Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Cage #1 The Cage

Presenting The Cage #1 The Cage by Megan Shepherd.

Here is the summary of the book:

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughtertrilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

With such big names like The Maze Runner and Scott Westerfeld mentioned how can you not give this is a chance. The end of 'The Madman's Daughter' series comes the beginning of something new from author Megan Shepherd. Call it a mellowed down version of The Maze Runner and you will know what I am talking of. Was expecting much more action but the flow of words was nicely paced and the plot unhurried.

Intelligent Aliens putting humans in a cage-like zoo environment. This is the story of Cora, Lucky, Rolf, Nok and Leon (there was another there but she died). All of them paired off and the aliens only want them of live peacefully, cooperatively and procreate. A weird situation for the teenagers in itself. Rolf & Nok hit it off quick, Leon was aggressive and Lucky most appropriately fell for Cora but she won't stand for this forced confinement or the rules set by the aliens and does all she can do to finds a way out.

Not sure if anybody put those elements out as a story. Kudos Ms. Shepherd for thinking something original and giving it enough details and background to build and assemble on. And then Cora goes and develops the hots for the alien caretaker, Cassain. I think there is a term for it somewhere, not sure I remember it at the moment but really feelings for the alien, by that I mean very very huge and black eyes (irises & pupils missing) and telekinetic powers. Although i'm not sure i'm phased by it anymore what with more than enough alien-human YA romances these days.

I didn't quite like the humans too really. They felt suspicious and paranoid but I suppose you would too if you are held captive in as cage and been told to react and live according to the rules of the captors ..... And that's what really came off of the story by the author's impeccable words. Classified as a sci-fi dystopia, it felt more like a psychological thriller to me and it kept me vested in the story trying to find out what happened next.

Everyone deals with captivity in their own ways. Some turn complacent, some aggresive, some trying to ingrate themselves with everyone for safety, some go in denial and some rebel and find a way out. Every character here is different, from their looks to their personalities and that adds to the spices to it all. They try to band together, they argue, get violent and turn into a jealous herd if one gets more than the fair share ..... So their interactions were real unpredictable. The pressure of the cage actually makes them into zoo animals in some instances .....

Which was pretty cruel. The playing field is never really constant here. The humans may have their secrets but so does Cassian but to find out more we have to wait for the sequel. Of course I state again, I was expecting more action but the author has set a good pace here in this mellowed beginning. So we keep our fingers crossed for the future and what it brings.

"A human zoo with it vibrantly clashing inmates. If you liked The Maze Runner then you will enjoy this"

Genre :      Young Adult, Gothic, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Romance


Release Date: 26th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher and edelweiss

Rate:              4/5 (Really Liked It)

Other Books by the author (review links):
              #1 The Madman's Daughter
                     #2 Her Dark Curiosity 
              #3 A Cold Legacy

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Presenting Illusionarium by Heather Dixon.

Here is the summary of the book:

What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

A great cover. Alternate history. Steampunk. Aerial Cities. Alternate world. Are all the ingredients needed to get the end result called Illusionarium. I haven't read Entwined, so this is my first experience with this author. And it was quite enlightening. An adventure to a different reality and the search for self-worth is what this really about. Also not that serious but much more witty, humorous & fantastical.

Illusionarium follows the story of Jonathan who lives with his family on the aerial city, Fata Morgana. Apprenticed to his father, the second best scientist/surgeon of the country. But then the attack of the deadly virus, Venen, known only to affect women strikes the city. The King comes a-knocking resulting in not only the Queen but Jonathan's mother & sister also in the casualty list. Jonathan going against the moral ethics of his father takes the help of fantillium, a newly discovered drug that can cause illusions .... and Lady Florel the best scientist/surgeon isn't Lady Florel.

There is London on one hand and Nod'ol, and alternate reality on the other hand. Where illusions and illusionists are in high demand. The story really takes shape when Jonathan enters Nod'ol, a world with its own sets of rules that horribly clash with our own. Under duress he is being made to take part in an illusion creating contest against two other highly competent Illusionists for the 'other' Lady Florel to get the cure for Venen.

Fantasy literally means the unreal. Illusions as a matter of fact are just the same. Quite ingenious of Dixon to create an alternate world to show just what illusions or the make-belief can do when given free reign of the physical world. The excellent world building really adds the fun to Illusionarium. Drawing similarities to (in my reckoning) the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus & Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Although the synopsis states The Night Circus & Pixar movies but really I didn't see much similarities in that reference as opposed to the first two recommendations anyway.

