QOTW – QUOTE(S) OF THE WEEK : MURDERER WORK ETHICS, SURVIVOR PRIORITY & DEVIL IN WAITING

Hello all! So this is a segment I did for a while and then just paused for no real reason. Well, no more of that crap. I’m back and I’ll try to make this a regular thing again.

I won’t deny that a certain book has played a huge part in me wanting to restart this weekly segment. It’s Ninth House. This is a really well written book with some really witty one liners and deep dialogue. I’ve seen a lot of people dismiss the book as slow; but for me, I looked forward to every line because I anticipated a gem in all of them. I wasn’t disappointed in many cases. Here’s some of them.


 “It was one thing to
be a murderer, quite another to work for
one”

“I let you die. To save myself, I let you die.
That is the danger in keeping company with survivors.”

“Do you know what my mother said?” Turner asked. “She told me there’s no doorway the devil doesn’t know. He’s always waiting to stick his foot in. I never really believed her until tonight”

 

 


 

I chose the first quote because it made me laugh. It so perfectly encapsulates in it the essence of the character that Alex Stern is.

I chose the second quote for similar reasons. Alex is a survivor and it’s been ingrained in her that survival comes foremost. And when you’re here to survive, everything and everyone else comes second.

The third quote is something that I’ve heard all my life from my family and community, although not along those exact lines. And I believe it when people say that it only takes one bad action, one misstep for your life to crumble down completely. Yeah. Very cheery, I know.

There were a lot of other lines that hit me hard too. I’ll maybe quote them some other time. Heh.


 

BOOK REVIEW: THE QUEEN OF NOTHING (THE FOLK OF THE AIR #3)

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…


reviewI read this one a while ago. And even though I loved it, I wasn’t content after it ended, not knowing why I wasn’t content. I think I have a clearer idea now.

I will not go into the plot details. Because there were more surprises than I can count. The trilogy didn’t lose its unpredictability even in its final installment. So, I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as I can. When we start the story, Jude is still not over the betrayal of Cardan, the man who she helped make faerie prince, and she still has weakness over. The story takes off when Jude’s twin sister Tarryn comes to her for help. And begins the roller-coaster of twists and turns.

Let’s talk about the positives first. I liked the pacing on this one. It was a lot more evenly paced than the previous two in the trilogy. So many things happen in a matter of a few pages. It was a whirlwind! I liked how we start with a flashback to Cardan’s childhood. He’s been the most fascinating character for me in the whole series. And I liked Jude’s evolution. She’s much more smarter and less impulsive. It was her character that I felt for the most in this book.

Now, what did dislike about the book? The fast pacing can have its negatives too. See, there’s fast pacing and then there’s FAST pacing. A lot of character progression was rushed through. For example, as much as I loved the direction the author took with Cardan and Jude, it was done hurriedly. I wanted more scenes of them. I wanted to see a more organic evolution of their relationship. There was so much potential there! These are two characters whose conversations I’d never tire of. But the characters in general here do not seem to converse more than what is necessary to take the plot ahead. And that’s a big problem with me.

And I wanted even more glimpses into Cardan’s history and his psyche. I also wouldn’t mind a better insight into his relationship with his mother. I found the conclusion for many of the minor characters to be unsatisfactory too. One certain character, for example, that I hated got an anticlimactic ending. A lot of the smaller plot points felt unexplored too. It’s almost like the the conviction in the storytelling was compromised for making it a thrilling read.

I have no complaints about the story. It’s the storytelling that I believe could’ve been better. This trilogy could’ve easily made it into the list of my all time favorites, with a little more adept storytelling. But the author could have also easily botched up the whole plot and the ending. So I can’t say that I’m not happy with how the story panned. This was merely a case of much higher expectations. That’s why I’m going with 4 stars.


ratings

★★★★☆

BOOK REVIEW : THE PLACE ON DALHOUSIE

‘You look the type to break your father’s heart.’
‘Yeah, but he broke mine first.’

When Rosie Gennaro first meets Jimmy Hailler, she has walked away from life in Sydney, leaving behind the place on Dalhousie that her father, Seb, painstakingly rebuilt for his family but never saw completed. Two years later, Rosie returns to the house and living there is Martha, whom Seb Gennaro married less than a year after the death of Rosie’s mother. Martha is struggling to fulfil Seb’s dream, while Rosie is coming to terms with new responsibilities. And so begins a stand-off between two women who refuse to move out of the home they both lay claim to.

