Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.
Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
I was crazy excited for this book when it was to come out. Unfortunately, I kept putting off the reading part until this Sunday when I was in need of a light-hearted travel read. Mostly I was satisfied with the tenor of the book, but maybe I was a bit too excited about Hawkins’ next book because I felt a bit disappointed.
The story sets out quite in a tsundere way – Harper and David are childhood nemeses, and who can’t stand each other most times. David is the newspaper geek and a valedictorian rival for Harper, who is an overachiever (due to her sister) and mostly their only interaction is sniping at each other. Then suddenly on the night of Homecoming, Harper is chosen as a Paladin, and at first she gets excited at the sudden superpowers. But when she finds out that her charge is David, things go to hell pretty soon. They are suddenly being chased by people who want them dead, a witch who wants to charge up David and keeping all of this hidden from the people of their town.
While I loved the writing, and I appreciate the humor blended into the plot, I felt some things were not made clear – specially about the Paladin. Like, who was the second Paladin? (there had to be two) The end, while on a good note, opened up a lot of questions as to what direction the next book might take. Frankly, I am still excited over the prospect of the sequel, even if it had an okay start. 3.5 stars!
It’s 1998, and Sylvie Patterson, a bookish student at a Northern California boarding school, falls in love with a spirited, elusive classmate named Gabe. Their headmaster, Dr. Adrian Keller, is a charismatic medical researcher who has staked his career on the therapeutic potential of lucid dreaming: By teaching his patients to become conscious during sleep, he helps them to relieve stress and heal from trauma. Over the next six years, Sylvie and Gabe become consumed by Keller’s work, following him from the redwood forests of Eureka, California, to the enchanting New England coast.
But when an opportunity brings the trio to the Midwest, Sylvie and Gabe stumble into a tangled relationship with their mysterious neighbors—and Sylvie begins to doubt the ethics of Keller’s research, recognizing the harm that can be wrought under the guise of progress. As she navigates the hazy, permeable boundaries between what is real and what isn’t, who can be trusted and who cannot, Sylvie also faces surprising developments in herself: an unexpected infatuation, growing paranoia, and a new sense of rebellion.
The Anatomy of Dreams is quite different from my usual reading fare and honestly, it was the title that attracted it to me the most. It was drawing me in, along with that blurb that promised lucid dreaming. I went to it thinking it was science-fiction or maybe even fantasy, but I was honestly surprised that for a contemporary, it built up a lot of the world in quite good detail. Written in a first-person narrative, the story is written like a memoir – Sylvie recounting her time from the senior year of high school till she is 30, and told with shifting time perspectives, which keeps the illusion of mystery quite well until towards the third part.
I confess, at first, the timelines were throwing my concentration off with the story, particularly with me recalling details when picking off where I left off (as I did not read it in one stretch, it was difficult to get back) and probably this was the major problem with the book for me and the reason I docked off one star. The prose is lush with details, so that even though being a disparate memoir-style plot, you are still in the moment, delving into Sylvie’s mind and keeping up with her descent and turning around. The characters are rendered in shades of gray – and it being a first person narrative, we are never sure of the motives of other characters. It does not seek to resolve – this story – and that perhaps also frustrated me a bit. Sure, it was interesting to see the dynamic between the trio and also between Gabe-Sylvie and their neighbors, but ultimately I wasn’t satisfied with just a cursory sentence about her condition. Janna was also so interesting at the start that I felt she had a major role to play in Sylvie psychological journey, but she was reduced to being a sidelined character.
The main arcs of the novel are of course, the concept of lucid dreaming and more importantly the institution of trust. When you can’t trust your own mind, you depend on those closest to you to steer you right. When you are stripped of your defenses, does it really mean that is the real you. The whole philosophical issue with Sylvie and her questioning of the ethics of the research, is juxtaposed against a case that went wrong. That particular case brings to light, by itself, the hazards of the work they are doing, and was instrumental in Sylvie breaking off. Overall, I would give this book a 3.5 – for sheer ingeniousness and the way the subject was rendered faithfully and with good research.
Received an ARC from Atria Books via Edelweiss for review purposes. The opinions in the review are honest and unbiased.
