Sunday, January 31, 2010

MegaBook Giveaway - The Sequel! by teensreadandwrite !

MegaBook Giveaway - The Sequel!

A second mega giveaway is held by Teens Read And Write !
Click here to enter the contest !
The contest is open Internationally and ends at midnight PST on March 7, 2009.
So what are you waiting for ?? Go check out the awesome contest and be sure to enter to win fabulous books ! 

Review : Meridian by Amber Kizer

Title : Meridian
Amber Kizer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.
Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.
Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

My Review:

I’ll get straight to the plot which I liked. Meridian, a 16 year old finds unusual things around her since her childhood. When she wakes up in the morning, she always finds herself covered with dead insects and sometimes even little animals like mice. Death has somehow always surrounded her which made her think that she was a total freak! Meridian kept herself resolute in the fear of causing death to whoever was around her until one day on her sixteenth birthday, a major accident happens around her house and she is been hustled of by her parents secretively to her great aunts place whom she has never met before. All that she knows about her Auntie is her Quilts which she gifts Meridian on her every birthday.
Once reached to the palace like house of her great aunt, she meets Tens there. A young handsome boy who takes care of the old lady- Auntie.
Here, Meridian finds her purpose of life and what she is!
Yes, meridian is a Fenestra. A Fenestra is a half human and a half Angel; a link between the living and the dead. As and how she learns her own abilities from her auntie, she also discovers about the Aternocti; a dark evil force which is trying to kill Meridian. She has to learn how to deal with her powers and also the Aternocti.

OK. loved the idea of Fenestra! It’s pretty unusual! But sadly, I couldn’t connect to any of the characters in the book. Amber Kizer is no doubt an excellent author, but, I was hoping that the characters of the book should have been fleshed out a little more. That was the only major problem with it. I would have given ‘Meridian’ 4 stars as this book is very different than the other paranormal ones; but, because of this major flaw, I would rate it as 3.5.

‘Meridian’ by Amber Kizer is very quick and easy to read book. A few messages have been passed between the lines and many things have been taught in this book about Life and death. I would definitely recommend you to read this one as it is no doubt a page turner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Review : Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Title : Planet of The Apes
Pierre Boulle

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About the book:

First published more than thirty-five years ago, Pierre Boulle’s chilling novel launched one of the greatest science fiction sagas in motion picture history, from the classic 1968 movie starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell, through four sequels and two television series . . . and now the newest film adaptation directed by Tim Burton.

In the not-too-distant future, three astronauts land on what appears to be a planet just like Earth, with lush forests, a temperate climate, and breathable air. But while it appears to be a paradise, nothing is what it seems.

They soon discover the terrifying truth: On this world humans are savage beasts, and apes rule as their civilized masters. In an ironic novel of nonstop action and breathless intrigue, one man struggles to unlock the secret of a terrifying civilization, all the while wondering: Will he become the savior of the human race, or the final witness to its damnation? In a shocking climax that rivals that of the original movie, Boulle delivers the answer in a masterpiece of adventure, satire, and suspense.

My Review:

This book is a total work of fiction but very unbelievable! After reading a few pages, I thought it would be better for me if I keep my logical and practical brain apart from me and simply enjoy the book.

The story takes place in far future where a young couple is spending their holiday traveling in space in a ship. Well, a different kind of ship which is sort of a sphere with all the latest technologies installed in it. In the space they see an object floating. When they catch hold of it, they find a bottle! Inside it is a message !Actually this message is a set of loose papers, like a diary, written by someone named ‘Ulysse Merou ‘ who is a journalist and is narrating his own story. Very Interesting!! 
So, the main story starts from here.. as Ulysse Merou and his 2 other companions land on a different planet similar to earth with all the trees, climate, water and breathable air!  But, apart from the familiarities, this planet is very different than ours. Here, they find humans are actually not the same like the ones on Earth except for their appearances..! They are like savage beasts! The humans here don’t have a rational mind, any expressions on face and don’t wear clothes! But, this is not it! The major shock to them comes when they find that the APES are the ruling masters of this wonderful planet..! Apes are the ones who are civilized here. Actually, they are exactly the same as humans are here on Earth! ‘Ulysse Merou’ is the man who tries to solve the mystery and the ironic civilization of this planet. 
I cannot say anything more about this book as it will lead straight to spoilers!!

