TOP TEN TUESDAY : Characters That Gave Me the Creeps

Hello all! Doing a TTT after a long time and it’s a Halloween freebie! I’ve decided to list characters who I found creepy. Brace yourselves

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl.


Fenrir Greyback | Harry Potter : No better book to start a halloween list with than Harry Potter. Is there anyone who didn’t find this werewolf creepy?

 

Gollum | Lord of the Rings : Gollum gives the word ‘creepy’ a new meaning. It also helps that his film version was equally if not more scary. I doubt the new version will be able to beat that.

 

Hannibal Lecter | Silence of the lambs : Umm, he is a cannibal. And I watched the movie before reading the book. Plus, I watched the movie first and the outstanding Anthony Hopkins came to my mind whenever Hannibal appeared on the pages. Made the read ten times scarier.

 

Minya | Strange the Dreamer Duet : The tiny childlike woman who can control ghosts? This is one fascinating creation by my favorite author.

 

Coraline’s Other Mother | Coraline : I don’t remember her name. But I can still can feel the creeps she gave me. But I gotta say, this was one of the cases where I loved the movie more than the book.

 

Thiago | Daughter of Smoke and Bones : Man, whenever this character appeared on the pages, the creepiness factor also rose up. I could totally relate to Karou.

 

Pride | Fullmetal Alchemist : Although I found Father to be the scariest villain, Pride for me took the cake with his creepiness factor beneath the innocent child exterior.

Jack Randall | Outlander : I absolutely hated the guy from the very first page he appeared. His attitude towards women only made me wish the worst for him. A true lecher.

Mrs. Danvers | Rebecca : An iconic villain. She gave me the creeps in so many scenes.

 

Lord Voldemort| Harry Potter: A list of creepy characters with no Lord Voldemort in it? Impossible.

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BOOK REVIEW : YOU CAN HAVE MANHATTAN

You are cordially invited to the worst wedding of the century.

Sydney Evans is no stranger to hard work. It’s the one constant in her life. And with no family or friends to speak of it’s been easy to pour everything she has into her career as general counsel for Blackstone Holdings.

She wants for nothing. Until her boss offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All she has to do in return is marry his good-for-nothing son.

Scott Blackstone used be a party whore. Pardon, party animal. He hasn’t been that guy in a long time though. Not since he moved to Wyoming, bought a failing cattle ranch, and turned it into a profitable business.

All is good. Until a phone call from his father threatens the quiet, simple life he’s built. Marry or lose everything. And to a woman who can’t stand him, no less. Well, Scott is not going down without a fight. He’s never going back to Manhattan. Not if he can help it.


review

As much as I love arranged/fake marriage tropes, I always struggle with finding the reason behind the marriage convincing. But You can Have Manhattan did not have that problem. I found the logic compelling enough.

Sydney Evans only knows work. She has no social life. Her bubble bursts when her boss and mentor asks her to take part in a convoluted scheme. She has to marry his son, so that he can leave his empire to his trusted confidante and be it in his family name, at the same time. She agrees because he has few days to leave and she owes him all her success. But it’s Scott who’s the problem. He doesn’t want anything to do with his father’s empire or Manhattan. And it also doesn’t help that the bullheaded father doesn’t want him to know about the disease and makes Sydney promise not to tell either.

Scott is a changed man since Sydney last saw him – no more a manwhore and party animal, but a ranch owner and conservationist. He still finds her attractive but wants her to be the one to back out. He certainly can’t because his father holds his one weakness over him – acres of land that Scott needs for his dream project for nature conservation. But Sydney is determined to make this work, even if Scott is ready to play dirty to make her back off.

I loved the love-hate relationship between the both. Sydney is my favorite kind of heroine – strong and willful. Scott is a softie with a hard shell. They both have difficult pasts. But that’s where the story hit a block for me. I felt that the conflicts related to their past were dulled down a lot to make it work between them, a lot like being used as a mere plot device just for the sake of it. Especially for Sydney, the whole coming to terms came a little too easy for my taste.

So while I enjoyed the romance between the couple, it was other little things about the plot that made the story a little lacking for me.


ratings

★★★☆☆

BOOK REVIEW: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….


review

It’s like the author went into my head and took everything that I wanted in a historical romance – things that even I didn’t know I wanted – and put it all in this book.