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
Some things in life just cannot be explained, and the rush of reading this book is one of them. I think I have always made my love for this series evident – short of shouting from the rooftops, that is. It was with some hesitation that I even began reading this 600+ page saga – more for the end of a brilliant series and doubt that could anything even close this series well. See, the world that Taylor created is vast and infinite, in more ways than one, as was revealed in this book. I was worried how it would all be tied up and kept putting off reading until some auspicious moment to begin it, allowing me to savor each delicious word and phrase for the first time. I didn’t even mind the long descriptions of a scene – to me, they were richer, like how telethesia was better than a verbal conversation.
The writing – I am not even going to touch on that, because the brilliance of her writing cannot be described in words. It may seem like me being superfluous and too starstruck, but her poetic way of describing everything right from a beautiful first sighting to the horror of a battle is just something you have to experience for yourself and then hold it in your mind in awe. There is a brilliance in the way the characters are constructed, with the rabid fairy Zuzana to the compassionate Ziri to the conflicted Liraz, and even the fallen Razgut. Mind you, these are all secondary characters but while reading each of their story matters. It is not just Karou and Akiva’s story – they may have been the beginning but the scale to which this book was taken – it’s just magnificent. We get a new character Eliza who has a big role to play in the future of Eretz and the Earth. What started as a mere rebellion against the empire is encompassing all worlds. Karou and Akiva set out to unite two races and by the end have had so many missed opportunities and responsibilities that when they finally meet, it is a beautiful thing. Ziri and his struggle with being the Wolf is an amazing arc – here is a pure soul into a cruel body, but he brings out the best of it. Him and Liraz start out the same way – instruments for a purpose, and the freedom they gain at the end is touching.
The book, being divided into four parts, has the first two parts devoted to a tense atmosphere, akin to the clouds gathering before a storm. Things overlap and foreshadow in a splendid way, and when the whole creation of the worlds was brought out in the third part, I was blown away. The third, in fact, ends on somewhat of a happy ending, which made me dread the fourth. The fourth gave way to a lot of future-building and the threat looming over Eretz is the dominant arc. The ending was as described ‘not a happy ending, but a happy middle’ and yes, it was left open-ended, the fact that things were already explained before makes me relieved in the fact that there is an HEA, an unexpected one but a satisfying one all the same.
Now, I normally don’t do this but I just had to share this small snippet which I absolutely loved. It is Akiva describing happiness and I feel it embodied even the end of the book.
It was a new idea for him, that happiness wasn’t a mystical place to be reached or won – some bright terrain beyond the boundary of misery, a paradise waiting for them to find it – but something to carry doggedly with you through everything, as humble and ordinary as your gear and supplies. Food, weapons, happiness.
With hope that the weapons could in time vanish from the picture.
A new way of living.
After scoring a spot on a European vaudeville tour, Anna Van Housen is moving to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil—one of its members has been kidnapped, and members of the society are starting to turn on one another. With her life in danger and her relationship with her boyfriend, Cole, fizzling, can Anna track down the kidnapper before he makes her his next victim—or will she be forced to pay the ultimate price for her powers?
Anna is now in a new city and excited over having her own show and her independence. Her relationship with Cole is somewhat on the rocks, seeing as he is not so vocal about his affections. While in London, she also considers joining the Society which Cole is a part of, in order to better understand her psychic abilities. But someone is targetting Sensitives and she is also on that list. So, while juggling her magician’s career, her relationship and her powers, she also has to try to find out who is killing Sensitives. As a character, Anna is quite likeable, and her street smarts keeps her safe for the most part. Also, she doesn’t trust easily which works out in her favor. Cole, on the other hand – dude needs to speak up more. He is almost passive, and it was a step down from Born of Illusion. I think without the psychic thing they have, their relationship wouldn’t even make much sense.
Now, about the world – it is quite a good blend of existing characters like Harry Houdini and Aleister Crowley into the psychic society. The whole 20s vibe is very much refreshing and I love how Anna brings out the age into the picture through her descriptions. The plot was quite good, though a little predictable for me in some parts. I felt Crowley was a great addition to the series – adds a whole new level of danger to the story. Black magic, ghosts, psychic abilitiees – this book is a win for paranormal blending into the normal. The magic of the earlier book, though, is a bit diminished. I didn’t feel the same level of excitement while reading it as much as the first. That level of mystery and intrigue was not maintained. Nevertheless, it is good on it’s own and the conclusion was well done.
Received an ARC from Balzer+Bray via Edelwiess in exchange for an honest review
I am very much ashamed in myself. I neglected this blog for more than a month and hardly read anything during that time too. And I know this might sound like an excuse but life realllllly got in the way. I had these interviews for PhD positions, a couple PhD entrances, a language proficiency test, applications for myriad things – basically I was not in a frame of mind to sit peacefully for a few hours and enjoy the most relaxing activity in the world – reading.
