Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review - Creep

Title: Creep.
Author: Jennifer Hillier.
Publisher: Gallery Books.
Year of Publication: 2011.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 357.
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Horror.
Blurb: Here.

My Thoughts:
I am so angry right now. I cannot start to tell you how pissed off I am. Why you ask? Did you read the blurb? Sounds interesting? WRONG!  I was fooled by the same blurb and the raving reviews in goodreads. Damn you goodreads ! Sometimes you give me the worst kind of recommendations! Since I didn't get my hands on any satisfying psychological thrillers this year, I thought this one would be a good start.
If you are still reading, I will give you the plot in a nutshell. Sex addict woman has an affair with a guy 16 years her junior who turns out be a psycho and she is already engaged to an alcoholic. Yes, that's the story. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. What follows is 357 pages of pure agony. The protagonist Sheila Tao a psychology professor is engaged to ex NFL player/now recovering alcoholic Morris Gardner. To spice up things, we are introduced to Ethan Wolfe with whom she had an affair for 3 months. A dime a dozen plot. I still thought, there would be something different. Sheila is unbelievably good looking and very successful in her job as a psychology professor. Ethan is unbelievably good looking and cocky. Morris is unbelievably huge and beautiful :|  Yes, Beautiful. It's laughable how the professor who is an expert in human behavior cannot sense the "badness" in Ethan. The woman, I tell you has got the worst taste in Men. I have no idea how this book received 171 five stars in goodreads. Am I missing something? If so, I don't want to know. Very rarely do I get pissed off by a book but when I do, then it is rants everywhere!

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Among the many many factors that pissed me off there was one reason which was like the cherry on top. The author trying to create flawed characters. Personally speaking, I love flawed characters, but a sex addict, an alcoholic AND a psychopath. Sometimes too much is just TOO MUCH! Within the first few pages, I hated everybody and wanted everyone dead. Paragraph after paragraph filled with unnecessary dragged out details so not relevant to the plot.. There is a mention of a murder in the book but the author was so busy trying to make the dysfunctional triangle love story creepy to us that the murder mystery was conveniently wrapped up in a corner. There were attempts at making the plot titillating. It felt like reading a cheap pulp fiction, which further led to a whole lot of eye rolling and exasperation. They call it a thriller. Let's make few things clear. There is absolutely no thrills, no suspense, no page turning anticipation. A long drawn out predictable story and all the time I was like "what was the whole point?" It felt like chewing cardboard. :|

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What in God's name am I reading?
The bad guy was JUST not scary. I should say I felt that he was some kind of wuss. So much was done to portray him as oohh-so-dark, ooh-he-so-messed-up. There was no character development. Just some random details piled on the readers every now and then. I hated every single one of the characters. I thought I will just stop reading. Too many brain cells were getting burnt. Still I kept on reading. After many excruciating hours, all I felt was sadness and  extreme anger at the lost hours. I know I didn't have to finish the book. Nobody was pointing a gun to my head to finish the book. But like bookworms everywhere, I just had to finish. I just kept hoping it's going to get better. I thought maybe the author is going to take a sharp swerve and throw all the readers off their goddamn seats. Aah well, nothing of that sort happened. The ending, Lord the ending. It was such a feeble attempt to send 'shivers' down the spine. :| Turns out, there is book 2. Haa!

My Rating:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Louboutins & Blue Dahlias

She stood by the dingy dark alley, hidden by the shadows. Tapping her foot impatiently. The minutes seem to be moving extra slow this evening. She had half a mind to walk away, yet she found herself rooted to her spot; waiting for him. The traffic was at its peak. The cars were moving at a snail's pace honking every now and then, people rushing past her in the chilly winter evening. Everyone was in a rush. A rush to reach their place of warmth in this soul-less world. However here she was, frozen to the core and still managed to look like she just walked out of a fashion magazine.
With a hundred thoughts and worries she carelessly gazed at the ground. Her fancy Louboutins clashed terribly against the dirt filled pavement. It was his gift, she thought wistfully. Hidden from the world, she stood. Hidden from the world, she nursed her confused feelings for him. Unsure whether it was love or lust, she had let it consume her completely. It was always she who waited for him. She pictured him waiting for her in this alley with its overpowering stench and the crude graffiti all over the walls. Like her Louboutins he would stand out, with his tailored suit and suave looks. She knew these places. She was like these rats which skittered past her feet. She knew all the nooks and corners of the city so that they won't get caught! Even though she was a sight to behold, she blended in. After all, her life had begun at one of these places.

