her writing made all these flaws noticeable. After everything I sorta feel that this was one of the better books on 'second-chance' relationships so maybe it's worth a read...

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My rating: 2.3 of 5 stars
This is just the second book from kelly Oram that I've gotten aroung to reading. The Avery Shaw Experiment was a light romance read. I thought Oram seemed to have a knack for starting quirky characters and gotta say I love quirky! I had hopes that this one would be better than the former even if a bit cliche. A murder mystery never fails to catch my attention becoming sorta a siren call. Obviously any mystery paces any 'mystery' novel. That superficial mystery, ladies and gentlemen, is the only reason that kept me reading this... I don't generally expect 'tomboy' stereotypes to be knock-outs, first off. Secondly, I hated it, absolutely hated it that every other second Ellie became scared out of her mind (at first due to good cause for suspicion but later for no reason at all!) but then switched to lusting after the typical hot guy in less than a second. It was frustrating as it increased in frequency. That moronic absence of filter is (no other word for it) UNREAL. Sorry I couldn't buy that at all !!!! At first she was quite refresshing- the girl among guys who beats their asses at hockey, the one unaware of her 'beauty' (not being a knockout...) the socially awkward for guys she might like... It held such a vat of potential but like many others it fell short of my expectations... The typicality of her character & assumptions disgusted me and I could barely finish the book.It was SO SO SO SO very obvious that Seth is NOT a serial killer!!!This in itself was a disaster that Oram forced these thoughts through Ellie on us... Seth was an amazing superficial character ( I always, but always love characters with the FBI/cop feel to them!) if a lot typical and card-board-like...
A light stereotypical contemporary romance. 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Deb Caletti has always been an author whose books are to look out for. Right from The Nature of Jade she has managed to capture my interest with her style, writing, plot and the featuring female lead. Stay is a very unique book with a unique place in my heart as well as my library. It's an attack of sorts on all those books out there dealing with glorification of jealousy, angst, passion and tying them with the concept of 'love' like Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey. I think Deb tries to show the other side of jealousy and passion. For me, jealousy and passion (not angst) are not really deal-breakers as there's rarely examples that get ahead of limits in real life. I feel there's nothing wrong for them to have a place in a relationship because it sorta makes feelings alive and not just something ordinary, to be accepted as part of 'normal'. There are different faces of jealousy and passion that are good and even healthy. Deb shows the unhealthy side of them in this book albeit flimsily. It's like she forces readers to find there's only one face for them and that's what has been portrayed by her. I feel sad for that because nothing is so black and white. Books like Twilight show something different and even teach differently though this book isn't behind in teaching things. Deb has fashioned an interesting tale inspite of it's shortcomings. If she hadn't fallen in the pits of those ususal contemporary romance shit, she would have succeeded in writing an attractive, unusual book but this didn't happen. The beginning of the relationship between Clara and Christian, itself, is, yes, cliche but most romances are. All of the warning signs were there glaringly (and that's not saying just in hindsight, they were clear as day.) and even if I didn't know the synopsis, it isn't hard to guess Christian's character. Christian is an overtly sensitive, slightly schizophrenic, unstable and obsessive (to certain points) character. Clara, ah, Clara was absolutely fantastic at the beginning of the book just like the book itself. (you know what's coming next! And it's disappointing...) She started off being this amazing yet gun-shy girl (due good reason, of course) but then I was astounded because she moves onto another guy as soon as she moves to the sea-town for their vacation even after everything ( I would have thought she would be more cautious or restraining of herself but she turned out to be not that gun-shy after all...) The flashbacks are sorta melding and yet disorienting in which she acts like the typical pig-headed and dumb girl when confronted with the fact that Christian is bad for her. Even after realizing it, she's too naive and idiotic to keep up contact with him (when she's been warned not to!!!! I mean HOW much more stupid could you get?) She isn't clear-headed at all, is too irrational, never ever realizing her mistakes even a bit, turning a 180 from being in love with Christian to fearing harm from him or expecting other extreme actions from him. Christian is definitely over limits of rationality but Clara realizing it too late is very mind-boggling and then her assumptions of his actions are very jarring as well. As the plot progresses it becomes more and more impossible to believe in. The only thing I believed was that Christian and Clara were not fit to be in a relationship at all ( I mean DUH!). Clara is stupid (very much so which is appalling) and acts like a 10 year old on so many occasions... I kept cursing her as her stupidity got only worse. I have no idea why Deb designed such a character ( maybe she couldn't justify any others behaving like this one?!) Clara's father was just like her and the plot- fantastic in the beginning but then crashed downhill... He was wise, easy-going, smart, had  a good relationship with his daughter and had a way with words. But the strange plot twist regarding him and Clara's resulting angsty teenage behaviour ruined everything for me. This story could've been so smart and refreshing, inspiring but Deb got sidetracked in the whole 'making this story an exact opposite of those jealous and passionate ones' thing and the unnecessary twists of the plot regarding Clara's father that she went elsewhere with the whole book!!! There were some snippets of humour, wisdom, beauty here and there...
A unique thought so I would say give it a chance.

