My Classics TBR


I’m not much of a classics girl. I have read a few classics that I liked like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre etc. but I ended up disliking a lot of them too. I couldn’t stomach Adam Bede at all because of the weird way of writing the accents and also, I found it a little on the preachy side. But then, I came to know what the story is about, so now I know it’s not so bad. But still, I didn’t have the patience to finish it. Another classic I didn’t like was Frankenstein. I know there will probably be a lot of gasps at this, but again, I thought it was very yawn inducing. Maybe I expected it to be a bit more gory or something, but I suppose it must have been pretty gory when it was first published. Another shocker is the fact that I didn’t like Little Women either. For a while I had given up on classics altogether. But I’m trying to broaden my reading horizon, so I’ve decided to give these old tomes another whirl. So, what I’ve done is I’ve compiled a small list of classics that I believe are to my taste. And let me describe what ‘my taste’ comprises of.

  • I don’t like books that go on and on about the sun filtering through the leaves and falling on the lake and bursting into a million rays and… Well, you get my drift.
  • I detest preachy books. Completely. Absolutely.
  • I like books that are passionate and awe inducing.
  • I like complex characters who are neither completely good nor completely bad.
  • I do like happy endings, but I don’t mind not having one either.
  • I like intense and gripping plots that bring out the best and the worst in the characters of the book.
  • I love reading about strong female characters who are not afraid to make their opinions known and who refuse to take any kind of shit from sexist males.

Based on the above criteria, I’ve made the following list.

  1. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  2. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  3. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  4. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  7. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  8. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  9. A Room With A View by E.M. Forster
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  11. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  12. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  13. The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
  15. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  16. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  17. 1984 by George Orwell
  18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  19. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  20. Villette by Charlotte Bronte

So, these are the books I’ve managed to find so far that fit my taste. Can you think of any other books I can add to this list? I would really appreciate the help! :D

 

Review + Giveaway: Knightfall by R. Jackson-Lawrence


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Lord of the Rings for the Call of Duty generation.

When his world changing experiment is sabotaged, fifteen year old genius Benjamin Knight is cast into another world where an uneasy peace hangs in the balance. Saved from near death by a band of traders, he joins the Road Trains on their journey north as he struggles to understand what’s happened to him.

However, Ben soon realises that everyone has their secrets and that no one is safe, especially when one man has the power to realise his ambitions.

Friends are lost, plots revealed and battles fought as the unlikely companions seek to prevent war.

Will appeal to fans of Anthony Horowitz, Suzanne Collins, Michael Grant, Garth Nix etc

Rating:

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Review:

I was very skeptical going into this book because I had read a string of really good books and I was sure this book was going to suck because I’m never that lucky.

But turns out Lady Luck was on my side this time because this was a fascinating read. I was hooked into the story right at the beginning when an explosion happens in the lab where Ben works. At first, it seemed like pure sci/fi to me, but as I read more, it sort of evolved into a dystopian/fantasy/sci-fi kind of book. I’ve never read sci/fi before, but I can say this – this book seriously worked. I loved reading about the intense new world the author had created. I felt that it was believable and real. The future (or it might be an alternate universe) that Ben gets transported into is a dangerous world where warfare can happen at the blink of an eye. And I loved reading about the Road Trains and the people on it – they were all likeable characters I could really relate to.

I have very few complaints about the book. One of them is the POVs. At first, it seemed like the story was told from Ben’s POV. It continued to be so for a few dozen pages. Then, it started switching to different people instead of just Ben. I realize when a book is written in third person, the author has the liberty to switch POVs. But it’s just that when I started reading the book, the prose was so well written that I felt like it was written in first person. So, when it switched POVs, it was a bit jarring for me. I don’t know to how many people this makes sense. Maybe it’s just me.

Also, I expected a lot of action from the way the story began, but the action started only about half-way into the book. The non-action parts were not dragging or anything. They were interesting parts – about the people in the Road Trains, about the Regent and more about the dystopian world. But I would have liked the book more if there had been more action.

So, if you like dystopian or sci-fi or fantasy, I would definitely recommend this book to you. A brilliant start to a series. :)

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Knightfall-Chronicle-Benjamin-Knight-ebook/dp/B00C5RWRDE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376427381&sr=8-1&keywords=knightfall+robert

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

When he lost his job in 2012, Robert resurrected a novel he had last touched in the 1990’s and finally brought his vision to reality.  With this new series, he hopes to draw attention away from teen vampires, and bring action and adventure to anyone from ages 9 to 90 in an entirely new setting.

Robert Jackson-Lawrence lives in Lincoln with his two children.  He would really like a dog, but so far his wife won’t let him!

