A sparkling breath of fresh air, this book captures the spirit of friendship in the most charming and sauciest manner possible.
The book is a far cr...more A sparkling breath of fresh air, this book captures the spirit of friendship in the most charming and sauciest manner possible.
The book is a far cry from the regular breed of YA novels which seem to dwell on the fixed notions that young girls basically fall into two main groups: One, the hatefully pretty, perpetually scheming Prom Queens with their nastier than “week-ol’ milk” cliques! And at the other end of the rainbow, the brave under-dog...not much to look at, the general do-gooder, the faithful confidante and to nicely round it off, more often than not, armed with an IQ formidable enough to gain entry into MENSA.
Breaking the age-old mould with insouciance, Ann Brashares creates a world where it is possible for four friends, as different as chalk and cheese to form a deeply satisfying friendship. They care for each other, love each other, put aside fights and misunderstandings with a careless shrug and offer unstinted, non-judgmental support any time, everytime.
Lena, the reluctant beauty; feisty, big-tushied Carmen; the anti-everything, mad-at-the-world Tibby and the over-achieving, statuesque athlete Bridget are friends; literally since birth (their mums shared a preggers-aerobics class). Having grown up in each other’s pockets, along comes a summer when the four are parted for the first time. Lena is off to Greece to meet her grandparents; Carmen to spend some quality time with her divorced dad in South Carolina; Bridget to Baja, California for summer camp and Tibby, the impotent rebel is stuck at home, cutting a minimum wage at Wallman’s.
A well-worn pair of soft jeans bought at a thrift-shop by Carmen but never-tried becomes an unexpected bond to hold the four pals together. Despite their vastly different body proportions, the seemingly-magical pair of jeans fits each of them like a dream……hugging the right curves, resting gracefully on the varying waistlines, making each teen feel sexy and infusing them with much-needed confidence.
They make a pact (complete with a set of serious-cum-nonsensical rules) to circulate the pants amongst themselves throughout their vacation, passing it on when the time is right. Thus begins the saga of the Sisterhood……
As the long, glorious summer unravels, the pants become a source and symbol of the generous support which the sisterhood provides to each of the four buddies as they face unwieldy situations. Sucker-punched by new emotions, the friends absorb confidence from their ever-reliable ‘magical pants’. For each, the pants seem to be infused with the strength and support of their fellow friends.
Brimming with energy and vitality, the book effortlessly hops between the four friends as they deal with life, love and all-things ‘teen-achy’. One of the best coming-of-age books in a long time, it’s a must read for everyone who is-a-teen, was-a-teen and will soon be-a-quakin’ in your boots-teen.
It’s a tough world out there, but when you got your SIST –AHS, life’s just a wee bit more bearable. (less)
Having celebrity parents is a double-edged sword. And when they happen to be temperamental IMMORTAL Greek Gods...it’s a whole new ball game.
Artemis, T...moreHaving celebrity parents is a double-edged sword. And when they happen to be temperamental IMMORTAL Greek Gods...it’s a whole new ball game.
Artemis, The Goddess of The Hunt is M.I.A. and Annabeth, Percy’s “good friend” and fellow half-blood is missing AND in grave danger. Two new undetermined and powerful half-bloods, Bianca and Nico di Angelo have made an appearance. Luke and his dastardly plans of resurrecting Kronos are in full swing but now he seems to have an even more chilling ordeal set up for the heroes. Hot headed Thalia (daughter of Zeus), aloof and courageous Zoë Nightshade (the lieutenant of Artemis’s Huntresses), tin-can chewing Grover, Bianca and the long-suffering but utterly brave Percy Jackson are soon off on a new and uncertain quest.
Dealing with bickering quest-mates, rescuing hapless creatures, battling skeletal warriors, trying to stay sane through prophetic nightmares and struggling not to offend the Gods...our good hero does it all.
