Revealed (House of Night #11)

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Book: Revealed (House of Night #11)
Author: PC Cast
Format: e-book
No of pages: 352 pages

Synopsis:

The spellbinding eleventh and penultimate installment in the #1 New York Times bestselling vampyre series

Drastically altered after her fall at the end of Hidden, Neferet is now more dangerous than ever—and her quest for vengeance will wreak havoc on humans, as well as Zoey and her friends. Chaos is loosed in Tulsa and the House of Night is blamed. Can Zoey stop Neferet in time to keep her anger from escalating to full-on war? Or will someone else have to step in to take the fall?

The House of Night series is an international phenomenon, reaching #1 on U.S., German, and UK bestseller lists, and remaining a fixture on The New York Times Children’s Series bestseller list for nearly 150 weeks and counting. With more than 12 million copies in print, rights sold in thirty–eight countries to date, and relatable, addictive characters, this series is unstoppable. Now, in the eleventh and penultimate installment of the series, the action is more intense and the stakes even higher as Zoey and her friends battle to protect their school and home from devastating evil—all while balancing romances, precarious friendships and the daily drama of the House of Night’s halls.

Review:
I rated this book 5/5 stars.
So, the opening line of the summary is misleading. This is not the penultimate… there’s still one more (hopefully, only one) to go before the series ends. Ah, but what a ride! This book has loads of humor more than the previous ones.
At times the humor has been a bit snarky through the series. Very few scenes stand out as being really, really funny. But in this book, the one where Aurox/Heath gets drunk is absolutely hilarious! I was literally laughing my guts out by the time the scene was done.
Story-wise, there is some progress, but not as much as we would like. What it does cover nicely is Neferet’s story, without going into too much detail. The idea of the story being told through a dream was pretty inspired. Zoey is as usual confused about Aurox/Heath v/s Stark, though she does make up her mind (somewhat) by the end of the book. Among other characters, Kalona is the only one of note through the book. All other characters seem to be playing supporting roles, without really much to do.
Another aspect is the pace of the action. There is so much happening in the book, that u just can’t keep the book down. That was a real plus point for me.
When the book finally got done, I was like “What?! Already??” I just didn’t want it to end. And that, my friends, is when you know the book’s been a great ride!

 

Glimpses Through The Dream Catcher

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Book: Glimpses Through The Dream Catcher
Author: Candy Laine
Format: Kindle e-book
No of pages: 776 pages

Synopsis:

A collection of romantic short stories that will make you wish for more romance in your life. Some old memories and some new promises. Quick read of ten short stories.

Review:
I have rated this book 4 stars out of 5.
The book definitely stands up to its claim of being a quick read. It took me approximately an hour to finish reading it end-to-end. That said, the stories are actually pretty nice!
However, there is one place where I would dispute the book’s claim.  Out of the 10 stories shared, 7 are snippets rather than stories. They are literally the glimpses into a facet, an experience. But they definitely do NOT qualify as “stories”.
The last 3 stories are the ones that really live up to the claim of being romantic short stories.
Having made that distinction, all of them brought about a smile to my face. Be it the wish for a mango in Summer (and being denied it), or monkeys sneaking into the house, and the Chinese letter about the Yaks gave me this huge grin that people around me had to ask if I was ok! 😉
In all, this book is a nice read on a rainy noon with a hot cup of tea/coffee and warm cake!

 

Baramulla Bomber

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Book: Baramulla Bomber
Author: Clark Prasad
Format: paperback
ISBN: 9789381523971
No of pages: 316 pages

Synopsis:

AN ANCIENT WEAPON FROM THE VEDAS & BIBLE
ONCE HUNTED BY THE NAZIS
POWERED BY THE SOUND OF UNIVERSE
REBORN WITH HELP OF QUANTUM PHYSICS
GOING TO BE UNLEASHED ON TO THE WORLD
AND KASHMIR HOLDS ITS SECRET

