Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Ebook. Book cover.

This review also appears on my Goodreads profile.

Rating: 4.3 stars!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” -James Joyce

I don't know why, but as soon as I thought about this novel and everything that I experienced during the read for the purpose of writing this review, this quote kept zinging 'round and 'round in my mind, going wheeeee.. so I just had to mention it cause it also explains the feel of this book and it's theme and is not just something that kept blocking me from thinking anything else. Much.


This was a wonderful book and I had to take a few moments to myself, patting down emotions and gathering my wits, before I could calmly sit down and write this review. The story completely fell in with 1986 background and for most parts, I just thought that it was really, really cool.

The best part about this novel was that it(the book) was so comfortable and familiar reciting Eleanor and Park's story.. So completely settled in that soft, revealing place between reality and fantasy, that each new scene, every other dialogue that connected even slightly, felt as if it would reach out and lure you deeper into the couple's whispers and quiet sighs.

Another thing that I fancied was that their conversations felt true. They seemed to fit each other so well, their actions and thoughts so perfectly hesitant and bold all at the same time, it kind of seemed to leave a reminder of all the feelings and the memories that seemed old and intimate but in reality, when you blink your eyes and notice that it's morning already, you realize that it's just part of the story and nothing like you experienced first-hand. At least, it was like that, for me.

For most parts, I liked Park. Knowing that that's the understatement of a millennium, I'll continue by saying that though I loved him and thought him adorable and totes dreamy, I wasn't blind to his shortcomings. Like that instance when he admitted that he coveted being the first (first love/boyfriend) of the most popular girl in school just so he wasn't labelled a total nobody. But since we are talking about teenagers here and self-preservation is something we all hold on to, and also because I acknowledge the truth in the fact that it's very easy to judge others- almost natural actually- I'll let it pass because it's just one of a zillion facets of human nature.
I was already going "Aww.." and "Darn it, this guy is AMAZING," when (gasp) I found out that he was of half Irish and half Korean descent. 

Instant crazy fangirl moment. 

For those of you who don't know- which includes most of you, heh- I've been in love with the idea of Ireland(I say idea, because I've never actually been there) for as long as I remember and I totally got a thing for Koreans (the Korean thing started with this TV Show that I watched for a history assignment Dae Jang Geum- man, I've been a little weird like that ever since).
For a teenager with conflicting emotions and a hesitant want of acceptance, he was a person who was his own and who had a really kick-ass taste in music and comic books.  
As conclusion, I'll just say three words: I. Love. Him.


Now.. Eleanor.

Eleanor's was a character which we got to see from different angels and aspects- sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes a little blurred and sometimes so vibrant that it almost felt real. I really really liked her. Having to live in a small house, with a disreputable and abusive step-father and a submissive, doormat mother, sharing a single room with all her siblings and no privacy to even think about, Eleanor had lots of struggles of her own- both, inside and outside of her high-school social circle. Big Red, some kids from school teased her and we were confronted with the reality of how alone a person might feel when faced with such bullies. Eleanor had an unwavering strength in her personality, that little quirk in her aura, that never backed down, and so I came to love her tenacity and backbone. As rough as life had weathered her to be, all the times she spent with Park, all the times that we got to read more about her, we learned that she was, in her own way, awesome. I adored her. 

This was a great story that started out amazingly and got even better as it progressed. The only thing that holds me back from giving it a 5-stars rating is that as it moved towards it's ending, the writing lost a little of it's charm, as if slowly running out of battery, the torch dimming steadily. I'm not saying that it got bad, no, never that. What I mean to say is that when some revelations we made, it could have been more dramatic, written with a little more flair so that we could utterly connect and feel that shock and anger on Eleanor's, and even Park's, behalf. What we did ended up feeling was a sympathetic understanding and a trifling acknowledgement indicated by the slight rise of eyebrows- a disappointment when you know that that "revelation" could've had that feel of devastation and despair worming in sneakily in the hearts of this novel's readers(making them love this even more)- the effect that it deserved to have caused- and inadvertently pushing the rating to a complete 5. 
I just felt that last shocking, sad part on Eleanor's support could've been more.. melancholy I guess.

Also, the ending felt just a teeny-tiny bit abrupt. Very teeny-tiny bit.

Except that, I LOVED this book, and I especially loved Park and Eleanor. Those two, they were adorable and totally awesome. 

I have to say that I am undoubtedly going to re-read this book. Soon. 

It just made me feel so good, you know? This novel definitely belongs in my favorites shelf.

As it so happens, I'll be looking forward to reading more by this author and I recommend this book to all YA realistic romance lovers, looking for a cute, really good read. 