Was he ashamed of her? Ofcourse not, she berated herself though she was not all that certain. She remembered the initial days of their torrid affair, when he would answer those calls with a look of guilt. She knew it was from his wife. The one who had the right over him. The one who does not have to be concealed from the world. She used to wonder, is he feeling guilty because he is with her, or is it because he has to talk to his wife with her in the room. There was no way of knowing the answer. She had already told him that it doesn't matter. Now when the phone rings, there is no more guilty conscience acting up. He answers the call without any inhibition and sometimes even manages to sweet talk her; giving excuses why he has to "work late". A part of her hated his guts and like a fool her soul melted every time his fingers graced her body.
It's official now, she thought. She is everything she swore she will never be. She is the other woman. The afterthought. The one who is conjured up into existence only when he feels like it. She is way too deep in the relationship to care anymore. She didn't know what the future held. She didn't quite expect him to leave everything for her. Asking questions about their future was like stirring up a storm. So she rarely did. Come to think of it, she couldn't imagine a life with him. That would be a monumental disaster. How much ever she thought she loved him, she will never be sure whether he would feel committed enough not to chase after some new skirt. Jerk, her friends had called him and she agreed. Like a cliché, she had fallen head over heels for him, with his smooth talks. Now, she has this intertwining feeling of love and hate resonating out of her.
She was disgusted with herself but some primitive part of her enjoyed the thrill of dating a married man. In a sinister way she felt powerful. She smiled at herself ruefully and looked up to see him walking down the lane towards her, with his smile which had made her knees buckle. He took her in his arms, still holding a bouquet of her favorite flowers. He kissed her deep. She could taste the nicotine in his kiss. Her tribulations evaporated as she put her head against his chest and inhaled. She had grown to enjoy his scent; a combination of his cologne, sweat and smoke. She didn't want to fall in love, now she was not so sure. They are rare; he had told her the first time he had to hunt down the whole city for them. He always managed to bring her those flowers: blue dahlias. Honestly, she didn't care anymore. The fact that he still took the pains to buy her something she valued brought a certain warmth in her being. In the grim part of the city where no one knew him or her, they walked hand in hand like a real couple.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Series Review - The Giver Quartet

Title: The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son.
Publisher: Ember, Ember, Delacorte Press, HMH books for Young Readers.
Year of Publication: 1993, 2000, 2004, 2012.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 179, 240, 169, 393.
Genre: SciFi, Fantasy, Apocalypse, Dystopia.
    Blurb: Here, Here, Here & Here.

My Thoughts:
This might end up being one of those long ass posts. I will try to keep it short and sweet. I will try not to give out any spoilers

So earlier this year, I came across this article in BuzzFeed about books to read before they hit the theaters. I love book recommendations of all kinds. Why else do I spend hours in front of goodreads, obsessively checking the book shelves of others like some sort of a stalker!

Okay, getting back to the books. The blurb sounded interesting and moreover the old man on the cover of the first book, The Giver somehow reminded me of an apprehensive Dumbledore and Lord knows how much I miss the reading HP for the first time feeling. The Giver Quartet is a magnificent series. 4 short reads. The magic they hold is beyond words.

The Giver: A time in future. A utopian community. Everything is in perfect order. There is no violence. No diseases. No crime. Everybody has been assigned jobs. People are assigned dwellings to live, assigned spouses, assigned children. Yes, daddy and mommy don't make babies, they are simply assigned by the community. Love is meaningless. The members of The Community decides everything. By now the readers would know that choice is not something the people have. There is control over everything. No variation in weather. No colors. No nature. They call it Sameness. The residents take pills to control their yearnings and feelings. The people are happy. They don't feel controlled since they don't know what they are missing. At the age of 12, children are assigned jobs which they would be doing for the rest of their lives. Some are assigned to be law makers, some nurtures and some birthmothers. Our protagonist, Jonas is not assigned. He is selected to become the next Receiver of Memories of the old world from the current Receiver. Life suddenly changes big time for young Jonas. The current Receiver, now has become The Giver. He imparts memories to Jonas. Jonas experiences a range of emotions: immense pleasure at witnessing snow for the first time and also endures pain as he receives memories of a world where there was war, hunger, deaths. After receiving a considerable amount of memories, Jonas realizes to his horror that his utopian community is not exactly what he thought it was. Jonas decides that things has to change and does something, he wouldn't have dared to before he was selected. The relationship between Jonas and The Giver is endearing. The book ends with a sense of hope.

