Tuesday, May 23, 2017

“An Honest Book Review of The Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler” by Vanditha Krishnan

“An Honest Book Review of The Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler”
by Vanditha Krishnan

There are books that you want to read again, and then there are books that you can’t stop rereading. The Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler is one of those books -- I first picked up this fascinating YA novel a year ago, but I have postponed reading it until last weekend. I’m so glad that I decided to start this novel, because once you begin it you’ll never want to stop reading it!

Plot: Mia, Whitney, Gregor, Zoe, and Jake are all freshmen in high school, and  they meet each other on the first day of school. All five of them bond so quickly that they decide to reunite after 12th grade graduation. The Infinite In Between illustrates the life experiences that each one of these wonderful teenagers face.

Characters: I need to start off with Mia, because she’s the character I can mostly connect with. Mia finds it hard to speak up for herself and to attend social events; anything that involves other people, really. As a result, her shyness leads her to being the observer of the group. Whitney is her polar opposite; she just needs to stand out from the crowd. Despite both Mia and Whitney’s lives being drastically different, both girls share the tightest bond of all -- friendship. Gregor is the band geek, his life revolves around playing the cello. Little does anyone else know that his relationships with family and friends is not the best. Throughout The Infinite In Between, Gregor attempts to stabilize himself and to fit in. Zoe lives in her famous mother’s shadow, and she desperately tries to get out of it. Her carefree spirit doesn’t bode well with her tightly wound-up mother. Finally, Jake struggles to find his identity throughout his years of high school. He truly wants the right connections, and tries to get them in this novel.

Thoughts: I’m usually not a contemporary fiction reader, but the cover along with the blurb caught my attention from the start. I adore reading from multiple characters’ POV’s, because it allows me to experience each one of the characters’ true thoughts and feelings. Although there were parts of this book that were quite boring, the overall novel was amazing and definitely thought-provoking. If you enjoy a slightly romantic realistic fiction novel, or if you’re looking for a fairly quick read (462 pages), The Infinite In Between was made for you!

My Rating: 8.5/10

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review of “Windwitch: A Witchlands Novel” by Susan Dennard By Sanvi Mitra

Review of “Windwitch: A Witchlands Novel” by Susan Dennard
“Windwitch”, the second novel in the Witchlands series revolving around Prince Merik Nihar with a 4.02 rating ranks higher than its elder sibling, “Truthwitch”, the first book in the series. The plot of the story includes perspectives of multiple characters, the main one being of windwitch Merik’s, the supposedly ‘dead’ prince. The book contains heart wrenching stories about family, the consequences of wrongful blaming, as well as relationships that, astonishingly, turn from hate to extraordinary friendships. It throws in new characters, new plots, new villains, and definitely new themes, making the perfect recipe for the perfect book. Although...
The Safi/Iseult interactions, Safi/Merik tension, and the blistering pace that evoked emotions in me in the first book “Truthwitch” were almost completely unseen in this second installment. There was next to nothing to make my heart beat faster, nothing to bring out any passion in me. “Windwitch” definitely suffers from ‘second book syndrome’ and I was hugely disappointed by this Dennard novel.
So to say, I never have a problem with multiple point of views, unless they work at odds with the book. Throughout “Windwitch”, the point of views switched almost every chapter, twisting and turning the plot with every flip of a page— and not in a good way. The floppy way that the point of views switched and most of the times didn’t connect to the plot of the book as a whole confused me, more so when new characters and ideas were brought into the book.
Dennard’s world-building and writing were, per usual, strong, but the pacing and the weird flow of the story brought “Windwitch” down to the ground.


By Sanvi Mitra.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

"Book Review of Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner” by Vanditha Krishnan

Book Review of Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner”
by Vanditha Krishnan



Gosh, where do I begin? Well, the cover is amazing! Phantom Limbs is newly acclaimed author Paula Garner’s debut novel, but it certainly did not appear to be so. This novel was beautiful and gut-wrenching; Garner does a great job of building relationships between the characters. The story was woven together like cloth, and I am so glad that I read this book!

