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dontstopreadin

Don't Stop Readin'

Hi guys, I'm Anushka (or Annie, if you like). I'm a serial reader and a more-than-occasional reviewer and I like to mention authors by their names in my reviews. (Ha! Suck it GoodReads!)

Freaky.

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

3 to 3.5 Stars 

First thought after finishing the book: Boy, this book was weird.

Second thought: What a weird book.

Third thought: So freaking weird.

Skipping my next fifty thoughts let me try to actually talk about something other than the weirdness of this book.

How I Live Now is essentially a survival story but it doesn’t begin as one, we get a snarky Manhattan resident protag sent off to England to live with her cousins where she surprises everyone by adjusting very easily with them. So, at first I thought this book would be about whiny-teenager-living-in-countryside but then she falls for her doggy-like cousin (her words, not mine) and they start doing the deed because no one’s around to object. Well, now I was led to believe that this book would be about an incestuous relationship, which I’m not really fond of but I went on reading anyway. All of a sudden people started running around and running away from gunfires and bombs and this book unexpectedly turned into a Quest to Survive. 

The real charm of this book lies in its narration which is kept very simple and honest, while reading you would get the feel of a 15-year old who has some issues in her head narrating it. This narration contributes to more than half of the weirdness of this book. The heroine is neither a Mary Sue nor a kickbutt diva, she is just a teenager with some issues of her own. She touches very briefly upon her weight issue and visits to a psychiatrist but she develops into a responsible person while saving her cousin from the wrath of war. 

Despite liking several things about this book I don’t feel like awarding it anything more than 3.5 stars and certainly not a Printz award but what do ya know? Some people think this book was brilliant.

I enjoy war survival stories but I just don’t see anything greatly special about How I Live Now, I wouldn’t even go around recommending it because it’s only catch is the “freak” factor and nothing more. 

I was quite disappointed by the ending which I’m going to spoiler mark, don’t read it if you plan on reading this book. 

 

 

See, here’s the thing. I don’t believe that teenage love lasts forever. She fell in “love” with her cousin Edmond in three months but carried on that love for six whole years. Six years?! What, she didn’t date anybody else all this time because the cousin she feel for ages ago was the one? I don’t believe that. I would have liked her to move over him, not go back and decide to live with him. I don’t know, doesn’t settle well with me, maybe it’s the ick factor incest brings but I did not like the way it ended. 

 

(show spoiler)

 

2

Why do I do this to myself?

Dirty Rocker Boys - Bobbie Brown, Caroline Ryder

This book is the biography of the woman who starred in Warrant's Cherry Pie video, Bobbie Brown. I read it because I am crazzzy about '80s music and there was a time when the only thing I'd listen to was Hair Metal. Def Leppard, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi on repeat.

 

So I was just curious to know about my favourite bands but this book was …well, I’m going to sound very crass but reading this book was like reading a whore’s journal who is high all the time and actually took pride in whatever she did. This woman defended everything and found a way to blame every wrong decision she made on someone else.


The incidents covered in this book were her marriage to Jani Lane, engagement to Tommy Lee and her sexual encounters with oh, everyone in the Hollywood. Apparently she was desired by every guy she met, from Sebastian Bach (Skid Row’s lead singer. H-O-T) to Leonardo DiCaprio then she says she was “naïve” and “I didn’t know how to use my beauty”. She was approached by Steven Spielberg and Robert De Niro as well but she couldn’t do the roles because she was way in over her head, she thought she was some diva and then she says she didn’t know how to make her place because she was unlike other women who used their charms and I quote “giant chest” on people. Are we supposed to believe this shit?

 

Most of her career went down the toilet when she was living with Tommy Lee but she refused to leave him because she was blinded by the crush she had on him since she was a teenager and she’d call it “we were so deep in love”. Pfft.
When he left her and married Pamela Anderson within 4 days she went on a mission to self-destruct. She blew off her career, became an addict and then she’d try to sound like a human being saying things like my life didn’t allow me to be the mother I wanted to be.
Get the fuck out. Everything she did was her own fault but she refused to take responsibility for it.

 

For every lost opportunity, her failed career, her failure as a mother and every single thing she blamed Tommy Lee while she claimed to be in love with him for years later too while it was clear that she was carrying on the infatuation she felt for him since a teenager.

