Tuesday, 29 October 2013

My take on: PLAYING DIRTY (Stargazer #2) by Jennifer Echols

Also find this review on my GoodReads and on my BookLikes.

Two words:
Drama Overload.

There was an overflow of emotions in every page of every chapter! Good God! It was WAY too much and the last couple of chapters which were supposed to be climactic turned into a hectic read. I had a scowl on my face which said just get it over with already during the last 50 pages or so.

From the very first meeting between our hero and heroine, there were sparks, tingles, intense attraction and all that lovey-dovey gooey shit which we are so damn tired of reading in every book nowadays.
My thoughts on Playing Dirty are almost similar to what I had about the first book, Star Crossed. (Yeah, I went out of my way to read it only to find out that these books aren’t related at all. What a waste.)

I thought the first one had a better story and characters whereas Playing Dirty was just flat-out boring. Wendy, in the first book was interesting, smart and funny but Sarah in this book just tried too hard to behave like a person. There was nothing unique that stood out about her in the book, except her hair maybe. Like Wendy, she was also on the brink of losing her job (and had great hair as well) so she set out to do this last gig to save her career and all she did while working as a PR specialist for the country-band The Cheatin’ Hearts was to lust over Quentin, their lead singer.  If getting turned on by the lead singer of a band isn’t one of the biggest clich├ęs ever, then I don’t know what is. (Although, this was a country band, not a rock band so it didn’t fit very well with me.)
She didn’t have any advice to improve band’s status or help them, she used to mention her job once in a while when she got a break from lusssssting over Quentin, otherwise? Nothing. All she did was flirt with him, whine about her previous job-gone-wrong and lead Quentin to the bed then say “We can’t. It would be wrong.”


Not. Again.
I’m tired of this theme.
First, the characters have insta-love but they force themselves not to fall in love because it would be wrong or unethical or against their job policies but they end up having sex anyway.
Well, if you had to do it, why didn’t you do it in the first chapter itself and save us all this trouble, dammit!
There are two major events in this book. First is when Sarah and Quentin check each other out, realise the passionate flames between them, the other is when they put their sexual tension to the end. Everything that happens in-between is messy, complicated and unsurprisingly yawn inducing. The whole band, together, has more problems than the White House. Each one of them has some or the other petty secrets hidden away from each other and not to forget that Quentin keeps lying to Sarah over and over and over again about everything. It is not as much lying as it is hiding things from her but it’s all the same. After a few pages I lost track of all the issues they had so I just skipped 60 pages at once. I know, bad on my part, but can you blame me?

The writing was mediocre, I’d say. In the first book the writing came out as very “try-hard”. All the scenes were described with a lot of effort and jokes were somehow pushed in the story to make us feel that what we’re reading is a rom-com. In this book there was less of the try-hard factor and the narration was kept plain and simple, that could probably be because our heroine had a sense of humour of a rock. Contrary to this book, I liked the characters in the first one, despite the passable writing I think Wendy was sketched very well. Another thing about the writing I ought to mention are the sex scenes, or what I would call an attempt to write one. Just so you know, I’m not against steamy scenes but they should be written very well into the story (like the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead or Fever series by Karen Marie Moning) otherwise they seem like waste of pages, time and effort to me. There were very few such scenes in this book as compared to Star Gazer but they fell flat nonetheless, in my opinion.

The last thing that I’m going to mention is the copious amount of drama thrown in the final chapters. Climactic part should always be concise, fast paced and must show more than tell. But in Playing Dirty, there were just too many things going on at once. Someone’s spilling their secrets, some people are confessing their love for each other, someone is getting love letters one moment and death threats by a stalker the other (Again, what’s with the similarities between 1st and 2nd book?). Ever head of the phrase TOO MUCH? Yeah, that applies here. Half of the problems were being rushed and half were slowed down to a rate that it became frustrating to read. The pacing and the spacing of the storyline was a major drawback here. Every issue was procrastinated in the middle only to reveal it at the end which made things into one huge lump of hodge podge.

So, final verdict – 1.5 to 2 stars because there were shreds of story unlike other books which don’t even deserve to be called “books”. Not recommended to a crowd because I’m sure there are better romantic comedies out there.

*This arc was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and I thank them.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

My take on: SCANDAL (The Ivy #4)

Overall series 3.5 to 4 Stars.