And while Jonathan proved rather adorable describing people along the lines of "absolute kind of person" or "sort of person", it is the Officer Lockwood really who really stands out. He can't really illusion anything but has a sort of a love-hate relationship with "Jonny-boy". Very trigger happy too. But really he was just baffling-ly humorous ...... For all instances & purposes Illusionarium is a fantastically magnificent story, not my favorite by far but Heather Dixon sure leaves an impression here.

"Enchanting-ly original and fantastically illuminating"

Genre :     Young Adult, Steampunk, Sci-fi, Paranormal

Publisher: Greenwillow

Release Date: 19th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher & edelweiss

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Let's Eat Raven and other Doujinshi Short Stories

Presenting Let's Eat Raven and other Doujinshi Short Stories by Nagumo, Aji-Ichi.

Here is the summary of the book:

Doujinshi, otherwise known as independent manga in Japan, is rarely published in English. In fact, it's considered underground and quite exclusive in its home country of Japan as well. Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories finally gives western readers an exclusive look at the elusive world of contemporary Japanese doujinshi manga. Let's East Ramen is a three-part tale of Saeki, a girl who loves ramen noodles. At last, she thinks that she has finally found the perfect ramen shop, but the problem is the shop is completely full of old regulars and she can't get in. Will the timid Saeki ever summon the willpower to reach out and get the ramen that she desperately wants?

A manga about eating Ramen. Yes you heard it this manga is basically about eating Ramen as the title suggests. While I love reading manga, but I have only had the chance to read some of them till now and they are mostly the ones whose anime i had seen. That being said "Doujinshi" is a relatively new field for me. The term basically alludes to what you would call indie-manga and much more exclusive to Japan.

'Let's Eat Ramen and other Doujinshi short stories' consists of 4 stories. The titular story is a 3 part part of a girl, Saeki who fantasizes about eating Ramen at this famous joint but can't gather the courage to enter because the customers there are all men. So she gets a male classmate of her's to go with and eventually on succeeding tasting outings as well. Really these stories are more of a modern contemporary teen romance ...... and so subtitle too.

The other three are all lesbian teen stories about a girl wooing another when the result reveals her true self, another heartbroken about her girlfriend leaving her for a boy and the last about a girl intimidated but another girl because she read books without pictures *wink*. Nothing too graphic, all the stories put their points across in the most common approach.

The art and the plots of Nagumo and Aji-Ichi are not exclusive but more simple and very very subtle and quite literally very innocent. Reads like the regular manga in right to left and counter-clockwise fashion. Not a must read but is more deserving of a once look-through.

"Light manga for light reading"

Genre :     Manga, Graphic Novel

Publisher: Gen Manga Entertainment

Release Date: 18th August, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

City of Fae

Presenting City of Fae by Pippa DaCosta.

Here is the summary of the book:

From the moment Alina touches London's hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.

Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

Fae we love. The Fae we adore and the Fae we fantasize about. And Pippa DaCosta's City of Fae falls into the category of great fae stories, we eagerly take in. A bit more New Adult than Young Adult, City of Fae caters to the older teens and adults and sure sets things on fire and really you won't even care ......  The Fae folk form an integral part of the fantasy genre and is my absolute favorite so i'm thankful I got to read an advance reader edition.

A well balanced plot that has some pretty amazing characters with their own unique attributes. Alina was too curious, too clever and much too resourceful. She is one of those persistent reporters that truly go after their story ...... and Reign is the sexy-smoldering hot Fae, who is just too hot for his own good and very dangerous as well of course. Attracted to each other like moths to a flame. Reign tries to keep Alina from his world but the more they meet, the more they are thrown to the wolf's path.

DaCosta's Fae sees them coming out in the 70s. The humans know they are dangerous but are a coveted lot and the mortals just can't help admiring and desiring them. Conspiracies abound, the Fae know how to play the game as the worst of the lot plans to gather the power to wreak havoc and destruction ......

City of Fae on the whole was of the zing of fantasy and the zang of hotness. DaCosta laid in a frame work here with its twists and turns and loops and binds. It was magic and it was dangerous. So very dangerous ..... and I loved every bit of it. If the author does continue this series, I will definitely look forward to reading them.

"Magically alluring and a dangerously adventurous page-turner"

Genre :     New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark

Release Date: 7th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Love, Rosie

Presenting Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern.

Here is the summary of the book:

The basis for the forthcoming motion picture starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin!

What happens when two people who are meant to be together can't seem to get it right?

Rosie and Alex are destined for each other, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, they are separated as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston.

Like two ships always passing in the night, Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass, the two remain firmly attached via emails and letters. Heartbroken, they learn to live without each other. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel o f several missed opportunities, Rosie and Alex learn that fate isn't quite done with them yet.