Book Review: Devil's Bargain (Red Letter Days #1) by Rachel Caine

Ebook. Book Cover.

Rating: 3.7 out 5 stars.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

'Tis true, what they say- Deals with the devil never go well..

Emotionally tortured by the iniquitous condemnation of her partner with the charge of murder, and his resulting arrest, Jasmine aka Jazz Callender never expected life to turn out the way it did. At least, the psychic mumbo-jombo part she never imagined.. she already new life as a conniving bitch.
Approached by an enigmatic lawyer, James Borden, with an outrageous business offer and a check with a damning amount, she finds herself getting tangled deep into an unbelievable world where nothing is as it seems.

The first thing that disconcerted me about this book was that it wasn't the paranormal romance I was expecting it to be. I mean, I'd anticipated a hefty chunk of the story to be filled with paranormal gore and suspense, but what I found was a mystery/suspense with a paranormal underlining. Not exactly disappointing, but slightly restive nonetheless.

I also thought that the romance was lacking. Intending no demerits to the characters- as they were pretty much up to it- I just thought that there could've been more intimate or romantic scenes between the leads.

Lastly, I couldn't really pinpoint some particular fault that finally sealed my opinion, but I just believed that there was quite a room for improvement with the suspense and romance. Especially with the suspense, cause more often than not, I found myself getting so engrossed in the criminal, ass-kicking parts(cause hello, they were made to shine into an almost perfection), that I didn't even care what the mystery about those red-envelopes was. 

Although, I would like to mention, the story was good.. sometimes really good. I loved the criminal parts most, you know where either Jazz shot someone or someone else shot Jazz or when Lucia and Jazz chased someone. Very interesting, that, hehe.

Anyway. The writing..

The writing was clean, flowing and meticulous, totally suiting the theme and characters. It gave the descriptions a sort of intimate tone with an undertone of a clipped and well-informed voice, totally befitting the main leads' personalities.

Let's talk about the characters now.

James Borden. I like him. I mean when the fight broke out in the pub and he got pummeled, I thought- okay so not my type, can't even hold his own, but then his character was made to stand in light, and we see that he's an attorney-at-law, and easy to like. I don't know, there's something immediately engaging about that guy, of course after you get over his introduction that began with a creaky 1000$ leather jacket and no bad-boy vibe which is actually pretty easy to do once you focus on the washboard abs and the high-wattage smile and oh, the kind eyes.

He's smart. I guess that's a word especially tailored for him. Adorable with the uncertainty and the quiet caring. Not to forget the beguiling fact that he's sharp as a shark's molar(if they have one.. they do, right?), and slick as a seal with business dealings. I say that's a guy who knows how to work it, in and out of a bed.

Jasmine Callender. Hmmm.

I gotta admit.. the girl is bad-ass. Like, hell yeah bitches! I liked her. From the beginning. And then fell halfway in love with her when she kicked the sexist, biker-guys tattooed fat ass. And that was all in chapter one. What comes next, is nasty, hardcore, I-mean-business, we're-all-badass-here pages of "Fuck, this is great" moments.
Later on, as the story progressed, I realized that apart from being totally awesome, she was also a person who appreciated justice. But the downside of this placement of faith was that she ended up being a little narrow-minded towards the paranormal. Not wrong, not exactly, but still insular.

Lucia Garza was an amazing character- beautiful and dangerous, isn't that a combination we all love? I loved her sharp professionalism along with her loyalties that soon came to lay with Jazz. And did I mention how kickass she was with that attitude that said, "I kick ass like I was born doing it".

The rest of the supporting characters, Manny, Ben and Pansy provided a nice backing, if slightly cliched.
Till the very last minute I was sure I was going to give it a 3.7 stars, I mean really- you know all the faults that I found with it, but the ending somehow pushed it to 4. 
I am like, wow. O-kay.
But then I slept over that decision and I realized, no.. It has to be 3.7. It lacks the certain.. awesomeness of 4, and like I mentioned before, has quite some room for improvement.

Overall, quite an interesting plot(that would've been more interesting if the story had delved more into the paranormal, but oh well) and a good book, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for paranormal, suspense reads. 

This review can also be read on my Goodreads profile.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Book Review: Shadowfever (Fever #5) by Karen Marie Moning

Book Cover. Hardcover copy.

This review can also be read on my Goodreads profile.

Rating: Full 5 huge-shining-stars!


I don't know what to say.
I don't have any words.
I don't know any words.

Not for how well-written it was, not for what it made me feel.