Ok. This book is very different, funny in a way. It does get a little boring at times and not that great, but, overall I liked it. There are some surprising twists in the book which I liked.
There are few messages which are being passed through the novel. also The major one is ‘Be Kind to animals or rather any living being!’ you never know when the tables are turned!!

There is a movie based on this movie too, which I haven’t seen! So, I really cannot compare both :) This is a small book which is pretty quick to read and is good change when you are tired of reading the usual paranormal!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Review : A duke to die for by Amelia Grey

Title : A duke to die for
Amelia Grey
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the book:

When the rakish fifth duke of Bakewell’s unexpected and shockingly lovely new ward arrives, she claims to carry a curse that has brought each of her previous guardians to an untimely end. As she tries to persuade him to release her to manage her own future, and he tries to find her a suitable husband, they become scandalously entangled.
When several potentially deadly accidents befall the Duke, Henrietta is the only one who can help him..

My Review:

Henrietta, a young lady, is sweet, innocent, intelligent, bold, frank (or I must say not afraid to let her mind out) and a naïve girl who has a list of guardians to take care of her after her parents’ death. She was 7 when she lost both her mother and father; a tragic incident which still haunts and has left a mark on her. Anyway, all her guardians fall into an unexpected and unnatural death which leaves her to only believe that there is curse on everyone who will come forward to take her responsibility. After the death of all her previous guardians mentioned in the list, the last name left is of the Duke of Blakewell !
So, there she goes at his place and tells the entire story to the duke. Lucian has recently taken the position of the Duke of Blakewell after his father’s death. He is now the new young duke who is a rake and a scoundrel. He is sexy, young, wealthy, and an irresponsible man and spends his time in gambling and horse racing. But, apart from all this he is very good at heart and totally is a duke to die for!
So, with so much of responsibility already, he gets one more at his doorstep – Henrietta!! He wants to get rid of her and in order to do so, starts to find a suitable groom for Henrietta. But, destiny has something else in store for both of them with the curse hovering above their heads..!

Ok. There are some other important characters in the book which I thought to be villains almost till the middle of the book because it was pretty clearly written in that manner in the first few pages. But, they were not..! I think this contradiction was the only problem with the book, as there was no intention of keeping these characters a mystery for the readers.

I enjoyed this book a lot, but it does not top into my best read romantic books. The romance is no doubt very heartwarming. The chemistry which is been shown between Henrietta and Blake is very sweet. I could also picturize the lavish balls and the beautiful gowns described in the book which took me entirely into that era and the ambiance.
Amelia gray is a new author for me, and I liked this book which happens to be the first in the series. Would look forward to read the next one in the series!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review : Abandoned by Anya Peters

Title : Abandoned

Author: Anya Peters

Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

About the book:

‘I was used to Daddy screaming “Whore’s child” at me, over and over again. But I couldn’t get used to the shame I felt afterwards.  ’

Little Anya grew up in terror of the man she knew as ‘daddy’ – her drunken, bullying uncle who sexually abused her from the age of six. The only person she could trust was he woman she called ‘Mummy’.

When Anya’s uncle got careless and he began abusing her in front of the other children, Anya cracked. All her terrible secrets came pouring out. Then one day the only woman who loved her- her ‘Mummy’ – Left. After years of trying to overcome her childhood pain, Anya ended up homeless and living in her car on the streets of London.

‘Abandoned’ is Anya’s harrowing account of her ruined childhood and the inspirational story of how she painfully began to piece her life back together.

My Review:

I usually don’t prefer reading any non-fictions. But, the synopsis of this book just got me into reading this one!
I admit..! I almost skipped the first half of the book..!! ‘Anya peters’ was sexually abused by her uncle when she was only a child. The abuse scenes are so descriptive in this book that I just couldn’t get into reading them!  Reading about what happened to her just made me cringe many a times! The second half of the book talks about her homelessness as an adult and how she tries to piece her life back together.Apart from this, the book is also about survival and courage! Its truly a wonder that a child survived through all this!
Its such a heartbreaking book, that I just don't know what more I should write about it.