 

Don’t read this book, it’s such a waste of time. This is the account of a woman whose biggest accomplishment was looking gorgeous all the time and it reads like a personal diary where she kept count of the guys she slept with, in order. This book made me sick to my stomach, I swear, I had a constant frown on my face while reading it. How could a woman be so obnoxious? How could she throw away her life and then blame others for it? All she ever did was have relationships with famous guys and not care a penny about her career and then she says she was trying to make it in Hollywood? Please, explain me your logic.

 

But in the end, I guess, she got what she deserved and that was nothing.

4

Things people are overlooking about this book.

Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen

What I hate more than a weak heroine is a weak heroine written or presented as a strong one.

And both the female characters in this book fell in just that category.

Falling Kingdoms is like Strange Angels. There are several flaws but something about the book makes you overlook them and I did just that. Despite the annoyances the broken writing and underdeveloped characters created I liked the book for about 90% of it. But after that things just went w-r-o-n-g

This book has been called the Game of Thrones for teens but I have neither read nor seen the TV show so I cannot address the issue any further but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that the plot of this book is overused and unoriginal. But somehow Morghan Rhodes makes it work, the story was fast-paced and easy to grasp, doesn’t not require your brain much. 

But that’s the problem.

See, I love high-fantasy, it is my favourite genre and I like it even more when it is very precisely detailed. I don’t mind if things get complicated but as long as I get a feel and taste of the world I’m reading, I love it. But the world in this book is well-built, no complains there but it came as too …easy and uncomplicated. This happens, that happens and done. It doesn’t leave you with anything to ponder upon, to think about or get excited about, the story just keeps moving forward in a flow. 

Despite all that this book was going for a 3 stars for me until the final battle scene. Boy, I hate it when wars are not accurately described in the story. Wars are huge, they are the deal maker or breaker of a book and I expect it to be written like one but no, here the final battle scene was done with in a shoddy way in just 2 pages. Just 2 pages.
Call me creepy but I like to read about bloodshed and killings because that’s what makes a bloody war! But the final showdown in this book was very poorly written and I cannot overlook that no matter how hard I try. It was the lowest point of this book, in my opinion.

Another bothersome issue – this book didn’t have enough magic and I not only mean that metaphorically. One of the elements of a fantasy book is to have a supernatural angle in the story. Sure, there were the tales of the Kindred, witches and sorceress in this story but it wasn’t enough. I can count on my right hand and tell you the number of instances where magic was mentioned.

Lastly, I will elaborate on the subject I raised in the beginning. Both female characters of this book, Cleo and Lucia were galling in their own ways. Cleo was described as a girl who did what she wanted with a very sharp tongue. 

I’m sorry, I beg to differ.

Cleo looked like a stupid, spoilt royal brat who worked with no brains in every situation she went into. The first scene, at the wine seller? She could have stopped the murder of Tomas (and in turn this whole book) with just a flick of her wrist but no, she was too busy thinking about herself. Every decision she made caused me to irk, and every comeback that came out of her mouth made me roll my eyes. Cleo was nowhere near a strong protagonist, she was just a dumb 16-year old who pissed off everyone she met. 
And Lucia, what a speshul snowflake she was. She cared abouteveryyyyone, she thought about everyyyy person on this earth, you know your usual goody two-shoes heroine. Seriously, enough of it already.

Finally, I’d recommend this to a lot of people, actually because I know they’d enjoy it. It’s *maybe* my fault for being too particular about a few things when it comes to fantasy. After this, I have decided I am never going to read any young-adult high fantasy because if it’s YA then it has to have romance and pardon me but I don’t like conventionally developed love story in a fantasy book. Either it has an epic love story or it doesn’t, unlike Falling Kingdoms which had two very unconvincing, bland love tales. 

2 stars for the good beginning which was promising enough to make me not leave this book unfinished. I might even read the sequel...sometime.

2

Hats off to you, Lehane.

Gone, Baby, Gone - Dennis Lehane

First time. It’s the first time a thriller has made me cry.

I mean, you don’t shed tears while reading these books, you read one then you read another one. But not this one. No, this one is going to haunt me for a long time, like all Dennis Lehane books do. I still think about Mystic River and feel a chill run down my spine.

Gone, Baby, Gone dealt with some very sensitive issues wrapped in a blanket of controversial subjects. Kidnapping is a topic that is bound to make you emotionally invested but in no book I’ve ever read, it was done with such explicitness. All the gory details were mentioned for which I took about 5 to 10 seconds to digest and move forward. This book repeatedly tests the grey area of what’s legal and what’s moral, what you are supposed to do and what you should do.

