Review: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

Our Dark Duet

****4.5****

I was a bit disappointed with the first book, which I guess lacked action! But second in the duology just crashed all my old thought and I am thinking of re-reading both the books together. I just loved this book.

“There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.”

Almost after six months from the ending of “The Savage Song”, this book starts. Verity is in chaos. Kate Harker has gone to Prosperity and is the best huntress (of monsters). August Flynn is the leader which he never wanted to be. But when a new, strange monster of shadow arises, creating devastating effects, Kate decides to return to Verity. And thus Kate and August meets again. Both join together to save the city.  Will they succeed? They confront some old enemies and some new. Amid chaos, does their relationship go any forward?

“Do you ever wonder why music brings a soul to surface? What makes beauty work as well as pain?”

This time Schwab has a very strong plot and narration is more individual and emotional. New characters are added which are equally interesting as Kate and August. Breathtaking action and tragic. Wonderfully lyrical and a roller coaster, Schwab has nailed it this time.

“I am a man, not a movement,” he said. “But if a movement is what it takes to end this war, then I will play my part.” 

First book Review:

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Review: Sing,Unburied,Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Sing,Unburied,Sing

****4.5****

An intense and haunting book by Ward, who is also a National Book Award winner for “Salvage the Bones”.

I received an  E-ARC from the published and I was reluctant to read this as I knew that some intense story is involved but yet I wanted to know it.

It’s a story about Jojo’s family. Jojo’s Mam and Pop, his mother Leoni, Father Michael and his toddler sister Kayla. This is also a story of addiction, of poverty, of dreams. Narrated through Jojo and his mother Leoni, slowly the story unfolds.

“A clean burning shot through my bones, and then I forgot. The shoes I didn’t buy, the melted cake…”

Jojo and Kayla are looked after by his maternal grandparents whom he calls as Mam and Pop. Pop still hardworking but tired. Mam, bedridden because of cancer. Leoni addicted to coke usually forgets to be a normal-caring mother, Michael who is in prison and Kayla still a toddler. Jojo’s only distraction is the ghost of a boy from his Pop’s youth. Leoni finds solace in her dead brother Given’s ghost.

But when Michael gets released from the prison, Leoni takes up a road trip along with her kids and friend to pick her husband from the prison. There is always a slight difference between losing the sanity and not losing it. Each and everyone struggling to cope with the demons that are haunting them. Road trip ends back at Pop’s house but the tragic end breaks our heart.

Brilliant narration which did justice to different issues like racism, poverty, addiction and also dreams, hopes.

ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me talk Pretty on day

****5.0****

Sedaris is a very funny writer. I laughed out loud throughout the book and some occasions brought tears in my eyes , of course laughing.

“Sometimes the sins you haven’t committed are all you have left to hold onto.”

Starting from his childhood in North Carolina, early adulthood in New York and his recent adventures living with his boyfriend Hugh in Paris, Sedaris puts forward lively stories with the reader. His struggle with lisp and speech therapist, with learning guitar were hilarious. He also recalls the animal presence and it’s effects in his family that is family dog/s  and cat/s and his own bonding with parents and siblings. His sexuality is also included along with his sister’s addiction to tanning and incidents equally hilarious.

“When shit brings you down, just say ‘fuck it’, and eat yourself some motherfucking candy.” 

Let me tell you Sedaris has put together several essays that are worth much more into this book. Reader jumps from one part of his life to another which are funnily narrated but are serious issues.

“Hugh consoled me, saying, “Don’t let it get to you. There are plenty of things you’re good at.”
When asked for some examples, he listed vacuuming and naming stuffed animals. He says he can probably come up with a few more, but he’ll need some time to think.” 

Brilliantly written, Sedaris is, again, a very funny writer.