‘Anya Peters‘ is an amazing writer and I truly hope she writes a fiction book in future!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Review : Going too far by Jennifer Echols

Title : Going too far

Author: Jennifer Echols

Rating: 3.95 out of 5 stars

About the book:

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

My Review:

Meg is shown as a total spoiled brat. She keeps changing her hair color from pink - purple – to - blue, wears too revealing clothes, has random boyfriends, loves breaking rules and often gets into troubles. Even her father has washed his hands from her. But, all Meg wants in her life is to get away from the small town , live in a big city and simply LIVE her life! But one night, she ends up doing something illegal with her friends, is caught by a cop named John After and is kept in prison for the entire night. To teach these kids lesson, cop After punishes them each by giving night duties in ambulance, fire department etc. Meg is been given a duty to be in a police car patrolling and catching criminals the entire night for an entire week with John After! Yes, the same cop who had her arrested!

The story/plot is not very different. It reminded me of a silhouette book. But, In spite of that, I liked the book overall. The humor is very good and I enjoyed it. Well, all credit goes to the author Jennifer Echols. She has written it so excellently that it actually made an ordinary story into a huge something.

It took me sometime to understand Meg’s character or rather, why she did what she did! But, as the story progresses, I got connected to her and understood her very well. John After is a super cool cop and a very good person indeed! One thing is for sure, he knows what he is doing, and is very mature for his age! I really liked the chemistry which is been shown between Meg and him. The dialogues, the interaction between them is been written very nicely!

And now, coming to the cover, Isn’t it very lovely??!!!! I picked this book only because of the cover! Seriously!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review : Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep

Title : Karma Girl

Author: Jennifer Estep

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the book:

After dumping her supernaturally endowed, crime-fighting fiancée, reporter Carmen Cole left behind her sleepy southern hometown for the big city. Now, she’s deciding her life to unmasking the country’s most powerful heroes and biggest villains—making her public enemy number one of both the good guys and the bad guys.
Since her exposes have catapulted Carmen to stardom, hobnobbing with modelizing millionaires and famished fashionistas is all in a day’s work. But, when Carmen gets the scoop of her career, her life comes crashing down around her. And even Striker, the city’s sexiest crime-buster, may not be able to save her…

My Review:

If you are tired of reading paranormal romance books about vampires werewolves, goblins, witches etcetera etcetera… then ‘Karma Girl’ by Jennifer Estep is a perfect book for you.

Carmon Cole, a reporter, catches her fiancée and her best friend in a very..umm…’About to make out’ act just 30 minutes before her wedding! If that’s not enough, she also finds out that her fiancée is a superhero and her best friend/maid of honor is an ubervillain!! Totally devastated, heartbroken and betrayed she clicks their photo in that “act”, marches straight to her office, prints and exposes them on the first page of the next day’s newspaper! What else can a reporter girl do in such a situation? She takes a vow to unmask each and every superhero and ubervillain of world so that they can never ever hide the truth and cheat anyone. Never any other girl will suffer what she suffered..! Obviously, unmasking the superheroes and the ubervillain helps her get many offers from other newspapers. And thus, she climbs the ladder of success by revealing the identities of these heroes and villains and comes to Bigtime, NY. This is the city where worlds most powerful superheroes, ‘The Famous Five’ and ubervillains, ‘The Triads’ reside. Here she is been hired by the worlds most popular newspaper called ‘The Expose’. She reveals the identity of one of the members of “The Famous Five”. After this particular incident her life changes forever and is caught in the epic-battle of the superheroes and ubervillians. I guess that’s enough to tell you all about the story. To know what happens next, you will have to read the book.

I loved Carmen Cole; she is a nosy reporter, smart, funny, and not perfect at all. But, she also realizes her mistakes and tries to correct them. This girl believes in ‘Karma’ - the effects of a person's actions that determine his/her destiny. And here comes the hero. He is sensitive, kind-hearted, hot, and yes, super sexy!

