Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

“Just because we didn’t end up on the same wave, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a part of the same ocean.” 

Published August 2nd 2016 by Atria Books



Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.


“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.” 

Umm... I have some conflicted views regarding this book. I just can't seem to make up my mind about how much of this book I actually liked. It showed up in my Goodreads feed when it won the annual award for the best Romance novel and many of the reviewers whose taste in books match my own were raving about it. So I thought, Yeah! I should give this one a try! I went into it with some inhibitions since I'm not the biggest Colleen Hoover fan. Though her stories read very easily and the flow she establishes is flawless, they aren't as plot rich or character driven as I like. 

So, the things I liked about the book were:

1. The theme. After reading the blurb I was kind of expecting a love triangle. But the book was about an important topic and sent out a powerful message. I would have liked to say something else about this, but I can't really do that without giving away spoilers. And I, like several other reviewers, believe that going into this book blind would probably make the reader enjoy the book more. 

2. I liked all the characters in the book. Even the ...ahem... negative ones, though there is no negative character per-say. There are just normal people who are caught in bad situations. And Hoover writes their emotional turmoil very beautifully. There were instances in the book when I nearly cried at their misery, primarily because no one was at fault and because the situations described in the book were very real situations that probably happen every day in multiple households. 

3. The flow of the story. Yes. Like I mentioned before, it's the best thing about this author. Once I start a book, the words flow so easily that it's impossible to put it down. 

“He pulls back to look down at me and when he sees my tears, he brings his hands up to my cheeks. “In the future... if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again... fall in love with me.”

4. The part about Lily's diary entries which she addressed to Ellen Degeneres. This was a fun and quirky habit that I loved. 

Now, the things that I didn't like:

1. Insta everything. Ugh. I hate when authors do this. Ryle and Lily meet at a rooftop one night and ZAP! Instant attraction! He tells her that he wants to fuck her and she's breathless with desire for him. **pulls a meh face** And what was with all of Ryle's creepy behaviour? Was it supposed to be sexy? Well, it wasn't. And if it wasn't enough that there was insta love, there was also insta friendship! Lily and Issa meet and BAM! They are instant BFFs. 

2. The part of the book where everything was sickeningly perfect and everybody was deliriously happy. Seriously, it was very fake and irritating. 

I might also be a little put off by the ending, even though in retrospect it was perfect. But I was just hoping so strongly for everything to be all right. But then again, that's life. :-( And the world is not a wish granting factory. 

All in all, an okay one time read. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Published July 26th 2016 by Crown

“If there are infinite worlds, how do I find the one that is uniquely, specifically mine?” 


“Are you happy with your life?” 

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. 

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. 

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” 

Oh. My. God.

This was me throughout the book, right from the very first chapter. 

And this was me near the end. 

Dark Matter is so artfully written, the plot so amazingly crafted; there really is not much scope for dislike at all. It was a total nail biting page turner from start to finish. And there's this sense of doom and paranoia that the author creates, that was palpable throughout the book. I was constantly at the edge of my seat, clutching my iPad with shaking fingers, almost afraid to find out what was to happen next.

And it made me feel oh-so-small, like an insignificant little blot compared to the infiniteness of the universe (or in this case, the 'multiverse'). The book begins with our MC, poor Jason Dessen, being abducted and tossed into an alternate reality that is nothing like his own. It's a topsy turvy place where he's a legendary genius but without his beloved family. And this is where shit hits the fan. Teemed up with an unlikely ally, Jason tried to make it back home- a job that is much more difficult than it sounds. The author writes Jason's rage, helplessness and determinedness very beautifully. I was moved by his suffering, by the very idea that he couldn't reach home, that he was trapped amidst infinite possibilities, unable to figure out which one is his.

The author has also written all the scientific explanations very thoughtfully. Everything makes sense and nothing is out of place. It is neither too abstract nor too detailed, but just the right amount. I also loved the entire concept of people being the sum total of their choices and the choices they might have made. 

“We're more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.” 

The entire idea of an infinite reality tree, sprouting new branches every time a person is confronted with multiple choices was mind bogglingly awesome. Then there was also the irresistible but extremely questionable idea of having a clean slate. If somehow you could switch realities, having seen the consequences of an apparently wrong choice, would you? Or is it better to live with your choices and learn? That was a real toughie! And it led to me having sympathy for the negative characters in the book too, because regret is a very tangible thing, and I totally got where the crazy desperation was coming from. 

This book was scientific, mysterious and emotional rollercoaster and it rendered me breathless with it's pace and intensity. Highly recommended for everyone! 