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Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot #4) by Agatha Christie

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)
First read in 2012

——————
*****4.5******

My re-read 🙂 2017
Fourth Book in Poirot series. A tale with a twist.
A wealthy Businessman and a widower is murdered. Just few weeks before Mrs Ferrars commits suicides by taking poison. There is also a talk of Blackmail. Who killed Mr. Ackroyd? As always there are many people in the story, who are also suspects.
Roger Ackroyd– murdered wealthy widowed businessman.
Mrs Ferrars– commits suicide taking poison just few weeks before the murder and is close to Roger.
Captain Ralph Paton– Roger Ackroyd’s stepson, in a bad position in life.
Flora Ackroyd-Roger Ackroyd’s niece, engaged to Ralph Paton
Mrs Cecil Ackroyd-Flora’s mother, Roger Ackroyd’s widowed sister in law.
Ursula Bourne– Roger Ackroyd’s parlourmaid, poor but well educated and brought-up.
Geoffrey Raymond– Roger Ackroyd’s secretary.
John Parker– Roger Ackroyd’s Butler.
Elizabeth Russell– Roger Ackroyd’s housekeeper.
Major Hector Blunt– Roger Ackroyd’s friend and guest at the time of murder.
Dr James Sheppard – the local doctor,the narrator.
Caroline Sheppard – Dr.James spinster sister, who loves gossiping.
and many more.

Now, the story begins with Mrs Ferrars’s suicide and Roger Ackroyd who was thought to marry her is distraught by the news. He calls Dr James Sheppard to dinner with the inmates of his house. After dinner, Ackroyd and Sheppard goes to his study for a talk where Ackroyd confides with Sheppard that Mrs Ferrars was being blackmailed about killing her husband. At the same time, he receives a letter by Mrs Ferrars, possibly a suicide note with the information of the blackmailer. But Ackroyd decides to read it after Sheppard leaves.

After Sheppard reaches his house, he receives a phone call from Ackroyd’s Butler Parker saying Ackroyd is dead. But when Sheppard rushes back to Ackroyd’s place, he finds that the phone call was fake but the news is true. Ackroyd is indeed dead.

Hercule Poirot, who is a neighbour to Dr. Sheppard, takes an interest in the case. Bingo! The case is solved. 🙂
But it’s not easy. The estimated time of death doesn’t match with witnesses. Someone or the other confide that they have heard Ackroyd talking or they themselves talked to him personally at that time. So when was Ackroyd killed? By Whom? and Why?

Wonderful as always, Christie has put a twist which will swipe the reader off their feet.

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Review:We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists
***3.0***

A very short essay by Ms Adichie on Feminism. I have already read her 3 books, Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus and Americanah. All the three were women centric stories with different issues that are faced.

“We Should All Be Feminists”, Adichie shares her experiences of being a woman in Nigeria. Different problems that are faced by women in Nigeria. To-do’s and Not-to-do’s that she herself went through. She also expresses feminism as “Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men and Who Likes to Wear Lip Gloss and High Heels for Herself and Not For Men”.

Some of the parts were like specific to certain females from certain culture. But she has tried to generalize the problems with regards to modern women too. Certainly a good read.

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Review: The Girl From World’s End by Leah Fleming

The Girl From World's End
****4.5****

The one thing that kept flowing through the story was ‘Alcohol’. Mirren Gilchris, is a girl who is orphaned by her father’s death because of too much drinking. Her mother, baby brother long gone because of some sickness. She, at a small age itself, knows the effects of drinking and pledges to oppose it. When her maternal grandparents starts looking after her, slowly molding her to their farm, it becomes a soft,lovely tale.

Mirren falls in love with eccentric Jack but when he returns from war he turns towards alcohol for consolation creating dreadful consequences in his and Mirren’s life. That again leads Mirren’s life go kaput. But finally it ends well.

I don’t know why I liked this story so much, for such a simple story which was almost predictable. The narration was very perfect. The characters which were well built and very much relatable. The effects of alcohol, war are told effortlessly.
Perfect reading for a Holiday…

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Review: Ruin and Rising ( Shadow and Bone #3) by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone, #3)

***4.0***

Final book of Shadow and Bone Trilogy
Ravka has fallen. Darkling sits on the fallen city’s throne. Story starts with Alina ann Mel being deep in Ravkan tunnels under Apparat’s care. But it’s more like his prison where Alina is not allowed to anything other than rest. Apparat has created a cult which chants “Sancta Alina” meaning Saint Alina and diverted this whole Sun Summoner thing to a belief.

