I confess - two words about this book that seemed to define it in a nutshell made me pick it up - Lesbian Cinderella.
As a little girl, this was one of...moreI confess - two words about this book that seemed to define it in a nutshell made me pick it up - Lesbian Cinderella.
As a little girl, this was one of my most read and of course a favorite fairy-tale. I must have watched the Disney version too, quite a lot of times. If anything beats this baby its perhaps only Beauty and the Beast. So when I found out a retelling of Cindy... it was cute; but the moment I realized this one is not just any retelling - but one with a twist, where Cindy ends up with ... well a girl this one intrigued me.
And so I picked up Lo' Ash.
Ash as already known, finds its roots in Cinderella, but that's where the similarities end. Other than the common dead parents, evil step-mom and two step-sisters - factor, Ash is nothing like the original tale.
Ash, short for Aisling is raised in a mystical world where fairies aren't merely legends but they co-exist with mankind, though they seem to be weakening. And to interact with their kind, is to invite trouble of the worst kind.
That however doesn't deter people from crossing the line.
Ash, despite knowing the risks involved of interacting with a fairy - finds herself in a weird sort of friendship/relationship with Sidhean. And as she finds herself strangely attracted to the male fairy... she also seems to be drawn at the same time to the beautiful and alluring huntress Kaisa who serves the king.
As Aisling finds herself being drawn between two different worlds, she finally comes to find happiness with the one she always was meant to be with.
Now, the writing in the book is nothing short of beautiful, I found myself rereading some passages only to savor the beauty of Lo' amazing words. That however doesn't make me want to rate the book higher than I have.
Though I am happy Ash found her happily ever after, I wasn't moved much by the story or more specifically the love story between Kaisa and Ash.
Luke Price & Violet Hayes seem to have the most fucked-up characters and lives, so far in the Coincidence series by Jessica Sorensen. They are als...moreLuke Price & Violet Hayes seem to have the most fucked-up characters and lives, so far in the Coincidence series by Jessica Sorensen. They are also your quintessential star-crossed lovers, since the twist at the end of the book sure makes it almost impossible for them to have a happily ever after, which sorta breaks my heart. They already have it pretty rough and this was just cruel, too cruel to happen to them.
I am a fan of the strong silent types, and it was implied vastly in the previous two books that Luke has some humongous issues at his home too, for him to not only understand but also respect Kayden' space and his need to keep aspects of his life under wraps even from his closest friend. But holy hell, I did not expect the level of mess he was in.
The only way Luke knows to keep himself sane is - not to get too close to anyone, drink a lot of booze and have one night stands with random strangers, until he bumps into Violet Hayes, literally.
Violet is unlike any girl Luke has ever met or slept with and the circumstances in which they have their first conversation, leaves Luke lusting for her and worried about her. The first he understands, relates, anticipates and is okay with. The second he is not.
Luke, does not get involved easily or make friends at the drop of a hat, but Violet seems to be the exception to his every rule. He finds himself laughing with her and starts sobering up as their relationship progresses.
In turn, Violet too finds herself, warming up to someone and caring about someone in her life after a really long time for the first time. The violent and brutal murders of her parents has deeply scarred Violet for life, life in the foster system has only fortified her beliefs that she has no one in the world and people don't really care about anyone, not unless they are seeking for something in return. Until she meets Luke and finds she may be wrong in her beliefs.
Just as things start to look up for them and it seems, finally there may be a chance they have a shot at being with that one person with whom they find themselves at their strongest and arent afraid to be seen at their most vulnerable moments, does a terrible, terrible event from their past spring up, leaving them shattered with the aftermath of their pasts.
The mystery of Violet & Luke' connection can be spotted pretty early in the book, so while their relationship becomes stronger and deeper, it's no surprise to the reader that it's just a disaster waiting to happen. The revelation of the truth is bound to drive a wedge between them and as a reader you too find yourself asking the question, what exactly can be the future of this relationship, given the past, which will always haunt them?
In The Redemption of Callie and Kayden, Sorenson allows her characters to grow beyond their strengths and rise above their fears, as they lean on each other and slowly start to realize, they need to get over their collective pasts and move on with their life and in the process, find they are not alone and the road to recovery though not an easy one, is the best thing they can allow to happen to themselves, if only they gather the courage to take it.