Strong, independent and intelligent heroine? Check.

Swoon-worthy, sensible and respectful hero? Check.

Engaging romance with cackling chemistry and clever exchanges? Check.

A compelling conflict? Check.

The best thing about this book is that it almost didn’t feel like a historical to me. The themes in this book felt so relevant even in this age – be it women rights, class system or politics.

The cover and the synopsis simply doesn’t do justice to the brilliance of the debut author. This isn’t a lighthearted fare that requires suspension of belief. Nor is it your run-of-the-mill romance between a duke and a damsel. No. It’s a clever romance with two adults who are mature, sensible and very much self-aware. And the setting only adds to the charm of the book.

I absolutely loved the two main characters. Anna is my ideal heroine. Sebastian is the perfect blend of charming and sensible. Their chemistry was off the charts.

The book is set in 1879, during the suffrage movement, when women were fighting for their property rights and Oxford university opened its doors to women. The heroine Anna has little to nothing in her name, living under the roof of her cousin. She knows only an education can help her. She decides to enroll in Oxford, with a scholarship in exchange of being a suffragist.

Sebastian is a duke whose goal in life is to restore his ducal legacy back to its glory. The queen Victoria’s favorite, he can only say yes when she asks him to be an advisor to the conservative Tory party, ahead of the election. The last thing he needs is another scandal, after his divorce, with everyone expecting him to remarry a proper damsel soon. His only fear in life is falling off his horse and dying one day before producing an heir.

In other words, they couldn’t be any more opposites. The attraction they feel for each other is beyond physical. But a love between them is as forbidden as can be. And both of them know it. This is what makes the romance all the more delicious. I devoured scenes with them together. Both of them also have substantial backstories, which the author uses effectually. Her writing is impressive. I’m certainly excited to read her future books.

These days it’s hard to come across romances which make you ache for the main characters to get a happy ending. Add to that the relevant themes and social issues explored by the debut author, and this is one of the best reads of the year for me.


ratings

★★★★★

 

 

ARC REVIEW : A JEWEL BRIGHT SEA

A whirlwind of intrigue, lies, politics, and adventure swirls around one woman—and the prize she’s been sent to reclaim …
 
It was her talent for tracking magic that got Anna Zhdanov sent to catch a thief. A scholar’s daughter sold as a bond servant, she has no desire to recover the Emperor’s jewel for herself. But a chance to earn her freedom has driven her to the untamed Eddalyon province, awash with warm breezes, lapping waves, and more danger than she could possibly guess.

Within days her cover as an indolent noblewoman is in question, and it’s clear there’s more to Anna’s task than she knows. Soon she’s the captive of the unpredictable pirate captain Andreas Koszenmarc, hunted by the Emperor’s guard, besieged by a brigand queen, and at odds with her only friend. She must trust someone if she is to survive. But when all that’s certain is that everyone is hiding something, it’s no simple thing to choose 


review

This book has two of my favorite things combined together – magic and pirates! Who doesn’t like that?

Anna is on her way to find an important gem that was stolen from the emperor, before falling into the clutches of pirates, who also happen to be looking for the gem. She is forced to join hands with the pirate captain Andreas. She doesn’t trust him but she has no other option. What follows is a journey filled with magic and mayhem.

It took me some time to get into the story. Because we’re dropped into this strange world without any warning. The world building throughout the book left me wanting for more. I wanted to know more about the world, its history, the system, culture, everything. But the author doesn’t really go into the details.

We get introduced to a lot of characters at first and so much is happening right off the bat that I felt like a fish out of the water for the first quarter of the story. I wish the author took some time to absorb us into the world. I had to take a break from the reading because I found it all too much. But thankfully, after a point, I could find myself getting into engrossed.

I love Anna. She’s a fierce and brave protagonist. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. I also liked the secondary characters. Andreas is another interesting character. He’s got this quiet, unpredictable vibe that I enjoyed. But he remains a mysterious character even in the end. Having said that, I’d have liked a little more backstory to more of the characters.

Another qualm I have with this story is the romance. It had this almost slow-burn quality, but didn’t get enough breathing space amidst all the action and adventure, to build upon. And that’s just such a waste.

