Looking for Alaska by John Green

Summary: Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words – and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green’s arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

My view: Wow wow wow! You know what took me so long to finish this book? I wanted to read it till it finished because it was so good but that was also the reason why I didn’t want to finish it (because it was SO good). Ah, the irony! I went looking for nothing and found everything in this book.

This is my first audio book and my, my, what a great start. I don’t think I’m letting go of audio books now, not after this! The edition I listened to was narrated by John Green himself and it was great. I have been told Will Grayson is the best but well, I have no idea about that.

There isn’t a single flaw with this book, except may be a long latter half, but that isn’t a flaw actually. I enjoyed that too.

And oh, I love Alaska! I wish she was my friend. The characters are so well developed that you know them inside out, you are there with them, they are your best friends. (It could also be an adverse effect of an audio book, though. 😉 )

The plot is innovative and amazing. I like the characteristics of the characters in there, so special, making each one the hero of the story. Colonel with his remembering of the capitals of states, Pudge with remembering last words. Ah, beautiful.

The story moves from fun to sadness in the latter half and to tell the truth, I was shattered. I just couldn’t believe it. I was mourning with the others. Alas, there was nothing anyone could do about it (except for John Green). But the book was engaging from page 1 till the very end.

In a long, long time has come a book like this. No wonder this is my favorite book of the year 2011. What a great finish to the year with this book. Amazing! Can’t wait to see the movie (but I know I would be disappointed, movies never do justice to books, except P.S. I love you, may be).

This book is recommended for everyone. Give this as a gift to yourself this Christmas, if you haven’t read it already. And my advice is get the audio book version.

5/5 stars – amazing book. Must read!

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Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

Summary: It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

My view: I wanted to read this book ever since it won the GR YA fiction award. It must be good if it has won an award and everyone’s raving about it, right? Wrong.

This book was a disappointment. A part of it may be because I don’t listen to rock music and bands of the kind. But it would be a very small part. I can adjust a few things if others are perfect. But they weren’t.

The book is supposed to be this sort of romantic-drama-thriller where you should speculate about where she went and why. The romance part seems OK. The drama I didn’t like. And a thriller based merely on that point makes no story to me. A good thing is that the book is short which encouraged me to just finish it up rather than abandon it midway.

I don’t like books where nothing happens and a person just keeps speculating about what happened. That should be a part of the plot, not the whole plot. The book seems baseless when there’s nothing to look forward to except where she went. How long can you keep driving around without reaching your destination? Even 122 pages seem long because there’s nothing happening in the book.

I know others have adored this book but personally it didn’t appeal to me for its lack of plot. The reason that was told in the end was not satisfactory enough and even bizarre to some extent.

In all, I haven’t read the first book but since this was the most praised one, I don’t think I am reading the next if ever there is a next.

The only reason I’m giving it two stars is that it wasn’t completely wild or baseless to score a 1.

The Accidental Bride (A Big Sky Romance) by Denise Hunter

The Accidental Bride, aptly named, is a quick, fun read. At least in the beginning. The start is great, it lures you in, and you want to know more, fast. The characters are real and full-developed. The plot is not new but some of the twists and turns are. The first half is amazing, I didn’t feel like putting the book down. It’s fast and despite the common plot, pleasant to read through.

However, I struggled to finish the book. I felt the second half was unnecessary lengthy, with things (characters’ thoughts and acts) repeating themselves. I think the book could have been summed up nicely in say 200-250 pages, instead of the current 304. It would have made for a crisper book then.

This book is about Shay, a 34-year-old woman who lives in Moose Creek, Montana with her daughter, Olivia. This is the story of her struggles as a single mother and her relationship with Travis, her first love who deserted her on the day of their marriage after they eloped. It’s a usual story of how things come around.

I have always loved and been fascinated by Ranch life and I witnessed it in this book. It was a pleasure to read about the chores there, the livelihood, the neighbors, the Founders day ceremony. I applaud Denise Hunter for taking the time and hard work to spend sometime at the ranch in order to write a book about it.

In all, a pleasurable read, albeit a bit lengthy. Romance book lovers will enjoy the love story of Shay and Travis.

Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

Well, where should I begin? I liked the fact that the book held me by its first line. Good for it because otherwise I wouldn’t have gone ahead with it unless someone pleaded with me to go past the first line. It’s an easy book, easy enough to keep me awake for the rest of the night wanting to finish it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This is a book about Anne who was engaged for a day eight years back. Since then, she has been on dates but still hasn’t found the one. And guess who walks into her life? Neil, the guy she was once engaged to. He’s still single. Sounds familiar? Well then, the guy too finds a girlfriend and our poor Anne is still thirsting for him. The plot is not new, it’s a story told many times. It’s the way it is told that holds the charm, things seem different, you are not sure things will end all rosy. Add to it Anne’s crazy family and the fact that she’s always the doormat. You almost feel sorry for her.

In walks Will, a handsome guy who drives a Jaguar, sends red rose bouquets and takes her out to politico dinners and upgrade restaurants. Who won’t marry such a guy? But then all’s not how it looks. There’s a bad side to the guy (we knew that, didn’t we?). This is the point where the plot goes downhill. Will is transformed from a great guy to a stalker (a really serious one), this quite doesn’t match up. Even if he is bankrupt, why will he go after a girl who is less pretty than him, isn’t rich to speak of? Why, oh, why? Too much of stalking and it gets absurder by the minute. And why are Anne’s parents supporting Will? I know he got Anne’s dad a job but still, it doesn’t add up. I believe the story should have ended long back, this is just stretching it too far.