Epistolary. Wasn't really expecting that when I began reading this book ...... but a very nice surprise nonetheless. Also this is the first book I read of Ahern so it was momentous in that context as well. "Where Rainbows End" - "Rosie Dunne" .... and now "Love, Rosie" ..... Since its release this book has gone by many names and its varying shades of covers. Although at heart this is the sweetest tale of two best friends who are just perfect for each other but can't seem to work it out.

Rosie and Alex. Best friends since childhood, meant to be together. Everybody knows that expect them and they just can't seem to get it right at all. The story follows their long journey through life towards each other kicking and screaming and dealing with their fair share of nasty troubles and significant others and families along the way. Really they are not perfect creatures in any way. With their own perfect share of the happy, sad and the bitter and most of all the hilarity of it all ..... Somehow they manage.

Love, Rosie may tell its story only through letters, emails, text messages, chat room talks, IMs and newspaper articles but you can see the development our characters go through. The conversations are not really dated so it might be a bit difficult to set a time frame at first but if you proceed slowly through, it becomes apparent just how much time had actually passed. The shenanigans of life and of Rosie & Alex are more than enough to keep us hooked and entertained.

Okay. Confession time - I really only read the book because I saw the movie .... I know shame on me, I should have known well enough to read first but I liked the movie well enough ..... Sam Caflin & Lily Collins were the cutest pair ever ..... But ... But now that I have the experience of the book I know better. While the movie was sweet enough, they tried to cram a lot in that time-frame and showed more scenes but it now feels rushed to me.

Really, be it the movie or the book, I loved getting to know these characters. Sharing their lives and its hardships, challenges and its moments with them. The writing style and the authenticity of epistolary just sets this whole thing off to even great heights.

"The sweet and endearing destiny of two best friends meant to be together"

Genre :     Young Adult, Contemporary, Epistolary, Romance, Chick Lit

Publisher: Hachette Books

Release Date: 1st February, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Watersong #3 Tidal

Presenting The Watersong Quartet #3 Tidal by Amanda Hocking.

Here is the summary of the book:

Her only hope lies with her greatest enemies

Gemma is facing the fight of her life. Cursed by beautiful but deadly sirens, her extraordinary powers have a terrifyingly dark side, and becoming human once more is proving her greatest challenge yet. As she struggles to break the curse, the sirens, Penn Lexi and Thea are determined to kill her before she can set herself free.

Gemma's only allies are her sister, Harper, and Harper’s boyfriend, Daniel. Together they must delve into their enemies’ mythical pasts – to discover their darkest secrets. But Penn has also set her sights on Daniel. Soon, the sirens threaten everything Gemma holds dear: her family, her friends, her life, and her relationship with Alex – the only guy she's ever loved. Can she save herself and those she cares about before it is too late?

"Wake" and "Lullaby" were my favorite so I began this with much gusto. Third installment of the series and things have become widely more interesting. And Daniel looks so hot on the cover .... Okay so Gemma still struggles with her transformed life. Being a siren is not easy it is definitely not easy when when you only have Penn, Lexi and Thea as companions. And Harper and Daniel are trying hard to be together in this mess. And Alex suffers the terrible aftermath of the sirensong.

This series comes with a quick read read and I liked how Hocking's words just flows through the pages making us want to go along with the story as well. Of course, Tidal tells us the history or some of the main events of the past related to the sirens. It was an interesting concept to see them through that ...... comparing the past and present ..... And really not much is different among them or about them at all.

Penn was a murderous bat-sh** crazy siren ..... but as usual she makes for a great antagonist. Lexi was annoying and Thea grew in ways not imagined and actually became friends with Gemma. Amanda Hocking did a great job with this book. I especially loved the mythos and the lore ..... And after reading the end of Tidal .... I will only say this, "Don't do it Daniel" .... Sorry for that but I do hope Daniel gets out of the madness he created for himself ..... Just need "Elegy" now to know the end.

"Sirens and deep water mysteries. An amazing follow up to Wake & Lullaby"

Genre :      Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Mythology


Release Date: 6th June, 2013

My Copy: Book exchange with a friend

Rate:              3/5 (Liked It)

Other Books in the series (review links):
                #1 Wake 
                #2 Lullaby

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Taking #2 The Replaced

Presenting The Taking #2 The Replaced by Kimberly Derting.

Here is the summary of the book:

Romantic and action-packed, The Replaced is the gripping second installment in the Taking trilogy.

Kyra hasn't been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted—all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive but is in the hands of a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, Kyra knows it's a risk to go after him. What if it's a trap? And worse, what if the returned Tyler isn't the same boy she lost?

Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the Body Finder series, The Replaced is both chilling and explosive, with creepy, otherworldly elements and twisty, psychological thrills that will have you questioning what exactly it means to be human.