Author links:

Website: http://www.jackson-lawrence.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/R-Jackson-Lawrence/430581967031802

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RJLbooks

**GIVEAWAY**

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6da88e10/

Review: Fire In The Rain by Surendra Mohanty


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A serial killer is on the loose. He surfaces in one metropolis after another, leaving behind a trail of murders. He masquerades as respectable citizens in different cities – a naval officer in Mumbai and Hyderabad, a film director’s brother in Kolkata, restaurateur in Bangalore, racehorse buff in Pune – and targets single working women. ACP Kale is desperate to catch the elusive killer before he strikes again, but he has no clue except that the killer invariably strikes on an ominous day – Friday the thirteenth, and hires luxury cars to date his victims. One of his quarries, the beautiful Richa finally tames him.

Rating:

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Review:

I want to thank the author for providing me with a free copy of the book.

I don’t know how to classify Fire In The Rain. At first, I thought it would be a murder mystery. But as I started reading, I realized there is no mystery surrounding the murders. On the very first page itself, the author introduces us to what triggered the psychopathic tendencies in our villain. He also doesn’t try to hide what goes on through the killer’s mind when he commits the murders or how he commits the murders. So, definitely not a murder mystery.

But, then I thought it would be like a detective novel. But I also couldn’t identify any detective vibe with this book.

I think the correct way to describe this book would be ‘chase’. Yes, the entire book is one big chase of how the protagonist manages to find the killer. One of the things I expect in a book is multi-dimensional characters. I don’t like reading about flat characters whose interactions with each other seem robotic and scripted. Unfortunately, this book suffers from exactly that flaw. I constantly kept wishing the characters had more depth to them. The only character who seemed to possess even a myriad of depth to him was the serial killer. Another thing I didn’t like was the book cover, but almost all indie books suffer from this problem.

Despite these flaws, I found a lot of redeeming qualities in the book. I enjoyed the way the serial killer staked out the victims, particularly in Bangalore. Also, I could tell that the author had put a lot of effort into learning about how some psychiatrists do character profiling on criminals. I enjoyed the bits about the horse races and dog shows.

Yes, this was a pretty short book but a few more pages describing the back stories of the various characters couldn’t have hurt. I think the reason the characters lacked depth was because I knew so little about them. Maybe a bit more history could have helped me relate to them.

Overall, this was a commendable effort for a debut author, but it could have been better.

Review + Author Interview: Cassie Scot: (Para)Normal Detective by Christine Amsden


http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1360012911l/15813209.jpgCassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Rating:

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Review:

Alright, so here’s a fact about me: I rarely give 5 stars to a book. A book should have to thoroughly impress, entertain and delight me in order for me to give it 5 stars. So, you might wonder what is so great about this book that I rated it so highly. Let me tell you what.

First of all, this book is freaking fantastic. I enjoyed the world building so much that after finishing the book, it took me some to realize it was all fantasy and not real. Second of all, the protagonist Cassie Scot? She kicks butt. She is strong and independent and fierce and not at all, obsessing over the guy every few pages. I loved that about her. Also, she cares a lot about her family and her family plays a huge part in this book, which is not something you see in many paranormal books.

For some reason, before I started this book, I was of the impression that Cassie Scot was a YA book. Well, it’s not. I was initially a bit disappointed because pulling off a fantasy plot in an adult or let’s say, New Adult world is kinda difficult. But Christine Amsden did pull it off. The words flowed smoothly without any glitches and the plot is smooth as well. There are no unnecessary scenes in the middle that distract the reader from the very interesting mystery happening in the story.

Now, romance is a major part of the book, but so is the male lead Evan. He plays an important role in the plot and I loved the ending. I LOVED Evan. He was smoking! And that kiss at the end of the book! I had to surreptitiously check that no one was watching me because I didn’t want anyone to see me drooling all over my e-reader.

One thing I didn’t expect from this book was the gore and the scares. It isn’t “horror movie” gory, but there were some scenes that sort of gave me the chills. I had expected it to be a fun, fluffy read, but it was so much more than that. Another thing I loved about Cassie Scot was the fact that there are hardly any cliches involved. This are no hero-pining heroines. The hero doesn’t pop up every time the heroine is in trouble. The hero doesn’t stalk the heroine, meaning he has a life. It was refreshing to read a book that didn’t follow any of the regular paranormal tropes.

Now, if there is one thing that bothers me about this book, it is the fact that I really, really, REALLY want to get my hands on the sequel to the book which is called Secrets & Lies! Like I would kill to read the next book in the series. If the author is reading this, I just want to congratulate her for being such an awesome story teller and to keep up the amazing work in Book 2.

Ooh, and one more thing. This book has got a fabulous murder mystery going. If that doesn’t want to make you pick up the book, I don’t know what will. :P :) Also, I think the cover looks super-cute. Don’t you?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What was the most difficult part for you when writing CASSIE SCOT?