Plot: Otis is a swimmer, grieving the death of his young brother, Mason. He is wise beyond his years, and deeply cares for his family and closest friends. Meg was Otis’s best friend, until she suddenly moved away after Mason’s death, leaving Otis and his mother heartbroken and lonely. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back for the summer, all he wants is to become friends again (a little more than that would be nice :D). Soon enough, her arrival back home brings back traumatic memories, especially of Mason. Otis must learn about some uneasy truths about Mason’s abrupt death, but he must also learn to live in the present, and not to let his thoughts from the past drown him.

Characters: These characters were developed in such a lifelike way, that I almost believed that this story was real.
Otis was such an amazing main character; he was considerate, and was Dara’s ‘rock’ during hard times. I admired his ability to move on, even during difficult situations like this.
Meg was definitely a dynamic character. She seemed to be a bit distant after reuniting with the Muellers’, but eventually, her traumatic memories led to her stabilizing her relationship with the family.
Dara, oh Dara. Like her name suggests, Dara is a daredevil. Left with one hand and a stump in the other, she lives with her silent, brooding, authoritarian father. Dara’s mother committed suicide when Dara was born, so difficulty is etched in her life. I loved the way Dara pushed Otis to accomplish his dreams, even though she couldn’t do the same. Her nobility was a quality I admired.

Thoughts: I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again. BREATHTAKING. The prose was remarkable, enhancing the novel like rare pearls of the sea. Debut author Paula Garner stunningly portrayed truth, life, and love in this poignant novel. I look forward to reading more of her books. Simply beautiful.

BOOK REVIEWS : Everlife Trilogy (books 1-Firstlife & 2-Lifeblood) By Gena Showalter BY SULPHIA IQBAL

BOOK REVIEWS : Everlife Trilogy 
(books 1-Firstlife & 2-Lifeblood)
By Gena Showalter
BY SULPHIA IQBAL



MY THOUGHTS


The Everlife Trilogy is very similar to a science fiction version of Romeo and Julietyet its focus is not completely on the forbidden relationship ( THANK GOD ). In this world, your death is known as Firstdeath and the life lived up to that point is *GASP*  Firstlife. After Firstdeath, you have three options: You can choose to live your Secondlife in one of two realms ( Myriad or Troika ) or simply not choose at all and be placed in a realm where you live and die miserably every day. So, like, what’s the big fuss? Can’t you just pick either world and get on with it? Yeah, no. Conveniently, these two realms are at war and which one you choose actually matters.

Enter Ten, the MC of the series who has yet choose the world of her Secondlife. Myriad and Troika kinda get fed up and take matters in their own hands. They send two of their people, Killian from Myriad and Archer from Troika, to ultimately convince Ten to choose their realm. No pressure on Ten right? Yeah, well whatever world Ten chooses will win the war, because according to Archer she’s a conduit. So yeah, she’s a special snowflake who can change EVERYTHING. Pshhh..no pressure there.

( SIDE NOTE : The idea of having the concept of a Firslife and Secondlife is actually pretty clever. Like, living a life and then dieing only to be like “WAIT! I'M ALIVEEEEEEEE” and do it all over again)

Ten is kinda stubborn. She is not going to let her feelings get in the way of a decision that can change her life, literally. So while her heart wants to go to Myriad, she knows it’s not what she is supposed to do.

The book as a whole got very repetitive. She would try to make a decision, then would almost get incinerated for just thinking about it. She would ask for more time, and then almost get killed for that. And the process continues. The book seemed like it would NEVER STOP. Like Ten, get a hold of yourself and make a decision already. Eventually, she does. At the very end.*SIGH*

( ALSO: TEN. CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW RIDICULOUS THAT NAME IS ? That’s like “Honey, you like books? I’m going to name you Book ?????)