The Titan’s Curse is a rollercoaster ride loaded with mythological tidbits and the promise of relentless adventure. As always, Riordan delivers. (less)
HALF-BOY, HALF-GOD, ALL HERO!!....the Tagline says it all. Percy Jackson is your quintessential pre-teen, dyslexic and suffering from ADHD. Getting in...moreHALF-BOY, HALF-GOD, ALL HERO!!....the Tagline says it all. Percy Jackson is your quintessential pre-teen, dyslexic and suffering from ADHD. Getting into unexplainable scraps and shuffled from school to school, he pretty much accepts the fact that he’s destined to be......well, one big Loser.
Little does he know that he’s a ‘Half-Blood’, an off spring of a powerful Greek God and a mortal woman. And there is a special place for him, “Camp Half-Blood” which houses and protects other such demigods, nymphs, satyrs and the rest of the celestial brigade.
But every thing is not peachy-keen in heaven. The Greek Gods are very much active in the western world, quibbling like normal siblings and ready to wage war at the drop of a hat. An important weapon has gone missing and unless it is recovered soon and handed over to its rightful owner, the Gods are willing to unleash their fury on the world.
So newly discovered demi-god, Percy has been given the dubious honor of retrieving the missing weapon. Accompanied by mates Annabeth and Grover, Percy sets off on his quest, battling icky monsters and vaulting over tricky situations.
The plot never loses it’s quirky pace and dangerous surprises spring up at every corner. Rick Riordan has dragged Greek Mythlogy out of the musty ol’books and given it a fresh and humorous angle. With every page, you find yourself ardently praying for a sequel, which I am glad to say.....THERE IS!!! (thank the Gods, temperamental as they may be!!!)(less)
Perfect read to drive away the cobwebs of the mind. The innocence of the kids.....their charming take on life.....all nicely rounded off with Cosby’s...morePerfect read to drive away the cobwebs of the mind. The innocence of the kids.....their charming take on life.....all nicely rounded off with Cosby’s trademark dry wit.
One particular gem that sums it all up:
Art Linkletter asked a girl of six, “Melissa, what would make a perfect husband for you?”
Melissa replied, “A man who could give me a lot of money and loves horses and let’s me have twenty-four kids.”
“And what do you want to be when you grow up?” …………… …………… …………… ……………
Suze, ghost mediator extraordinaire is finally in a relationship with the delectable ghost, Jesse. But she’s also been trying to curb that inner voice...moreSuze, ghost mediator extraordinaire is finally in a relationship with the delectable ghost, Jesse. But she’s also been trying to curb that inner voice which niggles and asks uncomfortable questions: What kind of a future does she have with a spook? How will she sustain a relationship with a man who is visible only to her? And what about the fact that she will age and pass through different stages of life, but Jesse will remain eternally young?
Adding fuel to the ghostly fire is Paul Slater, unscrupulous fellow-mediator. He has no qualms about playing underhanded tricks to break up the golden-pair. And then he comes up with a plan…. Paul having the ability like all mediators to time-travel will travel back to 1850 and prevent Jesse from ever being murdered and having an untimely death. But this 'humane' plan has one little glitch. It will mean that Suze will never remember that she knew and loved a ghost called Jesse DeSilva.
Will Suze do the right thing and finally provide peace to Jesse’s wandering soul?...or will she hush her noisy conscience and hold on the best thing that has ever happened to her otherwise crazy life?
Meg Cabot winds up the teen-series in summer blockbuster style…lots of laughs and enough drama to keep the emotionally involved teary-eyed (less)
I was expecting my return trip to be something of a dampener. I had finished the series…and after all, how many more surprises could the first book un...moreI was expecting my return trip to be something of a dampener. I had finished the series…and after all, how many more surprises could the first book unveil? The magic must have faded over time and the characters must surely have achieved the status of house-guests who had overstayed their welcome.
Predictably enough, I was proved wrong. It offered me new avenues of thought. It was interesting to see how the complex and brave heroes of the later years started off as grimy, nervous, ickle-firsties!