Multiple intelligence agencies are tracking Mansur Haider, a god-fearing aspiring cricketer from Kashmir. His girlfriend, Aahana Yajurvedi, is trying to locate her missing mountaineering team, who vanished after a mysterious earthquake strikes Shaksgam Valley.
Investigating Mansur and the Shaksgam Valley incident is Swedish intelligence officer, Adolf Silfverskiold, whose only relationship to god consists of escorting his girlfriend to Church.
A dual China-Pakistan battlefront scenario facing the Indian Home Minister, Agastya Rathore, whose ancestors carry a prehistoric secret linked to the stars. He is faced with the challenge of finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir crisis.
Which Biblical Weapon was Tested in Shaksgam Valley? Why is Mansur Haider Important? Is There a Solution to the Kashmir Crisis? Can Destiny be Controlled? Does a Cosmic Religion Exist?

Review:
This book is a complimentary copy received as a part of Goodread’s First Reads.
I would rate this book as 2.5 out of 5.
This book has taken me the longest time to complete. The premise is good, and that was what attracted me to vote to review this book in the first place.
The first thing that struck me, and managed to get me through the first half of the book was the amount of detail and research that has gone into this book. It is reflected in the amount of background information that is given.
On the con side, this is also a drawback to large extent. The amount of detail also bogs down the story. When I did reach mid-section of the book, I almost put it aside because I didn’t want so much detail! I wanted a story that moved forward, and that’s something I wasn’t getting.
I don’t want to add any spoilers here, but I really got frustrated with not knowing  the direction the story was going. Keeping suspense is fine, but not giving clarity as to why Mansur is important right until the last 20 pages was just plain silly! He’s the main character, and I just couldn’t understand why! Having clarity might have added a dimension of “what next?!” to the book, rather than give the feeling of “when next?!”
Overall I’m not overly impressed with the book. It definitely needs tighter editing. The story isn’t strong enough to hold interest for so many pages.

House of Hades (Heros of Olympus #4)

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Book: House of Hades (Heros of Olympus #4)
Author: Rick Riordan
Format: Kindle
ASIN: B00BXQCHXI
No of pages: 608 pages

Synopsis:

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

Review:
This book deserved a 5/5 !!! 🙂
The book was a rollercoaster. But why did Rick have to make us all wait so long for this book?! I absolutely was looking forward to it, and it didn’t disappoint! YAY! 🙂 And of course, thank God for e-books Ireally dont have the patience to wait for a paperback to hit the book stores.
I really don’t want to give any spoilers here, so I wont go on about most of the stuff in the in the book. But there really isn’t anything to complain.
After the last cliffhanger ending, Rick takes us to the next step in terms of character development. Till date, we seen Percy, Annabeth, Jason and Piper play strong roles. Frank, Leo and Niko weren’t really well-developed in terms of their strengths. These characters now come into their own.
We find Frank growing into his size and strengths, the secret of Niko’s running-away and friendless nature, and Leo finds Love (sorry, I couldn’t help that bit… and it’s not Hazel 😉 )! Hazel herself finally grows into her own strength as Pluto’s daughter.
There’s are also a whole slew of minor characters whom we’ve seen in the Percy Jackson series that were kind of left in the air. Rick gives most of them closure… or at least what happened since then.
In all, I really can go on and on about the book, but I really loved it. It’s filled with action, emotion, humor: all the makings of a great read.

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher #18)

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Book: Never Go Back
Author: Lee Child
Format: paperback
ISBN:0385344341 (ISBN13: 9780385344340)
No of pages: 400 pages

Synopsis:

After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, former military cop Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. It was the closest thing to a home he ever had.

Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind his old desk isn’t a woman. Is Susan Turner dead? In Afghanistan? Or in a car wreck?

What Reacher doesn’t expect to hear is that Turner has just been fired from her command. Nor that he himself is in big trouble, accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide. And he certainly doesn’t expect to hear these words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’

Will he be sorry he went back? Or – will someone else?

Review:
Am giving this book 4 stars out of 5.

As with all the Jack Reacher books, I totally loved this one. It has all the ingredients of a good masala action read: action, hint of romance, a decent (not air-headed female lead) and more action!