This was the first book in a series. So we can’t be too disappointed with all our unanswered questions. But at the moment, I’m feeling slightly indifferent about the next book.


ratings

★★★☆☆

Publication Date: 3rd September, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher -Kensington Books (via Netgalley)

Links –  AmazonGoodreads Book Depository

UPDATE: I’m Back From the Unannounced Hiatus


Umm, hello guys!

So in case you didn’t notice, I was AOL for the past month or so on my blog. And I’ve got a thesis submission, a last-minute family trip and a flu to thank for that. But thankfully, life’s back to the same old stability right now.

I plan to go back to regular updates to the blog. Now I have a enormous backlist of books to catch up to. But it’s good to be back. I missed the community. I missed reading all the amazing bloggers.

So yeah, that’s all for my update.

 

 

TAG : SUMMER GOALS BOOK TAG

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So, Summer is almost over where I live. But that doesn’t mean I’ll miss out the chance on doing this fun tag! Thanks to Ashley for tagging me in this! I’m sorry for my delayed take on this tag, though.

A Series You Plan on Finishing by the End of the Summer

The Mistborn series probably. It’s a series I’ve been wanting to pick up for more than a year now.

A Romance You Plan on Reading by the End of the Summer

There are a lot of romances on my TBR. But I’m looking forward to Perfectly Adequate by Jewel E. Ann. It comes out at the end of September.

 

A New Release You Really Want to Read

I’m planning on starting Well Met by Jen DeLuca soon. Fingers crossed I like it!

A Bookish Goal You Want to Accomplish

For now, finish the 8 or so ARCs still waiting on my Netgalley list, and not send requests for any more ARCs in the meantime.

A Non-Bookish Goal You Set for Yourself for the Summer

To learn swimming! I’ve just started swimming classes. It’s about time I get over my fear of water.

Read on the Beach or in a Park?

Both. I’m not discriminate about places when reading. All I need is some quiet and calm around me for that.

Go-To Summer Read: Cute Romance or Thriller?

Cute romances all the way!

What’s Your Biggest Dream/Goal in Life?

One thing I’ve realized in life is that nothing goes according to plans. So no, I just want to be happy whatever I end up doing!


I won’t be tagging anyone this time, but feel free to do the tag if you’re interested. Do let me know in the comments if you’re gonna do it!

 

ARC REVIEW : WE MET IN DECEMBER

Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.

Two people. One house. A year that changes everything. 

Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.

But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.


review

Okay. Look at that title and the synopsis. Can you blame me for having subconsciously compared it with my absolute favorite “One Day in December“? I’m unreasonably angry with this book as if it’s intentionally mislead me to compare the two.

Not that there are no similarities between the books. Both take place over a period of time. The characters are forced not to act on their feelings. There’s an involvement with a mutual friend. But that’s where the similarities end.

There’s no angst. No unresolved tension. No heartache. No sparks. No chemistry. Whatsoever.

Jess falls for Alex right off the bat. She can’t stop self-gushing over his handsome looks. And before we know it, she’s telling us about how she can’t stop herself from falling in love with him the more time they spend together. But that’s the thing. She’s telling us this. We don’t see these things happening. And there was nothing remotely convincing about her words.

On the other hand, the first time we get into Alex’s head, which is quite far in the book, he can only talk about his ‘friends with benefit’ thing with another housemate Emma, and his worry over how to navigate it, as he has no interest in starting a relationship  after a disastrous break-up with his ex Alice. His feelings for Jess simply don’t get enough breathing space to convincingly develop.

This book is supposed to be a romance, but we get more time spent on secondary characters and their stories than the central romance. Nothing interesting happens. We get excruciatingly minute details on Jess’s new life in Notting Hill, but not on her feelings for Jess, except for one line here and there. There’s no proper buildup of the romance. Even the character development is lacking. The author barely scratches the surface when it comes to developing the romance.

I simply wanted more from the book that has been compared to Richard Curtis romances. Are you freaking serious? If you want me to go into this book thinking it will be similar to Love Actually, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones, you better deliver on the awkward heroes, the amazing chemistry, great one-liners. At least give me some semblance of a romance!

The only good thing about the book was that it’s a fast read.


ratings

★★☆☆☆

Publication Date: 5th September, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links –  AmazonGoodreads Book Depository