Sunday, July 31, 2016

Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks {REVIEW}

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom...
Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.
Author: Anna Banks
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publication Date: May 22nd 2012
                                    by Feiwel & Friends

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Reading Of Poseidon has been a different experience altogether. I have never read a book on mermaids. That is, if you don't count Ariel's story. Even though the cover was tempting enough, I never took it up thinking it might just end up disappointing me. But I'm so glad I was wrong all along. The story and everything about the book is really refreshing. Anna Banks' take on mermaids and the way she presents it is simply marvelous.

The Characters. 

The book opens up with Emma, Chloe, Galen and Rayna. Emma and Galen are two strangers who meet by accident, but there are bigger accidents that happen after they meet. Emma's best friend, Chloe meets a terrible end following which everything changes for Emma. I love how the characters are given a solid ground from page one because even if you practically no nothing about Chloe, you can't help feel bad for her. The same goes for Emma. Galen, being a Syrena Prince, is of course good looking and OTT hot (like that's a surprise :p). Seeing Emma, Galen starts doubting about Emma's true identity and things get interesting as the story progresses. 
Emma is one hot-headed, stubborn girl who doesn't take orders from anyone, specially not Galen. That's one of the many things that draw Galen towards her, among other things like how her eyes are purple and hair white and skin pasty. And Galen is the typical hero you'd see in novels, but he is so effing adorable sometimes I love them babies *giggles* Among others Toraf and Rayna, who were also Syrenas, and mated to each other. Toraf and Galen and later Emma and Toraf share a great bond (that  includes some pretty solid punches). It was a treat to see how Rayna's feelings turn from hostility to love towards Toraf (partly thanks to Emma!)

The Narrative.

Now this is the part I have some objections with. While I'm not against any particular type of narrative, I sure as hell do not like mixing all the narrative techniques up. It makes my head ache, almost literally. So you can imagine what I must have felt like when I saw Emma's pov in first person narrative and Galen's pov from third person perspective. I'm not a boss of writing, but somehow I don't find mixing different narrative techniques healthy for the readers. While some people may enjoy the book because of its dual narrative style, I had trouble switching my brain from one style to another throughout the whole book. I love to be in Galen's head, I do. I just wish Galen's one was a first person narrative like Emma's too.

 The Plot.

In the strictest term, no solid plot was revealed in this book. Maybe because Banks kept it for the other installments. But that doesn't mean it's full rubbish, not at all. Basically there are many mini plots knitted together to carry out the story further. First it is about finding the girl, then about training, about romance and also the mystery of the stranger Syrena. I felt like Anna Banks was setting up everything in this book so she can move it further and focus on developing in the next books. So plot-wise, I'm satisfied of what I got here.

Despite the dual narrative that put me off a little, the writing is superb. Author Anna Banks don't forget to add humnly humors, wit and sarcasm just because most of the characters are Syrenas. It's not like some vampire novel where gloom prevails 24*7. It's a great read and recommended!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This Song will Save Your Life by Leila Sales {MINI REVIEW}

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Book Title: This Song will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Chick-Lit
Publication Date: September 17th 2013
                                        by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

"Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice" is what the blurb of this book suggests. I feel it is such an understatement. Since Past Perfect, I've been a fan of Sales' writing. Her books are not only novel in their subject-matter, but also the characters and the way the story is dealt with is nothing but perfection. And I love how her book covers always celebrate life and living it as you wish. Elise's is a story of fitting-in, something most of us have faced at some point of our lives. She is witty, good-hearted, sarcastic and a fun person to be with, but apparently that's not all you need to fit in. People don't like her. She's the kind who eats her lunch all alone by herself at lunch period. She is the girl everyone prefers to have disappeared. She tries so hard, SO, SO hard to fit in, it's heart-breaking. But it's how things happen in real. People like Elise more often than not end up being the "losers" in everything, no matter how amazing they are as persons. It's like Sales took a character from our real life (who is probably me) and put her into the book and created awesomeness. Elise is a nobody, and yet she is you, she is me, she is everybody.
What do you think it takes to reinvent yourself as an all-new person, a person who makes sense, who belongs? They will still see past that, see you, the girl who is still too scared, still too smart for her own good, still a beat behind, still, always, wrong.
There is no main male lead in this book as such. But there is this character Char. He is so like the typical-guys-I've-seen-arond-me that I'm amazed at not being able to hate him like I want to. Sure, he is a complete ass, but he is a typical guy we've all met at some point and the fact that he looks so real is what makes him a great asshole :p

This book will make you laugh, make you cry, possibly break your heart but leave you with a smile that is worth all of it.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger {REVIEW}

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Chick-Lit
Publication Date: September 7th 2010 
             by Little Brown Books for Young Readers/Poppy


