Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Isla had a crush on Josh since her freshman year. She pined for him for three years and accepted that her cause was hopeless. She miserably watched him date a much cooler, older girl and knew he would never look at her. Then all his friends graduated and he was left alone. Josh had never been very academically motivated, but now he seemed to have lost all reason to attend classes. A fateful meeting before school reopened, caused Josh to seek Isla out and slowly they became friends and then more. Continue reading

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Kate and Curran Fanart

In Magic Strikes, there was a scene in Chapter 27 where Kate and Curran had an argument after a fight in an underground gladiatorial ring. Curran had silver embedded all over his chest and as we know, silver is poisonous to shapeshifters.http://fav.me/d7v45sq

“He was silver!” I snarled in his face. “I had it under control. What was going through your head? Here’s a toxic silver golem; I think I’ll jump on his back! That’s a damn good idea!”
He scooped me up and suddenly I was pressed against his chest. “Were you worried about me?”
“No, I’m ranting for fun, because I’m a disagreeable bitch!”
He smiled.
“You’re a moron!” I told him.
He just looked at me. Happy golden lights danced in his eyes. I’d learned exactly what those sparks meant. Fury fled, replaced by alarm.
“Kiss me and I’ll kill you,” I warned.
“It might be worth it,” he aid softly.
If he held me a moment longer, I’d lose it and kiss him first. I was so damn happy he was alive.

(The above passage and the characters belong to Ilona Andrews. Artwork is mine.)

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Anna Dressed in Blood (review)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love Cas with his determination to get to the bottom of things and his insecurity about his own worth without his athame and the secret warmth he feels at having made friends when he never allowed himself to make any before and most of all for his protectiveness towards Anna. I love his charm brewing, patient mother, I love trips-over-his-own-foot Thomas and I love curious and meddling Carmel. I even liked the mean boys from school because they were so well placed. The parents weren’t MIA in this book even though it’s about a seventeen year old boy who goes all around the world killing ghosts.
There were places towards the end of the book where I felt like I was the only one aware that Anna was a ghost and not another human being, whereas the rest of the ‘circle’ was oddly blasé about it. That’s possibly something that was peculiar to their situation. They had bigger, badder things to worry about than one bloody ghost.
I had read in some reviews that the book is creepy. It didn’t read creepy to me. There was plenty of gore, but if you read a lot of urban fantasy novels or crime fiction I suppose you get inured to it.
The book wasn’t scary. It was…fast-paced, interesting, gripping, (sweet) and what seemed to be the perfect series starter.
I can’t wait for book two!!

ratings — 8/10

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Radiance (by Grace Draven): Falling in love slowly

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)Radiance by Grace Draven

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brishen is a Kai prince of no significance to the line of succession and Ildiko is a Gauri noblewoman of little importance in her uncle’s court. They are both beautiful among their own kind but to each other they are ugly and repulsive. The Gauri are humans who live under the sunlight, the Kai are an elder race who thrive at night. Their new alliance is tentative and full of distrust and the marriage of these two otherwise insignificant pawns is a show of good faith between the races. When Brishen and Ildiko first meet they find each other unattractive but interesting. They begin with honesty and over weeks and months this builds to friendship. Eventually neither Brishen nor Ildiko can remember why they found the other disgusting. They fall deeply in love and form an unbreakable bond that no one in either kingdom expected.

I love all marriage of convenience stories where the pair discover the worth of the other and fall in love quietly, through every day gestures and conversations. It’s a difficult trope to build into a narrative without slowing down the pace too much, but thankfully, once in a while, authors like Draven manage to execute it perfectly.

I’ve always held that we fall in love with people, not faces. If there’s something worth falling in love with, you find it after you stop looking at the facade. (Of course I also extend this theory to gender/sexuality, but that’s another discussion). And both Brishan and Ildiko, affectionate and honest individuals with great capacity for love, tread this path together and find all they wanted in a partner in each other. It’s a great read.

I tend to extend the bechdel test to all pieces of fiction I come across. This books passes easily. There are several named female characters, one of whom has several exchanges with Ildiko about something other than a man. So that’s great. But I got the feeling that Draven created Anhuset simply to provide one other strong female in the narrative. I couldn’t really parse out whether Anhuset was the only warrior female among the Kai or if her calling was a normal one for women of her kingdom. I choose to believe the latter.

I had one complaint though. Ildiko tells Brishen that she’s not a maiden, that she’s had a lover before. As befits a well written male character, Brishen doesn’t care but he teases her about her carnal knowledge. To this Ildiko explains that her lover had been a clumsy young man and she didn’t much care for the experience. So she never took another lover.

This. This felt like a cop-out. So the author goes as far as to make her heroine a sexually experienced woman, giving the hero the best reaction to this news – which is indifference and maybe some curiosity – and then promptly diminishes the value of said experience by making Brishen the only lover to have brought her to orgasm. Oh come on. Seriously, now. COME ON. We’re surely beyond this kind of tokenism.

And now we wait for the sequel. =)

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Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Magic in space! Woot!

I loved it. This was one of the books Ilona Andrews recommended on her blog and it had been sitting in my kindle since that day. I’ve found she rarely goes wrong with her recommendations.
Deviana Morris is a mercenary with impressively high ambitions. She’s had a very successful career and just recently left an impressive post because they would have sat her behind a desk next. Deviana wants to be a Destroyer. The elite of the elite, and answerable to the King alone. She wants power and action and doesn’t want to wait two more decades to gather enough experience so the Destroyers finally come calling. Instead she takes up a post as security for an intergalactic trading ship with a reputation for getting into bad trouble, because each year on the Glorious Fool counts as five for those in the know. Continue reading

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The ubiquitous myth of the Tooth Mouse

So some weeks ago I was putting into writing all the mouse/rat related folklore of my country that I knew about. Continue reading

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Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik (review)

Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The trouble with this book is that it reads like a school text book. A textbook that has abridged an epic to the point of turning it into a series of interconnected fables. The kind with morals. Minus the animals. Mostly.

Maybe this only bothers people like me who’ve read so many masterful translations of Mahabharat before this. I really only bought this book because the cover intrigued me. And also because Pattanaik called his book ‘Jaya’ which was the original title of the epic. It was clever and caught my attention. Continue reading

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