Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: The Sins Of The Father- Jeffrey Archer

“…..I must beg you to keep my secret as steadfastly as you kept your own for so many years….”

The Clifton Chronicles continues with this fabulous second installment that saw Archer’s unsurpassable ability to weave a story so intricate that it sets readers on an edge as they devour the book in a single greedy swallow, unable to put it down amidst all the twists and turns it offers.

The book begins where Only Time Will Tell let off, with Harry assuming the identity of fellow shipmate Thomas Bradshaw in an attempt to free Emma of any sense of obligation she might feel and offer Giles an opportunity to claim the Barrington fortune. Of course the plan doesn’t go as expected when Harry (impersonating Bradshaw) is arrested for first degree murder of his own brother.  On top notch lawyer Sefton Jelks’ advice Harry continues to fake being Bradshaw in anticipation of a lighter sentence, only to be tried, found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison. The only way out is to reveal his true identity, which is out of question since it would foil his original plan. Meanwhile Emma travels halfway across the world to look for the man she loves, unable to accept his untimely death, with only the single letter that Harry wrote to his mother as proof- one that had remained unopened on a Bristol mantelpiece for over a year.

Jeffrey Archer’s impressive writing style coupled with engaging characters who face various difficulties set in the backdrop of the Second World War offers an enthralling reading experience. Harry’s quest for freedom, Emma’s determination to find her lost lover, Giles’ decision to prove himself different from his scoundrel father, Maisie’s efforts to reconstruct her life and Hugo Barrington’s usual a-hole behavior spell an enchanting story which keeps the reader hooked on. The fast pace of the story as it jumps from Bristol backstreets to Nazi camps to the boardrooms of Manhattan, is a right treat for the readers.

Does Harry get out of prison and fight for the Crown against Hitler as he had originally desired?
Does Emma find her lost lover and the father of her son Sebastian?
Does Giles succeed in getting rid of his fears and abandoning the coward’s way out unlike his wayward father?
And does Hugo Barrington come back to Bristol to claim his family and fortune?
In Archer’s new novel family loyalties are tested, secrets unraveled and questions answered.

Highly recommended with a 4/5 star rating!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Apollyon- J.L Armentrout

"Do you think they'll stop this... zombie-apocalypse-in-the-making if they realize I'm back on Team Not-Insane?"

Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex. Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back. The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries. Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself.

I nearly passed out from excitement in anticipation of the awesomeness that this book would bring...and it definitely lived up to the expectations. After Deity I had thought the Covenant Series couldn't get more amazing than this. Apparently I was wrong since Apollyon raised that bar a few notches.

The book was full of twists and turns that made it unputdownable. It begins where Elixir left off and the first few chapters saw Alex being controlled by her connection to seth and needless to say I was quite relieved when the nauseating 'My Seth' crap ended and Alex was back to normal. But the experience left her a changed woman. Although her snarkiness is not really gone, there is a grown up and purposeful side to her that contradicts her impulsiveness and urges her to be more rational and level headed.

There is a lot of Aiden in the book...not that I'm complaining. That guy simply reduces me to a puddle of mush! We get a glimpse of his past and what he thinks about Alex, Deacon, his deceased parents and his decision to become a Sentinel.

"By the way," Aiden said casting me a long look that had me totally forgetting the seriousness of our mission. "You look damn good in a Sentinel uniform."

Of course there is also plenty of badass ninja action with pissed off Gods, misled Sentinels, gigantic otherworldly demons and what-not.

"We had no idea what waited ahead of us, other than the big, fat unknown, and most likely a big, fat kick in the face. The gravity of that was killing me-killing us.

I squared my shoulders. "Release the Kraken!"

Several sets of eyes settled on me.

"What?" I gave a lopsided shrug. "I've always wanted to yell that since I saw that movie. Seemed like the perfect moment."

The big secret of Lucien and Seth's godly ally is revealed and Alex discovers the full purpose of her involvement in the big scheme of things. It was incredibly sweet how in the face of all that chaos Alex and Aiden still found time to be all over each other- in a house full of people including her uncle and Aiden's brother, in the midst of destruction redefined at the University....after engaging in a fight with ginormous spiders in the Underworld??!! Well...that's love I suppose...