Gathering Blue: I thought Book 2 would pick up from where Book 1 ended. I was in for a surprise. It says nothing about Jonas. We are introduced to another community. Unlike the pristine community in Book 1, here there is violence, theft, epidemic and people live like savages. The protagonist is a young girl, Kira a recent orphan and a cripple. People in her village want her dead so that they can take over her house. She is saved by the Council. See, Kira is no ordinary girl. She has a gift. She is an artist and she is needed by the Council. Soon, she becomes friends with another artist, Thomas. Kira along with Thomas and a young boy Matt unravel some mysteries happening in the Council. The twists and turns in the story was kinda predictable but it was still a very enjoyable read.  I loved Kira. She has a twisted leg and instead of wallowing in self pity, she is portrayed as a strong, determined young girl. Eager to learn new things. An insightful, mature for her age young lady. Another character was Matt, a lovable 'tyke' who survives by stealing and by deceit. Kira sees the good in him and takes him under her wing. Again the book, ends with a sense of hope. I could feel that the author was laying the ground work for bringing the characters of Book 1 and 2 together.

Messenger: I think out of the 4 books, this was a wee bit scary. Book 3 takes us to The Village. A peaceful village which welcomes strangers who has escaped from other unfavorable communities. Matt lives here with a blind man now. I am not going to elaborate. Some of the inhabitants are handicapped or flawed in some other way but there is always love and respect towards each other. Help was always found for the needy. However, things are changing. A slight difference in the forest nearby and it catches Matt's attention. The once lovable people are changing. They want to close down the Village, so that they don't have to take care of new survivors of other communities. People are turning selfish. Matt is assigned a job which he has to complete before the forest turns hostile. Matt is a gifted boy and the blind man as well as the Leader knows it. Will he complete his last task before it's too late ? I cannot start to tell you how much I loved Matt in this book. Like I said characters overlap in this Book 3. This book scared me, it made me happy and it made me really really sad at the end. In Book 1 and 2 the bad guys were very much human while in Book 3 the evil takes another form which is not made clear. As far as the main characters were concerned, this book tied almost all the loose ends. 

Son: I wondered what Book 4 would be about because I kept thinking everything is good. Well it is not. There is a character which I did not mention in Book 1. If  I did, I would be giving out a portion of a spoiler. God, writing review for series without giving out spoilers is a very difficult job. So I am just going to go ahead with this sorry case of a review which would most likely frustrate you.  :P Son begins with the community which the author introduced in The Giver (Book1). Yeap, the author does a full circle. We go back to the first community. This is the story of Claire. She is assigned the job of Birthmother. So all she has to do is live in a quarters which houses birthmothers, take care of herself and when the time is right, she will be inseminated and will officially become a birthmother. However, things go wrong and she is discredited from her job and reassigned to a new job. Being reassigned is a cause of shame in the community. Soon Claire starts feeling things which is new to her. Unlike the rest of the population, birthmothers do not take any pills mentioned in Book 1. So her feelings and yearnings are not suppressed. What she is feeling is her yearning for her baby. Son is the journey of a mother in search of her missing son. Her journey takes her to the village in Book 3. See, all the books are connected even though the protagonists are different in each. This was the most heart wrenching book in this series.

The books are magical. I wonder why these are not that famous. I felt that they are as good as Harry Potter, though they are really really short reads. Initially I thought they are more of Sci Fi genre, but they have a huge dollop of fantasy topped over the plots. I devoured all the 4 books. I loved all the characters. There are a lot of unanswered questions but I was just so deliriously happy reading them that I agreed to just about everything the author had to tell me. Even though the Giver Series are shelved under Middle School, it is enjoyable to all ages.  It does give out a powerful message. Love, Honesty, Courage sees you through. An emotional rollercoaster. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Read them already!!

My Rating: 4.5 stars
Rating Policy

P.S: If you read this whole post, you are amazing!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review - I am Legend

Title: I am Legend.
Publisher: Rosetta Books.
Year of Publication: 1954.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 160.
Genre: Classic, Horror, SciFi, Fantasy, Apocalypse, Dystopia.
    Blurb: Here

My Thoughts:
I always wanted to watch the movie based on this book ever since it was released years back. The plot was just too delicious to miss. The last human left on earth which is now infested with zombies. Yea, that's what I thought back then: zombies. I didn't know it was based on a book. Anyway long story short, I never got to watch the movie and I am thankful that I didn't. Some years back, I found out there is a book with the same name. All the reviews in goodreads said, what summed up to be, don't judge the book by its movie. So obviously, movie goes out the window and I picked up the book. 
A short read about an alcoholic Robert Neville, who is now grown accustomed to the nightly visits of the undead/vampires/ people infected with the vampir virus. He has orchestrated his life around these night dwellers. In the mornings, he raids the the town for supplies, killing vampires in between and nailing up planks of wood on his windows. At night  he locks himself up, listens to music and drinks away his mounting frustration and helplessness. He is tormented by the past and years of isolation has turned him to a raging depressed alcoholic. On his good days, he tries to do research on the plague in an attempt to find a cure.

