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Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer (The Falconer #1)


 Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

Source: Edelweiss ( Thanks Chronicle Books!)

My Thoughts:

I've been dying to read this book since I read the author's hilarious "review" on Goodreads. I screamed for joy when my request was accepted in February but I stopped myself from reading because I knew it was out in May. So sorry for the delay because I nicely forgot what month it was out in. (In my defense, there is one edition which comes out in July)

The Falconer is a book I'm not sure how to rate because I enjoyed it but I wasn't addicted to it for some reason and I kept having a hard time getting back to it. 

I'm going to do a slightly different review for this.

The Positives

World building:
I love the whole world that Elizabeth May introduces us to in this novel. It's a hybrid world that has elements of the Victorian era and is full of futuristic technology. It's a mix of fantasy, steampunk and still comes under the genre of young adult. Before starting this novel I wasn't too sure about the world it would be set in but the author combines things we know with futuristic ideas quite well. It's a creative world that is known as well as unknown at the same time.

Action:
This book is action packed. I loved the fact that there was a heroine that could really kick @$$ in the novel. There's lot of fighting and action in this book. Some of the negatives are nicely glossed over because you're too busy enjoying the action. 

The weapons and the terminology :
Some of you might think this comes under world building but I love some of the innovative weapons that the protagonist invents in this. I also loved the terms that are used . Especially the one for fairies. 

Unpredictable
The whole plot is pretty unpredictable especially the ending. The ending REALLY surprised me. It's a cliffhanger( which is little annoying) but in my opinion it was completely unexpected. The action was also unpredictable. Anything could happen at any time and I loved that! 


Negatives

Relationships
- Relationship between Aileana and Kiaran
I just didn't buy it. He doesn't exactly treat her well. It's a really messed up relationship. It's hard to even comprehend why she tolerates him anymore let alone likes him. I just didn't understand it. I'm not saying that I didn't like Kiaran as an individual. He really fascinated me but I guess I didn't feel the spark between Aileana and Kiaran

- Relationship between Aileana and Gavin
I actually liked their friendship but then things escalate VERY quickly (trying to avoid spoilers) and it gets too weird. I was confused whether Gavin even likes her as a friend in the middle because their relationship is not defined well and just keeps changing. I felt sorry for Gavin and I really didn't like how his character is barely developed but still keeps turning up in important moments. I also didn't like Aileana's hot and cold whatever it is with him. One second she's all "He's my best friend."


Next moment she's almost forgotten about him.

It was also really weird how even though they meet each other after years and have NEVER fought together. The first time they team up they're like the Avenger's Black Widow and Hawkeye. (Atleast they had a lot of implied history together)



Instant Perfect TEAM synchronization 

Holding my Interest/Originality
While I was reading the book I was thoroghly invested in it but for some reason once I stopped I didn't feel like going back to it.I think the reason for that could be that even though the concept of the book is different it is a hybrid of things I have read before.Like the world of faeries reminded me of the world introduced in the Fever series. 




On the fence / Mixed feelings 

Heroine
The protagonist is someone I really liked in the beginning because she wasn't helpless and was working towards a goal. As the story progressed I started liking her less and less. I love the complexity of the emotions that the character goes through. I even liked the fact that she is a grey character but for some reason I liked her more before I found out her complex backstory. The more we get to know about her past the more complex her character becomes and it does add more depth to her character but I guess I just liked her more when she was a killing machine.(I'm weird I guess) I also didn't like some of the decisions she made and how she treated some characters especially the male interests. So that is also one of the reasons why I didn't like her as much as the story progressed. 

My Rating:

I have no idea how to rate this . I just don't know how to rate it. I guess on Amazon I will rate it as 4 but I just don't know . It's a good book but it didn't blow me away. If I had to I would give it a range of 3.5-4 stars. 


Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)

One kiss could be the last. 