It was a time for firsts: neglected, ill-treated Harry’s discovery that he is a wizard – an actual-honest-to-goodness-magic, wand-wielding-wizard. The discovery that he had a family who loved him and lost their lives to save him……that there exists a fantastic magical world where’s he much, much more than just an unwanted kid who stays under the stairs. It is also the first time he meets his to-be best friends, not knowing that it would be the start of unforeseen but memorable adventures for them.
My personal delight lay in the re-introduction to some of the finest characters I could hope to find sandwiched in one series: Dumbledore, McGonagall, Ron, Hermione, Neville Longbottom, Peeves, Filch, Malfoy,Nearly-Headless Nick, Hagrid, Snape, Voldemort, Fred and George, the Dursleys and of course…a truly well-crafted hero…The Boy Who Lived.
I also liked the fact that Rowling didn’t patronize her young readers. She spoke about death and other sensitive topics that usually don’t find their way into a children’s book. With minimal sugar-coating…she created realism in a world of improbability. It’s not all fun and games…at the end of the day, Harry has to face his demons. He gets his first opportunity to prove that he’s more than just the kid with a glorious and mysterious past.
The book sets an adequate pace, unsolved questions and a strong foundation for the rest in the series. It engages, thrills and satisfies. Needless to say……the rest is history.(less)
Life at the Dursleys is the usual merry-hell, accentuated this time around by the presence of Aunt Marge (horrible sister to the terrible Mr.D). Const...moreLife at the Dursleys is the usual merry-hell, accentuated this time around by the presence of Aunt Marge (horrible sister to the terrible Mr.D). Constant barbs make Harry lose his temper and unknowingly inflate Aunt Marge; a serious bit of non-permissive underage magic. Resigned to the fact that he will be expelled from Hogwarts, Harry sets off on his own and unfortunately ends up meeting the Minister of Magic himself (talk ‘bout bad luck!).
But he gets off scot-free. Why? Because a spot of underage magic is nothing compared to the more pressing matter of an escaped convict, Sirius Black. A follower of Voldemort, Black has broken out of the wizard prison Azkaban for the apparently express purpose of getting to Harry.
So another year at Hogwarts starts... Finally there’s a new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher who seems to know his parchments: Remus Lupin. There are much-awaited trips into the glorious Hogsmeade. But there is also a wee bit of puzzlement for Harry as to why people keep telling him NOT to go looking for Sirius Black. After all, you don’t go looking for your prospective-murderer! But Black’s past is entwined with Harry’s and there’s serious evil underfoot.
Adding to the joyous proceedings are the shudder-worthy Dementors. This was Rowling’s imagination at it’s scariest best. Faceless, cloaked figures with decaying hands who feed on human happiness, they leave despair and depression in their wake.
Infact,Rowling introduced some of her most innovative creations in this book: The Knight-Bus, Dementors, Boggarts, Hogsmeade, The Marauder’s Map, Patronuses, Hippogriffs, Animagi and the Time-Turner. She also created two extremely memorable characters in Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
The book was perfect in every way: narration, build-up and unexpected surprises …all woven together with the trademark British humour. (less)
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 releases on July 15’ 2011. And with it, ends one of the grandest obsessions of our times. No, I’m not m...moreHarry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 releases on July 15’ 2011. And with it, ends one of the grandest obsessions of our times. No, I’m not mocking it. Far from it. I am an unabashed member of the Potter Brigade. I have read the entire series more times than I can count. I have caught the movies when they hit the theatres (and cribbed about the disparities in plot). I have scoured through exquisite FanArt and imaginative FanFiction. I have followed the wise homilies of the great Dumbledore and treated him as my Spiritual Guru. I have rooted for Hermione and Ron’s almost-there-but-not-quite-yet love story. I have lusted after Sirius and loathed Umbridge, both in equal measures. I have attempted to make ButterBeer (and succeeded). I have done a spot of wishful thinking and hoped that Hogwarts has misplaced my letter (well, not really...but yes). And yes.............I have stuck with Harry till the very end.