I rocked your world, it says! The book. Shadowfever.
"You did," I say, stop and stare.


Beauty is an opinion, and opinion- like it says in this book, like I've always believed- is subjective. So if I say it's beautiful, would I come closer to defining what I think? Or do I open more doors, more options to consider while I hunt for the right word? 

You guessed it: I LOVE THIS SERIES.

This is what, the 3rd time I've re-read it? 4th? 5th? I don't remember and neither do I give a damn. I'm writing a review, after all these re-reads- not because I didn't care for it, but because I didn't think anything I'd write would come close to the awe and love I felt for it. No matter, I feel like I just HAVE to give it a try once at least.

Karen Marie Moning not only gave me one of the best series I've ever read, but she, through her words, made me feel kindred.

Sounds crazy? 



Lemme repeat: I DON'T CARE. 

The spiritual transcendence of the world she created and the philosophy she endorsed, I could do nothing but connect and agree.

"He looked at me and I shivered. I never get enough of him. Never will.
He lives.
I breathe.
I want. Him. Always.
Fire to my ice. Ice to my fever." 

Let's talk about the characters, specifically Mac, Barrons and Dani . 

MacKayla Lane: When she started the journey she didn't even know she was boarding a passage for, she was portrayed to be a knockout blonde with feathers and fluff, smart -if quite ignorant- and not much substance. She was self-centered and slightly annoying, but you couldn't hate her, not even if you tried. You felt her pain, you felt her desires, you felt her embarrassment, you felt her loss and you felt her joys.  
Later she learned, she fought, she grew nails and became powerful. She loved, she lost, she loved again and kept fighting for her beliefs. She blew away any chance you had of hating her. Not then, not now, never ever. She made herself worthy of respect, she made herself into a dear friend you loved, even with her many flaws.   

Jericho Barrons: Ahh. I've admired this man, lusted for him and have loved him ever since the beginning, ever since he was first introduced. 

The constant jackass, I love this man. 

There are heroes who start out as jerks and assholes- degrade and demean- and yet you love them. They humiliate the heroine every once in a while and their insolence is blamed on the torture they underwent, the battle scars they now wear. After all, hasn't he suffered enough? The love of a good woman is just what he needs. 

Make no mistake. 

This is NOT what it is, this is NOT who he is.

This man, he never showed anything he wasn't. He's been through hell and has kept going, never once bragging about it. He's battle hardened and has loved and ultimately lost. But he doesn't wear those facts as a badge, nor do they define him. He has learned. He has learned and lived, because that's what he does. He's rude and dangerous and impossibly powerful. But he has never pretended to be otherwise. He's always been there for Mac- though admittedly demonstrating indefinite courage along with a ruthless slyness time and time again- always ready to save her from all harm, save her from her own shadow if need be. If you don't like him, you don't like him. But if you love him, even slightly like him, you know what I mean.

Dani O'Malley: Or like she's says it, Dani Mega O'Malley.
This character is impossible not to love or hold in high esteem and is BADASS to the very super energized core of her. Man, she was awesome! A 13-year old warrior, she was courageous and she was fierce. Her tragedies are not small, but she has evolved and stood strong through the worst of the storms. After I found out that there's going to be a spin-off series with her as the leading character in it, I have been going crazy with the need to read it. When I say fantastic? I mean--


The writing, as always has been the case with KMM, is flawlessly beautiful. The plot was brilliant and I jumped every few minutes just with excitement of it all. She made me feel a part of this incredible world she created, she made me a part of it. I loved the scraps of conversations with the Sinsar Dubh, the Unseelie King's book of knowledge and power. I don't know how to translate all I feel, all I think, but it's to say the least that in the end, Fever World wasn't just a fantasy world of mythical creatures and monstrous books and prophecies but a real mystical three-dimensional world playing it all out before your eyes while maybe, you went out to fight battles along side the characters, or learn lessons along side them or maybe just stared, slack-jawed, drinking it all in, thirsting for more. 

I have lots to say, lot of people to talk about namely V'lane, the Dreamy Eyed Guy, Christian (--->I really really like this man!), Ryodan and let's not forget the queen bitch here, the Grand Mistress of the abbey- Rowena. 

There were characters I never liked, characters who I really liked but this review is already so long as it is, I think you'll be glad I'm putting a full stop right here, right now (in another couple of words, a few sentences, a paragraph.. or two perhaps?).

As you already know, this here, is one of my top favorites book series, and if you haven't read it, I suggest you, encourage you, I dare you, to give it a try. READ IT. I already know how you are going to feel.