Check it out at the library and goodreads :


RATINGS: 4/5

BOOK REVIEW : Alex Approximately By Jenn Bennett BY SULPHIA IQBAL

BOOK REVIEW : Alex Approximately
By Jenn Bennett
 BY SULPHIA IQBAL


MY THOUGHTS
This book was very clique, similar to You’ve Got Mail, and is basically like any other contemporary out there. I thought I would like it, and I did in the beginning, but after a while it got really boring. This ended up going into my list of DNF books. ; (

So Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in California, which is completely of the ordinary. The fact that the guy she’s been texting with through this movie website thing for the past few months lives in that exact same town is not (because wow what a coincidence. That was totally not done on purpose, Bennett ). Bailey and Alex ( the fake name of this anonymous guy ) are huge movie bluffs and best friends, yet have never before met each other. When she moves in, she doesn’t tell Alex, but attempts to find out who he really is. MEANWHILE, she’s working at this museum where she makes a few friends and really hates this guy named Porter Roth, who later becomes a friend (HMMM…..not suspicious at all). The story mainly focuses on Porter and Bailey (naturally).

The ending was really obvious. It legit just says it in the synopsis. And the title (Like more obvious than “And Then  There Were None”). That was a big problem. Plus, it got really really really boring. The only things enjoyable in the book was the banter between Bailey and Porter and Bailey/Alex’s love for old movies. It actually inspired me to take on a hobby of watching older movies.

This book was the  super-clique-and-at-the-verge-of-cringe type. I know some people out there like those types of books so I guess you could read it? To any fantasy readers, I warn you to steer away.

Check it out at the library and goodreads :

RATINGS:  and DNF


BOOK REVIEW : Wanderlost By Jen Malone BY SULPHIA IQBAL

BOOK REVIEW : Wanderlost
By Jen Malone
BY SULPHIA IQBAL


MY THOUGHTS
Wanderlost is a fluffy contemporary about a girl named Aubree who explores the world (literally) through a journey of self-actualization after making a terrible mistake. After deciding to have a party at her house the last day of high school, the police arrive and arrest her older sister, Elizabeth, who was trying to cover up for Aubree. Now, before you think wow, what an amazing sister and all, you should know that Elizabeth is that perfect child, the kid that everyone envies for the smarts, looks, and athletic abilities. And while she was all that, her relationship with Bree wasn’t as close as you would think.

Anyway, for Elizabeth getting arrested meant not being able to travel out of the country, which meant she could no longer take on her summer job as a bus tour guide in Europe -  something that could potentially land her a great recommendation for the job she planned her whole life for. Deciding this was her chance to mend her relationship with oh-so-perfect Elizabeth, Aubree agrees to take on the tour guide position disguised as her sister. Aubree who has never been out of her little town in Ohio. Aubree who doesn’t know the first thing about leading a bus tour through anywhere, much less Europe.

I absolutely ADORED the characters in Wanderlost.

1.THE SENIORS: The bus is basically filled with these seniors citizens and OML they’re just HILARIOUS. At the beginning, Bree was very cautious and hesitant in approaching the passengers. She had no idea how to deal with seniors or anyone for that matter, nor had she ever been anywhere overseas, so she was obviously way out of her zone. Yet towards the end, her relationship with them grows significantly and they become like second family to her.

2. THE MC HERSELF. Aubree was a very interesting character to me. She grew so much as a character, from that worrying girl who was way out of her zone in a place that was thousands of miles away from where she’s lived her whole life, to a strong young lady that was able to find her place and her purpose, leading a bus tour ( that is not simple feat, folks ) through Europe. Another character  whose relationship with Aubree evolved, was her sister Elizabeth. It’s no surprise that Aubree felt pressurized to do her best on this journey, to do things as perfectly as Elizabeth would’ve. I could understand that Bree desired appreciation and gratitude from her sister, yet said sister never seemed to get it. Thankfully, by the end of the book, they were finally able to understand each other and open up about their feelings. *sheds fake tear*