It is a well-plotted mystery with various number of plot twists that leads up to a galvanizing climax but the other part of the story comes back to stare at your face again and again. What is right and what is wrong and who gets to decide that, who is the better judge of all things good or bad in this world.

Extremely thought provoking, emotionally stimulating with all the characteristics of a good thriller, this book deserves 5 starswithout putting any thought. 

In the end, I hope the incidents mentioned here were all fictitious, please do not tell me that this happens in real life to little kids but that is the whole point of this book. Still, I pray that no one goes through this trauma in their lives, it is unfair and no one deserves this!

Recommended to all. 
Now I’m off to watch the movie, which I’ve heard it’s as good as the book and order some more books by Lehane.

2 2

4 Stars.

Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta

 

FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED. 


I had honestly not expected this book to be so amazing. I am so surprised to know that yes, there are still some authors who are capable of writing about real things. 

This book dealt with all possible adolescent and family problems and I could relate to Francesca on many levels. I am a lot like her in some ways, sometimes I’d be the most outspoken bitch you've ever seen, other times I’d be the most modest and shy person on the planet. I don’t have family and love-life problems that she had, except that, we were quite similar.

I don’t have much to say about Saving Francesca other than authors should write these kind of books more often, the books nowadays in market are nothing but filled with teenage girls’ boyfriend issues and everything else is side-lined. The characters in this book were real , they had some flaws, they all had some good qualities at the same time. For instance, Will Trombal was not pictured as the hottest jock of the school; he was just a normal-looking guy with issues of his own which he fought hard to work out. This tells you perfect boyfriend does not always mean Edward Cullen.

Reading this book was a great experience, I am sure I will read all books by Melina Marchetta someday. I will always remember Saving Francesca as a bittersweet tale which had its moments, a lot of them, in fact.

 

Also find this review here and here.  

 

Originally read and reviewed on GoodReads on April 6, 2013.

1

2.5 to 3.

Second Chance - David  Perry

*I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

My rating on this book is undecided, something from 2.5 to 3 Stars but sorry, I cannot be any more generous. This is not because it’s an extremely detestable book which should be burnt to death, no. Second Chance by David Perry is a fairly good thriller which could have been a lot better if more attention was paid towards few, simple tweaks.

 

My copy had quite a few spelling and phrasing mistakes, I hope they were corrected before publication.

 

Apart from the similar mistakes on the syntax layer, some issues, in my opinion that needed more attention are these –

 

First, the premise.
I liked the fact that the thriller was set around pharmacists which I’ve never read before but its sub-plot – the main character who is very devoted to his job has a wife on the deathbed has a chance to save her through a deadly chase. Such a cliché. I’ve read this in so many other books that I’ve lost count.


The main-plot was structured in a treasure-hunt format, which I find really exciting. Well, blame it on Dan Brown but I expected more.

 

The subject of this “treasure hunt” was something that had the power to revolutionize the whole human history, people would poke each other in the eye for it, countries would go on war and blah blah. But I never felt it. It was conveyed through dialogues many times but I never got the feeling. To me, the whole hunt was like an Enid Blyton’s book instead. Kiddies following breadcrumbs.
I could never acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and it seemed like everything solved itself. The solution to the puzzles came very easily to them, with minimal efforts. A group of people chitchatted for a few minutes and bam! They got the answer. The hunt should have been more complex and interesting, that doesn’t mean more complicating but with more "thrill factor", more gripping, heart-thudding moments. There were none, not for me, at least.

 

What I stated above could also have been the side-effect of a plot that didn’t start moving until 60% mark. It took me 5 days to finish this book, the first 30% taking me two days alone! All the characters were introduced in the first quarter, it almost seemed like it had been done in a hurry. To put everything from characters to setting just out there.
In my opinion, it is okay to take your time and introduce in parts, it is not necessary to push everything all at once in the beginning and then not mention the side characters again in the middle of the book because when they are brought up later towards the climax, you rack your brain to remember who they are. Happened with me here. I forgot who’s who.