We first hear of Susan’s character in 61 Hours, and since then Jack Reacher has been progressing towards Virginia. And he meets a surprise when he does get there. What follows is typical intrigue and action with Reacher beating up the bad guys, some within an airplane miles above the Earth. A bit of a vigilant, righting all the wrongs, Reacher still holds your interest. Yes, he’s outdated when it comes to technology, and he accepts that. Come on, the guy travels with a toothbrush and nothing at all. How can he be expected to keep up with technological advances?!

The only weak part is the so-called daughter. I did like that a kind-of bond was created between Reacher and her even when their relation status wasn’t clear. But on the downside, the girl didn’t seem worth the effort of creating… Not really much depth about her. She seems to be only one who moved around in the lane, and talks, and notices stuff. Where exactly was the mother? In the diner? All the time??? Not a very convincing part in all.

Overall, the book delivers on its premise, making it a great action read, typical Reacher style.

My favourite line from the book is: “I think ninety-nine of us grow up to love the campfire, and one grows up to hate it. Ninety-nine of us grow up to fear the howling wolf and one grows up to envy it. And I’m that guy.”

 

Getting Rowdy (Love Undercover #3)

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Book: Getting Rowdy
Author: Lori Foster
Format: paperback
ISBN: 0373777795 (ISBN13: 9780373777792)
No of pages: 448 pages

Synopsis:

An alpha hero’s attraction to the one woman he can’t have could draw him into a killer’s snare in the sizzling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Charismatic bar owner Rowdy Yates isn’t the kind of man women say no to. So when he approaches waitress Avery Mullins, he fully expects to get her number. However, the elusive beauty has her reasons for keeping her distance, including a past that might come back to haunt them both.

Avery spends her nights working for tips and trying to forget the secret Rowdy is determined to unearth. But when history threatens to repeat itself, Avery grows to rely on Rowdy’s protective presence. As the sparks between them ignite, she will be forced to choose between the security she’s finally found& and the passion she’s always wanted.

Review:
Am giving this book 4 stars out of 5.
This is one book that I’ve been waiting for! 🙂 We first see Rowdy and Avery in Running the Risk, the first of the Love Undercover series. While they, and their obvious chemistry, intrigues us, we’ve need to wait till they get their own book! And it has been worth the wait.
What I liked most about the story is that the relationship between Avery and Rowdy doesnt arise out of intrigue or subterfuge, but out of basic chemistry and good working relationship. They work on the bar together giving it a new lease of life, and Rowdy even takes Avery’s suggestion for the name “Getting Rowdy”.  And that’s just the best part! No fancy hijinks to ensure they like each other. Yes, there is an element of intrigue with the breather phone calls and tailing cars, but they just add to the fun.
The side characters were pretty well written. We can surely look forward to additional books featuring Dash, Cannon and Marcus, though Marcus will mean a new generation of characters a la PI & Men to the Rescue series.
In all, a fun read that keeps you engaged from Page 1!

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh

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Book: The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Format: paperback
ISBN: 0062068652 (ISBN13: 9780062068651)
No of pages: 448 pages

Synopsis:

The 2nd in the Cynster Sisters duo, #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens thrills with this fantastic tale of a Cynster who’ll stop at nothing for love.

Lady Mary has been waiting years for this opportunity. Not that her sister has thrown off her spinster ways and become betrothed, it’s finally Mary’s chance for true love. She knows exactly who she wants –and it’s not someone as wild, unmanageable, and sinfully seductive as Ryder Cavanaugh.