I always thought finding time to read was easy – if you wanted to read, you read. But this last month made me realize that when things like future (!) and responsibilities (!) and your pride get in the way, even books have to take a step back. I tried reading, but the only time I could get was after dinner, which I mostly devoted to the internet (shitty excuse, I know, but Tumblr is damn addictive) since by that time I would be too beat to even lift a book. And when I wasn’t so tired, I usually had studying to do.
So, what was I upto? Let’s see – I was applying for doctoral programs abroad in April-May. I also had to get paperwork done – like passport, transcripts, etc which were getting delayed due to hassles with spelling differences in my birth certificate and school records. Needless to say, I missed the deadline and was in a self-imposed no-reading punishment for my sheer stupidity. After that, I had an exam or two for doctoral programs here itself. I finally got in my state, but another city. Yes, folks, this girl is moving to another city next month and doesn’t know how life will be there, so please bear with me if posts are still scarce even after next month.
On the social front, I was a shut-in, besides some outings with friends from work – making memories before I leave. I missed seeing Maleficent but saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 (wonderful movie, by the way, and awesome animation), and will be going to see TFIOS tomorrow. Went to my friend’s kid’s first birthday – which made me feel quite old, to be honest.
I left my violin classes, because honestly, no time for that either plus living in another city means I have to look for a teacher first. I crammed and attempted the Japanese N4 JLPT exam but don’t have much hopes for that one, since I basically bombed my grammar section. (I am really bad at reading long passages in Japanese) For now, I am working on writing the research paper for the work I did these last 6 months – so I am more or less free during the evenings. Yes, that means I will get some reading done this week. Honestly, it feels so horrible to open by book shelf and see all those unread books.
In case you are still here, thanks for reading about my life and still following me. This booknerd is in a mess at the moment but she will get back to regular booknerdishness soon enough. Cheers to that and keep reading!
The world of Pure is very much like that of The Hunger Games – which is not a surprise since it says so on the cover. However, it is more post-apocalypitc, with an incident of Detonations that causes atomic bomb-like effects on the population. The entire world gets more or less fused with whatever was next to them during the Detonations, resulting in a lot of deformed individuals called wraiths. The author certainly doesn’t shy away from depicting the horror of such an event and even makes them as survivors rather than to be pitied. The world is grim but they are surviving even in an inhabitable planet. At first, I certainly had my doubts regarding the fusings she depicted but when the story progressed and the truths were unraveled slowly, it all started to make sense.Opposed to this, people in the Dome, a handpicked population, got to escape the Detonations and live their lives as Pures – that is, those who were not affected by the Detonations due to the protection of the Dome. Pressia is one such wraiths, living outside the Dome, counting down the days until the rebel organization called OSR rounds her up for recruitment. Since she has her grandfather to look after, she escapes the recruitment by running away for a while. Bradwell, a conspiracy theorist and revolutionist, has a lot of information but believes in looking out for himself first. Patridge, a Pure from the Dome, runs away from his protected environment because he suspects the program they make the boys undergo for enlistment and also because he wants to search for his mother, who stayed back to care for the wraiths. When they all meet, it is on a mission they didn’t know they were on. Told in their perspectives, as well as two other secondary characters, the story development is slow but it builds up rather well. The prose is lush with descriptions, imprinting the grim images in your mind vividly. The untold horrors in the world, the manipulative Dome government and the rather shady OSR are the main antagonists in the story, for their primary enemy is their past. The Dome itself is a oppressive government wherein feminism has been twisted into something remniscent of the Victorian times, and the male youth are being brainwashed into genetic coding and altering. I must say, as a scientist, I loved the whole nanotechnogical angle to the story, and was pleased by the obvious research that is evident through the writing. The pacing, however, didn’t work very well with me, because even about two-thirds of the book, no major development had taken place – just pieces being assembled together. So those going for a fast paced adventure might find the book a bit dull, but the writing makes up for it. It also is not a happy book – most of the time the world will just depress you but a diehard dystopic fan would enjoy the detail into world-builiding. I am definitely picking up the next, as the ending promises some awesome conflicts for the future.
A famous case. A missing girl. If they find her, will they be heroes? Or dead?