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.
Source: Publisher (Thanks HarlequinTEEN!)
My Thoughts:
I was really looking forward to this book as I'm a Jennifer Armentrout fan. I've read a lot of her books and I follow her releases so I was DYING to get my hands on this. Unfortunately this book did not live upto my expectations and left me disappointed. 
As stated above this is not the first Jennifer Armentrout book I've read. I've read both the Lux series and Half Blood series, and this book's situations and characters reminded me of both. I understand that this book was written before both series but published later. It was almost like I was reading a hybrid of both the Lux series and the Half Blood series and not in a good way. It was very hard for me to form a connection with characters that were shadows of characters that I already loved.I was very close to not finishing this one because I just didn't feel like reading a book that wasn't even a patch on her other series. 
The gargoyles angle was interesting but there wasn't a lot of focus on it.This is also not the first gargoyle novel I've read so the idea of gargoyles wasn't as novel to me as it might be for others. Maybe they will focus on the gargoyles more in the sequel but the focus wasn't on gargoyles on  this one.
This book focuses on Layla , a teenage girl adopted by the gargoyles who is restless and wants to be "helpful" by kicking ass and putting herself in danger.Instead of focusing on the gargoyles and their history the author chooses to focus on Layla's adventures with demons and her romantic feelings. Which may sound good but I think it would have been better if there would have been more focus on gargoyles. There are already so many books that are on demons that there's nothing that really interests you about them in this book. Layla is also a character that is not easy to like .
Zayne, Layla's crush is also someone that I for one did not like. He's CLEARLY either REALLY dumb or he's leading her on.Both of which are not traits that make you as a reader like or swoon over him. 
Roth is the only saving grace of the novel and he is a LOT like Daemon in ways. I like how he riles up everyone and is pretty clear about what he wants, though he is a demon. I also like how he's unpredictable.I really wanted to know more about his back story. Armentrout gives us a nice glimpse into this character. 
The plot could have been much better. It had so much potential but the story drags in some places and doesn't manage to hold my attention. Good thing is that once you really get into the story , you hang in there till the end. The problem is getting into the story.The ending was unpredictable and in a way shocking. 
The problem is that even when I reached the end I didn't really care much for the characters.
Overall, you might enjoy this novel a lot if this is your first Armentrout novel but if it isn't you might feel a sense of deja-vu while reading the novel.The plot is interesting and the ending shocking. The pacing could do with some work. I might check out the sequel but right now I'm not too sure. I might just snuggle with the last Lux book instead. 

My Rating:
2.5 stars 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Review: Across The Universe

Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1)
by Beth Revis
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Links: Amazon.COM, Goodreads ,Amazon India
 (The cheaper version is currently out of stock in Indian online sites but you can try the notify me option on this site  )

Source: Borrowed 

My Thoughts:

So I've been having a bit of a hard time finishing a novel for some time. This is the first novel that I have finished since Mid-May (I think) so I think it deserves props for keeping me engaged. 

The best thing about this novel is the world building. I loved it. I love the world building and how everything is set in space and the condition that these people live in. I am loving the YA science fiction genre (*cough* These Broken Stars love *cough*) . The high point of the entire story in my opinion was the world that is introduced to the reader. I enjoyed learning more and more about the world.

This book is told from dual point of view of Amy and Elder, the main protagonists. I was never confused between their voices. They both have distinct voices and perspectives. Which fits together in this book pretty well. You get to see the same thing in two perspectives and it's not repetitive. 

The writing in some places is beautiful. Some of the dialogues and feelings that are portrayed through the words really kept me hooked . The problem is that the author is not very good at building up the mystery and keeping it unpredictable at the same time. I knew almost everything that happened in the climax pretty soon. There were some surprises of course but most of the twists, I had already predicted.I think by the time the climax came along I was just happy that there were atleast SOME things I had not managed to predict.

Another issue I had with this book is how some serious issues and problems were handled or should I say NOT handled at all.The issues just seem to be brushed aside.The world they live in is different and I like how they show how different it is but how some issues were portrayed and handled, I was disappointed with. As I want to avoid spoilers, I'll just hint towards it. There's a pretty heartbreaking discovery that happens near the end and it's not really addressed or it seems it's just swept under the rug. Maybe the author plans to address it in the sequel but this is just one of the examples. The characters just seem to handle these issues in a robotic manner and not even have any emotional dialogue on them, which just didn't sit right with me.

