Beneath the Glitter by Elle & Blair Fowler

Title: Beneath the Glitter
Author: Elle & Blair Fowler
Genre: Young Adult/ Chick-lit
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin

I’ve seen these sisters makeup videos pop up on YouTube very often and if you’ve ever searched for a review of a beauty product on YouTube, one of their reviews will most probably be recommended. I’ve watched a few, especially Elle’s Glitterature videos and they are pretty descent. So when I saw this book in the library I was instantly curious. My first reaction however was ‘Anyone now a days can write a book‘ considering being good at makeup doesn’t make you good at writing. But since I was in a reading slump already I thought I might just stop being a book snob and see what the book was like.

So let’s get on to my thoughts on this book. If you don’t like chick-lits or Young Adult, stay miles away from this book. It is what it is – a fluffy and light read. It actually does read like a feel good chick flick. 2 sisters Ava and Sophia become popular because of their makeup beauty videos and move to LA to climb the career ladder. In LA, they get to mix with the rich and famous and attend lavish parties. Eventually the lifestyle and misunderstandings between the 2 sisters almost ruin their career.

 The book tries to capitalize on the big bad image of LA and how being rich and famous will make you a shallow person. Only thing is it doesn’t quite ring true in this case. It feels too much on the surface. The story too is very breezy and superficial and drives on clichés. But it is entertaining. It’s a very quick read and doesn’t want you to make use of your brain cells too much, which could be a good thing once in a while.
Another good thing about the book is the bond between the 2 sisters – Ava and Sophia. I have 2 sisters and I could well understand their bond and it was very heartwarming and sweet at times. That is the perhaps the only section of the book which seemed effortless to me.
The worst Part? The book starts with the sisters getting arrested for a murder. It ends with ‘to be continued in the next book’ which annoys me to no extend. Again, I said this before, I don’t mind sequels but I prefer the subplot to end in the same book. If you want to write a sequel come up with another subplot.  Anyway, this book might not be for everybody. It seems like something targeting teenagers and younger crowd. But if you don’t mind a breezy, no-brainer once in a while, this does fit the bill.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult
Book in the series: #1
Awards: Cybils Award Nominee for Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult) (2011), YALSA Awards for Best Fiction for Young Adults (2012), YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers (2012), Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of the Year (2011), NPR’s Top Five Teen (2011)
Endeavor Award Finalist (2012)

My thoughts:
First off, I don’t watch horror movies nor do I read many horror books. The last ghost movie I saw was Grunge and that too in the theater so it was pretty long back. But who can resist a cover like that? Also, since it was Young Adult, I assumed it wouldn’t be super scary. Well, I was partly right. It wasn’t as scary but considering how easily I get spooked I refused to read this at night.

Either way, I think it was a very good book and however scared I might be it was worth it. Cas Lowood is not your typical teenager. He kills ghosts that haunt. He inherited this unique vocation from his dad who was a professional Ghost killer. Cas and his mom move to a new neighborhood as usual in pursuit of a new Ghost – Anna. Anna is said to be living in an old house and has killed many people. She was brutally murdered a few decades back but that doesn’t explain the amount of strength she has. Cas, as always, is there to kill her. But circumstances are such that alter his life forever.

I thought this would be a typical fantasy novel somewhere along the lines of Twilight or Hush. But the story and the setting is very unique and so is Anna. The first encounter with Anna is very scary and I almost stopped reading. But I had to continue as I couldn’t resist knowing what happened next. Dont take Anna’s ghost as all fluff. There is violence, there is gore and there is no glossing over her deeds. The romance although weird Is believable and doesn’t feel forced. I want to read more about it and hopefully there will be more in the next book.

The characters could have been fleshed out more and the story could have had more details. But other than that I have no complaints. This is the first book in the series but its complete in itself which is very rare these days in YA.

Note: I just googled this book and it seems very popular. There are many art works dedicated to Anna. 

Stephanie Meyer is producing a movie based on this book. It will be exciting to see how it turns out.

The Raising by Laura Kasischke

Title: The Raising
Author:
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 15, 2011)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Raising is about a perfect blond teenager who died in an accident and comes back to the campus to haunt. Whats not to like? A lot apparently. My foremost complaint about the book was that it jumped a lot between the past and present and in-between the characters as well. The moment I found myself immersed in a certain storyline the narration jumped to something else. Not only did I find this very distracting but it also made it very difficult for me to follow the story.

The characters for most part were also very unlikable, be it Nicole, the girl who died, her boyfriend or Josie – her roommate. The only character I liked was Perry who was Clark’s friend.  But half way through the book I started to dislike Perry as well. The storyline was also very bizarre, I found it very difficult to accept.

But the book is not without its plus points. That I found the story weird could also be a plus point for someone who likes a unique storyline. The one thing I loved about the book was the classes on Death that Professor Mira taught. I was genuinely interested in the subject and this book provided me enough material to learn something new and start researching more on a certain topic if I wanted to.

All said and done, although I was very excited about reading this book, it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

bookTitle: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books; Book Club edition (June 7, 2011)

My thoughts:
Here is a completely different take on a very popular topic. Mr. Riggs has taken the plotline that many fantasy novels have today and turned it into something completely different…in a good way.