Bored out of her mind during a summer with her police detective father in Las Vegas, Jessica (aka “Jex”) Malone starts doing what she does best–snooping. When she meets three new friends who share her passion for crime, from the geek to the fashionista, suddenly, the stifling desert days don’t seem so long.
Her dad is never around, just like when her parents were married. But Jex’s crew, the Drew-Ids, take the pledge of eternal secrecy and then get down to the good stuff–digging through the cold-case files in Dad’s home office.
One of them, the thirteen-year-old case of Patty Matthews, is still a mystery. Finding Patty, who vanished into thin air, became such an obsession for Jex’s father that it destroyed the Malones’ marriage. So not only is this a big deal, it’s personal.
Jex is determined to find out what really happened, and her excitement is contagious. Soon her friends are all on board and so is the missing girl’s brother, the hunky Cooper Matthews.
But as they dig up more and more troubling information–more than the cops ever did–they also get the clear message that someone out there wants to prevent the truth from coming out. That somebody is also prepared to do anything, absolutely anything, to prevent it.
Jex isn’t afraid; after all, she’s a cop’s daughter. But maybe she should be.
Okay, so this one is going to be short since I wasn’t much impressed with it. It started off well, the main character was quirky and humorous and there was that cute girl-spy-club thing going on, but as the book wore on, I was looking for that mystery spark and honestly I was let down when even halfway through the book nothing significant had happened. The so-called club had only one actually doing the sleuthing and most of it was just filler conversation. They chase down flimsy clues, make horribly wrong assumptions from incomplete evidence and with the predictability of the storyline, it doesn’t make for a good mystery novel, see? There was no sense of danger, even during the supposedly tense part. The writing was, however, okay and on basis of humor alone, it is quite good. The girls are a hoot and the romance between Cooper and Jex was cute but nothing to be joyous about. Read if you want something light and fun-filled but not hardcore into mystery.
Received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Sometimes the gods can be so unreasonable.
Like Zeus, the king, who thinks the proper reaction to finding me kissing a mortal is to threaten my boyfriend Orion’s life, banish me to Earth, and force me to inspire true love between three couples without my powers. I know! Elders! I’m Eros, a.k.a. Cupid. The Goddess of Love. Until this morning, anyway.
Now I’m stuck on Earth with no clue how to function as a human, and I can’t even conjure up my magical bow and arrows to help me do my job. I’ve already met this amazing guy—Charlie, a new kid in school like me—but matching him up isn’t as easy as I thought. Turns out opposites don’t attract, nearly identicals don’t attract, and giving a guy what he seems to want is just one big disaster. My sweet new friend Katrina might work, but she’s got more complications than Medusa’s hair, and a live-in boyfriend with a serious mean streak. Probably not the best idea to go there.
If I don’t make a match, I may never see Orion again. I have so much to lose, and only everything to gain.
Only Everything is like a typical boy-meets-girl story, but with the addition of a goddess Eros, who has been banished to Earth as punishment for loving a mortal. Yeah, Eros is female and the Greek pantheon punishment makes no sense considering the extent of affairs the Greek gods have had. So Eros is now True, a goddess-turned-mortal with a deadline to get three couples together (which you know is going to spin into a trilogy) who is fumbling without her powers. Match-making is not so much fun when you can’t read hearts and millennia of experience in love doesn’t come handy quickly enough. So, ultimately it takes a lot of trial and error for her to get two kids together.
As far as the characters go, I love Scott’s potrayal. True is quirky and is totally the goddess type – it’s in her nature to look down on mortals and now among them, she has a tough time, making a lot of faux pas and basically offending people left and right. For a goddess of love, she is quite dense when it comes to identifying potential couples. There seems more to her punishment than just falling in love with a mortal but I guess that is a story for another book. Additionally, we also get the POV of the couple in question, so it is quite adorable to read from their perspective. Katrina embodies the role of a good-girl-fallen-in-with-bad-crowd while Charlie is the I-want-to-prove-myself category. Katrina, I felt for her – she is lonely and tries to seek love where she gets it. Charlie, on the other hand, is the good guy but doesn’t know the right thing. His mismatches thanks to True are hilarious. Zeus, is, as usual, the d-bag of every greek mythology novel so no surprise there. Aphrodite is the socialite mommy – doesn’t care about her kids much. Orion, well, he needs to seen, as well as Artemis, who I feel will play a major role in the next one?
