books

Review: Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold

Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold (Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold, #1)Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cord and Anne are my favourite fictional couple. Their relationship is serious #lifegoals for me. I’ve searched high and low for a book that is as gripping, as warm, as pulsing with life as this one, but Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold remains my only find in this genre that I can read a hundred times and still feel the tug of a dozen emotions as if I’m reading every scene for the first time. (more…)

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The Zoya Factor (by Anuja Chauhan): a much delayed review

The Zoya FactorThe Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book two or more years ago and I still have the copy lying about somewhere. Recently I received a copy of Chauhan’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls and decided to at least add this book as “read” on my goodreads shelf.
I remember that I loved the first half. I hadn’t yet read a novel by an Indian author that wasn’t literary and yet boasted competent narrative skills. This author showed her potential from the very first chapter as she set the background for us and let us get a feel for her heroine.
Unfortunately it was like reading…have you ever watched one of those Indian TV serials that are focused on the misunderstandings and misfortunates of two fated-for-each-other people? Recently a lot of them seem to be cropping up and they have meet-cute beginnings and funny incidents and fate intervening to bring them together and so on. Basically every cliche romancelandia has ever invented.
Zoya Factor was like that only with better writing skills and some genuinely funny dialogues.
It was the second half that really disappointed me. Till then suspension of disbelief wasn’t so hard and the protagonist’s silliness, wrong assumptions, bad decisions all seemed endearing. After the halfway mark however my patience was severely tested as all I could feel was embarrassment for the heroine and bewilderment that the hero even liked her, when I couldn’t see a single thing they had in common or a single thing he could admire in her.
She’s textbook for the kind of heroine I could never root for. She wasn’t resourceful, wasn’t capable of independent, un-influenced thought, held stupid prejudices and made frequent and faulty jumps to wrong conclusions.
The hero was a lot more relatable and I felt almost bad for him because I knew he would end up with her. He was a decent guy, with a lot of integrity who just wanted to prove himself and do a good job as a team captain. The fact that he didn’t believe in lucky charms and the efficacy of having a free-loader hanging around his team, making them think that all their wins came from having her around, didn’t make him arrogant and close-minded. It made him a good captain and an intelligent man.
But you know what nearly made me give up the book three-fourths of the way? – That the heroine was so obviously inferior to the smart, capable, pragmatic hero. I know that’s a relationship dynamic often explored in books and movies – bumbling heroine and cynical hero – and it’s supposed to be a yin-yang, she-balances-him thing, but it didn’t work for me in this book. It just didn’t.

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Why books are bad for you

When I was 12 I used to use them to escape from friendless classrooms and if I didn’t have one in my hand, I would stare out of the window with fierce concentration thinking of all the stories stored in my head and the many imaginary lives I lived through them. If the background chatter ever drew my attention, I didn’t let it on. I think most of my classmates (if they ever thought to look my way) usually saw me sleeping with my head down on my desk or staring out of the window. Books were a better alternative. They made me seem less lonely; they made me less lonely.

Today those books still shield me from life. They wrap me in protective folds that keep the world away from me and me away from the world. They are the gatekeepers to my dreams, who are fiercely determined to keep reality away. I am untested and don’t know the strength of my own will, because I have never pitted it against anything not inside the pages of a good story. My hopes and aspirations have birthed and grown in the soft, edgeless world of no competition, no obstacles. Today I don’t know if I am worth as much as I think I am.

I have run back into their arms so many times. I have turned away from life so many times. If I give them up, I give up my best friends. If I put them away, I put away a part of me that was born so many years ago in that classroom, at that desk by the window.

I’m afraid too much of me is formed by the insubstantial constructs of other people’s imagination. I’m afraid if I step away from them, the pillars holding my character firm atop a foundation of lessons learned through fictional rigours would crumble. I would stand unprepared and weak before a world that cannot be closed and put back on the shelf when I see no happy ending in sight.

Barbarian Girl (A review)

Barbarian GirlBarbarian Girl by Noah Murphy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The 3 stars are tentatively given. During certain parts of the book I was leaning towards 3.5, even 4 stars and during others I couldn’t consider more than 2.5.

So 3 stars it is.

It took me nearly two and a half hours to read the entire book. It trips along at a good pace, never lags, never bores. The only problem with the story is that dips in the shallows and refuses to delve further into its characters. There are serious nuances to it, and there are funny moments. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but I kinda wish it did. (more…)

Fifty Shades of Grey (A review)

UPDATE (March11, 2012) : The review below was written first on Dec 10, 2011. Since then I have completed the trilogy and read in depth reviews by many well-liked and credible reviewers on all three books. To be very honest I hadn’t thought much about the books after I finished reading them. They were decent enough reads (some parts enjoyable, others annoying). It simply hadn’t worked me up enough for me to write a thorough review for the uninitiated. But now when I read the review below, I realize I skated over almost all weaknesses of the story because I was impressed by its open confrontation of a taboo subject (in romance) like BDSM. It was the first of such books for me, and also I was a still-inexperienced reviewer. So, read the review below keeping all this in mind and if you want to read a really good one taking on the negative aspects, click on the link to dearauthor.com at the bottom.  Hope this helps. =)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A pretty good book. Explores a life style I’d only heard the sleaziest things about and makes it – if not completely acceptable to me personally – almost compelling. I can see why all the reviewers have been raving about Christian Grey/Fifty Shades. If I had not been informed prior to starting the book that this had originated from a Twilight Fanfic prompt, I would never have made the connections. It’s very cleverly done. The parallels between the books almost makes me think that the fantastic (here meaning: fantasy-like) relationship portrayed between the protagonists is actually possible even in a world devoid of the supernatural.
But back to Fifty Shades. It was not a one-sit-read for me. I didn’t stay up at night to finish it. But I didn’t give up mid reading to go find something else either. I would have preferred a third person POV or even a shifting POV between Christian and Ana – the girl’s POV was slightly dull when Christian was not in the scene. That dullness came from an apparent lack of interesting side characters with the sole exception of Ana’s feisty room-mate, Kate. Her interaction with or inner monologues about everyone else read like compulsory fillers – unnecessary and uninteresting.
There was one specific chapter I would like to congratulate the author on. Chapter Eleven. (more…)

Forever Mine – Prequel [Sarah and Sydney] (by Elizabeth Reyes)

Below is a short, well-written glimpse into Sarah’s early years with her best friend, Sydney, in Flagstaff AZ. Author Elizabeth Reyes posted it on her blog (link) for us to enjoy. If you’ve never read her works I suggest you begin with the first of the Moreno Brothers series – Forever Mine – (It’s on my list of the best YA romance of this year).

Foreword:
 “This was an alternate beginning to FM. It sort of reads like the beginning of Sofie skipping years to show the bond between Syd and Sarah. How they met, became close etc. However in the end I decided the REAL story of Forever Mine didn’t really start until she gets the call from her mother. So this was left on the cutting room floor. (more…)