The typical road story with that abysmal 2nd book syndrome .... Sorry The Replaced was not my most favorite of the series. Didn't really enjoy this as much as I did the first ..... but it did provide some answers. Kyra has found out that she was not the only one taken, there have been more ..... and the 'but' arrives ..... but she is also the only one to have been gone the longest. Making her different from the rest. When Tyler was accidentally exposed to her blood, he ran the risk of death. In a last ditch attempt to save him, she have him to the aliens that took her.

'The Replaced' began sometime after 'The Taking' ended. Kyra is getting used to life in the camp as well as her mysterious powers. But also worried for Tyler. It has been weeks since the aliens had taken him and still there has been no news of his return. The Taking, I loved. It had an intriguing concept and strong characters in Kyra and Tyler. But in 'The Replaced' it felt like back to square one.

Second books usually don't see much action but the heavy duty travelling. While The Replaced proved to be a fast read, it did felt dragging. While we loved the shocks coming our way in a bid to spice up the story and we get some answers but a whole lot more important ones are still left unanswered. Also while Kyra was a strong protagonist, she was still weaker here. She pined & whined for Tyler throughout, understandable. Did feel sorry for her didn't we ..... anybody can go mad in such circumstances but I still didn't care much for her here .....

Of course when the actual action does start, it starts with a bang and goes on nonstop till the end. And somehow they still find a way to establish a triangle ....... but the good & the bad combined this was an ok read. Didn't intrigue or mesmerize like the first book but it was something ..... Here's to hoping Kimberly Derting comes up with a better next book.

"A road trip with its bumps & pitfalls with its revealing revelations"

Genre :     Young Adult, Paranormal, Sci-fi, Romance, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: 28th April, 2014

My Copy: publisher and edelweiss

Rate:             3/5 (Liked It)

Other Books by the Author(review links):
         The Body Finder (series)
         The Pledge (series)
         The Taking #1

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository

Crewel World #3 Unraveled

Presenting Crewel World #3 Unraveled by Gennifer Albin.

Here is the summary of the book:

Autonomous. Independent. Dangerous. They tried to control her. Now she’ll destroy them.

Things have changed behind the walls of the Coventry and new threats lurk in its twisted corridors. When Adelice returns to Arras, she quickly learns that something rotten has taken hold of the world and Cormac Patton needs her to help him reestablish order. However, peace comes at a terrible price. As the Guild manipulates the citizens of Arras, Adelice discovers that she’s not alone, and she must let go of her past to fight for mankind’s future. She will have to choose between an unimaginable alliance and a deadly war that could destroy everyone she loves.

Unraveled as a whole felt disappointing. 'Crewel' was the cream of the crop, 'Altered' almost following at the heels but 'Unraveled' left a bitter after taste. Unraveled was supposed to be the big showdown, the big action-packed finale but somehow the whole experience felt anti-climatic and lackluster. Starts where Altered ended and man does it crawl at the slowest of speed imaginable.

Thing is Altered promised us a lot but Unraveled went stale on them. Beginning where the second book left but then as I mentioned things just went the slowpoke way. Adelice was angry, scheming and rebellious in this book but apparently it was all in her mind, the one reason she had decided to give herself up was because she was confident she would be able to change Cormac Patton's mind and work to severe Arras from Earth as was planned.

Apparently all of that character development that happened in the first 2 books were for naught because she remained rather docile in the face of the enemy. The most powerful of all the spinsters and she just gave in and let things run in its own way. Of course when the action begins.... was the best part of the book because really Adelice wasted our time ..... I kinda get that maybe Albin was trying to establish that tense atmosphere of Arras but it didn't bear much fruit.

Jost & Eric didn't get much page space too. Really again after all that and seeing virtually nothing here was disappointing. And I don't believe i'm saying this but Cormac Patton, our villain extraordinaire was the one who commanded much space here and rather shone through what with his dissent into insanity. The resulting climax was good of course but the post climax chapters were a bit too much and not really needed. Unraveled was a bittersweet after taste but I will totally look for what Gennifer Albin publishes next.

"A bittersweet finale to an exotically exciting adventure"

Genre :      Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance

PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: 7th October, 2014

My Copy: bought (ebook)

Rate:              3/5 (Liked It)

Other Books in the series (review links):
                #1 Crewel 
                #2 Altered

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer

Presenting The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer by Laxmi Hariharan.

Here is the summary of the book:

A YA action-thriller, with strong dystopian undertones and a kickass protagonist, taking you on a white knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay City.

A terrifying encounter propels Ruby Iyer from her everyday commute into a battle for her own survival. Trusting her instincts, she fights for the things she believes in, led on a mysterious path between life and death on the crowded roads of Bombay; and when her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the sexy Vikram Roy, a cop-turned-rogue, on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza's teen army. As Bombay falls apart, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?