As the battle lines are drawn, Jimmy Hailler re-enters Rosie’s life. Having always watched other families from the perimeters, he’s now grappling, heartbreakingly, with forming one of his own . . .

An unforgettable story about losing love and finding love; about the interconnectedness of lives and the true nature of belonging, from one of our most acclaimed writers.


review

Melina Marchetta has a distinct style of writing that when you read it, you just somehow know that it’s her. She can also evoke emotions effortlessly through her writing. Her stories also mostly always explore themes of family, particularly that of parents and children. There’s never only one primary plot line or one character arc that gets all the importance. There will be concurrent plot lines and characters, all connected with each other. The Place on Dalhousie is no different. We get to see the story from the perspective of three characters – the free spirited Jim, the rebellious Rosie and her step-mother Martha.

There is a lot going on with a lot of characters. Rosie is struggling with her parenthood and keeping her dreams on hold. She also has to share the house her father Seb built for her and her mother with her stepmother. But Martha and Rosie have a connection beyond this. Both their mothers lost their lives in the same week at the same cancer ward to breast cancer. Jim is struggling with his discovery of being a father all of a sudden, and laying roots when he never has before,  having been abandoned by both his parents. Martha is struggling with her grief for her husband, her love for the house he left behind and the potential of something more with friend’s elder brother Ewan who himself is struggling with a father who has Alzheimer’s.

There are appearances from characters from Melina’s previous books Saving Francesca and Piper’s Son, which all featured characters from Jim’s group of friends. I have a soft spot for this band of misfits. It was great to revisit them. Their friendship plays a big part in this book also. One thing I love about Melina’s books is that although there a lot of characters, each of them have a unique equation with another. She’s never lazy with her world-building. Here also, that is the case. All the characters are respectfully dealt with. Every line gives you a peak into a dimension. No words are wasted. I kept wishing for this book to never end. But it did. And now I don’t know how long I have to wait for another book by the author.


review

★★★★★


Links – Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

 

ARC Review : Miracle Creek

A literary courtroom drama about a Korean immigrant family and a young, single mother accused of murdering her eight-year-old autistic son.

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first …

In the small town of Miracle Creek, Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.


What an engrossing debut by an author who knows how to write mysteries where every character has a story to tell!

This a courtroom drama where we get to see the story from every character’s point of view. And yet, the mystery of who is the culprit keeps you at your toes till the final reveal. I loved how every time I would become almost sure about a certain character being the culprit, the author throws a new curveball at us.

Every character is dishonest here. Everybody has their secrets and motives. Everybody lies. This book explores so many themes – motherhood, autism, immigration, abuse. But I think above all, it was about the extents that a mother could go to for her child. One thing that impressed me was how the author tackled the topic of struggle that every mother faces in their frustration with their inability to control their children’s life – be it their health or behavior.

It took me awhile to get into the story. What ultimately sucked me in was the courtroom shenanigans. The cross-examinations were so well done! I would have loved to see the culmination of the whole thing in a courtroom too. Not that I didn’t like the way it happened, but I was hoping for the case to culminate like a typical courtroom drama. Kudos to the author for making it unpredictable!

Even when I thought I had it all figured it out, I was wrong. And that makes me so happy! There are a lot of important themes going on here, all of which have a depth to them that made me stop and think what or who was right and wrong here. A great read!


review

★★★★☆


Publication Date: 16th April, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links –  AmazonGoodreads |Barnes & Noble

BOOK REVIEW : HOTSHOT DOC

Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.


I’d expected more from R. S. Grey. Hotshot Doc promised everything that I normally enjoy –  workplace romance and enemies-to-lovers trope. But it failed to live up to its promise.

I’ll start with the negatives. For one, I’d expected a more layered exploration of Matt’s character. We are told at the beginning that he is an asshole of epic proportions. And then he just suddenly starts being nice to Bailey. I was hoping for a slower transformation of his character.