So, I read the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books in one go and don’t remember much of the story because it’s all mixed up in my head but one thing that I am certain of is that I AM MISSING ALL THE CHARACTERS ALREADY!

This series was a fun-filled, fluffy, fantastic experience! My college has been very hectic lately and all I needed to read was a light-hearted series set in a college so I decided to pick this up as I had enjoyed the first book, more or less.
There is not much in-depth story in these books; they center around a girl named Callie and her love-triangle in Harvard. I know, all of us are BORED TO DEATH of love-triangles and it was not given any special treatment in this series either. The love triangle in this case was as equally frustrating and exciting and then frustrating again like in the other books. Rest of the plot is also recycled and borrowed from other TV Shows or books we’ve read; it’s not very new or extraordinary.
But I like love the setting of this series. Man, oh, man! The way Harvard is written in these books makes you feel that Harvard is the place to be.

The university in which I study, Manipal Univeristy, Manipal is my country’s most “happening” college and people drooool over because we get our degrees just for partying day and night but now that I’ve read about Harvard, my college looks like a duck egg in front of it. If I start writing about it, this will turn into a Harvard Promotional Ad rather than a review because I am THAT smitten by it as of now. The main theme of this series was to write about Harvard and its lifestyle; characters, plot, everything takes a back seat here and while writing good amount of attention was paid towards all the criteria. Studying, relationships, competitions, frenemies and enemies were written into the story very well and proportionately. Not one aspect was promoted or ignored too much.
Another thing to mention is that the writing is very consistent. There are some series you read where one book stands out and becomes your favourite or a book is so bad that leads the series to its grave, but The Ivy is not like that. All 4 books are measurably fun, despite there being a love triangle the characters don’t get on your nerves. Callie still remains my least favourite character in the series but she is a lot better than those wimpy-whiny troop of heroines we have read and loathed.


I fell in love with each and every character in this series. From OK to Tyler, Every.Single.Person (Lexi and Clint being the exceptions, of course).
See, one of the strongest advantages to have is to write a set of characters that readers will adore, so no matter how obnoxious your storyline becomes, readers will come back to read it just for the sake of them (and yes, I am referring to Through the Ever Night here, I read tried to read it just for Roar). And not just that book, there are so many other series I continued only because of the characters, so, I think Lauren Kunze has brilliantly nailed this department. And while we’re talking about “nailed stuff”, I should definitely mention the chapter beginnings and all those cliff-hangers. Every chapter in the books began with either an article in a Harvard mag or newspaper, e-mail conversation, someone’s facebook page or a party invite which I think was one of the catchiest things about it, and…..the cliff-hangers. All the first three books ended on such exciting moments that I started reading its sequel the same minute because I just had to know!

So, final assessment :-
- Appealing characters.
- Alluring setting.
- Entertaining writing.
- Engaging plot.

I have no complaints with this series – I was a bit irritated of the love triangle but it gets sidelined in the wake of such amazing, above mentioned factors.

Recommended to everyone who has had a tiring schedule and needs something girly, humorous and obsessive to cheer up! :D

Friday, 11 October 2013

Guess what I got in my mail today?

If you're wondering if I received a book or something, you're terribly wrong, buddy.

Because I got this -

Hi Anushka,

Your reviews of The Iron Trial and Untitled were recently flagged by Goodreads members as abusive and/or inappropriate. Threatening other Goodreads members violates our Terms of Service and is not tolerated. As your reviews contained content that was potentially threatening, we have removed them from the site. We have attached copies of the reviews for your personal records.

Best regards,
The Goodreads Team.

That's so nice of the GR Team, you attached copies of my reviews! How considerate of you! You guys are the best.


My reviews did not "threaten" any GR member, neither did I pay mafia to shoot up a few people. But, I think it’s useless to debate about this. I mentioned Cassandra Clare by her name in both my reviews and I guess the Cassie club spammed it and according to GR's new policy my reviews were violating it. Bunch of noobs. 
I don't care about them, probably the fact that they like reading her books says a lot but I am so angry and disappointed in GoodReads, I didn't totally feel bad for other guys or exactly understand about the new policies until it happened with me and boy, this SUCKS.