The Origins of Ruby Iyer
Growing up in Bombay I was weighed down by the expectations of traditional Indian society. Yet, I wanted to be economically independent. So, daily I would leave the relative safety of home, knowing that my commute to work was going to be nightmarish. It's just how public transport is in this city. When you get on a crowded local train platform, you accept that you are probably going to be felt up. Every time this happened to me, I would get really angry. But, I would deal with it and get on. When a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight, I was furious. It was as if nothing had changed in all the years I had been away. I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down anymore; who would stand up for herself regardless of the consequences. Who would follow her heart ... Thus Ruby Iyer was born. Ruby is her own person. She leads I follow.

Rather refreshing, whimsical and a bit riddled with the ridiculous ..... and reminded me a bit of those CID (Indian crime/thriller show) episodes, which is not necessarily a bad thing but oh well I got distracted. Back to the review. Anyway like its protagonist Ruby Iyer, this book goes through a bit of an identity crisis - YA thriller, contemporary or sci-fi is not really clear.

I'd admit the plot has its merits. Mumbai city is on the brink of destruction from a crazed villainous Dr. Braganza and her teen army and the only one standing in her way is an angry young Mumbai-kar Ruby Iyer and the strong and mysterious officer Vikram Roy. Have to hand it to the author, she came with a great plot with a rather eccentric pace. It starts out great when after Ruby gets her thousands of watts transformation, it picks up speed and rushes and fumbles to the end.

Of course, Mumbai is the main attraction here and in that respect the author did an authentic and somewhat realistic picture of the city. So much so that you could think of the city as a separate character. But herein lies the problem, it appears she spent a big much time with her city, that the characters didn't get the needed space to flourish. Although she did raise the issue on eave-teasing and harassment which is a big problem in the country and highlighted to the most noteworthy characteristics of Mumbai, standing back on its own two feet even after suffering through a major disaster (natural or man-made).

Ruby Iyer & Vikram Roy. A bit more work and they could have just been the superstars of the book. While they were individually strong characters but sadly I couldn't really connect with them. The author tries to do a lot here so the end result turns into a hybrid of story genres with the action part that jumps out through the pages with much romp and kick my favorite part of the book .... But it was entertaining nonetheless.

"A fast paced romp-ity ride through 'aamchee' Mumbai"

Genre :     Young Adult, Contemporary, Sci-fi, Thriller, Dystopia

Publisher: Read Out Loud

Release Date: 1st December, 2014

My Copy: courtesy of Author

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Loop #2 Twist

Presenting Loop #2 Twist by Karen Akins.

Here is the summary of the book:

The unbelievably thrilling sequel to the time-travel YA novel Loop.

Bree Bennis finally has it all—a non-comatose mother, an uber-hot (albeit anachronistic) boyfriend named Finn, and a new-found mission to protect the timeline from those who would skew it for their own gain. But when she leans over one day to smooch said boyfriend, her lips meet those of her arch-nemesis Wyck instead. The timeline has been altered, and Bree is caught in the crosshairs. But when she goes back to repair the damage, she is stopped by none other than her Future Self, who delivers an urgent message: Someone is kidnapping Shifters from the distant past. It’s up to Bree to stop them. But first, she has to figure out who... and why.

To follow the trail of chronocrumbs, Bree reluctantly accepts her new undercover gig as Wyck’s girlfriend. Everything goes spiffy until Finn shows up in the 23rd century on the eager arm of a gorgeous fellow Shifter,Blark. Even as Bree struggles with jealousy, she battles the nagging dread that Finn might be better off with someone less chronologically complicated. Her worst fear is confirmed when Finn becomes the kidnapper’s next victim. As Bree zeroes in on the culprit, they unravel her life one timeline-change at a time. She realizes that she alone has the power to save herself and everyone she loves. But to do that, she may lose Finn forever.

They are a pair - Loop & Twist .... Really they are because now that I have read both, things start to make better sense. Of course the cover wasn't my favorite of the lot but I didn't really care for it much seeing as we got a great story in the proceeding pages. Needless to say that this duology won me over. 'Loop' presented the puzzle & 'Twist' its pieces & together they make a complete and quite possibly a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey set.

Things were finally stabilizing for Bree. Her mother was safe, she and her time-traveling boyfriend Finn have been busily trying to maintain a loving relationship (much better this time). All the while spontaneously shifting (time traveling) to set the events right and safeguard the precious reverter. But then as you would have it, things start to go from bad to worst. Wyck and his dubious reasons to interfere and the ICE upto their nefarious means again and disappearing shifters. Twist definitely had the action to a 'T'.