Book Review: Shadow Sight (Ivy Granger #1) by E.J. Stevens

Book Cover. Hardcover copy. 

This review can also be read on my Goodreads profile.

Rating: Somewhere along a 2.5 stars and 2.7 out of 5 stars for me.

An okay-okay sorta book, I can't say I am too happy with it, which is in itself quite depressing since I had quite a few hopes sub-consciously bookmarked to this novel even before it's release. 


Sorely lacking in the butt-kicking, badass section. *grim face*

Note: The heroine had a spine of steel and didn't shy away from defending herself and anyone she loved- so make no mistake of that- but what I mean by saying "very less butt-kicking, badass" scenes is that there were very little of 'em. I just felt there should've been something.. I don't know.. more. Narrows it down, doesn't it?

Ditto for romance.

Ditto for drama.



What the heck, here goes. 

I liked the overall concept, and the writing was okay- nothing special- but the book had potential: If only the author worked on the drama and the writing a bit, I'm pretty sure it'd have at least made a dent in 3-4 stars sector.


A little disappointing, I'd hoped for a much better read. Even though there were horrendous sea monsters eating people up and leaving their livers floating in the water, demons making deals, witches and kelpies and what-not going around and trying to get all their shit together, you know what I felt lacking? The importance of all that shit and drama. Makes sense? No?

Let me explain.

Interesting stuff happened. Like really. But the writing was so bland, the drama was so flat, that even a kidnapped kelpie king- who was supposedly gorgeous and totally hot by the way- chained and tortured, and deprived of his will didn't make me feel anything. No remorse, no nothing. 

Ya get whatcha mean?


I KNOW! Cool pic, right? 

Damon does not approve. Well neither do I. Huh.

Anywhooooo, even though I'm very dejected and a lot disappointed, I'm still going to read the sequel when it comes. 

Answer to your obvious look of surprise: No I'm not a masochist. 

Reason for the decision? No matter the lack of drama and romance and a little blandness in the the writing, the book has potential. Like I mentioned earlier, I liked the concept, the story.. It might turn out to be really good, you never know. Also, as I've learned with experience, quite a few times- first books of fantasy series tend to not be as awesome as the rest of the series. So, I'll be reading the next book, hoping that it just might turn out to be really great.

Don't even think about not saying hi.

Hullo everyone or whoever super-awesome, wise and quite possibly the only person this is, reading my blog- know that I am profoundly touched by your valiantly risking what might have been the 10 most important minutes of your life, perusing this first baby post by an amateur blogger aka me. That is, in my opinion, one of the biggest risks a decent human being can take(except for messing with the space-time continuum or God forbid- ordering Chinese takeout from a dingy restaurant with a probably expired, and at that fake, NRA certificate)- so know that I appreciate this. Really.

After having wasted a quarter of an hour debating the title of this post, chewing nails and downing coffee.. tugging my hair while nervously browsing random websites for a "cool way to say hello"- one of the most popular suggestions of them being "Yo my main nigga, what it do?"- I finally decided to ditch the insistent dorky-ness and just get on with it. If this winds up being boring, exhausting or in any way annoying- know that the fault is not mine, but everyone else's. Kidding, ha.

A quick revision of who I am and what this blog is for- I am one of the most awesomest, kickass person you'll ever meet- but you can call me Kajol- and on an average scale of insanity, I lie on some indecipherable spot that probably says "be afraid". This blog is about chocolate, reading, fantasizing and the three big D's- dreams, discoveries and drama- and pretty much anything under the sun that's interesting and fun. This is a place, where you just be.
On paper, this is a blog where I'll write reviews of the books I read (I am a book drunkard, a book worm, a book slut, a book lover, a book licker and any other words you might come up with for the general breed of incorrigibly amazing people like me) but essentially, this is a place for people who like to talk nonsense with occasionally heated/hilarious discussions over literature, art, music and movies etc.  

Now that we've got that out of the way, I'll close up saying that I'll be posting reviews of the books I've read in bulk, all at once, to keep this blog up with my Goodreads profile and also, with that of the dates of the other upcoming novels. Once I'm finished with that, we'll start with the lazy gait of those who belong to royalty- smiling and shining like the sun, sometimes bitching over things I don't like and gushing and fangirling over the things that I do. And of course, you are welcome to join me for doing that! 

With this, I bid you a bittersweet farewell with the hope that you'll check back in (and hopefully invite some friends? Pretty please? I'm not above cajoling) and provide the feedback I so clearly need to make this into something better and funnier and oh of course, worth reading. 

Good-bye, I do so hope that you have a wonderful day.