The events that kinda led to everything that happened is kinda unrealistic, but I still loved it. I didn’t really like the fact that Aubree kinda had to keep her identity a secret from Sam (a friend she makes in Europe who’s actually her age) it’s so clique, really. Girl keeps secret. Guy finds out ONLY IN THE END. Guy gets mad. Girl finds Guy. The make up. But everything was else good :)
If you’re feeling down or like you don't feel reading anything that intense, this book has the perfect amount of fluffiness to do the job. It just makes you smile and laugh, a break from all that fantasy ( yes even reading needs reading breaks ).

ALSO: It must be noted that this book will cause major wanderlust and make you want to go to Europe right now.
QUOTES

“The thing is, this trip is forcing me to get to know myself more than I've ever had to at home, where everything is comfortable and easy.”
― Jen Malone, Wanderlost

“I hear the soft strums of the guitar music from a street cafe
 a little ways off and feel the uneven cobblestone under my sandals.
      This place is magical. All of it.”
― Jen Malone, Wanderlost

A fluffy contemporary for anyone who likes a good book about wanderlust and funny characters.
Check it out at the library and goodreads :


RATINGS: 4.5/5

BOOK REVIEW : Carve the Mark By Veronica Roth BY SULPHIA IQBAL

BOOK REVIEW : Carve the Mark
By Veronica Roth
BY SULPHIA IQBAL


MY THOUGHTS
The best way to explain  Carve the Mark  would be to say if Romeo and Juliet and Star Wars had a book baby, this would be it, but only in the way that it takes place in space and there is a forbidden relationship. Honestly, I seriously didn’t know where the book was going while reading it. It was boring for the entirety of the book till the very end.

Basically, the story takes place on a planet called Thuvhe that is comprised of two people : the Shotet and the Thuvhe. These groups have been at war with each other forever ….yada yada yada….People in this world have these abilities called currengifts that are granted by the (wait for this) the current... (AMAZING). Some of these gifts are simple, like not feeling pain, but some could be extreme, like inflicting pain on others. The two main characters are Shotet and Thuvhe respectively and they form a forbidden relationship (like any other YA book in the world). Each character goes through this phase of self-actualization and begin to understand that they could be loyal to the Shotet and the Thuvhe, because no one is either completely Good or Evil in this world. Their respective people, on the other hand, don’t seem to get that.

The book focused on two characters : Cyra and Akos.

Cyra is the sister of the tyrannical leader of the Shotet. Everyone knows her as to be that girl you wouldn't dare cross. Rumors says she can kill with touch, and it’s not far from the truth. Her currentgift grants her the power to inflict pain on anyone. Unfortunately, her horrible brother uses this to his advantage to instill fear among his people, and it certainly works.

Akos was kidnapped along with his brother at somewhat of a young age by the Shotet. While his brother is taken in by Cyra's brother as a tool to see the future, Akos is sent to be Cyra’s personal….well, pain reliever. Since Cyra can inflict pain, her power is kinda painful to not only her victims, but herself as well. Akos’ currentgift is the able to not feel the power of the anyone’s currentgift. In other words, as long as Akos is touching Cyra, her power - which is very important to Cyra and her brother because her powers has serious consequences - can be kept under control.

You would think these two characters are complete opposites, and they were at first. But throughout the book, they become two strong people who are not only kind-hearted, but fierce friends who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love.

I had a lot of expectations for the book. I mean, this is Veronica Roth’s work we’re talking about. Her world building skills were AMAZING in Divergent, so the bar was set very high, but Carve the Mark just seemed like any other YA inter-galactic story to me. Some people might be disappointed, some not so much. I fell into the former.

QUOTES

“Soft hearts make the universe worth living in.”

“You want to see people as extremes. Bad or good, trustworthy or not. I understand. It's easier that way. But that isn't how people work.”