Loop-ing & Twist-ing and Loop-ing & Twist-ing .... Mind-bender of a marvelous read. Karen Akins sure knows to implement that age-old formula of how to keep your readers in a bind. Karen Akins you rock. Really 'Loop' only gave us a hint of what she could do if allowed to run wild witht he genre and she proved that with 'Twist'. So much action. So much twist & turns so many clues to follow and so many timelines to travel. Bree ..... Be it Past, Present or Future has her hands full in dealing with this travesty.

Bree and Finn. They are strong and particularly sweet. Their banter, the wit, sarcasm and their resourcefulness endears them to us. Come on they give a completely new meaning to the erm complicated and long-distant. For a minute there reading through the chapters I was pretty anxious because things seem to be confusing and going from bad to worst but in the typical twist-y time travel way, things unraveled .... (I was pretty much at wit's end trying to keep all I read in mind) .... Akins sure knew what she was doing, as a conclusion of all conclusion hits. A fitting end of course maybe a teeny-tiny bit bittersweet but a fitting end. Will definitely be looking to what Akins comes up with next.

"An electrifying and zestful time travelling sequel"
Genre :      Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopia,  Romance

PublisherSt. Martin's Griffin

Release Date: 7th April, 2015

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:              5/5 (It was Amazing)

Other Books in the series (review links):
                #1 Loop

Buy:           Amazon

Monday, 11 May 2015

Loop #1 Loop

Presenting Loop #1 Loop by Karen Akins.

Here is the summary of the book:

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels... at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn't go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn't think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tag-along uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

'Loop' was literally 'Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey'. Before I begin, let me make a suggestion, buy both 'Loop & Twist' before you begin reading this series ..... because this killer timey -wimey stuff will blow your head off if you leave it in the middle. My first reaction when I saw the cover, I just knew I had to get this book and it had time travel too, so I was sold .... Then I read the book and my reaction was that Akins did a good job keeping the storyline complicated.

A future where Shifting or Time-travel is a genetic ability that manifests in select few of the human race. Quantum Paradox 101 is a required subject and historical field trips literally means trips and assignments to the past. Bree Bennis is a shifter in this world and botches her midterms. An incident that results in unprecedented consequences she didn't think are possible. But then she goes back to set things straight and meets Finn Masterson. She met him three years ago according to his time and he acts like he knows intimately.

Meaning she comes to know him in the future .... Of course, it all gets even weirder. There is a Future Bree running around and Finn who isn't supposed to be a shifter somehow hitch-hikes a ride to the future. There is an enemy every step of the way and a mysterious phrase from their close acquaintances leads them around and round in circles.

 A bit warped as far a the pacing is considered and info-dump of the weirdest kind. Karen Akins does a good job of patching up the path and as we get used to the pacing, we start to enjo this fun and very dangerous adventure. Time travel with all of its theories and paradoxes can be a hard nut to crack but the book does a decent job of making us understand. You also need to pay attention to every written world here, with its skewed plot and its increasingly overlapping and complicated sequences.

Future Bree and Past Bree must play their separate roles in order for the Bree of the present to solve the problem. Weird isn't it ..... Well I did mange to keep patient throughout even if I was starting to loose it .... So I should really congratulate myself on that.

The romance was a bit iffy at best. They are one unique anachronistic pair and really while I loved their constant banter throughout, they didn't really exude the passion or for  that matter the chemistry. A chemistry that would have been obvious. They were a fun pair to read as we see Bree coming to value Finn and little-by-little fall for Finn (the hot and lean boy from the past) .... Is anybody feeling like Doctor Who and River Song here? Because I did .... and don't forget the Mona Lisa features too.

Bree proved to be quite the resourceful heroine, Finn following close behind. The characters grow and develop well throughout the book and the tangled plot proves itself by methodically untangling its  tendrils as we reach the end. Loop stood for a fun, challenging and reproductive tale that improves itself on closer inspection .... the perfect example for the time - travel genre.

"Enjoyably complex and enchantingly timey-wimey"
Genre :     Young Adult, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Release Date: 21st October, 2014

My Copy: bought (ebook)

Rate:             3/5 (Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

The Edge of Power

Presenting The Edge of Power by Tuhin A. Sinha.