Overall,I did enjoy the novel and am interested to read what happens next. I want to learn even more about this world and the space they live in. I also really enjoyed some of the dialogues and parts of the writing immensely.I just thought I would point out the reasons why I'm not giving this a higher rating even though it managed to keep me entertained and hooked till the end. 

My Rating:

3/5

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Anime/Manga List




So now that I've introduced the concept of anime and manga to you (in this post) . I'm going to continue my manga and anime rant by talking about some that I personally enjoyed and/or have checked out. 


Skip Beat 

Genre: shoju (check this post to see what this means )


Story: Kyouko Mogami lived solely for her childhood friend Shoutaro "Shou" Fuwa. She follows Shou to Tokyo so that he may realize his dream of becoming a famous singer. When his dream is realized, Kyouko overhears the truth behind his decision to bringing her with him: he was using her as a maid.

Shocked and enraged, Kyouko swears to take revenge by outdoing him in show business. With a new look and a new attitude, she joins LME, the agency where Ren Tsuruga (Shou's rival and the #1 actor of LME) works, in the hopes of achieving her goal of destroying Shou's pride.

Along the way, she discovers her true self, makes new friends (and enemies), and finds herself at the heart of some interesting situations that will change her life, and the lives of all others involved, forever.(Source: mangafox.com)


Form: Manga and Anime both. 
Manga is ongoing 
Anime has 25 episodes. Anime is not currently dubbed in English but can be seen with English subtitles. 

My Thoughts: I am a HUGE fan of skip beat. I just love it. It's not exactly a romance , it's more about a girl/woman's journey of finding her identity in a way. The best part is it's so hilarious sometimes. This is one of the manga's that I have to step back from time to time otherwise I become obsessive about it. 

Manga art: Ren tsuruga
Both the manga and the anime are great. The anime actually ends at a very weird point, but you can easily follow the story in the manga. 

I actually watched the anime of this first and then followed the story by reading the manga. Let's just say that there is hardly any romance in the anime but it does start off in the manga. Be advised that the romance is REALLY slow so if you're one of the impatient types who'll only be interested to read this because of the romance , well you have been warned. 

The art of the manga in my opinion is much better than what it seems to be like in the anime. Especially the details. When I was watching the anime again(YES I've seen it twice because I have a short term memory) after reading the manga I noticed that one character that really shines through more in the manga art is Ren Tsuruga. 

Kyoko(Main character's) expressions are just priceless. She's just too cute and naive but once she gets fired up nobody can beat this chick. 

Source




















Manga art collages found on Google(to give you an idea of the art) :

SOURCE
SOURCE


This is the first time I've tried to find collages related to this manga and they're so pretty. I think the art is spectacular. I 
wish I could draw so well. 
















Now this second collage, well all of the people in this are the same character. Let's just say she's really good at changing her image. Read the manga or watch the anime to find out more. 










Ouran High School Host Club

Genre:Shouju 
Story:Haruhi is a poor tomboyish student at a school for the ultra-wealthy, and is able to attend because of a scholarship, but is unable to even afford a uniform. One day, she stumbles across the peculiar but very popular Ouran Host Club. She tries to leave, but accidentally breaks a vase, and is unable to pay for it. She's told that she'll have to stay and do odd jobs. That is, until they decide she would be more valuable as a club member. 

Form:Manga and Anime 
Manga is ongoing.
Anime is over. It is available in English Dub. 

My Thoughts: Let's just say I've recently started to read manga (I only used to read Skip beat!) so as I saw this before I've only seen the anime but I found the anime to be outrageous and just hilarious. If you can't stand characters that are a little dumb I would stray away from this but you should really give this one a shot. 
SOURCE



Bleach 

Genre: Shounen 

Story: Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn't change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family, but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits, and along with Rukia, who is slowly regaining her powers, it's Ichigo's job to both protect the innocent from Hollows and to help the spirits themselves find peace.