There was one part that really irked me. Matt’s brother happens to meet Bailey at a club and  he finds out that she’s Matt’s surgical assistant during a conversation with him. And apparently, based on a small conversation, without ever even seeing Matt and Bailey interact, the brother decides that Matt has a thing for Bailey. And that’s all dandy and fine. God knows I’ve teased my friends about their presumed crushes. But the brother doesn’t stop there. He continues texting with Bailey and even goes on to invite her to a family wedding. Why? Just to see his brother’s reaction! All this based on one conversation with Matt?!

I think I’m at that stage of my life where – a couple of interactions between the main couple of a romance where the heroine happens to be the first one to challenge the hero is enough to soften him up – just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It was just too rushed for me.

Now, don’t think that I didn’t find Matt and Bailey sweet together. They had their cute and funny moments. But they could just not engage me. I think that’s the reason I am feeling even more annoyed about the romance feeling too rushed.

There was so much to like about the book. Matt is like the amalgamation of McDreamy and pre-accident Dr. Strange. Ain’t that the perfect idea for a hero? And a heroine raising her sister all by herself after her parents’ untimely death? Who would say no to that? Even that conflict at the end was compelling, but only for a couple that’s been together for a year, or even a few months – not a couple as new as Matt and Bailey.  It wasn’t even a bad book by any stretch. But I’ve come to expect so much better from R. S. Grey. So when I complain about this book, I do it because it had so much potential! I wouldn’t mind a do-over of this one for sure.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book Review : MAMMOTH by Jill Baguchinsky

The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.


The fact that the book Mammoth exists makes me so happy! It’s about a plus sized girl who also happens to be both a fashion blogger and a science geek! How cool is that? This is the first Young Adult I found about Paleontology. Ross Geller would be proud!

Natalie is a paleontology enthusiast who gets an internship at a Ice Age digging site. She’s a fashion blogger and a science geek which makes her such a cool protagonist on paper. But once you peel the layers, she’s just a girl who wants to prove herself. She’s insecure about her weight, uses fashion and makeup to don a different persona that makes her awesome. She thinks that she can either be awesome or herself. These two are mutually exclusive. She also has an anxious habit of snapping an elastic band on her wrist when she’s stressed. But as the story goes on, we see her change slowly.

I loved the details of the internship. The procedures were fun to see. My favorite part about the book was the friendship between Quinn and Natalie. There were feminist aspects to the book that I absolutely loved. The supporting characters were all amazingly written and played important parts. I just found the whole premise and concept so refreshing that I didn’t need much in the plot to please me.

Natalie, though? I was so frustrated by her. When I read the synopsis, I was expecting a confident and badass heroine. The only time Natalie impressed me with her badassery was when she didn’t look back once when her crush let her down. And I was mighty impressed, I tell you. But then a few pages later, she makes another mistake that made me feel like shaking her! I know that I was supposed to root for her because she’s a plus sized girl and her insecurities are legit. But here’s the thing. I knew that I should root for her. But I just couldn’t! There was no connection. She simply kept disappointing me time and again with her ill-advised decisions. I found myself liking Quinn more.

I appreciate it when a protagonist is flawed and has a growth arc. But when 251 pages down the line, she keeps making stupid mistakes, the flaws stop looking fascinating. That makes me want to give this 3 stars. But I’ll add a star just for the refreshing themes explored in the book.


My Rating: ★★★★☆


Publication Date: 8th November, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Edweiss)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon

ARC Review : The Red Ledger Part 1 By Meredith Wild

*I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in return of an honest review.


He’s death for hire…

Some people measure life in hours. Days. Weeks. I measure mine in kills. A covert military mission gone wrong robbed me of my memory and any link to my past. This is my existence now. I execute and survive. Nothing more, nothing less. I was ready to write Isabel Foster’s name in my ledger of unfortunate souls until she uttered the one word that could stop the bullet meant for her. My name.

She knows my face. She knows me. She’s the key to the memories I’m not sure I want back. Now nothing is simple. I still have a job to do, and my soul isn’t worth saving. I’m not the man she thinks I am. I can’t love her. And sparing her life puts us both in the crosshairs.


This book currently has an average rating of 4.12 from more than 1700 reviewers. Suffice it to say, I feel like I’m in the minority here.

On paper, the premise of this book is everything I’d want in a Romantic Suspense. But somewhere between the plotting and the characterization, the storytelling lost the charm that the synopsis promised.