I love GR, it had become my life over this summer. Reading, reviewing and chatting up with my GR friends was all I did. Everyday I'd wake up (or rather finish a book) and come and check my id, then review the book and talk to my buddies. I was free to write everything and anything I wanted. No one was there to hover over my reviews and show me the Red Card.
But this phase? I'm hating it.

First, I get little time to spend on the internet because of my college and whatever time I get, I have to face this? Earlier, I had bubbles of excitement in my stomach when I logged in but now I keep my eyes shut before looking at the screen and spotting another GR-related-rant. This is too much, people. If this is the way it’s gonna be I'm pretty sure people will be leaving this site and migrate towards BookLikes (which btw, is pretty cool once you get the hang of it).

I know I am not making sense and I'm writing in a very shabby way but ...I just want to convey that man, I loved GoodReads. And I am not the only one, I know. Don't you people just loved it? Surrounded by people who love to read as much as you do? Who are ready to chat about books as much as you like to (because your non-readers real-life friends get bored)? GR was a perfect place for us, and the fact that I started reading more regularly (and obsessively) is something owe to GoodReads. 

Another thing that I owe to GR is that it gave me a platform to write reviews and tell it to the world that its mine. I liked to write but I was very shy when it came to taking credit for it. 
I always used to review the books I read but never created a blog or posted it online but then GR came along and slowly I started doing it. Gradually, the number of people reading my reviews increased and I got that little "ting" whenever I got a notification saying that so and so "liked" your review.
Now see where I am. I created a blog (which is in a dormant state because of my busy-busy schedule), I receive arcs –which I absolutely LOVE, I’ve started writing for a local newspaper-blog as well, I’ve joined my University's magazines and the best part? I’m going to work as an intern in a news channel in a few months! This may not be a superstar life but I'm fully engrossed in what I love doing and that is writing, which accounts for at least something.
There is so much that GoodReads has given me, and I still love it from the very bottom of my heart but I really hope it goes back to the way it was before. 

People say good things don't last forever but I want this one to. Please, I really want this one great thing that changed my life to last for a very long time, if not forever.

Monday, 7 October 2013

My take on: THE IVY (The Ivy #1) by Lauren Kunze

Also find this review on my GoodReads and BookLikes.

3 Stars.

This book was mentioned in an episode of Gossip Girl and when I saw the cover...damn. I was sold. I knew I just had to read this book. It’s not that gorgeous but I don’t know, this cover just called to me. Finally I got a chance to read this and I’m glad I wasn’t too disappointed either.

This is the most chick-lit-ish book I’ve ever read, conisdering the fact that only chick-lit I’ve read is Pretty Little Liars and Private series, which had more suspense than drama. 

The Ivy , in my opinion, was a lot like Private excluding the murder-mystery part and the infamous Billings House, other than that they both had a very similar protag, group of friends and setting. 

I’ve no intention to do a detailed review of this book. I’d just like to mention a couple of things.

First, I do NOT enjoy stories with a Queen Mean who is capable of doing the evilest things you can imagine (But Mean Girls is one of my favourite movies ever, go figure) and a lot of backstabbing, plotting, cheating and two-timing. This is the reason I didn’t watch Gossip Girl Season 4 either and was about to leave this book in-between. I am very weak when it comes to this and with the way this book ended we all know what the first thing is going to be in the sequel so I’m thinking about dropping it. I cannot digest all this cruelty. 

Then, I didn’t like Callie much. She was ‘okay’ for me in the beginning but became downright insufferable when she did something she shouldn’t have towards the end. She pretends to be the nice girl who cares about her friends throughout the book but the truth is, she does some pretty awful things but feigns as if she didn't or blames it on other people. She rationalizes her terrible behaviour by some means or the other every time.

Except her, all the characters were tolerable, Mimi, Gregory, Clint, OK, Vanessa – all of them made quite an awesome gang and not to forget they were incredibly funny! 

Alex’s character was over-hyped, though. She was described as the evil incarnation of Regina George but she didn’t do anything except insulting Callie once or twice. I guess that’s because she didn’t have much role in this book… but who am I kidding, she is gonna be the star of next one! So, I think, in this her character was only meant for introduction, she’ll do the real damage in the following book.

I’m not sure if I should read the next one because of my very low affinity for stories involving Girls Being Bitches. Although, this one ended on a massive cliff-hanger and I am a bit curious to know what’s on the other side.

First read and reviewed on GoodReads on June 14, 2013.