So obviously, with the end in sight, I HAD to reread the series. And when I reached Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, I realized that alas....alackk....and also, erlack....I had not written a review on it. *shock* *horror* *convincing Victorian swoon*.
Soon I recovered from the fiendish blow and penned down a wholly biased review. Here goes:
------------------------------------- The Quidditch World Cup followed by The Triwizard Tournament form the backdrop for the fourth instalment. As The Quidditch Finals culminate in the sudden appearance of the DARK MARK, a wave of panic spreads through the Wizarding world. The Dark Mark is the sign of ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’; a mark that heralds the return of pure, undiluted evil. Our wee Potter isn’t feeling too uppity either. The scar on his forehead has been ailing him; another indication that ol’Voldy is either very near of is feeling particularly murderous. Sirius (in hiding) is worried and sends comforting owl mails at regular intervals. Hermione is worried and races to the library at regular intervals. Ron is worried and turns an unbecoming shade of red at regular intervals.
So when Harry is chosen by the magical Goblet of Fire as one of the contenders for The Triwizard Tournament, it’s only natural that everyone starts having kittens; left, right and center. The tournament which claims to be an attempt to improve relationships in the Wizarding Community is no game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Past history reveals that the tasks are dangerous and injurious to health in every sense of the word.
Soon, Harry is battling dragons, merpeople, unexpected jinxes, hexes and the odd Blast-Ended Skrewt. But it’s the end that decides it all. In a startling twist, Harry will soon face a task that will make The Hungarian Horntail Dragon seem like a mild-mannered lapdog. -------------------------------------
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire can adequately be summed up in one word : DRAMATIC.
Whether it’s the sporting fervour whipped up at The Quidditch World Cup or the wave of excitement and danger that holds together at The Triwizard Tournament, J.K.Rowling is the Mother Monster of Event-Managers. A host of enticing new characters make their entry : Cedric Diggory, Mad-Eye Moody, Barty Crouch (Sr. & Jr.), Ludo Bagman, Madame Maxime, Viktor Krum, Karkaroff, Rita Skeeter and.....The Dark Lord himself.
Despite being a fairly heavy book, the pace never wanes. One endearing quality of Rowling’s writing is that no fact or seemingly odd bit of trivia is ever merely that. Somewhere, somehow, she will dip into her own personal Pensieve, extract the minuscule detail and entwine it with the plot. So while reading her books, remember to be in a state of (as Mad-Eye Moody would term it) “CONSTANT VIGILANCE”.
The fledgling romances serve as endearing sub plots: Harry and Cho, Ron and Hermione and Krum and ofcourse, Hagrid and Madame Maxime. Snape continues his reign of unabated nastiness. Malfoy is his usual charming self. Cedric (the future Mr.Edward Cullen) is a wholly likeable character who stays with you till the end. Dumbledore is pitching his perfect performance as usual : whether it’s turning a blind eye to the never ending pranks, or giving a fair listening to an improbable tale or doling out wisdom in his unique way or standing tall, eyes ablaze in the face of dark times.
Tight storyline, shocking twists and throat-clogging moments. In all, a magnificent read. (less)
I am not exactly an unbiased soul when it comes to reviewing a Harry Potter book. My Potter reviews wax lyrical, are full of praise and admiration and...moreI am not exactly an unbiased soul when it comes to reviewing a Harry Potter book. My Potter reviews wax lyrical, are full of praise and admiration and rarely do negative words get typed in.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix however was a little roadbock to my motherhen express. Too many pages, too much information and too, too rambling in it’s narrative. Do a vanishing hex on a handful of chapters and it would have been another perfect gem from Rowling’s desk.
The basic premise of the fifth book was that the magical world is now divided into two warring factions : a) Those who believe that Voldemort is back and are taking the necessary steps to face the possibility of a second war. b) Those who don’t believe that Voldemort is back and are taking every unnecessary and abysmally foolish step to thwart Team a)
Harry Potter has returned to his fifth year in a troubled state. The wizarding world at large (except for his loyal friends) believe that Dumbledore has gone senile and Harry is nothing more than an attention seeking git. Harry has to deal with people thinking and voicing out loud that the Potter lad has finally gone...to put it a tad inelegantly...potty. He has to face the simpering wrath of Prof.Umbridge, the newest Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher who has been planted by the Ministry to keep her noxious nose in the affairs of Hogwarts. He has to bear the mixed romantic blessing of an interested Cho Chang; who snogs him and weeps all over his cloak at regular intervals.
But all this pales in comparison to Harry’s newest problem. In his dreams, Harry appears to be travelling into the mind of Voldemort. He seems to share an undesired mental link with The Dark Lord. Whether Voldy is ecstatic with joy or bloodthirsty with rage, Harry senses it. While this situation might prove to be useful to Dumbledore and other members of ‘The Order of The Phoenix’, it has a nasty sting at it’s tail. The mental link is reciprocal, which means that Voldemort can also make roadways into Harry’s mind....delve into his darkest secrets and worst of all....actually possess him.
If Rowling would have stuck to this basic plotline, it would have been an engaging read. No meandering, just straightforward story-telling. Sadly, it unravelled into a heavy lo-oong winded read.
On the plus side, new characters like Tonks and Luna Lovegood make an interesting addition. Bellatrix Lestrange is deliciously deranged. Sirius Black, my favourite bad boy, got enough pages devoted to him to exhibit varied nuances of his character. The roles of Ginny and Neville Longbottom are smartly fleshed out, laying the groundwork for future full-fledged appearances.
Harry makes a departure from his perfect-hero portrayal. Gone is the unsure, slightly shy, self-deprecating, wee Potter lad. What we now have is an impatient teenager who exhibits bouts of rage tempered with confused silences. Hermione and Ron provide able support to their grumpy best friend. Sadly, their fledgling romance has been put on the back-burner. Dumbledore is magnificent in his stellar role as “The Only One He Ever Feared”.
The one good thing about this book is that Harry may finally learn why the darkest, wizard ‘moste-eville’ has been hounding him since his childhood.
In all, Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix could have been shorter and less of a stomach-crusher. It’s a long tale with flashes of brilliance and one distinctly heart-wrenching moment. (less)
The movie is releasing in a couple of days and I needed a refresher-course. After all, if I am going to be one of those *p-shaw* *tch*, the-book-was-l...moreThe movie is releasing in a couple of days and I needed a refresher-course. After all, if I am going to be one of those *p-shaw* *tch*, the-book-was-loads-better-than-the-movie types, then I better get my facts right.
Harry Potter is now a full-fledged teen hero. He has heard ‘The Prophecy’ and has resigned himself to the fact that he will ultimately have a showdown with good ol’Voldy wherein one of them will definitely kick the bucket. All around the wizarding world, the Death-Eaters are wrecking mayhem. Harry, Hermione and Ron are effectively tangled in a rush of hormones and unexpected attractions. And Snape (at his nastiest best), has finally got the much-desired position of 'Defence Against the Dark-Arts' teacher.
Enough to make a normal teenage wizard go barkin’mad.
But Dumbledore, being the supremely cool guardian/ protector/magical Grand Poobah that he is…has decided that it’s time for Harry to know exactly what he’s up against. Trips into Voldemort’s formative years (courtesy, The Pensieve) reveal that killing the former is not going to be a field-trip. His Mighty Big-Headedness had come up with the idea of ‘Horcruxes’. He had split his soul into six fragments and enclosed them in different objects with the seventh fragment residing in his own body. These objects could be anything, anywhere and to kill Voldemort means having to track them down first and destroy them. Ace villain move, that.
So accompanied by Harry, Dumbledore sets off, on what the latter would call: to pursue the flighty temptress, adventure.
A relatively snappy read, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is engaging. After wading through the onerous 'Order of The Phoenix', things finally seem to be going somewhere. The book is a tribute to the brilliance of Albus Dumbledore and is woven with the usual blend of humour, emotion and unexpected surprises.(less)