Callie & Kayden, finally open up about the traumas they faced, and in doing so, found the much needed and deserved happiness that has evaded them for the better part of their life.
As a reader, while I was glad to see them growing stronger as individuals and as a couple, the book somehow didn't really impress me much or leave an impression on my mind.
This was definitely a slow-burn, and while I realize, it needed to be this owing to the fragile state of affairs of the recent past, it did not excite me as a reader, which is why I couldn't rate this higher as well. The cliffhanger of this one, once again was a kicker, as it opens up a huge part of Luke' life, which in turn made me pick up The Destiny of Violet & Luke, sooner than I had anticipated, since I could not wait any longer to know more about Luke and discover, the blink-and-you-miss-her character of Callie' roommate Violet Hayes, from the first two books in the series.
It was a coincidence that brought this book to my attention only perhaps a week before I read it, when I was going over an article about the best fict...moreIt was a coincidence that brought this book to my attention only perhaps a week before I read it, when I was going over an article about the best fictional books of 2013. I may have perhaps stumbled upon its name, may have had a look at it as one of the releases out in the August of 2013 but never quite gave it a second glance and even forgot its existence. But it seems it was destined to be, so I came to read Longbourn.
Though it cannot be labeled as a retelling of Austen' Pride & Prejudice, Jo Baker' Longbourn does find its inspiration and roots in Lizzie & Darcy' romance. I quite honestly cannot recall the number of times I have picked up the book and read it, but I always found the scenes where Lizzie and Darcy take those walks and have their tête-à-tête to be my absolute favorites.
In this book, Baker allows us to move beyond those walks, she allows us to catch a glimpse of those poor gowns that Lizzie always managed to get shabby. She allows us to view the Bennett household in a new light, a new perspective. One that moves beyond the glitz and glamour of those balls and bonnets, one which allows us to view the hard work and sweat put behind them, their upkeeping and organizations. One where the nameless, faceless characters of Austen' world evolve into individuals with identities and characters that charm and intrigue you, that make you know them and perhaps even adore them. People who weren't exactly crucial to the plot of Lizzie & Darcy' romance, but who nonetheless can be attributed as the working force of the Bennet household, working almost round the clock that kept the place running like a well oiled machinery taking care of all those guests and balls, sewing, washing and mending those gowns, bonnets and shoes.
Baker' protagonists are the household staff of the Bennett house - the housekeeper Mrs. Hill, her husband Mr.Hill the butler, the two housemaids - Sarah and Polly and the new mysterious footman James Smith.
Prior to this book it hadn't even occurred to me that there could be more to the Bennett household, and it was a pleasant and a refreshing surprise to view characters I have long known in a new light. Baker hasn't just developed these new characters in her adaptation, but she has given new facets to the personalities of these long adored characters. like Mr. Bennett who isn't just a exasperated husband and father putting up with his wife anymore, but someone so much more, and not always perfect.
It will be a shame to spoil this novel so I wont be giving out any clues, nonetheless I can say this for sure the next time I pick up Pride & Prejudice it wont be just the same again. It may not go down well with all Austen lovers but I would recommend, that Longbourn be visited once more with a fresh outlook and fresh tale.
I once read this beautiful quote, words of one of the most beautiful women to have walked this earth.
“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure.
...moreI once read this beautiful quote, words of one of the most beautiful women to have walked this earth.
“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
Marilyn Monroe, said that. Now while those words were said in context to her, and can apply to possibly every and any person; more than anything I believe those words hold true for love.
Love should be patient, kind, selfless and what not but can it really be? Can you always be so giving and yet be happy. Let's admit to it, as humans we are designed to be a little selfish, a little irresponsible and in one simple word are - flawed.
All of us, each and every one of us. Those flaws may be superficial or may run deep. They can be endearing or they can be devastating, depending upon the extent of the flaw and the person who imbibes it.
Colleen Hoover' upcoming release is somewhat an exploration of that idea. The idea that each of us is a little flawed. We may not realize the flaw, we may perhaps try to the best of our abilities to not let the flaw define us. But sometimes that's not possible.