Form: Manga and Anime Both
Manga is ongoing
Anime has ended or is on hiatus. Status is unclear but for now it is finished. 
(Episode list and details )
SOURCE



This is one which I watch on and off. I haven't read the manga yet but the anime is addictive especially the first major arcs (An arc would merely be a smaller storyline that is a part of the whole) . The only thing to watch out for while watching this anime is the filler arcs. 

What are filler arcs?
Filler arcs are basically episodes in the anime that are not part of the original manga.Usually they do not relate to the main story.They are sometimes added when there is an ongoing manga and the anime has caught up to the manga. Instead of going on a break the anime creators make up a filler episode. In bleach there are filler arc seasons. 

There is this filler season of Bleach called the Bount ARC , this is the reason I stopped watching this anime. It was so boring. Then I found this filler list and just skipped the Bount arc . 
I'll admit I haven't read the manga but I'll most probably read it if I ever manage to finish the anime. The manga art of this seems pretty good as well. I'm not as addicted to this as Skip Beat! because sometimes the characters that are fighting don't interest me but then I just skip those and get to the good parts and there are quite a FEW good parts. This is one anime which is easily available online and is dubbed in English.

Point to note , I love some of the bleach soundtracks so much. Some of them are really good for a workout. 

Manga art collage: 

SOURCE

The Prince of Tennis


Genre:Shounen , Sports

Story:Ryoma Echizen just joined the Seishun Academy's tennis team, which is known for being one of the most competitive teams in Japan. Its members are incredibly talented, gifted, and athletic. With rigorous and extremely intense practices, the upperclassmen of the team expect the very best from themselves and they expect even more from the new members of the team. While most of the freshmen are on pins and needles hoping they won't get cut from the team, Ryoma Echizen is confident, cool, and collected. Some might even say he's cocky, but at least he's got the skills to back up his attitude. With his virtually unreturnable "twist serve," Ryoma is sure to make the starting team. 
Join Ryoma and the other first years, as they train hard, make friends, and try to find a place for themselves on the team. Ryoma Echizen is the Prince of Tennis. He may be ready for the Seishun Academy tennis team, but are THEY ready for HIM?

By the way, the Tennis skills in this series is completely beyond normal human standards and includes but is not limited to burning holes in your opponents rackets, striking your opponent so hard he flies several dozen meters, travelling in a spiral in mid air and even shutting down your opponents senses so that they cannot see, hear or feel (somehow) and therefore, has been put under the "Fantasy" genre.
Form:
Anime and Manga.
Manga is completed but there is a spin-off/continuation called New Prince of Tennis that is ongoing.
Anime is available in English Dub and is completed.

My Thoughts:
I was OBSESSED with this anime. I can't believe this anime almost slipped my mind. I haven't seen it for a long time I guess because I've seen all the episodes. It's a sports manga and I just love the main character. He's moody and basically a child tennis prodigy. It's just great! 

I haven't read the manga though.

SOURCE
Detective School Q

Genre:Shounen ,Detective mysteries 

Story:Kyu's greatest desire is to become a detective. To fulfill his wish, he goes to take the entrance exam to get into the detective school run by Dan Morihiko, one of the most famous detectives ever! At the exam he meets Megu, Kinta, Kazuma, and Ryu as they all try to pass the grueling three-part exam. Kyu wants to solve mysteries, and he gets his wish: his first real case appears in the midst of the exam!
Form:
Manga and Anime. Manga is ongoing but anime is complete. Anime is available in English dub but it was almost impossible to find it in english dub online for me.
My Thoughts:
This is one I have watched the anime and read the manga. The anime I saw on television and it was in English but when I tried to watch it again I couldn't find the English dubbed version for some reason but maybe it is available somewhere. The anime might seem juvenile but the mysteries are pretty interesting and some of them are really ingenious. I saw the anime first but the manga art is much better.
Please note that sometimes this can be found under the title TANTEI GAKUEN Q.