Despite what I say in this review, read the book. It’s only fair you get to go through same experience as any other reader without any bias.
Check it out at the library and goodreads :


RATINGS:

BOOK REVIEW : A Thousand Pieces of You By Claudia Gray BY SULPHIA IQBAL

BOOK REVIEW : A Thousand Pieces of You
By Claudia Gray
BY SULPHIA IQBAL

MY THOUGHTS
A Thousand Pieces of You is the first installment in a series about a girl named Marguerite who begins to question where her friends’ loyalties lay and whom she can trust through a journey through the multiverse. The idea of the multiverse is that for every probability, there is a world. For example, there’s a world where the Allies lost the war or another world where the Tsars are still alive. This would mean there is an infinite number of Earths. If you watch the Flash, it might be easier for you to understand the world building in this book.

In Marguerite’s world, her parents are these infamous scientists who have finally proven the concept of the multiverse. They went on to invent the Firebird, an instrument that could potentially allow one to travel between Earths/Realities/Worlds??? Sounds all cheery and jovial, right? Yeah, no. That happiness, like everything else in life, was ephemeral.

Marguerite’s dad is murdered (authors and their love for killing off parents tsk tsk ) and the prime suspect is Paul, her parents’ most trusted advisor. Marguerite, blinded by anguish and distress, decides to go along with her parents’ other advisor, Theo, to hunt down Paul. You might be thinking “YAY! A full out multiverse wild-goose chase!”. Yeah….no. It’s not that exciting. Sorry Not sorry for crushing your dreams.

I mean, to start with, it couldn’t even be considered a wild-goose chase because conveniently, Theo and Marguerite knew EXACTLY WHAT WORLD TO FIND PAUL IN. Based on the premise of the book, it’s kinda obvious Marguerite begins to question Paul’s guilt, but I did not think it would be so early in the book, so no there was barely a chase. Then again, if it came any later I would’ve teared out my hair at how obvious the whole thing was.

MC Marguerite is the perfect character for a story like this. Her family is basically a home to geniuses; her dad and mom are working on a project that will allow inter-universe travel and her sister is oceanographer. Her parents’ assistants, Theo and Paul, are also extraordinary physicists and practically live with them, acting as the brothers Marguerite never had. Paul is a child prodigy, graduating high school at thirteen and starting his pHD only four years later. And among all the intellectuals, there’s Marguerite who is an extremely talented artist. I really like how despite everyone else being nerdy and intelligent, Marguerite isn’t projected as the odd dumb duck of the family. In fact, she’s kinda intelligent in her own way.

In the beginning, we are told that Paul has supposedly left his Earth (like our normal earth that has all the main characters and stuff) to escape the punishment for his “actions”. Marguerite starts to doubt whatever relationship she had with him and consequently is driven by grief and anger to find Paul and kill him. Very early into the book, Marguerite realizes Paul was actually innocent.

Throughout the book, Marguerite goes through a few phases. At first, she’s in the grieving stage, where all she can think of is sadness for her father’s death and anger towards Paul. Then she is nothing but angry and bloodthirsty, ready to kill him at first sight. Very quickly, she realizes she was wrong and basically continues to be in a phase where she is just confused about her feelings (AKA the phase where I seriously wanted to tear the book apart because it was SOOOO BORING.)

My problem with this book was that it was less focused on the plot and more focused on the relationship between Marguerite and, no surprise, Paul. There are way too many YA novels disguised as science fiction. If not for that, I would have probably given this book a 4/5.

(SIDENOTE: The name of this series is the Firebird Trilogy and a lot of this book takes place in Russia. I just read a book that was a retelling of the Russian myth Firebird. Coincidence? I think not)

Check it out at the library and goodreads :

QUOTES

“Now I know that grief is a whetstone that sharpens all your love, all your happiest memories, into blades that tear you apart from within.”


RATINGS: 2/5

The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd; a review by Isha Sajid

The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd is a novel that deals with mental disorders. Sadie, the protagonist of the book has everything...