Monday, July 3, 2017

Series Review: Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews

Content Warning: This series is not suitable for younger readers and is classified as adult urban fantasy.

This is one series that should not be judged by it's terrible covers. The covers are tacky and absolutely horrendous which must be scaring away potential readers. I'm a huge fan of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, which is why I bought a copy of Burn for Me as soon as it was published. 

Burn For Me (Hidden Legacy #1)

The book follows Nevada Baylor a paranormal private investigatore with a concsience as she ends up being entangled in a very complex controversy. Her involvement in this case, leads her to meet the enigmatic Mad Rogan. Both characters are sketched out very well and the storyline is very engaging. At times, I could see a lot of parallels to Kate Daniels, especially in the characters. Despite the glaring similarities the witty dialogue had me in splits. The ending was slightly predictable but the cliffhanger ending made me want to desperately get my hands on the sequel. 

The reason I am so fond of Andrews' work is because of the way she writes female characters. The female characters have heart and that realness that is not found in all works. You want to root for the females not because they are the protagonists but because they inspire you to be better. While there are some problems with the alpha male characterisation of Rogan, the witty and real dynamic helps the reader overlook his flaws. Nevada is very aware that Rogan is mad and controlling and she calls him out for it, something I love. I also love the lack of insta-love, insta-love is my biggest pet peeve nowadays. 

Overall, as I have read the entire series, I can vouch that this book is at times the weakest novel in the series. 

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2)

Source: Edelweiss (Thank you Avon for the copy!)

I think this might be my favourite book in the series because of how absolutely hilarious it is.There is this scene with the ferrets which made me die from laughter.This book isn't perfect but I ended up reading this in a DAY because of the long wait. The first book came out in 2014 and this one was released in 2017. The author had warned in advance on their personal blog that there was a delay but the wait was absolute torture. I wanted to read more about Nevada especially after the killer epilogue of the first book. If you've not started the series yet, you're lucky because you barely have to wait for the third novel to release. 

White Hot builds on the relationships and the secrets hinted in the first book. I enjoyed how it focused more on family dynamics and the genetic history of Nevada. I love Nevada's family so the focus was very welcome. I would have preferred a slower build up of the romance but the way it was handled was in a satisfactory way. The new characters that are introduced are interesting and I love the insight into the detective agency and how it works. 

Overall, the witty narrative made this an INSTANT addition to my reading list despite some of its faults. 

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3)

Source: Edelweiss (Thank you Avon for the copy!)

The blurb of this novel made me extremely worried. The blurb makes you believe that the focus of the novel would be on how Nevada handled jealousy. Fortunately, the sub-plot is handled excellently. There is no pettiness and unnecessary misunderstandings. The book ties up all the ends while leaving space for a spin-off or a continuation if there is interest. It's a good way to end the series but it left me wanting more of the world. I guess that shows how well the series is written as you don't feel like saying goodbye to the characeters. 

I would love to read anything that features the Baylor family. Generally I fangirl about the romantic pairing but in this series, the family dynamic shines. It is the heart of the series and makes it stand out from all other series which seem to ignore normal family dynamics. The drama is realistic as are the conversations. The series did seem rushed at parts but it might be because I'm used to the slow but steady plot build up found in the Kate Daniels series. 

Overall, I would recommend the entire series for those looking for a witty, hilarious, urban fantasy set in an interesting new world that features strong characters. 

My Rating:

I love it

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)

by V.E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King--George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered--and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London--a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:
I had heard a lot about this book on twitter and I was delighted to grab an ecopy when it was on sale.Though I had bought and started reading the book almost a year back, I couldn't finish it. I finally finished it a month back and I am very glad I did but I'm not sure the book deserved the hype.

Slow Start and Information Dump

The book starts off well but then it stagnates. There is a specific world which the reader is waiting to re-enter. All the incidents leading upto that tried my patience. I wasn't interested in being introduced to a new character and given an info dump at weird places. In my opinion this weird build up was just frustrating and didn't help me form a deep connection with the protagonists.

World Building
The biggest plus of this book, is the world building. The amount of effort the author takes to show and tell the diverse nature of each London , was the only reason I stayed with the novel.The artifacts that fascinate Kell started fascinating me as I truly began to see the world around him through his descriptions.

One of the most fascinating male characters I have read. What makes this book even more fantastic is the fact that I want to know more about him even after seeing his point of view. There are so many mysteries around Kell that you want to unravel. 