The turning point  of the book is when he meets Ruth, who may be another survivor of this pandemic. The book is scary, not exactly scary because of the vampires. It's unnerving to think that you are the only human being left. The loneliness is the most scary part. The whole story feels quiet. That's the one recurrent feeling I got while reading this book. More than once I jumped at some random noise that houses normally make! I am Legend is heartbreaking. It feels like you are stuck in a vacuum cube and is aching to get out, clawing at the walls. There is no way out or rather, you  haven't figured a way out. That's what I felt for the main character. I didn't know how this could end in a nice possible way. The author just blew my mind with the most obvious and simple solution which was staring right at me!
I loved how the author science-fied the whole phenomena of vampires. There is no element of paranormal/supernatural activity. He has seemingly logical explanations for their aversion towards garlic, sunlight, the crucifix and the stake. It was just genius. This book is one of those where the good and bad is subjective. There are no clear cut rules anymore. It does not have the usual cliched ending as well. The book is the worth your time. After the book, I watched the movie starring Will Smith. My reactions: Um, let's just stick with the book.

My Rating:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review - Done with Men

Title: Done With Men.
Publisher: Indireads Incorporated .
Year of Publication: 2014.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 109 .
Genre:Contemporary, Romance, Chick lit, YA.
    Blurb: Here.
A copy of "Done with Men" was provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

My Thoughts
The title says "Done with Men". Then what makes this novella come under the chick lit/romance genre? Enter Kairavi Krishana aka Kay, a bubbly young woman in her twenties. She has a job which she loves and she lives with her BFF, Baani. The only area which is not going so well is her romance department. After a string of disastrous relationships and a recent breakup, Baani decides to take Kay on a much needed vacation to the dreamy, sunny land of Goa to celebrate the New Year. Things don't turn out the way Kay would have liked to. However, there still seems to be light at the end of the tunnel with the appearance of Dr. Vivian D'Mello, an orthopedic doctor; a dream of a guy!

The story is said from Kay's point of view. It portrays the busy urban life of today's generation where they have both their career and life to balance. Kay's voice is humorous to say the least.
One of the factors that I loved about the book was that even though the book is about Kay and her antics, the secondary characters were well developed. Characters such as Baani's steady boyfriend, or Kay's boss. They were in sync with the story line. I loved Banni the most. She is this,  feet firmly on the ground type of a person who is always there for Kay. I also loved Kay's inner monologues. The conversations she has with her mind aka Thought Bubble were quite funny and also had shades of sarcasm. There were a lot of funny, almost laugh out loud scenes and the conversations were very realistic. They were not rigid or forced upon. 
The only gripe that I had with the story was that the romance happened too quick. It felt that the whole love affair was kinda wrapped up too soon. I understand that, the book intends to show that Kay would eventually find her happy ending, I wish it could have taken on a more realistic turn of events. If the story was a bit longer, the romance could have evolved a bit more.
A lead character, who is successful, has people who love her and is pretty in her own way. Yet she has huge insecurities about herself and has an imagination which runs wild given the chance, leading into events which range from disastrous to dramatic. It has a certain charm to it. Done with Men, in a nutshell is a story about a quirky protagonist who finds love even though she is done looking for love. A story about self discovery and how perceptions change. A breezy beach read.

My Rating:

 Book Trailer

Saturday, February 1, 2014

"I was saving my ten."

The whole world has read this book and I just joined in last night. When I was done with the book, I honestly didn't know what to do. I just sat there hugging my Kindle, wallowing in my heartache. There was no one to understand my pain. Absolutely no frikkin one to actually get it. It was not supposed to be this way. Oh! who am I kidding. I knew the book is going to be a tearjerker but I was just not emotionally ready for this.

Good Lord! I don't remember crying this hard while reading a book. I am absolutely, undoubtedly, unabashedly heartbroken. I had tears streaming out, whimpering in my agony over fictional characters and I'm no where next to exaggerating. Oh the emotions, how well does Mr Green portray them. This story ripped my heart out vein by vein.  Yes this book is about cancer, but it does not become the integral part. It's just this factor looming in the background with so many other wonderful things happening.
I felt excitement, happiness, dread, hopeless hope and eventually a bitter sweet feeling of pure unadulterated heartache. I don't think I am emotionally equipped to review this book. John Green, you are responsible for breaking a million people's hearts. My heart is still aching and I cannot stop thinking about Augustus and Hazel. I should have known. I mean, I knew what I was getting into. The words. Lord have mercy. They are pure pure gold.

“He responded a few minutes later.


I wrote back.


He responded:

Oh, my God, stop flirting with me!”

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P.S: The movie is coming out in June!
I don't know whether I will survive the movie, since I bawled my eyes out watching the trailer.