Tristan is a contract killer who has no memory of his past. When he is in Rio De Janeiro for his next target, it turns out to be Isabel who invokes old feelings and memories in him. When she recognizes him in a crowd, he knows that she is someone from his past.

It turns out that they used to date each other in high school before a tragedy compelled him to enlist in the army. The last contact between Isabel and Tristan had been when he broke up with her from the army which left her so broken that she still is haunted by that pain.

By the way Isabel was acting during the beginning, you’d think she had suffered a severe traumatic experience that forced her to abandon her old life to pack up her old life and become a teacher in Brazil. Being dumped by her teenage love was not what I had at all expected to be the traumatic experience.

The transition of Tristan from being determined in killing Isabel to helping her escape his ‘comrades’ was not very convincingly written. But I could conjure more feelings for him than Isabel who I couldn’t care less about. I could see Tristan’s conflict as he had no memory but was still conflicted over the shadow of his feelings for this girl who is the only link to his past. But Isabel, on the other hand, was so acquiescent and easy to trust Tristan’s demands, she came off spineless..

Also, these two felt a little too horny for people who were on the run for their lives. She apparently had her heart broken by him and he had no recollection of their love. But who cares about all that complex history when you can get your rocks off?

I get that this is the first part and the author wanted to leave out a lot of the details and back-story for the later parts. But there should be at least a solid start to the series with convincing story-telling for me to continue to the series. Sadly, I already can predict how the series will proceed and don’t feel the slightest inclination to continue. That’s a pity because this would’ve been a really promising read with a better execution.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on Goodreads & Amazon

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Recently, I saw a lot of buzz about this book. I knew it would be a heavy read and I wasn’t really in the mood for anything heavy. Maybe that’s why I was underwhelmed by the book when I did read it.

Juliet lost her mother in a car accident. She’s a teenager dealing with the loss of the person she was closest to and who she considered to be her hero. Declan is another teenager dealing with the aftermath of an accident and his own mistakes. Both of them have emotional baggage and come to depend on each other through letters without knowing each other’s identities.

The plot was good but it lacked freshenss. I mean, this is not the first book that has it’s protagonists getting close through mail or letters anonymously and yet hating each other in real life. And then you’ve got your misunderstood outcasts, stepfather being a jerk, ignorant parents. Cliches after cliches. Now, I love cliches as much as the next person. I really do. It’s just the execution of those cliches that left a lot to be desired.

I did enjoy the middle parts where Juliet and Declan interact more in real life and the push and pull they play with the reveal of their identities. That was well done. I also liked the message about how we tend to judge others based on appearances and impressions we get about them through what we hear in the grapevine.

Maybe the problem was me. Because I saw a lot of people talk about feeling emotional after reading the book. Was I the only one who didn’t feel any emotional connection with the book?

Even the conclusion felt lazy to me. I found the resolution at the end with their families to be too facile and unconvincingly simplified. Especially Declan’s family. I wished to see more of his mother. We hear about her redemption but we don’t see it. I also wanted to see more of Juliet’s dad.

Although the book claimed to be a contemporary romance, there was little to no romance in it. Not that the lack of a romance is a problem, but I hate it when books don’t fit into the genres they claim.

I liked the book. I didn’t love it like so many others did. Maybe it’s a problem with me more than the book. So feel free to check it out.

I see that there is a sequel planned for Rev, one of my more favorite parts of the book. So I might even check the sequel out just for Rev!


 

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

TAG : I Spy Book Challenge

So, I’m new and nobody tagged me. But I still wanted to do it. What can I say? I’m an enthusiastic noob who loves these challenges!


The Rules:

Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!!


 

Food| Transportation | Weapon | Animal

Number| Something You Read | Body of Water | Product of Fire

Royalty| Architecture | Clothing Item | Family Member

 

Time of Day | Music | Paranormal Being | Occupation

Season | Color | Celestial Body | Something That Grows


These are all books I’ve read (some I enjoyed, some I regretted reading). Btw I took a lot more than five minutes. But I had so much fun with this! Hope you do too.

I’m tagging  Mowmee | Tukunjil  | Bristy | Mahjabin | Kaniz

You can ignore this if you want to. No pressure. I just tagged you for fun! And if anyone who wasn’t tagged by me happens to see this and wants to do it, feel free and let me know!