What I Didn't SayWhat I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor
My rating: 2.2 of 5 stars

I felt this was a unique plotline because it deals with disability and how people cope from it. The pages in the beginning are so promising- Air Force, small town, cute interesting girl, normal but not-exactly-an-ass of a guy. I expected regret, frustration, anger, maybe some depression because hey, he can't tell the girl that he's liked forever just that. Or talk. At all. So angst is obvious. As is depression Thank god it didn't cripple and crush everything else!!! I'd had enough of that! Samantha I was hoping wouldn't be a two-dimensional character but she was. Jake's a lot better developed but that was really a given point or the book wouldn't be a book at all. The story was based on it's pace for momentum rather than on the characters. Taylor's writing is average at the most and sometimes without character or sloppy. Jake exhibits his emotions too well as if he has a vagina (Taylor would've handled a female lead better). He cries all too often at the wrong situations (which is plain sissy) and remains stoic, a 180 from that sissy behaviour. There feel gaps in the character. I did appreciate that even in her generic writing, Taylor didn't pile on the pointless, teenage angst and even when inserting normal reactions she didn't let them linger and fester. I gotta admit I didn't like how she induced change in Jake's thoughts simply by lamely justifying that others had it worse than him. I feel these '180's never last and are fake, not durable and unrealistic. The first quarter is quite riling but it sorta goes downhill from there, slowly. Jake's family is that small town, huge, knit, loving, reassuring family with lots of kids and supporting in a way. That element kept me happy. After half of the book, the situations seemed calculated/orchestrated to specifically forward the plot. One thing I liked was how Jake felt normal even when depressed, trying to look forward and have hope but yet not easily escaping the anger and frustration. Samantha's situations was sad but the consequences seem too impossible and I don't think Child Protective Services let estranged alcoholic fathers take care of their so-called daughters or maybe they do, what do I know... Although the Jake-Samantha love story is sweet it ain't deep. Jake feels the same. I liked the small-town 'community' feel but there were cons of this as well with the nosy sorta prying of this small-town. The beginning had a lotta points but they were scattered or forgotten and the story was fixed completely if desperately on the romance afterwards. A light contemporary romance read.

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Catch of the DayCatch of the Day by Kristan Higgins
My rating: 3.6 of 5 stars