I'm generally quite fond of adventurous heroines that have an innate strength. I wasn't fond of Lila though. I found her to be extremely headstrong and very stupid. Even though she is not a damsel in distress, she really reminded me of those characters.She is one of the main protagonists in the book but I really had no interest in reading her point of view. 

Strong second half
The second half of the novel was very interesting but the amount of time it took for the story to build up would not appeal to those who do not want to put in the effort. If you want to read an action packed fantasy, I would suggest you look elsewhere.

Overall, The book has its moments but was extremely boring at the start. If you go in having high expectations you will be disappointed. While I am interested in reading the sequel, it's only because I want to unravel the mysteries surrounding Kell. The reviews of the sequel are extremely positive but I have been burned before so I will wait till the sequels are on sale before getting my hands on them.

My Rating:
Beautiful world building but problems with pacing.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Film Review: Ghost in the Shell {Live action 2017}

Ghost in the Shell (2017 Live Action)
In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people's minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that her life was stolen instead of saved. Now, she will stop at nothing to recover her past while punishing those who did this to her.
Starring: Scarlett JohanssonPilou AsbækTakeshi Kitano

My Thoughts:
I would like to start off with the fact that I have not seen the animated film this is apparently based on. Ghost in the Shell is a very well established franchise in the Japanese anime and manga industry and has a very loyal fan following in the West as well. I have an idea about the characters because I've seen two or three episodes of Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex(SAC). 

The characters in Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex
The characters in the Live Action

This would be an unpopular opinion but I could never get invested in Ghost in the Shell SAC.I watch a lot of anime and I've heard a lot about this series but I could never get past two episodes as I believed it would be an action packed police procedural but the focus was never on the action atleast in what I had watched. When I heard about the live action adaptation, I knew I wanted to watch it. Especially after I saw the first trailer as I assumed that Hollywood would definitely focus more on the action and get the story of the franchise across.

My assumption was right, the first scene of the film itself establishes the fact that Johansson as Major is an ass-kicking bawse and we see constant reminders throughout the film. The film is full of fight scenes and lots of battles which I thought would satisfy me. Unfortunately, I did not understand why these battles were needed . Maybe the director really wanted to keep showing off the Major's invisibility skills so that the CGI budget would be justified.

The film was extremely engaging when it focused on the world building. The scenery and the attention to scenic detail in the film was jaw dropping.I would start paying attention to the background as soon as one of those unnecessary fight scenes used to start.The camera and computer work was excellent.

Beautiful work in world-building 
Johansson being overshadowed by the scenery.
While a lot has already been said about Johansson's casting in a role originally suited for a Japanese woman. In my opinion, the fact that I had already seen so many films in which Johansson had taken on a very similar role didn't let me engage with the film. Her characterization of Major was very similar to that of Lucy (in the film Lucy). I would have loved to have seen more of the captain who speaks in Japanese throughout the film. Takeshi Kitano was perfectly cast and I hope he takes on more roles in Hollywood. 

Takeshi Kitano in the film
The biggest weakness of the film is it's story-line. Various characters and plot points are introduced and then left alone. There was a scene in which a character lost their real eyes and had to get prosthetic replacements, the entire ordeal is brushed aside and mentioned in passing. No effort is put into emoting the pain and suffering of certain characters.This makes it very hard for the audience to care about the characters as well. It is only when morality and humanity is discussed that any character seems to show emotion.

Overall, I loved the world that I was introduced to and am definitely going to give the animated versions of Ghost in the Shell a chance. Despite the weaknesses of the film it made me curious about the source material and I would still go and watch the sequel (if there is any) to see more of the world and characters apart from Johansson's Major. 

My Thoughts:

Beautifully shot film that introduces an intriguing new world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: A Promise of Fire [Adult/Sci-Fi]

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1
by Amanda Bouchet

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

This book is not YA. It is suitable for adults and older readers due to sexual content as well as graphic violence.

My Thoughts:
In case you don't follow me on Goodreads, you might not be aware of my Ilona Andrews obsession. I got addicted to the genre of urban fantasy thanks to them and for a long time kept searching for novels that had an emotionally strong female and did not focus too much on world building (Basically Game of Thrones without the lengthy descriptions and family trees). I like intricate worlds but after a point I want to engage with the characters and not the world.