And one last quote perhaps?

“It's a troubling paradox -I have total control, but only to the extent I have control over myself.” 

**slinks away to contemplate life, universe and everything.**

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: On Every Street by Karina Halle

Published March 9th 2013 
Metal Blonde Books

“You know,” he began, voice low and full, “if you were to ever leave me, I’d come looking for you, on every street.” 
“You promise?” 
“Always.” And I knew he kept his promises.” 

Ques: Romantic or creepy? 


When young con artist Ellie Watt decides to call herself Eden White and go after the drug lord who ruined her as a child, she never expects to fall for one of his henchmen. But Javier Bernal is no ordinary man. Subtly dangerous and overwhelmingly seductive, Eden finds herself passionately in love with Javier, the very person she's set-up to betray. With her body and heart in a heated battle against her deep need for revenge, no one will walk away from this con a winner.

Takes place six years before Sins & Needles. It can be read before or after Sins & Needles and may also be read as a standalone.


“Any love that starts out under a lie is bound to kill you. I just didn’t want to die on my feet.” 

I read the first book of the Artists Trilogy ie. Sins and Needles quite a while ago. It was a lot of fun as far as smutty action packed mafia romances go. I never got around to reading the sequels and it was only by chance that this novella showed up in my Goodreads feed... and I thought to myself 'What the hell! I'm in the mood for some morally questionable romance!' and I picked it up with almost zero expectations. 

But it was just so addictive! I finished it in one seating flat. There's just something irresistible about forbidden love, isn't it? Also, there is a telltale feeling of doom right at the beginning of the book. You know things aren't going to end well. But Halle writes the romance so sexily, that you just can't help but root for the doomed couple. Ellie Watt, our favourite congirl from the Artist Trilogy is back in this book, set about six years prior to the first book (Sins and Needles). Although this one can be read as a standalone, it did explain a lot of stuff that was left unaccounted for in Sins and Needles. I completely got where Ellie's paranoia came from, Javier's obsession with finding Ellie, the whole background story about their supposed great romance and it's painful ending. 

Also, Javier's character wasn't all that significant in Sins and Needles but we get a look at him now. And boy is he one hot son of a bitch! And I totally agree with Ellie when she says, 

“He was a kinky motherfucker, that’s for sure.”

You'd think that all the foreplay talk he came up with would be cheesy or just plain gross, but sometimes it's hot as hell instead. Plus the whole aura of power he has, the knack of getting things done, passion almost bordering on violence... well I won't lie... it's SEXY! Then there are some instances when he actually shows a vulnerable side and then I just find myself melting into a big gooey puddle. He was a gentleman sometimes, he was downright animalistic a few seconds later. The personality switches were rapid and FUN

Then there was Ellie. I liked how Halle writes her struggle so well. She's a novice as far as conning goes but she is determined to get vengeance from the man who ruined her life. She is a risk taker. She is headstrong. But what she didn't bargain for was Mr. Sex-On-Legs Javier Bernal. It was just so very human to see her desire for revenge crumbling in the face of new found love. 

I loved the analogues with song lyrics, as is evident from the title of the book itself. I liked all the songs the author mentioned in the book. The sex was a bit over the top. That was probably what prompted me to knock off a star or two off the rating. But then stories with a lot of smut are just not my thing. But the romance was oh so good. The ending of course was heartbreaking and I feel like I need a Javier POV to straighten things out. **hint, hint** ;-)

A great, swift, hot read to warm you all over! Rating: 3.5/5 stars!

“Vengeance is a beast, you know. It can be tamed. I just stopped feeding it.” 

AAhhh... if only! :-(

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S King

Published October 12th 2010
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

“I was also built from delusional optimism and folly.” 

Goodreads Synopsis

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

My Review

“I knew not to give the best of myself to the worst of people.” 

You know those kind of books that build up a lot of momentum throughout? The books that begin with a crazy prologue and continue with an element of utter mystery and there are flashbacks and subsequent revelations as the mystery unravels? Sometimes you are able to predict what might happen, what the big secret is. But some books leave you with your mouths hanging open, eyes wide, almost breathless with the knowledge of the secret that has been divulged. 

Please Ignore Vera Dietz was one of the books with a lot of built up momentum, a lot of anticipation. There was something about the writing style that put me on edge and made me flick the pages faster, eager to get to the end. The book begins with a death and then deals with the events that led up to it and its aftermath. There were a lot of things I loved about the book. There was the fascinating character of Vera, who was so realistic in her troubles and her approach towards living life. She is tired of turning a blind eye to all atrocities going around her, like she has been taught to do so by her cautious parents. She's just a teenager harbouring some secrets of her own, trying to become invisible. I loved her little eccentricities, her love for her Dad and Charlie, her desire to do the right thing.