 

Let me get back to the point I was actually making. The pacing.
The real chase began at 60% + mark and stayed around 85% of the book. I felt it was too short because Alex Benedict going on a quest was the most attractive part of this book, it is what was supposed to pull the reader in.
Alas, it took me more than 3 days to get properly sucked in but it was over before I had the time to enjoy. This kind of pacing makes you lose interest and everything you read after that seems dull anyway which is why I might have developed so many complaints about this book.

 

But the little twist at the end actually managed to make me gasp. Points to you there, sir! If I elaborate more on this, I might spoil the secret so I better zip it.

 

The ending.
Ehhhh, except the aforementioned surprise everything about the ending was predictable but I wouldn’t blame the author too much for it because in books like these, the pleasure is in the hunt and not the prize or its results. So, I’m not going to dwell too much over it but one last thing I will mention is that the epilogue was too long. Long and uninteresting. I directly skipped to the last page and it didn’t make a difference.

 

2 stars for effort because I know how tough it is to come up with puzzles! And 0.5 for that little surprise element in midst of the climax.

Surprised me.

Infinityglass - Myra McEntire

Also find this review here.

 

Way to finish a series!

Mostly in trilogies we've noticed the order goes from Awesome to Awful, mostly last books disappoint us but not here. Nuh-uh.

In Hourglass series the case was completely opposite. Hourglass, the first one was an okay to good book with a very different concept but it just didn't do the trick, there was something missing. But a friend told me to continue the series and read the 2nd book, Timepiece, so I did. And it was bloody amazing. It was narrated by a different character - who also is my favourite in the series. Kaleb <3 
So, of course I was very excited to read the third book which again saw a change of narrator in a different setting which involved crossover of the previous characters towards the end. I was a bit sad about this in the beginning but Ms. McEntire made up for it. Once I got engaged in the book, I didn't even think about others even for a second. 

I am shocked that I loved this book.

I can't believe it, it's been so long since I've actually loved a YA book. This book was simple – good characters, solid plot, cute love story, well planned climax, great ending. There, that’s all it takes to write a valuable YA book and Infinityglass delivered on every level. A teeny tiny thing that I did not like was the writing. It’s fairly good but in some places, especially where the characters tried to describe an event, the language and phrases jumped out at me, they didn't seem very refined. 

Infinityglass is not an explosion of a book which will make you forget everything in the world. It’s plain and simple yet very charming. Same as its 2nd book, Timepiece. I read it long back so I can’t pick which one I liked more but if I ever re-read it, I think I would pick that one because….it’s Kaleb. Come one, guys. It’s Kaleb we’re talking about.

The concept of this series is so weirdly different and when I first read the book I was scared if the author would be able to carry it out properly, turns out, she could but I think she trie, she can create a bigger universe using this subject because I swear, it is very offbeat, it resembles X-Men a little bit but it still is very distinctive on its own and it has the capability of turning into something far bigger and better.

At the end, I recommend this series to all of you who are hunting for a light, fluffy YA series to read because it’s very hard to find one in today’s date.

2

On page 65.

Infinityglass - Myra McEntire

Dear Allegiant,

THIS is how dual POV is done.

Sincerely, Infinityglass .


I did not expect this book to be so awesome from the first page itself! I'm surprised.

5

Not really a review...

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

Also find this review here - GoodReads  

 

Mockingjay (Hunger Games), Requiem (Delirium), Sever (Chemical Garden), The Death Cure (Maze Runner) and now we add Allegiant to the list of ya-dystopian-series-finale-gone-wrong. [IMO, Sever was great but some disagree and I have not read Maze Runner, I’m relying on my friend Scarlet’s views here]. Now I’m led to believe that only Patrick Ness can write a perfect ending to a perfect series [Go read his Chaos Walking trilogy NOW if you haven’t.] Before I turn this into “All hail Ness” article let me jump back to Allegiant.

 

*long sigh*

 

I can’t write a review this time, I have many scattered thoughts about this book which I’m going to list out so I'm sorry if this feels too haphazard in structure.

 

First thing, Allegiant is so beyond and disconnected from Divergent and Insurgent, it’s setting so much bigger that it could have been turned into a spin-off series. While reading this book you’ll realise how tiny the previous world was.

 

Now, I see a lot of people hating this book with a fiery passion, I’m NOT among them. I didn't love it, didn't hate it, neither am I in-between. I felt obliged to read Allegiant because I liked the first 2 books, that’s all. My thoughts about this book are few and not very strong because it didn't matter to me. Just like School Spirits. I don’t want to decide anything because this book is one of those “come and gone” books, which you read and don’t ponder upon.