Jacob Portman is a normal teenager who leads a boring and uneventful life (according to him). He is fascinated and intrigued by the stories his grandfather used to tell him about his past life – about growing up in an orphanage on an island and about the peculiar children who lived there. He described children who could levitate, who could pick heavy objects and of the one who was invisible. As Jacob grew up he knew these stories were just made up.

But when his grandfather dies in mysterious circumstances, he decides to find some answers by journeying to his grandfathers orphanage somewhere close to Wales. What he finds there is completely unexpected, fascinating and overwhelming.

I loved loved loved the plot. I thought it was innovative and very mysterious. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The author created a beautiful atmosphere with the Island and the mysteries that surrounded it. I wished I was on the Island with Jacob. There is a lot more to the story than what I just told you but I wont disclose more because I want to keep it spoiler free.

Now the bad – yes, it’s not perfect. There were a lot of loopholes or if you see it from a different perspective, I didn’t understand some of the story. The ending was rushed and there is a sequel. I’m kind of bored with the whole sequel obsession in YA. Why can’t people write a book that is complete in itself? Also I found Jacob to be very decent considering the fact that he is a teenager and a boy.

I still really enjoyed reading the book and would love to read the next one. The pictures in the book helped with the story and made it more fascinating. Initially, before reading the book, just looking at the pictures, I thought this would be a horror novel – but it isn’t. I know some people get turned off by horror novels, so don’t be.

I think you would enjoy this book even if you don’t read YA.

Some of the pictures from the book

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Library Haul

I went to the library after a long time and got a little carried away. The library also had a borrow 12 books within a certain period which did not help. Most are YA because I find YA to be easy reads when I have a lot of work to do. I also borrowed Scandal in Spring and Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas but I already finished those and returned to the library. Anyway…these are the books I got…

iron kingdragonswoodundercurrent

grimm legacyconstant heartcleopatras moon

physick book of deliverance danebetween sky and seamermaids mirror

Uncategorized 6

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Source: Library
Set in: San Francisco (U.S)
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

My thoughts:
I think I was probably the last ones to read Anna and the French kiss. I read it a couple of months back and although I didn’t love it, I did like it a lot. There were a couple of things I didn’t like about the book. Firstly I think Stephanie Perkins relied too much on the Paris setting and Paris does not do much for me. I mean I’m sure it’s a great city and all but I haven’t seen it and whatever I’ve seen on TV doesn’t impress me much. The second thing was Anna. I thought she was very irritating, I can’t pinpoint why but it’s very difficult to love a book when you don’t like the central character.

But I liked Stephanie Perkins writing so when I saw Lola and the Boy Next Door on the library shelf, I grabbed it because new books don’t tend to stay on the shelf for long. And I loved this book. It was a very fun book to read with a few serious issues covered as well. I loved Lola, I think she was a very colorful and fun character. I liked the way she dressed and loved that she was artistic and loved to design or mix and match her costumes. She was a very fun character to read about and she would be a fun person to be friends with as well.

The Boy Next Door, Cricket, was well, perfect. It works only because it’s a romance novel. There are many other things I loved about the book as well. I loved the authors writing. She reminds me of Sarah Dessen and although I love Sarah Dessen more I think Stephanie Perkins is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

The second thing I liked was Lola has gay parents and I love that Stephanie Perkins had the courage to portray something like this. She showed that gay parents can bring up a perfectly normal child. The characters were great as well-Cricket’s sister, Lola’s friend Lindsey, her parents. Oh and if you loved Anna and the French Kiss, you’ll love this book more, because here we get to see what happened to Anna and St. Clair after Paris. And they don’t take over the story, they kind of blend in and Lola and Cricket are still the central characters.

Another thing I loved was the San Francisco setting. Stephanie Perkins describes a city really well and she makes me want to visit San Francisco sometime. Also, I love that Lola and Cricket have lives outside of their love story.
So, in conclusion, I would say I really loved this one. And if you haven’t read these books yet, I would suggest you start with Anna and the French Kiss first.

And….here is the video for the same if you are interested. It’s not that good but I promise I will improve 🙂

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Title: Evermore
Author: Alyson Noel
Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy)
Source: Personal Library
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; 1 edition (February 3, 2009)
Rating: 3 out of 5

My thoughts:
16 year old Ever has to change her school, her town and go live with her aunt when her parents and her 12 year old sister die in a car accident. After the accident, Ever starts seeing dead people and read others thought. In short, she is a psychic. I think the term psychic was used very liberally here, Ever can do so much more than a psychic can. She and talk to her dead sister. Anyway, in her new school she meets the mysterious Damein.

I have mixed feelings for this book. On one hand I cannot stop comparing the book to Twilight. I felt as if the author read Twilight and thought I could possibly write a similar book and try to eliminate the problems some people have with Twilight. One for e.g how dangerous Edward was and how many people thought Bella was foolish to fall so deeply in love so quickly. There are so many other things that are similar to Twilight but I will not mention them here since they could spoil the story.

The thing is, Alyson Noel is a good writer, she knows how to keep the reader glued to the page and keep turning the pages. But the fact that it was so similar to Twilight put me off a little bit. I loved Twilight but I don’t want to read another version of it no matter how good it is. There is something to be said about originality.

The part I liked best was her equation with her dead sister. I also liked the ending, its just enough to end the first book and leave enough scope for a second. I will definitely be reading the next book, Blue Moon, which I hope I’ll like better.