“They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things-if love can ever be called that.”

Alina has to find her true self and her courage to take hold of this situation and escape Apparat’s hold. Once she does that, she with her allies try to find the last of Morozova’s amplifier Firebird. Along the journey Alina find outs about Darkling’s past and how they are connected. Ravka’s rise is on Alina’s shoulders.

“Aleksander,” I whispered. A boy’s name, given up. Almost forgotten.”

All the characters are stronger than the last two books, each and everyone has their own individual identity which was missing in the first two books. The plot takes all the marks, the narration is good.
I don’t want to put any spoilers as it will really really spoil the fun…

“He’d wanted me to believe in his ruthlessness.
Then I remembered his words from so long ago: Make me your villain.”

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Review: Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2)

****4.0****

Second book in the trilogy is equally interesting as the first book, but there are more battles. Like Mooooooooooorrrrrreeeeee!

The story picks up from few weeks after where Shadow and Bone left off. Alina is a Grisha now and she is one of Darkling’s kind. She is a sun summoner and has mastered her skills to an extent. Alina is confused as to where her loyalties are going to lie. She loved her country but is disturbed by the truth of Darkling’s true intention.

Alina and Mal reunites after Alina escapes from Darkling’s hold. But along this run, she and Mal are captured by Darkling and he uses her to acquire some legendary amplifiers to make her the most powerful Grisha. Apparat is more annoying with his Saint Alina cult and portrayed as a mysterious personality in the story.

“The less you say, the more weight your words will carry.”

There are new characters who are included like the mysterious twins, Tolya and Tamar, and Sturmhond, a cunning and ruthless privateer ( who is the only one whom I really enjoyed reading)

“I took a breath. “Your highness—”
“Nikolai,” he corrected. “But I’ve also been known to answer to ‘sweetheart’ or ‘handsome.”

The whole plot is in revealing Darkling’s plan for Throne, Alina and Mal’s reunion and running behind the three amplifiers of Morozova which is considered as a myth. The plot is more of battles and politics than magical powers.

“He tapped the sun over his heart. “I came here for you. You’re my flag. You’re my nation.”

Bardugo has a style of writing where is naturally pulls up a twist which the reader has never expected. And this book was too good but I liked the first one the most.

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Review: Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)
Full 5 Shining stars 🙂
*******5.0******

SO I finished 2nd series of this Year that I had planned to read Series that I am Serious about

I just loved this book. Russian Fantasy with a bit stupid heroin but with a strong plot.
Alina Starkov and Mal are war orphans and best friends in Ravka. They live under a noble man’s charity and are looked after.
Ravka has a community Grisha which has people with special talents and are divided into
1. Corporalki
2. Etherealki
3. Materialki

Each and every child is tested for these powers at an early stage, which Alina and Mal had failed and were considered as normal children. Grisha are trained under Darkling’s care and he is the head or super power of Grisha. He is a Shadow summoner and the most powerful one existing.
Alina and Mal having no Grisha powers are into common army.

I’m not like you, Mal. I never really fit in the way you did. I never really belonged anywhere.”
“You belonged with me.”

In Ravka there is “Shadow Fold” , a void, a darkness that divides Ravka and making it impossible to cross. Along with darkness , there are volcra — savage winged monsters who are waiting to eat anything that enters the fold. So in a Fold Crossing , Mal gets attacked and Alina’s inner Grisha wakes up and Alina is a Sun Summoner (equal to Darkling). Then Alina’s journey begins to control her power, accept it and use it.

“The Darkling slumped back in his chair. “Fine,” he said with a weary shrug. “Make me your villain.”

Bardugo’s narration is too good and story throws you off balance with lots of twists and turns. Alina on the other hand is not a Kick-ass heroine but a sickly, doubtful and full of uncertainty. Darkling is the only character that is a bit better but in a whole, character building is not up to my expectations. The plot, the story and narration are so strong that I could almost neglect the character building things.

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