Ryder Cavanaugh, Marquess of Raventhorne, had never met a woman who wouldn’t happily fall at his feet–or into his bed…until Lady Mary Cynster. But Ryder has made some decision about his life and he’ll only succeed at being the man he wants to be with Mary by his side. And convincing her of that fact is just the kind of challenge he thrills at…

 

Review:
Am giving this book 3.55 stars out of 5.
After the last few books that I read that were disappointing, this was a welcome read.  That’s not to say this didn’t disappoint in parts… I wonder if I’m being too critical, or just more discerning?
The book starts off with Mary, whom we first saw in Devil’s Bride. While all the books about the Cynster males, and assorted friends have been pretty good, the women have been a bit of a let down. I guess that comes from trying to make them too stronger, and then trying to show them up with a stronger male character. Doesnt really work though. While the older female characters were strong (not just wilful) and they weren’t sure they wanted the hero in their lives, the newer females went looking for the males. They just wanted their heroes so that they can get married and move on with the next phase of their lives. This very premise makes the Cynster sisters’ books fail.
However, Stephanie has certain formulae by which her books are run, and this delivers on the promise of being a decent read. Does it match up to the older books? No. But that doesn’t make this a poor read either.
Mary is described as being stubborn and intent on finding her own spouse, especially one whom she thinks she can manage. However, This comes across as grandstanding, as the moment Ryder presents her with a fait accompli, she goes along without a complaint.
Ryder on the other side is described as being difficult to manage, but yet comes across as a guy besotted witless by the girl he likes.
The book becomes more engaging once the couple are betrothed. While there isn’t much of a mystery regarding the stepmother as the villain, the interactions between Mary and Ryder make a good read.
One major complaint was: if both are headstrong and wilful, how do they reach the attitude of “old married couple” within the first week? There is no friction, hardly any sparks, except in the love scenes, no tempers or quarrels. Odd.
The epilogue becomes a recount of all the past books/characters and where they are at that point. And while it is a nicely written piece, it also sets up for a new set of stories, while bringing the current set to a close. Maybe I wouldn’t want the further sequels though.
Overall its a lukewarm read. Decently written enough to keep one occupied on a slow boring day, but it is not worth a 2nd read.

Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13)

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Book: Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Format: e-book
ASIN: B009NY43NY
No of pages: 336 pages

Synopsis:

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart….

Sookie Stackhouse  finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…
Review:
I’m giving this book 3 stars (out of 5).
I’m not really where to start this review. This book signifies the end of the very entertaining True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse series (Finally! Thank God!) 🙂
The reason for the obvious contradiction in the previous sentence is: the books should have ended long back.. at least 4 books back. That said, I still picked up each of the subsequent books just to see where the story went.
Charlaine Harris did manage to eke out this book, but I’m guessing at the cost of her fan base. Most people were rooting for Eric to come back as the Love of Sookie’s life. And it was surely disappointing that he bowed out instead. What Charlaine did try to do was close out all the loose ends. It’s a different matter that I didn’t know 2 of the characters were loose ends. I had to go back through the series just to figure out where did they pop up from!
The good things about the book:
  • It ended the series: very important point!
  • Sookie possibly has a chance of having the baby/ies she’s mooning for since the last book or so, since she’s finally hooked up with Sam
    • Actually I’m a bit surprised at other reviewers being shocked by this move. Sam has been the most consistent feature in all the books. At the very beginning of the series Sookie mentions being attracted to him, but didn’t want to get her workplace weird, so she kept the attraction to herself. So this was possibly the most logical move.
  • Most loose ends tied off, including Claude, Amelie, Tara
  • Pam’s the new Sheriff of Area 5 Louisiana
  • Loved the last line: I’m Sookie Stackhouse. I belong here.

The bad things about the book:

  • The fact that the series dragged on so far.
  • The story was not the most tightly written. A couple of time I had to actually cross-reference with the previous books, something I’ve never done with any fiction series – EVER!
  • Eric went out with a whimper.
    • So i knew it was ending the moment Sookie used the cluviel dor on Sam in the previous book. But did Eric need to take such a washed-out exit? For a character which has always displayed passion, he was surprisingly missing in presence in the entire book.
  • The weirdness that was Claude – excuse me?! Gay Fairy recruits Psycho Homophobes who are the ones who actually end the game plan for him when they get to know his orientation?! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling the oddness.
  • Even more weird communication from Niall: A letter blooms on a rosebush? Whatever happened to popping out from thin air? Afterall Claude escaped, so Faery wasn’t exactly shut off, was it?