Here is the summary of the book:

The heinous gang-rape of Nirbhaya has jolted the Indian nation out of its apathy. But rape and violence against women are only symptomatic of a deeper malaise that ails the nation: the total collapse of governance under the weak and vacillating PM, Devender Singh. Ironically, aiding the PM and his Indian Democratic Party (IDP)s cling to power is a casual and largely indifferent Opposition led by the venal Ravi Nehra. A ray of hope finally emerges when ex-journalist and RTI activist Daivik Verma and the gorgeous Catherine Khan, a leading Bollywood film-star with a mysterious lineage, decide to challenge the existing system by floating a new political party. But lack of funds and cadre support thwarts their efforts, their only recourse being Shruti Ranjan, who had sworn off politics three years ago. Will Nirbhayas gruesome rape and her subsequent death bring a disillusioned Shruti Ranjan back into the political fray, dominated by crime lords and bankrolled by industrial barons? Will the trio manage to stage a coup and dethrone Indias worst regime? Will the land of great leaders like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka and Akbar, finally get a dynamic Prime Minister she so badly needs? A racy political thriller, The Edge of Power is a powerful inquiry into the underbelly of Indian politics. It raises important questions over the funding of Indian political parties, while presenting Shruti Ranjan, the immensely popular protagonist of The Edge of Desire, in a refreshingly new, resurgent avatar.

Politics is as much a profession as it is a game. Not for the faint-hearted this game of chess can be. And author Tuhin A. Sinha portrayed that perfectly in his book 'The Edge of Power', which features prominent character Shruti Ranjan, previously seen in Sinha's previous work 'The Edge of Desire'.

Taking cues from one of the most heinous crimes of modern Indian history, the Nirbhaya Case. Sinha spins an aftermath of sorts that feels more real than fictious. From the shady opposition leader, to the ministers as corrupt as they come, clinging to the chair with all their might. To the decisively naive and energetic ex-journalist RTI activist and gorgeous Bollywood actress (with her own share of secrets) who decide to create a party of their own in the wake of the government's inability to take the needed approach.

Keeping an energetic candidate from entering politics due to lame reasons of the party not having the funds to support him. To the opposition only raising issue in Parliamentary meetings that do not hurt their side in anyway. To the entry and return  of veteran and honest politician (rather one of the few) Shruti Ranjan, whose experiences and support gave Daivik's party the much needed boost.

The author goes a long way in highlighting the issues faced by the government and how they developed the grass roots. A bad tree can only be removed by pulling out its roots before it begins to infect the others. That is what the Indian Government sorely needs and something that Sinha portrays in his work of fiction. Of course, it drags a lot in places but that I suppose can be forgiven given the fact that the author succeeds in putting his ideas across .....

"Politically charged with a strong sense of reality"
Genre :     Adult, Contemporary, Politics

Publisher: Hachette Books

Release Date: 18th December, 2013

My Copy: Hachette India

Rate:             3/5 (Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Angry Birds / Transformers: Age of Eggstinction

Presenting Angry Birds / Transformers: Age of Eggstinction by John Barber & Marcelo Ferreira.

Here is the summary of the book:

When the Transformers lose their powerful Allspark, it ends up on Piggie Island - and the world of Angry Birds turns robotic! Prepare to meet... the AUTOBIRDS and DECEPTIHOGS!

And the crossover bonanza continues. This time it is the bodyless wonders, the residents of Piggie Island and the big machine dudes of Cybertron. This story begins long before the bots came to Earth. The war between the Autobots and Decepticons rages on as usual. In one subsequent tussle the autobots loose the Allspark, which winds up in another dimension on Piggie Island .... And so begins the Age of Eggstinction for the Deceptihogs and Autobirds.

While everyone enjoys the Angry Birds games, this graphic novel seems centered to a much younger demographic than me. Its messy and ridiculous, and sadly it also didn't keep my attention for long. Maybe I would have loved it more if it were just the birds and the pigs. Don't get me wrong i'm a big fan of the Transformers franchise but these are two very different divisions, and i'd rather like to enjoy them in their separate camps ... But I think kids would enjoy this crossover romp a bit more.

"Angry Birds and the Transformers equals a ridiculously messy adventure"

Genre :     Graphic novel, Comics, Childrens

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Release Date: 19th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher and netgalley

Rate:             2/5 (It was Ok)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Crimson Bound

Presenting Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge.

Here is the summary of the book:

When Rachelle was fifteen, she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

'Crimson Bound' sure had us bound since the first glance at the cover. Of course a closer look revealed that Crimson Bound is not a sequel to the author's debut 'Cruel Beauty'. Of course we rejoice in the happy ending of Nyx & Ignifex and proceed to Rachelle's journey as she looks for retribution and redemption as she battles her calling as a bloodbound, guarding the bastard Prince Armand and trying to destroy the Devourer himself before he is able to usher in the endless nights.

A reckless decision made her a blood bound. Bound her to the forest. An act of being marked and chosen by a Forestborn. Not quite human anymore but with the added abilities, accelerated speed and healing, Rachelle hunts the woodspawn, creatures of the forest of all shapes and sizes and protects the humans. And Rachelle has proven she is no waif. Tough, kick-ass, intrepid and a warrior with a conscious is how I would categorize her. With a calculating personality and an impulsive streak, she along with her Erec are very good at their job.