This book is filled with excitement, dangers, twists and amidst all-- romance!! ‘Karma Girl’ is a perfect escape to another world full of superheroes, Ubervillians and of course normal humans. A super sexy book with a cool plot. This book is the first in the series and is a standalone. Just can’t wait to read the next one in the series now :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Review : Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Title : Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the book:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

My Review:

This story is about a teenage girl named Hannah Baker who went through a lot of ups and downs in her school life and ended up in committing suicide.
A set of audio tapes arrive at Clay Jensen’s house. When he opens it, he finds it from Hannah Baker, a girl who died a few days ago. He starts listening to the audio tapes, which are recorded in Hannah’s voice telling him the thirteen reasons why she died. And, yes, Clay is one of them. One after another many high school secrets and terrible facts about the students in his school are revealed. Some of them, he knows, and some he doesn’t.

Now, coming to what Hannah actually was. She was no doubt a very good human being and a kindred spirit. Wanted to enjoy her school life like a very normal teenager ,be happy, have true friends and eventually a boyfriend.But, apart from all this, she was very sensitive, fragile minded and emotionally vulnerable (Now, this is what I felt). This book tells the other side of ‘suicide’! We always hear that so and so person committed suicide .But, we never know the real reason behind it!!

WHY????? WHAT made her/him to take such a step??

Hannah’s safe haven has been destroyed by the Jerks she encounters with in her school. She gets a feeling of not feeling safe anywhere (Blame the jerks), disgusting games being played, betrayal by friends and many more! This book is about Hannah telling her side of story through her audio tapes and Clay who is listening to them and the thought process of his brain!

Ok, I am not very sure how I felt about the writing style of this book. The book picks up pace from the middle, till then, its slow and boring at times. I found Clay’s perspective or rather thought process very difficult to understand.
See, the story isn’t about me. I am not studying in the same school where he is. For me, when I start reading, everything is fresh, everything is new. Each and every person right from the beginning is a stranger for me. And yes, when the tape started, I couldn’t build the same excitement which went through Clay. Why? Because I don’t know the people Hannah mentioned. Its like, Clay is my friend, and I am listening to his story. But Somehow I can’t connect with the excitement or ‘Oh my gosh’ feeling that Clay is experiencing. Writing wise, that was the only problem with this book for me at least. But, then again, this was meant to be in this way.

Ok, The major things to tell. I thought that Hannah was –

1. Simply justifying her death by sending tapes and making them realize their mistakes!
2. She wanted to tell people that how #@$! rumors can spoil someone’s life and
3. How these things can affect someone’s psyche if they are not mentally strong.

I think the book just tells us all a story; a story about a girl who committed suicide and what made her take this decision. The real message from the story is that no one should take other person for granted and should always know how their aftermaths can affect certain people in different ways even if they just shrug it off. That’s all. But, I really wanted the author (at least at the back of the book)
1.  to give a reason to live for depressed people who are on the verge of committing suicide.
2. to tell that there is always a ray of hope and there is always a way out.
3. to believe in ‘Expect the least, you get the best!’ (That doesn’t mean you don’t expect at all, but also be prepared for the worst!).
4. to tell that you will find countless stupid, self obsessed, egoistic morons everywhere. But, life is wonderful and you need to live the most of it without letting them spoil it.
5. To tell that guilty conscience is OK. To overcome that, you should try and gather your strength to correct the wrongs you did. And,
6. to tell that Hannah died because of her own reasons and of her own psyche problems.

I don’t blame Hannah at all. NOPE(not that I support her being suicidal)! She was just a young, innocent and a deeply hurt and unstable girl. The people who Hannah met in her life were a bunch of idiots! But again, we always face such people in life at some point of time. Everybody does!!!! It depends simply on how each and every individual takes it and respond towards it! The sad thing was, that Hannah could not turn for help towards anyone (Blame the jerks).