This rough draft of this book came very easily to me. More easily than any other, I think. But then I had to let parts of it go. That was the tough part. For example, there was a chapter between the current chapters one and two in which Cassie stops by the diner to chat with her friends. The only reason it was there in the first place was that I was exploring the world as I went along, but once it was in place it was tough to let it go, even knowing how boring it would be for readers to wade through an entire chapter of girl talk before getting to the dead body! There were a few other moments like that.

What was the easiest part?

Cassie’s character. She came to me all in a rush one day and I could barely contain her. In fact, I had to write all four books back to back because I couldn’t get her out of my head!

What is your favorite scene or was your favorite to write? Don’t forget to tell us why. J

My favorite scene comes near the end, after Cassie kisses Evan for the first time. There’s a lot going on in this book and in the series, but the romance was my special favorite part and that scene really kicks it off. Plus, Evan is a really good kisser.

The sequel is SECRETS & LIES. Can you tell us a little about what’s to come?

Secrets and Lies picks up where Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective leaves off. Without spoiling the end of the first book for you, I can tell you that Cassie is struggling at the beginning of the Secrets and Lies. She’s trying to live on her own for the first time and not having an easy time of it. Her family is falling apart around her, her two best friends are having issues of their own, and then there’s Evan. Cassie owes Evan a debt in Secrets and Lies, making it difficult for her to refuse him anything she knows he wants. And he wants her.

Is there anything in CASSIE SCOT you hope readers take away after reading, or something you want to point out you don’t want readers to miss?

I hope the book speaks for itself! More than anything else, though, I hope readers love Cassie. Her character arc is the point of the series, so if you’re not into her in the first book, you’re not going to be into the series. If you like her, though… I’ve got a lot in store for her. It’s going to be a bumpy road for her and for the people in her life. But trust me. I’ve not only got a plan, but I’ve got the whole series written. (I’m actually super eager for the whole thing to be out so I don’t have to keep biting my tongue about what’s coming!)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Christine Amsden has written stories since she was eight, always with a touch of the strange or unusual. She became a “serious” writer in 2003, after attending a boot camp with Orson Scott Card. She finished Touch of Fate shortly afterward, then penned The Immortality Virus, which won two awards. Expect many more titles by this up-and-coming author.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Amsden-Author-Page/127673027288664

Twitter – @ChristineAmsden ; https://twitter.com/ChristineAmsden

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1030664.Christine_Amsden

If you want to visit the rest of the tour stops, here’s the link:

http://atomrbookblogtours.com/2013/07/04/tour-cassie-scot-paranormal-detective-by-christine-amsden/

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


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In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Rating:

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Review:

This is the third book I’ve read that deals with angels, the other two being ‘Hush Hush’ and ‘Angelfall’. Without a doubt, Angelfall is the best of the three. Unearthly falls somewhere in between, much better than ‘Hush Hush’ but not quite equal to ‘Angelfall’. Unearthly puts a unique twist on angel lore. In Cynthia Hand’s world, angels are born on earth to satisfy a purpose and Clara, being an angel blood, has to fulfill her purpose. Before that, she has to figure out what her purpose is. The clues come in the form of dreams or flashes of the future and Clara has to use these clues to figure out her purpose.

When I started the book, I had high expectations because of all the good reviews this book had received on Goodreads. But about 25% into the book, I realized that though this was a solid YA book, this would not turn out to be one of my favorites. And the reason for that was… well, Clara. Clara is beautiful, fast and there is almost nothing that she can’t do. At least, that was the impression that I got when I read the book. Which instantly put me off because I love my protagonists to be a bit flawed and Clara seemed a little too perfect for my taste. Secondly, what is the deal with her obsession with Christian? I get that she keeps getting visions of him and that her purpose has something to do with him. But she automatically assumes that it means that she and Christian should “be together”. She starts obsessing over him, about whether he is looking her way, whether he is talking about her etc. It gets a bit annoying when she does this.

Except for Clara, I liked all the other characters including her mother, her brother, Christian, Tucker, Wendy and even the mean girl whose name I have now forgotten. If not for the romance aspect of this book, I would have given this only 3 stars. But as it happens, I really, really dug the romance in Unearthly. It was sweet and believable and good news – no insta-love. And there is a twist in the romance part which most of the readers will be able to predict after 50% of the book. But still, I’m thankful it was there. I would have hated the book if it was not.

Now, moving on to the ending, I loved it. Maybe it could have been a little less rushed, but still, I loved it. Plus, there is another twist at the end which even I, with all my supernatural abilities, didn’t expect.

So, I will probably read the sequel if only because I am craving a good dose of a certain character from the book.