What was disappointing in this story was that it was too predictable. There is a good predictable and there is just putting all the clues into words. It was too simple in writing, for a story that could have done with a few more layers. I know it is supposed to be light and fun but there are darker undertones like the ones with the gods’ past that could have been explored more. I enjoyed the book immensely but I really expected more from the author of the Private series.
Release date: June 24, 2014
American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She’s started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can’t imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she’s fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She’s flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.
When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo’s dark ancestry, as well as Katie’s, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.
Rain continues from where Ink left off – Katie decided to stay back and see how life in Japan will go. Moreover, she wants to unravel the mystery of the ink that is somehow drawn to her. Staying back also means being with Tomohiro and for most part of the book they are blissfully together. But Tomo’s kami heritage keeps getting between them, almost to the point where the ink starts to attack and get rid of her. Katie wants to find out why the ink is doing this and turns to her best source – Jun, who himself is out to woo Katie. Honestly, there is a bit of soap opera like drama between the three of them and two additional people which tries to undermine the fact that the kami in Tomo is taking over him.
The main plotline, of course is the fact that Tomo feels pretty hopeless about his status as a kami – an existence which is plagued with nightmares, and horrible things popping out to kill you. He feels like he should protect Katie from himself, as the ink seems to react to her more. Quitting sketching doesn’t have an effect and he doesn’t want to stay away from her. Both are trying to make it work but the ink is rebelling. I actually liked Tomo’s development in this book. In Ink, he was more of the obnoxious jerk who, though with good intentions, is mean to Katie. In this book, he is sweet, understanding and sensitive to her – and moreover, shows his vulnerable side. Yuki says the boys have a pride thing but not once does he feel annoyed that Katie has to help him out, a fact I admired because if he would have gone all – I don’t need no help – damn, dude, you would end up on my hate list. He even doesn’t misunderstand the Jun situation and get upset with her (I almost expected that angst) but instead acknowledges her right to choose whom she wants to be with. The despair he feels when he learns his heritage, though – I feel Sun did a really good job of depicting his feelings even in second person. It was raw and heart-breaking, and this was only through Katie’s eyes.
The writing, well, it is as beautiful as the previous one – dipping into Japanese culture, keeping the feel of the setting alive with lush descriptions. The characters are rendered wonderfully, each one having his or her own agendas and wants. In this book, the conflict (did not see that coming!) which was revealed towards the end gave for a nice climax after building up through the book. The ups and downs of their relationship, and the ties to the history and kami are blended wonderfully. It was a good sequel and I can’t wait to see how the things get resolved in the final book.
Received an ARC from Harlequin Teen through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.
The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.
How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.
Divided picks up a few weeks after Dualed – West is ready to put her striker days behind her and is now a weapons instructor along with Baer, happy to start a new life with Chord. The ghosts of her past still haunt her, though and she suffers from the guilt and horror of what she had done to survive. Her becoming a striker wasn’t strictly necessary but it made her feel better about the fact that she would be ready for any situation. And now her being a striker comes to bite her when the Board hires her secretly to carry out one last contract which would have a high payoff. Tempted by the reward, she agrees to it, but when she returns to that life, she realizes the part she was trying to get rid off would always be a part of her, and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, she was an assassin but she survived too.
The major arc of the story is, of course, West’s psyche. She has to go from being a completed to a striker to an active. The Board was never to be trusted and by working for them, she just dug herself into a hole. Finally, she asks the help of her loved ones, a major development for her, since she always gets things done by herself. The relationship between her and Chord is also tender and sweet and while it may feel like it wasn’t really on the forefront, it is a major part of the story. The way he is supportive of her, even when she makes decisions he doesn’t approve of is a testament of their bond. The love is so subtle and developed so naturally – even in the first book, I couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment they become a couple; it was like the chemistry was there all along.
I found the ending quite good but it left a lot of open ends. The secret of that lab research, what the choice Chord gives her would mean for them, the non-Alts – it all makes it seem that there might be another book. And since this has been confirmed to be the last book, it makes me all the more disappointed that there won’t be any more in this series. It’s just the writing – it draws you in with the description, the so well drawn-out scenes, particularly those of the hunt – the author really has a knack for building up the suspense. The rendering of the scenes is almost movie-like and quite realistic to be honest. It makes up for the slow pace in many places. About the world-building, I wasn’t satisfied in this book, really, since I expected a bit more of the Surround and all. I mean, are those people out there just letting this city of killers be? So many questions and not enough answers.
Received an ARC from Random House via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review