This is the fourth book from Higgins that I was interested in reading so that fact in itself is very indicating. Higgins always gives a light contemporary romance with the highlight being those quirky endearing and entirely amazing characters that she is somehow able to sketch... and also, the pace seems real-time (a lot of the time). The whole setting for this story is a small town with that familiar and welcoming small-town community feeling, of course with those annoying cons occasionally peeking through the pages. I have to say owners of individualistic warm and welcoming diners that have been inherited in the family is a weak point for me... I loved all the elements of Maggie making her herself! She is generous (sometimes with a selfish reason but still that does get to my heart!), really big babble-mouth (which makes her so endearing!!!!!!!), sorta headstrong, HILARIOUS (and yes, it deserves capital letters to all of it!- I fucking laughed every other minute because of her antiques and each time I thought 'Oh MY GOD! That's happening!'and my hands flew to my mouth suppressing a spurt of laughter!!!) I ABSOLUTELY FREAKING LOVED the town and the sheer beauty of it! Maggie has such a rare and amazing quality that shone through every time her thoughts splashed on the pages- her ability to laugh at her own unpredictable yet honest to god actions. Her straightforwardness is un-fucking-matchable. To tell you the truth Maggie and Malone were gelling on a superficial 'opposites attract' kinda thing but both of them had so many flaws to work out and that is a huge highlight of this book. It's not some sappy romance taken due to a whirlwind leaving devastation in it's wake. What it is, is slow, burning, creeping in at unexpected times. That's not to say that there weren't any flaws with the characters. They were amazing and yet sometimes I was left confused because of the complete 180 or stupid block just to prolong the plot. Maggie was just too assuming of any feelings around her but that prolonged the plot and maybe sometimes created comic situations... Malone is not your typical romantic interest but the quiet (almost pathologically so), inexpressive to the core, caring in his own way, manly, under-statingly charming simple and normal man. God he was AMAZING. I would have loved more of his time in the book... He's definitely not some generically handsome too perfect sorta guy which is so refreshing. I loved the coming-of-age journey even if I was a little disbelieving sometimes seeing Maggie act desperately. I did sympathize with her loneliness because no matter how much of a loving (though not really that obvious in case of her mom for Maggie) family you've got there's the different sorta loneliness and the peaceful settlement kinda feelings that some people yearn to have. What she asks is very simple and yet because of that it's so hard to find. Maggie's family is a bit dysfunctional what with her mom having sibling comparisons at every meeting with the criticisms thrown in, her dad staying somewhere in his own head because of his discontentment with the marriage and lastly having a twin sister making life sweet and yet at the same time a little bit enviable (story of half the sibling relationships out there).  This is really light though it does have it's moments as refreshing with the 'deep' epiphanies mixed in. Worth a read.

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Until There Was YouUntil There Was You by Kristan Higgins
My rating: 1.7 of 5 stars

I feel extremely conflicted for this book. I have never really faced 'conflict' from Kristan Higgins (only for exasperating contemporary romance so you can see where this is going...) but this one is so frustratingly conflicting Sorry for lack of a better word but I feel stressing on that one. I was slightly intrigued with the foreword mentioning her feelings and a bad-boy character although this character is very superficial and two-dimensional which fact I'm terribly sorry to state.
*huge depressing sigh*
Oh well. It started off with me feeling potentially excited. You know what that means- there's a promising start and yet the book turns on itself after... *another sigh which is highly warranted* I have to say, there were more times I loved Posey than I hated her... which is good right? considering the other stupidly unbelievable character of Liam *deep frown*
Seriously, I'm so tired after reading this book that my facial expressions changing according to the different parts of the book say it all and words just don't suffice... The secondary characters like Vivian (I loved that old coot-so interesting! She was the best and it was such a pleasure reading about her estate), Brie, James, Jon, Henry, Stacia and even Gretchen (imagine that!) At first I thought Higgins was going to make it all dramatic but then that drama balloon was deflated and the one thing I did admire after liking the positive 'Posey' points was that she was okay even after the heartbreak (although this was conveyed briefly) A woman doesn't always need a long-lost crush on an undeserving person to live her life, God knows it's the truth!!! Most of Posey I loved- her kick-ass awesomeness, her dressing habits, her profession, her thoughts, her uniqueness, her quiet strength, her being an adopted child and having an even awesome family. Then there's the more off-putting things like her spinelessness around Liam (*again with the deepest of frowns*- yeah, you got it, just assume there's gonna be one every time his name's there... I'll be too tired to type it all the time...), her stupid teenage behaviour around Liam *Eh*, her doormat tendencies while dealing with Gretchen and most of all her ummm 'ability' to ignore Liam's *ehhh* mistakes and 'claiming' to love him. Sorry Miss Higgins, not down with that.
Liam *I don't even need to put that 'eh' now, do I?* is absolutely shocking in the 'bad' way in case you haven't already guessed it.  I loved most of Posey but Liam *hmmmph* here is another story! He was the man-whore from the broken home who always had all the girls trailing after him; then because of some lame excuse, stays distanced from Posey in high school and 'falls in love' with the golden girl of school and 'can't believe her choosing him' (insecure much?- I didn't think guys could act like girls!) and even after the marriage disintegrates; staying in love with that woman and eventually using that woman as a shield when falling in real love with someone else... As for this ex-wife a really confusing image stands by- she's sorta kind to Posey even though she comes from the popular crowd and yet acts like the typical spoilt rich kid in other memories... What is up with that?
The whole 'high school' bond of uhhh-Liam and Posey (I have to ask- WHY POSEY??? From Cordelia to POSEY? I DO NOT get.) is flimsy and sloppy and afterwards it only gets worse. Wouldn't you rather ignore the crush who spoke ill of you even back in high school? I don't care if it's some awkwardly sweet reason which Posey, I will point out, doesn't know?! I swear if I read more 'blushes' I'm gonna tear something apart!
*controlling sigh* Well. Suffice it to say Liam *EH* could have been so much better and although some lines made me hope Posey could be it ALL (particularly when she is full of attitude and ignores the patented apparent 'Liam' effect) she was definitely no better!!!
All the 'plot-blocks' were recognizable and weak as shit.It might be fine for a light read if you overlook the characters flaws, sometimes Cordelia seems worth the crappy read. I regret sitting up the night for this though...