Finally, the end comes near, things sort themselves out, all ends hunky dory, as is the norm.

Another point that didn’t go down well with me was the religious angle. I am not a Christian and it was difficult and sometimes irritating for me to follow the Ward, the Mission, the blessings, the Gospel. Everything’s good in moderation, but it was too much in here. I understand the author’s religious inclination does tend to show up in writing but it is better not to show it too much in order to get a wider readership (including people with different religious inclinations).

Well, I haven’t read the original Persuasion by Jane Austen, so can’t comment on that. I will have to read it now (I was planning to, anyway). The story is told many times but there is something about the writing and its style that holds you. That wants you to keep reading on. This was a page turner until the point where Will turns stalker and then there’s some 20-30 pages you wish didn’t exist and finally you read the ending, which is good and happy.

This book makes for a good, light, romantic read. Teenagers would love it, also some of the YA’s. It’s a book that you would want to read on a travel when you are thinking of days gone by and the love that started.

Mortal Prey (Lucas Davenport, #13) by John Sandford

Now, this was a great book. It started off as a thriller and had elements of mystery thrown in here and there. I loved the character of Rinker, a really strong woman, both physically and mentally. It was fascinating to read through her plans and moves. It was a very well developed character. Then Lucas, as is multiply referred to in the book, is a lucky chap. He keeps on throwing himself in Rinker’s path.

The book is about Rinker, a killer, whose fiancee and unborn child are killed in an attempt to kill her. Enraged, she decides to take revenge. The problem- FBI and Lucas Davenport, who are a step behind her. But can they stop her from killing? She’s too smart to be stopped. And there begins the wild goose chase. A fast-paced book that’s a powerful page-turner and you marvel at the plots, at Rinker and her constantly working mind.

This was the first book I read from the author and I have been told his other books are great too. Will I give them a try? Sure enough, I will.

A recommended book for all you thriller-lovers.

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

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“Oh, why, why did you write this book’, this was the thought that came into my mind throughout the reading of the book and I managed to finish it just for the sake of it.

The author has written 70 books and this is what she writes? I wonder how the other books are. The story started well off, with Willa and her happy family. I thought it was a mystery novel, it wasn’t. Oh wait, this is a psychological thriller. It wasn’t. May be a drama. What drama?

The characters are underdeveloped, have no focus and arbitrary, contradict themselves all the time. Willa, a 16 year old, who lives with the mother, stepfather and stepsisters, doesn’t know anything of her father, never wanted to know until she knows he wants to kill her. Now she wants to know all about him and goes to the extent of visiting her mother’s birthplace. Oh, how interesting! But there’s nothing new that she comes to know of. How boring! The book goes from happy-terrible-happy family thing. The author wanted to create a horrible scenario and change it back to happy, except the fact that she fails to do both.

Well, the title is misplaced, the book offers nothing new, there’s nothing to look forward to, there’s no plot, nothing moves, except for the characters’ escaping from here to there.

I would have given the book two stars, had there been any element of storytelling. Even if she had gone into the depth of Willa’s psychological problem, atleast it would have been something. But well, there’s nothing, so I would say if you still want to read it, have a not-so happy reading and if you don’t, good decision.

Spoiled by Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan

 16-year-old Molly Dix loves her ordinary life in suburban Indiana, so when her single mother passes  away, she is shocked to discover that her biological father is Brick Berlin, world famous movie star and red carpet regular.

Equally intrigued and terrified by her Hollywood lineage, Molly moves to Southern California and plunges head-first into the deep end of Beverly Hills celebrity life. Just as Molly thinks her new life and family couldn’t get any stranger, she meets Brooke Berlin, her gorgeous and spoiled half-sister whom welcomes Molly to la-la land with a healthy dose of passive-aggressive “sisterly love.”

Set against the backdrop of a sparkling and fashion-filled Los Angeles, this deliciously dysfunctional family soap opera will satisfy every reader looking for their next lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous beach read.

Well, frankly, I didn’t think much of the book and wouldn’t have read it if it hadn’t been a gift. The first  page didn’t prompt me to read further. But I still give the book 2 stars because it has a plot and there are no grammar or other issues, so it is writing! Never mind the plot is so repeated in the history of books that it is nothing new. Frankly, if I had read what the book was about, I would never have been interested. It was only the cover that pulled me towards itself. Great cover, by the way.

The book may for teenagers, as noted, especially those who are into fashion and celebs, which I am so not into. Possibly another reason why I didn’t like the book so much. Another was, that even if I get past all the fashion, the book is terribly predictable, each move, each theme has been gone into endless times by endless books. It doesn’t give something new. There is no humor, as I saw it. I didn’t smile even once during the whole book. Some characters were too nice to believe actually, really filmy sort. So if you are into fantasy and fashion, this may be the book for you. If not, stay away.

Hey!

Hey everyone!

Finally, I am catching up with the idea of blogging. But rather than blogging about me, it’s going to be about books and what I think of them. It could range from exceedingly mushy to straightforward brutal. So get ready. I’m on. And you would want to read my review before you go on deciding whether or not to read THAT book. See ya soon 🙂