SOURCE
Alice Academy/Gakuen Alice

Genre:Shojo 

Story:Young Mikan runs away to Tokyo to follow her best friend, Hotaru, who has been enrolled in an exclusive, secretive private school for geniuses. But it turns out that Alice Academy is a lot more than meets the eye. If Mikan wants to stay by Hotaru's side, she has to both pass the strange "entrance exam" and face the even greater challenge of befriending her very odd new classmates. Whether it's Hotaru's gift for inventing gadgets, the cranky Natsume's fire-casting ability, or Professor Narumi's control of human pheromones, everyone at the school has some sort of special talent. But what ability, if any, does Mikan possess? Mikan is going to have to rely on her courage and spunk if she's going to stay in school, or even stay alive!

Form:Manga and Anime.
Both manga and anime are complete.
Anime is available in English Dub but as with Detective School Q , I wasn't able to find it readily
online.


My Thoughts:

This is one manga in which the manga is much more complex and layered than the anime. The 
anime just focuses on the juvenile beginnings and finishes before the best part begins . I did see
the anime before reading the manga and I did enjoy the anime but even when I was pretty 
young I thought the anime was a little juvenile and was a little hard to connect with the main character.
The world building is very interesting though and I hung on for the main mystery which the anime
does not touch upon. The manga is much better.But some of the times it's easier to understand
the comedy in the anime.
Manga art :


SOURCE This is a cover page not part of main story
Okay I think I'm going to stop now. I might make a part 2 but right now the only other

one I can think of is Black Cat(which is also a pretty awesome one)
Holly Letson was nice enough to point out some legal sources of streaming anime
"FUNiMation's site streams anime, and that is perfectly legal. So does VIZ Media, which is also perfectly legal. Also, some anime by those company stream legally on Hulu as well. And, I do believe that Cartoon Network has up legal streaming animes as well."

 I tried to cover a wide range of anime and manga.Thanks to this post I actually remembered some of my favorites. 

THOUGHTS? What are your favourite anime/manga ?
Which of these has caught your attention?

*Please note that all the images in these posts are not owned by me. If you own any of these images and want them removed or want to be credited please get in touch with me.Only the image of Random post is created and owned by me. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: Crash Into You

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits #3)

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes the explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane. 

The girl with straight A's, designer clothes, and the perfect life - that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. 

One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker - a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind. 

Isaiah has secrets too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks - no matter how angelic she might look. But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Source: Publisher (Thanks MiraINK!) and Netgalley (Thanks HarlequinTEEN!)


US COVER . *SWOOOOON*

My Thoughts:

I love Katie McGarry I really do but I have to say that Dare You To wasn't as good as Pushing The Limits. Crash Into You is better than the second but not as good as the first in my opinion. Unfortunately now that we've read the first two books in the series it seems as if the books have conformed to that specific formula. Dare You To kept your attention because you expected something different. Crash Into You does not stray from the main formula due to which it causes some fatigue in the reader in the beginning but the author introduces concepts that really fascinated me in this book. I was fascinated by the drag racing and cars aspect of this novel. It added something new and exciting to the novel. 

Isaiah is a fascinating character. I loved reading the chapters which were from his point of view. I always liked him a lot. He seemed like the most decent of the Noah-Beth-Isaiah trio and he is. I like seeing books in which nice guys prevail. I mean he's tattooed and messed up but he's not an @$$ . He pays his debts (Game of Thrones reference :P)

Rachel is a character I have mixed feelings about. Sometimes she came off as whiny. I mean she's a rich kid. Sometimes her problems just seemed insignificant compared to Noah. But sometimes I could really relate to the kid. It's not easy standing up for yourself . There's this scene near the end that I really loved because she shone through in it.

I loved the family dynamic in this. I loved the scenes in which the scenes in which Rachel's family was being adorably normal. The seven brothers dynamic was very interesting.

The plot is interesting and the story manages to hold your attention. I'm not sure about the characters on which the sequel is going to be based on but it is Katie McGarry and her books are addictive so I will read it. I hope she writes something different though , I want to read something different from her now that completely breaks this series established 'rules'.

Overall, this book is interesting and much better than it's predecessor in my opinion. 


My Rating:


3.5/5

Almost a four, though. 



What are your thoughts? 





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