Her best friend Charlie was her complete opposite- wild, unrestrained, rebellious, excessively passionate, holding out a lot of suppressed anger. It was impossible to really like Charlie, not with everything he did. But it was possible to feel a little sympathy for him. He was just a kid in need of a little love, a little affection, some reassurances. Then there was Vera's Dad. Described as excessively cautious and parsimonious, you'd think that he'd be an unlikeable character. Instead, I liked him best. He is a loving and caring parent who is unsure as to how to raise a teenage daughter all by himself. He is plagued by demons of his own, the greatest of them being that his daughter might turn out to be an alcoholic due to the strong alcoholic genes that run in his family. He is unsure how to be happy or let go of the past. He is almost as vulnerable as his daughter. 

I loved, loved, loved Vera's Dad's flowcharts concerning life. Here's one of them:

It made me think- if only life was really as straightforward as these flow charts, things would be a helluva lot easier. 

The book deals with death, teenage angst, friendship and a lot of problems like domestic abuse, perversity etc in a great way. 

Then again, there were several things that I did not like. For instance, the character of the antagonist in the book was not very greatly shaped. The author tells us that indeed they are the devil's incarnate but gives no reason whatsoever as to why that is. There was no real reason or motive for whatever that happened. Also, the ending left a lot to be desired. All that build up, all that anticipation, amounted to almost nothing and the ending was superbly meh. A lot of things were left unexplained and it just seemed hastily put together. 

All in all, it was a slightly unsatisfactory although entertaining read. 

“She launched the airplane and it caught a current and circled down toward the town, like a promise of something good.” 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Published June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen

“On everyone’s lap rested a book. Any book. In case the wedding got boring.” 

Goodreads Synopsis

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

My Review

What an amazing way to kickstart 2017! Yeah indeed, this book pleaseth me greatly. ;-)

You know you've struck gold when the dedication of the book goes something like:

For everyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door.
And for England. We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your history.” 

I picked this one up because I was in the mood for something light and of course there's this whole fascination I have with modern retellings of the Tudor era. I expected some light hearted rom-com stuff, but nothing could have prepared me for the super cutesy fluff and hilarious laugh-out-loud jokes that the trio of authors dished out in this rib-tickling (and splendidly inaccurate) retelling of English historyPeople who are anal about not messing with history or to whom a healthy dose of entirely illogical and inappropriate humour does not appeal too much, will not be great fans of this book. But if you are looking for a quick comic read with a dash of endearing romance thrown in, this is the book for you. 

I loved how the book overrode gender stereotypes of the olden era; how every female character in the book was a definite badass and how the male ones were gloriously supportive and how they broke through their sexist ideologies to rediscover their beliefs. There were impossible situations and impossible solutions. There was subtle toe-curling romance and characters so enchantingly cute, that all I wanted was to bring them to life and then cuddle them to death. There was politics, backstabbing, power hungry royals, our favourite dish which is best served cold and tons of drama. 

“No horse jokes," he said.
"My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book---unharmed!---I will give you a carrot."
He brandished the book at her. "Was that a horse joke?"
"Was that a horse joke?” 

*snorts indelicately* Just read it. :-)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017 Folks!! The Customary Come-Back Post :-)

Merlin, it feels so good to be hammering away words on the keyboard for my blog again. I've neglected my baby for far too long, courtesy of the ridiculously monotonous yet busy life at an engineering college. But as the four years of my BTech studies are drawing to a close, I've made a mental note to update my blog regularly.

There is indeed nothing quite as blissful as raving about a great book you just read, fawning over some character you just fell in love with, ranting about some book that wasn't quite to your liking, or maybe just lamenting about the withdrawal you suffer after finishing an amazing series.

I've also decided to let my other written material see the light of the day! :D Yep, you guessed right! A Cliffhanger Crisis will no longer be solely about book reviews, but will also have a few of my own original written pieces. Reviews, comments, constructive criticism, appreciation, any reaction at all actually will be greatly appreciated.

And third item on my to-do list is to try out all the genres out there that I have left unexplored, ranging from graphic novels to manga to magical realism. Who knows what hidden gems I might find! So feel free to leave suggestions in comments.

So, here's to hoping that 2017 brings a lot of bookish-goodness for us all! :-) Looking forward to sleepless nights and tons of cliffhangers.