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My rating: 4.4 of 5 stars
Sarah Dessen has always been the teenage contemporary romance writer for an enlightening and yet realistic though light read. Somehow she can always spin off this combination I dunno how... The characters feel memorable, easily relative, predictable (if at least a little), captivating and heftily built. To date,  The Moon and More has become my favourite book. I definitely didn't see that coming! After reading 2 back-to-back shitty novels namely, Motocross Me and Chasing Daisy I fell into a book depression but there's nothing like a li'l Sarah Dessen Magic of somewhat realistic uplifting, cheesy, teenage-y, light yet chic-lit, romance plot lines to restore my good faith in seeking solace from loneliness in books, my best friends, if not all of them. Dessen veers away from her usual commercially-pleasing light bubbles to some heavy clouds. The title is apt to the story so the beginning hitches off perfectly. Dessen, as is well-known, writes summertime romance/coming-of-age and this is no different but that is where the obvious ends. Throughout it all I was expecting the usual stereotypical things and they never came, right till the end. HAH! This is why the story's such a curve-ball and such a 'close-to-heart' kinda book.
It's already summer break after graduation for Emaline (the name itself being unique, is just like the character) in her small beach town. We learn about the relationship of her mother with her, adopted sisters and father as well as her biological mother. The pushing/pulling internal struggle between her love for the home town and the need to venture through new territories is well worth portraying because half of us go through it and relate with it easily. The pace is regular but there are many surprises dotted through the chapters that the line is interesting/ engaging, giving a reality check and full body to characters especially Emaline, her mom, the family and her friends.
There was absolutely no drama (NONE!)with Emaline or her situations and instead it's in the character as is the case in reality. Conoway with his moody artistic personality, Luke with his easy-going yet small-town-boy heart, Theo with his superlatives & ambition, boyish geeky charm, openness, honesty, overall 'NY' vibe, similar and headstrong natures of Margot & Emaline, the bratty attitude from Amber aaand the man who stole the show for me- MORRIS with his troubled childhood years, wisdom, loyalty, unconditional love & support, endearing sloth-y quality, most of all his coming-of-age. There are some beautiful sentences of wisdom scattered throughout the prose. Emaline, I saved for last even though Morris is my fav, is quite a misleadingly ordinary girl. All of the characters even Ivy show atleast one of Emaline's qualities. Benji is of course adorable and an incredible li'l addition. Mature yet uncertain at the best of matters just like all of us, perfectionist, reliable, responsible, Emaline is some girl! Just when I think something cliche is gonna happen, it does NOT. The pace is real-time. In the end she becomes a person who's comfortable in her skin which is an extremely fucking important quality to learn and a great character development. Morris is the stable spine, the rock in the background holding half of Emaline even without more book time and at the end, really comes out on the stage! God, I LOVED HIM! This is a lovely story of a girl who finds exactly what she didn't understand to look for but was unconsciously looking for, as we all do. Miss Dessen if You keep writing like this, I swear you'll be one of the best authors of all time! KEEP IT UP!