Overall, I didn’t put down the book while reading it, but I wasn’t invested in it either. I’ve always liked Charlaine Harris’s style of writing, but this series stretched her out too far. Hope she takes time to refresh herself and give us something new, and different. 🙂

 

What’s in a Name?

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Dear Followers,

I’m sure you’ve been inundated with posts from the blog, stating that the link has been changed. Well, that IS true. However, I can assure you that the change is now final 🙂

I made the original name of Yarny Days bearing in mind the word play of story and yarn. However, I found that searching for my blog meant going through innumerable wool, knitting and crocheting blogs! So that’s why I decided to change. But to what? Most blog address seem to be gone! 😦

So this blog is now called Pustakalu – the Telugu word for books. I hope you all join me in this journey of looking for new books, and reviewing them.

Please share your thoughts, suggestions and any general ideas to help me improve!

Thanks 🙂

 

Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns

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Book: Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Format: e-book; Kindle Edition
ASIN: B00A285UVY
No of pages: 400 pages

Synopsis:

Revenge Wears Prada picks up eight years after Andy parted ways with Miranda on bad terms. Andy is now editing The Plunge, the hottest bridal magazine around, alongside Emily, her one-time Runway nemesis turned current BFF. While Andy is planning her own wedding to Max, a handsome media scion, she remains haunted by her impeccably heeled former boss — and the magazine world being as small as it is, it’s only a matter of time before she hears the dreaded syllables “Ahn-dre-ah!” again.
(From the EW article.)

Review:

I give the book 2 stars for trying to generate a hype that simply doesn’t exist.

The only reason I can think of for reading this book is that I somewhat like the last one: The Devil Wears Prada. That book was somewhat entertaining, the movie even more so. This book: NOT.

I have just no clue why the book was reprised in the first place. It’s not like Lauren had any idea where she wanted it to go when she started writing. It’s as though she started writing, making up the story as she went, and forgot to smoothen it out, or at least change the title at the end. We now have the book written in 3rd person (the first one was as Andy in first person) where we have Andy Sachs back in action, this time as BFF with her worst enemy Emily. An explanation for this come approximately after 1/3rd of the book is done, over a 2 minute conversation at a cooking class.

The book opens with Andy getting married to Max Harrison, a media tycoon from a distinguished family, and a nightmare that Andy wakes up from featuring Max and Miranda Priestly. Now given that its been 10 years since Andy worked for Miranda, shouldn’t she have seen a shrink about the recurring Miranda dreams??

Andy, during the course of the day, finds out that her to-be-husband-in-the-next-hour met his ex-girlfriend during the course of his bachelor party, and feels sick, sure that he cheated on her. Grounds for this thought: he didn’t tell her. Really? That’s it?? I wasn’t really sure that was a great way to start the book, especially when the same character is a sweetheart about the fact that Andy’s so unwell that she can’t consummate their marriage even a week down the road, and doesn’t tell him she’s preggers till a week after knowing about it.

I still stuck to the book in hopes it would get better. Unfortunately it doesn’t.

Miranda makes a first appearance in Chapter 5 for a few lines, and basically doesn’t recognize or notice Andy. One would probably take a clue here. But then the magazine that Andy has started with Emily is looking to be bought by Elias-clark, which also owns Runway magazine.  This also involves Miranda Priestly again, but yet again, she doesn’t recognize either Andy nor Emily. The only somewhat antagonistic sequence comes up in chapter 18, which is by far the only credible Miranda-style sequence. But one chapter doesn’t quite justify the Title, does it?

Overall, Andy comes across as a self-centered idiot who doesn’t have the good sense to hold on when the going gets tough. Not to mention, who on earth names a child Clementine (Clem for short)?! And she walks out on a marriage because she doesn’t agree with how her husband went behind her to do something, which he felt was justified. Whatever happened to working things out?

At the very end I found that self-centered has turned into self-righteous. But then again, why was I still reading?