A Promise of Fire was a nice surprise. It had a strong and sassy heroine with an interesting family tree as well as a lot of political intrigue.According to Goodreads, it is to be a trilogy and the positive effects of this defined end can be seen when the plot progresses quickly and steadily.

I think the weakest link of the story is the alpha male in it. Though Griffin is a sweety, at times he just seems like a caricature when compared to Cat.His family has better character development. 

The book introduces us to an intriguing mythology. The secondary characters are well developed and certain scenes with them make the story almost unforgettable. 

Overall, I thoroughly recommend this book , especially if you're an Ilona Andrews fan or in the search for Percy Jackson for adults or a replacement for Trudi Canavan.

My Rating:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Movie Review: Your Name

Your Name
Japanese name: kimi no na wa

The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki's body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other.

Format: Animated Film 

My Thoughts:

I was lucky enough to watch one of the limited release shows of this film in a cinema hall. Before I start writing about what I thought about this film, I think a disclaimer is in order. I love anime and animated films so this review might be biased but I will be very surprised if this film does not win all the oscars in the animation category. 


  • ART
I cannot stress how beautiful. How breathtakingly beautiful the art in this film is. I wanted to pause each frame and try to paint it. The sky, the monuments, the colours! All of them were amazing.  I'm going to try to find pictures to illustrate my point but most of them are not the best quality. You need to see this film in HD on a big screen or in the cinema to grasp how amazing the art is!


The background music fit every scene. I still feel the emotions of the characters every time I hear the piano cover of 'Date 2' {as it is called on youtube, not sure what the official name is yet}. Apart from the original soundtrack and how well it fits the movie, I cannot stress how much the different sounds that add dramatic effect fit the film. There is a gong sound that plays every time there is a focus on the female protagonist's eyes when the comet is shown in the sky. The placement of this sound is brilliant. It shakes the audience out of it's wondrous stupor. You'll realise the importance of this sound when you see the film. 

The reason I was able to get immersed in the film was because of how real everything looked and how it focused on a realistic world building. There were clear cultural and geographical markers separating the urban from the rural. There was also a focus on myth making, more on that later. This is related to why the art is so breathtaking as well. The film's director focused on building the setting based on real places in Japan. You can read more on this here 

The focus on myths and creating a fantastical element that focused on God and time was extremely interesting. It really made you think and helped immerse you in the film's word-building. The idea of the threads and the entire body switching plot point were extremely entertaining. 

Both the protagonists were built up well. They were not one dimensional. I did think that the female protagonist (Mitsuha) could have had more build up than the male(Taki) but I understand why the focus shifted. Secondary characters were also built up well. 


The film uses a lot of tropes that are found in anime and even some found in films. Gender and body swaps are fairly common in films. Animosity between the characters is also common. I can't divulge more information about the plot without giving spoilers but a lot of the plot twists are predictable and a lot of tropes are used throughout the film.

The start of the film is pretty confusing. You're as confused as the protagonists. I also felt that there was a sort of rushed relationship that was formed between Mitsuha and Taki. They seem to become best friends almost instantly. The build up of a relationship would have been more believable.

Has this happened to people in Mitsuha's family before? Her grandmother mentions it and it's never mentioned again. Their friends never question how they get such weird habits every time they switch. And one more word which could be a slight spoiler so I'm just going to mention it..... PARADOX specifically a Time paradox. 

Overall, I loved the film and would recommend it to everyone. It's very close to being one of the best films I have seen in 2016 despite it's shortcomings. Let me end by saying that various individuals were crying or teary eyed when the film ended and I could not forget it even after days had passed.

My Rating:


In HD or you won't enjoy it as much.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Review: November 9

November 9

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

My Thoughts:

You know how sometimes you just want to curl up under a blanket , make some popcorn and watch a romantic feel good film? Well if you want to read something that gives you the same feeling look no further than November 9.

Colleen Hoover generally writes some pretty heavy contemporary fiction but November 9 is dramatic,cheesy and predictable. It reminded me of One Day in parts and I can't recommend it enough.

The climatic twist was quite predictable and extremely dramatic which was the only thing that didn't really appeal to me but the way the relationship is built up between Fallon and Ben made my heart skip a beat. It was such a cute and brilliant way for two people to connect. It's highly unrealistic but it just works in the space of the novel.

Overall, November 9 satisfied my need for romance novels even though it was a young adult novel.It's not a feel good novel but it's like popcorn for the soul that can give fodder to your loveless (or add spark to your lovefilled) life.

My Rating:



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