The author Jay Asher mentioned about her leaving her previous town for some reason which he hasn’t stated clearly. Something had happened in her past and she wanted to escape from there (I wonder what?). She wanted to start fresh in a new town. And there she comes with lots of hopes only to find out that they are gonna get crushed miserably! So miserably that she will have only one option left in front of her! I guess the real reason for her to make decision about committing suicide is that she couldn’t stop certain things to happen, in spite of knowing that she could have! Guilty conscience!! THE MAJOR THING!
If you are in the power to stop anything wrong to happen, and when you don’t, your guilty conscience can make you think and do horrible things to yourself.
The author Jay has written this novel beautifully. He was definitely able to go through the mind set of young teen’s problems!  This book is written in a very unique manner. He has told us that closing yourself, or simply hinting at the problems we have cannot solve anything! Jay Asher also says that only one person cannot be responsible for anyone to commit suicide. It is never an aggressive decision. It tells how every person’s deeds affect or at least leave a mark on other person’s life. And, one shouldn’t take anyone/anything for granted. He tells us what kind of problems young teens face everyday.

I never really understood why people committed suicide. But now, I do.
I totally give him credit to make me think things which I never thought about before. Also I owe him for the thoughts (that came while I was reading) which I mentioned I wanted him to explain in the book. This book has definitely made me think and scratch my head a lot!

Now, I found some things weird here –
1. With all this, where were her parents??
2. Clay got only one message from her tapes. He should take a step forward and not be shy and control his feelings!! The end was a little funny for me.

The entire concept of the book is very sensitive and open for a lot of discussion.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone by saying things which I felt about this book/topic. If I have, I am truly sorry.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Review : Jasmyn by Alex Bell

Title : Jasmyn
Author: Alex Bell

Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

About the book:

One day, without warning, Jasmyn’s husband died of an aneurysm.

Since then, everything has been different. Wrapped up in her grief, Jasmyn is trapped in a world without colour, without flavour – without Liam. But even through the haze of misery she begins to notice strange events. Even with Liam gone, things are not as they should be, and eventually Jasmyn begins to explore the mysteries that have sprung up after her husband’s death… and follow their trail back into the events of his life.

But the mysteries are deeper than Jasmyn expects, and are leading her in unexpected directions – into fairytales filled with swans, castles and bones; into a tale of a murder committed by a lake and a vicious battle between brothers; into a story of a lost past, and a stolen love. She’s entering a magical story.

Jasmyn’s story.

My Review:

‘Jasmyn’ by Alex Bell is a beautiful book. You have to read it!!
The story is not any kind of retelling, but it definitely revolves around a myth/fairytale, which I won’t disclose here as I am afraid, that will lead to spoilers.

Jasmyn is a widow of 27 year old and has recently lost her husband Liam. The story starts into action right from the first chapter. During Liam’s funeral, some black swans fall from the sky on the ground. Since then, one after the other, strange things start happening. She gets the feeling of being watched and followed by someone. One day, Liam’s dangerous friend who is unaware of Liam’s death shows up at her house and barges in to find Liam. Eventually she comes to know that Liam had lied about the places he said he had visited; instead he had gone somewhere else.

But one day, when Jasmyn goes to Liam’s study, she finds a book open to the last page in front of her. The page was detailing how to identify the devil’s familiars when they disguised themselves as animals and how  any black animal could be linked with the devil – black cats, clack dogs, black swans..
And there, she shudders at the mention of the swans.
With the help of her cold rude brother-in-law Ben, she starts unfolding mysteries behind all the strange happenings which take her to enchanted castles, mysterious lakes and into a strange world where every thing is magic!

This is a book that you would definitely want to finish in one sitting.
I loved Jasmyn. She is too real to accept. Everyone knows about this famous quote ‘Think before you act! ’; Well, Jasmyn definitely fits into it! The longing and the grief which Jasmyn faces after she looses her husband is been written excellently. Another thing, I googled the places mentioned in the book and they are real. I don’t want to write more about this book and spoil the fun for you. I would just say one thing. If you like myths, grown up fairy tells and fantasy, you would definitely enjoy ‘Jasmyn’ .Alex Bell takes you into an entirely different world from which you do not wish to return.  I am so happy that I read it.