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
My Thoughts: 
So I'll try to be very quick about it (Yeah, right). I liked The DUFF. The book, I mean, and not the totally-not-used-to-death-and-full-of-cliches movie. I loved the casting, but god bless the plot *smh*

So our female lead is Bianca Piper. She is a 17 year old high-school student finishing up her senior year. She has two best friends at school, and probably the only friends thanks to her cynicism, Casey and Jessica. She is pretty much a nobody at school but she doesn't give a shit about it. Her friends love her and her parents who are getting a divorce love her as well. She is almost everything I love in my novel heroines- nice to those she cares about, sassy, fun, smart, sarcastic, strong and stubborn. She may appear OTT cynical at times but that's mainly because of her bitter experience from her past. But overall, she is the girl I would wanna know more about at any given day.

Enter Wesley Rush. The hot, the awesome, the wicked and man-whore of the school. Wesley would sleep with anyone or anything remotely resembling a chick. Almost all the girls in the school drool over him, literally and metaphorically. Almost, because our Bianca doesn't share the same enthusiasm when it comes to even sparing a glance at Wesley. Oh no, she hates him. As in HATES him hates him. If Juliet truly loved Romeo, then what Bianca's feelings towards Wesley is just the opposite of that, and thousand times worse. She hates his crooked grin, him pissing her off every now and then and his man-whoring ways. She hates him all the more when he calls herself the Duff, Designated Ugly Fat Friend. How. Dare. He.

And it doesn't help when she is partnered with the same old Wesley Rush. Urrgh.
It's always the class assignments though, innit?

It's at the same time range when Bianca and her defense starts to fall apart. Her family's broken, her dad has gone back to his drinking, her ex who had cheated on her is back in town, and with all these happening in her life, she reaches her breaking point. Now rather than sharing any of it with her best friends or going for a shopping therapy or venting it out on a vending machine, she chooses to go for an escape by...*suspense music* banging Wesley. That's right. Sex as an outlet. And yes, that's a hell load of meaningless casual sex just for the heck of it.

No strings attached.  Yep, that simple.

But just like it happens, it never stays so. Things get messed up for Bianca and she starts escaping. This time from the escape itself. Tch tch, B.

I wouldn't say Bianca's character is relatable, because it's not. This book makes me wonder if I'd been the Duff in my circle all along. The truth is, I don't care. Appearances never bothered me anyway. I'm pretty awesomesauce and I know it XD And though I have the tendency to escape from my problems when it gets too much, I know not to lose myself in my means of escape. And maybe it's just me (and I'm trying really hard to not sound holier-than-thou) but I can't wrap my head around the idea of having sex everyday with the guy someone claims to hate, specially if that makes you feel "dirty" and "used" afterwards.

One more thing that bothered me was the way girls were portrayed in this book. Most (read, all) of the girls at Bianca's school were boy-crazy. It's as if their life depended on the number of guys they hooked up with. Vikki's life-long goal seems to be hooking up with Wesley. Bianca's friend, Jessica is gaga over Harrison, the not-so-covert gay friend of Wesley. Even Bianca seems to have this humongous crush on Toby, the perfect boy from her school. I don't like when girls are reduced to mere men-attracting objects. I don't care is it is supposed to be moralistic or whatever, I do not like it in my books. What more I do not like is stereotyping. How is reading Wuthering Heights a "girly" thing? Someone, please DO tell me. Since I had to study it in my university days and I never once found it remotely girly, my curious mind wants to know -_-

As a character, Wesley is really fun and interesting to read. Since the book is from Bianca's pov, we don't get to see what Wesley thinks or does firsthand. Given the character sketch of Wesley, I would have loved seeing him in action. I really like the little things (as well as the big things) he dos for Bianca. And it's amazing to see how upfront he is about his feelings and wishes, for a change.

The DUFF is basically a teenage novel. It's light-hearted, fun and apart from the things that bothered me, I have enjoyed it thoroughly. The ending was movie-ish and I have to admit I like it. I would specially like to recommend it to those who have already seen the movie or are planning to see it, since it's WAY better. The books are always better.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh {REVIEW}

Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she's carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.
Author: Crista McHugh
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication Date:  July 28th 2015 
                                         by Crista McHugh


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
My Review:
Alexis, or Lexi (call her that only if you want to get your balls busted) is the Queen B of Eastline High. Not the type who does not care for a clique of her own, or a flock of ardent admirers, or making-boys-go-crazy over one flip of her hair. She is the feared one. She is the Queen Bitch.

Overall, I liked Alexis. As a character, she is pretty cool I'd say. Nobody messes with her. Students cower in front her. Even the Principal is scared to talk shit in front her. Which is a little unrealistic if you ask me. But all in all, I liked Alexis because she is a strong (though bitchy) and interesting character to read.