Rachelle and Erec have a hot and cold relationship. Erec is a flirt and Rachelle sees her giving in to him as becoming just a number on his long list of conquests and she doesn't want that of course, things take an interesting turn when she is ordered to guard Armand. A saint to the people and apparently the only one to resist the mark of the Forest.

While not as strong or as buff as a bloodbound, Armand can hold his own. Intelligent, shrewd and really we readers and for that matter Rachelle can't help but be intrigued by him. Amidst all the darkness and destruction it is refreshing to witness the rapport between Armand and Rachelle, from snippy and suspicious they began and prolonged exposure turned that into something beautiful and compatible. Secrets and secrets later, they began to understand and stood tall together to face the coming of the enemy.

The romance is there of course but a much muted version and rather up-in-the-air sort. Unlike 'Cruel Beauty', 'Crimson Bound' takes its cues from the story of Red Riding Hood and it is more grittier. The book is long and felt lagging in places but the action and the lore and the secrets revealed are well worth the hassle. With Rosamund Hodge expertly pulling the reign with her mystical writing and intense characters, you just can't help but be one with her original ideas of fairy tale re-tellings. Eager to see what she does next.

"Make way for the new kick-ass Red Riding Hood"

Genre :      Young Adult, Fairy Tale re-tellings, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Release Date: 5th May, 2015

My Copy: publisher & edelweiss

Rate:              4/5 (Really Liked It)

Other Books from Author (review links):
            Cruel Beauty

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

The Associate

Presenting The Associate by John Grisham.

Here is the summary of the book:

Kyle McAvoy is one of the outstanding legal students of his generation: he’s good looking, has a brilliant mind and a glittering future ahead of him. But he has a secret from his past, a secret that threatens to destroy his fledgling career and, possibly, his entire life.

One night that secret catches up with him in the form of some bad men in a dark alley - they have a deeply compromising video of the incident that haunts him. The men make it clear to Kyle that he no longer owns his own future - that he must do as they tell him, or the video will be made public knowledge, with all the unpleasant consequences.

What price do they demand for Kyle’s secret? Strangely, it is for Kyle to do exactly what any ambitious young lawyer would want to do: take a job in New York as an associate at the largest law firm in the world , a job that is incredibly well paid and, with mammoth hours and outrageous billing, could lead to partnership and a fortune.

However, Kyle won’t be working for the company, but against it - passing on the secrets of the company’s biggest trial to date, a dispute between two defense contractors worth billions of dollars to the victor. Now Kyle is caught between the criminal forces manipulating him and the FBI, who would love to unmask the conspiracy. Will his intellect, cunning and bravery be enough to extricate him from an impossible dilemma?

Full of twists and turns and reminiscent of The Firm, The Associate is vintage John Grisham.

My third John Grisham novel after 'The Activist' (Theodore Boone) and 'Sycamore Row' (Jake Brigance) and it was a disappointment.Law is not my subject, I find it tedious as a whole and boring as opposed to Grisham's brand of court room drama is considered ..... well I like it but Sycamore Row is the only one I actually liked out of the three is have read. But back to business with 'The Associate' .... this one felt incomplete with an ending that felt like the author just gave it up when he finally decided to get to the good part.

Don't get me wrong 'The Associate' sports a great storyline. At heart this is a corporate espionage. Protagonist Kyle McAvoy, an up and coming brilliant law student, has more than enough talent and the confidence to make it big in New York. Enter this nameless organization that finds out about Kyle's sordid past and blackmails him into joining the biggest firm in Wall Street and spy for them regarding an important legal dispute, that has the Pentagon on edge and may as well be the litigation dispute of the decade.

Really Grisham penned a great plot line here and so far as I finished the book I liked what I read (almost). It is what I didn't find in the book that disheartened me. Also the much we read doesn't assert itself well. Kyle become too paranoid. The 'thugs' sport ridiculous names and don't feel dangerous enough and the big ani-climax at the end ruins everything.

Of course, the romance was the worst part. Granted it is not important to the story but if the author had taken a bit of time to polish his work and put in every element well, then it would have worked much better .......

Seeing as that is not really possible ..... so yes 'The Associate' parades a great idea ...... but that was all it remained and nothing more.

"A great idea but a disappointing result"

Genre :      Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Legal Thriller

Publisher: Century

Release Date: 27th January, 2009

My Copy: bought (paperback)

Rate:              2/5 (It was Ok)

Other Books from Author (review links):
            Theodore Boone #4 The Activist
                  Jake Brigance #2 Sycamore Row

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

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