The book also saw Marcus and Alex's relationship finally progress to the stage where they could actually give out hugs and have heart-to-heart talks. More info about Alex's father and her relationship with Rachelle was also revealed. It was sad to bade goodbye to some of the characters we have come to love through the course of the series.

Apollo is still a pain in the ass, popping out at inappropriate times without warning and Seth is pretty much a hum in the background throughout the book- always there but then not really....

So, an excellent plot coupled with an entertaining POV, Olympus Gods, heady drama, angst, romance, betrayal and Aiden St Delphi equals a double thumbs up for the book from me. The wait for Sentinel seems like aeons!!

3/5 stars!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: The Collector- Victoria Scott

“You don’t know who you’re fucking with, princess. Ain’t no one do bad like I do.”

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of Hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big redgood or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag. Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days. Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of Hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

When I read that very intriguing blurb and started reading the book I was like-

.....As I finished reading it, that changed to this-

Turns out that Dante wasn't as 'flippin' awesome' as the synopsis suggested...

Dante Walker's POV was undoubtedly hilarious to read. He's cocky, arrogant and thinks that he's God's...ahem...the devil's gift to mankind. His initial reaction to Charlie was quite funny.

This is the girl Boss Man is after? She looks like a porcelain doll...beat three times with an ugly stick. 

He is the kind of guy whose obnoxious behaviour borders on 'jerk' most of the time and he can insult someone and drop a flirtatious comment in the same sentence, but his reaction to most people and things makes the reader snort with laughter throughout the book.

That girl got in my brain and dug around. She found the one morsel of good
in there, held it up to the light, and said, “See here? See this? Look how sparkly! Let’s make it grow.”

At the end of the walkway is a cat. It struts with arrogance. You’d think it just won the Nobel Prize. But it didn’t. Know why? Because it’s a freakin’ cat. In case you missed the memo, I. Hate. Cats. I loathe them. They’re built with creepy little teeth and finger blades. I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass on that freak show.

 The book started off beautifully. There was Dante, in all his badass glory sealing the soul of some a-hole creeper and damn well enjoying it. Things start to go downhill for the guy when Boss Man offers him promotion to the post of the Soul Director and permanent abode on earth in exchange for Charlie's soul. With his too-good-to-be-true looks and charming personality how difficult could it be to corrupt a teenage girl, eh? At least that's what he thought until he meets her.

Charlie's character was made exasperatingly....nice! She was literally Mother Teresa reincarnated (bless her pure soul..). A childhood tragedy which left her orphaned has altered her view of the world and she sees life as pink balloons and hearts bursting with joy. She is not beautiful-a fact that has been emphasised on so many times throughout the book, it made me scream out "just get on with it already! The chick's freaking ugly...we get it!!"- but the beauty of her soul makes her stunning...at least that's what the gist of the story was. The book was alarmingly cliche inspite of a synopsis that promised awesomeness. Bad boy meets good girl, falls in love, turns over a new leaf, fights off the bad guys...

One redeeming thing about the book was the friendship between Charlie and her friends. They accept her for who she is and stick together in crisis. Dante's progressive relationship with Charlie was also quite believable and things didn't seem rushed, although it later seemed incredible that everything happened in a period of a few days. The ending however was a bit of a let down. A barely-there character who had a blink-and-miss appearance was brought back and made into the villain. Maybe the author was aiming for the shock factor but it just didn't seem very convincing...

Thirdly- Boss Man and Big Guy?!!- That was pretty amateurish. I mean since we are talking about God and Underworld here, they deserve some chilling names! Dante's transformation from a hilarious hottie into a whipped-for-the-pure-souled-chick guy didn't win many points from me either. 

Overall a one time read. Dante's smartass demeanour and witty one liners would have you in splits and Charlie's irritating over-the-top goodness would make you want to puke. Not a combination that would produce fireworks...

2/5 stars!