What I didn't like was how the plot was constructed. The blurb of the book promises mystery. Mystery of the hidden cameras in the girls' locker room. Mystery of finding the perpetrator. I feel the book spent 1/5 of the whole plot in doing that. It wasn't nicely built. I didn't find any suspense (and I really was looking for some). And finding out about the culprit was a letdown. Sure, I understand why the person did what s/he did. But I fell like the author had a great arc which she didn't do justice to.

As for other characters, I loved Richard. Between the only two friends of Alexis, Richard's character seemed more prominent and relatable. The male lead, Brett, however, was too good to be true. Sure, he was great. Perfect. But maybe that's the reason I felt the least connected to him. He is a real guy with real problems. But his character description sounds so generic I can't help yawning. He is the star quarterback. He is popular. He smells good (according to Alexis). Alexis' nemesis, Summer Hoyt, acts like she owns him. He is immune to Alexis' bitchy avatar and barbed remarks. He switched places with someone to be her project partner for god knows what reason. He makes amazing blueberry pies and plays horsy with his sisters. In short, he is the guy that makes almost every girl go 'Aww'. But while I liked him for all the above reasons, I just couldn't connect to him. What I did like though, is how the author didn't make Alexis go all gooey for him by the end on the book. I loved the decision she took and how the story ended. I wish there were more to the locker room mystery. I think I'll look out for the next book in the series, though I might not jump to get my hands on one.
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Revenge Artist (Break-Up Artist #2) by Philip Siegel {REVIEW}

They say money can't buy you love. Becca Williamson begs to differ.

Once upon a time, Becca was the Break-Up Artist, tearing apart unhealthy relationships at her school for just $100 via PayPal. But after a job went really wrong, she went legit for love and now brings couples together. Crushing on that supercute guy in Chemistry but too shy to say hi? Becca has the right formula. Pining for that artsy girl who vowed never to date a jock? Becca will ensure love conquers all. She's even engineered a relationship of her own: the funny, sweet and unbelievably cute Fred Teplitzky, the one guy who knows exactly what to say to make our unflappable heroine...well, flappable.

But before she can pick out a graduation robe and enjoy her last months at Ashland High, Becca has to deal with a new Break-Up Artist on the block. And this master manipulator is dead set on one thing: revenge. Someone is going around destroying all of the couples she's worked hard to unite. Now Becca has to outwit and outscheme her new foe in a dirty cat-and-mouse chase filled with hacked emails, video surveillance, reputation ruining and a few candy hearts. Especially when she realizes that the Revenge Artist's number one target is her and Fred.

Looks like there are no such things as clean breaks.
Author: Philip Siegel
Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: November 18th 2015 
                                                      by Harlequin Teen
Previous book in the series: The Break-Up Artist
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

It's funny how often I've come across series books where the sequels exceed the earlier installment/s by leaps and bounds. The same thing happened in case of The Revenge Artist. Like mentioned in my review of the first book of the series, The Break-Up Artist, there were many aspects I didn’t exactly like about that book. There were things that were good, but there were things that could have been a way lot better. I wouldn’t have attempted to read the second installment if I didn’t already have that. And may I admit that this one surprised me, and kind of exceeded my expectations for the book.
The Revenge Artist is the story about the same old Ashland High, the same mains character Becca, except this is Becca 2.0, the ex-break-up artist turned a relationship engineer, as she likes to call herself.

Becca no longer breaks up couple, rather does the opposite now. She plots and brings two people together. The story opens up with Becca and her relationship engineering which has 100% success rate so far. However, things get weird and troublesome when all the couple she made starts splitting one by one. Some blame her for all the misconduct. But she realizes someone is purposefully messing with her, and no matter what trick she resorts to find him/her out, the person seems to be always one step ahead of her.

I loved how Becca grew both as a character and as a person. In the previous book, she annoyed me for the most part. In this one, I liked how she has improved character and thought-wise. Still, some things never change. She is still a control-freak. She seems to be in the very familiar end-of-high-school crisis we all face. She, Val, Fred and everyone she knows will be going to different colleges, different places next year. Every moment she seems to be grasping hard what is left in the now, in the present moment. Aside from the mysterious person who is sending her candies and teddy bears, her life is complicated by the fact that Val, her best friend seems to be slipping away from her with each passing moment, and Fred seems to have a life-long plan for the two of them which freaks her out. Sure, there are moments where I still hated Becca, but hey, there definitely were some improvements.