 

But as I said, my mind is forced to dwell upon this book for I loved Divergent a lot. 
See, Divergent was never a proper dystopia, it doesn't fit the definition at all but V. Roth made it promising by her writing. Divergent and Insurgent with their action sequences, fast pace and mindless fun made the read worthwhile. Plus, Roth is a good writer, you can’t deny that, there are some quotes that are just unforgettable. I never felt deeply connected to the world she created but still I loved it because there is one thing in this series that I really cherish.

 

And no, that’s not Four. It’s Tris.

 

Many people find her annoying, unlikable, a jerk but let me tell you this – If there is one heroine I have felt the most familiar with, it’s her. I say my most favourite protag is Rose Hathaway because I want to be like her but a protag that is closest to me is Tris. When I first read Divergent I was surprised by how much I am like her. Her every little thought mirrored mine so it was very comfortable for me to step into her shoes. And obviously, that’s why I agreed with everything she said or did, that’s why I was eager to read a book where I felt I was narrating it. The fact touched me.

 

But Allegiant is where this bond between me and the book started breaking as I disagreed with the way Tris acted as a litmus test to determine what's right and what's wrong. She set the bar to determine what should be done and what shouldn't and this time I lost the sense of intimacy I experienced with her character.
With Tobias’s inclusion, it became a bit uncomfortable as well. Don’t get me wrong, Tobias’s narration is as welcoming as Tris but the problem is it’s almost the same. I do not like it when an author tries dual or multiple POV but doesn’t master it and that’s what happened here. Tris and Tobias voice is so similar that after reading half a chapter I had to go back and check who’s narrating it.

 

Finally, the ending.

 

Choosing the title “Allegiant”, then the cover of the book to the change in setting, it was clear from the beginning that V. Roth was trying to create something different from the very beginning. So, of course the ending followed the same road. I think it was purposely done so people would “talk” about it, to create an instant buzz. 


I’m not unfamiliar with this kind of ending, I've seen a similar closure in another book –which if I mention will spoil both the series for you – and the fact that I had been hearing that “OMG. Allegiant’s ending will break your heart” for the past 2 weeks, it really didn't hit me as hard as it should have, in fact, I had been expecting it.

 

I have two final thoughts – Either all of this was planned from the very beginning or it wasn't planned at all. Veronica Roth just created it along the way because first 2 books are distant from 3rd book but they are connected in small threads as well. So, I think that either she had planned only first 2 books properly then took all her time to write Allegiant or this had always been her design. I’d actually love to get an answer to this question, if I get a chance I’ll definitely ask her.

 

I did not hate Allegiant to the extent to break all my ties with this series, I’ll remember it for a lot of things I liked about it and so all the books Veronica Roth decides to write in the future will definitely be in my to-read list. 

5

Just starting.

Infinityglass - Myra McEntire

This series is pretty cool (2nd book, to be more precise) I wish more people would read it.
Check it out, people. :)

 

Kaleb. <3

*yawn*

Beg (Songs of Submission) (Volume 1) - C.D. Reiss

Like my friend Lisa said, the blurb screams this is not me and that's what I have to say. Beg is the pole opposite of what I like to read. After reading 50 Shades and Bared to You and its several rip-offs by mistake because they were claimed to be the "bestsellers" I'm not going to willingly read such books anymore.
Yes, this book - or rather, novella - follows the 50 Shades plot lines but its too small for anything to happen and I don't care. I'm not like other people who were craving for the hero and heroine and to get together and have bed-breaking sex, so no way I'm going to read its sequels.

There's no need for me to do a detailed review, let me just sum up everything in five words : I don't give a shit. 

Made a mistake by requesting this book, at least now I know I'll never do that again.

*This copy was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

1

3 Stars.

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

Hmmmm...well, I finished it at 5.30 am this morning. I don't seem to hate this book as much but I didn't love it either. I think what V.Roth did at the end was just so people would "talk" about this book.

Rest of the book, IMO, wasn't really awful except that the genetic crap was about to give me migraine.

I'll do a full review in a while.

 

50% done.

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

I liked this book until this page. This very page.

 

Why should there be so many complications? So many alliances? It's tiring to keep track of everything. :

3 1

BBA alert

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/727298660

 

 

 

The reviewer actually BOUGHT her copy.

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