When someone as a person cannot be perfect, can our actions and the subsequent consequences of those actions be anything near perfect?
Ridge Lawson has the perfect life, or so he thinks until his paths cross with Sydney.
Sydney Blake thinks at 22, she has it all - a wonderful boyfriend, a great roomie/best friend, a steady job to support her education and while not the most awesome parents but still pretty great than most.
And then she meets Ridge.
The harmless and completely innocent attraction between these two, remains unspoken and unacknowledged initially. However when Sydney learns Hunter and Tori, her boyfriend and best friend are casual fuck buddies and have been in the 'arrangement', not only before she was in the picture but even while she was with Hunter she is hurt. The fact that her two-year old relationship and her friendship of three years, turns out to be a farce and ends on her twenty-second birthday, does nothing to improve her mood or when her assessment of life in general.
Homeless, jobless, friendless and single all in the span of a few hours on her birthday!
And while she thinks her life couldn't be anymore complicated, she is about to know its just the tip of the iceberg.
Moving in with Ridge, his best friend Warren and Bridgette, the girl Warren secretly loves but is to much of a coward to admit, remedies Sydney' homeless situation and also lands her a gig, so to speak.
What starts off as a simple collaboration to write lyrics, becomes more when the duo find themselves falling in love. Now normally, this wouldn't be a problem. But the thing is, it is. In Sydney & Ridge' situation because - a) she has recently ended things with a guy and this could be an unintentional rebound on her part, something she may be seeking to fill in the void left by Hunter & b) Ridge is in a serious relationship, has been for the past five years with Maggie and as much as he finds himself being attracted to Sydney, he would never cheat on Maggie or leave her for Sydney. Even though in doing so, he is only making things worse - for himself and everyone else around.
Sometimes the idea of love can be more strong, more powerful than the feeling itself and it takes a lot of effort and not to mention, a blow so huge for you to wake up and realize that.
This has been my first foray into Hoover' works - an author who enjoys an immense fan following in the YA genre and to be honest, I was doubtful - as these days I find some of the most absurd crap having hordes of groupies - that its a delight to say this - I am impressed.
Hoover wrote a complicated love story, that at no point bored me nor lost my interest.
I wish I could write so much more,especially about Ridge, but in doing so I may probably end up spilling things and that would be a shame not only since the book isn't due for another two months but also because it will actually ruin the most amazing aspect of this book - all I can say is this one is an absolute must read.
Rosamund Hodge gives a new twist to fan favorite Beauty and the Beast, in her début novel Cruel Beauty. Of all the versions of the...moreRating -3 ½ stars.
Rosamund Hodge gives a new twist to fan favorite Beauty and the Beast, in her début novel Cruel Beauty. Of all the versions of the tale that I have read or seen, this one is drastically different. And what makes it even more interesting is the mix of Greek Mythology in it.
Nyx Treskalion, has known from the age of 9, she is betrothed to be married to the Gentle Lord on her 17th birthday. The Gentle Lord being the prince of demons, who fulfills requests made by commoners, peasants and royals alike at a PRICE, of course. Though for the time being, each and every wish is fulfilled by the bargainer, the catch is the price, of course. Greed, envy, lust and even love lead people into making these bargains, but what truly is at the heart of each wish, every desire is one and the same thing - the idea that they deserve more, are meant for more and hence its their right to seek and acquire what has not been granted to them, what has been deprived to them, and it being a great injustice.
Nyx has to pay the price of a bargain her father made years ago with the Gentle Lord, when he granted her mother' wish to bore children.Though her parents are blessed with Nyx and her younger twin sister, Astaria, the happiness is short lived, since Nyx' mother dies in childbirth. Hence, the only two things Nyx has learned from a young age, is trained for from her childhood are both related to the Gentle Lord. One she is to marry him, and the second she is to destroy him, to avenge the death of her mother.
On her 17th birthday, Nyx is married off to the Gentle Lord and soon finds herself in his castle, a labyrinth in itself with its two residents - her husband who she is to address as either my darling lord or Ignifex and his servant Shade, his absolute lookalike and a shadow.
Slowly and steadily as Nyx tries to find ways to destroy her husband, she falls in love with him discovering the prince of demons is himself a captive in his ruined castle and so vastly different from what he is made out to be, so different from what she had imagined him to be.
First and foremost, I would just LOVE to give a big hug to the person who has designed and conceptualized the cover of this book, honestly its one of the most stunning and captivating covers I have ever seen. It scores an entire point in my ratings, frankly.
Hodge' writing is definitely brilliant here. I like the originality of some of the things put in here despite this being a retelling.
What didn't work for me much was the fact that not even 10% into the book and Nyx shares a kiss with Shade just because he helps her out. For a girl who is supposed to be this kick-ass heroine, who is made to believe she is a savior she finds herself thrown off kilter quite soon.
The greek mythology also gets a bit overwhelming at times, not to mention that I honestly found myself a bit cheated. Nyx is supposed to NOT fall for her husband but she does and that too without much resistance.
Had the plotting been more crisper, the mythology a little less I would have rated this book a bit higher.
I am honestly exasperated and baffled by her Mik & Zuzana in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. They...moreLaini Taylor sure has a way with words.
I am honestly exasperated and baffled by her Mik & Zuzana in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. They are loyal to a fault as friends and sometimes quite silly and even annoying. Honestly I am a tad bit critical of them. But it does not take away the fact they have a sweet love story.
In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor explores their romantic relationship as she takes the reader along the journey of Mik & Zuzana' first date and their first kiss. How the couple is attracted to one another and with get together with Zuzana making the first move.
The short novella, being the penultimate release before Dreams of Gods & Monsters hit next year is a refreshing break from the series which mostly revolves around the battles between Angels & Demons or in this case Seraphs & Chimaeras.
Taylor infuses the book with loads of charm and humor and I found myself smiling at the little antiques and silly dialogues all along the way. My favorite quote from the book happens to be
If this night is a fairy tale, then this is the happily ever after, right, or at least the beginning of it? And the thing about happily ever afters? Those princesses and woodcutter’s sons have bodies under their coats, too. I mean, what do you think happily ever after means? (I can’t be the only one who thinks this.)
Of course at the end of the book I also found myself craving for a cake, despite my resolution to loose a few pounds. Ouch!
It was as a little girl that I discovered my love of books and an appreciation for the visual arts. I would read all sorts of comics and fairy-tale bo...moreIt was as a little girl that I discovered my love of books and an appreciation for the visual arts. I would read all sorts of comics and fairy-tale books and eventually also watch adaptations of them. The wizard of Oz was a huge part of the time of my life as were many other movies. It was during the time I was perhaps an 8 or 9-year-old that I saw a horror movie for the first time. And got nightmares for weeks. The movie was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which I would learn was adapted from a book of the same name written by Robert Louis Stevenson.
As much as the movie horrified me , it also fascinated me. I remember wondering what could have served as the inspiration to the author for writing this book. I would find my answer while reading Nancy Horan' Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Horan has of course borrowed the title of this book from a poem written by Stevenson himself, to be used on his grave-marker.
I requested this title for the dual purpose of getting to know a bit about Stevenson, an author whose works I am yet to read but have enjoyed owing to movie adaptations and stage shows and of course to read Horan, an author I was planning to read for a while now.
Horan writes a fictionalized account of Stevenson' life, focusing specially on the circumstances revolving around his affair and eventual marriage to Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, a divorced mother of three who was also ten years his senior. Stevenson, fondly called Louis by his friends, met a distraught Fanny trying to come to terms with the loss of her youngest child Hervey.
It was strange and yet a bit fascinating for me to read a historical fiction book that has its inspiration in real people, characters who actually lived since it was new to me. While I was apprehensive and excited at the same time when I requested the book from Netgalley, I am glad I took the chance else I would have missed out on 2 great things - the chance to know a little bit about a man who has served as inspiration to countless authors and enriched our lives, especially childhoods with his works and also the opportunity to read the work of an author like Horan.
I really loved how Horan used these people as her inspiration and wrote a story that was firmly rooted in reality but never lost my interest. Usually when romances are written or a fictionalized account of someone' life is written it can be approached with an excitement, a curiosity - but that can only stay if the author manages to lure you in with his/her style and also doesn't make you feel cheated when dealing with facts. Horan' writing somehow transcended me into a space where I could imagine Louis' plight while he traveled aboard the steamship Devonia, Fanny' heartbreak when she lost her son Hervey or her anger and utter humiliation owing to the philandering ways of her husband Sam Osbourne.
Shakespeare has famously said the course of true love never did run smooth, that aptly applies to the love story of Louis & Fanny. But what is beautiful about them is they did make it.
Sometimes in a world full of heartbreaks and betrayals, when it seems that the recourse of true love may be perhaps present only in the fictionalized world of literature and cinema, it was beautiful and heart-touching to read about the life and love of two people, who were real and who made it together in the end despite all the odds they faced. Call me a romantic, but I ended this book with a smile on my lips for having read it, for having had the pleasure to travel back in time through Horan' work into the lives of two people who made me feel there is a thing such as soul-mates after all. This review can also be found at My Blog (less)
I had been meaning to read this book for a while now, only never got around to it. And I am so glad I did it. I was kinda losing my faith in the YA ge...moreI had been meaning to read this book for a while now, only never got around to it. And I am so glad I did it. I was kinda losing my faith in the YA genre to be honest.
Reason being, most books are half baked attempts at writing or they are simply too unrealistic. One major grievance I have with the genre is the almost always non-existent parents. Like really why do over 80% YA books have parents that are MIA is beyond me. I get it the book is not about them or even for mature audiences but is it so hard to have a sentence which explains the reason of them being MIA without it sounding like its lame.
I get it, there are parents who are really not cut out to be, they can be so consumed in their own life they don't bother much with the existence of their own kids, their own flesh and blood. There can be dead parents, a parent gone missing, someone who walked out, etc, etc, but 80 % of the writers just forget them. Like the need to offer an explanation does not exist.
My other issue with the genre is that often writers focus only on the hormones factor. There is definitely a lot of curiosity that develops around the time. The opposite sex suddenly becomes more interesting and the words that come to mean a lot are - first base, second and all the way. Yeah we get it, but can there be at least some semblance to a plot while all of that happens.
Jessica Sorensen came to my rescue literally, with this book. Just when I was beginning to think maybe I should cut back on my YA stack. Her book, has been definitely one of the most realistic portrayals of teen characters having a hard time in their life that I have come across. Prior to this I had never picked up any books by her, now I will try to read her work as often as possible, so long as it engages me.
In The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, the first in a series - Sorenson introduces us to Callie Lawrence and Kayden Owens, the protagonists of the series which deals with the issue of abuse.
Both Callie & Kayden have known each other all their life, but it isn't until an incident one evening at a party, thrown by Kayden' parents do they really start to know each other.
In a horrific moment, Callie walks in on Kayden being assaulted by his dad brutally and despite being afraid, intervenes and saves Kayden from further injuries and possibly death.
Prior to this, Callie has known the Owens to be the picture perfect happy family, they have had dinners at her place and her family has been invited over to Kayden'a few times as well; but the horrific reality of the Owen household was always concealed until this moment.
Kayden, the youngest of the three brothers, has been on the receiving end of his father' wrath for as long as he can remember, but with his elder brothers out of picture, he is done for. His brothers fed up and tired of the abuse by their father, and their mother' negligence to stand up for them or herself, moved out as soon as they turned 18. And while they could have reported their dad, to save their younger brother, they did nothing.
Their dad dons a completely different image for his public persona by hosting parties, donating to charities etc. So no one on the outside can even think of him being such a monster to his own kids.
While Callie has really loving parents and an older brother who do care for her, she has her own issues that plague her. She does not say it explicitly for the majority of the novel, but you get it that she was raped at the age of 12, on her birthday. In her own room, while there was a party going on outside, with the other children playing hide and seek.
The heinous act is committed by a person known to Callie, so well and his words and act not only make her feel dirty but also so repulsed by what has happened to her that she never comes out in the open with what happened to her to anyone. Except for her best friend Seth.
Seth who has scars of his own. The reminder of a horrific incident, that was inflicted upon him due to his sexuality. He too is a victim, just like Callie. He is the one person Callie is most comfortable with. They have a to-do list of things, that they have made, to help each other and themselves. overcome their fears and face their worst possible nightmares.
Until the night of the intervention, Callie and Kayden are mere acquaintances. She knows him as being a player on the football team her dad coaches, and she is known to him as the town freak for the major part. But that one moment, wherein Callie saves Kayden changes everything.
Kayden never had anyone stand up for him, he was so used to his dad beating the shit out of him, it never even occurred to him, someday someone could & would save him. He feels thankful to Callie and slowly starts to get to know her better while they attend college. He starts noticing Callie, and is attracted to her. The feeling is mutual. But there are obstacles.
For a first, Kayden is dating Daisy, a pretty girl who is a bitch (cliché, of course) and Callie is understandably freaked out at the mere thought of being close to anyone, let alone being intimate.
How these two mutually help each other overcome the trauma of their terrible pasts, is the story of the book. Although it doesn't end there. Nope.
The cliffhanger though not surprising is terrifying in maddening proportions.
What I loved about Sorensen' book was that though there is a lot of angst and sexual tension, it's not the only thing going on for the book.
Together Callie & Kayden have it in them to help each other out, but that does not necessarily mean they can have a happy ending. And while there is a lot of attraction that keeps pulling them together, there is a history they both have which helps them both understand each other and be a really great couple if they can make it. But they will have to work for it. Their love can be perhaps the best thing that happened to them or it could be possibly the worst. It all depends, whether they can help each other heal at all or would their relationship unravel both of them in the worst possible way, seeing that they can mutual dependance on each other comes across as being too symbiotic, which can be quite dangerous too.
One of the most popular classics, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux had been on my TBR for a long while now and I just got a chance to read it...moreOne of the most popular classics, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux had been on my TBR for a long while now and I just got a chance to read it.
The thing with classics sometimes is, they come with huge expectations. And sadly expectations aren't always fulfilled. As it so happened in this case, I was met with disappointment at the end of it actually.
While the book is a great mix of horror, mystery and romance its a bit tepid as per me. The phantom is a creepy guy who though gifted musically couldn't make me sympathize with him and Christine seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. All in all, this book is a forgettable classic for me.
When everyone is determined to present someone as a monster, there are two possibilities: either he’s a saint or they themselves are not telling the whole story. - Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
This book has left me with mixed feelings. I cannot hate the book but I don't really love it either and I really don't know what to make of that.
The reason I requested an ARC of it was owing to the peculiar title, the synopsis and my love of historical fiction.
The reason for my reaction particularly is the last quarter of the book. I simply cannot wrap my head around it. It just left me with such a huge sense of disappointment, because the build-up was quite good before Lafferty lost her way kinda.
The book opens in the city of Constantinople, in the year of 1826. And we are introduced to the Ottoman empire and come across princess Esma Sultan, renowned for her beauty, her harem, her palace and above all for her notoriety of having different Christian lovers every night and having them drowned after she has had her pleasure.
The repugnant and immoral work of drowning these men befalls on the hero - Ivan Postivich aka Ahmed Kadir, a renowned soldier who has been reduced to become the princess' feared drowning guard. It is he, who takes these men to their doom by plunging them into the depths of the Bosphorous.
Ivan a Serbian by birth was forcefully taken away from his widowed mother along with his sister at the tender age of 7, after which he is made to convert to Islam, is circumcised and is made to take the name of Ahmed Kadir to serve the Sultan of the empire. He rises through his ranks and is placed among Janissaries, the legendary guards of Constantinople. His enormous size, his horsemanship and his supremacy in the game of Cirit brings him to the notice of Sultan Mahmud II. And while Ivan holds no particular love for anyone or anyplace in his life, he does respect and honor the code of Janissaries, the only family he has known for most of his life and is fond of horses especially mares and in particular his Peri.
He hates the princess with all his heart believing she is a vile woman who not only disgraces herself and Allah, but also brings upon shame on her people. But most of all he hates her because she is the sole reason he is forced to commit murder of innocent men night after night. Although he won't admit to it, Ivan is deeply disturbed and haunted by his actions, however involuntary they may be on his part.
In what can be termed as only ironical, princess Esma Sultan seeks refuge from her own demons and nightmares by confessing her deepest darkest secrets to the one man who she has condemned to hell, by making him her confidante. She summons Ivan to her chambers night after night so that she may be relieved of the burden that is her past and the consequences of her actions.
Slowly but steadily you see a woman who is more than meets the eye. She is definitely no saint, but she is also not the monster people presume her as, as well. She who is the cause of the death of numerous men, has saved countless women too, by sheltering them in her harem and providing them with a refuge which is safer than even their own homes could be. These women, who were sold to her as slaves choose their own paths once Esma frees them on purchase, some choose to go back to their homes, their families, most stay. Some to not be back at the mercy of a torturing husband, others because they don't have anyone else.
As Ivan returns night after night to hear Esma recount her life, he learns though she leads the life of a princess, in the ottoman empire that does not really mean much. Yes she has been the favorite child of her father and is the dearest sister to the Sultan, but she is still very much like a prisoner owing only to her gender. Esma narrates to Ivan how she slowly realizes the meaning of what is it to be the daughter of a Sultan, to be a part of a harem and the horrors that she has had to witness owing to her lineage. They fall in love but cannot be together of course.
While this book in part did remind me of a number of characters and themes from the popular series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, a favorite of mine, I sadly cannot bring it upon myself to say it left me with the same level of satisfaction. Not even a fraction of it. Granted Martin' saga isn't all sunshines and roses and the man really leaves you horror stricken when he springs something like the Red Wedding or the execution of poor Ned Stark, you hate him and yet you love him for this brutality, this sick yet real approach towards his characters that he has. The good guy doesn't always win, heck he can have his head chopped off, while those who deserve it truly, are so lucky or should I say devious that not even a hair on their head is harmed.
While I do see a certain charm in Lafferty' penmanship, her skills as an author are definitely a lot above the average fare however I cannot find it within me to like this book.Had Lafferty taken a similar approach here to Martin, then perhaps I would have been a satisfied reader. What bothered me was when the Janissaries revolt, all twenty thousand of them are killed, but Ivan by sheer luck is saved from the carnage.
The ending felt rushed, contrived and conveniently wrapped up in a bow to me, had it been different I would have rated this book a bit more.
I was provided an advance readers copy for reviewing courtesy of Amazon Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of the book. This review is in no way influenced and is solely based on my opinion.
I don't know whether to think of it just as a sort of terrible coincidence or bad luck that I happened to read two extremely hyped books back to back...moreI don't know whether to think of it just as a sort of terrible coincidence or bad luck that I happened to read two extremely hyped books back to back and could not bring myself to finish either of them.
Lafevers' Grave Mercy kept popping in on my recommendations at Amazon and Goodreads when I was at either of the sites and finally after months of being pestered by it I finally picked up the damn book.
Only to find it extremely nauseating.
Grave Mercy is told from the first person point of view by the book' protagonist Ismae. a girl marked as the daughter of St. Mortain, the god of Death and is hence called one of the handmaidens of death.
Now while the premise is interesting and the beginning fairly good, watching Ismae being shunned and treated horribly at the hands of her father and new husband, you are bound to feel sorry for the girl. Only that pity ends along with the first chapter as magically after years of abuse, Ismae is rescued by some priest and whisked off to the convent dedicated to those who serve St. Mortain.
Here as is clear the god of death rules. And hence the nuns and other people at this academy not only serve him but also teach their disciples his ways. In short, they train girls to become assassins, taking them in as young as possible and training them once they are mature enough.
Ismae somehow being the daughter of such a god is blessed with powers and is immune to poisoning of any kind.
So far so good.
Then comes the political angle of this book, with the Duchess in danger by the French who wish to overthrow her. So along comes our hero Gavriel Duval and there goes our plot.
Yep, how does a girl who is training to be an assassin exactly become a whiny heroine who can only blush and feel 'his heated touch' and constantly think only about having him out of his breeches and under her skirts forms the rest of the tale (Of course in between killing people and being a complete dimwit while at it, to protect the duchess) is beyond me.
This book isn't coming out for another month so I am gonna avoid the spoilers in my review here as much as I can. But since I damn loved this book so...moreThis book isn't coming out for another month so I am gonna avoid the spoilers in my review here as much as I can. But since I damn loved this book so much I can't simply not write something about it.