I love how friendship is one of the recurring themes here, just like the first book. Half the time, Becca is worrying about Val and her friendship and not turning into a relationship zombie. I particularly like Val, because she seems to have improved as a character as well, though giving a more prominent voice would've been nice. One thing I didn't like was how Fred's character shapes up in the book. Since it is the second book, I expected him to be more improved. But his sole purpose seems to be Becca's boyfriend, again. Most of  All the things he says or does includes Becca. It really annoys me when a significant character in a book ends up as a mere ghost of that person. Another thing that bothered me was the culprit. I expected some nerve racking revelation about the revenge artist, but what I got was an average confrontation. If it's any consolation, the suspense and the mystery partially makes up for the discovery.

This book is definitely better than the first one, that is, if you had enough patience to finish the first one. Compared to The Break-Up Artist, The Revenge Artist isn't a complete disappointment.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare {REVIEW}

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

Book Title: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 5th 2011
                               by Simon & Schuster Children's, Margaret K. McElderry
Previous Book in the Series: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3)
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

This has to be one of my favorite books in the series. Firstly because there is Jace, and more Jace...and a lot more Simon. And after Jace's death and revival, things with him get pretty interesting and intense in this book. City of Fallen Angels is probably the most important book in the series, in terms of plot and character development.

First of all, I loved how the author portrayed Jace. Yes, I miss his kickassery. Yes, I miss his sarcasm and snide remarks. Sure, it breaks my heart to see him suffer. After all he's been through for the past three books, it seems like the author gets some sadistic pleasure torturing him at every chance she gets. But if it's any consolation, all the pain and suffering make Jace more real. Moreover the fact that he can't stop loving Clary and trying to be aloof to keep her away from danger even though it breaks him makes me wanna go and take him in a bear hug. But given how Jace is, he would either enjoy that too much or not at all, since, well, I am a mundane *goes in a corner*
“I suppose you've always been amazing at this stuff."- Clary
"I was born amazing." - Jace” 
Yeah you were *_*

One more thing I really like is how a great deal of this book is about Simon. The guy finally "came out" been rejected by her family, her mother. With the title of a daylighter and the mark, things are not really looking up for him. But he seems to have grown so MUCH! He still has that inherent funny, quirky side to him that makes me go 'Aww.'
"That's Clary; she's my best friend." Simon pocketed his phone. "And she has a boyfriend. Like, really, really, really has a boyfriend. The nuclear bomb of boyfriends. Trust me on this one.”
“Is this the part where you tell me you're secretly in love with me? Vampire mojo strikes again.”  
And I love how Jace and Simon seem to have bonded, albeit peculiarly, over time. These two remind me of old married couples.
"Hey," said Jace. who was sitting on an overturned speaker, looking at his cellphone, "do you want to see a photo of Alec and Magnus in Berlin?"
"Not really," said Simon.
"Magnus is wearing lederhosen."
"And yet, still no.”
“Jace perched on the windowsill and looked down at him. "You really don't get this bodyguard thing, do you?"
"I didn't even think you liked me all that much," said Simon. "Is this one of those keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer things?"
"I thought it was keep your friends close so you have someone to drive the car when you sneak over to your enemy's house a night and throw up in his mailbox."
"I'm pretty sure that's not it” 
“You look lousy,' he said.
Jace blinked. 'Seems an odd time to start an insult contest, but if you insist, I could probably think up something good.'
'No I mean it. You don't look good.'
'This is from a guy ho has all the sex appeal of a penguin. Look, I realize you may be jealous that the good Lord didn't deal you the same chiseled hand he dealt me, but that's no reason to-'
'I am not trying to insult you.' Simon snapped.”
 “Medium clever,” Simon acknowledged. “Like a cross between George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven and those MythBusters guys, but, you know, better-looking.”
“I’m always so glad I have no idea what you’re vacantly chattering about,” said Jace. “It fills me with a sense of peace and well-being.”
I realized I might be getting a restraining order from the author for abusing the quotes in such a way:/ And did I mention I missed Malec for the first half? Like hello! I was like bring babies back from their trip!

One good thing about Clary is she doesn't whine much here. Unlike the previous book, she seems tolerable. Similar to the previous book though, her life is pretty much revolving around Jace. Yes, she wants to learn to fight and become a good shadowhunter, but for the most part she is busy with Jace, in her head or in real. Like grow up already.

The whole plot with Lilith and possession kept me on my edge. Unlike the previous book, the plot is well-knitted and filled with proper suspense and thrill. I found myself hoping nothing bad happening to Jace because of the situation he is in. The buildup and the story progression is really, really good. City of Heavenly Fire not only deals with character and plot intricacies with a certain finesse but also makes room for further story-telling in the future. AND THAT ENDING.
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Monday, March 28, 2016

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare {REVIEW}

To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publication Date: March 24th 2009 
                               by Margaret K. McElderry Books 
Previous Book in the Series: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
My Review: