Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ARC REVIEW: Whisper (Lakeview #2) - Stacey R. Campbell

*Courtesy of Netgalley*
Note that this review follows after my post on clichéd love stories. I have my exams coming up this week and I allotted time to read this book because, trust me, the Goodreads synopsis was pretty attractive. With a quarter of the book done (actually even before that), I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to regret that I hadn’t read another book instead. Or even studied (see? That bad.)
Let’s see why shall we?
Elsie died on her way to right some wrongs. But she couldn’t (because she died). Flash forward to 2012. Halle (an eighth grader) finds a diary belonging to Elsie (who belongs to line of the founding fathers of the Lakeview academy). Elsie begins to haunt her (“Find the crest. Return it.”). Halle tells it to Leigh (a senior and the protagonist – I think – or is it Halle? – both maybe), and she tells it to her friends. Let’s find the crest and put Elsie’s soul to rest.
The writing is bland. As in I Felt No Emotion (just kept checking how many pages were left). And sometimes the sentences had no relation to the one preceding it. Examples:
- Leigh is trying to relax. *Her parents were Northern California hippies who hit the big time when their small winery won a prestigious award* Then she heard her mom’s voice guiding her through meditation breaths.
- Leigh is asking her best friend why he couldn’t be straight. He says if he were he wouldn’t have let FB posts stand in their way. (long story) *Leigh smiled. At least she had never done anything more than kiss Calum* (Bloggerverse, our hero)
- *Leigh smiled. “I might have a better grade but I have zero life because of it. Speaking of my non-existent social life, Halle wants to start searching for Elsie’s crest as soon as possible.”*
Me: Huh????
Elsie’s diary was written in 1914. The vernacular used sounds… not 1914. I also felt that the diary pages were arranged badly.
*Calum looked up from his mug. His blue eyes locked on Leigh’s as he pursed his lips and blew on his tea. God, those lips. She couldn’t help but conjure up the feeling of them pressing into hers last night.* Hang on, when did you start talking, Leigh?
I can forgive all of the above. But then.
Enter Leigh and Calum.
The Bad Boy hero:  Calum has a reputation as a manwhore. He kissed Leigh once in grade eight, and broke up the next day (due to some misunderstandings). But now he is afraid to fall in love. Look what happened to his heart (aw.) He has to get Leigh out of his head. So begins his Screw-Every-Girl phase. Every girl goes ahhh at the sight of him. Except for…
The Heroine who HATES Mr. Everyone-Swoons-Around-Him: Who is disgusted with him. Who never fails to miss an opportunity to disparage him. But his SMILE. His EYES.  “Damn it, the dirtier he got the cuter he looked”.
Calum is no better. “Not a trace of the heavy makeup most girls wore marred her porcelain skin.” *mimes puking*
Side effects of being in tortured love: The breathing difficulties that come with locking eyes. Body temperature inciting gastric responses.
Most fortunate coincidences: She falls, he comes and picks her up (after teasing her, of course, for being so clumsy). She forgets to switch off the lights, comes back, when he bumps into her in the dark (ooh, someone get the defibrillator, heart beats are becoming irregular)
PLEASE NOTE: The above mentioned snippets are SOME examples. After a certain point, I stopped making notes and concentrated on finishing the book.
This is an another cliché love story with a ghost scaring people in the background. Who can perform anything of the paranormal variety except tell them where the crest is. Which she does at the end of the book. Elsie could have done it earlier and saved a soul.
VERDICT: 1 star

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Handbook of Building a Ship

Miss J (again a recap, my buddy reader) and I were discussing a book that I’d read – I was summarising (well, trying to). The conversation went something like this:

Me: Girl meets boy, boy is popular, she finds him cute but irritating…
J: uh-huh
Me: She screams at him, he screams at her – you know the fighting phase
J: uh-huh
Me: But then –
J: She has a history? Perhaps something she can’t open up to him?
Me: Um, yeah?
J:She starts finding his smile cute? Arrogant but cute?
Me: (tubelight flickers) uh-huh
J: And then they kiss?
Me: (smiling mischievously) uh-huh
J: Where have we heard this before?

Where indeed.

Dear reader, I dedicate this Valentine’s Day special to you.

How many times have we felt a sense of deja-vu when reading a book? Be it about high school, vampires, werewolves, normal people in a dystopian world, building a ship goes through the following phases:

1. The “He/She-Pisses-Me-Off” phase:

He is a bad boy (biker dude with leather jacket/jock/Casanova) with killer looks and an attitude to match.
She is a new girl, nerd, unpopular, dubbed “weird” by peers. Eventually it becomes apparent that she has a “dark history/a past she wants to escape from”.
Sometimes the roles are reversed. He is poor/geek/”lower class”. She is rich, snobbish (which eventually turns out to be a mere façade, of course) with popular friends.
She can’t stand the sight of him. Or vice versa.



Ladies and gentlemen, somebody call the 911, the fire has started. Ooh…
3. The “He/She –May-Not-Be-That-Bad” phase:

She: He actually has a heart! It’s just he doesn’t like having an audience to his kindness (aw…) his SMILE –
He: Her hair, her smile, her eyes (and she thinks she isn’t pretty), her stubbornness (GOD SHE’S SO HEADSTRONG), she’s so cute when she’s angry (her nose crinkles, aw).

The Revelation: I may or may not have a crush on him/her.

4. The “Is-Zis-What-Zey-Call-Zing” phase:

Their hands accidently brush, a “tingling”, a “shiver” that courses through their body, they consciously touch, there’s fire everywhere, and then suddenly he/she pulls hand away…..
(Is this love?)

5. The “Let’s-Rock-This-Ship-Baby” phase:

Lights. Camera. Action.
The big kiss.  (and we all swoon)
(I’m in love.)
And so a ship has been built and all set to sail.

6. The “I’m-Putting-You-In-Danger-I’m-Leaving” phase:

Miss J thinks this phase constitutes the rest of the plot in some books. I steer clear of such books, my only experience is New Moon, but J swears this phase is omnipresent.

Thing is, I don’t know whether this is too much of a bad thing. The Mediator series, These Broken Stars, Eleanor and Park floated some awesome ships that weathered the above.


Books that feature some or all of the above:
Bully – Penelope Douglas
Until You – Penelope Douglas
The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love
Perfect Chemistry
Josh and Hannah
(yawn) And lots more.

Bloggerverse, care to comment?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

REVIEW: The Chaos Walking Series

“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and a man without a filter is just chaos walking.”
- Todd Hewitt, The Knife of Never Letting Go

I came across this book a while back, and let me tell you the backside blurb does no justice WHATSOVER to the book. Hence, the delay in me finally reading it.

The story takes place on a planet which men have invaded after killing the indigenous intelligent life (the Spackle) in a ruthless war (you know, men being men). But the men got a rude shock when they realized their thoughts were no longer private, it could be heard by anyone else – Noise. But, what they couldn’t stand was the fact that the women didn’t have it, and after a while, the men killed them too. So Todd begins his story in a female-less world, Prentisstown . “Populayshun 147 and falling, falling, falling. 146 men and one almost-man.”

But he has to run away (“I’ve stopped even asking what’s going on since nobody’s seeing fit to tell me nothing”) with his dog Manchee (“ow, Todd?” – I swear I love that dog). But he finds someone on his way.

Viola Eade. A Girl.

This series was a constant heartburn. Like, my blood-pressure-is-shooting-heartburn. I can’t give away anything more without spoiling you so *zips mouth*

But there are some things you should know. Like the fact that after a constant stream of heroine-centered dystopian novels, this is a breath of fresh air. And the action sequences are very much movie-like because of impressive usage of the present tense.

There is a villain (the usage of the term would be subject to debate) who gets the spotlight in the second book - the Mayor (the President, the President). "Brilliant” would be a grain too little to describe what he is, “Evil” a grain too much, and a grain shy from "psychotic". Perfect “villain” in other words (“I’m not your real enemy, Todd”).

Then there is some food for thought. As in why we should fight, kill, not do either, is war personal, is it wrong to make it so, difference between a man and a boy, the choices we make, losing/finding your identity, racism (the races being those who are men and those who are not), having to be a leader when you don’t want to be, and when to stop fighting, not start another war. The last book introduced a third POV that was completely surprising but essential/intelligent.

Man alive, but my head hurts.

Then there is Todd and Viola. TODD AND VIOLA. I’ve never shipped another pair more strongly than this one. These two inspire some REALLY strong emotions.

And lastly, if you thought the first book was ok plot-wise (like I did), hang on for your dear life when you pick up the second (like I just barely did).

VERDICT: 4.5 stars.

(Honestly, the stars don’t mean anything. Just go read it.)

P.S.: I can’t help myself but give you a heads up. Watch out for the ending (with stress-relievers at the ready).
Add your graffiti here before you leave; this wall needs all the colour it can get. And check back, I always reply as promptly as the wifi allows me to. ;)