My first crush as a 12 year old was a guy who dies at the end of the movie, and all I could think about for the next few weeks was darn, he is such a cutie. Why? Why did the director have to kill him? Why couldn't they have had a happy ending?
It was for the first time, that I can think of that I can remember I was rooting for a happy ending, that I was sad about a fictional character' death. That I couldn't stop thinking of a smile that made my heart skip a bit.
The movie - Titanic and the guy .... Jack Dawson, played by the oh so cute Leonardo Dicaprio.
Yep, still makes me feel like a 12 year old.
TBS kinda reminded me of Jack & Rose' love-story. Their lives couldnt have been any more different.
Lilac LaRoux, the daughter of the richest man in the universe doesn't lack anything, but couldnt be any more lonely. Major Tarver Merendsen is a celebrated war hero at eighteen and cannot bring himself to like the ways of the rich and famous.
Together on Icarus, the most expensive luxury spaceliner their paths cross and before they know it, their life is about to change.
The Icarus is yanked out of space and Tarver and Lilac, find themselves to be the sole survivors of the catastrophe when they crash land into a strange planet.
As Tarver and Lilac, deal with the consequences of the incident and try to find a way to get help, so that they can be rescued and in the course of trying to survive, fall in love.
And since I cannot spill the beans, I won't say much but just this. For once, I am partial to a heroine of a YA book and am so glad that Kaufman & Spooner have wrote Lilac as someone I truly loved a lot. She wasn't your average annoying YA heroine, but someone to reckon with.
All I can say is pick up the copy of TBS as soon as it hit shelves people, you shouldn't miss this one.
There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - whew! That is a mouthful.
T...moreThere Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - whew! That is a mouthful.
That is the longest title for a book I have ever read. Even an abbreviated form of it has more than 10 words.
I wasn't looking for something new or a classic when I picked this one up. Sometimes you need a break from the norm, which was exactly what I was looking for.
I came across this anthology a couple of days ago when I was looking for Neil Gaiman' short story collection 'Unnatural Creatures' though both the books have nothing in common except them being anthologies.
While Gaiman' collection was fantasy based this one is on romance.
The common thread that runs through all these stories is a singular theme that binds them. Family especially maternal love.
The title of the book pretty much gives an idea of the mood of the book. The sole reason I picked up this book today was well I dint want to read anything pretentious - I just wanted a read I knew was what it seemed like. Nothing new or exciting or even trying to be.
These romances aren't your average boy meets girl - falls in love - they overcome issues and live happily ever after type. All of these stories explore the world in its grim reality. These are not stories depicted in candy-floss romances that view the world through rose-tinted glasses. Rather they shake the very foundations of a perfect love and a beautiful world. They embark on journeys of forbidden love and love doomed from the beginning. They delve into a sweet tale sometimes and at times a grotesque affair.
The one I enjoyed the most was - 'The Goddess Parka'. And not because of the ending but rather because of the characters.
Not the most original or innovative, however could be read once.
This one is a quick, boring read that is utterly perfect for the time when you want to switch off your brains and want something mindless so that you...moreThis one is a quick, boring read that is utterly perfect for the time when you want to switch off your brains and want something mindless so that you may tune out the random buzzing in your head. Okay no it wont help with any buzzing rather it would kinda make you mind whirl a bit since its so so predictably bad.
But then again you don't always want to read brilliant literary works especially not when the only purpose of your reading is to kill time. I read this one while I was waiting on things and did not want anything too distracting or engrossing to make me take my mind off completely from my task at hand and yet help me pass the time. I read this with music on that I was listening and still it did not matter much.
Nalini Singh' Gabe and Jessica are nothing out of the ordinary, they enter a marriage of convenience. He needs an heir since he has turned 35 and thinks might as well make good on the swimmers while they are still in the prime before its too late and she needs money to save her family property.
Experienced man who is so good in bed that he can make a woman come just by looking at her ends up with a oh so not experienced virgin who becomes putty in his hands and unleashes the sex goddess within her the moment he puts his hands on her.
They don't wanna fall in love for their own reasons but can't help it when they get married and are having the best sex of their lives. No wait that is applicable only to him - since she was a virgin and can't hold a candle to his performance.
Misunderstandings, lame fights ensue, his dark past comes out and woman conquers the man and makes him human.